Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

That Lady Is Hitting On Me

October 19, 2011

From the mouths of babes some things can be more precious than ever imaginable. But I’ll get to that in a sec.

On Saturday we almost didn’t see Spiderman on Broadway. Well, it wasn’t as severe a near miss as our incident on Friday. As a matter of fact, it was nowhere close to that. Okay, let me back up a skosh. Several months ago, perhaps three, perhaps more, Ariel’s nephew, my pally-babes J-vich, decided he wanted to take his two young cousins (who I only realized this past weekend were not his nephews…silly me), a lifelong friend, the friend’s brother, Ariel and me to see Spiderman, a sort of boys day out in the city. A recent conversation with J-vich locked into our minds the show was at 3 and we arranged a time we’d pick everyone up, with time to spare to grab a pre-show nosh, see the show, and then go somewhere afterwards for food the two kids would get a kick out of. But, while lounging around on Saturday morning, Ariel had the foresight to double check the show time and lo and behold, the three o’clock start time was for Sunday. Saturday was 2pm. So, we had to hustle, round up the troops and get a slightly earlier start. We still had time for a leisurely lunch at Applebee’s.

Okay, so the show. First the good points. I truly enjoyed the set, mimicking as closely as real life could, the pages from a pulpy comic book. And I really liked the final scene, with that awesome perspective of the Chrysler Building. I also gained an education as to how Peter Parker happened to become the superhero. I also liked the fact that Spiderman didn’t plummet to sure injury as several predecessors had under Julie Taymor’s direction.

Now for the bad points. As J-vich pointed out, the set-up, the backstory of Peter Parker’s transformation seemed to take forever. I had the feeling, all throughout, the actors were in a funk, or mad at the world. Not sure what it was, but there was an apparent issue. Their performances all felt stiff and wooden and lines sounded as if they were an obligation to speak. Most musical numbers sounded off-key.

During the first aerobatic number, with Peter Parker gussied up in a huge waist harness attached to cables that helped him “dance on the ceiling” as his uncle in the other room prophesied he was doing, had me clicking my tongue, as the huge lifesaver-like device was distracting and I thought, hmm, all the improvements and we get something so clunky as this? But later, when Spiderman went swinging through the skies overhead tethered to his web on his crime fighting missions, the girdling was more inconspicuous and lent to the elegance of his flight.

There was a little something for everyone in this production; a underlying love story for the grownups, comic book characters galore for any comic book fan and a set that was truly note-worthy. All in all, not the best or worst I’ve ever seen. I gave it a 6.

From the mouths of babes

We went to Jekyll & Hyde afterward, to give the kids a fun, eerie treat for dinner. It’s the one place in all of New York I’ve never gone to the bathroom because I hear the door is nearly impossible to find; it’s a secret panel in the bookshelves. Actually, I sneaked a peak this time around and saw where people were going. Only thing is, they never came back. <gulp!>

Ghosts and goblins, a skeleton band, a Frankenstein monster, portraits with shifting eyes, mounted animal heads entertain throughout dinner, as do a butler, and sometimes a French maid. On this particular night, a vampiress lurked about, stopping by unsuspecting guests’ tables. From behind she tapped little Michael on the shoulder and he instantly froze, his eyes wide with disbelief. He came into his own when the butler came and sat with us and they traded stories about Spiderman, but the vampire lady kept lurking, keeping her eye on Michael. Finally, he couldn’t take it anymore and he whispered across the table that he was ready to leave, that “that lady is hitting on me,” and  we all roard. That was easily the line of the day and I gave that one a 10!

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Other Desert Cities

October 18, 2011

Wow. A lot has happened since I last dropped in on you. Most recently, all that is left in the garden is a wild plot of nasturtium that is probably choking the life out of whatever mint is left (which is getting transplanted next season) and one hyper-active pepper plant. The tomatoes are all done, the basil is all done and what wasn’t used for another batch of pesto, is drying.

This past weekend we saw two plays on Broadway. One Friday night and a matinee on Saturday. I’ll get to Saturday’s tomorrow.

