Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year! 2012 by the numbers

Happy new year, everyone!  I had fun compiling some numbers last year, so I thought I’d do it again!  I’m happy 2012 was a much quieter and gentler year.  Fingers crossed that 2013 is just as gentle.   Let’s take a look at the tallies!  :)

  • Theater visits: 65 (I’m counting all the Humana plays in here)
  • Ballet visits: 13
  • Readings/workshops: 17 (I’m counting all the NAMT readings in here)
  • New museums: 2 (lame – need to do better in 2013)
  • New restaurants: 13
  • Medical procedures: 1
  • Doctor appointments: 10
  • Dentist appointments: 10
  • Movies:  8
  • Trips for work:  5

SO happy about the decrease in doctor appointments and procedures!  So NOT happy about all those dental appointments!  And I didn’t even finish everything they want to do.  Oh well.  I’ll get on it…

Drumroll, please.  Here are my 2012 Eleven Favorite Theater Pieces (didn’t include ballets here).  They're in no particular order, though editorial comments exist.  Love a year when two Albee plays are included…
  • The Lady from Dubuque
  • Judith of Bethulia
  • Slowgirl
  • Harrison, TX: Three Plays by Horton Foote
  • The Train Driver
  • Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
  • The Drowsy Chaperone (in Ohio)
  • Giant
  • A Civil War Christmas
  • Follies (I know, it was on last year’s list, but I saw it again in 2012 and still loved it)
  • The Big Meal (which, if pressed, was probably my favorite show of last year)
I had so much good food, I decided to do my 2012 Twelve Favorite Food Experiences!  Enjoy the photos and feel as hungry as I feel.  But I so need to get a camera with a ‘food’ setting…

lemon-lime steamed pudding, Beacon

fried green tomatoes, Doc Crow's

soft shell crab, Proof on Main

pulpo con potate, Mercat a la Planxa

moudardara, Naya

shrimp dumplings, Vanessa's Dumpling House

vegetable chahan, Slurping Turtle

artichoke pakoras with eggplant coconut sauce, Vermilion

kabocha croquettes and fresh ricotta bruschetta, 508 Grille
roasted pumpkin soup, Mesa Grill

hazelnut dacquoise, The Lambs Club
baked noodles and fish, Uncle Zhou



Friday, December 28, 2012

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Review - Drunk Enough to Say I Love You

**After seeing Mamet's The Anarchist, and mentioning that a 72-minute play didn't necessarily indicate a too-short evening, I went back and looked at my old review of Caryl Churchill's Drunk Enough to Say I Love You, which was presented at the Public Theater in 2008.  From the archives, here's that review:

I saw the new Caryl Churchill play at the Public last night.  Sat two rows behind Ben Brantley, so I guess the reviews will come out soon.  On the subject of my seat neighbors, which I guess could be a continuing feature in my reviews: to my left was a young kid who knows EVERYTHING about theater (in his mind) and to my right was a guy (who I discovered after the show is an agent) who had some serious issues with invading my personal space.  I spent the evening trying to take up the least amount of space possible and avoiding my arm rest.  And the elderly couple behind me loudly opened their big bag of candy throughout the entire play.

Of course, that isn’t very long.  The play is only about 45 minutes, start to finish.  While I have some problems with the idea of charging full price for a 45-minute play, I do have to admit I feel like I had a full evening of theater of ideas.  The candy couple behind me, however, did not.  After the curtain call, they stood up, yelled and demanded their money back.

I can definitely understand that point of view.  This is a polarizing piece which can certainly be viewed as anti-American.  We have two actors in a fumbling, dysfunctional love affair, serving as a metaphor about the relationship between America and England.  This was both fascinating and a cliché to me.  Churchill’s use of language was also both fascinating and a cliché.  The use of unfinished sentences, strung back to back, has been done before, yet it works in this context.  Both of them are saying, and NOT saying, exactly what they mean.  And they are saying some horrible things.  Really charged stuff about politics and policies, America’s view of their place in the world, and England’s compliance with it.

Samuel West (who I adore—you may remember him from the film Howard’s End) plays the Brit and is fabulous.  You see him with all his lovestruck naivte, yet he struggles with the seeming ruthlessness of the object of his desire.  Scott Cohen, who I normally like as an actor, isn’t quite right as the American (or America, as it were).  I don’t think he’s forceful or charismatic enough to really pull off keeping this other guy (or England) in thrall.  And he has a bad habit of ending his energy at the end of his lines, as if he’s done acting now, your turn, thank you.  Not a good thing when doing a play heavy in sentences stopping mid-thought in ellipses…

The staging was interesting—the actors sat on a couch seemingly floating in blackness and after each scene change, the couch was a little bit higher.  The set was surrounded by a gold frame filled with lights, and there was distinctive music used during the scene changes.  I don’t quite understand the meaning behind the use of the minimal props (actually the disposal of the props), but they added a touch of whimsy to a potentially heavy play.  I’d say the director did a good job of keeping a very talky play moving and visually interesting.  It also helps, of course, to use two extremely handsome actors.  J

I readily admit that this will not be everyone’s cup of tea.  I didn’t really think it would be mine—at one point, I was thinking “yeah, yeah, yeah, America’s a bully, tell me something I don’t know,” but a few minutes later, all of a sudden, I found myself crying.  So something struck me and moved me.  And heaven knows I’ve been thinking about this play ever since I saw it, so there’s something to be said for that, too.  I’ll be really interested in hearing what other people have to say about it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2012 in favorite photos, part two

**Here are some more photos!  I think these are from July through December, along with my favorite photo of the thousands I took this year... :)


a serious contender for best photo I have EVER taken

Friday, December 21, 2012

2012 in favorite photos, part one

**I'm spending time with my family over the holidays and doubt I'll have time to blog, so I've set up a couple of things to auto-post during my vacation.  Have a safe and happy holiday, everyone, and I'll see you in 2013!!  :)