Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
I did see The Incredibles last night though. I ask you, is there a better superhero than Elastigirl?
Had a slight change in plans and was unable to get to the Clinton Library today. I'll get there on Thursday, fingers crossed.
Monday, December 27, 2004
I'm sure I'll have much to report about the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library, which is on Tuesday's agenda. Can't wait!
Thursday, December 23, 2004
All kidding aside, the whole evening was worth it for me for their tender arrangement of "In the Bleak Midwinter," one of my favorite carols. Everything else was tight and classy, but that song was much appreciated.
Oh, in case you were wondering, there were a couple of lookers, but overall, those fellas were mainly just rockin the whole music nerd thing. And while those guys can be fun for a bit at bars if there just happens to be a keyboard nearby (what, you think I go to piano bars???), it can all get a little wearisome after the Sondheim's exhausted and you have to move onto the Rent songbook.
A quick recap: Sandy Sonnenberg is a moneyman for lots of rich people. He's also in the closet, and, through flashbacks and narration by Anton, a close friend and former lover of his, we learn of his early relationship with Anton, his conversion therapy, his courtship of his wife and Anton's dear friend, Katie, and his eventual downfall, all from entrusting much of his business to a charming swindler.
As for the production, it and the performances are uniformly impressive. The set is elegantly minimal and its design makes for smooth transitions across locations and decades. All actors are top-notch, but I was especially impressed by Josh Radnor, who plays the young Sandy in the past and Sandy's stepson, Sam, in the present. He's a joy to watch -- especially in an extended dinner party scene as Sam, warmly yet cynically playing his role in this money-obsessed gathering as the idealistic and gregarious high school teacher.
As for the play, although its dialogue is literate without being tiresome and the plot is engaging, I needed a bit of cajoling to buy everyone's continuing tolerance of Sandy's destructive closeted behaviors -- especially Anton's. And while I'm certain that Baitz is interested in both the pitfalls of capitalism and sexual repression, I'm not entirely getting the money part of it yet. I did love love LOVE that scene in Anton's gay restaurant between young Sandy and his mom -- Patricia Wettig's best scene, by the by -- until it started to meander and feel repetitive.
Still, The Paris Letter is big, demanding, and smart. And there were several open seats in my "sold out" show, so go wait around the box office. I bet you'll get in.
And I got a kick out of spotting a supporting actor from Alias in the audience...until I saw Al Pacino was there too.
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
I'd be lurking tonight, too, but I'm going to see Chanticleer at the Disney Hall. I have no idea who these people are, but I hear they're a bunch of choirboys. And I was promised a cuteness factor.
I'll try to pretend I didn't see that handlebar moustache.
Monday, December 20, 2004
I survived Mr. Britten's cantata, although I did learn that shoes from Payless don't serve me that well when I'm standing still for almost an hour. All seemed really pleased with the concert and it was even fun to sing. On Sunday our rector called us out to the front of the chancel area to acknowledge and congratulate us for our work. Weird, but sweet of her, I guess.
Messiah - Saturday, 12/18
I've sung this enough (Part One and the H-chorus, that is) to get a kick out of being in the audience for a change, and really enjoyed following the tenor lines on all the choral parts. The singing was especially precise in those areas, and the countertenor was about the best I've ever heard live, even if he did drop down to his baritone for a measure. He seemed to know what he was doing, so I went with it. The bass soloist had a couple of weird patches in Part Three, the biggest impression the soprano left on me was in the weird Pepto-colored satiny wrap she had slung round herself, and the tenor left little impression on me at all. Still, all very nice, bright and dancing and cheery like Handel should be.
Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker! - Sunday, 12/19
My first Nutcracker, and loads of fun. I did prefer the darker, angular colors and sets in the first act to the pop confectionary of the second, with the end of the first act being especially effective, what with the set splitting open and all. Loads of gorgeous dancers and playful innuendo, and as cynical a theater-goer as I can be, and as passively as I was participating in the storytelling of Bourne's take on it, the final surprise moment was a delight. Cheap and predictable and contrived as it was, I probably gasped as loudly as half the little girls in attendance that afternoon.... It's at Royce Hall at UCLA until Jan. 2 and worth checking out.
Saturday, December 18, 2004
I'm hoping to score tickets to The Paris Letter at the Kirk Douglas Theater next week. I might get in Wednesday or Thursday, fingers crossed. I hope to like it better than the last Jon Robin Baitz play the Taper did, Ten Unknowns, and from the looks of the L.A. Times review, I should. I'd link to it, but their dumb Calendar section is subscription only. Wish me luck; it's a hard ticket to get!
