Saturday, May 31, 2008

Two Weddings and No Funerals

Thank goodness! The wireless signal I mooch off has returned! I guess "Jen's Home Office" is only present on the weekends now. I came home this evening to find that I could finally post my thoughts on Xanadu and Good Boys and True. Tonight I went to my co-workers wedding. It was very nice. It was the second wedding of the week. On Memorial Day one of my closest friend's from college got married. Two weddings in one week is... intense. But both ceremonies were really lovely and actually very different from each other, so it didn't feel repetitive the second time through. I went to both of these weddings without a date, and luckily there were awesome single friends in abundance at both receptions. And at neither ceremony did I feel self-pity about not having someone to love. Woohoo! I went a little crazy on the dance floor at tonight's reception, there should be some interesting photos popping up online in the coming days! It was a lot of fun though.

One thing that is a little weird about weddings, is that I can't help but think about how I will deal with my mother's absence when I eventually get married. I won't be able to dance with her at the ceremony, but should there be a song played in her memory? Should it be mentioned in the ceremony? It's hard for me not to get really emotional thinking about it. Just thinking about it hypothetically makes me feel so hurt that I won't get to dance with her. So there are mother-son moments at weddings that get me really choked up. But regardless of that, I'm very happy for my friends who have found people they want to spend the rest of their lives with. They were both excellent parties, with great food and wonderful dancing. Now I'm tired and have to do a long run tomorrow to burn off all the delicious and fattening food i ate over the last week. But for now it's time for bed!

Every Good Boy Does Fine!

Friday night I saw Good Boys and True. It’s the first non-musical I’ve seen in quite some time and I picked a good one. The basic plot follows the discovery of an underage sex tape at a private school and the many layers of truth that are revealed as the tape goes public. It’s kind of twisty in its plot and I don’t really want to give away too many details, but I thought it was very well written and well acted. The best part about it for me is that the characters try to figure out WHY the tape was made and it’s easy to walk away with a theory, the play refuses to spell it out for the characters. The point is, in my opinion, that we are all capable of doing wrong and horrible things, and even more likely to be complacent in their happening, and that we can take responsibility for them only when we’re able to accept why we did them. Sometimes it takes a lot of living before we really understand the why. So I thank the play for not pushing the characters beyond where they could go, but letting the audience know they were on an irreversible course when we leave them at play’s end. I’m glad the offenders are not given an easy out. There are only 6 actors in the cast and there are barely any scenes with more than two people at a time, but all the various combinations of characters bouncing off of each other are very effective. Betty Gilpin and Christopher Abbot especially stand out as a mother and son. It was also great to see Kellie Overbey, who I’ve had a crush on ever since she played Dana in “The Stand” miniseries back in the ‘90s. So much time has passed, but I still love you, Kellie! Your face-off with Flagg is still my favorite part of that whole series!

The set consisting of hundreds of shining gold trophies stacked on high shelves is also very interesting and right on point in capturing the sense of tradition, competition and the importance of possessions that weighs so heavily on the action of the play. It’s really good. It’s playing at the Second Stage Theater on 43rd St. Check it out.

Xanadu! Couldn't escape if I wanted to!

Thursday night I saw Xanadu. Going in I had mixed feelings about it. I wasn't all too excited about the show, but I was eager to complete my set of this season's tony-nominated musicals. I’ve never seen this many shows in a season. It’s a good feeling! One quirk of Xanadu is that it has on-stage seating. I've never been to a show with on-stage seating, and when an on-stage seat became available, I went for it. That way, even if i didn't really love the show, the experience would definitely be unique. Plus it's less expensive to see the show that way, and I'm all about cutting costs off a $100+ theater ticket. Especially for a 90 minute show.

So when you get the on-stage ticket it comes with a paper that tells you a bunch of things to do in order for you not to detract from the viewing experience for those sitting in the house and also to keep the actors safe on stage. The most important of these rules are (1) arrive at the theater early so you have time to be seated on stage before the show starts and (2) don't bring a lot of crap with you because there is nowhere to store it besides directly under your seat. So of course I come running into the theater at 7:53pm with my giant laptop bag in hand. At least I was in presentable clothing and remembered to shave earlier that morning, so i wasn't a total Uggo. I shove my way past people and get to the Usherette at the foot of the stage. Our convo goes like this:

Usherette: Are you in onstage seating?
Me: Yes
Usherette: Have you been in onstage seating before?
Me: No.
Usherette: But you've seen the show before?
Me: No.
Usherette: This is your first time at the 'Du???
(Okay, Owen. Maintain your composure even though she just referred to the show as, The Du.)
Me: Yes.
Usherette: Wow. You're in luck. Tonight is the night Lincoln Center is taping the show. So you are gonna be a part of recorded history!
Me: Really? Great! Do I have time to use the bathroom before the show starts?
Usherette: You better go now. Once you walk through that door [to the stage] you can't leave again until the show is over.
Me: Okay, I'll be right back.
Usherette: Hurry, you only have 4 minutes!
So I run downstairs, pee really quickly - i might have cut the line, but who cares? they didn't have to be onstage! and i did wash my hands afterwards, because hygiene matters- and I run back to the Usherette at the front of the house. We have another conversation:

Usherette: Okay, you're ready?
Me: Yes.
Usherette (pointing to my water bottle): You cannot take your water on stage.
Me: Oh, I'll put it in my bag.
Usherette: No. It cannot go on stage at all. There is a ledge just beyond this door. You can leave the water there and pick it up after the performance. No one will take it.
Me: Okay.
Usherette: I am going to give you a glow stick. Do you know how to break a glow stick?
Me: Yes. (I lie.)
Usherette: You just snap it.
Me: Okay...
Usherette: Don't snap it now!
Me: Okay.
Usherette: At the end of the play, when they're singing "Xanadu" that's when you break the glow stick, and then you all will get up and dance. The cast will tell you when to do this. Don't worry about it. You ready to dance?
Me: I am totally ready to dance.
Usherette: Okay, walk through the door and they'll lead you to your seat.
Me: Do I have a specific seat?
Usherette: No, it's first come, first serve. We'll see what's left for you.

I pass through the magical stage door and make my ascent to the stage (after dropping off my water bottle on the ledge). Another Usherette leads me on to the stage indicating where i shouldn't walk so that the roller skate ramps stay clean. I squeeze myself into my seat and the Usherette lets me know I'm sitting next to two Xanadu audience pro's, so if i have any questions i'm in good hands. I cram my jacket and laptop bag under my seat, and immediately ask the audience pro to my right about the glo stick issue. She assures me it's not that complicated and just tells me to wait until the end.

So then Cheyenne Jackson comes out on stage and we’re off! At this point, I don’t really know what the hell to do. I had felt a small amount of pressure to make it seem like I was enjoying the show when it was just that the rest of the audience could see me. Now with the cameras filming me, I felt immense pressure to seem engaged and enthusiastic the entire time. This is not easy for me. Sometimes my mind wanders or I need to take a little nap during a show. And that’s during a really good show! I didn’t even know if I’d LIKE this one and now I felt like I had to laugh at everything so I didn’t come off looking like some asshole on the recording.

