Saturday, October 31, 2009

"Baby, baby, baby, light my way. Baby, baby, baby, light my way." ~u2

I can't even describe how I'm feeling right now. So I'll lay out the situation and you can infer. Bono is my idol. He is the person whom I admire most and the person I most wanted to meet. I cannot put into words how much I love him. And tonight? I met him. First, he grasped my hand. And it wasn't just a short, weak, passing touch. He had a firm grip, and his fingers clasped around mine. His hand was warm and mine was freezing, and I felt like he held onto my hand for awhile to help warm it up. It worked. His warmth flowed from his body to mine. Then, for about three minutes, he rested his hand on my shoulder as he spoke. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Rested his hand on my shoulder! For a prolonged period of time! As he mused about this tour. Bono is a people person. It seems like he loves connecting with people, and that includes physical contact, and tonight I was a lucky recipient. I cannot say how much it meant to me.

I have a LOT to write about (Bono is just one small highlight), but I'm not sure when I'll get to it. Hopefully soon.

Here's a photo I managed to snap directly before my encounter with him.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"I've been roaming around, I was looking down at all I see. Painted faces fill the places I can't reach. You know that I could use somebody. You know that I could use somebody." ~kings of leon

I've been listening to Kings of Leon for about five years now, which is a lot longer than most people have. I saw them open for U2 in 2005, and I was familiar with them before that. My friend Dave tried hard to get me to like them. I was never really crazy about them, but I must admit that I love some of the songs on Only by the Night. "You know that I could use someboddddyyyyy....Someone like you, somebodddyyyy" I love it.

I love my family. Love them. And I'm so glad to have family here in New York. Really, really happy.
Yesterday was Bess's birthday. We had a lovely family birthday dinner. Being with them just fills me up.

It sure sounds like I'm full of love, doesn't it? I don't usually write about the crappy stuff on this blog, but it's definitely there. Teaching is really, really hard right now, for a number of reasons. I'm trying to hang in there, but it's not easy.

On Thursday and Friday are the 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Concerts at Madison Square Garden. Nicole and I are going both nights, and I cannot wait. Here are some of the artists that we'll see perform:
Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, U2, Paul Simon, Metallica, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Friends, Simon and Garfunkel.
Can you imagine seeing so many musical legends in two nights? I cannot wait. I need this.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

"Into the light of a bridge that burns, as I drive from the city with the money that I earned. Into the black of a starless sky, I'm staring into nothing and I'm asking you why." ~the arcade fire

This past week was insanely busy, and unfortunately not because of fun stuff. I had a LOT to do for school. I was observed, so I worked really hard on planning lessons and fixing up my classroom. Grad school has also been keeping me really busy. Just having class twice a week for three hours is a big time commitment, but all the homework for the classes is not easy to keep up with. I love the educational theatre program, I have fun in class, but it'll be nice when I have my Master's and don't have all that extra stress from the work. It is not easy to work full-time and be a student.

I have taken some time in the last couple of days to have fun. I went to the first preview of Sarah Ruhl's new play on Broadway, In the Next Room or the vibrator play (yes, that is the full title). I got a free ticket. I really, really enjoyed it. It takes place in the late 1880's, after electricity was just invented and doctors began treating women suffering from hysteria with the vibrator. The cast is amazing. Tony winners Michael Cerveris and Laura Benanti headline the cast, and they're wonderful. Even though it's a play, it was nice to hear Laura Benanti sing a little bit (I love her voice; I often watch the concert version of The Secret Garden and love her as Lily). And she was surprisingly very funny. There was some full frontal nudity on Cerveris's part, although I wonder if that will be cut (I saw the first preview, so they'll make changes). It was a funny yet moving play.

This morning I went to the movies and saw A Serious Man. Oh my goodness, I want to marry the Coen brothers (both of them) they're just so brilliant. Michael Stuhlbarg stars in it, and it was great to see him doing well in film. I've seen him onstage before, in The Pillowman on Broadway and as Hamlet at Shakespeare in the Park last summer, and I think he's a great actor. I met him after The Pillowman and he could not have been nicer. He was so kind, and it's nice to see nice people succeed.

