Archive for May, 2009

31
May
09

“It wasn’t the airplanes. It was beauty killed the beast.”

Walking around in the Meatpacking District on 05/30:

Me: “Hey Christine, do you ever look at the Empire State Building and imagine a giant gorilla hanging off the top?”

Christine: “Yes, yes I do.”

Me: “Good, because I just did.”

kingkong

31
May
09

Celeb sighting: Connor Paolo (Eric van der Woodsen, “Gossip Girl”)

Spotted: Connor Paolo running to catch the Brooklyn-bound L train at the 1st Ave. stop at 1:30 a.m. What was Little E doing so far away from the UES all by his lonesome? That’s one secret I’ll never tell. You know you love me. xoxo, Gossip Girl

 

Connor Paolo

Connor Paolo

31
May
09

P.S. I forgot to mention Elvis Costello

I can’t believe I forgot to mention it! Elvis Costello showed up at the Unwigged & Unplugged concert to perform the Spinal Tap song “Gimme Some Money.”

And I definitely went to the UCB again tonight. Scott Adsit performed again, this time with a larger group of people, including the guy I have a comedy crush on and this women:

sagher

Tami Sagher

 

Her name is Tami Sagher, and she is a writer for “30 Rock.” She also plays the wardrobe lady who guesses that Katherine Heigl’s character is pregnant in “Knocked Up.”

30
May
09

It’s Showtime

No, I’m not talking about any Broadway musicals. I haven’t made it to one yet. Instead, I spent the week going to Unwigged & Unplugged and two shows at the Upright Citizens Brigade.

Unwigged & Unplugged

unwigged

Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer

When I found out that Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer were going on tour to play their songs from A Mighty Wind and acoustic versions of their Spinal Tap songs, I bought tickets right away. My friends and I went through a pretty heavy Christopher Guest phase freshman year of college. I don’t even know how many times we watched Waiting for Guffman, which is still my favorite of the Guest movies. Needless to say, going to the concert on Tuesday took me right back to being 18 years old, sitting in someone’s common room and laughing hysterically. Sharing the experience with Christine, who was one of the original girls in that common room, made it that much better.

I didn’t know the Spinal Tap songs as well. What I was really excited for were the Folksmen songs from A Mighty Wind. And before the concert, I told Christine that I hoped they would play “A Penny for Your Thoughts” from Waiting for Guffman, and they did! I’ve had it stuck in my head ever since. They even played “Saucy Jack,” the title song from the rock musical about Jack the Ripper that Spinal Tap said they were going to work on at the end of This is Spinal Tap.

Christine and I were among the younger people at the concert, but we expected that. The crowd was mostly made up of middle-aged men with beards who were really there for the Spinal Tap songs. Did I mention that we were in the last row of the entire theatre? Because we were. But it was still awesome.

 

Upright Citizens Brigade

 I mentioned in a previous post that I’m taking Improv 101 at the UCB this summer, so I plan on going to as many shows there as possible too — especially since they have $2 PBRs. (Side note: Someone here informed me that PBR is now a “hipster” beer, but I was under the impression that it was a “poor student” beer. Thoughts?)

On Wednesday, I went to an improvised play performed by Scott Adsit and Christina Gausas. For those of you who don’t know, Adsit portrays Pete Horberger on 30 Rock, which is why I bought tickets two weeks ago. I saw him at the bar at the theatre and was so startled that I think he noticed. I can never figure out how to act around famous people. After the show, we could have gone up to talk to Adsit outside, but we were too nervous, so we talked to Gausas instead. She was pretty much the nicest person ever, and she was glad to hear I was taking a class at the UCB. She even introduced herself as Christina even though we knew who she was because we just saw her show. I just thought that was really sweet.

Christina Gausas and Scott Adsit

Christina Gausas and Scott Adsit

My trip to the UCB on Thursday was last-minute. I ran into some of the other Mizzou students on my walk home, and they said they were going, so I naturally joined. The show was an improv cage match. Two improv groups performed and the audience voted for who they thought was the best. I voted for the first group not only because I thought they were funnier, but also because they had females in their group. I like to support female comedians whenever possible because there are so few of them. The second group was all dudes, and all they did was make zombie and sex jokes. In my opinion, zombies are too easy to joke about at this point.

There’s another show at the UCB tonight that I really want to go to, but I’m going to try to stop myself from going there three nights in one week. Maybe I should explore other parts of NYC first.

27
May
09

My Birthday Weekend

I’ve been in NYC since Saturday, and it’s been a very comfortable transition from home. Two factors made sure I would fit in easily here:

1)   I’ve been here twice before (including a week in November) and have already done most of the touristy things.

2)   I have a group of best friends who have been here for a year and can give me all the advice I need.

But what exactly have I been doing since Saturday? Celebrating my birthday of course!

As most of my family knows, my birthday celebration usually extends throughout the entire month of May. This year was no exception. My grad school friends threw a birthday party for me before finals, my family and I celebrated in Omaha the weekend before I left for NYC, and this weekend I finally got to celebrate with my college friends (summer birthday here).

Even though my birthday was technically Monday, we celebrated on Saturday with a delicious triple chocolate cake from an Italian bakery in northern New Jersey.

