Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Oh, I could write a sonnet about your Easter bonnet

Today i got to leave work in the afternoon and go to the 22nd Annual Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Easter Bonnet Competition. Yay! For those who don't know, Broadway, Off-Broadway and National touring shows raise money for 6 weeks in the spring for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and then they come together and put on a big show in which Broadway casts do funny skits and create elaborate Easter bonnet hats to represent their shows. At the end of the show they give out prizes for best bonnet presentation and acknowledge the shows who raised the most money.

The show this afternoon was very funny and well performed throughout. The banter between acts was more barbed than i thought it would be! Roger Bart, Megan Mullally, Nathan Lane and a tag team of Urinetown's Office LockStock and Sally all had plenty of zingers ready. Throughout the show there were some insightful and playful shots fired from cast to cast. Grease and Young Frankenstein especially got a good drubbing by the other shows. Besides being very fun, Easter Bonnet was also very very long! 2 and a half hours with no intermission. I know, I know. All the LOTR movies were longer and i had no problem sitting through them. But still i'd have loved a few minutes to catch my breath and stretch my legs in the middle of this. I will attach a link that has the specifics of who won and who the highlights were (Sunday In The Park With George, Lion King, Naked Boys Singing and In The Heights really stood out among all the presentations - there was also this amazing dancer from Momix and i swear she spun around for 5 minutes straight in an amazing costume, it was absurdly beautiful. Also some of the contestants of Project Runway showed up during the opening number which was a spoof of Project Runway). It was a really nice event and I was very glad that I got a chance to attend. There were some occasional sound issues, especially when In The Heights was going on. I wouldn't put it past those two little girls from "George" to have tampered with the equipment in an attempt to secure their win. Those two little girls are very talented and got three encore bows following a standing ovation for their amazing skit, but i suspect they could be pretty ruthless if they were feeling threatened by Heights!

It has to be very difficult to put something so huge like that together (with so many people involved in each number, so many different mics, barely any tech or rehearsal time in the space) and then everyone had to run off to their respective theaters to prepare for an evening performances of their usual night jobs. PLUS they performed the Easter Bonnet on Monday too which is normally their only day off all week. So I tip my bonnet to all who participated and contributed behind the scenes. And to everyone who gave money. It's an important charity and it was nice to see a community come together to make a difference.



Monday, April 28, 2008

Putting It Together

So: Sunday In The Park With George. I'm a little weird when it comes to Sondheim-Lapine collaborations. I somehow defy conventional wisdom and enjoy the second acts more than i do the first. This holds for both George and Into The Woods. I've never seen Passion. Most people really enjoy the first act of ITW, but loathe the second half where most of the cast is killed off by a rampaging giant. (Spoiler?) Into The Woods was my first Broadway experience and I intensely loved the second act for all its insanity. Recently I wondered if I'd like it so much if I had seen it for the first time as an adult instead of as a child. My appreciation for somber musical experiences has waned in recent years. But those shows I first encounted when i was little, still hold a special place in my heart no matter how demented or depressing they get (I'm looking at you, Runaways! Don't ever change!)

So going into George, I had heard much the same like it-loathe it equation applied. Not that Act II was sad exactly , but that Act II just seems unnecessary following what happens in Act I. So I was all prepared to be disappointed by Act II, but in fact I really responded more strongly to it than the story of Act I! So maybe I'm in the minority when it comes to these shows, but oh well. Overall I thought the production was very very strong. The projection-technology used on the set is truly innovative and so much more compelling than a similar technique used in A Catered Affair. Daniel Evans as George the painter and then later as George the "sculptor" gives two strong performances, as does Jenna Russell as Dot/Marie. I've seen clips of Patinkin and Bernadette Peters in the roles and I'm sure they're overall performances are quite different in that production than this one. Maybe it's weird for people who really know the score and the original show to see it interpretted differently, but i thought theses two were totally right on the money for the tone of this production. The whole supporting cast was very strong too. This seems to be a Broadway season with a lot of very strong revivals. Very exciting! The score for George is really moving, with "Sunday" being an amazing ending to both acts. It sorta sneaks up and takes your breath away. I definitely recommend this production for it's creativity of design and solid performances. Although the seats at Studio 54 offer NO leg room. Be forewarned.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Hey! I'm walkin' here!

Well, it had to happen. I finally got hit by a bicyclist in NYC. I have had several narrow misses in the past. But finally today as i was crossing 50th street at Broadway this idiot on a bike decided to try come from behind and cut me off in a way that made it impossible for me to see him coming or for him to completely clear me in the small amount of space still available to him ahead of me in the crosswalk. Thankfully i was not hit by the bike itself,but by the guy's shoulder and side as he passed in front of me. I was able to get my hands up in time to deflect the impact and he just kept driving away with barely a "coming through!" shouted back in my direction. I was so mad. I really can't stand bike messengers and delivery people who make no effort to adhere to the flow of traffic and constantly put pedestrians and cars at risk for causing serious injuries or accidents. And they KNOW they're doing it. They think they're so cool for it. HAAATE.

In happier news, the wireless signal known as "Jen's Home Office" has returned after a two day absence from my home. Perhaps Jen took her home office on a business trip? I do not know, but that signal is the best one to mooch off of when I'm at home, and without it, I've been forced to go old school and use my Desktop computer to write posts. Last night i actually wrote a post from the desktop and I was kind of falling asleep at the end of it and i thought i hit "publish" but apparently I didn't, and now that thing is GONE. I don't know where it is. i don't even have a saved draft of it. I will have to readdress that post at a later time.

I saw Sunday In The Park With George today. I liked it. Review soon to follow. Right now I must go grocery shopping and then go to the gym before it gets too late. If I see just one delivery guy trying to drive across against the light, I'm gonna chase him down and knock him off his stupid ten speed. We live in a society with rules, people!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Please continue to Shut Your Face and Dance!

Greetings, all! Another Thursday night, another mediocre blog about this mediocre show. Hooray!

Previously: The dancers battled - street style! Janelle won. Jessica was finally axed. NOW LET THE GAY CREDITS SHAKE THEIR GROOVE THANG!

Janelle has now won immunity twice and she feels good about it as she should. Miguel wishes he could win immunity. Keep on dreaming. Many of the other dancers including Nick hope that the next challenge is more technically driven since, you know, some of them have taken 20 years of ballet and would excel at a ballet challenge. I think the commercials showed me stepping at the endof last week's eppy. So they are plum out of luck!

