Archive for the ‘The Telly’ Category

I heart TV. Let’s talk about it.

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

I haven’t had a chance to really delve into the television I’ve been enjoying but there’s so much good TV out there and while working on the millions of projects I’ve had to tackle recently I had the opportunity to binge-watch some excellent brain-candy. It’s all different kinds of shows so perhaps you will find one in the pile that works for you.

Arrow. I went to middle and high school in Rye, New York. About five years ahead of me was a guy named Greg Berlanti. He was an amazing actor and he has gone on to be a super-successful producer for a big chunk of DC Comics’ ventures into television. Arrow is one of his projects, as is Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. Also I follow John Barrowman on Facebook ever since I decided he was the greatest post-watching Torchwood. Now I don’t know nothin’ about comics but because Greg’s name is attached and John Barrowman is on it my interest was piqued. I loved it. It fills the soap-opera / romance / sci-fi deficit you might have. Everyone is crazy-attractive. The villains are villainy. Lots of intrigue. The leads are tormented. The fight scenes are engaging. Occasionally some of these gorgeous people hook up with other gorgeous people. Bond-like gadgets are created. So many secrets are kept. The only complaint I have about the show (and maybe this is because I crammed three seasons over two weeks) is the amount of times a character would say “Are you okay?” and wait for another character’s response in order to move the plot along. I counted four “Are you okay?”s in one episode. I would occasionally yell out “I’M FINE DAMMIT” at my screen in response. Other than that, great fun show. Big fan.

Flash. Same story. I started watching it because of the crossover Flash actors making appearances in Arrow. In Arrow no one has super-powers, they’re all just extremely talented and well-trained. In Flash there was a nuclear explosion and now people can run very fast or control the weather or shoot fire out of their eyes, so if that’s an issue for you then this is not your show. But it’s fun and it’s easy to consume and the actors are charming and engaging.

Daredevil. This is a Marvel comic on Netflix. I seem to have gone on a comic-book kick but it just so happens that some of the most compelling stuff out there right now is comic-book based. I go where the good television leads me. It’s a Netflix series about a kid who loses his sense of sight from a chemical spill but in the process of going blind he realizes his other senses are heightened. He’s a lawyer by day, vigilante by night. This could very easily become extremely silly but it works. It’s very well-written and I was cautious but by the end I was on board. The only person I had a bit of a problem with was the bad guy played by Vincent D’Onofrio. He is my generation’s Christopher Walken. He has some weird speech tics that he has in every role he plays and each time I see him the only thing I think of is Edgar from Men in Black (D’Onofrio’s finest performance to date, IMO). Other than Vincent being a creepy cockroach in human form it’s a good series. I jumped in surprise at least two times.

Jessica Jones. Also a Marvel series, also on Netflix. I think it was greenlit due to the success of Daredevil. I absolutely loved it. First, the lead is a non-traditionally beautiful dark-haired woman, while her best friend (not the lead) is a traditionally beautiful blonde. Second, the lead falls in love with an African-American man and it’s not a huge deal. Third, the fact that several of the characters have superpowers isn’t the crux of the show, it’s about isolation and betrayal and loneliness. And finally, what I realized at the end is the love story isn’t between the lead and a man, it’s about her friendship with the blonde. The love story is about friendship between two women. AND the show was awesome. It was such a change from the usual stuff. I don’t have a problem with the usual Criminal Minds-type programming but I am delighted to see this departure and I hope it inspires more diversity on TV in the future.

The Knick. Wowsers. It’s like my love affair with New York and history hooked up with the best parts of the show House and had a baby. It’s great. The Knick is about a hospital called The Knickerbocker around 1912 in Manhattan. It’s a fictional hospital with fictional stories (although there was a hospital with that unofficial name in New York), but many aspects are based in reality. The sets and costumes and props are rigorously checked to be period-accurate and they are stunning. The main character is a brilliant drug-addicted doctor played by Clive Owen with an ego problem (there’s your House analogy) but it’s really an ensemble cast and they are all stellar. It delves into a lot of tough terrain – race, women’s roles, abortion, religion, addiction, mental illness, the advancement of medicine, etc. – so it’s not a “hey, I had a rough day at work and need to watch something to wind down” kind of show. Plus there is at least one gross medical procedure per episode. But I love it. Stephen Soderbergh directs and I believe also writed on The Knick and it better win a bunch of awards for everyone who works on it at some point in the near future.