On Friday we almost didn’t see Other Desert Cities. And it wasn’t because the skies threatened rain..or maybe it was, who knows? In spite of the suggestion I carry my little Totes umbrella for when I got off the train in the city, I didn’t. Well, I couldn’t find it, point 1,  and point number 2, navigating the city without an umbrella is taxing enough and I’ve traversed along 8th Avenue in drizzly conditions, dodging others’ bumbershoots and it’s not that easy a task. I applaud those who do it. I left the house, alarmingly earlier than I expected because my cab came sooner than they have been lately. I only waited less than 10 minutes as opposed to sometimes close to 30 and I actually waited for a second train so I could enjoy my Dunkin Donuts coffee and the rising blister on my tongue. Yes, sometimes those cautions are accurate!

Well, not long after I got to the station did the skies open and I thought, oh crap, maybe I should have invested a few more minutes in my umbrella search, but I toughed it out and by the time I got to New York the rain had either ceased or had not yet arrived and I high-tailed it to the restaurant, our favorite haunt, Playwrights. Knowing Ariel was on his way, with the tickets, from approximately 25 minutes before I got off the train at 5:08, I ordered a beer at the bar and put my name down for a table. I’ll spare you the details, but Ariel finally got to Playwrights at 7:10. When he called to say he was finally in the city and parking, I ordered dinner and drinks so they’d be at the table when he arrived and get this, we even had time for dessert!

Okay, on to the show:

Rachel Griffiths, of television’s Brothers & Sisters, plays rehabilitated novelist daughter Brooke Wyeth to Stockard Channing and Stacey Keach’s Polly, an ex-screenwriter and Lymen Wyeth, an ex-Hollywood actor, and friends of the Reagans. Brooke returns home for Christmas with a soon to be published manuscript which tells the story of her family, at least how she knows it, with the main focus being her dead brother and offering closure to their relationship, a book her parents fight tooth and nail to make her reconsider publishing, claiming she knows nothing of the truth surrounding the brother, a secret that would destroy them. Meanwhile her younger living brother Trip, played by Thomas Sadoski encouraged her to go forward, as long as she understood the emotional consequences it would arouse and her recovered alcoholic aunt Silda, a relatively small part but played brilliantly and flawlessly by Judith Light, applauded her niece’s determination to publish her book with a damn the torpedoes attitude.

Even though witty dialogue flew effortlessly between the characters, eliciting laughter from the audience, the mood was evident something dark and moody lurked behind the family’s outward attempt at aloofness within itself. Stockard Channing was brilliant as Polly, the right wing opinionated mother and as the newly sobered aunt Silda, a vast contrast politically and emotionally to sister Polly, Judith Light was a positive force to be reckoned with. Rachel Griffiths was a step above the character I know her as, Sarah Walker (Brothers & Sisters). As Trip, Thomas Sadoski played the tired of being caught in the middle sibling/child convincingly. I only wish Stacey Keach had been a little less restrained.

The final line in the play left me with something of a haunting chill, as its meaning was both cryptic and obvious that closure was unattainable. I gave Other Desert Cities an 8.

Drink For Thought

October 3, 2011

In a magazine last night, I came upon the following quote “This dude in India hasn’t eaten or drank anything in 70 years…” and I’m certain it is incorrectly worded and I’d like to get your opinion on it.

The weekend ended with a grilled ham steak. The weekend began, as I mentioned last week, with the arrival of Tim and Shane from Canada. After Shane and I were both finished with work on Friday, the weekend was finally able to get underway with steaks on the grill,  margaritas by the fire on the patio (in the rain…see?…but we were determined) and falling asleep watching Evita. But we were up bright and early getting ready to for Broadway day, first to get Shane in on time for matinee of “Follies”, while Tim, Ariel and I went out barhopping until it was time for the four of us to meet up for dinner before we all went to see “Book Of Mormon”. And after that, it was back out barhopping until we realized it was time to call it a night, and say goodbye to the Canadians as we parted ways to our respective hotels. Ours, of course, was Room 212, The Entertaining Angels Room, at the Desmond Tutu Center. Oh Silvia was so glad to see us. We gasped in pre-emptive horror when we saw the placard in the lobby announcing a wedding being held on the premises.

Okay, so, Book Of Mormon. One word: funny. Okay, maybe hysterical. Obscene? Blasphemous? Pick one. The one good thing about the show, I honestly didn’t know much about, so I wasn’t going into it with any expectations. All I knew was that it was written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park fame, and that apparently tickets are just about impossible to get as confirmed by everyone we mentioned the show to, including Olga, our waitress at Scarlatto.

