albadger: (Badger's Bad Mood)
One of the worst theatrical experiences of my life was the production of La Bête in 1992. 22 and a half years later and I still shudder when I think of that afternoon. I left the theater shaken and disgusted, swearing to myself that I would never again buy a ticket for a comedy composed entirely of rhymed iambic pentameter, set in the French Ancien Régime.

Which, in retrospect, makes it odd that I bought a ticket for another comedy composed entirely of rhymed iambic pentameter, set in the French Ancien Régime.

This was a little different; the Metromaniacs is an adaptation of an actual French play, not a pastiche like La Bête... and the costumes on this one didn't make me want to retch. But still, something about this combo pushes all my buttons. I found myself trapped in my seat (oh how I love aisle seats & grieve when I don't have one), squirming, filled with a sense of existential revulsion. First act was less than an hour, but I couldn't make it that far; I begged pardon of the two women between me and escape, and cut out. I'm still a little shaken.

I hate that this happened. And it's entirely me, not a reflection on the quality of the work; everybody else there was having a great time. And it's not a reflection on the French, either, whom I love as a people and consider more polite on average than the English, even though the third worst theatrical experience of my life was Pelléas et Mélisande.
albadger: (Oh Cat Don't fly away again)
The most terrifying moment of my life wasn't a car wreck, or a robbery at gunpoint, but a quiet conversation. Sometime in the 1970's, my mother said to me, "We made fun of your grandparents for liking Lawrence Welk, but if you give him a chance, he's not bad!" And I thought... will this happen to me someday?

Why am I thinking about this right now? Simple. I'm on a cruise ship. The Holland America Statendam. I've been going to the evening shows. And I'm starting to... enjoy them...

Haven't posted since Lima because Precious Internet Minutes ("buy 250 minutes for only $100!"). I've been diving in for email retrieval, but a single photo-free blog post should fit in my self-imposed quota. Want details? Click on the thing.Read more... )
albadger: (Bill Oddie -- Mister May)
Peru -- Country Number Eleven for me! First time in South America, first time south of the Equator, first time eating... but we'll get to that. My usual vacation habit of one post a day couldn't hold up against spotty internet service, but now we're at the Lima Ramada Airport Hotel (right next to the Airport -- just walk out the doors marked NO EXIT), so here goes:

  • Day 1: I left some breathing room in my schedule, and stayed in Fort Lauderdale for one night. Note to self: when spending ANY time in Fort Lauderdale, rent a car. Hotel had an airport shuttle but was Middle of Nowhere, over a mile to reach even a degraded sign of civilization such as a McDonald's. This will all be gone when the ice caps melt.

  • Day 2: Flight from FLL to LIM on Jet Blue. Mostly because I didn't want to stay at the dingy hotel any longer, I got at the airport way too early. To entertain myself, I pulled out my Nook and buried myself in Susan Cooper's the Grey King -- a bit too deep, since when I looked up at the end of chapter 14, my small bag was gone. Barely controlling my panic, I asked the lady sitting next to me if she'd seen anything. "No," she said, "but you should probably check with the gate agent, they have a lost and found." As I approached the gate station, the agent smiled and said, "You noticed your bag was missing, didn't ya?" That's it. I'm never reading again.

    Flight was nice, but instead of eating my apple and memorizing my script, I spent the whole time gabbing with the woman in the window seat. Her name is Dora, and she's the widow of a diplomat, and the mother of two more diplomats -- clearly NOT from the bottom rungs of Peruvian society, but by the same token with lots of fascinating stories about her world travels as well as her childhood on a rural ranch.

    You can imagine my surprise when, at customs, I was pulled out of the line by a suspicious agent. Turns out it was the apple I didn't eat. You're not allowed to bring apples to Peru.


  • Day 3: Dave and Sharon arrived after midnight, and we all had a late dinner at McDonalds. When you're traveling overseas, you're required to eat at McDonalds at least one, and it's best to get it out of the way. Then off on a short flight to Cuzco, which would proabably have been terrifying if I had been able to stay awake.

