Monday, October 03, 2005

There are a lot of men with beautiful hair in this city

These are the Altar Boyz...Matt, Marc, Luke, Juan, and Abraham (he's Jewish). Although in order of this picture, from left to right, it's Luke, Juan, Matt, Marc, and Abraham. Juan and Matt were the only members of the origonal cast that we saw...the guys playing Luke, Marc, and Abraham were different.

The trip continued!

The ideal thing for me to be doing right now is homework, but that takes far to much effort right now, so blog away I do! I forgot to mention in the last entry that one of the guys in Altar Boyz was super-cute, and had the most beautiful curly hair. I was chatting with him after the show, and told him what amazing hair he had. He was oober-sweet, and said "Thank you! They actually want to cut it." I gasped and said "NO! Tell them they can't! Tell them some girl told you that you cannot cut your hair, it's too beautiful!" He laughed and said all it needed was a trim so that it doesn't hit him in the eyes while he's dancing. I said "As long as they don't destroy those beautiful curls...can I touch your hair please?" So I ran my fingers through his luscious locks while chatting with him. Yeah, he was almost a stranger. Yeah, I have a fetish. Anyway.

DAY FOUR, Tuesday
Breakfast with Benji and Brenna was fun today, and I found myself filled with gratitude for the wonderful friends I have. So the morning was good, but things sort of went downhill after that. To tell the sad truth, most of this day was absolutely lame-o miserable, and its sort of my own fault, but it was pretty stupid. I won't go into details of all the drama that went on, but basically, I had planned to shop in Chinatown for a short while, then visit some museums and do a little sight-seeing. Due to me being too nice and not having some backbone, and due to an enormous conflict of interest with some friends, I basically spent the entire day doing NOTHING I wanted to. I was done shopping in about 20 minutes, since after a while I noticed that all the shops sold the same thing, but that's what I spent almost the entire day doing, all the while attempting to escape and catch up with some other friends who were doing the things I wanted to do, but because of some other drama involving something entirely different regarding conflicting crushes, I couldn't get ahold of the others. After this totally frustrating ordeal, I finally said to the two girls I was with "I'm leaving. I'll see you at dinner tonight," and turned around and walked away. Of course, that offended the girls I was with and then they figured out that I didn't want to do what they did and they felt guilty and it just got worse and worse. But by that point, I didn't care--I was too irritated and angry with myself and the waste of my day.
By this time, I had about an hour before dinner. I thought about trying to go to some museums or something like I wanted to, but I only would have been able to stay for an hour or so, so I sat down and vented in my notebook about how frustrated I was. After I got that out of my system, I thought to myself "You know what? This is stupid. I hate all this drama. I'm not going to let it ruin my entire day! I'm going to a museum!" So I stood up and went to the Museum of Television and Radio. That place is oober-cool. Check it out--they've got about 6 or 7 "viewing rooms" where they have marathon-type viewings of things like "The Dick Van Dyke Show" or "I Love Lucy" or shows like that. But even cooler than that, on the 4th floor, they have a database of EVERY SINGLE THING THAT HAS EVER BEEN ON TELEVISION OR RADIO SINCE THEY'VE BEEN INVENTED. So you can look up anything you want to and watch it in a little cubicle with headphones. You can watch or listen to anything you want to for as long as you want to, all for the $8 price of admission to the museum. I didn't have long, so I looked up "The Ed Sullivan Show," because I thought it would be a fun sort of thing to watch, and something a little harder to find elsewhere. But just by chance, due to a blip in the search engine, among the episodes of Ed Sullivan listed, I found a little thing called "The 30th Anniversary of the Muppets," a special celebrating the history of Jim Henson's muppets. I thought to myself, "That is exactly what I need right now! I love the muppets! I'm watching THAT!" So I did. I didn't get to finish it, but the hour or so that I did watch I enjoyed thoroughly.
Afterward, I met the rest of the group at "The Bombay Palace," this delicious Indian food restaurant where we were all eating before the show. I met up with my friend Ben, who was one of those I was trying to catch up with earlier that day, and we chatted about what we'd done that day. I told him that I didn't do much I wanted to, but I did just spend a happy hour in a museum. Here's our conversation:
Ben: Which museum?
Liz: The museum of Television and Radio.
Ben: Really? When were you there?
Liz: Just now. I was there for about an hour.
Ben: That's weird. That's where I was for the last hour. Were you in the viewing room?
Liz: Yeah! I didn't even see you!
Ben: How did I not see you either? Weird.
Liz: Weird.
Ben: (smiling) I just spent the last hour watching "The 30th Anniversary of the Muppets." It was awesome.
Liz: (jaw dropping) THAT'S WHAT I WAS WATCHING!

