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• 10 A & E . Reviews You Can Use: Moonrisers Steal Roxy Show Jackson Parker Whoever you are, eventually Editor in Chief you'll find a few places that flour- ish with your nature . Where your certain brand of weirdness isn't a vice but a virtue. On a stage or a screen you'll see them, these~ people, and if it's done right there's a carve-away of every- thing that's not them. Just bona-fide humanity to be reckoned with, or ignored, but it's there either way. And the result can be something kinda great. That's what'it felt like watching The Moonrisers' show at The Roxy late January. A homegrown theater troupe of the young and up-and-coming. they mark a great and new presence to Missoula's theater and performing arts. It was their first show on a true stage; they began in the basement of the ZAAC. The show ran three nights with three plays to display on each: a fantastical trip with werewolf hunters, a deep- sea monologue, and an absurdist family reunion. They . were all weird. The show wasn't like anything you'd get in New York or Chicago. A man seated nearby thought that was a bad thing. that there's \another level\ in those places. Places with scenes, with money, with celebri- ties. And real theater critics, not just annoying people who talk during a show. But there's something you can't find in any super-rigged seat-a-thousand block- buster show, that the Moonrisers' own in spades. They're not trying to be anything but themselves. Going to the show was like finding The Chris Geth- ard Show, or Comedy Bang Bang or any other den of special and strange. It's a needed niche; not a place for adults to be adults, but a place for people to be people. Maybe the best part besides the actual content, was that many of the performers, including the writer of two of the plays, went to Hellgate. Proving there is a beyond. A real life where you get to make theater with your friends and obviously have fun doing it. The odd-ballism that is tolerated in the best parts of Hellgate was all for show on The Roxy stage. En- twined in the adventures of Ruckus and Reginald, \the worst !@#$ing werewolf hunters\. In the random and poignant For Boating, a monologue from a deep-sea diver of another world, which gives off the feeling of the best kind of fever dream. (It's not fact that the writer factor of the monologue went to Hellgate, but he may as well have). Bubbles and Christmas lights lit up a cardboard diving tank, selling the illu- sion of a dream. Both were fantastic and weird and wonderful. The final play was \The Malarial Child\ an absurd and dark picture of a family dynamic. With elements of farce, psychopathy, and strange loss, it made for a sharp end to the evening. Even as it drifted towards being didactic, it fell on warm and familiar beats of comedy and oddity to staY. glued together. It doesn't seem possible to single out one element of the pieces for the pedestal; it was the cohesion of everything: acting. writing. directing. tech elements, that made the experience. Writer and actor for the first and last shows, Christopher Magee, didn't make a vehicle to just parade any of his own talents. Instead it was a multitude of gears, running simultaneously, to make a colorful and different machine. With its own strange ticking blood, its own genuine heart. When you google Moonrisers, most of what comes up is for a clan on Runescape. They're just at the beginning. the underground moments where they find what they do best, or they don't. Hopefully they'll keep finding audience, hopefully keep finding the strange and great qualities that make them something special, something different. Something the world always needs more of: a source of honest weirdness. And the ability to make something significant with it. • oonrt~er The Moonrisers logo (Photo courtesy of the Moonrisers) Winter In The Blood: Well Worth The Chi 11 . Molly Gray Many Montanans are familiar with the literary works of Staff Cartoonist the late, great James Welch- the renowned author of novels such as Fools Crow, The Death ofjim Lq!Vney, and The Indian Lawyer. His books, known for their intense detail atld una bided honesty, offer what is arguably one of the most in-depth understandings of what life was like for Native Am~rican people in a variety of time periods and settings. In his 1974 novel Winter in the Blood, Welch astonished readers with his raw, lucid portrayal of a young Native American man living in the plains of Montana with a past full of heartbreak, loss, and oppression, and the challenges that he overcomes in order to succeed in a battle against his own demons. Nearly forty years after its publishing date and almost ten after Welch's passing away, Winter in the Blood was adapted into a screenplay by filmmakers Alex and Andrew Smith, and finally premiered as a feature film at the 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival. Having grown up in Montana, I immediately felt an emotional connection to the setting. The stunning landscape shots and pronounced symbolism tap into the viewer's presentiment, immediately creating a strong feeling of involvement with the story. Because the viewer has the ability to feel so connected and involved with this young man's life, his experiences seem more relatable- more real. Thus, the symbolic scrutiny of his inner conflicts incite a deeper understanding of the story's intended purpose. The movie did great justice for the book, with much of its filmography successfully mimicking the novel's literary devices, and in my opinion, is one of the best films to have ever come out of Montana. Recently, Winter in the Blood has enjoyed several screenings at the downtown Roxy Theater here in Mis- soula, and is also available on Netflix (for those of us who have a hard time parting with our couch). This film is seriously worth the watch. I I I