line \ˈlīn\ n : a number of persons standing one behind the other and waiting their turns at or for something; queue.

I’ve heard this question many times in my life: “You waited how long?” Followed by the inevitable: “Was it worth it?” And honestly, I don’t know that I’ve ever answered that question in the negative. I’ve waited for many an hour on many a line for my pop culture, and it’s totally worth it.

Most recently, I probably waited the longest I ever have on line, outside even, for Standing Room Only tickets to The Book of Mormon. Yes, not only did Emily and I wait eleven hours for tickets to a show we’d already seen, but the tickets we were waiting for entitled us to stand in the back of the theatre for the duration. No seats, no backrest. Just our feet and the seat-backs in front of us to lean on. And it was 100%, no doubt about it, worth it. I obviously knew the show would be worth it. But the wait itself was part of the fun:

Waiting on line is just like going on a roadtrip. Sure, it gets a little uncomfortable, sometimes boring, and long. But just like a roadtrip, you have to be prepared. Bring activities! Dress appropriately! Start sing-alongs! (You’d think this wouldn’t go over well, but since most of my line-waiting is music related, no one usually throws things at me.) And bring good company. Of course, if you go by yourself, make friends! When you’re waiting on line for something, all the other people on that line want it just as badly as you. They’re your people! Some of them are going to be weirdos, obviously, (I mean, I’m a weirdo), but some of them are going to be awesome. And even if you never talk to them again, you will always have this line.

I’ve waited on line for Broadway shows (obvi), signings (BBMak, Carol Channing, Patti LuPone), comedy shows (UCB), drag queens (Drag Race), midnight movie releases (HP), concerts (Adam Lambert), rollercoasters (Kingda Ka), after parties (*NSYNC), and screenings (HP), among other things. I even waited in line for a Harry Potter book release and wasn’t even buying the book. (I’m a fancypants and ordered the UK publications from Amazon.) So, if you’d rather take a plane somewhere or pay for the luxury of a seat, I’ll meet you on the other side. And while I’m waiting for you, I’ll pass the time with a good round of “Going on a Picnic.”

providence \ˈprä-və-dən(t)s, -ˌden(t)s\ n : the foreseeing care and guidance of god or nature over the creatures of the earth

This weekend, my improv group, Dumpster Tequila, went on a road trip. And I have to say, it was just magical. In improv, there’s a thing called “group mind,” which is when everyone in the group is so linked in their collective consciousness, they instinctively know what moves the others are going to make. Well, it’s like Providence and Dumpster Tequila had developed some sort of group mind. We knew where to go, and it knew where to take us.

After enjoying a delicious breakfast in NYC, we hopped on the bus to Providence (after the Aaron Carter dance party in line, of course). Many rounds of Scrabble and road trip games ensued, and of course we got yelled at for being too loud. Sorry ‘bout it. Anyway, it quickly came to my attention that, though I was the one who brought it up in the planning of the trip, I hadn’t brought my bathing suit, while mostly everyone else had. You guys, I love swimming. I was devastated. But wouldn’t you know it, there was a mall within walking distance of our hotel (Providence!).

Everyone knows bathing suit shopping sucks balls. And this was no exception. There was barely anything for me to try on. At the second store I went to, I was about to settle for an ugly, too-expensive mom bathing suit, when I saw it. Right by the register, shining like a blue beacon. An adorable suit in my size that was ten dollars cheaper. After a quick trip to the dressing room, where it obviously fit, I bought it, only to find out it was on sale (Providence!).

After a delicious dinner in a fun bar with a weirdo painting of dead musical legends in a Last Supper-like pose (a smiling Kurt Cobain next to John Lennon with Biggie standing nearby), we took our swim. Later that night, we had a great show, but little did we know, the best was yet to come. As we came out of the beautiful theatre, we heard music. Not just any music, but…a marching band? Sure enough, we rounded the corner and saw a huge group of people spilling into the street being lead by a brass band. We quickly followed them into a park and were treated to an amazing impromptu encore by a band (we later found out) called What Cheer? Brigade. We stuck around dancing (though not as joyously as the band’s fans) until the cops came. It was maybe one of the coolest things I’ve been a part of (Providence!).

Sunday, after a delicious brunch, we stumbled upon an amazing art project done by a group called Tape Art for the 375th anniversary of the city. They are making a mural inside an outdoor ice rink out of tape and plywood. We took lots of pictures and talked to the artists. They work on their pieces for weeks, but once complete, they’re only up for twenty-four hours. This will be done tomorrow and gone by Thursday. How lucky we got to see it (Providence!).

And after walking around seeing all the old houses, Brown University (No, Emma Watson doesn’t go there anymore), and the State House, our perfect road trip had to come to a perfect end. And even the most perfect road trip isn’t without its setbacks. Our three and a half hour bus trip home? It took five and a half hours. Thanks, Providence!

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.

harmony \ˈhär-mə-nē\ n : a consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts; congruity

Hey y’all. I’m back. Sorry about the laziness. Oprah’s trying to help me through it, but I’m really stubborn.