Making a Murderer. Hoo boy. This one was tough. It’s a documentary series about Steven Avery. I mean, that’s true but it’s mainly about the tragic flaws in the American justice system, especially if you’re poor, not bright and ostracized by your community. I don’t want to get too into it, if you see it you should go in without bias. But there are some moments where you will feel compelled to throw a brick at the screen due to the complete and utter travesty of a police interrogation technique. Fight that urge. That television was expensive. You will regret smashing it. We all feel the same way.

TV I’ve been watching lately.

Monday, June 29th, 2015

As most people who have met me know I consume an excessive – nay, I would say upsetting – amount of television. I am often surprised that my bones and muscles still work and I haven’t atrophied into a dried-out husk with a functional mouth (for snacks ‘n’ chats). The truth is I make things a great deal and it’s nice to have something on in the background. I’ve recently seen a lot of fake-y old-y-time-y historical television, not out any particularly conscious choice but because that is how the good-television cookie crumbled. First show is Peaky Blinders. Have you seen Peaky Blinders? Oh, you should. You really should. I’m watching it again for the second time. The story is compelling, based on a real gang from Birmingham England in the 1920s. The gang is lead by three brothers, the Shelbys, and their gang is called the Peaky Blinders because they have sewn razors into the brims of their caps so if they’re fighting they can quickly slash their opponents across the face (which doesn’t happen often but it’s an effective deterrent to know it’s there). It’s been highly fictionalized but still so interesting. Heck, watch it with the sound off and look at the amazing set it’s filmed on, with the belching coal and the horses and the extras. Sadly, if you watch it with the sound off you’ll miss all of Aunt Polly’s lines. Aunt Pol is the three brothers’ aunt and she is so great. The actress is amazing. All the Emmys to Aunt Pol.


Anyway, it’s streaming on Netflix. I believe it’s twelve one-hour episodes right now (the British tend to structure their stuff like miniseries more often than we Yankees). If you need more info, Buzzfeed had a good article on Peaky Blinders.

While I was making Nessa’s parasol for her wedding I got sucked into the first two seasons of Vikings. That is such a perfect crafting show. You needn’t pay all that much attention, just an occasional glance up every now and again. I don’t really have all that much to say about it because it’s a soap opera where everyone wears dead beastie furs and there’s a disproportionate amount of Aryans, but that’s no surprise. Good show. Gained some slight actual knowledge about Vikings (it’s on the History Channel, so I imagine they felt guilty and needed to throw some actual, you know. history in there).

Outlander! If you had asked me two months ago what this show is about I would have said the sweeping Scottish highlands and romance and beautiful people in plaid having crazy-hot sex and swashbuckling adventures but now I say it’s about RAPE. RAAAAAAAAAAAA =pause for breath= AAAAAAAAAAPE. They made a hard-right turn out of time-travel vaguely-historical drama directly into NightmareTown. In the final two hour-long episodes one of the lead characters gets violated. Repeatedly. And the rest of those episodes are the other characters dealing with the aforementioned atrocity. Including flashbacks. There’s no escaping it. I mean don’t get me wrong, there’s some gross unpleasantness that occurs in the earlier episodes (a flogging scene that I had to look away from comes to mind, blarf), but in the first fourteen episodes it’s predominantly about romance and smooching and secret-keeping and horse-riding and healing with herbs and really kick-butt knitted shawls. Seriously, look at the lead’s shawls. There are several Pinterest boards devoted only to the knitwear.

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Okay, lemme start over. I’m still hurtin’ from those final episodes and I’m not doing this show right. Outlander is cool show based on a romance/time-travel/historical series of novels by Diane Gabaldon and fourteen of the sixteen episodes are a jolly fun ride with the delightful characteristic of being really feminist which is great. Awesome. Awesome stuff. If you, armed with the knowledge I have just provided, choose to watch the last two episodes of Season 1, good for you but don’t say I didn’t warn you. If you like inhumanly attractive people with accents gettin’ it on in drafty stone castles then this is the show for you. It’s on Starz but maybe in the near future it will be streaming on Netflix.

