Saturday, March 26, 2011

I Moved My Blog

It's official.  I'm leaving Blogger behind and moving the blog to Wordpress.  Check out the new digs at

See you there!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Why I Will Never Use the Basement Laundry Again

Tonight was going to be just any other night, coming home, doing the laundry, going to bed.  So far, so good.

I had just finished washing my clothes and had one load in a dryer, waiting on one of the other three to become available.  Another tenant arrived and removed his clothes with 18 minutes left on his machine.  He told me he was done and I could finish off the time remaining if I'd like.  "Thank you!" I said and loaded my clothes into the dryer.  Even if I had to add time after the initial 18 minutes passed it was worth it to get a head start on finishing this chore.

He took his dry clothes and left and after no more than two or three minutes a woman entered, marched to the dryer that I had been gifted and then turned to me, finger pointing at the dryer, screaming that I had stolen her dryer. I explained that the gentlemen before me had finished and allowed me to us the remainder of time that he had on it.  She continued screaming, flailing her arms wildly, and repeating that I had stolen her dryer time.  In her yelling she said that she had added quarters for the machine beneath the one I was using and that it was broken and that the one I was in was somehow using her quarters.  I tried to explain that it would only do that if she pressed the start button on the active dryer and that I was only using what was left of the previous user's time.

She launched into a full verbal shriek, threatening to beat me.  She marched up to me, got in my face, and screamed that if I didn't take my clothes out of that dryer right then she would "kick ass".  I backed away from her, at this point nearly pinned up against one of the folding tables.  I managed to slip away and began to hastily remove my clothes for fear that she would actually fulfill her threat and turn physical.  Once I had removed my clothes and put them into a rolling bin I turned to see her run toward me, trying to shove her groin at me, screaming at me to "get in there" and pointing to her crotch.

I asked her to stop, explained that if she did come closer I would call the police.  "Call the police!  I'm from this neighborhood."  Not sure what that could mean I decided to leave the laundry area and find the superintendent.  I walked through the basement to his apartment and knocked repeatedly on his door.  I was shaken by the incident and incredibly afraid that she was insane and would snap even further if I didn't get help.  But he did not answer his door.  At this point I just wanted to get my belongings.  I was frightened for myself but also worried about what she might do to my wet clothes so I returned to the laundry area to watch them.

My first load was drying so I took a seat and tried to ignore her.  She continued to try and egg on a fight which I simply ignored.  At this point she remained on the opposite side of the room staring me down.  From her seat she still continued to yell at me so I decided to step away to where I could get cell phone reception and and call the realtor's office to see if I could get any assistance.  The office was closed but I left a voicemail message on their legal departments answering service.

I was afraid to stay but afraid to leave my clothes behind.  I stayed, but kept my distance and focused on my dryer, watching the timer tick away.  After some time she stepped out, "If you need me the super knows which apartment is mine."  She said this calmly, but sternly, as though an entirely new personality had just arrived.  She walked away and I waited a few minutes until I heard the elevator open, her step in, and it closed.

At this point I grabbed my belongings, dry AND wet, threw them into my rolling cart and hurried back to my apartment.

I also sent a detailed email to the agent assigned to my rental account at the realtor's office.  I thought it was important that someone in their office know about this incident in the event that something else happens in the future.

As it is, I'm not going to be going back to the building's laundry room.  I'll take my clothes to a public laundromat or pay the extra cost to drop it off for wash and fold service somewhere.

The moral of this story: If you happen to live here and someone goes completely insane on you grab your dripping duds and get the hell out before they completely snap and you become a headline in the Post.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Angels in America - An Emotional and Challenging Revival

Sofia Jean Gomez and Michael Urie
Photo by Joan Marcusk
I didn't have the privilege of seeing Tony Kushner's Angels in America when it was first produced on Broadway.  Friends had gushed about the production telling me how tragic it was that I didn't have the opportunity to come to NYC and drink in the poetry and majesty of it all.  It wasn't until years later when HBO produced the film version that I became familiar with the story of Prior, Louis, Belize and the Pitts.

But I instantly loved it.  It wasn't an easy love.  The story is hard, emotionally.  I find myself wanting to squeeze Prior and tell him its OK.  To warn him that Louis is going to hurt him.  To keep him safe and help him through his sickness.  But also to not watch as the pain unravels and the ache of loneliness overwhelms him... and the others in the story.  To say that I'm thankful that I haven't lived through that torment is an understatement.  I can't imagine how I would handle it, much less survive, even after knowing very dear friends who have lived through the fear and agony.

