On Tuesday night, Tony and I caught War Horse, a play that I'd been curious to see for a while. And that I had invited both my nephews and my father to see. I'm glad they turned me down because it would have meant shelling out more money than we did on this cliché-ridden, way-overhyped show.
Tony ended up buying the tickets for us. I had told him I wanted to make sure I saw the show, which actually won the goddamn Tony awards for Best Play and Best Direction in 2011, before it closes next month.
I had reservations going in because Joyce saw it a while back and found it to be schmaltzy. She said she'd cried at the end but hadn't felt like the play had gotten the emotion from her honestly.
I totally agree. Though I didn't cry at the end. I mostly felt relieved that it was finally over. WARNING: FOR THOSE WANTING TO SEE THE PLAY OR MOVIE AT SOME POINT, THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD.
I didn't connect with any of the human characters. The parents were so stereotypical: a drunken ne'er-do-well of a father and his long-suffering wife. And I found the protagonist, their son Albert, to be a dork.
The two large horse puppets, Joey and Topthorn, were somewhat cool, but they didn't astound me. Tony and I had good seats for viewing everything—first row in the mezzanine—but we didn't see the puppets up close. Maybe we would have been more impressed if we had. Or maybe we would have been less impressed. Who knows. *shrugs*
I will say I liked the aggressive goose puppet; it was probably the most fun thing in the show.
But the ending, with Albert temporarily blinded—the better to stretch out the inevitable reunion with Joey—and the gun misfiring! Oy. How much more could the "creative" people behind this venture have possibly pushed our buttons? No wonder that hack Spielberg made a movie out of this subtle-as-a-motherfucking-tsunami material.
Even though it took place before Thanksgiving, I wanted to mention another show Tony and I caught recently. Actually, it was the first opera I believe I've ever seen: The Medium, starring Jeffery Roberson, who's better known by his drag persona, Varla Jean Merman.
I feel totally unqualified to evaluate opera, but I thought Roberson did a fine job as the title character, and Stephanie Izzo as her daughter, Monica, and Edmund Bagnell as Monica's mute lover, Toby, were even better.
We caught the last performance, on the afternoon of Sunday, Nov. 11, after I happened to like Varla Jean Merman on Facebook after noticing that my blogger friend Homer had liked her. I saw on VLM's Facebook page that she, or rather, Jeffery, was currently in a show in the city. Tony agreed to put everything else we had planned to do that day on hold to get to the matinee at the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theatre at the West Side Y.
On Nov. 30, the night before World AIDS Day, Tony and I saw a documentary called How to Survive a Plague at the LGBT Center. What an amazingly powerful and important film. Peter Staley, one of the ACT UP and TAG heroes who appeared in the movie, was there for a Q&A afterward. And I learned from the movie that a guy named Bill who lives in my old apartment building on Charles Street is another ACT UP activist who deserves our gratitude.
I approached the movie as sort of medicine I needed to take. I expected it to be sad, but I figured it was a movie I ought to see.
I was pleased to find the movie was mostly, actually uplifting. It doesn't downplay all of the tragic early deaths among gay men, but it's also a story of whipsmart, mad-as-hell activists doing what they had to do to get drug companies to produce effective treatments against HIV. And it was thrilling to see the number of courageous gay men—who were given invaluable help by lesbian and straight-woman allies—who are still alive today.
It's seed catalog time, and the one I'm having the most fun paging through is from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Last year's BCHS catalog was pretty bare-bones, if I remember correctly. Actually, it was illustrated, I believe. Nothing to prepare me for the glossy gardening-porn deliciousness of 2013's.
Tony made me promise that if we move out of the city at some point, I won't turn into this guy, who's pictured in the catalog. Love him!