Tag Archives: Stephen Sondheim

Tell Me What You See

This has been an odd day. Nothing bad happened, at least not yet. It just started out on the wrong foot, leading to a day of missteps. I woke up, tried to contact Julio to see if he and Stine wanted bagels. No answer. I called Stine instead and she said no, they were going out. That was no problem.

I went to the bagel shop where there is never a line anymore. It used to be there would be a line out of the store onto the sidewalk, but hasn’t been like that in a few months.

I asked Jeff, someone who’s been working there for ages, a week or so ago if it’s been slow and he mentioned that I had just missed a rush. I didn’t believe that since there is hardly anyone in there when I’m there. Denial or just putting forth the company line?

I’m convinced they don’t like me in the Bagel store. One guy in particular doesn’t like me, I can tell. When I moved back to Hoboken almost 7 years ago, I started getting my bagels on Washington Street. A few weeks later I saw this particular guy on the street with his kids and as I passed I said hello. He gave me the stink eye in return. I figured with the hundreds of people he sees each week I was lost in the shuffle.

After that I saw him again and once again said hello and once again I get the stink eye. One time I gave my order at the counter, something like 3 sesame, and 2 poppy bagels. He gave me 3 and 3. I mentioned that it wasn’t what I ordered and he got all uppity. So ever since then it’s quite frosty between us.

I do try to support small businesses, but in Hoboken, the small business owners don’t make it easy and show very little gratitude. Next to the register is a container for tips. Knowing that some of the staff have families to support I sometimes leave my change in the container. Sometimes I get thanked, and other times like today with me and Frosty the bagel counter person I get nothing.

I think next time I go in I will wait for Frosty to be waiting on another customer. And if I hear Jeff say to a new customer, ‘You know those bagels will make you thirsty, you sure you don’t want something to drink with that?’ I’ll go postal.

That basically set the tone for the day. I went out once after that and it just seemed so weird that I decided not to go out again until tomorrow. But I did go out, hoping to run into the Chinese dude who usually sells bootleg DVD’s at the barber shop at 4:00PM on Saturday afternoons.

I didn’t see him and I wasn’t going to go hang out in a barber shop if I wasn’t getting a haircut. I was hoping to get a $5.00 DVD of Slumdog Millionaire. Oh well. The only Academy Awards movies that I’ve seen are Milk and The Visitor, and Wall-E.

Maybe I’ll do a live blog during the awards tomorrow, or rather write about it as it happens and post afterwards. That seems more likely since I don’t think I’m equipped for live blogging.

Last night I caught up on what I had DVR’d. Spectacle with Elvis Costello. 1st up had guests She and Him, Jenny Lewis and Jacob Dylan. All very good and enjoyable and that Jacob Dylan sure is cute, and he sounds like Bruce Springsteen I think. Imagine growing up being Bob Dylan’s kid, how strange that must be.

I have a newfound love for Jenny Lewis, though Juan has been hyping her up to me for a while now. And She and Him, Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward were good enough to make me think about getting their record.

Then I watched what I guess is the season finale for Spectacle, this time hosted by Elton John who interviewed Diana Krall and had her husband, Elvis Costello come out opening with a song and singing with Diana and Elton at the end.

Geez, I swear Diana Krall is like so many women that I know, at least in the way she talks and her mannerisms. I enjoyed her, but sometimes it was like watching my niece Corinne on TV. If only Corinne played piano. She was very entertaining, Diana Krall and I think she’d be worth checking out as well.

After that I watched the 11:30 Simpsons who had Stephen Sondheim on, writing a song for Krusty the clown. And Bart was in therapy and really getting a lot out of it, even though 5 sessions were mandatory as punishment for a school prank.

I almost stayed up to watch Conan O’Brien’s last Late Night show but since I was recording it I figured I would watch it today. Which I did do, watch it today. Unfortunately it ran long and as Conan was summing up his 16 years hosting the show it got cut off.

So I watched that on NBC.com, and posted it on my Facebook page, as well as Conan releasing Abe Vigoda back into the wild, since ‘Pa’ said he wouldn’t be able to take him to Los Angeles where he will host the Tonight Show.

Though I didn’t watch Conan that often since it was on past my bedtime, I will miss him. But I should be able to catch some of the Tonight Show with Conan . I’m 6’2” and wear a size 12, Conan is 6’4” and probably wears a larger shoe, and I can only hope Jimmy Fallon could fill those shoes.

