Tales from the road and then some
All nestled in our cozy red velvet seats at Broadway’s Lyceum theater last Saturday night, we eagerly awaited the rise of the curtain for A Night with Janis Joplin. We had braved the first few snowflakes of winter to get there and had exchanged the tickets from an earlier date, so being there felt good—we were ready. Unfortunately, the leading actress, Mary Bridget Davies, wasn’t. Neither were three of her supporting players.
Four– not one, not three—but four rectangular slips of paper indicating understudies cascaded down from my date’s playbill like confetti as I felt the stress beginning to course through my blood. “No, please don’t tell me, not the lead, anyone but the lead!” He picked up the first piece of paper. At tonight’s performance the role of Janis Joplin will be played by…
We had eight minutes ‘til curtain. What to do? I had paid close to $200 for this, our second round of seats, and they jacked the prices up for Thanksgiving week for us to end up with worse seats. What’s more, the Telecharge agent questioned my suggestion of a matinee informing me that Mary Bridget Davies doesn’t do the matinee performances; it would be the understudy. So I told the agent: well, we definitely want the evening performance then.
The clock was ticking down. Four minutes ‘til curtain. Would we still be able to get a refund after the curtain went up? Would we be able to get one at all? What else would we do that night? So many questions. The couple seated next to us was busy searching and texting on their smartphones talking about going to see Hot Tuna at the Beacon Theater instead. Hmmm, that sounded like a good idea. The point was—they weren’t staying. That only fueled my urge to flee. My date said it was up to me.
Two minutes to go – Jami, decide! I stood up and made a beeline to the box office.
A cast of characters lines up for refunds
Well, we certainly were not alone as a bunch of raving, determined theater-goers (what, who? me?) were storming the box office, so much so that they corralled the lot of us and moved us outside the theater to stand in the cold while they figured out what to do about our tickets. Now, it’s not like I’m a theater snob, okay, maybe a little. Hey, I saw A Little Night Music with the understudy for Catherine Zeta Jones, but as it turns out the understudy, Jayne Paterson, was lesser known but arguably better in the role. But when a show is based around one central singer as this one is, and that singer is said to be a must-see, then I must see that singer.
The line to get out…
gets thrown outside…
and clamors to get back in—for a refund and some warmth.
Finally, they let us back into the lobby like Noah’s ark, two by two, to exchange tickets for another date. The drama was not over, now we had to pull out our smartphone calendars to figure out an alternative date. The conversation went something like this:
Me:“How about January 24th?”
V: “That should be good.”
Me: “You sure? You sure that date is good? “
V: “Yes I’m sure. I’m going away for a week in January but it it’s earlier in the month.”
Me: “You sure?”
I turned to the sales agent. “Two tickets for January 24th please.” She was nice enough to put us in the orchestra when our original seats were in the rear mezzanine. Score! Then V looked up at me from his phone with an “oh shit” look on his face. “Does the 24th fall within the week of the 20th?” He was being cute, which doesn’t take much. “Ah, yeah, I think it would,” I said, adding, “That’s the week you’re away, isn’t it?” I didn’t wait for an answer; I just grabbed his wrist and looked at the calendar staring back at me from his palm. ARRRRGGGHHHH!
The tickets were still hot in my little hand and I hadn’t even moved from the line yet. So without thinking I asked the couple in front of us, who hadn’t yet completed their transaction, what date they wanted—and out of all the dates in the calendar from now until the show’s final performance—what do you think they said? “January 24th.” Without hesitation, I said, “Wait, take these!” shoving the tickets under their chins. Stop the presses! I looked at the ticket agent as if to say, okay? She nodded. I gave the couple my tickets and proceeded to pick up two more for the following week. Still orchestra seats. Whew. I don’t care if I have to jump on stage and sing “Me and Bobby McGee” myself, I am not exchanging these tickets again.
