Break-ups and Exes 

Have you ever had a bad break-up? Maybe you caught your boyfriend with another girl who happened to be your best friend, or maybe your ex-girlfriend just wouldn't take "Go away and stop slashing my tires!" for an answer. Savannah Bearden is a connoisseur of such stories, and this weekend she will bring some of the most extreme stories of emotional pain, self-loathing, and completely inappropriate social behavior to the stage at Crosstown Arts.

This is the third year Bearden, Bruce Bui, Jami Hale, Dustin Holden, and Brandon Sams have put on The Break-Up Show and the first outside the auspices of the Emerald Theater Company, which meant a move from TheatreWorks to Crosstown Arts.

"We think the space is the perfect match for the format of the show," Bearden says. "Because this space is real open and casual, I just want to make this a party every night. I want people to feel like they have come to our house and are laughing at the same kind of stuff we laugh at."

Bearden got the idea for The Break-Up Show when she saw a musical comedy team in Chicago set angry break-up messages to music. "I thought it would be better to stage dramatic readings of the stories and emails, because they're often funny, pathetic, and passive-aggressive," she says.

The break-up stories in the show are all true and are submitted by friends and fans during an annual call for entries. According to Bearden, "When we started the show, we just straight up did readings of these emails and messages that were sent to us. Since then, we've all kind of grown into our own characters. We're kind of caricatures of ourselves."

Eventually, the idea grew to include not only monologues but also skits and videos.

"We have video segments this year that range from music videos to a man-on-the-street piece where we went to the Levitt Shell and asked people what was wrong with us, why are we still single?" Bearden says. "That was fun."

The stories reflect the changing face of dating in the internet age. "We got a lot of submissions from people on dating websites, because they just have so much material," Bearden adds. "Most people submit things that another person had inflicted on them, because who really wants to air the embarrassing stuff you have done yourself? That said, all five cast members reveal our embarrassing stuff. We can dish it out, and we can take it. We all make fun of ourselves in the show. We put it all out there."

The Break-Up Show runs Thursday-Saturday, July 18th-20th, at Crosstown Arts. Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m. $10.

Ex-Cult Record-Release Show

Goner Records punk marvels Ex-Cult just got back from a successful West Coast tour, and now they're ready to hit the Midwest and East, kicking off a whirlwind fortnight barnstorming with like-minded Austin rockers The OBNIIIs with a show at The Buccaneer.

The show will not only inaugurate the tour but also serve as a record-release party for Ex-Cult's new single, "Mr. Fantasy," which they will be selling at the venues on tour before it hits the Goner shelves on July 23rd. The new song, recorded with Doug Easley, whose work with the Grifters, Sonic Youth, and the White Stripes made Memphis a recording mecca for indie rock in the '90s, is a tense rave-up that expands the band's sonic palette while showing off a rhythm section dialed in by months of relentless touring.

The OBNIIIs are named for founder Orville Bateman Neely III's initials. Memphis audiences may remember the big splash they made at Gonerfest 8. Now on their second album of fuzzy, analog, Johnny Thunders-style gutter punk, the band's live performances are as sweaty as they are relentlessly rowdy, making them a perfect complement to Ex-Cult's precision assault.

The bands will be joined at the Buccaneer on Thursday, July 18th, by The Sheiks.

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