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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Make Mad Scientist Dr. Moreau Part of Your Hallloween

If you haven't yet made your Halloween weekends plans and you would rather observe your horror than participate in it, you will want to consider Synetic Theater's production of The Island of Dr. Moreau.

There are only 3 more performances scheduled for Synetic's reimagining of the classic mad scientist tale conceived by early science fiction master  H. G. Wells, whose major works deal with humanity's inability to cope with technology and the modern world.

There are many reasons to see the production. Here are just 4.

  1. You will get a rare chance to see Synetic's founding artistic director Paata Tsikurishvili perform as actor, as well as director. Tsikurishvili portrays Moreau.
  2. The Synetic performance offers the finest Halloween season movements seen since the rhythmic zombies in Michael Jackson's iconic video "Thriller."
  3. The play will let you ponder some of the great mysteries inherent in Halloween - the nature of good and evil, the difference between man and monster, the relationship between science and morality.
  4. There is blood (a lot of it), as well as the brilliantly choreographed fight scenes which Synetic is deservedly so well known for.
In his director's notes Tsikurishvili calls "the prescience of the story's themes as relevant and troubling today at the beginning of the 21st century as they were at the close of the 19th."

"Stem cell research, genetic manipulation, even plastic surgery - the human need and capacity for relentless, artificial, and accelerated improvement has become seemingly limitless," the director contends. "Wells recognized this capability in use, before it even fully existed, in our compulsion to control, manipulate and master."

"Dr. Moreau attempts this on his island (with his experiments) and its utter futility has a terrible irony since many of  these honest attempts to create, improve, and benefit ultimately cause nothing but destruction. This is the tragedy of Wells' tale. Dr. Moreau is a visionary, but, at the same time, his great intellect is warped by a complete loss of feeling and empathy," he added.

You might argue that since Synetic is located in the underground of Crystal City where we live, we might be biased in calling the company our DC favorite offering continual praise for so many of its productions. If that's the case, here are what others are saying:

"If you are looking for that edgynear-perfect evening out this Halloween season, it doesn't matter whether you've got a date to impress or a feisty teenager who loves gore-you really must check out Synetic Theater's The Island of Dr. Moreau."
- Broadwayworld.com

"[Paata] Tsikurishvili is as mesmerizing as ever." 
- The Washington Post

"Overall, Synetic's Moreau is an island of impeccably rendered terror, a hell house on the sea. Performances and production design work together flawlessly to create this creepy little delight. It's the perfect night of theatre for the Halloween season." 
- DC Theatre Scene

"The Island of Dr. Moreau exhibits both sensational performances and relevant themes. Combined with enthusiastic performances by dancers and actors alike, Synetic's most recent production is a show worth experiencing."
- Maryland Theatre Guide

"Long applause to Synetic for what it continues to do;  at times reaching beyond its past to find new sources of inspiration with words to digest." 
- DC Metro Theatre Arts

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

For Halloween, Spend a Ghoulish Night (or Day) @The Smithsonian

From stiletto daggers and sexy witches to devilish hydras and sea serpents, there's no end of scary stuff to spook yourself and your date silly here at the Smithsonian. 

Costumes are encouraged and if you don't feel safe going out on Halloween, stay home and make a virtual appearance

To continue reading this post, which 1st appeared in Smithsonian. Com. click here.

Halloween Highlights Arise from the Museum Vaults

From the decorations in our homes to the sweets we make (or buy), Halloween is a holiday filled with tricks and treats, fun and, sometimes, a little fright. We've embraced All Hallow's Eve as a night to dress up and join with fiends... I mean friends, to celebrate things that go bump in the night. 

Here at the museum, we have a wonderful collection of objects used at Halloween. See if you recognize any of these pieces from years past. 

To continue reading this post, which 1st appeared in the Oh, Say Can You See? blog of the Smithsonian, click here.

From Homemade Halloween Treats 
to Colorfully Packaged Candies

Object Project interns Caitlin Kearney and Kamilah Stinnett explore the origins of packaged candy, a modern convenience that signaled the shift toward Halloween as a widespread commercial holiday. Object Project, opening July 2015, will explore everyday things that transformed daily life.
Did you know that the average jack-o'-lantern bucket holds about 250 pieces of candy? That's 9,000 calories and about three pounds of sugar, according to the California Milk Processor Board. Good grief! No wonder some parents scramble to ration their kids' Halloween haul.

But the treats that fill those grinning plastic pumpkins on Halloween didn't always come in crinkly wrappers with familiar names like Baby Ruth, introduced in 1920, and M&M's, first sold in 1941. During our time at the museum, we've researched packaged, premade food items for Object Project. The exhibition will give visitors a look at—er, taste of—the history behind objects that have changed daily life, including the social demands and technological advances that brought about these changes.

Tp continue reading this post, which 1st appeared in the Oh, Say Can You See? blog of the Smithsonian, click here. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Forget the Halloween Monsters, This Year's Big Fear Is Something That's Able to Lurk Inside Us

2014 will certainly be viewed as one of the most frightening Halloween seasons ever. But it is not ghastly ghosts, goblins, ghouls, and gremlins that are causing outbreaks of crazed, panic fears. Instead, it is something much more real and, in reality, potentially much more deadly.

In many parts of America, the Season of the Witch has been transformed into the Scary Season of Ebola.

Those fears do not surprise former Under Secretary of Science and Technology for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Tara O'Toole. "Epidemics always engender visceral fear," O'Toole says. "This is something that can come into your home and everybody is vulnerable to it. Face it, it's pretty freaky bleeding from your eyes."

But while O'Toole understands that fear can drive a lot of the reaction to an epidemic like Ebola, a calm, reasoned, scientifically- and medically-sound approach is what America now needs.