In Bloom

Back to life, back to reality. Reality is not for me and it makes me laugh. One of those two lyrics sum up how my day was. Still too early to tell at 6:13PM. Last night I was still buzzing from the matinée of Sunday in the Park with George. I love having my brain stimulated. I was determined to see if I can catch the show again for free.

I explained to my sister in law Elaine that my desire to see the play again is sort of looking at the painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. Just looking at it once, or watching it once you won’t get a lot from it. It requires different points of view, both physically and mentally. I was determined to see if I could pull it off.

Juan came by last night as I was watching the Tony Awards. Sunday in the Park with George didn’t win anything, South Pacific and Gypsy won most of the awards though In The Heights, a new musical about life in a Dominican neighborhood in Washington Heights won best musical, August: Osage County won best play and I want to see both.

Passing Strange, which Bill and I saw last year at the Public Theater won best book. It was fun to watch the Tony Awards, I haven’t watched them in years. Seeing the play yesterday afternoon and knowing that it was up for some awards was the reason I watched. I also want to see Xanadu which looks perfectly silly and high camp and I know a few of those songs by the Electric Light Orchestra and Olivia Newton John.

It was good to see Juan again, just hanging out talking shit and watching the awards. Bill came home midway through and he was in quite a sad state. It was his first Father’s Day without his father and I have to admit, I forgot it was Father’s Day since it’s something I hadn’t recognized in a long time. I think he was dismayed to see Juan here, so he felt he needed to keep up a front. I gave him a hug and I stroked Bill’s back, letting him cry on my shoulder.

Bill soon was able to relax and enjoy the show. Juan stayed later than Juan expected and left a little before 11:00. Bill and I watched the news and both went to bed at the same time which is something we hardly ever do. At around 6:00 this morning as Bill was getting ready to leave for the day I laid in bed telling him that there was no internet. He didn’t understand what I was saying, and neither did I.

I headed out for work, more people riding the bus since gas prices are so high. I figure these are the single passenger drivers who ride through the tunnel solo each day, and now they’re unable to afford that, gas over $4.00 and the toll is $8.00. It adds up. I’m sure NJ Transit will jack up their prices even though Hoboken gets the worst buses. No air conditioning, no overhead reading lights and undependable service.

I have to put in my vacation notice soon at work since it looks like I’ll be able to spend a few days down the shore on Long Beach Island. That’s something to look forward to, but it’s still going to be a bummer summer without the annual visit from Annemarie, Rex and Earl. Work was interesting. New people in the offices. I still have to get used to their faces. They know me and I usually just give them a blank stare for some very long seconds.

In fact this morning, one of the new guys, Patrick Quinn was out on the street having locked himself out of the office. He saw me first and waved. I probably gave him the ‘what do you want from me?’ look. Had a slight chip on my shoulder since they raised the price of a buttered bagel to over a dollar now. I figured out who Pat Quinn was and got him access to the office again.

No one seemed to care that I wasn’t in the office on Friday though I certainly sweated it. I was busy but still found time to talk to my brother Frank on the phone and exchange emails with Annemarie. I was also able to call the Roundabout Theater Company and get information on their volunteer usher program. They still have it and I just have to go to the box office and put my name in. I’m aiming for Friday night. And maybe another performance next week if I’m lucky.

Today was the first day that same sex couples are able to get married in San Francisco and maybe California as a whole. Gavin Newsom, the SF Mayor should have married Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin by now. Phyllis and Del have been together for about 700 years and they want to be legal. They were scheduled to be the first gay couple to be legally married today. You couldn’t tell it was such a big day at least if you watched NBC Nightly News tonight. Tim Russert was a super guy, they’ll tell you all about that though.

See you later agitators.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist one more.

Happy Bloom’s day

Putting It Together

Well I just got back from seeing Sunday in the Park with George, a musical by Stephen Sondheim based upon Georges Seurat’s painting ‘A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte’. I enjoyed it, I enjoy most if not all of Sondheim’s work. There’s usually a challenge in his work. It was an excellent production though in the first act I suffered from heavy eyelids.

The sound was not as good as I had hoped and with the uncomfortable seats (if you’re over 5’5” theater seats on Broadway can be painful) I found myself a bit drowsy for a millisecond or two. Not Sondheim’s fault. We all enjoyed it, my brother Frank, his wife Elaine and their daughters Meghan and Corinne, though Frank and myself probably enjoyed it most.

