Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Does A Body Good

Monday evening I saw Milk. In the theaters. Yes, I paid my $12.50, but I was not alone! We had been intending to see Slumdog Millionaire, but when we got to the theater all of the ticket kiosks were not working which caused great confusion and one heck of a line to the actual ticket counter where actual people give you your tickets. By the time we got up to the front to buy our tickets it was too close to the start time for us to get popcorn and not be sitting in the front of the theater. Thanks a lot, AMC 25 at Times Square! So we changed our movie from Slumdog to Milk since that started a little bit later.

Milk was very good, and inspiring in it's way, but it's hard not to watch it and feel sad. It's TOO timely. Effing Propositions to limit people's rights in California. Except it seems we had greater success for pushing back against the oppression 30 years ago. The movie reawakened the disappointment I felt about Prop. 8 at election time. It was hard to really experience it then with the Obama win being so inspiring. But watching the movie, which is so well-acted and very interesting, it puts the spotlight back on the huge problem of social inequality for gay people in this country. And it made me sad to think that we're having such a similar argument 30 years later.

But then I thought about the actual movie and thought too about how gayness and gay characters have been changing in just the past decade. I remember in college how student groups would come into the Health Education Office looking for gay-themed movies for events on raising awareness and there were so few main stream movies to pick from. Now it seems like that taboo has fallen away and straight or gay actors can play gay characters and there's no fear of career backlash. Also it seems like stories involving gay, lesbian, and transgender characters are gaining more focus in film. Even a couple years ago Brokeback Mountain seemed to pushing the envelope with its gay cowboy love story, but in some ways Milk seems more provacative a film, but is met with less fanfare because the subject matter has an easier reception now. These are steps forward, maybe not in terms of legislation, but at least in terms of public awareness. As gay people gain focus as an integrated part of the American psyche, more people will accept the need for change and equality. So that's a good thing. And i think Milk is a very good example of that. Sean Penn and Josh Brolin are just terrific at humanizing their characters. They are flawed and have many levels and their interaction together is ultimately tragic for both. This is one you should definitely see.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

$12.50

I was walking around 34th street stores today, looking for after Christmas deals along with oh 34 million other people, when I decided to stop shopping and take in a movie. I walked up to the Loews on 34th and 8th ave. I tend to see a lot of movies there, probably because the tickets used to be a little cheaper there. Then they raised them to normal market prices, but I continued going there out of habit. So anyway, I stroll in there today with about 10 minutes to the next showing of Benjamin Button, so i opt to see that. I go to the kiosk to purchase my ticket and the screen says it will cost $12.50. $12.50?!! When the hell did THIS happen? I'm not usually one of those people who likes to say "i remember when this crap was much cheaper," but i do remember buying tickets for TWILIGHT back in NOVEMBER and it was certainly NOT $12.50 Loews. What gives? Why the sudden spike in prices when the economy is in the crapper? I was so annoyed that I did not go to the movie. I'm not swearing off movies, but unlike live theater, I don't really enjoy going to the movies by myself. I wasn't gonna spend that plus even more on a popcorn and soda just for myself. Especially when I could go home and watch a movie via netflix on my computer for practically nothing. So yes, I remember a time when there were actual matinee prices and nighttime prices. I remember when movies were 10 bucks and then 11. but 12.50? This is new to me. I am not pleased.

Friday, December 26, 2008

What Not To Watch

I might have mentioned this before, but no channel goes out of it's way to be TV's answer to the Weekly World News like TLC. The house that Trading Spaces built now gives air time to almost every physical abnormality or surprising medical condition known to man. Oh sure, they still have a good What Not To Wear marathon at the holidays, but the promos they run DURING that Marathon sometimes make you think you're watching the Sci-Fi channel (if only, then we'd get promos for the Galactica Finale! It's so close I can taste it! The taste is bittersweet!)

Here are some of the programs coming up this weekend. Judge for yourself.

