Tag Archives: the public theater

Lame Adventure 189: Waiting for the World to End

As with most anyone with a degree of lucidity, I was very aware that Harold Camping, who my dear friend, Martini Max, refers to as “that mummified modern day Boris Karloff without Karloff’s charm,” predicted that the world was scheduled to come to an end this past Saturday at 6 pm EST.  This was one hour before Milton and I were going to the Public Theater to see the latest play written by Tony Kushner with the catchy title that’s almost as easy to recall as page 37 of BeowulfThe Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures.  Milton and I had been eagerly awaiting this play for at least two years.  We had purchased our fourth row dead center $20 tickets (Public Theater membership; an excellent deal) the second they went on sale last January 6.  Therefore, the timing of Judgment Day was incredibly inconvenient for us.  My sidekick, Greg, noted that the world’s end would start with a big rolling earthquake.

Greg (reasoning):  Even if it does happen, you might still be able to get your play in.

Greg raised a valid point considering the integrity of New York’s many dedicated thespians and this production was featuring some of the best, Michael Cristofer, Stephen Spinella and Steven Pasquale.  Anyone acting in a Tony Kushner play must be someone supremely devoted to the stage.  Kushner is one of the greatest living playwrights of his (coincidentally, Milton’s and my) generation.  If the world was destined to come to a grinding hellfire and brimstone halt at 6 pm, where should we be?  Milton emailed me:

Milton’s email: If the world is gonna end at six, that’s not when you’d want to be on the subway.

Excellent point.  Milton and I decided to meet at 5:30 at B Bar over on East 4th Street.  B Bar is also a short walk from the Public Theater, and an establishment that grants Public Theater members like us a 15% discount.  Even though the world could be checking out, why pay more?

Appropriately, this was the last ad I saw on my last subway ride – an N train, when I exited at 8th Street.

Reminder to heathens like me.

Here is the second to last ad I saw.

Head's up to sushi eaters like me.

I photographed it because I thought the goldfish’s implied use of a scatological term was inappropriate if I had a seven-year-old child.  Then, I recalled that I have never spawned and the only child in my life, my niece, Sweet Pea, is pushing seventeen.  If she doesn’t utter “shit” by now, that would worry me, and make me think we do not share blood.

Saturday was also a very humid day.  As I was waiting for Milton outside B Bar my hair was doing Full Bozo.  When he arrived he said:

Milton:  Your hair’s so wide today, from behind I thought you were a different person.

It’s capacity to expand that Saturday was actually more terrifying than the world ending.  Although I had originally intended to have my tresses colored and pruned that day, I never made the appointment, not due to the pending possibility of it being doomsday, but I want to look a little less lousy when my sister, Dovima, visits me in June.  My body may never be 30 again, but my hair can still pull off 20 after my colorist and stylist work their magic.

Once inside B Bar we were given a booth across from the toy trucks.

B Bar's wall of toy trucks.

This prompted Milton to reminisce about his long lost boyhood:

Milton:  Do those trucks bring back memories!  I got so many of them when all I wanted was Barbie.

Usually, I order a glass of wine with a meal, but with the planet on the verge of collapse, I decided to live large and order a Mojito.  Milton decided he’d have a Pear Mojito.  I grabbed the drink menu out of his paws and yammered enthusiastically:

Me:  What’s that?

I saw Milton’s Pear Mojito on the menu and added:

Me:  That sounds good.  I’ll have one, too.

Milton ordered our beverages.  A short while later, our waiter returned with what looked like Mimosas to us.

Mystery cocktails with Milton praying patiently in the background.

Milton:  What’s this we’re drinking?  It seems like a Mimosa.

Me:  I hope it doesn’t have any orange juice in it.  You know my gastroenterologist has forbidden me from drinking o.j. … But I suppose if the world’s about to end, what does it matter?

Milton:  I’d still like to know what the hell we’re drinking.

Me:  Let me handle this.

Milton:  Don’t ask the waiter.  He’ll think we’re idiots.  Hey you, “We don’t know what we’re drinking!”

Our waiter returned.

Me:  We’re not complaining about our drinks.  They’re fine, wonderful, we’re pleased.  We’d just like to see the drink menu again.

Waiter:  Certainly.

Our waiter hands me a drink menu.  I read it.

Me:  I’ll be damned!

