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Evil Dead: The Musical

Thursday, January 12, 2012
Upon hearing the news that "Evil Dead: The Musical" was going to be playing in Portland, I was immediately struck by two thoughts. First: "How did I not know that they made a musical based on Evil Dead?", and then: "How did I not hear that it was going to be in Portland EARLIER?!?" Of course, I immediately bought tickets.

Thanks to Icons of Fright for hosting this image!

The plot was a mashup of The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II, with a bunch of lines and the ending of the theatrical version of Army of Darkness grafted onto it. Oh, and a bunch of musical numbers sprinkled throughout with titles like "What The #@%^! Was That?" and "All The Men In My Life Keep Getting Killed By Candarian Demons". The songs were humorous, often accompanied by sexually suggestive dancing. Quite fun, in concept.

There was, however, a downside to the show, and that was in the production quality. While recognizing that I'm going to see a musical based off the "Evil Dead" series, which is (in)famous for its production quality, I guess I was expecting a campy show that was done well. What I got was something else.

Without sounding like I'm complaining, I like it when shows start reasonably on-time, versus 20 minutes or so late. I like it when I can hear all the performers singing. I like it when the performers remember to turn on their microphones versusu coming in after an unneeded and unpleasant intermission with it off. I like it when the set transistions are reasonably quick, instead of detracting from any sort of pacing and taking an inconsistent number of trips off-stage by the technical crew.

Those are my technical complaints. Also, there was an intermission halfway through that seemed quite unnecessary and didn't need to be 25 minutes long. A long intermission gave the audience more time to hit the bar and get liquored up, leading to more talking and drama by the audience that detracted from the show. The acting and singing wasn't done with any particular enthusiasm or sense of timing.

Of course, I don't want to overlook the good parts of the show. I was smart enough to get tickets in the "non-splatter" seating section (when was the last time THAT was a choice at a musical?) but it was tons of fun watching the crew spray fake blood at the splatter zone during particularly gory scenes. The creativity of the songs was also quite good and, in the production, the actresses portraying Cheryl and Annie stood out among the rest.

In the end, did I enjoy it? Yes, I think anyone my age who enjoyed the movies would. But given the unpleasant crowd, the poor technical production quality, and the long time I had to spend listening to music other than that coming from the musical I was there to see, I can definitely say that it wasn't worth the high price of admission.

So now you know.

Elk Meadows

Sunday, January 08, 2012
This weekend I went snowshoeing with my adventure buddy and a friend of his up on Mt. Hood to Elk Meadows. Well, the plan was to go snowshoeing; it ended up being a lot of hiking while carrying the snowshoes because there just isn't that much snow out there! With a base of between 37" and 43", there's a lot of bare ground, especially when climbing up the hills. Having so little snow at this point in the season makes me worry.

Still, we had fun. It would have been more fun had, when trying to jump across a stream, I actually made it across. In this case, with my snowshoes tied to my pack (which weighed 30-40 lbs!) I tried to follow in the footsteps of my companions and, despite every fiber of my being telling me what a bad idea it was, I jumped after them. Thank goodness they were there to catch me; my food landed and immediately slipped out from underneath me. After slamming my face into the icy snow, they grabbed my arms before I could land in the water and hoisted me up. That part, I'll admit, wasn't so fun. My face hurt from the fresh scratches and it spoiled my attitude for a while.

The view of Mt. Hood from Elk Meadows

After falling on my face, we had a couple more streams to cross, then we headed up the hill. We gained probably 700 or so feet of elevation in less than a mile; it was steeper than it sounds. Also, there's really only one way up that we could find; the face of the hill is so steep that the switchbacked trail is the only way to the top that doesn't end in a cliff face. Of course, as I mentioned, there was no snow on that path, so we ended up hiking most of it. My attitude wasn't improving at all during that; I like snowshoeing and I like hiking, but I like doing just one or the other, not constantly having to switch between them.

Once at the top, however, we were in a respectable amount of snow and my mood improved considerably as we headed toward the meadow. It didn't take us long to get there at all and, once we did, we were treated to a fantastic view of Mt. Hood while we ate lunch.

The view of Mt. Hood from Elk Meadows

After that, it was a quick trip down with a more successful hop over a couple streams. All told, we did about 5.7 miles, thought it was more challenging than it sounds due to the nature of the elevation climb (it happened all at once), the fact that we had to hike some of it, and the extra weight I was carrying in my pack. Fun? Yes. However, I'm not sure that, given the condition of the stream crossings, I'd want to do it again.

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