Tag Archives: young jean lee

Lame Adventure 181: Day Four (written on Day Five)

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.

Ravenous Milton.

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.

Greg fingering his sax.

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?

Young Jean Lee

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.

Lame Adventure 139: Vacation!

It’s taken me fifty weeks to get here, but I’m finally on a seventeen day hiatus away from my job as the Minister of Tile, the crowded New York City subway system, bowls of taste lacking twigs for breakfast, and equally boring sandwiches for lunch that I chow down while staring dully at my computer screen when not envying the pigeons outside my window.

"We're free, you're caged!"

Essentially flavor-free, too.

Before leaving my place of employ on Friday, I wrote a list of what I need to remember to do upon my return on January 4th, so I am fully free to completely delete all things tile from my mind between now and then.

The Vagina Tile, I will forget about you! (Not really)

Is it barf or brownie tile, I will forget about you.

As liberating as it is to not find myself subject to Elsbeth, my boss, and one of her four questions that usually start with could you, did you, would you or can you, nor having to issue any dictates to my sidekick, Greg, that I start with “we” even though he knows as well as me, that I mean “you”, my first task this hiatus is to thoroughly clean my sanctum sanctorum.  Housecleaning does not rate very high on my to do list like seeing the Houdini exhibit currently on display at the Jewish Museum.  I so wish I could perform some abracadabra on vacuuming, scrubbing and dusting.

Crummy subway train poster photo of what appears to be a very interesting exhibit.

One bit of procrastination I seized this morning was responding to Zappos request for a product review of the black leather Jack Purcell sneakers I purchased in November.  I seldom write product reviews but since I’m on vacation and have switched gears from feeling sluggish about my get rich slow job to feeling sluggish about housecleaning, I discovered a level of enthusiasm for waxing at length about my sneakers I never realized I possessed.

Good sneaker, but runs a bit wide.

This weekend Milton and I got together for the last time until after I return from visiting my family for Christmas.  We ended our year of theatergoing the way we started it, by attending a work written and directed by one of our favorite up and coming playwrights, Young Jean Lee.  I don’t know what I mean by calling her “up and coming” since she’s 36-years-old, she’s been around for seven years, and has been subject to positive reviews in the mainstream press i.e., The New York Times, The New Yorker, Time Out New York, etc.  I suppose when she writes her big breakthrough hit and is welcome in Utah she will have fully arrived and our interest will have waned.

Meanwhile, Young Jean’s work remains as original, challenging and edgy as ever.  Her subjects range from religion (Church), race (The Shipment), her take on Shakespeare’s King Lear (Lear), to now, feminism.  I am certain that she could create a theater piece around a can opener and we would find it provocative.  Her latest, a work-in-progress called, Untitled Feminist Multimedia Technology Show, recently played for four days between December 16th through 19th at the New Museum.

Closed December 19th, but hopefully will return when further developed.

Following a witty impromptu introduction by Young Jean herself, this ambitious work with an unwieldy title opens with intentionally corny stock footage video.  The show that follows is packed with intriguing and hilarious debate that both mocks and questions what is feminism.  The discourse is interspersed throughout with naked nymphs dancing – some lean, others large, prompting this exchange between Milton and I over beverages afterward:

Me:  I think I’m much too hard on my body.

Milton:  Hell!  After looking at those women, I should tear off my shirt and call myself Clark Gable!

Click the link below to hear Young Jean’s take on the holiday spirit as she sings the wonderfully cynical I’m Spending Christmas Alone (something I highly doubt that someone so cutting edge, cool and creative is doing).

I’m Spending Christmas Alone

In April she’ll be singing at Joe’s Pub with Future Wife.  Milton and I will be there.