Over beverages late Sunday night, Milton and I agreed that the toughest aspect of a lovely three-day weekend is Day Four, returning to the grind – what we did on Monday as I write this on Tuesday, technically Day Five.
My friend’s weekend started a tad more sophisticated than mine. Last Friday he scored a free ticket to the Metropolitan Opera’s new critically and now Milton-acclaimed six-hour production of Wagner’s “Walküre.” Milton was so thrilled with this second installment in the staging of the complete “Ring” cycle, he completely forgot that he was ravenous until it was over. Afterward, still donning the Brünnhilde garb he keeps in his closet for super-special events like this, he salted the side of a building and devoured it in one swallow.
While Milton was watching warrior maidens cry, “Hojotoho,” I joined my colleagues, Ling, her bf, Lowell, and The Quiet Man, at Wicked Willy’s, a pirate-themed bar, to watch my sidekick, Greg, alternately play saxophone, bass clarinet, and clarinet with his still-yet-to-be-named three piece band.
Hanging out in college bars on a Friday night usually does not make my to-do list, but Greg promised me that he would not wear a pirate hat, so how could I resist hearing him play? Check him out!
On stage, Greg was in his bliss, and afterward, he remained rather exhilarated too.
On Saturday, Milton and I attended together — with six of our favorite people – Ling, Lowell, Albee, Lola, Miguel, and our terrific fellow blogger, Enchilada, Young Jean Lee’s show called We’re Gonna Die at Joe’s Pub. This provocative and incite-filled playwright commands the stage and delivers humor-inflected tales about what makes the neurotic life worth living — self-loathing, rejection, humiliation, alienation, loss and death. What’s not to like on that play list?
These downer themes are interspersed with pop songs she’s written played by her band Future Wife. What should be an evening that makes you want to leave and immediately stick your head in the oven, actually closes with enthusiastic audience participation. We joyously chanted, “We’re gonna die, we’re gonna, die, we’re gonna die and it’ll be alright!” After we left, we felt so high, Lola declared:
Lola: I feel like dancing!
So we went dancing … After doing a crowd-clearing move I taught myself called the Head Through the Windshield Bossa Nova, I shifted gears and went taping. The video embedded below is ridiculously dark, but an image is there for those with fine-tuned imaginations that are willing to look very hard.
We’re Gonna Die plays three more performances at Joe’s Pub April 29 and 30.
Sunday night, Milton and I had 99-cent-seat tickets to see the staging of Born Bad at SoHo Rep, a fifty-five minute production about a dysfunctional family written by Debbie Tucker Green, who won the Olivier award for best new playwright for this work in 2003. The ensemble cast is terrific and Leah C. Gardiner’s direction is inspired. The play is not a conventional narrative, but vignettes illustrating the deep and disturbing divisions in a West Indies family, presumably living in the UK, where this black British playwright is from. Much of the language is rhythmic and repetitive as characters beat each other almost senseless with their opposing recollections, opinions, and anger. Basically, people choose to believe what they want to believe. Milton was enraptured from start to finish. For me, I nodded off a time or two or twelve in the middle, and briefly dreamt about Mr. Ed – who definitely never appeared on stage in horse-form or dialogue. Yet, it did completely regain my attention again in the last third and the ending was powerful. Born Bad has been extended through May 7.