Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 By the Numbers

Happy New Year's Eve to everyone! I hope you're having fun and staying safe, wherever you are.  For me, the photo at left sums up 2018 - railing, screaming, crying, cheering, hoping that that document can mean what it's supposed to mean, instead of what that horrible man currently living in the White House thinks it can do for him.  I can only hope he gets a copy of it to read in prison.  Please, Mr. Mueller, do your thing in 2019.  Moving on - may there be less political angst and more theater, ballet, great food, spectacular cocktails, foreign travels, adventurous fun and happier days ahead!!  And maybe I'm still waiting for that date.  Just one.  I mean, why not??  That would be nice.  Anyway.  If you’re still reading, here’s how my 2018 stacked up:

  • Theater visits: 88 (WAY up from last year - yay!)
  • Shows written by women:  54 (woo hoo!)
  • Shows written by writers of color:  42 (I'm trying my best!)
  • Shows/concerts/events by my darling Fellows:  23 (they're all so good, it's hard to pass up one of their shows!)
  • Ballet visits: 9
  • New e-books:  25 (four are still in my reading queue)
  • New book books:  5 (I'm starting to head back into the world of real-live books)
  • Readings/workshops: 12 
  • Concerts/cabarets: 6
  • Tennis events:  3
  • Award presentations:  3
  • Conferences: 3
  • New museums: 1 
  • New restaurants:  5 (this is terrible, but now I have a goal for 2019!)
  • Movies:  10
  • Protest marches:  2 (sigh)
  • New charities:  15 
  • Tweets:  390 (that's down a bit, I need to work on that)
  • Trips for work:  1 (yeah, my job needs to step it up)

Here are my 2018 Favorite Theater experiences.  These are in no particular order, with a few of my especial favorites in photos after...

  • Hello, Dolly
  • Until the Flood
  • In the Body of the World
  • Amy and the Orphans
  • queens
  • Our Lady of 121st Streeth
  • we, the invisibles
  • Angels in America
  • Three Tall Women
  • The Great Leap
  • Teenage Dick
  • Pass Over
  • Twelfth Night (Central Park)
  • Straight White Men
  • I Was Most Alive With You
  • What the Constitution Means to Me
  • The Ferryman
  • School Girls; or the African Mean Girls Play
  • The Chinese Lady
  • Usual Girls
  • Choir Boy

Special mentions to The Confession of Lily Dare, which I saw twice in production and also as a developmental reading and I loved loved loved it each time, which you already knew, because I'm such a Charles Busch fan; Lynn Ahrens' Lyrics and Lyricists event at the 92nd Street Y; and Max Vernon's cabaret at Joe's Pub.  Delightful evenings, all.

And, again, thankfully, I had so much good food and drink, I had to do my Top 2018 Food and Beverage experiences!  These are randomly ordered, with the beverages at the end (oh, man, looking at these photos is making me hungry and thirsty!):

  • bacon, egg, and cheese pancake wrap at Neil's Coffee Shop
  • pastel vasco (Basque Style Custard Tart) at Ortzi
  • burratini with mostarda pears and ginger tuile at Riverpark
  • duck breast, with pureed butternut squash, fregola and sauteed greens, in duck jus at Fusco
  • Proof benedict at Proof on Main (Louisville, KY)
  • pork belly sliders at Terroir
  • chicharron at Ortzi
  • pulpo a la plancha at Boqueria
  • prosciutto and mozzarella foccacia at Coppola's
  • smoked ricotta and heirloom tomato crostini at Jam's
  • laffa taco at Meme Mediterranean
  • short rib lasagna at 'Cesca
  • sopes and croquetas at La Fonda del Sol
  • burrata, endive, butternut squash, maple, and pumpkin seeds at Joe's Pub
  • roasted squash with feta, vanilla brown butter, and balsamic at West Bank Cafe
  • belle de jour at Amali
  • smokey sour at Al J's at the Conservatory (Louisville, KY)
  • the Jackie at Gato
  • the penicillin at Bouqueria
  • Spicy Bishop at Bridges Bar
  • whiskey buck at Castell Rooftop Lounge

HERE'S TO 2019!!