And then, last night, I got to meet the story in person.

The Signature Theatre is currently running the fourth extension on their production.  This intimate 160-seat theater sets each audience member no further than 30 feet from the stage.  You might as well be in Prior's bedroom, watching silently as the drama unfolds... and you'd be thankful for the opportunity.

It is incredibly hard to express exactly how I feel about the show.  I'm not sure why.  This is true of the show on the whole as well as for the characters... in particular Prior.  Michael Urie (Ugly Betty, The Temperamentals) is an epic Prior... both funny and sad, hopeful and hopeless, dreaming and awake and I suppose this is what makes expressing my feelings for him so difficult.  The character is a paradox in form and feeling and I feel as juxtaposed about him as he seems to feel but at the same time ache deeply for him to get better, to find love, to find peace.  The others are equally as stunning, particularly Billy Porter who is a generous and caring Belize.  He's exactly the person you want fighting for you when you are desperately in need.

I find myself lost for words in describing the effect that this production had on me.  I want to talk about it, have a dialog, work through issues... and yet I can't find my voice.  At the risk of running on and rambling nonsensically I'll simply suggest you go see it before it ends on April 24th.  Then let's talk... face to face.

Friday, February 18, 2011

How We Got Cable -or- The Cat Came Back & Other Old School Nickelodeon Greats

I was so excited when we finally got cable.  I had begged and begged my mother to get cable because, as a child of the 80s, cable signified something special.  Your house was suddenly the house other kids wanted to hang out at after school because you had channels they only dreamed of.  I really wanted Nickelodeon and Disney Channel (née The Disney Channel... before they dropped the "the").  Those channels enticed me more than MTV because they had things I could envision myself doing, be that Double Dare or The Mickey Mouse Club, whereas MTV was all about big hair, acid washed denim and loud music... none of which I was into... ok, maybe the acid washed denim.

But even after all my persistent pestering my mother still refused, "We don't need cable."  But Mom!!!!!!

That is until one day when I came home from school and she was on the phone, "Yes, no, tomorrow is fine.  Thank you."  Click.

"Who was that?" I asked... nosy.

"Did you know," she started, and then choked up a little.  She was suddenly very excited.  "Did you know that The Monkees are on cable?"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Subway Moments: The Mumbly Guy and the Zombie Apocalypse

My commute this morning was longer than the usual 25 minute ride due to some malfunction between 72nd and 59th Streets. So for 20 minutes we sat there waiting in the darkened tunnel for something, anything, to happen. Most of this time I spent reading Kathy Griffin's book but part of my mind was paying attention to the mumbly man sitting next to me.

Since 168th Street he had been sitting next to me quietly talking to himself and seemingly very engaged in some sort of argument with one of, what could have been, many voices in his head. He'd fidget back and forth, his dirty North Face coat bumping me slightly as his disagreement continued on unintelligibly.

The only five words that I was able to ascertain from his garbled diatribe were:
  1. subway
  2. vibrations
  3. happy
  4. zombie
  5. apocalypse
The first three seemed to go together, which is disconcerting enough and might explain his squirming back and forth. The last two were said together and seemed to instill him with abject fear... which got me to thinking:
If a zombie apocalypse were to happen I would definitely not want to be stuck underground in a subway car!
Let's imagine for a moment that you are trapped in a subway car, deep inside a tunnel, the power has probably gone out because, for whatever reason, zombies seem to be able to cut the power whenever they appear in movies. So it is dark, your surrounded by other people who are going to panic, and the doors are probably locked shut since there's no power to crank them open again.

Now, let's say a zombie gets on the train and, in the ensuing chaos, bites someone. This is going to happen... it's just too likely that someone is going to be idiotic enough to get caught by one of these slowly moving monstrosities (I'm assuming of course that the zombies will be like those in a Roger Corman film and not the super-sonic runners in modern takes like 28 Days Later).

As Hollywood has taught us, being bitten by a zombie is a sure way to become a zombie yourself. So now there are two zombies. And those two zombies will bite people as they crawl through the car and eventually make their way through this horrifying smörgåsbord to you.

Rationally, if a zombie got in the car you could get out. They aren't smart enough (in theory) to unlock a door, open it and lock it behind them, so in theory you could leave the same way they got in. But that's assuming you could get past them. But even if you got out of the car you'd then be in a dark tunnel and have no sense of who might be right next to you. There's very little light down there when a train isn't barreling through the passage so it is quite possible that millions of zombies have fallen down into the tracks and are ready to devour you. Unless you have some super-human skills or are as clever scripted as the Hollywood action hero... you're probably going to be either a zombie or zombie food if you're stuck in the tunnel.

