Awards Show Round Up: Emmys 2017

So with the notable (and frankly disturbing) exception of the inexplicable inclusion of Sean Spicer, last night’s Emmys were one of the best I can remember. Usually the show starts to drag around hour 3, but last night’s combination of skilled (but not overly intrusive) hosting and genuinely surprising/deserved wins made for a fun few hours. Here are my highlights:

I love a musical number and Stephen Colbert did not disappoint (love that Chance interlude too!):

(As always these videos will probably go away with copyright claims…)

I love John Lithgow, though I would have given this one to Ron Cephas Jones…

I want to give Kate McKinnon all of the awards always:

The SNL sweep continued, and I will never be surprised at Lorne Michaels’s ability to appear on the edge of falling asleep at all times:

(Also Anna Farris and Allison Janney are just the best.)

Also pretty happy to see this stunt casting lead to this:

I have always, and will always want to be these women when I grow up:

John Oliver is pretty great:

I LOVE ANN DOWD:

On a serious note,”Thanksgiving” is once of the best episodes of any show ever, and this speech was amazing:

Riz Ahmed is amazing:

Reese Witherspoon for entertainment president:

STERLING!!!!

It is BS that they played him off, Laura Dern and Nicole Kidman (both of whom I love) talked forever…

And then right at the end there, Margaret Atwood was there:

Other notes: I really need to watch Atlanta; It’s time to put JLD in an Emmy pantheon and spread the comedy actress love around a bit. It was a fucking fantastic year for women. (I need to watch Big Little Lies too.

Fashion wise, it was a mixed bag. Weird flowy skirts over leotards and strange feather duster fringe bottoms, but there were some great looks:

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Jane Fonda in Brandon Maxwell (Photo Credit: Getty)

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Millie Bobby Brown in Calvin Klein (Photo Credit: Getty)

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Nicole Kidman in Calvin Klein (Photo Credit: Getty/Jason Merritt)

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Kate McKinnon in Narcisco Rodriguez (Photo Credit: Rob Latour/Variety/Shutterstock)

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Reed Marano (Photo Credit: Strauss/Invision/AP)

(BTW I may design my future wedding dress based on this gown. I’m in love with it.)

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Jessica Biel in Ralph & Russo Couture (Photo Credit: J. Merritt/Getty Images)

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Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Boss (Photo Credit: Getty/Frazer Harrison)

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Susan Kelechi Watson in Cristina Ottaviano (Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

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Happy Friday Music

Although a gray cloud has descended over Astoria this afternoon, I have a lot of fun plans this weekend, and thought I would post a soundtrack to start your weekend off on fun foot. (Full disclosure, a lot of these songs come from the TBTL Song of the Summer contest.)

Praying – Kesha

OK, so this may not be the most “fun” foot to start on, but this video of fans reacting to her high note is…

Sinking – Super Defense

In & Out – Beth Ditto 

Want You Back– HAIM

Bambi– Jidenna

Sweet Creature– Harry Styles

Also, just to follow up from last post, yes he can act. And you should see Dunkirk. (I’m sure I’ll be blogging more about this around awards season…)

Spirit– Belle Game

Dirty Work– Steely Dan

I was including this as a tribute to Walter Becker (who recently passed away), but the fact that the second video to pop up on a YouTube search is an American Hustle clip reel is pretty great.

Hey Now – The Regrettes

Coming Clean about Purple Rain*

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Can anyone in this movie act? — No.

Is the dialogue straight up awful? — Yes.

Are the sexual politics at best questionable? — Well, there’s a scene where a woman is literally thrown in a dumpster for daring to ask something of a man…so, yeah. (It is done by the villain, but it’s played for laughs, so…)

Is it still, somehow, a masterpiece? Absolutely.

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I’ve been trying to piece together why this movie is so magical since the minute I walked out of a free screening at the Brooklyn Bazaar Wednesday night. It’s obviously a lot to do with the music, and I’ll always be thankful for the experience of singing along to “Purple Rain” with a ballroom filled with tipsy strangers. But, that can’t be all of it, because then I would just want this to be a concert film, and that’s not how I feel at all.

