Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Yes, dear. I have a message for you. What was it? Ah, yes! Go to hell.
That is all.
Oh, and happy Halloween everyone! Hope your costumes were great. I apparently dressed up as an American vandal in Singapore.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Mel Brooks and the creative dream team behind the record-setting musical version of "The Producers" is back on Broadway, and along with their own impressive Tony total, they've put together a cast with -- a what I think is an unprecedented -- four Tony winners, not to mention a multiple Emmy winner, in their musical version of Brooks' "Young Frankenstein." Still, despite all the special effects lightning onstage, there's just never the right electricity to give life to this primeval soup of fine ingredients. Granted, Roger Bart, who plays the title role, is currently sidelined with a rather serious injury, which no doubt throws off the balance of the show greatly, even though understudy Matthew LaBanca is giving a solid performance in his stead. Even with that in mind, however, the biggest problem with "Young Frankenstein" is that it's just more of the same. Really, how many times can the Jerome Robbins "Fiddler on the Roof" choreography be parodied? There are plenty of fun moments, many involving the always wonderful Andrea Martin as Frau Blucher. And Brooks' music is still appealing even in its repetitive simplicity. But unlike "The Producers," which strung these gags along to several "wow" moments, there's no such point in this show. Perhaps the famous scene in which the Monster (Shuler Hensley) performs "Puttin' on the Ritz" was meant to be that moment. But unlike "Springtime for Hitler," which was wonderfully reimagined to fit in with the musical, the moment here isn't that radically different than what is in the film. While it might be fun to see a favorite moment like that recreated in person, it's pretty hard to justify the bloated ticket prices they've set for this show.
Yeah, I've already reviewed this show. I'm revisiting it only to admit that I was wrong, wrong, wrong. A friend of mine got me onstage seating for the show this weekend, and it was a blast. Back when I reviewed it, I assumed "Xanadu" would already be halfway across the River Styx by now. But it's doing respectable business, and I say bravo to it. Not only was I wrong about the show's prospects, I was also dead wrong when I attempted to correct its mythology (and I'm surprised no one called me out on this in the comments). Paris did indeed kill Achilles, not Hector, as I tried to say. Jeez. I was a grump when I wrote that review, so consider this a slap to June Mike!
Also another fun fact: With "Young Frankenstein" in my Playbill collection, I now have one beginning with every letter of the alphabet, except for Z. Time to bring back "Zanna, Don't!" or "Zorba," folks. Or perhaps someone can write a one-person show about Zero Mostel or Zsa Zsa Gabor. I don't know whatever happened to my Playbill of "Zorro: The Musical," though.
Oh, and speaking of pointless miscellany, yet one more song is gone from the theme song candidates: Krisanthi Pappas' "Pure Imagination" medley. Gosh, I'm rooting for Jessica Molaskey now.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Then, I moved here and noticed the deep-seated contempt so many long-time New Yorkers had for the man. That made me take notice. After all, I disliked George W. Bush long before he had the chance to show his true colors in the White House.
Now that ambivalence is gone. He's crossed the line into the unforgivable. Most egregious was his decision to kiss the butt of Family Research Council executive director Tony Perkins -- who, by the way, has some ties to white supremacist groups in the not-so-distant past -- by coming up with some bizarre circumstance under which he'd support a federal marriage amendment. The other was his equally bizarre decision to root for the Red Sox. He explained that one away by saying he'd always support the American League team in the World Series, unless, perhaps, the Mets were involved. You hear that Houston, St. Louis, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Washington, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Phoenix, Denver, Miami and the sad half of Chicago? He automatically hates your teams.
