Carrie Fisher’s one woman show Wishful Drinking – a review

So my attempt to review Hamlet briefly was not a success, but I am hoping to do better this time.

A few nights ago I had the great pleasure of seeing Carrie Fisher’s one woman show: “Wishful Drinking” and if you have a chance to see it….DO IT! The phrase of “If you have the chance to….” followed by “DO IT!” is one that is repeated often in Carrie Fisher’s show, and each time it gets a laugh. Carrie Fisher chooses highlights from her book of the same title, and takes the audiences on a wonderfully entertaining trip through her life. Who has not wanted to know why Princess Leia ended up the way she did? Well…I wouldn’t say that Carrie Fisher gives us every reason, but she certainly gives us plenty of them! She tells the audience about her complicated family tree, which requires a chart to keep straight, and of the numerous trials and tribulation that arose from having such famous parents. She then walks us through her difficult marriages, and the darkness that fueled her need to numb herself through drugs and alcohol. What? That doesn’t sound funny? Well….I guess it doesn’t, and yet she manages to make her 2 hour show a total laugh riot. She covers a range of other topics, and devotes a pretty substantial amount of time to “Star Wars.” Unfortunately the topic of Star Wars is not as transparent as I would have liked, but I was happy to learn more about Carrie Fisher.

Perhaps the most exciting and gutsy thing Carrie Fisher does in her performance is take live questions. Remember that time that Carrie Fisher’s gay political friend ended up dead in her bed? Ever wanted to ask her a question about it? Well if you go to her show, you get the chance you’ve been waiting for. She actually raises the house lights, and asks for people to ask her questions. Our questions were:

  1. Why was he in your bed

Answer: Apparently she had multiple guests that evening, and limited sleeping space. Her choices came down to bunking with either a gay male friend or a gay female friend. Not being gay herself, she thought that sleeping with her gay male friend was the more intelligent decision. She of course hopes not to repeat the same mistake should she have to make that choice again

2. What was he wearing?

Answer: Honestly I forgot what she said. I think she gave a ludicrous answer to point out that it was a stupid question, and then told us he was wearing boxers and a t-shirt or something.

3. Where lightsabers involved?

Answer: This one Fisher handled like a pro. She simply said no, and then asked the questioner if she was some type of euphemism expert.

Fisher then proceeded to cover a few additional questions that had been asked such as “Did you kill him” (the answer is “No.” obviously) and what led to his death (apparently he was a gay republican lobbyist who used oxycotton to escape some of his issues in reconciling his occupation and sexual orientation.)

Carrie Fisher also sings in the show, and I was shocked how good she was. I had no idea she ever sang with her mother, Debbie Reynolds, as a teenager. The only time I ever heard Carrie Fisher sing was in that terrifying Star Wars Christmas Special.

Carrie Fisher also is willing to sign your program, but don’t bring your favorite Star Wars memorabilia, if you wait for by the stage door. She seems as genuinely nice in person, as her show would have you believe. If you’ve got the spare cash flow, I highly recommend you see her show before it closes. If you can’t do that…I hear the book is a pretty good substitute.

Pinocchio the Vampire Slayer – a review…seriously

I often claim I have no regrets. This is still true, but I do often recognize I was rather short sighted or stupid when I opened my mouth and said the completely wrong thing.

A prime example of this would be when I heard my friend Van was writing a graphic novel about Pinocchio as a vampire slayer. He mentioned this idea to me, in the apartment he and his lovely wife share, and I think I laughed at him for 5 minutes, and then asked what he was really working on. When he confirmed he had not actually been joking with the Pinocchio thing, I laughed even harder. That was a little over a year ago, and what has Van done in the mean time? He and his artist partner Dusty Higgins have brought Van’s dream to us in a one of the best graphic novels I’ve read in quite some time. Granted, most of my graphic novel days are behind me, but at one time I was a bit of a fanatic about them, and yet amongst the many I have read, this one truly stands out and is easy to praise.

The graphic novel is not what you think. The idea sounds crazy right? Well…if you are willing to read the entertaining mini-review of the original version Pinocchio that the comic provides, in which you realize that Disney really just seemed to use a few characters and plot points to create their version, the concept is a little bit easier to understand. The original tale of Pinocchio is much darker, like many of the fairy tales Disney retold, and the graphic novel focuses on this darkness throughout the entire piece. This is obvious from the very first image of Pinocchio we see, he has haunted and cautious eyes, and of course a sharp, gnarled, and deadly nose. The initial dialogue beautifully identifies him as the tortured vampire slayer that is fueled by his desire to avenge the death of his father, and yet, despite all this darkness, the authors use the premise to give us some much needed humor. The dark brooding of Pinocchio is exquisitely balanced with the wisecracking humor of Pinocchio’s friends. The most memorable example of this for me, is that when bunnies give Pinocchio cryptic clues, by saying “Friends of yours. Attacked. Blood and Destruction. Are Near” which would not be overly helpful, Cricket is able to easily deduce what they are saying based on the process of elimination. So the exchange goes like this :

Pinocchio: What danger?

Cryptic Bunnies: Friends of yours. Attacked. Blood and Destruction. Are Near.

Pinocchio: Attack? Where? Who? Could you be a little less cryptic?

Cricket: Cherry’s house.

Pinocchio: What? How d-.. How did you get Cherry’s from all that?

Cricket: Come on. You don’t exactly have a lot of friends.

For some odd reason, this had me laughing out loud….in a restaurant. This is but one example of the brilliance that this graphic novel holds. I highly suggest you get your copy today! If you enjoyed it as much as I did, you’ll probably be giving some people a copy as a holiday gift like I am. What better way to prove to the kiddies you’re still cool and with it, than to give them something like this? I just hope Van and Dusty Higgins make another!

I would also like to say to Van one thing: Seriously, I am sorry I ever doubted you on this. If you ever tell me you are turning “The Swan Princess” into a graphic-novel where she solves mysteries, I want in on the ground floor!!!