Saturday, July 30, 2005

How much would I have to pay you to let me blow you?

And the March of the Exes Continues... some more!

Last night, I went out with Paul. We had made plans on Wednesday to hang out last night.  I suggested the East Village, because I knew the Slide played GREAT music on Fridays and had an open bar between 10 and 11.

We met up and quickly downed three in half an hour.  We caught up:  talked about my show, his new band, his latest crush, my latest crush—all amidst the not-seedy-to-me atmosphere of Kristin Bjorn videos and go-go boys in tighty-whiteys and socks.

After partaking in the farewell cake (for Marshall the bartender, who's leaving to shoot a film), we headed over to the Urge. It was crowded, yet lacked energy, so after one drink, I suggested we hit Excelsior.

And there was Cliff! What a sweetie. He and I can talk 80's and alternative music trivia for hours. Several weeks ago, after his shift at the bar, he was hit by a car which nearly demolished his foot! He went home to Ohio to heal, and now he's back.  We chatted a bit, but at this point, Paul and I started to feel the effects of the night, so we bade our cohorts adieu and headed home.

* A: Twenty bucks apparently. (Wanna know more? Email me.)

Friday, July 29, 2005

I Beareth Fruit

Last night, a bunch of people from my office came to see the show. Of course, they come when we have three understudies up (that's a LOT for us) and we're missing a Doo-Wopper! The show itself was good, but there was this one guy in the front row that threw everyone off, including the audience.

He was in his late teens, had no eyebrows and wore a jogging bra stuffed wih socks. He looked Puerto Rican to me—think Paris Is Burning. He was holding what we all thought was a baby. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a DOLL he was carrying. AND he apparently arrived with a giant stroller as well, to carry his "child". What else was in the stroller? Some vacation pictures of him and his beau, toys for the "baby", some art project and, of course, a treasure trove of gay porn!

Oy. Well, during one of the audience participation scenes, Miss Thing gets up on stage to chat with Helena (played by Annelisë that night). She tries to hint that it's time to get back to his seat. "Well, I feel better now. You can have a seat with your boyfriend," to which he replies, "Oh. That's not my boyfriend. That's my son." Of course, this confuses poor Annelisë, thinking now of the baby doll. To further confuse things, he looks at her and says, "Yes. I beareth fruit."

You could just hear the audience collectively shudder in their seats. I mean, ew.

In retrospect, yes, it was really funny. (I wish you could hear Erika tell the story.) But during the show, it was just... *shudders*.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Matinee with Ol' Blue Eyes

It's really weird to do the show without Trevor. But it was a good one, nonetheless. New York Magazine came to review the show, and it was obvious that the reviewer really liked it. She brought her own daughter, so seeing that she was a parent, I wasn't surprised to see her continually clapping and smiling throughout the show.  Later I find out that she's not just going to do a review of the show, but a whole FEATURE STORY!

That was great news.  Oh, and darling Paul came to the show today, which was a nice surprise. (He and I were together pretty much all of '98. I still love hanging out with him and seeing those gorgeous blue eyes of his.) Why did I break his heart? Another story for another time.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The March of the Exes Continues

Out of nowhere, Bill called me today. (We dated in 2000 into 2001... you can rewind the Blog if you want the dirty details. *grin*) I popped on over to his new place, a fab duplex in the East Village that he's sharing with one of his best friends, this real studly dude named Jacques.

We hung out and, ahem... "caught up." And after that, we chatted. :-)

He has this phenomenal share on Fire Island this summer and that's how he's been spending his weekends. I personally haven't been out there. I hear it's wonderful, but I sometimes have an issue with gay men en masse. I just don't see myself having fun at what seems to be some giant circuit party that's gone out of control, but Bill assured me that there's much more out there than dances. I should really get out there some time.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Jimmy leaves.

It was so great to see Jimmy. I can't believe so much time has gone by since we last saw each other. I feel bad though, because I didn't get to spend any real time with him. Because Chris (the other tenor in Fools in Love) quit, I had to do all five shows this weekend, so my availability was limited to just late nights.

On Friday night, after I made the rounds introducing him to the cast, we walked up Mercer to Fanelli's, and who was in our way, but Seann William Scott (American Pie) and Johnny Knoxville (Jackass)! I assume they and their entourage had just been at some Dukes of Hazzard promotional shindig. They were just standing on the corner. Jimmy, giant suitcase in tow, didn't recognize them, so he goes "Excuse me" to Seann, which I thought was pretty funny. (He's definitely hotter on-screen.) We got to Fanelli's, had a burger and some beers and tried to condense seven years of history into a couple of hours.