It may be that for all its soppy melodrama, and petrified-wooded performances, the film does have a unique and striking (if a bit dated) visual style. The lighting design and cinematography (by Donald E. Thorin) do a lot to elevate the action.

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But, lets be real, the magic here is Prince himself. Not just in his musical performances (though goddamn), but as a presence onscreen. That mad had a two hour face, and the ability to simultaneously be winking at the audience and be completely vulnerable and in the moment. Sure, the world of this movie is absurd, but his emotion was real and so its easy to get swept up with him for the ride.

 

*This series used to be called “Classics from the Queue, but no one has a Netflix Queue anymore, and that title never really got across this idea that these were movie I had lied about seeing so these posts will now be called “Coming Clean” reviews.

Award Show Round Up: Oscars 2017

I’m just going to start with the elephant in the room…this happened:

The most important thing that happened here is that Moonlight won Best Picture. It’s one of the most original and best films I have ever seen. I feel so bad for everyone involved in this mistake (no it wasn’t staged, shut up with your conspiracy theories Twitter). I also don’t think it was Warren Beatty’s fault.

I have watched this video countless times this morning and the only reaction I cannot understand is Jimmy Kimmel’s. “You guys should get it anyway”??!! Obviously they should not. They didn’t win. Just shut up and let Jordan Horowitz and Warren handle this. Otherwise though, I thought he was a pretty good host. (Though the show felt long. That’s not his fault really though, it is just long. I miss being in the central time zone where it ends after 11 instead of after midnight.)

Anyway, there were hours of show before the most interesting end to an awards show ever. My highlights are:

An opening with real energy (whatever your feelings are on this song):

The first award of the night went, as it absolutely should have, to Mahershala Ali:

Viola finally has an Oscar, which is great, but I would like to state one last time for the record that she deserved to win Best Actress in a Leading Role for this film. Her studio should have had that confidence in her, but I’m happy for her all the same:

Lin-Manuel was there! And, I confess that I have yet to see Moana, but this girl just punched her ticket to Broadway if that’s where she wants to go:

(Also, Dwayne Johnson for Oscar host next year?)

I also, really liked the rearranged La La Land number. (Because, the music is good. It’s a good movie. You don’t have to hate it to love Moonlight, despite what the internet tells you.)

(I’ll post a better video of this once its available…)

Also, this happened:

Unfortunately, they then presented an Oscar to Hacksaw Ridge which is not a good film.

Good Will Hunting was formative for me, and though they are imperfect people, I will always love Matt and Ben and the little fraternity they surround themselves with and I loved that they got to have this moment of presenting an Oscar to their friend. (And this was one of the best Kimmel-Damon ‘feud’ moments of the night:

(I’m not going to rehash my take on Casey Affleck again, but I’m glad he won. And he should have combed his hair.)

I would have given my personal Oscar to Natalie Portman for Jackie, but I’m happy for Emma:

But I’m even happier for these men:

And now, dresses. There were fewer strange appliqués last night, which I appreciated. And a lot of sparkle:

 

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Ruth Negga in Valentino (Photo Credit: Jeff Kravits/FilmMagic)*

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Felicity Jones in Christian Dior (Photo Credit: Glamlog)

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Emma Stone in Givenchy Haute Couture (Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

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Scarlett Johansson in Azzedine Alaïa (Photo Credit: David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock)

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Alicia Vikander in Louis Vuitton (Photo Credit: REX Shutterstock)

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Michelle Williams in Louis Vuitton (Photo Credit: Noel West)

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Taraji P. Henson in Alberta Ferretti (Photo Credit: Lionel Hahn/ABACA USA/INSTARimages.com, Getty)

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Isabelle Hupert in Armani Privé (Photo Credit: WireImage)

*The blue ribbon is to support the ACLU

Award Show Round Up: BAFTAs 2017

So, once again, the BAFTAs and the Grammys were on the same night, and I made the totally in character decision to skip the Grammys in favor of a rather subdued, very British film award show. (Don’t worry, I’ve seen the important Adele, Beyonce, and Chance the Rapper highlights from the other show. Gotta love YouTube.)