I just heard on 91.5 they're airing a live broadcast of the LA Phil's performance of The Messiah I'm seeing at Disney Hall at 8pm tonight. Listen if you're in LA and we'll compare notes.
I'm enjoying this blogging adventure so far. I think I've acquired readers that I've never even met before. And it's nice to be writing on a consistent basis again. Of course, instead of spending the afternoon working on one of my scripts, I'm typing this up. But maybe I'll finish this post and do a little work on "Christopher Smart's Cat." Or "Sheila Take A Bow." or Untitled Victorian Play. Or Untitled Southern Coming-of-Age Scribblings on Bits of Notepaper. Did I mention in a previous post I could use a little help with focus?
Friday, December 17, 2004
Monday, 12/13 -- Thelonious Monster at Spaceland
I'm new to the TM bandwagon, but this was the best I've seen them yet. Bob Forrest was in rare form on his 2nd of four free Mondays in TM's Spaceland residency. His between-song storytelling was almost as good as the songs; he told a personal favorite during a section of the show devoted to the album Stormy Weather, basically admitting he didn't remember much about the former band members who came onstage to play those songs. Bob, I know you were a little out of it back then, but how can you possibly forget a guy named Smog Vomit? Aside from that, his Republi-bashing was fun at first, but got a little weird after a minute or two -- you know that moment in a show when you start hearing glasses clink and cutting your eyes at the person standing next to you? Still, it was sweet that he apologized for it later.
Go see them next week or the week after!
Thursday, 12/9 -- A John Waters Christmas
Was I the only one who was disappointed at the length given to Marga Gomez at the end of the first half of the show? Alright, none of the half-dozen readers I've accumulated so far were in attendance, that's fine, whatever, but she was highly un-funny, whereas drag-queen performance artist Vaginal Davis and Jewish lesbian folksinger Phranc were top-notch and weren't given nearly enough stage time. Waters was, of course, a real stitch -- droll and gleefully dirty, as you'd expect him to be. As funny as his stories of the good ol' days were (getting stoned with Divine and breaking into cars, things like that), the best moment was an unlikely description towards the end of the evening; he talked about a dive bar in a Baltimore trailer park where girls would get in fist-fights and still not get kicked out. "They'd just sit there, bleeding...and smoking."
Wednesday, 12/8 -- La Boheme at the Dottie Chandler
Damn, Mimi takes a long time to die.
Thursday, December 16, 2004
"Ms. Atkinson, in turn, is not just a good and pathetic victim. She lets you sense the aggressive neediness beneath Helen's hard-won bravado. A scene in which she tries on beachwear before going on a company picnic with Tom is heartbreaking because Ms. Atkinson and (director) Ms. Bonney make sure that Helen exposes as much inner doubt as ample flesh. That said, whatever their respective weights may be, Helen and Tom are truly attractive figures who emanate real made-for-each-other chemistry."
A great note from a tough critic.
All that said, Vanessa was a total RIOT. Well, at least Acts I and II. By Act III Erika had already tried to kill herself and had miscarried and had stopped being the completely irrational and petulant child that she was in the beginning, so there was no more tearing at her clothes or throwing herself off stairs. Too bad. Still, all the hammy metaphorical language in the libretto offered lots of laughs when she was off-stage or bleeding vaginally from behind the conveniently placed hospital curtains that just happened to turn up in the living room. As for the set, will someone please tell scenic designers that the all-white set is just a touch hackneyed? And the goofy little potted azaleas littering the stage floor in scene II? Did they run out of money after building that enormous winding staircase? Oh well, at least there was an enormous winding staircase in the center of the garden. And in every other location on this property, apparently. I wonder if one broke through the ice and ascended skyward on that lake Erika couldn't summon the strength to throw herself into. Too bad that set didn't get built.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
I've always been curious about this guy's writing, as he is a bit of an avant-garde hotshot/CALARTS hotshot (is that redundant?), and I remember reading a really enchanting play by him called Wolf at the Door that riffed on As I Lay Dying, among other things. Word's still out on whether he's quite my cup-uh-java, but I'm still looking forward to his new work at REDCAT next spring (how much do I LOVE REDCAT, by the way) involving Poe's William Wilson. Scroll to the bottom of the link for details.
I've contemplated starting a blog for some time now, if only to chronicle my goings-on and give myself a (hopefully) daily opportunity to do some writing that people might actually read. I see a lot of stuff in the City of Angels, from theater to opera to rock bands and movies, and I'll let you know about them and whether they're worth the time and money.
Alright, I've entered the blogosphere. Here goes....