excitement \ik-ˈsīt-mənt\ n : 1. an excited state or condition 2. something that excites
Obligatory reference to how long it’s been since I’ve blogged.
Now that that’s out of the way, on to more important things. Words cannot even
describe how excited I am. After almost twenty years of hope and several months of planning, yesterday I bought tickets to see the stage show of Newsies. I blogged about this two posts ago (which was four months ago :-/), but now it’s actually happening. In October, Emily, my Newsies friend Katie, my sister Maureen, and I will be seeing the Working Boys of New York live on stage.
One of the best parts of all of this — from Disney announcing they were working on a stage version, to Paper Mill announcing their fall season, to me announcing I bought my tickets — is the reaction of my friends. Everyone is so happy for ME. Not for Disney, not for Alan Menken, not even for the actors who were cast in the show. Me. There are so many comments of “It’s finally happening for you!,” and “Enjoy!,” and “You’ve wanted this for so long!” But mostly people are saying, “I hope for their sake it’s good, because I wouldn’t want to see you if it’s bad.” And I can’t say that I blame them.
I recently saw Sister Act the Musical on Broadway. Now I love the movies (yes both of them). But I can’t say I loved the musical. And I had been really excited for it. I ended up seeing it twice (the first time for free), and while I enjoyed it more the second time, it still didn’t hit for me. They made so many changes I felt were unnecessary. Some were just baffling, like moving the story to 1970s Philadelphia. And some made me really angry, like the way the services turned into a cheap stage show, instead of just becoming refreshingly modern. If the changes to Sister Act could get me this upset, I can only imagine what damage could be done to Newsies.
So, here are some things I would like to see in the Newsies stage show:
*Tighten up the ending; it’s weird.
*Either expand or remove the Sarah character. And get an actress who can act.
*Keep as true to the choreography as possible. Or just hire Kenny Ortega.
*I would be fine with getting rid of Medda and her songs.
*For god’s sake, keep the Prologue.
*Amazing new songs.
*Someone singing the shit out of Patrick’s Mother’s solo.
Don’t screw it up, or I’ll soak ya!
chief \ˈchēf\ n : the head or leader of an organized body of people; the person highest in authority
It’s Presidents’ Day, a day in America where we celebrate the 44 men (MEN) who have held the highest office in our government. Also, a day for mattress sales. Why are there so many mattress sales? Anyway, like Africa and the Bible, the Presidents are one of my weaknesses when it comes to trivia. And don’t even bother with Vice Presidents. I have a few stock answers that are almost sure to be incorrect. Mostly, I like to answer “James K. Polk” because it’s fun to say. Here’s an interesting tidbit for you though: Grover Cleveland was the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms. I know this because in fifth grade, I did a report on Benjamin Harrison, who served in between those terms. Would that that were my Final Jeopardy question. Ah, well.
When it comes to fictional presidents, two come to mind. Well, three, but I’ll tell you right now, I didn’t watch The West Wing. I have nothing against it, and I’m sure I’d love it if I did. But there it is. Someday I will, I’m sure. No, Jed Bartlet is not who I think of first. I first think of President Andrew Shepherd, portrayed by Michael Douglas in The American President. Interestingly, this was also penned by Andrew Sorkin and Martin Sheen plays the Chief of Staff. It’s so good. I mean, he’s just the President standing in front of a lobbyist, asking her to love him. Oh, wait…that’s Notting Hill.
Anyway, the other fake President I love is not really a President at all. In a Prince and the Pauper-like twist, the movie Dave has Dave Kovic, portrayed by Kevin Klein, taking the place of the President when he has a heart attack and goes into a coma. Don’t worry, he’s a terrible person, not to mention a bad President. But Dave gets in there and makes some real headway, balancing the budget to make room for homeless shelter programs (where is this guy when you need him?!). Until he gets tired of the corruption and fakes his death, though the real President does die. Then Dave returns to his regular life. But don’t feel bad, he and the dead President’s wife are in love.
