Alternative St. Patrick's Day suggestions this year include Irish-writer Martin McDonagh's Seven Psychopaths available on DVD and live-streaming; the last weekend for the exhibition of Mitch Markovitz's work at the South Shore Convention and Visitor's Indiana Welcome Center and the most Roman of Shakespeare's plays set in modern Washington.
Almost Forgot About Seven Psychopaths: Did you ever put a movie onto your Netflix list so long ago that you forgot why you wanted to see it? And then were so pleasantly surprised when you remembered. This happened to me recently between blizzards last week. I started reading Martin McDonagh's plays right after I saw In Bruges, which got an academy award for best original screenplay a few years ago. The plays aren't as zany, hilarious and gory as the movies but the characters are funny, clueless and unpredictable in both media. I loved Seven Psychopaths, not only for McDonagh's dark-comic writing, also the addition of characters played by Christopher Walken and Tom Waits as understandable, sympathetic freaks. At the center of McDonagh's work is the very real possibility that this situation could be nothing more than a alcohol-induced nightmare and what could be more fitting for St. Patrick's Day than that?
Going Roman This Weekend: Has anyone been able to resist the spectacle of the ancient rite of Pope election? And I am particularly envious of the weather in Vatican City, which seems to be way better than ours. The whole reason I renewed my three-play subscription to Shakespeare this year was because I wanted to see Julius Caesar on a stage. The production at Chicago Shakespeare has been well-reviewed, which usually means I'll be wowed. People who love Shakespeare generally have seen multiple productions of the most famous plays, but I haven't and so I'm always easily enthralled. So I'm looking forward to it, even if it is set in modern Washington, very far down on my level of interest scale at the moment.
Last Weekend for Mitch Markovitz: Mitch Markovitz and I grew up just blocks apart on the south side so I understand his train fixation. Hearing the trains go by as kids just naturally made you feel like you were going places even before you went. He ended up with his dream job as a conductor and later an artist in charge of art and graphic design for the railroad. Markovitz developed the modern South Shore Line poster series “Just Around the Corner,” which highlights various places found in Northwest Indiana. His work is currently being exhibited at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond. The show closes next Friday March 22.