As for what to do with our Saturday evening in Times Square, we didn’t want to chance it with Hot Tuna so we opted instead to check out B.B. King Blues Club on 42nd St. They had a Johnny Cash tribute band rocking the house better than Joaquin Phoenix. From the “Queen of Rock” to the “Man in Black,” not bad for a night out.
Not Johnny, not even Joaquin, it’s Johnny Kinnaird, a great stand-in for both.
Little-known lessons learned when it comes to the thee-a-tuh :
Me in Times Square after the exchange. They say the neon lights are bright…
From Shelf Pleasure:
We love the premise behind this book—doing one new thing each week for 52 weeks (and doing it with a friend!) to help get you unstuck. Like us, two friends who share a common passion, authors Karen Amster-Young and Pam Godwin of The 52 Weeks forged the idea over drinks one night because they were both feeling “stuck” in their lives. They pledged each other’s support right then and there to get “unstuck.” This book chronicles their 52 week search to find something different to do each week whether it was big or small, scary or uncomfortable, so they could grow as mothers, wives, friends and just the awesome women that they are. Then they included some advice from experts and tips for how anyone feeling like they did can move forward in their lives.
We are even more excited about this book because our very own roving reporter, Jami Kelmenson, has contributed to two chapters based on her own expertise in getting unstuck. We sat down with Jami to ask her about the book and her advice for getting unstuck.
I run for fun. And for exercise. And to be outside. That means I don’t time my runs, nor do I care about distance, calories burned, etc. That all changed when I signed up for the Run the River 5k run which took place on Randall’s Island last weekend. To show you how clueless I was, I didn’t even know it was a race until I showed up. Once someone asked me if I had a goal for how long it would take me to finish, I said to myself, I’d better stretch!
The event took place at the renowned Icahn Stadium (one of four International Association of Athletic Federations Class 1 certified tracks in the United States) where Olympic athletes and other professionals train and where Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt set the 100 meter world record in 2008 with a time of 9.72 seconds at the Reebok Grand Prix.
100 meters in 9 seconds? I figured a 10-minute mile with no training would be pretty good. So a little quick math in my head: 5k = 3.3 miles = anything under 30 minutes (about 10 minutes per mile) would be GOAL! So I was determined to stay focused and pace myself.
Why do I look like I’m race walking? Pacing myself!
As you approach the finish line, they announce over the microphone what minute finish you’re at. I could hear “30-minute mile, 20 seconds to finish in 30 minutes…” as I approached and the adrenaline kicked in. I was shouting “Thirty…thiiirrrtyyyy…” to cheer myself as the announcements grew louder; I was so close, everything hinged on those few seconds to meet my self-imposed goal.
And meet it I did—29:56 to be exact! Which is a 9:38 minute mile. I placed 12th for my age group (12th!) and 219th overall. Not to say it was a walk in the park or anything, it took a lot out of me!
But mostly, it made me think of all the marathon runners getting ready to run 26.2 miles across all five boroughs tomorrow for the ING NYC Marathon, but really one runner in particular.
Jonathan Eustache trained for his first marathon last year to raise money for his homeland, Haiti. I had the incredible experience of visiting Haiti with Jonathan and other friends from Community2Community (C2C) last fall and was prepared to host his victory party at my apartment after the marathon. I had big poster boards and magic markers strewn about my living room carpet ready to make “Go Jonathan Go!” signs when I heard Mayor Bloomberg on TV tell me that the marathon was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. 5pm the night before the race—cancelled! Whoa, talk about closing in on the finish, or rather, the start.
Starting at the finish - it’s a loop!
