Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"And the lonesome all understand, with the choirs in my head. And we were orphans before we were ever the sons of regret." ~the gaslight anthem

So you know how yesterday I said I was going to this Author Event today? I can't even tell you how wonderful it was. First there was a luncheon before the actual event started. I saw Liz Welch when I walked in and kept sneaking glances at her because, well, she's awesome. Finally I worked up the courage to approach her when she was standing alone, and I am SO glad I did. She was incredibly kind and friendly. She signed a copy of her book for me, and then we actually talked for a good amount of time. I had an actual conversation with her; we talked about teaching, and about the new book she's working on (which I cannot wait to read)...I was so in awe of her that I'm sure I was an inarticulate idiot, but she was just so affable that it didn't seem to matter. She even mentioned me in her speech during the event. Isn't it refreshing when people you admire and look up to are just as wonderful in person as you'd hoped they would be? I told her I liked Amanda the best, but now Liz is definitely my favorite Welch.
Here's the title page in my copy of The Kids Are All Right: The other speakers were also quite interesting. I'm especially excited to read Wes Moore's The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates now. He was charming and I think I'm going to love his book. And I actually have time to read it now that I'm on summer vacation!

The summer has only just begun, and already I'm on cloud nine.

The only thing bringing me down at the moment is the news that Party Down was canceled. It's such a good show; it's a shame that no one watched it.

I'm heading to my hometown in NJ tomorrow and am staying with Kim through the weekend, so I'll probably post again on Monday after I'm back in the city (with 4th of July pictures). :)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"When you're working full-time and spending all of your nights never dancing like you did, while the gravity hangs on all the selling points you had, you should've stayed and been the Queen of Lower Chelsea." ~the gaslight anthem

My best friend is awesome. As a "Happy Grad Graduation/Granted Tenure/Early (or Late, depending on how you look at it) Birthday present" (her words), she's taking me to see The Avett Brothers at Radio City Music Hall in October. Awesome, right?

I went to the movies this morning, and it was lovely to be at the movies on a Tuesday morning. The best thing about Knight and Day is Paul Dano's mustache. I love Paul Dano.

Tomorrow's going to be a really good day. I'm going to an Author Event for teachers at Random House, and Liz Welch is speaking. She's one of the authors of The Kids Are All Right, which is a great book. So I can't wait to see Ms. Welch speak.

I'm really happy today.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

"American girls, they want the whole world. They want every last little light in New York City." ~the gaslight anthem

I'm kind of crazy about The Gaslight Anthem right now. I love them. Their new album American Slang is, well, brilliant. I wanted to see them in Denver this summer but that's a total bust, so I guess I'll have to settle for Radio City Music Hall in September.

Today was the last day of school. It still hasn't sunk in yet. A group of us went to Happy Hour after school and it was bittersweet. A couple of my best friends work with me but aren't coming back next year, and I don't know what I'll do without them. I don't know what I'll do when I can't go find them during my free periods and complain and chat and commiserate. I don't want to have to ride the subway home alone. I'm sure I'll still see them outside of school, but it won't be the same. And that makes me really sad. The fact that it's summer, however, makes me really happy. Lauren kept saying, "I'm so happy," and every time she did, it made me happier. It's going to be a good summer. I'll be traveling a lot. I'll be seeing lots of shows. So I'll probably be sharing lots of pictures and stuff here.

Here's a hilarious clip from the Party Down finale. I'm in love with this show. Right now I'm rewatching my season one DVDs because I'm sad that season two just ended. Jane Lynch returned for the season two finale, and Kyle (the awesome Ryan Hansen) serenaded her. The finale was perfect, and I really hope the show gets renewed.

