(On Irene)

Reports of her fury were as numerous as the minacious clouds hanging in the sky.  Threats of floods, fierce winds, and power outages rang from the speakers of television sets and car radios, as people prepared for the worst.  Doors locked, families were called, and the wait commenced, as what would surely be one of the worst storms of our brief lives thus far approached.

Sleep was unexpectedly easy to find, despite warnings that the night would be the worst part of the storm. Suddenly, it’s the next day.  Tired eyes look out the window to a bright day, with no real signs of the destruction that was to occur. A single tree branch is on the sidewalk, no longer than an arm’s length, and many leaves are scattered around the neighborhood.

My first thought is “Thank G-d it wasn’t bad.”  My second thought is used to wonder how others are.  Were we spared while others took the hardest hits from Irene?  This was the case. While the storm had weakened when it arrived here, many surrounding areas are dealing with floods, downed power lines, and even the remaining threat of possible tornadoes. Also, let us not forget there were at least a dozen who lost their lives to Irene.

Friends, be thankful Irene wasn’t as destructive as was promised. Be thankful that, for the first time in a while, the government helped to prepare its people for a disaster adequately, even if it was adverted. Also, be thankful you were not one of those who lost their life in the storm. Finally, remember that there are still people who are dealing with this storm’s consequences, and that you got lucky if you’re not one of them.


Updates, Now With Less Optimism!

It’s been quite some time since my last post, and I’m sure the world was about to fall out of its seat with anticipation.  Things have changed since I last updated, but I promise this won’t be terribly long!

I have a real apartment, I was in a musical that wasn’t at a school, I got a job, and I’m still alive! Those are my updates, and I’m pretty sure those are all the big ones.

Life in a real apartment isn’t too terrible, honestly.  Sure, there’s rent to pay, and there are a few repairs my landlady just refuses to take care of, but things could be worse.  I could be on the street with only a week’s worth of clothes in a duffle bag and (GASP) no Apple TV, so I’m pretty thankful for all that I have.

I started working at the bookstore at Saint Peter’s, which, although not my optimum career choice, puts a little money in my pocket.  I’m applying like crazy at scores of other places, but the one thing college doesn’t seem to really prepare you for is what to do when you’re finished.  It’s as if they teach you how to do something, then throw you onto the street and say “Have fun trying to use this in the real world.”

Hopefully things will get better, but I’m more hopeful that things won’t get worse.  It’s funny.  I’ve never noticed my own optimistic shine starting to fade, but I suppose every light burns out at some point.

Issues #1: Acceptance

Last night, my school’s GSA (PRIDE) hosted PRIDESTOCK, a concert event with a central theme of acceptance and unity on our campus.
Though our campus still has issues it needs to work out, the event was very much successful. There was a great turnout, and the people who came really seemed to enjoy themselves.
Today, I wore my American Apparel tee shirt that says “Legalize Gay.” As I left my college campus, someone I’ve known for a few years walked up to me and said that I shouldn’t wear the shirt because people might get the wrong idea. I was amazed that this person would really say something like that. Well, the day only got better.
As I stood in line at my local bank, the middle-aged man in front of me started mumbling under his breath because the woman behind me and I were having a conversation that was apparently “too loud.” As he left the line to approach the teller, he shook his head and said “f*****g queer.” Needless to say, I instantly became very angry, as did the woman I had been talking to. We were astounded that, in Jersey City (which is possibly one of the most diverse cities in the country), someone would say that in public!
I find it to be appalling that we as a society are still in a place where people think it’s acceptable to talk this way about people. Race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or anything else that makes someone different isn’t something to be used to put them down. If anything, we should showcase our differences to build each other up. What makes us different is what makes us beautiful, and I hope that soon people will come to realize this.
Until the next post, stay different, and stay beautiful.


My Great-Big Post-It Bucket List

If you’ve seen my kitchen as of late, you’ll have noticed something new and (almost) exciting: my bucket list is on the wall! It’s made of many classic yellow Post-Its, and is a scattered jumble of places and events I need to experience before I die.

I’ve done a lot of things on my list, but I keep adding more to it. My next endeavour is skydiving. I don’t actually want to leap out of a plane at all. I’m still going to.

It’s interesting to think about the concept of a bucket list.  It’s almost like planning to die. You make a check list of things you have to do before you die, almost like it’s a list of chores to complete before you go to the cinema.

Oh, well. If I’ve gotta die sometime, I might as well have lived life to some extent, right?

Spider-Man Flies High But Falls Flat

Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark

Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark is a new musical featuring New York’s friendly neighbourhood superhero and music by Bono and The Edge of U2.    The story focuses on Spider-Man’s origin, starting with the story of a high-school nerd being bitten by a genetically altered spider, and moves on to his subsequent battles with many of his most famous villains, plus a few new ones.  The principle villain of the first act of the show is the Green Goblin, who captures Mary Jane after learning that Spider-Man is, in fact, Peter Parker. The second act revolves around the Sinister Six and Arachne (a half-spider, half-woman mythical creature created by Athena) as she plans revenge on Peter Parker.

The show stars Reeve Carney as Spider-Man, Jennifer Damiano as Mary Jane Watson, T.V. Carpio as Arachne, and Patrick Page as the Green Goblin. Though the allure of seeing Spider-Man swing above a Broadway audience to a rock-and-roll soundtrack may sound appealing, neither the script nor the songs can keep up with the fast-paced action.

In terms of set and costume design, the show is stunning.  The colours and pop-up style of the set make it look as if it was ripped from the pages of a comic book, and the costumes bring the larger-than-life villains to vibrant reality.  The flight sequences are a spectacle all their own, and the aerial battle between Spider-Man and his arch-nemesis Green Goblin is nothing short of amazing.

The show, which was directed and co-written by Julie Taymor, has experienced several delays in its official opening due to technical problems with these amazing aerial stunts and cast injuries.  Now, the opening is scheduled for June 14, following more safety precautions and a re-evaluation of the show’s content by an expanded creative team.

The concept for the musical is surprisingly decent.  The problem is the execution.  The script (especially the second act) is poorly written, and the music is almost unbearable.  The Sinister Six, which is actually comprised of seven villains in this show, is almost thrown away with the plot, and the end is so sudden and anti-climactic that it all but ruins the show.

Three songs, all of which come near the end, are memorable, but still not enough to save the score.  Much of the music is chanted rather than sung, and honestly, it sounds more like a U2 concert than a Broadway show.  Both the book and music are undergoing a revision process in preparation for the June opening.

The aerial stunts are amazing to see, and hopefully the rest of the show will end up being just as dazzling by opening night.  Only time will tell if Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark is truly ready to swing onto the stage.

A Working Post

So, I’m at work right now, but I’m making a special post that I hope you’ll enjoy!

Welcome To Laramie

Well, it’s time. After months of rehearsing, laughing, crying, getting really angry, and getting over it, The Laramie Project opens on Thursday.

I’m proud of the work my cast has done in bringing these people, these honest, real, wonderful people, to life.  It’s been a tough road, as Laramie isn’t exactly the ideal show to direct your first time out. I hope we’ve done it justice.

Surprisingly, I realised today, for the first time, that this show is missing both of my strongest points: comedy and music.

At the end of the day, my hopes are high that Laramie won’t disappoint. If you have the chance, come see it February 24-26 at 7 PM, Roy Irving Theatre (at Saint Peter’s College), and tell me what you think.