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The Big Short

Comedy knows no limits—and neither does Patton Oswalt. His work is honest, and with honesty comes indecency and, in Oswalt’s case, vicious self-deprecation. “My circle of friends has always been funnier than me,” Oswalt jeered with his recognizable croaky chuckle. “It’s just the playfulness and creativity of their comedy that always keeps me going and [...]
Danny Hamen

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Comedy knows no limits—and neither does Patton Oswalt. His work is honest, and with honesty comes indecency and, in Oswalt’s case, vicious self-deprecation.

“My circle of friends has always been funnier than me,” Oswalt jeered with his recognizable croaky chuckle. “It’s just the playfulness and creativity of their comedy that always keeps me going and keeps me focused.”

Oswalt stands at a mere 5’3” and was named after the famous general from WWII, leading a life of living up to almost impossible standards. He carries with him a brooding, hyper-aware persona that you might not expect from a pudgy, middle-aged comic. Although Patton’s father was a marine, the family opted to settle down in the suburbs of Sterling, Virginia, shielding a young Patton from the military lifestyle.

I didn’t have that military brat upbringing,” he said. “I grew up in a featureless, personality-less suburb. There was nothing to push against.”

Oswalt has always been a stand-up comic, first and foremost. Cutting his teeth on small stages led him to a gig as a writer for MADtv, and eventually to his first stand-up special for HBO’s Comedy Half Hour. Oswalt later became a household name for his popular role as the lovable stooge-y sidekick, Spence Olchin, on The King of Queens, and his first starring role as the anthropomorphic rat chef, Remy, in the smash Pixar hit, Ratatouille. Throughout his ascension to the top of the popular comedy scene, standup remained a big part of Oswalt’s arsenal. He returned to this mainstay for his most recent venture, Talking for Clapping, a new stand-up special which debuted on Netflix last April.

As expected, his act is wearily optimistic, like the man himself. It’s a fully realized set of self-effacing wit, broaching subjects like hard drugs, My Little Pony, and even God Himself.

“I think I realized I was [an atheist] when I was studying religion in college,” Oswalt said when asked about his staunch aversion to organized religion. “It wasn’t the contradictions in the religions, but the similarities in different world religions. That’s when I realized that I thought that religion was just a common myth that people made up to deal with the harshness of reality. And if anything, it just made comedy seem that much more beautiful. Like, well if there can be creation and destruction myths in order to deal with life, than maybe jokes are just mini versions of that. And there is something kind of cool about that, you know? You see, I have never been a militant atheist; I have always been a happy atheist. I am happy that other religions exist because it shows the power of storytelling.”

Oswalt is also known for the virality of his strong and often pugilant Twitter presence—picking fights with everybody’s least favorite pharma bro, Martin Shkreli, and putting Trump on blast throughout election night.

Trading funny for fascism isn’t much of a fun trade-off, Oswalt said.

“He’s not going to help anything. I’ll get 10 new minutes of material, and then the world is going to suck for the next four years for a lot of marginalized people.”

Oswalt is a single dad, after tragically losing his wife, true crime writer Michelle McNamara, last April. He admits that becoming a parent has changed his creative outlook on comedy, although it hasn’t softened his jokes. He said that his daughter would probably be ready for his comedy when she is in her teens.

“It isn’t even so much about the language; I am just talking about stuff that I don’t think she really cares about all that much. She would rather watch Teen Titans Go.”

That, or perhaps Ratatouille.

Patton Oswalt will perform at the Palace Theater on February 24.

For more, visit  pattonoswalt.com.

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Arts & Culture

Q&A: Columbus artist Mandi Caskey wants to bring us together

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Context plays one of the most important roles in our understanding of art. For instance, if you saw the unveiling of Columbus artist Mandi Caskey’s latest masterpiece, you’d probably equate the message to the daily protests that have been held in Columbus over the past week.

When the mural on the abandoned highway overpass near Scioto Audubon Metro Park was started, that wasn’t the case. It was a message meant to distract us from the hardships that COVID-19 flooded our lives with.

Now, to some people, the mural’s message, which stretches over 400 feet, takes on a new meaning.

(614) caught up with Caskey to find out the inspiration behind the piece and how she feels about subjectiveness in art. Check out a brief Q&A below and some incredible aerial footage from photographer/videographer John Thorne.