It really was a very calm night in London. A few surprises, but no love for Moonlight at all, which is sad, but a few lovely speeches (and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were there!):

After, an inexplicable Cirque du Soleil performance, Ken Loach, director of I Daniel Blake, which I missed in theaters here and still need to see, started the night off strong with the political theme:

Then Viola, rightfully won. I unfortunately couldn’t find a clip with Hugh Grant’s little intro to this, which was very charming. But this is also time for your reminder that Ms. Davis was the leading actress in this film, and she should be winning Leading Actress awards for it:

I used to say that the BAFTAs could always be predicted by guessing who in the category is the “Most British.” In the fast few years that hasn’t really been true, but I’m going to say that’s why Dev Patel beat out Mahershela Ali last night. (Because Dev is great don’t get me wrong, but c’mon…):

I will never complain when Kenneth Lonergan wins awards:

(Also, I love how excitedly his wife claps at the beginning of this clip.)

And, once again, I agree the best performance was rewarded. (Though I do not feel like praising him is uncomplicated.)

I wish I could find a video of Sir Mark Rylance’s beautiful speech on the importance of art in dark times, but I can’t. (He gave the Best Director award to Damien Chazelle.)

This was a pretty great Lifetime Achievement award presentation:

Although I still think Natalie Portman (or Viola Davis) gave the best Leading Actress performance this year, I do love an Emma Stone speech:

I do love La La Land and I knew it was going to win, but still think Moonlight being completely shut out is really sad:

So, not the most groundbreaking show ever, and the dresses were pretty subdued, a lot of black and white with some glitter thrown in. (There’s was also strange embroidery, but I didn’t love any of those.) Here were my favorites:

The Duchess of Cambridge in Alexander McQueen (Photo Credit: Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock) 

Emma Stone in Chanel Couture (Photo Credit: Telegraph)

Sam Taylor-Johnson with Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Tom Ford (Photo Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Viola Davis in Jenny Packham (Photo Credit: David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock)

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Bryce Dallas Howard in Solace London (Photo Credit: Got Celeb)

Felicity Jones in Christian Dior (Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Award Show Round Up: Golden Globes 2017

The HFPA likes to surprise us. This has always been true, and it certainly was last night. From the first award, which by all rights I think should have gone to Moonlight’s Mahershala Ali, though I do love the Taylor-Johnson family:

And then Billy Bob Thornton for “Goliath.” Most liked tweet of the night: “Honest question, what is Goliath?”

You may have noticed that I skipped over Jimmy Fallon’s opening. That’s because I don’t really remember it. I know it was a La La Land parody, and then his monologue was fine. He’s charming and has a lot of energy. He didn’t detract from my experience the way Ricky Gervais did last year, but I still just miss Amy and Tina.

Anyway, in great news, Tracee Ellis Ross won!

And I have to watch Atlanta:

Hugh Laurie is always charming:

La La Land won everything, but I really enjoy composer Justin Hurwitz’s nervous energy immensely:

Viola Davis won Best Supporting Actress of course, but she should have won leading actress (sorry Isabelle Huppert, but it’s true):

My award for cutest moment of the evening:

Ryan Gosling, thank you for being as amazing as I  think you are:

Barry Jenkins was robbed for Screenplay. (Or maybe Kenneth Lonergan even.) The story of La La Land is not the point, come on HFPA, spread the love a bit.

Kristen Wiig should host next year. Steve Carrell could come too if he wants:

Meryl Streep is the greatest. Not just the greatest actor of our time, but maybe one of the greatest humans:

And Viola’s presentation almost made me cry. And I see what you’re doing there director by cutting to Vince Vaughan and Mel Gibson in the middle of her speech. And I saw people on Twitter talking about how upset they looked. But c’mon they are used to being the only conservatives in a Hollywood room. And they were sitting and listening respectfully, what did you expect them to do? You should have just stayed focused on Ms. Streep and her message.