Sure enough they all go to the "theater" and no that's not the janitorial staff up there, it's Stomp! They are quite impressive as you'd imagine making sound and dance out of brooms and feet and such. All the dances are smiling but they can tell this next challenge is not gonna be easy. EB introduces the creator of Stomp, Luke Cresswell, and tells them the challenge this week they will be stomping. The ballerinas freak out on the inside and some on the outside. I have to say, I understand their frustration a little bit. You train all your life to do one thing and then you get to this stage and you could get eliminated before you get to show your expertise. Jerry tells them this week's challenge is all about rhythm. And music! Made by your own self. Once you got those things, and your man. who could ask for anything more? I would say Tovah, Oscar, Mochi and Cody for starters could ask for more. Like they could ask for a new challenge.

Once again, this week they're gonna learn a routine and get split into Spazes and Cool Kids. So they sorta learn a routine, but it's hard on all of them. Oscar and Tovah look especially out of it in the learning process. Oscar grumbles that all his training teaches his body to raise up while stomping is all down into the ground. The drama! Time for.... The Audition! Everyone feels and looks like a spazola. Miguel is the best, but relative to what? His competition this week is less than fierce. Tovah, Oscar, Janelle are definitely in the Spaz Group. Janelle laments her own week to week inconsistency. Get it together girl. Miguel, Michelle and Cody are definite Cool Kids. Miguel has no doubts he was the best. Nick and Michael were equal levels of meh, so they will have to dance in a stomp-off to see who will be safe and who will be up for elimination. They both look like they'd rather never stomp again for the rest of their lives.

Commercials: A commercial for Stomp?? How strange and unexpected! Totally out of left field. Also bring on those Bravo A List Awards! Kathy Griffin will be awesome.

We're back. The stomp-off is mercifully short. Michael wins because Nick has a total brain fart about what to do. Miguel is enraged that Michael is on his Cool Kids team. He really seems to hate Michael! He has no respect for Michael as a dancer, and says as much.

Luke takes the Spazes to practice for the Call Back, and tries to get them not to suck as much. It is a very daunting task and the spazes are not up to the challenge. Right now Luke is wondering if promoting Stomp on this show was worth dealing with these people.

Janelle and Tovah lament their Spaz status, while Miguel continues hating on Michael. The Cool Kids are gonna be dancing with garbage kids. Okay then. On a break. Janelle tells Tovah she doesn't think Cody was that good, but he's safe because he's "a god." Her tone implies she thinks otherwise, but I do think she's right that the judges like him a lot. From now on I call him Captain Vanilla, because I suspect despite his talent and strong build, he's probably a big white doof.

Luke is back with the Spazes. He introduces them to the brooms. They are never gonna be able to keep time with those things, dude. Oscar and Janelle are both off in space. They are trying! They are fighting! They insist that they are! The routine is kinda interesting except the solos. Luke tells them all their solos suck and that they are ignoring the brooms. I appreciate his honesty. They all try again with renewed focus. It marginally improves. Jerry appreciates their effort. He says something grandiose about the world of dance but i don't understand what he's getting at so i'm not typing it out here.

Back at the apartments, the spazes are trying to practice but they don't have enough brooms, so Oscar uses a vacuum instead. But it's just too heavy and won't work! HA! HA! HA! Oscar is going home.

Commercials. I'm so happy my Thursday shows are back on with new episodes. but now i have six shows i like to watch all on Thursday. Thank goodness they are spread out enough over the night so that my DVR can scoop them all up. I love you, DVR. Lost, I am putting you on as soon as this show ends.

We're back, y'all. It's elimination day. People are nervous. As they should be. Well, the Cool Kids are obviously less nervous because they're already safe, but Miguel REALLY wants the individual win and the immunity that goes with it. Jerry tells the spazes to go fucking apeshit on the dance. Such language does not fit him, even if it's bleeped.

EB greets them all in the theater from the judges' table. It's showtime for the Cool Kids! Michael thinks he can win individual immunity. I'm... kinda thinking no. The cool kids all have trash can lids and are slamming them like cymbals. Their dance, aside from the actual stompers on stage, is completely stupid, in my opinion. Everyone applauds, but you can tell Luke thinks it's kinda ass. The judges think Michael is doing great. Miguel and I both don't know who they are watching. They think Captain Vanilla was... okay. Just "okay," Judges? It was a bit too much Vanilla for them, Captain. They really like everything Miguel did, except he's a little dark. Miguel is in it to win it, he's even got shoes that say $100,000 on them! Okay, that's it for the Cool Kids! Oh wait, there's one more team member? Oh look Michelle is there! She thought the trash can lids were heavy. And... that's enough of Michelle i guess. The judges tell the Cool Kids to skedaddle and they deliberate. It's between Michael and Miguel, but much like last week CLEARLY they have to give it to the one the guest judge likes more, and this week that person is Miguel. So we now we'll have at least two more of Homeless Prince. The Cool Kids leave the stage and the spazes prepare to dance for their lives!

Commercials. On Survivor two weeks in a row now, they managed to vote out the person with an immunity idol by convincing them they were safe without playing it. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, you.. you can't get fooled again... Awesome.

EB tells them it's time to "Step It Up." I admire how much she really seems to be daring them to impress her during this part of the show every week. She really commands judge's table. The routine starts. They sweep and stomp. Stomp and sweep. The solos are still not great. Let's evaluate with the judges. They all think Tovah is pretty (which you can tell makes her want to run into the house and punch them out. She shouldn't try it. EB would totally kick her ass.) but they question her desire to dance. They suggest she goes to ANTM, but I can tell you she's not gonna last very long with Tyra if she doesn't have the DESIRE for the competition. Nick was fine. Janelle was okay, but you can tell they are just waiting for her to end up in the bottom group on a week where she doesn't have immunity so they can dump her ass off the show. Oscar was not good and has no stomping rhythm, but he tried so hard! The judges deliberate. it's between Oscar and Tovah, Luke doesn't really care between them (which is kinda funny) but he does think Oscar really tried hard this week. Lady Judge on the Panel (Nancy, I think) sticks up for Tovah. Who will be eliminated? We're one commercial break from finding out.

Commercials. Those A List Awards are on June 12th?? We're gonna have to see these commericals for well over another month??? Jeez.....

We're back. The show's over for Tovah. EB says the judging was hard, but it's really because they didn't really care between them. Tovah cries. I do think she got a raw deal this week. Her last dance is pretty good. She VO's that she doesn't want to be just a pretty face. Hey, it's not a such a bad place to start. Bye, Tovah! You'll do fine! Just stay away from Tyra and the CW11 in general.

Next Week: There's a secret behind a door! Might it finally be a ballet bar?? Also all the dancers pick this week to start hating each other openly as opposed to just in the confessionals. Works for me!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Win Some, Lose Some

So Obama lost Pennsylvania. Fine. The race continues and talking heads on all the news networks rejoice because they can pretend to have something to talk about for another two weeks. Whatever. I refuse to be taken down tonight. WHY? Because I finally saw my friend Jane Monheit perform live! At Carnegie Hall! Woohoo!

