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Culture Vulture

Erik Vienneau

CD ReviewRJD2 DeadringerIf you dig lounge and you get down to hip-hop, then your going to love RJD2’s latest release, Deadringer. If you’ve never heard of the act or the instrumental, sample-based, cinematic hip-hop they create, don’t feel left out. The East Coast label Def Jux, which is pumping out the best in what many are calling post-millennial hip-hop, is just starting to hit Colorado.Expecting anything remotely similar to gangster rap, mainstream Ludacris or even the smooth rap of Q-Tip will leave you flustered and confused. Listen to Deadringer with an open mind, a love for the creativity of a DJ Shadow and a lust for a spacey, crisp sonic soundscape and you’ll be thrilled with this ground-breaking release.Once you get over waiting for the rapper to bust out lyrics, you start to enjoy the weird, sometimes dark other times light and fluffy, vocal samples floating over the grooves. This is not a disc to dance to but a more cerebral effort that will form the base of the coming wave of more intellectual, electrified hip-hop.Critic’s Choice2 Live CrewIf this summer you’ve promised yourself you’ll drink less, go to church more and get a good night sleep, then you may want to miss the 2 Live Crew show Aug. 10 at 8150. But if you simply want to get as nasty as you wanna be, then this ass-spanking, social-more-breaking hip-hop act may be just the show for you.2 Live Crew’s booking agent asked the owners of 8150 both this year and last if they wanted the PG or XXX version of the show. Pat and Steve said no sex on stage and added, “otherwise you guys go for it.” Last year’s show followed those directions explicitly and things got pretty racy.The infamous Miami rappers, minus former band leader Luke Skyywalker, are back in Vail, promising their usual freak show of lewd, sexually explicit lyrics, crass humor and a dose of their bass-heavy production that spawned the Miami Bass sound of the late ’80s.Back then you and your mom, who probably forbade from buying the album Nasty as they Wanna Be, likely remember the controversy over the track, “Me So Horny,” which played out in the Florida courtroom. The court never found them guilty of indecency and the album went on to sell 3 million copies. So plan on hearing the hit that made it all happen and seeing things that would make your momma faint at 10 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 10 at 8150.Benoit family nightThe Half Moon has had success presenting the Louisiana swamp rock of Tab Benoit and is banking that the family name will pique the interest of fans for the Denver-based Tyrin Benoit & the Shuckers show Thursday, Aug. 15.Tyrin, brother of famed guitarist Tab, says he stretches the boundaries of the Louisiana sound. The band members say they’ve taken a &quotno-holds-barred&quot approach to producing original material that is heavily laced with Cajun Blues, classic country, and rock-n-roll.Having been born and raised in the culture of Southern Louisiana, where music is as much a part of life as living itself, both Tyrin and Tate Benoit thought it was only natural to have music in their lives, and have been making music with each other since early on.Members of the trio say they feel the only natural progression of music is to give back what has so deeply rooted itself in each of their souls, and “in some small attempt, try to reach maybe only one other person with that ‘feeling.'”Vail Dance Festival loses CubansIf you thought it was tough getting a good Cuban cigar in to the United States, try getting a bunch of visas for world class dancers, especially post 9/11. Due to new and unexpected processing requirements for visas by the federal government, Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba will be unable to travel to Vail to appear at the 2002 Vail International Dance Festival, officials announced Tuesday, Aug. 6.The troupe was to perform Aug. 8-11. Replacing the company this week will be three internationally recognized dance troupes: the New York City Ensemble under the leadership of Damian Woetzel; the critically acclaimed Hubbard Street Dance Chicago; and the Massenkoff Russian Folk Festival.&quotIt is a disappointment that Dance Cuba will not be able to join us,&quot says Ceil Folz, president of the Vail Valley Foundation, which presents the Vail International Dance Festival. &quotThe festival has never before lost a company, but we are understanding and appreciative of the new and heightened security regulations after the tragedies of Sept. 11,” she says. “This festival prides itself on presenting the world’s best dancers and dance companies, and we are so fortunate that in this situation, we were able to bring in three exceptional ensembles to replace Dance Cuba.”Here’s the schedule for the final weekend of the festival:Friday, Aug. 9 — This evening belongs to the artists of the Paris Opera Ballet &quotFrom Paris with Love.&quot Repertory will include much-loved classics La Bayadere, The Black Swan and Raymonda, as well as contemporary masterpieces, Density 21.5 and Les Indopmtes (Untamed). The performance is at the Ford Amphitheater at7:30 p.m.Saturday, Aug. 10 — A special treat is in store for festival fans as Hubbard Street Dance Chicago takes the stage at the Ford Amphitheater at 7:30 p.m. During its 24-year history, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago has emerged as an innovative force in contemporary dance, combining theatrical jazz, modern and classical ballet technique to create an unparalleled artistic style.Hubbard Street Dance Chicago has shared its unique style with audiences around the world, and stands today as one of the most renowned dance institutions in America.Sunday, Aug. 11 — The Vail International Dance Festival welcomes The Massenkoff Russian Folk Festival for the annual family matinee on Sunday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. Nikolai Massenkoff’s natural exuberance sets the stage for an extraordinary performance, featuring traditional Russian folk dancers, Balalaika musicians and colorful costumes. An educational presentation involving members of the audience will further illuminate their art. The amphitheater will be the perfect setting for a delightful day of Russian dance, song and music.Tickets range in price from $15 to $85. For information, contact the Box Office at (970) 845.TIXS or visit http://www.vvf.orgTheater festival shines in Beaver CreekTheater that audiences can sink their teeth into is rare in the Vail Valley. But this week the lights are shining bright on top-notch theater performances as Beaver Creek’s Vilar Center presents its Theatre Festival.The Second City, Improv and Sketch Comedy, Spalding Gray’s &quotInterviewing the Audience,&quot a Dialogue with Playwright Warren Leight and two plays over three nights (Aug. 15-17) with the Play-Ground Theater, are all on this week’s line-up.One of the hottest tickets should prove to be the mesmerizing one-man theater of Spalding Grey at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 13.In the age of interaction, this is a chance to come back to the theatre and hands-on communication. For the last 20 years, Gray has traveled with this always funny, poignant and insightful series, in which he turns the spotlight onto audience members, who, prompted by Gray’s empathetic questions and quips, reveal their innermost desires, fears, joys and longings.A master of what many call &quotpublic psychotherapy,&quot Gray creates a cathartic event for performer and audience. Gray is a veteran of film and television appearing in numerous productions such as &quotBeaches,&quot &quotKing of the Hill,&quot &quotThe Paper,&quot Obie Award-winning, “Swimming to Cambodia” and “The Killing Fields.”A movie may be one way to get to know Grey’s work, but most fans say there’s just no substitution for catching one of his one-man-shows.Gray has created a series of eighteen monologues which have been performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Australia, including: Sex and Death to the Age 14; Booze, Cars and College Girls; A Personal History of the American Theater; India and After (America); Monster in a Box and the popular Gray’s Anatomy.Grey interviews the audience 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 13 at the Vilar Center. Tickets are $30 and available by calling 845-TIXS.


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