Friday, January 28, 2005

Figgy Pudding on the Wine Cellar Shelf

So I saw Fiddler on the Roof, starring Harvey Fierstein, last night--my first Broadway show at an actual Broadway theater (almost right across from the Virgin megasewer megastore in Times Square). And lemme tell ya--everything I anticipated about a Broadway show came true--expen$ive sets, great lighting, talented performers, alls of it. Really, a Broadway show is just leagues and leagues ahead of less well-funded theater. Not that I'm going to start seeing Bway shows now--I wouldn't have $pent $100 on those seats--but it's just that Bway theater really is good. And I have to say that the one thought that's always careening through my mind everytime I see good theater or a concert is that I wish I had stage lighting and sets where I lived. I would LOVE to have a room that would simulate a sunset like the lights on the stage last night, or lighting that would instantly turn me into an iPod-esque silhouette like the close of last night's show.

Show notes: First the disclaimer: I know nothing of: theater, so these are just my thoughts: Harvey Firestein as the lead: it took me until act 2 to start seeing him as an old man; it may just be the fact that I and everyone else thinks of him as a drag queen, but I found his gestures to be more matronly than paternal in the beginning. I was, however, able to suspend my disbelief before the end. His voice is unique--he should totally have been playing opposite Macy Gray. I love his low register, cux it just sounds cool--really airy and bellowing; his higher register, if you can call it that, does indeed sound like a kazoo. And when he goes between them, if you close your eyes you can really imagine Eartha Kitt singing the role. But he's a great actor, of course, and has tons of presence. In fact, the entire cast has mad skills, but you'd expect nothing less from a Broadway cast. Some of the cast I would have to assume do voice acting, cux some would be great in cartoons. One thing about the women that occurred to me, however, was that if the characters were real people, I'd really not want to hang out with them, cux the daughters spoke pretty much as they sung, which is to say that they spoke in a resonant soprano, and I couldn't imagine being at, say, Burger King with one of them and having her say, 'Ohhh, these onion rings are giving me mad gas,' in that yawningly open, piercingly resonant voice. Of course no one talks like that all the time, so it's all a hypothetical. On an aside, I can see why my friend Suxanne the opera queen finds musical theatre-type singing to sound nasal.

As for the story, well, I'd never seen the play before last night, so I had no expectations. Of course, I'd have preferred something modern, but what can you do--free tix are free tix. I'd have also preferred the use of some kind of electro fake drums to back up the orchestra à la Moulin Rouge, but I guess they didn't see it that way. I mean, you could totally add a jungle beat to some of those dances--the waltzes perbably not. I will say this for the story: there are 5 daughters and each breaks with tradition in marriage, the last one marrying a gentile; for the sequel, which someone has prolly written already, the 4th daughter should be a lesbian and the 5th a porn star.

And that's alls I can recall right at the moment. In elsewhere news, some plans for the weekend--nothing huge. Party here, party there. May go, may not go. Who knows. Have to stop by L'Occitane, will perbably look @ computers, blah blah blah.

And I guess that's my beep for now!

Ed Shepp

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Baby It's Cold Outside

Me in a TuxedoI think it's undeniable today that I am, at least in some small part, eccentric.

On sunny days I sometimes go sit outside on my lunch hour, usually across from a certain monument. I went out there today, and I was the only person sitting out there, just looking at the sunlight bouncing off the snow and the traffic go by. I'm sure everyone who passed thought I was some crackpot, as they overdrazmatically huddled in their jackets and scraves. But you know, even though it was 14 degrees outside, with the sun out and not much wind it didn't really feel very cold. It wasn't until I'd been outside for about 20 minutes that I'd started to feel even a little cold. And it was only harsh when there was a huge gust of wind. Still, I guess I've become That Weirdo Who Sits Outside at Lunch Time--there's probably someone in that building who's noticed and will include me in hir memoir years hence, probably saying something like:
...and there was a young man that would sit on a bench across the street at lunchtime whenever it was sunny, even when the temperature was far below freezing. He never spoke to anyone, and I always wondered about him. Who are you, young man?? I imagined long narratives for why he came there and sometimes spent entire days dreaming about him. I came to feel a kinship with him, as if he were an old friend. I waved at him and had pretend cups of tea with him. One day I resolved to go out and meet him; I brought a basket with sandwiches and cold drinks to my office and waited for him to arrive. But alas, he was gone forever. What had happened to the mysterious young man? Had he embarked on a humanitarian journey to Nepal? Was he flying around the world in a homemade hot air baloon? Had he shrunk himself down to the size of a cell and injected himself into sick patients' bodies, to battle mano-a-mano with their disease-causing microbes? I fear I may never know. But this I do know: This young man who sat there every time the sun smiled upon us will always live in my heart. And we will always share those wonderful times together, and the name I gave to him: Francis Gordon Splicklemeyer, Esquire.