    Cuzco is fascinating, with layers and layers of history (i.e. cruelty, injustice and opression) made visible -- jaw-dropping pre-Conquest walls and foundations topped by nutcase rococco Spanish buildings which are now filled with Bembo's and similar offerings. Bembo's has interesting toppings on its burgers, but the meat is incredibly bland minced beef. We ate there too. And then zoned out from lack of sleep and lack of oxygen... but we did get up and go out to dinner where we ate... but that can wait...


Oh, and there's Peru's dirty little secret.
Nexus 4 3059
The whole country uses septic tanks, and nobody has septic-tank-safe TP, so you have to put your wipings in a little bin next to the toilet. When my paranormal teen romance novel is greenlit by Hollywood, I will use my newfound wealth to bring biodegradable toilet paper to Peru and end these good people's suffering.
albadger: (Carol Channing!)
I've been threatening you with my Oscar picks for ages! I did want to wait until official voting was closed, so as not to affect the outcome, but screw that, we're gonna go back anyway and set things right.

  • Best Supporting Actress: You're going to want to vote for Gloria Grahame in Crossfire for the year 1947. Celeste Holm actually wins, but she seems to be a cold-hearted bitch in real life, so we don't want to reward her -- and if you pick Grahame this time, then she will get fewer votes in 1952, when she actually does win, allowing the correct winner that year -- Jean Hagen in Singing in the Rain -- to triumph instead.
    tumblr_mdujxnH2mu1rv63c0o1_500

  • Best Supporting Actor: Got to go with Basil Rathbone in If I Were King, 1938. Did you actually see Kentucky, which "boasts" Walter Brennan's actual winning performance? Horrible movie, and the worst thing Brennan ever did. Anyway, Walter won 2 years ago and will two years from now. Ew. Now, if Rathbone takes the prize instead, this may help him fight the pull of alcoholism and despair that ruined his life and led to, well, this.
    hillbillys-in-a-haunted-house-movie-poster-1967-1020197321

  • Best Actress:We're gonna go back to 1954 for this one, and give the Oscar to Judy Garland, just to see the look on Grace Kelly's stupid monkey face.

  • Best Actor: Complicated, but trust me: Robert Donat for the Citadel from 1938. This will moot the following domino trail:

    1. Spencer Tracy wins lead actor Oscar for Boys Town, and he isn't even the lead, Mickey Rooney is; Academy immediately regrets this.

    2. Robert Donat wins for 1939's Goodbye, Mister Chips as a sop; Academy immediately regrets this.

    3. James Stewart, who should have won in 1939 for Mister Smith Goes to Washington, wins consolation Oscar for the Philadelphia Story the next year; Academy immediately regrets this. Eventually.

    4. Henry Fonda, who should have won for the Grapes of Wrath in 1940, wins for 1981 sentimental goo On Golden Pond, leaving poor Dudley Moore to go to his grave un-Oscared.

    5. Also, Fonda's win in 1981 vacuumed up his co-star Katherine Hepburn, who upset perceived front-runner Meryl Streep, who -- had she won that year -- would probably not have been given a Career Achievement award for 2011's ghastly the Iron Lady, and Glenn Close would have finally taken home the gold, not that Close shouldn't have already for Dangerous Liaisons, which I will grant you has nothing to do with any of the preceding.

    So, yeah, Robert Donat in 1938.

  • Best Director: Just vote for Howard Hawks. Doesn't matter if he's on the ballot. Do it.

  • Best Picture: I don't understand this category. Wouldn't the Best Picture in any given year be the same as it was the year before unless (an off chance) a better movie was made in the last 12 months? I mean, seriously... King Kong is the Best Picture until Road House, and then Road House is the Best Picture until Adam Sandler. Why have the same argument every year? It gets old.

