February | May | September | December
February 11, 2015 — Please buy my new book!
I’m not going to bury the lede. I just published my book, and I would love it if you bought it.
The kindle version is only $2.99! Please buy it, read it, recommend it, review it, market it, etc. Then the pain of 2012 will finally have found its purpose in the grand scheme of things.
OTHER LINKS TO CLICK ON
I did a quick interview on Audition Accompanying for the new blog, Performers First:
If you missed my 10 minute set in the Guinness World Record Breaking Longest Variety Show, you are in luck! You can watch it, here:
JOINING THE MODERN WORLD
I have an announcement to make for those of you who don’t avidly follow me on social media… I have joined the modern world and gotten an iPhone. Now don’t freak out TOO much. It’s Eric’s old iPhone 4 (or as he calls it, “a piece of trash”). We switched our family plan to unlimited calling and texting and 4GB data because it was barely more than our old plan of 700 minutes, 500 texts and no data. So now you can call and text for free any time of day! I’ve been trying to text as much as possible, though I absolutely hate doing it on this phone because THERE IS NO KEYBOARD.
So we’ll see how long I keep it, but for the moment… yes, I have an iPhone, and iPad and a Mac Mini now. I’m an all Apple household. I even eat apples at least once a week! (Okay, that joke was rotten to the core…)
As spring commences, my schedule is getting busier. Auditions are starting up. I have lined up performers for regular showcases through late April! Speaking of, April 25th will mark 8 years since I started doing the showcases. EIGHT LONG YEARS, ALBERT!!!!!! So since we’re hitting #350 and 8 years around the same time, I am proud to present 5 concerts of my songs for the 350TH SHOWCASE OCTOPALOOZA!!!!!
The dates will be Friday, 4/24; Friday, 5/1; Tuesday, 5/5; Tuesday, 5/12; and Friday, 5/15!
You heard it here first! I am going to start lining up performers in a few weeks.
There are some other really exciting projects happening this spring, including a new music video, but I am going to keep the lid on those until they’re released.
I have also almost finished writing Season 5 of Every Day a Little Seth, which will premiere the week of June 14th… debating between uploading them Sunday night or Monday afternoon again… life is full of tough decisions.
I DESERVE A VACATION
It’s looking likely that my friend, Niki, and I will take our 2nd European vacation (first was Ireland, August 2013 – go read about it on the ledger archives page!) this May after the Octopalooza! I have taken off from the showcases that week, and pushed the showcase for the week after Memorial Day to a (gasp) Thursday giving me a week and a half to vacate!!!! WOO!
Besides that, I am going down to DC/ MD a weekend in May for my cousin’s bar mitzvah – and it is conceivable that I will return to DC for the Washington Post Hunt assuming it’s not the same weekend as the Tony Awards… speaking of, I will be having my annual Tony party, and I intend to win the pool for a 3rd year in a row.
CAUGHT READ HANDED
This year so far, I read the first book of the Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell trilogy. I must say I didn’t love it! I was hoping it would be like Harry Potter or Hunger Games, but it’s pretty dry and didactic. Has anyone else read those? I still have the other 2, but I’m completely procrastinating.
After that, I read Neil Patrick Harris’ Choose Your Own Autobiography, which was a pretty innovative combination of autobiography in the form of those choose your own adventure books of our youth… the coolest thing is there is a cryptic crossword in the middle of the book. I’m proud to say that I completed it. It was NOT easy. I was actually really surprised by its difficulty. Since I googled it, and I couldn’t find any answers online, I have posted the solutions: sethbh.com/NPH !! It’s certainly possible (though unlikely) I’m the only one to solve it. At the very least, I’m the only one who feels the need to brag about it.
Now I am reading This Side of Paradise, F. Scott’s Fitzgerald’s first novel… also known as the only Fitzgerald novel I haven’t read. So I am happy to report after this, I will have read them ALL!
HEY A MOVIE!
I can’t believe this! I haven’t seen any movies since the last ledger. Well I CAN believe it b/c it’s the dead time for movies. I AM going to see The Last Five Years movie Saturday night! So that is exciting.
Other than that, I don’t really have any plans to see any other movies till Pitch Perfect 2 comes out in May. So I’m basically having a very Anna Kendrick-y movie going experience given the last movie I saw was Into the Woods…
THE BOOB TUBE
There’s so much TV on my DVR right now. I don’t know how I ever lived before I got FIOS – seriously, it holds 500 hours! And I’m at 80%. Oops. I need to stop being productive, and just veg out!!
First off, a big RIP to my favorite new show of the season that got canceled and aired its last episodes, Red Band Society. I am devastated that such a quality show never got the marketing push of say its replacement, Empire, which is a HORRIBLY banal show.
In new-ish shows I’m really loving Agent Carter!!! I’m not in love with Better Call Saul yet, but I do think it’s bound to end up being brilliant.
Since the last ledger, I did catch up on The Affair, which is a wonderful show. I also tried True Detective, which was SO BORING that I had to STOP mid-episode. I’m sorry to all those fans out there, but it now joins The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire in the HBO shows I couldn’t get through an episode of without falling asleep category. I do enjoy Togetherness though! And I recorded that new weird one The Jinx… not sure if it’ll be any good.
Special mention to the final season of Parks & Recreation, which I’m loving… and the return of my favorite comedy, Episodes!! And I feel like I should tell you all to catch Galavant if you missed it… and while I’m here, go watch Jane the Virgin – my other favorite new show from this season!
Finally, I would be remiss to not mention how devastated I am that Jon Stewart is retiring from The Daily Show!!! I would apply for the job, but there’s not enough musical numbers… at least Last Week Tonight with John Oliver was back this week!
THE ‘ATRE or THE ‘ATER
Between Riverside and Crazy – this play currently at Second Stage is FANTASTIC and highly recommended.
Honeymoon in Vegas – I surprisingly really enjoyed this cute musical starring Tony Danza with a score by Tony winner Jason Robert Brown. Very clever lyrics!
A Delicate Balance – kind of underwhelmed by this dated Albee play, but great to see Glenn Close, John Lithgow and Martha Plimpkin!
The Lion – this is another FANTASTIC off-bway show – I was very impressed, and really enjoyed this touching story.
Rasheeda Speaking – another very good off-Bway play – I think the moral is off-bway is where it’s at – this one stars Oscar winner Dianne Wiest.
I’m ushering for the following in the next few weeks, as well: The Winter’s Tale, The Nether, Brooklynite and On the Twentieth Century.
Since my birthday is coming up, I am hoping that I will be taken to a few more Broadway shows… and I actually still have over $300 in credit left in my TodayTix account – for those of you who haven’t used it yet, my code is NKDUN – that’ll get YOU $20 off your first purchase, and me $20 more in credit!!
So there’s a really short update for you all! The real important take away is: I WROTE A BOOK. PLEASE BUY MY BOOK. Did I mention it’s my birthday at the end of the month? I cannot think of a better present than YOU buying my book! (And the Kindle version is only $2.99!)
Thank you for being in my life. I wish you a fantastic spring (assuming winter ever ends!).
May 25, 2015 — An Icelandic Itinerary
As most of you know, I just spent the last week in Iceland on vacation! I’m taking advantage of the jetlag to wake up early and plow through this write up so I can get back to work for the summer!
First, I captioned and uploaded 363 pictures (I like palindromic numbers) to the Facebook. I don’t think the pictures do justice to the absolute beauty of the island, but it’s the best I can do without having brought you there. Enjoy those, here:
Also, I posted 4 quick videos on the instagram that I think you can see on the web without an account: instagram.com/evdayalilseth
350th SHOWCASE OCTOPALOOZA
Before I go into the trip recap, I haven’t actually emailed a ledger since Feb, so, let’s do a brief spring recap, as well. It was a very busy spring, and I am thrilled I made it through in one piece. The vacation could not have been better timed because I was figuratively at the end of my rope before I left. I played for a dozen audition days, and had lots of showcases, including 5 concerts of my work for the 350th Showcase Octopalooza, which celebrated 8 years (octo!) at Don’t Tell Mama doing over 350 showcases. Here are the highlights from those, including 3 new songs:
9 of the 92 performances, featuring 3 new songs and 3 never before on youtube:
Follow Your Path , Performed by Karlene Grinberg
Too Damn Cold, Performed by Seth Bisen-Hersh
It’s Not Easy, Performed by Caitlin Carhoun
Content to be Alone, Performed by Jonathan Christopher
New York at Night, Performed by Dani Granati
The 32 Bar Blues, Performed by Lily Ali-Oshatz
The Only Thing Better Than Sex, Performed by Rachel Leighson
No Body is Perfect, Performed by Mary Lauren
Who Knows Why?, Performed by Elliot Lane
And while I’m here, here are some Monday Save the Dates:
Monday, June 1st, new music video in the vain of YOFO (sethbh.com/yofo) but a little less dirty so hopefully people will be comfortable posting it on their walls.
Mondays, June 15th – July 20th at 1PM for 6 weeks = season 5 of Every Day a Little Seth! (The best season yet according to Smee!)
Monday, July 13th at 7PM the 7th Annual Broadway Meows! (Cast list soon!)
Iceland was amazing. Seriously. Everything you ever heard about it is true. It is simply gorgeous, and other-wordly. In fact, it felt like we were on another planet sometimes, which is probably why so many sci-fi movies film there. While driving around, we actually started to get really used to the fact that there was so much beautiful stuff all around us and became just a tad desensitized.
While it was exceedingly gorgeous, it was also exceedingly cold. Fortunately, we realized that and packed jackets and sweaters. Oh, we!? Yes, I went with my college BFF Niki – those of you who were friends with me in 2013 should remember our previous island trip to Ireland (you can find that ledger on sethbh.com/ledgers3 under 2013!). We picked Iceland b/c we had heard 5 star reviews from everyone who has been there, and figured it would be something we could do in just a week.
They could film a TV show in Iceland called “It’s Always Sunny in Iceland” because the sun NEVER sets. Well, it technically sets at 11pm or so, but it doesn’t really get that dark. Consequently, it was really great for jampacking in sightseeing, though being a night owl, I went hootless for a week.
The weather in Iceland was very mercurial – there was one day it rained on us, and snowed on us, hailed on us, was cloudy and was super sunny all within the span of a few hours. Very strange indeed.
