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Theater | PERSONAL FILE

The joys of toying with the right's stuff

July 16, 2006

Playwright Justin Tanner made a big splash in L.A. theater in the 1990s, turning out such feverishly loopy hipster riffs on pop culture, warped families and dysfunctional singles as "Bitter Women," "Happytime Xmas," and the cult favorite "Zombie Attack" (co-written with Andy Daley). Returning to his homegrown roots in 2005, Tanner launched the newly formed Third Stage Company in Burbank by skewering L.A.'s small-theater scene in his new play, "Oklahomo!," which returned in May in a revised version; this past spring Tanner revived his wicked 1994 signature piece, "Pot Mom," with original cast members Ellen Ratner and Laurie Metcalf.

How does he consume the culture around him? He offered Lynne Heffley this glimpse:

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FOR THE COMMUTE

Sirius Satellite Radio

ON THE iPOD

The Decemberists, Aidan Hawken, Neko Case, Emmylou Harris

TiVo PICKS

"Project Runway," "Gilmore Girls," "Mad TV" reruns (with Mary Scheer), "Roseanne" reruns

CULTURAL ADDICTION

Buying new CDs and DVDs every Tuesday at Tower

BEDSTAND READING

"Pale Fire" by Vladimir Nabokov, "Appointment in Samarra" by John O'Hara, "We Have Always Lived in the Castle" by Shirley Jackson, "Veronica" by Mary Gaitskill

INTERNET FAVORITES

www.kristianhoffman.com -- the best left-wing blog/rant, plus tons of music links

IN THE NETFLIX QUEUE

"The Night of the Iguana," "The New World," "Dallas" Season 4, "Wolf Creek"

GUILTY PLEASURE

Reading the Op-Ed section (and trying to forgive the right)

FILTERING THE

POP-CULTURE BLITZ

Howard Stern. Nobody takes the sting out of a pompous ass -- referring to White House shill Ann Coulter as "mentally ill" -- better or apologizes with more sincerity (making nice with the Dixie Chicks after slamming them for the whole Bush thing).

In a world where the morality police sound more and more like zealots at a Nuremberg rally, it's only fitting that Howard Stern turns out to be the closest thing this country has to a conscience.

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