Tags: big city hijinks

a life less ordinary, calcifer magic

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Right before going to New York this past weekend, [personal profile] cinaed happened to toss me a link to Emily Dickinson: Paranormal Investigator, a one-hour show that JUST HAPPENED to be running during the, like, 36 hours I was going to be in the city.

I was supposed to be meeting [personal profile] nextian for coffee during that part of the afternoon, so of course I immediately emailed her to ask if in addition to having coffee she would like to see Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allen Poe fight supernatural crime in a tiny black-box theater, and the rest was destiny.

Here is what you ought to know about Emily Dickinson: Paranormal Investigator:

- Emily Dickinson is, of course, a brisk, competent, no-nonsense, Sherlock Holmesian detective who happens to investigate the paranormal, and also write poetry
 - the Holmesian adventure sense of the play is furthered by its framing as a write-up by her Watson
 - it is also unfortunately furthered by such unfortunate Victorian plot devices as "I disappeared into Chinatown, where I learned all about the Japanese kitsune!" oh ..... really ...............
 - it's worth noting that aside from dispelling ghosts by reciting her own poetry, Emily Dickinson also makes at least two Sailor Moon references that I caught
 - PROBABLY THERE WERE MORE, I'm not a Sailor Moon expert
- anyway Helen Hunt Jackson is Emily Dickinson's gay, gay Watson
- Helen Hunt Jackson's parents were, of course, tragically killed in a GHOST POSSESSION incident
- in a later scene, Helen Hunt Jackson and Henry David Thoreau chug beer out of red solo cups while Henry David Thor-bro advises her on the best way to confess her love to her boss, Emily Dickinson
- Edgar Allen Poe is Emily Dickinson's estranged mentor
- he is a dick
- he spends most of his time chugging whiskey from a flask and/or fighting ghosts with brass knuckles (Emily: "They're not even iron!" Edgar Allen Poe: "But they're so satisfying! >:D")
- in most of his scenes he has a tiny plastic raven attached to his shoulder
- the Fox Sisters make an appearance
- they are spirit rappers
- so of course they have a rap number
- this was the one thing that happened in the entire show that did not take me 100% by surprise and I felt very pleased with myself about it
- the villain is evil Walt Whitman
- evil talentless hack Walt Whitman who is scheming to steal Edgar Allen Poe and/or Emily Dickinson's RAW SUPERNATURAL TALENT
- (it is their raw supernatural talent, you see, that allows some people to write such good poetry before their link with the supernatural overwhelms them and they inevitably lose all grip on reality)
- (unless you're Henry David Thor-bro, who is able to overcome this propensity with hard work and good clean living, as well as a lot of beer)
- evil talentless hack Walt Whitman, for the record, is a breeches role
- evil talentless hack Walt Whitman spends most of the show lurking around the edges of the stage in a floofy poet shirt and leather pants, scheming with demons and laughing maniacally
- halfway through the show, after one particularly maniacal speech, [personal profile] nextian leaned over to me and hissed 'I KEEP FORGETTING SHE'S SUPPOSED TO BE SEXY EVIL WALT WHITMAN???'
- I feel like that about sums it up
So. I mean. Is it worth ten dollars and an hour of your time? ABSOLUTELY it is, why would you EVEN ask me that, purchase your tickets IMMEDIATELY.</user></user> This entry is cross-posted at Livejournal from http://skygiants.dreamwidth.org/433659.html. Please feel free to comment here or there! There are currently comment count unavailable comments on Dreamwidth.
a life less ordinary, calcifer magic

(no subject)

All right, so, yes, AFTER SOME PEER PRESSURE FROM THE AUDIENCE AROUND HERE, [personal profile] obopolsk and I did ... in fact ... just get back from seeing Ethel Sings. ([personal profile] nextian: it was in the same place we saw 'Philosophy for Gangsters.' For the record. I'm sure you're shocked.)

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I mean, OK. The thing is. THE THING IS. I could often see what the playwright was getting towards. It was very well meant! I can understand why she wanted to connect the Rosenberg trial with incarceration-related injustices ongoing today! It would have been nice if it was more coherent, and I really do not think Goddess Muse Lorraine Hansberry was necessary for this, and admittedly for actual success I think it would probably have been necessary to cut out any and all references to Chicago. And also decide whether Ethel Rosenberg was a passionate martyr who died for her convictions, or an innocent housewife who didn't care about Communism and never did anything wrong to begin with, because, like ... that decision ... was not made ...

