Monday, May 31, 2010

"I dreamed a dream in times gone by, when hope was high and life worth living. I dreamed that love would never die, I dreamed that God would be forgiving. Then I was young and unafraid, and dreams were made and used and wasted. There was no ransom to be paid, no song unsung, no wine untasted..." ~schonberg & kretzmer

Nothing new to say, but I finally caught up on Glee episodes. Two fabulous Broadway stars sang one of my favorite Broadway songs in the episode "Dream On," so of course I have to post it here. I can't stop watching it.

Suggestion for the videos: open them in a new window so you can see the whole thing.

Idina Menzel & Lea Michele singing "I Dreamed a Dream" on Glee:

And more Glee-ness (this time from "Theatricality"), because I love the Lady Gaga (and Lea's "Bad Romance" costume is classic), and because I can never get enough Lea+Idina:

And just because I'm in the mood:

Scroll down for my picspam post if you missed it!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

"In a fashion coat I float down my city. Don't you think I look pretty anymore?" ~the national

I'm sharing highlights of my weekend. Which was a lot of fun. This is a MAJOR picspam. I apologize for those of you with a slow internet connection.

First of all, I graduated with my Master's Degree on Friday. It was a beautiful day, and I was glad that my parents came for it. They weren't here for very long, but it was still great to see them and spend time with them. I spent Friday with them. I also got to see my aunt, uncle, and cousin; we had dinner with them on Friday night (and I stayed with them on Friday).

The graduate:

Me and my parents:

My friend Shannon was visiting, and on Sunday we had fun exploring Central Park and seeing American Idiot on Broadway (which I loved).

Belvedere Castle with Shannon:
Central Park:
Times Square:

After American Idiot, we decided to go check in on the cast of GLEE at Radio City Music Hall before their last concert.


And, finally, Cory again. I was experimenting, and I like this one in B&W:

It was a great weekend spent with family and friends. I'm not ready to go back to the real world.

Monday, May 24, 2010

"New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there's nothing you can’t do, now you're in New York. These streets will make you feel brand new, the lights will inspire you, let's hear it for New York, New York, New York." ~jay-z feat. alicia keys

Posting twice in one day! How about that!

This is just a quick post (in response to my previous post) to say that the Sex and the City 2 premiere was so, so, so much fun. The "regular people" entered Radio City before the celebs, and we got to watch a red carpet feed on giant screens inside. It was fun to see the celebs finally enter the theater in person. I saw Chris Noth, Liza Minelli, Willie Garson, Jason Lewis, John Corbett, and more. Michael Patrick King introduced the film, and he also introduced the four lovely ladies. I got a video of that, although the quality is quite bad (I'm sure there are tons more on youtube).

You can't see it well in the video, but go look for photos of SJP's dress (I'm too tired to find any now). I LOVE IT. Not many people would be able to pull off that color, but if anyone can it's SJP. I adore her. And I love how she always takes fashion risks.

The movie was just a lot of fun. Seeing it with all those people in the theater was quite an experience. It was a very enthusiastic audience. There were a few moments during the film when everyone clapped very loudly: some major ones were for Liza Minelli, who's awesome, and when John Corbett (AIDAN!!!) came onscreen. I love Aidan. So much. Really, really love him. I would marry him if I could. So I was thrilled to see him in the film.

In an interview a long time ago, SJP said that the film would reflect the effects of the recession. I didn't see that at all; there was more lavishness than ever. But it's Sex and the City, so the extravagance is to be expected. You need to know that going into it. Really, what fun would it be without all those crazy, expensive outfits? No fun at all. Carrie wouldn't be Carrie without her wardrobe.

The city in Sex and the City is New York; New York has always been one of the main characters of the franchise. I've read quite a few people say that it's the fifth friend. So I was worried that the trip to the Middle East would take something away from the film. But I guess there was still enough New York for me, and it was interesting to see a change of scene.