So I put the magic markers away and went on with life, like every other New Yorker. But Jonathan continued to train. And train. And train. Tomorrow he will run his first marathon as a RUN04HAITI and I will be there cheering for him, thinking about how much it took for me to complete three miles last weekend—just a fraction of what Jonathan and his peers are doing. I ran for 30 minutes, Jonathan’s goal is to finish in three hours and thirty minutes. It helps that Jonathan is not only running for his own personal goal, but for 16,000 neighbors in Petit Goâve, Haiti who, thanks to C2C, are on the road to restoration after the 2010 earthquake with access to clean potable water and community latrines. But that’s just the beginning. RUN04HAITI will raise more needed funds to complete C2C’s water distribution system and bring dignity and hope to those still left behind.
The water source built by C2C in Piton Value, Haiti
So while New York City dusts off its knees to celebrate its resilience after Sandy on Marathon Day, Jonathan and the entire C2C community will be running to celebrate their own resilience. They’ll be running for Haiti. Go Jonathan Go!
Me and Jonathan in Haiti
RUN04HAITI is a fundraising campaign co-created with Community2Community (C2C) team member, Jonathan Eustache, who will be running the ING NYC Marathon on Sunday, November 3, 2013 to raise awareness and funds for C2C’s Haïti Restoration and Transformation Pilot Project (HRTPP). Proceeds from Jonathan’s run will go to completing the C2C Water System Initiative. You can sponsor Jonathan by pledging you support here.
Waffle House - the best bathrooms on the road
The first two days of my trip to New Orleans (NOLA) last week were spent on the water, Lake Pontchartrain, to be exact. I was down there with the skipper and crew from my “Four Men and a Lady (and a Sailboat)” post for the 2013 Rhodes 19 Class Association National Championship at the Southern Yacht Club and yes, I was officially crew for two and a half races. I say half because one of them never finished and we had to be pulled back, connected to other boats, by a line (it’s not called a rope!) The best part of that was watching the SYC motor boat drivers haul cans of beer into the waiting arms of tired sailors on the other boats. We had our own beer on board, but still it was cool to watch.Hey, anyone need a tow?
The Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria? Hauling them in with a “line”
Competitors one minute, bonded together the next
Hey, anyone need a beer with that tow?
I will refrain from admitting how we placed in the regatta but if you’re really interested you can view the results here. Or if you understand what DFL means, you will know. Our boat was Amenomania, a term coined by Ernest Shackelton of the ill-fated 1914 Antarctica expedition to describe “a mania for pleasing delusions.” No comment on the skipper’s choice of a boat name. Others in the race were “Shameless Perfection,” (not really, they placed second), “Fandango” and “Pon Ma Hon,” which means Kiss My Ass in Irish Galic. Sailors, gotta love ‘em and their boat names.
The NOLA skyline by boat…
turns to threatening skies…
leaving three bored sailors with nowhere to go…
and one crew member ready for pictures!
Once down in NOLA there was no way I wasn’t going to see the sights and sounds that had struck my fancy ever since Dennis Quaid jogged along with Ellen Barkin in The Big Easy. Just hearing Harry Connick Jr. talk has always made me want to go to N’Orleans. So I “abandoned” the last two days of racing in favor of exploring NOLA on my own. Read my other posts in this series about the food and music in “Cajun vs. Creole: Who Cares?” and the underbelly of NOLA in “New Orleans: Just Like I Pictured It?”
Leaving NOLA was not the end of our adventure. We drove back and stopped over in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina to unwind in style and take in the breathtaking stonework and vistas surrounding the Grove Park Inn:
We drove back to New Jersey with Amenonmania in tow, and yes, I got to drive the trailer. Once you’ve driven an RV, I guess anything is possible.
Sunrise view of Amenomania after her long voyage back from NOLA.
Here’s more of the fearless crew pre-, during and post-races:
This post is Part 1 in a three-part series on “New Orleans: The Good, The Bad and The Spicy.”
Read Part 2: New Orleans, Just Like I Pictured It?
