Getting the Jump -- In case you didn't notice, major retailers tried to get the jump on holiday shopping this year, with big sales last weekend. Our reports say the stores were not jammed -- even though last year's $50 DVD player was now just $35. Meanwhile, the no-interest-until-(fill in the blank) deals are getting even more ridiculous -- the latest one puts off your day of reckoning until 2007. Hey, if it's good enough for the federal government...
So it's a bit reassuring that shoppers revolted and decided to save their spending binges for the day after Thanksgiving. Nordstrom, to its credit, resisted the movement, posting signs throughout its store saying they wouldn't be putting up Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving because they believe in "celebrating one holiday at a time."
We Could Smell Their Talk -- Les Miserables at the Opera House, while sometimes sentimental, proved to be a tuneful and inspiring experience. And as massive props go, that barricade is something special. However, dear people, it's time to go back to Playgoing 101. During the first meeting of Marius and Eponine -- a key plot point -- one Binster was distracted by four separate (and loud) conversations going on in her immediate vicinity. Meanwhile, one considerate soul must've dabbed herself with several bottles of Odeur du Fou -- because at intermission, people were changing seats just to escape the noxious cloud.
And while we're at it, a word about what to wear: Jackets with sports logos on them -- even if it is Apple Cup weekend -- are not considered classic going-to-the-theater attire. (For the record, we saw one couple dressed in his-and-hers Husky jackets.) And even though you can get away with it for erring on the side of caution, you don't need to wear prom attire, either.
Dead Man Lives On -- The Gonzaga Theater Department's Dead Man Walking recently won five college theater awards: Kelly Taverner for lighting, Steve Schaubel for music, Summer Berry for costumes, John Hofland for scenic design and adjunct theater arts professor Janis Waley for directing. An adjudicator from the University of Idaho representing the American College Theater Festival observed the production and handed out the Meritorious Achievement awards, despite not being obligated to distribute any awards at all. With a large cast (of 35), lots of narration, a potential for becoming a mere polemic, and a cinematic style, Tim Robbins' play -- derived from his Oscar-winning film -- would present difficulties to any director. That's why it's significant that Waley was singled out for the rare honor of a directing award. Congrats!