Friday, July 20, 2018

July 20, 1988 - CATS! Now and Forever - July 20, 2018

I will NOT be watching the Taylor Swift version of Cats!

That article scared the crap out of me.....see Cats, was the VERY FIRST Broadway Musical that I ever saw - it truly has a unique place in my mind and my heart because it was something that was "the first."

Funny thing was, I read this article and it made me remember that trip to New York and seeing it live so I went to grab my ticket book and BAM I realized that I saw Cats! Now and Forever, exactly 30 years ago TODAY!

It was not my first time to New York, but it was my first Broadway musical.  I didn't care that we were near the back of the theater we were there to see something that had been a part of my imagination for nearly half a decade. 

I knew the songs, I knew the music.  I had worn out that double-cassette soundtrack!  I knew it!!!!  I remember sitting in the theater, since we were towards the back we were right up against the scenery, there were set pieces all around the theatre to make you feel as though you were in a junkyard with a bunch of singing kitties. 

Even though we were just a few rows from the back wall, the stage had never felt closer to me.

Cats is one of those shows that I will never ever see live again, only because seeing it again would overwrite the version that is so crisp (and cloudy) in my mind.  I can only imagine what it would look like in a huge behemoth of a theater like the Cadillac Palace in downtown Chicago, the distraction of the room itself is enough to pull you out of the suspension of disbelief.

I didn't see the "movie" version of the stage production they did in the 90's (except for Elaine Paige as Grizabella).  And I sure as hell won't be seeing this monstrosity of a movie either.

You'll see from the ticket below Cats, I fixed that issue with being in the back of the theater - for Phantom I was sitting front row of the balcony - and that's still my favorite seat.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Why I hate Ina Garten

Ok, hate is a very very strong word, I don't hate Ina Garten, I don't even know her, I just don't like her.

I've long referred to her as the Hyacinth Bucket of the Food Network, and I could never quite figure out why I didn't like her.

I like everybody, ask my bff, that's the first thing he says about me, but The Barefoot Contessa just rubbed me the wrong way, it's not that she always says "Oh, well who knew?" (Uhm, I knew) or "Oh that's everyone's favorite" (Uhm, that's disgusting), it's something more than that.

Today, I was watching her and I figured it out - she doesn't scrape!  She NEVER scrapes anything, not a measuring cup, not a bowl, not a spoon - NOTHING.......EVER!!!

FFS lady there's at least one less cookie or a bit more batter in that bowl because you don't take the high falutin' time to scrape your bowl.  She just figures the intern, or perhaps Jeffrey, will come behind her and clean up after her, what does she care.

As a baker, I scrape the fuck out of everything.....that melted butter bowl from the microwave - scrape, melted some chocolate - scrape, you just need one more cookie for a sandwich - SCRAPE THAT FUCKER till you're peeling off shards of stainless steel!

Watch Martha, that bitch scrapes, she don't throw nothing away....nothin!!!

And I guess that's why I hatewatch Ms Garten, she does have some nice recipes, she just made a honey bourbon cake that looks delicious but if I ever made it I would have to hide my resources.....just sayin'...and she never scraped a fucking thing, bitch!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Zelda Breath of Wild is driving me mad


My holiday break was 18 days long. 

I did not play Zelda the entire time I was on vacation.  

I'm still scared to play it!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Zelda Breath of the Wild is giving me heartache

I bought the Nintendo Switch earlier this year - only to play the new Mario Kart.  I mean that's the only reason I upgraded from the original Wii to the Wii U - Mario Kart.

But then I bought Zelda: Breath of the Wild (you need to read that with a dramatic flare). 

When I was a teen I never played D&D, I was programming on my Ti99-4/a and installing satellite tv systems with my dad.  So I've never really played a "role playing" game where you follow a story, blah blah blah.

Probably the closest I came to an RPG was Pitfall on the Atari 2600 - but then you really didn't have that many choices - but you had some choices and there was only one button!

I haven't played Mario Kart since I bought Zelda - how fucked up is that?

Zelda is driving me crazy!  Since I don't really understand how the whole RPG thing works, I really don't know WTF I'm doing.  All I did was climb mountains and run through the trees for like 5 hours, somehow getting from one side of the plateau to the other and not knowing what in the world was going on.

But I kept going and I finally sort of figured things out, but I was using Youtube Walkthroughs and online guides trying to get me through.

I ended up going to an actual brick-and-mortor book store to buy the Official Guide because Amazon and every other online venue was sold out of them.  I couldn't believe I was buying a book for this game, but then I saw it and said "OH FORK" this is crazy.

I already know that I will never ever see the end of this game, there is just too much shit going on.  I mean you have to collect food and cook it, but if you cook some things with other things you get other shit which gives you this power which you need if you're going to go to this area and do this thing that monster....SHIT!!!!!