I could write a post about the wrought iron terraces or the homes with three different styles of columns dating back to the 1800’s that I saw along St. Charles Ave. on my trip to New Orleans (NOLA) last week. I could tell you about the astonishingly good jazz heard while roaming the streets of the French Quarter by day or the mayhem on Bourbon Street after dark. But what struck me most about New Orleans on my first visit here was not the expected, but what lurks beneath the brassy surface of this party town firstly defined by Mardi Gras and Hurricane cocktails, then sadly by an act of nature with a pretty girl’s name, and now by….well…I think that’s where the interesting part lies.
As I sit here in my studio apartment sipping a cleansing spinach drink trying to detox my body from all of the salt, spice, fat and alcohol I consumed in NOLA, I’m struck by the similarities of this place to a few others I’ve seen, and yet there is no place exactly like it, as the locals will be sure to tell you. NOLA is filled with characters from all walks of life brought together by music, merriment and the need to get lost in something. But unlike Las Vegas and Amsterdam, two other cities known in part for their decadence, NOLA puts everyone on the same ground, albeit one that’s below sea level. I’m guessing Hurricane Katrina did much to further the divide between the haves and the have nots, but it seems they occasionally come together and ignore each other in the heart of it all—the French Quarter.
Amidst the pastel-shaded homes with bougainvillea-strewn porches they’re there—the people that everyone notices but no one acknowledges. Those that have sunk so low, that when you’ve all but given up, you can lose it in drink, music, crime, even voodoo. The guide books allude to it in careful language (there are nine instances of safety cautions in the 2013 Fodor’s New Orleans book) like this:
“Much of the post-Katrina media coverage has focused on New Orleans’s escalating crime rate. Sadly, this isn’t just sensationalism—gangs operate in the city’s underpopulated neighborhoods, there’s a growing homelessness problem, the murder rate is among the highest in the nation, and armed robberies occur all too frequently. These grim statistics should not dissuade you from visiting, but you need to exercise caution if you venture outside the well-touristed areas—especially at night.” Not dissuade you from visiting? Sounds like one of those commercials for pharmaceuticals that give you all the warnings at the end but then say, “buy the pill!”
As I strolled the French Quarter by day (read on for more about Bourbon Street at night) it was easy to strike up conversations with other tourists as we waited in line for café au lait and beignets (NOLA’s version of fried dough with powdered sugar). Any guide book on NOLA will steer you to Café du Monde for these, but frankly, the experience itself was more exciting than the powdery sweet snack and very milky coffee. The takeout line in back has neat little bundles of three beignets prepackaged and ready to hand out. Listening to the trumpet player give it his all as he serenaded those on the long line for a table was worth the stop here for sure. (More about the music of NOLA in my post Cajun vs. Creole: Who Cares?).
First stop - cafe au lait and beignets
Go Dizzy Go!
A friend of mine who’s from there (Mrs. B from my “Four Men and a Lady and a Sailboat” post) took me on a drive-by tour of the Garden District and St. Charles Ave., where the stately homes were decked out in their Halloween finest. New Orleans is a bit of a creepy town all the time, the perfect place to be this time of year!
I am no expert from my four days there but it seems to me that, for some, Katrina stripped every last hope and semblance of decency from this already gritty and lopsided town. It started with the cab driver who told me he lost his home to Katrina, was living in a trailer, and was forced by the city to install a credit card machine in his cab, but that it wasn’t working and he hasn’t seen any money from it in two weeks. Nor does he expect to, that’s the way it goes down there. But this isn’t a third world country, this is America! I thought as I handed him a 30% tip for my ride, paid in cash. (I know, I’m a sucker.)
A woman at the yacht club (I was there for the 2013 Rhodes 19 National Championship at the Southern Yacht Club) spoke of people who were never found after Katrina and for some reason I didn’t think she was talking about being washed out to sea. People went bonkers. The have nots revolted against the haves as best they could and I have a feeling they’re still not done yet.
"Relax…it’s just sex."
