Poe Classics Get Skewed Rock Opera Treatment

Jun 8, 2009 at 4:33 pm

The epic spectacle of the Rock Opera: You either love it or hate it. And while it might not be as grandiose a venue as, say, Red Rocks, for such a majestic performance event, Covington’s Leapin’ Lizard Gallery hosts a one-time-only, Edgar-Allen-Poe-inspired musical/conceptual stage show this Friday, and it’s sure to reach for greatness. It’s called The Mask of Amontillado, and it’s a "Rock Waltz" hybridization of two of Poe’s classic short stories, "The Cask of Amontillado" and "The Masque of the Red Death." —-

Cincinnati musical experimentalist Erick Black wrote, recorded and released The Mask of Amontillado as a seven-song LP under the name Erick Apollo Black last year on his own unfortunately/hilariously named Mono Cat 7 label. After adapting it for the stage and recruiting like-minded local artists Jespen and Jane Carver (and others) to act as accomplices, Black got the Lizard folks signed on to facilitate what’s sure to be an interesting night of multi-media weirdness.

Multi-instrumentalist Jane Carver, who twists opera, musical theater and Rock ‘N’ Roll into intriguing new musical compositions, will warm up audiences with an opening set. The second act is folk artist Matthew Shelton, who will appear with his band, Matthew Shelton’s Picnic.

Black is cool enough to offer The Mask for free (or for a donation if you’re feeling generous or philanthropic) as a download off the Mono Cat site, so you can sample it before you get to the show. I’ve checked it out a bit, and as you would probably expect from a “Rock Waltz” based on the work of Poe by a guy with a label called Mono Cat 7, it’s pretty far out—dark and demented like the best Sun City Girls acid-fried spoken-word goodness (think Dante’s Disneyland Inferno) and still pretty enough to rope in fans of average performance art. As if there were such a thing.

Doors open at 8 p.m. Friday. Admission is $5.