So the show was… I don’t really know what to say about it actually. I was hardly in a place to view it objectively, what with being on stage and also not really being able to see what the rest of the audience saw. The show is definitely the “Dancing With The Stars” of Broadway. It’s got skilled professionals doing their thing, but it’s camped out to the max and totally slathered in cheese. It’s quick and fun and totally capital letters GAY. It’s out of its mind, in love with it’s own gawdiness and stupidity, but it’s also sweet and not doing anybody any harm. I can tell you that everyone in the cast have very toned glutes and huge leg muscles. Butts in tight costumes were on display the whole time. The actors know this of course and give you an extra shimmy and a knowing wink as they spin around and it’s totally adorable. The dancing in the was great. Most of the cast really made a point to engage the onstage audience during the show and I certainly felt a camaraderie with them. Cheyenne and Kerry were not as interactive with us, but they had the audience in the house to cater to. Jackie Hoffman and Mary Testa as the villainous muses, really gave us a lot to laugh at the rest of the audience wasn’t privy too. There was some low brow physical gags that were for our eyes only. But the show itself has the energy and focus of a child with ADHD who just ingested one of those giant straws filled with colored sugar. It’s a musical that Amy Poehler’s SNL character Caitlin would create. And even though I never saw the movie it’s based on, it turns out I knew more about the music and the plot of Xanadu than I did with South Pacific when I saw that earlier this month. Weird. I managed to keep a smile on my face the entire time with minimal effort, but I think my eyes have an unmistakable “WTF is this?” look of bemusement twinkling in them. At the end, I broke my glow stick just like the pros did, got up and bounced around to the music. I had a lot of fun with the show. It only aims to please. It’s mostly successful at what it tries to do. It’s fiercely committed to sending itself up, which you have to respect for its consistency, but it can also make the show feel cheap at times. I’m glad I went to see it. I think it’s hilarious that if you watch it at the viewing library at Lincoln Center, you’ll see me there.

I would say it’s worth checking out. It’s fun... but here’s where the trickiness of seeing it from on stage comes in. I feel like I saw how hard the actors were working by being so close to them and that endeared me to them. I wonder if I was watching it straight on from the house if I’d have thought it was too broad or too easy. I think that kind of comedy is deceptively difficult. If the show doesn’t take itself seriously (which I believe it doesn’t) but the actors take what they’re doing seriously (which I believe they do) where does that leave us? It left me a little baffled and mystified but ultimately respectful.

One thing I’ve GOT to say though is that I don’t understand Cheyenne’s costume. I don’t care if it’s period, I don’t know or care if that’s what his character wore in the movie, it just looks weird on him to me. His frame is too big for that. I thought it looked cheesy in all the print ads, and it didn’t look any better in person. He’s got these massive legs and the shorts are just not RIGHT. It just looks like an outfit designed for a much smaller person to me. It makes him look like an overgrown kid or something. It’s out of proportion. Somehow, his outfit made me want to dislike him! He was very good though, and it’s too bad he missed out on a Tony nom.

So now I’ve seen all the nominated shows. My thoughts on the Tonys will soon follow.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Cars and Fragility

So yesterday was weird. I only got four hours of sleep the night before because of how long it took for me to get home after seeing Indy. I could've slept a bit longer, but I've heard that a full sleep cycle is roughly 4 hours, and while it's optimal to get 2 each night, you can wake up after one and your head will be clearer than if you sleep for say, 5 and a half hours.

That worked out pretty well for me. I was tired, but I actually had a lovely afternoon outside at the park with Miggy and some of his schoolmates on a playdate. It was with two of my favorites of Miggy's friends so it was very pleasant. I talked with their moms at a picnic table while the boys ran around Riverside Park getting bright green grass stains all over their khaki uniform pants. There was a lot of butterfly chasing, which is a totally awesome activity at any age, but really special for kids under age 10.

Meanwhile, the conversation between us adults went from topic to topic, and eventually came upon the issue of the dangers of cars for kids, and also the dangers of driving as adults. One mom had recently seen a car flip over on the road when the driver just lost control. No one was injured, but it was a very unsettling experience. This made me think of a few weeks ago, when i was driving my bosses car to pick up Miguel from school. It was raining heavily. i was driving down a hill and I could see that the light ahead of me was red, but for whatever reason, my brain could not convince my body to hit the brakes. I was not distracted, though i was trying to figure out which wiper speed would be the best to keep the windshield clear. I was focused and I mostly knew i had to stop, but my brain was also registering that the light just up the road from the upcoming intersection was still green, and from the corner of my eye, I could see a white walk signal, so maybe I should just keep going. As my brain tried to reconcile these opposing stop/go signals, the car continue to move forward. Finally I realized I should not have entered the intersection, and hit the brakes, but I was already halfway into the road. And that's when I saw the car coming from the right hand side. I stopped, and that car saw me and swerved out of the way and stopped right before it hit a telephone pole. I couldn't believe how bad that almost was. I immediately put up my hand and looked out the front window to apologize to the other driver. He drove off and I drove off and that was the end of it. Disaster averted.

The reality easily could've been that i was killed or that I killed someone, if things were just off by a few seconds. But the thing is, I don't even think I was being careless. It was just a mistake. My brain picked a really inopportune moment to spazz out. But these things happen. For no real reason other than we are human. And humans make mistakes. As I sat there with those two moms we talked about how there are so many things that are dangers that have nothing to do with people being evil or abusive, or kids being bad or reckless. Sometimes things happen and it's nobody's fault.

Cut to later yesterday evening. I get home, and I'm totally exhausted. Partly from a long work week and partly because of a lack of sleep the night before. I fall asleep on my couch for 8:30pm-1:40am, I wake up still tired. I wash some dishes from dinner and then notice that a repeat of Oprah is on TV. As coincidence would have it, she is talking to families who have lost children through car accidents. One grandmother backed over her little grandson because she didn't know he was behind her car. Her son and daughter-in-law didn't blame her, but she could not forgive herself. They had this psychologist on panel, as well as someone who had lost half her family a long time ago by falling asleep at the wheel, who said it wasn't a matter of her forgiving herself but it was really a matter of accepting herself. She's human and she made a mistake, and it happens all the time. Sometimes we get lucky like when i entered that intersection, and there are no lasting effects. But sometimes people pay a high price and it's not because they are bad people. It's just cause they're human, and that's what can happen. And we liv with it, and learn from it and grow.

The timing of seeing that show at such an odd hour of the night, after having that conversation with the moms earlier in the day, and my own experience in the car from the week prior, was so bizarre and coincidental. I think, in general, I have a hard time accepting the fact that mistakes are a natural part of existing, and that not every action taken is a reflection on a person's self worth. It was a timely reminder of my own fragility, and my need to accept myself for my imperfections and to be more accepting of others as well.

So, in conclusion, take the time to look both ways when crossing the street. And if you're driving this Memorial Day Weekend be safe. Some mistakes are unavoidable, accidents happen, but we can always do ourselves a huge favor by being aware of ourselves and of our surroundings.

Indy 4-EVA!!

Thursday night I went with friends to see Indy IV: The Case of The Crystal Skulls at the lovely Ziegfeld Theater. Seeing an "event movie" with this particular group of friends is really the way an "event movie" is meant to be seen. That way, if the movie itself sort of disappoints the experience of seeing it with awesome people helps prop it up. And if the movie is great, than the company only makes it that much more memorable. And if the movie sucks, you've got a talented ensemble of hecklers ready to throw expletives at the screen. Plus that night I got to sit next to a friend that I've socially known for a while but never really had a big convo with, and we really had time to talk in line before the show and then shared a tub of popcorn during the flick and that was awesome.

So how was the movie? Well... I liked it! I thought it was a lot of fun. It wasn't much MORE than a lot of fun, so i could understand if die-hard Indy fans were less than fulfilled. The thing I find most distracting about Indy IV, is the script. Or rather, the history of developing the script. The story behind the scenes was that it took a long time - and many many drafts from different screenwriters - for Lucas and Spielberg and Ford to all agree on going forward with the movie. And the script they went with? It don't make no sense! Why did they all agree on THIS? That's my main question. It didn't stop me from ultimately enjoying the movie, but some of the lines are just clunkers and there are even more plot points that are introduced but don't go anywhere.

