Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Radio Ha-Ha

Thanks to Eric Burns, I discovered R U Seated Comfortably?, an online archive of classic radio shows. I've long been a huge fan of old radio comedy (blame the parents and the uncle who let me listen to records and tapes of Jack Benny, the Shadow, and the Bickersons), and I think this collection will keep me more than busy during the music-free three weeks.

When The Lovely Wife(tm) and I caught Light in the Piazza last week, I wanted to criticize it; I really did. The book is slight, several scenes are never resolved, and the premise seems silly. Every time I thought anything along those lines, though, Adam Guettel's score started playing, and Kelli O'Hara, Victoria Clark, or Matthew Morrison started singing, and I totally forgot what I was complaining about. I haven't heard three voices this stunning on a single stage since half past never, and when you consider that two of them are sopranos (a vocal range that I generally appreciate in small doses), it's all the more remarkable.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Jes' Keep Rowling Along

Few things in life are as much fun as holding a new Harry Potter book in your hands, and knowing that you've got the time to read it through. Few things are more urgent than reading the thing quickly when you've only bought one copy, and you share your life with a fellow devotee of JK Rowling's creation.

Half-Blood Prince is a pretty fun read (note: I do not intend to give any spoilers in this post, but I might let a plot device or two slip through; proceed at your own risk): Rowling did a great job of developing her characters and situations while throwing in a bunch of cultural references and chuckle-inducing images. Even as I predicted several major plot turns and noticed some apparent inconsistencies (how do house-elves disapparate at Hogwarts?), I was quite happy to leave my Muggle existence for a little while.

It's also nice to see that Scholastic has stopped cutting out Rowling's Britishisms. While I think that "snogging" is just a goofy-looking slang term for "kissing," it's still fun to see. There's something very British about Rowling's sense of humor in the first place (someone's gonna do a doctoral thesis on her wonderful use of wordplay and cultural reference in her character names someday), and it dilutes the overall effect to "translate" her works to American.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Well, Albee!

The Lovely Wife(tm) and I finally got around to catching the revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and, while I can't say that I came out of it the world's biggest Albee fan, there's something about having a well-directed strong cast that makes me quite happy. Bill Irwin, who I've known for years as a classic comedic type (his mime show, Fool Moon, remains one of the funniest bloody things I've ever witnessed) was just magnificently paired with Kathleen Turner, who almost made me wish that I'd seen The Graduate... after that, it was off to Shakespeare in the park (yes, two shows in one day; we haven't done that in centuries, and I bet that we're not gonna get too many more chances), for a freewheeling production of As You Like It. Much too silly a play for my tastes, although the @#!@ uncomfortable seats at the Delacorte might have added to my discomfort.

Okay, now that a few days have passed, and I've gotten some theatrical stuff done, let's talk about the bombings in London for a sec, shall we? There was a brief meme going around the poltical blogosphere with people displaying the Union Jack on their sites in solidarity with the Brits, i.e. "We're all British." I empathize with that sentiment, but, quite frankly, call bull-you-know-what on it. I'm not British, and never intend to be (my honorary citizenship from my yeshiva roomate after having Marmite every morning for a week notwithstanding). In no particular order, I'm an American, an Orthodox Jew, an Israeli citizen (thanks to a few hours' worth of consular beauracracy two weeks ago), a New Yawker, a meshugganah liberal, and a theatre queen. And all of us are majorly pissed. I don't need to fly a flag, sing an anthem, or watch week-long mutant variants of baseball (yes, I KNOW cricket came first; baseball's still less boring) to feel for the families of those who were killed or wounded. I just need to be a human being. Those who decided that deliberately targeting innocents was a valid way to achiever their ends are not. The social liberal in me says that they should be arrested and put away for life only because that's what my society values, not because that's commensurate punishment for the heinousness of their actions. There is no such thing. May the families of the victims know no more sorrow. May the perpetrators know no more joy.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

I Go Working After Midnight

Welp, I got hit up with one/possibly two weeks' worth of midnight shifts, so the theater-going's gonna slow down even more than it already has (I guess I could theoretically hit a Wednesday matinee on my own, but I don't really think The Lovely Wife(tm) would be too thrilled).

For years, I've been teasing TLW about how she's got forty gazillion friends (give or take a gazillion or two), with three names between them. Well, we just spent the fourth with my stepmother-in-law's family, and I don't think that I knew that that many Tonys and Billys existed in this world. I guess that there wasn't a whole lot of imagination going around the family, or maybe they just figured they'd stick with what worked... still, you could do a lot worse than spending a gorgeous weekend shuttling between a beach house and a lake house, eating grilled food and catching a few rays.