All of this ridiculous worry rushed through my head in a matter of seconds and all because of the mumbly man next to me who spoke, albeit briefly and incoherently, about a zombie apocalypse while I was riding the subway with him. This might be a form of hypochondria so that I took on some of his "crazy" as another person might assume they had a cold because the person next to them sneezed.

So here's hoping we avoid a zombie apocalypse completely... and if we do someday I pray I'm not on the train. Just seems like a bad idea all over.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Baring it all in NYC

Yesterday, while walking back from a quick trip to the 34th Street Duane Reade, my friend Ginger and I were witness to something I didn't think occurred in New York City any longer.  Sure, back in the 70s and even up into the early 90s, you might see sights like this on any street in Manhattan.  But the city has tamed itself as time has gone by and while there are still homeless people, questionable (if not downright criminal) street vendors (anyone want a Parada Purse or a Birking Bag?) running into this moment was completely unexpected.

On a day that was otherwise sallow and void of entertainment the Universe smiled down on us in the visage of a middle-aged woman in fur.  Her blonde hair was fried from years of over-treatment and the Farrah cut was clearly from a time gone by.  Her fur coat ran in brown and grey streaks to her ankles and her conservative black pumps clicked awkwardly across the icy sidewalk.  She walked briskly as though she was expected somewhere and seemed oblivious to the crowd around her... very New York of her.

But as she approached us, crossing the street toward us as we crossed toward her, a miracle of hilarity took place as a gust of wind whipped up and blew her fur coat open revealing the complete lack of armor underneath.  Two globulous orbs of middle-aged flesh exposed themselves, pointed and pert in the frigid air.  Stunned, Ginger and I stared.  Hours seemed to pass by in what was merely seconds and I found myself shaking my head "no, no, no" while Ginger flashed red and put her head to her chest to hide the laughter that was erupting from within. The bossomy miss gathered her coat together, not quickly as though from embarrassment but with consideration and care from the fact that she was cold and wanted to ensure that her chest be kept free from the icy chill.

"Did that...?" Ginger began.

"Yes, yes it did."  I replied.

"But..." Ginger tried again.

"I know."

"Let's just enjoy the moment." We agreed.

What had begun as a bleak and dreary Thursday had turned into a scrumptious feast of hilarity thanks to the button-less wonder.  So, here's to you Universe!  You know just how to turn a frown upside down... and it is all in the shared amusement of accidental exposure by two friends.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Pre"-rush Tickets for Broadway?

Most adventurous Broadway lovers are aware of rush ticket policies for many Broadway production. even keeps an up-to-date list of these available for people who have the flexibility to try again and again for tickets to their favorite shows.

A lot of rush policies are good day of meaning you buy the rush ticket an hour or two before the show (if you are one of the lucky people who waited in line). Usually these rush tickets are heavily discounted ($20 - $35 in most cases) and you take your chances as to whether you'll get into that particular performance.

But what if you could buy a "pre"-rush ticket even further in advance? Here me out...

What if you could pay a little bit more, say $40-50, weeks in advance but not for a particular day? Imagine it as a sort of "standby" ticket or pass (similar to a gift certificate). It guarantees that you have a ticket for that show some day but that day is up to you. You could call or visit the box office on the day you wish to attend and, pending availability, they would exchange your pass for the actual ticket. Done!

Benefits for you:
  1. Your ticket is paid for. You took care of that already. You don't have to stand in long lines and pray you'll get it.
  2. You still take your chances but your whole day doesn't hinge on whether you get in or not... it's done that morning.
Benefit for the show:
  1. They have your money. Granted, there are some accounting questions here. The show can't really count your purchase until you've received the goods in exchange but they could earn interest off of it... couldn't they?
  2. They can worry less about further discounting tickets day-of because they will have a group of committed consumers who will be happy to call or visit day of and exchange their slightly higher priced pass for a ticket to the show that day.
What happens if the show closes and you still have this pass? Well, it could happen. But if the show isn't considering your pass income until you've seen it (which they shouldn't) then the income could pass on to the show you do choose. For example, if you bought your "pre"-rush ticket at a Shubert box office it is conceivable that you could use it at another Shubert box office if your show closes. Or, worse case scenario, you get a refund.

I'm curious to know if you have any thoughts on this. Would you buy a "pre"-rush ticket/pass/standby voucher for a little more if it meant you didn't have to worry about rush day-of? Is this even necessary? Just throwing an idea out there to initiate a conversation. Share your thoughts!