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.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Is this the start of the Apocalypse?

England has voted to exit the European Union, David Cameron will be stepping down and I have this terrible terrible feeling that Trump may just be the next President of the United States.

Is this the beginning of the Apocalypse?

If it is, then why are there so many "Good Christains" left, did they miss the Rapture?

Did the Rapture happen but nobody went because no one is a good Christian any longer?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Artists of the Wall Festival - I just can't believe it

We made it to Season 2 for the Artists of the Wall Festival - so few programs actually make it to Season 2 so I'm stoked.

I knew we were going to make Season 2 because we decided at the end of last year that we wanted to do it again.

2016 was the 23rd running of this festival and the theme was "Drawing on the Lake"

"Drawing on the lake" oh boy did we have a tough time coming up with ideas....literal, figurative, allegorical, how do you interpret that?

Here's what we did.




Arms and hands are holding knitting needles which are knitting a tapestry of leaves from the water within the lake.  Those leaves are then filled in with the names of the 49 victims of the Pulse Nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida.  You see what you want to see, you interpret it as you like, the same as when you look at a person and see what you want to see.  The choice is yours.  

#WeArePulse  
#LoveWins

I was so honored to find out this morning.....that our team actually won 2nd place!  I know my friend Marcio knew it all along, but  I never think I'm going to win.  

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The SpongeBob Musical Review - playing in Chicago until July 7 2016

The SpongeBob Musical Review - I liked it more than I ever thought I would.  This review is of the pre-Broadway World Premiere showing at the Oriental Theatre in Chicago until July 7, 2016

This show is as close to watching a cartoon as there ever will be!  Bright, loud, colorful, full of inside jokes that I didn't get because I never watched SpongeBob but nonetheless - funny as hell.  Sound effects as the characters walked (Squidward), rapid screen swipes as action moves from character to character and digital projection GALORE!  Costumes were out of this world, since I don't watch SB I don't know who all of the characters are, but the audience sure did and gleefully clapped as each character was revealed.

So much technology in this show it was astounding - digital projections that moved around the stage live, neon everywhere, junk everywhere, exactly what you would think Bikini Bottom would look like.  It's interesting to see how digital projection has grown.  I remember seeing the Lady in White (Andrew Lloyd Webber) in London, which was a big blank stage where they projected everything, and imagining back then how far it would progress - it seems as though you can't go to a show now where there isn't some kind of digital projection - it really helps move this show along.

Flanking the stage are two huge Rube Goldberg machines that spew out lava balls - unfortunately it only got used twice, I would have liked to have seen more of that.  The stage was built out, reaching out into the audience and covering the orchestra pit with ramps connecting each side; surrounding the stage and hanging above were all kinds of floatsam and jetsam that you would expect to see in the ocean.

ALL of the actors had, in my opinion, strong clear voices and they did great justice to all of the different songwriters, including doing the voices of the characters that so many people know so well.  I'd completely forgotten that Gavin Lee was playing Squidward.  Who's Gavin Lee?  He played Bert in the Broadway and then touring production of Mary Poppins.

Songwriters: there were twelve famous songwriters amongst the 15 songs, Plain White T's, Cyndi Lauper, David Bowie, John Legend.  I was concerned that it might sound more like a juke-box musical with so many different styles of songwriters - but there was no concern at all, each song flowed easily to the next and none seemed out of place.

My FAVORITE number was "I'm Not a Loser" which was Squidwards big song written by They Might Be Giants.  A huge production number where it seemed that the entire cast (men included) donned huge Vegas style show girl costumes replete with big feathered head dresses and a big tap number (I'm a sucker for tap).  Several of the songs I was bopping along or tapping along at which point I would catch myself and say "why are you doing that, you never watched this show?"

My favorite song was No Control by David Bowie and Brian Eno, within a few bars of the start of the song you KNEW it was a Bowie song.  Dark, twisty and the perfect way to start off the conflict of the show.

The choreography was really good, especially the tap number - they were ALL in sync for a show that's only been out for a week.  There were skateboarders and roller skaters that used the ramps in front of the stage and there was even a mini-pirate show to kick off each of the acts.  There was so much going on in this show that it really was like being in a cartoon.

I'm definitely not the target audience for this show, but the youngin's sitting around us definitely LOVED IT!  Everytime a character was introduced they'd go wild, when the actors would say or do something, people lauged.  Apparently it really fed right into the appetite of that target because the young ladies sitting next to us couldn't get enough, whereas the older couple sitting next to us never came back after Act One.

I surprised myself how much I liked this, so much so that when intermission came I didn't ask the question: Do you want to stay for Act Two?

I sorta wanna see it again, if it makes it to Broadway it's going to be a big hit with those that love SpongeBob!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Happiest Thing I've Seen

I went to visit a friend last week and while we were out walking around the neighborhood I saw the happiest thing I think that I've ever seen in my life.

Picture it:  One of the first nice Spring days we've had this year, the sun was out, the clouds were out, the leaves on the trees were out, it was gorgeous.  

We had decided to walk down to Vedgewater Garden and check out the plot.  Last year my friend was able to get a plot and we had a grand harvest.  He's signed on for Season 2, I told him he didn't realize how lucky he was, most programs get cancelled after Season 1 - and he had made it to Season 2.

He'd already been to the garden and cleaned it up, in fact he found a bunny hatch under a big oregano bush that had grown overwinter, there were four cute little bunnies calling it home.
Garden Bunny
We took our time in the garden and had a leisurely walk home through the neighborhood.  As we were turning a corner we heard what we thought were shouts, but only once or twice and then nothing so we paid no attention.  Then we heard it again, but now it sounded like singing.........and laughing.......and it grew louder.