"Sylvia, get your head out of the oven. Go back to screaming and cursing, remind me again how everyone betrayed you." ~the antlers

It is summer, which means Shakespeare in the Park is in full swing. I love Shakespeare in the Park. This year they're doing it in Repertory for the first time in nearly forty years. It's an interesting idea. The two shows of the season are The Merchant of Venice and The Winter's Tale. This morning (Saturday morning, by now I guess it's yesterday morning), I woke up at 4:00am and was in line for tickets to The Merchant of Venice by 4:45am. I was about number 91 in line. Nic joined me. Every day they hand out tickets at 1:00pm, so we had a little more than eight hours to wait. We know how to prepare ourselves at this point, though; we had a blanket, chairs, playing cards, food, books, iPods...the time flew by. Sitting/lying in Central Park on a beautiful day is heavenly. We even had a spot in the shade. I could have stayed there all day.
(arrow = my spot)

Notes on the show:

1. Al Pacino is incredibly small.
I'm sorry, I know I should say more about Al Pacino. I enjoyed his Shylock. I thought his delivery was natural and well-paced; he handled the language very well and also physicalized the role skillfully. I'm so glad I got to see him perform Shakespeare.

2. I love Hamish Linklater and Lily Rabe. Hamish Linklater is a Shakespeare in the Park veteran, and I thought he stole the show last summer in Twelfth Night (he was absolutely hilarious). I liked him in The Merchant of Venice, and he got the most laughs of the night (even though there weren't many). He also handled the dramatic moments well.
Lily Rabe (playing Portia) shares the final bow with Al Pacino, and that must be thrilling for someone so young. She more than holds her own in this show. I've seen her onstage before and I'm impressed with her range.

3. I like Jesse L. Martin and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. They're both Broadway vets who have forayed into TV (Jesse L. Martin was on Law & Order for nine years and Jesse Tyler Ferguson is on Modern Family), so I was glad to see them back onstage. I wish Mr. Ferguson had a meatier role, though. I'd like to see him in The Winter's Tale now, just to see what he gets to do in that show. He seemed like a bit of a weak link here, but I've seen him give amazing stage performances before (in A Midsummer Night's Dream and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee).

4. The actors are great actors. There are some serious acting veterans up on that stage, as well as some talented youngsters. My main issues are with the play, though (and I'm sorry, I know my main criticism of a Shakespeare production shouldn't be about the play, but that's just how it is). First of all, it's considered a comedy, but I assume that's only because no one dies at the end so it can't be classified as a tragedy. It's quite dark and depressing. Of course there's not a problem with that, but I happen to prefer Shakespeare's comedies (A Midsummer Night's Dream and Twelfth Night are my favorite plays of his). One main problem is that I don't think the director quite knew how to handle this play. The antisemitism issue is of course complicated, and Mr. Sullivan doesn't take a firm enough stance on it. That means the actors don't know how to handle it (and sometimes make decisions that don't mesh with each other's); the production is lacking a strong unified vision. I did enjoy the set very much, though; it's very well done. I don't know, I'm interested to see the reviews for this once it officially opens. I'm still wrapping my head around it. Maybe I'll be able to think more clearly tomorrow; right now I've been up for more than 20 hours and I can't think clearly. It was a wonderful day and night in the park, though. I loved Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night's Dream (the past two years) so much that it's hard for anything else to live up to those.

ETA: Okay, so Brantley at the NYTimes loved it. I dunno, I still feel like Mr. Linklater thought he was in a comedy and Mr. Pacino thought he was in a tragedy. But maybe that works??

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"Something in my throat made my next words shake, and something in the wires made the lightbulbs break. There was glass inside my feet and raining down from the ceiling, it opened up the scars that had just finished healing." ~the antlers

I have not stopped listening to The Antlers' album Hospice since the Radio City concert last week. It really is the best concept album I have ever heard. It's absolutely heartbreaking but absolutely gorgeous. And the songs are even better live. "Two" is my favorite. It makes me want to cry every time I listen to it. But somehow that's a good thing. I'm so glad they played it last week. Nic's comment about The Antlers was, "They must be the only band to use the word femur in two different songs." I'm sure she's right.

