Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Shows and Musicals 2012

                I’m slowly working on my travel blog, but in the meantime, here’s a bare bones ranking of the shows and musicals I saw in 2012.  All in all, I saw 59 plays and musicals and 3 movies.  Here’s the rankings:
Plays, Musicals, and Performances:
1.) 4,000 Miles
2.) Hurt Village
3.) 3C
4.) One Man, Two Guvnors
5.) Wit
6.) The Big Meal
7.) Tribes
8.) Russian Transport
9.) Death of a Salesman
10.) Traces
11.) Cock
12.) A Calvacade of Coward
13.) Newsies
14.) My Children! My Africa!
15.) Once
16.) Assistance
17.) A Midsummer Night’s Dream
18.) The Real Inspector Hound
19.) Anything Goes
20.) Clybourne Park
21.) Richard III
22.) Rx
23.) The Road to Mecca
24.) Gob Squad’s Kitchen
25.) Rapture, Blister, Burn
26.) Porgy and Bess
27.) Damn Yankees
28.) The Fall to Earth
29.) End of the Rainbow
30.) Poetic License
31.) Follies
32.) Peter and the Starcatcher
33.) Blood and Gifts
34.) If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet
35.) Lonely, I’m not
36.) Gore Vidal’s The Best Man
37.) Jesus Christ Superstar
38.) War Horse
39.) Harvey
40.) Carrie
41.) The Mountaintop
42.) Regrets
43.) Look Back in Anger
44.) Judith of Bethulia
45.) Gatz
46.) Man and Superman
47.) The Lyons
48.) As You Like It
49.) Jersey Boys
50.) Don’t Dress for Dinner
51.) Blood Knot
52.) Across the Platform
53.) The Train Driver
54.) In Masks Outrageous and Austere
55.) Nice Work if You Can Get it
56.) The Hunchback Variations
57.) The Lady from Dubuque
58.) Medieval Play
59.) Title and Deed

Films: All of these films were sub-par
1.) Ruby Sparks
2.) Keep the Lights On
3.) Magic Mike

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Shows and Musicals: 2011

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged but I’m starting back up again.  This is primarily because I’m going on an awesome, globe-trotting vacation and partially work-related trip over the next three and a half months and I want to document it.  It starts today, and details will follow in a subsequent post, but in the spirit of documentation, I wanted to first return to my yearly feature on the shows and musicals I’ve seen.  This is for 2011 and is about 8 months late, so it will be a bit bare bones… a short list of all the shows I saw in 2011 (there were 69 of them) and the films I saw in 2011 (there were 6 of them) in the order that I liked them.  If a show was seen more than once during the year the total number of viewings is indicated in parenthesis.
Shows and Musicals 2011:

1.) The Book of Mormon (2)
2.) The School for Lies (2)
3.) Good People
4.) How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (3)
5.) Sons of the Prophet
6.) Venus in Fur
7.) Anything Goes (3)
8.) Asuncion
9.) Godspell
10.) Other Desert Cities
11.) Herman Kline’s Mid-life Crisis
12.) War Horse
13.) The Submission
14.) The Importance of Being Earnest
15.) Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
16.) Lysistrata Jones
17.) Driving Miss Daisy
18.) The Divine Sister
19.) Unnatural Acts
20.) Horse Dreams
21.) Sister Act (2)
22.) The Normal Heart
23.) Born Yesterday
24.) Follies
25.) Arcadia
26.) All’s Well that Ends Well
27.) Master Class
28.) Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
29.) Seminar
30.) Mary Poppins
31.) Completeness
32.) Ka
33.) Million Dollar Quartet
34.) Molora
35.) Chinglish
36.) Temporal Powers
37.) The Shagg’s Philosophy of the World
38.) Spiderman: Turn off the Dark
39.) The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to…
40.) The People in the Picture
41.) Measure for Measure
42.) Milk Like Sugar
43.) Death Takes a Holiday (2)
44.) The Bus
45.) The Mother Fucker With the Hat
46.) The Dream of the Burning Boy
47.) The House of Blue Leaves
48.) Catch Me if You Can
49.) Queen of the Mist
50.) The Phantom of the Opera
51.) The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore
52.) Man and Boy
53.) The New York Idea
54.) Suicide, Incorporated
55.) A Free Man of Color
56.) The Illusion
57.) The Road to Qatar
58.) The Select (The Sun Also Rises)
59.) Olive and the Bitter Herbs
60.) Jerusalem
61.) Ghetto Klown
Films  in 2011:
1.) The King’s Speech
2.) Blue Valentine
3.) Magic Trip
4.) Tin Tin
5.) I Love You Philip Morris
6.) Contagion