The show, basically a live action version of an episode of South Park, was rife with jokes, one on top of the other, in rapid succession, whether in dialogue or in song, some of which were blatantly and outright obviously funny and some kind of made you have to think for second, but as you were thinking about it, another funny line would be said and missed. And nothing, as you might expect from the creators of South Park, was safe, from the satirical wit of team Parker and Stone. Comically mismatched Elder Price and Elder Cunningham, missionaries from The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints were sent to AIDS-stricken Uganda, a harsh contrast to Elder Price’s lifelong dream of carrying out his mission in Orlando. Without getting into some of the more questionable topics of satire, let’s suffice to say nothing, from organized religion to homosexuality, was exempt from musical comedy ridicule, nor was the idolization of pop culture. You know… South Park! While the show was a non-stop comically irreverent assault, I found the second half even moreso and the story came around full circle and was tied up in a neat little certifiable bow.

Shane, a Broadway-phile of the highest order and I agreed that while Book Of Mormon was a highly entertaining show, it was really not the end all be all of Broadway shows, for several reasons; one being the too-rapid fire of punchlines which almost seemed like it would be necessary to try to get tickets again to see what we missed, and that some of the dialogue was incoherently rushed, plus a few other nit-picky things. We both gave it an 8. Ariel gave it an extra point, a 9, for the underlying “texting” joke. And Tim didn’t say one way or the other, but his laughter resounded like everyone else’s.

Bonus points for celebrity spotting: Giada DiLaurentiis from The Food Network was in the audience, two rows behind us.

Stand Back, Maggie May!

March 28, 2011

Gather ‘round boys and girls, Uncle Brian has a tale to tell, one with a surprise twist ending you will not believe. Let us turn back the clock…back, back, all the way back to this past Saturday. We begin our story with part one of three  on the day we were going to see Stevie Nicks and Rod Stewart in concert at Madison Square Garden.

We stopped off on the way for a couple of hours to have lunch with Ariel’s parents in Newark and his niece was also stopping by with the baby. In a comedy of errors, because they didn’t see us parked in the yard, Baby Rita, Juan and the baby went to do some shopping and didn’t arrive until after they learned on the phone we had been there waiting for them over two hours. The baby is getting so big, learning how to roll himself over and trying desperately to sit up on his own. And there are signs of teething.

The drive into the city was uneventful, the likes of which rarely ever happens, but it was the right time of day, apparently. With a little help from Ingrid (my GPS) to fine tune our navigation to the Desmond Tutu Center we made it from Newark to our destination in under twenty minutes. A dream, really.

While Ariel waited in the truck, I went with his paperwork to sign in but before I could, there were several members from a wedding party registering and it was like the circus had come to town. It was chaos from the word GO, deciding who was staying with whom in each room, announcing who had yet not arrived, who was arriving when and with whom. I patiently awaited my turn while the husband of the younger couple in said party reprimanded his wife for advancing to the desk out of turn.

“Are you being helped?” I was asked, once the lobby was vacated. “No, not yet,” I said. “I’m so sorry,” desk lady said and then told me that Ariel would have to sign in himself since it was his name on the reservation and luckily there was a parking deck right across the street. More waiting.

But the room was well worth enduring the confusion. Take a look. Somehow we got upgraded to the Ricardo Pivirotto Room, Room 112.

    

                          

Even with our dinner reservations in our immediate future, not to mention the concert, I was counting down the minutes until morning so I could get to use that coffee maker. We even made plans for before we would leave for home to hunt down that Chock Full Of Nuts Lunch Counter that recently opened up on the East end of 23rd Street so I could re-blog about it first hand. But, there was that man…

Dinner was at Frankie & Johnnie’s. They sat us at a tiny table sandwiched between two others to the utter disapproval of the uppity gentleman next to us. If looks could kill, we’d both be pushing up daisies at an alarming rate and he grunted out a conversation with his wife through the rest of their dinner.

Through the controlled chaos we found our seats with little effort, got two beers from the vendor guy walking around and struck up a little conversation with the grandmother set in front of us, but they were having the best time.

