The creepy things happening at Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital are standard fare for the prolific horrormeister. Pained howls echo down the corridors, a paraplegic inexplicably recovers, and demonic secrets are revealed. The 15-part drama, which premieres Wednesday on ABC, is an assortment of dark comedy, chills, and atmosphere. "I don't approach Stephen King as a 'horror' author," says Gary Chang, the composer who scored the series. "His strength is describing human existence. The supernatural is involved, but [natural] circumstances lead characters to certain decisions."
One of Kingdom's patients is an artist who's hit by a van while jogging near his Maine home -- inspiration cribbed from an incident that nearly killed King a few years ago. It's a personal piece, Chang admits. "He writes about faith and loss."
Still, scoring genre pieces can be scary. "[Kingdom] is not a traditional horror movie," Chang says. "It's much more outside. Stephen writes about real feelings. They may be surrounded by demons, but the essence of his stories are centered on real emotions. And I get to write real music." Kingdom Hospital airs at 10 p.m. on ABC. -- Michael Gallucci
He's Got Legs
Drag queens lay it all out for their shot at the big time.
Even RuPaul would kill for Richie Verrano's wardrobe, right down to that hip-hugging gold lamé cocktail dress. That's what the 21-year-old will be wearing to Wednesday's Drag Casting Couch auditions at Metro. "Would you believe my mother gave me her dress?" he says. And she'll be in the front row when Verrano tries out for the club's stable of house drag queens in a series of competitions taking place the first Wednesday of each month. Contestants lip-synch and work the stage, then wait for the judges' comments and audience approval. Verrano's never performed in public before, but he hopes eventually to make a living dressed as a woman. "You gotta start somewhere," he says. "And this is going to be my big break." Find out at 9 p.m. at Metro, 820 West Market Street in Akron. Admission is free; call 330-252-9000. -- Cris Glaser
Dead Horse Gallery goes out with a schlong.
"Big Daddy," "Johnson," and "Sperm Station" are a few of Terry Durst's creations appearing in Splooge, his contribution to the final show at Lakewood's Dead Horse Gallery. "All of the pieces are about sex with men," Durst says. That, and bizarro rock and roll from the '60s. "I was listening to Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica, and I wanted to make work that looked like this music sounds," he says. The exhibit runs Friday through March 27 at Dead Horse, 14900 Detroit Avenue in Lakewood. It's open from noon to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; call 216-228-7214. -- Nadia Michel
Return of the Porn King
A couple of years ago, a gay waiter named Frankie was winning Joe Boxer contests at the old Grid bar on West Ninth Street. These days, he's known as Johnny Hazzard, one of the hottest XXX-rated commodities in the porn industry. He's back in town to strip and hype his latest flicks -- Detention and What Men Do -- at 10:30 p.m. and midnight Thursday at Grid/Orbit, 1437 St. Clair Avenue. Admission is free; call 216-623-0113. -- Cris Glaser
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.