Apr

15

Pat Blute on SPEARS

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Earlier today, Bwog sat down with Pat Blute. Blute, of BwogWeather and HardCore fame, has been of late consumed by the production of his new rock-opera, SPEARS: The Gospel According to Britney. Tickets go on sale at 5 pm today, and will sell out fast. Blute, director and creator, is pretty excited. Bwog sat down with him on the Steps to hash it out.

Blute: This is the interview for SPEARS: The Gospel According to Britney, the story of Jesus Christ, told to the music of Britney Spears, “The Greatest Story Ever Told, the Greatest Music Ever Written.”

Bwog: That’s such a great tagline. How did it come to you?

Blute: It’s an extremely self-explanatory tagline that tells you exactly what you are going to see. No surprises, no gimmicks, beyond that. There’s no dialogue and none of the lyrics are changed.

Bwog: That does sound wonderful. So how did you come up with the idea?

Blute: That’s a great question. So, I don’t remember how I really came up with the idea, but I can share some of its iterations. High school Spanish class, we did modismos, we had to come up with two things which contrasted, but which were similar. So I did Britney Spears and Jesus, and it worked out, and everyone gave a laugh. That was 12th grade. It then just became this running party joke, where I would tell people certain select scenes, and always get a laugh, or a “That works.”

Bwog: So when did it become serious?

Blute: It became serious when I talked to some people with certain connections, and they said, “You have to try this.” It was originally going to be a staged reading, but I didn’t like the idea of outside dialogue, so it literally is the Gospel according to Britney, and Britney alone. Her discography allows her to play both friend and foe, villain and hero, and in many ways it captures the motifs of the gospels.

Bwog: What about people who might take offense upon hearing about Britney Spears mashed up with Jesus Christ? People who think shaved head and running mascara when they think Britney.

Blute: That is definitely a part of the hype, but we’ve had people from religious groups come and preview the show, and they have found it one, emotionally relevant, and two, reverent. It’s a very classic retelling, we don’t go out on any limbs that might cause that sort of controversy. I can assure anyone who is worried about that, that if they come see the show, they will see it is religiously accurate and relevant, and that it adds to the idea of “Who are we to judge certain people?” Britney Spears has definitely been thrown in the public spotlight a lot, and has been scrutinized, almost dehumanized in a lot of ways through the use of the camera lens.

Bwog: So in Lit Hum we read the canonical gospels, and this sounds like it is a pretty canonical production.

Blute: It is.

Bwog: So which gospel did you follow? We did learn that John is thematically and stylistically a little out there, as opposed to the other three.

Blute: Yeah, I like Matthew, I like Luke, because in terms of telling narrative and getting story across, they’re the easiest to follow. In conversation, there is a lot of intersection and interaction between the four. And just in parallel, when you look at Britney’s life, there are all these different tabloids and magazines, telling different narratives of her life

Bwog: Awesome. Have you done any theater? We all know your work from BwogWeather and HardCore. I think you got really conceptual, at least in some of the earlier HardCore episodes

Blute: Meta! I was being meta.

Bwog: Yeah, you were, and it was fantastic. Are we going to be seeing any of that interplay in SPEARS?

Blute: The show is meta in a lot of ways. I mean, it’s a telling of the entire life of Jesus, but we never say the word, “Jesus.”

Bwog: Would a Britney fan be able to get more out of the show? Are there in-jokes there?

Blute: Yes and no. Whatever your background is, you’ll come away with something. As long as you know one of the two things we’re talking about, you will have a great time.

Bwog: And people who know something, or a lot of things, about both, what about them?

Blute: They are going to have a really fantastic time. Tickets are impossible to get, they will sell out in like a minute. I’m dead serious.

Bwog: I believe you. Have you been actively building the hype, or has it just happened?