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cycles or 2010: Shows and Movies

I was reading some of the old posts on my blog and I realized two things: First, life is cyclical. It can be hard to piece it all together but I've got it mostly figured. For instance, every once in a while I get a haircut that is way shorter than I intended.

The second thing I learnt is that their is a spell check for blog pots, which eye will try and use more oftener.

Finally, in the spirit of this post, I wanted to again rank the movies, plays and musicals I saw this past year. The majority are no longer out, but there were some really good ones. The color key is the same as last year:

1.) La Cage aux Folles
2.) Clybourne Park
3.) Fellowship!

4.) Brief Encounter
5.) Angels in America: Perestroika
6.) Angels in America: Millennium Approaches

7.) The Merry Wives of Windsor
8.) The Orphan’s Home Cycle: Part I

9.) The Orphan’s Home Cycle: Part III
10.) The Orphan’s Home Cycle: Part II

11.) The Glass Menagerie
12.) The Divine Sister
13.) The Aliens
14.) The Burnt Part Boys

15.) If it only even Runs a Minute IV

16.) Finian’s Rainbow

17.) South Pacific

18.) Lombardi
19.) Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

20.) The Scottsboro Boys
21.) The Merchant of Venice
22.) The Creditors
23.) Lend Me a Tenor
24.) Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake

25.) Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
26.) A Little Night Music

27.) The Pitmen Painters

28.) Promises, Promises
29.) Everyday Rapture
30.) Dr. Knock or the Triumph of Medicine
31.) American Idiot

32.) Wicked (in San Francisco)
33.) Memphis
34.) The Kid

35.) The Pride

36.) Mrs. Warren’s Profession
37.) Happy Now
38.) Present Laughter

39.) Frog Kiss
40.) La Bete
41.) The History of War
42.) The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity
43.) Rock of Ages
44.) The Sneeze
45.) In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play
46.) The Picture of Dorian Gray

Wow! I saw 46 shows in 2010. Movies follow. These are only the movies I saw in theaters, and since there are so few of them, I'll include some thoughts.

1.) True Grit: I really loved the little girl!
2.) The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus: Andrew Garfield is very handsome!
3.) Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: I loved Kieran Culkin's character!
4.) I Killed My Mother: Technically, I couldn't understand this movie. I saw it in Greece. It was in Quebecoise French with Greek subtitles. I really enjoyed it though!
5.) The Secret of Kells: Let's just say that this movie doesn't portray Scandinavians in the best light.
6.) Inception
7.) The Kids Are All Right
8.) The End of Poverty?
9.) Tron: Legacy

10.) Up in the Air
: This sucked! I hated it bad!

Monday, January 17, 2011

On Boston and Asians

It's pretty much undisputed that San Francisco is better than Boston. It has better weather, for instance, and it also has a better ballet company. If you still aren't convinced, consider San Francisco even has wild parrots. Boston, on the other hand, doesn't; it only has a lot of funny sounding Red Sox fans and also the Cheers bar. But despite its ratings success, Cheers was a mediocre television show. And whatever mistakes the Olsen twins have made in their lives, they were adorable toddlers.

San Francisco is simply more diverse... less than half of its residents are white. In Boston the number of white residents rises to 'more than half.' As part of this diversity, San Francisco also has something called Asians, a group of people virtually unheard of in Boston. Now that I'm done trashing Boston, which I loathe, I'll segway into a discussion on Asians.