DSCN2608

Birthday Cake #3

Then we went to a bar called The Delancey, which I enjoyed for its mix of Kelly Clarkson, Flo Rida and early ’90s dance hits. The reason I wanted to go to The Delancey is because it has a rooftop bar with a view of the Williamsburg Bridge. Unfortunately, there was a private party happening up there. But I suspect the party was Fleet Week-related, so I didn’t mind. (By the way, last week through Memorial Day was Fleet Week, which meant the city was filled with sailors. It’s a good time to be in New York!).

Sunday, I had my first brunch in NYC. We went to Sarabeth’s on the Upper East Side, and I had the spinach and goat cheese omelette. On Sundays, brunch is as important to NYC as church is to the rest of the country. Hopefully, I’ll be able to fit in both.

Brunch at Sarabeth's

Brunch at Sarabeth's

Monday was my actual birthday. Jess was in town from Jersey and Amy was in town from D.C., so the three of us trekked to Brooklyn for pizza at Grimaldi’s. Jess and I were sold on the place after we read that Frank Sinatra used to go there. You can tell that Grimaldi’s has a soft spot for Frank because they more or less devote an entire wall to him. The line outside was long, but a man was playing an accordion outside the restaurant, and it was a beautiful day.

Outside Grimaldi's

Outside Grimaldi's

We ordered sausage, onions and red peppers on our pizza.

One of the best combinations of pizza I have ever had

One of the best combinations of pizza I have ever had

 

We even had room for ice cream afterward at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory (strawberry and chocolate chocolate chunk on a waffle cone). Both places are practically underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. The ice cream place is right on the East River, so we got some fantastic shots of the bridge and Lower Manhattan. It was so beautiful and sunny that my pale skin might actually have gotten a tan.

Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory

Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory

 

Amy, Me, Jess

Amy, Me, Jess

All and all, it was a relaxing first weekend in the city. I ate well, got a martini and a manicure for $10 (at Beauty Bar), walked through Central Park and spent much-needed time with my college friends. It felt good to even just watch TV with them.

I have more posts to come, including a recap of the concert I went to last night. (Preview: Elvis Costello showed up!) But first, I have to stop mooching off the hospitality of friends and move into my apartment!

23
May
09

Start spreading the news…

I’m leaving today!

20
May
09

Preparation #3: Narrowing down my must-see Broadway musicals

My mother instilled in me a passion for musicals at a very young age. While other little girls could count the number of musicals they had seen on one hand, I could name musical after musical after musical that I had watched and loved with my mother. After seeing so many musicals on film, I naturally developed a love for live musical theatre as well. I grew up watching the Tony Awards and dreaming of going to Broadway shows. So far I have seen three shows on Broadway: Hairspray and The Producers in 2005 and Gypsy over Thanksgiving. This summer, I hope to add at least the following five to my list. No tight budget can stop me from taking advantage of the Great White Way.

 

9 to 5

I want to see this musical for one reason: Allison Janney. I haven’t seen the film the musical is based on, but I have seen every episode of The West Wing, and C.J. Cregg still holds the title of “Cassie’s All-Time Favorite Television Character.” Not even Lucille Bluth of Arrested Development could take away that title.

Allison Janney

Avenue Q

Avenue Q is a musical that I should have seen by now. There’s really no excuse. I’m in love with the music and have all the songs memorized. And after all these listens, I still laugh at the parts in the songs you’re supposed to laugh. I gave myself a break from listening to it when I graduated from college because all of the sudden, I was 22 and trying to find my life’s purpose. It was just too real. That, and I couldn’t listen to “I Wish I Could Go Back to College” without crying.

Avenue Q

Billy Elliot

Confession: I don’t have a huge desire to see Billy Elliot, but I feel like it’s one of those shows you’re just sort of obligated to see while you’re in New York because everyone is raving over it so much. That’s what happened with The Producers when I was in NYC in 2005. I guess I should see the musical that got nominated for 15 Tonys. And who doesn’t love music by Elton John?

Billy Elliot

In the Heights

In the Heights is another one of those musicals where I hear the music first and see the actual show second. I love the story, and I love the music. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds on stage. Unfortunately, Lin-Manuel Miranda is no longer portraying Usnavi, but Broadway is grueling and people can’t stay in roles forever.

In the Heights

West Side Story

I’ve never seen a stage production of West Side Story, but of course I’ve seen the movie. I think I saw it for the first time in music class in grade school, and I remember being very bored. I’ve changed my opinion since then. As I got older, I was able to understand the deeper and darker themes of the musical. And I began to appreciate how magnificent the music is. I mean, seriously. Between “Tonight” and “Somewhere,” I’m just in musical heaven. I would see this Broadway revival regardless, but the production decided to do something different this time — it added Spanish. Not only is there Spanish dialogue, but some of the songs are even in Spanish too. Fittingly, Lin-Manuel Miranda did the translations. In the Heights opened the door for West Side Story to attempt more authenticity with its portrayal of the Sharks. It makes sense to have certain songs in Spanish. In musicals, characters burst into song because ordinary words can no longer express what they are feeling. Of course Maria would sing “I Feel Pretty” in Spanish because it’s what comes most natural to her. I already love this change to the production, and I really can’t wait to see how it turns out.

West Side Story




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A blog about my summer as an unpaid intern in New York City.

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