This is what being Patrick Bateman means to me. 

J and I went to see American Psycho on Tuesday night (remember when I waited on line in the freezing cold for like way-too-long?) and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d listened to the London cast recording a bunch of times on Spotify and loved a lot of what I’d been hearing, but who knows how it would transfer, right?

I’ve been lurking on the American Psycho Previews thread on BroadwayWorld and the buzz was that the first act was amazing but the second act dragged. I was excited to see how they’d handle the chunks of the book that included the mass murders of numerous prostitutes and how much blood, exactly, would be on that stage. I’d also heard the opening moment of the show was amazing. I was really excited but trying to keep my expectations low, anyways. 

Spoilers ahead!

The opening moment WAS cool. The stage was filled with smoke and there was screaming, but I wanted it to be more frightening. (Maybe they’ll up the scares during previews.) For those of you who saw the cast perform on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last week, well, Benjamin Walker is only in tighty-whiteys and looks like he’s eaten nothing but protein shakes since then. He looks good. He describes his morning routine and then the song Selling Out starts.   

I know Selling Out wasn’t in the London production and I have no idea how the show must’ve felt without it. It sets the feel for the entire show. These are a bunch of empty, shallow (albeit extremely well-dressed and good looking) people who care about all the wrong things and are extremely annoying.

I digress. Cards was the next great song. Theo Stockman is playing a completely different character from who he has played in the past (Hair, American Idiot) as the obnoxious colleague of Bateman’s Tim Price. J burst into a laughing fit as soon as he spoke his first lines because his voice is just that ridiculous. Another stand out was Drew Moerlein in his Broadway debut as another one of Bateman’s colleagues Paul Owen. He was as smug and overly expressive in that douchey way that only an investment banker on Wall Street can be. 

You Are What You Wear was an introduction to the women who (sometimes) occupy these men at night. Helene Yorke as Evelyn (Bateman’s girlfriend) and Morgan Weed as Courtney (Evelyn’s friend) outshine every other female on that stage with their comedic timing and portrayals of these socialites. I don’t think Yorke opened her mouth a single time that wasn’t answered with laughter from the audience.

Side note: Jennifer Damiano plays Bateman’s secretary, Jean, the same way she always plays her roles (Next to Normal being the exception). That said, she didn’t disappoint. Alice Ripley plays Bateman’s mother in addition to two other small roles and she’s great. She’s supposed to be a heavily medicated mother which she’s done before and won for a Tony for it, so: this is basically a walk in the park. 

The pre-written songs that Sheik wove into the show were seamless and worked without question. Everybody Wants to Rule the World and In the Air Tonight (this one sounded exceptionally spectacular) fit right in, as does Hip To Be Square at the end of the first act. 

The score is so very 80′s and it’s so much fun. Not a Common Man was one of my favorite songs of the first act and I Am Back and This Is Not an Exit were definitely my favorite in the second act. I had I Am Back in my head all day yesterday. 

There are LOTS of projections used in the show. And there are two turntables on the stage. Even though Les Miserables is referenced over and over (it was the hot thing in 1989!), the turn tables don’t make it feel like we’re watching Les Miserables at all. Don’t worry. Donald Trump is also referenced probably a dozen times, too, since he was a big thing especially to Wall Street douchebags. Trump is referenced three times as much in the book though. The producers couldn’t have picked a more appropriate time to transfer American Psycho to New York with this reference intact. 

So, the gore. There’s not a lot of blood in Act 1. He kills his first person at the end of Act 1 and there’s a decent amount of blood on the plastic scrim. I was really curious as to how they would get through all of the people he murders in the book and they handled it perfectly. Patrick Bateman has really loses his mind by Act 2 and after trying to clear it with a trip to the Hamptons accompanied by Evelyn, he returns to Manhattan (I Am Back) and goes on a killing spree. There’s lots of blood on people and the walls for this. Imagine a pile of dead bodies center stage and that’s how this song ends. It was a perfect way to get through a good 100 pages of the book that describe how he murders dozens of people.

Oh, and the sex. There’s a silly, but hysterical scene in Act 1 with simulated sex between two prostitutes and Bateman with ridiculous projections. I read that lots of people hated this but by the time the end of Act 1 rolls around, you’ve already forgotten it’s happened because you’re enjoying the rest of it so much.

The audience was largely a theatre crowd. You could tell that they hadn’t read the book because they gasped when Bateman invites Jean to his apartment before they see a show. She doesn’t die in the book and she doesn’t even have much of a role in the movie, so they would never have killed her off in this adaptation.

