Five Days in New Orleans

Sorry for the silence! After five days in New Orleans with Kristen, my sinuses freaked out and I was busy back at work, so, Tumblrs, sorry, you took a back seat. BUT! New Orleans is an amazing city. When Tennessee Williams said “There are only 3 cities in America, New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland,” he was not lying. So much history and art and music. The architecture is beautiful there. I was astonished. It’s also one of the most haunted cities in America. It’s ALSO cheap as hell. My beer at the hotel bar was $7.50 (RIGHT?). 

Kristen and I went on a ghost tour, got lots of beads (it was the verrrrry beginning of Mardi Gras), went to Frenchmen Street, drank Hurricanes at Pat O’Briens where they were invented, saw the shitshow that was Bourdon Street, got very sloshed at times, went to Cafe Du Monde for the coffee, listened to jazz at Spotted Cat, and ate lots of amazing food (Herbsaint and Three Muses – GO). And we walked an entire parade route down Dauphine Street (we only caught up the tail end of it, unfortunately) and saw lots of the Bywater.

When I was on my own, I went into the Louisiana and New Orleans #1 Cemeteries (saw Marie Laveaus’ grave), I went to the World War II Memorial Museum, walked around the French Quarter, the Frenchmarket, and the Warehouse District lots. I drank a $3.50 Shocktop (not happy hour, that’s just the regular price, WHAT). I went to one of the Louisiana State Museums to exhibits on Katrina and Mardi Gras, I went to a yoga class at Reyn Yoga when I was incredibly hung over. I walked up and down Royal Street in the French Quarter a bunch of times listening to the music. I spent a bunch of time in Jackson Square people watching (and listening to music). I ate at the Ruby Slipper and Sylvain (both were awesome!). 

For the first time ever I didn’t really buy any souvenirs. I just didn’t feel like I needed any. I brought coffee back for my office and pralines back for my parents, and lots of beads, but that’s it. 

The people were incredibly nice and there’s so much to do there. I was sad to leave the seventy degree whether for twenty degree weather, but I was exhausted. If you’re going to NOLA, go for 4-5 days for your first time. You’ll never be bored but it won’t be too much. LOTS of pictures below the cut…

image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image

Two weeks ago, David invited me to see the most recent revival of A Streetcar Named Desire, currently playing at the Broadhurst Theatre, with him. I was itching to see a new interpretation on the script, so of course I said yes. I saw the last revival at Roundabout two or three times. It was a beautiful, classic revival starring the late Natasha Richardson and John C. Reilly. I was eager to see what this cast of newcomers could do with the material.

Well, first, I’d forgotten how long Streetcar is. It’s close to three hours long, and in a world of “90-minutes-no-intermission” shows, that’s hard to swallow. But we get through it, of course. A Streetcar, after the first scene is when the last 1/3 of the audience comes into the theatre. No, really, it was ridiculous how many people were seated.

But I digress. The set was fitting and depressingly beautiful, while the lighting was awe inspiring, it was so aesthetically pleasing. I very much enjoyed Daphne Rubin Vega as the love-sick and abused Stella, despite having heard not so positive things at first. Wood Harris, as the surprisingly chivalrous Mitch, was endearing and quite perfect. Blair Underwood was strong and intimidating as the iconic Stanley Kowalski, probably more so than John C. Reilly ever was. 

The real star of this cast was Nicole Ari Parker as the pathologically lying and pathetically delusional Blanche DuBoise. Her quick mental and physical demise before the audiences eyes was astounding. It was a crazier interpretation than Richardson’s, but it was still absolutely affective.  

The one bone I have to pick with this production was the direction. At one very quiet, intense moment in the second act during a speech given by Blanche, a member of the company dressed like an old woman waddled across the stage mumbling words. It was the oddest thing I’d ever seen. Streetcar was probably 25 minutes longer than it had to be because the scene changes took so long. Had they been shorter, we’d have been out of there before 11pm. 

Overall though, it’s a successful (albeit different) mounting of Streetcar.