On Saturday, I sent him on his way to take in the sights, while I did the matinee. He came to watch the evening show, and he really liked it. We went to Excelsior afterwards and commenced to have one too many.

Sunday, David did me a huge favor and kept Jimmy company all day, while I did the two shows. That night, we went to Erika's (a castmate) birthday party at Ace Bar in the East Village. I had an okay time. The party and people were great, but my mind was stuck on Trevor, a guy I've had a crush on for-freakin'-ever. And lately, it's been getting worse.

When I see him, I'm not myself. I get all tongue-tied and say stupid things that I regret later. I spent the whole evening thinking that I wish I could be hanging out with him, than at the party. I know it's sad, and I definitely tried to keep my mind off him, but without any effort, my thoughts floated right back to him. You'd think I'd outgrow behavior like this by now, but apparently I still get crushes, and when I do, they're pretty intense. Even when I know there's absolutely no chance that anything's ever gonna happen.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Burbur is Coming to Town

I'm so psyched! My very first boyfriend—”my first love, Jimmy—is coming to visit me this weekend. He just emailed me last week and asked if I was up for a house-guest, so of course I said yes.

So what's the story with Jimmy? We met when I was 19, and we were together for over two glorious, passionate, but not-at-all-perfect years: we traveled the country together; he met my parents (numerous times); his mom found my love letters (oops!); he came to my fraternity formal... it was a very eventful period.

And then I graduated from college, and instead of moving to Chicago with him, which is what we had discussed and planned on, I thought that it'd be best if I moved to New York, closer to my parents... back to the familiar. I felt that I'd be all alone in Chicago and would have to depend too much on Jimmy—€”emotionally, financially and socially. And on top of that, we did not have the perfect relationship by any means. We would argue from time to time. As friendly and charismatic as he is, he still had that Italian temper. All of this scared me. A relationship undergoing a major transition (like a big move) is hard enough as it is. I feared the added strain of latching on to him as my only friend and support system.

We tried the long-distance thing for a while, but it just became too hard for me. So I broke things off. It was tough at first, since we hadn't stopped loving each other. He would send me a dozen roses frequently so I'd reconsider. But time passed, and we eventually moved on with our lives. I think I made the right decision. I don't regret it at all, but I do wonder from time to time where my life would be if I simply made the other decision... if I'd moved to Chicago.

Well, needless to say, we parted ways on pretty amicable terms, which happens more frequently than not with my exes. And two days from now, Jimmy will be here, and I'll be showing him my New York. We haven't seen each other in seven years, so there'll be a lot to catch up on.

Burbur is Coming to Town

I'm so psyched! My very first boyfriend—”my first love, Jimmy—is coming to visit me this weekend. He just emailed me last week and asked if I was up for a house-guest, so of course I said yes.

So what's the story with Jimmy? We met when I was 19, and we were together for over two glorious, passionate, but not-at-all-perfect years: we traveled the country together; he met my parents (numerous times); his mom found my love letters (oops!); he came to my fraternity formal... it was a very eventful period.

And then I graduated from college, and instead of moving to Chicago with him, which is what we had discussed and planned on, I thought that it'd be best if I moved to New York, closer to my parents... back to the familiar. I felt that I'd be all alone in Chicago and would have to depend too much on Jimmy—€”emotionally, financially and socially. And on top of that, we did not have the perfect relationship by any means. We would argue from time to time. As friendly and charismatic as he is, he still had that Italian temper. All of this scared me. A relationship undergoing a major transition (like a big move) is hard enough as it is. I feared the added strain of latching on to him as my only friend and support system.

We tried the long-distance thing for a while, but it just became too hard for me. So I broke things off. It was tough at first, since we hadn't stopped loving each other. He would send me a dozen roses frequently so I'd reconsider. But time passed, and we eventually moved on with our lives. I think I made the right decision. I don't regret it at all, but I do wonder from time to time where my life would be if I simply made the other decision... if I'd moved to Chicago.

Well, needless to say, we parted ways on pretty amicable terms, which happens more frequently than not with my exes. And two days from now, Jimmy will be here, and I'll be showing him my New York. We haven't seen each other in seven years, so there'll be a lot to catch up on.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Variety Magazine's reviewed my show!

On Saturday, Variety came to review Fools in Love, and the review's already been posted on Variety.com! Our first piece of national coverage. Here it is:

By MARK BLANKENSHIP

Kids who see "Fools in Love" may start demanding changeling boys of their very own. With this "re-imagining" of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," the Millennium Talent Group wants children to be Shakespeare fans, so they crank up the slapstick, pass out some fairy wings and occasionally stop for a doo-wop song.

