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Political Sex Scandal Comedy ‘Tail! Spin!’ Opens Off Broadway: REVIEW

TSArnieBurtonRachelDratchSeanDuganandTomGalantich

BY NAVEEN KUMAR

You probably read about them right here, but how sufficiently did you relish in the salacious details of our past decade’s worth of civic sex-capades? Hoopla over Anthony Weiner’s dick pics and Larry Craig’s bathroom-stall cruising has long since been snuffed out the whirl of our 24-hour news cycle, but flipping back through the archives proves to be a trip in Tail! Spin!, a raunchy new comedy that opened Off Broadway Wednesday at the Lynn Redgrave Theatre.

TSSeanDuganArnieBurtonNateSmithTomGalantichandRachelDratchAssembled from actual transcripts (interviews, tweets, Facebook messages, etc.) by playwright Mario Correa, the sketch-style show, directed by Dan Knechtges, runs through four such public embarrassments in its swift 75 minutes. With an overarching punch line of “you can’t make this sh*t up,” the show proves that sometimes the bare facts are farce enough on their own.

With a cast of five, including SNL vet Rachel Dratch, the show sends up the lewd foibles of Weiner, Craig, and both Mark Sanford and Mark Foley, splicing together the pol’s public denials and apologies with their baldly incriminating actions and conversations. Statements are cleverly juxtaposed to beget dirty puns and innuendo and there’s knee-slapping humor in seeing the men’s duplicity made glaring.

TSNateSmithEach of four actors takes on one of the fallen officials, savoring their deceptions and missteps while mostly steering clear of cheesy impersonations. Nate Smith brings a suitably smarmy sex appeal to Weiner and Arnie Burton balances charm and sleaze in Foley’s instant message teen romance. Ms. Dratch flits seamlessly between many roles, milking laughs from the posturing of wives who stood by their disgraced grooms and those who didn’t. Fans of the spastic comedian will also be delighted that Barbara Walters makes a memorable cameo in Sanford’s extramarital meltdown.

There was a time (not so long ago) when every day seemed to deliver another red-faced politician zipping up his trousers in the news, so that new stories no longer warranted the bat of an eye. Tail! Spin! aims to snap us out of that desensitivity by asking for a bit of retrospective pearl clutching. There’s a certain nostalgia now, too, in looking back on these whipping boys, for headlines less saturated with war, deadly plague and civil unrest.

TSNateSmithArnieBurtonRachelDratchSeanDuganandTomGalantichBut while it deals in the simple facts, Correa’s play makes little effort to morally distinguish between the natural and rather ordinary sexual impulses of its subjects and the lies they fed the press—it seems quite happy to shame the leaders for both. Even granted these are privileged, white men, the underlying slut-shaming tone ultimately feels a bit problematic: It’s not Craig and Foley’s gay desires or Weiner and Sanford’s infidelities that deserve our (presumably liberal) derision.

We expect our elected officials, like our celebrities, to be better and different—not to have, say, naked selfies on their iClouds like everyone else. That we’re shocked when they prove us wrong only speaks to our own delusions. What’s really on trial here is that politicians lie, which of course is news to no one, but laughing it off sure is cathartic. 

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Follow Naveen Kumar on Twitter: @Mr_NaveenKumar (photos: carol rosegg)


Mark Foley Has Prostate Cancer

Mark_Foley Mark Foley, the former U.S. Representative who resigned in 2006, when it was revealed that he exchanged inappropriate messages with Congressional pages,  announced today that he has prostate cancer, but won't require radiation.

“I learned five weeks ago after a routine exam that I have prostate cancer,” said the 56-year old. “The surgery involves complete removal of the prostate. Naturally, I have some reservations about the surgery. Nobody wants their plumbing messed with. But I mostly feel good about it.”

No matter what you have to say about Foley's legislative career or personal misconduct, you should probably wish him well on this one.


Watch: Mark Foley Reaches Out to Young Republicans

Foley

Former Congressman Mark Foley launched a comeback this week, reaching out to a group of young Republicans, which, ironically, is what sent him packing in the first place.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Watch: Mark Foley Reaches Out to Young Republicans" »


Mark Foley Mayoral Run Would Test Political Forgiveness

Markfoleymayor2 Former Rep. Mark Foley's political career imploded in 2006, when it was revealed that the Republican had sent sexually explicit emails and IMs to underage male congressional pages.

The charges were especially shocking considering Foley had previously voted against LGBT rights, and the lawmaker resigned in disgrace.

People assumed Foley's political days were behind him: he came out of the closet, became a real estate agent and enjoyed life in West Palm Beach with his boyfriend, a dermatologist.

Then, last year, Foley began becoming more ingrained in the local political scene, hosting both a radio show and fundraisers. It wasn't long until rumors began circulating that Foley planned to run for West Palm Beach mayor.

Now, as the filing deadline approaches, Foley appears ready to announce his bid.

Will voters forgive and forget Foley's past transgressions? And, more importantly, should they?

Continue reading "Mark Foley Mayoral Run Would Test Political Forgiveness" »


Former Rep. Mark Foley Mulls Run for Mayor in West Palm Beach

Friends and colleagues have gauged Foley's interest in running for mayor in West Palm Beach, Florida, the Palm Beach Post reports:

Mfoley "Foley said he is still a long way from running for elected office, but he wouldn’t rule out the mayoral run. 'I keep hearing the buzz,' Foley said. 'But there’s no plan in place.' Foley said he’s not sure what other potential candidates, especially Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell, are planning. Mitchell and Foley are long-time friends, and if she decides not to run, it could open up a spot for Foley. Despite Foley’s baggage from the page scandal that forced him to resign his US Congressional seat in 2007, Foley has reemerged on the political scene as a fundraiser and host of a local radio show."


News: Outrage, Eric Brewer, Crocs, Serbia, Mark Foley, Germany


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RoadMark Foley hits the airwaves in South Florida.

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RoadSerbian prosecutor calls for ban on hate groups that caused cancellation of Belgrade's Pride parade: "Serbian authorities withdrew approval for gay activists to hold a rally in central Belgrade on Saturday after soccer hooligans and the extremist groups Obraz (Face) and Association 1398 threatened to attack the parade. 'The two groups were identified as those which must be outlawed immediately,' prosecutor Slobodan Radovanovic told B92 television."

RoadHillary Clinton on international violence against LGBT people: "We are starting to track violence against the LGBT community, because where it happens anywhere in the world, the United States must speak out against it and work for its end. Through our annual human rights report, we are documenting human rights abuses against LGBT communities worldwide. And we are seeking out partners at the United Nations such as Brazil, France, Sweden and the Netherlands to help us address these human rights abuses."


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