Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Just a thought: people are getting so worried bout radiation in the air due to what could possibly be floating over from Japan. However, almost everyone walks around with a cell phone to their ear with no thought of the waves doing possible damage. Have you ever been on a computer with the speakers turned up as a nearby cell phone starts to ring? There is something major going on in the air at that point - and who knows at other points as well. (CNET actually has a list of the top highest-radiation cell phones.) There are other places we can get doses of radiation as well. I'm not saying we shouldn't be concerned about Japan...I just had this random thought and had to share.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ding-Dong! Avon calling!

What a great week to go to the theatre! I followed up this past Tuesday with a dose of Joseph Smith and the Mormon church tonight.  What a fantastic show! The creative guys behind South Park have finally made their way to the Great White Way where they belong with this old-fashion feel musical. The Book of Mormon basically snuck into NYC while everyone was talking about Spider-man and ran off with rave reviews when it opened this past Thursday, including a love letter from the NY Times. And it deserves them all. With music by one of the men behind Avenue Q - this show is the gift that keeps giving. Rocking ensemble numbers, power ballads...and lyrics you'll keep asking "did they just say that?" And how refreshing to have an original musical back on Broadway...which at its heart is a buddy musical from years past. Only these two buddies don't meet on the road to Morocco - they are Mormons sent to Africa to spread the word of Mr. Smith. One may think the South Park creators are poking fun at a certain religion, but even with some crass lyrics and story line (that you can't help but laugh at), the shows themes ring universal. And the energy by this amazing cast can't be matched. I never jumped to my feet so fast in a theater (perhaps because the leg room was tiny and I was losing blood in them) - but I digress. It will be hard to get tickets for a while, but I say get them if you can! Welcome to NY Trey & Matt...all the way from South Park, Colorado and now bringing us Salt Lake City & Uganda. Broadway has been waiting for you.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's Raining Men!

And it IS at the Palace Theater in NYC. Tonight I caught the Broadway version of a show I loved when I saw it in London...and what a great time I had! The trend continues to take movies and turn them into Broadway musicals, usually because audiences will already know the story AND there IS a story. Or as Mamma Mia! and Rock of Ages has done, create a story around a string of songs the audience already knows. In this case, I don't think the masses saw Priscilla: Queen of the Desert when it was a movie, but it was a gay cult hit from down under. Now this Aussie hit is being introduced to many more people via a big, flashy musical where audiences can enjoy the fact they know so many of the disco songs being sung. (FYI: Flashy may be an understatement there.) I believe there is enough room in NY for many types of shows...and sometimes, one needs to let loose and just have fun. That's exactly what can be done in this show with outrageous costumes and songs that will take you back to a certain time in your life. Plus - deep down the show has heart...though we're only allowed to see glimpses of it through the glitz and glam. Gays (like everyone else) come in all shapes, sizes and ways of existing. Some are over the top bitchy people. Some are in committed relationships raising children. This one shows a part of gay life that enjoys doing drag and lip-syncing to divas. (And in this case: the divas are three women singing behind the men.) I'm not one to put on women's clothes and belt out a tune, but I sure can enjoy watching others do it. When we left the theater in London, I recall having the best time - but saying to Anthony I didn't think American reviewers would take to it the same way they have in Australia and London. I wasn't wrong as the show opened Sunday in New York to reviews that ranged from grumpy reviewers who grew weary by the end of too much over-stimulation to a few that realized audiences would be able to sit back and enjoy it. Of All the reviews I read, Howard Shapiro in the Philadelphia Inquirer said it best with this: "Just give yourself over to its giddy theatrical turns. It is, after all, about acceptance."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Blink and They're Grown

My youngest niece Shelby is in her final year of high school. Turned 18 six weeks ago and goes to prom next month. It all seems so fast. She asked me to share a memory I had of her for her creative writing class and so I decided I could share on my blog too.  

I remember when Shelby turned ten years old in 2003. I had told both she and her sister Ashton that I'd give them a big trip for that milestone birthday. Her sister chose to visit me in NYC for her celebration, but Shelby had already made that northern trip with family before she turned ten and chose instead to head south to Florida. We planned the trip to coincide with my Christmas visit of 2002 which would be a month prior to her birthday. Everything was set for us to fly to Florida and enjoy the December warmth at Universal Studios. Only the week before we left, my dad - her Papaw passed away. We went from a funeral to Christmas all within the same week. And as I spoke to my mother and Shelby's mother - the three of us decided dad would want Shelby to go on that trip. And so we went. I spent the days and nights keeping a soon-to-be ten year old girl laughing and having fun while we both were still dealing with the pain of his death. But we managed to do it and had a great time in the process. It's a very different experience to be just two people at a huge theme park, especially when one is a 33 year old man and the other a 9 year old girl. Everyone would think I was her dad and we would laugh about it. We rode rides, saw shows, and got the live experience of The Grinch which had just come out as a movie two years prior. I had a wonderful time being one-on-one with my niece since those moments are few and far between. I usually see her once a year and she is always so much older and changes each time I see her. But I remember how on that particular trip, she seemed older to me than she ever had before. Universal turned tears into laughter and we walked away with treasured memories that we can look back on - knowing those memories are only shared by a now young woman of 18 and her very proud uncle. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Stop Hiding

