October 2017 Updates

Before I launch back into recap season, I thought I’d fill you in on what I’ve been up to since I started posting regularly again! I want to be better about keeping up with current goings-ons here on the blog, since it can take me weeks and weeks to finish recapping a vacation months after it happened. There aren’t many photos, so just close your eyes, picture what I describe (after reading it), and be grateful for a reprieve from photos since I have a heckuva lotta Paris photos coming after the latest flood of pictures.

[ Spirit of Autumn ] DC has an interactive digital art gallery called Artechouse (art + tech + house) that is currently exhibiting an installation called Spirit of Autumn. I went with some coworkers at the beginning of the month and it was a bit of a letdown, especially after hearing the hype about their previous installation, but it was still really cool to see this digital art and how artist are using technology to create immersive experiences. (I shared some of my experiences on Instagram.)

[ Whoopi Goldberg ] I had the opportunity to see the legendary Whoopi Goldberg perform a comedy set at the Kennedy Center and it was an experience. First of all, she swears so much. Second of all, she has inspired a love from her fans that I have never really seen before. People rushed to stand in line at the microphones to ask her questions and about a third of those people just wanted to say “Whoopi, I love you, I admire you, I’m such a fan.” And then they sat down! It was incredible. Also, she was so generous with her time. I took issue with how she spoke about the Harvey Weinstein scandal (and I touched on that on Instagram, too) but she is a legend for a reason, she’s hilarious and she knows how to reach people.

[ Death of a Salesman ] My friend Annie got tickets to see Death of a Salesman at Ford’s Theatre (the same theater where Lincoln was assassinated; we could see his box seats from ours) and I have actually never seen the play nor have I read it! I’ve also never seen a show at the Ford’s Theatre so I was happy to go. While I didn’t love the play (I found the start of the first act not engaging and a bit awkward given how the dialogue has aged), I found the subject matter to be heartbreakingly real to grapple with. It was a lot of issues that I see in my own life and in my friends’ lives: aging parents who don’t really know who you are, unmet expectations of grandeur and success, the disappointment of working hard and not getting what you think you deserve. It was a hard play to watch but I’m really glad I got to see it.

[ Rennfest ] I went back to the Maryland Renaissance Festival this year, my second time ever! We went during closing weekend because of some timing issues trying to go earlier and I had an awesome time. We got great seats for the joust this year, during which time Ben learned that I get really into live sporting events and will lose my voice shouting. (“BOOOOO! You lack honor!”) We saw falconry, ate scotch eggs, and just enjoyed so much merriment. The Rennfest is one of my favorite things to do in the fall now and I hope it remains and annual tradition.

[ When You Wish Upon a Bar ] I did Harry Potter trivia through Geeks Who Drink with my friend Logan a few months ago and my team won first place! (Although I still feel guilty, to this day, about taking home an equal share of the cash prize given that I only knew the answer to one question…) Logan invited me out to a Disney trivia night that Geeks Who Drink was hosting and I was thrilled to be able to pull my weight, although I spent all of the day leading up to the quiz worrying about the breadth of the Disney knowledge (Disney Channel TV shows? Marvel? Star Wars? ESPN?!) and the depth (there are so many obscure movies I haven’t seen… and characters whose names I don’t know…) so I was really relieved to arrive and actually be able to pull my weight on a team full of former Jeopardy contestants and people who have been doing quiz bowl trivia since high school. Unfortunately, we got 2nd place but it was still a lot of fun!


How is your month going?
Are you ready for Halloween and the rest of the year-end festive season??

Anything Goes! [review]

Last week, I went back to the Warner Theatre to see Anything Goes!, courtesy of Yelp NoVa. (Thanks Gretchen!)

My program from the evening

 

Oh man, it was so wonderful. As fun as the 50 Shades musical parody was, I was so happy to return to traditional musical theater, complete with long dance numbers.

TL;DR: I really loved this show, so much. It’s a bit old fashioned (Cole Porter wrote the songs, after all), but it was so much fun, I had a smile on my face the whole time.