Benjamin Walker was so, so good. He’s a playing a character who is a genuinely bad person but I felt sorry for him at times, especially when he was being ignored. All Bateman wants is to fit in and he feels invisible; that’s just sad. He has a much better voice, in my opinion, than Matt Smith does and I hope they plan to record this soon (as far as I know, they don’t). 

It clocked in at 2 hours and 45 minutes, which is long, but the book is 400 pages and a vast majority of it is in Bateman’s mind. When he’s really losing coherence in Act 2, there’s a lot of dialogue to try to express this. He’s covered in blood, dressed in his tighty whiteys and he realizes there’s no way out (This Is Not An Exit). It’s a heavy second act, though I’m not sure what you could cut to make it shorter. 

You could say this is a representation of how society in America completely ignore mental illness if said-mentally ill person has an outward appearance that satisfies us. Even if that person tells us they’re going out of their minds and want to kill people, we’re more likely to say, “great joke!” than take it seriously. Bateman’s pleas for help are ignored by his friends and family. 

To say I had a good time at American Psycho is an understatement. Is it a perfect show? No. Is it for everyone? No. I could imagine the New York Times panning it’s non-traditional but I hope word-of-mouth and the cult following that the book and movie have can make it a hit. 

There was a great energy inside the theatre on Tuesday night and I hope they can sustain the momentum they’ve been building and take your average Broadway audience by surprise.

This Is How All The Bret Easton Ellis Novels Fit Together

Someone posted this recently and I was super intrigued. I would think that there are probably other writers out there who have done this but the only one that I’ve read that comes to mind is Emily Giffin. Giffin’s characters are somewhat related in three of her books, but how Ellis put characters from one book into another who supposedly were killed by Bateman in American Psycho is super cool. It actually made me want to read all of his books. But.

BUT.

I’m currently reading American Psycho…. and it’s a painful read. Bateman and his friend’s shallow materialism and his need to identify where every last item on his person came from is dreadful. I’ve been reading it for a couple of weeks now and I’m only 160 pages in (out of 400-ish). I’m starting to lose hope that I’ll finish it. But I think I have to. i know that I’m not required to finish every book I start but I like to. We’ll see what happens.

In other news: American Psycho the musical is getting pretty good reviews from regular people. I know it’s going to be a super polarizing show (not every one will like a musical about a banker who’s going insane and killing his friends) but I read that the first look you get in the show is amazing and so far everything is impressive. Currently it’s super long (just under 3 hours) but I’m sure they’ll cut it down a bunch before April 5th.

Has anyone else read American Psycho? 

This Is How All The Bret Easton Ellis Novels Fit Together

$19.89 Tickets to American Psycho

I’ve been sort of excited to see American Psycho ever since I saw the video of their press preview. The music sounds different, the choreography looks fun, and who doesn’t love Benjamin Walker? I sure do. So, when it was sort of quietly announced that they were selling tickets for $19.89 (for the year 1989 when the play takes place) for six preview performances, I was instantly interested in heading down on a Saturday morning. I’d mentioned it to Matt a couple of days prior at Eclipsed and he said sure, let’s do it

We met up at 9:30am on Saturday morning to a line that went down 45th Street to 7th Avenue and turned towards 44th Street. We got on the line right as it turned onto 7th so we figured there were probably 100 people in front of us and it shouldn’t be too bad of a wait since the box office was opening in 30 minutes.

Did we ever misjudge the situation. The line took FOREVER. We didn’t buy our tickets until 12:45pm. Also: it was freezing. It was something like 32* out and I was wearing really inappropriate shoes. We took turns hopping into Junior’s and the Booth Theatre’s lobby to keep warm because I’m not lying when I say it was really fucking cold.

They’d really made shitty usage of the box office. I honestly don’t think they were expecting this many people to show up. They could’ve fit probably two dozen people in it but with the way they chose to wrap the line, there were 5 people inside of it at a time. When we finally were standing under the marquee, when it was fairly obvious what we were waiting for, I started telling passerby that we were waiting in line for tickets to a Trump rally. They believed us, no questions asked, and we died laughing.

We purchased our orchestra seats for the preview performance on April 5th and happily made our way to our respective homes and warmed up. It was worth it this time, but I will never do this again in the winter. 

