August 31, 2007

Different Things

Drowsy Chaperone Fatigue
I'm working my third consecutive week of Drowsy Chaperone and I'm bored with it. Although, last night's performance made me laugh for the first time in 6 days. The performers were really crisp and everybody's timing was perfect. I watched the whole thing - yet again.

Secret Online Jeopardy Society
Before joining the above mentioned club, I never believed people who said they made friendships on line. At this point, Jon and I have gotten to know at least a dozen people in this world and we are looking forward to organizing a meet-up some time in October to put faces with names.

VH1's Rock of Love
This show is boring. All the women competing for Bret Michaels' love seem to have the same personality. Maybe it's because Bret Michaels boring. I don't know. It's just not hitting the same way as Flavor of Love.

Slow Walkers
It feels like it has happened to me at least a bajillion times since I've been living in New York city, no exaggeration. And it's this. People cut in front me only to walk at a slower pace.

This plea goes out to tourists and New Yorkers who aren't on their way to work.
If I am walking faster than you please don't cut me off and spread out in front of me with your party of six slow moving relatives and/or friends. There are actually some people walking around Times Square that are on their way to work.

If we were driving on the parkway instead of walking on the sidewalk, you would never do that.

Garbage, Garbage Everywhere
I am still baffled by the number of people who leave garbage on the street. I've actually seen people throw garbage on the ground within 5 feet of a garbage can. Astoria responded to the garbage problem by installing these beautfiul, obvious, self-contained garbage cans - to encourage people to throw their garbage away no doubt. Yet somehow there are still people strewing garbage on the sidewalks and streets of the community in which I live.

August 25, 2007

There is this Woman

I've probably mentioned that I hang out at an internet cafe between matinee and evening performances when I'm working. They serve food and their computers are decent to excellent condition so I get a lot of needs met when I spend time there.

The only need that hasn't been met is a social one. I tried once but it didn't quite work out. See. Usually I am one of very few people in there that isn't a tourist. One day, I noticed a woman a little bit younger than me pacing back and forth, talking on her cell phone. She was telling her mother about a job interview and how she's moving to New York City. So when she got off the phone with me I struck up a conversation with her in the hopes of starting a friendship. At first she seemed okay but then as the conversation progressed she started to sound crazy.

Apparently, she had a seen a certain Broadway show umpteen times because she is "friends" with the star and sees the show as often as she can. I felt her claim to be "friends" with the actress was a little bit forceful. The conversation left me with that impression by the time I had to go to work.

The next time I saw her, she was talking about Rosie O'Donnell. Apparently, Rosie has become a devisive conversation issue, especialy if you don't agree with Rosie's psychotic conspiracy theories about 9/11. This woman talked about Rosie O'Donnell as if she were the second coming of Jesus Christ's mother. Granted I respect Rosie for adopting older children with problems who need home. But when it comes to politics and/or singing and dancing, she really needs to stop whatever she's doing and just focus on her kids.

What I'm trying to say is that this conversation cemented in my mind the levels of instabilitiy fluctuating inside the head of this woman, who I have now realized is living in New York and apparently near the theater district. I see her all the time. She's always coming in and out of the internet cafe and most recently, I saw her walking her butterscotch colored lhasa apso.

When I saw her last time, I was thinking that maybe she was telling the truth. Maybe she is friends with a certain individual. I thought this while avoiding eye contact with her. Since meeting her, I have backed away from initiating friendships with strangers. I've had better luck picking up friends at the various theaters where my company sends me on a weekly basis.

Making friends in New York City is tough.

August 21, 2007

The Drowsy Chaperone - Changes

Last week I worked at the Drowsy Chaperone. There have been some changes since I was last there.

Joanne and RuthJoAnne Worley has replaced Georgia Engel as Mrs. Tottendale, mother of the bride. It's really great to see her on stage. Do you remember JoAnne Worley? I don't remember her from her stage career, but I do remember her from Laugh- In re-runs. She was the tall brunette witht he big brassy personality and the crazy laugh who sometimes wore boas. I really must have liked her as a kid. After watching her perform in her signature style, I realized that I've been impersonating bits of her act for most my life.

Now that's star power. Her influence on my personality is deeply ingrained. And of course she's a delight. I will say that she doesn't play the part as well as Georgia Engel, but that doesn't mean she's not doing a great job. She brings a lot of energy to the roll and at 70 years of age that's no small feat. Of course she looks fabulous.

