Saturday, November 28, 2009

"There's diamonds in the sidewalk, the gutter's lined in song. Dear, I hear that beer flows through the faucets all night long. There's treasure for the taking, for any hard-working man. Who will make his home in the American Land." ~bruce springsteen

Oh, Thanksgiving, how I love thee. I think Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. In fact, yes, it is my favorite holiday. Every Thanksgiving we gather in my aunt and uncle's apartment in Manhattan. There are always a ton of people there, but we all manage to fit. I get to see cousins whom I only see once a year. This year my parents flew in from Colorado. My grandparents from South Carolina were here. My brother drove down from Colgate. We have tons of food, and I always end up stuffing myself. This year I stayed at my aunt and uncle's apartment for a couple of days just because it was easier than going back home to mine, so I got to spend even more time with my cousin Bess. On Friday we all headed out to Chatham, NJ to have a chili dinner at our relatives' house (as if we hadn't eaten enough the day before). It was a great few days. Some random pictures:
Me and some of my cousins (and my brother on the far right):
Again, on 6th Ave. (still blocked off from the parade):
Bess, Aisling, and Colleen:
Maureen, D.J. (background), & Aisling (and Colleen's foot):

It's always a strange feeling when something you've been looking forward to for so long passes. It leaves you with a sort of void. I guess it's time to start looking forward to Christmas now.

Ooh, totally random, but I love it. I cannot wait for this show. And not just because I love Lauren Graham. Parenthood promo:

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"Well, I've been out walking. I don't do that much talking these days. These days--These days I seem to think a lot about the things that I forgot to do..." ~jackson browne

I love Jackson Browne. I was so excited that he was at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concerts I attended last month, even though he didn't get to sing much. Just to get the chance to see him perform at all was wonderful.

If you watch Chuck, you're going to love these season 3 promos. If you don't watch Chuck, go get the first two seasons and catch up before season 3 begins on January 10th! They started with an order of 13 episodes for season 3, but it's already been upped to 19. It's my favorite show on television. It's a blend of comedy, action, drama, romance...basically it's everything you could hope for all rolled into one awesome show. Seriously, take my word for it and start watching.
Season 3 preview:

Promo 1:

Oh, by the way, go here to watch Live from Abbey Road featuring Counting Crows. Adam is so sick that it hurts me just to listen to his voice during parts of it, but "A Long December" is absolutely beautiful.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

"Strung out like some Christmas lights, out there in the Chelsea nights. Strung out like some Christmas lights, out there in the Chelsea nights. Strung out like some Christmas lights, out there in the Chelsea nights. Strung out like some Christmas lights, out there in the Chelsea nights." ~ryan adams

Movie reviews. Because I don't have the energy for anything else. I am so drained right now, physically, emotionally, and mentally.

The Blind Side
I cried at the end. I didn't cry during Precious, but I cried during this; I never know what's going to set me off. The fact that it's a true story got to me during the credits. Oh, how I love Sandra Bullock. She's absolutely wonderful. Go see this movie just for her performance.

New Moon
I'm not ashamed to admit I'm a Twilight fan. And I liked the movie. More than I liked the first one. Kristen Stewart is good at angst. Is the film groundbreaking cinema? Of course not. But I love the story so I don't care. And those guys are definitely worth looking at for a couple of hours.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Did I sleep? 'Cause I must have been dreamin'. Did I weep? 'Cause I cried like hell..." ~ryan adams

I love Ryan Adams. He's such a character. It's particularly entertaining to read his interviews. There was one hilarious Rolling Stone gem where it was a phone interview and he got angry so he handed the phone to someone else for, like, an hour; the interviewer stayed on the line waiting for him to come back, while Ryan went and did something else before he finally decided he would talk again. I've been listening to him a lot lately. My family and I saw some of his free Battery Park concert on July 4th, 2003. That was a long time ago; he wasn't really all that well known. Adam Duritz is really good friends with him; they lived together in L.A.. There's a verse in the song "Los Angeles" by Counting Crows that's about Ryan, and Ryan cowrote the song. AD contributed to Ryan Adams' song "Answering Bell," which I love.
Okay, for two days I've been trying to post a video of a live performance of the song (featuring Adam Duritz), but it hasn't been working. Hopefully this does work (or just click on the link below to watch it on my webshots page):