Friday, December 28, 2018

Another holiday auto-post!

Hi there!  I hope you're having a nice holiday, safe and warm and full of cheer.  I decided to do an auto-post of this review because the play I chat about is having a revival in 2019 and I'm very excited to see it.  Since I wrote this brief review, I've met the author and I've read a few of his other plays, not to mention that this particular play was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.  Not that it should sway my opinion, but he's a lovely person and lovely writer and I'm hoping this revival will remind theaters to produce his work.  And of course it sways my opinion because I'm me.

About that first sentence - I had seen a week's worth of plays that were (in my opinion) full of pretentious twaddle and I was a bit exasperated.  So I was happy to walk into the Mitzi Newhouse Theatre that night in 2007...

March 2007:  At last, a play ABOUT something!  Hooray!  I must admit I didn’t absolutely adore it because I don’t think it was entirely successful, but I was intrigued and engaged by it and have been thinking about it ever since.  Which is a very good thing.

Dying City begins with a woman packing boxes and she gets a surprise visit.  It turns out to be her dead husband’s twin brother.  The rest of the play is what happens during that visit, and we also see flashbacks to the last night they saw the dead man.

Pablo Schreiber plays both brothers.  I much prefer his portrayal of the brother-in-law rather than the dead husband.  I’m not sure what we gain from seeing the dead husband, other than an actor trick.  His scenes don’t add up to a whole lot, other than as a device.  At least that's how I felt about him.  But the brother-in-law, Peter, is an extremely intriguing character.  He’s passive-aggressive and masochistic, yet gentle and tormented.  It’s a very good performance and an interestingly written character.  

I wasn't as enamored of the actress playing the woman.  I found her performance entirely too technical—I felt I could see her acting gears moving from a mile away.  She is certainly an attractive and intelligent performer, and I'm sure I would like her in other things, but in this play, at least, I’d like to see her let loose and feel.  Of course, she IS playing a repressed woman, but I felt like the repression came from an overly controlled actor instead of the character.  I could, of course, be completely wrong.  I often am.

photo credit: Sara Krulwich
There’s a lot going on in this play, about grief, abusive childhoods, violence (both internal and external), Iraq…but it doesn’t seem like it’s all thrown in for effect.  It all resonates together into a whirlwind about how these two people can move forward.  Or not.  

I think the play might’ve been better without seeing the character of the dead husband, but maybe not.  I guess that would've made it my play instead of Shinn's.  And I would’ve liked to have seen a more lived-in performance from the girl, but again that could just be my preference.  I give the show a thumbs-up, though, for presenting intelligent people engaging in intelligent discourse, but not showing off the writer’s vocabulary with pretentious twaddle.  

There is a scenic element, too, that was really cool.  I won’t say anything about it because you really have to see it for yourself.  But I thought it added a lot to the unsettling quality of what was happening in the script.  It rather sneaks up on you and then makes a pretty powerful statement.  You should definitely go check out this show and let me know when you noticed it...

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas to all!  I hope, however you celebrate, that you're happy, healthy, and enjoying yourself...

Monday, December 24, 2018

Holiday Auto-Flashback!

Yeah, it's pretty sad that I can post more when I'm not actually around.  Oh well, it is what it is.  I can only do what I can do.  I looked through old reviews and found a few I could auto-post while I'm home for the holidays.  Some of them aren't so bad!  If you're interested, I'll put links to other reviews of plays by this author at the bottom of the post.  But I thought this would be a good one to share today since the play takes place on Christmas Eve...