Tonight I'm going to try the Ragtime lottery, and if I don't win (which will probably be the case) I'll head out to Brooklyn and meet my friend Lauren for a bookstore opening. I'm so glad to have a friend who loves books!

Speaking of books, I'm reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett right now and I absolutely love it. I can't put it down. Seriously, go read this book. I'm fascinated by the South and so this book is particularly interesting to me, but I promise you'll love it even if you're not interested in southern history. It's lovely.

Finally, I'll leave you with some Glee goodies.

Will and Sue's swing dance was my favorite part of this week's episode, hand's down. Behind the scenes:

Sweet Caroline (swoon!):

Matthew Morrison performing Bust a Move!:

They're all worth watching. Matthew Morrison can definitely bust a move.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

"Children, wake up, hold your mistake up, before they turn the summer into dust. If the children don’t grow up, our bodies get bigger but our hearts get torn up. We’re just a million little gods causin rain storms, turnin’ every good thing to rust. I guess we'll just have to adjust." ~the arcade fire

I've had a great past couple of days. Last night Nic and I saw Oleanna on Broadway. It's a two-person play written by David Mamet, and it is an intense 85 minutes. Very intense. It stars Julia Stiles and Bill Pullman, both of whom I love. I've liked Julia Stiles since 10 Things I Hate About You, and I've been crazy about Bill Pullman since While You Were Sleeping (which I came home and watched last night after the play). I thought they both gave strong performances, and I enjoyed the production. It's about a power struggle between a professor and one of his students, and it's a show that you keep debating long after it ends. There was a talk-back afterward, and it was interesting to hear people from the audience talk about the show because the show inspired such a vast range of opinions. Here are a couple of quick looks at the play:

This morning, Lauren and I went to see Where the Wild Things Are. Oh my goodness, it was wonderful. It was magical and heartbreaking and I loved it. We both had tears in our eyes at the end. I loved the music, I loved the cinematography, I loved the story. It was just a beautiful film.

And trailer #2:

Lauren Ambrose played my favorite Wild Thing, KW. It was nice to hear her voice. I think her line "I'll eat you up, I love you so" (you can hear it in trailer #2) was my favorite line of the movie.

School is exhausting. Is Thanksgiving here yet?

Monday, October 12, 2009

"For the ones who had a notion, a notion deep inside, that it ain't no sin to be glad you're alive. I wanna find one face that ain't looking through me, I wanna find one place, I wanna spit in the face of these Badlands. You gotta live it every day. Let the broken hearts stand as the price you've gotta pay. Well, keep pushin' 'til it's understood and these badlands start treating us good." ~bruce springsteen

It was a long weekend, so yesterday (Sunday) I headed home to New Jersey (because NJ will always be my home) and stayed with my friend Kim's family. It was nice to be back in my hometown and to drive past my old house (it looks the same) and hang out in my friend's house, where I've spent so much time over the past 20 years. Her mom made a fabulous dinner. Today we went to see Couples Retreat. Even though it didn't get the best reviews, I will not pass up an opportunity to see Kristen Bell on the big screen. She's such a talented actress, and I wish she would start getting better material so more people can see what she can do. She keeps talking about trying to get the Veronica Mars movie made, and I soooo wish that would happen. I'm afraid she'll never get as good a part as Veronica Mars again. I love that she's still holding on to that. Even thought she wasn't able to showcase all her talent, she was good in Couples Retreat, and I loved seeing her and Jason Bateman interact, because I think they're both great actors. It was a fun afternoon at the movies. Now I'm back in New York, dreading going back to school tomorrow.

I'm loving Brothers and Sisters this season. I wasn't sure that I liked Kitty's storyline when I first heard about it over the summer, but I have to admit that it's bringing some good drama. Calista Flockhart, Rob Lowe, and Sally Field have some great material because of it, and I love seeing them dig into it. The last minute of last night's episode really got to me. I missed Sarah. A lot. She's my favorite character. And I know Kitty missed her, too. I'm so glad she's back. That hug, with that music playing in the background...*tear*.

