Twitter

For those that don't already follow it, I have a Twitter feed readable here.

I first signed up for an account two and a half years ago, but didn't start Twittering with any regularity until last fall. My use of Twitter partially explains the reduction in Livejournal postings, so I finally figured I'd post a link for anyone who's been using this blog to keep up with what I'm doing.

Usage notes: Twitter posts starting with an @ and a name are replies to someone else's post. They will rarely make sense out of context. Also, many of my posts end with #fb. This simply causes the post to copy over into my Facebook profile.

On the way to the doctor

Last Wednesday I had an appointment to see my doctor for a checkup. As the 1 train pulled into the 157th Street station, we stopped rather suddenly. The doors didn't open, and we sat there for a minute or so. The conductor came on the PA to announce that the emergency brake had been activated, and we'd be moving again shortly.

Soon after that, he announced that the train would be taken out of service due to a sick passenger. The doors opened, and it became apparent that the train had only pulled about halfway into the station before stopping. I was only one stop away from the medical center, so I headed for the exit. As I walked down the platform, I passed a couple of cops making their way to the train, and heard the motorman explain to them, in a rather agitated tone, that a guy had actually jumped down in front of the train as it pulled in. Yikes.

I continued out the exit and up the stairs, and as I started walking up Broadway, I passed many emergency vehicles speeding toward the subway. I'd recently rewatched The Bourne Ultimatum, which has a scene or two where Matt Damon is quickly walking away from the scene of a crime while emergency vehicles congregate behind him. I had to keep reminding myself that I hadn't done anything wrong, hadn't witnessed anything useful, and had absolutely no basis for the feeling of guilt that I was feeling.

The Story of My Life

On Friday I saw The Story of My Life, a new Broadway musical. It's of a type called a "chamber musical," just 90 minutes, two actors, and a single set. It's the story of two lifelong friends, their childhood, and the eulogy to be given by one at the funeral of the other.

And it was pretty bad. The music was repetitive and uninteresting; it seemed like nearly every line was a half-spoken lyric with an emphasis placed on the last word. The same themes -- "It's a Wonderful Life", books, butterflies -- kept coming up in the too-frequent flashbacks but didn't provide any compelling reason for us to care about the characters. It was strongly hinted that one of the characters is gay, but this wasn't explored at all for some reason. The actors did a good enough job considering what they had to work with, but they just couldn't make the characters interesting.

I saw four people in the audience walk out during the show, and had there been an intermission, I'm sure there would have been more. Opening night was Thursday, but with the bad word-of-mouth and mediocre reviews, the show is closing today after just eighteen previews and five regular performances.

Dallas

I was in Dallas last weekend for a fraternity board meeting. This was my first trip to Dallas proper, so arrived early and explored the downtown area a bit. I rode the light rail, as well as a touristy trolley through the arts district, and visited the Sixth Floor Museum in the old Texas School Book Depository in Dealey Plaza.

There wasn't much presented that I didn't already know about the JFK assassination, but it was still stunning to see the site, which has been so well documented and hasn't changed much in 45 years.

Oh yeah. That airport is BIG.

Theater wrapup

Last year, I saw exactly 100 shows, the most since 2005. This included 50 plays, 24 musicals,16 concerts (the most I've ever seen in a year), and 10 shows that I don't consider to be any of the above.

Shows in Manhattan-88; London-4; Brooklyn-3; Queens-2; Los Angeles-2; Chicago-1

Shows I saw more than once in 2008: Spring Awakening, The New Century.

Shows that I revisited after seeing in previous years: Billy Elliot, Equus, Hair, On The Town, Rent, South Pacific, Spring Awakening, Sunday in the Park with George, Title of Show, Wicked.

Theaters/venues I visited for the first time: Cinema Haymarket (London), Keira Retirement Home (LA), Kenny's Castaway, Kodak Theatre (LA), Lyric Theatre Hammersmith (London), Nokia Theater, Oriental Theatre (Chicago), Theatre Ten Ten.

Favorite shows: 365, August: Osage County, Billy Elliot, Next to Normal, Saturn Returns, South Pacific, Spring Awakening, Sunday in the Park with George, War Horse.

Worst show: A Christmas Carol. This seemed so promising, with some big names (Christopher Lloyd, John Goodman) in the cast, and an expensive theater booked (the Kodak Theater, where the Oscars are held). But the direction and staging were so incredibly awful it was unbelievable.


So far this year, I've seen three shows:
  • The closing performance of Hairspray, which was a blast because the crowd was so energetic (and the score is so great);
  • Becky Shaw, a new off-Broadway play about a blind date and its effects on a family (good but maybe a little long); and
  • The Cripple of Inishmaan, a Martin McDonagh play set on the west coast of Ireland in the 1930's. Very well done. The cast received a standing ovation, which is unusual off-Broadway.