And right at 7:30, the show started. Rod Stewart came out and introduced Stevie Nicks and she did over an hour of mostly her classic stuff, with only maybe three new songs. I realized at intermission I didn’t have the macro setting engaged on my camera, and the first few pictures of her might be a little fuzzy. By the time Rod Stewart came out I was more in control of my camera and got a little bit better quality shots. But I was watching a woman in the row ahead of me with a camera that zoomed in so close, the images of the singers filled her entire display window.  I was impressed, but I’m not altogether dissatisfied with what I got from my own camera.

            

      

And The Loser Is…

February 28, 2011

They really need to do something with these Academy Awards shows to make them more interesting to watch.

I was looking forward to watching last night because this is the first year in I don’t know how long I saw some of the movies that were up for awards and I wanted to see how my first-hand opinions stacked up against the commanding gospel votes of the Academy. Some of my choices matched, most didn’t, but like anything else, it’s all subjective; the one man’s meat theory and all that. So, who cares, really?

The presentation was obviously scaled down; no huge production numbers, no montages in tribute to one genre or another, even the stage seemed smaller. And speaking of the stage, it was a hideous set; I guess it was a digital mock up of the Hollywood Bowl. But rather than being grand, for such a grand occasion as the Academy Awards, it only seemed cavernous.

Anne Hathaway and James Franco were the hosts of the broadcast which even they mocked was aimed at a younger demographic. Of the two, she did a fine job while he, more often than not looked bored and had an expression on his face like he was doing us all a favor by just being there.

One point that seemed to be self-contradictory was that while still keeping the show ‘politically correct’–in that there are no losers–they went back to saying “And the Oscar goes to…”. I believe last year they dipped their toe into the waters of impropriety by announcing “And the winner is…” But if political correctness is their goal, with the award going to… then the statement I heard several times during the show about how recipients will henceforth forever remembered as Academy Award winner So and So. In that case, So and So should be forever referred to as Academy Award recipient….

Also, get rid of some of those smaller awards. Okay, sorry, I guess there are no small awards; everyone who makes a contribution to a movie wants recognition, but we don’t really need to sit through them all. They have a dinner a week or so prior where “lesser” awards are presented. Do them all there and if necessary, recap those winners on the major broadcast like they used to. Otherwise, why not give awards to best towel boy in the men’s room? Then maybe they can allow time for either something entertaining or cut the show by an hour. And one last note about timing–make everyone’s acceptance speech time the same length. Some winners went on forever before the “get off the stage” music came up while others barely made it to the stage when they were already being told to wrap it up.

And I have one last jab about the show last night. But first, how great was Kirk Douglas coming out to present the Best Supporting Actress award? He was sharp and witty and deservedly received with a standing ovation. And no one seemed to care that he was playfully prolonging making the announcement (interrupting his own announcement with a playful “you know”, as though a second thought had just come to him). It was charming and it was endearing; one of the few remaining nuggets of Hollywood’s Golden age was on stage.

But then… Justin Timberlake came out to present whatever it was with whomever it was, he had the pomposity to emulate the Hollywood icon, blurting out one of Douglas’ “you know”’s before he opened the envelope. I found it audacious and distasteful.  How dare he insinuate himself to such stature?

I don’t know if it was planned (it had to have been, I’m sure) but I like the way the show opened and closed to backdrops from Hollywood’s definitive year–1939. First with the orchestra swelling into Tara’s Theme from Gone With The Wind as Tom Hanks came out to present the first award to the finale with P.S. 22 from Staten Island singing Over The Rainbow with a backdrop of the yellow brick road leading to the Emerald City, so emblematic for the crowd of winners who also took the stage behind the singers.

All in all, I thought the show was a snoozefest, except for when my choices for whichever awards ended up winning.

Three Blind Mice

February 16, 2011

Actually, three dead mice, hence the blind factor. That’s what my exterminator guy found yesterday. And that was it, really, nothing else out of the ordinary.

My house phone was acting up and when I called my phone company they first told me it simply had to be my own equipment, that the batteries in my cordless phones needed replacing, but the second guy I wouldn’t let off the phone who, at first, suggested the same thing until I tried a phone plugged directly into a phone jack actually did find something in the line with his diagnostic ‘bullet’. The earliest we can get someone out there is Saturday, February 19. I told him the earliest I could pay my bill would be May 13th. No, I didn’t, but he said he’d try to get someone here sooner.

