tbt: Theatre Obsessions

I remember this one time, in my sophomore year of college, there was this production of Falsettos. I wasn’t working on the show but I had seen it a couple times – I don’t think we ever ran a show longer than two weekends, but I had to go to a tech rehearsal for a class. I had become obsessed with the show…an obsession that’s lasted for the next decade.

It was a Sunday night, closing night of Falsettos. I wanted to go see it one more time. But there was another show closing that weekend – a one-man show by another student. I’ll call him Ivan. The show was called Ivan on Ivan: In Reverb! Good gravy.

I had promised the stage manager of the show, a friend of mine and someone I looked up to, that I would come see his show that night. But by late afternoon I was just lying on the floor of our apartment, tormented because I wanted to take my very last opportunity to see Falsettos. I was completely torn. I was a little over-dramatic.

The moral twin of my Gemini sensibility must have been on duty that night, because I went to Ivan on Ivan: In Reverb! But I regretted it almost immediately. I mean, it was just ridiculous. At intermission, I left and went down the street to Falsettos, where I snuck into the back. Man, that’s a good show.

The thing about theatre is that if you love something, there really isn’t a way to just save it and rewatch it. Even a bootleg version of something isn’t the same as being there. And I know there’s bad theatre. I have seen bad theatre. I have peeked at my phone to see how much longer this act could possibly be. I have left things at intermission (not often, but I’ve done it). I’ve seen things out of an obligation and not necessarily out of joy.

But then there are the things that you can’t get enough of. When I saw Wicked for the first time (cheesy example, I know), it was the first time in years and years of shows that the curtain call ended, the lights came up, and I was like, “Okay, reset everything, I will watch this all again from the beginning RIGHT NOW.”

I went years without having that feeling about a show. But I am having it again. Right now. (This is not a marketing ploy.)

My work is currently presenting Sweeney Todd. I love Sweeney Todd. It’s one of my favorite musicals. This particular production has something extra. It’s addictive. I can’t stop watching it. It has been running for the last three weeks, and closes this Sunday. I have seen it five times so far, which is already two times more than I have seen any other work show. I saw it yesterday and again today. I am sitting here debating whether I should go back for the closing performance on Sunday night. The only reason I’m not sprawled out on the carpet, conflicted over my decision, is that I have a couple days to work it out. If I don’t go, I will never see this particular production, with this particular cast and set and direction again. But maybe the five times I’ve gone should be enough.

This time, instead of missing out on a student-written one-man show, I would be missing out on precious weekend time with my family. I would be driving all the way down the peninsula a whole extra time. But I would be helping out by filling a seat, and I would be getting one more chance to bask in the pure joy that I experience while watching a show about an insane guy who kills people, and his girlfriend who bakes them into pies. “God That’s Good.”

I think I might have my answer.

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Disney Project 2014: Lilo & Stitch

Movie: Lilo & Stitch

Release year: 2002

Thoughts: These last few movies have been great – this has been such a great post-Renaissance run. I really like Lilo & Stitch. Here are five things I like about it:

1. Stitch is a misunderstood “villain” who winds up being a good guy. (Footnote: In fact, is there even an actual villain in this movie? Not really. But it works.) I mean, look at this clever poster:

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I love Stitch’s concurrent destructive/cute nature. He’s much like…a 2-year-old. Hurling things to the ground one second, climbing into your arms the next.

2. Lilo’s deadpan sense of humor. She is an adorable, precocious child, but with a realistic edge of behavior issues stemming from her turmoiled family life. I just want to cuddle her and tell her she’ll probably be really successful when she grows up.

3. Nani, along with all the other 20-something women, is a little stocky. If Meghan Trainor wrote a song about her, she would say Nani has “all the right junk in all the right places.” There is no question – this is no lithe and willowy Disney princess. But she is gorgeous and wears a bikini with aplomb. I remember seeing this movie for the first time and admiring this fact. I still admired it this time through.

4. “Ohana means family. And family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.” Did I tear up when Nani thought she was going to lose Lilo to foster care? Yes, yes I did. I sympathize with her frustration of doing her best but still feeling on a daily basis like she is letting down her child.

<3 Lilo & Stitch. Check it out if you like children, aliens, music, Hawaii, love, Disney, family, Elvis, or surfing.

