For the record, while I enjoy musicals, I’m quite picky and don’t particularly desire to be labeled as the “showtunes” type. While I’m interested in modern productions, even “Rent” gets on my nerves: it’s just a bunch of AIDS-ridden hippies who need to a find a job.
I’ve seen Avenue Q a few times, in Los Angeles, London and Philadelphia and aside from being creative and funny, it’s so relevant to the recent college graduate. I recently thought about the last song in the show and I take solace in the themes, of thinking of how everything sucks, of how damn hard it is to find a purpose. It’s temporary, though and despite the disproportionate amount of angst that comes with this type of attitude, it’ll pass over time. It’s ridiculous to spout off cliches like “everything happens for a reason,” but circumstances will sort themselves out over time, people will eventually discover who they are and wounds will probably close up and heal in the future.
It’s not definite, but it’s likely enough and I feel as if I need a reminder about that every so often (in which I mean daily) even it is at the expense of being exposed as a musical theater nerd.
“Take, for instance, graduate school. As soon as Franco finished at UCLA, he moved to New York and enrolled in four of them: NYU for filmmaking, Columbia for fiction writing, Brooklyn College for fiction writing, and — just for good measure — a low-residency poetry program at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. This fall, at 32, before he’s even done with all of these, he’ll be starting at Yale, for a Ph.D. in English, and also at the Rhode Island School of Design. After which, obviously, he will become president of the United Nations, train a flock of African gray parrots to perform free colonoscopies in the developing world, and launch himself into space in order to explain the human heart to aliens living at the pulsing core of interstellar quasars.”—
It would be a stretch to call him a classmate of mine, but we did technically go to school together. I’ve never actually seen him in person, but he did, for whatever reason, agree to be featured on the cover of this little college magazine I once launched. I wonder, as I move along in life, if I’ll run into him at a Starbucks in Orlando or sit behind him in a flight to Tahiti. It’s a small world, you know?
Check Tumblr/Twitter (the order varies depending on the day)
Read Los Angeles Times, New York Times (ditto)
Read Oh No They Didn’t!
Though I rely on Gchat to pass the time in between, this is really not enough to fill up a full work day. Even worse, sometimes everyone I talk to online (all two of them) are offline, so sometimes other websites make their way into the mix, but not on a daily basis. Examples include:
Texts From Last Night
Passive Aggressive Notes
If things get dire, of course, the fail safe and ultimate time killer is the one and only Wikipedia. However, thanks to my revived interest in Pokemon, I have found equal interest in a Pokemon-specific wiki called Bulbapedia.
While on a weekend trip to San Francisco, I picked up an autographed copy of “The Beaufort Diaries,” a graphic novella of sorts by T. Cooper at Booksmith, a store on Haight Ashbury full of interesting titles that I have added to my ever-expanding list of books to read.
At 90 pages, it is an incredibly short read and a surprisingly sweet and tender little story that reveals itself despite its premise. Beaufort, a polar bear who floats off to Alaska, somehow ends up a rising star in Hollywood after being discovered as a busbear at Nobu by Leonardo DiCaprio. From there, his star rises and falls with the standard model girlfriend, interest in Kabbalah and Scientology and the like. The illustrations are neat, a mix of sketches spliced into photos. (I’m sure there is a technical art term for it, but I’m just not hip enough to know such information.) I bought it to read on the plane back to Los Angeles, but I was done before the plane even took off. Given the length, there’s virtually no investment involved in reading it and it’s clever and funny, despite not being particularly original or groundbreaking.
I finished reading “I’m Down,” the 2009 memoir from humorist Mishna Wolff. Her story is of a childhood spent being raised in Washington state by a jobless single father who really overidentified with African American culture and focused on keeping it real, dabbling in growing marajuana, pushing his kids to join the basketball team and other black stereotypes. Told with a sense of humor filled with self-deprication and self-awareness, it’s a funny read, despite the semi-downtrodden last chapter. “I’m Down” is one of those “make lemonade out lemons” type of stories, much like Augusten Burroughs’s “Running with Scissors.” Sure, you may have a crap childhood where your dad forgets to feed you because he’s too busy complaining about the man, but just save all the details for a big ol’ book deal when you grow up. If you are lucky, you may even have it optioned into a movie starring Alec Baldwin.
I saw “In the Heights” on tour in Los Angeles last night. I liked the upbeat songs, light humor, hip hop influence, and really great dance numbers full of energy. I didn’t like that I had orchestra seats and I wasn’t sure what half the lyrics were (enunciate or get better sound?) and I find it irritating when characters sing-speak their lines. You don’t have to be vocalizing every damn piece of dialogue. The plot isn’t exactly the most innovative, but neither is the title of my memoir (“Precious: based on the life ‘Push’ by Edward Truong.”)
Regardless, it was a delight to watch and Lin-Manuel Miranda is so talented and definitely worth seeing live. Plus, for the rest of the run in Los Angeles, seats are super cheap, especially if you are a student ($25 rush.) No me digas.
Since it turns out that I’m not really one of those elite LA people who gets to see movies all the time before they come out, I paid like a regular person ($15! When I was your age I paid $5 to see a movie!) to see Lisa Cholodenko’s wonderful family comedy/drama about a lesbian couple whose lives get slightly more complicated when their teenager children seek out their biological father.
This film succeeds because it manages to intelligently capture the nuances and complications of teenage angst, marriage and middle age, and the idea of what makes a family. The humor is authentic, realistic, warm, awkward, and prioritized over the drama and defies the urge to slap it with the “dramedy” category and all of its connotations. The characters are well developed, the actors are fantastic, not to mention pretty damn hot, and the idealized upper middle class version of LA is almost disgustingly idyllic, but that could just be the impending nostalgia for my soon-to-be-former-home.
I give this film 3,000 stars/thumbs up. Go see it.
Since my 9 to 5 (well, 9 to 4 thanks to budget cuts) job largely involves being rude to people, I have a lot of downtime that the Internet fails to occupy. So another week, another book, this time a British romance novel by David Nichols. Embarrassingly, I learned of it through this week’s Entertainment Weekly - the staff behind Bullseye really has good taste.
I can’t help but describe it as a “When Harry Met Sally”-esque novel, set in London in 1988 where Emma and Dexter, two recent college grads spend the night together. The book revisits them in their lives, each chapter taking place exactly a year from the previous, July 15, which I guess is some fancy British holiday like Guy Fawkes Day or whatever.
Anyways, “One Day” is endearing, witty, smart, cliche at times, a little long-winded, but ultimately realistic, entertaining and a bit tragic. It’s also a mix of “Groundhogs Day” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” swirled in with a tad of “The Time Traveler’s Wife” and a rejection of “Bridget Jonses’ Diary.”
Don’t worry if you don’t consider yourself the reading type, I’m fairly certain books are just a fad like pogs and Digimon. Fortunately, according to the publisher’s website, the movie adaptation is set to be released in 2011 and for whatever reason, will star Anne Hathaway, presumably as the female protagonist. Also, check out these brief and odd promotional clips the British publisher put up on YouTube.