I do love Emma Stone:

And Casey’s performance deserved this award. And I encourage you to listen to his episode of WTF with Marc Maron. I’m not trying to excuse away his past behavior, but he is a complicated man, with an interesting story:

And then, thankfully, Moonlight got it’s due:

And of course, a lot of the women were wearing very beautiful dresses:

Viola Davis in Michael Kors (Photo Credit: Jay  L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times)

Julia Louis-Dreyfuss in Georges Chakra (Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison, Getty Images)

Emma Stone in Valentino (Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty)

Mandy  Moore in Naeem Kahn (Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images) 

Sienna Miller in Michael Kors (Photo Credit: Getty) 

Blake Lively in Atelier Versace (Photo Credit: Getty/Frazer Harrison) 

Reese Witherspoon in Atelier Versace (Photo Credit: Rex/Shutterstock)

Tracee Ellis Ross in Zuhair Murad (Photo Credit: Rob Latour/REX/Shutterstock)

Goldie Hawn (Photo Credit: Getty/Frazer Harrison)

Brie Larson in Rodarte (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Award Show Round Up: Critics’ Choice Awards 2017

It feels weird to title this post with 2017, as it is still 2016, but like I said yesterday, the Broadcast Critics Association apparently decided they needed to be first out of the gate this year. Critics’ Choice is always sort of an odd show, big stars show up so it feels legit, but they are in an airplane hangar broadcasting on A&E so it’s got a bit of a ramshackle vibe as well. And T.J. Miller, though very funny, continued his trend from last year of trying to be as absurd as possible. Like I always appreciate an A Chorus Line reference, but what exactly was this opening:

The show being early does mean that Moonlight won the first award of the season so that’s pretty exciting:

Lucas Hedges (Best Young Actor for Manchester By the Sea is pretty earnest and adorable:

I’ve always liked John Lithgow, and I guess this means I have to watch The Crown now:

Rachel Bloom is always “one Bustle article away from unemployment:

And I guess I need to watch Atlanta now too.

Supporting Actor to Mahershala Ali from Moonlight!

Ryan Reynolds won a bunch of things, he’s very charming and Deadpool was funny, so yay, I guess:

I love this new #SeeHer award, and there is no better first recipient than Viola Davis:

(She also won Best Supporting Actress for Fences which is awesome.)

Damien Chazelle should get used to giving this speech:

I won’t watch Wesstworld, but I will always love Evan Rachel Wood:

Natalie Portman won best actress, and I hope she continues to do so. Yes, it’s a crime that Amy Adams doesn’t have an Oscar yet, but Natalie is better in Jackie than Amy is in Arrival sorry…

Casey Affleck is a beautiful weirdo:

(I saw your tweets about how he is a sexual harasser and that means we shouldn’t give him prizes. I think you know by now that I think we need to separate how we judge people from how we judge art. He’s probably a shitty person, but he is a fantastic artist.)

John Travolta’s fake hair presented best picture to La La Land which I really can’t wait to see:

Fashion wise there were a lot of cut outs, a lot of cleavage and a lot of black, but here were my favorites:

Mandy Moore in Solace London (Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Lily Collins in Elie Saab (Photo Credit: Getty)

Amy Adams in Atelier Versace (Photo Credit Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Emmy Rossum in Giorgio Armani (Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Janelle Monáe (Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Jessa Biel in Elie Saab with Justin Timberlake in Tom Ford (Photo Credit: Getty/Frazer Harrison)

Constance Zimmer (Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Hailee Steinfeld in Jason Wu (Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Weekly Adventure: Chill Thanksgiving Edition

I love Thanksgiving, complicated history aside, it’s a pressure free day where the point is to gather and eat a lot of food. This year lived up to my expectations completely.

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During food prep, Mom and Charlie had important crossword duties to attend to

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Dad made sure everything was safe for the rest of us to eat

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While Phia and Charlie actually cooked everything for us

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Nancy’s beautiful centerpiece (and the traditional scratch off tickets)

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Negaro/Dennett Thanksgiving selfie (though I personally like last year’s better…

The next day, while recovering from our food comas my mom and I watched all of the new Gilmore Girls and I have a lot of feelings about it. (Some spoilers below the picture.)