Other strange things included the language – there were the longest words EVER, and it was near impossible for us to figure out how to pronounce words and sites – we had a lot of fun making up how to say things correctly, but for navigation purposes mostly just used the first 3 letters, assuming it wasn’t a letter we didn’t know.
Some interesting Iceland facts from our guide book: the population of the whole island is 325,671, which is fewer than in Midtown Manhattan! And there are 476,000 sheep, so more sheep than people! Speaking of people, they are: 75% Evangelical Lutheran… 0% Jewish. Iceland has ZERO McDonalds and Starbucks! It’s one of the only countries in the world to forgo those. The only American chain store we saw all over were Subways. Lots of subways. Though, they don’t actually HAVE a subway, so the pun is lost on them. No subways… and no homeless people! (Homeless people were the first thing I noticed when I got back that were missing.)
Other strange things is we’d go miles and miles without seeing any civilization and then there’d be one tiny driveway like road for one house on a mountain. There were towns with a few dozen houses, but in those we found the grocery stores were only open 2-5 and restaurants 6-9. Very different than being in a city… speaking of, we started in Reykjavik, which is technically a city, but is more like a suburb…
A DRIVING TRIP
Before I start with the chronology, I would like to talk about driving around the island because the first thing we did off the plane was to rent a car. We decided to rent a car because while there are bus trips all around the island, they are more expensive than just driving yourself, plus we’d have to be on someone else’s schedule, and as anyone who read my Germany recap (also on sethbh.com!) knows, I really did not enjoy the group trip dynamics! Plus, driving is very relaxing, and it was a vacation for me to get to do it (and a vacation for Niki not to have to).
Since it was cheaper (a common theme on our trip), we got the car with manual transmission, which was for the most part fine since I learned to drive a stick (the shift, get your mind out of the gutters!) in high school. The only difference was in a European car to go in reverse, you have to push the gear shifter down and then move it back into almost 1st position. Thankfully, we asked a random stranger in the parking lot who understood enough English to figure out what we were asking. I had some reverse problems, which exacerbated my lack of parking skills, but no major issues.
I had read in must know facts about Iceland I found via the google that headlights had to be on 24/7 on cars. I found that odd until I saw how wide open the highways were. The lights could tell you a car was coming from awhile away, which was good to know because most of the roads outside of the major cities were extremely narrow and I would end up driving in the middle of the road till another car would be visible, then I would slow down until they were passed. For many of the stretches in the north and east of the island, we barely saw any cars. The roads were very inefficient and very curvy. Sometimes that was necessary b/c they were winding around (or up) mountains, but often it seemed like there was barren land, and they could’ve easily made a straighter line and paved just a little more so that the lanes weren’t so tight. In addition to this, often the roads would collapse on themselves into only one line, and you’d have to wait on the side if someone else was coming. This happened especially for bridges, even though occasionally they would have two lane bridges, proving they had the engineering prowess to make them! Only the very main roads were paved (or as they called it “sealed”), so there was a lot gravel driving, which was NOT my favorite. However, on main highways, I could speed like crazy, though, b/c I only saw cops in the cities. And there was no place for them to hide. And no point.
Navigating in Iceland was super easy (compared to a place like Ireland) because there is basically one highway that goes all the way around in a circle. That highway was my favorite; some of the other roads were quite treacherous and frightening when they were high up or foggy. It felt like a roller coaster driving up mountain sides at times… going all the way up slowly and meandering only to come down very quickly. Thankfully, we only had one near death experience. (More on that later… this is called foreshadowing, as opposed to 4-shadowing, which is only used when drawing 4’s.)
Other quirky things: the lights in the city gave you a yellow warning before turning green, which I thought was cute. All the bridges have names, though they’re all impossible to pronounce. We actually tunneled through a mountain! And we saw a number of tractors on the road plowing around midnight. Animal wise: we saw a lot of sheeps and ducks and geese (which better scurry) and a lot of horses… one which had a huge boner. According to Niki (I was driving), he was just standing there erect… and was indeed hung like a horse. And there were a lot of ducks in the road in the mountains, and I felt like I was playing angry birds to avoid hitting one.
Radio-wise, we obviously had more luck finding stations by the cities. The stations were pretty eclectic having an hour of classical, then switching into hard rock. The weirdest thing was when they had some songs from Snow White on in a row with choral arrangements and foreign translations… the song we heard the most times was that annoying Carly Rae Jepsen song “I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, like you.” So maybe that’ll come up in trivia some day b/c I now know it by heart. When the radio really left, we played the few CDs Niki had on her iPhone (I don’t have mp3s on mine b/c I don’t like having anything on a phone!) including the Love Quirks CD, which is very good. (Have you bought it yet?)
So we could’ve planned to bring more mp3s on a phone, also having a phone adapter charger thing would’ve been nice since we were using it for GPS, too… and finally, we should’ve planned gas trips better for such a spread out island. (More on that later… yes, even more foreshadowing!)
Okay, I think chronology makes the most sense at this point! The flight was uneventful. We got our car, then drove an hour into Reykjavik and checked in at our first hotel. The flight was 11:30PM – 5AM which became 9AM after the 4 hour difference, so since it wasn’t my bedtime till the very end of the flight, I just pushed through. We were a little on the tired side the first day, so the plan was just to see as much of the city as possible, staying as awake as possible.
It did take me the entire week to be able to spell and pronounce Reykjavik correctly, so if I learned nothing else on the trip, at least that’s something! Overall, we were completely underwhelmed by the city – it was even tamer than Boston. We walked around seeing everything we had on our list in less than 8 hours, and then ended up almost falling asleep on a park bench. We took pictures of many statues and sculptures, though.
The first thing we passed was the Penis Museum, which was right by our hotel. But since it cost $$, and we thought we had a full itinerary, we skipped it. All told, we spent $0 on museums this trip! We’re not really museum people, so we stuck with the free ones, and that was good enough for us!
On the top 10 list for Iceland I found on the google, the only one in Reykjavik was Hallgrimskirkja Church, so that’s where we started. It was archaeologically interesting, but obviously we’re not that into churches, so we didn’t linger. Niki invested in a guide book that was very helpful. In it, she found a cute cafe called “C is for Cookie” based on Cookie Monster, so we bee-lined for that. Unfortunately, it was completely underwhelming, as well, and had not a single Sesame Street thing in it besides the title. Also, the food was icky – Iceland people eat a lot of ham, and I do not like green eggs or ham, so it was a little rough finding food at first.
On our return to the city, we realized we had missed a lot of food on the main street Laugavegur that we could’ve eaten that day, but we were super tired, and since I wanted to get our opera tickets from the beautiful Harpa Performing Arts Center for Friday night, we made a left instead of a right. We stopped at many gift shops trying to find the best price for postcards… I ended up getting irascible from the lack of sleep and just buying them for 95 krona (130 krona = $1), but then saw them for 60 down the street, and was very upset for about 24 hours. I don’t have patience when I sleep, so when I don’t, you can imagine… we walked around aimlessly and finally found food that wasn’t so unreasonably priced and ended up having a yummy gyro from a sandwich place.
Hunger satiated, we walked around the beautiful Tjornin Lake, saw the architecturally interesting outside but completely boring inside Radhus building, took pictures with some statues and headed over to a free art gallery I saw listed in the guide for the Reykavik Arts Festival (happy coincidence it was going on during our stay!). The gallery was called Dorothy Iannone: The Next Great Moment in History is Ours at Gallery GAMMA and featured lots of sexual paintings… which is probably why I wanted to go!
We walked around the harbor, toyed with the idea of going whale watching till we saw the price tag (we’re no Captain Ahabs!) and then went to the free Reykyavik Museum of Photography, which was only one floor and took 10 minutes… while walking, we saw a sign on The Settlement Exhibit that it was free after 5 for International Museum Day, so after walking around for an hour and taking a nap on the aforementioned bench, we went in. We are very glad we didn’t pay for it because it, too, took about 10 minutes and was underwhelming.
On the way back to the hotel, we ran into Lebowski Bar, which we had heard good things about. I really do like that place! I had a delicious peanut butter and chocolate shake while enjoying the free WiFi. Afterwards, we got back to the hotel, and tried to plan the rest of the trip to the best of our ability through our sleep deprivation. I fell asleep at 9:30pm Iceland time (5:30pm after an allnighter NYC time) and slept 12 hours.
I’LL GLADLY PAY YOU TUESDAY FOR A HAMBURGER TODAY
Tuesday started with included breakfast. We ate a lot in preparation of our first day driving about. The guidebook suggested at 10 day ring road excursion… we ended up doing it in 4, which meant very full days and a lot of driving. The guide suggested we go clockwise, but 3 of the top 10 list were counter-clockwise, and it seemed foolish to not start there. So that’s what we did, meaning we had to almost pretend the book was in Hebrew since everything was in reverse order…
The first stop was Thingvellir National Park, which was hard to GPS b/c it looks like Pingvellir on the map – that’s b/c of the funny new letter that looks like a tongue sticking out (how I remember it must be a TH!). Anyway, we got there and they had PAY toilets, so it was very much like Urinetown! Well, in just that way. The lovely lady (come along and join us) circled the best things to see, so we hiked for about 20 minutes and saw Logberg, which was the Law Rock where they would have town meetings, and then a tin waterfall where they would drown criminals, including women for infanticide. Then we saw the larger waterfall Oxarafoss – foss means fall, so all the waterfalls end with foss – which was really great, but man we had no idea the scale of falling water we would soon see!
Next we drove passed Laugarvatn, which was a pretty underwhelming lake especially when you compare it to one we hadn’t seen yet…
Our stop in Geysir had free restrooms (thankfully) at the visitor center. We saw a bunch of geysers including the often active one Strokkur. It popped up every 5-10 minutes, and was pretty cool to see. We saw boiling water coming out of the ground even though it was like 40 degrees out. Pretty cool.
Next, we drove to the nearby Gullfoss which is the largest waterfall in Iceland. It was absolutely breathtaking, and quite ineffable via words, so I’d highly recommend those pictures.
We drove down south to see the Eyjafjallajokull Volcano which caused all those plane (as opposed to plain) disruptions a few years ago by erupting and spewing ash. It was really not that exciting. At this point, we had planned to go to the colored mountains at Landmannalauger, but we realized that we couldn’t actually do that because we didn’t have 4 wheel drive. Apparently any highway with an F means the roads are supremely icy. It actually all works out because we almost tried to go there first, and we would’ve lost hours in driving the wrong way someplace we couldn’t have entered! Live and learn! On the way around, we stopped by Reynishverfi which was a cute area on the beach that had a cave and black sand.