The movie just made me happy. And what else could you ask for? I'm already thinking about what the critics will have to say about it, but I think it has to be viewed for what it is. I don't think it's aiming to be a piece of high art or to portray some significant message about the world or humanity or something deep. It's entertainment. And it's enjoyable entertainment if you take it for what it is.

The lobby:
My popcorn (Carrie On):
"NYC, what is it about you? You're big, you're loud, you're tough. NYC, I go years without you. Then I can't get enough. Enough of the cab drivers answering back in language far from pure. Enough of frankfurters answering back. Brother, you know you're in NYC. Too busy, too crazy. Too hot, too cold. Too late, I'm sold again on NYC." ~strouse & charnin

One of my student teaching musical theatre classes sang that song in their show and it's been stuck in my head ever since. I love that song. It's from Annie.

I'm going to the world premiere of Sex and the City 2 tonight! It's at Radio City Music Hall. I'm excited. I'll provide a recap afterward.

I really wanted to write about the LOST finale, but I don't have time now. Tomorrow? I'll just say now that I loved it.

Not great quality, but NYC from the 1999 TV movie. Oh, how I love Victor Garber, even when he's bald.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

"I'll defend my family with my orange umbrella. I'm afraid of everyone, I'm afraid of everyone. With my shining blue star spangling tennis shoes on, I'm afraid of everyone, I'm afraid of everyone. With my kid on my shoulders I try not to hurt anybody I like. But I don't have the drugs to sort, I don't have the drugs to sort it out, sort it out." ~the national

The National performed "Afraid of Everyone" on Letterman awhile ago. It was fabulous, and I don't think I ever posted it here. So here it is. Sufjan Stevens is providing back-up vocals and he's adorably awkward. This is really a tremendous performance. I love what Letterman says about it.
"Man. Wow. Wonderful. I don’t know what to say. That was beautiful. Beautiful. Lovely. Lovely."

I couldn't have said it better myself, Dave.

The National performed at BAM last Saturday. Unfortunately I was at my brother's graduation, but it was filmed (and aired live) so I was still able to watch it (although the experience doesn't come close to actually being there). It was an amazing, amazing show. The setlist was stellar, and the band was so full of intensity. Here are some highlights:

Terrible Love: This version of the song is absolutely beautiful and heartbreaking.

Mr. November: I love how he always comes into the crowd during Mr. November. At Bell House, he jumped down from the stage right next to me. This is an epic concert song. The intensity is always off the charts.

England: Possibly my favorite song from the album.

Sorrow: Another favorite.

Sufjan Stevens was also onstage at the BAM concert. I love this collaboration.

Speaking of Sujfan Stevens, I was astounded to hear my mom say she's never heard of him. And I've heard some other people say the same thing. So just in case anyone reading this has never heard of him either, here's why you should know who he is (courtesy of wikipedia):
The widely acclaimed Illinois was the highest-rated album of 2005 on the Metacritic review aggregator site, based on glowing reviews from Pitchfork Media, The Onion A/V Club, Spin, Billboard, Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, KEXP, and The Guardian. The 2006 PLUG Independent Music Awards awarded Stevens with the Album Of The Year, Best Album Art/Packaging, and Male Artist Of The Year. Pitchfork Media, No Ripcord, and Paste Magazine named Illinois as the editors' choice for best album of 2005.

So basically he came out with the best album of 2005, and he's incredibly talented. I took this photo of him a couple weeks ago at the High Violet Annex, when he introduced his film:

Finally, on a much lighter note, whenever I've been feeling bummed the last couple of days, I've watched this. How can you not smile while watching that adorably goofy man nearly crash his car?? He's just too funny. Zac Levi has been posting tons of photos on his facebook while traveling through Europe. He shares videos as well. And this one is the best. Seriously. He's awesome.