In the Inner Richmond, we used to live down the street from an Asian dessert place. It served waffles and ice cream with lots of fruit. One time I went there but without my Asian friends. My Indian mother and black Uncle and I awkwardly ordered waffles whilst the late-night, all Chinese high school student clientelle stared us down.

Then there was my friend Mavis. Mavis was one of my first really good 'adult' friends. By adult, I mean that she's not in her twenties. I have to clarify because I know a lot of readers have gutter minds. I met Mavis when I started work at my college cafeteria during the Spring of my freshman year. Ever since she's done whatever she could to help me out. When I needed a place to stay while doing Summer research she found it for me. She always hooked me up with t-shirts and sweatshirts and jackets from the Chinese New Year parade. I always received a lot of lucky money from her.

Mavis recently bought a house near SF State University. The house was condemned and was completely unlivable at the time of purchase. In the photos her husband showed me the entire front of the house was boarded up, the walls had a lot of graffiti, the bathroom was yellow and moldy and there were fraying electrical wires everywhere. Therefore, they bought it for the bargain price of $400,000. Anyway, I really miss her.

In conclusion, Boston sucks.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Getting to Argonne

This story, like most great literature, begins on a Monday. (true, it's not always obvious which day some works start on, but Anna Karenina probably starts on a Monday, because that's when the most trains run, and the Scarlet Letter surely does, what with Monday being the traditional day for public shamings)*.

I took the M60 to LaGuardia (which, you may recall is also how Portrait of a Lady begins)**; I was flying on Delta Airlines, so I got off at the Delta terminal... but the Delta Shuttle, which flies from Laguardia to D.C., Chicago, and Boston, leaves from a separate terminal, the Marine Air Terminal. Laguardia doesn't have any of these newfangled Airtrans, so I had to pretty much hitchhike between terminals. No problem. An enterprise car rental shuttle was driving by, and I hitched a ride. So far so good.

According to wikipedia, the Marine Air Terminal 'remains the only active airport terminal dating from the first generation of passenger travel in the United States'. Most readers have probably been to buildings built in the 70s or 80s that were made to look ultra modern. The Marine Air Terminal was clearly designed to look modern in the 30s, and it's still in use today! The effect is bizarre, like being in a sloppily done period piece.

There was only one line to go through security and it had about ten people in it. The woman whose job it was to look at people's ID's and make some marks on their tickets kept admonishing those of us waiting not to cut in line, and at one point called the security over to keep a closer eye on everyone. Later, I walked through the metal detector and my bags headed through the x-ray machine. To save my adviser on meal reimbursements, I had brought some peanut butter and bread. The airport staff confiscated the peanut butter; They said it was a gel. I was annoyed, but in their defense, terrorists are well known to love peanut butter. The security guard very visibly threw it into the trash. I think he didn't want me to think he was going to eat it later, but I wasn't convinced. Frankly, he looked like a peanut butter thief.

So now I had a loaf and a half of bread, but no peanut butter. In a classic 'lemons out of lemonade' situation, I used my available resources to get back at TSA for their stupid regulations. That is, I decided to take out my bread and start eating it plain. The airports hate this because it makes their classy airport waiting area seem more like a bus terminal.***

Wait! I can't lie to you readers. In honesty, I ate the bread because I was starving and $10 seemed too much for an unappetizing veggie wrap. And it's worse... I ate it two pieces at a time so that people would think I was just eating a sandwich, which is still socially acceptable airport behavior. I wish I hadn't, though.

So then I waited. The waiting area for my flight was originally designed to be a hallway. All the seats were in one, very long row. After an hour had passed since the scheduled boarding time and absolutely no announcement had been made, I realized the seating arrangement was probably designed to keep passengers from rising up as one and storming the airplane in frustration.

Finally we got on the plane and then onto the tarmac. We mostly just sat there, but every forty five minutes the captain would tell us to buckle our seatbelts so we could take off. Everyone would murmur excitedly. Shortly thereafter, we would be told that air traffic control had again closed air space heading west. After three hours of this we headed back to the gate; Our flight was canceled. I was tempted to check in the trash on the way out... maybe my peanut butter was still there? I refrained.

