Hump Day.

Happy International Women’s Day! I wish we lived in a world where a “women’s day” wasn’t needed. Maybe some day. 

I need this backpack ASAP. Look at how much stuff you can pack in it! 

I’m getting a standing desk at work. I’m so excited.

Our CTO is gluten-free, so we’re going GF in the office this week in solidarity. And probably because we all (about half of the office) wanted to see if we could do it. Turns out: the only things I can’t eat that I usually eat at pretzels and graham crackers. At least this is what I’ve found thus far. I think I was suffering from the Gluten Flu (effects of gluten withdrawal) this morning but I drank a lot of green tea and water and powered through.

The dorm that I lived in for three years during college is being sold. I had one of the rooms that was basically a one bedroom apartment with a kitchen and bathroom. Compared to your traditional college dorm, it was pretty nice. But it was also like living in a jail with all of the rules (restrictions on how many nights a guest could stay, having our IDs inspected every time we entered, they closed during the winter break, etc). 

I’m obsessed with this workout DVD. It’s the Barre Method and I’m only currently practicing the arms segment but it’s an ass-kicking. 

Lastly, I saw these shelves in a photo of an apartment on Curbed. Does anyone know where they’re from? 

I need these in my life, or more specifically, my living room. 

And it’s beginning to snow.

After an unsuccessful trip to the Pace University bookstore in the Financial District (they close at 4pm, wtf), I grabbed a drink some fried zucchini sticks at SoHo Park with an old co-worker (but first I raided the book closet and took those four books). It was so, so good to see her – as well as some of my other former colleagues that I ran into. She’s trying her damnedest to get out of the city ASAP and even though I’ll miss her like whoa, I know she’d be happier back in New England.

On Saturday morning, I went to my usual grueling vinyasa class and I’d like to say that my workout attire was called The Kim Davis, as it included as many clashing patterns and colors as possible. But damn was I warm. The rest of the day was spent grocery shopping, going back down to FiDi to purchase my sweatshirt, and cooking cauliflower fried rice for my dude and me. We watched the movie Unfriended on HBOGo and it was BAD. Don’t do it. Bad acting, bad direction, bad photography direction, bad story, just bad.

I met up for a pre-birthday (his!) brunch with Ben on Sunday afternoon at The Hamilton and we ended up being invited to try a bunch of dishes because they were being photographed. The owner, Mike, was bartending and he is Scottish and insanely cool. He also owns Caldeonia Bar on the UES. The Hamilton will become a regular neighborhood spot of mine for sure. It snowed unexpectedly on Sunday night and after some quality gym time, my dude convinced me (it didn’t take a lot of convincing, honestly) to watch some football at Amity Hall (Uptown) – also a really solid new neighborhood spot.

I tortured both him and myself by watching the Democractic debates – and I figured out how to use my HDMI converter cable which I finally purchased – on Sunday night. I know pretty much everything they already said. I’m 100% over politics. #feelthebern

More snow this weekend! So stoked.

Half-Assed Pride

Last October my alma matter, Pace University, was named the #1 most underrated college in America. My mind can’t wrap itself around whether or not that’s a good thing, but people are saying it is. So I guess that’s a good thing. Pace has always been know for his business school (and I think it’s nursing program), and in recent years, since it’s acquisition of The Actor’s Studio MFA program, their theatre program (from which I graduated with a business minor) is getting pretty great accolades lately too. What can I say, I loved seeing American Idiot there. 

To say I was an uninvolved college student is an understatement. I went to school to move to the city, 100%. I went to Eugene Lang College (part of the New School) for my freshmen year and realized that I was not ready for a degree that had no structure. Their base curriculum, at the time, was two required writing classes and then WHEEEE have fun getting your degree in whatever! I could totally do it now, but when I was 18, it was not for me, so I transferred to Pace whose admission I’d previous declined. 

But all I did was go to class, do my work, work on a handful of productions in the department a year, and then worked and interned in theatre completely separate from school. Did I join any clubs? Puh-lease. Go to any student events? Nope. I wanted to get in and get out. Looking back would I do it differently? Possibly. At the very least I would’ve been exposed to more than the whiny bitches of the musical theatre department, constantly complaining about their English minor work and having to pass their remedial math courses. 

My dude is pretty full of pride for his alma matter and constantly wears the school’s sweatshirt that I gave him over the holidays so I began to get a little jealous. I looked up their bookstore online and went down to the store yesterday after my yoga class and found the perfect sweatshirt. It’s soft on the inside and reminds me of my KALE t-shirt. And it wasn’t $80. 

Living in a neighborhood that’s a sea of Columbia apparel, it’ll be nice to at least show half-assed pride for my own alma matter.

A Little Story About “Joy”

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I saw this trailer and thought I wanted to see it because Jennifer Lawrence is awesome and she looked like she was playing a badass. I mentioned to my mother that we should see this on Christmas and she said, “Oh yes! We’ve met Joy several times. She’s the one who gave dad your guitar!”