Seriously, though, do you know how much of a spit-in-the-face it is to Yankee fans for him to come out for the Red Sox? Giuliani had better hope his next appearance at a Yankees game isn't on Bat Day. And I wonder what that gay couple -- you know, that one who took him in after one of his many marriages failed -- thinks of his sudden support, albeit tepid support, for a marriage amendment? Politicians pander. I know. But these turncoat moments are so egregious that I'll bet even Mitt Romney's embarrassed for him.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Tired of seeing films adapted for the stage? Well, how about seeing a film that never even got made adapted for the stage? Honestly, I had no idea that "The Farnsworth Invention," Aaron Sorkin's new play about the race to invent television, now in previews for its Broadway debut at The Music Box, was adapted from an unproduced screenplay until I read up a bit on its later, but the production is so cinematic, I'd already made that guess. The Andrew Lippa-composed relentless underscoring, the huge number of characters and the vignette-style scenes are some of the obvious signs that this is a medium-out-of-water experience. Still, as a former broadcast major in college, it's a compelling story, although I imagine it might be rather tedious for some. The two leads in the cast--the heretofore criminally underused Jimmi Simpson as brainiac inventor Philo Farnsworth and Hank Azaria ruthless businessman and NBC founder David Sarnoff--are more than up to the task here. The big problem comes from the rest of the cast. No one is particularly bad; some, in fact, are quite good. However, most of the 18 or so supporting members play multiple roles to flesh out the more than 100 characters in this show. And some of these characters appear so briefly, it's a bit confusing to see one of the guys funding Farnsworth's research suddenly working for Sarnoff in another scene, or to see Sarnoff barking orders at the young actor who was only recently playing his childhood self. What's more, the script relies entirely too much on narration, and the fact that our two narrators establish themselves as not-too-trustworthy from the get-go makes it even more problematic. Even so, this "Rashomon" of television history is worth checking out for anyone who isn't put off by quite a bit of technical babble. Also, in technical and pacing terms, it was in great shape, particularly considering it was the third preview.
Die Mommie Die!
Housed appropriately enough in the same theatre that brought us "Evil Dead: The Musical: last year, Charles Busch's 1999 play is finally here for New York viewers. With melodramatic mugging, intentionally cheesy effects and suggested incest-o-plenty, fans of Busch, and "Evil Dead" for that matter, won't be disappointed. While it's always fun to see Busch bring one of his anti-heroines to life--in this case, faded chanteuse Angela Arden--the real discovery here is "As The World Turns" star Van Hansis as Arden's dopey, psychopathic, nymphomaniac son Lance. No, I'm not just saying that because he's cute. Hansis does the best job here of keeping up with the show's over-the-nature, without which, the "in a good way" that follows "bad" would disappear.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Oh, and I also must give special credit to the Californian who found this spot with the Google search: "Would Tom Cruise love to get a hangover in Iraq if a car bomb went off while he was on marijuana." I can only assume you read the same news story that I did. Or you're really, really disturbed. Either way, bravo.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
To Mexico (favorite key words: David Beckham, Britney Spears, Hitler, gay)
Actually, I'm not sure which gay sign hit first for me: the love of Beckham, or the love of Britney. But I'm pretty sure Hitler wasn't a catalyst in that awakening.
To Colombia (favorite key word: gay)
I'm single, boys!
To Chile (favorite key words: gay, homosexual, Nazi)
I'm really, really single, boys! And I watch "The Sound of Music" every year.
To Italy (favorite key word: Viagra)
Sono singolo, uomini. And very patient.
To Germany (favorite key words: Hitler, Viagra)
Um, guys? You might want to broaden your horizons. And that might help with the other problem, too. Just sayin'.
To the Czech Republic (favorite key word: dolly buster)
What the hell's a dolly buster?!
To Slovakia (favorite key word: dolly buster)
Well, whatever it is, could it be the key to once again creating a reunified Czechoslovakia?
To Iran (favorite key word: IAEA)
Um, guys? See my above advice for Germany? That applies here, too. Just sayin'.
To the Philippines (favorite key words: terrorism, homosexual, love)
Oh, I'm, uh, not single anymore. No, it wasn't the terrorism thing. It was that last word.
To Pakistan (favorite key words: jihad, terrorism, IAEA, Taliban)
To the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (favorite key words: like they're gonna tell)
I'll soon be posting photos from my visit to Islamabad!
To Ireland (favorite key words: Kate Moss, hangover)
Actually, guys, I'm not sure that's the right word for cocaine after effects.
To my fellow Americans (favorite key words: hangover, burrito, Iraq, Tom Cruise, love, Botox, Car Bomb, Marijuana)
See, any one of these things -- except Iraq -- could probably be found at a Taco Bell at 2 a.m. God bless the U.S.A.
And finally, to our neighbors to the north (favorite key words: burrito, Iraq, Taliban, Tom Cruise, Britney Spears, Car Bomb, Marijuana)
Wow. Pretty much the same fun as the U.S., but without the hangover. Damn your superior health care system!
