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Bootown: Death on a Roller Coaster

Bootown: Death on a Roller Coaster
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By Zazil Farfan

Houstonians have heard a few horror stories here and there. My best friend always tells me about a haunted house on Beechnut and Gessner. We are all aware of how riddled in shit and dangerous a huge city like ours can be. Crimes are generally reported and often times televised for the masses. Many injustices are served to the people, and everyone knows about everything that happens.

But when something atrocious happens in the backyard of a small town, people seem to take less notice. It’s a bit more out of place. In the late 90s, the community of a small town in Texas was horrified to find a fellow citizen engulfed in flames as the perpetrators were riding a rollercoaster nearby, basking in the shining summer sun. One of the criminals confessed to the crime, but the events still cast a dark shadow on the town.

Bootown presents its latest production, Death and a Roller Coaster, an abstract visual shadow puppet show telling the story behind these events. Bootown is a non-profit that hosts Grown Up Story Time, in which Bootown staff select from stories with adult content that are submitted by the community, and then act these selections out on stage.

Death and a Roller Coaster is the second installment in Lindsay Burleson’s River Bottom Series. The first, River Bottom Rules, premiered in 2012. It followed the life in a semi-no-man’s-land in east Texas through the point of view of a girl. Burleson, the creator and co-artistic director at Bootown, comments that this series is meant to explore the lives of those in rural communities that often go overlooked. It separates rural citizens as independent and free of judgment from the masses. Lindsay comments that they are “unlike those who live in the suburbs or urban towns, they exist in anonymity, allowed to be as weird, eccentric, kind, or evil as they want to be.”

Death and a Roller Coaster opens on January 2 through January 24. The show will be visiting three venues in Houston. They will be accompanied by Something Fierce and JOHNWAYNEISDEAD who are scheduled to follow the act on opening and closing nights.

The schedule is as follows:

  • 2; 9 PM – Rudyards British Pub (2010 Waugh Dr.)
  • 4, 7, and 8; 8PM – Alley Kat Bar and Lounge (3718 Main St.)
  • 19, 21, and 24; 8 PM – PJ’s Sports Bar (614 West Gray St.)