Today the front railing is being installed. It’ll match the one in the back, which was supposed to match the one in the front and it did, sort of, but because of new code regulations it’s different.

What else? Oh yeah, the weekend. We had friends down for the weekend and we ate, drank and were merry. On Saturday, we ventured into the city on whirlwind tour into the “darker” side, (depending on who you talk to) of New York. Remember, family friendly…all I’ll say is there was a singer in a rubber dress at our first stop and she wore some awesome red shoes.  I really need to start chronicling the shoes I find fascinating. Trouble is, getting the pictures.

Our second stop was for dinner at Lips, the drag dinner theater cabaret. Actually, quite a fun time and our friends John and Gary got picked on minimally by the drag divas working the audience; they had other targets they paid more attention to during the night. Ginger, a member of the performing troupe, was the waiter/ress for our section and let’s just say s/he had a unique serving style, just ask the ladies at the next table. We saw two shows for the price of one because we arrived earlier than our 11:30 reservations and we sat in the lounge, a little area behind the bar, but still within eyeshot of the “floor” and while we munched on appetizers saw a complete show. Ours was similar but much raunchier. Oh, and the food was surprisingly very good.

Then it was off to our last stop, a dimly lit and crowded bar where at one point, I tripped on a brick that was allegedly holding a door either open or closed and fell into that door, or maybe it was a wall–something with a ledge wide enough to hold beer bottles and glasses that all went crashing to the floor in a shattering mess beneath my feet. We hightailed it out of there until the crowd shifted from the area so we could innocently return to the scene of the crime. But, with my Shazam app on my Droid, I was able to pick up a few good club songs to add to my collection. Fun night!

And then it was 5 and we were home and then it was 8 and I was up and about ready to start my day. And now it’s time to get this day started!

No Outlet…No CO!

February 15, 2011

Yesterday was the big day, time for the final inspection on the addition and first the plumbing passed, then the fire inspection passed. The building inspection was momentarily in jeopardy because of the fan tray; because a revised drawing wasn’t included in our pack of drawings (though all other revisions are) but the inspector happened to remember when it was framed out when he was here for the rough inspection back in the summer. As far as the electric, we failed and the cause is one…COUNT IT…ONE outlet on that brick wall, but that fix is in the works and may be taken care of as early as this week.

Ariel took the day off to deal with the inspections and after they were finished trickling in over the course of about 2 hours beginning an hour after they were first scheduled, (and I had over half my day under my belt) we decided to celebrate our near victory and went to see a double feature. Well, not in the traditional sense–then again, is anything in the traditional sense these days?–it was more like two movies for the price of two movies. We saw Black Swan and The Fighter.

I intended to stop work at a certain time but time got away from me and by the time we got ready to go and get there, we missed the opening credits of Black Swan, but not too much that we couldn’t piece it together. I’m not sure I liked it as much as I hoped I would, though I loved the head-trippiness of it, the parallels of her thought processes that lead to her triumphant finale. If I did come away with one thing from it, I think I may now have to dip my toe (so to speak) into the world of ballet and find a production of Swan Lake. It is, after all, a Tchaikovsky work and I’m always up for a Tchaikovsky event, though I’ve never been to the ballet. I gave the movie a 7.

After that we had about 20 minutes to kill, which, in movie house language is really 45 by the time all the coming attractions and commercials and turn off your cell phone reminders play and we sat crunching on our popcorn while the minutes ticked away. What I got out of The Fighter was something totally unexpected. Sure, I’ve seen Marky Mark in a few pictures and have always enjoyed his acting, but I never expected to be so emotionally taken by a boxing movie. The last time that happened was when I saw The Champ with Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper (I still haven’t seen the Jon Voight/Ricky Schroeder version). “You were my hero, Dicky” “I was. I was,” was just one of the poignant moments that got me. But the greatest quote concerning The Fighter came from a woman who was sitting behind us after the movie was over: “I didn’t like it, there was too much fighting.” I gave it a 9.

