Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

November 18, 2013 at 11:59am

Nerd Alert!: Potty-mouthed sock puppets, Katniss, video games and Doctor Who

Christian Carvajal playfully warns that "Avenue Q" is rated "WTF," so don't bring the kids - or the prudish - and expect "Sesame Street."

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Exterminate! This is Nerd Alert, the Weekly Volcano's recurring events calendar devoted to all things nerdy. I myself am a Star Wars fan, mathlete, and spelling bee champion of long standing, so trust me: I grok whereof I speak.


It's been 10 years since Avenue Q, the racy Sesame Street parody for adults, garnered a raft of awards on Broadway, including the Tony for Best Musical. It uses hand puppets to represent 20-something New Yorkers dealing with the ennui of post-collegiate life. My friends, you are not precious daisies, and the landlord demands his rent no matter how hard you try at your failing artisanal muffin shop. Ain't existence crappy? Perhaps you can relate. So if song titles like "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist," "The Internet Is for Porn," and "What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?" sound intriguing, rest assured they brighten the mood of a deeply funny show. I caught it at the Balagan in Seattle. Now you can see it even closer to home, for less than the cost of a grande Frappuccino. So here's another Avenue Q song title you'll find useful: "There Is Life Outside Your Apartment." Take a date, a really cool date who'll enjoy the song "You Can Be as Loud as the Hell You Want (When You're Makin' Love)." Catchy!

AVENUE Q, 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Pierce College, Fort Steilacoom Theater, 9401 Farwest Dr. SW, Lakewood, $3, 253.964.6710

As we've come to expect from middle installments of genre trilogies post-Empire, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire goes dark. Katniss Everdeen finds herself on a victory tour of Panem with the boy she bent the rules to save at the end of the first book. The Emperor - er, President Snow, rather - announces he'll mix things up for the 75th Annual Hunger Games by making it an all-star tournament of previous winners, including our gutsy heroine and her ostensible boyfriend. This time, the battleground's a circular jungle; and, thanks to the worldwide box office success of the first film, its cinematic visualization has a workable budget and convincing CG effects. I always felt the books lost the element of surprise as they went along, but I suspect the movie series will peak with Catching Fire. On the other hand, I thought Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Almost Human would be awesome, so feel free to doubt my clairvoyance. (Oh, and by the way, Disney's animated Frozen and an action film starring Jason Statham, Homefront, open Wednesday the 27th. Talk about fun for the whole family.)

Trouble, is there's a good chance you'll be too busy to hit up a theater, any theater, this weekend, because either because you'll be bloodshot-eyeballs-deep in your week-old PlayStation 4 or standing in line for an Xbox One. Microsoft's cutting-edge console integrates a Kinect 2 motion sensor, Skype client, voice and gesture commands, cloud computing, and lightning-fast eight-core processor in a sleek, black Imperial torture droid, streeting Friday with 22 optional games including Call of Duty: Ghosts and Madden NFL 25. The real excitement, however, will coalesce around next year's release of a 343 Industries Halo sequel. Xbox One will set you back just shy of $500, PlayStation 4 about $400. Alternatively, I checked eBay, and the Atari 2600's running about $24. Adventure, anyone?


Does it seem strange to anyone but me that Doctor Who premiered the night after President Kennedy was murdered? It seems a bit cavalier, right? Do missing frames of the Zapruder film reveal a British police box on the grassy knoll? Is it true the Comedian's whereabouts that afternoon have never been established? The History Channel may never know. What we do know is the BBC and BBC America have orchestrated a weekend-long celebration of all things Whovian. Expect a TV movie recounting the origin of the whimsical series, An Adventure in Space and Time, Friday the 22nd. Then, on Saturday, a special episode, "The Day of the Doctor," will be simulcast all over the world - including cinematic showings in 3-D. The plot jumbles a crisis in Elizabethan England, Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor, a monster in the National Gallery, David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor, a battle in space and John Hurt. Best of all, it's written by show runner Steven Moffat, the mastermind behind the BBC's riveting Sherlock. Pop some popcorn and watch it with the kids. Shape new little geeks. Allons-y!

Until next week, may the Force be with you, may the odds be ever in your favor, and may you never cross streams by confusing your hydrospanner with your sonic screwdriver. Isn't that right, K-9?

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