MIRACLE!, a play by Dan Savage
You think you’re liberal and open-minded, and then you start editing and fact-checking Dan Savage’s columns. We often joke on the A.V. Club copy desk that our browser search histories need to be bleached after we get Savage Love on the site each week: We’ve learned about vore, urethral relocation, and, in a particularly memorable column, a person who stuck the head of a decapitated snake up their urethra.
Thus enlightened, we of course jumped at the opportunity to see Savage’s play, MIRACLE!, which is showing at Mary’s Attic in Chicago and thankfully does not involve anything about snakes or urethras. The Miracle Worker in drag, MIRACLE! is Savage’s reinterpretation of the tale of Annie Sullivan teaching the young deaf and blind Helen Keller. Savage’s play stars Steve Love as deaf, blind drag queen Helen Stellar, whose drag mother and biological father, Crystal Pain (David Cerda) is forced to accept a teacher for her wild child. Savage doesn’t just play the drag interpretation for laughs: Elizabeth Lesinski as Annie Sullivan grounds the play emotionally, and every one of us teared up a little bit when she finally broke through to Helen. Savage also works in some of the honest sex talk he brings to Savage Love, tackling whether “tranny” is offensive and the ethics of dating panty chasers. And there are laughs, too: The play pokes fun at a lot of LGBT stereotypes (like a lesbian poetry slam at the Bearded Clam), and the drag is fantastic. If you’re in Chicago any time before July 10, check it out. [Laura M. Browning]
Summer is here, which means road trips, which means you’ll need new ways to amuse everyone in the car. If you ever liked Family Feud, you will find 94 Percent a godsend. Scimob, the creator of 94 Seconds and 94 Degrees, now offers this extremely simple yet addictive game app: You have to come up with all the answers 94 people did for simple categories like “fruit with pits” or “things in a pencil case.” The most obvious answers are the easiest (peach, pencil); the hardest are the ones only a few people chose. Plus, it works for both friends and families: Even kids who can’t read can chime in on “things that are blue,” which hopefully should make the time fly by a little faster until your next rest stop. [Gwen Ihnat]
It’s not often that you watch a movie and think, “No one will ever make anything like this ever again.” But I’m not sure what else to think about Roar, a film (finally) completed and (barely) released in 1981 that’s now making the rounds thanks to its re-release by Drafthouse Films. Roar was a passion project for Exorcist producer Noel Marshall and his wife Tippi Hedren, who were smitten with the wild cats they encountered on a trip to Africa. Because they were filthy rich Hollywood types, and because it was the ’70s, this led to the couple buying and breeding dozens of wild lions, tigers, cheetahs, and leopards and living amongst them on their ranch in California, an arrangement documented in a 1971 Life magazine spread about their family. For nearly a decade, Marshall, Hedren, and their kids—including a teenaged Melanie Griffith—filmed Roar on that ranch. Initially conceived as a family adventure in the Swiss Family Robinson vein, the movie comes off more like an accidental suspense thriller due to the constant threat of someone getting mauled by a wild cat as they jump on, knock over, and generally “play” with the actors, some of whom look absolutely terrified. And justifiably so—over the course of filming nearly every member of the cast and crew were injured, some requiring surgery for their wounds. The trailer gives you a good idea of what to expect; I thought that there would be only a few isolated moments of people being chased by lions, but in fact that’s the majority of the film, with Marshall bounding across the screen and laughing like a madman as wild animals try to hunt his stepkids. (One scene where a lion seizes Griffith by the hair is especially jaw-dropping.) I can’t say that Roar is a “good” movie, per se, but for the cinematically adventurous it’s essential viewing, if only so you can talk about it at parties. (No one will believe you, by the way.) [Katie Rife]