Home

Ken Payne

Ken Payne

Wednesday, 25 March 2009 18:19

Police Academy Comes Alive!

POLICEAIE3_Photo_by_Chad_WiseInsanely funny would be the first words that come to mind in describing New Millennium Theatre’s presentation of Police Academy: Insurgency Emergency. Whether you’ve seen any of the seven Police Academy movies or not, you’ll be sure to enjoy this live adaptation directed by Adam Rosowicz who wrote the script along with Matt Russell.

Though some presented huge, elaborate sets, known actors and a more traditional holiday message, it was New Millennium Theatre’s less extravagant production of The David Bowie Hepzikat Funky Velvet Flarney Solstice Spectacular, Live…From Space (otherwise known as the David Bowie Christmas Special 1977 Network Edit) that may have impressed me the most.

Friday, 21 November 2008 19:42

William Petersen Shines in "Dublin Carol"

dublincarol-2Taking a brief hiatus from the hit television show C.S.I., William Petersen has returned to Steppenwolf Theatre, to reprise the role of John Plunkett in “Dublin Carol”. Written by playwright Conor McPherson and directed by ensemble member Amy Morton, “Dublin Carol” is a gritty story...

Friday, 17 October 2008 11:57

KA is a Spectacular Treat

KA (Imperial Twins)From the moment I stepped foot into the 1,950 seat theater inside the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, I was awe. With the set of KA expanding along the sides and rear of the theater, the pre-show had Archers and Spearmen swinging about from platform to platform and above audience members as they searched...

Monday, 13 October 2008 19:00

Swing Shift SideShow

Swing Shift SideShowWhile scouring the Las Vegas entertainment industry for engaging, unusual acts to cover, I somewhat accidentally came across a group of performers that both amazed me with their bizarre talents and impressed me with their intrinsic genuine nature. I met the core members of Swing Shift SideShow (SSSS) through friend, TV host, Julie Mac, when she invited us to a pool party at hypnotist Anthony Cool’s house. Hanging poolside with Carrot Top and The Amazing Johnathan, amongst others, were Andrew S, Kelvitka the Blade and SleaZ-O – three-fourths of the uniquely talented Swing Shift SideShow. After a tour of their various tattoos and other body art, including Andrew’s world record-breaking largest ever genital piercing, I listened as these extreme circus freaks, if you will, went into great, graphic detail about their stage show. I grabbed another burger and got back to my hang spot just in time to hear how Andrew S picks up anvils then swings them – from his eye sockets! At that point I was officially entranced. I was the newest Swing Shift SideShow fan.

Kelvitka, dressed in a long black dress despite the 100-degree temperature, further explained the art of Flesh Hook Suspension, something the unit performs with regularity. For those who do not know exactly what that is, it’s basically having your skin pierced with giant hooks then hanging from cables. The most traditional way of performing a hooked suspension is from the shoulders or back, however, Andrew S has hung from his knees and Kelvitka from her stomach. Ouch!

Though SSSS were not performing during my stay, as I caught them between shows, I immediately threw out the idea of an interview in which we agreed to contact each other in the next couple of days – and that we did. Two days later, just after 10PM, I called Andrew S to see when would be a good time to meet. “What are you doing now?” he replied. Within the hour, he along with Kelvitka, arrived at Luxor to pick up my associate Kim Katz and I. We were off to their house – their base - just outside the Vegas city limits, where Kim would sit and conduct an interview with some of the strangest, yet vaguely familiar people we have ever met.

When we arrived, SleaZ-O and Miss Pirate (the fourth member of SSSS who we had not yet met) greeted us. Miss Pirate, like the other three, was covered in tattoos and had a SleaZ-O-like strip of green hair falling just short of her eyes. In the two days prior, I had the chance to peruse the outfit’s website, www.swingshiftsideshow.com, as well as watch a couple videos they had posted on YouTube like “Darts of Death”. This gave me a decent idea of what they were capable of doing and made me regret not coming to Vegas a week earlier to see them perform.  

Not long after arriving, Kim and I realized that we were not just there for an interview, but to also get a VIP front row seat to the Swing Sift SideShow, as the quartet offered to demonstrate their unusual talents. Though they were not set up to perform their entire act due to the short notice, we were still treated to one amazing feat after another, which began when Miss Pirate took a lit light bulb from a lamp socket and ate it. In sheer disbelief, we continued to watch as Kelvitka speared through the thick of her bicep with a skewer before piercing the same into Andrew’s forearm ultimately attaching the two. Remarkably, not a drop of blood appeared on either participant when the skewer was removed.

The party was soon moved outdoors where SleaZ-O displayed his knife wielding ability by throwing around a live target – Miss Pirate. Andrew S and Kelvitka the Blade followed with some serious sword swallowing (they are 2 of only 50 in the world who practice such a thing), before all four members heated things up (literally) by engaging in fire swallowing to end the night.   

What I noticed during some of these acts is, yes they are dangerous, bizarre and even, at times, unsettling, but they can also be romantic in which a certain trust and freedom is exhibited. It was actually a beautiful sight to see Andrew gently kissing the side of Kelvitka’s face as the skewer slowly pierced through the two, in a way saying, “Trust me – I love you”. It was an act of genuineness when SleaZ-O quickly walked up to Miss Pirate to kiss her just after throwing knives at her. The faith and assurance each one of these performers has in each other is rare and should be a lesson for all, whether it’s SleaZ-O drilling a coil through Andrew’s face, Kelvitka shooting darts (from her vagina) or just in setting up the props for each other.

