The international kind, of course.
No matter where you go, there you are.
The international kind, of course.
“Miller wows ’em” – The Village Voice“Circus AMOK reinventing the circus form, borrowing drag fabulousness from Charles Ludlam’s Theater of the Ridiculous, large scale transformation using whole-body masks from Bread and Puppet Theater, and the outdoor bally and verbal rhythm and repertoire from the sideshow, as well as movement vocabulary from post-modern dance. The troupe balances danger with laughter, slipping its critique between the pies in the face and the surreal, scary, and sometimes gender-bent characters of the charivari.” – Mark Sussman, Disturbing the Peace: 20th Century Radical Street Performance, 2001 In this glittering theatrical extravaganza, the infamous juggling duo, The Liberty Sisters, have been fleeced by an evil ponzi schemer. Sybil and Statua Liberty embark on a mad-cap tour of revenge…but they aren’t the only ones after the greedy crook. Mistaken identities, missed opportunities, star crossed lovers and variety hall numbers all combine to bring East Village high camp back home. It’s tragedy, it’s farce, it’s mystery, it’s mayhem…it’s “Jewels of the Forbidden Skates.”
Starring: Jennifer Miller, Carlton Ward, Ashley Brockington, Rae C. Wright, Sally May, Adrienne Truscott, and Tanya Gagne. Music by Kenny Mellman and Design by Jonathon Berger. With additional text for Bernie Madoff by Deb Margolin. Choreography by Faye Driscoll. Special surprise guest artists each night will include Scott Heron, Jenny Monson, and Jenny Romaine.
Jennifer Miller is the director of the acclaimed NYC political performance troupe Circus Amok, which she founded in 1989. She is widely recognized for her work and is the recipient of awards including the Obie, Bessie, BAX 10, and most recently the Ethyl Eichelberger Award.
Today I took the Halloween tour of Green-Wood Cemetery. It’s a great, one-square-mile cemetery just about a mile from my apartment. It is 170 years old this year, and is the final resting place for about 560,000. Yup, that’s not a typo.
There were probably about 150 of us on the tour, and it was a perfect day for it. It was sunny, and actually a bit warm (I think almost 65). We met at the 5th avenue entrance, and spent about 2 1/2 hours going through the gorgeous cemetery. We saw a few interesting graves, including that of “Bill the Butcher” – the man on whom the Daniel Day Lewis Character in “Gangs of New York” was loosely based. We saw one of a man who was murdered by a jilted lover, and one of a woman who was buried in a dress that was bequeathed to a friend, who then had to sue the estate to get the value paid to her (the executor wanted to make her exhume the body and physically take the dress).
We also saw where the man who played the Wizard of Oz is buried, as well Jean-Paul Basquiat. Finally, we ended the tour with a special trip into the catacombs. They only open them once a year, I believe. They are just downright creepy.
I took a few pictures – I plan to go back. It’s so close, and unlike Prospect or Central Park, it’s not packed with children. And it’s just lovely and quiet.
Saturday I saw “The Wackness.” I wanted it to be better. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great, you know? After, I did something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile – got my nose pierced again. In 2002 in L.A. I got it done, but it fell out in 2003 and the hole closed pretty quickly. I got it done in NYC, but then took it out for job interviews. I’ve been at my current job for three years, and a couple of other employees either have or have had facial piercings, so I figured it would be fine. It hurt a little, and is still sore when I clean it (ick, I know), but I’m so happy with how it looks. I missed it.
Saturday night a friend had a BBQ to celebrate her birthday. It was nice, although kind of odd, in that there was clearly some tension between a few people. But I got to spend time with good friends, so that’s all that matters.
I feel like everyone seems to think summer is winding down, but I have to say that I think it’s still going strong. The weather has been lovely lately, and tonight I got to hear a band at its first gig. NYC is good!
The humidity has left the City (for awhile, at least). After work, a couple of friends and I ventured over to the new pop-up park at Pier 1 in Brooklyn. It’s great – they took a pier and paved it, added hills with grass, a big sandbox for the kiddies, threw up probably a dozen tables and added a little bar with some beer, wine and food. From there you can see three of the four waterfalls (allegedly you can see the fourth, but a big chunk of plywood was in the way tonight). There was a nice breeze, bright sun and good friends. If you are in the City, I really suggest you try to visit.
