Monday, March 31, 2008

Sunday, March 30, 2008

red molly HOuse Concert

Chris Chin hosted a killer house concert last night with Anthony DaCosta opening. I had school and then went to the green market, getting home right as a i had to leave. I could have gone to Joan Baez in NJ but chose to be at Chris's house and support his house concert and see Red Molly.

I had a blast and its great to be sooooo close to home

random thoughts and events

I saw Christine Lahti walking through Union Square Market yesterday.

I am tired of having baristas, patron sorting clerks at Trader Joes tell me how i should be voting. I understand they are young and energetic but I have made up my own mind. Its like Anderson vs Carter in 1978. its a developmental milestone. Get hot on your candidate in your first election and get blindsided by the virtues. There are politics to be considered and issues bubbling below the surface that these Baristas cannot see.

Teaching social policy has allowed me to research and research each candidate and my informed choice is based on the best social policy that meets my own personal needs.

I have gotten addicted to in treatment. I have started to outline how all the issues of the characters are really those of Paul Weston. Each character has issues with relationships, spouses and with their fathers. Paul has all of the above. Paul is a damaged and crippled man at times with Diane Wiest or Gina being the repository for his arrogant, projection. Paul has an idealized view of Gina as his patients have of him. The comparison process is all over the place.

In treatment has kept me captivated for 6 or 8 weeks... each night with a different patient.. Monday, Laura- Tuesday Alex- Wednesday Sophie and Thursday, Amy and Jake..
Friday... Paul sees Gina. In treatment ended this week with three sessions and Paul has no patients left... Laura ended therapy a few weeks ago after her transference or love for her therapist wasnt reciprocated, Alex died in an accident, Sophie goes to Denver to train, Jake and Amy get a divorce and Gina Remains...

Herb Peterson, McMuffin Inventor, Is Dead at 89

Herb Peterson, McMuffin Inventor, Is Dead at 89

Published: March 28, 2008

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Herb Peterson, who invented the Egg McMuffin as a way to introduce breakfast to McDonald’s restaurants, died Tuesday at his home in Santa Barbara, Calif. He was 89.

His death was announced by Monte Fraker, vice president for operations of McDonald’s restaurants in Santa Barbara.

Mr. Peterson came up with the idea for the menu item, the signature McDonald’s breakfast dish, in 1972. The Egg McMuffin made its debut at a restaurant in Santa Barbara that Mr. Peterson owned with his son, David Peterson. Modeled on eggs Benedict, it consists of an egg formed in a Teflon circle with the yolk broken, topped with a slice of cheese and grilled Canadian bacon. It is served on a toasted and buttered English muffin.

Mr. Peterson began his relationship with the McDonald’s Corporation as vice president of the company’s advertising firm, D’Arcy Advertising, in Chicago. He eventually became a franchisee and at his death was a co-owner and operator of six McDonald’s restaurants.

Besides his son, his survivors include his wife, Barbara; 3 daughters; 11 grandchildren; and 5 great-grandchildren.

Curtain Up! It’s Patti’s Turn at ‘Gypsy’

Curtain Up! It’s Patti’s Turn at ‘Gypsy’

Published: March 28, 2008

Watch out, New York. Patti LuPone has found her focus. And when Ms. LuPone is truly focused, she’s a laser, she incinerates. Especially when she’s playing someone as dangerously obsessed as Momma Rose in the wallop-packing revival of the musical

In July, when an earlier version of “Gypsy” starring Ms. LuPone had a limited run as part of the Encores! summer series, this powerhouse actress gave a diffuse, narcissistic performance that seemed to be watching itself in a mirror. She was undeniably Patti with an exclamation point, the musical cult goddess, offering her worshipers plenty of polished brass, ululating notes and winking sexiness. But Rose, the ultimate stage mother of Gypsy Rose Lee’s memoirs, was as yet only a wavering gleam in her eye.

What a difference eight or nine months makes. And yes, that quiet crunching sound you hear is me eating my hat. As directed by Arthur Laurents, this latest incarnation of “Gypsy,” the 1959 fable of the last days of vaudeville, shines with a magnified transparency that lets you see right down to the naked core of characters so hungry for attention that it warps them.

The notion of a bare soul only flimsily disguised is appropriate to “Gypsy,” which features a book by Mr. Laurents, music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The title character, after all, is a burlesque queen, embodied here in the charming flesh of Laura Benanti, who obliges with examples of the ecdysiast’s art in the second act.