11/5/2007:  The Seafarer was an unexpected ticket (thanks, friend who couldn't use their ticket!).  If you’ll recall, the last Conor McPherson play I saw was Shining City and I still wish someone would tell me what that play was about.  Anyway, The Seafarer is very similar in that it has wonderful acting, excellent scenework, terrific monologues, good storytelling and yet—what?  What is this play for?  Why is it happening?  What’s it about?  I have no idea.  I guess the answer is I just don’t ‘get’ Conor McPherson.  I mean, I suppose I have a few vague ideas about this one, which is more than I could say for Shining City, but I find the ambiguity here more annoying than interesting or invigorating.  

David Morse (who I have loved for nearly 30 years, thanks to St. Elsewhere) is excellent as a down-on-his luck Irishman who has returned home to care for his blind brother (a quirky and wonderful performance here by Jim Norton [he ended up winning a Tony for this performance]).  It’s Christmas Eve and a few other colorful characters appear, along with someone from David Morse’s past.  I can’t say much more because it will be a big spoiler.  But I will say that the big spoiler didn’t really work for me in the first act, but I did feel some tension and excitement in the second act.  The card game was occasionally chilling and Ciaran Hinds was quite wonderful.

photo credit: Sara Krulwich
Really, all of the actors are terrific and you absolutely feel you know these people.  The dialogue is also just grand.  A few times I found the Irish accents hard to understand, but I think it was more a staging issue than an actor issue.  I have no idea why the set is designed the way it is, unless (oh, and this just occurred to me!) it’s to juxtapose something that has to do with the big spoiler!  Ack!  OK, let's see if I can tap dance around it.  Ummm...the thing that just came to me as I was typing earlier is perhaps the basement is supposed to be another location, and the final degradation for that colorful spoiler-alert character is that he has to go be in that location to leave.  Oh crap.  Spoilers are the hardest.  But actually, that explanation doesn’t really work either, does it, since they were headed... No, it's too hard to describe without spoilers.  Sorry.  I will fill you in on the spoilers if you desire.  So I don’t know what to think now.  Moving on.  I guess I give this a thumbs-up because the acting is spot on, and any opportunity to see David Morse onstage is welcome, though I might try to use discounts rather than paying full price.  We were in the first row of the mezz and it was fine.  But, if you see it, let me know if I missed something!

For further reading:

Review of The Night Alive:  HERE

Review of revival of Shining CityHERE  

Monday, December 17, 2018

Preview thoughts on Choir Boy

I have no idea why I didn't catch Choir Boy when it played off-Broadway a few years ago.  It was a new play - I try to see them all.  I guess it was just one of those things; I mean, I can't see everything!  There are a few things that are going to close by the end of this year that I'm just not going to get to.  I always have to take a deep breath and think 'it is what it is' and not get down on myself.  I'm ever so glad, though, that I took a theater pal up on her invitation to accompany her to an early preview of the Broadway production of Choir Boy, though!  I LOVED it!  And now I feel as if I need repeat visits...

I highly doubt the playwright, Tarell Alvin McCraney (Oscar winner for Moonlight) will be doing much revising for the Broadway run, but the show is in early previews, so I'll only offer a few thoughts.  There may even be a rant about my seat neighbors somewhere.  We had excellent orchestra seats, via TDF, for the show and I do love the Friedman Theatre.  The sightlines are always good and the seats are very comfy.  Thankfully, we were in the middle of the row, so no one had to climb over us at any point.  My theater pal and I had a very nice brunch at the Glass House Tavern pre-show and got into our seats with plenty of time to spare.

