There is virtually nothing going on theater-wise right now. Some comedy shows, a touring production of The Phatom of the Opera... see our theater listings for a complete roundup of your paltry options. (Pylon is your best bet.)

Here's a question. The theater scene is so desperately dead in the summer that I will essentially cover anything. Anything! Shakespeare in the park? Musical theater in Tigard? Sketch comedy in your mom's basement? All the major companies hit the snooze button in the summer, but I still have an arts section to fill--as does every other paper in town. Instead of going up against Third Rail, PCS, Vertigo, and Artist's Rep in the fall, why don't smaller companies take advantage of the lull and produce work in the off season? It would almost guarantee more press attention than they're likely to get otherwise.

And then, of course, the city lurches to life in the full-on clusterfuck that is next weekend. Hey, Artist's Rep? Though I'd very much like to, I can't go to the opening night of Blackbird, because I'm seeing Reggie Watts and Antony and the Johnsons at TBA that night. Ditto MusicFest NW. It's great to have options, but it's really frustrating that two of the biggest annual festivals our city has to offer overlap. (Why not just throw Wordstock in there too, while we're at it?)

It's particularly frustrating because most people I know are going to default to seeing the same stale bands at MusicFest rather than taking a chance on what TBA has to offer. For example: I had trouble convincing a friend that he should see Reggie Watts at TBA instead of Built to Spill at MusicFest, even though he admitted that he's seen Built to Spill approximately 47 times, as has just about everyone who's lived here for any length of time. A brand new show from a frighteningly talented, hyper-intelligent, Andy Kaufman Comedy Award-winning performance artist, or a chance to hear a band that peaked 11 years ago perform an album you've got memorized anyway? I like Perfect from Now On too, but not as much as I like challenging, thought-provoking performances I can actually connect with.

I hate to impose this kind of arbitrary MusicFest/TBA dichotomy: It shouldn't have to be an either/or, but unfortunately, due to scheduling, it is. And that sucks.