MOST MOVIE theaters discourage talking during screenings. But in Cinematic Titanic, snide commentary is half the show.
Cinematic Titanic comes from the original cast of the Emmy-nominated cult favorite "Mystery Science Theater 3000." In the show, a man and two robots were imprisoned on a space station and forced to watch terrible films. To keep sane, the cast mocked everything about the movie, from the plot to the special effects to the acting.
The national Cinematic Titanic tour follows a similar style, in which live cast members riff on B movies. Creator Joel Hodgson said that Cinematic Titanic tries to avoid limiting itself to a single genre, mocking everything from horror movies to murder mysteries. The only common denominator: They're all bad. Hodgson said that anyone going to these shows should keep in mind that it is an "ironic viewing of a movie."
The tour comes to Philadelphia today with a double feature. In "Astral Factor," a psychopath is able to dissolve from one place to another, enabling him to escape from jail and take vengeance on those who testified against him. Frankenstein's "Castle of Freaks" is an Italian monster movie that follows the Frankenstein story, throwing in a few extra monsters including a caveman and a hunchback. The end result, Hodgson said, "doesn't make a lot of sense." It may be a bad movie, but it's great material for Cinematic Titanic.
Cinematic Titanic, Keswick Theatre, 291 N. Keswick Ave., 291 N. Keswick Ave., Glenside, 8 tonight, $39.50-$58.50. 215-572-7650, Cinematictitanic.com.
- Kailey Kluge
A cemetery may be an odd place to find oneself on New Year's Eve, but that's where history buffs will gather tomorrow night. Dec. 31 marks the birthday of George Meade, the famous Civil War general who led the Union to victory at the Battle of Gettysburg. Meade's birthday - annually honored by the Friends of Laurel Hill Cemetery and the General Meade Society - is an appropriate close to 2011, the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.
Meade's birthday celebration includes a parade of Civil War reenactment units and civilians in period attire to Meade's final resting place, a 21-gun salute, a wreath-laying, and a toast with Meade's favorite drink, champagne. (How appropriate!) The Beck's Philadelphia Brigade Brass Band, a Civil War-era brass band that performs with period instruments and in uniform, will provide music for the event.
Laurel Hill Cemetery, a National Historic Landmark, is one of the nation's most historically significant burial grounds. It's known as the final resting place of many veterans and political figures, among them more than 2,000 Civil War vets including 42 other generals, two signers of the Declaration of Independence, Pennsylvania mayors and senators, and Gen. Hugh Mercer, who was killed in the Revolutionary War. Meade's annual birthday party helps promote the historical site and honor the man Andy Waskie, president of the General Meade Society and the emcee for the event, describes as "the victor of the Civil War and the savior of our nation."
General Meade Birthday Celebration, Laurel Hill Cemetery, 3822 Ridge Ave., noon tomorrow, 215-228-8200, thelaurelhillcemetery.org.