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Disney Project 2014: Atlantis: The Lost Empire

Atlantis_-_The_Lost_Empire_Movie: Atlantis: The Lost Empire

Release year: 2001

Does this sound familiar to you? Or are you wondering what the heck I’m talking about? Because we are very definitely into that era of Disney that my generation was starting to miss out on.

It’s not a musical, and it has a different look to it than the animation of the “princess movies.” This one looks more like Hercules, but with a touch of 101 Dalmatians thrown in – I gather they were going for a “comic book” look which explains all the distinct angles, like Milo’s triangular fingernails.

Atlantis stars Michael J. Fox (then 40, but he definitely is voice-passing for 25) as Milo Thatch, a linguist and wannabe explorer, like his beloved late grandfather. He gets roped in to a mission to try to discover the lost empire of Atlantis, fulfilling his grandfather’s dream.

Imagine the team’s surprise when they actually reach Atlantis, but instead of crumbling ruins deep underneath the sea, they find a city still populated with people who are thousands of years old…and slowly dying. Milo wants to help them, but the captain of their team has different and more devious ideas about robbing the city of their power source in order to turn a profit aboveground.

It’s just occurred to me that I’m not sure how they were going to get back home (Washington, DC?). I thought their submarine was destroyed in a fight with a mechanical Leviathan. I must have missed something.

Don’t you want to watch this movie?! It’s filled with the early-2000s humor that I loved in The Emperor’s New Groove, and I’m a big Michael J. Fox fan anyway. Like when Milo is being seasick over the edge of the ship at the beginning, and he says, “Carrots, why does it always taste like carrots? I didn’t even eat carrots.” That’s bathroom humor at its best.

All in all, I’m a big fan of this one. This was a good weekend for catching up on Disney movies, so stay tuned. (And check out Atlantis: The Lost Empire!)

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(I don’t know what Drew is so shocked about here, unless it’s just the fact that we inexplicably own the 2-disc collector’s edition…)

 

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Disney Project 2014: The Emperor’s New Groove

Movie: The Emperor’s New Groove

Release year: 2000

I don’t think that many people are familiar with this movie – so let me just say, it is actually really funny and a lot of fun. A great buddy story. In fact, I know someone who calls this is favorite Disney movie of all time – and I don’t think he’s crazy for saying so. (Fun fact: He just told me it’s the first DVD he ever purchased himself, and it cost $40. So that’s a fun glimpse into life 10 years ago.)

Just in case you have no idea what I’m talking about, The Emperor’s New Groove takes place in South America (Peru?). David Spade (remember him??) plays an incredibly self-centered 18-year-old emperor, who is turned into a llama by his scheming advisor (Eartha Kitt). He winds up in a small village outside of his kingdom, and with the help of a kind and charming villager (played by John Goodman, who I love), he has to find his way back to the castle to take back his empire and make himself human again.

Side note: My Emperor’s New Groove-fanatic friend just told me this is officially the first Disney movie to feature a pregnant character – the villager’s wife. She is a great character and that is another great fun fact!

Drew hadn’t seen this before, so I tried to get him to sit and watch it as much as possible, while I did the chasing portion of our movie-a-la-toddler-viewing. He said he liked it. I look forward to sitting down one day and watching it all the way through again!

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I took 40 pictures, this was the best I could do.

The Emperor’s New Groove is #40 on our list! For funsies, here’s what we have coming up:

Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Lilo & Stitch
Treasure Planet
Brother Bear
Home on the Range
Chicken Little
Meet the Robinsons
Bolt
The Princess and the Frog
Tangled
Winnie the Pooh (2011)
Wreck-It Ralph
Frozen

What have you seen? What have you never heard of?

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The Weekend of Rachael

I have this story to tell, but I started writing it a week ago, and then I thought, “Wouldn’t this be so cool if I did it to the tune of the theme song from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air?” And then I never got around to writing it, and now it’s been a week, and I’m afraid if I don’t just tell you, it’ll be too late anyway.

So. Here’s what happened last weekend (as in 10 days ago).

No, I have to go back a little farther. I’m in this Facebook group for moms. It’s been going strong for almost 3 years, and I joined way back in April of 2012, when I went public about being pregnant with B. A coworker invited me to this group that her friend had started, which was, at the time, about 20 women around the country who were all pregnant. It was a fun group of people, and I liked it.

