Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Tempest at BAM

Pat, Frank, Ellie, Jonathan, Pat

Brooklyn was the destination of choice today to see our friend Jonathan Fried as King Alonso in the Sam Mendes-directed production of "The Tempest" as part of the Bridge Project at BAM.    That is a Shakesperean mouthful, but there you have it.  ("There You Have It" one of Shakespeare's discarded comedies?)

I love the Harvey Theatre at BAM and all its decay (I have written previous entries on "decay" and should have tagged as such, note to self) and it was a thrill to see Jonathan on that stage doing what he does best and really enjoying being there. 

This cast leaves Brooklyn and travels around the world (next stop Hong Kong) finishing up at the Old Vic in London.  Can you stand it? What an amazing adventure our boy is on.  I wish him godspeed hence and forthwith!  The knaves will remain at home whilst King Alonso carpes the diem abroad. Exeunt.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Crap Snow Weather

Me. I love snow.  I cannot get enough of it, but when it is wet and kind of like rain that masquerades as snow and you are walking all over the Village trying to get prices on business cards so you can make some money and not go broke and you get the thighs of your jeans wet and your gloves are hard to get on and off and the business cards are way more than you thought and you wonder why you are not married with children and living in Tuscon and then you think, "I could be married with children and living in Tuscon" and you all of a sudden are so happy to be in New York in the snow that is really rain with little white jackets and you want to just embrace each one but you know they will die from your warmth so you don't and you get a pastry instead and know that it will disappear from your body once you go to the gym tonight after you have done all this stuff you plan to do and you run home and pet the dog and scream "I love you old Savings and Loan!!!"

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"Bee-lee El-EEE-AUGHT!"

Saw the musical "Billy Elliot" on Broadway today.  It was "A Full Monty" meets "42nd Street" meets "Les Miz" meets "Chicago" meets "Hairspray" in many derivative ways. With music that is mostly forgettable. But when this matinee Billy (Liam Redhead - you never forget your first Billy) struck his first pose in Mrs. Wilkinson's grimy dance studio in Northern England, I started tearing!  And I didn't really stop until after the curtain call.  The musical hits all the right notes and is a crowd-pleaser a go-go with heart and tap dancing and some hand-clapping, feet stomping numbers.  Like "Mr. Holland's Opus," it knows how to work its audience and pull its strings.  I had a bawl.

The Billy Curse!!!

I first saw this film in Burbank, California at a matinee.  When I exited the theatre into the daylight of suburbia, snot was running down my nose and I could not stop crying.  I was not tearing, I was bawling.  Like Abercrombie & Fitch clothing, this is not a good look on a grown man. As I walked by Noah's Bagels and Gymboree I could not keep it together.  This movie had opened up such a wound in me that was buried for so long. 

The Brits do the "get out of this godforsaken dead end town while you can kid" films better than anyone and this is one of the finest.

I related on such a personal level of longing and wanting out and feeling different.  ("Take a number, Shoeshine!")

It is amazing that the 11 year old kid playing Billy has to carry this huge show. On Broadway!  Our Billy did it with all he had and was supported superbly by the cast.  I never give musicals that much acting credit, but these actors really were believable. Every one of them. 

The father looked so much like my own dad (but with lighter hair) it was both frightening and reassuring. 

"Billy Elliot" was one of the last films my dear old mum saw before she died. I had wanted her to see it so I rented it.  She was too sick to really watch.  Sad.  But I am sadder still that the last film she ever saw in her entire life was "Down With Love."  My fault.  It was not worthy.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Gran Mar-Nyay in Subway

I saw this airline-sized bottle of Grand Marnier, a French liqueur of bitter orange and cognac, on the steps leading out of the subway.  The same steps I quite often see a fellow citizen passed out on.  I accept beer bottles and whisky bottles and even wine bottles strewn here, but it struck me funny that a "civilized" drink such as this could be "enjoyed" on the grimy steps of the MTA. 

But I guess this is where trying to be "civilized" gets many of us. 

Me, I'm a Drambuie man myself.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Beat

Lovely day in New York. Wish I could provide photographic evidence.  I am back in the swing here and it feels nice. 

I did this. I did that. Wish I had some photographic evidence. 

Saw my friend Nicole.  She is getting married. I KNEW it!  She thought she told me, I thought she was going to tell me. 

Her finace slipped on the ice in Central Park and chipped a bone in his arm.

We went for coffee. He stayed home, somewhat immobile.

Nicole used to walk me around Central Park when I couldn't really see or walk by myself. She has a thing for Central Park and invalid men!

Missed my gym class. 

Went to hear a friend give a speech.   His name is Jim. So I missed my gym class, but made my Jim class.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Chinese New Year/New York

This is my year folks!  I am a Tiger. But you knew that.

This is the Year of the Tiger.

Was in Chinatown tonight for the aftermath of what looked like a big celebration.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Census - Count Me Out (and Proud?)

Yesterday I went out to get some bleach and came back with peanut butter.  It was a hard day in my head and I was feeling a bit knocked about.  If you are going to have a pitty party peanut butter is better than bleach.  If you are going to kill yourself, bleach is better.