Blute: Well, if you take two huge elements of modern culture, and combine them in a way that is both shockingly tasteful, and also new, and necessary, the publicity has just snowballed. So far, everyone that has come to previews, even just rehearsals, without costumes, people have left crying. It’s both tasteful and accurate, and an inspirational story for us all.

Bwog: Anything else I should ask you?

Blute: The bottom line is, it’s just a nice reminder to be in the right place at the right time talking to the right people, and your crazy idea that was just cocktail party fodder, can blow up. This could go past Columbia.

Bwog: Are there going to be recruiters there? People checking you out?

Blute: [pause] Yes, there are. That’s all I can say about that. Oh, and if you come, you should come at 7 or 7:30, there is a whole spectacle planned. The ratio of usher to audience is almost 1:2.

Bwog: How much time have you spent on this? It seems like this has become your life.

Blute: It’s all day everyday, except for the time I’m planning CCC’s senior video (please, everyone, send me pictures. Be in it). It’s a good 12 hours a day. My dad is a carpenter, I didn’t know how we would build a cross to lift it, but he made it. Oh, yeah! There is a lot of technical cool stuff. All star cast, really the best on campus.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Update, 5:00:30 pm: Tickets for all performances are now sold out. Yes, they really sold out in less than a minute.

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41 Comments

  1. does  

    anyone know when anna katz' wedding date is. is it still on

  2. Anonymous  

    I heard they sold less than 10 tickets for each night, so that's probably why it sold out so fast?

  3. Question

    Why is Christianity the only religion considered "not totally politically incorrect" (and I guess in some senses even admirable) to make fun of? Is it because Christians have never been persecuted as a people? I know that isn't true based on history, but maybe people don't really think of that?...Or are Christians simply not as sensitive to holding in reverence their own religious beliefs and that of their forefathers as much as adherents of other faiths? I'm legitimately curious about this and want to know why profanity in relation to Christianity is not as taboo as it may have been in decades past.

    • Anonymous  

      come on people, this is a serious cultural question. don't downvote just because it isn't what you're spoonfed in poli sci

    • Anonymous  

      Don't really know what you mean by profanity... For one, Christians have been persecuted,every religion has at some point, more or less. Christianity is just the dominant religion in the United States and that makes it ripe for parody, satire, etc. Look around, there are also comedies that make fun of Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, whatever. No topic is off limits in comedy, you just need the talent to handle it well.

    • Anonymous  

      historically, christianity has been by far the most damaging religion. but they're all equally false, and so in need of lampooning, of course

  4. Anonymous

    Gimme Gimme More!

  5. Darnnit!  

    Any potential for additional showings??

  6. Anonymous

    of self-aggrandizement.

    yawn

  7. Anonymous  

    why did he schedule this to overlap with the varsity show?

  8. serious  

    I assume this is because christianity has been through a pretty long process of reconciliation with "modernity": science, progress, technology, job markets... Although there a few radical christians (mainly in America), globally christians are known for being rather moderate - today. The enlightenment period in particular was very important for this. Secularization leads to the ability of people to think critically about the religion and to reassess it constantly, while not necessarily dismissing it.

    Judaism is pretty much secularized as well, though it is a lot easier for jews to play with it than non-jews. And despite the current right-wing government in Israel and fucked up Middle Eastern politics, jewish people in the West tend to be mostly secularized as well.

    Finally, most other religions have not yet undergone this process and are thus much more prone to sensitive claims. Muslims, for example, have shown to be extremely opposed to this. No one would be able to make some show about Allah with Britney songs without being accused of diffamation - just look at the caricature affair in Europe...

  9. Anonymous  

    what does it matter when they'll have a full house anyway?

  10. member of the theater community  

    yeah, not a big fan of this

  11. Anonymous  

    sometimes i wonder if this kid will someday grow up a little bit, work in a bit of sophistication into the reference mashing and turn this little hobby of his into something rather awesome. and then sometimes i wonder if he'll just fade into obscurity and end up as an hr lackey at an insurance company or something. it's tough because he's obviously driven, but a lot of this early stuff kinda comes across like "the only criteria for choosing the things i reference is a lowest common denominator commonalty of experience in the target audience" as opposed to a "commonality of experience in the target audience but also cleverly connected to some central theme" it's still early days yet and honestly i could see it going either way.