Mara Davi has successfully replaced Sutton Foster as Janet Van der Graff, the bride. I didn't think it was possible for someone to fill in because the part is extremely demanding vocally and physically. But Mara Davi is doing great. The last time I saw Mara Davi she was just a few months ago. She played Maggie Winslow in the revival of A Chorus Line. Every day before the show, the actors warm up for the big night ahead. And I remember that Mara had different warmup exercises than the other performers.

She would practice spinning a lasso and twirling a batton. Little did I know that she was getting ready to fill in for Sutton Foster. Both those tricks have been added to the Show Off number. Basically, the Janet Janet Van der Graff character performs a number explaining to her adoring fans how she no longer wishes to be in the spotlight while simultaneously performing amazing feats - like jumping through hoops and doing back flips to name a couple. Great number and Mara is just perfect. I found out that the producers had remembered from her audition and that's how she got the part. I've seen A Chorus Line without her and the show suffers a little for it. She's wonderful.

The other cast changes wouldn't mean anything to anyone except for the families of the people who joined the cast or moved from the chorus - not to say that they're not good, it's just that there roles are secondary to the ones mentioned above.

So, if you're in Drowsy Chaperone now and you happen upon this page, please don't be insulted that I left you out of the above review because you know you're great. You wouldn't be in a Broadway show if you weren't.

August 15, 2007

Rock of Love - Catch Up

Episode 3 - Motocross
Three teams of four girls each race each other motorbikes to win dates with Bret. There was a lot of trash talking and quite a bit of falling down. The four women to win dates were Magdalena, Samantha, Rodeo and Brandi M. Bret broke the dates up into two separate activities. First Samantha and Magdalena watch a film about Bret's life (cheesy) in the garden. He makes out with both of them. (yuck).

That night, Lacey tried to engage Dallas in a fight in an attempt to get Dallas sent home. She had to be restrained by Rodeo when she took it too far. Then the next day, Rodeo and Brandi M. wore personalized bikinis for an out door lunch. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. Of course Rodeo told Bret about the incident with Lacey (rat) in an effort to prove to him how these girls "aren't good enough for him".

In the end, Dallas ended up being sent home. She left in a huff, not even hugging or kissing Bret good bye. He was put off by that but hey. Can you blame her? He did reject her. And he kept Lacey even though/because he is scared she might kill him in his sleep. Kristia was also sent home. What do you mean you don't know who she is? Exactly his point. She didn't make much of an impression on Bret or the cameras.

Episode 4 - Riff It Good
The women paired off to write new lyrics for one of two songs written by Bret Michaels. When they were done, they performed their songs. This was a pretty lame show. I'll sum it up really quickly. Rodeo cried so much about missing her son that Bret sent her home. He also sent home Brandi C. because, according to him, she was too much of a young spirit. I think she was just way too much of a porn star - even for him. Oh and then there was the dumb act that she thought she was putting on. You could tell that she was acting dumb even though she thinks she's smart. Unfortunately for her, she's not really all that smart to begin with so she wasn't acting as much as she thought she was.

Episode 5 - First Annual Bret's Mud Bowl
In this episode, along with the slutty, backstabbing shenanigans the women played touch football in the mud. No. Seriously, this show is getting lamer every week. Instead of making them compete and hurt each other, which is what they did, he should have just had the women roll around in the mud which is what he wanted anyway. He should have had a wet-with-mud T-shirt contest. The winner of the day was Jess - a blonde with pink streaked hair. Bret deemed her to be the most athletic. She narrowly beat out Heather who, by the way, in case you didn't know, wears more makeup than should be legally allowed in the contiguous United States.

The main drama of this episode was caused by Heather who wrote a letter to Bret ratting out the other girls. There was a lot of she said/she said and a lot of one on one meetings with Bret. In the end, Erin was sent home because she wasn't "really there for him" an allegation brought against her by Heather who of course is "really there for him". You can tell that Heather is "really there for him" because she keeps tattling on all the other girls.

Whatever. Rock of Love is about 1/5 of 1% as interesting as Flavor of Love.

I can't wait to see what happens next week. Not.

August 13, 2007

Coconut Lime Chicken

Tonight I roasted a chicken. I marinated it for an hour in coconut milk and freshly squeezed lime juice. I stuffed the chicken with pineapple chunks and then roasted it on a bed of pineapple slices. The result was heavenly. The sauce ended up tasting like pina colada (no surprise there) and the chicken was tender and juicy. I knew that the combination of ingredients wouldn't be terrible but I had no idea everything would taste so gosh darn good. For a side dish, I prepared VIGO saffron rice which I topped with the roasted pineapples.

And everything on the plate received a good dose of the delicious sauce/drippings.