OK, so the chorus of doo-wop singers is more a treat for grown-ups who recognize hits from Frankie Lyman or the Shangri-Las. But the parent-pleasing gimmick has another purpose, altering tunes like "All I Have to Do Is Dream" so they clarify the various levels of the plot. No matter how old they are, anyone might need some sing-along help in sorting out Lysander's lovers or the politics of fairyland. (It doesn't hurt that the singers deliver their recaps with stellar harmonies.)

To the production's great credit, the quest for clarity has not resulted in dumbing-down. Yes, the 1950s setting inspires cliche design, like a soda shop set and costumes straight out of "Grease." But there among the poodle skirts are Shakespeare's original words. The complexity of the language gives substance to the fizzy milieu.

Across the board, the massive cast captures the sense of their Elizabethan lines. Most use the text to shape their characters—hitting active words, using a wide vocal range—which makes the show a more comprehensible listen than many "sophisticated" stabs at the Bard.

Director Sarah Rosenberg crafts high-energy scenes that are nevertheless focused. She gets her best ensemble work from the four lovers, whose strong acting choices carve clear journeys through the partner-swapping forest. This is especially true of Breeda Wool's Helena, played as a lovelorn klutz on the verge of a breakdown.

For sheer solo star power, however, no one tops Ryan Knowles as Bottom. The dexterity in his voice is astonishing, gliding from a twitter to wall-shattering thunder. His body contorts into countless postures of clownish arrogance without signs of effort. His fluidity and precision make him captivating to watch, suggesting he has a major career in the making.

First, though, he should look to his fellow actors for lessons in sharing the stage. The donkey-head scenes especially have no leash, and Knowles' unchecked energy threatens to blow his co-stars through the aisles. Rosenberg, too, might have corralled her star. Hopefully his next director will give his instincts a better mold.

Still, "Fools in Love" can charm its way past the overkill. The show should leave kids hungry for Shakespeare, since he's clearly a writer who can make you laugh and even start your parents singing some old tune.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Starbucks-aholic

I can't believe they got rid of the Java Chip Frappacino!

I've recently joined the cult of Starbucks. There's one right by the theater in SoHo. The service at that one is eh, but the sandwiches, snacks and of course, coffee is delectable.

Speaking of the theater, it's about that time for me to head out of work and head down to the theater. The Doo-Woppers have an early rehearsal in about... oh, shoot, 20 minutes!

Gotta go!

Hey, it's the Doo-Woppers!

What a great show last night. The house was close to full, and everyone seemed to have a fun time. I could hear the laughter from the dressing room! The Doo-Woppers are really starting to become a presence in the show—with our clever, new lyrics and introduction song at the beginning. A member of the audience even said afterwards, "Hey, it's the Doo-Woppers!" He seemed genuinely excited to meet us, plus that was the first time that anyone outside the cast even knew what we were called!

Laura, one of Oberon's fairies, told me that as she was walking down the stairs from the lobby after the show, she found herself behind a woman and her two teenage daughters on their way to the ladies' room. (Before the show, the girls were entirely "too cool" for face painting or a temporary tattoo.) Anyway, their mother was walking in front of them, and she heard her say, "That was amazing! Every single person in that cast is hysterical. I've never seen anything like it!" The daughters, as cool as they were, couldn't help but giggle their "we loved it!"

So, after the show, a bunch of us went over to Cafe Fanelli, my new favorite place. Johanna, Erika, Breeda, Deborah, Nadine, Andy, Simoné, Lauren, Jackie, Matt, Joe, Tom and I hung out until about 12:30. Simoné took MANY videos with her phone of Erika, demonstrating how she flirts with a guy. (Let's just say it involves her finger and some saliva.) I just KNOW those videos are going to pop up to haunt her someday.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Taking a Break, Putzin' Around on Friendster

I need a haircut.

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Random quote that popped into my head for no apparent reason:
"Say, Bob! Do I have any openings that this man might fit?"

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Wednesday Shows

On the way into the City today, I ran into Nancy, which was a pleasant surprise. She's a neighborhood pal, who's also part of the Mah Jong Posse—which consists of me, Heather, Henry, Derek (along with a spattering of guest stars who come around to play every once in a while). She's a furniture designer with a fun taste in music and a super laugh. Hopefully, one of these Sundays we'll all be able to play again.

