Media

Four Pads. Two Feet. ONE DREAM.

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Memo to Les Freres Corbusier: YOU ARE PROBABLY DUMB.

The problem with stupid artists is that there's always a slim chance a stupid artist isn't a stupid artist at all. Occasionally, a stupid artist turns out to be a clever artist fucking with people. Which leads to a fascinating ontological discussion about whether a perfect imitation of stupidity as performance art is actually clever, or whether a perfect imitation of stupidity, being indistinguishable from actual stupidity, is therefore deeply fucking stupid.

It's a question I usually avoid pondering by laughing at Jessica Simpson or Michael Bay, either of whom would immediately see their doctors for antibiotics if you told them they'd raised an ontological issue. And it's a question that I will immediately dismiss after briefly raising it in regards to Dance Dance Revolution: The Musical, because, well, holy shit, Dance Dance Revolution: The Musical.

I think, but I'm not sure, that the mere existence of DDR:TM gives me some small insight into what it must have been like for Abba fans in the last decade. To have something you love dearly despite its complete lack of artistic merit, and to see that thing given a new structure and form that makes no fucking sense in order to adapt it to an artistic form it was never meant to inhabit, with horrifying results. But then I remember that Abba fans FUCKING LIKE ABBA, and any imaginary rapport I have with them vanishes.

So anyway, Dance Dance Revolution: The Musical. A 40-person off-off-Broadway production starring Van Hansis, whom you have never heard of. In the midst of a three-week run at the Ohio Theater in New York, I mention this last item in case any of my readers live near the Ohio Theater and were wondering what that exciting new smell in their neighborhood was.

Apparently, adapting Dance Dance Revolution to the stage involved looking at the title of the game as if it were a recipe, and therefore mixing two parts dance with one part revolution. It is set, of course, in a post-apocalyptic world ruled by a fascistic government that has outlawed dancing. This government is opposed by freedom-loving youth led by dancing prophet Moonbeam Funk.

Now, clearly, nobody can produce a show like that with a straight face. And when the producers promise "40 really attractive, barely clothed young actors and buckets of free beer", it's obvious that they're not entirely serious. But "not entirely serious" does not automatically give you a free pass into Good Idea Land. Turning Dance Dance Revolution into a tongue-in-cheek version of the Mr. Roboto video is a five-minutes-on-the-Internet idea. It's a ten-minute running joke at the bar idea.

What it isn't is a "let's see how many black tank tops and pairs of knee pads we can get at the sports outlet store, write some music, hire a bunch of waiters and put on a show" idea. Even in a town where theaters get built because a particular city block already has a great pre-show tapas bar and after-show dessert joint.

And anyway, 25 years of natural erosion and weathering means that the tongue-in-cheek version of the Mr. Roboto video is, in fact, THE MR. ROBOTO VIDEO. And no, don't even fucking ask. Yes, the same thing is true of both Wild Boys and Love Is A Battlefield. You can't subvert a paradigm that's a hollowed-out shell of its former self, even if you fill that shell with free beer.

And if you're going to try, you could have done a lot better than Footloose. Fuck Kevin Bacon. Rip off The Last Starfighter and have Moonbeam Funk, if you must call him that, be kidnapped by a race of four-legged, jointless aliens whose only form of artistic expression is repetitive, two-axis stomping. Also, instead of a dude, Moonbeam Funk should be a 14-year-old suburban white anime-loving girl. Also, you should build a time machine and take this marginally better idea back to the year 2002, when it would have been the tiniest bit relevant and funny.

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