We stopped by the tiny city Vik, which had 2 places to eat – a grill at the gas station and a restaurant. We chose the restaurant, which was only open 6-9. Thankfully we got there around 7. We had steak sandwiches, which were actually pretty yummy. We continued onto our hotel, which was a cute little spot with cabins. We were in the dormitory style section. Sadly, the WiFi there was not working… but gladly, they had a few games in the lounge including Scrabble! So we played Scrabble using the Icelandic tiles – so there were no C, Q, Z or W! We used any letter that looked like another letter as that letter, ignoring accents, which made for interesting scoring compared to the regular version. Since we knew what the tongue like P was, we did use that as a TH, and one vowel is AE so I used that to spell AErie. I also made 2 bingos, so it was a pretty good game for me with a score over 400… I took a picture of the completed board!
Incidentally, you might wonder how Iceland can spell Iceland without a C? Well, the spelling is Island – with an accent on that I – but that makes me thing maybe the etymology of the terms island is JUST b/c of the way Iceland spells itself!?
Wednesday again started with included breakfast, and then we continued east along the south coast before heading up north after hitting Jokulsarlon in the southeast corner of the island.
We passed Hvannadalshnukur, which was a mountain, then saw the military plane wreck at Skeidararsandur on our way to our first destination of the day, Skatafell National Park! I was thrilled to see they had postcard stamps and a postal slot, so I took care of all that really early. (I had written them all out the night before thanks to the lack of WiFi.) We hiked up a mountain (not my favorite activity), which was kind of treacherous in parts. We saw a tiny waterfall, then a much nicer waterfall called Svartifoss. We were surrounded by singing birds, which was fun. I started singing “Bird is the Word” over and over much to Niki’s chagrin… I can’t handle quiet at all! That is why I have the TV on all waking hours here! Anyway, it was very nice – see the pictures – and we came down the other side, passing through a cute, idyllic lamb meadow. It was actually quite a nice 2.5 km jaunt, all in all.
Continuing on the Ring Road, we picked up some lava rocks at a picnic spot, then stopped by some wonderful glacier lakes at Svinafellsjokull, Kviamyrarkambur and Fjallsarlon, which was especially beautiful. It was in a nice secluded area, so we had it mostly to ourselves, and it was pristine and so peaceful. There were all sorts of ice bits just floating around in the lake, clinking on each other, and we were able to go all the way down the beach and threw some rocks at them for fun!
The main area is the aforementioned Jokulsarlon on the southeast corner of the island… which earned its top 10 slot! It was simply wonderful, but not as empty as our private Fjallsarlon, so not as peaceful. Across the road on the actual coast was an ocean with frozen ice in it… there was actual ice ON the beach. It was kind of like being in Frozen… when we were ready to let it go, we started going up towards the north.
We had dinner in Hofn, which was listed as the only place we could stop for the next 4 hours if we kept driving up the east coast. We went to a cafe – Kaffi Hornid which also had free WiFi (thought it was super slow it was the first time I’d had it since Monday), and I had the lamb shank, which was delicious. In a funny coincidence, I saw two American girls we had seen at the gift shop at Jokulsarlon; I don’t think they saw us, though, so I didn’t say hi.
So to save time going all around the peninsula filled coast, we decided to take route 939 inland to save a few hours. What we didn’t know is that 939 is not only not paved, but it is directly through a mountain – going up, up, up, up and then going DOWN DOWN DOWN. This would’ve been bad enough, but that night was very foggy, and the further up we went, the less we could actually see anything. It was TERRIFYING, and it was like driving through nothingness. I could make out the road markers with my brights on, but could only see a few in front of me, and when another car actually passed us, it’s a miracle we didn’t hit it. And it’s a miracle we didn’t skid off the mountain, given the car kept putting on the skid warning sign. So, yes. We did think we were going to die there for about 20 minutes, but I drove like 5 mph and eventually, I’m happy to say we came back down and were able to see the road. From that point on, even if the road was horribly gravelly or curvy, I would say: “at least I can see it!” (It’s the opposite of Valerie Cherish’s mantra.)
So anyway, after all that, we ended up with another mountain road, that was far less scary, but still very annoying to drive up – all around the mountain till we finally ended up in the little remote Borgarfjordur eystri where we were determined to see puffins!
We stayed at a hotel that was on the ocean, and it was just serene. That guy was the nicest person we met the whole trip! We saw some sheep, and he said his father owned the farm up the hill and we could go visit that the next day (we didn’t end up doing that, but it was still nice of him to offer). Also, we had put down we’d be in 9-10… we got in almost at midnight b/c we had NO idea the types of roads we would have to be driving on to get there. But he didn’t mind, at all. He was super chipper, and told us not to worry about getting to breakfast on time – he’d leave it all out for us! What a mensch!
MUST SEE… THURSDAY
So we woke up in Borgarfjordur eystri and didn’t rush to breakfast for once. We headed around the bend for 5 minutes deeper into the peninsula and found the puffin cove. And we saw puffins, which was on the must see list! Puffins are adorable. We watched birds for about 20 minutes because we had taken such a hard trek to get there, and it was definitely worth it – see my puffin video and pictures! The birds had their own outside apartment cove, and we became voyeurs watching them shooting the shit and shooting their shit… as well as having sex! In particular, Niki discovered she was quite bird-curious, and she found it fascinating to watch the avian mating rituals. We met a nice woman from South Africa who was afraid of heights, who had to lie down in the back of her car while her husband drove up that mountain road!
On the way back from puffin-ville, we took a quick picture of the Hairy House, and then went up the Alfaborg hill which is apparently where elves live. We didn’t see any elves (even the Keebler ones), so we ended up going back on the mountain road, which was much nicer in the daytime after having slept, and we could actually enjoy the amazing view without worrying about dying.
We were planning to do Vatnajokulsdjodgardur National Park then Myvatn lake, but thanks to all the hills and mountains, our gas had been depleted. Not having been in as remote a location, we hadn’t thought to fill the tank before we left because it was still half full. This proved to be a big mistake. The horrible road conditions ate of the gas, and the little empty tank light came on, and we freaked out! I figured we had time before it disappeared completely b/c they like to warn you early, but we went in search of gas urgently. We ended up stopping by a little town with 4 houses, and the visitor center was closed, so we actually went to the house of a native, who didn’t speak that much English but told us gas was 40km away. AH!! So we were worrying we’d have to hitchhike, but thankfully we made it to Reykjahlio and filled our tank!
Reykjahlio is on the southeast side of the huge lake, Myvatn, which was again, breathtaking. (See the pics!) It was gorgeously shimmering in the sun, and since we were there already, we decided to hit that up first. We drove all the way around the lake in a clockwise direction, and stopped by Skutustadagigar, which had these pseudo-craters created from steam explosions. There was a quick 10 minute path we took, even though it was pretty cold out. Circling back towards Vatnajokulsdjodgardur National Park, we stopped by a few things we passed including Namafjall Hverir, which was basically stinky, stanky steam holes followed by a huge steam lake. SO SMELLY. It was SO smelly.
We finally got back to Vatnajokulsdjodgardur National Park, which kind of looked like we were on Mars. We took a path that had snow, ice and water to go to Dettifoss. It was kind of like an obstacle course, and it was the only time I wish I had brought my snow boots. We stopped by Selfoss first, the tinier waterfall, then saw Dettifoss, which was the BEST waterfall we saw all trip, hands down! Just WOW. It was HUGE, and there was a rainbow above it – and the pictures came out SO WELL, so just go see those, b/c I can’t really put into words how wonderful life is now you’re in the world.
We had a deloverly dinner in Akureyri, the capital of the north at the chain Hamborgarafabrikkan. Delicious burgers – yum! Akureyi was a cute little city – kind of reminded me of downtown Westfield for a bit. Certainly nothing like NYC, though!
We drove another 3 hours to the west, and then stayed at a random hotel on the North coast that was the WORST HOTEL of the TRIP. It was in a town with a weird D after an S, so we couldn’t even pronounce it though I did eventually learn that D with a line was like ITH – so SDwithaline is almost my name!
So this was a self-check in hotel, but we couldn’t find a phone to use, and Niki’s phone with an international plan was almost dead. So we got through, and they gave us a code for the room to unlock the patch with the key. Thankfully, with all my Escape the Room experience, this was easy enough. The worst part is there was no hot water… it was back by morning, so I suspect they just turn it off after midnight – we were there rather late again, for the 2nd time having underestimated the journey a bit. (It was really the hour we lost getting gas.) At least the WiFi worked.
When the hot water came back in the morning, the shower still didn’t get warm enough for a nice shower. And then the breakfast they offered was paltry and was going to cost $16/ person!!?! So we just had granola bars that we had brought. This would prove to be the only day Niki and I started getting irascible. I think a lot of crankiness was the lack of large breakfast – not a good idea when you are jampacking the day with so much physical activity.
Alright, so we drove hours again to the Snaefellsnes Pennisula starting in the North with the town of Grundarfjordur to see the famous Kirkjufell mountain, which is apparently in a lot of movies including recently The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I took a selfie there, but accidentally cut off the mountain’s tip, so I call it a circumcised selfie!!
Going to the Southeast part of Snaefellsnes Pennisula, we stopped by the Hellnar Visitor Center where a very helpful woman listed out the highlights for us. So we went to Djupalonssandur, which was a lovely beach which had rocks to lift to test our strength and a damaged ship called Epine-Grimsby. Next we saw a lighthouse and interesting rock formations at Malarrif/ Longdrangar. Then, we went to Svalthufa and saw a bird cove with a massive amount of birds flying all about! Finally, we stopped by Rauofeldargja, which is the spot where two mountains met and created a crack. We went up to the outskirts of the crack, which was already pretty treacherous, took one look inside, and came back down because it was very icy. A very icy crack, indeed.