Then there are so many other fake Presidents to remember: Bill Pullman’s President Whitmore from Independence Day, Harrison Ford’s President Marshall in Air Force One, Dennis Haysbert as President Palmer from 24, and who could forget James Naughton as President Davenport from First Kid. You know, I’m starting to realize why I don’t really know that much about actual Presidents. Perhaps I should go watch that John Addams miniseries.
love \ˈləv\ n : strong predilection, enthusiasm, or liking for anything
It’s a Valentine’s Day miracle! The most amazing thing has happened. No, I didn’t run into Jonathan Taylor Thomas on the street, making him fall in love with me. And no, *NSYNC isn’t reuniting. And we all know I didn’t get a call to come in for a Jeopardy interview. But something about as amazing as all of those things was announced today. In the fall, Paper Mill Playhouse will be starting their season with a production of Newsies!!! And while it’s not Broadway, Paper Mill is a well-respected and amazing theatre in New Jersey. Holy crap.
I can’t really say why this is so amazing, but trust me, it is. Ever since I was little, I’ve loved Newsies. I was nine when it came out, and after that it was on Disney channel nonstop. The songs, the story, and the boys were all a part of my childhood. Newsies planted in my head that New York was cool, even in the days of child labor. Brooklyn was tough, and Spot Conlon was a hottie. That’s where I wanted to be, and that’s where I live now. Speaking of, where’s my Spot Conlon? I guess I don’t hang out at the docks enough. Maybe I should buy a sling shot.
Anyway, as soon as I heard this news (Ha! News.), there was one person I needed to share it with: my friend Katie. Katie and I are friends because of Newsies. To make a long story short, we went to different high schools and got in a fight at a Speech team tournament about whether one of my classmates looked like Spot (he didn’t). Then she invited me to go swing dancing. Because it was 1999, and we had a mutual love of Swing Kids, obvi. We’ve been friends ever since, and while our relationship is more than Christian Bale movies, that was the catalyst.
And so, come fall many worlds will collide. This old idea of New York I’ve had in my head since I was nine will meet my current life in New York. I’ll be able to share Newsies with Emily for our Vlog, and also share it once again with Katie, but in a much different way. So, no pressure Alan Menken and Harvey Fierstein, but this show better not suck. You’ve got my childhood, friendships, and life choices in your hands.
P.S. If you need someone to sing Patrick’s Mom in Carrying the Banner, I’d be more than happy to help!
fail \ˈfāl\ v : 1. to fall short of success or achievement in something expected, attempted, desired, or approved 2. to receive less than the passing grade or mark in an examination, class, or course of study
Well, I can pretty much guarantee I’m not going to be on the next season of Jeopardy.
So, Jeopardy used to have “contestant searches,” where I’m assuming you would go to a conference center and take a written test. Then for a while, they also had a “Brain Bus” that would go to cities. You could play a game, and possibly qualify to take the test. Like the Cash Cab? (Dream Spoiler Alert: You can’t just “catch” the Cash Cab. You agree to appear on a TV show; you just don’t know it’s Cash Cab. Then the cab arrives to take you to wherever the producers told you to go.) But now, it’s all done online. And today was one of the online tests. And I failed it. I failed it like it was an Honors Physics test from junior year (Physics is Phun! Right, Doc I?).
Clearly, pop culture is one of my strengths, but I am a woman of diverse interests. I’m also pretty smart. And I’m also self-aware. I know my weaknesses. And when the first clue popped up (There are 50 clues, and you have 15 seconds per clue), my heart stopped. Something about an Algerian author. Crap. Africa. I hate to say this, but the entire continent of Africa is my weak spot. My weakest spot. I mean, I blame myself but I also blame our school system. What do we ever learn about Africa in general education classes. Pretty much nothing. Ummm…What is “I have no idea whatsoever”?
I did get a handful correct. One was a clue about Debussy. Being a music major, it would have been pretty unforgivable to get that one wrong. I also got the wordplay ones right, some Spanish translation and another about “raining cats and dogs.” Also, if you’re ever asked about a Swedish Actress, Ingrid Bergman will be the response. 95% of the time. I made up that statistic. The one I’m most proud of getting correct though came from another of my weak spots: the Bible. I know you’re shocked. But I got it right! Because the answer is in a song. Ha. The clue was about an archeologist wanting to find the site of a Biblical city where walls came down. Thanks, choir! What is “Jericho”?!
