wwcitizen: (Broadway)
A good friend of ours from Toronto, Pascal, sent me a note last week that he was going to be in town for a couple of days. We hadn't seen Pascal or his partner in a couple of years. It was a nice surprise. Thing is, the only day he was going to be available for us to meet up was Sunday - yesterday - Mother's Day. The planets aligned and we were able to meet up with him and have a very spontaneous, very exciting day in NYC. 

Pascal suggested we go see The Best Man.  We quick looked up tickets for the matinee performance of The Best Man on Broadway and bought three. We bought extremely well-placed seats at 1:45PM for a 3:00PM performance (HURRY!); Pascal had just checked into his room (GO NOW!) and raced out as we raced out of our place in NJ (DON'T BE LATE!). Due to really bad traffic getting into Manhattan, we decided last minute to take the ferry across - good decision! YAY!

We made it to the show in record time and missed only the first 3 minutes, which was just fine, given the distances we all had to go.  The Best Man stars two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones, Tony winner John Larroquette, Eric McCormack and five-time Tony winner Angela Lansbury, as well as Candice Bergen, Tony nominee Kerry Butler, Michael McKean and Tony winner Jefferson Mays.  We were 5 rows from all of them and they were right there! It was so great to see all of them - right there! 

We left the theater and took the subway to TriBeCa for dinner at Pepolino's, a Florentine Italian restaurant. Matthew and I had seen a show on NYC restaurants a while back and had wanted to go there for dinner sometime.  Pascal is a foodie, as are we, so we were excited to share the experience with him.  Pascal is also a professionally published photographer and has worked with friends on cookbooks, so he knows good food:
Our dinner started with warm and spicy tomato flan for the thick-crusted, Italian bread. We ordered a bottle of Vermentino (white) wine, which has a flowery bouquet and citrus overtones with a bright finish.
Appetizers:
Fried artichokes and zucchinis
Fennel salad with orange sections, olives, and Parmesan
Deep fried soft shell crab with arugula/tomato salad
Goat cheese and pear home made raviolis
Spinach & ricotta gnocchi
King fish wrapped in pancetta (mine)
Braised Mediterranean sea bass
Dessert:
Coffee, panna cotta AND the BEST.RICOTTA.CHEESECAKE.EVER!!!
The waitress also treated us to a glass of Grappa at the very end.

We left there to take Pascal to the Stonewall Inn; he'd been by the place a few times, but never inside. It was completely dead inside, so we took off to Ty's - of course.  It was PACKED! We had a fun time and a couple of drinks.  At about 12:30AM, I told Matt we needed to catch a cab before the last ferry, which I had thought was at about 1AM; however, the last ferry was leaving - at 12:30AM - right as we checked the departure times.  Alas, we hopped in a cab, took Pascal back to his hotel, and left for NJ.

$75 and 45 minutes later, we were in our car to go home, only to stay up till 4AM because we were so wired from the awesome day! Here are some pictures from the day:


wwcitizen: (New Yorker)
Wow, what a fun, packed weekend!  Matt always tells me not to over-book us for stuff, "Less is more, sweetheart," he says.  For the most part, he's right and if I overbook, sometimes even I have to nix some commitment - it depends on how it plays out.

This last weekend, though, was great. We hit all the marks, even stealing some time to relax and re-group before diving back into the throes of meeting up with friends and being here & there for this & that. This was our schedule:

Friday evening/night:
  • Dinner for Matt's niece's 13th birthday (yes, about 10 tweenies and two other kids screaming at the top of their lungs for about 2 hours).
  • Comedy show - FUNNY.FURRY.FIERCE sponsored through Urban Bear at the Duplex in Manhattan.
  • Bar night - later at Ty's (of course)
Saturday:
  • Heat Wave: The Jack Cole Project at the Queens Theater for comped tickets (a WAY off Broadway show). The show highlights choreography and music from the 30s and 40s. It was an OK show, but we didn't like it enough to stay past intermission.
  • 30-minute Park Stroll: Walked around the Flushing Meadows - Corona Park and took some pictures (below). I'd always wanted to go and it was really interesting - we have to return sometime.
  • Cinco de Mayo Party - drove home to relax for about an hour before heading to Jersey City for a very nice party with a bunch of friends - some of whom we hadn't seen in a very long time. The food was awesome.
  • Bar night - later at Ty's (of course), and at Rockbar - these were locations for the after parties from an Urban Bear harbor cruise.
Sunday:
  • Urban Bear's Street Fair: Had to meet up with our buddy, Travis Smith, for his book signing. He and a friend wrote Guide to the Modern Bear, and we got a signed copy (of course). I was featured as one of their group's "beefcakes" last year.  We also ran into a few other folks we hadn't expected to meet, such as Shane Ruff (t-shirt designer), Tribal Son Peter (where I FINALLY bought one of his awesome pieces of jewelry), and Brutus de Groot, who has a new t-shirt line (??) and moved to Phoenix from L.A. (??).
  • Cool-off dinner together: We went to one of our local new favorite restaurants across the street, Beyoglu - a Turkish restaurant. We literally had not eaten all day. My mood was waning REALLY fast and we both dragged our feet all the way to the place. We had food in front of us within minutes (we knew exactly what we wanted - pictures below).  We ate voraciously, took our time walking home, and basically crashed for about 3 hours before watching:
  • Real Housewives of NJ and hitting the sack.
I could sleep for an entire day!
Samantha turned 13 M&S at the  Unisphere
Peter customizes my necklace

 Jim is priceless
wwcitizen: (Broadway)
Today we went to see The Normal Heart. It's a story and play about the break out of HIV/AIDS in NYC in the early 80s. I remember the articles they mentioned in the early 80s that broke out about this mysterious disease affecting gay men all across America.

These kinds of story-lines, shows, plays, musicals, TV shows, and movies remind me of my early teens when I was learning about my sexuality, how to hide who I was, and play a part myself. They also remind what I learned about safe sex at a very early age, too, which definitely really helped me along the way. The things I learned about STDs weren't taught in schools very well, either, back then. I had to learn on my own for the most part about condoms, safe sex practices, and the like. The people at the forefront of the AIDS epidemic in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, etc., helped save a lot of peoples' lives and educate the already infected about things they need to do to stay healthy.

The show rocked! It was really well done - the actors were phenomenal! Some of the monologues were so long, acted believably, and totally well-timed. I was very impressed with the stage direction (except for the last three scenes of the second act), set design, and acting.

Here are some pictures from me and the actors (Matt's not really into the "photo-of-a-celeb-with-me!" photos, as I am):

Jim Parsons (from Big Bang Theory)

Luke McFarlane (Brothers & Sisters)


Lee Pace (lead in Pushing Daisies - up-and-coming star)


Back at the ferry station on the Manhattan side (the sun is coming from NJ, of course)

On the boat!


Would YOU obey this man?


Great day in the city!! We hadn't been in the city on a beautiful day during the daytime in a LONG time. It was quite exhilarating and we really wanted to stay, but were exhausted, too - needed a nap and food. Matt had made a wonderful lasagna Friday night, which we engulfed when we got home (hadn't eaten ANYTHING all day).

Must-see show if you can make it!
wwcitizen: (New Yorker)
Yesterday evening was a quintessential NY evening. Matt had to work and I got offered tickets to go see "MotherF***** With The Hat" on Broadway starring Bobby Cannavale, Chris Rock, Elizabeth Rodriquez (really good), Annabella Sciorra (fierce!) and Yul Vázquez (hilarious!!). I hated going without Matthew, but someone had to see the show, right? I invited a friend of mine, David, and we had a great time.

I took the NY Waterways ferry into mid-town, which, in and of itself, is very NJ/NYC. When the ferry docked and let us passengers off, we all discovered a TV scene shoot happening for Person Of Interest (yes, I saw James Caviezel and have a picture of him below).

Though I won't be in any of the show's scenes, it was very cool to watch them do a couple of takes. I ran into an acquaintance when I came out of the bathroom. In talking to him - at a normal talking volume - in the echo chamber of the station foyer, we almost got thrown out of the station!

