Friday, July 30, 2010

I Fell Off the Planet.


Ok, not f'reals.  And contrary to my usual life, there have been no major catastrophes or casualties or even complaints (well, I guess I could always come up with those, but I'm trying not to) since last I blogged.  I've just been soaking up the summer with my children. :)  The past few weeks have been full of play rehearsals (tonight is Tootsie Roll's opening night!  Of course I will tell you more about it. With pics.), field hockey camp, chalk drawing on the driveway, ice cream stops for no reason, making sock puppets, and creating cars and doll closets out of cardboard boxes.  Ohh, it has been pure summery BLISS... (of course, now I have just jinxed it, I am well aware).  We even cleaned out the entire garage and basement!  So the summer has not been the productive writey/bloggyness I had planned, but instead even better.  So I'm sorry it seems I've abandoned you and all of your wonderful blogs... I haven't, not forever, it's just that Handsome Hubby and I currently have a sort of unspoken agreement about spending WAY less time on the computer and enjoying this wonderful, summery time together and with our girls. 

Hope you are all enjoying your summers (or other random seasons) as well!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Show Review: American Idiot

I had to laugh reading the comments on my last post, as it was kindly pointed out to me that I mentioned what I did before the show and who I saw after the show, but never really mentioned what I thought about the show itself.  I think that's a product of living in New Jersey, where one of the perks (and it's a big one, almost balances out having the country's highest property taxes and insurance rates) is living close enough to New York City (2-3 hours, depending on traffic) and Philadelphia (just over an hour) to go there pretty much... anytime.  So we do have access to some pretty incredible stuff, Broadway included.  And since chances are that people you know will see what you saw, you learn not to give too much away.  And since we've been involved in theater since we were kids and have seen a lot of Bway shows, I know my opinion is sometimes a little too... opinionated.
But, ok, the show. :)  It was fun.  It basically was the album played through (a few songs added) with a little bit of dialogue between songs.  When they closed Les Mis and then revived it, the revival was much shorter than the original - they had shortened songs, cut out transition music, axed a lot of dialogue - and it decimated the show (so did Daphne Rubin-Vega as Fantine, but that's a whole other story).  So, actually, when they played the first few songs pretty much back-to-back without much dialogue (all basically teen angst), I wondered if this was going to be the same kind of thing, and was thinking that if people don't already know the music, they won't have any idea what's going on because it's fast and the words kind of run together.  But the story did grow through the show as it progressed, so... redeemed!

So... what is it about?  If you know the album, you have probably pretty much worked it out, since it was written as a concept album.  It's about three friends coming of age.  They have a band and they plan to leave their small town and take on the world.  One's dream gets cut short (Will) when his girlfriend gets pregnant and he stays home, drunk and depressed.  One (Tunny) gets disillusioned with the music scene and joins the army, gets injured in battle, falls in love with his nurse.  The other (Johnny), bitter at his second friend for abandoning him, tries to stick with music but is not very successful.  Gets sucked into drugs, falls in love, then has to choose one over the other.  The storyline follows the three through their choices and figuring out who they are.

The cast was amazing.  There are three main male leads, and they were all very good.  Stark Sands (Tunny) enunciated like a good Broadway actor (lol) but it was a little awkward in the punk music.  Still, his voice was amazing.  John Gallagher, Jr. (Johnny) was the original Moritz in Spring Awakening, and I had Spring Awakening flashbacks through those first few songs until the story began and he became more the character.
There was also another Spring Awakening guy in the cast, Brian Charles Johnson, but I didn't notice him until HH pointed him out.  I recognized Rebecca Naomi Jones (Whatsername/Johnny's love interest) but couldn't place what I knew her from, looking at her bio, maybe Fringe.  And then there was Tony Vincent.  Ahhh, Tony Vincent.  Just feast your eyes.
Totally fell in love with him as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar.  Bought the dvd even though he wasn't Judas in that one (he was a smaller role).  So wishing they would bring Queen's musical We Will Rock You over here (it's in London's West End), since Queen is my favorite group and Tony Vincent was Galileo Figaro in the show.  Oh... heaven.  :)  In this show, he's St. Jimmy, basically the drug dealer/dark side of Johnny.
Yoiks! Lol.  This role didn't showcase his voice, since it was more a creepy druggie kind of thing, but still.  Tony Vincent.  He was awesome.

