Requiem for a Dream (about monkeys)

February 25, 2009

Lost in all the analyzing of President Obama’s speech last night was another important piece of legislation that passed through the halls of the House of Representatives.

It dealt with monkeys. And no, I’m not kidding. The bill, H.R. 80, bans the transport of monkeys and apes across state lines for the purpose of selling them as pets. Our own Earl Blumenauer sponsored the bill (which passed 323-95) and during debate said in part, "We are dealing with animals that have the potential of inflicting serious damage and death." He estimated that up to 400 chimpanzees are kept as pets in the United States.

Frankly, this is a soul-crushing development. I love monkeys. Always have. Given the choice between having a baby and a monkey, I would choose the monkey. Every time. They’re cute and they’re comedy gold. In my dreams, where I’m loaded and living in a tree-top mansion, I have monkey butlers and monkey Civil War re-enactments. In the evenings we dine on bananas and have poo throwing contests. We are kings in diapers.

Now yes, I know this latest bit of legislation is probably for our own good. There was, of course, the recent chimp mauling in Connecticut and apparently pet monkeys are known to carry such fun diseases as Herpes B and tuberculosis…but hey, an 11-year-old kid killed a pregnant woman last week and nobody’s trying to outlaw prepubescent punks, are they?

Okay, you got me. I’m pouting. But can you blame me? I wake up on this otherwise beautiful morning realizing that I will never realize my dream of a monkey utopia.

Thanks a lot Blumenauer.

On to the weekend.

Shall we dance? Yes, we shall. Why? Because I said so.

Trey McIntyre, the former Oregon Ballet Theatre dancer has evolved into one of today’s hottest choreographers. Known for testing the limits (and confluence) of ballet and modern dance, McIntyre is leading his own troupe (The Trey McIntyre Project) on its first foray of cross-country concerts. A true original, he’s fashioned dance routines to music from venerable composers such as Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, as well as more contemporary rockers like Beck and Portland’s own Pink Martini. [Newmark Theatre/7:30 p.m./$20-$50]

If the Portland International Film Festival has left you jonesing for a little worldly flair in your cinema-going experience, the Cascade Festival of African Films might be your answer. This night of new African short films is part of the 19th annual fest. Tonight’s films include The Fallen Beats, Meteni The Lost One, Menged, and Meokgo and the Stick Fighter, which for obvious reasons sounds kind of awesome. For more information on the festival and the films, visit the website at africanfilmfestival.org. [PCC Moriarty Arts & Humanities Building/Various times/Free]

Portland Center Stage main man Chris Coleman takes the director’s chair for The Importance of Being Earnest, the frothy adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s most successful play. The droll comedy of manners is a tour de force that has not only survived, but has become the acknowledged backbone of television sitcoms: two men, both pretending to be someone else, attempting to woo the women of their dreams while staying a step ahead of a doubting dowager. Except unlike most sitcoms (Two and Half Men, we’re looking at you) this play is actually funny. [Gerding Theater/7:30 p.m./$30-$66.50]

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