Want to watch the interview as well as Swing Shift SideShow performing acts you will never forget? You can see everything at www.BuzzNews.TV. You can also learn more about Swing Shift SideShow – check out videos, images, read the latest news and check out upcoming performances – at www.swingshiftsideshow.com.

Saturday, 15 September 2007 01:00

Drury Lane's “The Odd couple” A Must See

The Odd CoupleMost of us know playwright Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple from either the big screen with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemon as the quirky pair of opposite roommates or more recently (30 years ago) from the TV adaptation that starred Tony Randall as the germaphobic neat freak Felix Ungar and Jack Klugman as the slobbish sports writing Oscar Madison. However, whether you are familiar...

Sunday, 07 October 2007 01:00

Flaming Dames in “Bump and Grindhouse”

Flaming DamesWith the re-emergence of burlesque, The Flaming Dames have put their own stamp on the exotic, vaudevillian art made famous in the early 20th century. Led by choreographer Leslie Kerrigan, the burlesque troupe known as The Flaming Dames bring their unique B-Horror homage to life in their new production, “Bump and Grindhouse”. 

Monday, 09 July 2007 01:00

Crossing California Hits Home

Crossing CaliforniaRemember what Chicago’s West Rogers Park was like in 1979? Ok, maybe you do and maybe you don’t. But for those that don’t Crossing California delivers a powerful, but comedic, look into the past in this coming of age story based on the novel by Adam Langer. For those that do remember, Crossing is a wonderful reminiscence of what is was like to be a teen in yet another controversial era.

It's a bird, It's a plane, It's SupermanThe redux of 1940’s Superman comics has once again made its way to live theatre, giving audience members a chance to follow the man of steel in an all-out song and dance adventure. Drury Lane’s presentation of “It’s a Bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superman!” contends with any summer musical thanks to a charming cast and a strategically retro stage set. The somewhat campy script...

Monday, 11 June 2007 01:00

Cat’s Cradle Keeps ‘em Guessing

 


Cat's CradleI’ve always been one for a good mystery, especially in the vein of Alfred Hitchcock or Agatha Christie, and that’s why Leslie Sands who-dun-it, Cat’s Cradle was such an intriguing experience. Directed by Jack Phillips in the 78-year-old Western Springs Theatre in Western Springs, Cat’s Cradle was filled with suspense from the moment London Inspector Jack Frost (played by Bill Hammack) made his way across...

Female-fronted fun at Ravinia with Blondie and Garbage

24 July 2017 in In Concert

It was a night for the archetypes of rock at Ravinia this past weekend. The rain finally let up for…

Cirque du Soleil's "LUZIA" is playful, colorful and romantic

23 July 2017 in Theatre in Review

In the Chicago premiere of Cirque du Soleil’s 38th original production, LUZIA (a combination of two Spanish words, luz (light)…

Route 66 Theatre's "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Sloan Kettering Memorial Cancer Center of New York City" Begins August 24th

23 July 2017 in Upcoming Theatre

Route 66 Theatre Company is pleased to conclude its ninth season with the Chicago premiere of Halley Feiffer’s dark comedy …

First Floor Theater Announces 2017/18 Season

23 July 2017 in Upcoming Theatre

First Floor Theater is proud to announce their 2017/18 season, featuring one world premiere and two Chicago premieres. Their sixth…

Black Button Eyes Presents "Shockheaded Peter" - August 11 - September 16, 2017 at The Athenaeum Theatre - Chicago Storefront Premiere!

23 July 2017 in Upcoming Theatre

Black Button Eyes Productions is pleased to present the Chicago storefront premiere of SHOCKHEADED PETER, the silly and sinister musical…

Linda Fortunato Announces 2018 Season at the Theatre in the Center in Munster

23 July 2017 in Upcoming Theatre

Linda Fortunato, Artistic Director of Theatre at the Center (TATC), Northwest Indiana’s only professional theater company, has announced the mainstage…

The Femmes of Rock Leave Fans at The Arcada Theater with a show to remember

22 July 2017 in In Concert

A rainy summer night and this party was a guarantee to go on no matter what. The indoor concert venue…

Great balls of fire! Million Dollar Quartet opens Paramount Theatre's 17-18 season, Sept. 13-Oct. 29, 2017

21 July 2017 in Upcoming Theatre

Paramount Theatre is excited to tune up for its rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener Million Dollar Quartet, the wildly popular…

The Tin Woman, A Moving Play About the Value of Having a Heart

20 July 2017 in Theatre in Review

Playwright Sean Grennan’s latest work is based on a true story about a successful heart transplant that occurs between two…

Jazz Guru Barry Harris Inspires at the Jazz Institute of Chicago

20 July 2017 in BCS Spotlight

Barry Harris is not exactly a household name unless you are a Jazz musician. He is a gifted piano player…

First Folio's "As You Like It" is outdoor theatre at its best

18 July 2017 in Theatre in Review

Gentle breezes, crickets chirping (or whatever that sound is they make), and comfortably warm summer nights. We're here. And knowing…

Kokandy Productions' LITTLE FISH - Through August 20, 2017 at Theater Wit - Chicago Premiere!

13 July 2017 in Upcoming Theatre

Kokandy Productions is pleased to present the Chicago premiere of Michael John LaChiusa's LITTLE FISH, directed by Producing Artistic Director …

 

 

10 Years! Fave Issue Covers

Register

Latest Articles

Guests Online

We have 60 guests and no members online

Buzz Chicago on Facebook Buzz Chicago on Twitter