Life has been super crazy lately. Over the weekend I went to see my cousin D.J. perform in My Fair Lady at Princeton, and I loved the production. It was good to spend some time with my aunt and uncle. I had parent-teacher conferences yesterday and had over 50 parents come visit me. I didn't get a break at all; it was four hours of solid conferencing. I had a huge grad school assignment due today. Tomorrow I have my student-teaching interview. I have way too much to do and not enough time in which to do it. But I need to take some breaks from the craziness or else I would go completely insane.

On Sunday I went to the dress rehearsal of David Mamet's new Broadway play, Race. The plot had been kept secret and I was in the first audience ever to see it, so that was cool. I really, really enjoyed it. It's the best Mamet play I've seen performed. I won't say too much because it's not really fair to talk about a dress rehearsal (it's not a performance that's supposed to be reviewed), so I'll just say that if they clean a few things up it will be fantastic.

Back to Rolling Stone: check out the current cover.

Aren't they just gorgeous?? What a trio: Bono, Mick Jagger, and Bruce Springsteen. I still can't believe I saw them all on the same stage.
The magazine focuses on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concerts, which I was lucky enough to attend. It's a good issue.

was an op-ed guest columnist in The New York Times this week. He wrote a wonderful piece, so check it out.

Okay, now back to work.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Superboy and the Invisible Girl, Son of Steel and Daughter of Air. He's a hero, a lover, a prince, she's not there. Superboy and the Invisible Girl, everything a kid oughtta be. He's immortal, forever alive, then there's me. I wish I could fly, and magically appear and disappear. I wish I could fly, I'd fly far away from here." ~next to normal

I saw Next to Normal on Broadway tonight for the third time. I'm in love with it. I've seen it from the front orchestra, rear orchestra, and now front row of the mezz, so I'm working my way around the theatre. Here's my review from last time. The last time I saw the show Michael Berry was in as Dan, and I liked him, but I was so glad that J. Robert Spencer was on tonight. I am in love with Bobby Spencer. Seriously. He is amazing. I cried during the reprise of "I Am the One" tonight (along with most of the audience). I cry just thinking of it. I'm angry that Bobby Spencer didn't win the Tony this year; I think he definitely deserved it instead of the Billys. His performance is so incredibly moving, and it's often overshadowed by Alice's. Of course Alice is amazing, this seems like the performance of a lifetime for her and I'm sooo glad she won the Tony for it, but I think Bobby needs to be recognized as well. Of course the entire cast is incredibly strong.
Here's a tiny clip of Bobby's "I've Been:"

And "I Am the One" (this breaks my heart):

And "Superboy and the Invisible Girl" from the Tony Awards concert:

Oh, by the way, Fantastic Mr. Fox is, well, fantastic (ba dum dum ch!). I'm sure that's not the last time you'll hear that line. I love Wes Anderson.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"I can hardly stay up, and I can't get to sleep, and I don't want to wake tomorrow morning at the bottom of some heap. But why take it so seriously? After all, there's nothing at stake here - only me." ~nine

I was lucky enough to see an advance screening of the movie Nine tonight. It doesn't come out until Christmas Day, so it was a rough cut and we had to take a survey afterward (I guess they're still editing). I loved it, though. It's based on the stage musical, and it's a beautiful, beautiful adaptation. The performances were very strong; Daniel Day Lewis, Marion Cotillard, and Penelope Cruz were absolutely wonderful. I also enjoyed the cinematography. They can do some really cool things on film that they obviously can't do on stage, and Rob Marshall definitely took advantage of that. Go see it when it comes out.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

"We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns. Some of us are dancers on the midway, we roam from town to town. I hope that everybody can find a little flame. Me, I say my prayers, then I light myself on fire, and I walk out on the wire once again..." ~counting crows