So, there you have it, my advice on casting your Oscar ballot. The machinery we'd need to get back to the correct years does consume the energy of three small suns, but you have to decide where your priorities lie, don't you?
albadger: (Eagle)
Went out this morning to see the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD telecast of Werther, at the Century Hayward -- sadly not featuring yummy Jean-François Borras, but drab, dingy international superstar Jonas Kaufmann (funny how stars always get over whatever they're sick with when there's a camera pointed at them). Opera was nice, though the sound dropped out for the last 10 minutes, giving us elderly attendees a taste of what Silent Opera was like before Sound Opera was invented. But what happened before the show was more interesting still.

I parked in the nearby garage and found myself ambling very slowly to the box office; no surprise, as the Live in HD crowd doesn't move fast... but today I was stuck behind a slow-paced young woman, dressed to today's fashion, a spaghetti-strap top leaving a lot of skin bare. I hoped that she'd be going to the opera as well, and liven the joint up a little, so I didn't push past... but when she got to the box office...

  • GIRL: I'd like a ticket to "the Return of Dorothy."

  • CLERK: [confused silence] Uh... We're not showing that movie.

  • GIRL: No. You are. It started last night. "The Return of Dorothy."

  • CLERK: Hold on just a bit... [checks paperwork] I'm sorry, we're not showing that movie.

  • GIRL: [Angry silence. Turns away and stalks back to garage.]

I felt bad for her, and curious, so after I got my ticket to Werther, I pulled out my Nexus 4 and tried to look up "the Return of Dorothy." I hardly needed to, as this display was in the hall outside the Live in HD auditorium:
Return of Dorothy
Apparently she'd gotten the month wrong. She was a fan, I could tell.

I could tell because, proudly displayed on her right shoulder, was a huge tattoo of Judy Garland as Dorothy; beneath that, tattoos of the Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman and Cowardly Lion. On her back she had tattooed a poem, which I tried to read as I walked behind her, and seemed Oz-related as well, but it was either read the poem or walk without falling over, and I picked not falling over.
Next time: Oscar picks! I'm not sure which year they'll be for, though.
albadger: (Killing Spree!)

One of my OCD things is to see every movie that has received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, Director, or any acting performance. Last 2 years I've been getting pro-active, and (using CostCo passes & senior matinees) going to see the likely candidates in the theater before the nominations are announced. When the noms were released last Thursday, I'd nearly covered the field, with only Dallas Buyers Club and Her left to go. So I saw Dallas Buyers Club on Friday. Here's why I hate it.

This is the story of a heterosexual man who gets HIV, presumably from sex with a skanky ho. All around him, the homosexuals are getting AIDS and withering and dying, or (at best) meekly following the rules set down by the Big Heartless Medical Establishment... and then withering and dying. But since our hero is heterosexual, he takes control of the situation, bucks the system, and SURVIVES! Oh, and he meets an effeminate boy who wants to be a girl, who dies tragically. And is played by an actor who takes every opportunity to boast of his hetero cred.

And I thought, what year is this, anyway?


This got put into perspective by the next movie I saw, a strange German thing in 3D called Measuring the World, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] thornyc, [livejournal.com profile] mudcub and [livejournal.com profile] bigjohnsf. Movie is about 2 19-century scientists:


  1. Gauss, who was heterosexual and is shown naked and coupling with a kitchen wench and his bride (not at the same time!); and

  2. Humboldt, who in real life was clearly homosexual, but in the movie is a sexless buffoon, though he does travel with a heterosexual Frenchman who is shown naked & coupling with the native girls.

I kind of liked the movie anyway, and I certainly appreciated that Humboldt didn't die tragically so the heterosexual characters could learn a valuable life lesson.

albadger: (Krusty's Terrified Audience)
A comment a friend left on my previous post had me thinking... my recent dermatology adventure involved down there -- and the very concept of "down there" is ineluctably bound in my mind to a Sex Ed class I was forced to sit through in 1970 -- hapless instructor showed us the Innocent Party, even then 11 years old but felt like centuries past. There's an exchange between the 2 young men at approximately 6 minutes 10 seconds in:

"I've got some kind of sore... down there!"
"Don't worry about it... probably just a pimple or something."