I really wanted to visit Bourbon Street, although I was told don’t go there alone and it’s ultra-touristy. Still, I had to see it and of course, I went alone! In the daylight, that is. It was alive with mild decadence around 5pm but mostly just looked like a really fun place for Happy Hour. So I stopped into the revolving Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone where I met a lot of fun people as I sipped my first and only Hurricane. This one didn’t have six plus liquors like the original, just one light rum and one dark rum, which was just fine with me.
My friends and I met up for dinner at Galatoire’s on Bourbon Street, probably the finest and best restaurant in NOLA for classic, familial French dining. We had lemon fish, fried oysters, trout, redfish and lots of crabmeat. Best seafood meal I ever had, thanks Mrs. B.
Potatoes souffle with Bearnaise sauce…yum
Crabmeat with that Cajun mustard. Oh my.
Before the separation!
It wasn’t until after dinner that I got a small taste of the underbelly of Bourbon Street. Actually we were off Bourbon Street trying to find our car (duh!) when somehow our group disbanded one by one. At one point it was just me and one other from our group of five, and I suggested going to look for our other friends in the bathroom of a bar, when he said adamantly, clutching my arms, “Don’t leave, whatever you do, we need to stay together.” Snippets of The Hangover movie swirled in my head and I knew he was right. Cell phones not charged (mine) or not being carried (missing friend). Okay, deep breath. Finally, we all managed to reunite and, most importantly, find the car. (One had taken a cab back, one had a bathroom emergency and one was just being jolly at the random bars.)
I changed my mind about having to see to Bourbon Street when a guy we met at one of the hotels during our search for the others alluded to the “unspeakable” about NOLA. He said he knew of a friend of a friend who went to a bachelor party somewhere on Bourbon Street and disappeared. When his family came to town to find him, he turned up at the morgue, naked, with no identification. Why is it that this nation followed the search for Natalie Holloway for months in Aruba and this guy gets no attention when he vanishes right here in our own country? Perhaps because it’s not an unusual occurrence? The guidebook didn’t specify that the city ranked fifth for the Most Dangerous Cities in the U.S., second only to Detroit and Flint, MI for the number of murders committed. I started to feel the underbelly of NOLA in my craw, the place most tourists never see or hear about and those that do for one reason or another seldom speak about.
If I had to guess I would say the divisiveness of this city—the stately homes, devil may care attitude, fun loving culture of the rich and touristy contrasted with the abject poverty of the poor—is so stark that Katrina gave the have nots an excuse to rise up, but not in the way Bruce Springsteen sang about after 9/11. I’m guessing they rose up in hopelessness, in anger and in resignation, the incredible frustration of feeling forgotten.
If I’ve gotten it wrong or offended anyone from there, my apologies. Like the guidebooks, I don’t mean to discourage anyone from going, but to stay in the flowery French Quarter or Garden District and wander the cobble-stoned streets in search of music and food. But to pretend this is the whole of New Orleans only tells half the story. Maybe less than half.
This town certainly needs all the help it can get financially and I found myself tipping generously as if to say, sorry for what you’ve been through. But what is the real reason we travel, after all? Is it to get lost in the unreal or to see how others live outside our comfortable daily existences? In NOLA you can do both. Just be sure you tell someone where you’re going.
This post is Part 2 of a three-part series on “New Orleans: The Good, The Bad and The Spicy.”
One of the questions I set out to answer during my exploration of New Orleans (NOLA) last week was: What is the difference between Cajun and Creole? More specifically what do the terms Creole or Cajun describe and how does it all relate to Haiti—another dichotomy of a place devastated by natural events and one I have visited and returned from with more questions than answers. (See more on my trip to Haiti here).
Here’s what I gathered:
Creole is a language. Louisiana Creole French is what they speak in NOLA; Haitian Creole is French-based and the official language of Haiti. There are lots of other Creole-based languages spoken as far and wide as Africa, Indonesia and Hawaii.