I’ll keep this review short but let’s go through a few bullets:

  • Cole Porter’s songs are so fun
  • The cast members of this touring production were great
    • Emma Stratton was phenomenal  as Reno Sweeney. I got this amazing Marilyn Monroe vibe from her performance, and she carried the entire show on her shoulders with her strong voice, impeccable comedic timing, and fabulous dance numbers. Sh’s the star of the show and didn’t let us down.
  • Yes, there are 2 “chinamen” characters in the show, but it is an old show and they could have easily just had an all-white cast. That being said, as racist as the portrayals of Chinese people was in this show, they still managed to make it really fun and funny.
  • The character dynamics in this show are so great and hilarious, from the foolishly proper Lord Oakleigh to the status-upholding Mrs. Harcourt to the too-old-to-care Eli Whitney.
  • The show is on the longer side but every minute is worth it, I promise you this.
    • Especially if you love tapdancing
  • Extraordinary work by stage crew, lighting folks, sound folks
  • IF YOU’RE NOT SINGING THE SONGS AS YOU LEAVE THE THEATER, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG

Oh man, I just… see a musical at the theater if you can. Catch Anything Goes! if you can.

You won’t regret it.

Here, Sutton Foster performs. I preferred Emma Stratton’s effortless, subtle, sultry performance a bit but, of course, Sutton is amazing.

50 Shades! The Musical Parody [review]

I really never thought this would happen. If you hadn’t seen my Tumblr pre-Lenten hiatus, I am quite anti-Fifty Shades of Grey, especially the book. I don’t need to tell you why, you already know.

My friend Annie got free tickets to go see 50 Shades! The Musical Parody. I knew it was going to be a parody, but at the same time, I mean… this was going to be a raunchy show, ya know? I wasn’t really feeling it, but somehow even though I was very unenthusiastic when Annie invited me, I heard myself answering “Yah?” when she asked if I was going to go with her.

Oops, I guess I’m now watching a Fifty Shades musical parody at the Warner Theatre?

Well, first we went to the grand opening of Melt Shop, a new grilled cheese joint in Farragut. Everything was 50% off on grand opening night, but I didn’t know that we were going to have dinner beforehand so I had already eaten.

Also I don’t like cheese, much less grilled cheese. So I just got myself a loaded tater tots (minus the cheese) and an Oreo milkshake. (You know what grinds my gears? Thick milkshakes that are served with standard aka small straws. Especially when said thick milkshakes also have Oreo chunks in them. It was tasty but dang, my cheeks hurt from trying to get it through that tiny straw!) The tots were good but the restaurant is teeny so I mostly ate my food standing up.

Anyway, onto the show.

In short, it was really hilarious and well done. Are you surprised? I sure was. I mean, I went into this eyes rolled, fully prepared for a total suckfest. But it was basically the perfect musical parody of this crazy phenomenon.

Inner goddess with repressed housewife Carol

A narrator starts us off, informing us that the show lasts 69 minutes including intermission heh heh heh. (Eye roll.) We opened with 3 character we don’t see in the books or movie: 3 housewives holding a book club. This story device sets the tone for the rest of the show pretty well. Each act starts with slapping and moaning sounds that just turns out to be the housewives doing random housework when the lights come up. There’s a lonely housewife who has been left with her five cats by her husband, just wants to read Martha Stewart’s Soup for One for book club and is, of course, tragically vanilla in the bedroom department. These ladies work as the story within which FSOG is the inner story. (They are the doughnut, if you will, and FSOG is the doughnut hole.)

From the original New York cast

Casting for Christian Grey was spot-on. Instead of a certified hottie-tottie, we had a…….. rounder man. And I loved that! Because Christian Grey’s actions and words are really bizarre and creepy, but I guess they seem more excusable when a hot guy says them? NAH our Christian exposed Christian Grey for being the complete and utter weirdo that he is. And it was perfect. He was pretty great onstage, although his voice wasn’t too strong, and I laughed my butt off.

Don’t fret, eye candy seekers. We had plenty to look at on stage. In the background were 2 ab-licious dudes and a bodacious babe in fishnets. One of the ab-licious dudes played Elliot Grey, Christian’s brother? He was pretty scrumptious. I really liked their involvement in the show because they were really fun, added a lot of great musical theater flair to the whole production (they had more of the complex choreography) and they added this extra meta-awareness of how we objectify the human body. At one point, each of them carried a painting over their faces and rotated around to mimic Anastasia walking down a long hallway. It was a silly scene but I liked it a lot.

In-house eyecandy (Photo from @mattgalexander, he’s the fella on the right)

Also, can I say I loved the character of Jose so much? I can’t say too much more except that he was easily THE most fun character of the entire show. Hilarious without becoming a caricature.

I think that what this musical did really well, besides accurately lampooning the ridiculousness that is FSOG, was give each character depth without resorting to stereotypes. The closest was our repressed housewife who, of course, had 5 cats and came roaring out from her vanilla bedroom ideals. Still, she was genuinely funny.

I thought I was going to hate this but I actually loved it. I highly recommend it, even if you hate FSOG as I do.
But don’t go see it with your parents.