At the word "pimple" the entire class burst into hysterical laughter. Poor instructor got horribly upset, stopped the movie, and spent the remaining 30 minutes of the class making sure we realized that syphilis was no laughing matter! Of course, we were all thinking, if it's no laughing matter, why are you showing us a comedy about it?



I wonder what would have happened if we'd gotten as far as the toilet seat scene...
albadger: (the Swingin' Eye)
Warren Hall, beloved ugly tower in the Hayward Hills, was scheduled to be destroyed this morning, and I could have stayed home & watched it on streaming computer internet, or channel 7, but I thought, I missed the Dumbarton Bridge being blown up, I missed that dorm hall at CSUSF being blown up, I missed the Reichstag Fire, I will NOT miss this. So I drove down Mission Boulevard (which has a clear view of the tower most of the way), thinking I could park at the bottom of the hill and watch from there. As did about 300,000 other idiots, because Mission south of downtown Hayward was a complete mess. I was fortunate to be able to turn around and just park opposite the 99.99 Cent Store/Big Lots/Carls Jr complex, a good view from 1.7 miles away.

I was able to spot the Face of Satan in the cloud of dust that rose up from the collapse. Were you?

Didn't get a video myself, but there are great ones on YouTube already. This is the best, even with the doofus at the beginning:
albadger: (I think you're evil! EVIL!)
My, what a busy week I've been having.
  • Monday night, the semi-staged reading of the Tempest with this humble one as Stephano, with [livejournal.com profile] bigjohnsf in attendance;
  • Tuesday night, il Trittico, Puccini's nifty Variety Pak of one-act operas at San Francisco Opera, sadly with no date but happily with a gets-Puccini conductor and a great cast, Racette, Podles, and a crowd of sexy, beefy bearded men (who through some odd confluence could all sing good);
  • and Wednesday at Pac Bell Park (which I will be DAMNED if I ever call AT&T Park) with former housemat (typo but it stays in) Andrew, watching the home team dawdle lazily for 8 innings, raise the crowd's hopes and desires to a fever, and then dash all those emotions to the ground in one awkward second. Baseball is such a c**k-tease of a game.
So, good times. But you know what I'll remember forever? The one bad thing. I won't remember the wonderful singing, or the congrats I got for my acting, or the sexy ballplayers and crowdmembers, or the garlic fries. I will remember this.

Cut for the sensitive )

Apparently some people liked this ugly Goodwill sweater of a set. Those people are fools, and should be forced to raise my offspring as their own, completely unaware of the substitution until it's too late. Far, far too late.
albadger: (I think you're evil! EVIL!)
My, what a busy week I've been having.
  • Monday night, the semi-staged reading of the Tempest with this humble one as Stephano, with [livejournal.com profile] bigjohnsf in attendance;
  • Tuesday night, il Trittico, Puccini's nifty Variety Pak of one-act operas at San Francisco Opera, sadly with no date but happily with a gets-Puccini conductor and a great cast, Racette, Podles, and a crowd of sexy, beefy bearded men (who through some odd confluence could all sing good);
  • and Wednesday at Pac Bell Park (which I will be DAMNED if I ever call AT&T Park) with former housemat (typo but it stays in) Andrew, watching the home team dawdle lazily for 8 innings, raise the crowd's hopes and desires to a fever, and then dash all those emotions to the ground in one awkward second. Baseball is such a c**k-tease of a game.
So, good times. But you know what I'll remember forever? The one bad thing. I won't remember the wonderful singing, or the congrats I got for my acting, or the sexy ballplayers and crowdmembers, or the garlic fries. I will remember this.

Cut for the sensitive )

Apparently some people liked this ugly Goodwill sweater of a set. Those people are fools, and should be forced to raise my offspring as their own, completely unaware of the substitution until it's too late. Far, far too late.

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