Sunday, July 31, 2016

I saw “Fun Home”

What I saw: “Fun Home,” a musical based on the graphic novel/memoir by Alison Bechdel, at the Circle in the Square Theater,  a “Broadway” theatre in midtown Manhattan at 235 West 50th Street in the Paramount Plaza building.

What I wore: favorite jeans (slightly dirty) that now have three snags on the left thigh from Schwartz sharpening his claws on me when I go to the bathroom,  limited edition Swash Puma sneakers with short black socks, white Lululemon tank top, collarless white linen Garnet Hill tunic-length blouse that I love despite it having no pockets (and it would be so much better with pockets) that I trot out once a year for a beach vacation or hot summer night which I realized as I put it on and noticed a very old rust stain on the cuff that is from 1997 because it was a gift from my mother-in-law when I was pregnant with my youngest who turned 19 recently.

What I did beforehand: got coffee and showed my friend and her girlfriend the view from our apartment.

Who went with me: a friend who goes back to 1997, her girlfriend, and my oldest child, a.k.a., The Graduate.

How I got tickets: online, full price, when I heard the show was closing at the end of summer.

Why I saw this show: my friend was what we call “straight” from 1997 until fairly recently, when she had an epiphany that she was “fishing from the wrong pond.” We are very happy to see her so happy, and we like her girlfriend, and after we saw another play together I mentioned this play, without saying, “Oh, you know, the lesbian coming-of-age musical?” and neither of them had heard of it. So I thought they needed to see it, and I actually asked them not to read about it and they didn’t. So I got to surprise my lesbian friends with a really great coming-of-age lesbian musical.

Where I sat: Row B, seat 237, behind a woman with short hair who checked in on Facebook beforehand, and her daughter with short hair who did a lot of hugging when it was over. 

Things that were sad: while there are funny moments in the story, there are a lot of sad things, too.

Things that were funny: probably the funniest scene is the kids playing in the Fun Home.

Things that were not funny: it closes September 10. 

What it is: a musical, based on a graphic novel/memoir that it manages to distill the important and complicated good parts without over-simplifying. Iy is one hour and 40 minutes long, without intermission.

Who should see it: mothers and daughters, fathers and daughters, men and women, women and women, lesbians, people who know lesbians, people who don’t know any lesbians, people who went to college, people with parents.

What I saw on the way home: the best burger I’ve had in NYC, at Bareburger. We also had onion rings.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

I saw “Don’t Think Twice”

What I saw: Mike Birbiglia’s new movie, “Don’t Think Twice” at the Landmark Sunshine Theater, at 143 East Houston Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenues, which is technically in SoHo. Also, you should know that in NYC, “Houston” is pronounced differently from the city in Texas (like “HOW-stun,” not “HEW-stun”).

What I wore: black Puma sneakers, gray jeans; black v-neck t-shirt that I bought at Barney’s in Seattle, because the one in NYC is too terrifying to even attempt to go in, much less shop at; silver earrings that the Bacon Provider gave me; favorite gray rag & bone scarf; old Coach bag that I’m beginning to think is sad and not retro-cool.

What I did beforehand: had lunch with my friend W. and my other friend B., to whom  I either gave incomplete directions or maybe no directions at all, so he arrived sweaty and flustered because it was like a bajillion and a half degrees. Fortunately, we declared beer o’clock, and had lunch. Also, B. is a good sport and told stories of the dentist and moving back to New York.

Who went with me: just W., and some other serious people in ironic glasses.

How I got tickets: after seeing Mike Birbiglia’s most recent show, followed by his appearance in White Rabbit, Red Rabbit the next week, I was prompted by my email to buy tickets to this. And I thought I did, and I put it on my calendar where it sat for a number of weeks. But when W. and I sat down in the lobby of my apartment building as I said “Hey, lemme check to make sure I have my email receipt I had none, so I bought the tickets for what seemed the second time.

Why I saw this show: Mike Birbiglia is great.

Where I sat: kind of in the middle.

Things that were sad: people behaving selfishly, people panicking and screwing up their own lives, people behaving selflessly, people getting their shit together.

Things that were funny: solid improv, what comedians wear, people who mature slowly.

Things that were not funny: the theater should have been full, and I should not have felt so conspicuous laughing.

What it is: more of a dramatic comedy than a comedic drama, this ensemble piece had a lot of deep, beautiful truth in it.

