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Last chance to be sordid lives… first chance to see B-Hits

by Mark Burger

Last chance to be sordid lives… first chance to see B-Hits

Theatre Alliance always seems to find success with the works of Del Shores, whose award-winning oeuvre includes such popular comedies as Daddy’s Dyin’ (Who’s Got by Mark Burger the Will?), Southern contributing columnist Baptist Sissies and The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife. Shores’ plays tend to savage the Southern experience and skewer Southern stereotypes in farcical fashion. Sordid Lives, one of Shores’ most popular plays, focuses on the Ingram clan of Texas, trying to put the pieces of their lives back together after Mama bites the dust and some family secrets are revealed. Shores adapted Sordid Lives to the big screen in 2000, and later brought it to television on the Logo Network. But it’s on the stage where all this sordidness began. Theatre Alliance previously presented a production in 2006, and response was sob strong that artistic director Jamie Lawson, once again directing the production, decided to reunite much of the same cast for a new production, with such Theatre Alliance favorites as Cheryl Roberts, April Meachum-Linscott and Gray Smith on hand. Well, the new production of Sordid Lives proved so popular that the show’s run has been extended for two more nights: This Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m. at Theatre Alliance (1047 Northwest Blvd., Winston- Salem). Tickets are $14; $12 for students and seniors. As this is the last chance to catch the show, reservations are suggested. Due to adult language and bawdy humor, this production is recommended for mature audiences. For tickets or more information, see www.wstheatrealliance.org or call 336.723.7777.

Killer Bs have been spotted in Greensboro… or soon will be. This Friday begins the Attack of the B-Movies series of 35mm film screenings at the Carousel Luxury Cinemas (1305 Battleground Ave.), featuring a fierce foursome of cult hits — all screening (appropriately enough) at midnight. The late David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone star in the 1975 drive-in favorite Death Race 2000. Produced by Roger Corman and directed by Paul Bartel (he’s gone too, sadly), the film is widely considered to be one of the quintessential B-movies of all time. As the title implies, it’s about a futuristic, cross-country road race in which the contestants earn points by running down pedestrians. This film is rated R, and you can guess why. On July 17, the fun continues with Lucio Fulci’s gut-munching 1980 favorite Zombie, starring Tisa Farrow (Mia’s sister), Ian McCulloch and Richard Johnson. Heavily censored or banned outright in several territories, the film contains one of the greatest (so to speak) eyeball gags you’re ever likely to see… if you can keep from covering your own eyes. This is not a film for the squeamish. My sister actually saw this back in 1980 on a double-bill with Coal Miner’s Daughter (!). Zombie was released in the United States with a selfimposed X rating, so yours truly couldn’t have gotten in to see it if I wanted to… and, believe me, I wanted to! On July 24, it’s sci-fi time with 1984’s Night of the Comet, written and directed by Thom Eberhardt and produced by the dynamic duo of Wayne Crawford and Andrew Lane, both of whom I’ve had the good fortune to have met. Crawford is a faculty member at the UNCSA School of Filmmaking, as was Lane for several years. This combination of valley-girl satire and apocalyptic black comedy (!) stars Catherine Mary Stewart, Kelli Maroney, Robert Beltran, Mary Woronov (also seen in Death Race 2000) and Geoffrey Lewis. I once watched this with a girl in college and, well… let’s just say we never got around to finishing the movie. Night of the Comet is rated PG-13, and somewhere I think I’ve still got the soundtrack. The series concludes in spectacularly gory fashion with Demons (1986), produced by Dario Argento (a big favorite of mine) and directed by Lamberto Bava (whose father Mario was also a noted specialist in Italian horror). The film is set, appropriately enough, in a movie theater where an ancient curse turns members of the audience into drooling, bloodthirsty zombies. Even though this too was released with a self-imposed X rating, I was old enough to see it during its initial theatrical run — at Movie City 5 in East Brunswick, NJ, if I remember correctly — and a good time was had by all… and no one turned into a drooling, bloodthirsty zombie. Admission to each film is $4, and beers are $1. That’s a bargain, any way you look at it. Each film will be preceded by classic (more or less) trailers from B-movies of yesteryear. For more information, visit www.theMovieShow.org or give the theater a call at 336.230.1620.

To comment on this story, e-mail Mark Burger at marksburger@yahoo.com.

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