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New Times / Art

The following article was posted on July 23rd, 2014, in the New Times - Volume 28, Issue 52 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from New Times [newtimesslo.com] - Volume 28, Issue 52

Weird Al has a new album; Cambria's Pewter Plough Playhouse stages Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park

BY JESSICA PENA

You Can Call Me Al

Last week, I did not think I needed a pop-polka version of the dance/lumberjack hit, “Timber.” Boy was I wrong. Once again, Cal Poly alum and master of parody Weird Al has proven he’s pretty much the best thing since they put the pocket in pita. It’s been three years since Al’s last album, Alpocalypse, and those years were dark times indeed. How were we supposed to cope with Robin Thicke’s study in seedy slickness, “Blurred Lines,” without Al’s pitch-perfect mockery? Well, Al is back and he has answered this, and other itching questions, with his new album, Mandatory Fun, which was released last Tuesday, July 15.

Usually, this column is dedicated to local events, but a new Weird Al album trumps pretty much everything else. This is Al’s last contracted album with RCA, and, as such, he pulled out the big guns. It’s a rich and varied assortment of clever chicanery that covers the likes of Lorde (whose “Royals” turns into the leftover-wrapping material/Illuminati tribute, “Foil”), Pharrell Williams, and Cat Stevens. Easily, the best song is “Word Crimes,” which details the very worst of grammar offenses (ex: your/you’re) to the tune of “Blurred Lines.” It’s all great though, so you should listen to it, and watch the music videos, because it’s mandatory. Your welcome.

Married … with Problems

Neil Simon has a history of writing mis-matched pairs. The playwright and screenwriter is probably best known for his 1965 play-turned-film-turned-television series, The Odd Couple. But, it’s his 1963 play, Barefoot in the Park, about another offbeat pair, that is currently in production at Cambria’s Pewter Plough Playhouse.

The play follows newlyweds Corie and Paul Bratter. In classic, comedic foil fashion, Corie is a carefree type who lives for passion while Paul is more of the straight-laced, suit-wearing kind of gents. Hilarity ensues when the couple moves into a faulty, New York apartment building, complete with broken skylight and wacky neighbor. The play was one of Simon’s most successful. It ran for nearly four years and was nominated for three Tony Awards, which included a win for Best Director (Mike Nichols). In 1967, a film version was made, starring Robert Redford (at his most handsome) as Paul and Jane Fonda as Corie.

Barefoot in the Park runs through Aug. 10 with shows on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. For more information, you can go to pewterploughplayhouse.org or call their box office at 927-3877.