Unfortunately, there were many more clues like the Algerian author than Jericho, and I was just no match for Trebek and his Clue Crew. But I remembered a lot of the clues I couldn’t answer, looked them up, and now know. And here’s a map of Africa, just for good measure:
P.S I also hope they change the questions for the other online tests becuase I just gave away a lot of answers. Whoops.
highlight \ˈhī-ˌlīt\ n : an important, conspicuous, memorable, or enjoyable event, scene, part, or the like
I have been bad. It’s been almost two weeks since my last post. Fail. Sorry, dudes. I’ve experienced so much pop culture since then, I’m going to give you the highlights. As I sit here listening to the Christmas music channel on digital cable (why do I always forget about those music channels?!), let’s look back on the past two weeks, shall we?
When last we talked, it was about Prince William’s engagement. Well, he tried to steal the thunder of another Brit, but he was unsuccessful: HP7: Part 1 opened on the 19th, and I went to a midnight showing. You know, I just realized how annoying it is that the movies aren’t numerically symmetrical with the books, what with seven being the most magical number. Right, Jo? That being said, I liked the movie. The action sequences were good. Though, the first movie didn’t quite make the case that a split was necessary. It was a little too slow, so for it to be worth it for me, the second movie better not leave out any detail. Again, though, I did enjoy it. Especially Godric’s Hollow and Malfoy Manor. Okay, HP geeking out is over now.
The second pop culture event I took part in was seeing the Broadway musical Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. I’ll try to refrain from fagging out here (there will be plenty of time for that later), but the cast of this hot mess is amazing. Patti LuPone, Sherie Rene Scott, Laura Benanti, Brian Stokes Mitchell… If those names mean nothing to you, you should be ashamed. This one should be familiar though: Justin Guarini! Yep, that curly-haired moptop from season one of American Idol. Anyway, if you love crazy trainwrecks, see this show. It’s amazing.
The next big event (commence fagging out) was a midnight showing of Burlesque in Chelsea! Oh. My. God. That movie was amazing. I don’t know if it was bad enough to be of Showgirls calibur, but it was pretty terrible. And also fabulous. The production numbers! Cher! Xtina! And the fact that there was only one true burlesque number performed! The rest were just girls doing hip-hop/jazz hybrid dances in underwear. The audience applauded after each one, and laughed at the terrible writing/acting, which one woman got very upset about. She kept asking her boyfriend (?), “What is so funny? I’m not getting it. Am I missing something?” Brilliant.
Then there came Thanksgiving. I spent the morning baking and watching my friends from Memphis perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (I hate the lip-syncing that happens during that parade). I spent the afternoon/evening with my sister, sister-in-law, nephew, our Brooklyn family, and Emily. That is a day to be thankful for. Here are my pies:
Saturday, we went to the Christmas tree farm, and picked out two beautiful trees: one for me and one for my sister’s family. My nephew was absolutely enamored with everything Christmas: Santa, snowmen, reindeer, etc. And yesterday, I spent all day watching Fa La La La Lifetime movies (A Diva’s Christmas Carol? Yes, please!) and decorating my tree. As with last year, my tree is decorated with some cheap 99¢ store ornaments, but mostly handmade ones cut out from my Entertainment Weeklys, with Ellen Degeneres serving as my angel (as she is everyone’s). This year, there were some new additions joining last year’s Tina Fey, Bones and Booth, Heidi Montag, Lady Gaga, and others. My tree is proud to name these amongst its occupants: the Gilmore Girls, Cher, Justin Bieber, RuPaul, and Melissa and Joey. ‘Tis the season! Here’s a pic:
princess \ˈprin(t)-səs\ n : 1. a nonreigning female member of a royal family. 3. the consort of a prince.
Contrary to what fairy tales like Cinderella, (terrible) movies like The Prince & Me, and even some people’s real lives like Grace Kelly having been telling me all my life, I guess this regular girl is not going to be a princess. Not Prince Willam’s princess anyway. It finally happened: Wills and Catherine “Kate” Middleton are engaged. (Does anyone else find it weird that she spells Catherine with a C but Kate with a K? No? Just me? Okay.) So just like my mom did when Diana got married, and just like I did when Diana died, I’ll wake up at some ungodly hour to watch it all go down across the pond, and for those few hours wish I were British.