For Instance: (SPOILERS!)

Using Area 51 was weird for me. I don't really understand plot-wise why they start here. I mean I get it because of the aliens, er, inter-dimensional gods, and what have you, but... meh. When I saw pics of this set piece in magazines and on TV, i assumed this was where they wound up. But starting here was strange. It was nice to see the ark, but after all the shooting and chasing, I can't remember what the Russians actually succeeded in getting here. There was an alien body, but i don't think it was an actual crystal skull, because that was in South America, right? So what was the point of that whole first act? I just can't remember. And since I only saw the movie two days ago, that's a sign of some convoluted storytelling.

There's also Cate Blanchett's character who apparently has mind control abilities and she unsuccessfully tries to use them on Indy once and then never really uses them again. I get that it's a reference to something the ruskies were actually working on at the time, psionic soldiers, but it didn't amount to anything. It would've been more interesting and less goofy had they actually went somewhere with this. Cate Blanchett's got amazing range! Look at all the things she got Oscar noms for! Give her something to do!

There's also one hideous line from Indy about knowledge being treasure toward the end of the film that would be totally ridiculous in any situation, but given what the surviving characters just witnessed it's all the more absurd.

But the movie mostly still manages to be delightful and exciting throughout. I loved Ford and Karen Allen back together. Shia was dependable and committed as Indy's kid. I liked the fights and the chases. I liked the music. I do think the script could've been tighter with not a lot of additional effort. I mean, seriously, if the Big 3 can agree to shoot a script this silly, I'm sure they could've shot any number of acceptable scripts. I feel confident they will actually make another one, and I hope it's as fun as this one was, but a little less convoluted.

(The downside of seeing a movie late at night is that when you get out, the trains back to Astoria tend not to be running anymore. At least I have really bad luck with it. Thus what would normally be a 20 minute train ride home took almost 2 hours with several rerouting nightmares to be had. Next time I will remember just to take a taxi. Especially if i have work the next day,)

Friday, May 23, 2008

I almost forgot to tell you to Shut Your Face And Dance.

Ahh, once again it is time for this show. This week i am not watching it in real time because I went to see Indy 4 with friends last night. Review of that to follow. But let's cut to the chase: DVR, do your thing!

Previously, we were at 6 contestants, and then went down to five and then went back up to six again. This show will never end. Strut it, Gay Credits.

Oscar returns to the show and starts styling Captain Vanilla's hair. I don't know why. Janelle is freaking out because she can figure out the math: 2 girls remain in the competition and Mochelle is better than her at everything. Janelle knows she's on the bottom. HP and Mochelle are over their fight from last week... we think!

They all leave the Pegasus apartments and it looks like there's a funny moments where Mochelle tries to kill HP with a glass door. So maybe she is not as over their fight as she says they are. They laugh it off though.

They go to the parking lot and there's a limo waiting for them with a hot looking EB and also choreographer Tina Landon. They are doing music video dance this week? Alright. They are gonna learn the choreography to Umbrella. Click here for awesomeness related to that.

Tina is teaching the steps. Mochelle once again is very slow on the learning again. Miguel thinks he is on Tina's level. Oscar is all pissed off about it being a hip hop challenge again. Then why did you want to be back on this show, Oscar?? They do the audition. It looks fine. They all look into it enough. When they are done, Tina picks two team captains. HP thinks he will be chosen for sure. So who gets picked first? Nick, who honestly caught my eye as being very sharp and on point, and i usually barely notice he's there. HP is thinking, okay... well, she couldn't pick me TWICE, so she saved the best for last. But then Tina commits sacrilege and picks Cody as the second team leader. Miguel is ready to throw himself off the roof they are dancing on. The two leaders pick teams. Team Nick includes Janelle and Oscar. Team Vanilla includes Miguel and Mochelle. Jerry Mitchell tells them they are gonna go back to the studios and create additional choreography to go with what they just learned. Snore. I mean, exciting.

Credits. zip, zap, zop. DVR.

They're back at the studios. Nick's team is in the studio first. Miguel (of course) thinks that Nick made a great choice in choosing him first, since he happens to be a fantastic choreographer AS WELL AS a fantastic team player. I'm sure Michael would beg to differ on the last point. Nick is tired and Mochelle wants a younger body. And then there's a shot of Mochelle, who suddenly looks 400 years old. the hell??? It is then revealed that she is 30 which i never would've guessed until a moment ago. Mochelle thinks she's breaking the stereotype that dancers have to be young. Go go, Granny Mochi! The team likes what they came up with.

Cody's team is next. They can't agree on anything. It's mostly stylistic differences. Janelle's style is better for the music and routine but Captain Vanilla is in charge and Janelle does not have great communication skills. They lock horns on every count of 8. I don't like Captain Vanilla, but I think Janelle is going about this the wrong way. At least by what the editing shows. They do come up with something though, and Jerry dismisses them from the rehearsal studio. They return to the apartments to go to sleep and Janelle and Miguel talk about how they have their dance careers are ahead of them because they are young, unlike Cody and Mochelle who are great dancers, but old and on their way out. Miguel tells Janelle she has to stay alive past this round, which most likely means she won't.

Commercials. A-List Awards. Coming at you soon! I swear!

The dancers make breakfast. Nick is getting ready, Janelle is not thrilled with what they have. They go back to the studios with Tina Landon. Tina is gonna put all their different sections together so it doesn't look like total crap in front of the judges. She's also giving them a little ending to cap off the number. They keep rehearsing and then perform for Tina. She tells them what their group flaws are. Nick's group is missing emotion (surprise!) while Cody is trying to look better than his teammates (bigger surprise!) Everyone makes a mental note of her critique, as we head to The Callback.

Callback! EB introduces everyone to the judges and sets them all straight about rules and order of events. Time to step it up, folks. Well not right now, EXACTLY. First we have more commercials.

Commercials. There's a circus going on under the water... i think it's an insurance commercial. Unsettling.

We return. Ella. Ella. Hey. Hey. Hey. There is dancing. It looks fine. I'm kinda bored with this routine though. The video is much better, Throw some water around! The judges liked Nick's group better, They all love Mochelle! Nick is the dark horse! Cody's star is falling! Miguel is over enthusiastic! Janelle is young! Oscar is... there? I think Janelle is going home.

The judges can't figure out who to give top honors. It's been Mochelle and Nick. Somehow Nick wins in a split decision. He's thrilled. Mochelle takes it in stride and seems happy for him. So Nick gets to be Tina's assistant for the day or something. He seems to think this is a great prize. I think this show has no budget for "prizes." It's between Janelle and Oscar to get the axe. As we knew it would be.

Commercials. I have no Lost waiting for me this week. And no new BSG this week either! Boo!!

We're back. So who goes home? Oscar! Oh, good. He has no second chance at a last dance. he's just gone. The show is over for him. Again. He's cool with it though. It took coming back to remember he actually hated being on this show. EB calls the others back on stage. They are the Final Five Dancing Cyclons! They will go home, choreograph a 1 minute piece that says who they are and how they can lead the Fleet back to the 13th Colony of Earth and the worst them will get blown out of an airlock and sent back to obscurity. Who will it be? Hang in there, Janelle. you're the Starbuck of this show now. Hey I finally found you a nickname! Woohoo!

Next week: People return to the show with haircuts. A difficult challenge awaits! Starbuck starts crying from the intensity of it all. Hold it together, girl! End of line!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Has anyone heard from Spring?