I’ve been in the Slope for a week, and it has been a full one. Monday night we were ‘activated’ for storms that didn’t really materialize. Tuesday I met up with a coworker who lives in the neighborhood, and a couple of her friends, for some great Mexican food just down the street. JB helped me move my old AC (and some pie plates I’d left behind – thanks Michelle) from my UES place to my new digs, as the AC that I inherited in the new place just wasn’t cutting it. It didn’t quite fit, so we went to Loews and bought some wood to get it to sit in there properly. I also got a toaster – yay, cheap breakfast at home.
Anyway, while I like to think I am quite capable of doing many household things on my own (hanging pictures as long as I don’t have to find a ‘stud’ in the wall, painting my apartment), some things I just don’t get. I’ve installed an AC before, but this seemed a bit complicated. Regardless, it’s in, and in just in time, as it is in the mid-80s today. Justin is now helping me to complete the stereotypically male tasks I need done, a duty that Michelle fulfilled herself quite nobly these past couple years.
That’s not really that adventurous, however. But the past 24 hours have been better, in terms of exploring. Last night I went to Prospect Park and caught the first half of the Met Opera in the park. It was a perfect evening – coolish, clear, no bugs – and the set-up was great. I just plopped down and enjoyed the singing and the music. And afterwards – just a five minute walk to get home! I was pretty exhausted from a long week of work, getting settled, ‘leadership’ training (I liked it, whatever) and learning my new way around.
This morning I was up very early – 7:30! – and so cleaned the apartment, then went up to the Grand Army Plaza farmers market. They had some great strawberries that remind me of the tiny ones that grow in the backyard of the home where I grew up, so I bought a quart and have just been enjoying them all afternoon. I finally picked up some of those things one needs but doesn’t realize (for example, salt), and even exchanged an extension cord.
Side note – I only have functioning three-pronged outlets on the far side of my apartment, away from the kitchen, so I had to buy an extension cord so that I could use the microwave or toaster. It looks pretty funny when in use, but who cares.
I also did my own laundry for the first time in maybe three years. When I left the UES the first time I moved into two successive buildings with no laundry facilities. I loathe laundromats, so I got in the habit of taking it to the cleaner to be laundered. It’s expensive, but was worth it. Well, now, sweet lord, there are washers and dryers a mere 20 second elevator ride away. It’s so convenient. And a good way to meet the people in the building.
Today I found an independent guitar store – owned by women to boot – about a 20 minute walk from my place. Allegra gave me her old guitar two years ago. I keep ‘meaning’ to learn (I know the very basics thanks to about six months of lessons in high school), and this week I finally sat down with it . . . and promptly broke a string. So I found a little music store and bought new strings, then promptly realized I had not a clue how to re-string the guitar. And then I broke the nut. So yeah, it had to be fixed. The place I found – Mazzotti Music on 3rd at Carroll – was great. Low-key, and cheaper than the other places. So now I have my guitar and have been fiddling around with it all afternoon.
On the way back from the guitar store, I stopped for lunch on 5th and was reading this book “Equator” about a man’s travels around the north pole. Kidding, it’s about traveling the equator. I am on a section about Africa, and the busser – Frank – asked if I was reading about Africa. I told him about the book, and it turns out he is from Gabon, one of the countries I had *just* read about. He’s been here a year and is getting used to how quickly things move. Such a nice guy. I asked him if the President (Bongo – he’s hilarious) is still in power, and he is indeed. We had a nice little unexpected chat.
And, as I made my way up I made a purchase from a bake sale supporting Barack Obama. I guess this weekend is the nationwide bake sale, so if you like Obama, I’m sure you can find a way in your neighborhood to support him while getting a sweet treat.
Tonight more exploring with Herman, so hopefully I’ll have some more to share.
ENJOY THE FIRST FULL DAY OF SUMMER!
Stephanie heads back to Texas tomorrow, but she’s with a friend in Brooklyn tonight, so her visit with me is essentially over. Her visit (the sixth in as many years) actually turned into a five-borough subway/taxi/ferry tour.