I’ve always been a bit of an Anglophile. I’m a big fan of Brit Lit, contemporary and classic: Harry Potter, all Jane Austen. And their pop music has always been fantastic — Why does America hate dance music so much?! And while I’m not one of those crazies who know/follow everything the Royals do, I did love Diana. (Sorry, Wills, this blog post about you is going to be about your mom too. You know how it goes.) I was fourteen when she died, so not only did I have the romanticized view of her as everyone else, I also had this teen angst connection with her. You know: they didn’t understand her, and she was so strong. Who knows how much of what we know about her is true, but I know one thing. In 1997, they made a Beanie Baby in her memory. And in 1997, there could be no greater honor.
The press was pretty kind to William and Harry after that, and we only saw them occasionally, especially stateside, I’m sure. But I did notice that William was getting super cute (as would Harry eventually, minus that Nazi thing…). And in 2000, I just happened to be in England when Williamania hit, i.e. his 18th birthday. There were so many specials on Brit TV. And he did his first official photo shoot, allowing cameras into Eton. There were pictures of him cooking! And in a Union Jack vest! This was also when I first learned the term “prefect,” which would come in handy when I started reading HP the following fall. I also looked up if I, as an American, could marry him. Yep. If I’m remembering correctly, I could. I think I could even be Queen because the King is more in charge or whatever. The only hitch was, I was a confirmed Catholic, so I’d have to get excommunicated. For Wills, I would have done it.
Alas, it seems it is not to be. I never did do that semester abroad at St. Andrews I fantasized about. (Fun fact: Jonathan Taylor Thomas also did a semester there.) Had I, perhaps it would be our engagement the Prince of Wales would be announcing. At least that’s how it went in my dreams. Instead, I’ll just have to be content waking up to watch his wedding at 3:00am.
Oh, and here is the “Prince William” section from my magazine collection:
timing \ˈtīm-iŋ\ n : the selecting of the best time or speed for doing something in order to achieve the desired or maximum result
It’s that time again: October baseball! Now, neither of my teams are still in it. The White Sox started slowly, had a strong mid-season, and petered out at the end. And the Mets…well, I told you guys Jerry Manuel sucks. But, I still love the Postseason. Okay, non-baseball fans, that’s all the sports talk you’ll have to endure. Because the real point is that I happen to be cat-sitting at my sister’s and I have the game on. But if I were at my house, I wouldn’t be able to watch it. Fox and Cablevision are fighting, and millions of people, including me, are the ones losing out. If my sister didn’t have Time Warner, I wouldn’t know that the Giants have a rookie named Buster Posey. Buster Posey! You’re welcome for that gem, fellow Cablevision customers.
Now, I don’t know if it’s a New York thing, or a digital cable thing, but, in my youth, I don’t ever remember channels being turned off because two rich companies were arguing over which company would get richer. And it’s certainly not a coincidence that this is happening now. Cablevision, you’re not fooling me. Fox is losing out on big ratings; why would they be cool with cutting off service unless you were trying to screw them over? And with the Rocky Horror Glee episode airing next week, Fox must really be hoping this is resolved. And pretty damn quickly. Cablevision also happened to get into a dispute with ABC right before the Ocsars were to air. Interesting, huh? ABC was suddenly missing from all of our TVs on the day of the Oscars, only to return to the air about 15 minutes into the ceremony. Of course, we had all made alternate viewing plans. My friends had to relocate a party they had been planning.
In fact, in the year I’ve been a Cablevision customer, there have been three (three!) interruptions of service. I’m sure the networks and channels’ parent companies are as much to blame in the situation, but all I have helping me judge is a condescending message that is read by a calming female voice whenever I turn on my TV. Well, you know what, Cablevision? I don’t care who’s to blame. All I care about is getting the services I pay (a lot) of money for. And I care that I wasn’t able to see my friend Rachel on her Food Network reality show when it began airing. You took Food Network from me?! How could you?! I had to watch it online. So let that be a warning to get your shit together, cable companies, because the Internet is reading this post right now, laughing it’s streaming-content ass off.
BTW, here’s Buster Posey:
anticipate \an-ˈti-sə-ˌpāt\ v : to expect; look forward to; be sure of
Guys! It’s Tuesday night! And that means Glee is back! I was so excited for this!!! Now, I did take notes during the episode, but I promise, I won’t just recap the entire episode. I know not all of you watch Glee (though you should), and some of you who do may not have watched yet. But based on my notes, here are a few observations (Careful, though, there may be things some people might consider spoilers.):
1. Rachel has new bangs. Methinks Lea Michele wanted to look prettier.
2. You can tell they make TV shows ahead of time. The “hit songs” they do are Empire State of Mind and Billionaire. Maybe it’s me, but I’m kind of over those songs. They better do my new jam, Fuck You, at some point. And no radio version. Just beep that shit out!