On the grocery counter was a card looking for census takers and an 800 number. I grabbed it so God would once again see me making an effort in my life.  I called it so God would say "Wow, he is not bullshitting!"  And I made an appointment to take the census exam.

This morning I took it.  It is all logic and math and number 2 pencils kind of thing.  You had to be a US citizen to take it or legal to work in the US. This made sense. But then it had a thing where it said "FOR MALES ONLY. If you were born after December, 31 1959 you must be registered with the Selective Service System."

I remember doing this on my 18th birthday in New York City with my dad.  And here it was all these years later.  I thought, "Harumph, I did it so that is cool. No worries."  Then I thought, "Wait a minute, you won't let me be in my own damn military if I am out as gay and yet I would be prevented from getting a job with my own country's government just because I didn't sign up for something I am not eligible for in the first place because of some bullshit, homophobic law?! F*#K, you."

Meanwhile kids next to me who have never even heard of 1959 were furiously filling out their forms.  But I am pissed that that is on the form.  And let's not even get into census marital status and what a household is, etc.

I am angry.

But you will pay me $18.75 an hour to talk to strangers?  Count me in!

I got 98% on the exam. I was pissed. I probably got some homophobic question wrong...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hacked or Thank You Viagra!

My yahoo address book was hacked into today and everyone in my address book received a personal offer from me inviting them to buy Viagra from Canada.

Not good.

When people receive annoying things from you, whether they are actually from you, they react in different ways. Some want you to know you got hacked so you can take care of yourself. Others demand that you stop sending them stuff like this and others scold you in a guise of caring. Odd.

But always the half full guy that I am,  I did what I could do and then I proceeded to enjoy the odd side benefit of it all which was hearing from old friends and colleagues.

I kid you not, in this rough economy, getting hacked is networking!

I heard from a Sr. Recruiter at Disney about this Viagra thing. I have never met the guy, but I have contacted him in the past for work. So I wrote back,

"Dear ____ Now that I have inadvertently sent you a Viagra ad, why not reconnect for work?! If you have ANY leads in New York for me (or thoughts, suggestions...) I would greatly appreciate them.  I have attached my resume so you have a current one.

If I got a job because I got my computer hacked and sent out Viagra ads as a way of networking, that would be the greatest story ever!  Thank you, Patrick"  

Good, eh?

I also heard from my most excellent therapist in Los Angeles.  And she is going to be in New York and we are going to meet for coffee and a session.  Thank you, Viagra!

I am a big proponent of if you don't think you matter try crossing a street and if a car stops then you have been noticed school of self improvement.  Now I am all about hacking for networking.

Next: the made up, market-directed hack.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Handy Man

Went to see Martin McDonagh's "A Behanding in Spokane" on Broadway.  He is quite a prolific playwright who wrote "The Lieutenant of Inishmore" "The Pillowman" "The Beauty Queen of Leenane" and he wrote and directed the films "Six Shooter" and "In Bruges."  I loved "Six Shooter" and "In Bruges" grew on me after the second viewing.  I have heard him speak and I am generally a fan.

But... THIS PLAY made me not want to put my hand over my mouth or down my throat, but instead onto the handrest of my seat to prop myself up and walk out.  It was BAD. In my humble, well-educated, always right on the money opinion, of course.

I think one thing that cheeses me off from a frustrated, do nothing about it wanna be playwright perspective is shock for shock sake. And yelling as acting. And monologues showing off writing gymnastics.  All while saying nothing about story, character, etc. Arggghh.

There was even a Jerry Seinfeldesque "What's all this about shoes?"  kind of speech and then the hand thing.  (No spoiler.) And the black guy getting scared and being directed to be uber cliche black in the "I am a black man in a Star Trek episode where I have no name so I am the next to die" vein.  And fag jokes. Sigh.  I am all for a good fag joke, but this was just lame.

But I gotta hand it to him, he is on Broadway.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Snow Wish

Here I was loving the trade winds and warm waters of the Caribbean, yet excited to get home to snow! How can that be?  Don't people hate the snow?  Not me. But I don't have to shovel it or drive in it or pull a hot dog cart in it.  I just get to walk it and feel it on my tongue.

Today I walked through Central Park and enjoyed every snowy, peaceful minute of it.


And a few days ago...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cold Hearted Big Apple

A 10 foot, 7000 pound ice sculpture was plopped down in the middle of Times Square in time for St. Valentine's Day.  

I felt happy to see it and be with it.  Back in the swing of my beloved City.

Now to find someone to melt mine.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What? We Don't Actually LIve Here?

The ship pulled into Miami.  Florida. USA. 

And it docked.

And people left.

And it looked like we were supposed to leave too. 

The fairy dust was blown off and it was time to leave the nursery and disembark from Never Never Land of endless ice cream and rack of lamb and spa treatments and sun and cabana boys.

Quite jarring.

But it was one of those amazing trips that I felt some real completion with as well, meaning I had such a good time and I realized that these kinds of things, like Christmas and Spring can only exist with reality and 364 other days and Winter.

So be it. I got off.