He’s the one who got me into Sondheim over 20 years ago with a trip to see Sweeney Todd performed by the New York City Opera at Lincoln Center. For me, today’s play all came together at the very end, the very last note, the last words in the play, which was basically a gasp from present day George.

The effects on stage were incredible and couldn’t be done when the play premiered in the 1980’s. A good use of digital imagery that certainly took one’s breath away. Tonight the play is up for a few Tony awards, and there is fierce competition. I might have a reason to actually watch the Tony Awards tonight. I know Bill wants to see Whoopi Goldberg hosting so it all seems set.

I’ve already ordered the soundtrack to the show online, and plan to contact the Roundabout Theater Company to see if they have the ‘usher program’ that they had 10 years ago when I saw Cabaret for free. It was a good deal, wear black trousers, a white dress shirt and you tell theater goers to wait until an usher arrives to seat them.

I asked one of the ushers today about the program and she had no idea what I was talking about. The play closes June 29 so I’d better get on the ball tomorrow. People had better turn off their cellphones before a Broadway show. I don’t understand how stupid and rude some people can be. And that goes for texting as well. It happened a few times during this afternoon’s performance.

On the way into the city on the bus, I got a phone call from Elaine. They had actually gotten to the theater before I did, which is a switch since someone in the Garfield contingent usually holds back everyone causing chronic lateness. I said into the phone, ‘since when are you early?’ This got a chuckle from a passenger next to me.

As we crawled through the tunnel he mentioned what a funny thing it was that I had said. We started talking about music and politics. It turned out his name was Ray Robinson, son of legendary boxer, Sugar Ray Robinson. He was heading in to see his wife and kids. I confessed my anxiety about being late for the play as well as being late for some people who are generally always late.

He was reassuring and I told him that it was nice chatting with him, but once the doors of the bus open I would be gone. And gone I was, running through the bus terminal and hopping into a taxi to drive up Eighth Avenue for 12 blocks. I made it and found the four of them outside the theater. I definitely want to see this play again and hope I can for free.

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte

Happy Father’s Day to all the father’s out there…

Wild Honey

Man it is HOT outside. The weather forecasters were correct. It’s bloody hot. August hot. It’s not even summer. Lucky people are down the shore, though whats the point if the water is too cold and it probably is. Right now it’s 93 according to the New York Times, or rather the guy that’s climbing up outside the Times building today. Tomorrow they’re saying 100 degrees.

Last night was nothing special. No reunited bands from the seventies doing a free show at the South Street Seaport. Came home, took a nap which meant I missed Meghan and Jim’s daughter play a Battle of the Bands, Lily’s band was called Bye Bye Box. I half heartedly committed to it when I saw Jim Mastro the other day. And once I woke up I was somewhat groggy and passed on seeing Sexpod at McSwells. Alice and Karen from Gutbank’s other band.

I watched a recording of Stephen Sondheim’s Company instead. I do love Sondheim and next weekend on Father’s Day I’m seeing Sunday in the Park with George with my brother Frank, his wife Elaine and their daughters Meghan and Corinne. Meg’s husband Rob, isn’t coming for some reason. Or maybe he will and I’ll have to forfeit my ticket. I’d be willing for a price.

Frank and I were planning on seeing Company on Broadway last year, but then I had my meltdown, Frank had a stroke and Company didn’t win any Tony awards so the show closed a week later. It’s available on DVD, but as much as I enjoyed it, there’s a really good documentary on the recording of the original cast album from the early seventies that is also available on DVD from Netflix at least.

Went to bed after reading some more of David Sheff’s Beautiful Boy about his son’s methamphetamine addiction. Sad and harrowing, doesn’t make for a beach read which is just as well since I’m not at the beach. David Sheff is the guy who interviewed John and Yoko for Playboy magazine back in 1980, which is what I was reading on December 8, 1980 when I heard of John Lennon’s murder.

Still a mind fuck 28 years later. Much like the way people remember where they were when they heard John F. Kennedy (or Robert Kennedy 40 years ago), I remember the night of Lennon’s assassination all these years later. But I wrote about that before.

Definitely a scary book David Sheff has written. I don’t know how I would have handled having a son addicted to crystal meth. It is the scourge of the gay community still, and responsible for the rise in HIV infections in the 20-30 year old range of young gay men. Reading the book I find myself gripped by the thought of beating the shit out of the kid, which is how I would have been dealt with if I was a meth addicted kid to my parents.

