It's a nasty time to be a musician for the theater. Not only is the musician's strike at Civic Light Opera still ongoing (entering its second year), the production of Annie that just blew through town used what is called a "Virtual Pit Orchestra"--basically, a synthesizer that replicates most of the orchestra, supplemented with a handful of live musicians (two reed players, three brass, and a drummer). Reviews have called the result "bargain basement" (The Cincinnati Enquirer) and said, "...its tinny sound contributed to the fabricated feeling of this production" (The Columbus Dispatch). The Musician's Association of Seattle points out that while a production of Annie that came through Seattle in 1998 hired 12 local musicians, this production--toured by a Maryland-based company called NETworks' Presentations, LLC--hired none. Ticket prices, however, range at a typical $38-$48 (with cheap seats at $18-$28 on the third mezzanine). BRET FETZER
Jamie Hook's Haircut Humiliation
The minute that the elusive "Golden Shears" [see In Arts News, Dec 14] were in our possession, it was clear to us what was necessary, righteous and inevitable: Jamie Hook needed a mullet, the most unfortunate haircut of our time.
Many at the haircut event tried to sway the vision. These were Hook's friends, and every one of them had a lust for mutilation. The best suggestion was a comb-over, but the power of the mullet was just too seductive.
Hook was excited. Too excited. We assumed this was due to a cross between his relentless personality and the fact that he was already up to his nipples in wine by the time we got there. There is something about this man that makes you fall in love with him while simultaneously wanting to punish him.
First came the bleach.
Throughout the entire process, Hook himself seemed most intent on some kind of personal injury. We just wanted him to look really, really ugly, even by Capitol Hill standards. But he was running around the bar with a plastic bag on his head, bragging about the burning sensation. We think he was hoping for boils, but we don't understand why.
When it came time to rinse the bleach, we had to literally pull him away from his sudden obsession with smelling Stranger photographer Annie Marie Musselman's fingers.
It was then time for the haircut itself. At Hook's prompting, we sold the chance to take shears to him for $1 per snip, $2 for a bald spot. We followed up with an ersatz application of green hair dye.
Hook's obscene confidence and bravado changed quickly to a sullen disbelief when he finally got a look at himself. His wine-soaked armor cracked. He said, "This is the worse I've ever looked. This is way more... creative than I could have ever expected. Wow. I've never looked quite this bad before. My kid is going to look at this and have to call me 'Daddy.'"
That was when we started to feel bad, but the rest of the crowd was so pleased with the job that our confidence was boosted, and we left satisfied.
The next day, we awoke as if it were the morning after a one-night stand. We felt groggy, titillated, and a little ashamed of ourselves. MELYSA LIEBERMAN & PAUL PALINKAS
Hell hath no fury like a theater director scorned. A little bird has informed In Arts News of a first-rate hissy fit pitched by notable local director Shawn Belyea. After receiving a less-than-glowing review in the Seattle Weekly for his work in Consolidated Works' Gulliver's Travels, Belyea violently chewed the ear of the Weekly's managing editor, demanding the opportunity to rip critic Steve Wiecking a new asshole, face to face. Wiecking and the Weekly laughed off the loony request, and Belyea was left to gnash his teeth in isolation. DIRK LACROIX