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
I had what my mother would call a panic moment today, when I had a lovely letter waiting for me from conEdison. It seems the temporary owners have not paid an almost $900 security deposit on the bill. Brava! What frightened me was the warning the they would be cutting off power in November should this not be rectified. I was actually on the line waiting for a conEdison customer service rep, ready to demand to know how they could cut off my power when I've been paying my bills on time, when I read the letter closer. They were just talking about power in the common areas of the building. So, our security system might not be working anymore, and I might be climbing six flights of the stairs in the dark, but at least I'll have power when I get home.
This, however, does not bode well. Combined with the impossibility of getting anyone to come out for repairs, I'm thinking the end of my lease might be time to cut and run. Anybody got any good apartment leads?
Monday, October 15, 2007
He's doing fine, thank goodness. But just the mention of heart attacks--even when it's not a family member or someone who share my name--gives me chest pains. For some reason, I fear that worse than any other disease you can name.
There was a time, in my early 20s, when I was just convinced I had heart problems. I used to get frequent heartburn, and I heard some news anchor talking about his own heart problems, and how it had initially felt like indigestion. That summer, I made several unnecessary trips to the doctor, when I learned that with some doctors, all you have to do is point, and they'll write you a prescription. He put me on heartburn medicine, which made me absolutely miserable and unable to eat right. I'd get so anxious before appointments that my blood pressure would read artificially high, something I inherited for my mother. Of course, this was also what inspired me to start working out regularly at a gym for the first time, which, of course, was the one good thing out of all this.
I later figured out, through my own trial and error, that the heartburn was caused by me eating and drinking way, way too much dairy. I cut back on that, and everything was fine after that. Why could I figure that out, and my pill-happy doctor couldn't?
At any rate, I managed to get over all this--without therapy, no less. I even inadvertently got myself confirmed with an EKG and a heart scan a few years ago when doctors wanted to check for heart bruising after my last car wreck, and everything checked out fine. Even better, my cholesterol at my latest check was only 160. Of course, that's 10 points higher than what my cousin's was.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
As a fan of Theresa Rebeck's work, I'm a bit confused as to why her Broadway debut ended up being this show, a watered-down version of, or perhaps ode to, David Mamet's "American Buffalo" now playing at the Biltmore. Fortunately, a stupendous cast makes it worth the trip. All five are excellent: plucky Alison Pill as the desperate girl who inherits the rare
Will Durst: The All-American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing
Reviewing this show is rather pointless, as it closed today. And that's a shame. Like the boxing imagery that surrounds his show--he appears on the Playbill wearing boxing gloves, and a pair also appear on the bizarrely decorated set, the centerpiece of which is a chair made of old newspapers--Durst uses, er, used a great rope-a-dope strategy in his political comedy act that played at New World Stages. He starts with a series of soft jabs at our president, even those famous Bush-isms that we've all heard hundreds of times before. But the punches get harder and harder, until the final power uppercut -- a rapid-fire barrage of adjectives describing all the horrors we the people have been subjected to during the past seven years. Even though there were a few equal time jabs at obvious targets like Hillary Clinton and PETA, I just hope some Bush fans weren't fooled by the title and unknowingly wandered into... What am I saying? I hope they WERE.
Not being anywhere near fluent in Greek, it's rather difficult for me to offer an intelligent review of the National Theatre of Greece's production of Sophocles' "Electra," now playing a limited run at New York City Center. "It was pretty to look at and listen to, and I enjoyed it" is about all I can say. I can say, however, that the audience gets an F. Good grief. These were the most distracting group of folks with whom I've ever had to share a theatre. There were a lot of empty seats in the center, so as the show began, there was a mass exodus from the sides toward those seats. As a result, for the first 20 minutes of the show, I was subjected to--outside of the usual latecomers, candy unwrappers and dolts who can't turn off cell phones--way, way too many people wandering to different seats. Some of these were old folks who can barely get around in the light, so it was a long trip for them. And not a one of them seemed to be able to get out of their seat with letting it slam loudly as it sprung back into place. Awful, awful people. Thanks for giving Europe yet another reason to hate us.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
There are reasons people support Republicans
Glenn Kamprota writes of the GOP, “With its mismanagement of Iraq, Katrina relief, the budget and Social Security ‘reform,’ as well as its demonizing of gays and immigrants and hypocritical hysteria over family values, the GOP might very well have deserved what it’s getting.”
