Primates, Punks, Prose and a Play

Peter Jackson's King Kong opened Wednesday at midnight. Sadly a winter storm prevented me from seeing it before this column went to press but that's not going to stop me from thinking you should go see it. You probably know Peter Jackson best from his recent epic adaptation of Lord of the Rings. With his love for making huge films (he's been tapped to produce the film version of the Xbox blockbuster Halo) he strikes me as just the fellow to tackle this classic tale of Beauty and the Beast. He's been in love with the original film for quite some time, going so far as to try to film his own version at the age of twelve. His next attempt was in the 90's but he lost his funding and had to quit.

Now at the peak of his career and armed with a budget that would top 200 million dollars, making Kong the sixth most expensive film ever, Peter Jackson has finally attained his dream. According to artist Bob Eggleton he put a tremendous amount of work into creating an interesting, garish 1930's look. In fact he worked so hard on the film that he became exhausted and Bryan Singer (Usual Suspects) filled in for him temporarily.

Andy Serkis, the actor who played Gollum in Lord of the Rings, is the man behind the voice, body, and movements that form the framework for the computer animation that make up Kong. He said, "I never imagined that my first real romantic lead in the movies would be as an ape." In order to learn how gorillas move and interact he studied them in the wild in Rwanda. He also spent a significant amount of time with gorillas at the London Zoo. All of this should combine to make his great ape the greatest ape ever.

Tickets are selling at a ridiculously fast rate for an upcoming tour of punk/folk rockers The Pogues. Tickets for the second DC show went on presale today and by the time I got a login name and password they were gone. If you have any inclination to see this band live, you'd better see what you can do to get tickets right now. This is their first US tour in fifteen years and Shane McGowan is back, for now anyway. Dropkick Murphys are opening for every US tour date, a most excellent combination. You may recall that Shane McGowan sang the opening lyrics to Dropkick Murphys's Good Rats. It would be great fun to see him do it live.

Last week I promised to give you more story suggestions from the website. I've got some that are quite funny and some that will break your heart.

Mrs. Pigafetta Swims Well by Reginald Bretnor tells the story of an Italian tenor and his interesting relationship with Mrs. Pigafetta, a woman of some experience who was his landlady and may or may not be a mermaid.

I read The Screwfly Solution by Raccoona Sheldon for the first time when it debuted in 1977 and I've never forgotten it. A chilling tale of biological intervention, it keeps you guessing until the very last sentence.

I absolutely love the way The Wages of Syntax by Ray Vukcevich starts out. It's a litany of creative ways to kill someone. Feed him to the alligators. Tie him up first. Make sure the alligators are really really hungry. Don't feed them for weeks. Wait until they're so hungry you've got to poke them back into their scummy concrete pond with a big stick. You want to read more, don't you? Although the ending disappointed a friend of mine I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if a smut peddling amoeboid alien sold filthy pictures to a human chemistry teacher and they ended up in a high school biology book causing an intergalactic scandal? If yes then you well very much enjoy reading Party of the Two Parts by William Tenn.

Moving into the heartbreaking story arena we have In The Blood by Ilsa J. Bick. This is a story with a central theme of the abuse of power and what happens when clones are declared objects instead of people.

I cried the first time I read Space-time for Springers by Fritz Leiber. I was very young but to this day I still cry when I read it. It's about Gummitch, a superkitten with an IQ of around 160 who makes an assumption that turns out to be wildly wrong. He's brave and endearing and protective and he has to make a very difficult decision.

Temperature Days on Hawthorne Street by Charles L. Grant is a story about how getting everything that we wish for can be a frightening and terrible idea. It's skillfully told and never reveals too much.

This is the last weekend to catch our online reporter James Comtois's adaptation for the stage of A Very Nosedive Christmas Carol at the Kraine theater. James says it's "told from the point of view of Marley and the three spirits, who are tired of having to teach Scrooge the same message of holiday cheer year after year." How can you go wrong with that premise? For more information call 212-696-7342 or visit