Friday we hit Manhattan, the Bronx (zoo) and Queens (Water Taxi Beach). Saturday we kept it local and hung out in Manhattan. After a basic diner brunch (why is toast with grape jelly so good?) we headed downtown. Stepping outside was pretty fun – it was probably in the late 80s by the time we made it into the world. We headed downtown so that Stephanie could meet up with a friend to see the New Museum; I passed the time reading at Starbucks, mostly because of the air conditioning. (Note – check out “Equator.” It’s a great book). We wandered around in lower Manhattan a bit, then got super-yummy Mexican food before heading over to Moonwork.
Moonwork is a show that’s put on every 3-4 weeks from September through June. For $20, you get six acts (usually stand-up comics, sometimes monologues, sometimes funny singers, sometimes serious singers) and all the beer you can drink until it runs out. This line-up included Christian Finnegan, who I enjoy on ‘Best Week Ever,” because I watch too much TV. All of the performers were great, but a special treat was Leah Siegel. Wow. She has an amazing voice that reminds me a bit of the 1930s. And her songs are just lovely and evocative.
Sunday was another multi-borough day: Manhattan, Brooklyn and . . . wait for it . . . Staten Island. We headed to my new apartment so Stephanie could see the place and I could drop off my dishes. We met up with Justin for brunch, and then decided to take the ferry to Staten Island. Michelle and I had been talking about doing this for awhile, and planned to take the ferry, and then run around and hop back on. But Stephanie wanted to wander, so we did.
And it was totally worth it. We may have melted in the heat, but man, the Staten Island Museum made up for it. One and a half floors of pure awesome, all for the low price of $2 ($1 with a student ID card). I won’t spoil it for you, but there is a ‘florescent rock room’ AND a flying squirrel in a jar. After a rinse off and a run through the thunderstorms that have been visiting as of late, we had dinner with a couple of friends at Brick Lane, my new favorite Indian place in NYC. Check it out.
Tonight Justin helped me move my breakable and sentimental things – you know, framed pictures, shot glass collection, liquor – to the new place. The movers come Saturday, and it should only be in the low 80s, so that’s good.
I have to run and take my third shower of the day. Thank the gods for air conditioning.
New York City. There are things to do here that I’m sure you can do in most big cities, but I didn’t really know of them independently. But luckily I have friends who do.
So, last night, John, Dan and I met up at the Natural History Museum’s Planetarium for DJ Matthew Dear. Talk about an amazing space for an evening of fun music. The crowd was mixed – hipsters, B&T folks, hippies, overdressed couples on dates. But everyone was really nice. No one was acting like a jerk.
Plus, we got in to see a planetarium show as part of the admission. For me, that was the highlight, because I loves me some hot planetarium video. Especially when narrated by Harrison Ford.
Oh man. Sunday night I had the absolute best time I’ve ever had at a concert, in terms of sheer joy. I had the privilege of attending the Spice Girls Reunion Tour.
My friend Jon Mark and I arrived at the Prudential Arena in Newark about 5:45, and people were already lined up waiting for the doors to open. It was freezing – and actually snowing – but that didn’t dampen the spirit. The demographics were about what you’d expect – lots of teenage girls (some with their mothers), lots of gay men in their 20s, and a few folks like me, who loved the Spice Girls when they were in high school. Many of the younger girls actually came dressed like the group, and one had a boom box with her and was playing the albums. The crowd of course sang along. It was a party before we even got inside.
They went on at 8:30 PM, no opening band. It was the exact level of spectacular you would expect. Costumes by Roberto Cavalli? Check. Costume changes after every two or three songs? Check. Pyrotechnics? Check. Hot male dancers? Check. Fabulous dance moves performed in crazy heels? Check.
Some may not realize that the group has had quite a few hits beyond “Wannabe”. They’ve released three albums, and from them probably 12-15 have been really memorable songs. And they sang them all, along with a break in the middle where each (expect Posh . . . hmmm) sang a song from a solo album. The Mel C. song was actually really popular in clubs, and Geri sang her cover of “It’s Raining Men.” They opened with Spice Up Your Life, and closed with it, too, right after they performed their encore of Wannabe. Which ended with confetti.
Oh, and they sang live, too. There were some moments where you could tell they were a bit off, but they had a live band, some backing vocals and tracks, and really sang live. And they were good!
I had an absolute blast and am still enjoying it. Everyone was in a good mood, enjoying just the silly joy that comes from that kind of positive music.