Taking the Jesus Pill@KingKing, August 30
Listen. I like sexy ladies as much as the next guy. And sexy fishnets. And sexy spotlights. And sexy Chinese characters hanging on unpainted brick. I like all that stuff. I used to live in Hollywood for chrissake. But I will be blunt, you need to have drunk a couple of gin and tonics before you sit through Southern/goth/rock/trash/cabaret/vanity project Taking the Jesus Pill. That’s where I made my first mistake.
The show is one of these things where there’s chicks dancing on platforms as you walk in, everyone sits at booths and tables just like at a cabaret, there’s an air of sex and booze etc. Everything is sexy and dark and hardcore and cool and rockabilly and Jesus and mojitos and cool. I am in the mood, really. Entertain me.
But then the show starts and immediately there are problems. The story, which you have to infer because there isn’t a story, is there’s this girl Tina in this whorehouse with one eye. Crazy. This wild guy appears, his name is Johnny 3:16. There’s projected footage. He drives some kind of American muscle car. I would attest to that. He and Tina meet. It doesn’t go well but it’s hotter than hell! A guy appears with his back-up band and sings something appropriate. He’s dressed dark and southern and pimpy like Rob Zombie (the living legend of Rob Zombie lives on). He shows up frequently, probably because he’s the writer and co-producer of the show. A preacher appears, he’s actually quite good. He does this thing where like we’re all in a church and goddamn. Then Johnny meets his mom who–I don’t want to ruffle any feathers here–but I think she’s a whore. Then some other stuff, reverend mom burns herself alive (projected 4:3 movie ratio flames, dry ice) because reverend daddy. . . . . . . . molested (hush) whore daughter Tina. Johnny meets whore mom in black wheelchair–I think it’s safe to say et cetera. Yeah, now that you mention it there is a sleazy bartender who has long sideburns and wears a wife-beater and suspenders. But I don’t see how that’s germane.
You’ve got at some point to get kind of clear about what you’re trying to do. It’s one of these things where it’s a scene, and then the top hat guy, and then there’s another scene, and then maybe we have something projected from the data projector on the ceiling that was shot in Joshua Tree, then the top hat guy again, then some dancing, then an intermission. An intermission!? Oh man I should’ve gotten that gin and tonic. A man can only take so much rampaging style. Here we are, hale-fellows-and-ladies-well-met, we just want to have a good time.
As it turns out there has to be a story. There’s no story in Jesus Pill. â€˜Tain’t. It’s a lot like a lotta things in our fair world these days.
Everything is on track to be a good time, to be cool, to be killer. We have chicks in corsets–awesome. We have self-produced rock â€˜n’ roll–dynamite. We’ve got leathers, feathers, dry ice, high heels, a spiral staircase to have fights on, all I see is check marks. Where does it go wrong? Well it’s just stuff. The makers of this musical think like the average studio head. It involves a kind of mystical physics, this brainstorming, wherein if you just have enough of the correct stuff all in the same place, a critical mass obtains and something rational or pleasant spontaneously happens. All you have to do is have appropriate stuff (e.g. Ashton Kutcher, skateboards, Beyonce), you can’t go wrong. Well I have two words for you hypothetical studio head: chocolate lobster.
Mark Twain said golf is a good walk spoiled. What he wanted to say standing on the corner of Hollywood and Whitley in 2006–after strolling past the Geisha House, $15 dollar valet parking, and a storefront obscured by Capiz shell curtains (a sight which prompted my colleague to say “You know what’s inside there? Fat men dancing in hula hoops.”)–what Mark Twain wanted to say was, incoherent cabaret is a good mojito spoiled.
Taking The Jesus Pill
Wednesdays @ King King (Limited Engagement)
Tickets and showtimes