And that’s all I got for you. Tomorrow I think I’ll tell you about this past weekend; I just have to figure a way to make some of my descriptions “family friendly” otherwise it could become my shortest blog of all time.

On The FRINGE Of A Breakdown!

February 1, 2011

I gotta hand it to that TV show Fringe. Not only is it one of the very few sci-fi shows I genuinely find entertaining (plus who can help but just love Walter?) but it also got me out a potentially embarrassing pickle. It was this past Friday, the house was duly prepped for our latest painting jag (which was hysterically involved and I’ll get to that in a few) and we sat with our take-out Chinese watching some television and it was time for Fringe. The opening scene was of a traffic checkpoint and I lurched forward in a panic. “OH MY GOD” I exclaimed, “….this is 2011, isn’t it? My car is due for inspection…this month!!!” I rushed into the kitchen to find my wallet to make sure I had my current updated documents (my registration and insurance card specifically) and then checked online to see what hours the inspection station was open. So, before 8am yesterday morning, the last day of the month, I was on my way and I really should have known better and left the house earlier. In a perfect world, which, sometimes if I hit it lucky, some days are kinda perfect, the trip to where I had to go would take about 7 minutes. 40 minutes later I arrived, got inspected and returned home in time to start work by 10.

On the way home, I stopped at Dunkin Donuts for a celebratory cup of coffee (I passed and don’t have to go back until 2013–I hope Fringe is still on TV in two years) and I tried their new reverse Boston Creme donuts. Mmm, mmmmmmmm!

So, the painting. We really never figured it would take as long as it did but the hallway and the stairwell literally took us over 10 hours. Granted, we put on two coats and that stairwell wasn’t the easiest area to tackle, but it seemed like it took so long. If you ask my back, legs, feet, hair…you name it, it felt like it took longer. Oh, wait, plus we did the two front window walls as well that day, in the library and the den. Okay, so 10 hours isn’t so much.

Then, Sunday, we got an earlier start because we had the rest of the library, the office and the bathroom. All smaller spaces, but we wanted an early start because we wanted to go buy switch and outlet covers, put up the new mailbox and go out somewhere for dinner. I’ll admit, we cheated a little behind the ceiling high bookcases in the library and did just around where the wall behind them could be seen and the other two walls which are only partial; that was the library and for the office, two walls would be the same color. Oh, did I mention they’re red? And red is notorious for being a bitch to work with and after my second coat and everything was bleeding through and making streaks and dark spots and you name it I remember thinking making my red velvet cake from scratch is less of a hassle and was prepared to go to a third and fourth coat if necessary. We’ve been wanting a red in the library since forever and I wasn’t going to let paint get the better of me but that line of rationale was beginning to erode.

The red has to be mixed with a thinner base but thankfully we were able to get a paint/primer it could be mixed with so while I finished painting the peanut butter on the other two walls in the office while waiting for the first coat in the bathroom to dry, Ariel went to get the thicker cherry cobbler red paint. Thankfully that covered. It’s funny, the paint we used in the bathroom that we thought would be a sort of dusty miller turned out to be just a tad darker than the color in the addition and the kitchen.

We began cleaning up, delirious from two days worth of paint fumes and up and down ladders and getting into positions the normal human body should not get into and we investigated the smell of something electric burning in the basement. That was exciting and the best we could come up with was a flourescent tube went bad. I didn’t now they smelled, but the best way to describe it was an overdone toasted marshmallow. It was past 9 when we finally called for food, a pizza and by 10 we were eating dinner.

So, disregarding the few spots that need touching up, we are essentially FINISHED with the painting and I will get some pictures posted, possibly tomorrow. And speaking of tomorrow, that danged Punxsutwaney Phil damn well better not see his shadow!

One of these days I’m going to post a really short blog! Man, can I go on, or what?

Red Cabbage

December 6, 2010

What do red cabbage, dinner at McCormick and Schmick’s and Burlesque all have in common? It’s how we spent this past Friday night. Oh, where to begin… ?

In spite of having only three days to work last week, because of the tail end of the Illinois trip, I managed to squeeze in long hours Wednesday and Thursday so Friday wouldn’t be a “full” day. We needed new shirts for the company Christmas party next weekend so it was off to the mall, first to see Cher’s new movie, Burlesque, but also to go to Macy’s for our shirts afterward.

