Tag Archives: atlantic theater company

Lame Adventure 364: Favorite 4-letter F-word

Yes, that word is indeed free. The one that rhymes with luck is a close second. This is a Lame Adventure that touches on both, free and luck, but first some roundabout way of getting to where we’re going.

The current issue of Time Out New York is emblazoned with a headline screaming: WHY NYC IS THE GREATEST CITY IN THE WORLD. There were three sub-headings, too: Best sex shops, Subway film series, and Splashy new seafood. Clearly New York City has it all from sex to film to fish.

Great story about the greatest city.

Great story about the greatest city.

The magazine lists 50 facts proving New York City’s superiority ranging from the iconic skyline, to bars that are open until 4 am, to bodega cats. One of my favorite city factoids is “Because New Yorkers live longer than almost anyone else”.  Apparently the third oldest person in the country is a New Yorker, 113-year-old Susannah Mushatt Jones.  TONY thinks that a factor in the average New York City resident living two years longer than the national average is that the residents here “walk more than other Americans and eat fewer trans fats …”

I was recently walking down West 20th Street in Chelsea en route to volunteer usher an off-Broadway play staged at the Atlantic Theater Company, The Lying Lesson, written by playwright Craig Lucas.  In this drama, Carol Kane plays screen legend Bette Davis circa 1981. She travels to a coastal town in Maine for the dual purpose of purchasing a house and to reconnect with a flame from her youth. There are some spot on moments when she rails bitterly about her dead rivals, Joan Crawford and Miriam Hopkins.  Carol Kane captures the essence of Davis. It officially opens Wednesday, so that’s when the critics will weigh in.

Bette David eyes or Carol Kane eyes on poster?

Bette Davis eyes or Carol Kane eyes on poster?

As I was a block away from the theater, I heard an unseen woman exuberantly scream out the window of an apartment building:

Unseen Woman: I’m in love! I’m in love! I’m in love!

Next, I heard an unseen man scream, with a degree of exuberance to complement the woman’s:

Unseen Man (screaming): Yeah!

I resisted chiming in:

Me: I’m in turmoil! I’m in turmoil! I’m in turmoil!

Actually, I was rather charmed by the mystery woman’s declaration, but I wondered if the man was the woman’s source of joy or just a guy that heard her and was infected with her happiness?

When I checked in at the theater I met my co-usher; a pleasant woman around my own age who was wearing very cool glasses. We did not have to stuff Playbills, so we had time to kill before the house opened. My co-usher observed:

Co-usher: When I first saw you, I thought you were Fran Lebowitz.

I hear that occasionally, even though Fran is almost a decade older than me, makes piles of money, and is a very heavy smoker, so heavy that she advocates for smokers’ rights.  In comparison I am a pauper and such a dedicated non-smoker, I hate it when I have to walk behind a smoker on the street, even if that smoker is a sardonic wit who’s been compared to Dorothy Parker.  My co-usher, in an effort to play up her powers of lookalike observation added:

Co-usher: On the way here I saw someone that looked just like Johnny Mathis.

Me: Maybe it was Johnny Mathis?

Co-usher: It was a woman.

After the gig I was once again walking on West 20th Street en route to the subway train uptown.  There was no more yelling from the rafters about being in love, but I was now feeling pretty good since I enjoy seeing theater for free, something else that I think is terrific about living in New York City.  Fortunately, for my continued longevity, I had the capacity to resist blurting at the top of my lungs:

Me: I’m a volunteer usher! I’m a volunteer usher! I’m a volunteer usher!

Screaming that might get me smacked in the kisser with an airborne can of kitchen cleanser. The dense powdery kind. Then I looked down on the sidewalk, and I did have a very pleasant surprise; I saw a crumpled ten-dollar bill.

Actual crumpled ten bucks photographed later.

Same crumpled ten bucks photographed later.

No one that could have owned it was around, so I pocketed it.

With a spring in my step I entered the 18th Street subway station ten clams heavier only to see the electronic message board announce that all uptown local trains were running with delays.  Immediately, my world reverted to normal. I had the opportunity to use my second favorite 4-letter F-word. The one that rhymes with luck.

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Lame Adventure 56: Sneezing Numbers for May

Last month I had my birthday.  It was an ordinary one, not the crisis kind that reminds me that, thus far, I’ve essentially misspent my entire life from cradle to (as I inch closer) ash.  Besides, I can think that thought any day of the week, especially when I ponder how overseeing tile labeling is my current <cough> get rich slow career.

On my birthday proper, May 4th, when my UK-bound colleague, Elaine, set foot in the office at 8:54 am, I sneezed twice with hurricane force and had a light bulb.  I thought, “I wonder how many times I’m going to sneeze this entire year until my next birthday?” I also happened to have a small spiral bound memo book in my satchel, a perfect notebook to start jotting daily sneezing notes.  I call it My Book of Sneeze.

My Book of Sneeze

I also considered writing a second blog, one entirely devoted to nothing but my sneezing.  Before setting that one up, I ran this idea by Milton who opined in a voice that sounded very similar to someone who had just been force fed a tennis ball courtesy of Serena Williams following a bad call.  My close confidant gagged, “Please don’t. You don’t want to know the kind of person that would follow something like that.”  Next, I suggested just summing up my entire month of sneezing in a single post here and that met his seal of approval, followed with this reflection, “I can’t believe you’re really going to count all your sneezes for an entire year.  That’s fuckin’ crazy.”  One man’s crazy is one woman’s blog post.

My sneezing highlights and statistics for the month of May from the 4th through the 31st are as follows:

May 4th – birthday: 7 sneezes; two scoring solid 5’s on the sneeze-o-meter with 1 being a suppressed sneeze that explodes inside one’s head and 5 being delivered with such velocity that children and pets (including fish) hide.

Monday May 17th – high count sneeze day: 8 (2 at work; 6 at home).

Home: 44 sneezes

Work: 25 sneezes

Other (walking on street, while visiting friends, in a store, etc.): 14 sneezes

Subway: 4 sneezes

Volunteer Ushering (Gabriel at Atlantic Theater Company): 1 sneeze

No sneeze days: 4

Overall, I sneezed a total of 88 times during those 28 days in May for an average of 3.1428571 sneezes per day.  Onto June!

I suspect that the power of suggestion from this woman's daisy decorated headpiece, whether artificial or real, is what prompted me to sneeze twice while observing her sit opposite Marina Abramovic at MOMA on Monday, May 31st.