April 30, 2006
This week I read a book called 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
It's a beautiful and strange book.
I recommend it if you're looking for something to absorb you and make you think.
Have you read it?
What do you think?
April 29, 2006
Every show she gives the same flat, soft-spoken, low energy performance. It's like she's on valium. There are scenes where she interacts with either one or both of her male co-stars who run around the stage with abounding energy. They give her so much to work with. Yet she somehow sucks it all in and then neutralizes all the life force being given to her as a gift from the other actors.
And she drops practically every line - well, maybe dropped isn't the right word. She seems to speak downwards. She ends every sentence at a lower pitch than she started. And she does seem as wooden as the reviewers said. Especially when compared to Bradley Cooper's performance which is like bubbly champaign next to her flat gingerale.
I realized for the first time last night that she must not have any formal theatrical training - that she's probably been getting by on her sweet personality and good looks. In film, she's great. She connects immediately with audience and is usually instantly sympathetic. She was great in Erin Brokavitch - so great in fact she won an Oscar.
But there won't be a TONY anytime soon, that's for sure.
Today I have to work on the revivial of Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park which the critics absolutely hated. With the exception of parts of the Odd Couple, I generally hate Neil Simon. He always portrays women in a bad light.
April 27, 2006
Here is the shot they were working on when I got to the evening showing of Three Days.
If you look closely, on top of the bus you see a man dressed in a ridiculous outfit with puffy sleeves.
I can only imagine that Disney is filming yet another one of their "brilliant" fish-out-of-water sagas where a colorful and arrogant (or heroic - doesn't matter) prince from the general past (usually in a history made up by the geniuses at Disney) somehow ends up in modern times. By watching what they were doing, I'm guessing that the prince most likely will have fallen out of the sky only to find himself in a world full of mechanized monsters that transport people from one place to another.
In the meantime, trying to get to the subway station under that sign in the background that says Guest Suites is becoming increasingly difficult.
Every day it's something new preventing me from making a quick escape from the congested city. If it's not the premier of a show like Le Stat The Musical next door to the station, Disney is filming a crap movie.
Welcome to life in the big city.
As I was getting my headsets ready for the evening performance, Julia Roberts walked right past me while my back was turned. I didn't know until I turned around and she'd already passed me. I saw her back. So, I can only tell you that from the back she looks like pretty much every body else, except that she was wearing a really nice spring coat.
In the audience, as people were getting into their seats before the show, I spotted Ellen Albertini Dow who much to my delight has her own website. You know her. She's the character actor who is always playing a part where she is doing something out of character for an old lady like her role as the Rapping Granny in the Wedding Singer.
I'm sure there will be others. I'll keep you posted.
April 26, 2006
have to worry about the sound quality of a show because it detracts from their performances.
Sound on straight plays is always lame. I don't know why they don't attach microphones to the actors like they do in musicals. If actors in this play had individual mikes they could concentrate on acting instead of projecting. But no. Like all straight plays where TALKING is the most important thing, only the stage is miked which means instead of individuals you hear all of it, everything. Even if you're wearing one of my headsets, instead of hearing the sounds being eminated from the people acting in the show, you hear every sound in the entire freakin' theater - including candy wrappers, coughing and the beeping of phones that weren't silenced during the walk-in (the half hour before the show starts where everyone takes their seats).
Now as far as the play goes, it's like watching someone's playwriting graduation project. I don't know how this show was chosen for Broadway - and mind you some these tickets are going for over $600. In the first act the three actors play a brother, his sister and their friend. In the second act they play their parents. Snooze. Nothing much happens. Although, the second act does afford Julia a meatier part by way of a dramatic Southern woman. Paul Rudd's character stutters in the second act which makes it even LONGER. I smacked my forehead in frustration and released a huge sigh when his character started stuttering.
I've heard that some people find the play confusing but is that Julia Roberts's fault? No. It's not. It's the play. I understand why some people found the play confusing. If you were bored by the incredibly boring first act you may have missed all the important but boring exposition and boring background stuff about the characters that would show up later in the slightly less boring second act.
Bradley Cooper is the third actor in the play and he is very good. His energy is what pulled me through the show. Paul Rudd turns in a decent performance and Julia Roberts is Julia Roberts. She is lovely, talented, sweet but very soft spoken. The Jacobs Theater seemed to swallow her voice. I listenedto her. She was talking in top voice. It's not like she was whispering.