Two more days. Two more days. I can make it. Spending the day with 25 kids in my classroom with no A/C when it's 92 degrees outside is absolutely miserable. I can't take it anymore.

I'm comforted by the fact that someone else (Salma Hayek) is as scared of snakes as I am. This is too funny (although if it were me I would be just as scared, if not moreso, and I wouldn't find it funny at all). Thanks to Cee for sharing it. :)

I'll leave you with The Antlers' "Two." Best listened to in the context of the whole album, but still amazing on its own.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

"Don't be bitter, Anna, I know how you think. You're waiting for Radio City to sink." ~the national

"Little Faith" is the first song they've written that references a venue.

On Wednesday I went to see The National at Radio City Music Hall. I worked some magic and managed to turn two bad single tickets into a pair in the front row of the first mezz, so we had a perfect view (even though I prefer being right up front). The National are my favorite band and this was my ninth time seeing them. After seeing them in tiny, tiny venues and standing so close that I could reach out and touch them if I wanted to, it was strange seeing them at Radio City (with a sold out crowd). I've seen them at Radio City once before, but they were opening for Arcade Fire. They've come a long way since then.

I was not crazy about their setlist for this show. I've seen them play what I thought was the perfect setlist once before (in Central Park a few years ago) so I guess I've set my standards too high. And the people behind us were incredibly loud and obnoxious (I especially wanted to kill them during "Daughters of the Soho Riots"). But overall it was a great show.

I was very, very impressed with The Antlers (the opening band). I'm glad I saw them play the High Violet Annex last month, because that was such a small venue and it was an intimate show. Seeing them play Radio City, though, was incredibly cool. They're an amazing band and I expect them to be headlining their own big shows someday soon.

brooklynvegan has a review with tons of great pictures. I'm in this picture (or at least my back is). I love how Nic is ducking to avoid the cord. They really need to get him a wireless mic.
Matt always comes into the crowd during Mr. November, and at this show he actually climbed up to the first mezzanine. It was very cool. He always seems to find me during Mr. November; I have video and pictures of three other times when he's been right next to me during that song. This time, though, the video didn't really work.

I bought myself a graduation present because (A) I felt like I deserved a little something for getting my Master's Degree, and (B) I had some extra money from teaching after-school this semester and wanted to spend it on myself. So I bought a Kodak Zi8 HD pocket video camera (in teal, of course). I tested it out for the first time at Wednesday's concert. It doesn't zoom all that much, so the video isn't fabulous simply because of that. But I used my soundgear mic, and I was very impressed with the audio quality. My videos are at my youtube channel, and I ripped the audio from the video, so here's the audio of the concert. I haven't done any editing because I'm lazy. Apartment Story is my favorite song by The National, so I was so frustrated when I had to change my battery right at the beginning of that song. I didn't miss too much of it, though.

Get Your Own Player!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

"Broadway is dark tonight." ~the goo goo dolls

Fun fact: Tony night is the only night of the year all of Broadway is dark.

Scroll down for my actual newest post. This is a Tony post. I thought I'd share my predictions. I made these awhile ago, before the New York Times released their own predictions. There are some VERY tight races tonight, so I'm not expecting to do well.
I'll try to update these as we go.

ETA: Okay, I should have seen this coming once I knew the Glee stars were performing and Green Day was performing two songs (I won't even go into that), but I hate the fact that Hollywood is invading the Tonys. If all the Hollywood winners were deserving of their awards, fine, but I don't believe they all are. Catherine Zeta Jones was not even close to being the best actress of the season. She wasn't bad, but she was definitely not the best. I saw all the actresses in that category and I'd actually put CJZ as the least deserving. And it pisses me off. I AM happy for ScarJo and feel that she is deserving, but I'm just upset in general with this trend.

I'm 21/26. Ugh.