But I wasn't happy about it.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Backstage Tour

Ellie got us a private backstage tour of the theatre aboard the Crystal Symphony ship with the amazing star of the incredible productions we saw.  Colleen knocks it out of the park 5 times a week and took tine out to show us around. 
Folks. I have to say as a semi-jaded New York theatre-goer, these productions were amazing. The people, the costumes. 

Wow the costumes.  It was like a Carol Burnett Show on speed with all the wig and shoes and bustle changing that went on. 

And today we saw how it works. Everyone has their own dresser and all the wigs and shoes are well-organized.  

I mean these people are just finished prancing around in CATS and then are "gavotting" in high button shoes in Hello Dolly five seconds later.  Amazing. 

Friday, February 12, 2010

Last Formal Night

My collar on my dress shirt feels somewhat tighter each time I put it on.  Must be the ocean air that causes shrinkage. 

It could having nothing to do with chowing down every minute of every day on this ship like it was feeding time at the Shamu show. 

The mass consumption of goods into my gullet has been profound. I remember hearing a lot about cruises from the housewives in my Weight Watchers group in Los Angeles.  Cruises were the curse AND the graduate program of Weight Watchers I remember. When Shirley came home only 2 pounds up we applauded. When Silvia was 11 pounds over we gave support.   I never thought the dessert trolley on a cruise would even be within my sights. 

Now, here I am wolfing Beef Wellington like there was too much room in my arteries and ordering a side of ice cream with everything because I can.  (I just heard you can get milk shakes from the ice cream guy by the Trident Grill.  Thank God I did not know this earlier.)


So tonight I went to Formal Night with tight collar.  We had a wonderful evening with our tablemates, Bernice and Igor.  (Sound like names from the appropriate cruise demo, right?)  Lovely people.  Each evening with each grouping provokes/invokes/bespokes new tales and different energy.  Tonight's theme was "Secrets and Lies" and what parents do to survive. It was quite moving and some day I would like to write about what we shared with each other - virtual strangers.   I was very moved from the exchange of stories from this wonderful couple and from Ellie. And I have lived enough now to have my own.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My life of late.

We continue to cruise in style.  Life here is just so over the top and wonderful it is hard to describe. 

As I said to Ellie, the only thing Crystal needs is a "Re-entry Program."  Just some way, ala a methadone clinic, where you can come down gently from the lifestyle and the service so that when you get back home you do not have a coronary when no one unfolds your napkin on your lap for you. Or you leave a card on your bedroom door and the next morning there is no fresh coffee and croissant delivered.   There just needs to be some way to ease one way into a life where rack of lamb is not just a given.

Oh my God, it is going to be hard to come down from this.  I feel for me.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snotty, Jaded, Cruising Bastard.

Today it was Antigua. The Entertainment Director suggested that we really just go to one island the whole time and dock at different parts with the suggestion that they are all really kinda the same. And it is really kinda true:  White sand beaches, aqua water, poverty, immediate on-land harassment for taxi tours and bad pavement. 

As I seasoned traveller of this part of the world now (!!) we are doing what the other experienced cruisers do -- stay on the ship.  Best views, clear blue waters of the swimming pool. Unlimited non-invasive drinks and cold towels scented with rose water service.  Excellent, abundant and food, etc. Ironically the paradise is aboard the ship and not on the islands.

Ellie needed to get some gifts so I made her hike to St. John's Cathedral built in 1845. Or rebuilt in 1845.  It was a treacherous journey up unbelievably bad pavement.  If I delivered Ellie to her kids in crutches and a wheelchair they would rightfully have my hide. And the big joke is that it will most likely me to be the one to fall!

Anyway, we made it all the way to the top and the Cathedral was closed because like everything else in St. John's, it had fallen into disrepair.  The man outside (as opposed to upstairs) said it was too dangerous to let people go in. I felt like saying "Well, if that is the case, shouldn't you close the whole town?"

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dining with the Stars

Ellie and I had the most fun dinner tonight with Michael and Colleen, the lead singers of the shows on board.  We have enjoyed watching them perform so much and they are both so talented. It was just so much fun and the two performers just ate Ellie up with her wonderful stories of Broadway of yore and Liza and her husband Bill in the Original Broadway Cast of "My Fair Lady."  So many wonderful stories and all three of them knew people in common. Another small world right at our dining table somewhere in the middle of the Caribbean.  Just a joy.  I felt so happy to be there tonight. Kudos to Ellie for asking them to dinner.

Monday, February 8, 2010

And Somewhere in the World It Is...French Night!

I wrote this whole blog post in French, but deleted it as I realized most of my readership speaks English. Shame as it was so good. 

The beauty of doing a return on a cruise I am discovering is that if you were eating a fine Japanese meal last cruise in the Nobu dining room and missed French Night in the main dining room you just catch it on the way back!

Ellie and I joined our new tablemates in our formal finest for French Night. It was rack of lambs all around and escargot and pate and frog's legs.  Not that I had most that of that, but it was on the menu. 

What a fun evening it was.  We were so stuffeed we could been turned into our own pate.  Or at least I could have been!

I need to start thinking in terms of New York and Rack of Gym very soon! With a side of spa salade!