Here are a couple of photos:




After picking up the tickets, buying some WONKA Easter basket candy, and getting something to eat at TGI Fridays, I went to the theater to meet up with David.





The show was GREAT! The stage was really cool, too. The curtain was up when we entered the theater (above). There were three basic scenes and the stage moved in separate parts with moving parts inside those to make the different apartment scenes. Even a couch rolled over up and out of the floor onto the stage for one of the apartments and a bed folded up - automatically - into one of the walls. IT.WAS.SO.COOL!!

After the show, David and I took our playbills (below) to get signed by the actors and pose for pictures.


Each of the actors looked really tired, but Bobby looked especially drained. It was an emotionally draining show. At one point, I even noticed a REAL tear drop off Bobby's face. Amazing acting. Very funny, intricate, and deep. Loved it. I really want to take Matt to see it later. Hopefully, we'll meet up with Bobby et al again!






PRISCILLA!!

Mar. 9th, 2011 01:25 am
wwcitizen: (Broadway)
I haven't posted in a while - for real. Yeah, I've posted the odd thing about political activism or other minor things, but I haven't been posting about what I've been doing, really, since Christmas. Supposing, in a way, that my life has become somewhat mundane, boring, typical, or rote. But most of my connections here in LJ or on FB are not from the NY/NJ area. My guess is that hearing about the shows we've been hitting lately (LOTS!!!) or the restaurants we've been enjoying (LOTS!!) or the friends with whom we've been spending time (not as many as we'd've liked) might all be interesting.

Last night we very grateful to get last-minute tickets to Priscilla! While they weren't the best seats, they were well worth it - just for the exposure. It was a partially obstructed view and we missed the "immersion" into the show. But we got to see the entire stage and most all the action.

I was terribly apprehensive. Apprehensive simply because Priscilla Queen of the Desert is by far my favorite movie. I know almost all the lines and, to Matt's dismay (and other friends' chagrin who've seen the movie in my vicinity), recite them in my best Australian accent. It gets annoying. Yes, I couldn't contain myself last night, either. And Matt kept pointing at me...

Priscilla, by far, was the most Broadway fun I've ever had. Hands down. And I've been to quite a few shows over the last 10 years. I'd have to say in a "slow" year, it was 3-5 shows; in a "good" year, it was about 8-10. A couple of shows I've seen twice (e.g. Phantom and Rent). One or two shows, I have a love/hate relationship with (e.g. Next To Normal, Spiderman).

Priscilla is what La Cage aux Folles should have been. Extreme and gorgeous costumes. Great stage usage and stage direction. Fabulous sets (the bus is amazing!!! I want one for Christmas!). Awesome music selections (no, no Abba - because of Mama Mia - they forbade Priscilla from using Abba songs to steal away their audiences). One or two plot threads bothered Matt and me (1: the dead-beat dad storyline, which was not true to the original storyline and gives gay dads a bad wrap and 2: the missing details of the drag queens' lives, which provided a welcome degree of character depth - not always welcome on Broadway, though).

We're definitely going to see this show again - maybe twice more. In fact, I bought my first ever Broadway t-shirt there because I loved it so much. Loved it.

Here's us at the show and a couple of pictures from the theater (I know - wrong to do!):






wwcitizen: (Broadway)
I'm so sad and disappointed right now!! We just heard on the radio that All About Me closed. So, I went online to see if it was true. Sure enough, it closed LAST WEEKEND!!

My buddy, Joey, and gotten the tickets for us about a month ago, and called last weekend to say that he got a credit on his credit card for a certain amount. I said, "Maybe they thought you didn't show up for a particular show or something and you lucked out!" Turns out that since the show was canceled, all the upcoming tickets were refunded.

I was soooo looking forward to seeing Dame Edna in person. I had heard that the reviews weren't that great, but other shows that had some bad reviews stayed open for at least a month or two, which would have gotten us in to see it. But, they opened the show on Mar. 28, 2010, and it closed Apr. 4, 2010 - less than two weeks later!