Remember this guitar? The one that Billie Joe Armstrong signed all those years ago? I knew it had been a freebie that my dad had been given, but I had no idea by whom. Turns out Joy Mangano rented warehouse space from the company that my parents have worked at for decades. She also apparently lives in a massive estate two towns over from us. 

Back to the movie: I liked it. It left out things like the fact that she went to my alma matter: Pace. And they cut out one of her children. D’oh. The movie starts when she’s a child and building things and then fast fowards to her meeting her husband, having more kids than she should have, and working at an airport. So much for those dreams. After getting her hands cut up on some glass while mopping up wine, she invents the Miracle Mop and we go from there.

I liked the movie a lot. Mangano was a badass who handled mafia men without blinking. Jennifer Lawrence did a great job, too, as did Bradley Cooper for the most part. Despite how the previews make this look like a Silver Linings Playbook Part 2, it’s very much not at all. 

American Idiot, at my alma matter; 11.21.15

Matt, my American Idiot and Green Day partner-in-crime for life, alerted me a few weeks ago that Pace University, the school I graduated from, was staging American Idiot this week and we bought tickets. I’m not sure how I missed this bit of information because I’m part of the Pace Performing Arts group on Facebook and maybe I’m on some kind of list serv for the department, but it seems I totally zoned out on this fact.

The Schimmel Theatre at Pace was built to mimic the Vivian Beaumont at Lincoln Center so it’s very large and we made sure to get there when the doors opened to get good seats. We ended up securing seats in the fourth row. We’d kind of wanted to be in the front row, but friends of the cast had commandeered those first. We spotted Leslie McDonel, the director and original cast member, there of course Gerard Canonico, another original cast member, was also in the lobby when we arrived. As you can see, we were excited:

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My friend Andrew and his girlfriend joined us minutes to showtime and we took in the set, which looked like a smaller version of the one designed for Broadway, and took (what are probably illegal) photos and settled in for the next 90 minutes. 

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The short version: We really, really enjoyed ourselves. These guys did an amazing job. I missed the anticipation of the curtain rising at the beginning, for sure. They had some great graphics that they used – stills from the republican debates and the like – and they used a bunch of soundbites from Trump. Ian Fairlee, who played Johnny, had a very strong voice that was totally reminiscent of John Gallagher Jr.’s more often than not. He made a few different choices as far as his portrayal and they all worked. For the first few songs they had him in a sweater and all I could think was “oh god, I hope he gets to take that off soon.” (He did.) David Park, who played Will, also had a really nice voice and made great choices as far as his character. He really pulled off the man-bun spectacularly too. As the much, much more bro-y version of Tunny was Connor Antico. He also had a great voice which started off sounding like a member of a boy band but got grittier as the show went on. McDonel made the decision to make Tunny and total and complete bro was much different than what we’ve seen on Broadway and on tour, but it worked. Matt and I always judge a Tunny by how long and strong he can hold his high note at the end of Boulevard of Broken Dreams. Well, we high-fived each other when Antico held onto it strongly to the point where we were wondering if it was a recording. 

Mary Claire Miskell, an original cast member of Broadway’s short-lived 13, played Whatshername, was really excellent. She embodied the character’s free spiritied-ness in a much younger (obviously) way than Rebecca Naomi Jones did. Marissa O’Donnell, seen on Broadway in Shrek, portrayed a heart broken and frustrated-as-fuck Heather. Her voice is beautiful but for me, in a rock musical, started out a bit too beautiful, but as the show rocked on, she found her vocal grittiness.  The last stand-out was Jamal Christopher Douglas as St. Jimmy. This was an interesting choice that McDonel made for this character, as it’s general played by a strung-out-looking skinny, somewhat jovial white dude. Douglas was anything but – he’s muscular, scary, and imposing. He had the presence of a drag queen, at some moments, but in a way that completely worked. It was just nothing like what we’d ever seen in past incarnations (that would include Berkeley, Broadway, Equity tour, non-Equity tour, etc). It feels silly not to give a shout-out to the last featured actor onstage, Sarah Hamaty, the Extraordinary Girl, who was great, but the character comes in so late that it always seems like barely a featured player.  Hamaty has a great voice and did her best with the movement in the song given that they obviously couldn’t suspend her from the ceiling. 

McDonel borrowed probably 1/3 of the original choreography from Broadway and the new choreography fit in just fine. Her direction is a new and smaller space was effective and visually beautiful. The band was on the top level of the stage and killed it. The lighting was extraordinarily effective and it was great to watch these students masterfully pull off a show that is so near and dear to our hearts. Standing ovations were given at the end and Good Riddance was, of course, the encore. 

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Afterward we stayed around for a bit to tell a bunch of the cast congratulations and they did “our” show proud.  I ran (okay, walked) up to to Connor Antico after, tapped him on the arm, and said, “You fucking killed that high note, man. SO Awesome! Congrats!” or at least it was some iteration of that. He really shattered our expectations and probably even showed Stark Sands up (sorry, Sands). We spoke to Ian Fairlee and Jamal Douglas, too, before I said goodbye to my Idiot friends and headed home.

American Idiot has two shows today (Saturday) and two tomorrow. Click here for more information. If you’re a fan of the show, go check it out.