Friday, May 21, 2010

"Well I'm all messed up, that's nothing new. Hey monkey, when you open up your blue eyes, I don't know if I'm wide awake or dreaming. But all I ever need is everything. Hey monkey, where you been? This lonely spiral I've been in. Hey monkey, when can we begin? Hey monkey, where you been? Just get the world off your shoulders, and close your pretty blue eyes. Hey monkey, what's life without an occasional surprise?" ~counting crows

School is stressing me out more than ever right now (and seriously, that's saying a lot), so I'll write about happy stuff.

Last Sunday was my brother's college graduation. Of course I was gone for two nights, and those had to be the two nights that The National played in NYC. Figures. Just my luck, right? I'm really pissed about missing the BAM show, because I freakin' love the setlist. But I've seen them eight times already, and I'll see them a ninth time in June (at Radio City Music Hall), so I guess I'll live. And I couldn't miss my brother's graduation. It was a nice weekend. It was good to spend time with my parents and grandmother and brother, none of whom I see very often.

I saw Next to Normal on Monday for the fifth time. I'm obsessed. It was Brian d'Arcy James' first show, so it was cool to be there for that. It seemed like most people were there for him; he got a huge round of entrance applause. I'm in love with J. Robert Spencer in the role of Dan so I was wary going into it, but I was very impressed with Brian's performance. I've seen him in quite a few things on Broadway (Time Stands Still, Shrek, The Lieutenant of Inishmore) and he's a great actor. He originated the role of Dan off-Broadway, but he left to play Shrek. He really nailed the emotional side of Dan. There were quite a few real tears from him. I think Bobby Spencer is still my favorite Dan, but I was still very pleased with Brian.

Jessica Philips was on as Diana. I've seen Alice Ripley in the role for which she won a Tony Award all the previous times I've seen the show, so it was actually nice to see her understudy (about whom I had heard many raves). She has the most gorgeous voice, and her take on the part is very different from Alice's, but I thought it worked. I was very glad I got to see her.

I'm curious about the emotional toll that the show must take on Jennifer Damiano. Jenn has been with the show for more than two years, since it began at Second Stage. She just turned 19 last week. She was 16 when the show began. She hardly ever misses performances (she and Adam are the only two actors who have been on every single time I've seen the show). And the role of Natalie is not an easy one; it seems incredibly taxing, emotionally and vocally. And she pours her heart and soul into it eight times a week. For someone so young to be so dedicated to something is really impressive to me.

Overall it was a really, really great performance. The fact that it was Brian's first performance made it special. Hopefully I'll go back soon.

Hopefully I'll have new shows to write about soon. I think Nic and I are seeing Memphis tomorrow. And next Sunday I'm seeing American Idiot with Shannon!

I'll leave you with Next to Normal's Tony performance. It's not perfect (Alice's timing is a bit off), but I think Bobby is great in it.
I really miss Aaron.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

WEB EXCLUSIVE: The National Play

"I'm on a bloodbuzz, yes I am, I'm on a bloodbuzz." ~the national

More of my appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon:

WEB EXCLUSIVE: The National Play

I knew all the words to the song (even though this was filmed months before the album was released), but I tried not to sing along because I didn't know if they'd want me to. I just couldn't help myself for some of it, though. :D

Scroll down to see the official (and hilarious) video for this song.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"I was carried to Ohio in a swarm of bees. I never married, but Ohio don't remember me." ~the national

The National released the video for the first single from High Violet, which is "Bloodbuzz Ohio." I'll get back to you when I stop laughing. Because it's absolutely freakin' hilarious. It's probably a lot funnier if you know the band well, but even if you don't, you should find it amusing. Matt's good at taking the piss (is it weird that I can only think of a British expression to say what I mean when I'm American??).