I read that book for two days to understand what monster was gonna give up what weapon if you killed them in a certain area and looked at the food and the recipes and the walk throughs, but damn the print is so small I almost was tempted to go out and buy a magnifying glass, but I thought that would be a little old guy, playing a game that he doesn't understand, using an Official Guide to just figure things out and on top of it using a magnifying glass - perfect!  So I squint!!!!

I've really enjoyed Zelda, I did get to a point where I had to reset and start over.  I had gotten to a place where I should have had a certain piece of clothing and something else and I figured it would be easier for me (second time around) to actually do the things the correct way and learn the skills along the way - so I started over again.   Second time was much better, especially since I had the internet, YouTube, wiki guides, Facebook groups and the Official Guide to help me along.

I've gotten to a part where I'm sort of freaked out, because I have to kill these monsters before being able to move on, and I do not have the skills at all!  I suck at fighting, I really do.  I've been playing it via handheld because when I play it on the big TV I get vertigo from looking down from the mountains. 

So I'm sort of frozen, afraid to play because it's gonna take me a long time to get through them, but also knowing I can't play a quick 10-15 minutes to just move forward a bit.  I'm on vacation for the rest of the year so I'm sure that I'll find some time to commit to getting past this point and I'm sure that with all the tutorials and stuff even I will be able to do a combo-parry, jump off a monster and tap dance on his head with the best of them.

I mean what good is it to fight these monsters, can't we all just be friends? 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Disney's Aladdin - North American Tour playing at the Cadillac Palace in Chicago

Another magnet added to the collection
I saw the second performance of Disney's Aladdin North American Tour last night at the Cadillac Palace from three rows from the backrow in the balcony - and I want to go see it again!

I've been a subscriber of Broadway in Chicago for near 10 years now and although I was not excited about many of the shows in this years spring package - I was excited about Aladdin.

The one thing about a Disney Production is that it is a PRODUCTION.  Oh my goodness, the costumes, the sets (even though it's a touring set), the dancers and the leads make it one heck of a show.

Don't think that you're going to get a scene by scene rendering of the classic 1992 movie starring Robin Williams - you're going to get something different and better.  I know sacrilegious, right?  But it is a different show.  The theme is the same, the scenes are the same but they don't try to disguise people as animals (i.e. Iago) instead you've got fully fleshed out character and his side-kick has been transformed into three best friends.

This tour includes the original Ali - Adam Jacobs and introduces Anthony Murphy as the Genie.  Adam was wonderful and kept the show grounded because Anthony blew the roof off.  At first he really reminded me of Titus Burgess' character Titus Andromeda from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, but then he morphed, and morphed again he had one-liner after one-liner and not old ones, new ones.

Enough has been written about the show itself, but this is the first production of the National Tour so that's why it requires being written about.  The show is so popular that it's been extended until September 10th and to be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if it were extended through the Holidays.

The thing with an actual Disney production, and not the faux kind like the last touring company of "Disney's Beauty and The Beast" presented by "not Disney," is that you get a REAL show.  From the very opening notes of the orchestra you're swept away to the dessert and land of Agrabah.

The costumes were beautiful, brightly colored and the men were mostly shirtless - I was for once sad that I was three rows from the back instead of three rows from the front!  For only the second "public" performance by this Cast, they have really pulled it together.  There were a few klumps along the way, but there was nothing that was distracting or made you go tsk tsk.

I would seriously go again to just watch the Cave of Wonders/Friend Like Me number over and over.
 Up until that point the sets were expected, they did a good job of portraying the scene but they were just good.  OMG, the Cave of Wonders was AMAZING and it just kept going and going.  When he first entered the Cave there were a few things on stage, and then more came from the fly space, more came from the sides, more came from down in front it just kept coming and coming and truly became a Cave of Wonders.

This is the scene where Ali meets Genie for the first time and Genie sings "Friend Like Me" a nearly 8 minute long production number with nearly the entire cast jumping up from inside the stage, appearing in columns magically on stage, performing a magic chest trick, wearing rhinestone tuxedos that were blinding me three-rows from the back - it was spectacular and THEN there was the tap number, pyrotechnics and confetti!  When the number finished the audience clapped for nearly 3 minutes, seriously we just clapped and clapped and clapped it was awe inspiring and probably one of the best scenes I have ever seen on stage, so much better than Be Our Guest - meh!  The cast really pulled it together and presented a spectacular number, I can only imagine that it will get better the more they perform it.

Yep, that's my view from my seats
I haven't even talked about the Magic Carpet yet - that transition from Jasmine's room to the carpet is a bit wonky, but once they're on the carpet it's amazing.  Perhaps it was a mix up but the entire scene was REALLY dark, like from the third row from the back I could barely see what was going on.  I know there's some amazing technology behind making that carpet go all over the stage, but it was just really too dark to see what was going on.  It's like when they don't want you to really see the monster in a horror movie so it's really dark - it was that dark.  The scene itself was beautiful to watch, I seriously thought they were about to do a Mary Poppins and have them fly off the stage into the audience.  Sidenote:  Mary Poppins started it's National Tour in Chicago in the same theater.