But the most transfixing stripteases are characters peeling down, by seductive degrees, to their most primal selves. What’s revealed isn’t nearly as pretty as a young Minsky dancer’s body. But its raw power should be enough to silence any naysayers (myself included), who thought that 2008 was way too early for yet another Broadway revival of “Gypsy,” which had been staged less than five years ago with a revelatory Bernadette Peters.

The 90-year-old Mr. Laurents, who directed two earlier revivals of “Gypsy” (with Angela Lansbury and Tyne Daly), has had nearly half a century to ponder characters he helped bring to life. The accumulation of decades seems only to have sharpened his vision of the fractured family at the show’s center: Rose, the smothering mother determined to make a star out of at least one of her children; Herbie (Boyd Gaines), the gentlemanly candy salesman and reluctant theatrical agent who loves her; and her two daughters, June and Louise (played as adults by Leigh Ann Larkin and Ms. Benanti).

For there is very little sentimental mist here. The show’s flat, scrappy look (with sets by James Youmans and costumes by Martin Pakledinaz), relying heavily on hand-painted scrims and backdrops, summons a world with the depth of torn paper and the glamour of disintegrating curtains.

If we are always aware of the shabbiness of the cut-rate vaudeville circuit through which Rose drags her increasingly discontented brood, we are also aware of the double-edged romance with which she invests that world. From the get-go, Ms. LuPone exudes a sweet-and-sweaty air of hope and desperation, balancing on an unsteady seesaw.

Watching that balance shift is a source of wonder, amusement and even pity and terror. If in the Encores! version of “Gypsy,” Ms. LuPone seemed to be trying on and discarding different aspects of Rose as if they were party hats, she has now settled on a single, highly disciplined interpretation that combines explosively contradictory elements into a single, deceptively ordinary-looking package.

It’s as if the new wig she wears here — a ’30s-style mop of recalcitrant curls that is a vast improvement on her blunt bowl cut of last summer — had forced her to internalize her many ideas about what makes Rose run. And while Rose may be a dauntingly single-minded creature, Ms. LuPone now plays her less on one note than any actress I’ve seen.

This Rose begins as a busy, energetic, excited woman, and you can’t help being infected by her liveliness. You understand why Herbie would be smitten with her, and for once, his description of her as looking “like a pioneer woman without a frontier” fits perfectly. But every so often a darker, creepier willpower erupts, as involuntary as a hiccup.

In Rose’s two great curtain numbers, “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” and “Rose’s Turn,” the darkness takes over so completely that you feel that you’re watching a woman who has been peeled down to her unadorned id. In “Rose’s Turn,” in particular, Ms. LuPone takes you on a guided tour of all Rose’s inner demons, from sexual succubus to shivering infant. (Be warned: they will live in your head for a while.)

A great Momma Rose is usually enough for a thoroughly compelling “Gypsy.” But this one has so much more. Mr. Laurents and his cast have applied the same careful analysis to all the major characters. As a result we become newly sensitized to “Gypsy” as a sad story of colliding desires, of people within an extended family vainly longing for love, for security, for recognition from one another. And this production makes us painfully aware of the toll exacted by repeatedly missed connections.

I have never, for example, seen a Herbie as palpably in love or in pain as the one the excellent Mr. Gaines provides.

Nor has the relationship between June, on whom Rose has pinned her highest ambitions, and the neglected Louise ever been as fully drawn as it is by Ms. Larkin and Ms. Benanti. Their duet, “If Momma Was Married,” becomes a vibrant voyage of gleeful self-discovery between two alienated siblings.

Ms. Larkin brings out the toughness in June that marks her as her mother’s daughter. (She’s hilarious furtively flashing her sex appeal behind Rose’s back.) And Ms. Benanti, in the performance of her career, traces Louise’s path to becoming her mother’s daughter out of necessity. The transformation of the waifish Louise into the vulpine Gypsy Rose Lee is completely convincing. And you’re acutely aware of what’s lost and gained in the metamorphoses.

