Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's Always Been A Long Ride To Coney Island

Saturday Night I went to see the Encores! production of On The Town. I'd never seen the show or the movie, but it's one of those classics where you know a bunch of the songs going in. I didn't really connect with the production, even though i thought a lot of the elements were first rate. I waited a day to see if I felt differently about it, once it settled in.

Turns out, i don't! the problem for me was the staging. It felt like they weren't sure how to balance the importance of the music and the importance of the dancing. They ultimately put the orchestra smack dab center stage and had the dancer on a platform behind the orchestra. This had the optical effect of really distancing the dancers, and totally cut off the view of everyone in the upper balcony from seeing the dancers altogether.

The show itself is light and fun and anyone who loves NYC will like the musical love letter written to the 5 Boroughs. It was fun to hear jokes about the subway considering it's still such a punchline in current events. When the characters make a long trip out to Coney Island late at night, it's easy to empathize with their amazement at how many stops there are before you get there.

I'm glad I got to see the show. Great score. Funny Book. Great dancing. Memorable preformances. So it's puzzling it left me cold. It just didn't grab me. Sometimes that's how it goes.

MTA? A-OK!

Your pending schedule cuts can't come soon enough, MTA! Just this week I was thinking how your extreme efficiency was getting me to my destinations too quickly. Sometimes when I'm late for work and I blame it on the trains not running, I get the impression people don't believe me because it's such a lame excuse and I use it ALMOST EVERY DAY! Maybe once you get rid of the W train altogether, elminate several buslines and cut back on service everwhere else, people will think it's more plausible. I just can't wait for Spring!

Also, I want to say how happy I am that you are planning a 23% fare hike. Sometimes when the A train is stalled heading uptown on the way to 125th street, I have too much time to think, and I start to feel guilty about how little it costs to take a trip on this amazing subway system. I was thinking it was about 23% below where it needed to be, so this puts it right on target. Thank you for freeing me from my guilt!

I also just want say that it's been an exciting adventure these past few weekends trying to figure out your construction-related system detours. The N train runs express to Queensboro plaza, but doesn't go into Manhattan and then runs express heading to Brooklyn making it QUITE THE CHALLENGE to get to Prince Street Station. The R train is on the F V line. The uptown C train goes express from Canal. The 2 train runs local to 96th st. The Q train runs local on the R line. It's crazy sauce to me, but I'm sure it's entirely necessary to keep the whole system from collapsing in on itself. And I have to laugh at myself when i add an extra half hour to my travel time and still wind up 10 minutes late to a destination that sould be only 20 minutes away to begin with. I have to be at rehearsal at 4pm this afternoon, and I probably should have already left - and it's 11am! LOL!

...omigod, MTA, i hate you.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

snacks to the max

I have always had a soft spot for Entenmann's products. When I was little, my Grandparents would get tons of cookies and cakes from a friend who worked for the company. It was all stuff that was juuuust about to expire (which I assume is why they were giving it away) but most of the stuff had also been in the freezer so it really had more of a shelf life than usual. Plus, a box of cookies doesn't really last that long with a 6-year-old cookie junkie and his two older sisters anyway, so expirartion dates don't factor in.

My favorite of all the baked goods were these giant choco chip cookies with nuts that were the size of an adult's fist. They came six (possibly eight) to a box. They were totally delicious and 1 or 2 at a time they were the perfect meal. They stopped making them a while ago, and then they brought back an inferior version with a different recipe. Boo-urns to that.

As one gets older, one cannot eat as many Entenmann's products as one used to without it reflecting unfavorably in the belly area. It is a sad reality. However, they now have 100 calorie packs called Little Bites. that make a decent snack when you're craving some soft baked sugary goodness. You can get the taste you are craving without becoming a total fatty. As you would guess, there are usually only a few small nibbles per pack, but you get used to it. That is, I did, until I tried the chocoate chip muffin minis.