The Fifth Chakra

Since I started practicing yoga seriously in 2011, the chakras have come up regularly. In world of meditation and yoga, we study our 8 chakras. A chakra is basically an energy point in the body (check them out here). The fifth chakra is located in your throat and it supposedly helps you speak your truth.

Back in 2013-ish, I read the book The Eight Human Talents by Gurmukh, a famous kundalini yoga teacher (she owns Golden Bridge Yoga which has locations on both coasts). The studio in New York is on the Lower East Side and sadly, I’ve never been able to make it down there because on the weekends I’m usually a) busy, or b) lazy. 

In her chapter on the fifth chakra, she talks about wearing a blue pendant whenever she’s feeling weak in this chakra – having trouble speaking her truth or whatnot – because blue is the color associated with this chakra. I always really liked this idea and was always on the look out for a blue pendant that I liked. 

Throughout the years, I would walk past, especially when I was working in the Film Center building on 44th and 9th, a really pretty blue pendant in the window of this used jewelry store/thrift shop on 43rd and 9th. It was always there, sitting in the window. It wasn’t at all expensive but I would never let myself buy it, probably because I have so much other jewelry.

The week before Valentine’s Day, this necklace came up in conversation with my boyfriend. I honestly don’t remember how it came up because it’s such a random thing to talk about in a conversation. But it did and he asked if he could buy it for me because he wasn’t comfortable picking out jewelry for me on his own. 

On the day before Valentine’s Day, on our way to Brooklyn, we met on the corner of 43rd and 9th (also the corner of the apartment where he was living when we met) and the necklace was still in the same place in the window so I tried it on and that was that. 

I haven’t told him all the chakra theory because I don’t like to shove too much of my yoga/meditation/new age-y stuff down his throat. I don’t know if the necklace is having an affect on my ability to speak my truth, but it’s pretty and it’s meaningful and I like it. 

I finished reading Revenge Wears Prada, the sequel to The Devil Wears Prada, late last week. I was skeptical and it took me a couple of chapters to get into it, but once I did I was off and reading non-stop. It’s great chick lit. 

Andy Sachs has a fairytale life: we meet her again ten years after she quits Runway on the morning of her wedding to the most eligible bachelor in New York City. She edits and owns a successful upscale bridal magazine with none other than her former arch nemesis Emily Charlton. All is well until Elias-Clark and Miranda Priestly herself approaches them to buy their magazine.

I thought the ending was kind of cheesy, but overall I really enjoyed the novel and I hope they turn it into a movie. 

New Year’s Day

I never sleep in after drinking a lot and yesterday was no exception. I woke up at 8:30am and after deciding I couldn’t go back to sleep, I finished the last 60 pages of The One and Only (so cheesy; not Giffin’s best) and then threw on my coat and went out to Absolute Bagel (best bagels ever, they’re all fresh out of the oven) to pick up bagels for Justin and I, along with some Vitamin Water (me) and Diet Coke (him). We spent the day, first, in pain, but after the Advil kicked in and the coffee was made, we were feeling 100% better. Still tired and a bit hungover, but ready for a full day of relaxing.

We went for a walk to grab coffee, more carbs, and lastly to pick up some bread and cheese for the grilled cheese and tomato soup I was planning on making.

Another one of Rachael Ray’s recipes, the tomato soup was tasty but the diced tomatoes that I used never really broke up so it was more like tomato sauce. I’m going to blend the leftovers so that it’s more like tomato soup. I like putting apple and jam on my grilled cheese (try it, it’s so good), but he took his straight up.

As far as the tomato soup recipe: sautee onions and garlic until soft, add tomato paste and stir for one minute; then add two 28oz cans of diced tomatoes, 4 cups of chicken broth, and 1 tsp sugar, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes and: soup. 

Carbs + Homemade Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese = Best Hangover Cure

Laughing Into 2016

This picture is from last night. My boyfriend and I went to dinner at The Cellar for amazing mac’n’cheese and champagne before going to his best friend’s apartment for his annual New Year’s Eve party. I think in this photo I’m laughing because I just finished drinking all of the champagne (just kidding, but probably). 

There were lots of ups and downs, but it turns out that 2015 was lots of fun. I traveled to New Orleans, Chicago, as well as Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Estonia. 

I dated lots of questionable guys and then went on a date with someone who wasn’t my usual type (this was a plus as my type was usually a flaky loser disguised as ‘artsy’) and he ended up being a wonderful guy and I was so, so happy to be able to ring in a new year with him last night. 