  12. Anonymous

    why is everyone so obsessed with pat blute? seriously, i'm curious...

  13. Anonymous  

    you heard wrong and you're dumb

  14. Big Fan  

    What a great addition to the NOMADS spring season. Their dependent projects are always super cool. Can't wait to see it. Apparently NOMADS just announced other cool stuff going up as well!!! https://www.facebook.com/events/179713418816711/
    https://www.facebook.com/events/251709174925515/

  15. big fan  

    Wow! What a great addition to the NOMADS season. Can't wait to see it! Their dependent projects are always really cool. Apparently there are NOMADS shows going up soon too. Exciteddd

  16. Meta  

    Doesn't mean what you think it means. It's self-referential, not random, and it certainly has nothing to do with not saying "Jesus." With that logic "The Walking Dead" is meta for not using the word "Zombie."

  17. Anonymous  

    PAT IS A GENIUS AND A SUPERSTAR!!!!!!!!

  18. Pat Blute

    is the Columbia equivalent of Joss Whedon in terms of his fans treating him like a God.

  19. Britney, Bitch  

    Cool your boners. Any theater that is getting this much attention is a good thing!

  20. No...  

    because this production, which released only 30 some tickets to the actual Columbia community, is getting gods praises from bwog, while they don't even do publicity interviews like this for theatre groups that are actually trying to sell tickets to students. Serve the community, not your friends, bwog.

  21. Anonymous

    it was 40. 10 for each show. confirmed by multiple people at the tic.

  22. Why on earth...  

    has nobody, NOBODY (not bwog, not spec, not spectrum, not the fed) actually explained why none of us can get tickets??? Seriously, from the bwog that brought us the best journalistic investigations of elevator-buttons, drinking fountains, and coffee quality, I would expect that you could provide us with some info on this! Did they indeed only sell 40 tickets? If so, why the fuck would they do that? Will more tickets later go on sale?
    In sum, I would like to quote her beatitude, the apostle herself: Dear Bwog, I'm addicted to you, don't you know that you're toxic? Gimme gimme more, gimme more, gimme gimme more (information on this topic).

  23. Anonymous

    His next project is a follow-up to his earlier endeavors and is entitled--
    "ANYTHING TO GET ATTENTION; or, WHY I FEEL BAD ABOUT MYSELF & HAVE NOTHING REAL TO OFFER, THE STORY OF A DISPOSABLE NARCISSIST"

    It will be of no real value, receive bad reviews, and be seen by only a few--his highest achievement yet.

  24. Really?  

    Did he steal your firstborn or something? Why all this hostility? Jeez...

    • Anonymous

      His projects consistently reveal that while Mr. Blute is a driven, creative & quirky character, he lacks any real substance or thoughtful intent, other than fulfilling his ego. While he is good at putting himself at the center of attention, he neglects and alienates his audience as a result of his shallow intellect, or at the very least, his disinterest in thoroughly exploring it. It's a good thing he's so shamelessly willing to self-advertise, as I imagine he'll struggle to find verified praise elsewhere. I think someone put it best when they said, "Watching Pat's work is like witnessing an inside joke...the elements appear to be there, and yet they amount to nothing."

  25. StudentTheatreRep  

    Spears is going to be fantastic. Regardless of whether or not reviews are good or bad, Pat is bringing something new and fun to the Columbia theatre community. This show is not about him and even if it was...who cares! He is a brave and incredibly talented human being who deserves to show off what he can do and tell an amazing story with some absolutely INCREDIBLE performers (trust me I've heard some of them sing....) I cannot wait to watch this.

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