As fun, likable things do, it’s grown considerably. At present count, the group boasts over 100 members, and is relatively drama-free. (You might laugh, but consider what I just said: it’s over 100 women, mostly semi-hidden behind the anonymity of the internet, all engaged in parenting: the activity that turns you into a hormonal, defensive, stressed, confused, second-guesser.) But the group is supportive, it’s helpful, we send each other outgrown Halloween costumes and do Secret Santa gift exchanges and get together when it’s possible and tell each other what HFM/blocked tear ducts/normal diaper rash looks like.

One of the women from the original group (let’s call her Rachael) lived in Nebraska with her husband and her one child and her pregnant belly when I first e-met her. She was one of the women that I really took a shine to. We talked outside of the group, sent each Christmas cards, etc. This summer, she moved to Nevada with her (now three!) kids.

And last weekend, on a complete whim and a prayer, she hopped on a plane and flew to the Bay Area to meet a bunch of other moms in real life for the first time.

See, I had invited the Bay Area contingent of this group to come see the show my work is currently producing. We were going on Sunday afternoon. Jokingly, Rachael started talking about flying out to come with us. We egged her on and offered our couches, and the next thing I know, there I am at the airport picking her up.

Earlier that day, Drew had asked me if I was at all worried that she was catfishing us. I didn’t think that was likely, as it has been 2 1/2 years and that’s a very long con. But when I was waiting at the terminal, and she texted and said, “I just walked outside,” and all I could see was a tall guy standing on the curb – I did have a moment of “Uh-oh…” Luckily, then I saw Rachael a little further down and everything was fine.

It turns out she is just as lovely in person as she is online. She stayed over at my place on Friday night, then on Saturday we did brunch and hung out with some of the group in the East Bay, she stayed with another friend on Saturday night, and then a third friend on Sunday night. I hope it was as fun and casual as it all sounds – it was certainly gutsy to fly somewhere new to stay with a bunch of strangers, and I really hope that it paid off for her.

It did for us – it was awesome to get to meet a pseudo-celebrity, for one…I was a little star-struck. But for another, well, we Bay Area members have historically put a lot of planning into each meet up. Having this last-minute weekend happen where we pulled it together for multiple meals and hanging out – well, maybe it taught us to loosen up a little bit. Also, most of the hanging out didn’t involve children (ironic, since that’s what brought us all together), so maybe it also taught us that we can be friends based on our actual relationships, and not just based on the fact that we all have kids.

At any rate. It was an awesome, whirlwind, crazy weekend, and it all went by too fast. I had an amazing time. I hope we can do more stuff like that in the future. So thank you to Rachael for kicking it all off and taking a chance on us! And thanks for not being a catfisher or a murderer!

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Disney Project 2014: Dinosaur

Movie: Dinosaur

Release year: 2000

Let me answer your two questions right now: Yes, it’s been awhile since we fell off the Disney-movie-watching-train. But we were tracking down Dinosaur, which neither of us has ever seen, and which we finally got at the library (thank you, library!). And your second question: Dinosaur is a movie about a young iguanadon named Alador, raised by lemurs (I think?), who has to travel to the Great Valley Nesting Grounds when an asteroid destroys the island they live on.

It feels much like Disney’s answer to The Land Before Time. Except everyone saw and loved The Land Before Time.

Also, why do all of the dinosaur movies have to be about them combating asteroids and devastation and trying to cross deserts and volcanoes in search of water and green food? Because even if they find the Great Valley Nesting Grounds at the end, you know that this is really just a brief reprieve before they are extinct anyway.

Maybe that could be applied to any romantic comedy, in the grand scheme of things?

The animation is pretty impressive – it’s not what you see now, 14 years later, but it’s definitely a step in that direction. There are some amazing sweeping vistas, although according to wikipedia, many of the backgrounds were actually shot on location. But the dinosaurs are also very well-done.

Also, this is a pretty good ride at Disney World.

So that’s Dinosaur.

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tbt: National Poetry Day

Today is National Poetry Day. The National Poetry Day theme for 2014, according to a random website I clicked on, is “Remember.” How fitting for a throwback Thursday!

So here is a poem I found on my laptop, in the “old computer stuff” section, which I cruise through whenever I want to remember what it was like to be 17. I don’t like staying there long. I was more prolific, but way angsty, and overall pretty obnoxious. There is something to be said for just being content.

This is from April 2002. It might actually be two separate things. None of the stuff in this particular document is titled…although there is some very interesting formatting in terms of font, size, use of ampersands, and justification.

==

I woke this
morning
with a
longing so
fierce I thought
it must have
been
someone else’s.

When you left
I burned
everything.

 

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