Something like that, at any rate. Be looking for some kind of passage like that to appear in a few years.

In the other gooples, I hung out with V.P. and Wendy last night--Veep flies out to Paris today--I'm so jealous, sort of. I'd be more jealous if it were Paris in April. Sigh--I'd love to visit Paris, and take a side trek to Grasse to visit the fields where all the flowers for the perfume industry allegedly grow. If anyone wants to donate to the Send Ed Shepp to Paris cause or, for that matter, the Help Ed Shepp Get A Good Computer for His Birthday On February 3rd cause, click here for PayPal:

There. I'm sure that will rasie one hundred billion dollars, and I can finally buy that life-size replica of the Venus de Milo made of solid white chocolate for which I've been pining for so long. OK, back to what I was saying. ...What was I saying? Oh yes, I hung out with Veep and Wendy from Sydney. We went to a restaurant in the West Village that used to be a speakeasy. It would have been a great restaurant but for two things: the food took over 30 minutes to arrive(!!!) and the hostess was some cold German beeyotch (my favorite 'curse' word, for any Inside the Actor's Studio peeps) who seemed to be doing her damndest to impersonate a black-clad Ayn Rand. Otherwise it was great--their cider is the best I've ever had, and I even got a doggie bag for the onion rings. Yay!

And tonight I'm giong to see Fiddler on the Roof with Jason at the Minskoff. It has Harvey Firestein (sp?) in it, so it should be incresting. Although I'm iffy about watching a play for 2.75 hours. (Coming out of the closet time: I'm not big on theater; I prefer film. More on that another time.) But it should be good. I hope this is a Broadway theater, per se. I've never seen an actual Broadway show (although I have seen a number of off-off-off and off-off-off-off-off-off-off Broadway productions).

Oh, one last thing--I was a little shocked today at something I saw while walking back from my perch at lunch. Some man was holding a sign, presumably for the traffic to see, that read Sharon Has No Mandate. I couldn't believe it. I was shocked, but when I told my friend Sharon that not everyone supports her agenda (whatever that is) and mentioned that sign, she didn't seem concerned. Well, that's good, I guess.

And that's my beep for now.

Ed Shepp

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Keepin on Truckinin in the Red States

Red State Truckin
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the red states. The pic at the left comes from This Modern World, who got it from a board somwehere on the internets. The picture is of a pickup truck in Kentucky with a bunch of homemade bumper stickers; the messages include (with the original wording):
    Way to go, red states.

    And now let's talk TV, because I finally saw a rerun of the first new episode of The Apprentice last night. I originally thought the premise of 'street smart vs. booksmart' was lame, but it's proving more compelling than I gave it credit for. Last night the street smart team won. Part of the reason the booksmart people lost was that their 'marketing plan' was ill-conceived. The person in charge of that, Danny, was a li'l scatterbrained, maybe a bit ADD. So of course I was rooting for him a little. Here's the rest of the thing about Danny: he tried to play the 'creative' role, with the long hair, signifier glasses and outré (for the context) clothes. And he kept playing guitar and what not. At first I thought he was an interesting character, but by the time he got to the boardroom I got the sense that he was purposely trying to strike this pose, perhaps to differentiate himself from his competitors (not always a good idea, especially in the corporate world). It seemed like he'd read a book on positioning and decided that he would craft an image as someone creative and iconoclastic, explaining all the clothes, hair, etc. The whole of it kind of rang false. And something I found myself asking was, well, if he's so creative and original, then why isn't he a rock star or designer or something actually... creative? At any rate, he'll be gone soonly, because either Trump or Reptilia, Blond Queen of the Frozen Haggis said that he was 'the very definition of a loose cannon.' He's toast already. I'm really glad that the street smart people won, and I hope they win in the end. They're rougher around the edges and maybe a little crass sometimes, but infinitely more lively than the 'booksmart' people, who might as well be dead, as personable as they come off.