...but an attempt was made? An attempt was made. And I've just found out that ten percent of the ticket proceeds go to benefit The Rosenberg Fund for Children, and now I feel like a heel, so [personal profile] rymenhild, [personal profile] viorica, since you offered charitable donations to get me to the show, I direct your attention there.

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a life less ordinary, calcifer magic

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For the 29th, [personal profile] aquamirage asked me to write some feelings and thoughts of my choice about the great city of New York.

As Meredith knows all too well, I have a LOT of feelings and thoughts about the city of New York. Right now, New York City is home. That's not surprising; I've lived here for five years. Five years is long enough to not only know where all the neighborhoods are but really know a good chunk of them, long enough that if I ever moved away there would be at least two dozen places I needed to eat one last time, and long enough that when I get off the bus at 34th Street after being away for the weekend, I look at the grimy sidewalk and the hordes of people hurrying into the subway and think "wow, it feels good to be back!"

But, I mean, I didn't grow up in New York. I didn't even spend a lot of time here growing up. I came to New York with my parents as a kid, to see Broadway shows; when I was little, New York was theater and glamor. So that's part of it.

I spent a month at Columbia University for a summer program when I was in high school. I took creative writing classes, wrote bad poetry, paid for my own laundry, went to Battery Park on July 4th to see the fireworks, met my first boyfriend (well, second, but given that the first one lasted for three weeks, I feel okay not counting him). A year later, I spent three weeks interning for Asimov magazine in New York for my high school senior project. I took the spare bed in a family friend's apartment, took myself to the movies, and didn't worry about how much time I spent alone. New York was the first city in which I learned how to live by myself. So that's part of it, too.

I don't know -- what it boils down to, really, is that I've always known that I would live in New York, and I don't know why. I'm not particularly fast-paced or ambitious or in need of constant stimulation. There's no reason that the most overpriced, overblown, overdetermined city in the United States is the city that's always felt like home to me, but that's the way it is, folks. I love the hidden bits of history that New York never seems to value the way Boston and Philadelphia do; I love that every time you take a new route, you're bound to stumble over some weird store or piece of graffiti or bizarre performance art you've never seen before. I love the rats in the subway. (THEY ADD CHARACTER.) I love the incredibly dense mythology of the city, which encompasses the Newsies strike and 42nd Street and Mrs. Astor's Four Hundred and vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley and Harlem and Ellis Island and Riot Grrl and the 2nd Avenue Deli. I love Brooklyn, and I love Manhattan, and I'm even learning to properly appreciate Queens.

Someday -- maybe even someday soon, maybe even within the next year -- I may have to move away from New York, but I don't think the city's going to ever stop feeling like home, because in a weird way it always has felt like home.

New York is the only city I don't get lost in. I guess that about sums it up.

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a life less ordinary, calcifer magic

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The playbill that we read described this weekend's musical production of The Tempest in Central Park -- starring Norm Lewis, several gifted professional comedians and singers, 250 or so New Yorkers from various community performance ensembles, and three taxi drivers -- as being inspired by the idea of a "community masque" from 1916 called Caliban by the Yellow Sands, which in turn was inspired by courtly masques of the sixteenth century, which for those unfamiliar mostly involved lots of music, dancing and pageantry strung together by a plot. There was also a lot of very earnest language about theater INVOLVING THE COMMUNITY and people SEEING THEMSELVES REFLECTED ONSTAGE which I will admit moved my heart, because YES.

Anyway, [personal profile] genarti and [personal profile] littledust and I looked at this description, and then we looked at the list of community groups that had been invited to participate, and said, "This is going to be either AMAZING or COMPLETELY INCOHERENT . . . and where the hell are they going to fit in the Taxi Driver's Union?"

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I am so sorry that the show only lasted a weekend and so most of you will never get a chance to see it. But I so, so hope that they do as they implied they would and put on more shows like this one, which could have been totally incoherent and instead somehow came together in a glorious explosion of pageantry and joy and celebration of this city that I love and the people who live in it. Sometimes there is actually nothing better than two hundred people having the TIME OF THEIR LIVES onstage getting to showcase all the stuff they do awesomely well.