TWO?? TWO MUFFIN MINI's PER PACKET?? That is simply not enough. They need to come up with a less calorie filled muffin and put more bites in each packet. It's insane to think two little things are gonna be enough of a snack. There is not enough to chew. You don't get the sense that you've eaten anything. You know you've reached your 100 calorie limit, but you're not ready to move on.

Work it out, Entenmann's. I like your stuff. I'm a lifelong junkie, but I need more substance in my snacks.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Glo Hopper Bliss

In my opinion, the best part of being in a play where you're an unnamed member of an ensemble, is making up your backstory. You can really be anything you want. You can create complex psychological and emotional connection to your ensemble-mates. You can have a mysterious or adventuresome history that brought you to where the action is in the play. The sky is the limit. No one watching the play will be aware that you might have been abducted by aliens, or a spelling bee winner, or tortured by a fear of pies, but as an actor YOU know those things and it makes the experience more playful and exciting.

Right now I'm in a play called Dance Dance Revolution. It's kinda like Footloose set in a post apocalyptic future and dance revolutionaries are fighting the No-Dance Authorities. There are many many actors in the ensemble, and Alex, our Director, asked us all to come up with personas for our DDR characters. Not only did we all make up some really random awesome crazy shit, we posted it all on a super awesome website.

www.dancefreedomforever.

My character's name is Glo Hopper Bliss. He gets his name from one of the Glo Friends. I believe in the future there is a new religion where the characters on Glo Friends have become saints. I actually picked up a cameo role in the show with an actual name in the show, but Glo Hopper is still the main attraction. If you would like more info on my persona pleas go to www.dancefreedomforever.com. There's a great list of who everyone is in the show, and everyone came up with really funny details about their characters.

And please come see the show Dec. 3-20 at the Ohio Theater. $18 tickets through smartix. Tuesdy through Sunday at 8pm. It's gonna be great. It's really funny and out of it's mind and you'll laugh at the craziness and marvel at the dancing!

Glo Hopper Bliss wants you in the audience!

WTF, SVU?

Listen, SVU. I like it when your plots are out there, but tonight you have lost me. I haven't been playing too close attention, but it seems that someone was raising an illegal tiger and it mauled someone to death. But wait! The tiger they think it is, is not the right tiger because DNA from the saliva doesn't match the victim. So there must be a second tiget and someone must be trafficking in animal trade...

What does this have to do with Special Victims? What the hell is going on? Why is Elliot ignoring his wife? Who is Bushido and why is he having animals kill people? I feel like I don't even know this show anymore! I'm giving up on this week's episode, SVU. Call me when all the animals are back in their cages and people start touching each other inappropriately again.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Learning to Trust Again: NY Knicks Edition

I am a Knicks fan. It's been this way since elementray schools. I cared little for arguments over Rangers vs. Islanders, Mets vs. Yankees, Giants vs. Jets. The Knicks were the home team worth rooting for. At that point, Riley was the Coach and Ewing was the star. They never won the Championship, but they sure came close once or twice. My favorite era of Knicks fandom are the Jeff Van Gundy years. His sudden mid-season departure way back when, was a huge loss, and every since then it's been downhill for my team.

I can't stand to watch the Knicks lose. It's heartbreaking. There is much screaming at the screen. When i was younger it would take days to recover from a loss. I couldn't look at the newspapers the next day. I cannot watch them if they have a losing record. It is not because I can only support a winning team. It is because it is too emotionally and physically upsetting to watch from that perspective. I can't do that to myself anymore.

The Thomas years, were years spent in Exile from my beloved team. I can't tell you how much I hated his reign of terror. He was like the George W. Bush of Head Coaches, just stubborn and awful and in his own world.

Now that he is gone, and Coach Mike D'Antoni is in there, I have returned to my team. They actually have a winning record 6 games into the season! Who remembers the last time that happened? I'm thrilled to be able to get a chance to really learn the new roster and see what they can come up with. I'm not expecting miracles. I am hoping for the play-offs. Please, don't let me down, Knicks. I am trusting you!