Choir Boy begins at a boys' school graduation and a sweet young man comes down front and center to sing the school song.  He has an air of joy about him and he sings absolutely beautifully.  Before he finishes the song, another member of the choir has called the sweet young man a homophobic slur and everything stops.  Everything also starts from there.

photo credit: Joan Marcus
Jeremy Pope plays that sweet young man and he is an absolute revelation.  I've seen him onstage before, but my goodness, he is simply fantastic as Pharus Young, who is now a senior at a private boys' school called Drew, and he has just been named leader of the choir, which is all he has ever dreamed of being.  (wow, that's a long sentence, sorry.)  The member of the choir who whispered the slur is Bobby, an entitled young man who is a legacy student at Drew.  He is also the nephew of the headmaster.  He is also a snob who looks down on scholarship students.  Oh, and he is also a homophobe.  Pharus never directly states that he is gay, but to loosely quote Jane Austen, " was every day implied but never declared."  After Bobby ridiculed Pharus during the school song, Pharus used his power to have Bobby removed from the choir, so there is much strain throughout the play.

Other students at the school include Junior (a follower of Bobby), David (another scholarship student who dreams of being a minister), and A.J., Pharus' roommate and a star athlete.  Chuck Cooper is wonderful as the headmaster and dear Austin Pendleton, who got a pretty big round of star-entrance-applause, plays a retired instructor who comes back to help prepare the boys for graduation.  He is also, as always, first-rate.  He had a scene that really shook me, in a grand way.  Everyone in the cast is incredible.  Truly.  I was especially taken with John Clay III, who played A.J., and found just the right balance of bewilderment about and empathy for his high-spirited roommate.

I don't really want to give too much away, because I found the story so incredibly moving, I feel as if you should experience it for yourselves.  I was practically heaving with wonderful theater-sobs by the end.  But I do want to say that alongside the terrific dialogue and performances, there are several song/movement sequences that took my breath away.  All of these young men are superlative singers and hearing their voices blend in choral harmony was just awe-inspiring and a wonderful metaphor for how the world (and that boys' school) should be.  The hymns were just glorious.  If you do some searching on social media, you can find clips of their singing.  I heard a rumor going around the theater yesterday that they're trying to put together a cast album - I will be first in line to buy it if it happens.

So...go go go go go see Choir Boy.  You absolutely will not regret it.  As far as my seat neighbors are concerned, I was disappointed in many of them.  There was much laughter where it honestly didn't belong.  It didn't, to me, seem like nervous laughter, it seemed like people really laughing about the sexual content in the play.  It was like being in high school, instead of watching a play about it.  There were several scenes that took place in a locker room and I was terrified during one of them, which I'm pretty sure was the intent.  I knew that whatever decision was made would be a perilous one and people were laughing.  I just wanted to cry - I guess I was sitting with a particularly non-empathetic group of people, but it made me so sad.  I hope that kind of behavior isn't at all of the performances; I mean, there is a lot of humor in the show and there are some real belly-laughs, but when people are only laughing at the homophobic slurs...I don't know.  I had to wonder why they were even there.  Maybe it was just me.  But I found the story so touching and real and simply beautiful.  I'm looking forward to returning to the Friedman Theatre to experience Choir Boy again.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Review - Usual Girls

For one reason or another having to do with my job, various scripts end up on my desk, or writers' names are tossed about the office, so I try to keep up on who or what is being talked about.  Plus, I'm always looking out for young writers, especially young women of color, so getting a ticket to the Roundabout Underground production of Usual Girls by Ming Peiffer was rather a no-brainer for me.  The tickets are all inexpensive, so by hesitating just a little too long, I got locked out of the original run, but fortunately I was online when the extension was announced and I pounced on tickets.  I saw the show last night with a lovely pal - Usual Girls closes soon and I wish I had left myself enough time to go back and see it again, because...WOW!  It's a stunner.  Reader beware, because there might be spoilers coming...

photo credit: Joan Marcus
Usual Girls is probably one of the boldest plays I've seen.  It is bold, unsettling, funny, scary, and very very true.  Peiffer is telling the story of a young woman of color growing up in a small midwestern town - we see Kyeoung throughout her school years, from elementary school through college and beyond.  In the opening scene, four third-graders are playing Lava Monster and jumping along some stones.  They are exuberant, goofy and terrifically funny girls, and they all try to one up each other with crazy stories - once Kyeoung starts talking about the 'special' magazines her dad looks at, we're forced to remember how curious kids are and how easily they become sexualized.  Adult actors play the eight-year-olds and they're playing them in an exaggerated way, yet they're still touchingly recognizable and real.  And really funny.  The play starts off pretty uproariously, as these little girls talk about things they really know nothing about, though we're suddenly struck by the little boy who comes on stage and says he'll tell on them unless one of them kisses him.  Because "that's what girls are supposed to do."

