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Live Active Cultures

Seth encounters four old-made-new cultural experiences

Orlando Science Center’s popular gaming and simulation festival returned last weekend with a few novel tweaks to accompany their “made in Orlando, played in Orlando” motto. My favorite was the daily presentation from new sponsor Walt Disney World on the science behind their parks. I was thrilled to play with the virtual Space Mountain and hear WDW’s Steven “Mouse” Silverstein lecture on programming audio animatronics. Other highlights included a timeline of Electronic Arts’ Madden Football franchise (featuring playable SEGAs circa 1990) and a nifty video projection mapping demo by local startup Ninjaneer Studios. Oh, and after a couple years of watching others flail, I finally tried the Virtusphere human hamster ball.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

I loved this cult rock musical at NYC’s Jane Street in 1999, and really liked David Lee’s later Orlando interpretations, so I’m excited that producer Jeremy Seghers brought the East German transsexual back to downtown’s Abbey as the space’s first (hopefully of many) independent local production. Stars Josh Eads-Brown and Janine Klein deliver deliciously on the driving punk score, backed by musical director Spencer Crosswell’s ass-kicking quartet. But rookie director Bruce Ryan Costella pushes the tone too far into camp burlesque, with interminable tantrums and awkward pauses sapping momentum. And though the costumes are admirably original, the stage’s cutting-edge lighting rig was ill-used, often leaving actors unseen. Overall, I enjoyed my nostalgia trip; the yet-to-be converted should rent the movie before attending.

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