I don't think I mentioned how happy I am that Lauren Graham was cast in Parenthood. So I will now. I'm absolutely thrilled. That show has such an awesome cast (Peter Krause! Mae Whitman! Monica Potter!), and I can't wait to see Lauren act with them. I'm very sorry that Maura Tierney had to drop out, and I hope she's okay, but I can't think of anyone better to replace her. I can't wait to see my favorite actress back on TV.

Here's one of Bill's photos from Thursday's Bruce Springsteen concert. I was standing directly to his left, so this shows you how lucky we got.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

"I was raised out of steel here in the swamps of Jersey, some misty years ago. Through the mud and the beers, through the blood and the cheers, I’ve seen champions come and go. So if you got the guts mister, ff you got the balls, if you think it’s your time, then step to the line, and bring on your wrecking ball. Bring on your wrecking ball, bring on your wrecking ball, let me see what you got, take your best shot, bring on your wrecking ball. Bring on your wrecking ball. Bring on your wrecking ball. Take your best shot, let me see what you got, bring on your wrecking ball.
My home is here in the Meadowlands, where mosquitoes grow as big as airplanes. Here where the blood is spilled, the arena is filled, and Giants play the games. So come on raise your glasses, and let me hear your voices call. Tonight all the dead are here, so bring on your wrecking ball, bring on your wrecking ball, bring on your wrecking ball. Yeah, take your best shot, let me see what you got, bring on your wrecking ball. Bring on your wrecking ball, bring on your wrecking ball, you take your best shot, let me see what you've got, bring on your wrecking ball (One, two, one two three four!).
Now we know that come tomorrow, none of this will be here. So hold tight to you anger, hold tight to your anger, hold tight to your anger, and don't fall to your fear.
When all this steel in these stories, been drift away to rust. And all our youth and beauty, been given to dust. The game has been decided, and we're burning down the clock. And all our little victories and glories have turned into parking lots.
When your best hopes and desires are scattered to the wind. And hard times come and hard times go, and hard times come and hard times go, and hard times come and hard times go, and hard times come and hard times go, and hard times come and hard times go, just to come again bring on your Wrecking Ball. Let me hear your voices call. Take your best shot, let me see what you've got, bring on your wrecking ball. Bring on your Wrecking Ball, Bring on your Wrecking Ball, Bring on your Wrecking Ball. Take your best shot, let me see what you've got, bring on your wrecking ball. Bring on your Wrecking Ball." ~bruce springsteen

That may be the first song ever written from the point of view of a stadium. Maybe. I kind of love it.

Somehow, out of sheer luck, I was able to go to the final three concerts at Giants Stadium. Bruce Springsteen played five shows there to close it down, and I went to the last three, all within a week. And I paid a total of $25. I still can't believe my luck, and I'm so glad I was there to see him shut the place down.

I already wrote about my night 1 (scroll down if you missed it), so here I'll write about the last two concerts.

On Thursday morning, my friend Bill offered me a free ticket to Friday's show that he couldn't use. So of course I accepted. When I met him on Thursday afternoon to pick up the ticket, the friend whom he was taking to Thursday's show called him and canceled, so he had an extra ticket. I hadn't been home from school yet, I was wearing my teacher clothes (including a nice skirt) and had my big teacher bag and lunchbox, but I didn't care. I hopped in his car and we headed out to Giants Stadium. Luckily I could store my stuff in his car during the show (although I still had to wear my teacher clothes). We had GA tickets that night, and we got a fabulous spot in the pit. I couldn't believe we got into the pit. We stood along the back rail, and no one stood directly in front of us (it was much less crowded in the pit than at the U2 concert). When Bruce came into the crowd for "Hungry Heart," he stopped to sing a mere few feet away from me. I could not believe how close I was to him. Seeing him crowdsurf from the back of the pit to the stage from the floor was amazing. Of course I didn't have my camera, though, because of the impromptu situation. But Bill took pictures, so when I get those I'll share.