From that line to the closing line of "It never f*cking stops," we're engaged in a story that you don't often see:  what it's like to be a woman, especially a woman of color, and how they're often punished for having sexuality.  And it's told without a love story, or a love interest - there are men, of course, but it's mainly a story by a woman, about women, told by women.  It was rather astonishing.  Our whole lives, men try to persuade us to give them parts of ourselves, sexually, and then they criticize us or punish us for doing it.  And women fall into weird patterns of competition between themselves - it's all very convoluted and strange and probably wouldn't be so bad if we didn't treat women's sexuality and bodies as something to hide and whisper about.  So in the scenes from high school, college, and beyond, we see women bonding and turning on each other, sometimes simultaneously, and it was really just so eloquent and true.

photo credit: Joan Marcus
Usual Girls has delicious, fresh and funny dialogue which then turns into raw and stinging dialogue (though there is a hysterically funny monologue towards the end that sort of satirizes a woman becoming 'woke').  The play is quirky, funny and weird at the beginning, but begins to narrow into serious sadness, understanding and acceptance/grief of what racism and shame do to young women. The girls we see so freely sharing their joy and laughter aren't the same at the end of the play.  We see what years of having to be 'nice' does and how it can affect everything you do from now on. 

The acting was amazing, top to bottom.  Along with the actors playing all of the girls through to adulthood, there were two male actors, and there was also a character called The Woman, who may have represented Kyeoung's adult self.  I thought everyone was wonderful - so unique and human and funny and sad.  Really really terrific stuff.  The connection they all had to each other had a powerful resonance for me.

I feel like I'm all over the place, trying to describe Usual Girls.  I just loved how off-kilter I felt after experiencing this play - I've certainly not seen anything like it and I don't often feel as rattled as I did afterwards.  Even riding in the elevator back up to the lobby at the end of the night was a strange experience; I felt strange being in such a confined space with a couple of very large gentlemen.  I don't think they had particularly enjoyed themselves at the play and their unhappiness was shaking me up a bit in the elevator.  It's pretty amazing, if you ask me, when a young writer finds such truth that can reach across race and age and make you think about things you should be thinking about already, but you're not.

The show closes next weekend and is advertised as sold out, but they do keep a wait list at the theater; last night, five or six wait list people got in.  You should really try to see Usual Girls because it's not usual at all.  And Ming Pfeiffer is a name I think we're going to be hearing for a very long time.  

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Review - The Waverly Gallery

I had a friend who used to work at the old Promenade Theater on the Upper West Side.  Every now and again, he'd have access to tickets and/or opening night parties and he would invite me.  I was very fortunate to go to the opening night of Kenneth Lonergan's The Waverly Gallery.  I didn't know Lonergan's earlier work, so this was my first exposure to him.  I remember loving Eileen Heckert's titanic performance as an older woman slipping into dementia.  I don't remember as much of the play itself as I'd like (and comparisons to Heckert's character's memory problems are not welcome here), but I had a general positive sense about the play and I asked a Tony-voter friend if I could please be his plus-one to the current revival.  I'm very grateful he said yes.

