Sunday, February 26, 2006

Blogs Suck

This one sucks because the blogger never posts anything, but what I really mean is that they all suck time. No one worth their salt (to use a phrase that no one really ever uses except when they're trying to sound either intelligent or nostalgic) can devote the time necessary to immerse themselves into the blog-reading experience. I only read Dave Barry's Blog and the blogs of some friends with any kind of regularity. I would read Wil Wheaton's blog, geektown post-fests like Slashdot and Boing Boing, and even some political blogs more, but I just don't have the time. Honestly, those who do are wasted lifeforms on this planet. A sleep-deprived friend (read: fellow parent) who just discovered my blogging presence reported to me that she got sucked into reading the archives instead of heading off to bed last week. Upshot: If you are reading this, you yourself are scum.

Not to make excuses, but I've been busy. For one thing, I'm a big, important muckity-muck at work now, which is to say I've simply agreed to take on more responsibility without a guarantee of more pay. We call it "Team Leader" at work. So far it's fine. At least it hasn't differed from my expectations. Unfortunately, my expectations included the assumption that the number of meetings I was required to attend would double.

The other thing was a long-weekend vacation to New York: The City with Chris and Deb. If you look closely, you can see them with DeeDee in the pic on the left. In the middle of last summer, we secured tickets to The Odd Couple starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick* on the day they went on sale (thanks, American Express). Chris and I have wanted to play Oscar and Felix, respectively, opposite one another since we met in Laughter on the 23rd Floor (it shall be done), so we had to make the trip to catch this version together. We built the rest of the trip around that show. In the end, we also got to see Spamalot and The Lion King.

We stayed at the Milford Plaza, and I can't say enough about how perfect it was for us. Hello, we're tourists from the Midwest in town to see some shows. We can't afford New York as it is, yet we'd prefer not to sleep on the street. Chris and I prepared ourselves and our wives for the worst, and were probably therefore all the more pleasantly surprised by the Milford. Location? Excellent. Walking distance to absolutely everything, really (including John's Pizzeria - "No Slices!" - and Smith's Bar), and what wasn't near enough was a quick and cheap Subway or taxi ride away. Amenities? Just fine. There was a concierge, and the rooms were actually bigger than the bed, with a bathroom attached. Sweet. The only issue was that the ice machine was busted on our floor, so we had to walk two floors down when we wanted scotch. Worth it.

There were several high points, not the least of which was briefly meeting and speaking with Hank Azaria, David Hyde Pierce, and Mike Nichols after Spamalot. The only thing that could possibly have topped that would have been if Eric Idle had stepped out the stage door. As it was, I had also gone into that show with low expectations, thanks to Lisa's review. I should learn to stick with my gut more, though, because I thought it'd be grand and it certainly was. It was all I'd hoped for plus just a teensy bit more. There were inside jokes for true Python madmen like me (a reference to Colin "Bomber" Harris among them), plus some Producers-esque nose-thumbings at Broadway musical conventions. I really loved the show. It deserved at least half the acclaim it received.

It also snowed a bit in NYC the weekend we were there. A record 26.9" to be exact. Being there for that and not having to worry that it would screw with our travel plans was really quite fun! Highly recommended travel destination, if you can manage it.

*NOTE: Despite Ang's insightful and thorough review here, The Producers: The Movie Musical was excellent. Those who panned it, like those who have panned the revival of The Odd Couple on Broadway, really don't seem to comprehend context. Mel Brooks asked Susan Stroman to put The Producers on film because he wanted the musical on film. Critics bitched that it was a fixed camera watching actors perform. Um... hello? That was the intent. The movie broke with that convention a bit - some scenes were filmed right out in the open in Central Park and in Shubert Alley - and, honestly, those were the only parts of the film I questioned at all. I don't love Max singing "Along Came Bialy" or "Betrayed" directly to the camera. That doesn't seem natural (or, to be accurate, theatrical). The rest rang true to the stage version, which was simply marvelous on too many levels to comment on here. As for The O.C. (as I'm fond of calling it), again the critics missed the point. Many claimed it failed to bring the show back fully because the references were outdated. WTF?! The action takes place in 1965! You can't "modernize" it. In fact, Neil Simon tried to do that himself in 1985 with Moreno and Struthers and I'd argue that this version succeeds better than that did in bringing the true essence of the show back to life. Someone wrote that the idea of two men living in an apartment together isn't nearly as socially awkward now as it was when the show first premiered. To that, I say, "so what?" Wouldn't it suck if we discovered upon the revival of a show after three decades that the same prejudices and social inequities existed as were being brought to light upon the show's original premiere? Come on. The only complaint I have is that I wish Matthew Broderick hadn't chosen to use the high-pitched, whiny voice similar to the one he used in The Producers in this play. It was unnecessarily distracting.