Jane and I grew up together from elementary school through high school. She is one of those people who was born to sing. You can go to our local hometown library and rent the VHS tape of us in our elementary school musical "Cinderella: Revisited." She was the Fairy Godmother and sang like you would not believe. As kids, we all knew she was good, but i remember rewatching it with some friends many many years later and thinking "Damn, even then she was miles and miles beyond everybody." So now she is a well-known Jazz Singer with 7 CDs, two concert DVDs, and several national and international tours under her belt. She rocks. We were never really close friends, but we were always involved in the same artistic stuff in school growing up and new the same people. Before tonight, I haven't seen her in God knows how long. The last time we saw each other I think she was actually in the process of recording her first album, and we went to Great Adventure with mutual friends. This was back when both tracks on the Batman and Robin ride actually worked at the same time. Yeah. THAT long ago.

So anyway, I've tried several times to see Jane perform live and something always prevented me. Either the show was sold out, or i couldn't go on the day, or it was a time when i couldn't spring for the price of the ticket, but a few week's ago good ol' facebook let me know she'd be performing at Carnegie Hall, in a small concert series along with Michael Kanan on piano. The stars finally aligned and i bought my ticket. I have been looking forward to this for a long time.

So the first half of the concert is just Michael on piano which I'm totally cool with. They will be performing from the American Songbook so we've got great selections from Bernstein, Gershwin and many more. I'm always amazed at how just listening to live music can bring up the strangest thoughts and emotions. In the middle one song I was totally brought back to the time i got absurdly fired from working at our local library (the same one that has that tape of Cinderella: Revisited!) and i got really mad about it and relived in my head how i should've blurted out that I quit before they could've fired me, since Lord knows I wanted out of that terrible place. I had not thought about this in a very long time, but suddenly I'm listening to Moonlight In Vermont, and it is drawn out of me. The odd power of music. Michael gave a really great performance on the piano.

So Jane comes out for the second half of the show and it's immediately clear that she amazingly, beautifully, HUGELY pregnant! I mean seriously, it looks like she could give birth any second. She has that amazing pregnant woman glow to her, but it was quite a surprise. She made great reference to it singing Lucky To Be Me by Bernstein. So I was totally beaming throughout the whole performance. She sang some great standards that were really enjoyable and then she closed out the set with Somewhere Over the Rainbow which is somewhat of a signature song for her. She has recorded it a few different ways, but performing it live, the song is just massive. It's really amazing. I cried. I was so happy I got to see this performance.

Afterwards I got to talk to her, and it was really fun to see her again. She saw me in the audience! I saw her mom too which was fun! Her parents look totally young and great. I found out her due date is 10 days from now! It's totally insane that she can perform like that 8 and half months pregnant! I wish her and her husband and their new baby the best!

And now it's late at night and I have to wake up early for work. Boo! But tonight was so much fun. And Obama will eventually lock up the nomination. So I'm just gonna ride this contented feeling as I hit the rode to dreamland.

Review Catch Up

I saw two plays this weekend that I did not get a chance to talk about. The first was Candide at New York City Opera. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but i was biased because my friend Lauren Worsham was playing Cunegonde, the female lead. Lauren and I performed together last September in our Muppet Cabaret. She is a phenomenal soprano and really brought the house down with "I'm Gonna Always Love You" from Muppets Take Manhattan. It was really wonderful seeing her on the NYC Opera stage and her performance was fantastic, she's truly versatile. The rest of the cast was top notch as well. I had never seen Candide before and I was struck by the humor of the lyrics and the greatness of Bernstein's score. Daniel Reichard was a very winning Candide and Richard Kind was a lot of fun in multiple roles, though not as strong a singer as the others. The playbill also offered a really interesting history of the show and how it developed over the years which I thought really gave a great context for this production. Knowing how many changes it's gone through, I'd still say that the plot gets a bit repetitive in Act II. I was kinda done with the story by the time calamity hit them in the New World, but i still enjoyed the music. Also the final speech was staged in a way that no one in the upper levels could see what was happening all. It was odd because 95% of everything else could be seen from anywhere in the house. That aside, it was really a great production and I'm so happy I got to see it.

One other thing of note, the woman who was ushering in my section was a total tyrant. There is a rule that there is absolutely no cell phone use in the house, only out in the lobby. This meant no texting, no checking messages or anything else while sitting in your seat at intermission. Now, I'm totally against texting during a performance, but i don't see the problem with it during intermission. Our usher clearly did, and she shouted at several people to stop using ANY function on the phones while still in the house. She also shined her flashlight in people's faces while yelling at them not to put their feet up on any of the furniture. Again, I support her cause, but her approach was nothing short of hostile, and I think inspired some people toward outright rebellion. When I managed to sneak one text message in during intermission without her noticing, I felt like I had really got away with something. Take that, phone police!

I also got to see Mad Forest, up at Columbia Grad. It's a play about revolution in Romania. Very interesting stuff. It was a directing project of my friend Andrea Ferran. They play itself was structured in an unusual way, where you see a family dealing with it's own personal dramas, right before their repressive government gets overthrown, then at the end of act I there is a series of interweaving monologues that set up what was going on the night of rebellion. Act II reverts back to the lives of the families we met at the beginning of Act I, with added context thanks to the monologues. It was an unconventional approach that resulted in the man sitting two seats down from me (who coincidentally pretended to fall and then grabbed my leg as he was making his way past me to his seat before the start of the show) kept saying "what's going on? what's going on!" throughout the first act. The first act required attention and some good will on the part of the audience, but it paid off in dividends in Act II. I felt like I learned a lot from this production. And aside from being made aware of this bit of history, it was also very-well acted and effectively staged. Good work, Andrea!

Tonight I get to see my friend from High School, Jane Monheit perform at Carnegie Hall. Very excited for that!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Cute enough to gobble up!

This is my cutie new nephew Henry. In the first photo, he is happy to be with mommy. In the second he is tired of the media attention and just wants to be left alone to be super cute in the privacy of his own home. Welcome to the family, Congrats to Nancy, David and Mallory for the new addition to their house! Yum! Yum! Yum! What a cutie!

Ninja Cats: A Fable

This was in Miguel's classwork folder on Friday. I think it's kind of awesome, so I am featuring it here. It came in a cover made out od rec onstruction paper with cat ninjas drawn on it. Enjoy!

The Cat Ninjas
By Miguel Towns, Age 7

Once a family of cat ninjas lived in a mystical jungle in Central America. There was one cheetah, 1 tiger, 1 lion, and 1 jaguar. Suddenly evil ninja turtles came to take over the world. The cats want to fight for freedom. The cats and turtles decide to talk it out. The cats get freedom!


(hopefully an audiobooks version will soon follow)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Shut Your Face and Dance... Right Now!