Gilmore Girls

  1. I continue to disapprove of Logan. Strongly.
  2. Rory may actually be (read is probably) a bad person.
  3. Emily Gilmore can be cruel, but she is also incredibly strong. (And I love her attitude towards the D.A.R.)
  4. Luke Danes, and Jess Mariano, are the best. It’s that simple.

We took a break in the middle to go with Dad to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Which is pretty wonderful. (Full review to come in the case of awards nominations and/or sequel reviews.)

On Saturday, I got to meet up with some Chicago friends in town visiting family and lay round watching football.

Sunday, my parents drove my back to Queens and I was able to show them around the museum where I work, which was pretty special.

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Mom in Noguchi’s garden

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I don’t think they tried to match…

And now it’s my favorite time of year! Happy Holidays every one!

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My neighborhood gets pretty into the season. In addition to these lights there are also speakers piping in (very loud) Christmas carols, which I’m sure will get old fast, but for now I find whimsical.

 

Weekly Adventure: NU Homecoming (and Hamilton!) Edition

(Fair warning right at the top, this post is mostly selfies I took with Jules and gushing about Hamilton. If that doesn’t interest you, I understand. Come back soon for awards season movie reviews!)

This past weekend was (somehow!) my five year reunion from Northwestern. It wasn’t really on my radar to be honest, except I was already planning to be in Chicago because my friend Katelin so generously offered me her extra ticket to Hamilton(!!), which just happened to be for the Sunday night of Homecoming weekend. So, I bought a couple of commuter tickets. It was a really fun weekend of seeing some of my favorite people, and indulging a bit in pretending we were still in college. (Which in my case meant I spent almost all of it with Julia taking selfies…)

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The only picture I took at the official 2011 Class Party. Like I said, it’s just like college (except my glasses are cooler)

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Day 2: Football Game – difference from college include: we were sober when this picture was taken and the Cats won on Homecoming

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Not a selfie, but I had to document Jules getting her car out of her blocked in space by driving down the sidewalk

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They have big bean bags in Norris now and we enjoy attempting to take “Boyhood” shots

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From “Build Her a Myth” by Carrie Schumacher currently on view at the Dittmar Gallery 

I have always loved the Dittmar, it’s weirdly tucked between the student center Starbucks and the TV where people who are “studying” watch games. But they sometimes have really interesting installations. The current show is made up of these apparel pieces made out of pages torn out of romance novels. They make a statement about the stories women are told about themselves and the expectations that creates, plus they look amazing.

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OK, back to selfies. This one is practically required. (Photo Credit: Jules and her updated phone with the selfie timer.)

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Post-nap trip to Little Goat (at this point it’s a tradition when I visit).

I have to admit this is the most Cubs related thing I did even though we were eating this dinner as they were winning the pennant. I’m happy for them, but even looking at pictures of Wrigleyville that night stressed me out.

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Look we have other friends! 

In another fun coincidence, it was Noel’s birthday/housewarming celebration while I was in town so I got to see even more people whom I love.

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Including the birthday girl and her fire carriers

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BOLT!

The next day, after brunch at The Dawson, which was lovely but where I took no pictures. I ventured out to Madison and Jeison’s new apartment to meet their adorable new family member. He was shy but so tiny and fluffy! (It was also nice to his parents I suppose.)

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AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

OK, here’s the thing. You already know everything I am about to say. We’ve all heard it a million times. “Hamilton is brilliant.” “The best show ever.” “Mindblowingly good.” Etc, etc. And to be honest I was actually a little worried walking in that it could not possibly live up to my expectations/love of the album.

But, it totally did. By halfway through the second song I knew I was seeing one of the best things I will ever see. I can’t describe why it’s so much better live. Partly it’s the choreography of course, and the thrill of live singing is always amazing, but there is something about the momentum of the show that is really impressive that I don’t quite have words for.