But gosh I sure do wish she would speak louder. I hate when the patrons complain to me about the sound quality of the show. Patrons don't understand that I'm not associated directly with the theater - I'm just a vendor providing a service. Because of the nature of my work they want to talk to me about the sound of the show. I can only shrug my shoulders.
Actually it was the opening of the show. And it didn't get very good reviews. Not surprisingly. Most shows crash and burn within two months of opening. I remember seeing AIDA in the same theater and that was absolutely wonderful - moved me to tears. Perhaps Elton John was trying to make lightening strike the same spot twice. Of course, critics absolutely can not be trusted. If I actually get to work on this show I'll let you know how it is.
But until then save your money. Do not spend $100 or more on a show unless someone you trust and whose taste you agree with recommends that you see it.
April 25, 2006
And I'm hungry.
Yesterday, I bought a new jacket at Macy's on sale. Macy's is what Lord & Taylor was.
I couldn't believe the sales. I'm going to have to go back with a bigger plan than just buying one jacket.
April 23, 2006
Chris's housewarming/birthday party - Friday night my friend had a party. Due to allergies and a late shift I ended up bailing. Sorry buddy. I'll make the next one. I promise.
One thing I didn't miss this week was my old full time job.
Matinees end around 5 which gives me two hours before I have to be at the theater for the evening shows. I get to the theater an hour before the curtain goes up in order to get ready for the shift. So, I have to be there at 7. I would go home except that by the time I got home, I would have about half an hour to relax before I had to turn around and head back into the city.
With that said, today was a hard day to kill two hours walking around mid-town because of the unusually cold and rainy weather. I had a plan and that plan was to walk over to the lending library at 39th St and 5th and get a new library card, which I did - in the cold and the rain. I had dinner at a quiet Chinese restaurant and worked my evening show.
But then the night got really long. First, my last headset was returned 10 minutes after the show ended. Then I had to fight my way through the rain and crowds of theater goers exiting their respective shows. When I finally made it to the station I was psyched to get on the train and head home to our nice warm apartment. I waited from 11 to 11:30 as 3 R trains stopped and picked up the lucky passengers headed toward Rego Park and Forest Hills.
I didn't get home until midnight. After 30 minutes of waiting I finally went up to the clerk at the ticket counter and asked him if N trains were indeed running. He said they were running but were behind schedule. (NO KIDDING.) My question naturally prompted the N train to come and rescue me from the cold, damp station.
And here is the rainy scene three days later. You can see Julia's SUV more clearly but not as many people. In all fairness, I did take this shot an hour before the play was scheduled to go on, but I thought it was an interesting contrast to the madness of three days earlier.
I have to admit I'm pretty excited to be working this show all next week. It's even more exciting than when I worked on Long Days Journey Into Night and that show had FOUR big stars in it. There's something about her star power that transcends reasonable expecations of her as a human being. I think critics were expecting her to give a TONY winning performance in her Broadway debut not thinking that she might actually have to practice live theater for a while before actually getting good at it.
Any way, I'll be sure to let you know what I think as soon as I have an opinion that can be expressed in 200 words or less.
Thursday morning I did our laundry, spending half of what we would have spent had we had it done. Since the last time I did it, the laundromat added these warning labels to all of their machines.
When did it become necessary to warn the public against the dangers of putting people into washing machines?
April 21, 2006
He looked very old - older than 71 years of age. His white hair was thin and whispy. He's still tall and handsome but he's not young anymore. His posture is still good but he was doing the "old man shuffle" when he walked. I was very excited to see him. It's always exciting to spot a celebrity especially one that's been out of the lime light for a while.
Last night (4/19/06), across the street from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the play Three Days of Rain premiered. When I got to the evening show at 7, there were crowds of people hovering around the Jacob Theatre - news crews, boom mikes and cameras. Why? Because Julia Roberts is the *STAR*. Before the show crowds gathered to watch who was coming into the theater. After the show, they were crowding around to see Ms. Roberts exit the theater via the stage door. It was madness. The show didn't receive very good reviews.
I'm working the show next week.