Another week, another episode of Shut Your Face And Dance. The show that begs contestants to stop the crying and complaining and, please, just compete! I wonder who will crack under the pressure this week? It won't be me! Or will it?

Previously, the pimps and prostitute dance. James couldn't dance like a man and got sent home.
The gay credits want to dance all over town. Step it up, Credits!

At Pegasus Apartments. Miguel lost James! He does not think it was right. Michael doesn't care about Miguel. I wish there names were not so similar. Oscar is happy he won the challenge and now has immunity. EB comes for breakfast, bringing muffins and coffee. She talks to the dancers and cries for their sacrifice. Seriously, she gets really broken up about their struggles and determination. I would love to have breakfast with Jessica Myrtle Spano. It would be so surreal. She drops the hint to them after eating, that in their next challenge they will be taking it to the streets.

The dancers later meet up with Jerry in the studio who introduces them to Dave Scott who choreographed Step It Up 2. Rob Hoffman the star of SIU2 is also on hand to demonstrate what a hip hop dance battle looks like. They battle and it's cool. Who the hell knows how to describe it,

They will be learning choreography from Dave and then have 2 counts of eight to freestyle. Already half the dancers are putting up disclaimers that "hip hop is not what they do" so you won't be surprised when they suck. Whatever, bitches. ADAPT. They learn the combination for an hour. Now it's time to Audition! James doesn't want them to dance the routine, he wants them to perform it. Mochi's not very good. . Jessica is not good either. She keeps telling us to expect nothing from her and we won't be that disappointed. Janelle is in her glory The guys are better that the girls in gnereal.. Oscar is not good and really is all-ballet in his style, but he has immunity so they're not sending his ass to dance it's final dance for this challenge.

Who are James's favorite 3? Cody! Janelle! and... Miguel! Ugh whatever Homeless Prince. These three are the crew captain. They will each pick 2 other dancers. A random draw means Janelle goes first. She picks Michael. Cody picks Mochi. Miguel picks Nick, who's happy to be away from Cody. Janelle picks Tovah. Cody picks Jessica because... he wants his team to suck? Miguel is stuck with Oscar who doesn't really care because he knows he's not going home for this shit. Jerry tells them they will not be split into Cool Kids and Spazzes this week and that they will be battling tonight! Drama!!

Commercials. Time to get food! I hope the supermarket has lean cusines on sale this week. i need to restock the freezer.

We are back. Each team will get 30 minutes in the studio to rehearse. They battle will take place at a special location. Where could that be?? Janelle's group plans to clown the other teams, and make fun of their dumb asses. Each team has a color and needs a name. Cody's team is blue and they come up with the dumbass name "blue breakers." i will call them Blue Balls because that is better.

Jerry watches Red Team perform. He likes what they are doing and understands the clowning aspect. He gives them good comments and tells them to tighten the moves they do together as a group.

Black team tries to have a slightly racist name and then they laugh about it nervously so i will call them team Black Face. Their real name is stupid and has something to do with t-shirts. Ugh. These people are not very creative outside of their ability to move their bodies.

Jerry watches Blue Balls practice. He hates it. They are really bad. Jessica is the worst. PLEASE send her home.

Red Team calls themselves Everest. I will call them Red Everest. Because shame on them for thinking they could pick a name that didn't obviously highlight the color of their shirts.

Jerry watches Black Face perform. He thinks it's nasty in a good way. It does look pretty fun considering it's the creation of three toolish guys. Rehearsals are over! It's time to head out and head into commercials!

Commercials. My sister had a baby today. His name is Henry. He's almost 8 lbs. I anxiously await pictures. It's my first nephew. Woohoo!

Now it's night time and we are taking to the streets. It's in a "bad neighborhood" and some of the dancers are nervous. Oh, please. They end up in a warehouse and a really hip hop battle is going down. EB is there sporting a "dangerous" leather jacket. Nomi is more street than any of them, with or without that jacket. Only one team of 3 will win and someone from the two losing crews will be sent back to an even lower level of obscurity than the one at which this show exists.

Red Everst is first. Apparently the show forced them to put "red" in their name after all. They will go against Black Face. It's kind of intense. Clearly I favor Red Everest. They put it to the crowd. The crowd does not react well for Black Face. They love Red Everest. Thank god.

Black Face now must battle Blue Balls. Does Black Face have anything left? Not really. But Blue Balls doesn't have much to offer for it's first go round either, so it's a close call. Mochi is intimidating Miguel with her stare, which says a lot about Miguel frankly. Let's here from the crowd... Blue Balls wins! So now they go against Red Everest. Who will win the challenge. We're about to find out.... after the break!


Now Blue Balls Takes on Red Everest. Janelle goes crazy. She is in the driver's seat tonight. I like her a lot. i'm glad she rebounded after last weeks disaster. To the crowd... and it's not even close. Much like in life, nobody wants Blue Balls. Red Everest rules the roost. Janelle has to be the challenge winner. How can the judges pick anyone else??

They are back the main stage. The judges are at the table. Red Everest gets high praise. Tovah did well outside her comfort zone, but it seems from the way she stands that she still hates her body. Character consistency from last week! Janelle was a great leader and Michael was doing the most actual hip hop moves. The other judges don't want to reward Janelle's inconsistency from last week with another challenge win, but Dave pretty much insists they give it to Janelle since she was the one who took over the crowd, so she wins. Which I'm totally fine with.

The judges didn't like Mochi/Michelle. Jessica was a total mess. Nick's individual performance was totally forgettable except for gicing the finger. EB reminds them they can't get rid of Oscar even though he really didn't try to do anything in the style of the dance. So Oscar, Miguel and Cody wind up being safe and the others are in the bottom. This is two weeks in a row that the person with immunity would've otherwise been cut. These kids really like to coast once they get a little bit of breathing room. Dancing's hard though, so you can't really blame them for wanting to save their energy for when it actually matters.

Commercials. I can't believe it's Friday already. This week went so fast. hooray!

We're back: Mochi/Michelle, Nick and Jessica are on the chopping block. Who is it EB? Michelle is safe. Good fake out, SYFAD editors! It looked bad for her for a hot minute. So who goes home? Crazy Jessica or Bird Flippin' Nick? Jessica! Thank goodness. She just wasn't right for this show. She's not a bad dancer. She's just not this type of competitor. Her last dance voice over lets us know she has gained confidence and can now see broadway and tours (and maybe therapy?) in her future. I sure hope so. Take care, Jessica!

Next week: They be steppin'. And not just in an "it up and dance" manner of speaking.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Dear Mafia, Why am i dead?