By this time we were starving, so we went to the city of Borganes which was only an hour away from Reykjavik. I drove like a maniac, and we got to a cafe: Eddu Verold that TripAdvisor.com recommended. Unfortunately, we got there at 4:45 and it wasn’t open till 5. We walked around a cute beach, and saw a little of this quaint city, and finally at 5:03 someone came to open up. We told them we were in a hurry and ordered fast, but 15 minutes later, the waitress came back to say the stove was broken and it would take awhile to fix! She offered to make us sandwiches, and we were so famished and going to be so late, we said okay. Thankfully she only charged us 1000kr which was half the price of anything else on the menu. However, since we were so late, we ended up having to take the toll tunnel into the city which had a 1000kr fee, and didn’t have time to park by the hotel, so spent 500kr on parking – so that’s 750kr extra each, which basically is what we would’ve spent for a filling dinner.
Anyway, as I mentioned above, Monday we got tickets to the opera being presented for the Reykjavik Arts Festival. It was Peter Grimes by Benjamin Britten, an opera I loved in college and hadn’t heard since. I love Britten’s operas, and I love Peter Grimes. It’s incredible that he orchestrated the whole thing by himself! Sadly, I had thought it was a fully staged opera, but it was more Lincoln Center Avery Fischer style, and was a concert with the orchestra on stage. That said, it’s always nice to watch an orchestra play. The orchestra sounded amazing, and the cast was decent, but their English accents were mostly atrocious. Sadly, the whole thing was subtitled in Icelandic, not English, so it was really hard to understand any words. 🙁 Thankfully, we had looked up a synopsis on wikipedia right before the show, but without staging it was a tad confusing.
The casting didn’t help either! The romantic lead was described as a virginal school teacher, but was portrayed by a gray-haired actress at least 70. She was the worst at diction – it just sounded like she sang AHHHH the whole time. A few of the chorus people were pretty good, and the lead was fine although he almost cracked on 3 high notes, though hard to understand. They all fared better on the recitative and occasionally spoken dialogue. Ignoring the lack of words, though, it sounded divine, and even though it was 3.5 hours and we were exhausted and cranky, we enjoyed it for the most part… unlike the teenage girl in front of me who fell asleep.
The Harpa hall itself was completely new and very modern with spectacular acoustics.
After the show, we checked back into the same hotel we stayed at Monday night, which was our favorite hotel of the trip. We were still hungry, so we got late night pizza on the corner at a place that is open till 6am on weekends – so at least Reykjavik gets a point for that! The pizza itself was not very good, but it did enough to hit the spot.
SATURDAY FATTER DAY
Saturday was our most relaxing day, having completed our entire ring. We did not have to rush because I had booked the Blue Lagoon for noon knowing we could check out up till 11. We had our full, full breakfast and took our time getting out. We got to Blue Lagoon around 11:45, and had the most relaxing afternoon in the hot spring pool.
Okay, so the Blue Lagoon is a pool that is naturally heated with steamed water that according to the sign by the bench where I was waiting for Niki to shower was created because the Eurasian and American tectonic plates meet underneath. The lagoon has 6 million liters of water and is self-cleaning, so chlorine is not needed since most bacteria cannot survive in the temperature.
We checked in, and received our waterproof wristbands, which were an ideal invention because they activated the lockers, so we could put everything in those, then have nothing on our person. They could also be used to buy drinks in the lagoon, and afterwards it allows you out of the turnstile, and there’s a little nook that opens up for you to return them.
I really could’ve used some music, but otherwise it was fairly relaxing. We stayed emerged in the warm water, and we applied some mud to our face, which actually really opened up our pores! There was an incredible waterfall that was pounding down on our backs – I kept going in there – I could’ve stayed there for hours – it was better than any person massage! WOW. I miss the waterfall the most! We also went into the sauna and steamroom, but since I have those in my gym in my building, I kept going back to the waterfall since I don’t have one of those here.
The best moment of the whole thing was hearing someone yell “SETH! SETH!” and running into my college friend, Nabeela… in the Blue Lagoon… in Iceland! CRAZY! So yes, I run into people I know wherever I am – even if it is in a hot spring in Europe!
Since the towels were going to cost 5 euro, I forwent one and instead dried myself off with a hair dryer. Whenever the attendant came back, I pretended I was just drying my hair… speaking of, the water made our hair very stiff, so we had to put massive amounts of conditioner in before and after.
Afterwards, we checked into our final hotel, an airport hotel Niki found for only $58 for the night! It was really charming. Again a self check, but it was a must easier process, and they had free lemonade (and coffee)! Even though it took awhile, the hot water finally came for the shower, and we actually rested for like an hour before heading back into Reykjavik for our final night.
We walked around, and Niki got some souvenirs with her remaining cash, and we went back to Lebowski bar because we really wanted to try their peanut butter and jelly burger, which was simply delicious! Who knew? I also had another peanut butter and chocolate shake, so it was a very peanut butter filled day.
It turns out Saturday night was the final night of the Eurovision competition, which is a big singing contest that unites all of Europe and Israel and Australia. I hadn’t heard of this at all, but apparently it is a HUGE thing over there. The people in the bar were going crazy, and it actually felt like a city for once! I actually have no idea who won… I’m going to look it up; hold on: Sweden apparently.
The final thing we did was go to a concert at Mengi, an experimental culture house. The concert was six pieces by Bara Gisladottir and her chamber group Nattey. I thought it would be an interesting show. Unfortunately for Niki, it turned out to be an extremely abstract, experimental, atonal, dissonant sound – very European – very avant garde. The word I described the concert with was “fascinating”. The word Niki used was “painful”.
The six pieces were all very John Cage-y. The first featured Bara on the floor behind her bass using blue flashlights and hitting and plucking the instrument creating unusual sounds. She also made alien voices. (I think watching Niki’s faces at this point was even more entertaining than the show.) The second piece was for sax and had a string of places where there wasn’t any actual sound being blown, and was just the sound of the keys hitting the base. There was also a lot of blaring and screechy loud notes, which I think kept Niki from sleeping. The third was for clarinet and featured choreography like the clarinetist hitting her leg while playing various notes, and then turning around and doing some leg lifts at various points. (I quite enjoyed that one.) Fourth added a computer track with the bass and sax – very much going on – it was a little too much crazy for crazy sake, and I really personally prefer writing with a lot more structure even when going this unorthodox route. The fifth was a plucky, slappy bass solo – lots of tugging and slamming down the palm – I was almost afraid she was going to break it! Sixth, was bass and computer – lots of vocoding stuff going on creating a somewhat alien ambient sound – I believe she had the whole thing mapped on a large piece of music John Cage style, all notated by the timing because she had a counter displaying on her computer. This last one was pretty long, and I think could’ve been half the length.
All in all, I admired and appreciated what she was doing, perhaps more than enjoying it. I did like the first and third pieces the best and would’ve liked the fourth more if it had been a little shorter and had a little more structure. Sadly, Niki proclaimed after she would rather have died. I think she was being hyperbolic because Wednesday when we almost did die, she seemed to really want to live.
We filled the gas one more time Saturday night and went to bed early b/c our flight was at 10:30am. I woke up at 8:05am, which is 4:05am NYC time. Crazy, huh? We had no issues with the airport, and I ended up getting bumped up to business class for the flight home!! OMG, the seat turned into a bed!!! What?! And there was a remote for the screen, and the food was absolutely fantastic – snacks and drinks provided whenever – and I got a little case with tissues and lotions and a toothpaste and brush and floss and earplugs, blindfold… even socks!
Best plane ride EVER, and now flying in coach has been ruined for me completely.
HITTING THE BOOKS
I got really stressed and busy, so I went a month or so without reading anything, but the last month I read Sisterland which is a great novel by Curtis Sittenfeld who had an article in EW about The Americans, and I had loved Prep, so I got her other 3 novels on ebay for like $2, and this is the first one I read b/c it got such raves a few years ago. I loved it.
I also for lighter fare read Kristin Chenoweth’s memoir, A Little Bit Wicked, which I enjoyed, but found pretty devoid of anything super personal. (Unlike, say, MY memoir.)
Other than that I finished last week’s Time and EW magazines putting me in good shape to not fall behind!
THE MOVIES IN MY MIND
Movies I saw since the last ledger in the theatre:
The Last 5 Years – this is a great adaptation of Jason Robert Brown’s 2 person musical
The Gunman – free preview of this not so great adventure movie written and starring Sean Penn
It Follows – fantastic horror film
Unfriended – this was a free preview of another pretty good horror film (I don’t usually see these, but 2 in one month!)
Pitch Perfect 2 – really enjoyed this sequel, though the first was better
Avengers: Age of Ultron – I don’t know. I like the TV show, but the movie felt pretty much like every other adventure movie, even if it had some sharp Joss Whedon dialogue at points… it just seemed like Stark should know better than to make an AI with alien artifacts by now… but then I guess we’d have no movies.
I watched 3 movies each way on the plane (including 3 best actors). Here they are in order of preference:
Whiplash – OMG this movie was fantastic. I loved it and totally related to a lot of it.
Theory of Everything – This was a little slow and melodramatic in parts – I did not need to see them puncture his throat – but Eddie Redmayne was incredible, and I support Keaton losing now.
Big Hero 6 – Really cute Disney movie – not the best, not the worst.
Still Alice – Julianne Moore was unbelievable, but I am so scared of Alzheimer’s that I found it very hard to watch – the steward might have thought I was manic b/c I cried through the whole thing.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day – you know, this movie was actually pretty cute and had a fantastic supporting cast – I just needed something under 90 minutes on the way there, and I’ll always watch something Disney.
The Boxtrolls – I was VERY disappointed in this movie. The writing was NOT very good, which is very sad given how amazing the animation was. It just shows you, writing is the most important element in art. 😉
TOO MUCH TV
Well, I managed to plan my DVR very well – when I got back it was at 99%. So thank you, FIOS for having 500 hours of capacity! It’s close to 100% because I’m recording the entire series of Bewitched – 254 episodes – to watch from the start! Not to mention I have all of Grimm and Mike & Molly…
So I watched the Mad Men finale last night, and no spoilers, but I was actually very happy with it, and thought it was beautifully done.
In other news, I watch 11 shows on ABC… and they renewed ALL 11! So ABC is my favorite network. They also picked up the new Muppet show, and I cannot wait!!! Even if it is horribly unfunny, I will love it!!!
My new spring show that I adored was The Returned. Still waiting to see if it gets renewed, but I highly recommend it.
Other than that, I want to give a shout-out to Hot in Cleveland, which is ending in a few weeks.
I’m looking forward to summer TV including my returning shows Under the Dome, Extant and the hilarious Playing House… and of course, the new season of Orange is the New Black!! Speaking of Netflix, my favorite new show is The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, but sadly I watched it all in 2 nights because it was just too good to wait!