In addition to the above shows I also watched the first season of Turn which is a show about spies during the Revolutionary War here in ‘Merka and that’s a good show, I’d recommend it. I’m also done with the fifth season of Game of Thrones but ain’t nuthin’ new on that show. Same old. I’ll let this video do all the work for me.

A melange of things.

Monday, April 13th, 2015

1. I love flowing lava footage. It’s gooey, it’s glowing, I never get tired of it. I remembered watching a program on Hawaii and they showed lava flowing into the ocean, the only thing in lava’s path that can stop it. Watching them fight it out made me want to go back to believing in the old Gods, Pele and Heimdallr and Neptune and all them guys. I recently saw a perfectly-looping animated gif of the lava / ocean battle and I watched it for far too long. It draws you in, I tell you.


2. Shoulder chickens. They’re apparently a thing right now. I approve.


3. Another animated gif, this time of kitties moving with the sunbeams. Awwww.



4. This teacher bringing his A+ Halloween game.



TV I’ve been watching lately.

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Oh Television, my true and trusted friend. Sometimes you lead me astray, but more often than not you fill my days and nights with endless wonder. This TV renaissance is nothing but fantastic, so much so that I’ve now opted to pay eight bucks a month for Hulu Plus, a service that has the audacity to charge me money and then STILL show advertisements. I never had a compelling desire to watch a lot of prime time major channel soap opera-ness. That is, until now. Were you aware that 98% of people on prime time shows are insanely pretty? Like, inhuman levels of pretty? That is something I had forgotten watching Nat Geo and Investigation Discovery. Everyone on 2, 4, 5 and 7, regardless of your preference, are super-bangable. Fun fact. Another fun fact: I apparently like pseudo-intellectual dramas. All three of the shows I’m going to talk about have smartish undertones. How To Get Away With Murder is good. I mean, the way the show treats the legal system is laughable and their logo is beyond irritating to me, but it’s engrossing. Seriously, though, why couldn’t you kern the word “away”? Why is it so gap-y? I always read it as HOW TO GET A W A Y WITH MURDER.


Why couldn’t you use your other title lockup? It was so nice, with the text and then the calligraphic swooshery. Y U no use, ABC? U make disappoint.


Hulu has introduced me to Sleepy Hollow. I would have never pegged myself for a Sleepy Hollow-show-liker, but here we are. Coupla reasons: I love that they use my home area as reference points. The show is about the return of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and it tickles my fancy that all this wizardry would be going on down the street from me. The show writers make up names for places, like The Rockefeller Estate Park and the Westchester Hospital, but I know where they are. Another reason is I like the two lead actors. One is a slight delicate British man, and I gots me a weakness for slight delicate British men. His name on the show is Ichabod Crane but they do everything in their power to make him look like Jesus, so I of course call him Ichabod Christ. Ichabod, since returning from the dead (it’s been 250 years! He doesn’t understand how plastic works! It’s like Freaky Friday, but with demons!), has a sidekick, a strong African-American female police officer named Abby Mills. These two actors have some awful dialogue to say that would be bad coming out of the mouths of lesser performers, but they make it work. It’s evocative and engaging. I feel like it’s my Doctor Who (since I could never get into Doctor Who, much to my chagrin). It’s a time traveler with a companion fighting off ancient evils. Lotta parallels.

The last show I binge-watched was a show on WGN, a network I had never heard of before. The show is called Manh(a)ttan, and it’s a fictionalized account of the Manhattan Project. It’s similar in structure to the Showtime program Masters of Sex – based on actual events, but everyone’s very attractive and sleeping with each other. I loved it. It’s got thirteen hour-long episodes and they were great, populated by so many amazing character actors you will recognize. There’s the guy from City Slickers and the Jewish speech writer from The West Wing and the jerky blonde dragon prince from Game of Thrones and the prostitute from House of Cards and the weird brother from Orange is the New Black, etc. I just read that a season two is in the works and I am so excited. Make a point to check it out. It made me want to learn more about the real Manhattan Project. When Manh(a)ttan comes out on Netflix I’m going to watch it again. I’m sure there are things I missed the first time around.