They've been shooting a movie in Time Square late nights. It makes leaving the theaters a nightmare as I make my way through motionless crowds of hypnotized tourist. They've never seen a camera man in a cherry picker before. I should be more understanding and bring my elbows in more while I pushy my way through the.
New Yorkers are jaded to things like movie star trailers and enormous, crowd blocking film equipment that makedaily commuting nightmarish.
NO MORE FILM SHOOTS, TV SHOOTS OR COMMERCIAL SHOOTS IN NEW YORK CITY PLEASE. I think enough people know about us by now.
April 20, 2006
Jonathan Pryce (you may remember him as Al Pacino's pigeon in Glenn Gary Glenn Ross) took over the role originated by John Lithgow and seems to be doing a great job.
The show also stars the very familiar Joanna Gleason, who I know so well, but couldn't tell you one thing she's ever done. I just know her. She's exceptionally good - truly a triple threat.
The story line is the same as the movie made famous by Michael Caine and Steve Martin. I didn't find the movie all that funny. Amazingly though, I find the play INCREDIBLY funny. It's mainly due to the comical performances of Rachel York as Christine Colgate, the young naive pigeon who becomes the subject of a cruel bet; Mylinda Hull as Jolene Oakes, Oklahoman heiress to a huge oil fortune; and Norbert Leo Butz as Freddy, the young flimflam man in training to be the most successful conman in the world.
His performance has been consistently funny two shows in a row. I'll see how he does tonight but this guy's got it. He could burp on stage and people would laugh. He's just a funny guy.
And of course, everyone sings, dances and acts amazingly.
April 19, 2006
Jon and I took a tour of the island with Forgotten New York back in November.
We learned that for a long time to get to Roosevelt Island you had to take a boat. Then a small bridge was built connecting it to Queens. For a long time, that was the only way you could get on and off the island. About thirty years ago or so, the tram was added to ferry commuters to New York City and most recently, the subway.
If you're not familiar with the tram you've probably seen it. It looks like this.
Back and forth across the East River, it takes four minutes each way.
I've been on the Tram several times and there hasn't been one time that I've taken it, that I haven't thought about what a nightmare it would be if the tram got stuck one way or another.
Well, it happened today and all I can say is thank goodness I wasn't on it.
At the time I'm writing this entry, the rescue operation is underway. It involves a small basket that can move people 10 at a time. The one closest to Manhattan, suspended over either 1st or 2nd Avenue, will be the second to be rescued because the one heading toward Roosevelt Island is stuck in the middle over the water and is presumably the scarier one to be on.
The scariest part, aside from having to hold your pee for 8 hours, has to be climbing out of the tram and into that little basket 200 feet above water. To get out of the tram you have to climb out through the roof. It's not a simple rescue.
I hope it goes well.
April 18, 2006
Since I prefer the procreation theory of double yolked eggs, imagine how excited I was when I cracked open a second egg and found another double yolk. I scrambled up both eggs right quick and greedily gobbled them up.
Maybe that means Jon and I will have quadruplets.
April 17, 2006
There's a loose story that ties all the songs together about a guy travelling on a train that at the beginning of the revue he hears rolling - rollin' round the bend. This allows the cast to travel in time from the beginning of Johnny's career to the end.
Some of it is a little hokey but that's typical of a Broadway show that is meant for all ages. Like a Bugs Bunny cartoon, there was a little physical humour to appeal to the younger and less cerebral members of the audience. The edgier points are inferred from the music and the acting that was being done simultaneously with the singing. One of the funnier numbers is sung by one of the cast members performing as a prisoner in Folsom Prison - about how he missed Delia, the woman that he loved and then killed.
The most popular number was definitely I've Been Everywhere, Man. It starts slowly with 3 guitar players performing the main theme and ends with all 12 cast members on stage, each playing the guitar although I suspect that only 8 of them were really playing. So popular in fact that the people who sell the show's souvenirs made a T-shirt with that specific phrase.
As with all Broadway shows, Ring of Fire has a gimmicky, hokey souvenir stand called The General Store done up in a Western fashion to match the flavor of the show.
This normally plain brown t-shirt is a 50/50 cotton/poly blend, yet if look closely at the sign,
you'll see that this cheap little t-shirt cost $30.00. Yes. $30.00 is what it says and while I stood at my booth waiting to hand out headsets, I witnessed many people buying them two and three at a time.