*Sniff*
wwcitizen: (Broadway)
Last Saturday night, we invited my friend Joey up to NY for Fuerza Bruta performed in a theater at Union Square. I heard about the show on Facebook and looked at the website. Immediately, it seemed like an unique show for not only NYC but Joey's repertoire of Broadway-ish shows. He goes to about 20-30 Broadway and Off-Broadway shows a year, if not more. The shows are typically musicals, but sometimes he does see plays. Once in a blue moon, he'll take in a show like Stomp or Blast that are musical shows and have (virtually) no dialogue or lyrics.

When I invited him to something, I try to find unusual things for us to see since his greatest interest is in shows that aren't opened yet and shows that one typically thinks is "Broadway". There's often a month or two of showings before opening night for the directors to get a take on the NY review pulse and get input from the crowds on tweaks to the show they should make before it opens. BUT, the cool thing with pre-opening shows is, you get to see shows with the blockbusting actors and actresses almost in the raw and before cuts or slashes are made to the production.

Fuerza Bruta certainly didn't disappoint and it's been in NYC for about 2 years. The tickets I got for us were for a Saturday night at 10 PM for a "Boys' Night" show. "Boys' Night" tickets are for shows where the men of Fuerza Bruta (Brazilians) "come out front and center". I wasn't really sure what that meant, but I figured that there would probably be a little more skin and more men in the show than during a normal performance. I suppose they were right because during the performance we saw only about 4 women total compared to about 10 pretty HOT men. Before the show, we had a couple of beers and I noticed one of the contestants from this season of Project Runway at our showing was standing like 10 feet away from me (Nicolas - ugh). I didn't approach him, although he kept looking at me and chatting to his friends. Strange fella.

The show is very fast, there's no intermission, and the crowd interactively has to move around the theater - you're standing for the 70 minutes of the show in a black room. Everything happens in front of you or above you, hence, "Look up!" in the promos. The show starts with a man walking then running on a 6 foot wide by 10 foot long treadmill. There's a lot of wind, paper, great music, movement, water, and visuals that make it seem you're alive and moving in a Picasso painting. At one point, Joey says to me quite loudly, "Who the fuck thinks up this shit?" Next to him, a girl's jaw drops, she grabs him, and she pulls him up on a stage to dance above the crowd with the cast!! I was floored - one of the pictures shows him dancing on the stage with one of the guys. It was really fun!!

There isn't necessarily a storyline in the show, but I was able to glean something out of the abstract images portrayed for a scenario: A man is going about his business, his work, and his daily life and meets a lot of tragedy and unexpected obstacles. He bustles through crowds, loses his step, falters a bit, but picks himself up and moves forward. Then he is faced with extreme challenges and takes a plunge into the unknown, but finds good footing with friends beside him running through life together.

Highly recommended and fascinating!! Here are some pictures from the show:











wwcitizen: (Broadway)
Guys & Dolls has undoubtedly got to be the best Broadway musical I have seen yet, and I've seen quite a few. I wouldn't necessarily classify myself a "Broadway Queen" (BQ) by any stretch. But living outside of NY, being well-connected with local BQs, and executing my interest in Broadway (not all of them - hate Disney productions, for instance), I've probably seen 30-40 shows and plays over the years. That's easily 1/5th of the shows a lot of my friends see.


The Guys & Dolls we saw last week on Broadway is a revival of the 1950 Broadway debut and in 1955 was made into a movie with Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra.

We were in the very front row. This is the first time for Matthew and me to sit that close. We were RIGHT THERE. We could see Oliver Platt's hands (one of his fingers is cut short), Lauren Graham's cute little crows feet, and Craig Bierko's plastic surgery scar under his chin. They all looked fabulous and performed tremendously well. A star-studded cast to be sure. We were at foot level. The shoes were beautiful and the costumes / suits were really interesting. I could actually picture myself ordering one of the suit/shirt/tie combos together with the audacious shoes for a night out on the town.