I left a job that I loved because I felt like I was stagnating and i took a job that was presented to me with a higher salary and more opportunity only to be disappointed when it didn’t work out. But shit happens.

I threw a couple of successful parties during my first year in my apartment.

I strengthened some of my friendships and ended a couple of others that no longer served me.

I read 25 books. I saw tons of theatre. I went to a bunch of stellar concerts. I kept on meditating daily and took a meditation master class. I renovated my kitchen (with lots of help from my family, of course) and afterward I cooked a ton. I also de-cluttered, which was awesome. I watched all three Star Wars and saw the new one. I watched too many TV shows on Netflix and not enough movies in theatres. 

In 2016, I’m going to concentrate on really sorting out what I want to do professionally. I excel at everything that I’m super passionate about and if I can find myself in the practically-perfect job, I’ll fly. 

Being happy is also a top priority. Fitness is next. I will keep going to the gym more mornings than not, maybe finally do a handstand on my own, and tone my arms because I hate my arms. I’m going to keep de-cluttering my apartment. I want to play more guitar and journal more. I’m going to read another 25 books. I’m going to keep making time to see my friends, including trying to see those that I don’t get to see regularly. 

2015 was great, but 2016 will be even better. Onwards/Upwards.

My 2015 Reading List

I managed to read 24 books in 2015. I’m currently reading Emily Giffin’s The One and Only and I’m going to try and finish it before January 1st, but for now my number is 24. I’d aimed to read 30 books this year so I missed by… let’s say 5. 

Which books did I love? The Happiness of Pursuit (Chris Guillebeau). Waking Up (Sam Harris). Big Magic (Elizabeth Gilbert). The Art of Asking (Amanda Palmer). Daring Greatly (Brene Brown). 

The only book on this list that could be described as bad would be, you guessed it, Grey. I had fun reading it but it was horribly cheesy and as poorly written as the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. 

What books do I plan to read in 2016? I’m going to finish The One and Only (if I don’t finish it before Friday), followed by possibly finishing A Town Called Alice (a book that my dad recommended that I had a really hard time getting in to).

In the spirit of de-cluttering (thanks, Marie Kondo), I didn’t ask for many books for the holidays this year. Besides The One and Only, I received Griftopia (Matt Taibbi), Revenge Wears Prada (Lauren Weisberger), and Columbine (Dave Cullen). 

My attempt to not gather and hoard books anymore I believe will be proven futile after walking through Strand Books tonight. I saw so many books that I wanted to buy and read. Books like St. Mark’s is Dead, One of Us, Just Kids, The Opposite of Loneliness, and 10:04. I also have a ton more nonfiction novels on my floating book case in my apartment.

So many choices. So many books. So little time. I’m setting a goal of reading 25 books in 2016. I should be able to easily.

KonMari Method

So, like I mentioned the other day, I was reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and I just finished it yesterday. I loved it. It was amazing. I spent a lot of last Friday evening going through my bureau and got rid of two bags worth of stuff and re-folded everything.

Marie says you have to be able to see everything when you open a drawer so piling stacks on top of each other just doesn’t work (because you can’t see things) so she suggests folding so you can stand items up next to each other. To my astonishment, it worked. I even have an extra drawer now! I’m working on my wardrobes and walk-in closet whenever I have time this weekend.

Above are three of those drawers. I didn’t think you had to see my sock drawer and the drawer where my tights are. I also used the “does this bring me joy?” method of discarding for my bookcases and I was able to re-arrange and clear out an entire bookcase (anyone want a bookcase?). 

Thank you to my clothes and books for bringing me joy whenever they did. Now it’s time for you to bring job to someone else when I donate you.

So, I’m reading Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and all of the hype is true. I’m even up to the part about discarding books, and I don’t want to discard them yet – yay. 

Although I’m not ready to pile every single article of clothing on my bed and pick each one up and ask “does this bring me joy?”, I did decide to finally do that thing where you turn around the hangers in your closet and after 6 months you can get rid of what you haven’t worn yet (which would be obvious by the wrong-hanging hanger). 

So, last night I changed all of my hangers and set a 6-month alert on my Google calendar. 

In the meantime, I might go through my things and see if there’s anything I could discard. I’m sick of having a ton of clothes. I rarely go shopping nowadays and if I do, it’s to buy a pair of leggings or a sweater in a specific color. 

If you’re a pack rat or a hoarder, or you sometimes have trouble finding room in your closets or on your bookshelves, buy this book now. I can’t wait to see what I haven’t worn in 6 months.