Speaking of my booth, I bet you're having a hard time wrapping your mind around what it is I'm doing exactly. Basically, I work for a company that provides a free service to those that are having trouble hearing. During the half hour before the show while people are walking in and during intermission, I stand in front of this booth and wait for people to come over to me and request a headset.
Each of those yellow dots is a piece of tape with a number that helps keep track of the headsets.
The patron gives me a license usually that I hold while they enjoy the show with device. At the end of the show, we make a final exchange and they go on their merry way.
In the between times, I am free to watch the show if I choose. I chose to do it on Sunday. Although I listened to the show during the shifts previous to that. Now, I understand that country music isn't for everybody. What I don't understand is why this show received bad reviews.
It's good for what it is. I recommend it to those of you that like the music of Johnny Cash or country music in general. If you thought that typical Broadway wasn't for you because the musical style threatens your heterosexuality, then this show is for you. Because it is the least gay Broadway musical I have ever seen.
April 13, 2006
That's a strange thing they do on A.I. When a contestant is told that they are going home, they are handed a microphone and asked to sing in spite of their tears or obvious disappointment - at which point I always change the channel. Why would I want to hear someone sing the song that got them eliminated? Why would anyone think that's enjoyable?
Perhaps I'm not the only one doing this because I think the producers got wise to this. Instead of having the loser sing his final goodbye to wrap up the show in a neat a little bow, they had the bottom three sing their song as their names were being announced.
When Elliot sang I sat and listened because he was so good last night that there was no way he was going home. He was the exception.
When Ace sang, I started some turkey bacon cooking in my favorite new pan.
When Bucky sang, I fixed myself a plate and then ate said turkey bacon.
I don't have anything bad to say about Bucky. He seemed like a nice young guy who sang real well through his auditions. But it seems he left his talent behind at the auditions. Because during these last few weeks he has been consistently giving poor vocal performances.
Maybe they'll bring back Mandisa. Now she could sing even if she was politically incorrect.
April 12, 2006
Bucky Covington contributed to the show's lackluster start by butchering Fat Bottomed Girls. The man cannot sing in tune to save his life. Yet somehow every week, he gets through. What he doesn't have in voice talent he makes up for with unfaltering enthusiasm. He ends being enjoyable to watch because he has a genuinely good time performing. But he still can't sing in tune.
Ace Young was up next. He sang We Will Rock You - the kinder, gentler version. Simon's comment best summed up his performance. "It was like We Will Rock You gently." He even managed to screw up the lyrics. This song does not have complicated lyrics. If you watched him last night, you may have noticed that he was wearing eye makeup. Very strange. And completely unnecessary. He's a good looking 25 year old man. He doesn't really need much in the way of eye makeup.
After his performance, just before Ryan cued the judges, the camera cut to Mickey Dolenz - former Monkee - in the audience. I couldn't help but get the idea that someone is suggesting that Ace Young is like a Monkee - ready to be exploited for what little talent he has.
Kelly Pickler did a decent job performing Bohemian Rhapsody. Simon said something that confused her as usual. So he simplified his critique by saying she sang good so she could understand him. She is pretty naive and it's really starting to annoy me. She doesn't understand metaphors, puns or anything with double meaning. But she sure is sweet - stick your finger down your throat sweet - and I don't think I can take the naive schtick anymore.
Chris Daughtry rocked the shit out of a song that Queen never sings live. While he was singing, the rear screen projector was showing some weird matrix like imagery. But he sang his song really well. The song was one I'd never heard but it was soooo complicated that to sing it well means something. He chose Innuendo. He could win this thing. I'm quickly shifting my loyalty from Taylor Hicks to Chris Daughtry. He might just have the better voice of the two. He does this great Eddie Veder thing with his voice that really works. He was another victim of the American Idol makeup artist. Way too much eyeliner for a straight guy.
This brings us to the very pretty Katherine McPhee. Between Daughtry and McPhee the camera cut to Camryn Manheim of The Practice fame. I couldn't tell if she was excited about Daughtry's performance or McPhee's upcoming one. McPhee sang Who Wants to Live Forever from the soundtrack of Highlander - a forgettable 20 year old movie. She sang this song well. She's a Broadway kind of singer - she belts. Except I thought the judges were being generous when they described her as having pitch problems. The truth is that instead of belting out her high notes she was shouting them and you could really hear it. She was straining, yelling, stretching her voice beyond it's limit. I wouldn't be surprised if she was in the bottom three again tomorrow night.