August 08, 2007

Rock of Love - Talk Dirty To Me - Episode 2

She's Not Realy Here for You
At the top of this episode, Heather overhears Erin talking about her ex-fiancee with a couple of women in the house. Heather misinterpreted Erin's comments and started telling everyone who would listen that Erin was engaged and gettting married in the fall. This misunderstanding would lead to a confrontation later in the show. Heather felt like it was her responsibility to inform Bret that one of the girls "wasn't really there for him"(a continuous theme in the VH1 dating show genre) and Bret invited them both to sit and discuss the matter with him so he could ferret out the truth. In the end, Bret believed that Erin was indeed NOT engaged.

If You Leave Out Instruments, They Will Come
For absolutely no reason at all, the beginning of the episode bought us our first true episode of debauchery for the season. Some of the girls decided to start fooling around with the instruments set up in what seemed like a random shrine to music. Bret heard this nasty noise and decided to join the fun. He started playing guitar and the girls started dancing around without their shirts. I'm not really a drinker so any drinking at all seems excessive to me. With that said, these girls were already three sheets to the wind. The women whe weren't participating sat in judgement and then something anti-climatic, yet completely expected happened. The womyn split into two groups.

Slutty vs. Bitchy - Can't We All Just Get Along
The Slutty girls were characterized by their willingness to drink and dance around a stripper's pole. The Bitchy girls were characterized by their reluctance to dance around with their tops off and their unwillingness to spend every moment of every day completely and utterly wasted.
There was some excitement when Lacy from the sluttly girls decided to push Jes from the Bitchy girls into the pool.

Apparently Jes's sobriety really got under Lacy's skin giving Lacy the idea that Jes was stuck up and sitting in judgement of the drunk girls. So, it made perfect sense to Lacy that she should push Jes in the pool, which she did. I'm sure if I were a guy that would have interpreted that interplay as sexy as shit. But as a woman, that moment didn't too much for me. But it did tell me one thing. The genius behind the show, Cris Abrego, really knows his audience.

Talk Dirty To Me
Every week the womyn have to compete. In this week's competition, they had talk dirty to Bret on the telephone - the premise being of course that if he is on the road, he'll want to talk dirty to whoever he picks to be his girlfriend at the end of the show. But how would he really know just how effective their dirty talk could be? He brought in a "doctor" who hooked Bret up to a machine that measured blood flow to his gleenus (I'm using gleenus as a subsititution for you know what so I don't get inundated with people looking for pictures of or stories about you know what).

After he was hooked up to the ridiculous machine, the womyn took turns trying to get him excited with their clever, sexy phone talk. The three winners Rodeo, Erin and Lacey went to a recording studio with Bret and laid tracks of groaning, moaning and giggling over Bret's singing. It was kind of stupid.

The girls who failed to turn him on were sent home. They include "don't-threaten-me-a-good-time" Tiffany, the unmemorable Faith and Tawny, and "dumb-as-a-box-of-rocks" Tamara.

95 degrees and counting

It's 5 pm on a Wednesday afternoon and it's 95 degrees outside. When we're not in the dog days of summer, at 5 pm we begin to feel a cool down but not in August; not in New York City. Every year in August we experience hot humid weather for days and days at a time. We're coming to the end of a long spell which should break tonight with thunderstorms.

Or will it? This morning's thunderstorms brought not only flooding but a continuation of the hot humid weather many of us are starting to loathe. I'm so happy that Jon and I have air conditioning. I grew up in this area without air conditioning and for as long as I can remember, brutal weather has always come at the end of July and lasted through most of August.

When I was a kid, I would go for nights without sleeping because of the heat. I would just lie awake for hours in puddles of sweat until September came. There were many nights those summers when I'd sleep outside on my porch in a sleeping bag, waking up covered in mosquito bites. When the weather did finally cool down and I could get some sleep, school would start and I would be sad about how unfair that was.

When I got to living on my own in Astoria, I spent years without air conditioning because of the wiring in my building. I could never run an A/C without jumping a circuit. But finally, the landlord rewired the building and I've been living with an air conditioner ever since.

Is the A/C making me soft? I don't know. You may or may not remember the summer before 9/11 but that was a freaking hot summer. My apartment was so hot, it was like living inside an oven. And when I would go outside I would get absolutely no relief. Those were the days before the A/C. On those hot nights I would get some sleep, but not enough to be qualified as good sleep. The only relief would come from going to work where the rooms were cooler or when I could sleep at a relative's house - a relative that had A/C.

I never get used to this weather. Some people do. And would you believe that some people actually enjoy it.