The Waverly Gallery is really a beautiful study of a family - a family trying, and failing, to shield one of its members from impending doom.  The head of the family, Gladys Gold, was formerly a neighborhood powerhouse - she was a lawyer, protested injustice, entertained constantly, and then ran a small art gallery for unsung artists.  But her world keeps shrinking and in the two hours of the play, her mind keeps shrinking as well.  Seeing the deterioration of such a vital woman is really heartbreaking.  And watching her family watch her deterioration is heartbreaking as well.

photo credit: Brigitte Lacomb
There's not exactly a lot of plot in The Waverly Gallery (I mean, yes, hello, there's plot, but you know what I mean), but it's a stunning character study and has so much delicious language where you just want to say "stop!  let me take it all in!", but it just keeps going.  It was sort of a memory play about memory, so all of the layers on top of layers on top of layers were fascinating.  The production is beautifully directed by Lila Neugebauer, who is rapidly becoming one of my favorite directors.  She has an incredible sense of detail, but doesn't get bogged down in the details, if that makes sense.  The entire physical production is terrific - the sets are beautifully rendered, but a little rough around the edges, just like the characters.  The original music is appropriately melodic, and I enjoyed the projections that played between scene changes, I thought they added a lot to the passage of time and the feeling that Gladys could be, on occasion, living in the past.

photo credit: Sara Krulwich
The acting is superlative in this production - everyone is spot on and so emotionally engaging.  I was moved by every performance, but of course the main performance that made me weep was Elaine May as Gladys.  She was, in a word, phenomenal.  Seriously, this is one of the best performances I've seen in a long time.  Of course, it's a beautifully written role, but still, there's a tightwalk an actor has to walk when playing this character, without overdoing the decline or overdoing the independence or overdoing the comedy that wafts throughout the play.  She is wonderful.  But so is Joan Allen as her patient, yet frustrated, daughter, Ellen.  Her pain and impotence were beautifully portrayed, and when she cracks, it's never mean or random, but filled with anguish.  Lucas Hedges as Gladys' grandson was terrific - he sort of tries to stay ironic and aloof (like a certain portion of the NY Upper West Side population), but when he breaks, it's devastating.  I also enjoyed David Cromer as Ellen's second husband, who is sort of clueless and clumsy, but also kind and generous with an off-kilter sense of humor.  Michael Cera rounds out the cast as the artist who just wanders into Gladys' gallery and never leaves.  It's surprising to me that a young actor with such a slacker affect on screen can be such an incisive stage actor, but there you have it.

I know quite a few people who did not enjoy this production.  OK, I guess I can understand why.  But I saw my family in these people, I saw my (hopefully not) future self, I heard real people living and dying and laughing and crying with each other.  I was so moved and engaged throughout.  But I do want to relate one seat neighbor's response - this one stormed out at intermission and he asked my Tony voter-pal:  "Do they give a Tony Award for being BORED OUT OF YOUR MIND?!?!"  Needless to say, that gent did not return for act two.  His loss, though, truth be told, the play is maybe fifteen minutes too long.  But that's a quibble.  This acting ensemble telling this personal, yet universal, story doesn't always come around.  There are discounts available for The Waverly Gallery - I suggest you avail yourself of one and settle in for some love, pain, and tears.  I'm pretty sure you'll be glad you did, and you'll be able to be one of those people who can say "I saw Elaine May give an amazing performance!"  She's that good.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Flashback Friday!

Hi there!  Today I was going to write something on female empowerment, or the female voice, or something along those lines, after a movie and play I saw back-to-back, but I don't want to sound too stupid or glib, so let me ruminate on those thoughts a little longer.  I think I have something to say, and I want to do the topic(s) justice.  

But I didn't want anyone to forget about me, so I'm presenting a flashback post.  I was chatting about this play the other day with a pal, so I thought it would be a good one to remember.  It also got me thinking - I never really paid attention to 'trigger' warnings before, but I do now.  I can tell you exactly which play made me understand the phenomenon, too.  I'll tell you that play, if you ask.  And the play I write about below definitely set me off.  I wonder how I would receive this play now.  Food for thought.  My review was a bit divisive at the time (most of my friends adored the show), so we'll see how it stands up...

