Embrace the Abyss

Josh Kornbluth shows us how to really live

THU 3/24

By reading this book out loud, Kornbluth wards off prison rape.
Dave Lepori
By reading this book out loud, Kornbluth wards off prison rape.
The Donnas give new meaning to the term "hair band."
The Donnas give new meaning to the term "hair band."
The Digable Planets are back in orbit.
The Digable Planets are back in orbit.
Jim Norton has a face ó and a mouth ó that not even a mother could love.

What a charmed life Josh Kornbluth leads. You know you've arrived when you're cashing in on your own IRS disaster. Who would you envy more? The man smiling with four aces? Or the man smiling in the face of a tax audit?

Kornbluth wasn't born with four aces. He is the son of New York communists who taught him to hop subway turnstiles, to always fight the system and -- either directly or by example -- that filing taxes is optional. His happy-go-lucky roots and the system come to a head in his latest autobiographical monologue, Love & Taxes, in which Kornbluth faces the fact that he hasn't filed taxes in seven years. To make matters worse, his $80,000 debt is jeopardizing his love life.

Love & Taxes overlaps a bit with Haiku Tunnel, an earlier Kornbluth monologue that was released as a movie in 2001. Haiku told of Kornbluth's experiences as a hapless secretary in the tax law office where we meet one of his more memorable characters: tax attorney Bob Shelby. Shelby is the golf-shirted, country-club opposite of Kornbluth's scofflaw upbringing, and he resurfaces in Love & Taxes. Like Kornbluth's parents, Shelby spends his days working over the system. The difference is, he operates at the billion-dollar level, relying on collapsible corporation rulings and reverse double dummy maneuvers. Shelby's zeal and genius is contagious and, for a moment, causes Kornbluth to lose his way. "I'd begin to forget things, like I'm nominally against capitalism," he says. Being woefully out of place is a common theme in Kornbluth's work, and it usually causes his stage self to be riddled with anxiety. But Kornbluth the monologist should know by now that nothing is ever just a crisis. It's future material.

Those who enjoyed Spalding Gray's monologues and, to a lesser degree, the works of Woody Allen will enjoy Kornbluth's nervous, self-deprecating style and his naive attempts to find the big picture in what the audience knows is minutiae. To hear Kornbluth's next chapter of delightful misery, catch his performances Thursday through Saturday at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale). Tickets cost $27 to $29. Showtimes vary. Call 954-462-0222, or visit www.browardcenter.org. -- Jason Cottrell

Old Enough to Know Better

The Donnas Strut Through Town

THU 3/24

Let's say two high-profile music agents meet at an industry party, get wasted, and have a one-night stand. The next day, the woman cradles her cell phone, hung over, waiting for him to call. She decides to take the initiative and make up some story about wanting one of the bands that she represents to tour with one of his clients. He answers his trendy ring tone, accepts the offer, and never speaks to her again. That must be how the Donnas and Maroon 5 wound up on tour together. And that's why, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, frat boys and power-pop girls will share the beer line at Sound Advice Amphitheatre.

The Donnas, post jailbait years, have gone from lifting the Ramones' sound to borrowing AC/DC's recipe for fun, generic party rock. They are guilty pleasures, providing the same non-nourishing intake as films Legally Blonde and Bring It On! do when you're feeling under the weather. Sadly, playing the high school fantasy card came to a close at the release of their poorly received 2001 album, The Donnas Turn 21. Don't fret; we can still look forward to their next album, Look, My Car Insurance Went Down! Sexy, right? Tickets cost $24 to $39. Call 561-793-0445, or visit www.ticketmaster.com. -- Jamie Laughlin Digable Planets Are Back

And still cool... like that

SUN 3/27

The mere mention of Digable Planets -- the groundbreaking, ultrasmooth, jazz-infused hip-hop trio composed of Butterfly, Ladybug, and Doodlebug (who now goes by Cee Knowledge) -- makes you want to dust off your Malcolm X hat and squeeze into your old Cross Colours jacket. With their first single, "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like That)," the Digables transferred you to a planet of smooth jazz with hip-hop flavor. Their first album, A New Refutation of Time and Space, led them to win a Grammy Award for Best Group or Duo (a first in hip-hop). After releasing their second LP, Blowout Comb, in 1994, the group succumbed to the dreaded sophomore jinx and "creative differences" and dissolved. But they reunited last year and recently wrapped a European tour with the likes of Mob Deep and Mos Def. Sunday, the Digable Planets show their fans just how cool they still are with a live performance at I/O Lounge (30 NE 14th St., Miami). Doors open at 10 p.m. Tickets cost $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Call 786-223-2053. -- Andre Ashar

Nasty Norton

THU 3/24

Comedian Jim Norton -- a regular on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn -- made a list of possible lists he could write. On it: "The 10 lamest excuses my girlfriend ever gave for not eating my ass... Fat girls I've stood up on New Year's Eve... The five prettiest girlfriends I ever lost by chasing them with doo-doo on a stick." It would surprise us if Norton's ever met a girl who would speak to him, much less date him. He's described himself as "relatively amusing in a child molesting/stomach cancer kind of way... I have a torso with the muscle tone of a retarded boy's tongue." He once told an interviewer that he has "the work ethics of a quadriplegic Mexican." Norton performs Thursday through Saturday at the Hollywood Improv (5700 Seminole Way, Hollywood). Tickets cost $15.98. Call 954-981-5653, or visit www.improvftl.com. -- Deirdra Funcheon

 
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