Two important items.

Friday, November 28th, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope it was a delicious and filled with good company. Two things came to my attention recently: first, there’s this special owl. He was found in the forest and now he lives on a stump in a wildlife center office. His eyes are filled with vitreous gloop (as all eyes are) but he lacks a cornea or retina, so he’s blind. And this owl has strings running through his eyeball goo. All of this leads to making this owl’s eyes look like galaxies. He’s a tiny magical owl. His name is Zeus and I am mildly obsessed with him.

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And, wonderfully, people are making art inspired by Zeus. Because, in case you didn’t catch it, he’s a tiny magical owl. Who can maybe see into the future. It’s nice to see I’m not the only one who thinks Zeus is THE KEY TO THE UNIVERSE.

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The other thing I noticed recently was television’s inability to learn from mistakes. I’ll explain. There has been a glut of redneck reality programming in the last few years and almost every show has had a tragic flaw. There was “Duck Dynasty” where one of the members of the family said some hateful, small-minded things. There was that show on MTV with the teenagers in West Virginia, I think it was called “Buckwild”. One of the teens died from carbon monoxide poisoning in a truck. There’s “Gypsy Sisters” which also films in West Virginia and where one of the cast members was caught stealing almost $15,000 of merchandise from a Target store. And, of course, there’s the recent “Here Comes Honey BooBoo” situation which is deplorable. I would think at this moment the cable channels would look into another area of society to mine for reality shows, but I realized I was incorrect. I’m not exaggerating, when I first saw this I thought it was a parody or a joke of some sort.

I’m kind of disgusted with myself, but how badly do you want to see this show? I want to watch it mainly for that little kid. I hope nothing bad happens on this show due to poor judgement of the people portrayed. Between running a funeral home and wrasslin’ for funsies there’s so many ways for this to go horribly wrong and I would like it if they could somehow navigate this quagmire of potential catastrophes and come out okay on the other side. That would be just great.

Television I have recently stuffed in my brain.

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

There’s some good TV out there right now, much of it streaming. Now when I come home instead of flicking betwixt two sub-par programs (Giant River Fish! Dwarves Having Dwarf Babies! Serial Killers’ Favorite Lunch Meats!) I now am delighted to snorf down something of quality. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of bad television out there. With good there is always bad. It just seems like the scales are tipped more in the favor of good for once. I’m going to run through everything I’ve watched recently. Before I get to TV series, I would like to recommend the episode of Nature, the show on PBS, that was on the Japanese snow monkeys. There is one path into the area, and I took this photo on that path:


In the documentary, you will see the same shot. Not similar kind-of-sort-of. Identical. It’s funny. Also, the episode spawned one of my favorite animated gifs of late called “Mmmmmmnope.”


Okay. TV show reviews.

1. House of Cards on Netflix. I’ve only seen the first season, but it’s very good. Really good. Like a dirty grimy West Wing. It’s beautifully filmed and it makes Washington D.C. look like a bizarre Wizard of Oz-type place. There’s intrigue and plotting plotting plotting, I find it totally engrossing. Robin Wright’s costumes are fierce every damn time. She is not a spring chicken (though she takes impeccable care of herself) but she manages to look amazing every time she’s on-screen. It’s nice to see the girl from The Princess Bride portraying the sexiest shark in town. My only problem with the show is the woman who plays the President’s Chief of Staff is supposed to be Cuban-American, but she’s clearly South Asian, like Indian or Pakistani, and she has a tinge of an accent from there. Seriously? This is America. We have a gazillion Latin people, I bet some of them are women and might be actors. We couldn’t hire one of them? It’s a little thing, but I find it sometimes takes me out of the action. Other than that, super-great show.