Thursday's show was unbelievable. One of the best concerts I've ever been to. It was a Born to Run show, so he played through the entire album. That's my favorite album of his. The energy in the pit was insane, especially during "Born to Run" and "Badlands;" you couldn't not go crazy. It was pretty freakin' awesome. I was exhausted, but I found myself jumping up and down constantly, waving my hands in the air, raising my fist...the energy in there made you forget everything else. "Badlands" and "Backstreets" were highlights for me. I can't describe it; you just had to be there, in the pit, feeling that energy.
Thursday, 10/8/09 Setlist
Wrecking Ball (with Curt Ramm)
Out in the Street
Outlaw Pete
Hungry Heart
Working on a Dream
Thunder Road
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out (with Jake Clemons, Ed Manion, Curt Ramm)
Born to Run
She's the One
Meeting Across the River (with Curt Ramm)
Waitin' on a Sunny Day
Raise Your Hand (instrumental)
It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City
My Love Will Not Let You Down
Because the Night
Human Touch
Lonesome Day
The Rising
No Surrender
* * *
4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)
Bobby Jean
American Land (with Curt Ramm)
Dancing in the Dark
Twist and Shout

Thursday was so fabulous (just look at that setlist!) that I knew it would be difficult to top. Because Friday was the last concert ever at Giants Stadium, there were lots of rumors about special stuff that would happen (lots of special guests were discussed). In the end, though, it wasn't really anything special. It was a Born in the U.S.A. night, and the setlist was pretty similar to the other Born in the U.S.A. night I went to. One notable addition was the Rolling Stones song "Last Time." The last song ever played at Giants Stadium was "Jersey Girl," one of my favorites. No one thought it was over after that song, though. The lights stayed off for awhile, leading us to believe that the band would come back on, but they didn't. The crowd stood there for a few minutes waiting. I thought they would come back out and do "Thunder Road" or "Rosalita" or something upbeat, but they didn't. It was still a great night, though, and I can't believe I was there for the last three shows.
Friday, 10/9/09 Setlist
Wrecking Ball (with Curt Ramm)
Spirit in the Night
Outlaw Pete
Hungry Heart
Working on a Dream
Born in the U.S.A.
Cover Me
Darlington County
Working on the Highway
Downbound Train
I'm on Fire
No Surrender
Bobby Jean
I'm Goin' Down
Glory Days
Dancing in the Dark
My Hometown
Tougher Than the Rest
The Promised Land
Last to Die (with Curt Ramm)
Long Walk Home
The Rising
Born to Run (with Jay Weinberg)
* * *
Raise Your Hand
The Last Time
Waitin' on a Sunny Day
Seven Nights to Rock
Kitty's Back (with Curt Ramm)
American Land
Jersey Girl

The New York Times has a nice review of the final show on the front page of their website; here it is.

I was surprised at how many kids I saw at all of the concerts, kids even younger than five years old. There were a lot of kids in the pit; they must have lined up early. I remember being surprised seeing them at U2 as well. And the kids always get special treatment. Every night Bruce had a kid sing "Waitin' on a Sunny Day" with him. At most concerts, U2 brings a kid from the audience onstage. How amazing would that be, to be onstage with Bruce Springsteen or U2 and sing along?? I wish my parents had taken me to concerts when I was younger.

Here are some photos from Friday:

And a couple of videos:

Jersey Girl (last song ever performed at Giants Stadium):

I went to two Broadway shows today (Saturday), HAIR and Hamlet. Funnily enough, they're the two shows from Shakespeare in the Park last year (though a different production of Hamlet). I'll probably write more later about them, but for now I'll just say I was so lucky to be able to stare at some gorgeous guys for most of the day. Will Swenson in HAIR (oh, how I love him) and Jude Law in Hamlet. Not bad, right?