Dear May, You are not March. Please start acting accordingly. Love. Owen

It is seriously freezing in my apartment right now. I'm wearing a sweatshirt and still I'm freezing. I don't know what the current temp is outside, but there is no heat in the building, being that it's mid-May, and it's like I'm sitting in a freezer. I would love to go to sleep since I have a very early call time tomorrow morning but the cold is keeping me awake. I will try to climb into the ice cube tray that is my bed and read a little Harry Potter and hope that sends me into a magical dreamland of sleep...

About 24 hours later. I am still cold. Granted, in between now and the last time I wrote there were several hours of nice weather which prompted beautiful people to walk around outside in skimpier-than-usual clothing, and that was all good. However, after those few quick hours, things have fallen back to their hateful cold rainy standard. Get it together, May. I want good weather for Memorial Day Weekend! It is not too much to ask. NY1 had originally said it would be warm and sunny, but now today they were hemming and hawing about how maybe there was a new storm front coming in to keep it cold and disgusting outside. I am not a fan. Shape up. May. Or ship out.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

So Pathetic (No More!)

Years ago, a friend and I were talking about our high school musicals and he mentioned that they did a production of South Pacific which they had retitled "So Pathetic" because it failed in every category by which one might evaluate theater. The casting? Lousy. The orchestra? Ill-equipped. The staging? Laughable - even by high school standards. I had never seen South Pacific and knew very little about the plot, but i found the name So Pathetic very amusing and have chuckled about it to myself whenever it came to mind.

So Saturday night I got to see South Pacific at Lincoln Center. Before i talk about the show, i must call into question the business practices of the Lincoln Center Box Office. They have a cancellation line, but they keep it around the corner from the actual box office and i believe it's "out of sight, out of mind" if they get cancellation tickets, and someone in the advanced sale line asks for them, they get them and the cancellation can go screw themselves. I know this because I've been burned on this particular cancellation line, and got my ticket for the evening performance by going straight to advanced sales. Just so you know.

Anyway, South Pacific is a truly excellent production of what i can only describe as an enchantingly bizarro show. All I knew about it going in was that it took place in the South Pacific, a lady wore a sailor outfit, someone sings Some Enchanted Evening, and race is an issue. Speaking to a friend on Friday, I was told I knew more of the music than i thought I did, and that was true. There are a lot of songs (the show is a solid three hours long) and most of them became American Standards. This makes some people in the audience feel okay to sing along. And to the elderly gentleman who sat behind me I must say: you sir, are no Kelli O'Hara. That kind of crap might be okay if you're going to see Mamma Mia! or (god help you) Grease, but please don't let your enthusiasm for the music lead you to try out-singing the leads. You ain't got the pipes.

So as I was saying, the production is breathtaking. It certainly earns its 11 Tony nominations. But i think the show itself it a little kooky, and I can understand why it might not hold up well under high school or community theater limitations. Most of my problems with the show revolve around Lieutenant Cable. I just don't understand how I'm supposed to feel about him. He loves this girl, but then he won't marry her because of her race (and maybe because she's actually too young?), and then goes off on some heroic mission and **Spoiler Alert!!** dies off-stage with very little fanfare and the show never really gives him any kind of send off. This was not to my liking. In fact, the ending as a whole feels kinda rushed. It reminded me of that line from the great Forbidden Broadway spoof of Ragtime, "It's getting near Eleven, and you have to wrap things up. Make them shoot you. Make them shoot you." I mean, I've been investing in the story for three hours and the big reunion at the end involves hands being held at the dinner table? That's it? Bah!

Story issues aside, if you are to see a production of South Pacific, this is the one to see. The set looks magical. The upstage is built in a way that really plays with perspective in a remarkable way, making the playing space look twice as deep as it is. Kelli O'Hara and Paulo Szot are great as the leads. The entire supporting cast is great. The production just feels ROBUST. It's a big show, but the Lincoln Center space makes it feel intimate. The giant orchestra is fantastic and the music sounds lush without being overpowering.

There are three really great musical revivals from this season on Broadway right now. I don't know how I'd pick between Sunday, Gypsy and South Pacific if i was a tony voter. The people on NY1 On Stage this morning seemed certain that South Pacific would win. It's certainly worthy. I'm left feeling not wild about the show itself, but this is first rate presentation. And i think my favorite song was one I actually didn't know called "Happy Talk" sung so well by Loretta Ables Sayre as Bloody Mary. I will close this post with a lyric I was quite fond of:

Happy talk, keep talkin' happy talk,
Talk about things you'd like to do.
You got to have a dream,
If you don't have a dream,
How you gonna have a dream come true?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Your Mother Always Told You To Shut Your Face and Dance

This was written last night during the show as it always is, but due to a spotty wireless connection, it's being posted almost 24 hours later. Enjoy!

Welcome, everyone! Grab a seat and we'll begin. There are now five dancers left. EB is going through a whole big VO about what’s been going on. Can’t we just get a previouslys? What's the big deal? I want her to hurry, but EB will not be rushed! Alright, it's finally done.

If these credits were gay, that would be okay. I mean cause, hey! I’d like them anyway.

Challenge #7!! Mochelle is thrilled to still be in it. Homeless Prince tells us Mexican men don’t dance. But he does! Nearly Passionless Nick is ready to reconnect with his passion for dance instead of it just being about a paycheck. Captain Vanilla knows he’s the best because he won two challenges in a row. All the dancers go to learn what their next challenge is. EB introduces them to Jordi Caballero, the guest judge/choreographer. The challenge this week is latin dance. Homeless Prince knows this could work for him. Mochelle is confident in this style of dancing and in her partnering skills. Janelle has no confidence about either of those things. She thinks she is going home. I agree. I love her, but I agree.

They train for an hour and fifteen minutes. Yada, Yada, Yada. They do the Audition. First up: Mochelle and Captain Vanilla. As they go to start, Mochelle can’t remember ANYTHING about the dance. They start, and it’s horrible. It’s like Mochelle learned nothing. They stop. Twice. You cannot stop at an audition! Make some shit up! Jerry and Jordi are like “the hell?” Finally Cap and Mochelle do SOMEthing. It stinks. Janelle and Homeless Prince are next. It’s not very elegant, Janelle is just all over the place, but it’s better than the first dance. Lastly Mochelle dances again with NPN. NPN VO’s that the judges don’t think he has passion in his face, but he was taught to dance like a man. I never knew until now that dancing like a man involved dancing with a fixed doofy grin.

So they are all done, and Jordi ranks them worst to best. 5. Mochelle 4.NPN 3. Janelle
2. Homeless Prince and 1. Captain Vanilla. They will get to pick partners from best to worst. We’ll find out who the partners are… after the break! PLEASE LET IT BE THE CAST OF SAVED BY THE BELL! THERE'S THE RIGHT NUMBER AND EVERYTHING! PLEASE!!!!

Commercials. I have know idea why Cry-Baby chose “watch your ass” for the song to run under their commercial. They can’t say “ass” and it’s one of the shows WORST songs in my opinion. Weird.

We're back! The partners are… the sucky eliminated contestants? O…K… Well, THAT'S why we had to sit through that long intro. So who will each of the Top 5 pick? Captain Vanilla tells HP that he will leave him Tovah and pick Jessica, but then he picks Tovah anyway, because The Captain is an ass. HP picks Jessica even though she ran off stage in fear back when she was in the competition. Janelle takes Stephen, the black gay guy. NPN has to take that girl that got eliminated first. I can’t remember her name. And faced with choice of Oscar and Michael, Mochelle takes Oscar. Michael is sent packing again feeling no love. EB lets us know that in a twist, the best of the eliminated dancers will be back in the competition and the worst of the current 5 will be cut. So we’ll still be at 5 until next week. SIGH…

So they all practice. Everyone is nervous and everyone wants to still be in the competition. I just summed up about 5 minutes of show in that one sentence.