THERE’S NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ
Oh, jeez. I saw a lot of theatre since the last ledger:
The Winter’s Tale – great production at Pearl Theatre off-Bway
Parade Concert – fantastic concert version of this JRB musical
The Nether – OMG this play off-bway was the best play I’ve seen in years. Just wonderful.
Brooklynite – off-Bway comic book musical
Hedwig with Dexter – I saw Hedwig a second time with Dexter in it – not as good as NPH – really sad that JCM was out!
Little Children of God – pretty good play off-Bway
The Heidi Chronicles – really liked this Bway revival starring Elisabeth Moss
Singapore Mikado – Theatre2020’s G&S production was great
The Liquid Plain – play off-bway about Africa
On the 20th Century – Kristin Chenoweth is giving the performance of her career in this wonderful revival of this quirky classic!
Karen Mason at Don’t Tell Mama – Karen Mason is a cabaret star for a reason – just unbelievable
Paint Your Wagon (Encores) – great to see this old Lerner and Loewe show in concert
The Baker’s Wife – had never seen this Stephen Schwartz musical before – saw him there that night!
Posterity – play off-Bway about a sculpture and Henrik Ibsen
Placebo – play off-Bway about relationships
An American in Paris – wonderful musical on Broadway – best dancing I’ve ever seen on a Broadway stage!
Something Rotten – some really hilarious moments in this new Broadway musical
Broadway by the Year 1965-1990 – another great Town Hall concert
Honeymoon in Vegas – saw this a second time before it closed – the score was really great
Living on Love – saw this play about opera stars starring Renee Fleming who is just unbelievable
Clinton the Musical – off-Bway musical about the 90s
The Visit – I loved this musical starring Chita Rivera, featuring Kander and Ebb’s final score
Fun Home – This is my favorite musical of the last 10 years, and I highly recommend you go see it. It is flawless.
Broken – my friend David wrote this poignant prison play.
Dr. Zhivago – this new musical had a lot to like about it, though I understand why it closed.
Audra McDonald at Carnegie Hall – Audra is just unbelievable, and I would watch her sing the phone book.
Airline Highway – this new Bway play was GREAT, but has no stars in it, so it’s closing early – it’s really good, though.
Permission – Off-Bway play about S&M
What I Did Last Summer – great Off-Bway play at Signature about a coming-of-age story
The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek – another Off-Bway play at Signature again in Africa
Don Juan – great Pearl Theatre revival with a new translation
Chugginton the Musical – saw Rori starring in this kid’s musical at the iconic Beacon Theatre – lots of moving trains.
Okay, so it’s been a crazy spring, and Iceland was exactly what I needed to recharge for another busy summer! Lots of free things to do and see, and the Tony Awards are in less than 2 weeks (which reminds me I have to send email about my annual party). There are some other great things happening in the pipeline, and I am ready to go!
I wanted to publicly thank Niki for coming with me to Iceland and being such a great, compatible travel companion. And while I’m in the thanking paragraph, thanks to Lauren for staying with Smee for a week (and then taking out all the garbage/ recycling before I got back).
Some concluding notes about Iceland:
1. We didn’t get to see the Northern Lights because it’s the wrong time of year, so I got a magnet with it – also it was Kermit Green so it matches my apartment decor.
2. If you are going on a trip out of the country, you should call your bank first. My ATM card got flagged, so I had to rely on Niki for cash for the first day. Thankfully, TD Bank has great online 24/7 service, and I was able to send a message to get things straightened really fast!
3. In case you want to be seriously jealous: thanks to our frugality, the entire trip cost under $1200!
4. RIP to my old shoes. This was their last hurrah – one has a hole in it now. I started wearing a new pair today.
September 1, 2015 — Another Summer Ends…
Merry September, everyone! As another calendar page turns, I thought it was time to send an update since I have not written y’all since Iceland! How we could use some Iceland NOW that the temperatures are so heated.
It’s been a summer of so much free stuff – movies, concerts, operas – that I am the only person in the world who is truly happy for September to be here. I’m going to 3 more opera screenings at Lincoln Center this week, and then my summer of spending hours outside waiting to get close seats for free events is OVER! But before it ends, let’s catch up, shall we?
WATCH ME, MAYBE?
Alright, so the least viewed episode of Season 5 only has 37 views! That means that at least 800 of the people on this list have not caught up. Season 5 has been lauded as the BEST season yet by many people (not including me) and before your summer is over, it would be swell if you could catch up! Don’t YOU deserve a little Seth today?
www.youtube.com/EveryDayaLittleSeth — there is a playlist for each season for those who are way behind. Enjoy! 🙂
While we’re here, I also posted a few videos from Broadway Meows 7 – and if you have not seen the hilarious music video Gym it Up!, you can watch all of those on my music youtube page:
Thank you in advance for your viewage!
As the fall arrives, I have booked 2 audition weeks already, and I am having my own auditions for fall showcases. I have a pretty good submission turnout so far, hopefully that’ll translate into enough performers to make it through the weekly showcases till the end of the year. Assuming I have enough, it looks like we’ll be hitting 388 or 389 in December, meaning I’ll be stuck doing (I mean I GET to do) another set of concerts of my songs for the 400th Showcase Something Superlative and maybe denoting 9 years of producing these…
Other than that, we wrote a pilot of the sitcom version of Every Day a Little Seth and are in the process of figuring out how to get that on TV/ streaming. (Anyone know anyone who works at Netflix?) And I am working on my second book, Every Page a Little Seth, which is a companion piece to the web series – every episode gets its own chapter where I write tangential essay on each topic! I have 7/30 done… 23 to go and hopefully I can publish around my birthday again next February. Speaking of books, did YOU buy my first one yet?
Last week I took a relaxing trip to the South to visit my friend, Niki, in Atlanta and then my aunt in Chattanooga. It was great to unplug for a bit; I stayed completely off social media, and I’ll tell you my mood was greatly improved. To that end, I have vowed to spend less and less time on it from now on!
Here’s what we did in Atlanta:
The Aquarium – it was kind of fishy.
The Ferris Wheel – overpriced, but we got a good view of the city, a history lesson, and free chocolate thanks to Niki’s use of Groupon!
Centennial Park – walked around where the Olympics were held a decade or 2 ago…
The CNN Center – it wasn’t open for tours, but we were able to walk around the main area… speaking of, CNN was on pretty much everywhere in Atlanta (which certainly beats FOX news in Chattanooga)
The Federal Reserve Museum – really great free museum about how the Federal Reserve makes and maintains $$ – we might’ve played a really stupid economy game 3 times till we won… (when I say might, I mean we did)
The High Museum – this is Atlanta’s MOMA, but it’s way smaller – they also had free music that night, so we got a jazz concert as we perused some art.
Atlanta Ballet Company – we saw a free performance of outside ballet
The Cheesecake Factory – this isn’t just in Atlanta, obviously, but Niki and I used to go bi-annually for our birthdays when we are at MIT, so it was nice to re-establish tradition! And boy that cheesecake is delicious.
Piedmont Park – we went for a picnic with Niki’s neighbors and played water balloon toss
Stone Mountain – we hiked up Stone Mountain, saw some people with actual Confederate flags, then at night saw the laser show, complete with fire and fireworks – apparently it hasn’t really changed in 20 years – also for some reason they stopped it with about 30 seconds to go because there was lightning and thunder… but it had 30 seconds to go, and then didn’t even rain at all?!
Motown the Musical – let’s just say I enjoyed being in the lovely theatre they have more than seeing the actual show.
And of course a few other restaurants, but I’m not a foodie, so sorry, I don’t retain that info.
Here’s what we did in Chattanooga (I was only there two days):
Chattanooga Art Museum – they had 3 Monets and a lot of other stuff.
Chattanooga Zoo – I LOVE going to zoos! We saw some turtles having sex. I took video, if anyone likes turtle porn, let me know, and I’ll text it to you.
Used bookstore – there’s a huge used bookstore and some books were a NICKEL. I came home with 20 books. I’m not going to lie. It was 20. But I paid $8 total for them!
Food wise we went to what was called the best fried chicken in the world and to a BBQ place that had goats outside…
And the best part was sleeping on the water bed in my aunt’s basement! I LOVE WATER BEDS and if it wasn’t against the lease to get one in a NYC apartment, I would strongly consider it…
Besides all that since everyone I visited went to bed relatively early (relative to me), I watched 2 movies a night on Amazon Prime at Niki’s and 1 movie a night, then episodes of my new favorite tv show (more on those down below) at my aunt’s… PLUS I read FIVE books on vacation between the flights, Mega bus ride (for $1!) and free time at night, plus I invested in a new app… (see the next section…)
IT’S A PUZZLEMENT
I have invested $42/ year in… the New York Times Crossword App! OMG, I know that is A LOT of $$$ to spend! (The app is free, the subscription to the crosswords is what costs $.) But while I was gone, I needed something productive to do while being completely off social media. I got the 7 day free trial, and I fell in love. No more pen and paper for me! Now I know some people get it on their phone, which is NUTS b/c it’s so tiny, but on the iPad it’s perfect. And I now have access to every puzzle for the last 20 years, so I can do whichever day of the week I’m in the mood for.
I can do Mondays in about 10 minutes… Tuesdays take more like 30… by Wednesday, I admit I have to cheat and check the puzzle and then slowly start getting answers either via Google or just by asking. But I think that’s okay. Who am I trying to fool? I could sit there for hours not getting anything, or cheat. So I cheat for now, till I don’t have to. It took me 90 minutes to do the Saturday one WITH cheating every so often, but I eventually got it done!
OH, in other news, since one of my friends from my Mystery Hunt team had a crossword in the NY Times this summer, I decided I should try to do that. So with her help, 2 months later, I’m proud to say I created a crossword that she deemed Times-worthy! Let’s hope, they do, too!
TAKE SMEE OR LEAVE SMEE
I don’t know that Smee has much to say today. He is lounging on the floor sunbathing right now, but I’m sure if I bothered him, he would send his regards. It’s actually been 8 years since I adopted him this summer. Can you believe it?! That’s a lot of years.
