Last Friday I ventured with my dude to the 92nd Street Y to see an evening of Instagram founder Mike Krieger in conversation with NewYorker.com editor Nick Thompson. It was in one of the Y’s smaller spaces that I’d never been in before so that was cool. We sat in the second row and awaited to hear the story of Instagram.

It turns out that Instagram started out an entirely other app and when he realized that the photo part was what was really catching on, they threw out the other app idea entirely and went with something that was really simple that was basically only photos, ie. Instagram. 

J had one of his questions answered during the Q&A, which was very cool and he appreciated hearing it. The entire talk lasted about an hour. Afterward we grabbed some food at The District and headed back to Morningside Heights. 

It’s always cool to take advantage of things like this, especially when they’re so close to home. 

Election Night ‘12

During my first election, I remember sitting with my 7 (seven!) freshmen year roommates in the living room of our Union Square dorm watching the results flow in and getting increasingly depressed. During the 2008 election, I spent it at a party at GenArt in Hell’s Kitchen.

This year, I chose to spend it at CNN’s Times Square set-up for a half-hour, and then ‘Democracy Plaza’ in Rockefeller Center for MSNBC for another half-hour, before deciding to stick with my plans to go see the Morning Joe crew have a sort of roundtable-open forum discussion at the Upper East Side 92nd Street Y (even after a friend was too depressed at the thought of a possible Romney administration to come).

I’ve woken up to Morning Joe every morning before work for the last couple of years and I always appreciate watching it. I also appreciate that Joe Scarborough is a fair Republican. Tonight Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, along with Mike Barnicle, Mark McKinnon, Joe Meacham, and Steven Rattner, had a kind of roundtable/open forum with 300 of their closest Manhattan neighbors. It was a great time, and I think the five Republicans that came out had fun. I caught Mika on her way out and snapped this photo. I think she’s awesome, full of attitude, and obviously my favorite on the show. 

I voted for Obama this morning (duh, please) after only a 45 minute wait at my polling place and then went to work, nervous for tonight. Tonight is close, and Florida is a clusterfuck right now, but so far it’s been a sweeping victory for vaginas and people who are anti-rape every way. If you’re a woman and voted for the Romney/Ryan ticket, I will say plainly that I question what is going on in your head (and I presume that “what” in your head is a “whole lot of nothing”). 

And now, with Ohio being declared in Obama’s favor, Obama has officially won the election.

Good day, Mittens. Have a safe trip back to whichever mansion you’re currently living in, and please fade into the obscurity you deserve.

Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer at the 92nd Street Y

On Sunday night at 7:30pm, Jordan Roth engaged in a discussion with director Michael Mayer and Green Day front man (and rock god) Billie Joe Armstrong at the Upper East Side’s 92nd Street Y.  Having gone to several of the talk backs this week, I was expecting the be bored but deep down I was hoping for the best.  Luckily, the latter was the case and the hour and a half discussion was insightful with really excellent questions thanks to Jordan Roth and a few tweeters whose questions he asked.  I felt bad for Adrienne (Armstrong, his wife) when she sat down across the aisle from me and proceeded to be hounded for autographs until the lights were lowered.  John Cameron Mitchell was also seated three rows in front of me.  I was in L1 (aisle seat FTW!) next a theatre fan who super sweet, though I never got her name.  We had a moment and got excited when Roth mentioned “The Book of Mormon.”

Highlights:

When Billie Joe was asked what it’s like raising two teenage sons, he said his sons are more like his roommates than his children now because they’re both taller than him.  He also said, “No rules, just guidelines.  And I just want to try to relate to them.”  Very, very good parenting.  

Roth references that Johnny waits until Whatshername is asleep to tell her he loves her and asks if it was the same for him and Adrienne.  He says something along the lines of, “It was a ‘i’ll-show-you-mine-if-you-show-me-yours’ kind of thing.”  

Bille Joe talked about how he’s always amused by fans in the front rows of his concerts that will do the head-bang-TV choreography during the song American Idiot.  That particularly made me laugh. 

The “you’re never too old to leave” quote came from Mayer talking about his track record of directing innovative shows that are about people who are unhappy with their lives and trying to get out.  He said Spring Awakening was about teenagers, American Idiot is about 20-something’s, and so he went on to say maybe his next venture will be 30’s, and 40’s… after which Armstrong remarked, “You’re never too old to leave.”  

Mayer remarked that he recently watched the show from house left, and he went on to say that if you watch Will (Michael Esper) you see a completely different show.  From experience, I can testify to that. 

Regarding his nearly 30-year friendship with bassist Mike Dirnt and his 20-year relationship with Adrienne, he was asked how does he keep all of these relationships alive. He said, regarding Adrienne, “I guess I’m just attached to the chick!

It was revealed that Billie Joe didn’t write his first song (at 14) titled “Why Do You Want Him” about his mother’s boyfriend.  It was just to any guy that ever liked a girl who liked someone else.

Billie Joe was asked who he would want to play in American Idiot, to which he replied, “I don’t know.  You know, I’d like to be the drummer in the background!

When asked if he, Billie Joe, had any teachers who really helped him in school, he spoke of his childhood voice teacher and then listed a handful of musicians who were his teachers by inspiring him.  The first of whom was John Lennon.  Billie, we have more in common than I thought.  

Mayer talked about how in the “Golden Age” of musical theatre, the songs that were performed in musicals reflected what was heard on the radio.  The same is happening now with the explosion is pop-rock-punk musicals that we’re seeing on Broadway, it’s relating to what we’re hearing on the radio.  This really struck a chord with me because I feel like I’m constantly defending rock musicals to my friends who love Hello, Dolly! and the like, and repeatedly proclaim, “That’s not Broadway!”  Well I hate to break it to you, but if you want Broadway to survive, it has to move forward and transform.  There will always be revivals, because there will always be a market for it but if the only things on Broadway were Oklahoma and Anything Goes, theatre would die because there would be nothing appealing enough to bring a new generation to the theatre and carry on the art form.  Thank you, Michael Mayer, for articulating what I have been trying to say for the last couple of years.  

He also remarked how we had “an asshole in the White House” after 9/11 happened.  Lots of applause!  Luckily, for anyone that wasn’t able to get to the 92nd Street Y last night,  Sarah has put an audio of the entire talk-back on her blog which can be found here (thank you, Sarah!).  Many thanks, of course, to Jordan Roth for moderating and for asking such insightful and probing questions.  

Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong with Michael Mayer: The Creators of Broadway’s American Idiot

Just so you all know this is happening in September at the 92nd Street Y.  I just bought my ticket.


Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong with Michael Mayer: The Creators of Broadway’s American Idiot