Posts tagged Tombstone
Going on three years ago Angie and I first ventured out to one of the most storied of places anyone ever dared to populate: Tombstone, Arizona. Famous for its high rollers, whores and a hella-load of silver, you can still sense the opportunity and desperation that once walked its dusty streets. Have a shot of whiskey in the Crystal Palace Saloon, buy obnoxious souvenirs at the sadly renovated Oriental or tour the mines that made, and broke, this proud town. Whatever you end up doing you simply can’t skip out on seeing the reenactment of only that most infamous of gunfights, the one that took place at the O.K. Corral. Behind it actually, if you’re being anal about the facts, but fifteen or twenty feet don’t make no difference when it comes to the overall quality of this current show.
I say “current” because the production has changed recently and for the better in rather immense ways. When we first saw the shootout (three years ago if’n you’re not paying attention) it was for all intents and purposes a one man show meant to highlight one Stephen Keith who portrayed John Henry “Doc” Holliday. “Crazy Fucking Steve” as I like to call him (because he’s fucking crazy) abused both Doc’s memory and the audience’s patience with diuretic aplomb. As writer, director and resident crazy fucker, Steve reigned in about 80% of the dialogue for himself. I was convinced that when the final confrontation began he was just going to soliloquy all the Cowboys to death. That’s if anyone was even left to see it as boredom induced strokes were an ever present threat. When I checked my watch at the curtain call to see how long the show had run it read “too goddamn long”. Why I even looked is a mystery as it merely confirmed what I already suspected regarding the tumultuous and tortuous length. To sum up, the gunfight at the O.K. Corral as it used to be brings to mind the words “nightmarish” and “I feel like some of my soul is dead now”.
Mercifully, all this has changed.
Again, back to three years ago, upon first parking our horseless carriage on a side alley to then meander up Allen Street, the very first person I had any meaningful words with was this guy:
His name was Kyle and to this day he is still called as such. He’s a man’s man, an adventurer and a historical aficionado. We became fast friends, sharing a devotion to things past and a distaste for most things present. If he seems like a man out of time that’s because he is. His look, personal code of honor and general spirit of badassery that pervades him belie the fact he was born late last century. I’m fully convinced he was really birthed at some point in the 1860s. Alas, I have no proof of how he’s ended up here though I do have my suspicions:
Preposterous theorems aside, what isn’t up for debate is the fact that Kyle currently performs, in a multitude of roles as many of the actors there do, at the newly updated presentation of that solemn showdown. He bravely invited me back to give all of it one more chance.
You know the story. It’s Wednesday October 26th, 1881. About 3 in the afternoon. Shit’s about to get real. Real, real shitty. And all over the place. Maybe even in your mouth a little if you’re breathin’ hard like a lunger so be careful there Doc. Anywho, recollections of that afternoon vary but this fresh script makes sure most confirmed points of interest, moments of confrontation and their accompanyingly specific dialogue will be heard as the story unfolds. Like when Virgil Earp yelled “Hold! I don’t want (or mean) that!” in a failed attempt to cut the carnage off before it even began:
But no one listened, and the smoke wagons proceeded to smoke:
Thirty shots in as many seconds was a confusing mess but every performer positioned themselves well seeming even to slow time as to give us all a better grasp of what happens when harsh words lead to harsh action and ultimately a harsh end for some of those that spoke ’em.
Once the dust settles and the blood begins to pool the scene freezes as Doc goes on to wrap-up the gunnin’-down. He educates us on the pertinent details about injuries and expirations both immediate and those on down the line for all the combatants. Surprisingly, this is presented without too much testimonial tilting favoring one faction over the other. Of course your average tourist expects for the “good guy” Earps and Holliday to vanquish the “bad guy” Cowboy crew but no one was squeaky clean back then and this show, along with a memorial plaque conspicuously placed just outside the seating area by distant relatives of those who fell in that dingy alleyway, doesn’t seek to romanticize as much as instruct. This gunfight’s best not painted in crisp black and white, but rather in tangled shades of grey. Besides, if the Cowboys were all that bad would I have let Angie get so close?
Now see here, if you’d have ever told me I’d someday return to this show after that first forlorn review I’d have kindly asked you to open your mouth as wide as possible. And then I’d shit in it, filling your wanton maw with the very substance you’d been attempting to sway me with. Don’t talk it if you ain’t willing to chew on it every once in a while kid. Yes, such was the depths of my disapproval at what used to pass as entertainment within those hallowed halls lying next to Fly’s Photographic Studio. But now I stand relieved and thoroughly regaled.
Never have I seen an outfit go from suck ass to kick ass so wholeheartedly.
6 long delayed but now well deserved rounds in the cylinder for the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
It’s an admirable attraction, this show and it’s attached museum of sorts. So, if you ever visit Tombstone, spend a bit of time and some money there too. You won’t be disappointed to part with either. And even though Kyle’s my pal I have no need to blow smoke up any respective asses. All the cordials I’ve afforded the Corral are earned through the tears, blood and mostly sweat by the ensemble cast. Dressed in all wool under a beautifully unforgiving Arizona sky, this group of men work for little fanfare and even less money. They don’t ask for much ‘cept that you remember and honor the past.