My friends and I play Facebook Mafia. A lot. We've been doing this very consistently for nearly 6 months. I'll try to sum up the rules to you here, if you don't know the game. it's basically a party game where a few people in the room are killers and you have to figure out who they are through differen rounds of group debate and voting. If the killers manage to stay hidden (during the "day") and "at night" kill off the innocent citizens, (more lovingly refered to as "Town") then the mafia win. Online the mafia rarely win because the game is really designed to let the citizens win. Eventually. There's a cop character who can check the truth about one player during the "night" portion of a game day and a doctor who can protect any one player from death during the night. It takes about 4 days to complete a game. It's usually a tuesday through friday routine and the game runs 24/7. This is actually helpful since our core group of players is spread out in different time zones.

Since we've played so many times we make up additional rules to make the experience more challenging or at least, more dramatically challenging. The humdinger of a rule this time is that we can't talk about the game off of the main posting wall. Usually we break off into many different threads and alliances off the main game to try and figure out who the mafia are among us. The computer assigns jobs randomly, but honestly, it has its patterns and definitely plays favorites.

In our current game, I'm dead. I was the cop and got killed WAY to early. I can still post comments to the board as a ghost, but only other dead peeps can see what i have to say. There has been much comment in the game since my death about whether or not i broke any rules or have been cheating by talking to still-active players. It has been astonishing to watch debate over my actions play out over the game. I really do love Facebook Mafia. I love my friends. I love being mafia and killing my friends each day. I can't wait for the truth to be revealed. Until that day comes, I have posted a lovely song by an unknown masked fellow who dedicated verse #2 of his song to yours truly. I've never felt so honored.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Congratulations, Former Fatties!

Hello! This is Ali. She just won The Biggest Loser by dropping 9 MILLION POUNDS! Okay, she didn't lose that much but she lost well over 100 lbs - seriously almost half her body weight. Thank goodness Ali won. Women have such a hard time winning this show. I think it's because men tend to become bigger fatties than women, giving them more weight to lose, and men having an easier time dropping weight than women. But Ali broke the trend and won 250K. Goof for her. As you can see from the pictures provided, her weight loss really is quite an accomplishment. Everyone did a great job this year actually. This show does a great job of cramming a finale and reunion show all into 2 hours. It's fun to see how good everyone looks and the whole thing moves along at a quick pace.

The Biggest Loser has become one of my favorite shows. I avoided it for years and then one weekend I caught a marathon of an old season on some random channel like CNBC! It was then I realized that this show was produced by the same guys that make Endurance, which is a teenage version of Survivor. Since Endurance is one of my all-time tv obsessions, I was totally sold on Biggest Loser. Though the contestants on each show could not be more different, they all go through the same physical challenges. Aside from the crazy games, the transformations are incredible. And I've actually picked up several helpful hints to eating healthier. It's a good show! Special shout out to Bernie for winning the battle of the eliminated contestants and pocketing himself 100K. Rock on Bernie! You're a class act.

Now it's time to get myself a 60 calorie jello pudding for dinner. That's what I've done today to make me feel proud.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Return To Sender

I arrived home tonight and found this letter sitting on the radiator next to the mailboxes. It made me laugh, and luckily I happened to have my camera with me so I could save it for posterity. I've lived in several apartments over my years in NYC, and I'm sure I have mail that shows up all over the place. I have not received my Wesleyan Alumni Magazine since 2003 and it has to be going somewhere. It can sometimes be fun to see how many former tenants still have mail coming to them at your current residence. But occasionally it gets annoying and it takes more colorful language than just "return to sender" for the Postal Service to take the hint and stop sending you bills and credit card applications that ain't yours. For the record, I hope this soul made it "upstairs" instead of heading "down below."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I will watch you, 3:10 to Yuma!

According to Netflix, I have had 3:10 to Yuma in my apartment since 1/8/08. Netflix doesn't care. As long as I pay my subscription, I can keep it as long as I like. It isn't judging me. I am judging myself. I have had plenty of opportunities to watch this movie. There are plenty of movies I am looking forward to watching, waiting for me in my queue. So why does a part of me refuse to watch this movie? I wanted to watch it several months ago, otherwise I wouldn't have put it in my queue. It has lots of actors I like in it. It got very good reviews. It's not like I haven't had the time: I have spent plenty of hours on weekends watching reruns of Top Chef and Top Model and America's Next Best Top Dance Crew (or whatever it's called - Go Jabbas!) but I will not watch this movie. I'll be cleaning my living room, see it sitting on my end table and I'll come up with different reasons why it's just not the right time to watch the damn thing already.

Despite my ambivalence, I also cannot bring myself to abandon it completely and send it back unwatched. I keep thinking there will be a time where the mood will strike me and i'll say to myself "It's time to watch 3:10 to Yuma!" Just because it's been 4 months and that feeling has not returned doesn't mean it never will.

But tonight I have decided I will no longer wait for inspiration to arrive. I am forcing my own hand. I will watch 3:10 to Yuma! I have enough time before i go to bed. I have twisted something in my back that renders me a captive audience. There are no more excuses. The time is now! I will begrudingly watch this movie. I just need to organize all the things I need to effectively multitask while watching it and then I'll put it in. I swear. I'm gonna do it. I am! Probably. I mean this episode of Eli Stone that came on after desperate houswives has both katey sagal and graham from my so-called life guest-starring in it, and that's an attractive alternative... no! No. The movie. Tonight, we finish this. And I will send it back and get a new movie. And i will keep that one for less than 4 months. I will break my netflix coma and live again!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

How do you like them egg rolls, Mr. Goldstone?

Ohhh, Gypsy is a good show. I had never seen it before either on stage or screen, but it's one of those shows where you've heard most of the songs before, even if you didn't know which show the songs came from. And all the songs are great.

This production is really fantastic and I highly recommend seeing it. The set broke for a little while this afternoon, but nobody cared. I kinda love when that shit happens anyway. Patti Lupone is truly Great as Mama Rose, Great in the strongest sense of the word. It's a brave, furiously energetic performance. That role has got to be a total bear to perform 8 times a week. And twice a day? Yikes. Everyone else was really wonderful too. I was struck by how equal parts sad and compelling the show was. Take notice, A Catered Affair! You can explore sad circumstances and desperate people and still not be a show that's a total downer!! I was also struck by the powerful performance of Boyd Gaines as Herbie. So expressive and sincere. Laura Benanti also does a wonderful job with Louise. And the orchestra is FANTASTIC. There's nothing like an amazing musical score. This one is done up to perfection. It's great seeing such an enormous band getting it's due right on stage. Live music for live theater! That's what I say! So if you've never seen Gypsy, or even if you have, this is definitely a production to see.

On a side note, seeing two shows on consecutive days that deal with desperate people who fear their lives will remain unremarkable? That can do a number on an idle artist's sense of self worth. Oof. Seeing all this theater is inspiring, but shows like this one can make me terrifyingly insecure about what the future may hold.

