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Little Women OperaStand back! There will be none of my usual jokes and small talk this week, for this week I bring news that can only be characterized as very, very, very bad: someone has written -and, worse yet, had produced! -an opera version of “Little Women”; will the terror never end?

While it is true that we are probably in no immediate danger, as the production has so far been confined to Cooperstown, NY, I still feel, seeing as that is basically only one state over, that it’s a little too close for comfort. Plus, I think they said it had already appeared on PBS, which makes me very uneasy.

I speak as one who has always had an open mind (yeah, right) where new and unorthodox artforms are concerned, and one who has always been ready to suspend my disbelief for anything that gets a few good reviews. The latter tendency has led me down the garden path straight to oblivion more than once: yes, I saw both “Gladiator” and “Forrest Gump”, not to mention the last movie version of “Little Women.”

This time, however, they have pushed me too far; I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it any more. Sure, it got an OK review in the New Yorker; that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be banished forever to the furthest outposts of Hell’s slimy nether-region. The thought even occurred to me that this could be Osama’s latest and most sinister plot to undermine and destroy our way of life, but I’m not sure even he could be that devious.

I don’t know why talented people get involved in these situations; it’s hard to imagine a priority list that long. They just seem to get stuck on certain things, like “The Count of Monte Cristo”, for instance -they just made that again, too. Why? No one knows, and no one went the last twelve times, either. Maybe they’re thinking that if they just change a couple of things, it’d finally be perfect. Who knows?

Theater people are nuts. They’re still trying to shove Shakespeare down our throats, even though no one has any idea what he’s talking about half the time. Which is fine, I’m used to that; but an opera version of “Little Women”? I’m sorry, that’s over the line. Where’s Jesse Helms when you need him? A lynching would be too good for ’em.

Moving on to things that a regular human being could actually want to do, it’s worth mentioning that Steven Wright, known for his animated, hyper-kinetic brand of slapstick humor, is at the Melody Tent in Hyannis tonight (Friday, July 26th.) This weekend also features a particularly good line-up at the Wellfleet Beachcomber, with the up-and-coming Spookie Daly Pride up tonight and the Figgs on Saturday; both bands are exceptionally entertaining, with Spookie working the funky/swampy side of the street and the Figgs submitting cheerfully to the loud and fast rules.

It also says in my notes here that Eric Short (of Big Eric Short and -omigod! the Little Women! See, it is a conspiracy! -though Eric says the ladies, bassist Susan Goldberg and drummer Diane Gateley, now prefer “Big Eric Short and the Mojo Women”; I suggested they combine both ideas and call it “Big Eric Short and the Big Short Little Mojo Women”, but there’s still no news on when a settlement might be reached) has bought and is working on a new house, and, well, of course he would’ve bought it before he started working on it, that’s stupid, you wouldn’t just start working on a house for nothing. Unless someone had hired you, or was paying you to work on the house -that’s a situation where you might be working on a house you hadn’t bought, I guess.

In any case, we certainly wish him luck.

You can find what’s left of Eric at Harry’s in Hyannis on both Tuesday and Wednesday nights: Tuesdays with Big Eric Short and the Little Taliban Mojo Opera Women (how about that one? that’s pretty good, hah?) and Wednesdays with 57 Heavy, who also play every Thursday at the Captain’s Club in West Dennis. The exceptionally dusty Mr. Short also appears every Monday at the Brew House in Hyannis with Care Factor Zero, in addition to his day job at Charlie’s Music. We urge him to give something up immediately, as he is clearly working too hard.

Although on the other hand, if he does start up a new band (and no time like the present, y’know, if you want to make a killing in the music business), he should definitely call it “What’s Left of Eric”; this is an excellent band name. Good luck with the new band, Eric!

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