Obviously a project this big can't be tackled alone. Who all helped bring this idea to life?

From what I've read, it seems like your idea for this was greenlight very quickly and easily. Why do you think people responded to the idea in your message so strongly?

What roadblocks did you run into during the process of creating the mural?

How do you think art helps people during times of unrest and uncertainty like we're in right now?

I think there's something to be said about how the mural was made on the basis of the coronavirus pandemic and bringing people together and now it can take on the meaning of the social change that needs to happen in this world. What are your thoughts on that?


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Columbus artists employed to paint boarded-up downtown for #ArtUnitesCbus

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The Columbus arts community has really stepped up to the plate when it comes to trying to unite and inspire during tumultuous times. One of the latest efforts from visual artists around the area includes CAPA and Greater Columbus Arts Council (GCAC) latest partnership, #ArtUnitesCbus.

“When I do these projects, I try to remember to have fun and enjoy my loved ones. Even though it’s a bad time, there’s always room for love,” visual artist Hakim Callwood said.

The creative venture will exist to employ around 20 Columbus visuals artists. Their job will be to paint murals in place of the broken windows at the Ohio Theater and GCAC office. 

The art installations are expected to be finished by the end of the week.

“#ArtUnitesCbus is just one small way the arts community is trying to help. These murals are not the answer, simply a message that we ALL can, and must, help heal our community,” said Tom Katzenmeyer, President & CEO of the Arts Council, in a GCAC press release on Monday

Now more than ever is an extremely important time to give our community artists a platform. 

“The Columbus artists are more of a family than I think people understand,” Callwood said. “Whether we all talking every day or hanging out together; it doesn’t matter. When there’s times of need we always use our talents to support.” 

Check out the progress of their murals below.

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Arts & Culture

Weekend Roundup: 5/29 – 5/31

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With Ohio slowly starting to fully reopen, initial in-person gatherings have trickled into our news feeds.

Below are a few things you can check out over the weekend if you’ve been itching to leave your house and are capable of following COVID-19 guidelines.

Friday

Fair Food Weekend @ Oakland Nursery

One of the most disappointing summertime cancellations was the axing of the Ohio State Fair. For those still wanting to get their elephant ears or deep-fried oreo fix, Chester Foods will be bringing a pop-up food truck to the Oakland Nursery. Corn dogs, funnel cakes, fried oreos, fresh-cut fries, and lemonade shake-ups will all be on the menu. Fair food will be set up on both Friday and Saturday.

Time: 12 p.m. - 8 p.m. | Address: 4261 W. Dublin Granville Rd.

Saturday

Sonic The Hedgehog/Jumanji: The Next Level and The Hunt/The Invisible Man @ South Drive-In

With movie theaters in Ohio still closing their doors, the drive-in revival has been sweeping the state, nation, and world. Once drive-ins were given the go-ahead by DeWine, South Drive-In began to provide the double feature experience to eager moviegoers. Admission is $9.50 on Friday/Saturday and $7.50 on Sunday for those 12+, $2 for ages 5-11, and free for those under 4.

The showings for this weekend are as follows: 

Screen 1:

  • 9:05 p.m. Sonic The Hedgehog (PG)
  • 10:53 p.m. Jumanji: The Next Level (PG-13)
  • 12:56 a.m. Sonic The Hedgehog (Friday/Saturday only) 

Screen 2:

  • 9:25 p.m. The Hunt (R)
  • 11:05 p.m. The Invisible Man (R)
  • 1:09 a.m. The Hunt (Friday/Saturday only)

Check out the South Drive-In website to see what social distancing guidelines need to be followed.

Time: Arrive 1-2 hours prior to first showing | Address: 3050 S. High St.

Sunday

Reggae on the Patio @ Skully’s Music-Diner

If you’re in search of a relaxing Sunday, look no further than Skully’s. The music venue/bar will be opening its patio for those to have socially distance hangs, drinks, and wings. Skully’s will be setting the mood perfectly for a chill Sunday by spinning reggae music all night long. Get yourself out of the house and go catch some island vibes.

Time: 7 p.m. - 2 a.m. | Address: 1151 N. High St.

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