But, by the grace of Goodness, we made our 3:30 showing of the movie and here’s where the day started that vortex of oddness. The theater at Bridgewater Commons, AMC Theaters has been renovated to a dine-in movie theater. Tickets are an additional $10 to cover that amount of whatever food you might order and then you pay the balance. Remember that story I did a while back about the mobile movie theater in England? Well, it would have worked for us on Friday because we were the only two in the theater.

I don’t know who started the rumor that Christina Aquilera was so bad an actress the movie would become an instant cult classic, but I have to say, I was surprised. For what her part was, she carried it off. Even more than Cher did in some scenes who came across stiff and robotic. I’d say plastic, but that would be rude. The plot was thin and there were too many offshoot subplots, but for the most part it was enjoyable. I even found myself wanting to applaud after some of the musical numbers.

Okay, back to the dine-in movie experience. Our usher, who turned out to be our waitress, walked us through the ticket buying process which is done at an automated kiosk at the front of the theater, on the mall side of the bar. Yes, bar! She explained the ticket price, etc. We got to our theater, number 6, just in time before the movie began and even though we got to choose our seats at the kiosk, we really could have any pick inside because, like I said before, it was just the two of us, in larger than necessary seats (think a smaller version of your own comfy recliner) with more leg room than I afford myself even at home and our waitress.

In the dark, we hurriedly perused the menu while the opening credits rolled on the screen in front of us and we each ordered a beer and an appetizer. We didn’t want to fill up too much because we’d be having dinner later on. Each seat comes with a cup holder, a menu, a swivel tray and a set of silverware rolled up in a napkin.

Even though we were the only two watching this blockbuster epic, it still seemed a silly concept. I mean, throughout the movie, the waitress kept coming to us to see if we were “okay” and we had to turn our attention from the screen to answer her. At one point, I moved my silverware across the tray and it clanged a little and I thought to myself, if this was a theater full of people and someone else had clanged their silverware, I’d have lost my mind! And if it were a theater full of people, it would be so chaotic with wait staff attending to everyone, who could enjoy the already overpriced movie?

So, for me, I’ll take a bucket of popcorn and a soda and just let me watch my movie in peace.

So, after the movie we…. whoops….come back tomorrow to get the next chapter in this Twilight Zone-ish Friday night experience.

Who Was That Woman?

November 23, 2010

So, yeah, we saw a play on Saturday afternoon at Playwright’s Horizons right there on 42nd Street, across from that huge parking deck as you come out of the Lincoln Tunnel. It was called After The Revolution. It centers around a young woman, Emma Joseph who is headlong in carrying on her family’s Marxist beliefs and the conflict she faces when she learns a long silenced truth about her grandfather, who was a spy for Stalin’s Russia. It was a little political for me to follow with any great accuracy, but I do have a quote from Ariel, who asked me to share it with you, as his reaction to the performance.

The play was an absolute winner. I lived under the communist yoke under Castro and at least, while I sat in that seat, I was almost buying into their spiel–that speaks volumes of the pathos the characters portrayed as they brought to life an unbelievable play. The dialogue and its direction alone were a thing of beauty.

Like I said, it’s political undertones were lost on me, but from the opening scene I was mesmerized with the naturalness of the cast, interacting with each other. It was refreshing to not see something overacted for the sake of making a point; the point was made in the words they spoke. And it was a minimalist set, which I appreciate, because the play doesn’t have to rely on flash to distract from a non-existent story, like a movie overrun with special effects.

The Playwright’s Horizon is like a workshop theater–it’s where we saw that rather ridiculous Me, Myself and I, about twins OTTO and otto whose mother was played by Elizabeth Ashley. In this play, After The Revolution, the draw was Mare Winningham, who played Emma’s stepmother and whose role was rather small. And standing outside the theater, waiting to go in,looking at the lobby cards (for lack of a better term) there was another woman in the cast who we both recognized, but could not definitively place. It was Lois Smith and she played the half-deaf, widowed grandmother. I could see her in my mind’s eye, in a recent role where she had a look of inner torment and sadness. Turns out, after looking her up in the Playbill, we knew; she played Tom Scavo’s mother on Desperate Housewives.

All in all I enjoyed the show and gave it a 7.