Demonizing gays? You mean the same gay agenda (read hysteria) that is trying to ram their lifestyle down everyone’s throat no matter our beliefs. Or the (illegal) immigrants who take the jobs (many which Americans would take), don’t pay taxes, send billions to Mexico and clog up the health system. I used to be a Democrat before they turned to the far left. I never loved the big busines GOP, but at least most of them are against abortion, gay militants and trying to keep some family values.
The GOP will get my vote unless a good third party should arise.
Paul Pousson, Angleton
You know, I could mention that in three mere paragraphs, Mr. Pousson -- who it seems used to love Democrats until they started to get to chummy with the fags, Mex'cans (and not said here, but presumably, the uppity blacks) -- managed to misspell both the name of Glenn Krampota (great guy, by the way) and the easily-fixed-by-spellcheck word "business." Or that Mr. Pousson -- a red-blooded, non-immigrant name if I ever heard one -- uses "gay agenda," a singular noun that doesn't fit with the later plural possessive pronoun "their." Or the absolute idiocy of basing a vote on the things that the GOP, when you look at it, haven't really done a great job of making progress on, anyway.
But I won't mention those things. What I will mention is the unintentional hilarity of the last sentence in the middle paragraph. There are two ways to interpret it as written. Either the Republicans are all gay militants who are trying to preserve family values while fighting abortion, or the Republicans are against three things: abortion, gays and the preservation of family values. Keep your compound constructions parallel, kiddies. Grammar lesson for the day.
Perhaps I'm being too mean here. After all, Mr. Pousson isn't a professional writer. So let's look at someone who is. Ann Coulter -- whom we recently learned is a perfected Jew, or Jewess, as she would probably say -- doesn't care much for Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee. In fact, Huckabee and Thompson both had the audacity not to hate Bill Clinton so much they smell the stench of his cologne while they sleep at night. Says she:
Huckabee teamed up with that guy to talk to children about healthy eating habits. Ironically, the obesity campaign kicked off almost exactly nine years from the very Palm Sunday on which President Clinton used a cigar as a sexual aid on Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office.
Ann, how, pray tell, is that ironic? A coincidence, perhaps, but where is the irony? Did C. Everett Koop recently publish a paper indicating that cunnicigarus causes weight gain? 'Cause otherwise, I'm not getting it. I know the word has been diluted of all meaning by pre-teens blogging on MySpace -- "I went to see 'Bratz,' and my BFF Lindsey was there that day, too! Isn't that ironic?????" -- but William Safire would totally kick your ass if he ever stooped to reading WorldNetDaily or the handful of podunk papers that still carry your column. Healthy eating habits, by the way, means actually eating something every once in a while. Try it sometime!
OK, now I have to go scour this post for errors. That's the one danger in writing something criticizing others' grammar and language. If you made a mistake while doing so, that would be, like, ironic.
Oh, and one more song down on the theme song situation. No Liszt's "Liebestraume." Darn it.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
When I reported the phone missing, the dispatcher told me I had two options: Wait until the phone was returned to headquarters so they could messenger it to me, or I could have the driver return it to me, paying for the ride as if the cell phone were a passenger. Once the driver was contacted, however, he returned it to me, at my apartment, directly, and didn't charge me a dime.
I knew I had to give him something. Unfortunately, I wasn't carrying much cash last night. I gave him $10, which is about the same amount as the tip would have been. I also tried to give him a nice bottle of wine I picked up in San Francisco, but he said he didn't drink. I also shot off a nice letter to his company commending him for what he had done. I wish I could do more, but I'm at a loss as to what.
But as his lasting legacy -- I've finally added a counter to my "dumb people" blog post label.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
First, I've discovered I have no memory for phone numbers anymore. None. I know three numbers by memory that are stored in that phone: my parents, my sister Cheryl and my friend from Houston *and San Francisco travel companion) Kristina. Not included on that list are some close friends, two other sisters and my own home phone number. That's right. I've never even committed my home phone number to memory. When I called the car service to see if I could get my phone back, they asked me at what number they could reach me. I blanked and had to give them my work number.
What's more, if I had to get a new phone, I would also lose a long list of phone numbers of people whom I never want to talk to again -- see any of my date stories on here for an example. The chance of those people popping out of the woodwork again to call me is pretty slim, but it's not as slim as the chance of me actually recognizing the phone number should that happen. That's why I never erase a phone number.