Commercials. I have to go to the store and get milk… The only place now open is Rite-Aid. Boo-urns. It's so expensive there! it's like a $1.50 more for a half gallon than at other places.

Upon returning, we learn NPN thinks he’s going home. Cap tells him to just go over the top! Then they can’t fault him for being passionless. HP is crying on the phone to his mom because he’s afraid. He wants to win so much. Mom tells him to go for it, and he feels better. Moms are good for those moments. The eliminated contestants are excited to have a chance to get back in the competish. Jessica is having dizzy spells though. Jesus Christ. She thinks she should go to the hospital. HP is like “go! Don’t dance with me, crazy!” She is basically running away again. The irony of this is actually not lost on the dancers. They try to rehearse Mochelle with HP, but he really doesn’t want a partner and after some testiness between them, Miguel decides to go it alone.

The Call Back. EB welcomes all the people she and the other judges kicked off the show back to the stage. She says that Jessica has an inner ear inflammation which DOES explain the dizzy spells, but not the crazy. HP wants to beat Captain Vanilla all on his own.

Commercials. Wait for me, Lost. I’m on my way!

When we return, Janelle doesn’t want to go home and have one of these kicked off bitches replace her. Mochelle feels similarly. Everybody dances! It’s pretty good. I think in the group thing, Tovah and HP are actually the best. In the individuals… again all pretty good. No one really stood out for me in the individual freestyles. It will be interesting to see what the judges say. EB calls it caliente! And then seeing the dancers confused faces, she explains it was hot. They go through the people they already had cut first. They liked them all, and I DO feel their performances showed that all of them really wanted to come back to the competish. So who will it be? Not James and not Adriana, though I do think they redeemed their early exits. It’s between Tovah and Oscar. Jordi says they are both winners. But they are not. Because only Oscar is returning. So he’s really the winner right now.

Now it’s for the dancers still in the competish. They loved Miguel. So manly! They loved Mochelle! So sexy! Janelle did fine. So going home! It really doesn’t look good for her. Captain Vanilla was cold for the judges. So Shocking! Nearly Passionless Nick finally found some passion! So surprising! The judges deliberate and Janelle and Cap are deemed the weakest. I wonder what will happen after the break?

Commercials. I keep hearing commercials for the next season of Project Runway, but I have yet to see a firm premiere date. Is it really close, or are they just teasing me? Don’t wave that carrot in front of my face unnecessarily, Bravo!

We return to learn that Mochelle is the winner. She had quite a see saw week, Cody and Janelle are in the bottom two. BUT!! EB explains to us that while she said earlier that one dancer would be returning, she did NOT actually say that they would replace a current contestant. Look at me, jumping to conclusions! EB rightly says it would be sorta bullshit to replace someone who made it to this point in the competition with someone they already kicked to the curb. So Oscar returns and no one leaves, which means this show is not getting any closer to a conclusion! ARGH! We're going backwards! There is no Last Dace this week. EB smiles, knowing she successfully manipulated and psychologically tortured the dancers. Good job, EB. I approve.

Next Week: Everyone wears black. That’s all I got from the preview. Please send two people home and keep this ball rolling!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

This Baker's Dozen Tastes So Sweet

Today was a thrilling day. My friends at In The Heights got nominated for an astounding thirteen 2008 Tony nominations. I am so happy for them. It's really just incredible and emotional and overwhelming. When I think of how hard Lin has worked on the show year after year and see all these wonderful people, on-stage and off, who joined him on the journey along the way, and to know that their hard work, and devotion and talent is being recognized... I can't really express what it means. I love them. This journey has been filled with delights but that in no way implies it'sbeen easy. I've seen them have so many incredible days this spring. It's been a privelege to share in their joy and their achievement, and i wish them all so many more incredible moments with the show and beyond. Regardless of what happens on Tony night, and seriously, who can say what will happen, they have already made history and I'm so incredibly proud of them. Their journey makes me have hope in the world. There's nothing else to say. I love them. I believe in them. Congratulations. You've all earned it.

Without, further ado, the nominations are:

Best Musical
In The Heights

Best Actor
Lin-Manuel Miranda

Best Featured Actress
Olga Merediz

Best Featured Actor
Robin de Jesús

Best Score
Lin-Manuel Miranda

Best Book
Quiara Alegría Hudes

Best Director
Thomas Kail

Best Choreography
Andy Blankenbuehler

Best Orchestrations
Alex Lacamoire & Bill Sherman

Best Scenic Design
Anna Louizos

Best Costume Design
Paul Tazewell

Best Lighting Design
Howell Binkley

Best Sound Design
Acme Sound Partners

For further reading of the awesomeness check out: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/14/theater/theaterspecial/14tony.html?_r=1&ref=theater&oref=slogin##

Monday, May 12, 2008

Weekend Update

I can't believe I went all weekend with no postings! Saturday was an all-day affair at my boss's garage sale. I thought i would just go help him set up in the morning, but i should have known i would not be able to leave until the end. It's really hard to describe how much stuff he had for sale. 12 boxes filled with books, years and years worth of magazines, giant bins of children's toys, dozens of wicker baskets, an endless amount of clothes not to mention the electronics and furniture. It was immense. People who came buy kept asking if they were selling the house and I had to assure them that all of this was actually just from the garage. They did not believe me! We sold a lot, but with all that stuff, how can you really make a dent in the inventory in one day? My boss said he would try again next year. I intend to call salvation army and have them haul all the stuff away. Because it's just too crazy. It's too much. And I'm not doing it again! And he can't set it all up on his own. From amongst the thousands of books, I did pull out an ancient, but good condition copy of The Muppet Show Book, which is a large, beautifully illustrated, hardcover book that highlights all the major characters and recurring skits of the show. It was well worth spending the day at the garage sale to have this lovely treasure now sitting on my bookshelf!

Sunday brought my first New York Road Runners race. I had nightmares about it all Saturday night, including one where I somehow finished my 4 mile race in the unimpressive time of 5 hours and 23 minutes. But the race in real life went very well. I look forward to many more of them in the future. The weather was perfect. I was a smidge nervous, because, well, it was my first race! But I shouldn't have been nervous. I actually ran really well. I was hoping to run a solid 10 minute mile average, but i actually clocked in at an average mile of 8:30! I figured out the perfect system to running a good race. Since there are literally thousands of people running these races it is not hard to accomplish. First, you find a cute girl who can clearly run just a little bit faster than you. 2. Don't let her out of your sight for the extent of the race. This is a perfectly enjoyable way to find a pace setter. It's also a nice standard by which to pick a girlfriend; finding someone who's a little better than you, but who makes you enjoy the challenge of staying at her pace. And as a bonus in racing, if the cute girl has her hair up in a ponytail, it will swish back in forth like a metronome while she's running, and that helps keep your feet going at the right speed. So I thank you, cute brunette in the tan shirt and black biking shorts. You led me to my best time in a 4-mile distance run. I actually talked to her after the race, but i realize now that i will have to work on my post-race flirting. One can be a little delirious immediately after a race and forget key parts of conversing. Like telling the girl your NAME, Owen. Jeez. Next time, I swear!

Overall, a very nice weekend.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

You've no other option, but to Shut Your Face and Dance!

Previously: The dancers all went crazy, Broadway-style. All the other dancers hate Michael, none more so than Miguel. The judges think Captain Vanilla is the second coming of Jesus. And Oscar could neither shut his face, nor dance, so he was sent home.