That’s the first instinct, which is probably why it’s a good thing I’m not a parent apparently. And also a good thing that I don’t go to gay clubs and discos. The reason for that is I can’t stand the bump bump bump of club music. I had to go to the office today to sell 2 air conditioning units. I didn’t hear anything last night and figured that nothing was going to be done, but this morning I got a call from Hayne, the woman I spoke to about it today.

The original plan was to meet up at the office at 10:00AM. She phoned at 9:15. We arranged for 11:00 instead which was fine by me. I got on the bus which was soon crowded, some old geezer sat next to me. I thought I made it so my iPod earphones were wound up and not in anyone’s way, or my way. Got up to get off at the bus terminal, the geezer was sitting on the cord, effectively destroying my earphones.

Oh how I wanted to garrote him with the cord as he walked down the stairs in front of me.

I had Radio Shack headphones as back up and where they used to suit me just fine, now they’re cumbersome and heavy and annoying. Spoke with Julio about where he bought the original set, he tells me he bought them online. I would have bought them wherever they would have been on sale, but they’re nearly impossible to get them retail wise. Heard from some guy named Robert who told me he worked for Hayne and was on his way to get the AC units.

An hour later he still hadn’t arrived. I did a reverse lookup for his number and it was listed as the drag queen restaurant Lucky Chengs. 30 minutes later there’s an unshaven drag queen outside my office. I gave him a quick ‘how to’ on the units and he seemed to grasp the concept, then I helped get the units down to a taxi. I couldn’t help but feel I scammed Hayne and the drag queen but I hadn’t.

In any event, they have my cell number and my email address and it’s been a few hours so I guess everything is working just fine. Did some laundry somehow with low water pressure and got a haircut. That’s been my day thus far.

Rand has been fairly active, posting super 8 films years ago that were made by Martha Keavney. Here’s another one, ‘The Making of The Love of Two Women’. A lot of people really liked this one when we had shown it at McSwells all those years ago. I hope you do too.

Let me know what you think will ya?

Four Black Dragons

Well it’s Boxing Day in most English speaking countries, but not here. Would be nice, but if it was going to happen, it would have happened already. Last night was very mellow, just relaxing, watching the telly. Not much else to do. Which was just as well since I had to go to work today. I was hoping to do nothing this week, but there were going to be one or two in the office and they simply could not be there on their own. So being the new guy, since April, it was up to me to come in. I decided not to hustle as I usually do on actual work days. It wasn’t going to matter anyway, and I arrived in the office only a half hour late, getting in at 8:30.

Of course, no one was in, and I set about starting up machines, making coffee and changing tapes. There were stacks of mail from Friday and Monday that needed to be attended to so I set about that, also gathering the various presents for Annemarie, Rex and Earl that I had shipped to the office, so that I could ship them from work this week. Elizabeth, one of the managing partners made it into the office, did whatever she needed to do and said good bye an hour later, also saying that I should leave too. I had no problem with that and after a few more things that I needed to do I was out of the office shortly after 11:00.

I was basically in for two and a half hours, which I would have spent sleeping otherwise, at least partially. The only people walking around midtown Manhattan today were tourists it seemed, a lot of people had taken the day or the week off. I have to go in to work tomorrow, for a few hours again, and it doesn’t bother me really. Still some odds and ends to look after. Tonight promises to be a mellow night again.

Interesting thing, yesterday as I was writing the blog I found myself thinking of being attacked by a tiger, in an office no less. In my mind I was picturing myself, trying to find something in an attempt to kill the tiger before it killed me. The classic tiger in the office scenario, I know, such a tired cliché. When I posted, a while later I was watching the news and word of a tiger attack, in California, but not in an office. I just thought that interesting. Now the latest vision is of me winning the lottery. Let’s make it happen! I obviously need some tiger repellent.

I may go up to Otisville on Saturday. Pedro asked and I’m free so why not. It would be good to get out of town, the two hour train ride is not so bad either, so long as I have something to read, and thanks to the double issue of the New Yorker I should be caught up in no time, plus I still have the Oliver Sacks book to finish. I kept the one I was going to give my sister in law, but I showed it to Elaine on Christmas, specifically the Aphasia and Music Therapy chapter. I also showed it to Frank, but he has difficulty reading books since he had the stroke, but I’ll lend it to them once I finish it. Annemarie can read Rex’s copy since I’m still sending a copy to him, thanks to a really good price online.