Friday, May 05, 2006


New York was fun. The past two times I went, I came back all buzzing and happy-like, with the feeling that I would love to live there. This time, however, I did not feel as exuberant. I'm not sure what happened on this trip, but I was just really happy to be back home. In fact, I was saying last Thursday about wanting to get back home.

Well all we really did was watch shows and eat. We ate at this hip cafe eatery called... erm... "Eatery." That was a 10 block trek in pouring rain for some quality omelets and waffles. We ate at a nice burger joint called McDonald's. We at expensive chinese food in Chinatown and cheap dumplings and noodles in Flushing. We ate great pizza at a place called Montello's, next to Papaya Dog. And the most expensive meal of them all, we ate at Mesa Grill owned by Iron Chef Bobby Flay.

We also hit up Central Park on a very beautiful day. I forgot to mention that after the two days of intense rain, we had intense niceness the rest of the trip. It was sunny and breezy and nice. It was weird weather because when we left the apartment everyday, it felt like jacket weather, but 23 minutes later, we would realize that it's just short shirt weather. So it was very frustrating at times to have to lug around our jackets; especially since mine is big, fat, and pockety.

Anyway, we went to Central Park and took a stroll. I had never done the top part of Central Park and this trip was no exception. We stayed in the southern section, basically crossing the park to get to The Met.

The Met was as thrilling as ever.

Let's get to the shows. Here are the shows that we saw:

Avenue Q
Timotei and Samantha Wu saw this after winning the lottery on second try. Samantha Wu liked it so much, she went to see it again alone on the day we left.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Barely anyone did the lottery for this show because it's more than a year old, so we easily got cheap tickets. I thought the show was really funny. Norbert Leo Butz is hilarious as Freddy Benson. I wanted to get Butz to sign my program, but he left through a secret exit or something and eluded me.

We tried to win tickets to a special 10th anniversary original cast performance of RENT, but so did hundreds of other freaky looking people. Well we didn't win, or if our names were called, we couldn't hear it. But we ended up seeing RENT at a special discounted night for $20.

Regarding RENT, I think I may be over it. After seeing it five times on stage, it just doesn't pack the same punch. I used to like seeing it because it was like a rock concert. But the show just seems a bit stale now. We had a good Mark and Angel, but the Roger was too weird and the Mimi couldn't really sing. And it might have something to do wtih the seats. This was the first time I was sitting int he mezzanine rather than orchestra. The show really needs to be seen from the front row to feel connected. All I know is that I'm done seeing RENT for at least a year or two.

The Wedding Singer
Originally, Timotei and I were the only ones with tickets. We paid $111 each for center orchestra seats. Ellvin Kelvin, Amazing Grace, and Samantha Wu joined us with partial view student rush seats for $26. We all ended up liking it (some more than others). We got pictures with the cast and our programs signed. Besides loving the movie The Wedding Singer, my main reason for seeing the show was the fact that my favorite comedian Stephen Lynch was starring in the Adam Sandler role. I totally geeked out. I saw the show twice more and even got Mr. Lynch to sign my copy of his latest album "The Craig Machine."

Saw Wicked with Eden Espinosa (from Brooklyn last year) as Elphaba and she was really awesome. I think she was even better than the original Elphaba. The show was great as always, save for the African American Fiyero who really can't sing.

Here's a show that really sucks! This show takes place mostly in the air, as you might think a musical based on Tarzan would. When they announced they were making a Tarzan show, I thought of all the possibilities of Cirque du Soleil type aerial dancing between Tarzan and Jane. What did we get instead? Apes jumping around on bungees. The show wastes all opportunities for great aerial acts. The new songs that Phil Collins wrote add nothing to the show (one of the new songs is nice, but comes out of left field; appropriate I guess since Jane is lowered on a flower swing for no reason during the song). The cast is really good, but are wasting their talent on a bad production. They also ruined the story by trying to flesh things out, which seems impossible but they did it. They added unnecessary plot (the fate of Kerchak's parents) and by doing so, eliminated important parts (Kerchak accepting Tarzan as his son). The big Clayton scheme is a full 2 minutes of the show and is resolved in literally 5 seconds. The ending is horrid. The sets (or lack thereof) are plain and boring. You stare at green strings the entire show. And wait till you see the giant spider! This show is bad. Expect to read bad reviews when it officially opens May 10. This show is unsalvageable.

Okay, enough about the shows. I was actually starting to get sick of seeing them. I'm sure I have many stories about what happened in New York, but I can't remember them. There was the thing with Harry Connick Jr....

We were walking to get ice cream and saw a crowd waiting near a stage door. We found that people were waiting for Harry Connick Jr. to come out. Samantha Wu wanted a picture, but right before he came out, his bodyguards said "No photos!" So I took her camera and took video of him coming by. The bodyguards tried to get in my shot, but I assured them that it was not a picture. What were they gonna do anyway? Who cares.

Anyway, days later, we were walking back from a show and saw a man sitting alone on the side of a building dialing on his cell phone. Turns out it was Mr. Connick Jr. himself. Instead of bug him about taking a picture (since he was on his cell and because he's so sensitive about photos), I just told him to have a good night as we passed. He looked up and gave us a nod and that was that. I should have kicked his ass for cheating on Grace Adler.

Okay I'm tired of writing this. But before I go, let me leave you with this artwork from The Met of a lion who is freaked out by something...