If Obama Had Lost...

the scene at Alex's birthday party would have probably gone like this. It's a recording of some girls watching the American Idol Finale when David Cook rightly kicked the ass of Daivd Archuleta. I don't hate Archie. I like his single "Crush" just fine. But I didn't want him to win and I'm glad he lost to Cook.

It's fair to say these girls LOVE Archie. Their rage, anguish and disbelief at Cook's win is totally hilarious. I can imagine it's truly upsetting for them, but clearly they are too young to remember the national horror that was Election Night 2000, and then the insult to injury that was Election Night 2004. Hang tight, girls. You get another chance to pick the American Idol winner in 2009.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Change We Got

Tuesday was an amazing day in history. We all know it. Here are a few highlights of the day:

BFF Votes For the First Time! It was great to know someone who had never voted before in a national election, who now felt motivated to vote for someone for the first time. Barack was the change she believed in. She was a little nervous and i think might have felt a little insecure about being an adult that wasn't already familiar with the ballot-casting process. But she did not let insecurity stop her! She voted and realized how painless the process could be. Brava, BFF. You fulfilled your civic duty!

I voted for Obama. I was so excited to vote for him. I was humming the "I've got a crush on Obama" Song the whole time i waited on line. Everyone there seemed so eager to vote, even though the lines were longer than anyone had ever seen them there. Afterwards, "For Now" from Avenue Q came on my ipod and when "George Bush!" got called out, I broke down in tears right in the middle of the street.

Being with friends. It was my friend Alex's birthday/election party. His birthday is such that it usually falls right around election day. It was an amazing assortment of people with whom I went to college. Lots of them are married now, but since lots of those marrieds don't have kids yet, they can still come out to play on a school night. After the total horror that was losing in 2000 when we were all at Wesleyan, i really felt like something was restored to us as a group to be able to witness Barack's win together. We've basically spent our adult lives working against a horrible, divisive, fear-mongering administration. For me, it felt almost baptismal to be with them the moment they announced that Obama had won at 11pm. It felt like so much weight and sadness had been washed away. Finally we could address these huge problems facing our world with hope in our hearts instead of anxiety and frustration. The country did what it collectively ought to have done in electing Barack Obama. That knowledge, that moment, can never be taken away from us. We did the right thing. John McCain deserved to lose for the campaign he ran. Not because he himself is awful, but because he did not run a campaign that was reflective of him. He gave control of his campaign to the wrong kind of people with the wrong strategy, and if he could do that with his campaign, he could do that with his Administration. But getting back to my main point, being able to unite with my friends in-person, after uniting with them via the internet to take a more active part in the campaign was a truly momentous occasion. For us to be a little older, a little wiser, a little more active and a lot more hopeful eight years later? That is fucking awesome.

Taking it to the streets. After Obama's amazing victory speech, we left Alex's apartment and headed for union square. You could hear people all over the place screaming and cheering. Cars and trucks all over were honking horns along with the chant "O-BAM-A! O-BAM-A!" and "YES! WE! CAN!" Union Square was a sea of bodies, all excited none really sure what to do with themselves. We danced and and cheered and hugged... and then i could not ignore the fact that i had to be at work at 9am the next day and had to go home. But the night was filled with a fantastic energy that i will not soon forget.

The next morning. I remember waking up post-election day in 2000 and 2004 and immediately thinking, "what's the use? this is a total nightmare to face the world under a Bush Presidency?" then i checked the news and the race was undecided! Both times! But then it went to Bush. Both times. It was so great to wake up yesterday - even after only 4 hours sleep - and feel the Obama Era taking hold. And I turned on the TV and it was still very clear Obama had won. There would be no court battle, no slimy feeling of a stolen election. We just had the somewhat scary, very hopeful, and totally exciting question to ponder: What Happens Now? Whatever happens, everyone needs to be a part of moving forward. I can't wait to find out what good comes from the change we got.