Milton:  What does it say?

I hand the drink menu to Milton.

Me:  We’re drinking Pear Mimosas!

No Pear Mojitos here!

Milton:  What made you think we were ordering Pear Mojitos?

Me:  The power of your suggestion?

Then, my sister, Dovima, who resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, calls me on my cell phone.

Dovima:  It’s already tomorrow in parts of the world.  The rapture’s not happening today.  Enjoy your play.

And we did just that.

Lame Adventure 108: An Invitation from Suzan-Lori Parks to Milton and Me!

Recently, The Public Theater, where Milton and I share a membership, sent us an email that said the following about a playwright we both admire:

Suzan-Lori Parks Invites You to Watch Her Work

This performance piece, a meditation on the artistic process and an actual work session, features Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks working on her newest writing project in the main lobby of The Public Theater. The audience is invited to come and watch her work and/or to share the space and get some of their own writing work done. During the last fifteen minutes of the performance Parks will answer any questions the audience might have regarding their own work and their creative process.

The problem is that S-LP is doing this during the workday proper and my boss Elsbeth’s calendar is already packed with notes about my comings and goings related to all the New York Film Festival screenings I have been attending.  I ponder how she might digest a request from me to cut out for a seventy-five minute adventure, excluding travel time, to watch a writer write in a lobby packed with students, retirees, and people that called in phony-sick from work.

As much as I would like to employ the “something came up” tactic, I fear that this could backfire badly:

Me:  Elsbeth, something came up. I have an opportunity to network* with a brilliant playwright.

Elsbeth:  That’s great.  Who?

Me:  Suzan-Lori Parks.

Elsbeth:  Who?

Me:  She won the Pulitzer for Topdog/Underdog.

Elsbeth:  Should I know about this?

Me:  You do now Boss!

Elsbeth:  When are you going to meet with her?

Me:  That’s the thing.  I have choices.  Today, at noon, tomorrow at three, or Friday morning at eleven.

Elsbeth:  I have a better idea.  How about you stay chained to your desk, get some work done since I’m paying you, and you don’t go at all?

That’s the type of suggestion I would make to my sidekick, Greg, if he tried to pull this on me, after I had granted him three days worth of favors in the same week, and I also had an eyelash stabbing me in the iris.  Greg is straightforward with me when he needs a favor.  I could try the straightforward approach with Elsbeth.

Me:  Get a load of this, I’ve got an invitation from The Public Theater to watch resident playwright Suzan-Lori Parks write.

Elsbeth:  You’re going to watch someone write now?

I instinctively know from that imaginary reaction the conversation will crash land.

Milton is not inclined to barter with his superiors to attend S-LP’s writing session.  He even purposely resisted the opportunity to attend a book signing with one of his favorite authors, Michael Cunningham.  Milton’s purpose was to stay home and write, although we did spend forty-five minutes on the phone discussing his act of extreme self-sacrifice.

Milton:  I really wanted to see him, but we’ve been going out so much lately, I’m not getting any writing done.  At this rate, I won’t have anything finished until next year.

Me:  I’m torn over missing S-LP.  I just think if I laid this on Elsbeth right now, I’ll cross the line with her and she’ll finally detonate.

Milton:  I don’t think missing seeing her write is missing much.  No one would want to see me write.  That’s for sure.

Me:  You think?  First you open a bottle of wine, pour yourself a glass, and check your e-mail.  Then, you open Word.  You top off your glass of wine and play Bettye LaVette on your iPod.  You decide to change the font from Arial to Times New Roman, and write a sentence.  You hate the sentence, and then decide what you really hate is writing in Times New Roman.  Instead of changing the font back to Arial first, you delete the sentence, save your changes, but then you cannot recall what the sentence was.  Frustrated, you pour yourself a third glass of wine and watch a DVD.

Milton:  Have you been watching me write?

*This is no more of a networking-type event than I could claim I once had a conversation with baseball hall of fame catcher Gary Carter.  Years ago, when I was working as a production assistant on a Pringle’s potato chip commercial featuring then New York Mets catcher, Carter, I was told to fetch a can of Coke for him.  I did.  When I entered his dressing room and handed it to him, devout Christian Carter said, “God bless you.”  Dedicated atheist me asked, “Who sneezed?”  Fortunately he laughed at my snark, and I was not fired on the spot.