One of the nice things I like about being a subscriber - is getting to see the show EARLY, literally this was the second public performance of this cast and it's going to be running through September.  I would like to go back and see it later this year if I can find some affordable tickets, just to see how much better they are going to get as they hit their marks, find their groove and really get into the show, I know they'll be phenomenal.

Find out more information about Disney's Aladdin playing at Broadway In Chicago

Monday, February 13, 2017

Updating the Dog GPS

This is our dog Deeohji, we recently had a medical scare with him and he ended up in the animal hospital for three days and "in recovery" at home for about 2 weeks.

He's doing better now and we have a follow-up appointment later this week, but ever since the "scare" he's been sniffing up a storm.

During the recovery period we wouldn't spend much time outdoors, literally pee, poop and back in the house.  Honestly he wasn't up to much walking either, in fact we've just gotten back in to our normal "walk around the block."

One strange thing since then is that he is a sniffing fiend.  Literally he'll walk 30 feet and have to stop and sniff the air, seeing who's around.

I'm wondering if his stay at the hospital reset his doggy GPS?

So now our walks take twice as long because he's trying to remap the neighborhood.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Day Finally Came: I'm Old!

Whelp, the day finally came, I officially said "I'm old today."

Want to know why?  I read an article about a video game that I had heard about and I literally knew NOTHING about what they were writing about.

I didn't understand the lingo, I didn't understand the concept of what they were trying to do and I was like "Oh my goodness, what the fuck is this?  I must be old because I have no idea what they're talking about."

Now I know how my grandmother felt when I would spout off about programming on my TI 99-4/a, but she would sit there and listen and I'm sure she was saying "What the fuck is he talking about."

I honestly never thought this day would come, I'm cool, I read, I keep up with current technology, but you know what, I have a life too...and a job - so I guess I don't keep up that well.  Technology is innovating so quickly now, I figure that by the time I hear about it - it's either going to go belly up or it was hot 5 years ago.  Heck I just found out about MySpace!

But it's here and I accept the consequences, but at the same time, I think that I can now yell "Hey you kids, get off my lawn." and really own it, because I'm old now!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Lifehack That Works: Corn on the cob

Yeah, yeah, everyone has a lifehack for everything can't just live your life, you've got to hack your life to make it better.  But you know what, a lot of those hacks just don't work, or are so cumbersome that they're not worth it.

I've collected some Lifehacks for Corn on the cob that ACTUALLY work, like work in the way that this is the way that I now deal with corn on the cob.

Lifehack That Works #1: Cooking

There have been a few hacks for this, but the one that I found works best is to throw the corn in the microwave and hit it for 4-minutes an ear.  You're golden.

Don't husk it, don't soak it in water for 30 minutes, don't wrap it in wet paper towel, just toss it in there.

Lifehack That Works #2: Removing the Silk

Remember, you didn't husk the corn

Step 1: Cut off the end

Step 2: Grab the end with the silk and pull out

Step 3: Seriously this was all that remained!

Lifehack That Works #3 & #4:  Cutting and Collecting

Grab your electric knife and your bundt pan, that's all you need

Stick the small end in the middle - no fuss, no muss

Seriously these hacks work and don't do it the old way, I've tried everything - seriously I have, and this is by and far the easiest way.  I am able to do a half dozen ears of corn in no more than 5 minutes, it's that quick - and the more you do it the more confident you'll be.

Now a few hints:  Get an Ove Glove  and plastic gloves, it will make handling the corn that much easier.  I've always struggled with how to hold the corn, with an Ove Glove it's simple.

Hurry, summer is almost over, get out there and eat some corn before they turn it into a Maze!

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Gay Trifecta Weekend

This past weekend was the Gay Trifecta and I came in first place...well I was the only one in the running contest so if I hadn't won!

Friday night I went to the Culture Club concert with my friend Gregory.  He is the biggest Boy George fan I have ever (or will ever) know, he loves Boy George so much.  We had great seats at The Chicago Theatre, front row loge on stage left.  There was no one in our little section so we got to stretch out and really enjoy the concert.  The concert was a ton of fun, I was surprised that I knew so many songs...and I even danced for a few minutes (during the encore).

Saturday night I decided that I had to go see Absolutely Fabulous - The Movie on opening week, so I drug myself to the cinema.  The first 30 minutes or so of the film was a rehash of the series, pulling out a lot of the gags that made it funny.  At one point I thought "Did they just pull out the best bits to make the movie?" and then it moved on to new territory - I guess they just wanted to remind us exactly who Patsy and Edina are - like we'd ever forget!