Step it up, Gay Credits. Step it up! And... were some of these people ever on the show? Really?

Pegasus apartments. Miguel thinks it’s a joke that Michael is still there. There are just two people left in the upstairs apartment. Cody and Nick, who have begun wearing matching outfits. Yeesh. Get some new work out clothes, kids. They get a message that they need to leave the apts to go shopping…

At a mattress store? They’re at a big mattress store. Janelle is all… “the fuck?” And then EB and Jerry materialize and introduce Jaques Heinz creator of Diavolo Dance Company – it’s very cirque de soliel. So basically they are gonna be jumping on mattresses? I don’t understand the Audition challenge. Jerry could explain it to me 15 times, I have no idea what he’s talking about. They’re split into teams of two. Mochelle and Homeless Prince are first. They are improving like they’re a couple shopping for their first bed. It’s so effing stupid. I can’t even tell you. They look like damn fools. They have no chemistry because Miguel is super gay. They jump around and take their clothes off. EB remains a professional dignity throughout this buffoonery. Why can’t they just actually have them DANCE on this show?

Janelle and Michael are up second They are better than the first two, they are a bit dancier and not sucky. Michael’s really kinda useless though. Sorry, Michael.None of it particularly memorable.

Then it’s Nick and Captain Vanilla. OH! Now we get to the point of this charade. A funny gay couple. Because I guess they are straight dancers and they are in a gay dance and that’s so awkwardly hilarious? Oh, blow me. If they get an attitude about pretending to be gay, I’m so done with them. They are DANCERS. They have to be in touch with their bodies and not caught up in homophobic bullshit. But Captain Vanilla insists that he is straight and this is uncomfortable. Loser. I must admit though, I actually like their transitions the best. They seem to go through all sorts of scenarios they’d find themselves in bed emotionally. It kinda works. And they decide to 69 as well even though they make sure we know that wasn’t very comfortable for them. We get it. You’re totally on the hetero end of the Kinsey scale. I’m not doubting you!

They get split into two groups but don’t get to know who is a spazz and who is a cool kid. C’mon they were all spazzes this week. One group is Mochi, Cap and Nick and the other is Homeless Prince, Janelle and Michael. Drama’s a’comin’.

Commercials: Top Chefs are cooking for cops after cooking for a wedding? Why do the hate the cheftestants this season??

So they don’t know which group is spazzes and cool kids, and for the Callback each group has to choreograph a dance with strange bleachers and a big swinging atlasphere, like they had on the original American Gladiators show. They call it an atom, but I won’t be calling that. They do okay, but Mochelle can’t really get up to the atom because she is so small. I think she hurts her leg on it later. That’s what the commercial showed me. Spoiler alert!

Janelle, Miguel, and Michael are in the second group. They are doing a hide and seek theme for their dance. It’s crazy bad. Miguel and Michael just hate each other. But Janelle isn’t looking that good either. Jaques hates their group so much. They don’t have anywhere close to two minutes of dance that the Callback requires.

Back at the apartments. Miguel totally flips out on Miguel for his suckitude. It’s an amazing display of loathing. Everyone (including Michael) is sitting around watching the Homeless Prince diva travel around the apartment berating Michael. Michael makes the claim that he’s still there. Miguel thinks it’s the question of the century. That’s hyperbole. But it’s still a good question.

So they meet Jerry back at the theater and he tells them there are actually no spazzes and cool kids this week. Que QUE?? Captain Vanilla is the only one safe. The other 5 can win or lose the challenge. And wait! Jerry has an extra surprise. Jeffrey Sabella, winner of Project Runway has come to costume them. This is the best Bravo could do for him in terms of employment? Sabella, you are very talented. I hope your opportunities in the real world continue to grow past this kind of stuff.

So they get into their futuristic rock star outfits (what else would Jeffrey create?) and practice again. This time, things have turned around. Off-camera, Miguel, Michael and Janelle have gotten their act together. They now have a plan, they are working together and Jaques LOVES their new routine. Miguel thinks he deserves the win. Naturally.

The other team starts to rehearse when Mochelle suddenly bangs her knee on the atlasphere. It apparently hurts like hell. They have to take her for x-rays. What will happen???

Commercials. I can't believe I'm running a race in three days. So weird.

The dancers await Mochelle’s return. She just has a mild contusion and she will be able to dance. Captain Vanilla insists they redo some of Mochelle’s harder choreography so that he stands out more… er, so that she doesn’t risk injury. I think she’ll live if she doesthe original stuff, but I was not consulted at the time this episode was taped.

The Call Back. EB rules over the judge’s table wearing a black sparkling outfit like she’s Donna Troy. It suits her. She explains the rules and introduces the judges for the umpteenth time. Mochelle, Captain Vanilla, and Nick are first. They are dancing to Gwen Stefani?? Really? Alright. The dance is cute. They are a good group. Nick and Cap’ look gayer than they did as a couple in the mattress store. But it looks good.

Next up: Team Numbah Two!

Commercials. Wendy’s chicken wraps look… weird. It’s a perfect example of fake food being used in a commercial, because there’s no way real life food could be held like a football and not loose some of it’s shape. Sorry, Wendy’s. That’s some bogus advertising.

Janelle, Miguel and Michael start. They are good too. The two dances looked very much the same. I mean you’ve got giant stairs and an atlasphere, what are your options? Go up and down the stairs and climb inside the atlasphere. Who knows who the judges will like more? Probably Captain Vanilla.

I can barely get over EB’s sparkliness, but I must try to focus. Here is what they say: They think Miguel’s choreography was great, that Michael didn’t have great solos and that Janelle lacks focus and technique. They think Cap Vanilla is God, that Mochelle is a crybaby for changing her choreography over a bruised knee, and that Nick needs to let his body scream. The judges deliberate while the dancers stand there, and it’s clear that Cap will win the challenge and that Janelle and Michael are in the bottom two. Are they really gonna get rid of one of the only 2 girls left in the competition? Maybe! We’ll see after the break.

Commercials. Lost our time has almost come once again.

We come back. The judges hate both of them equally but one has to stay. Janelle is the one to stay. Thank goodness. But she’ll probably go next week. While he does his last dance, Michael lets us know he has no regrets. Good on him. He didn’t seem as bad a person as the others made him out to be. But he was never gonna win this thing, so bye bye!

Next week: The dancers are excited to see… new dancers? Miguel fights with Mochelle and then cries on the phone. Oh, lordy. Dance, people. Just dance!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

These days are not Glory Days

I'd like to give a shout out of woe to the kids from Glory Days, whose show closed tonight after only one performance on Broadway and across the board bad reviews. I did not have high hopes for this show. The poster wasn't inspiring, and the advertising seemed to really emphasize the youth of the show's creators. It just seemed to scream inexperience. But Circle in the Square is a good theater, and i was willing to let myself be surprised. Unfortunately, my fears would prove to be well-founded. I planned to see the show, but it was not meant to be.

I really don't blame the artists behind the show. The producers should have protected these young people and better cultivated their show. Or not brought it to broadway if it was not the right venue for it, as the times review suggested. This is the fate that could've befallen In The Heights if its producers had not shown restraint and not taken their time to develop the show. If they threw it up quickly in a theater back in 2005, it could've been met with a similar reaction from the public and press. So while I was happy this morning to see they wouldn't be Tony competition for Heights, I'm sad Glory Days closed so soon and in this fashion. It shouldn't have come to this. Take care of young talent, Broadway producers!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Run For Your Life If You Can, Little Boy.