When I told people that I was flying to Chicago and seeing Hamilton a few out here (in typical NYC fashion) asked me if I was disappointed to not see the “real thing,” by which I have to assume they mean the original cast (which no one can see anymore…). I’ll spare you all my Chicagoan at heart rant about NYCentric thinking (especially about theater in Chicago), and instead just say that:

  1. The cast we saw was amazing. Joshua Henry literally took my breath away as Burr, and Karen Olivo was perfectly cast as Angelica. New to me Ari Afsar was fantastic as Eliza. (The whole cast was great, I can’t link to them all.)
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    Photo Credit: David Korins

    And…

  2. It was actually cool to hear the different takes these actors had on the material. I’ve gotten so used to listening to the recording that at first even the slightest rhythm change was jarring, but then I reminded myself that reinterpretation is what keeps theater alive. And don’t get me wrong there aren’t radical changes here, but  it’s a testament to how good this cast is that they aren’t just doing impressions of the original cast.

OK, I could go on and on (and on) and in person if you’re interested I will, but let me know, because I’m terrified of seeming like I’m bragging by bringing it up.

(Though not so terrified to not buy a Schuyler sister’s tee-shirt that I cannot wait to wear this weekend to IKEA to buy furniture for my new apartment. Yeah that’s right I’m moving back into the city this weekend. You might think I’m burying the lead, but the lead is still Hamilton.)

Things I Keep Meaning to Blog About

I’m still commuting to Queens from New Haven everyday, which, despite the looks of shocked pity on the faces of people whom I tell this to, is really not that bad.* It’s just long, and not really great for typing. (There are people that bring their laptops and type. I am not on their commuter level.) So, I’ve made notes and reminders for at least 5 posts in the last two weeks and just never gotten around to writing any of them. Instead of letting that backlog grow, here are 5 things I’ve meant to blog about recently:

  1. Andrew Bird at College Street Music Hall

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New Haven is a small city, but because of Yale and it’s location along the route between Boston and NYC, it gets pretty good music sometimes. Case in point last Friday, my cousin Phia invited my parents and I to join her and her parents to see Andrew Bird. He was great ( of course) the whistling alone is mind blowing.

The one quibble I had with the night was that the sound mixing was a little off, at least for us in the balcony. There was a lot more bass than you expect from a violinist-singer-songwriter, but it really only bothered my Mom and my Aunt Nancy. (You can see their reactions on my Instagram.)

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2. New Haven City Wide Open Studios

My parents’ house is near an old Armory building that is supposedly going to be a community center…but once a year the Open Studios program sets up a bunch of artists in there. It was pretty cool:

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This was made of silverware!

3. This Is Us

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I’m not breaking any ground here, but I really love this show. I see your think pieces about why it may be bad, but I don’t want to read them. This show makes me feel good. (Well it makes me cry, and then it makes me feel good.) Catharsis is an important function of art and this serves it up every week, accompanied by good (if at times overly earnest) writing, and excellent acting. I saw a video where Sterling K. Brown summed up how I feel both about this show and about the so-called “Golden Age of Television” we are living through right now. All of these prestige shows, even the comedies, take a pretty dark view of the world and humanity, This Is Us lets the light in and I like that.

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Also, Milo Ventimiglia is in it…

4. In The Dark 

115db4-20160819-in-the-darkAnd now I’m going to undercut everything I just said about focusing on the light. This is a true crime podcast about the 1989 abduction of Jacob Wetterling. It’s from APM, which also produces a few of my other favorite podcasts, so I’ve been hearing ads for this for awhile, and I wasn’t going to listen. Despite my love of Serial, I’m not really a true crime person, I get too invested and then too scared, but I kept hearing every day on my other shows how good this was so I sucked it up and started. And it’s amazing. It’s obviously upsetting, but it never feels voyeuristic. Host Madeleine Baran  is fantastic and measured. This isn’t a leering look at tragedy, it’s a compassionate investigation into what went wrong with the (large scale) attempts to solve this case. Seriously brilliant, I’m actually sad it’s almost over.

5. Billy Gilman on The Voice

OK, I can’t end on that. Here’s a clip of a former child country star singing Adele:

* This relatively positive attitude probably stems from the fact that if all goes to current plan I won’t be doing this much longer.