* = my prediction
italics = winner

Best Play
In the Next Room or the vibrator play, by Sarah Ruhl

Next Fall, by Geoffrey Nauffts

*Red, by John Logan
Time Stands Still, by Donald Margulies

Best Musical
American Idiot

Million Dollar Quartet

Best Revival of a Play
Lend Me a Tenor

The Royal Family

A View From the Bridge

Best Revival of a Musical
Finian’s Rainbow

*La Cage aux Folles
A Little Night Music


Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play
Jude Law, Hamlet

*Alfred Molina, Red

Liev Schreiber, A View From the Bridge
Christopher Walken, A Behanding in Spokane

Denzel Washington, Fences

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
*Viola Davis, Fences
Valerie Harper, Looped

Linda Lavin, Collected Stories

Laura Linney, Time Stands Still

Jan Maxwell, The Royal Family

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical
Kelsey Grammer, La Cage aux Folles

Sean Hayes, Promises, Promises
Douglas Hodge, La Cage aux Folles
Chad Kimball, Memphis

Sahr Ngaujah, Fela!

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical
Kate Baldwin, Finian’s Rainbow

*Montego Glover, Memphis

Christiane Noll, Ragtime

Sherie Rene Scott, Everyday Rapture

Catherine Zeta-Jones, A Little Night Music

Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play
David Alan Grier, Race

Stephen McKinley Henderson, Fences

Jon Michael Hill, Superior Donuts

Stephen Kunken, Enron
Eddie Redmayne, Red

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play
Maria Dizzia, In the Next Room or the vibrator play

Rosemary Harris, The Royal Family

Jessica Hecht, A View From the Bridge

Scarlett Johansson, A View From the Bridge
Jan Maxwell, Lend Me a Tenor
Wow. I loved ScarJo's performance, but I did NOT see this coming.

Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical
Kevin Chamberlin, The Addams Family

Robin De Jesús, La Cage aux Folles 

Christopher Fitzgerald, Finian’s Rainbow
*Levi Kreis, Million Dollar Quartet
Bobby Steggert, Ragtime

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
Barbara Cook, Sondheim on Sondheim

*Katie Finneran, Promises, Promises
Angela Lansbury, A Little Night Music

Karine Plantadit, Come Fly Away

Lillias White, Fela!

Best Direction of a Play
*Michael Grandage, Red
Sheryl Kaller, Next Fall

Kenny Leon, Fences

Gregory Mosher, A View from the Bridge

Best Direction of a Musical
Christopher Ashley, Memphis

Marcia Milgrom Dodge, Ragtime

*Terry Johnson, La Cage aux Folles

Bill T. Jones, Fela!

Best Scenic Design of a Play
John Lee Beatty, The Royal Family

Alexander Dodge, Present Laughter

Santo Loquasto, Fences

*Christopher Oram, Red

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Marina Draghici, Fela!

*Christine Jones, American Idiot

Derek McLane, Ragtime

Tim Shortall, La Cage aux Folles

Best Costume Design of a Play
Martin Pakledinaz, Lend Me a Tenor

Constanza Romero, Fences

David Zinn, In the Next Room or the vibrator play
Catherine Zuber, The Royal Family

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Marina Draghici, Fela!

Paul Tazewell, Memphis
Matthew Wright, La Cage aux Folles

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Neil Austin, Hamlet
Neil Austin, Red

Mark Henderson, Enron

Brian MacDevitt, Fences

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
*Kevin Adams, American Idiot
Donald Holder, Ragtime

Nick Richings, La Cage aux Folles

Robert Wierzel, Fela!