The very charming, but not so handsome Elliot Yamin sang Somebody To Love. It was nice to hear a familiar Queen song after the previously mentioned performances of two obscure ones. He did a great job. He really knows how to vocalize. He sings. I like him. But sadly he won't win in spite of his natural abilities.
Taylor sang Crazy Little Thing Called Love and kind of made a fool of himself. He can sing but sometimes he gets carried away with the dancing. Graceful he is not. He did mike stand thing that completely fell apart and made him look pretty stupid. And the song was kind of blech. I've long been a fan of his but since the competition began he's kind of lost what it was that I loved about him. He had an "it" quality about him that is missing now. He's becoming too much of a ham. He doesn't know how to play it cool.
Paris Bennett blew everyone away with her incredibly awesome and weirdly inappropriate performance of The Show Must Go On. I say inappropriate because there is just something strange about watching a cute, wholesome 17 year old sing like a cynical adult. Simon commented on it too. She is great but there is something weird there. She's still my favorite to win. Her talent is so far beyond anyone else's on the show. She can't be topped.
Overall the show was pretty good. It was definitely more entertaining than last weeks Kenny Rogers themed show. That show sucked for me because country music is not my favorite.
April 11, 2006
I'm excited to be doing jury duty and I'm probably one of very few people who say that and mean it. It's my civic duty and I want to do it. I just don't want to sit around waiting to do it and that's what I've been doing. Waiting. And don't tell me that by my being there, I'm serving as a reminder to both plaintiff and defendant that this case is serious and that I may make a difference in terms of the final decision - because there's no trial yet. Nothing's happening. The case is scheduled but isn't moving up the calendar.
This presents a big problem for me. This week I am off until Friday night, when I start working again. But next week, I'm supposed to work a Wednesday matinee and there's a good chance the case is going to run over two days once it gets started. So now something that I was looking forward to doing, something I want to do because I believe in it, has become an enormous pain in the behind.
April 08, 2006
I waited only two hours before my name was called to be on a panel and within 45 minutes I was on a jury. Because it is a civil suit there are only six of of us with two alternates.
The plaintiff's attorney questioned us for about 5 minutes to make sure we didn't provide any conflicts for his arguments while the defense attorney took 40 minutes. The defense attorney couldn't stop blathering. Throughout his questioning, he kept telegraphing his case leaving no room for wondering what his arguments might be in the courtroom.
Either way, I was out of their by 3:30pm and set out from Sutphin Blvd by the Jamaica courthouse in Queens and arrived on Steinway St in Astoria 1 hour later.
Traveling in Queens on public transportation takes a very long time.
April 07, 2006
Specifically, Burda claims that he conducts his healings by travelling back through time to when his patients' injuries occurred.
You can read about his "amazing technique" on his website http://www.bahlaqeem.com and learn how he can align your body by phone or by email.
The Ohio State Chiropractic Board wants to stop him from practicing due to mental illness, claiming he suffers from delusions of grandeur.
That an official board of chiropractors wants to stop one of their own from practicing "medicine" says a lot about how insane this guy must really be. If you've ever been to chiropractors, you understand that there are some that actually help you through using a more sophisticated form of massage. There also those that use power of suggestion by exploiting the vulnerability and gullability of their desperate patients.
I've been to both kinds and find the latter despicable and amazed that the Ohio State Chiropractic Board is only stopping one from practicing a questionable form of healing.
April 06, 2006
He checked my moles and my freckles and gave me a good report.
One of his comments made my right eyebrow arch like Spock's. He said, "You have a surprising small amount of moles for all the sun damage you have on your face." He didn't elaborate and I was so embarrassed by his examination of my mostly naked body that I forgot to ask him to elaborate. If he meant freckles then I understand what sun damage is but if he didn't then I don't know what he's talking about. I thought my skin looked pretty decent for someone who is almost 40 years old - slight crow's feet, the start of some laugh lines; nothing too serious.
What did he mean by that? Does anyone know?