We really enjoyed the show, which completely made up for the recent West Side Story experience. The dancers were amazing. We sat right in the middle of the theater, as well, which was in front of the steps from under the stage onto a platform for parts of the show - a little lower than the stage. At the very beginning of the show, one of the (hotter) dancers pops up from below the stage onto the steps in front of us before he lept onto the stage for a dance number. It was fascinating how well he kept his gaze out into the audience and didn't focus on any of us in the front row, even though we were staring right at him (and his slightly crooked nose - lol).

If you have the chance, go see Guys & Dolls. Well worth the time and money. I got a little spoiled being so close to the action on stage - if you can - once - get absolutely front row tickets to a show, too. Very much worth the experience and money!!
wwcitizen: (Broadway)
Today, a friend of ours went to see West Side Story and we had brunch with him before our show - Guys & Dolls. We've been wanting to have a discussion about West Side Story with folks (and me my post on here) about the show. I didn't enjoy it as much as I had wanted or expected to because of a lot of reasons. Our friend sent us his brief review this evening stating that it was pretty good in his opinion, but that they must have changed since our show's date - a LOT before it actually opened on Broadway. We had seen the show two days before our departure to the Bahamas and that was the night that I went to the emergency room for 5 hours, so we didn't have time to sit down and compose our WSS review. Matt just wrote out his thoughts to our friend, and I thought it best to come from him what we post (he wanted to write the review with me online here!!). Plus, he appeared as Arab in his high school production of West Side Story.

From Matthew:

"They must have changed a LOT since it opened! I'm sure they are still the queeniest gang members that were ever cast! Not Jets or Sharks, just Twinks and Chiquitas.

Backs to the audience
1) And WOW - someone must have gotten on top of that stage direction, because ALL I SAW was backs. I never saw Riff OR Tony's face when Riff was asking Tony to show up at the dance (Tony was cleaning DOC's sign on the ladder) before "Something's Coming", both of their backs were to the audience the ENTIRE SCENE.

2) There was a creepy red-headed kid that sang "Somewhere" - and sang half the song walking upstage with his back to the crowd.

3) No one actually saw Bernardo kill Riff because all the gang members were standing around them in a circle with their backs blocking the view of the audience. The same thing happened when Tony killed Bernardo. Same thing when Chino killed Tony. Literally, I can't remember all of them!

Re-writes (and SPANISH??)
1) Tony spoke with an old-timey-radio voice that sounded like Jim Carrey doing a Jimmy Stuart impression UNTIL he started singing later.

2) Everything was in Spanish, well, about 1/3 of the dialogue! I wanted to walk out 3 times, but the tickets were a gift from Joey, Steve's best friend, and he was sitting right next to me! This is what happened:

- Every time there were ONLY Spanish people in the scene, they spoke only Spanish. For example, the entire scene leading up to "America" - and then the entire musical number "America". Together, that is more than 15 minutes of NO ENGLISH on stage. I almost walked out for the first time. Thing is, one of the subtexts in the dialogue concerns how much they want to be American and put aside their Hispanic culture (and language).
- All of Maria and Bernardo's confrontation at that dance at the gym.
- Half of "One Hand, One Heart"
- Maria's, Anita's and the Sharks portions of the "Tonight" quintet. So, 2 parts were English
- The scene leading up to and including "I Feel Pretty" was completely in Spanish. I almost walked out for the second time.
- The entire bedroom scene leading up to and including "A Boy Like That" and "I Have a Love" were all in Spanish for a total of about 20 minutes until Lt. Shrank walked in. When I realized that they re-wrote the words to "I Have a Love" so that it would rhyme in Spanish, I almost walked out again!!

3) Also, in the confrontation between Anita and the Jets in Doc's Store, the play had the scene ending with some heavy sexual harassment - but in this production - they really escalated the re-write of the scene to an actual attempted rape, and that was ABHORRENT!!

4) The other re-write that I hated was that A-Rab and Baby John, the two biggest "followers" out of all of the Jets were somehow too "disgusted" to participate in the "Officer Krupke" number(????!!). In the original play AND the movie, both A-Rab and Baby John have the two best parts in that number! BLECH. All of a sudden, however, A-Rab is "back on board with the gang" when it comes to the attempted rape scene (described above).

