Thursday, June 19, 2008

BASH'd: A Gay Rap Opera

A straight opinion of BASH'd: A Gay Rap Opera: there has got to be a better, funnier way to reclaim the word "faggot." Visually pared down (but full of sight gags), the show comes across as a cross between Altar Boyz and Xanadu (without the sharpness of either), and sounds as if it's performed by a white R. Kelly (and he knows a thing or two about repetitive hip-hoperas). The show opens with a comparison to Romeo and Juliet's "star-crossed lovers," and devolves from there to an uneven gloss of how country boy Dillon (Nathan Cuckow) wound up with city boy Jack (Chris Craddock), and how violence caused one of them to fight back. But it's too playful to get that serious, so while Craddock (the stronger of the two) can pun Eminem's "Cleaning Out My Closet" into "Coming Out The Closet," BASH'd misses the otherwise inexpressible emotions that make rap worthwhile in the first place. "Smash, Boom, Crash," a first-person account from the receiving end of a gay bash, comes across as a grotesque: Aaron Macri's music allows us to keep a distance from the true pain behind it. The truth is, it's hard to be tongue-and-cheek with rap unless your cheek's as fast as your tongue.

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