I ushered at an off-Broadway show called Circle Mirror Transformation on Saturday. It's about an adult acting class at a community theatre, and it's hilarious and touching. Isherwood raved about it in the New York Times a few days ago in an article called "Some Plays Can Twinkle Without Stars." Like Isherwood I am often frustrated by stunt casting on Broadway, and it's great to see plays like Circle Mirror Transformation succeed without any big names. Here are some nice quotes from Isherwood's article:
"Circle Mirror Transformation, a new comedy by the young writer Annie Baker presented by Playwrights Horizons, is the kind of unheralded gem that sends people into the streets babbling and bright-eyed with the desire to spread the word....Bask I did recently, and emerged with the same giddy sense of discovery, the same almost proprietary need to ensure that this small, quirky, immensely lovable new play does not go unnoticed by theatergoers in perennial search of fresh voices and boundary-bending experiments."

Luckily people are rushing to see this show. It was sold out last night and I had to sit on the steps (which was perfectly fine; I had a good view). There were quite a few celebrities there. I tore the tickets of Victor Garber (love him!), Martin Short, and Sam Rockwell. I touched all their hands while ripping their tickets and handing them Playbills, and I am proud that I did no fangirling whatsoever. Our conversations consisted of my saying, "The show runs an hour and fifty minutes with no intermission, please turn off your cell phone, and enjoy the show" to each of them and each of them saying "Thank you" in return. Quite scintillating conversation, I know. Anyway, it was a great night of theatre and I'm glad to see a small yet wonderful show doing so well.

I was alerted to this on Crowstown and thought I'd share it here. I'm sure you know I'm obsessed with Counting Crows. One song that I love of theirs is "Goodnight Elisabeth." It's just so sad (I also love the sequel to it, "I Wish I Was a Girl"). At first it may sound like a nice song because of the melody, but it's such a bitter, depressed, angry song that happens to be couched in a gorgeous melody. I have 35 different recordings of "Goodnight Elisabeth" on my iTunes, and I know I have more on bootleg CDs that aren't on my computer. I am proud to say that I was at the concert where the band played what seems to be the longest recorded version of the song yet (clocking in at just a little over seventeen minutes). I know the song well. Really well. But trust me, you don't have to know it well to recognize what I'm about to tell you to listen for.
So, a new Son Volt album, American Central Dust, came out in July. There's a song on it called "Exile."
Listen to "Exile," then listen to "Goodnight Elisabeth" (I'm posting a few versions of it just because it's so awesome and the band always adds different alternates so each version is different). Obviously you'll see that just the beginnings sound incredibly similar. Questions:
1. Is it an intentional rip-off on Son Volt's part, or do you think it's subconscious?
2. Is it okay to write a song that sounds so similar to another song by another band?

American Central Dust is a good album, by the way.

Listen to about the first 30 seconds of "Exiles" (until he starts singing) and then move on to the first version of "Goodnight Elisabeth."

Get Your Own Player!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

"Who's to say where the wind will take you? Who's to say what it is will break you? I don't know, which way the wind will blow." ~u2

I haven't written in awhile, I know, and I wanted to write about the two Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary concerts I attended. I'll write about them later, sometime this weekend when I have time (ha!). For now I'll just list the artists that I saw perform, though:

Simon & Garfunkel
Crosby, Stills, & Nash
Stevie Wonder
Bruce Springsteen
Aretha Franklin
Jeff Beck
Mick Jagger
Jerry Lee Lewis
Bonnie Raitt
Jackson Browne
James Taylor
Smokey Robinson
John Legend
B.B. King
Billy Joel
Sam Moore
John Fogerty
Darlene Love
the Black Eyed Peas
Annie Lennox
Lenny Kravitz
Buddy Guy
Lou Reed
Ray Davies

In just two consecutive nights, I saw so many important legends and founders of rock 'n' roll perform. I am still dumbfounded by how amazing it was. And I met Bono, my idol. Which was even more unbelievable. But I don't have time to write more about it now because I am about to collapse. I'm exhausted. Later.

I'll leave you with this adorable video. "Frank Mills" is my favorite song from Hair, and I can't stop watching this kid singing it. He is so incredibly cute. Watch it, I promise it will make you smile.