I'm not even that much of a Broadway Queen, but the production we experienced was HORRIBLE! When we exited the theater, there was a huge crowd of people muttering that they couldn't understand anything, how much they hated the song versions, and how bad it was."

There you have it. Be forewarned, it might not have changed that much, but it could still be better than when we saw it. We'll not waste more money on it, though.
wwcitizen: (Tasty Thoughts)
Yesterday was really, really fun. We moved through all our plans effortlessly and had so much fun catching up with my best friend Joe in spite of the drizzle and rain showers; they didn't even deter us.

Matt and I dragged ourselves into the city after 4 hours of sleep (the reason for that is coming in another post for later) by 11:30 and met Joe for lunch at Fig & Olive in midtown (10 E 52nd St). We'd been there before, and absolutely LOVE their flagship restaurant in the Meatpacking District, which is much bigger. Over brunch, we shared a plate of 3 fluffy pancakes (implanted with dried figs and accompanied by an amazing vanilla mascarpone spread), six different chef-created bruschetta, and tossed salad. Then we had separate breakfasty dishes - 2 orders of poached eggs in bread bowls and an omelette. Ultimately, it was pretty light: 2 bruschetta, 1 pancake, 1/3 salad, and two eggs apiece with bread and coffee. Very tasty and just filling enough for the afternoon.

We walked down to 45th St. to see Hair, the 60s/70s revival show in the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. It was a fantastically emotional show. I realized that I knew many of the songs in the show and sang them while stifling unexpected tears - it was strangely a religious experience in a way. Though there were a couple of segments that dragged a little, overall it was a great show; the cast does go completely nude for about 3 minutes in the middle and give out flowers before the intermission. At the very end the actors, BELTING out "Let The Sun Shine" (from Aquarius - the opening song of Hair), invite people to come up to the stage and dance with them. I went!! Matthew and Joe (a Broadway queen like you'll rarely meet - he's been to ALL the shows) stayed behind, but I simply had to go up there - how many theater-goers get a chance to dance on a Broadway stage? Plus, it really finished off the spiritual aspect of the whole show - togetherness, love, hippies, peace, and FLOWER POWER!

Walking on air and still basking in seeing the rest of the audience from the stage, we left the theater towards Time Square. Matt and I got free tickets for The Late Show with David Letterman for today (Monday, Mar. 30), and we're heading in by about 2:00 PM. Record or watch the Late Show tonight!! You might just hear us laughing or see us in the audience - they said there's always the chance that we might get on TV!!). The guests are Seth Rogen, Tom Dreesen, and Adele. I'm really excited to see Seth Rogen.

Joe had passed Bar Americain on the way to Fig & Olive on 52nd and asked what it was. It's a Bobby Flay restaurant where Matt and I had gone a couple of times and loved. So, we went there for a much bigger dinner than brunch at F&O. We had stuffed zucchini flowers, fried green tomato salad, tossed salad, bread, cocktails (a Pickle Mary - with pickle juice - very good), roasted rack of pork with creamed corn, porterhouse veal steak, and tuna (my dish) black/blue. The sides were grilled mushrooms and asparagus. For dessert we had coffee and all split an apple tart (tart for the tarts, eh?). Our waitress bagged us a couple of times checking out hotties in the place, came over and said, "Boys, now don't be so obvious! I'm gay, too, and those do nothing for me... but you have fun." So, we had a lipstick lesbian from England as our waitress - and she was very pretty, too.

After picking up the car, we took off to the Penthouse above Park on 10th Ave. for a bear lounge/dance party called Truck Stop. It was so much fun, and we ran into some friends, including [livejournal.com profile] peterpandanyc, who we hadn't seen in a VERY long time. The venue was beautiful - Zen Garden-esque. The thunderstorms hit around 7:30 PM or so, and kept pounding the roof for about two hours. We left the party at 10:30 dropping off Joe at the train station and got home by 11:00. It was a fantastic NYC day.

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Stephen Lambeth

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