2. True Detective on HBO*. Oh my God. I’ve watched this series twice and I may watch it again just for kicks. It’s like a series of oil paintings in a row that take you on a journey. The main stars are Woody Harrelson and Matthew MacConaughey. My initial reaction was, “I had no idea those two stoners could act so well.” They are magnificent. I’ve never been on the MacConaughey train during all those rom-coms he starred in. I mean, I could see he was handsome, but I didn’t really care. Guess what? I care now. He done acted the hell out of his character. His character is GLOOMY. I mean, bad things have happened to him so he has every right, but still, wow, pessimist is an understatement. Here’s a disturbing thing I discovered: If you watch True Detective and Rust Cohle (MacConaughey’s character) goes into one of his down-in-the-dumps speeches, you should think, “What a looney-basket spouting crazy thoughts.” That is the correct response. That means you are healthy and well in the head. Here’s an example of one.

“I think human consciousness is a tragic misstep in evolution. We became too self-aware, nature created an aspect of nature separate from itself, we are creatures that should not exist by natural law. We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self; an accretion of sensory, experience and feeling, programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody, when in fact everybody is nobody. Maybe the honorable thing for our species to do is deny our programming, stop reproducing, walk hand in hand into extinction, one last midnight – brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal.”

I not only understood everything Rust Cohle said in the entire series, I agreed with him. Entirely. Ohhhhh dear. That’s not good. I feel like that should be on a psych eval (“Do you understand and agree with everything Rust Cohle says?”) and if you say yes you don’t get to be a police officer or elementary school teacher or whatever.

Final thoughts: the baddie at the end is scary as hell and gets scarier the more times you watch him. Ugh, he is the mayor of Creepytown. The actor said he would go home and cry after shooting his scenes because he had to think like his character thinks and he didn’t want to. That’s a bad bad villain.

3. Sons of Anarchy on FX. Such high hopes for that. I know several people who like that show. I started watching it and I was totally into it. The actors are great, but either your show is based in reality or it’s not. I’ll explain. In the pilot episode of the show a preemie baby is born and is in the NICU. And then over the next six or seven episodes, like, thirty characters die. No joke. Seriously. Bodies droppin’ everywhere. At that point the lead actor says, “I’m excited to take my son home, he’s been in the hospital for a month.” So I am to understand that in the time period of a month in a not-especially populous area of California tens of people have died in violent ways, including an FBI investigator, and everything is running as usual? I don’t care how many cops you have on your payroll, someone somewhere is going to notice that. This is not the favelas of Brazil. Then the hardships keep coming at a rate that prevented me from suspending my disbelief any further, so in the middle of Season 3 I politely bowed out. This character gets blown up and this other character gets raped and this guy’s wife is shot and on and on every episode… Too much. I can’t no more.

4. Rick and Morty on Adult Swim (Cartoon Network). Weird. That show is weird. I really like it though. You remember back in the 90s before the internet there wasn’t a whole lot of weird television made available. You pretty much had Liquid TV on MTV and that’s it. I ate that kind of stuff up. I didn’t necessarily like all of it, but I loved that it was being made. One of the shows being made at that time was The Maxx. I adored that show. If you watch it now it seems kind of dated, but I had never seen anything like that. And I get that same feeling from Rick and Morty. It’s bizarre and fun and involves going to different planets and alternate dimensions. Here, watch the opening credits (the music is a clear homage / ripoff of Dr. Who):

The first season just ended, so when it (hopefully) shows up on streaming Netflix and you need some oddness in your life, check it out.

5. The League on FX. I don’t care about football, and I extra-super-duper don’t care about fantasy football. However, the cast of this show makes it a jolly good show. They are all immature dorks wearing adult-man suits (and one woman, but she’s kind of token) who are all professional stand-up comedians and actors in real life, so they improv their lines a great deal and it’s awesome. There’s a quick-wit quality you get from The League that I don’t think you get from a totally scripted show. And while many of the plot lines relate to football, many of the plot lines relate to personal events going on in the main character’s lives, so I can still follow along. I’ve watched all the seasons and I shall continue watching despite my complete ignorance of who’s a running back or wide receiver or kicker.

*Alternate title: Matthew MacConaughey Smokes All The Cigarettes In The World Ever.