Creole is a people. There are Louisiana Creole people; as early as the 1700’s this referred to people born in Louisiana, typically descended from the French and Spanish. Similarly, Haitian Creoles are largely descended from the French colonists and African slaves who inhabited the island of Hispanola (Haiti to the west, Dominican Republic to the east). Then you’ve got your assorted Creoles in Africa, Hawaii, the Caribbean, etc.
Creole is a cuisine and so is Cajun. Now, Cajun people are those who came from Canada (Acadian refugees, who knew?) and their cuisine originates from their native northern land but is adapted for local ingredients found in Louisiana. Creoles came from Europe and their cooking blends many European influences (French, Spanish, Portugese, Italian) with Southern cuisine. Both Cajun and Creole cuisines are centered around the “holy trinity” of onions, peppers and celery, or in some cases, garlic. The traditional dishes of gumbo, etouffee, and jambalaya all start with this base and are pretty much considered both Creole and Cajun. Now, does that explain it? I didn’t think so. I told you I came back with more questions than answers.
Chargrilled oysters at Drago’s - that’s the way I like ‘em - cooked!
If you ask me, it’s all the same thing but I am neither a Creole nor a Cajun, nor an Acadian, although I did visit Acadia National Park in Maine this summer and now I know where the name comes from. (See more on my trip to Maine here.)
To further complicate matters, Zydeco is a form of Louisiana Creole folk music, not Cajun.
In NOLA, musicians aren’t picky about where they play; they just need to play. It seems to be a form of release for them; they all have this very soulful look on their faces, as if not doing it for the tips, but for the joy and perhaps an escape? Whatever drives these artists, they sure bring a lot of joy to the tourists when they claim their spot on Decatur or Royal Streets to express themselves, or…
on the banks of the mighty Mississippi…
in the French Market…
outside Jackson Square…
and of course on the streets…
While music is the main form of expression, you can also find another type of artist doing their thing on the streets…
Other thoughts of Haiti crossed my mind last week—not just the Creole/Cajun conundrum, soulful music, food (fried everything), but the Tale of Two Haitis I wrote about was also evident in NOLA. I hopped on a streetcar naively thinking all the streetcars would whistle like Desire on its way to Stanley and Stella’s house in the French Quarter, only to realize I was dead alone somewhere in the rest of it with views of boarded up homes that no one was caring about likely still left after Katrina.
I was on a streetcar but it didn’t have a pretty name. I wasn’t with tourists, but with folks on their way to and from their jobs, if they even had jobs. I knew I had to get off but wanted to be safe (nine safety warnings in the guidebook!). I didn’t want to stand alone out there waiting for the next streetcar back: it could take twenty minutes. Since I had arrived, everyone and everything from the guidebook to the woman at the yacht club’s ship store had warned me about being careful: Stay on the main streets, do NOT wander off. They all knew something they didn’t want to tell me, something too dangerous to tell, as though by some kind of pact.
I finally did get off the streetcar, turned myself around and grabbed these shots of the locals and environs:
The thing about Haiti in contrast to NOLA is: the have nots far outnumber the haves and with that comes less temptation, less throwing it in their faces what they don’t have. The poorest people we saw in Haiti were in some strange way also the happiest, the most grateful for our support. In NOLA, they’re infused among a large, commercial touristy show of a place. We tourists pretend we don’t see them lumbering about, swaying from side to side, drunk, mentally ill? Or just hardened, gritty and worn?
See more about the two sides of NOLA in my post, New Orleans: Just Like I Pictured It?
Cristin Milioti in How I Met Your Mother - A Hit!
So I finally caved and bought a flat screen TV. An early adopter I have never been; I only recently upgraded to the iPhone 4S. (I guess the “S” is for Siri?) But once I get used to a new form of technology I always wonder how I ever lived without it. And now that I have the beautiful black 32” screen as the focal point of my studio apartment, I figured I’d better watch something besides Bill Maher and reruns of Absolutely Fabulous on LOGO. So I started checking out the new shows on CBS, here are my hits and misses for premiere week 2013:
HIT – How I Met Your Mother
"Robin" with "Julianne Hough in Safe Haven.