Today, kinda out of nowhere, I joined the New York Road Runners and signed up for my first race. Two things were leading up to this, the first is my long-time desire to run the NYC Marathon, and the second is inspiration from two of my co-workers who have been serious about getting into shape, and one of their ways of doing it has been running in the NYRRC races. Participation in these races is really the gateway to get to the NYC Marathon and i really feel that if the women from work can succeed, then so can I.

So I just sorta signed up today, and beyond my membership, I signed up for a 4 mile race through Central Park on Sunday. Right now I feel a bit of remorse and anxiety, kinda like I went on a Squishee bender and woke up to find myself a new member of the Junior Campers. I know I can run a 4 mile race without threat to my physical well-being. I ran 3 miles on Sunday and had plenty left in the tank. But now I'm convinced I am going to come in last. Last! That's right. If there are any old people running, they will still find a way to beat me. It's only 4 miles! Clearly everyone else will be sprinting the whole way. No one will understand that it's my first race. I'm nervous...

But it will bring me one step closer to my eventual marathon. I will get over my fears. This will be a good beginning. One step at a time. Deep breaths. 'Cause the thing about running marathons is that you have to remember to pace yourself.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

I'll drink your milkshake, There Will Be Blood!

Once again, I am losing my battle with Netflix. I actually followed through on my vow to watch 3:10 to Yuma. I really liked it, even if it kinda lost me in the last 20minutes. The performances were really on point, and Ben Foster provides more evidence to my argument that X-Men 3 should halve been subtitled "Proof that good actors can give bad performances." Because I really thought everyone was let down in that movie. The actors and the audience alike.

But ANYWAY, i watched it and then sent it back straight way. Netflix was unimpressed, and immediately send me Michael Clayton to see how I'd respond. What Netflix was not counting on was that I had to make a trip out to Long Island on the (offensively expensive) LIRR and had 1:20 minutes to kill each way. With an assist from my laptop, I had more than enough time on that trip to watch the movie. It was great! I realized that George Clooney is kind of my own personal anti-Russell Crowe. With both actors, I'm always aware that I'm watching a Celebrity Movie Star, but with Clooney I don't mind, and with Crowe i find it distracting. Even though i think they're both good actors. It's weird. Maybe it doesn't make sense, but it was made even clearer watching Yuma and Clayton back to back.

So at this point, I'm feeling good about my current record. I send back Clayton, and Netflix immediately returns the volley with a winning passing shot in the form of There Will Be Blood. This flick went from Movie I definitely want to see in the theaters, to movie I want to see before the Oscars, to movie I will eventually netflix so i really understand the context of "I'll drink your milkshake" a phrase I really like. So here it is in my apt. Ferociously staring at me, threatening me as if it was Daniel Day Lewis himself, minus the handlebar moustache. I was determined to watch it on Friday night, but them Facebook Mafia got very intense and then i went to the gym, and then after that i watched the new episode of BSG, um, twice. And then Saturday, BFF and I saw iron man (highly recommended, I CAN forget I'm watching Celebrity Movie Star Gwyneth Paltrow!) and i didn't want to watch two movies in the same day. And then today I woke up late, watched Obama on Meet The Press, and then I guess I could've... but i went running instead. It was a BEAUTIFUL spring afternoon. It was the right choice, but am i really gonna make time over the course of the work week to watch this intense movie? It's May Sweeps. My tv watching cup already runneth over. I think this movie might be here to stay... although the next movie in my queue is Into The Wild, and that could be months before i want to be wowed and depressed by that film.

Progress must be made! maybe if i turn it into a miniseries of viewings. I could watch a half hour every morning in place of one SBTB episode and be done by Friday. That could work... whatever it takes. I will not be brought down by you,Netflix! I'll drink your milkshake!

Friday, May 2, 2008

I love you, Augusten Burroughs!

Early this week I went to a book signing for Augusten Burroughs at Barnes & Noble. I did not want to go. I don't have anything against Augusten, I just haven't read any of his books. I'm aware of the popularity of "Running With Scissors" and I know he faced a bit of controversy over the truthfulness of the account of his crazy family. So why did I go? Well, a BFF who shall remain nameless, is rather enamored with Augusten and wanted me to go for emotional support. I wanted to go to the gym that night, and was also in the midst of an intense facebook mafia game, but when a BFF says "I need you," you go.

So the place was packed when I got there. I soon realized this was going to be a VERY BIG DEAL. BFF made the smart choice of waiting in line to get her book signed instead of waiting in the standing room only area which was closer to him during his reading/Q&A session. It saved us greatly on time later, even though we couldn't see him very well for the first hour of his talk. From what I gathered from Augusten's speech, most of his books are funny, but this latest one, about his psychopathic father, was not funny at all. I would agree that being chased around the woods by your knife-wielding father, sounds about as funny as The Shining. It also seems like the audiobook is a much cooler experience than the normal hardcover version of his latest work.

So around 8:30 or so when the speech part of the event is over, he starts signing books. I notice several people have 4 or 5 books for him to sign. This seems like a bit much. Although BFF has actually made Augusten a care package filled with things she knows he likes. Yes, BFF is THAT into Augusten. As the line is moving, i hear the girls behind us talking and wondering "what do i say to him? What do i SAY to him??" They then rehearse the exact phrasing of the two sentences they will get to utter in his presence during the time he signs their books. I find this type of behavior bizarre, but it also reminds me of a talk i had with someone at my office last week.

My fellow employee had to go into Forbidden Planet NYC looking for some Pokemon trading card memorabilia. He was struck by what he thought was the "weirdness" of comic book fans. I assured him i was a comic book fan and i am (relatively) well-adjusted. I tried to explain it's like any art form, and while some of it is crap, the medium can produce some very worthwhile product as well. I feel no shame in my enjoyment in comics and graphic novels. And i don't care if people get so wrapped up in it that they wear costumes to comic con. They're not hurting anyone. But co-worker looks down on it, because he doesn't understand.

I look at the people in line to meet Augusten, like my co-worker looks at costumed comic con-ners. I don't really understand why someone would get so worked up over this author. But they certainly did. Perhaps that's what all fans look like to people who don't share the same interests. I don't think it's much different for someone to paint their faces in the color of their favorite teams, than it is for a guy dressing up as a storm trouper to attend a convention. From the outside it looks crazy, but on the inside it makes total sense.

So tonight I preach tolerance toward fans of things of which you are not a fan. Don't totally write people off as crazy and weird just cause you don't understand their passions. It takes all kinds. Getting back to Augusten, we finally saw him around 9:30pm. BFF gave him the care package and he really liked it. BFF hilariously then feels unworthiness roll over her and tried to explain why nothing in the bag is as good as she wanted it to be. Augusten doesn't care. He writes "I love you."when he signs her book and it makes her day. I joke with her that she will paw at the cover the book and profess her love for him while lying in bed. She thinks she won't do that, but i know her well over the years, and think she might. She's a very big fan. And i have to say, that care package was pretty cool.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

You know that it's time for you to Shut Your Face And Dance!!

And here I go again on my own. Goin down the only road I've ever known, Like a drifter I was born to walk alone. And I've made up my mind, to Shut My Face and Dance. Greetings, all. Welcome back. This is usually the week in a reality show season, when one of the contestants realizes that they totally hate the fucking competition and reality tv in general and just want to punch their own ticket home and leave the show. I don't know if that happened early on this show with Jessica, but i think it may happen again. Fingers crossed!

Here come the Gay Credits! Put a couple glasses of wine in me, Gay Credits and you might start looking sort of attractive. Unfortunately, i recap this show stone cold sober.