Addendum – May 12th: I forgot to include Shameless and Oz. Shameless is on Showtime and it is crazy. I cannot figure out for the life of me how they got this show made. It’s about a family living in a poor neighborhood in Chicago and it… there are children on this show. Children. I have watched scenes where these children see a profoundly naked homeless man, their mother who has slit her wrists due to bi-polar disorder, drugs and sex and stealing and oh my God, how are these child actors dealing with this? From this description it sounds like the show is a debbie-downer but it is not. It mainly revolves around how all these people are keeping their head up and making their own lives through the hardships that come upon them, and the show’s damn funny. I highly recommend it but under no circumstances should you watch it with children or the elderly unless you want to explain things to them. Here’s the opening credits to give you an idea.

And here’s a brief overview with the cast.

Oz on HBO. This show is pushing twenty years old but I never saw it. Snorth recommended that I check it out and now I’m two seasons in. I do not want to go to prison. No no. Not that I wanted to before, but now, I totally do not want to go to prison. People are really really mean there. It’s a great show, kind of dated by today’s standards of television-making, but thoroughly engrossing. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much male nudity on a show. I really pleased by that, not because I have a penchant for male jingly-jangly, but we are constantly seeing ladybits on television nowadays and I like that this attempts to even that out a bit. And I like that they aren’t afraid to kill off some characters and introduce new ones. It keeps it feeling fresh.

Superb Owl 2014.

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Wow. Did everyone catch that amazing Super Bowl? Where the guy did the thing, and everyone cheered? That was something else.

Sports Exclamation

Truthfully, I didn’t watch. I came home at 9:30 at night and caught the last ten minutes when the Seahawks had destroyed the Broncos and everyone was just killing time until the pain was over. In case you didn’t watch (and chances are if you read this blog you did not) the final score was 43 to 8, Seahawks. I assumed that there would be two NFL teams playing, not one NFL team and a bunch of homeless people they rounded up from outside Metlife Stadium, but apparently I was wrong. Listening to the announcers try to fill up time in the fourth quarter when the game was clearly won was sad. I’m surprised they didn’t start reading their mail on air. Anyway, hooray or I’m sorry depending on which team you were rooting for and good luck to whoever plays next year that I will pay just the smallest amount of attention possible to.

And concerning the commercials: eh. I saw most of them and I didn’t really care about any of them. Radio Shack was good. Doberhuahua was decent. The Bud Light commercial was great only because Reggie Watts and a llama were in it. Other than that, whatevs. None of them were on par with the Mercedes chicken commercial. That, that was a masterpiece.


A few things I like and one thing I do not like.

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Let’s begin with the not-like: I was watching television the other day and I saw a commercial for the truly impressive Grand Prospect Hall. Have you seen this commercial? It is terrific.

First of all, I immediately thought of the “Marble Columns” skit from SNL with Scarlett Johansson (you can watch the whole thing if you want, but her part is at about 1:17). Secondly, you may or may not notice that when the web address is up on the screen, the “s” in the middle is bigger for no reason. I took a photo of my TV in case you can’t watch the video.


…Why? Why is it bigger? Was that a design choice? I don’t understand. It may not bother you at all, but to me it looks like this:


And I can’t look away. I guess it’s because I do this for a living and it’s top-of-mind for me. I need to try and let that stuff go. And get invited to a party at the Grand Prospect Hall because that place looks super-fun.

Now, things I like! I saw these while trawling the web for treasures and I thought they were cool.

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Also, there’s this artist named Myriam Dion and she does papercuts with newspapers that are ethereal and delicate and very creative.

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Diametric opposites.

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

I haven’t had a chance to post about these things, but I went to two rather different events recently. First, I went to see Mythbusters: Behind the Scenes Tour.


