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Monday, June 11, 2007

Deaf, Dumb, and Blind

posted by on June 11 at 13:31 PM

I exchanged e-mails with this guy who plays in the band in Village Theater’s production of Tommy. Given last week’s hilarious brouhaha about my spoof review, I’m posting the exchange.

Sent: Fri, June 8, 2007 9:11 am
Subject: The Who’s Tommy

Hi Josh,
I recently read your review of Issaquah’s “The Who’s Tommy,” and it certainly inspires questions. First, I won’t hide - I play in the band for the show. Having said that, I’m not writing this to go on the offensive. I read all reviews with respect for the reviewer’s opinion, and I take no offense if a reviewer dislikes a production for any reason.

I do have to ask, how familiar are you with the story and history of “Tommy?” The show is certainly not a new work, as you state in your review (“new musical premiering…”, having originally been written by The Who in 1968, produced as
an Opera (by the Seattle Opera company in 1970), a movie in 1975 (starring Ann-Margret, Elton John, Jack Nicholson, Eric Clapton, and others), and as a Bro adway hit in 1992 winning five Tony awards, including best score. Each production includes necessary story elements, including the Acid Queen, World War 2, and Pinball. All I can conclude from reading your review is that you are not familiar with Tommy, nor with the Who in general.

Again, I’m not here to convince you that your opinion of the show is right or wrong. The public decides this for themselves, and given that other mainstream reviews have been positive and ticket sales are brisk, I think success speaks for itself. You don’t have to like the show at all, but I have to admit - your review does read as if you did not do your homework. Sorry to say. Responses and open discussion welcome.

John High, and no I’m not a “self-indulgent Issaquah Hippie.”



I’m 400 million years old. I’ve had The Who’s Tommy in my record collection since I was 12. It was a joke. I didn’t like the shows devout veneration of classic rock. That worship contradicted Tommy’s whole point. Townshend wrote Tommy because he was freaked out by the fact that rock was turning teens into zombie fans. He was spoofing rock worship. But the Village theater show goes as far as to end with rock icons as deities. That move represented everything the show was against. Since you guys were so hung up on the power of classic rock, I figured I’d spoof you by saying your show was derivative of Radiohead.

Nice. thanks for the response. I’ll be sure to share with the guys….

RSS icon Comments


a bad joke repeated is still a bad joke

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 11, 2007 1:53 PM

I would have much enjoyed a realistic review - the thesis of your letter - than that stupid joke review.

Given "our" complete and utter obsession w/ celebrity these days (major news breaking in w/ Paris Back to Jail stories, Britney's flabby booty and bad hair extentions, etc.), you missed an opportunity to write something of substance and relative to current events.

Just sayin...

Posted by sigh | June 11, 2007 1:55 PM

Wow, you really showed him.

Posted by ugh. | June 11, 2007 1:57 PM

Do you have his permission to post his email address on your site?

Posted by Xyx Zxyki | June 11, 2007 1:58 PM

i agree with #1. this one just wasn't funny...

better luck next time.

Posted by ddv | June 11, 2007 1:59 PM

Josh really got me one time. I think it was the Queer Issue 2001, and he wrote a piece bitching that he was never going to win the Pulitzer Prize for writing about GLBT civil rights when Vermont's Rutland Herald had just one the Pulitzer Prize for their in-depth coverage of then uber-controversial civil unions.

I must have been pissy about that for at least a week and I think wrote him a very cross e-mail to that effect. Never did find out if he was joking, but I've come to expect a touch of sarcastic, high-fiving "humor" from Mr. Feit.

Posted by Original Andrew | June 11, 2007 2:03 PM

Josh Feit, I'll haunt your dreams.

Posted by Keith Moon | June 11, 2007 2:04 PM

Self-indulgent review and recap.

Posted by John | June 11, 2007 2:15 PM

Oh Josh Feit. Personally I've enjoyed reading the whole Tommy Review Saga. Journalists Are Friends, Not Food.

Posted by Katelyn | June 11, 2007 2:22 PM

Naturally I meant "won."

Oh frak. There goes my shot at winning the Pulitzer Prize for Slog-commenting.

Posted by Original Andrew | June 11, 2007 2:30 PM

I was fooled by Josh's review and I've been reading his stuff since he started writing for the Stranger.

Posted by um | June 11, 2007 2:36 PM

Josh, the cry-room at the back of the Village Theater is a nice multi-concrete experience with looking through glass, piped in noise, and of course babies. Try that next time.

Posted by Garrett | June 11, 2007 2:43 PM

It wasn't a bad joke, it just wasn't well-written, which isn't such a big deal; even talented writers misfire, and it isn't like he got anybody killed or anything. Mark it up, shrug and move on.

Posted by Boomer in NYC | June 11, 2007 2:45 PM

Josh is basking in his own bad joke glow at the moment.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 11, 2007 2:49 PM

I seriously doubt anyone outside The Stranger bullpen (with the possible exception of one or two commentors whose "comedy threshhold" would seem to be set somewhere below "watching a guy get repeatedly kicked in the balls") would, even in the most charitable of circumstances, have described Josh's "review", and the resulting brouhaha as anything remotely resembling "hilarious".

Posted by COMTE | June 11, 2007 2:55 PM

I think the brouhaha is much more amusing than the original "joke."

Posted by keshmeshi | June 11, 2007 3:49 PM

The retardation continues.

Hey Josh, still trying to dig your way out of screwing the pooch? You blew it royally, you know you did. Otherwise you wouldn't have posted this "follow-up"

My suggestion, let it go. You can't defend the fact that your little "joke" fell like a lead turd.

Posted by ecce homo | June 11, 2007 4:44 PM

ecce homo: you are SO dumb that it's tempting to think that you're joking. otherwise, i'm just really sad for you.

Posted by Fran Mass | June 11, 2007 5:23 PM

Josh. Learn to use the apostrophe. It is your bread and butter.

Posted by Matthew | June 11, 2007 8:54 PM

When you have to repeatedly explain that a piece was satire...

Posted by bigyaz | June 12, 2007 9:01 AM

Still have the guys personal email address published in public huh?

Pretty crappy move dude.

Posted by ecce homo | June 12, 2007 12:13 PM

Hmmm . . . I didn't find anywhere where Pete Townshend actually said "Townshend wrote Tommy because he was freaked out by the fact that rock was turning teens into zombie fans."
However, I did find these actual quotes from Townshend - "Everything that I had done creatively related to two or three incidents that happened to me when I was a child that I'd forgotten. Everything, absolutely everything. Certainly all of "Tommy". And it was a real bone of contention when we came to argue the creative split based on the sweat factor with the other members of the Who. When I said it's autobiographical, you know, they said: "No it's not, we all played a part in writing the story". I was absolutely adamant: "No you fucking didn't, this came out of my subconscious, that's one place you can't have contributed to." and "There were pop songs that seem to me to be a kind of divine adulthood. So "Tommy" is about that."

But why worry about facts when you've written such a clever, biting satire . . . that you keep having to explain. Let's leave the theatre reviewing to Brendan Kiley . . .

Posted by eg | June 14, 2007 9:42 AM

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