2007:  I saw Coram Boy last night - I found it an entertaining experience but I wasn’t blown away.  It’s extremely theatrical, which I generally love, but sometimes I found it a bit…much.  Intellectually, I understand WHY all the theatrics were used, but at times it just seemed like theatrics for theatrics-sake instead of for production-sake, which, for me, undercut the emotion that needs to be there as well.  

There was a plot thread that I didn’t know about beforehand that I wish I had known about beforehand because it took me right out of the play.  There was a major theatrical moment early on, and instead of it being a fabulously thrilling moment for me, I was taken out of the play completely and it was hard to get back in. I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, so I won’t go any further on that.  I was then resistant to throwing myself over to the piece, but around the middle of the first act, something happened that totally engaged and did thrill me, but that only lasted for about 20 minutes.  Then I was out again.  Therein was the problem for me.

photo credit: Sara Krulwich
I found the acting uniformly excellent.  Jan Maxwell is always a treat (even evil Jan Maxwell) and I was very taken with Xanthe Elbrick as the young Alexander. I enjoyed the story a great deal and was extremely moved at the ending, but I just wasn’t transported for the entire evening.  Maybe I was expecting too much.  But it was rather distracting to be so engaged, then not engaged at all, back and forth, all evening, but perhaps that’s just me.    Many people were terrifically moved throughout, others were bored out of their mind and laughing at some of the theatrical tricks used.  So this show won’t be for everyone.  But the choir was thrilling, the acting was grand, and if you can get discounted tickets, I’d say go.  It's pretty safe to say you won’t see anything else like it this season.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Irrational Fears (and some theater updates, too, to cheer us)

Long, personal post coming again.  Sorry.  Continue at your own risk.

I have quite a few goofy irrational fears.  Mice, fire, my zipper being down.  Dumb things.  One of my biggest irrational fears is being hit by a car.  Who knows why?  Well, Sunday afternoon, it happened.  I got grazed by a car while walking in my neighborhood. At the crosswalk nearest my apartment, there are two one-way streets, both with stop signs.  I was walking west, and a car pulled up.  The car driving east had stopped first, and had the right-of-way, so I began to cross the street, because the car going north should've had to wait.  But even though I'm certain he saw me there, he began to take a right turn and hit me.  I screamed and spun around, but I didn't fall, I'm not even that hurt, really (there's a large bruise on the side of my thigh, that's about it), but it scared the bejeezus out of me.  My hands have been shaking pretty much since it happened.  After thanking the nice people who apparently saw it (one woman was yelling at the driver for me) and stopped to check on me, and then sternly telling the driver to watch where he's going next time, I shakily went back to my apartment.  And looked at Google.  BIG MISTAKE.  Who knew I should've called the police regardless of being hurt?!  After about a half hour, I decided to go to an urgent care place in my neighborhood, just for my piece of mind.  It's only a few blocks away, and after my sister's blot clot adventures, I figured better safe than sorry.

[Oh, and to insert a funny-ish, random-ish story here:  when I spun around and got up onto the sidewalk, I felt a sudden gush in the area of my lady parts.  I suddenly thought to myself: 'if this crazy guy hit me with his f*cking car AND made my period start back up, I'm going to beat him with my bare hands and/or his steering column!'  Thankfully, it didn't happen.  And keeping on that side-journey - I recently had my follow-up appointment with the doctor who did my fibroid procedure.  The twelve-year-old lab assistant chatted with me pre-doctor entrance.  He asked me how my first cycle went and I said I haven't had one yet.  (You know, suddenly I feel as if I shouldn't write that down; it seems jinx-y.  Hm.)  He looked rather astonished and said, "Well, our intent certainly wasn't to put you into menopause."  I looked at him with even MORE astonishment and said, "DUDE.  You haven't been listening.  THAT IS PRECISELY MY INTENT."  I think he is now scared of me.  End of funny-ish story.]