I went home, went to bed and awoke early for my rescheduled flight. A lot of the previous days passengers had been rescheduled for the same 9am flight, so it was basically a reunion. So I had to greet and smile at the people I had chatted up the day before, even though I would have been far happier to never have seen them again.

A favorite past time of gays is to try and find all the other gay people in a public place. Some, like male flight attendants**** and Lindsey Graham, are pretty easy to spot, but others, like Chief Justice Roberts, blend in. Anyways, there were two gentlemen differing by about ten years in age, sitting in the waiting area, who I definitely had my suspicions about. These were confirmed when I ended up sitting directly behind them on the plane. They spent the whole flight wrestling with/shoving each other playfully. This is what my mom would call 'horsing around' and it's pretty annoying if you're the guy who constantly has the seat in front of him shoved into the book he's trying to read.

Speaking of male flight attendants, at the end of the flight, ours came back to talk about gay neighborhoods in Chicago with these two guys. I was so annoyed, because I wanted to talk gay with some one and instead this guy was talking to these jerks who had disturbed my whole flight. A constant frustration for me is that I'm not really picked up on anyone's gaydar. I guess everyone sometimes wishes they had a t-shirt to express how they often feel; Mine would say: "I'm gay, too", or maybe in this specific instance, "Why do flight attendants talk to jerks when I'm gay too?"

From the Chicago Airport, I got to my beamline without much difficulty. Later in the afternoon, I called my collaborator from Penn State (whose flight had arrived 4 hours after mine) to give her a phone number to call a taxi. She didn't have a pen so she couldn't write it down. There's no reception at the beamline so I didn't call her again for several hours, at which time I found out that she had tried to take public transportation to Argonne and gotten lost in downtown Chicago. At that time she was walking toward Argonne from a bus stop a couple miles away. I asked her if I should try and walk and meet her, but she said no. Soon thereafter she got picked up by a random guy in a car, who luckily turned out to be a beamline scientist. He told her she had been walking in the wrong direction and brought her safely to the gate. It made me feel better that I wasn't the only one who had trouble.

Anyways, I think there are a few lessons in all of this. First, Argonne's hard to get to, but you must try if you want the best x-ray data the US has to offer. Second, it isn't so bad to be miserable if your collaborators are as well. And finally, if you ever have to choose between a flight and peanut butter, choose the latter... it's more reliable.

*I've been practicing writing paragraphs that are mostly just parenthesis. If you like then give it a shout out.

** If you've never read it you don't know if this is true or not.

***Sure, it was whole wheat bread; Wonder bread would have been more effective. But the bread did have high fructose corn syrup in it.

****I once sat next to a woman on a plane who got free flights because her son was a flight attendant. During the course of our conversation she casually mentioned her son's wife... I was really surprised/confused, which my facial expression clearly showed, but luckily she was looking the other way at the time.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

First Kiss

I took off Wednesday the week before I left for scattering school so as to hang with my friend T P the M, who was visiting from Hawaii. We went to the top of the Empire state building and then we saw Memphis on Broadway. Afterward we spent several hours in my apartment, trapped by rain. (as a native Oregonian, I'm a little ashamed to admit this)

Since I hadn't seen her in over three years, I replied in the affirmative when she invited me out again on Thursday night, this time to a Hooka bar. This was despite my extreme busyness, the late hour of the invitation (11 pm), and the high probability that the bar would be straight (gay specialty bars usually involve either leather or a piano/show tunes. Even New York doesn't have a gay/hooka loving demographic large enough to sustain a bar).

I only go to a bar about once every two months or so and I almost never go to straight bars. I immediately noticed some differences. For example, I was the only male in the bar who wasn't wearing a collared shirt. I'd like to insert a comment about how this demonstrates the straight world's deficient fashion sense... but I don't think my own fashion sense is at the level necessary to avoid the inevitable mean spirited remarks that would ensue in the comment section. Also, the music was extremely loud. Every once in awhile the DJ would turn it off so that patrons could fill in the words to the song. At these times every person was shouting along at the top of their lungs, but it still was quite peaceful by comparison. I was a little confused by this difference at first, but then I determined it's probably because it's difficult to 'feel the beat' to songs like 'My Favorite Things' from the Sound of Music. Other notable differences included how aggressive some of the guys were (which I guess is because women aren't as 'easy' as gay men, although I've never been able to take advantage of this myself) and the presence of female bartenders (hopefully self explanatory).