April 04, 2006
Here's Jon looking at a map with our friends Dave and Alicia in the background looking at the same map. We went out separate ways but joined up later in the day to play some carnival games.
The first attraction we saw was this great fountain with living sculpture. Just before I snapped this shot, the actor lurched forward like she was going to grab the two people walking by her scaring them. But then she moved right back into this position and when we left the park 5 hours later, she was still standing there.
It wasn't long before we ran into a couple of characters, literally. Sarah posed with "Tarnation" Sam and I posed with Marvin the Martian's dog.
Just after this I spotted the candy coated carousel. This section of the park was amazing as it looked like the buttercream on a 3-year-old's birthday cake. Jon, Sarah, Caren and I all went on the carousel. It's a life rule of mine that if you see a carousel you have to go on it. It's a good rule because a carousel is one of those places where everybody feels happy.
Tea cups were next on the list because they were right next door. I haven't been on a Teacup ride since I was 10 years old. I had so much fun on the ride I didn't take any photos but here's one of the sign. I find it amusing that the tea spilling out of the cup in the sign looks a little bit like vomit. If you spin your cup too fast you could throwup.
After Tea Cups we went into the arcade and played Skee ball. We combined our winning tickets and bought two mood rings; a magic ORB which makes prediction in an amazingly similar manner to the Magic 8 Ball; a yoyo that lights up; and a super bouncy ball.
We then walked into the red, white and blue section of the park. It was here that I realize that each section of the Great Adventure park has its own color theme. This oom pah pah band greeted us in their American Flag vests.
This section of the park features the Superman ride, the Great American Scream machine and the Parachute ride. Of the three, we all agreed that the Parachute ride was the least scary. You can see the Great American Scream Machine in the background. That ride looked scary. As it turned out the Parachute ride was thrilling. It looked simple enough - being wisked into the air but when you're on the ride, you realize that you are going really, really high up. I was scared. Sarah was brave enough to take a picture. Not me. Nope. I was clinging to the safety bar for dear life.
After this exciting ride, I was ready to try something more daring so went over to the Runaway Train - the first rollercoaster I ever went on as a teenager all those years ago. I'm told that this is one of the gentler rollercoasters but I felt like my life was in peril. It was fun, I guess. I'm not sure. When I was done I felt both scared and happy and I had butterflies in my stomach.
We finished the day off with a ride on the ferris wheel.
As cool as it is to see wild animals face to face, there seems to be something inherently wrong with allowing animals to roam free with cars that can kill them.
This is a girl elk. The boys had big antlers and were walking in between the cars slowing down traffic but nobody seemed to mind.
There were 6 elephants penned up in a space probably only big enough for one or two. They looked old, tired and some of them had tattered ears. But again, it was so cool to see elephants so close up.
There were quite a few animals roaming freely including the camels which, much to my surprise and the surprise of those with me in the car, people were feeding. In spite of the fact that there were warnings posted everywhere about the danger of feeding these animals people food, people were sticking things out of their windows to attract the animals. Hopefully people had sense enough to feed the animals appropriate food but I doubt it.
It was the same thing with the giraffes but I was so filled with childish glee at the sight of them in the road, I didn't get upset until after we drove through the Great Adventure herd. Here is a giraffe approaching us and then bending down to visit and see if we have any food to offer.
The zebras were grazing on NJ grass while people drove by taking snapshots. It's just not right and it doesn't look right.
The last sad picture I'm going to post from the safari is this picture of a baboon sitting behind the fence like a prisoner. The only thing missing from this shot is a tin cup in his hand for him to rattle on the bars. Even sadder were watching the babboons playing in a bare field of grass with a noisy roller coaster in the back drop. They were using an old piece of roller coaster track as a jungle gym. And half of them looked sick with big pink protruding asses. I don't know a lot about monkeys but I don't think their butts are supposed to that.
The rest of the day was quite lovely. The safari was lovely. It's just that sometimes seeing animals in captivity saddens me.
April 02, 2006
We got home in time to watch the Flavor of Love Reunion show which was just awful.
I don't know how I got sucked into a show like this.
It's degrading to all women but especially to the hoes who participated in the show.
Yes. I watched it. I even enjoyed parts of it.
But I'm done with Flavor Flav and his Flavor of Love.
I won't be coming back for Flavor of Love 2.