Funny, Painfully So

There's nothing Robert Schimmel won't talk about

5/15
Things found while cleaning a closet: three roaches (one for smoking), one skeleton and a Robert Schimmel interview transcript c. 2001, from which only a few words were excised for a short piece written the last time Schimmel was at the Addison Improv, 4980 Belt Line Road, where he returns May 15 through May 18 (tickets are $15 to $17; call 972-404-8501). It's all gold, some platinum and worth more here than in the waste basket; no good comic likes to let his material die unnoticed and unloved, especially when he's escaped heart attack and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and Schimmel is quintessential interview subject-as-performer. Remember to tip the waitstaff.On using marijuana during chemo:"I hadn't smoked pot in a long, longtime. It's not the same as I remembered it. It's stronger. So I sat down and smoked almost a whole joint in one sitting, and I started seeing the subatomic structure of the food on the table, and it was just way too much. But the pot worked. I don't know what I would have done without it, seriously. You get really sick. Think about what they're doing to ya. They're killing ya, and it's a race to see who's gonna die first--the cancer or you. A lot of times, it's you."

On the healing power of comedy:"I was really sick. I called the entertainment director at the Monte Carlo in Las Vegas, and he said, 'Are you gonna tell the audience what you're going through?' I said, 'Are you kidding? How could I not? If I walk onstage and they just look at me, they're gonna know, so how could I not say something?' I walked out, and this was the day after it happened, and usually you can't joke about that stuff, but I said that I got Demerol and morphine in the hospital, and that I got so fucked up that I could have actually jacked off to the Concord crash, and this was the day after the Concord went down. The place went nuts."

On finding out who your friends are when you're sick:"People would call up and go, 'Robert, if there's anything we can do for you,' and you go, 'Yeah, find out what your blood type is, because I might need a bone marrow transplant.' No one calls you back in five minutes and says, 'AB positive. I'm there if you need me, buddy.'" --Robert Wilonsky

5/20
Catch the Fever

Bell-bottoms. The Bee Gees. Brooklyn boy trying to make it big in Manhattan. That's really all you need to know about Saturday Night Fever, the 1977 film-turned-musical on its way to the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth. We could talk more about plot, but does it really matter? The disco dancing, the white suit and hits like "Stayin' Alive," "Boogie Shoes" and "More Than a Woman" are what people remember, what they want to see re-created onstage. And from what we hear, audiences won't be disappointed. The musical version of Fever includes 12 Top 10 hits from the '70s, a time of light-up dance floors, Farrah Fawcett wings and other questionable fashions. Of course, if, like us, you have an unhealthy obsession with John Travolta and have seen movies like Urban Cowboy, Grease and Staying Alive (the Fever sequel) countless times, then you might be a little disappointed. You'll have to settle for another actor as paint-store clerk/dancin' fool Tony Manero. Ah, but you'll always have your dreams... Saturday Night Fever opens May 20 and continues through May 25 at Bass Hall, 525 Commerce St. Tickets are $27 to $75 and can be purchased by calling 817-212-4280. --Rhonda Reinhart

5/17
White Males Seek Playmates
EdgeFest is homogenized for your protection
If this year's EdgeFest lineup seems a bit homogenous and preconceived, it's because KDGE-FM (102.1) hijacked the Honda Civic Tour starring Good Charlotte, MxPx and New Found Glory. The rest of the bands on the bill (Seether, All-American Rejects, Socialburn, the Fags, Riddlin Kids, Maroon 5) are either up-and-coming young punk bands or grungy rock acts the station will drop from the playlist after the big show anyway. The only standout in this year's bill is the Arkansas band Evanescence, whose "Bring Me to Life" from the Daredevilsoundtrack was the out-of-nowhere hit of spring. Evanescence singer Amy Lee also provides the only shot of estrogen in the festival's testosterone stew. So expect a heavy dose of brainless, fun pop punk that's all the rage with high school kids this week. Keep in mind that most of the crowd doesn't even care about the bands; they just go because their friends are going. Saturday at Smirnoff Music Centre, 1818 First Ave. in Fair Park. Gates open at 1 p.m. --Jay Webb

5/15
This One Doesn't Go to 11

Developing local talent and taking a chance on new playwrights is Ground Zero Theater Company's niche in the North Texas theater community. 10:10 carries on the tradition in fine angst-ridden form. Vicki Caroline Cheatwood's comedic/romantic tragedy debuted in a shorter form at Ground Zero's annual Christmas showcase and was one of eight scripts that made the cut in Kitchen Dog Theater's National New Play Festival in 2001. It also enjoyed a successful off-off-Broadway run that same year. Set in Dallas and Austin, 10:10 tells the story of Jane and her short marriage that ended when she had an affair with her new husband's brother. Jane endures an emotional roller coaster as her love life finds multiple heartaches for every sweet moment. Ground Zero founder Kimberlyn Crowe directs this production starring Halim Jabbour, Tom Heard, Kortney Porter, Lulu Ward and Wm. Paul Williams. Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. through May 31 at the Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther Drive. Tickets are $15. Call 214-339-0585. --Jay Webb

 
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