Most of the people at the urgent care center were very nice; I was ushered quickly into a room, gave my history to a youngster who put it into the computer, then waited for the doctor to come in.  He arrived with a 'female chaperone,' which is nice, I guess.  He proceeded to ask me where I was hit, since he said he couldn't even see it.  I showed him, told him my concerns about blood clots, and he seemed...unimpressed.  Uninterested.  I felt dismissed, maybe even patronized.  He had me move my leg around, and offered to give me a tetanus shot, which I didn't really need, then he left.  I just had my head down, then the young female chaperone told me she was glad I came in.  Why sit around and worry when I could come in and be sure it wasn't serious?  I think she could tell I felt defeated - by my fear, by the car, by the doctor.  So I'm glad that someone acknowledged me.  She told me what to watch out for, then I left.  I went home and decorated my apartment for the holidays, which lifted my spirits, then I  tossed and turned all night with nightmares, which didn't lift my spirits.  I've been sort of a nervous wreck ever since, though work has kept me so busy, I haven't really noticed my sore leg, until it really gets sore.  Which is good, I guess, until it isn't.

how I imagine my bruise looks (it totally doesn't)
Being afraid of crossing the street in NYC is probably going to be a big annoyance, I'm guessing, but having an irrational fear happen to me didn't cure me of the fear, it made me more afraid.  That dumb doctor didn't help, either.  Sooo...I don't know the end of this story.  I just, as usual, wanted to get it out of my head and stop brooding about it.  That's what my therapist tells me to do.  And since I'm not seeing her for two weeks, I figured writing about it here is better than waiting to talk to her.  Your mileage may vary.

In happier news - theater-wise, I've seen two shows that you all need to see:  Eve's Song, playing at the Public Theater, and The Hello Girls, playing at 59E59.  As you've heard me discuss repeatedly, I used to administer a young writer's program at my work, and I have great pride in going to see productions of shows by alums of that program.  Both Eve's Song and The Hello Girls are by alums and I'm ever so proud of them both.  I'll just offer a few thoughts about each.

photo credit: Joan Marcus
Eve's Song is a new play by Patricia Ione Lloyd - I found it utterly compelling and fascinating.  I will say that quite a few audience members did not share my enthusiasm.  Ione's plays are very distinct and unique and her voice is powerful.  She tells stories you don't often see.  This story about a contemporary African-American family was so bold and interesting; it was told from a fresh perspective and went places I never imagined.  From the Public Theater's website:  "Filled with dark humor and boiling suspense, Eve's Song examines our present racial climate through the eyes of a regular American family."  Yes, true, and so much more.  The acting was first-rate, although the central role of the mother was played by a understudy still on-book, which on occasion brought the temperature of the piece down, but it no way detracted from the power of the play itself.  You should go see Eve's Song right now - you'll be thinking about it long after.  I still am.

photo credit: Richard Termine
The Hello Girls is a new musical with music and lyrics by Peter Mills and a libretto by Mills and Cara Reichel.  It tells another unique and new to me story - I had no idea about this episode in American history: 1917 saw the U.S. Army's first women soldiers, who served as bilingual switchboard operators in France on the front lines of World War I.  It's a story of women fighting for equality at home and on the field of battle, and it's a little disheartening that we still fight the same fight 100 years later.  But these women are strong and bold and it was a pleasure to spend time in their company.  I learned a lot.  Plus, the songs in The Hello Girls are terrific, with jazzy tunes and really smart lyrics - I've long been a fan of Mills' writing (his Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge is an especial favorite) and I hope this show, which seems to come at just the right time, will get him the wider recognition he deserves.  The performers are all wonderful, and most of them also double as the musicians in the orchestra (a conceit that doesn't generally sit well with me, but it's mostly fine in this piece).  There's a lot of humor and even more heart in The Hello Girls and you should all hurry over to 59E59 to see it.  It's a terrific new musical and Pete's work should be heard.  GO.