Even though it was clearly geared towards their primary audience (11-year-old boys) I enjoyed myself quite a bit. Cricket came with me and I don’t think he liked it nearly as much due to the fact that he actually took adult-type science classes in high school like chemistry and physics. I did none of that. My senior year of high school I was assigned to Biology for Football Players and Poets where all we did was watch National Geographic videos. The school had given up on us at that point, probably for the best. My classmates and I were not going to be working in a lab anytime soon. But, due to my child-like knowledge of science, I found many of the experiments Jamie and Adam did on stage fascinating. They did this thing where a small boy from the audience lifted a chubby man simply by altering the pivot point of a lever and I was all, “Magic!” Cricket turned to me with a dumbfounded expression and said, “Yeah, it’s basic physics. It’s a lever. You didn’t know that would happen? Have you never lifted anything?” and I responded that I had not and Cricket was disappointed in me, the Rye school system and humanity in general. I learned what a “Bleve” is, and I learned that Adam grew up in Sleepy Hollow and his mom was in the audience (she stood up and we all cheered, it was very nice). During the audience Q&A, someone asked Adam what the scariest myth he worked on and he refused to answer because his mother is not allowed to watch that episode. The finale was taking an audience member, dressing him up in a medieval suit of armor and firing paintballs at him with one of those giant guns that you see in war footage. I found a video online and while you can’t see much, you can hear it.

Great finale. If it comes to your town and you know a kid around the age of 11, take them because they will love it.

The other thing I went to was NOT geared towards children and while informative, it was not educational in nature. I went to see Nutcracker Rouge.


I saw online that Shelly Watson was performing in it, and I loved her so much at Gotham Burlesque that I decided to go and check it out. It is a rough retelling of the Nutcracker ballet with elements of circus arts, burlesque and cabaret and it was, without a doubt, THE GAYEST THING I’VE EVER SEEN. I don’t mean “gay” in that unacceptable derogatory way meaning “lame” or “less than,” I mean “gay” like “The Logo Channel would explode from this.” Shelly did an operatic version of Madonna’s “Material Girl” in French. That gay. Look, see for yourself.


I had a jolly good time. The audience was comprised of 75% meticulously groomed gay male couples and 25% other. There was a bunch of elderly foreign tourists in line with me at the ticket-taker’s station, I suspect they saw the sign and thought, “Huh, I guess we’ll go see this performance of The Nutcracker,” and I really wish I could have seen their faces when, near the end, the entire cast forms a can-can line where everyone is humping everyone else. Is this what you expected, Nana and Pop-Pop? Is it? I don’t want to tell you too much in case you go to see it next year, but my two favorite people was the woman who played the peppermint candy cane, Courtney Giannone. I found a picture of her online.


She performed in that gigantic hula hoop that spins and I always expect their fingers to get crushed but they don’t. Here, a video of one in action. She did it all topless and smiling, and her back muscles were intense. I wanted to chew on them. Here’s another pic I found of Courtney.


The other person I loved was a woman named Katrina Cunningham. She was a lovely dancer and singer and I found out later she is a graduate of SUNY Purchase’s Dance Conservatory! Hooray alma mater!* Katrina was beautiful and she helped answer a question that has been plaguing me for years: who the hell buys that crazy giant sparkle-encrusted jewelry and the dresses so covered in rhinestones and sequins they weigh eighty pounds? These people do. This cast does. Katrina wore several.

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So if you’re looking for a sexy opulent good time held together by a threadbare plot, this is what you need. There are chandeliers as stage lights. People do ballet wearing stag horns. Cannons shoot glitter all over the audience. Cross-dressing flamenco dancing. Drag queens. Whips and leather. Absolutely delightful.


*I didn’t graduate from the Dance Conservatory. I was in the Theater Arts Conservatory, but I still like to look out for my fellow conservatory graduates because hooo boy does being in a conservatory suck.


Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope everyone has a happy and healthy New Year! Two things I wanted to talk about. First, I designed a nice and tasteful card for our consultants. We gave them a coffee sampler. See, not everything I design is tugboats and dinosaurs. Sometimes I can be an adult too if need be.


Two, in watching the myriad of Christmas films that are thrust into our respective maws at this time of year, I have come to the conclusion that my favorite is How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the live-action one with Jim Carrey. I’m not proud of that. I feel like as an avid theater-goer my tastes should be more refined. But they are not. I think Jim Carrey should win the Lifetime Achievement award at the Oscars for this film. My favorite moment is when he pulls the tablecloth off the table, nails it, and then comes back to knock all the stuff off and push it over. That in itself is a magical niblet of cinema. If you’ve met me, you’ve heard me quote this film. Go watch it again with people you love.