And finally, to the woman who came in to take her seat during the first scene, well after the Orchestra had finished the Overture: It is ridiculous that you should loudly exclaim to the usher, "Not so fast! I'm afraid of heights!" as the woman tries to help you find your seats. I realize we were high up, and maybe you were afraid, but the likelihood of you tripping and somehow tumbling down the stairs and falling over the side of the balcony to the orchestra seating below is pretty unlikely. If you want to slowly walk to your seat while the house lights are still on, get there before the show starts. That will provide the added bonus of you not interrupting the show for everyone else. Broken sets i can deal with, but late-comers are not so easily forgiven. Oh, and stop texting during the show, ladies and gentlemen. It's obnoxious. You know it is!

Friday, April 11, 2008

There were never such devoted Sisters

Tonight I saw a very solid production of Three Sisters by Chekov put on by Extant Arts Company. My friend Mandy Sayle had the juicy role of Natasha, who over the course of the play really turns into quite a powerful, petty, childish mega-bitch. It was a lot of fun to watch her journey. Overall, I thought it was a good production and the actors made the plot and relationships understandable and accessible. It was a large, youthful cast and pretty much all of the main actors gave strong performances. If I had any minor quibbles with the production, I would say that I would have appreciated a costume change at the beginning of Act II to reflect the passage of time, and I also generally thought the males in the cast were a little too freshly-scrubbed. Chekhov likes his men to be a little past their prime and sporting some facial hair and gut. With the cast playing characters who were older than the actors themselves, stronger costume and make-up choices could have helped achieve this effect. It actually reminded me of a time in college when I was acting in a Directing II Scene that was coincidentally directed by Ms. Sayle. We were doing Uncle Vanya, I believe. After we did the scene, I remember the professor, Tim Raphael said, "Owen, I'm sorry, I just don't believe you're forty." Which made me immediately think in my head, "Yes, of course not. Why would you? I'm 19." But I guess I was supposed to supply that illusion via the acting and really gotten the age into my physicality. That was missing a bit tonight as well, but overall i thought it was a well put together and entertaining show. Congrats!

It was also fun seeing this show, because I've never seen Three Sisters before, yet it is tied up in another college anecdote. At some point in either the spring of my junior year or fall of my senior year, my Theater Prof Mentor, (the certifiably lovable and lovably certifiable) Bill Francisco got it in his head that he wanted to direct a production of Three Sisters starring classmates Sarah Hirshan, Sarah Kozinn and me as the title characters. This was never really gonna happen but it was fun seeing his face light up when he talked about it. Having never read the play I didn't know which "Sister" he saw me as in his mind. Having seen the show tonight, I think I'd have to be Olga, the one who becomes the Headmistress. Kozinn would be a natural fit for Irina and Hirshan for Masha. I appreciate having some context in my head for this bizarre fantasy production 8 years later. I'm sure the three of us could've made it to Moscow. :)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Shut Your Face and Dance, Again!

A shout out to Michael Johns who got eliminated from Idol tonight. He went before his time. Archuleta remains dead to me for biffing the lyrics to Seasons Of Love. Although to be honest, I have a hard time remembering the real lyrics from those from Forbidden Broadway's version.

So I'm gonna try to do this in real time again. Let's see if I catch more names this time around. Once this is over, i can treat myself to an All-New 30 Rock!! Woohoo!!

Previously: welcome, challenge in the night clubs. Cool Kids and Spazzes. Crybaby runs off stage. Janelle won the Challenge of the Cool Kids. The Show was over for Adriana.

Let the Gay Credits Roll!

At the apartments: Nudity in the kitchen. Unsanitary! Jessica is the name of the crazy girl who ran off the stage last week. She can't understand why people think she's unstable and not ready for this!! Hmm... why indeed. The dancers get a note that they have to wear their most provactive dance wear to the next challenge. Everyone expects stripping... er, exotic dancing. EB is there looking professional, Jerry Mitchell is hip casual. They are watching some provocative dance group, le fluer de sonce? i'm guessing based on sound. Oh wait, there it is on screen... i spelled it wrong. Not going back! The dancers claim what they are seeing is very scandalous, but... I don't see it. I've seen worse in everything from music videos to broadway.

The challenge is to dance a "Opache" I don't think i understood the word correctly. It has to do with a pimp getting the crap beaten out of him by his whores. They have an hour to learn the choreography and then they will be split into Cool Kids and Spazzes again.

Up first Cody and Jessica. Cody looks good enough in a vanilla sort of way. Jessica is still crazy.

Nick and Tovah, Spazzes from last week. It looks weird.

Oscar and Mochi, Not bad.

Michael and Janelle. She is wild and technical!

Miguel and Mochi. Not great. Miguel does not partner!

James and Janelle. James is very gay. But seems into Janelle.

They split them into two groups, but who are the cool kids and who are the spazzes? We don't know. They won't tell them to tomorrow! Everyone looks uneasy. Jessica freaks out. She wants to go home. Let her! She's weak. Jerry tries to convince her to stay. Why? It must just be a numbers thing. They want to eliminate her on their own terms!

Commercials: Who cares about these? But on tuesday there was a teaser commercial for the next season of American Gladiatiors with Titan stalking the streets of manhattan with a jousting stick, ready to go all Cloverfield on our asses. May 12th! I can't wait!

We're back. it's 8pm. Cody cathes us up on the situation. French guest judge tells them they are creating their own characters for the opache? i still don't know that word. Cody tries to contribute a lot to his group. Tovah doesn't want to be a prostitute! Oscar is a prostitue abuser. He will give 300%. 100% should be sufficient. Nick doesn't really dig Cody taking charge.

Time is running out! French judge looks kinda exasperated. Jerry councils them to think about the story. Story! Story! Story! Not just steps. James thinks there is not enough time for this. Michael is Bi, in case you didn't know, and wants his character to wind up with a guy. Jessica is on the outside of the group and no one will let her in! People, don't play yourselves! Create characters! Miguel is flailing about and is very weird. He will definitely play someone who is weird and it will be SO original. James wants to challenge him to be very macho and manly. Jerry thinks they have lots of lovely stories but it doesn't add up to anything.

At the apartments, Oscar refuses to put on clothes. Are people gonna rehearse or drink? Who is in which group? Oh the tension!

Commercials: I would like to take this opportunity to say that I saw a teaser for the new season of So You Think You Can Dance ealier this week and then the alums totally rocked the opening of Idols Gives Back last night. Those kids are awesome. I downloaded there number off of itunes and watched it many times on my subway trips to and from work today. that show is better than this show. How are we still inside the commercial break??

We're back. James and Miguel are Sistahs. Oscar is doing this competition for his mother who has liver cancer. Time for rehearsal again! Apashe Dance? What is that word?? We're about to find out who are spazzes and who are cool kids. Janellle is with the spazzes! Boo! But she has immunity. Time for hair and make-up.