All I have to say is thank goodness for air conditioning. It's a blessing. It's expensive but it's a blessing.

I look forward to the autumn when I can open my windows and air out my house and feel a natural cool breeze, because I really don't like how air conditioned air feels or smells. But I sure do like the way it feels. We live our indoor lives at 72 degrees - 75 if we're trying to be economical.

And it's an absolute blessing.

August 04, 2007

Rock of Love

When ABC first aired The Bachelor five years ago, the producers probably had no idea what affect that show would have rn television programming. No one could have imagined for example that Flavor of Love would be the fruit of the tree that grew from the seed planted in our collective conscience in 2002. If you look at the geneology of Flavor of Love, credit is given to VH1's "Celebreality" programs Surreal Life and Strange Love. Flavor of Love was born from the latter. But surely The Bachelor strongly informed the format of the show.

I really enjoyed The Flavor of Love (T.F.O.L.), because it took The Bachelor and turned it on its head. It seemed like T.F.O.L. participants were behaving in a more "real" way, although I'm sure a lot of what happened was staged. There was something more sincere about a show where the women acted impulsively like the T.F.O.L. girls which was more interesting than the measured behavior and controlled responses of the contestants from The Bachelor.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise to you that I am currently watching and enjoying VH1's new program Rock of Love. Why? Why do I keep watching these shows that allow women to make fools of themselves? Because I can't stop myself.

I've missed commenting on the first four episodes so I'll do a quick summary to catch you up.

Rock of Love - Don't Threaten Me With A Good Time - Episode 1

In the first show we met the 25 wanna-be rock girlfriends to Bret Michaels's (check out this link to his shameless website) Flav. The 25 contestants waited in a clump outside Michael's mansion (which I'm guessing was provided by VH1 like in Flavor of Love and I Love New York) while he rolled in (at about 5 mph) on his rock'n'roll motor cycle. Michaels waved hello and quickly went inside. It was at that time that his body guard, Big John (see Big Rick) picked five women out of the clump to send home - based on first impressions. In that group was a mess of a woman named Tiffany.

After the 20 remaining got set up in the "rock manor" and started drinking dubious amounts of alcohol, Tiffany decided that she wasn't going to accept Big John's word as final and stormed back to the manor and started pounding, pounding, pounding on the front door until he let her in. He told her that she could stay but she was going to have to sleep in the bathtub - which are better accommodations than she deserved. She got completely drunk, wasted, incoherent and made a fool of herself. She kept repeating the phrase "don't threaten me with a good time."

Because of her bad behavior she pushed away the other "womyn". When they wouldn't let her play their reindeer games, she of course interpreted that as a sign of jealousy. Surely, if she weren't such a serious competitor for Bret Michaels's love, they would be nicer to her. Talk about delusional. Of all the women there, she was by far, the sloppiest mess which is quite an accomplishment when you consider the level of sloppy drunkeness in the house.

In the interest of keeping this summary short (don't worry, they'll be plenty of time to get to know the contestants later) I'm going to leave out all the other personalities that were introduced that night. But among the women that Bret Michaels decided to keep around to "rock his world", Tiffany was chosen because he felt she deserved a second chance to prove how wonderful a person she could be if and when she got sober.

You see, he understands what it's like to get so wasted that you make a complete ass of yourself. I guess he didn't want to come off as a hippogriff, I mean a hypocrite. (Sorry, I've got Harry Potter on the brain).

He sent six women packing and 15 remained.

August 02, 2007

Minneapolis Bridge Collapse

The bridge collapse was very sudden and very scary. The morning reports said that four were killed which is down from yesterday's count of seven.

In a way, the bridge collapse reminds of 9/11. The landscape of Minneapolis is forever changed. New Yorkers and people who visit and work in New York City know what I'm talking about. The two towers of the World Trade Center stood for about 30 years before they were knocked down. It took me a long time to get used to not seeing the towers whenever I look down Fifth Avenue. I'm still not used to it.

It will be a long time before Minnesotans get used to their new daily landscape.

I hope the death toll doesn't go up.

August 01, 2007


This week I am working at Deuce - a full week of it.

It's really exciting to Angela Lansbury and Marian Seldes on stage, especially Lansbury. But the show isn't as good as they are. Of course, they make it interesting. Either one of them could recite my weekly shopping list and make it interesting. But the play(just read the NY Times review, Ben Brantley agrees) by Terrence McNally, is just eh.

I recommend seeing the show (it's Angela Freakin' Lansbury for crying out loud) but not paying full price . It is available at TKTS for 50% off.