Sunday morning I finished out the Gay Trifecta by watching Star Trek Beyond - I hadn't seen a Star Trek movie since 2009 - I really enjoyed it.  I was wondering why it is that I don't like Action Movies, per se, but I like Science Fiction Action Movies - why is that?  I don't know!

Oh yeah, and on top of the Gay Trifecta weekend it was freaking HOT here all weekend, temps in the 90's with "real feel" in the 100's, it was stifling.

I'm glad it wasn't really a race this weekend - I woulda died!

Friday, July 01, 2016

REVIEW: Patti Lupone and Christine Ebersole in' War Paint' at Goodman Theatre Chicago

Saw Patti and Christine last night in War Paint at the Goodman Theatre- they were amazing.  The show was "meh", the songs were not entirely memorable, but OMG did they fucking SING.  I didn't care what they were saying, it was Patti Lupone and Christine Ebersole, they could sing cooking recipes and I'd listen all day long.

Long awaited and eagerly anticipated, War Paint has been on the tip of everyone's tongues lately - and rightly so.  Broadway royalty has made the trek to Chicago and people want to show their appreciation.  Friends at work who aren't into theater have been asking about it, so I know a lot of people are talking about it.

Typically our tickets aren't until the end of the run, literally we're the last Thursday performance before close, so we're used to seeing some well performed theater at Goodman, but I had to change out my tickets for an earlier date because of some things going on later this month - and I snagged the FIRST Thursday performance.

I love seeing the first previews of a show, when it's still raw and the actors are finding their way and learning how to make the characters real.  This show was no different, it was remarkably tight for a third performance - everyone was en pointe, or as the kids say "on fleek."

The stage hands definitely have their work cut out for themselves on this show, there is a ton of movement in this show - things going on and off the stage up and down from the fly EVERY scene - literally every scene.  Which is so different from most Goodman shows where they have a single set, like Vanya and Sasha; or a really innovative set like the rotating stage of Luna.  The sets are usually beautiful and semi-stationary.  The sets for War Paint are beautiful and on the move, so much movement, so much light design, so many beautiful duets sung together yet separately at the same time.  The staging was impeccable and for so early in the run - not that I was expecting problems but I can imagine it will only get better as they go, the stagehands deserve a round of applause.

I took my friend Logan with me, I've known Logan for 20+ years and last night was the first time I seriously ever saw him go totally Broadway Queen - he was more excited than I was to see Patti, it shocked me.  Patti has this strange European accent that she sometimes lost while singing, but you know what I didn't care, because watching her sing live is all encompassing, she'll get it, it was the third performance.  As the show went on she was able to carry it through, but I can't imagine how difficult it has to be to sing with an accent, to focus on the words, the music, the tone and then the accent - if anyone can do it Patti Lupone can do it.

I snapped this during curtain call, I know I'm bad but I would
never take a photo during a performance - especially Patti, she
calls people out for that shit!  
Christine Ebersole was amazing, her voice was crisp and as always amazing, I would love to hear her sing unmic'd, she could fill the room and have it bouncing off the rafters, her voice is lovely. Every word she sang was filled with purpose, you could feel her pain and loneliness, it was glorious. The screech that she lets out in the last scene was so surprising that I couldn't help but laugh.

The costumes were beautiful, couture in style and period, the spa scenes with the women were so wonderfully choreographed and so much fun to watch.  The story was interesting, so if you're like me and know nothing about it you could easily follow along and know what's going on.  There was just one "joke" that we didn't get, I had to ask the lady sitting next to me what they were laughing about - it was a make up joke!  Patti had some wonderful one liners and a fourth-wall breaking glance that was spectacular.

There was a lot of music, music between scenes, music playing during scenes as background, it was filling but not overpowering.  A few of the songs still stick with me, especially the opener "A Woman's Face" and the heart-breaker "If I'd Been a Man" OMG that song was so powerful - I can't wait to get the album for that song alone.  The song "Dinosaurs" sung by the men in Act Two needs to go or get re-worked, they really struggled pulling it off...perhaps with some practice they'll get it more in sync.  

The music wasn't outstanding, no melodies stick with me, the music was familiar but in an unfamiliar way like I think I may have heard it somewhere before but can't place it.  But the songs were soaring, Patti and Christine singing a duet together but not together never got old, to listen to them sing together and pass back and forth was delicious, I could just listen to that all day.  I'm sure that when the album comes out I'll have a different opinion because I'll be able to listen to and digest the music, in all honestly I wanted to hear Patti and Christine sing, the orchestrations were secondary.

This will go to Broadway as I can only imagine that their performance will  improve as time goes on, Patti and Christine will both be nominated for a Tony - mark my words!

P.S. There must be a lot of people rushing the Stage Door, they had security barriers and a guard watching the area.