Amigos, you’re a daisy if you do just that.
If you head south out of Tucson and continue driving across the goddamn great state of Arizona it’s hard not to feel the mysterious, silver mine magnetism of a certain town called Tombstone. It got its name from a movie way back in nineteen ninety and three. And if you believe that you can suck my dick because you’re probably blond, hot, have nice boobs and are good at sucking dick. But seriously, suck my dick! Even more seriously if you haven’t seen the movie inspired by “The Town Too Tough to Die” take a moment to go and fuck yourself! It’s an amazing movie based on an even more amazing place that has admittedly seen bigger but I wouldn’t say better days. Any day spent in a historically laden Wild West location is a balm to the soul and should be filled with laughter, whiskey and respect.
Plus there’s still a lot to do in Tombstone despite its boom going bust back in the late 1880s and besides fine food and drink there’s an abundance of entertainment to be had in the name of satisfying the now predominantly tourist driven local economy. It’s like Disneyland with dusty streets, dirty whores and dagnasty gunslingers on every corner and for my money the best show in town is the Helldorado Town Gunfights located at 4th and Toughnut inside Helldorado Town Western Theme Park. Here’s the surly sonsabitches who won’t really shoot at ya’ but will end up leaving you in stitches nonetheless.
One them is probably drunk, the other one certainly is and that other guy doubled Val Kilmer’s Doc Holliday! Who is who? Shit, I don’t know…I was also drinking. Which makes everything better in my humble opinion (and also in fact). Another point of non dispute is that Helldorado Town will have you conjuring up nostalgic feelings of heading to your local carnival all kid-like ‘cuz admission is free and all the things to do (including a shooting gallery, jailhouse and mini-golf course) cost just a few bucks here and there. And take this from a guy who’s gone to see the “official” re-enactment at the O.K. Corral, any dollar spent on this show or tipping the actors afterwards is terribly well spent as the Helldorado Town Gunfights are worth every penny and then some while “The Main Event” at the Corral as they call it is about as much fun as having a badger rape your face. And for all those badger balls in your mouth there’s not even any audience participation unless you count the paramedics taking away everyone who died of boredom. The boys in Helldorado Town do it right and get you involved from the get- go. Just look at this fine piece of saloon girl sassiness they brought down to bring some justice.
That’s Angie my wife up there with the Kyle my hetero life mate. They’re both handsome creatures plus both are accomplished actors so I’m not the only one with a throbbing erection at the moment right?
Something else you can do with your sweaty hands is gun spinning.
And this guy here is good. Real good. As in a lifetime of movie stunt work good. He carries off casual with ease yet still somehow subtly conveys this aura of badassery that tells you if shit were for some reason really going down you’d want this guy on your side. Unfortunately he was the bad guy but that didn’t scare our intrepid marshal one bit… because he just had Angie face the guy down instead.
Either that or he just wanted her to touch his gun instead of me. Why not me Kyle? Is it because of the badger Kyle? It didn’t matter in the end anyway as Angie just winged the desperado on a ricochet so another duel to the death was headed our way. Right after the good marshal jerked off the Invisible Swordsman.
Alright, that didn’t happen (or I don’t think it was happening) but the plot still thickened. Once the law left to go nurse a hangover Terry Bellefleur from True Blood showed up dressed as a miner.
Accusations were then made about a stolen piece of ass. He is a miner after all and does need his mule but sadly his pick ax was no match against a pistol and the marshal’s liver was no match for how much he’d had to drink that afternoon.
So without giving away who wins it was the good guys yo! (Sorry, just got into Breaking Bad…yo!)
Why would I reveal the ending? Why would I do such a thing? Besides the fact they run several versions of the show it still doesn’t matter if you already know the outcome because you will enjoy every minute of this performance. Ang and I saw it last year and made a point to drive back down and see it again once we returned to the AZ. It is that fun and even informative if you pay attention. Billed as “hysterically accurate” it’s apparent even between the jokes, slapstick and mild innuendo that those involved have a passion for not just the stage but for our rich history as well. And when it was all said and done, I was first in line like the giddy twelve year old pretend cowboy that I am to get a picture with the cast.
And Ang was right there with me. By the way, if you’re mesmerized by the eyes it’s not just you. I mean the beard is a bit off putting (and Angie’s boobs are way nicer) but damn!
Now, if you’ve ever felt the Call of the West you will undoubtedly make the pilgrimage to Tombstone at some point in your life. With any luck and a good portion of providence I’ll be back for many more adventures myself before that final sunset comes down the trail. And whenever those adventurous times come I’ll be sure to visit the Helldorado Town Gunfights, gun slung showbiz at its finest. 6 rounds in the cylinder this week for one damn pleasing production.