That's not all that's stored on that phone, either. There are tons of photos I've never backed up. Most of them are garbage, anyway, but there are a few of a, let's just say, delicate nature.
My subway ride seemed a lot longer this morning. The Yahtzee game I have on it is mindless and not very challenging even on the hardest setting. Yet, that mindless activity keeps me distracted and prevents me from making eye contact with the crazies on the A train.
I also no longer have any judgment of time. Ever since I was a kid, probably because my wrists were so small, I never wore a watch. My cell phone became my watch. I almost had to ask a stranger for the time this morning.
Fortunately, the driver has found my phone, and I should be getting it back soon. Perhaps even tonight. But how terrifying how much I rely on that little device. And if had been my iPod that I had left behind, I'd have called in sick today.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Too bad I missed the Folsom Street Fair festivities. Actually, not really. This same friend and I took a trip to Provincetown a few years ago, and unbeknownst to us, we went during Bear Week. At the same time, the Rosie O'Donnell cruise was in town. So, the crowd was mostly men in leather and lesbian couples with strollers. Fun times! But bears don't find me particularly attractive, and coupled lesbians were equally uninterested in my friend, so, that was a bust.
Back with all the news on Tuesday!
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Unfortunately, I also had to delete one. I won't even say which one. This was a rather large blog that didn't even know I existed, so me even mentioning it is about like somebody saying "I'm going to boycott McDonalds. That'll show 'em!" But this is my podium, so I'll bitch anyway.
The reason for the deletion was not even for anything the blogger him/herself particularly had done. However, posts about the whole Folsom Street Fair/Miller ads situation, which I don't even feel like addressing myself, gave way to some of the nastiest, most homophobic comments I've seen since, well, Ja Rule, I guess. One commenter went so far as to suggest that there was no need to worry about the people in the ad in question, because they'd all be dead of AIDS next year, or something like that. Strangely enough, this blog was one that went on and on about DailyKos commenters being over the top and was calling on freaking Democratic politicians who have nothing directly to do with Kos to revoke them. Yet the AIDS comment and several like it sat untouched for days. And there was no recourse to flag such nasty comments. So, bye, babe.
Seriously, if anyone REALLY wants to figure out which one, it's not that hard. I did a post long ago about all my links. Mazes on TGI Friday's placemats are tougher to crack.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Just tell me: Is it enormously cruel that I bought and stuck it straight in my bedroom? I pretty much yield the living room television to my roommates. If I put the box on that TV, then we could all share it -- but I would rarely get to use it myself. And I do kinda pay the cable bill myself. So it's mine, mine, mine.
They don't even know I have it. I brought it in after rehearsal last night, about 11:30, when they were both in bed and quietly installed it. I just hope they don't notice it. Or read this blog post.
Monday, October 01, 2007
Having sisters at least 10 years my senior, and even more permissive brothers-in-law, I started watching horror movies at quite a young age. I think I was 7 when I saw "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" for the first time. Those really didn't affect me.
Why is it, then, that some otherwise harmless things used to scare the crap out of me? Take this Disney interpretation of an 1890s slideshow presentation. It absolutely terrified me every time it came on, especially that blue/green dead dude near the end. I was equally afraid of the animated version of the musical "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown," because of one scene in which Charlie Brown is late in feeding Snoopy, and Snoopy imagines himself turning into a dog skeleton.
My sisters used to have a lot of fun with that one. They'd cue up the tape of it right to where that scene was and turn it on when I was in the room. They used the threat of "Snoopy bones" to get me to do, basically, whatever they wanted.
I remember my nephew, who is now 15 and would probably love to have this story published, used to be equally afraid of his Barney and Friends tape that had some sort of king character in it. Do all children have these irrational fears? I guess mine both tied in to death, but still...
A fun fact, by the way. The bass singer in this Disney short is none other than Thurl Ravenscroft, better known as the voice of Tony the Tiger and the guy who sang the Grinch song. Really, whenever you see an old Disney cartoon with a basso profundo part, it's probably Thurl.
Oh, and looking at the YouTube comments on that short, is there some sort of fetish attached to seeing cartoon characters cry? That would be a new one on me, but nothing would surprise me anymore.