Overall, if you're not familiar with Green Day, this might not be the show for you, because I felt that it helped a lot to know the music beforehand.  Also, if you don't get to Broadway very often, you might want to stick with something more of the big, showy musical like Phantom, to get that experience.  But that's not to say it wasn't a great show.  If it's your kind of music, and you're not looking for the big, majestic Les Mis or Miss Saigon story (it's not meant to be that, the scenery remains basically the same and there aren't a lot of costume changes), if you want a great, loud, punk rock show experience, it's totally the show for you.  (Oh, and bonus, Green Day fans - the American Idiot album is awesome by itself, but they also throw in 21 Guns and Time of Your Life. Woo!)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Weekend, Summer Style.

I didn't write this weekend.  :(  But, you know, that's ok, because I lived this weekend. :)  On Saturday, Handsome Hubster and I went into the city to see American Idiot on Broadway.  We love us some Green Day!
 Going to see them in concert again in August and we were really excited to catch the show on Bway (ok, we were excited for a DATE most of all, lol). To be honest, I was a little wary of how "Broadway-ized" the songs would be (this is why we haven't seen Billy Joel's musical or even Abba's... heard they're kinda show choiry... yeah... that's how I roll).  We knew that Green Day was really involved in the whole process of the show creation, though, and were pretty sure we wouldn't be seeing any Twyla Tharp or jazz hands.
Not dissin' on West Side, we are huge Broadway fans and HH was actually in West Side in college, but I am not a fan of pop music gone Broadway.  Maybe these next jazz hands are ones I could get behind:
(That one's for my lil sis, who is going to see Evil Dead the Musical.  Lucky!)

So anyway. We drove into the city early to beat the traffic.  If you have ever driven from Jersey into New York, you know that you don't want to get caught in Lincoln Tunnel traffic.  If you have not had the pleasure, the Lincoln Tunnel is a 1.5 mile tunnel... under the Hudson River. 

That's New Jersey on the left of the river and Manhattan on the right.  And when you get stuck in traffic  in there, you can sit before and in the tunnel f-o-r-e-v-e-r... pondering what might happen if a crack ever appeared and the Hudson River came gushing in, like in the Sylvester Stallone flick 'Daylight' (oh, you missed that one?  Fortunately I found a pic.)  Look at him, all wet and serious, contemplating what to do in a flooded Lincoln Tunnel.  I guess everyone else in the tunnel has already perished?  Except the cameraman, of course. :)

(Side note, Sylvester - Did you know that GPS still works?  In a 1.5 mile tunnel? Underwater?)

So since we arrived in the city plenty early, we had a few hours to kill.  We found the theater then moseyed on down 44th St.  About a block away was the National Geographic King Tut exhibit (complete with 3-D mummy movie!)
A totally cool thing to find accidentally!  I wish we had been able to spend a really long time in there.  I just wanted to stand there and stare at some of the artifacts.  They were absolutely amazing and the amount of detail in all of the hand carved items is astounding.  King Tut's tomb was discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter.  Some of the artifacts (like Tut's actual mummy) are considered national treasures and are not permitted to leave Egypt, but they had models that looked like the real thing.  Sadly, you can't take pictures in the exhibit, but it was breathtaking.  Did you know that they have now surmised that Tut most likely died of malaria?  They have found malarial DNA within his actual mummy.  Did you also know that he had a club foot and a bone disorder in the other foot?  They know this from analysis as well, and it makes sense that he had lots of canes in his tomb.