Nick tells us he doesn't like that Tovah is gone. Now the apt. reminds him of his old frat house and we are subjected to pictures of that scary time. Miguel is happy he has immunity. who wouldn't be? It's a week to coast and rest up with no penality.

Jerry greets the 7 remaining contestants and congrulates them on their success up to this point. Their new challenge is waiting behind a door. He opens it. Everyone makes strange faces, and then we see why: George Costanza?? Janelle thinks that their reward might be being on Seinfeld. A PA hilariously informs her that the show is off the air. Janelle is so shocked. Yeah, babe, the episodes that play at 7:30 and 11pm are called reruns. Who knew?

So George is a tony winner and this week's challenge is Broadway, er, musical theater. Everyone is thrilled since this might actually coincide with their training and professional experience. They are working with the choroegrapher of Damn Yankees, Lee Martino. They all learn the routine from "shoeless joe" from Damn Yankees. Hooray for a butch baseball theme! Captain Vanilla is especially happy since he's already BEEN on Broadway. It looks like a very long routine actually. They are doing 25 8-counts of music. That is kind of a lot to learn in an hour. They are all tired. Oscar thinks musical theater is where he should excel. He was once Mr. Mestopholes in Cats! There is dancing that involves bat swinging and it looks like Mochi is going to die from the effort. They all look like they are gonna die actually. Jerry gives a motivational speech which i think is total bullshit. I don't think HE is bullshit, but he's saying it for the audience more than the dancers. They are professionals. They don't need to hear that what they give when they have nothing less is what sets them apart. They know that already. For serious.

So they do The Audition to be separated into Cool Kids and Spazzes. Michael, Oscar and Miguel are the Spazzes. Janelle, Mochi, Nick and Captain Vanilla are in the winning group. Since Miguel has immunity, that means it's between Oscar and Michael to go home. Oscar says that being in the bottom makes him want to not be there at all! I totally called it!

Commercials. Dream Dental Spa is the new most awesome awful commercial of the year! Low budget, bad acting, and copy dealing with horrible teeth. It's the best.

We're back. Oscar is pissed. Jerry is trying to calm him down, telling him it's Lee's decision based on what she saw in the one dance. Oscar feels (rightly) that he's been in the bottom a lot and that being in the bottom again will make him a target. Jerry (lies and) says that's crazy talk! Oscar's a survivor! He's gonna make it!

So the Cool Kids learn a dance to "whatever lola wants" the two broadway dancers, Mochelle (as i now call her) and Captain Vanilla are paired together. Janelle and Nick are all "whatevs. just give your favorites the immunity."

Oscar's mom has cancer and he misses her. Sad. Miguel and Oscar talk about who will get immunity this round and they are sure it's Captain Vanilla. Miguel says Captain could pick his nose on stage and the judges would love it. He's right, and I'm glad the show is letting you see that the other contestants are aware of it. Because it is obvious.

Janelle has no experience with lifts. Nick lets us know that he thinks it's ridiculous that girls like Janelle do the whole "i'm sorry you have to lift me!" thing as if they're heavy when what they really are is insecure about being in the air. YES!! THANK YOU NICK FOR SPEAKING YOUR TRUTH!

Now the Spazzes rehearse. Oscar and Michael are polar opposites in their problems. Oscar is very technical but a little fem, and Michael has great musicality and manliness but not so much training skills. So who goes home? Oh, wait. there are 35 minutes left of this show... ugh. The Spazzes end early because Michael claims he's not feeling well. Later Michael is all questioning whether his health is worth the show. Janelle and Miguel basically tell him to quit if he's in so much pain, or otherwise just Shut His Face and Dance. Michael continues to shout about low blood pressure. Janelle suggests maybe he should calm himself down. Surprisingly sound advice from a girl who thinks Seinfeld is currently filming it's 18th season.

Commercials. If i didn't mention it before, I will now call Mochi "Mochelle" because it annoys me how inconsistent they are with what she is known as between the judges and the other contestants. I'm hungry... i don't have to go to the fridge!

We're back. It's a new day and people seem to have simmered down now. The people who were freaking out hard last night are now all spouting inspirational passages from The Secret in the morning. Then Oscar reverts back to hating, and correctly states that Miguel and Oscar are gonna be working together to get him eliminated. Oscar then calls Mike a she-bitch. Meow, Oscar!

The Call Back. EB is in the hooouuuuse! Holding court, she reminds us the permanent judges are named Vincent and Nancy (indeed i had forgotten). Lee Martino is the guest judge. George Costanza is not a judge but hanging around for some more FACETIME!! Janelle wants to show the judges her pretty elegant side. Her dance with Nick is... not bad. It's not great. Next it's Captain and Mochelle. I don't like the Captain. He's a very good dancer. Don't get me wrong. He just continues to annoy me week after week. I can understand why the others dislike him. It's part jealousy but it's also part-annoyance at the judges treating him like the second coming. So the judges love Mochelle and i do think she was the best. They appreciated Janelle but she needs more practice partnering. They all want to have sex with Cody. And they called Nick, "Vanilla"! Dude, that's harsh. That's Cody's name.

The judges deliberate for like half a second. You can tell EB favors Mochelle because it looks like she wants to chop Nancy's head off when Nancy goes on and on about Cody. Ultimately EB is outvoted and Captain Vanilla takes immunity. When it's announced, he makes this face like "what? i do not understand the language you are speaking because 'cody wins' is not an expression i am aware of." it's a totally ingenuine moment. I'm done with you, Captain. Mochelle is kinda pissed that she didn't win. So she's not gonna be president of the Cody Fan Club next week either. When we return from the break, the Spazzes will fight it out.

Commercials. Why do we need another season of that haircutting show? C'mon Bravo. Is this what we'll be left with when Project Runway moves to Lifetime (a move which i think is TERRIBLE)?

After the break, EB threatens the Spazzes to step it up, or she will literally cut them in more ways than one. They start dancing. It stinks. It's truly bad by even high school musical standards. It's sloppy and they are off the beat. It ends and the judges forget to clap until Constanza starts them off. They all hated it, and the judges want them to do it again. Oscar thinks it's the best he could do. Vincent's all "fine, we'll judge you on this then." Michael wants to do it again, but he calls out Oscar and Miguel for hating on him. Miguel can't believe Michael said that in front of the judges, and hates him even more than before, if that were possible. Miguel starts shouting at Michael and EB shuts them all down and tells them the judges are gonna take 5 and the spazzes can use that time to figure it out and let them know if they're gonna do the dance again. Backstage the spazzes all point fingers at each other. Jerry tells them if they were in his broadway show right now, they would all be fired. Actually he says he would tell them to get beyond their differences, but really? 3 mediocre dancers fighting like primadonnas? They would be let go. Keep it real, Jerry. George Costanza goes back to inspire the spazzes to suck it up and enjoy the dance. When the judges are back and the spazzes decide to try again. It sucks a little less this time, but the judges are still not really impressed. Miguel has immunity and is dismissed from the stage. It's down to two unimpressive dancers. Who will survive?

Commercials. Lost, i will watch you in just under 5 minutes.

We're back. Who's going home? Crappy Michael, or So-Over-It Oscar? It's Oscar. Weird. Michael was kept to keep Miguel angry and bitchy, is the only logical reason for that. The show is over for Oscar though. Time for his last dance. He claims he did his best but the judges just didn't like it. He spins and points his toes and stuff. He's a winner in his Mother's eyes. As he should be! Peace out, Oscar!

Next week: This week is different because they use a torture chamber? I don't understand. Miguel and Michael continue to fight with each other. That i do understand. Nick lets out a primal scream on stage. Okay, then. See you there!