Untold Stories of the ER
Half Man, Half Tree
Treeman, Search For The Cure
Mermaid Girl
Half Ton Teen
Half Ton Mom
Half Ton Dad
Jon & Kate Plus 8
Kids By The Dozen

I'm intrigued to know if Kids by the Dozen is some kind of spin-off of J&K+8, or if the network thought they had to outdo themselves after +8's success. I'd also be interested to know if all the Half Ton shows focus on one family or several. Is it one familyof obese people who each get their own show or did the producers have to search around the country for the right half ton people that could carry a series. I probably won't watch any of these shows, because they don't get the Holiday marathon treatment, but I'm amazed they exist at all. How long before we get offerings like "My Lover, My Centaur" or "Z is for Zombie" or "Fingerless at Forty"? Nothing is too extreme for TLC.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Gray Lady, Baby!

The New York Times gave a shout out to Legally Brown! How cool is that? A lovely Christmas Present from the legitmate press. You can read all about it here! Legally Brown, as always can be located here.

O's Christmas Tree! O's Christmas Tree!



Here's a pic of this year's xmas tree in my apartment. It's been a good tree! Merry Christmas to all!

It's A Wonderful Cry

I have a holiday tradition that started six years ago when I moved out on my own. On Christmas Eve, I stay home alone, wrap my family's Christmas presents which I will deliver on Christmas Day, watch It's A Wonderful Life and cry. To some, this may sound sad, but I look forward to it every year. I don't cry because I'm sad that I'm alone on Christmas Eve. I cry because I LOVE EVERY SECOND OF IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE. And there's something beautiful and refreshing to me about taking time by myself to experience the movie while prepping gifts for the people I love.



It's always interesting to see at what point in the film the tears will start flowing. The first time I watched the movie on my own it was when Young Mary leans over the drug store counter and says to Young George "Is this the ear you can't hear in? George Bailey, I'll love you til the day I die." I started crying there and didn't stop until the movie was over. There was also a year that I started crying right at the beginning when everybody is praying for George. That was a mess. But mostly now I don't cry for long jags, there are just scenes or lines that make me go into these heavy silent sobs. This can happen anywhere from when Mr. Gower beats up on young George in a drunken rage, to when Mary first sets eyes on George at the prom, to when George grabs Mary and tells her "i'm gonna do what I wanna do!" before caving in. And of course the undeniable moment when Harry calls his brother the richest man in town. How can a person not be moved by that?

I can't recite the whole movie by heart if it's not on, but while I'm watching it I can chime in at any point and do all the great lines. That's become a part of the Christmas Eve ritual as well. I really like everything that Young George says especially when he's dealing with violet ("HELP YA DOWN??") or Mary "Say brainless, don't you know where coconuts come from?"

The best scene in the whole movie though has to be the quiet moment between George and Mary after they move the Martinis into their new home. They're doing this great thing of setting up a family with a nice house, but all they feel in the moment is trapped in their lives as their friends have moved away and become more financially successful. It's all expressed as George shows his frustrations by kicking the car door closed. But DUDE, Donna Reed is your wife and that truly is a wonderful life. But you can tell in the scene that Mary is feeling the strain of her life as well, even though she loves her husband and children.

Another great thing about this tradition is that every time I watch the movie different things jump out at me. This year, it was how awesome Donna Reed is as Mary. George avoids her so much because he knows she's the most wonderful thing on the planet, but if he chooses her he has to compromise his other dreams! But she's so totally worth doing that! And also this year, I really felt for Uncle Billy. Usually i HATE Uncle Billy. He's kinda feeble-minded, and a bit of a jerk to boot. If he hadn't been so keen on sticking it to Potter about Harry's commendation, he wouldn't have lost the money and George would've been fine. Usually when George yells at Billy for losing the money, I feel it's deserved, but this time I really felt bad for the guy. He really can't help himself and it's so sad!

