Back in February, I got shut out of the New York Comic-Con even though I’d bought a ticket. (Don’t ask. I’m still pissed.) But I have faith that the folks behind The Adventures of Caveman Robot (The Brick Theater, 575 Metropolitan Ave., April 8-May 13), which include the L’s own Robin Reed, won’t oversell their venue. Billed as a multimedia comic-book musical experience and written by Jeff Lewonczyk and Debby Schwartz, the piece will satisfy the show-tune loving, sci-fi geek in all of us. Caveman Robot has been featured in zines for years and I’ve seen someone dressed as the character at a number of pop culture gatherings (a few years back at the San Diego Comic Con, I spied the guy trying to remove the bulky costume in order to take a leak). I can’t wait to see his hulking, metallic, bearskin-clad mass singing and dancing on stage.
I’ve interviewed a number of celebrities over the years but no one charmed me quite like Melvin Van Peebles. The director, producer, writer, composer, editor and star of the original blaxploitation flick Sweet Sweetback’s Baad Asssss Song, Van Peebles actually asked me to brush back my long hair so he could get a better look at my tattooed boobs (I have it on tape). At the time, he was promoting a revival of his 1971, Tony-nominated musical Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death, which was mounted at the Classical Theatre of Harlem in the fall of 2004. The production was such a success that my buddies at CTH are bringing it downtown and staging it in a nightclub (T New York, 240 W. 52nd St., beginning April 7), à la The Donkey Show. However, unlike that disco-infused Shakespeare romp, Van Peebles’ piece has a political agenda, a pulsating rap-funk-soul score, and is peopled by junkies, whores, pimps, lesbians, drag queens, crooked cops, prisoners, lovers and dreamers. In short, everyone I went to college with at Sarah Lawrence.
Product placement is rampant these days, even on stage (see Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ Tide tie-in). But I doubt 7-Eleven’s marketing honchos are behind the fourth edition of Seven.11 Convenience Theatre (The Kraine Theatre, 85 E. 4th St., March 30-April 16), a collection of short plays and musicals that examines immigrant life in America. I pray Apu Nahasapeemapetilon makes a cameo.