The National - "Bloodbuzz Ohio" (official video) from The National on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

"This pricey stuff makes me dizzy, I guess I've always been a delicate man. Takes me a day to remember a day, I didn't mean to let it get so far out of hand. I was a comfortable kid, but I don't think about it much anymore. Lay me on the table, put flowers in my mouth, and we can say that we invented a summer lovin' torture party. I'm too tired to drive anywhere anyway right now, would you care if I stay? You can put on your bathing suits and I'll try to find something on this thing that means nothing." ~the national

Yesterday I had my final student-teaching observation. Tomorrow is my last grad school class. I baked cookies for it; I love any excuse to bake. Things are winding down. And it feels great. I can't believe I graduate in just a few weeks. This is what I wore to inspire me during my final observation:
I love Captain Awesome (from Chuck). And I love this shirt.

The National's High Violet isn't released until Tuesday, but my limited edition deluxe vinyl arrived on Thursday. It's absolutely beautiful. It's actually two vinyls. Here's one of them:
Isn't it just gorgeous?

I was going to write movie reviews but, surprise surprise, I don't have time. So I'll give it to you in tweet speak. Robin Hood was a big, boring disappointment. Ironman was a lot of fun.

Hopefully I'll have exciting stuff to write about this week.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

"Don't be bitter Anna, I know how you think. You're waiting for Radio City to sink. You'll find commiseration in everyone's eyes. The storm will suck the pretty girls into the skies. Oh, our lonely kicks are getting harder to find. We'll play nuns versus priests until somebody cries. Oh, our lonely kicks they'll make us say anything. We'll play nuns versus priests until somebody wins. Leave our red southern souls, Head for the coast. Leave our red southern souls, Everything goes." ~the national

I'm editing this post to say that I didn't realize I was posting the same song lyrics I posted yesterday. Obviously you can tell what song is stuck in my head. So I'll just leave it. And I'll move on to a new song by The National for my next post. :D I've transcribed all the lyrics to all the songs on High Violet, which is no small feat (especially considering how difficult it is to understand what Matt is saying). I responded to a poll asking for peoples' favorite song from High Violet, and it was impossible to choose one. I picked "England," but my favorite song really changes every day. Tomorrow it might be "Sorrow." Or "Lemonworld." Or "Terrible Love." Or "Little Faith" (quoted above).

I don't think I ever posted about Everyday Rapture here, but it needs to be mentioned. It's Sherie Rene Scott's show (she wrote it based on her life and she performs it). It started off-Broadway at Second Stage, and I saw it there and loved it. It was brought to Broadway after Megan Mullally quit Lips Together, Teeth Apart and that show fell apart. Everyday Rapture was a very last-minute, unexpected addition to the Broadway season, and I am SO happy that it made it. I saw it on Broadway last weekend, and it just opened to rave reviews. Here are some snippets from Ben Brantley's rave in the New York Times:
Just as the Broadway theater season is drawing to its close, a smashing little show has arrived to remind us of why so many of us keep going back to Broadway, even though it’s broken our heart so many times.

“Everyday Rapture,” which opened on Thursday night at the American Airlines Theater, is by no means a conventional Broadway musical. Yet I can’t think of another production in recent years that captures and explains so affectingly the essence and allure of musicals, and why they’re such an indispensable part of the New York landscape.

....“Everyday Rapture” tells the ostensibly familiar story of a girl from the American heartland who falls in love with showbiz — and its capital city, Manhattan — from a distance, breaks away from a confining hometown that has never understood her and becomes a big star of big hit musicals in New York....The girl is named Sherie Rene Scott, and she is portrayed by Sherie Rene Scott in what you could safely say is the role of a lifetime.

....What Ms. Scott and her team summon here is that strange alchemy of ego, hunger, desperation and mysticism that infuses every great Broadway performance. That’s what turns human specks of dust into starlight. In breaking down the chemistry of that transformation, Ms. Scott has never shined brighter or more illuminatingly.
Mr. Brantley so eloquently expresses what I feel about the show and Ms. Scott. I really, really hope she wins a Tony for this (for best book or for best actress or both). Here's a peek at the show:

There's also a good excerpt from the play on the left side of the NYTimes review that I like listening to.