Tovah has boobs and hates her body. She's a true dancer. Jessica fears for her mental stability and so do I.

Dance Time. EB is back ruling the judging table. EB goes over the rules of what the dancers were supposed to create for the benefit of the other judges. It's time for the cool kids to dance and see who wins immunity for next week. they start to dance! It's all about violence against whores. I actually don't think this is bad, aside from the really bizarre music... that i'm realizing might be appropriate for some soft core porn sex scenes. And this comes very close to that, so i guess it's appropriate. EB and the judges really dug this routine and it was pretty strong. EB hits tovah's i hate my body feeling right on the head, telling her she doesn't have to apologize for her awesomeness. Nick should have done more! Cody was fab.

The judges deliberate. They are having a hard time reaching agreement on a winner. But EB pulls them together! Who wins? Cody or Oscar? Oscar! He is thrilled and relieved that he has climbed so high from last week. The Cool Kids leave and the Spazzes take the stage. One of them will be cut after this dance! Woohoo!

Commercials! I am going to get a snack. I have enough time! One Reese's peanut butter cup is 110 calories. so only eat one a day!

We're back. Spazzes on stage. Miguel is set to prove he's not a fag. his words not mine. The porn music is back in full force. This one is worse than the first dance. Seriously, why is Janelle in this group? The judges clap, but i think they hate it. They don't need to try so hard to impress! Janelle was sloppy. Michael needs to "step it up and COMPETE!" James was not good either. They loved Jessica! The other dancers are pissed. Who should go home? James: Michael. Miguel also says Michael. Janelle also ALSO says Michael. She can't give a good reason though, besides siding with the people who were asked before her. Jessica loudly asks the judges if she has to say? The judges are not impressed with her ridiculous response. She jumps on the Michael boat. Michael is all "whatevs, i'm not picking one of these bitches."

The Judges deliberate. They don't like the pile-on for Michael. They don't like Janelle. The three boys all are at about the same level. James can't dance like a man. Miguel cannot shut his face and dance, and i've always said not saying more than you should is a huge part of staying in these competitions.

Commercials: EB was not in today's episodes of Saved By The Bell. They are currently showing the junior high episodes. Yesterday was SBTB: Hawaiian style and she did do a convincing Hula.

We return. Miguel, Michael and James. One will be eliminated. Michael is safe. BUT next week he'll have to pull off a miracle to stay. So it's down to the sistahs. James is too much a girl and Miguel is too much a weirdo. The Show is over for James. He must pack his dance belt and go. But not before he dances his last dance. I think the dance out is very weird on this show and i'm totally distracted from what he's saying in the voice over. I'll assume he's gonna keep on dancing and wants us to know we haven't seen the last of him. But on this show? We have.

Next week: Takin' it to the streets! None of these kids are street dancers so it should be joyously disastrous.

Daily Show and 30 Rock here I come!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Cry, A Little

Recently, I saw Cry Baby on Broadway. Here was the conversation that took place between the two women sitting next to me right at the start of intermission:

"I'm not sure if I like it..."
"Yeah... I've seen worse."
"I mean, I've seen A LOT of bad theater. I've walked out before."
"Yeah, what was the last thing I walked out on...? Urban Cowboy? Yeah, I think I walked out of that. We either left at intermission or moved ALL THE WAY DOWN from where we were sitting to start Act II."
"That was bad. This isn't like that. It's alright. It's just a lot like Hairspray. Did you see the playbill? Half the people in this have already been in Hairspray! It's weird."
"Well, it's the same guy. John Waters."
"Yeah, I know. but this feels like... like a lot of the same thing. it's okay. I like it... it's fine."

This exchange perfectly sums up Cry Baby for me. My expectations were below the basement, and I actually wound up liking it by the end. I thought the performances, the choreography and the set design were very good. I even really liked several of the songs, though some of the lyrics felt a little cheap. I had a much better time with it than I did "A Catered Affair." Deep down it just felt like an unnecessary show. I felt the story fell somewhere between silly and stupid. It's entertaining, but not very substantial, which is why when the end of Act 1 came about the woman sitting next to me was thinking the same thing "I'm not sure if I like it" because there's not much there.

I appreciated the way the whole cast attacked their roles. There was a lot of energy on stage and clearly the cast was very talented. It just didn't feel like there was a ton going on with the story and the show was a little longer than it had to be. It was nice, but a bit thin.

Gypsy this weekend! Woohoo!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Thou Shalt Not Wear Track Pants

So when I'm working out at my neighborhood gym, I sometimes see a very old priest working out along side me. I'm all in favor of people of all ages staying in shape, but the thing that gets me is that he works out in his full priestly robes. These long, black, very heavy looking robes. Do you know how strange it is to see an old man with a long white beard in robes running at top speed on a treadmill? I fear he is going to have a heart attack. It does not seem like an outfit conducive to exercise. I mean, clearly, it will help sweat off the pounds, but it looks bizarre and it must be uncomfortable to run in. Will the church really not allow him civvie clothing to work out? If he keeps the collar on, can't he at last get some sweatpants? It just seems to me like Jesus would be okay with this request. Where is the harm?

I really feel he could hurt himself if the robes get caught up in the elliptical machine. It's an accident waiting to happen, but it can be prevented. I hope whatever denomination this man serves will do right by him and reform its policies and let him train in proper clothes. It's the right thing. Just ask yourselves: WWJD? I'm sure he'd wear an old shirt and ratty sweats like the rest of us.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Shut Your Face And Dance!

Congrats to Holly for becoming American's Next Big Supermodel. Or whatever the title is.

I have a huge headache right now. It feels like a railroad spike is being driven down through my skull to the center of my brain. But my boss is passing kidney stones today. Who is in more pain? You decide. (He is, but throw some sympathy my way anyhow.)

Now on to Step It Up And Dance, which I affectionately call "Shut Your Face and Dance!" because it is my hope that there will be less chatter and more tappa tappa tappa on this show. This is my first attempt to blog in real time. We'll see what happens. I don't understand how this show will be different from "So You Think You Can Dance?" that joyful fizzy drink of a reality competition show on Fox. Since they will not have Cat Deely as emcee, the producers made a great choice in hiring a Saved By The Bell alumna. Elizabeth Berkley, no less! I hope they show footage from "Go For It!" to legitamize her inclusion in the proceedings. Hilariously, and perhaps passive-aggressively? VH1 is showing Showgirls at the same time! Just one channel over! I will be flipping back and forth during commercials to let you know what crazy shennanigans Nomi is up to. You know you want to know.

Here we go!

Berkley on a rooftop! She is explaining the premise. 12 Dancers are going to dance... they can win 100,000 dollars... they are dancing in LA. Here come the title credits! They are a little like the Britain's Next Top Model Credits, with people on billboards. There's more of a disco beat behind it though... it's certainly gay enough for Bravo.

