We're looking at the picture of Mod 27, trying to figure out who's who. "I'm the tall, beautiful one," says 27-year-old Tom O'Donnell. That would make his partner, Dave Hyland, 32, the short, beautiful one and their other partner, Sergio Soltero, 25, the average-height but devastatingly gorgeous one.
OK, so at first glance, the three members of Lake Worth's professional improv comedy troupe might not look like grade-A beefcake, but if laughter really is the shortest distance between two people, these critters will burrow into your heart faster than a colony of sea lice on a summer day. Particularly endearing is the fact that they specialize in a style few other troupes dare to take on: long-form improvisation. "We create a full-blown play from one audience suggestion," O'Donnell says.
Sometimes, that suggestion is obscure; other times, it's easy fodder -- like the Bush dynasty. In one scene, O'Donnell says, "We had someone coming to Jeb's office -- it was a very controlling version of Jeb. He's saying, 'My brother's the president! Ha ha! I can do whatever I want!' And then he calls his brother. But George Bush couldn't figure out how to answer the phone." O'Donnell adds: "We're equal-opportunity. We'll crack on Kerry just as much."
The quick-hit nature of improv doesn't allow for costume changes, so O'Donnell stays in his suit and tie, Soltero in his checkered pants and sweater vest, even when they are channeling, say, Paris Hilton. The group calls itself Mod 27 not because they drive around on Vespas and listen to the Jam -- but because when they first got together, they practiced in a modular classroom at Palm Beach Community College, where, in fact, Hyland teaches acting and Soltero is a student. O'Donnell daylights as a civil engineer but aspires to work with Second City, the Chicago-based troupe that spawned most Saturday Night Live cast members. His advice on how to be funny? Drinking beer helps sometimes, he says, but really, "just be yourself. We work on our friendship, and the humor comes." Mod 27 performs at the Stonzek Studio Theater (717 Lake Ave., Lake Worth) at 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday, July 24. Tickets cost $10. Call 561-586-6410. --Deirdra Funcheon
But Not Quite Fallen
Were the 1986 flick Labyrinth remade today, only one band would be needed for the soundtrack: Evanescence. The band's mix of Gothic alt-metal orchestrations and piano ballads has all the surrealist fantasy of a Tim Burton studio set. It's as if Fiona Apple took a walk through Linkin Park and hooked up with some goth kids. Vocalist Amy Lee is a classically trained pianist who holds nothing back on the ballad front, penning haunting, ethereal numbers like "My Immortal." However, these aren't your ordinary our-souls-are-black-like-our-clothes goths. Nope. Evanescence tends toward the brighter side of the otherworldly spectrum. That's right -- Christian goth. There's no evil spoken here, which accounts for the band's success on the Top Contemporary Christian Albums chart -- and the resultant controversy in the Christian music world after the band used foul language in an interview. Hell, if it were that simple for Madonna to raise brows, she might not have gone and played tonsil hockey with Britney. Well, then again... Evanescence performs Monday at the Office Depot Center (1 Panthers Pkwy., Sunrise). The show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $34.50 to $40. Call 954-835-8499. --Jason Budjinski
Didn't You Know?
Estrogen makes guitars sound better
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'Tis the season for ovary-oriented rock, or so it seems (see all the women gracing this week's Music section). And, most of us echo, "It's about damn time!" An infamous (because it was rumored to have been written by Joan Jett) letter to Rolling Stone criticizing the mag on its less-than-flattering coverage of "Women in Rock" crystallized what we were thinking: "Sleater-Kinney was the only rock group on the cover... Ashanti, the R&B backup singer who can't seem to do anything without 'featuring Jah Rule' has two pages... If the issue had been called 'Cute Girls with Top 10 records out right now,' I would have no beef with it." Here, however, local scene organizers By the Way bring you "Girl Rawk Power Night." That's right, those creative kids behind the otherwise raucous beerfest of local punk and indie bands at the Fort Lauderdale Saloon present an evening of female-fronted entertainment. By the Way partner Garo Gallo promises a "more chill" evening than previous weekend gigs at the Saloon. Set to play so far: Terry Caitlin, and Shortstack; many more TBA. The show starts at 11 p.m. and costs $4 at the door. Fort Lauderdale Saloon is located at 626 S. Federal Hwy. Call 954-832-9344. --Terra Sullivan
Queen of Comedy Bites Back
She made the Guinness Book of World Records when she drew the biggest audience ever for a female comedian. Fans included 50,000 youngish, mostly black women (with a few boyfriends and husbands in tow) who could definitely relate to her raunchy explorations of the dating game, the shape of her own butt, and why mothers give their little girls hula hoops. Let's hope Sommore's reception is a little more laid-back for her West Palm Beach appearance, or it's gonna be a long, hot night at the Improv CityPlace (550 S. Rosemary Ave., Ste. 250, West Palm Beach). Her in-your-face, aggressively post-feminist diatribes on the male anatomy and its uses are likely to leave guys squirming and women howling. Accuse her of many things, but she's never subtle, and in her warm leatherette bondage gear, she's pretty easy on the eyes too. Call 561-833-1812, or visit www.palmbeachimprov.com. --Gail Sheperd