Who should see it: fans of Mike Birbiglia, improv enthusiasts, devotees of examining the human condition, people who like to say yes, groupies of the group dynamic, you.

What I saw on the way home: a cab on the West Side Highway with a funny ad on top with another, more-famous-but-less-funny comedian eating cotton candy and the cab driver inside the cab thought we were admiring him.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

I saw the new “Ghostbusters”

What I saw: the new “Ghostbusters” at the Bow-Tie Cinema on Main Street in the village of Mount K., in Westchester County, where New Yorkers go live when they want to be surrounded by other white people, or they want a yard.

What I wore: baggy boyfriend khakis with the ankles rolled up, hot pink TomboyX undies, TomboyX “Divided We Stall” t-shirt, hair crammed into elastic, black suede Puma sneakers with striped socks, Danner belt, no makeup, glasses.

What I did beforehand: Pilates, riding lesson, tried to upload the new Flash player to my computer, watched the latest Carpool Karaoke with Michelle Obama on my iPad because I couldn't  update the Flash player on my computer.

Who went with me: the Bacon Provider and some families.

How I got tickets: online, using Fandango

Why I saw this show: because American misogynists try to ruin everything

Where I sat: fourth row, on the end

Always popcorn
Things that were sad: I laughed loudest and longest.

Things that were funny: soup jokes, hearse jokes, aquarium jokes, jokes about academia, and everything that Kate McKinnon does onscreen. 

Things that were not funny: the woman of color in this movie is the non-scientist-Ghostbuster, and assholes on Twitter treated her like shit, too. 

What it is: funnier, scarier, and better than the 80s original, this movie features excellent and silly special effects, costumes that will be really fun for cos-players and trick-or-treaters, and female scientists who kick supernatural butt. 

Who should see it: everyone. 

What I thought about on the way home: my middle child loved Mr. Bean, and years ago we took the kids to see the Mr. Bean movie (1997). There is a scene in that movie (as in this one) about giving someone "the finger," and my middle child, then no more than 5 years old, had a lot of questions about "the finger." I explained that it means, "I hate you. So punch me in the face." 

I won't look at some of the other reviews of this "Ghostbusters" movie, since so many reviews have been written by woman-hating man-babies who can't envision a world where women are funny, important, powerful, and central to a story. Instead, I'd like to offer them "the finger."

Thursday, July 7, 2016

I saw "Sense and Sensibility"

What I saw: "Sense and Sensibility" at the Judson Gym at 243 Thompson Street, just south of Washington Square Park, in the West Village in New York City.

What I wore: a green floral shirt that kept coming unbuttoned, gray jeans, gray Puma sneakers, old classic tan Coach purse with a long, cross-the-body strap from back in the days when they were still made in USA.

What I did beforehand: ate dinner at Jane with the Bacon Provider and our friend R.

Who went with me: R went with me to the show.

I realize we look nuts

How I got tickets: online

Why I saw this show: relentless Theater Mania marketing

Where I sat: A 101, front and center. I recommend seats towards the middle of the theater.

Things that were sad: when it was over and we realized we should have brought everyone we knew with us.

Things that were funny: the witty repartee of the Queen of Regency Period rom-com, things on wheels, underwear, snippets of rude eating, dancing. 

Things that were not funny: most plays are neither as fun or as good as this.

What it is: a surprisingly faithful adaptation of Jane Austen's first novel, performed with enthusiasm and precision by a talented ensemble, lasting about 2 1/2 hours, with one intermission. 

Who should see it: gossip-mongers, Anglophiles, people who short attention-spans, beer-drinkers, match-makers, romantics, skeptics, and curmudgeons.

What I saw on the way home: R gave me a ride most of the way, but as I caught up with the Bacon Provider I discovered I'd walked the last few blocks of Hell's Kitchen with my shirt mostly unbuttoned.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

I forgot my pills

For the girl to get to the land
where the magic isn't hidden,
she sometimes slips into a bored daydream. 

What I saw: though Alice chased a rabbit and fell down a hole, and Dorothy rode in on a twister, and Wendy flew with Peter, thinking happy thoughts, and Lucy found it at the back of the wardrobe behind the fur coats. One day, I went to my make-believe world, the magical land of a horse show, and all I had to do was take the wheel of my car. It was not an interesting drive. I crossed over the Hudson River, and I didn’t even try to see the river itself, so big and so far and so flat, down below the deck of the bridge.  