So the dancers get out of cab's in LA. Who can tell what there names are. One is a go go dancer. There's a girl nicknamed Mochi. She has been in Lion King since 2001. Oy. There's a straight guy who wants to be Kevin Bacon, there's a broadway dance guy who has been in several shows.

They meet EB and Jerry Mitchell, who will be their Dance Mentor. He's their Tim Gunn. The dancers immediately freak out over Nomi. EB gives them the infamous Nomi hands because how could she not? Give the public what they want! The dancers also reference her dancing on Saved By The Bell which makes me like them all already.

They introduce more dancers. One has never danced professionally. Another one has other issues. Who knows? We're moving along fast, people. They are going out tonight to dance at a club and drink. There is boozing, there is free-style dancing, there is smack talk. I immediately like Janelle the hip hop dancer, and notice one of them looks like a homeless Prince. There is simulating humping on a bar with a shirtless European.

EB stops the debauchery. Psych! The first challenge has already begun, they introduce Jamie King who is choreographing Celine's new tour. He is gonna watch them dance to all different styles of dancing. Everyone starts spazzing the hell out. Janelle is great fun. No one else stands out. One girl is wearing boots not made for dancing. Well then she is a dumbass. You're on a dance show on Bravo! You will always have to dance anywhere you go! He splits them off into two couches as they perform in little groups. Cool kids on one. Spazs on the other. The cool kids cannot be eliminated. Janelle's group turns out to be the cool kids!

Commercials: Nomi is stripping and Kyle is watching all hornily. Nomi is out of her dress and is writhing on the pole. And the nudity is cut out. Boo!

We're back with the Spaz Group. They are introduced to Dance Captains RJ and Nick. The Spaz Group has to learn some routine for judging the next day. Two gay guys who do not seem to be in the Spaz group declare themselves the Mean Girls. We'll see if that amounts to anything.

The Cool Kids are competing to win immunity for next week, since they are all already immune this week. There is the learning of steps. They are dancing to spice girls. I'm already a little bored by this show.

The Spaz group is up. They're not so good. This is as I feared and there is too much talking and not enough Dance. Boots girl is hurt. She is in tears. She is going to the hospital! Will she return in time? Eh. We'll see. Where's EB??

Commercials. Nomi looks...puzzled. She has returned home to see Molly. She has an audition. With Tony Moss! Nomi is ripping her shirt off and running back into the line. Whatever dirty thing she says to him is redubbed to be nothing. Nomi is dancing! Nomi makes the cut! Woohoo!

Back to the show, The Spaz Group is not getting better. The Cool Kids go up to the main stage. They have to do the choreography plus two counts of 8 of freestyle. Everyone's minds are blown despite the fact they just did this and succeeded in the first round.

The hurt girl quits. She says goodbye. Everyone else is thrilled she's out of the competitiion. One step closer to winning. There are a bunch of other judges. And Mel B. shows up! She is a second guest judge. EB looks really good you guys. She's the best thing on this show.

It's time for the winning group performance. Spice Up Your Life plays and plays. They are not so bad. Jessica freaks the hell out and runs off stage. The judges give notes and then deliberate - with the dancers right in front of them! I like that. Feels very auditiony. Janelle and James get the best praise, and Janelle wins the challenge! Woohoo! So she gets immunity for NEXT week's show as well. Good for her. Up next, the Spaz Group dances to stay alive!

Commercials. Nomi quits stripping! She's in Goddess. At the Stardust! She won't be back! Nomi is beating down the door of James. He's not happy about her show, but he's sleeping with some other girl. Nomi is HURT. She leaves after saying something that gets dubbed out.

We're back. EB is very no-nonsense about letting them know this might be there lsat chance to show the judges what they can do. This group dance is much worse than the first one. Once again, the song goes on and on. The freestyle portion stinks.It's not surprising when you think that there first freestyle is what got them in the bottom in the first place. "Great Job!" lies EB.
Cody, the broadway boy, gets the best praise. There are several in this group that were no good.
Tovah and Oscar in particular, also Adrianna. The judges throw their asses up for elimination.

Commercials. Commercials! Nomi has her own problems and is taking a breather on both channels.

So we're back, and who's going home? Adrianna. As EB says "show's over!" She takes it in stride. Sweet girl. Peace out! They show clips from the season. Pretty much what you expect to happen on a Bravo show, looks like it will happen on this one. It looks like the art of the actual dance will not be taking center stage here. Oh well! There's always SYTYCD and Dancing with the Stars for that. If i keep watching, looks like I will be saying Shut Your Face, a whole lot more than I was planning to.

I'm too tired to edit! The End!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Enslaved By The Bell

If you don't get rid of Linda, I'm gonna throw her out the winda. - Lisa Turtle

Ahh. I love Saved By The Bell. I really do. And chances are? So do you. I think I love it more now than i did almost 20 years ago when it was first on TV. I watched it religiously then. I still watch it religiously now. I cannot turn away. When I first realized it was on TBS for two hours every morning (from 7am-9am. Check your local listings!) I was a bit confused. I mean two hours? That's a lot of time to give to SBTB. That's 20 episodes a week! At first I thought, "TBS is doing this just for me! Thank you, TBS." But then I casually mentioned it to several other people and they admitted that they still watched it before going to work as well. And that sometimes we leave for work a little later than we should so that we can watch an episode to its entirety.

Why should we feel compelled to do this? Why are we still watching? I must have seen every episode of this show at least 10 times. I can recite all the lines. There are no new surprises. But I still really enjoy it. Like yesterday I got to see the two parter with Jessie's father's wedding and then the two parter where Zack dates a homeless girl at Christmas. It still makes me laugh when Jessie is a total bitch to her future stepmother, and when Slater can't gift wrap presents in the mall to save his life. Heeheehee!

During the day, i will catch myself singing Zack Attack songs or the School song. I text iconic lines to friends (you might as well respond, Alyssa! I will never stop sending them!) People might find this extreme, and maybe it is. It's not really an obsession, I'd consider it more hopeless devotion. Sure, the show is familiar and comforting, but it's more than that. It's a part of me. I could never let it go. I wouldn't want to.

Say what you will, Saved By The Bell is truly a modern classic of television. I hope TBS is still playing it 20 years from now when (presumably) my own kids are going to high school. If TBS or TV in general no longer exists, I have the whole show on DVD, so I will save a DVD player and a TV set so i can continue to watch it. I will still cry when Kelly dumps Zack for Muldoon and i will still smile when Screech is crowned Ms. Bayside. And of course I will sing along with a bat-shit crazy jessie, all hopped-up on caffeine pills, as she insists to Zack that she's so excited, when we all know she's so scared.

Years from now, no matter where we've travelled. We'll all look back and think about our friends...We'll all look back and think about our FRIEEEEENDS!!