So now we put It's A Wonderful Life back on the shelf for another year. I look forward to another trip to Bedford Falls next year and wonder what turn of phrase or facial gesture will set off the waterworks next time. Until then, when the gym floor will inevitably open up and Mary will hilariously ask George why must he torture the children, I remember that outside of the film, it really is a wonderful life we lead, and that as Clarence would tell us, no man is a failure who has friends. Enjoy those wings, Clarence!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

DDR on TONY

Dance Dance Revolution closed last night. It was a great run. I can't believe it's over! Thanks to everyone who came out to see it. And I love the cast and crew so much. You are the greatest!

If you missed the show, or just can't get enough, here's a link to a special Time Out New York Experience in the show. You can see me a couple times at the beginning dancing in my street clothes. Special shout outs to Jose and Jo for getting behind the mic and added their special Dance Corps flare to the occasion.

Mickey Mouse! Mickey Mouse! All around the world we're marching!



In A Facebook Universe...

This is another delightfful video that i saw posted on Facebook, of all places. Confirm or Ignore? The true question of our times. STATUS UPDATE!

Team Hilarious

I love Puppets and I love the infectious absurdity of Twilight, so the following video is right up my alley. I personally like when she finds out he's a vampire, the overuse of the word "team" and the rather impressive gazebo at the end. Great work, SpookyDan!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Read It To Believe It: Episode 3

Subtitle: Can robots join equity?

Robots are now having an easier time getting cast in a musical then I am. They might have perfect pitch, but i'm sure their performance is still a little souless and stiff. Hardy Har. Read on.

http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/national/national-news/2008/12/12/187273/Robots-to.htm

Read It To Believe It: Episode 2

Subtitled: New things on the KFC menu to make you throw up

These girls are the new poster children for White Trash. I cannot believe they actual turned the KFC vat into a hot tub. It's especially good at triggering my gag reflex because these girls are not attractive. Hotties in the KFC cooker might have been slightly more acceptable. They should really stay out of the food preparation business.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/us_world/2008/12/11/2008-12-11_kentucky_fried_chicken_trio_photographed.html

Read it to believe it. Episode 1

Subtitle: Be glad they weren't performing Sweeney Todd.

This is an actor's nightmare. I swear I read it several times before I believed it was an actual article from an actual news source. But it is. A warning to actors: ALWAYS CHECK YOUR PROPS!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/11/actor-slits-throat

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dance Dance Pics

Here are some jammin' pics from DDR. The last batch of house seats went on sale this Thursday. Now the run is completely sold out. Vexy exciting! I have to remember to tell dad how to get to the theater for tomorrow.



The dance corps in mid-flight





Vayu catching some serious hangtime.





Dance Dancers Unite! (I'm just out of frame to the left! Really I'm there!)

Jesus, take the wheel!


I think this picture is kind of insane. I think it's amazing that the Super Church is big enough to have two SUV's on stage. I think it's astounding that this is what people have been brought to do in the face of the Auto Industry Collapsing. But seriously? If I had to ask myself "What Would Jesus Do?" in such a situation, i doubt his plan would include bringing giant gas guzzling machines up to the altar in a house of worship and praying for god to change them into Hybrid vehicles like so much water into wine.


I love how the dancer down in front is SO INTO IT. Obviously God will see her dancing and he will save them all from the ineptitude of an industry that has made no real advances toward fuel efficiency and alternate energy soucres for the past 30 years. I appreciate her dedication, but the whole enterprise is just spectacularly ridiculous to me. Save me, Jeebus, indeed!
Head here for the full article.

Remote Control

I have a friend, who shall remain Nameless, who has a problem. His problem is this: when he goes to sing karaoke, once he gets his hand on the remote to punch in a song, he cannot stop at one. Sometime there are 3 or 4 songs put in at once, mostly under the rationale that these are songs "for the whole room to sing." Now i love, Nameless, I do, but this is a problem. He is something of a Remotaholic. Just like an Alckie can't take just one drink he can't pick just one song. I feel there is a courtesy rule of karaoke that you put one song in and then pass the remote to someone else so that song distribution is even among party members. If someone else puts in a song after you and asks you to duet, that is also acceptable. But then you have to give it a rest.