In fairness, I think I should probably get to the most notable difference of the evening, the difference whose brief mention in the blog title has kept you reading this far. Yes, I had my first straight kiss at the hooka bar. For those who don't know, it was about like you'd imagine, although with an unusual amount of smoke passing from her mouth to mine. I took it in turn, anyways. Who am I to judge straight customs. Gay culture has been around since the Greeks, and thus has reached a certain level of refinement. Although straight people themselves have been around for quite awhile, their culture didn't start to develop in any meaningful way until the 1930s, mostly as a backlash to Grant Wood's 'American Gothic'.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Speaking of Transgenders...

I love to tell my family how diverse my friends are. They love to make fun of me about it, probably because they're small minded. :) They may not believe it, but there are types of people I'm not friends with. The two most prominent have always been transgenders and Jews*.

Last year after pride I complained to my friend LT that I didn't know any transgendered individuals. Characteristically, she ignored me and went on and on about her boring problems. :)

Ever since I started volunteering at the GLBT soup kitchen, I've met lots of transgenders. They're probably a third of the population there. Last night, after dinner and while the nightly life skills session was winding down, a young trans woman named Trisha made a statement about a recent murder (in Brooklyn, I think) of Amanda Gonzalez, also transgendered. She was encouraging everyone to make sure they had a buddy system to keep themselves safe. Trisha has a funny way of stating things**. She said something like "Remember when it used to be that even if you were gay you were in danger, and now everybody's after the trans." What she meant, I think, was that she used to live in a place (South Carolina) where it wasn't safe to be gay, and now she lives in New York, where it's relatively safe to be gay but still not safe to be trans. But she phrased it as if it were the times that had changed rather than her geographic location.

At the opposite end of the circle there was a young man who raised his hand to respond to her. He said that trans women bring violence upon themselves by not disclosing that they're trans to the straight men they're dating. Remember that a third of this circle was trans. The volunteer who was leading the discussion was trans. So his comment didn't go over well at all. In retrospect, the discussion should have stopped immediately but the group leader didn't want to let a comment like that stand. So instead we went around the circle to let everyone have input. Each commenter was louder than the next and the overall tenor of the conversation was progressing toward chaos. Some of the trans women started talking about how the straight men they date don't mind the fact that they're trans. The same young man who instigated the debate said "then they're not straight." And later he also said something like "you can't change who you are."

By the end of it all, half the room was standing up and the discussion leader and the debate instigator were yelling at each other across the room while they were both being held back by four or five people. Before it could come to blows people were luckily able to lead the young man outside.

After, one of the brand new attendees asked me if I volunteered every week. I told her yes and that it doesn't usually get so loud and violent. She said that she was definitely coming back because "that was so exciting."

Anyways, I still have conflicted feelings about transgendered individuals. For the most part I'm very supportive, because they have always been on the front lines of the LGBT civil rights movement. But sometimes I wonder how many of them want to be trans so they don't have to be gay. I think it's at least some, although probably a very small group. And I don't think you should ever blame a murder victim for the murder.

*I do have a Jewish friend now. She writes the last blog on my blog roll, about taking care of her dad, who has Alzheimer's. It's much more entertaining than Francpotatoll. Her most recent funny dad quote: "I suppose, if everyone were satisfied, there wouldn't be much Italian at all, just music, music, music." It's kind of a sad blog though.

**Because this is a family blog, I won't go too in depth into some of Trisha's comments during the group discussion on STDs. Basically, she kept asking if certain things were normal about the men she had been with or signs of an STD. Most of them should have been obviously abnormal and some of them involved copious amounts of blood. It was really a struggle not to laugh at the time, which I guess means I'm pretty immature.