Monday, November 3, 2008

2008 ING NYC Marathon Playlist

Here's my Marathon Playlist. Amazingly it worked out perfectly! I charged toward the finish line to Green Day's cover of The Simpsons Theme and crossed just as the tempo picked up on Don't Stop Me Now by Queen. Here's the whole list!

Mile 1
You Can't Take No For An Answer, Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem
Happy Birthday, Bright Lights, Big City (Studio Cast)
Straight Lines, Silverchair
Mile 2
Final Fantasy IV - Main Theme
30/90, Tick, tick... BOOM!
Mile 3
Outer World Theme, Final Fantasy VII
Home, Chris Daughtry
Mile 4
Is It Any Wonder?, Keane
Lost Ones, Jay-Z
Vertigo, U2
Mile 5
Blackout, In The Heights
Breakthrough, Hope 7
Bury My Lovely (October Project), The Cardinal Sinners
Mile 6
Some People, Patti LuPone
One Angry Dwarf And 200 Solemn Faces, Ben Folds Five
When you're next to me, Mitch & Mickey
Mile 7
Cheer Up, Boys (your make-up is running), Foo Fighters
One Minute, Kelly Clarkson
Oh My, Mellowdrone
Mile 8
So What (Main Version), P!nk
Music Is The Victim, Scissor Sisters
That Green Gentleman (Things Have Changed), Panic At the Disco
Mile 9
Mr Brightside, The Killers
A Little Respect, Erasure
Goodnight Goodnight, Hot Hot Heat
Mile 10
The Water Song, Julia Meinwald
The Goonies R Good Enough, Cyndi Lauper
The Flesh Failures (Let the Sunshine In), Hair
Mile 11
Your Fault/Last Midnight. Into the Woods [Original Broadway Cast]
Going Through The Motions, Once More With Feeling
BTW - Write Back, Andrea Burns
Mile 12
Invincible, Pat Benatar
Barrel of a Gun, Guster
Shoplifter, Green Day
Mile 13
I'm Lion-O, Relient K
Kansas Sky Highway, True Fans
We Are Not Strangers, Runaways Soundtrack
Mile 14
Run for Your Life, Nancy Sinatra
Blinded (When I See You), Third Eye Blind
I Kissed A Girl, Katy Perry
Mile 15
Stuttering, Ben's Brothers
Don't Waste Your Time, Kelly Clarkson
The Bucket, Kings Of Leon
Mile 16
Crush, David Archuleta
Just Fine, Mary J. Blige
Can You Picture That? Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem
Mile 17
bleeding love, leona lewis
96,000, In The Heights Soundtrack
Mile 18
Pocketful Of Sunshine, Natasha Bedingfield
U & Ur Hand, P!nk
Bones, The Killers
Mile 19
When I Grow Up, The Pussy Cat Dolls
Funplex, The B-52's
I've Just Seen A Face, Across The Universe Soundtrack
Mile 20
Boulevard Of Broken Dreams, Green Day
Looking At the World from the Bottom of a Well, Mike Doughty
All I Do Is Dream of You, Singin' in the Rain Soundtrack
Mile 21
Princes Of The Universe, Queen
Motorcycle Drive-By (acoustic live),Third Eye Blind
March of the Witch Hunters, Wicked Soundtrack
Mile 22
Take My Temperature, Kaiser Chiefs
Swollen Summer, The Bravery
Nowadays / Hot Honey Rag,Chicago Movie Soundtrack
Mile 23
Pounding, Doves
Lollipop, Mika
Bastian's Happy Flight, The Never Ending Story Soundtrack
Mile 24
Girlfriend, Avril Lavigne
Who Knew, P!nk
Saved by the Bell, Saved by the Bell Soundtrack
Mile 25
Gone, Kelly Clarkson
Eagle Fly Free, Helloween
Thundercats Theme
Mile 26
Bigger Than My Body, John Mayer
Carnaval Del Barrio, In The Heights Soundtrack
The Simpsons Theme (From "The Simpsons Movie"), Green Day
Don't Stop Me Now, Queen