I have floated in and out of this show over its eight year run, liking it very much at the beginning and then souring a bit when Robin (Cobie Smulders) and Ted (Josh Radnor) broke up. What kind of a name is Cobie Smulders anway? Is she really Canadian? I was never a big fan of Ms. Smulders until I saw her in the movie version of the Nicholas Sparks novel, Safe Haven. She played the mysterious “Jo” and since she made me forget about how much I don’t like her in HIMYM, I figure she’s a pretty good actress. Yes, she can play the lead in the movie adaptation of my novel, no prob.
I’m guessing Neil would probably like to put his past behind him, but he really shouldn’t. How cute?
So the first two seasons of HIMYM had us wondering if Robin would turn out to be The Mother and that was mildly engaging until she started going out with Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) in a role that shot him to super-stardom after Doogie Howser shot him to stardom). I still can’t get around the Robin/Barney thing, but who cares, the show is about Ted’s wife, his kids’ mother, as in How He Met That Woman. And this season, we finally find out who she and how he met her. And guess what? I love her!
On the train to “Farhampton.” Great town!
Kudos to the casting department because this chick is perfect. Cristin Milioti, formerly of the Broadway show, Once, plays The Mother, and from the first minute she talks to Lily (on the LIRR out to the newest and most distant of the Hamptons, Farhampton) she’s totally enrapturing. Her repartee with Lily (Alyson Hannigan) is spot on, it feels as though she fully belongs with this chatty cast and she is so pretty to look at. Casting may be everything for How I Met Your Mother this year, not so with some other CBS sitcoms, unfortunately.
MISS – Two and a Half Men
Speaking of casting, Two and a Half Men should have taken a lesson from HIMYM when it comes to the new make-or-break character for this season. I love the idea of the now deceased Charlie (Charlie Sheen’s character if you didn’t know) having a grown daughter who is just like her dad except that she’s gay. (My guess is she’ll actually turn out to be bi, leaving the field open for more creative exploratory like bringing a few interesting dudes home or getting it on with Ashton Kutcher's Walden, but it's not like I'm a comedy writer or anything.) This is a hysterical premise and the producers know they don’t have to worry about traipsing all over the memory of poor Charlie Harper because everyone knows that Charlie is alive and well in his L.A. McMansion with his two latest “goddesses” and somewhat repentant for his slide into oblivion in 2011.
Still rooting for you Charlie!
I’m not really buying Amber Tamblyn in this role (though I loved her as one of the awesome pairs of legs in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants). I just wish they would have pulled someone more Charlie-like from the land of L.A. actresses, someone who could make me really believe she shares the same DNA with the most lovable playboy on television (until he turned out to be the most despicable playboy in real life.) Plus, maybe it was the wardrobe, but she looked, um, a little big, and that also doesn’t make a lot of sense for the offspring of the lean and mean (and angry) Charlie Sheen.
HIT – The Big Bang Theory
Let’s face it: this show should just be called “The Jim Parsons Show.” Everyone loves him. The Academy loves him (or whoever it is that gives out the Emmys). He must even love himself. It doesn’t matter that he sounds exactly like Sheldon in real life, his character (and its writers) can seemingly find a way to make this one-note storyline go on forever. We love you Sheldon, don’t ever change.
Also a hit this year on Big Bang are the ever-solid mainstays Raj (Kunal Nayar) and Howard (Simon Helberg) who must have had a hilarious time touching each other’s nipples in a scene that I don’t know how they pulled off with a straight face.
