Local theater company BooTown is putting its own spin on Empire Records for Damn the Man, the third installment of its Benshi-style performances.
Director Emily Hynds says she chose the cult-90s, coming-to-age-in-a-record-store tale because of its appealing, yet inaccurate, portrayal of the artistic lifestyle. The original movie ends with everything coming up roses for a group of outcast artists, musicians, and music geeks that work in a local independent record store. An unrealistic resolution for anyone, especially artists, as Hynds learned later on when she embraced a similar way of life to the characters in the movie.
“I didn’t notice that until I got older,” says director Emily Hynds. “When you’re younger, it’s just in your nature to be ideal. Those characters are people I wanted to be, so when it worked out for them, it potentially worked out for me.”
In Japan, Benshi performers memorize western movies and then reinterpret the story for an eastern audience. Hynds will follow this tradition by remixing Empire Records to be less happily-ever-after and more when-people-stop-being-polite-and-start-getting-real. She’s invited her own group of local artistic misfits to help her with the retelling. The cast includes BooTown co-artistic director Lindsay Burleson, Christopher Oddo (Mikey and the Drags), Jillian Van Zelfden, Stephen Walker (formerly of American Sharks) and David Feil, who will be providing a live soundtrack.
In keeping with the company’s mission of producing in unexpected venues, Damn the Man will be performed at Rudyard’s British Pub, home of BooTown’s monthly Grown-up Storytime series, Big Star Bar, and Cactus Music, Houston’s first independent music store. (That’s right! It’s a show about a record store in a record store. BooTown is so meta.)
The production runs during the first three weeks of November (see schedule below). Tickets are pay-what-you-want and can be purchased at the door. For more information, visit www.bootown.org.
Thursday, November 1, 8 p.m.
Friday, November 2, 10 p.m. and midnight
Saturday, November 3, 8 p.m.
Big Star Bar
Saturday, November 10, 9 p.m.
Friday, November 16, 8 p.m.
Saturday, November 17, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.