Before we knew it, it had passed us and we sat there trying to take it all in, I was astonished at what I'd seen.  (ooohhhh clickbait)

We had just seen an old man (I mean OLD man) in a wheelchair, in a "contraption" holding the wheelchair, attached to a bicycle that was being peddled by a young man.  I had no time to pull out my camera, I had no time to take it what was going on, but it was the happiest thing I think I have ever seen.

The look on the old man's face was priceless, like he was running a marathon, like he was re-enacting that scene from Titanic on the bow, like he was 15 years old again.  He was singing at the top of his lungs, and he was laughing and basically hootin' and hollerin'.  The boy powering the contraption had the biggest smile on his face, getting satisfaction beyond belief from the reaction he was getting from the old man. 

I can only assume that this gentleman's grandson had created this device (there's a picture of something similar) so that he could take his Grandfather on a bike ride, to allow him to feel the wind blowing on his face after probably being stuck at home for years.  

But as we watched them pass by, suddenly a car came barreling down the street blowing it's horn and caused the whole bike wheelchair combination to flip and end up on it's side, an ambulance was called and the old man......nope, that didn't happen, but I couldn't leave you with such a sweet, fantastically touching story and not make you think something bad happened.....it didn't, something wonderful happened.  

I hope that man gets to go on a bike ride every day!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Preparing for Vegas: Raising Alcohol Tolerance

I'm going to Vegas in a month to visit my BFF and his boyfriend.  They moved there in February to get away from these blasted Midwestern winters.

They were my drinking buddies and since they left, I really haven't had that much to drink....which means I'm in trouble if I don't get my tolerance back up.

I can see it now, don't drink for 3 months, go to Vegas, have 2 drinks, pass out drunk take 3 out of 5 days to recover...nope, not gonna happen.

This weekend I kicked off the RAT4V (Raising Alcohol Tolerance 4 Vegas) Program in preparation.

Friday night I went with my friend Gregory to the Rogers Park Social Club for a cocktail and food truck venture - every Friday a foodtruck stops in front of the bar so you can have a drink and a bite.  This week it was Wow Bao and I had a big Ginge Shandy something or other that got me really woozy!

Sunday afternoon Gregory invited me to go with him to a friends birthday party at R Public House and they've got this delicious grapefruit beer Stiegl-Radler - OMG add a shot of vodka and boom you're outta there because it's so fruity and goes down so quickly.

This week I plan on having at least 2 drinks on the ride home from work, it's only 18 minutes but I think I can do it.  They sell beer and wine leading to the tracks and alcohol is allowed on Metra, so I think I'm gonna grab me a box of wine or something from CVS and get buzzed before I get home.

Next week I'll bump it up to three nights and I think I'll keep the party going one night til after dinner.  I think if I follow that up with an early start drinking on Friday until at least midnight I think I'll be back on track and ready to party it up in Vegas.

See that's the problem with people going to Vegas and getting so drunk they can't function....they didn't practice.

Partying in Vegas is not for the weak, you've got to have a plan!!!!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Too late review: The threatening non-threat


This isn't a Review, per se, but it is a comment left on a Facebook post.  

What happened to make this person comment doesn't really matter, what matters is how threatening his non-threat is.

By saying "Now that's one business that surely won't get my business." he really means "I've never been to that place before and have never thought of going there, but now that YOU"VE had a bad experience you so called Fauxbook friend, I now have a reason to be outraged.

That's what it is.......people just want to be outraged, no matter what the situation is.

Are you outraged?

Monday, January 11, 2016

Grindr is dead as it's sold off to a Chinese gaming company

It's official, Grindr is dead. 

A 60% stake of Grindr was sold to a Chinese Gaming Company based on a $155MM valuation (so around $93MM)

Why do I say it's over?  The owner is the person who has the greatest stake in a company and since Grindr just sold off 60% of it that means it's no longer owned by the person who started the company.

He's gettin' out while the gettin's good.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Spirit Airlines has the worst in-flight service

A recent survey shows that Spirit Airlines is the WORST in-flight service, I sort of disagree.

I recently had the opportunity to fly Spirit when I went to visit my parents in Florida, it was my first time flying them, like Jet Blue was the first time I flew them last year when we went to Puerto Rico.

I sort of figured that Spirit would be like Jet Blue but without all the bells and whistles, I was correct.  But I wasn't disappointed, it's what I expected.

I think that air travelers expect too much from an airline.  One of the funniest things I heard while waiting at the gate for my flight was a gentleman sitting behind me saying "I like Spirit, but the nickle and dime you to death." Uhm, dude, isn't that their entire business model?

I just don't understand why someone, like him, would ride a low-cost carrier and then complain about it?  oh that's right, because he expected more.  He thought he was paying rock-bottom prices and getting top-notch service, guess he enjoys the taste of champagne but only has a beer budget.

I actually enjoyed my flight on Spirit, I got to my seat quickly because people weren't clogging up the aisle trying to shove their oversized carry-ons into too full overhead compartments, there weren't people trying to decide "oh where I can I sit but at the same time inconvenience everyone else so I can sit alone," it was actually quite pleasant.

Everyone that I encountered on both trips, were pleasant and helpful and did their jobs, oh wait, I should have expected them to go above and beyond and perhaps meet me at the gate with a bowl of warm nuts, but I didn't, and I didn't get warm nuts.  But I wasn't disappointed either.

I knew what I was getting into, I took my own entertainment, my own bottle for water, my own snack, so all I expected was someone to check my bag, someone to check my ticket and someone to explain the safety procedures to me, and someone to deliver my bag to me in the end.

I got exactly what expected.  American's are turning into a bunch of whiney children who get frustrated or upset when they don't get the treatment that they expect they should have - regardless of who they are.  It's sorta sad