If you are a politician or the head of an organization that truly despises one group and their presumed agenda, then just say that. To change the words and/or reasoning surrounding the situation to seem like you're standing for something else (and not that you're really against the former), makes people look like idiots. I understand that people are passionate about their beliefs. That's actually a good thing. But respect what it is you truly believe in and just say it! If in your heart you cannot comprehend why gays exists in the world, how homosexuals can possibly lead productive lives  and what they provide for our society - say it. Especially if you have been divorced don't say you are 'anti-gay marriage' because you believe in the sanctity of marriage. Hypocrisy anyone? And if you're on your third or 4th wife (loud-mouth radio hosts and potential presidential nominees) - your actions do not show you believe that marriage is between one man and one woman: so stop using that slogan. I would have so much more respect for these people if they would just say "I really can't stand gay people" instead of hiding. I know in our 'politically correct society' it's not proper to say what you really mean - but I'd prefer honesty in this situation. My blood boils when I read certain people are going off on any kind of gay equality when their own house is in total disarray. Oh - and btw: I believe in divorce as I'm the product of two parents who were married before and I would not exists without it. But if our country wants to go so far as to demand stringent rules placed around the sanctity of marriage, then go all the way. Outlaw divorce. Many people believe Catholics to be "The Church" and they see it as a grave offense. So if all of this fight is about the placement of religion in a marriage, then everyone should just listen to The Pope (he wrote with his tongue in his cheek).

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Belief in Destiny

I have wrestled with the question of destiny and fate for many years in my writing. I love the concept and wrote a musical called Destiny & Dreams and actually look at my stories from the past few years and still notice that theme rears its head. Are we in control of it? Is everything in life preordained? I think it's one of the reasons I love the movie Somewhere in Time. Not simply because it's a love story, but because it deals with someone taking hold of their destiny by trying to dictate what will happen. I went to see the opening weekend of The Adjustment Bureau tonight and the theme of fate versus free will has come forward once again. From the commercial I wasn't completely sure what the movie would entail - but I really enjoyed it. (And there even seems to be a nod to Somewhere in Time with the lead female characters having the same name. The short story Adjustment Team by Philip K. Dick came out before Bid Time Return of which Somewhere is based, but the female name in the short story is different - so I'm gonna think the director/writer did it on purpose.) In one point in the evening, I found myself deep in philosophical thought about what life is all about. We are all here for a short time attempting to make something of our lives and just hoping we can find that person to share this life with. But in the greater scheme of it all, this is just a small blip on a much larger radar. Yet still...I hope that the creative life I have chosen or has chosen me continues to feed my soul for this time that I am here. And I'm glad that my road twisted and turned in the way that it did to lead me to that person who supports my crazy life and shares all those moments with me. Did we get to choose each other or were we destined to meet? I'm still wrestling with that one and will probably continue writing about it in many different forms for years yet to come.  

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What a Difference a Decade Makes

When the reality TV craze started making a splash over ten years ago, I was one of those that thought it was the end of the world as we know it. Even though I can admit to watching The Real World-NY when it aired back in 1992 the boom at the end of that decade and starting the following made everyone believe that our evening viewing options were going to the dogs. (And I’ll say – some of them literally were really painful to watch.) But what grew out of necessity to have something air during a writer’s strike has grown into a full-fledged market that takes a huge chunk out of nightly programming. I recently stopped to think about what I actually watch on television and I must say – reality TV makes up a huge portion of what I find enjoyable. From Amazing Race to Survivor and American Idol to Top Chef, Project Runway and RuPaul’s Drag Race – I find the competition shows really pull me in. I think the reasoning is the fact that you can miss a week and not lose a storyline. There are ‘characters’ to root for and others to despise. You feel you get to know the people and then they move on from your life without you having to invest too much time. And yes, they can even be entertaining. So as much as this writer loves a greatly written story/series/show – there are times that even I want mindless entertainment. I guess we’re never too old to be able to admit we were wrong.