What I wore: same as last time, with a different pin.

What I did beforehand: just as I pulled into the mysterious town of Saugerties, I glanced into the back seat of my car and noticed my purse wasn’t there. Somehow, though, I had my wallet and both pairs of glasses, and all my show clothes for the next day. So I  thought it might turn out ok. The only thing, though, was a thing I knew was important: without my purse, I was missing was my migraine medication, which was going to be wearing off at 8 p.m. This is a panic-inducing situation for a migraine-sufferer. I am not immune to panic-inducements. Even in the land of the impossible.

Horse Show Breakfast

Who went with me: someone I know, but not very well, is a licensed medical professional (i.e., sorceress), with the rights and abilities to call in my prescription to the local pharmacy. Her incantation required three or four phone calls, and the recitation of several spells, consisting of long strings of numerical digits. She was a kind and patient sorceress, and seemed unbothered by my request, coming out of the blue as it did. I tried to express my gratitude, but my fear of failure may have rendered me inarticulate.

When I arrived at the pharmacy to pick it up, a testy cashier redirected me to the drop-off window. At the drop-off window I was told that they didn’t have any of the medication I take. They were willing to call another nearby pharmacy (which was surprising, because the last time this happened to me, I was in New York City, and they would not call other pharmacies to see if they had medication in stock, but I was in the mysterious land of Saugerties, you see, where everything is a little bit different). I was informed (in a tone that emphasized that the situation was entirely my fault) that since I’d recently filled this prescription: I’d be paying $398 for four pills. I thanked the pharmacist, and went to a front register, where I bought some sun-blocking lip-balm and a small bottle of Aleve® . 

I did not make any further attempt to fill the prescription. Alice was threatened by the red Queen. Dorothy wouldn’t get the Wizard’s help without the witch’s broom. Lucy faced the White Witch. Wendy was captured by pirates.  I would not get my pills. I would do without.

How I got there: I-684 N, I-84 W, I-87 N. 

Why I forgot my pills: I was leaving, and The Bacon Provider offered to help me carry my many, small, lightweight bags to the car; I found this irritating. After my peevish rebuttal, I did not go back and check and that I left my purse sitting on a chair in the kitchen. But I should have.

Where I sat: on my horse, and in a chair with my last name on it.

Things that were sad: I went in the ring and did the easier test with Hado sneezing and feeling stiffer than I would have liked. At least I got him straight on the centerline at the beginning and end, though. That was the comment I'd seen on my judge's sheet from the day before: that we were crooked. So it was my goal to be really straight on the centerline. As I did my test, everyone else went to watch a very nice man named B, who rides at a much higher level than I do, and is widely admired for it, and for being so nice, so when I finished there was no one to say how they thought it went. Everyone else said how well B’s test had gone.

Things that were funny: later, someone congratulated me for winning a class, which I did not believe, but when I went to the show office to check, it turns out I had. Also, I was ok without the pills.

Things that were not funny: I was sitting with B when someone else went by with her shiny, shiny gray stallion. We all noticed how very shiny he was, and another person commented that it was the “stallion gleam.” 
I replied, “I guess the testosterone does more than just infuse the individual with an hyper-inflated sense of self-worth.”
And B said, “Ouch.”
Then, we went to lunch. I ate a grilled cheese, like the overgrown child that I am.

Not me, but my trainer on his horse

What it is: According to Merriam-Webster’s full definition,  a fairy tale is 
“a story (as for children) involving fantastic forces and beings (as fairies, wizards, and goblins),” or “a story in which improbable events lead to a happy ending,” or “a made-up story usually designed to mislead.”

Who should see it: Once upon a time, many years ago, my friend K inherited her mother’s cat, Tuffy and it had terrible allergies and I thought it was hilarious. A cat, that’s allergic, to everything! Ha ha ha ha ha!  Poor Tuffy got a daily dose of children’s Benadryl, and wheezed and sneezed and blew snot bubbles out his nose. I think of snuffly Tuffy and my rotten lack of sympathy for him every time we have to change my horse’s medication, or get a note from the veterinarian to go to the show. Because my horse suffers terribly from seasonal allergies, and we almost didn't go to this show at all. What was I talking about? Oh, yes. Horse shows. Don’t go to horse shows. Stick with cats. 

What I saw on the way home: on the bridge over the Hudson River, I caught up to and passed the homeward-bound trailer with my horse on it.