    And that's the beep for today.

    Ed Shepp

  • Monday, January 24, 2005

    Computerized Ice Sheets on the Most Depressing Day of the Year

    So we had the blizzard this weekend. It was harrowing! Well, Saturday at least. Very cold and windy and lots of snow everywhere. Sunday was much nicer: still cold but brilliantly sunny all day. I did what I always do--walk around and get some sun and have coffee and scribble. I saw lots of snowmen with cigarettes in their mouths. I saw those sheets of ice coming down the Hudson--that was cool; never seen anything like that before. It's still partially sunny today. I think the weather will be warming up next week, so we should see the last of this snow melting by about June.

    According to the Guardian, today, January 24, is the most depressing day of the year. The finding is based on a correlation of factors: dreary weather, failed new years resolutions (does that really get anyone down?), xmas debt, etc... Well, I think it's great news! That means that it just gets better from here. And I'd have to agree that late January is certainly a depressing time, with the dark and cold weather and no real holidays to celebrate and all that time before Spring. Ugh. But at least it don't get no worse than today. The article in the Guardian also offers some glib reasons to be cheerful, including that there are "only" 334 days until Christmas (and that's good, how?) and that it's a public holiday in the United States (???!).

    I saw an ad for hp computers in the circular the other day, and if they're really as cheap as in the ad, I think I may have to get one. Of course it would be pretty much only for sound, so I'd have to get one with a good sound card and lotsa memory. Anyone out there have any recommendations for a CHEAP computer that can do good sound? Leave comments, please.

    Lastly, this is cute.

    And that's the beep for today!

    Ed Shepp

    Friday, January 21, 2005

    My Next Haircut Is A Sponge-Bob

    More loveable than Rosie O'DToday's blips:

    1. Spongebob Squarepants is gay, apparently. I never knew. Or, rather, I never thought about it. It's like finding out something that you never really thought about and then thinking, Well duh.

    2. I got chili in my eye today! I put my spoon in the chili and there was a splashback that somehow made it past my glasses right into my eye! Thank cod the chili was so bland--otherwise there could have been damage.

    3. I think my new Developmentally Disabled look is working for me. Just today a girl at Starbucks gave me a free piece of chocolate. She said she didn't feel like ringing it up. Sure. She was just being nice cux I look like Dumb & Dumber. I figure if this keeps up I'm going to really work it, like with the voice and all. Maybe I'll get some special shoes or something. It's kinda like that time when I had laryngitis and couldn't speak, but still had to work at Subway--I pointed to things and gestured as if I were a deaf-mute, and everyone was so nice. It's kinda like that, right.

    4. I was thinking about depression, as someone I know is going through some shizzl right now, and I've come up with a good treatment for it: Hawaii. No one is depressed in Hawaii. No one. So I think that a trip to Hawaii should be the treatment for depression, and it should be covered by insurance. Hawaii-as-depression-treatment is attractive for many reasons:
  • it's effective
  • as long as you wear sunblock, it's side effect free
  • it's probably cheaper than a 6-month stint on Rx antidepressants
  • no pills to take, you just wake up
  • it can treat transient depressions, ones that you wouldn't want to medicate, like seasonal depression and intense grief.
    Clearly Hawaii is a superior treatment for depression, and probably everything else. I'll be submitting my idea to the Department of Health and Depression, or maybe the Department of Hawaii, or whoever.

    5. Putting a wet towel on the radiator really does humidify a room quite well.

    And those are today's blips.

    Ed Shepp