To everyone involved there with keeping the spirit of the Old West alive I tip my hat and raise my glass. Most wait for the next iPhone like unsatisfied vultures, texting and Facebooking the hours away between clawing for whatever it is the Joneses have to make themselves feel worthy and alive. Me? I walked past Boot Hill Cemetery, across boardwalks a hundred years old and dined at the Crystal Palace Saloon with pals. I wandered a timeless town as both the daylight and the triple digits dissipated sharing in more toasts than I can remember. I breathed in deep that feeling your’re right where you belong even if you’re a century or so late. The mines might have run dry, or rather a bit too wet, but the American Southwest still holds so much worth. That’s my idea of livin’. And as long as I can ride it, I will. And me and mine will always ride true.
Thanks my Arizona amigos, for doing the same.
Do I even need to write this? Is there any doubt this will receive 6 glorious rounds in the cylinder, a score as of yet unrivaled in the history of this humble reviewery? The first answer is “yes”. The second a resounding “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” If you don’t get that punch yourself in the dick for not having seen this already. Or if you’re a girl find someone with a dick and punch them while saying “why Kate you’re not wearing a bustle” and stew in the pain and confusion this will inevitably cause! Tombstone stands as one of the finest Westerns ever made and it almost wasn’t.
It almost wasn’t made.
Did you not know that either? Agghhhh, don’t make me make you punch yourself or others again! Okay let’s all calm down and put our fists and dicks away at least for the moment. The purpose of this blog is to make you laugh and think and learn something along the way that maybe you haven’t learned just yet. So no harm in not knowing this movie’s minutiae but still penis punching if you haven’t seen it ever. It’s filled with one of the greatest ensemble casts ever assembled plus nearly every line is infinitely quotable. It showcases beautiful sets and scenery and everyone is wearing just about the coolest fucking wardrobe you’ve ever seen. Top it all off with tons of action, and even more heart, and it’s easy to understand why I want to be buried in this movie when I die! In the movie!
Is this unrealistic? No nearly as much as all the expectations surrounding the production of this film. Long story short and off the top of my head Kevin Costner was involved with this and it was headed in a different direction and running into all kinds of shit along the way. So he leaves and the studio almost shuts down the whole thing when along comes Jack “Kurt Russell” Burton to literally save the day. He pretty much goes on to direct the whole thing behind the scenes and gathers so much awesome into a little over two hours it’s not hard to realize why there wasn’t any left lying around for Costner who went off all butt-hurt to make Wyatt Earp.
Now if you haven’t seen Wyatt Earp just step away for a minute and go take a shit. Now stare at that shit for two hours and then keep staring at it for another hour and eleven minutes. That’s pretty much it. No shit. Now I’ll admit I’ve never watched the entirety of the film myself but it’s got some glaring historical inaccuracies in it to round out the boredom from what I hear. And from Mr. Costner what do you expect? Did you see Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves? Kevin’s not even British! And sure, Tombstone has some inaccuracies too..but then it has this!
Is it possible my erection just got an erection? Why yes it is! This movie just squeaks by into reality and we get scenes like this one? That’s some amazing Great Conjunction kinda shit right there can I get an amen?
Thanks for the backup Aughra! Don’t argue with Aughra or she will skull fuck you. I swear. That’s what my buddy Ken over at That F’ing Monkey told me and he, much like this musty muppet here, does not lie! And when I tell you that Tombstone is worth all the time you will ever give it I am not lying either. Did you know Powers Boothe is in this too? And Michael Biehn? Fact: Powers and I were both born on June 1st. And also fact I spent some time in an elevator with Michael Biehn so by the transitive property I was sort of in this movie. Holy shit, a Dark Crystal reference and self gratification all in the same review! And just in case you were thinking “I don’t know, maybe this movie doesn’t have anything in it for me OR anything to do that’s relatable to D&D”. Well if you’re thinking that I’m doing better than Spence and Gus and also I have this for you:
FYI I’m somewhere between Johnny Ringo and Wyatt Earp so I guess I’m sort of Dana Delaney with a knife stump for a hand. BOOM, Walking Dead reference! And that reference alone is far more exciting that the season finale that just aired. It was boring and forced and trite all wrapped up in poorly written and weakly directed. All the things Tombstone isn’t though both feature Merle and really who wouldn’t give their right hand to be in both Tombstone and The Walking Dead?
Okay, I’m done. I’ve been running and imbibing all night and my folks just left town and I’m emotionally compromised so a little or 850 words should be more than good enough.
I said it before and I’ll say it again. 6 superb rounds in the cylinder for the Western miracle that is Tombstone. I could easily watch this in part or whole every week until I died and die a happy man.
Hopefully with my boots on at that.
Till next week then.
It’s Christmastime so to celebrate remember to change your avatar on every message board you frequent to something Western. Bonus points for switching out your profile pic on Facebook.
If you don’t you’ll make Old Time Whiskey Jesus cry! He’ll cry whiskey tears!