How crazy a coincidence is THAT!? Of all the places to go in all of New York City, and after spending half the day trying to get ahold of Ben, he and I were in the same museum, at the same time, in the same room, watchting THE SAME THING, and didn't even know it until later. Yeah, it was pretty whack.
Dinner was absolutely delicious, as was everything else eaten the whole trip, and we had very friendly and funny and attentive waiters. Dinner was the time to splurge a little, because throughout the rest of the day, I ate cheap and light. Continental breakfast at the hotel, and then a bagel from a shop here and a hot dog from a street vendor there...I sort of grazed throughout the day and then ate heartily at night. Mmmmm, Indian food is some good stuff!
After that, we hurried to the theatre to see "Wicked," which was just a dream come true for me. The set was incredible, along with the costumes and the dancing. The guy who played Fiero had a not so impressive voice, and that was a little disappointing, but it was still an amazing show. I cried several times throughout, and at the very end, when the lights went out, I burst into tears. "Defying Gravity" was amazing...I don't think I even breathed. I would also like to take the opportunity to say that almost every single theatre I went to was horribly designed when it came to the amount of bathrooms provided. I don't know how they expected 3 stalls in a girl's bathroom to accomadate several hundred women in 15 minutes.
Another funny story about that night: Ben, Cameron, and I, for some reason I no longer remember, got separated from the group and were running a little late. Of course, I was wearing a skirt and dress shoes so we couldn't exactly run or jog, so we decided to power-walk the several blocks to the theatre. However, Ben and Cameron both had this really funny powerwalk...they would both go really fast, but the top half of their bodies was completely still, and their hips would sway all funny because of how fast they were walking. I took one look at them, and totally lost it, and by the time we got to the theatre, I was twice as exhausted with laughing and trying to keep up.
After the show, we met some of the cast, had a little question and answer period, took some pictures and got some autographs. That was really neat. All of the cast members we met were really fun.
That night, we decided to all go to the Empire State Building, so we went back to the hotel to grab our tickets and then headed over. Our hotel was only about a block away from the building, so we didn't have that far to go. Well, Ben, Brenna, Cameron, Amy and I were walking together as a group, and after wandering around for a little while, we stopped on a corner and stood looking up. We could not find the Empire State Building for the life of us. I mean, it's the Empire State building, it shouldn't be that hard to find, right? After staring at all the sky-scrapers for a minute or two, Cameron finally exclaims "Where the heck is it?" Amy looks up and then smiles, and pointing, says "Could THAT be it?" We turned around, and lo and behold, we had found it. We were standing right next to it, in fact. We all felt a little idiotic, but it was really funny.
The elevators in that building go really fast, by the way. But the view is INCREDIBLE! Especially at night. They say that when New York City is lit up at night, you can see it from space, and now I understand how. It looks like someone just sort of reversed the sky with the land...or took a net with all the stars in it and draped it over the buildings. You can only see about 3 stars in the sky but about a billion lights on the ground. Pretty spiffy. I also decided that one day I'd like to be kissed on the top of the Empire State Building. I should have taken advantage of the opportunity I had, but c'est la vie!
Later that night, after everyone had gone to bed, I got super hungry, and so when I couldn't stand it any longer, I got out of bed and went out into the street in my pajamas. It was about 1:30 in the morning then, and the city's almost a different place at that hour. There was a Walgreens on the bottom floor of the Empire State Building, so I went there and got myself a couple of Krispy Kreme donuts, and enjoyed them as I walked back to my room. When I got back, the other girls were awake, and I had a wonderful conversation with Brenna and Mindy before going to sleep. And that was Tuesday!