"A ground-breaking study of the mummy in 2005 - including the first CT scan of the body by a team of radiologists - concluded he died of gangrene after breaking his leg.  But now a team of genetists say Tut's DNA reveals he had malaria and likely died of complications of the disease brought on by the broken limb.
The team looked at 16 royal mummies, tracing Tut's lineage back five generations and linking him for the first time to several older mummies, including one that appears to be his grandmother and another that is likely his father, Akhenaten.  They found a host of congenital diseases - unsurprising in a line that encouraged siblings to marry.  An accumulation of malformations in Tutankhamun's family was evident," the researchers wrote. "None alone would have caused death."  But he was so weakened by disorders and disease - including malaria - that an accidental fracture could have done him in, they speculate. He might be envisioned as a young but frail king who needed canes to walk because of the bone-necrotic and sometimes painful Koehler disease II, plus oligodactyly (hypophalangism) in the right foot and clubfoot on the left," the authors said.
Full article here

Interesting, huh?  So after the exhibit, we went to American Idiot.  Of course you can't take pics during a show either, but I did grab one of the curtain before the show opened:
Why, you ask?  Well, see that tiny white spot of light above the curtain to the left of center?  I couldn't get a good shot of it without using my flash, but here is a closer look:
There is what looks like a Renaissance-type painting above the stage, and they had focused a tiny spotlight on a bare butt in the artwork.  Lol.... oh, Green Day.  You pranksters, you. ;)

After the show, we saw Zach Braff outside.  I'm not sure what to think about that, I mean, he's famous and all, but... meh.  We see some funny people outside Bway shows.  We saw Ian Ziering from 90210 once.  And Neil Patrick Harris.  (Wait - NPH!!!!)  So here is my current "who I've seen at a show algebraic equation":   Ian Ziering < Zach Braff < NPH.  I mean, duh.  There is really no contest there.

And on Sunday, we grabbed some fried chicken and headed to the park for a family picnic!

But ok, it's Monday... so I did write again.  I only had a little over an hour but I managed to crunch in 841 words, and I have another free hour or so after the kids go to bed and before movie/snuggles with hubby.

Man, I love summer. :)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Alive. Writing!

Just a quick hello - Today I have been WRITING!!!!  OMG YAY!!!!! Lol.  My life is so crazy, it's like a miracle.  My latest adventure began last night when my dog threw her back out in the middle of the night and today ended up on doggy morphine.  She's hurting, but she will be ok.  She is the sweetest old Chow Chow.  A total lovebug.  So anyway.  I added a ticker for my new WiP on the side there... thought that might inspire me to at least write something every day throughout the summer.  Today I had a good, long, quiet writing time, which I may get once or twice a week this summer - managed to add 1102 words (yay!) so I almost doubled my initial word count.  Lol.  It looks sad, but 4% is better than 2% and every little bit helps.  I'm very excited about this new fantasy/fairy tale!  It's a new genre for me and I am loving it!

BTW - Don't forget to sign up for WriteOnCon, the free writer's conference hosted by some of our bloggy besties if you haven't already!!!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

What I Most Want to Write Right Now

1. A nasty letter to poison ivy. (I'm allergic and it is spreading and UGH!)

2. A nasty letter to Tootsie Roll's pneumonia & Curly Jones' new cough.

3. A fan letter to inhalers.

4. A fan letter to my hubby's new facial hair (ok, he just trimmed his goatee but it's so darn cute)

5. Fan letters to books and tv for keeping my kids happily occupied even though we can't go outside on this Fourth of July (100 degree temps + humidity do not mix well with children using inhalers)

6. A nastier letter to poison ivy.

7. A letter to one of my best friends who just moved to a new state.

8.  A letter to my pants, explaining that I miss them, too, but there is too much Aveeno cream on my legs to allow us to be together right now.

9. A letter to Tootsie Roll's theater camp directors thanking them for believing in her and giving her a big role this year (sooo proud!).

10. A book review of Num8ers, which I won in a contest and just finished... but I have never written book reviews before and am deciding whether or not I want to.

11.  Oh yeah, my new wip, which is in the dreamy idea and beginningly skeletal stage!  It's a new genre for me, I guess it would be considered fantasy?  It's sort of like a long original fairy tale.  Like Stardust (only I wish I were as cool as Neil Gaiman). ;)

12. More nasty letters to poison ivy!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away - 
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry - 
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll - 
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human soul.
-Emily Dickinson

I love this poem.  I have been thinking a lot lately about why I write, and there are many reasons, this being one of them.  Books are accessable.  You could argue specifics, but compared to most experiences, books are generally available without a high cost.  It's amazing to think that you could reach so many people with your thoughts.  (I guess if your thoughts are deemed publish-worthy, lol!)