Dr. O'Toole was one member of a group of distinguished medical and security experts which discussed the current Ebola crisis this week at the Heritage Foundation.

The panel agreed that while the outbreaks in Africa are disconcerting, America will be able to handle problems that arise in this country.

"The rest of the medical system learned a lot from Texas (where the only victim of the disease to die in America was treated)," O'Toole said. "We were probably making a lot of mistakes in infectious diseases all along, but if you make a mistake with Ebola (care) you're going to get in big trouble. We ought to able to protect our health care workers."

For its own safety, American must help the stricken nations combat Ebola on the African continent, the panel concurred. "If we do not contain this in Africa, it will become a part of life and you will wonder every time you get a fever," O'Toole said.

But while she is optimistic about the end of this current crisis, she said the United States must do more to protect itself and others from other future outbreaks of deadly, infectious diseases.

"Our national defense is going to depend on biology is a big way," the doctor maintained. "We're going to have a lot more epidemics."

O'Toole said current world conditions make such events inevitable. For example, 70 million people are being added to the world's population every year, many of them living in mega cities where crowded conditions make it ideal for diseases to rapidly spread. Then there is the ease of modern travel. Unlike days gone by, people can now fly around the world in 24 hours.

"We are going to be more vulnerable to epidemics and we must get better at managing them," she said.

O'Toole said that while early action is crucial to halting epidemics, that is difficult to do, especially in remote areas of the world. ""It's very hard to see the beginning. It's not lights and sirens; it's not like these things explode," she said. "By the time you begin treatment, they are already bigger than you would like to see," she said.

Like the others on the panel, O'Toole believes that a vaccine for Ebola should have been ready by the time of this current outbreak since there were promising results as much as 14 years ago. But she understands the reality of why such a vaccine isn't ready yet.

"We fund heavily when the problem occurs and then the money goes away," she said.

Money also plays a huge role in the fact that an Ebola vaccine hasn't been released by private pharmaceutical companies. "We're not talking about pills you take every day for the rest of your life. This is something you might take for 2 weeks and it's over. You just don't make much money out of it," she noted.

And even though she agreed with the panel consensus that such options as travel bans and unwarranted quarantining would't work (and could actually worsen treatment conditions), she understands why such options are attractive to many people and some politicians.

"We're always looking for someone to blame," she said. "People want to know who they can lock up to make themselves safe."

Extra! Extra! Read All About It

There's More to the Story
  • America's Ebola epidemic currently consists of 1 person with Ebola. (from Think Progress)
  • 4 totally Ebola-free things Americans are terrified will give them Ebola. (from Think Progress)
  • Why outbreaks breed hysteria. (from The Atlantic)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Bring Out the High Heels; DC Drag Race Is Back

Welcome to this week's Monday Must-See, Must-Do post. On Mondays, we offer an entry about some current exhibit, event, or dining experience in DC you should take in. Sometimes, we will write the post. Sometimes, it will be taken from another publication. But no matter who is the writer, we believe Monday Must-See, Must-Do will showcase something you shouldn't miss. 

Each year on the Tuesday before Halloween, the Dupont Circle neighborhood is the site of one of DC's most-fun annual activities - The 17th Street High Heel Race.

Although the actual race doesn't start until 9 p.m., you want to arrive early as crowds of thousands begin arriving by 6 to view the site of almost 100 drag queens in every type of costume sashaying and prancing up and down a blocked-off 17th Street again and again. 

Many of the crowd pour out into the street to get their picture taken with the obliging queens, while others simply hoot, holler, and applaud.

In short, a gay time is had by all. Here are some photos from the last 2 years of the race.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Creepy Artifacts @The Smithsonian

DC's Smithsonian museums (there are 17 of them here in the city) are among America's most visited and treasured places. But the Smithsonian also publishes a series of some of the most interesting, fact-filled blogs appearing anywhere on the internet. Each Sunday, The Prices Do DC re-posts an entry either about the Smithsonian or that 1st appeared in 1 of the institution's blogs. Hope you enjoy and maybe we'll see you soon at the Smithsonian.

As Halloween approaches, we asked museum staff to share objects from the Smithsonian collections that evoke the holiday's spooky spirit. 

The result? Some diverse objects that creep us out just a little, which is part of why we love them.

To continue reading this story, which 1st appeared in Oh, Say Can You See in Smithsonian.Com, click here.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

RG3PO, Flattened Zoe Barnes, and More: DC-Centric Halloween Costumes

Each week in our Saturday Supplement we re-post an entry of interest to both residents of the Washington area and visitors to DC that first appeared in another publication.

Now starting on Halloween - at quarterback - RG3PO
Halloween is next weekend, which means you're probably going to spend the weekend frantically trying to gather materials for a last-minute costume. 

If you're still looking for ideas for a costume that only people in D.C. will get, well, you're in luck. We present to you the secondDCist guide to D.C.-centric Halloween costumes.

To continue reading this post, which 1st appeared in the DCist, click here.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Ghosts in the White House

Welcome to this week's Friday Flashback. Each Friday in the Flashback we offer a post about some part of the past and its relationship to DC. Sometimes, we will write a new entry. Others times, we will showcase articles that previously appeared in The Prices Do DC or some other online publications. But no matter who does the writing, you can trust that you will learn something important from the Flashback. 

The most famous address in America–1600 Pennsylvania Avenue–is also perhaps the country’s most famous haunted house.

Presidents, first ladies, White House staff members and guests have reported feeling ghostly presences, hearing unexplained noises and even running into actual apparitions–even on the way out of the bathtub, in one particularly famous case. 

To continue reading this post, which 1st appeared in History.Com, click here.

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