Best Sound Design of a Play
Acme Sound Partners, Fences
*Adam Cork, Enron
Adam Cork, Red

Scott Lehrer, A View from the Bridge

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Jonathan Deans, La Cage aux Folles

*Robert Kaplowitz, Fela!
Dan Moses Schreier and Gareth Owen, A Little Night Music

Dan Moses Schreier, Sondheim on Sondheim

Best Book of a Musical
Everyday Rapture


Million Dollar Quartet

Best Original Score
The Addams Family



Best Choreography
Rob Ashford, Promises, Promises

*Bill T. Jones, Fela!
Lynne Page, La Cage aux Folles
Twyla Tharp, Come Fly Away

Best Orchestrations
Jason Carr, La Cage aux Folles

Aaron Johnson, Fela!

Jonathan Tunick, Promises, Promises
Daryl Waters & David Bryan, Memphis

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

"But damn my luck and damn these friends that keep on combing back their smiles. I save my grace with half-assed guilt and lay down the quilt upon the lawn. Spread my arms and soak up Congratulations." ~mgmt

I cannot stop listening to that song.

I feel like summer begins with the first Summerstage concert in Central Park. This year it was a bunch of musicians singing the songs of Simon & Garfunkel (they were there but didn't perform). Nic and I packed a picnic (we've gotten really good at that) and enjoyed the music. The highlight for me was Aimee Mann and John Roderick performing "The Only Living Boy in New York." Paula Cole and Shawn Colvin's version of "America" (one of my favorite songs) was also gorgeous. Loudon Wainwright III and his daughter Lucy were also great, singing "Bleeker Street." Here's a setlist courtesy of BrooklynVegan:This weekend my friends Kim and Elizabeth came to visit me. It was nice to have them here, and it turned out to be a beautiful weekend. Yesterday we went to Coney Island. I love Coney Island. We went on the ferris wheel and the Cyclone (my favorite) and some swings that were a lot of fun. I had a corndog at Nathan's and we got to sit on the boardwalk and enjoy the breeze. It was a great day. We had a lot of good food while they were here (Mexican one night, mac & cheese another night, and a French restaurant for brunch). Matt (Kim's brother) spent a lot of time with us, and it was good to see him as well.
On the boardwalk:
On the ferris wheel, beach in the background:
At a rooftop bar:
Joshua Tree. I am singing along with "Mo' Money, Mo' Problems." Because I'm cool like that.
I took a video while Kim and I were on the swings. It's silly, but you can watch it here:

Now it's back to reality tomorrow. Two more weeks. Two more weeks. I can make it.

Tonight's the Tony Awards. I'm already braced for disappointment. This season is incredibly weak, anyway. It's actually ridiculous how pathetic the new musicals are. Oh well.

If Spiderman ever actually makes it to Broadway (and I hope it does just so I can hear Bono & The Edge's score), I'm so freakin' excited about this. I love her.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

"Hey love, we'll get away with it, we'll run like we're awesome, totally genius. Hey love, we'll get away with it, we'll run like we're awesome. We're the heirs to the glimmering world. We're the heirs to the glimmering world. We're the heirs to the glimmering world. We're the heirs to the glimmering world." ~the national

Today was a movie day. I went to see Get Him to the Greek, which was very funny. I loved those characters in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and was glad to see more of them. Russell Brand had a minor role in the latter, but he proves that he's really a capable leading man in the former. P. Diddy (or Sean Combs or whatever name he's going by now) is also quite funny. Elisabeth Moss is in it. My aunt constantly tells me that I look just like her. I don't believe it, but I love when she says that.

I finally rented Brick Lane, and I was very glad I did. It's one of the few movies I've seen that translates well to the screen from the novel. I read the novel in college, in one of my favorite classes, Southeast Asian Literature. I love, love, love all the literature I've read from that region (Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Monica Ali are all brilliant writers), and Brick Lane is no exception. When I was last in London, I remember seeing the street Brick Lane and being so excited because I had loved the book. The book is wonderful, and so is the movie. I highly recommend both. I didn't remember much of the book before watching the movie, which might be a good thing. It came back to me as I watched. The one scene that I could see clearly in my head before watching was the running scene, and it didn't disappoint on film.