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a life less ordinary, calcifer magic

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So yesterday there was an earthquake apparently! EXCITING. I noticed absolutely nothing. My roommates promptly decided this was because I can't tell the difference between normal failing-to-keep-my-balance and earthquake-prompted-failing-to-keep-my-balance, which may well be absolutely true for all I know.

Much more actually exciting than the earthquake: yesterday innerbrat and I went to go see the BROADWAY-STYLE KOREAN MUSICAL Hero at Lincoln Center about legendary Korean freedom fighter An Chunggun ! Debi has done an amazing and detailed write-up which you should all go read. I will only tell you that the production began with a bunch of REVOLUTIONARIES dramatically cutting off their index fingers as a sign of their DEVOTION TO THE CAUSE (which is what lets you know it will be epic!) and included, among other things tailored to our interests:

- a ragtag group of bantery revolutionary misfits
- numerous amazing dance-fight-chase-sequences
- an intensely dedicated policeman in a black-and-red leather jacket and slicked-back pompadour of EVIL singing the Korean equivalent of "Stars"
- a scene in which a brusque and antisocial sniper finds himself, to his own horror, dancing about the power of his FEELINGS
- a courtesan spy assassin! who spends every single one of her songs singing about her love for her tragically dead Empress! (I am pretty sure they put that subplot in just for us)

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a life less ordinary, calcifer magic

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The other day, obopolsk and I, having failed in our attempt to land Shakespeare in the Park tickets, decided to expand our outdoor Shakespeare horizons and go check out New York Classical Theater's Henry V in Battery Park. Going in we knew nothing except that at some point the company planned to herd us all onto a ferry to Governor's Island, and . . . not gonna lie, in 90-some-degree heat, a free boat trip sounded really nice.

It turned out to be one of those productions that runs you around after the actors as they do their scenes in different places, which - it was fun! It was really fun! It was also pretty much what obopolsk ended up describing as the "Henry V Greatest Hits Exercise Video."

Parts of Henry V that were not, as far as we could tell, included anywhere in this production:
- the Chorus
- any mention of Falstaff
- the entire subplot about the assassination plot on Henry
- the scene with the French princess and her maid
- actually, any female characters at all except the French princess at the very end
- the subplot where Henry disguises himself to hang out with the troops and gets in a fight

Parts of Henry V that were in fact included in this production, some of which may not have been part of the original play:
- all of Henry's famous speeches, occasionally divorced of context
- every scene in which anyone could possibly find an excuse to speak in an outrrrrageous French accent
- every scene involving Comedy Welsh Nationalism
- the scene where the angry soldier with the glove comes looking for the soldier who got in a fight with him, who was actually the disguised Henry - somewhat inexplicably, since the entire rest of that subplot is no longer included
- a number of helpful speeches exhorting us, the audience, to disembark and set forth upon the shores of France upon this bold and noble enterprise IN A POLITE AND ORDERLY FASHION and with fierce mettle upon our countenance etc. etc.

In short, the entire experience was hugely entertaining and felt quite a lot like being in the middle of a Monty Python skit.

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a life less ordinary, calcifer magic

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New Yorkers! It is that time again - if you like a.) one-dollar-priced books and CDs and b.) basking in the knowledge that by self-indulgently shopping you are supporting an important service organization and doing a virtuous thing, it may be worth your while to check out the Housing Works Open Air Street Fair on Crosby Street tomorrow. I'll be there staffing all morning, so if you drop by come say hi!
a life less ordinary, calcifer magic

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Yesterday I spent my morning seeing Pirates 4 and my afternoon seeing Arcadia on Broadway, which did leave me somewhat worried that I was going to walk away with a case of cultural whiplash. It was however a highly enjoyable day and I have no complaints! I mean aside from the complaint I guess that Pirates 4 is not a good movie, but it was nonetheless a surprisingly enjoyable one.

Before I talk about that though let me quickly Collapse )


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a life less ordinary, calcifer magic

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As I mentioned before, recently a bunch of us went to see Nixon in China!

gramarye, who knows the most about the history and politics, and sandrylene, who knows the most about the music, have already written up excellent reviews, and before you go any further you should read them:
Shannon the historian's review
Sandry the music major's review

But now that they have done that, I thought I might as well offer up my layman's-eye summary of the proceedings!

The short version: the experience was certainly interesting, but I think my main feelings throughout the show were a.) confusion and b.) GIANT CONTACT EMBARRASSMENT.

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