Anyway, there has been a lot of crazy pop culture happening lately: the Super Bowl and all it included (hang in there, Xtina!), blizzards, Ricky Gervais at the Globes, etc. But tonight, I want to talk about two of my favorite things, which have come together so perfectly I couldn’t be a happier hag. Of course, those two things are ANTM and RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Now, I was super super excited for Drag Race to be back. It’s hard to put into words how much I love that show. And imagine my surprise and delight, when watching the casting special, I realized that one of the contestants is none other than Sutan (Drag name: Raja), the make-up artist from Top Model! And Adam Lambert was in her audition video! Fabulous! Sutan had appeared as Raja on Top Model at least once before, maybe twice. And it was clear in that first episode she was going to do Tyra proud.

What a better way to learn how to be a great drag queen than from ANTM? Take a look at cycle 14, where Tyra herself wore nothing but jumpsuits. No seriously, take a look. They’re all on this Web site. Tell me she doesn’t look like a drag queen in half of those pictures. And her tuck isn’t even that good. Not to mention all the drag queen-esque contestants, including Jaeda (Remember her? Awful) and one winner: Jaslene “Cha-cha Diva.”

Here’s the best part of the whole thing: if (when) Raja wins, she’ll be far more present in entertainment than any of the Top Models. I’m not saying they’re not successful, but with the exception of “Top Models in Action,” have you ever seen one of their CoverGirl commercials? And remember when they started doing the double covers of Seventeen? The ANTM winner on one side and Selena Gomez or whoever on the other. But I see info on shows past drag racers are doing all the time. And the Absolut ads are on Logo continuously. Why doesn’t the CW run the models CG ads like that? Who knows.

Maybe Cycle 16 (Yes. 16!), starting February 23rd, will finally give us a “Top Model,” who can lend her pretty face to some actor’s love life and political causes. Plus shoot a Disney TV movie (Life Size, anyone?). And maybe Cycle 16 will bring one last Raja appearance before she got too big even for Tyra.

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:

conflicted \kən-ˈflik-təd\ adj : to come into collision or disagreement; be contradictory, at variance, or in opposition; clash

Britney Spears and I have a complicated relationship. (Of course, it’s probably safe to say Britney has a complicated relationship with most people.) It’s always been that way. Part of me loves her, but part of me really, really hates her. Britney rose to fame when I was a sophomore in high school. That was before I admitted I liked dance pop for some stupid reason. I had some idea that I was better than everyone (shocking, right?!), and dance pop was below me. I was a jackass. It wasn’t until my friend Heather opened my eyes to the amazingness of *NSYNC the Halloween of ‘99 that I truly realized how much I loved a great beat, catchy melody, and singable lyrics.

At first, my main issue with Britney wasn’t the quality of her music (though at the time I clearly thought it was lacking). I really objected to two things, one I still firmly believe and one I’m still on the fence about. Both of these things I addressed in a letter to my high school’s newspaper, The Prospector. How I wish I had that issue with me. I mean, I do still have that issue; I obviously kept it. It’s just back at home with the rest of my keepsakes. I felt compelled to get on my high horse and respond to an article about Ms. Spears (how I referred to her in the letter), which I believe was about her performance at the 2000 VMAs. You know which one I’m talking about. My two points of contention were her lip-syncing and the inappropriate strip tease she performed.

As to the latter, I’m still conflicted on this issue. I do think it’s stupid for any performer to give the “I’m not trying to be a role model” speech because you should always be held responsible for your actions, whether you’re Britney Spears on national television or me at Maggie’s Christmas party last year (sorry I slapped so many people!). But I also feel it’s up to the parents to be aware of what their kids are listening to and watching. They also need to take responsibility. And perhaps use the Miley Cyrus pole dancing incident as a “teachable moment,” as Oprah calls it.

I’m still as stubborn as my teenage self, however, on the issue of lip-syncing. It’s not cool. It’s never appropriate. I don’t care who you are or what venue you’re performing in. If you bill yourself as a singer, if you release CDs on which your vocals are heard, you should be singing live. Yes, I know Britney’s a dancer, but so’s Beyonce, y’all! Her crazy dad made Destiny’s Child go running while they sang to build up breath control. That is what I’m talking about. Britney does occasionally sing, but it’s usually labored and strained. And she used to be able to. If only she’d put the same amount of effort into building up her vocal talent as she did building up her image, think what a strong singer she’d be.

There’s one thing I’m not confused about: she’s entertaining. Whether it was watching her fall apart (Schadenfreude! Thanks for helping me spell that, Avenue Q!), watching her first attempt at a comeback (more schadenfreude), or just jamming out at my desk to Stronger today, I am entertained by her. Her bad songs are just as entertaining as the good ones. Stronger is amazing and Lucky is ridiculous, but they’re both on my iPod. It’s also really fun to imitate her. And even her acting in Crossroads wasn’t terrible, though the movie was (Side note — did you know Shonda Rhimes wrote that? The creator of Grey’s Anatomy?! Weird, right?) So, I haven’t watched Glee yet, but I know I’ll enjoy it because if her cameo is terrible, I’ll laugh, and if it’s great, I’ll enjoy!

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!