Yesterday, we had two performances of Fools in Love. I think the shows went very well. In between, the Doo-Woppers, along with Breeda (a HILARIOUS "Helena") had "linner" at Cafe Fanelli on Prince & Mercer. Doing two shows in one day always wipes me out, because when the Doo-Woppers aren't on-stage, we're running around getting into places for our next song. But after the shows, I met up with Henry anyway, and got to catch up with a few old friends, as well as promote the show a bit.

Time for bed.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Gay Divorcee

I spent yesterday evening enjoying the Summer Movie Festival at Bryant Park. I was there with the "Doo-Wop Group" from the show I'm in, Fools in Love: namely Misti, Lauren, Johanna, the beauteous Trevor (sigh), and other cast members, Ryan and Tom.

Misti and Trevor got there around 5, and I found them around 5:30. It was muggy, but there was a breeze from time to time which kept things less than miserable for the most part. There were snacks and wine a-plenty — the guys came up with some really great picnicky food. The park quickly filled up, so as sunset drew closer, I started to worry that trekking to the far end of the park to the restrooms would be near impossible. Luckily, Trevor was quite effective navigating the both of us through the sea of blankets and urban hipsters.

The movie was The Gay Divorcee, a fun little Astaire-Rogers affair. Afterwards, everyone seemed kinda low-key, I think partly because of the oppressive humidity and all the alcohol.

I went back to Brooklyn, had a drink at Excelsior, and went to bed soon thereafter.

CLICK HERE to view pictures from this event.

Monday, July 11, 2005

New York Times, Part Deux

I just found out that the New York Times reran today the positive review they gave my show, Fools in Love, back in March!

Here's a link to it: http://theater2.nytimes.com/2005/07/11/theater/reviews/11fool.html

For the super-lazy, here's the full review:

"Fools in Love" had a limited run at the Wings Theater in Greenwich Village in the spring. Following is Anita Gates's review, which appeared in The New York Times on March 24, 2005. The show is now playing at Manhattan Ensemble Theater, 55 Mercer Street, between Broome and Grand Streets, SoHo; (212) 239-6200.

I have seen a few productions of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," beginning with Peter Brook's in 1971. On film, I have seen Mickey Rooney as Puck, Calista Flockhart as Helena and Rupert Everett as Oberon. But never has it all been clearer to me than when I watched the Millennium Talent Group's simplified one-act version, "Fools in Love."

"Fools in Love" is intended to introduce children to Shakespeare, and it does the job with exaggeration, pure silliness and 1950's and 60's pop music. The comedy is set in the era of "Happy Days" and poodle skirts, in a California town called West Athens, where four teenagers hang out at a diner and discuss their romantic problems and plans. Hermia (Erika Villalba) loves Lysander (Matt Schuneman) but is being pressured to marry Demetrius (Antony Raymond). On the sidelines, Helena (Annelise Abrams) pines for Demetrius, who finds her completely unappealing and tells her so.

When Hermia and Lysander decide to elope, they find themselves the victims of mischievous fairies. Oberon (Andy Langton, in a black leather jacket with macho black wings) obviously has nothing better to do than play tricks on humans and on his beloved Titania (Margaret Curry).

Spellbound by a magic herb, the victims wake up from naps to fall in love with unexpected objects: Titania with Bottom (Ryan Knowles), a weaver who has been turned into a donkey, and both Lysander and Demetrius with Helena. Helena has such low self-esteem that she believes both young men are just ridiculing her by pretending to want her.

There's no real need for a Greek chorus, but five singers known as the Doo-Wop Group comment on the action frequently with mostly a cappella excerpts from golden oldies like "Duke of Earl," "Baby Love," "Respect," "My Guy" and of course "All I Have to Do Is Dream." D. J. Paris, making his New York stage debut, does a particularly nice job on "Unchained Melody."

Sarah Rosenberg and Louis Reyes Cardenas, who are credited with the show's conception, have kept Shakespeare's language (accented with an occasional "huh?" or "oh, all right"), letting young theatergoers grasp meaning through context.

It's nice to see a cast of all shapes and sizes. The full-figured Ms. Villalba is highly lovable as Hermia, and when she calls Helena a "painted maypole," she strikes a blow for all women over size 10. The very skinny Brandy Wykes has an endearing "Laugh-In"-era Goldie Hawn quality as Puck. The very tall Mr. Knowles has a lot of fun with physical comedy as Bottom. And then there are the smallest performers, children from the audience who are invited onstage to dance and occasionally speak a line or two. Warning: The actors have been known to force a pink wig on small volunteers.

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Woohoo!