DAY FIVE, Wednesday
This morning, I went with Brenna to the Museum of Modern Art, which was amazing! Let me just make a little list of some of the artists whose original paintings I saw:
Henri Matisse
Claude Monet
Pablo Picasso
Jackson Pollock
Vincent Van Gogh
Henri Rousseau
Paul Gauguin
Salvador Dali
Frida Kahlo
It was absolutely incredible. I was just sort of wandering, and I turned a corner, and there was Van Gogh's "Starry Night." It was indescribable. I turned another corner and there was Dali's "The Persistence of Memory." I also saw Picasso's "Girl Before a Mirror," and Rousseau's "The Sleeping Gypsy," and a handful of others. Seeing a painting like that in real life simply cannot compare to seeing a picture of it in a book. It takes your breath can't really describe it with words or define what draws you to it, but you can't deny that there is some sort of power in those masterpeice paintings that strike you.
That afternoon, I had tickets to the matinee show of "Spamalot." My seat was kind of weird; I was on the mezzanine and the top of the stage was blocked from view by the balcony, so I watched parts of the show sitting on the floor. But it was worth it. The show was genius! Not everyone seemed to get the jokes or appreciate the classic stuff they were doing, but I was having a blast! Ben was sitting in the FRONT ROW, and he said that during intermission, a little old lady behind him stood up and said to her companion "I have no idea what's going on." Ah, well, my elderly friend, Monty Python is a cult classic, but one that if you don't get it now, you never will.
It was an awesome experience too, to see such big stars onstage. I remember thinking toward the beginning, "There he is! Tim Curry! He's right there! And David Hyde Pierce!" They were all very talented. Hank Azaria was the only member of the cast who had been replaced by an understudy. Oh, and the Lady of the Lake, too. But other than that, it was all the original cast. Do you know how cool it is to buy a musical soundtrack and have the voices on it the same ones you heard in real life?
Well, anyway, after the show, we were just going to head off and kill time, but I noticed a big crowd gathered on the side of the theatre, so I went to investigate. I'm glad I did, because I managed to push my way to the front of the crowd and have my Playbill signed by lead members of the cast, INCLUDING DAVID HYDE PIERCE. He was hilarious in the show; an absolute genius, and I told him as much. He laughed and said thank you and signed my Playbill. That was a cool experience.
After that, I explored Times Square, including the Virgin Megastore and the Hard Rock Cafe. Then it was off to see "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee"!
Okay. That show was absolutely wonderful. It was funny, and poignant, and powerful and moving, and each of the characters were so endearing. Here's another exciting story...
Before the show, Erika said that Christian mentioned something about being in the show. We had no idea what he was talking about, so we thought "Heh, one of us onstage on Broadway TONIGHT, like that will ever happen." Anyway, the show started, and the lady playing the principal was announcing the spelling bee contestants. They were coming from the audience and taking their places on the bleachers onstage. She's announcing the characters..."Leaf Coneybear...William Barfee...Chip Tolentino...James Taylor..." and then JD WALKED ONTO THE STAGE!!!!!!!!!! He and 3 other audience members had been chosen to be participants in the show! They were called up to spell words and took their seats in the house if they got it wrong. JD ended up staying onstage the longest...the others got out fairly early, but he was onstage for at least a third of the show! The other cast members followed the script and just sort of danced and sang around the "guests" on stage when necessary. Each time the players came up to spell a word, the principal would say some little bio-like thing about them. The first time JD got up, she said "When Mr. Taylor grows up, he hopes to be a mediocre folk singer." But our favorite thing she said about him also gave birth to his new Comic Frenzy name. He was wearing khaki pants, an off-white button-up shirt, and a brown blazer, so when he got up to spell a word, the principal said "Back home in his own spelling bee championships, Mr. Taylor is known as 'The Earthtone Assassin.'" How cool of a name is that?! Incidentally, there's a funny story about that brown blazer. In the beginning of the week, JD bought this blazer in an uptown clothing store in Manhattan somewhere. It's really nicely made, and fits him well. A pretty snazzy jacket--brown with very thin off-white pinstripes. He planned on wearing it to the shows at night and returning it at the end of the week, cause it was $80 and he couldn't afford it. But it was that jacket that got him noticed by the usher who selected him to be a part of the show. Afterwards, all the cast members complimented him on his snazzy jacket, so he didn't return it at the end of the week. He also still can't afford it, so he's just not going to eat for a week or so. Or he'll call his dad and say "I bought a jacket I can't afford, but now I can't get rid of it." Anyway, it got to when he was the last one onstage, and to the word you could tell was the one he was supposed to get out on. It was some outrageously hard word no one had ever heard of before, so JD just guessed wildly. And he got it right. So onstage he stayed! He sat back down again, and they immediately called him back up to spell another word, which this time he got wrong on the first letter.
The show itself was wonderful. I can't even describe how much I loved it. There were times in the show when I actually felt like I was in middle school again. (Did I already say that? I don't remember.) After the show, the fact that JD was in it and the cast's favorite sort of gave the rest of us a convenient "in," so we got to meet all of the cast! They signed our Playbills and took pictures with us and chatted with us. This included Dan Fogler, who won a Tony this year for his performance in that show. It was super-awesome. I wish I could have gotten a picture with Jesse Tyler Furgeson, who played Leaf Coneybear. He was my favorite, but I didn't have my camera with me. =(
After the show, a group of us went to dinner at Olive Garden, and since I had already eaten and wasn't too hungry, I skipped the meal and went straight to dessert. After that, it was hie for home (a.k.a. hotel) and sleep!

And the rest of the trip and final thoughts in the next and last entry on the New York trip!

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