SUMMER OF BOOKS
Alright, so thanks to all of the sitting and waiting for free things to start, I read a record number of books this summer! It also helps that I specifically chose shorter books often, so I could pad the list. But regardless, this is what I read this summer:
The Man of My Dreams – I got into a Curtis Sittenfeld phase after Sisterland – I have one more to go – I really do like her stuff, though.
The Wisdom of Big Bird – after seeing the lovely documentary about Caroll Spinney,
Infinity Hold – really great science fiction book
Without You – Anthony Rapp’s memoir – very sad
Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn’s first novel – SO GOOD.
Kiss Me Like a Stranger – Gene Wilder’s memoir – pretty amusing – I still have a few memoirs to go on my piano…
Little Bee – wonderful but very sad novel
Dark Places – Gillian Flynn’s second novel – also really good – I have now read all 3 of her novels!
Nothing Like a Dame – this is a fantastic interview book with 21 Broadway Tony Winning Divas
Briar Rose – this is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty using the Holocaust as a metaphor
Laughter in the Dark – this is a Nabokov classic about an affair gone awry
Getting Even – Woody Allen essay book – not as funny as I had hoped it’d be.
If You Asked Me – Betty White’s 6th book – a very fast read, but it inspired me to send her some fan mail b/c she apparently reads and responds to it!
Goodbye, Mr. Chips – got this book for 5 cents – very fast read
The Maze Runner – having watched this movie on HBO this month, I invested in the series – it’s pretty good, but no Hunger Games or HP… (if anyone is interested, I accidentally bought the e-books before getting the real books – I am happy to sell the link to you at a discount!)
Other than those, I have the 20 books I brought up from the trip, and I have a huge pile of books I got cheaply on ebay. But I will wait till I actually read them to report what they are, so you don’t read them on this list 3 years from now and know how long it took!
T TO THE V
Well, since the other sections this month have ended up in lists; I might as well just list out my favorite summer TV shows:
Manhattan – I am going to start with the show I began binging on vacation – this is a WONDERFUL drama about the Manhattan Project and the conflicts with all the physicists and their wives. It is REMARKABLE and highly recommended as THE drama for YOU to catch up with (after you’ve caught up on The Americans).
Rectify – Speaking of dramas, the 3rd season of this one did not disappoint. It’s slow sometimes, but totally worth it!
Halt and Catch Fire/ Humans – moving on with dramas, I enjoyed both these AMC shows, and I’m pulling for Halt to get renewed for season 3!
Mr. Robot – This was the breakout hit of the summer! What a thrilling show!
Wayward Pines – Moving to Sci-Fi, this mini-series was slow at first but then became one of my favorite summer shows.
Dark Matter – This was my favorite new show on the SyFy channel in years! It’s very Firefly-esque.
Extant – I thought season 2 of Extant has exceeded expectations, but I’m worried its low ratings will doom it.
Sense8 – This Netflix show takes a few episodes and takes attention span to follow, but I really loved it and am so relieved it got renewed.
RIP Under the Dome – This season has been horrible, so I’m not surprised it got canceled, but I always have a soft-spot for this show even if it completely went off the rails from the book.
UnREAL – Switching to comedy, this was the breakout show for me this summer! Behind the scenes at a fake reality show. Shiri Appleby is amazing.
Playing House – shout out to this hilarious buddy comedy on USA! They have been doing a lot of product placement, but I forgive them and hope it gets another season.
Kevin from Work – this is a charming, old fashioned office comedy on ABC Family. Charming!
Vicious – This is a great BBC show starring Ian McKellan as a gay washed up actor. It just started season 2 on PBS.
Penn & Teller: Fool Us – And finally, I became enthralled by this show where magicians try to trick P&T. Just so much fun to watch = a perfect summer show!
Obviously, I am MOST excited about this fall is the new MUPPETS show! Other than that, I haven’t picked any new things to watch besides Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which looks like it’ll be a hoot. I will report on what I try and like next time, though! Very excited for returning shows, including the 9th season of Doctor Who in a few weeks!
IT LEFT A FILM
I saw a handful of summer flicks; the last 2 last week on vacation:
Tomorrowland – really enjoyed this Disney movie
Inside Out – what a great Pixar film! all the feels!
Irrational Man – I enjoyed the new Woody Allen movie – even a subpar Woody movie is better than most movies, after all!
Trainwreck – I adore Amy Schumer, but I could’ve done without the last 5 minutes of the movie.
Diary of a Teenage Girl – what a wonderful indie flick! Highly recommended!
Mr. Holmes – this is a fantastic movie stars Ian McKellan as an aging Sherlock Holmes trying to remember his final cast…
I also saw free movies outside, including 5 classics at Bryant Park: St. Vincent (really great) + BP: The Killers, Poseidon Adventure, Footloose, Desk Set and Chinatown.
And just for completeness sake, here are the 10 movies I watched on vacation on demand in order completely from memory: Listen Up Phillip, Laggies, Song of the Sea, Palo Alto, Skeleton Twins, The Angriest Man in Brooklyn, Frankie & Alice, If I Stay, Barefoot, Dear White People.
I actually liked all 10 of those, but nothing was like OMG you HAVE to watch this movie or ELSE, so I will leave it at that.
And finally, here’s the theatre I’ve seen since the last ledger:
The Way We Get By – great Neil LaBute play starring Amanda Seyfried
The Spoils – wonderful play by and starring fellow EBer Jesse Eisenberg
Gloria – fantastic play with an office gun shooting
Merry Housewives of Windsor – Shakespearean adaptation merging the Real Housewives with the Merry Wives
Hamlet – unabridged, uptown and outside
Jason Robert Brown in Concert – Honeymoon in Vegas – got offered tix to see JRB’s monthly show and it turned out he brought the whole cast back and they did the entire show in a small venue = epic!
Taming of the Shrew – more outside Shakespeare! I’ve always been partial to the shrew.
Aladdin – I actually won the lottery when my friend was here from out of town – totally magical!
Punk Grandpa – my friend, Lauren’s cousin wrote a show about their grandfather and it was thoroughly enjoyable.
Broadway by the Year – final concert of the 16th season.
Significant Other – another great play off-Broadway – what a strong season!
Tech Support – one acts about problems with technology (who doesn’t have those?)
On the Town – saw this revival again
The Tempest – at the real Shakespeare in the Park – sadly it wasn’t as good as when Patrick Stewart did it in 1997.
Amazing Grace – Broadway musical about the making of the song.
Fish in the Dark – Larry David’s hilarious play starring Jason Alexander – it was like a live episode of Seinfeld!
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder – revisited this Tony Award winner with my sister/ brother-in-law
King John – more outside Shakespeare – this time a very obscure one
Broadway Unplugged – I’ve been to every one of these Town Hall concerts without mics
Judy Collins – OMG I waited outside for 3 hours and ended up 2nd row center to see the iconic Judy Collins for free at Lincoln Center Outdoors – she sang Send in the Clowns and I cried. Just an incandescent talent.
Cymbelline – the other major Shakespeare in the Park – I had never seen this one, and I quite enjoyed Hamish Linklater & Lily Rabe, as always
Whorl Inside a Loop – off-Bway play about inmates in prison writing a play
The Wiz – my friend, Reji, starred as the Lion in this concert version with complete original choreography in Central Park Summerstage
Mercury War – very dark play off-Bway
John – charming play off-Bway starring Georgia Engel who is just a joy to watch on stage
It’s exciting that seasons are starting up again… and I am thrilled to say I’m going to see Madonna, Billy Joel and Bernadette Peters (again) in concert over the next few months! Woohoo!
Well, there it is. The end to another summer (even though it’s technically summer for another few weeks). I hope YOU had an amazing one. Please send me a note to let me know how YOU are doing.
December 26, 2015 — 2000 sweet 16
Another year, another end of the year recap. I’ll spare you the platitudes about time’s ever increasing pace, and just get down to it. As usual, I am going to revisit my previous resolutions, enumerate the year’s accomplishments and stretch the bucket list for the upcoming year. It’s been awhile since the last time I did one of these, and Aaron is coming over for TV in 3 hours, so I better get started.
2014 RESOLUTIONS FOR 2015
1. Win a BroadwayWorld Cabaret Award
Well… I tried really hard to win that, but lost to someone far more renowned in the cabaret world. I learned my lesson, though. Never nominate myself for anything ever again. It’s too much work imploring people I don’t usually talk to, to vote. In fact, I think I’m done doing that forever. Apparently people don’t like to hear from you if all you’re going to do is ask them for a vote or for money. Now if only the thousand people daily who ask me for similar things would learn that. 😉
2. Publish my book
Oh, yes I did this! I totally did this. That’s so cool. And I sold quite a few copies, so that’s also very nice. I see I didn’t actually specify selling copies, so I exceeded the resolution!
3. Reading of a revised Love Quirks in the hopes to move it Off-Broadway in the fall
Well, we did a reading of it in the fall… does that count? I think so. And it was very well received, and after one more revision next week, it should be as frozen as Elsa.
4. 350th Showcase Celebratory Concerts & 7th Annual Broadway Meows and Broadway Can! concerts
Oh, I lumped all those together. Yes, that’s a given that I would pull all of those off.
5. 6 more episodes of Season 5 of Every Day a Little Seth
Yes, I pulled that one of, too. More on EDALS later, though.
6. Brand new music video
OMG, I’m doing really well besides the first one!
7. 3rd Staci & Seth Sing Sesame Street
This is NOT my fault. I wanted to do part 3, and someone else with an S name pushed it back to 2016. But 100% for 2016.
8. Write the scores for at least one new musical, maybe two
HA! That’s not my fault either. That’s waiting on collaborators. Or as I call them… Godot.
9. Lose more weight
How admirable. I feel like I have gotten thinner. It’s hard to tell with weight b/c muscles actually add weight… which is the excuse everyone tells themselves. But I really do think I’m thinner which is far more important than losing weight.
10. More connections, more friendships, more helping friends & connections and paying it forward
How noble. I definitely made more connections and friendships, some of which are receiving a ledger for the first time. I think that my last book helped pay things forward.