NEW HIT – The Crazy Ones
Not the best title they could have come up with but I thoroughly enjoyed Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar as a father/daughter advertising team in this new entry to the CBS primetime lineup. But then again, I love most shows having to do with advertising (case in point Mad Men and the never-really-made-it Trust Me with Erik McCormack on TNT) as long as they tap into the huge potential the industry offers for entertainment, as The Crazy Ones seems to do. The best part of this show (although nailing Kelly Clarkson to play herself singing an updated version of “You Deserve a Break Today” for McDonalds was up there), is the hunk James Wolk, my new favorite actor who plays the resident creative stud they bring in whenever they have to charm a client.
Newest primetime dreamboat - James Wolk. Sigh.
He’s even more charming than his role as Bob the account guy in Mad Men, because he just looks so much better in this decade. The scene in which he romps with Robin Williams in an effort to combine their powers of persuasion to convince Ms. Clarkson to participate in a commercial and thereby save the account and their company, had to be completely improvised. In fact, I’m betting the outtakes from this show become even bigger hit than the show itself. For Mr. Wolk to keep up with the still-all-over-the-place-but-reigned-in-with-age Mr. Williams, as he did in the premiere, will set him up to be a fine comedic actor as well as just plain fine. I look forward to more repartee between them.
Rob and “Bob” - what a pair.
(Read my post about James Wolk as Bob on Mad Men)
What I Missed but Hope to Catch Up On:
NOT SURE IF IT’S A HIT: MOM
Allison and Anna
I have no idea how good it is but I have to check out the new sitcom, Mom, if for no other reason than I think Anna Faris is really talented and I can’t get over how good Allison Janney looks. As a woman of a certain age I just need to support her makeover by watching this show. Go Allison!
Any other HITS or MISSES that I may have missed last week?
New movie. New web site. New art exhibit. All good reasons for a launch party. But new tables? Yes, new tables.
Last night marked the official launch of Bahia Style, a new line of, well, tables, from the Franco-American entrepreneur and designer, Bahia de Montarlot. The line at launch consists of six coffee tables— all “French inspired, made in Brooklyn”—but if last night’s reception is any indication, the furniture world better make room for some more champagne, because there is a lot to celebrate from this new mademoiselle on the scene.
Bahia with hostess Kevin Darling at the entrance to YellowKorner gallery in SoHo.
Why? (Or as I call it, Question Mark)
“Questions are sometimes more interesting than answers. So question everything. Why? What? How?” And my favorite, “Huh?”
Hash Tag (Nothing to do with pot)
“This table represents instant communication to the world. Say what you want, when you want, fearlessly and with confidence.” On second thought, maybe it does have to do with pot.
Hey (Nothing to do with Fonzie)
“‘Hey’ is a friendly greeting. We at Bahia Style like to say ‘Heyyy’ for emphasis. Hey world. Hey cat.” (Bahia has a cat so I think she means that literally). “Hey neighbor. Hey you.”
Love (Or as I call it, Heart)
“Love yourself. Love what you do. Love others. That simple.” (Heart them too).
What’s most interesting about Bahia’s designs, though, from what I could see last night, is not what she says about them, but what other say. Everyone has their own interpretation, their own personal favorites, for their own reasons. We captured some of these reactions on video and will post them here soon. For now, here are some highlights of this memorable evening at YellowKorner gallery in SoHo, complete with a red carpet, cool people and of course, French champagne.
The scene inside…
The scene outside…complete with red carpet.
Miley Cyrus twerking, eh, seving hors d’oeuvres?
Tony Bennett? Nah, it’s Bahia’s handsome dad!
Cameron Diaz? Okay, I’ll stop now.
Me and beautiful Bahia.
The “roving reporter” is interviewed.
Marge Simpson gone gray? No, it’s me and hostess Kevin Darling. Like Kevin says, events are much chicer when you have a drag queen at the door.
When Mr./Ms. Darling said s/he had to pee, I asked which bathroom s/he uses. S/he said, “whichever one I feel like.” That must come in handy at Broadway shows.
Bahia making the rounds with style.
Hot men for Bahia Style…butofcourse.
Watch video of the event highlights at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FkSe-z-UEE