Saturday, July 22, 2006

a month backstage

So I've been getting away from the office more and seeing some shows. Over the past couple of weeks I've seen some great small theater, a great Broadway show, some opera, dance and more.

While P's mom was in town we made it to see Skin Deep, a one-man that is playing as part of the Dixon Place HOT! Festival. It was one of the best written, well-performed pieces of theater that I've seen in quite a while. I was so impressed, it reminded me why I was in NY and why I love my job. It's great when those sorts of things happen.

Then we followed that by watching one of the WORST plays I've ever seen in my life. I've seen some real stinkers before, but this ranked even below some of that really horrible high school or community theater crap that we're all subjected to. But at least then, you have a few bright moments or at least you see the passion and enjoyment of the actors putting all their heart and creative resources into it. The production of Two Destinies at the 14th St. Y was just downright BAD. I felt horrible for making P sit through it. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

Right before P's mom showed up, RJN was in town and he took us to see History Boys on Broadway. I'd been wanting to see the show for some time but never got around to it. After it won all its Tony awards it's been a hot ticket in town despite the fact that most people don't realize the main character who we have sympathy for is a pedophile and most of the text and subtext is out and out gay. It was a good time and, despite one of the leads being played by an understudy, it was a great chance to see some young talent filling the house.

Last Thursday we went to check out Ars Nova's "Thursdays at 10" which happened to be at 7 p.m. to get critics and other folk out who didn't want to stay up too much past their bedtime. It was one of the best comedic/music experiences I've ever had. Instead of regular sketch comedy and/or acts, it was all influenced by a cabaret/vaudeville/DIY spirit. The Varsity Interpretive Dance Squad broke it down with a funny choreographed bit, then the guys of Creation Nation did their skit which involved a video of one of the comedians approaching people on the street, asking them pop culture questions and then screaming at them—priceless. The other two acts—Freestyle Love Supreme and Automatic Vaudeville—were clearly the all-stars. Freestyle is a group of guys who beatbox and freestyle using improv games (yell out some words/a verb and then they freestyle with it). Kenny Melman (of Kiki & Herb fame) played the keyboard (as usual) and the first performer was a guy singing a sappy 70s tune about puppy dogs—with no pants. You should have seen the older women gawk at his penis as it poked out from below his soft, brown sweater with a pony on it. Classic. He was followed by a performer I'd seen before in the downtown scene, Bridget Everett. Tonight she was dressed in too-tight clothes, playing her "big girl" routine from "At Least It's Pink." She sang ballads about being the fat slut of the highschool and how she'd suck the popular guy's dick even though he was an ass to her. Next time anyone visits, you're gonna see whatever is happening at Ars Nova.

Last weekend we had a party at our place. I planned on putting a full post about it, but looks like I'm too slack to do that. I was happy to finally coax people up to our neighborhood. Lots of wonderful folks showed up including Glenn, MeatCute, TrayB, Pamela and many a person who doesn't have a link to list here. Thanks be to Glenn for the pic of the night's projection...

I thought because of the party I'd miss my chance to see Julie Taymor's big ol production of Grendel, the centerpiece of the Lincoln Center. Luckily, I was able to score some tickets and go on Sunday. I am still not convinced about opera. I've only seen a few (both old and contemporary) and am still waiting for that magic moment when it takes over and makes me weep like always seems to happen in movies. I'm a big fan of Taymor's costumes and ideas in Frida and Titus and love what she did with puppets and all in Broadway's Lion King, so I was ready for that glimpse of genius and opera to be my new favorite thing. Although I enjoyed moments of the three-hour production, overall, I was left a little tired, bewildered and disappointed. Oh well.

We also made it out yesterday for another performance in Lincoln Center's Festival that got my attention, Bones in Pages—the first time Japanese dancer/choreographer Saburo Teshigawara has performed in the States. I continue to go to dance although I don't understand what's going on half the time. But at least I do at times get a thrill from the abstract ideas, the physical prowess and bizarre nature of what's going onstage. Bones didn't disappoint in that regard. Near the beginning Teshigawara was joined by a big black raven who he'd also trained/choreographed. Crazy. Open books were used as a wall and floor on part of the stage and a sea of black and brown shoes were on another third. Lots of fractured/fluid dance, strange contortions and movement. My favorite part: when the entire theater was quiet and we could hear the clack-clack-clack of the bird hopping across stage in the dark in time to not miss his cue.

Tonight we are to make it over to Irving Plaza to see Peaches. But before that I have another one-person show to catch and then two more plays Sunday afternoon. I'm ready for it—good or bad—bring it on.


At 8:12 PM, Anonymous Ryan said...

So you write nothing for a month and then you write a book?

Go figure.

At 5:08 PM, Blogger Jazzy Justin said...

I still wanna see Grendel, because I LOVE Julie Taymor's work, but thanks for the heads up. So how was Peaches?


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