The lark at the top of the stairs
The recent-entry Andersonville gay bar Mary’s Attic (situated above the kitsch-fest Hamburger Mary’s restaurant) has been setting itself apart from the neighborhood crowd of queer-leaning booze barns by establishing itself as a home for live entertainment. Beyond the ubiquitous karaoke and drag revues, the bar has played host to offbeat cabaret acts like the Weird Sisters and the variety show Terrible Muriel (which Jason wrote about last month).
The Attic’s tiny stage has also become a destination for a new twist on cocktail-fueled camp: tongue-in-cheek readings or even full productions of scripted shows, staged with minimal (or two-dimensional) props and set pieces and performed with a loopy zeal. The tone was set, appropriately enough, by Hell in a Handbag, with its Summer Camp readings of plays like Charles Busch’s Die! Mommie! Die! and Reefer Madness: The Musical. In July, Bare Boned Theatre moved in with The Ville, a comic serial about the interactions of a pansexual set of Andersonville residents, with new “episodes” premiering every month (we covered it here).
The latest Attic attraction is Carpenters’ Halloween, a giddy mashup of John Carpenter’s 1978 thriller and the music of the Carpenters. It’s the brainchild of Summer Camp director Scott Bradley and partner Jonny Stax, who produce under the moniker The Scooty and JoJo Show. As with Handbag’s spoofs, knowledge of the sources isn’t absolutely necessary but it definitely helps. Carpenters fans will enjoy the ironies of Bradley’s song placements—the film’s opening scene, in which little Michael Myers knifes his sister, is set to a rendition of “We’ve Only Just Begun” that segues seamlessly into the chilling Halloween theme—but the in-jokes here are for the movie fans. Bradley’s lovingly off-kilter staging of the film’s iconic scenes, including a cockeyed Donald Pleasence puppet and Bradley’s own performance as Jamie-Lee-Curtis-as-Laurie-Strode, proves enjoyable for those with a passing knowledge of the movie and downright rapturous to the big-time fans. (Smartly, and with presumably superhuman effort, Bradley restricts himself to a single Karen Carpenter gag, a late-in-the-game joke grenade that nearly stopped the show.)
Carpenters’ Halloween runs Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8pm through Halloween night, after which The Scooty & JoJo Show takes up residence as a variety show. The Ville and Terrible Muriel continue on Mondays at 8pm and Thursdays at 10pm respectively; Handbag’s Summer Camp returns to Mary’s Attic next year.