1. Published a book that garnered 9 five-star reviews! I also did 2 book readings. Buy my book here!
2. Produced, emceed and accompanied 55 shows at Don’t Tell Mama (not a record, but still a lot) including:
3. 5 concerts of my songs for the 350th Showcase Octopalooza
4. The 7th Annual Broadway Meows and Broadway Can! concerts
5. Created another hilarious music video: Gym It Up!
6. Wrote, filmed and edited 6 wonderful episodes of Season 5 of Every Day a Little Seth… Playlist for Season 5!
7. Did a great revised reading of Love Quirks!
8. Co-wrote a pilot of the sitcom version of Every Day a Little Seth!
9. Wrote my second book, Every Page a Little Seth!
10. Took a wonderful vacation to Iceland and saw some wonders of nature!
1. Film the pilot of Every Day a Little Seth then submit it everywhere in the hopes of getting it on TV/streaming platforms
2. Publish my second book and sell at least 100 copies
3. Submit the finally finalized Love Quirks more places in the hopes to get it Off-Broadway in 2017/2018 (more realistic this time)
4. 400th Showcase Celebratory Concerts & 8th Annual Broadway Meows and Broadway Can! concerts
5. Film the finale of the web series Every Day a Little Seth
6. 3rd Staci & Seth Sing Sesame Street (finally!)
7. Write the scores for at least one new musical, maybe two (more optimistic about this for the new year)
8. Get a crossword puzzle in the NY Times (my last one got rejected, but I just submitted my 2nd attempt)
9. New social media plan: posting on the fanpage/twitter once a day
10. Even more new friends/connections
WATCH ME, WATCH ME, (Apple) WATCH ME!
If you have not seen these yet, here are some videos from the 7th Annual Broadway Can! concert in November. One new song from Love Quirks, one old song from Love Quirks that’s never been done in a cabaret, one new song from 2015 done in a new way, and one world premiere song. Enjoy!
The Circle, Performed by Rori Nogee
Straight Boys, Performed by Matthew Patrick Morris
Too Damn Cold, Performed by Edward Tolve
Priorities, Performed by Amy Lang
I touched upon some of the upcoming things in my resolutions but let me elaborate mostly chronologically.
So to end this year, I did my annual webpage overhaul. I have posted new pictures on the Personal page from 2015 and finally updated my bio, resume and store page. Furthermore, I have gone through my YouTube song page and deleted (what, no!? I know, but it’s okay) some redundancies and some superfluities. And I’ve updated all the playlists on the mainpage, such that every song that I have posted is now included in either: Female Ballads, Female Comedy, Male Ballads, Male Comedy, Hilarious Music Videos, If Adele Can Do It and the new… Duets or Musical Highlights sections.
Check out the refined page, here: youtube.com/sethbh42.
On January 2nd, I will be participating in the annual Biggest Show of the New Year, 24 Hours of Continuous Live Entertainment at Metropolitan Room. It’s only $10 for as many hours as you want, and it includes a free drink. I’m on at 11:50PM Saturday night, and if you’re in town, you should come: Info here.
If you don’t live in town, you can watch it live-streamed here. 11:50PM EST – so if you’re in Europe, you’ll probably be sleeping, but if you’re in CA, it’ll only be 8:50PM. Much better than last year’s 5am slot. Also, I’m going to be accompanying a bunch of other singers from 3-7 and 11-3, so I’m just going to be hanging out there pretty much all day.
Also in January, I am starting a new musical project with my LQ collaborator. I will not announce that till we actually finish writing a draft, but I think it’s going to be epic.
I’m also starting my 365 day social media plan beginning on 1/1. A friend told me I should do themes for each month, so I’m going to set up my FB fanpage and twitter to post at 1pm every day for the year. As much as I want to set this whole thing up for the entire year at once, I’m going to make myself only do one month in a time so I can see if I want to adjust my plan. First, I’m going to do Female Comedy songs in January, posting one a day. In February, it’ll be quotes from my new book. March for Male Songs. April for Ballads. May for the web series. And then I’ll see how that goes before I schedule the rest.
So, yes, thus in February I am going to be publishing my new book, EVERY PAGE A LITTLE SETH. Niki has already read it and given it all her thumbs up (which is two)! She also (hopefully) found all the typos so that when it’s published it will be typo-free. Additionally, she had me remove some superfluous or accidentally offensive sentences, and has assured me the book is really good. So woohoo!
Every Page a Little Seth features 30 essays tangentially related to the 30 episodes of my web series. It’s basically like Mindy or Lena’s books, except they sell a lot more copies since they’re already famous. I’ve basically written the book I would write if I were famous, in the hopes that eventually I will be. But it’s full of humor and wit on topics like dating, apartments, puzzles, smartphones, neuroses… I mean everything I touch upon in 5 seasons of my show.
Speaking of, it’s with a heavy heart that I officially announce to the world that I am ending the web series this year. I know you are devastated, but when I started it I said it was my goal to get a sitcom on TV. Well… we have written a really hilarious pilot for TV and have decided to film it in April. We are also planning on writing the rest of the season this year, and if the pilot goes well, could possibly just shoot a full season (assuming we find a way to finance it that isn’t begging my friends for money).
Thus, it seems the web series has served its purpose. I am happy to say that I am not going to leave the show on a cliffhanger (as the 85 of you who watched the finale know). Smee and I have committed to filming a legen………dary series finale episode. In fact, I actually wrote it yesterday in the shower! So in May, as I said, I will be posting an episode of the show every day and on May 31, 2016, I will post the Every Day a Little Seth Series Finale. If that doesn’t give you something to live for, I don’t know what will.
Besides that, we are hitting the 400th Showcase in April. However, since we are shooting the pilot then, I am going to push the 400th Celebration back till May. (I can do that because they’re my shows.) I am probably going to drop down to 4 concerts of my work, as they are exceedingly stressful to produce. But we’ll see how much demand there is.
June will finally bring Staci & Seth & Friends Sing Sesame St, Part 3 where we will sing all our favorite songs not covered in the first two (ones not written by Moss or Raposo).
Also in June, I’m going to Poland with the group that co-sponsored my trip to Germany. It’s going to be another Holocaust heavy trip, where we visit Warsaw and a bunch of camps including Auschwitz (where my Grandmother was). We are also going to the Klezmer Festival in Krakow at the end. After that I am going to visit my friend in Vienna. I’m also going to do a few day trips in Austria including Salzburg and maybe if I’m feeling up for it Prague. It’s possible I will just stay in Austria, though, because after an intensive group trip, I might just want to relax where the hills are alive with sound of music. And don’t worry, I will make sure to get a few selfies re-enacting the whole movie in Salzburg!
July will bring the 8th Annual Broadway Meows and November the 8th Annual Broadway Can!
I am hoping there will be other things happening with my musicals in the summer/fall, but I would rather leave unhatched chickens uncounted.
SMEE’s NINE and FEELING FINE
So Smee turned 9 last week! 9! Can you believe it? But I swear he doesn’t look a day over 7. We threw him a fun-tastic birthday party and played quite a few games. People brought him some salmon treats and some catnip and quite a few new toys. We gave him some catnip, and he was pretty stoned. So stoned that he let people just pet him and pose with him. I think I’ve come up with a new trick to get him to stay still when we’re filming now! 🙂
And while we’re speaking of birthdays, I’d like to mention two family members: the eldest and the youngest.
My grandfather turned 96 yesterday. He says he has 4 years to go till 100, and that he expects all of his progeny (my fancy word, not his) to live to at least 100. I assured him by the time I’m that old, they will have ways of extending life to at least 120. For his birthday, I went to check out a plaque he has mentioned a few times. In the Daily News building, where he worked in the 40s, they mounted a plaque commemorating anyone who went off to World War II. In fact, there is a plaque, though I think it’s been renovated because it includes not only WWI and WWII but the Korean and Vietnam Wars now. Regardless, I took a picture of it, and he was really relieved to know that his name will live on there forever.
Incidentally, when he first applied for that job, he had to pretend to not be Jewish to get hired. He says he wrote down “Protestant” because he was in a way protesting. He had an Italian friend who worked there who could tell he was Jewish, but he never outed him, even though he was treated less well because of being Catholic. And they held his job for him when he went off to war, which was very nice of them. Anyway, I posted the picture on the Facebook and it got more likes than even Smee does!
Finally, last and least (but only in size), I am happy to announce that I am now an uncle. I’m looking forward to this new position in life, as kids almost always like their aunts/uncles… sometimes more than their parents. Plus, there is no requirement for participation, so I can come and go as I please, and at the end of the day (you’re another day older), I can give the kid back to his parents. And in a way, some of my genes (hopefully the good ones) have been past on, so I can focus on my own children: my cat and my projects, with less familial pressure.
PAGING A READER
I was all over the place genre wise in the past few months:
The Maze Runner Series – I think this series was better than Divergent and Beautiful Creatures, but definitely no Hunger Games/ Harry Potter. It had its moments, though, and the ending made me cry. However, I cry very often because I’m a Pisces, so I don’t know if that is saying much.
Room – This is a fantastic book. I obviously read it because they made it into a movie, and I prefer to read the books first. But highly recommended!
If I Stay/ Where She Went – Alright, so I watched this movie in Atlanta (as you’ll remember if you’ve memorized my last ledger) and when I found out there was a book sequel, I had to read the first one even though I knew it all from the movie. Talk about books that made you cry. Young adult non-fantastical fiction is not really my bag, but I much preferred these to the Fault in Our Stars, which I just loathed.
And the Mountains Echoed – This is a FANTASTIC novel by the Kite Runner author Khaled Housseini. Of course it’s about Afghanstan, but it’s as wonderful as his other two books.
The Man in the High Castle – I read this one b/c it’s a TV show. I will admit to not loving it. There isn’t much plot, but they seem to have fixed that for the TV show.
Colored Lights – This is the book where Kander and Ebb are interviewed and talk about their careers. It’s a wonderful, must read for any musical theatre writer, and I loved every moment of it. In fact, I have been listening to only Kander & Ebb cast recordings this week.
Boy’s Life – Okay, so I traded Lauren T Room & And the Mountains Echoed and she gave me this book – I’ve read 30 pages and so far I’m enjoying it – she also traded me The Memory Keeper’s Daughter…
Other than those, I have a list of books to buy when they are much cheaper like Franzen’s new novel, Purity. I do have his first 2 books to read, though. And Life After Life is sitting on my shelf… and I have JK Rowling’s first 2 mystery novels… and a whole lot of classics I got for 50 cents at the Strand. In other words, I should stop watching so much TV and catch up on books!
MOVIE! MOVIE! MOVIE!
Alright, so I’ve seen quite a few things this fall:
The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials – They really changed a lot from the book, so I’m not quite sure how I feel about this movie, but I’ll have to see the final one. Which reminds me I still haven’t seen the 2nd Divergent one… I guess it’ll be on HBO soon.