3. No specifics, but this episode is pretty racist, and it’s hilarious.
4. Sue was OUTSTANDING! Great quips and dog poop cookies!
5. I wish this Sue PSA had been part of the actual show.
6. The new lady (I use that term lightly) football coach reminds me of Miss Trunchbull from Matilda. Put Finn in the chokey!
7. Okay, here I am going to get specific. Someone introduces that they’re going to sing “Listen from the movie Dreamgirls.” Rachel makes a point of saying it was a Broadway show first. That may be true, Rachel, but the song Listen was written specifically for the movie, so it’s not an incorrect statement. Think.
8. Burlesque ad! Another thing I’m excited for!
9. Cheyenne Jackson!
10. The final musical number was what I had been waiting for since the season one finale in June. Thank you.
11. Oh, I thought I was done, but then they showed the preview for the Britney episode next week. It’s going to be epic. Another thing to look forward to!!! Thanks, Glee!
autumn \ˈȯ-təm\ n : the season between summer and winter; fall
It’s always best to be cautious when welcoming in a new season. Those first couple of weeks are dicey — you never know if it’s going to be t-shirt warm or jacket cold. In fact, I’m outside, and it went from one to the other as I sat here. But I’m not afraid to say it: I’m so glad it’s finally fall! In my rankings of the seasons, fall comes in at two, behind winter and ahead of spring, with summer bringing up the rear. Weather-wise, I think fall and spring might tie, but in activities and treats, fall takes the (pumpkin-flavored) cake.
Perhaps my favorite thing about the fall is Halloween. Oh man, do I love Halloween. I love getting dressed up. I’m totally going to be that mom who still wears a full costume to hand out candy. And if you’ve read this blog, you know my stance on Halloween candy — maybe this year, trick-or-treaters! I pride myself on never having repeated a costume (at least once I started choosing them myself), and can tell you what I’ve been every year since kindergarten. Some highlights: 3rd grade: The Statue of Liberty, 5th grade: a Stop Sign, 9th grade: Pippi Longstocking, 11th grade: a Newsie (duh), 12th grade: Daria, Soph year of college: Kelly Osbourne, last year: a Walk of Shame. I also have this (apparently annoying) habit of keeping my costumes a surprise. It’s not because I think they’re super amazing, but just because I think it’s fun for everyone to show up to work or school or wherever and all be surprised. So, I do have an idea of what I’m going to be this year, but I’m certainly not going to tell you!
I’m also a huge fan of all things food that come with fall. Pumpkin flavored everything. Apple cider, hot and cold. Thanksgiving-y and harvest-y foods. You know it’s fall when you walk into a Starbucks and see the Pumpkin Spice latte up on their specials board. I got one the other day! Not from Starbucks, but still… Food related activities are also super fun. When I was little, we always went apple picking every fall, an extremely country thing for our very suburban family to do. It was so much fun. And the pies that would be made! Oh, the pies! Two years ago, my mom, sisters, and little nieces came out in September, and we went apple picking. Well, they (and a zillion other relatives, including my dad and a nephew who hadn’t been born yet) are coming back in a few weeks, and apple picking is penciled in on the itinerary. Plus, there’s always the trip to the pumpkin patch! Now that I have a nephew in the city, Halloween is going to be even more fun!
As for fall entertainment, there’s obviously great TV to look forward to (as previously blogged about), and fall baseball! It’s one of the best times to go see a ball game (depending on how your team is doing). Hopefully my White Sox can “cinch it up, and hunker down” as Hawk Harrleson says, and end this season with a bang! The theatre season is also starting, and while many shows I’m excited for aren’t opening until 2011, there are some great shows opening this fall. Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, which I missed at The Public, is thankfully coming to Broadway. I’m also interested to see Elf and can’t wait for Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, obvi (Patti! Sherie! Laura!) And don’t forget movies. The one I’m absolutely salivating over is The Social Network. Oh, man. It. Looks. Epic. Not to mention Part 1 of HP and The Deathly Hallows. All in all, I think this fall is shaping up to be pretty shamzing!