What should not happen is this: Nameless sings a song, everyone appaluds, a new song comes on , the whole room gets confused and says "wait... who put this song in?" and then Nameless says "oh, it's mine again!" UNACCEPTABLE!

I don't know why this makes me so irrationally angry but it turns out I'm not alone. I recently read an article about people being killed in Eastern Asia at karaoke bars for singing certain songs over and over again. You can read all about it here.

In conclusion, karaoke can be dangerous. Change up your song choices, don't always sing the same favorites. And sometimes it's best to just put down the remote. Listen to someone else belt out The Theme From Ice Castles or Baby got Back. A little courtesy can go a long way. And on the flip side, if you know someone is a Remotaholic, try to be understanding without enabling. It could save a life!

Coach of the Year!

Special Shout Out today to Cousin-In-Law John for being named AFCA Assistant Coach of The Year. John is a great guy and an excellent coach. He totally deserves it for his hard work on the field and his charity work off of it. Congrats, John!

Read all about it here!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Purple Reign, Purple Reign

This past Saturday, Miggy graduated from an Orange Belt in karate class to a Purple Belt. This was a momentous occasion. We have been waiting YEARS to get to purple belt. Purple is Miguel's favorite color, so reaching this level was extremely important to him. I'm amazed he's stuck with it this long, but I'm proud that he made it. Now he will enter the training for his black belt. If he sticks with it long enough, he's gonna get it!!

the ceremony was held for a bunch of classes at once at Hunter College. They were all doing their best, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I could kick all their asses if I really wanted to. I know, I know. They are children. Still, I just wanted to yell at them, "sharper! don't hesitate! move with conviction!" They weren't committing to the movement. It would cost them dearly in a true fight. And I, of course, would've shown them no mercy.

The experience reminded me of the time Kramer fought those kids in karate class. it's a classic moment I've included below:

ITH - Dreams Come True

This is beautiful and makes me cry. I remember watching the first video of Nicholas with Lin, and it's amazing that it's grown into this. I can only imagine how Nicholas must feel. I don't know how i would've felt if i got to run around the set of Into The Woods with the OBC singing with me. This brings me so much joy. Watch and fall in love.

Thankful

Oh Lordy. So many times have I planned to write since Thanksgiving Weekend and so many times I have not. Things have been busy. Thanksgiving Dinner was delicious. My 5 year old and three year old niece finally realized i was alive and a skilled player of "Barbies" if only provided the right dolls and a decent Dream Castle Play Set. Family time was good times. Obama remains President Elect and he continues to speak intelligently and I continue to love him fervently. Dance Dance Revolution has merrily taken over my life. Things are pretty good!

That's not to say everything is perfect. the economic downturn is gonna be a HUGE problem in NYC and across the country. The terrorism in Mumbai was extremely distressing. We have big problems ahead of us in so many areas. But I honestly can't get over my feeling of hope. I truly believe we have the opportunity to turn a corner. Nothing is for certain, but I believe it can happen. For so long, when I looked ahead I did not have a lot to believe in. It really has a lot to do with Obama, both as a person but also as a symbol. I think part of me really didn't believe the country would elect the best candidate just because he was black. It's the fact that I didn't really believe a black man could be elected president. I believed the country would let us down and we'd be as racist as we feared we were. I thought we'd let ourselves down. But we didn't! So maybe this means I could be wrong about other things I am pessimistic about. Maybe I can be hopeful that other things I didn't think would happen COULD happen. Maybe it's okay to work towards goals without feeling it will inevitably fall apart! Those are great things to feel. And I am so thankful for that hope.

Oh and I'm also thankful for Kelly Clarkson.