Sleeping With Other People – Alison Brie stars in this funny When Harry Meets Sally-like romantic comedy
Steve Jobs – I loved this Aaron Sorkin fictionalized version of Apple’s boss – not sure why it didn’t do better, but very enthralling to watch if you can forget how contrived the conceit is!
Crimson Peak – This was a great to look at, very banally written horror flick – had a free preview to see it where the chairs moved during scary scenes, though.
Room – WONDERFUL. Just WONDERFUL adaptation of the book with a few added things that really worked. My favorite thing about this movie is I took Melissa to see it for her birthday, and last year we saw The Book Thief for her birthday. Well, there is a scene in ROOM where someone is READING the Book Thief. How meta is that?!
6 Weeks to Mother’s Day – I actually got paid $20 to give feedback on this really great documentary about a school in Thailand
Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 – I was underwhelmed. I think they should’ve just made it a trilogy instead of splitting the weakest Hunger Games book into 2 movies just to make more $$.
Trumbo – Bryan Cranston was fantastic in this really good movie about the blacklist in the 50s
Brooklyn – Really enjoyed this sweet movie
Ride Along 2 – Got a free preview to this even though I hadn’t seen the first one. It was surprisingly pretty funny, if completely obvious and predictable. Kevin Hart is really great, though.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – I won’t post any spoilers, though who hasn’t seen this by now? I enjoyed it, but it is NO STAR TREK. Glad they had Jewish writers, though, b/c it was far funnier than the other ones. I saw the whole plot coming a mile away, but I suppose that’s the point? But yes, it was really fun to watch; I can admit that.
Sisters – Tina and Amy are 2 of my faves, but this movie wasn’t that great. I mean it was funny and cute, but it wasn’t anything transcendent. I did LOL a bit though!
There aren’t that many more movies coming out that I am dying to see. I had wanted to see Joy, but it got horrible reviews. The movie that got incredible ones though is Anomalisa, which is by Charlie Kaufman whose movies I always adore. And it features puppets. So, yes, I’m probably going to see that on New Years Day if anyone wants to join.
COUCH POTATOS UNITE (by mashing?)
I haven’t sent a ledger since the new TV season started, so here are the shows that I added this year:
The Muppets – I do not care what anyone says. I think it’s been absolutely hilarious, and I’ve laughed and cried in every single episode. Muppets were always meant for adults, not kids! So keep watching – it gets better every week, and they replaced the show runner, so there should be more musical numbers in the spring!
Life in Pieces – my other new comedy is kind of like Modern Family, but has little vignettes instead of full arcs. It’s charming and has a great cast!
Supergirl – I had moderate expectations for this show, but I really enjoy it… in fact it’s almost… super!
Heroes Reborn – It took a few episodes, but I’m enjoying this revival a lot. It’s ß to follow, but worth it.
Flesh and Bone – I found out my parents have Starz now and binged this in two days. Quite addicting.
The Man in the High Castle – This series is great, though it gave me Nazi nightmares.
Jessica Jones – I adore Krysten Ritter and David Tennant, so having them together was just divine. And it was a thrilling show to binge.
Yup, okay, so I didn’t watch that many new shows this season. I’m lukewarm on the following but still watching for now: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Grinder and Grandfathered. Also, I just started Quantico last night; I’ll leave it in the lukewarm category. I have all of Blindspot saved to try, as well.
Anyway, a quick RIP to Getting On, which is a wonderful show that ended this season. If you want a quick 18 half hour binge on HBO, I highly recommend this dark comedy that takes place in a hospice. And speaking of HBO, The Leftovers was so good this season. You should watch that one, as well.
And while I’m here, I thought the Dr. Who Xmas Special this year with River Song was actually wonderfully written and for once my chronological sense on the show.
Oh, and I just binged the first two seasons of The Strain, which is a vampire show on FX. It’s a little gruesome, but I really enjoy it. It’s also a pretty realistic (if vampires were realistic) example of what would really happen to NYC if vampires came – bureaucracy and all. However, I don’t recommend watching 6 before bed. I had vampire nightmares. #oops
Early 2016 exciting things: The X-Files is back!!! Galavant and Agent Carter are back!!! The 100 returns! And in the spring: The Americans and Inside Amy Schumer Seasons 4… and Hillary Clinton is going to be on Broad City!
Other random things I need to binge at some point: Master of None, Dark Mirror and Bojack Horseman (Netflix), Casual and Difficult People (Hulu), Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle Seasons 2 (Amazon). Yup, you never run out of things to watch these days. It’s a blessing and a curse.
LIVE SHOWS BEAT DEAD ONES
I saw loads and loads of theatre this fall. I also included live musicals that I watched on my TV/ computer, pop music concerts and operas:
Ruthless – Such a fun revival of this Off-Broadway musical
Iphigenia in Aulis – Good modernization of an old Greek play
Madonna at MSG – Yup, I saw the queen of pop at MSG, and it was EPIC! Amy Schumer opened, too, so it was doubly worth it. And she sang enough of her old hits to make me happy, plus an acoustic La Vie en Rose, which I appreciated.
Absolute Brightness – Touching one man play Off-Broadway
The Legend of Georgia McBride – Really funny comedy Off-Broadway about a straight drag queen
Love and Money – Another great play Off-Broadway, very charming
Therese Raquin – Keira Knightly’s Broadway debut
The Humans – I really liked this new Off-Broadway play, and so did other people b/c it’s moving to Broadway
Ziegfeld Follies – My friend, Kim, was portraying Fanny Brice in this recreation of the Follies – very fun evening
Sylvia – Bway Play starring Annaleigh Ashford as a dog – very much enjoyed this play, sad it’s closing so soon.
Bernadette Peters at NJPAC – Took a trip to NJ to see Bernadette, who was stunning, as always
Eclipsed – Saw Star Wars Oscar winning star Lupita Nyong’o in this touching African play Off-Bway
Fool for Love – Broadway revival of a Sam Shephard play
Lost Girls – another great new play Off-Broadway. This one had a brilliant twist we didn’t see coming.
First Daughter Suite – I love, love, loved this new Michael John LaChuisa piece about the First Daughters – what a score, what a cast! Can’t wait for the CD!
A View from the Bridge – Fantastic Broadway revival of this classic (dark) Arthur Miller play from London – they have $20 tix – go see it!
Old Times – Pinter Play revival on Broadway – I will officially say I am not a Pinter person.
Incident at Vichy – This was a MARVELOUS revival of Arthur Miller’s Holocaust play Off-Broadway. So well done. Wow.
Hir – new play Off-Broadway about a transitioning female to male and hir (new pronoun) family.
Empanada Loca – Daphne Rubin-Vega was remarkable in this one-woman show Off-Broadway about a lunatic who lived in the subway tunnels.
Invisible Thread – New musical Off-Broadway about a real life story about Kenya
Night is a Room – This was a very disturbing Off-Broadway play, but it had Ann Dowd from The Leftovers in it, so I’m glad I went.
Billy Joel at MSG – Yes, I went to see even more pop music this year! Billy exceeded all expectations and performed pretty much every number I would’ve wanted him to. And I sang along with him on For the Longest Time, a song we did in the male acapella group in high school. Can I put that on my resume now? Sang with BJ at MSG?
Gigantic – New musical about a fat camp Off-Broadway
Tosca – Yes, I went to the OPERA! TodayTix my iPhone app for tix that I have lots of credit for since sending out my discount code (NKDUN) that gives people $$ off has gotten MET tix. And they’re only $25, though they’re in the back of the back… but I saw Tosca, and it was amazing. I love Puccini and will try to see more operas these days because unlike new musicals, I’m guaranteed to like the scores.
The Wiz Live – I guess I will stick this in because it’s theatrical and “live”. I thought The Wiz was better than the previous two, but it’s hard to build momentum in a musical with so many commercial breaks, and the lack of audience makes it feel very sterile. But really great performers this time, and it’s great that it’s spawning more and more musicals happening!
Clever Little Lies – Funny family farce Off-Broadway starring Marlo Thomas, who is super famous.
Steve – Hilarious and touching Off-Broadway play (that’s really the theme, I guess, Off-Broadway is where it’s at!)
Daddy Long Legs (Live Stream) – I saw this charming Off-Broadway musical on the livestream and really enjoyed it. I think it was a brilliant marketing move for such a small show, and I can’t see it doing anything but helping its run and revenue.
The Barber of Seville – my second time at the MET this season for the family friendly version of this Rossini comedic opera – it was in English and only 2 hours = 2 things I was very happy about.
Act One – finally, I think I’ll include this Broadway play that I watched with Jess yesterday that I taped PBS. I’m sorry I missed it live, but so happy that PBS broadcast it. It was fantastic starring Tony Shaloub, Andrea Martin and Santino Fontana (who is everywhere – he just did a special with Sesame Street on PBS, too).
And since this is going to be my last update of the year, I do want to say I’m ushering for 3 more Off-Broadway plays next week, so that they are included in 2015’s list: Our Mother’s Brief Affair,
The Changeling and Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children at CSC.
Finally, I just wanted to do a brief section on this great new thing: Groupmuse. My friend, Helena, introduced me to these, and I’ve been to two so far. Basically, people can host classical musicians to play at their apartments for two 20-30 minute sets, and then you sign up and go and give $5-10 and had a great night of meeting fellow music fans and musicians. It’s absolutely fantastic! I went to a great evening with a trio including violin, viola and harpsichord, and then to one featuring a new Spanish music group: opera singer, classical guitarist and saxophonist. The latter group has their own quintet (adding a pianist and Flamenco dancer) called Solarte, and a few of my friends and I went to their first concert, and it was just splendid. So, what a great idea, and I intend to go to at least one a month next year, and I would host my own… if my apartment wasn’t so tiny. (I mean, who really wants strangers sitting on their bed?)
THAT’S ALL I WROTE
And almost three hours later, I am done! Wow. Okay, well I hope at least a few of you read that. I mean it’s good timing because there’s really nothing else to do for the rest of the year, right? Or is that just for me?
Regardless, please respond and let me know what YOUR 2016 holds in store. I highly recommend doing your own top ten lists of achievements and resolutions; they’re quite therapeutic.
I wish you a most productive and prolific new year. Let’s hope the 16th year of the century is indeed sweet.