Sunday, October 04, 2009

"With a chance to make it good somehow, hey what else can we do now? Except roll down the window, and let the wind blow back your hair. Well, the night's busting open, these two lanes will take us anywhere. We got one last chance to make it real, to trade in these wings on some wheels. Climb in back, heaven's waiting on down the tracks. Oh-oh, come take my hand, we're riding out tonight to case the promised land. Oh-oh, Thunder Road, oh Thunder Road. Lying out there like a killer in the sun, hey I know it's late, we can make it if we run. Oh Thunder Road, sit tight take hold, Thunder Road." ~bruce springsteen

Last night I went to see Bruce Springsteen at Giants Stadium. My dad and brother have seen him live before but they never invited me, and I'm glad I finally got my shot to see him. I'm from New Jersey, I grew up there, spent almost my entire life there, and it will always be my home, even if my parents decided to abandon it, so I think I'm obligated to feel something for Bruce's music. Nicole and I got $80 tickets for $25 each from someone selling them at the last minute. As you'll see, of course our view wasn't as good as it was for U2, but we waited 12 hours for our U2 spot and it was cool to see the stadium from a different perspective last night.

Seeing the Boss play in New Jersey, especially in a venue like Giants Stadium where you're surrounded by about 80,000 fans, is an experience unlike any other. It's indescribable. Bruce has achieved something akin to godlike status in New Jersey. And he sure puts on a good show. He's playing a bunch of concerts at Giants Stadium, and at each one he's playing one album through it's entirety. At my concert it was Born in the U.S.A. It's one of the best selling albums of all time, it's Springsteen's most successful album, and it has seven top-10 singles (the most for any album in history). So you'd think we picked a good night to go, but I think I would have actually preferred hearing the "Born to Run" night instead. I think there are some clunkers on "Born in the U.S.A." The first Giants Stadium setlist (a Born to Run show) looks perfect to me.

The main song I really wanted to hear but didn't is my favorite song of his, "Atlantic City." There are a few others I wish had been in there as well. This was the first time on this tour and the first time in over 10 years that "Badlands" wasn't played at an ESB show, and that really bummed me out because I love that song. It's really unimaginable that it was omitted. But overall it wasn't a bad setlist. He opened with a song called "Wrecking Ball," which he wrote about the destruction of Giants Stadium. The addition of "Jersey Girl" to the setlist made me really, really happy. Even though I love the song, "My Hometown" made me sad because it made me miss my hometown. They didn't pull me out of that depression until they got to "Born To Run." I was so glad they closed with "Thunder Road;" I was afraid they wouldn't play it. It's one of my favorite songs, and I loved screaming all the words (because I know every single one) along with the crowd. Overall it was a great night.

One highlight that needs to be mentioned is Bruce crowd-surfing from the back of the pit to the stage. It was at least 30 yards, and it was amazing to see. The view from above was so incredibly cool. Here's a video from the pit (obviously not mine). The crowd-surfing begins around 2:30:

Here are a few (not-so-good) pictures of mine:

And here are some even worse videos of mine, but they have good audio (and surprisingly you can't really hear me singing, except for maybe on Thunder Road!). The last two are the best.

Dancing in the Dark (ends partway through because the girl from the row behind me was pushed down into my row, nearly knocking me over):

Born to Run:

Jersey Girl(!):

Thunder Road (cuts off at the end because I ran out of memory):


Wrecking Ball
Out In the Street
Outlaw Pete
Hungry Heart
Working On a Dream
Born In the U.S.A.
Cover Me
Darlington County
Working On the Highway
Downbound Train
I'm On Fire
No Surrender
Bobby Jean
I'm Goin' Down
Glory Days
Dancing In the Dark
My Hometown
The Promised Land
Last To Die
Long Walk Home
The Rising
Born To Run
Raise Your Hand (instrumental)
Jersey Girl
Kitty's Back
Detroit Medley
American Land
Waitin' On a Sunny Day
Thunder Road

Friday, October 02, 2009

"Another head aches, another heart breaks. I am so much older than I can take. And my affection, well it comes and goes, I need direction to perfection, no no no no..." ~the killers

Mostly just here to post what I promised yesterday. They're awful quality; the lighting in there was not good. So they're mostly useful for the audio. Drew Barrymore speaking after the Whip It screening:
Discussing the values behind the story:

The interviewer asked about a stunt that Ellen Page did:

The interviewer just asked about shooting food fight (Drew goes on to talk about shooting on a low budget):

A really nice ending to the interview:

Tomorrow I'm seeing Bruce Springsteen at Giants Stadium!!!