You see, everyone’s starved for attention in “Gypsy.” That craving, after all, is the motor that keeps showbiz puttering along. And Mr. Laurents makes sure that we sense that hunger in everyone, including the delightfully seedy trio of strippers who initiate Gypsy into their art (Alison Fraser, Lenora Nemetz and Marilyn Caskey) and Tulsa (a first-rate Tony Yazbeck), a member of Rose’s troupe who dares to strike out on his own.

Styne’s score, one of the best for any show ever, is given full due by the orchestra (though I don’t see why it’s been left onstage à la Encores!). But I was so caught up in the emotional wrestling matches between the characters (and within themselves), that I didn’t really think about the songs as songs.

When Ms. LuPone delivers “Rose’s Turn,” she’s building a bridge for an audience to walk right into one woman’s nervous breakdown. There is no separation at all between song and character, which is what happens in those uncommon moments when musicals reach upward to achieve their ideal reasons to be. This “Gypsy” spends much of its time in such intoxicating air.


Book by Arthur Laurents, suggested by the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee; music by Jule Styne; lyrics by Stephen Sondheim; directed by Mr. Laurents; choreography by Jerome Robbins, reproduced by Bonnie Walker; music director-arranger, Patrick Vaccariello; sets by James Youmans; costumes by Martin Pakledinaz; lighting by Howell Binkley; sound by Dan Moses Schreier; production stage manager, Craig Jacobs; orchestrations by Sid Ramin and Robert Ginzler; dance arrangements by John Kander; music coordinator, Seymour Red Press. Presented by Roger Berlind, the Routh-Frankel-Baruch-Viertel Group, Roy Furman, Debra Black, Ted Hartley, Roger Horchow, David Ian, Scott Rudin and Jack Viertel. At the St. James Theater, 246 West 44th Street, Manhattan; (212) 239-6200. Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes.

WITH: Patti LuPone (Rose), Boyd Gaines (Herbie), Laura Benanti (Louise), Leigh Ann Larkin (Dainty June), Tony Yazbeck (Tulsa), Marilyn Caskey (Electra), Alison Fraser (Tessie Tura) and Lenora Nemetz (Mazeppa/Miss Cratchitt).

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Music Review
Aretha Franklin’s Evening

Published: March 24, 2008

An announcer hailed Aretha Franklin as the Empress of Music at Radio City Music Hall on Saturday night before reverting to her usual title, the Queen of Soul. Then the large assemblage of musicians wrapped up the opening medley and started into “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher.” And out came Ms. Franklin, moving at a processional pace, in an abundance of glitter and black chiffon. It was a manifest vision of music royalty, whatever sobriquet you choose.
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Rahav Segev for The New York Times

Aretha Franklin performing at Radio City Music Hall in a concert that included soul, pop, jazz, gospel and her son’s Christian rap.

Like any sovereign Ms. Franklin has her pride. She adopted the empress moniker after publicly taking umbrage after this year’s Grammy Awards ceremony (specifically, the part where Beyoncé saluted Tina Turner as “the Queen”). But indignation is the least intriguing thing about her new title, which forsakes the specificity of genre. Ms. Franklin really does have designs on an empire, as the concert intermittently proved.

The second song was “My Funny Valentine,” by Rodgers and Hart. She sang it in a stately cadence over a simmering groove, with plenty of drawn-out vowels and some stuttering hard consonants. Later she figure-skated through “Moody’s Mood for Love,” another ballad with a jazz history, in a way that felt more faithful than fanciful.

Of course she sang “Respect.” But it came so early that it seemed humbled, as if Ms. Franklin had a point to make about the rightful place of a singer in relation to a song. And immediately after the closing note, she enlisted her band conductor, H. B. Barnum, to fix a problem with her shoes. (To do so, he had to kneel at her feet.)

Ms. Franklin then welcomed Ali-Ollie Woodson, formerly the lead singer of the Temptations, to join her for a plaintive slow jam: Keyshia Cole’s “I Remember,” currently the No. 1 single on Billboard’s R&B/hip-hop chart. Ms. Franklin gave Mr. Woodson the bridge, the song’s lyrical and musical peak. This didn’t seem like avoidance of responsibility; it was generosity, and delegation.

Those motives, among others, probably drove Ms. Franklin to what she called her next surprise: an interlude featuring her son Kecalf Cunningham, a Christian rapper, who came with a backpack, a hoodie and some cheap-sounding recorded tracks. After what felt like ages, it was a relief to have Ms. Franklin return, energies renewed, to belt out “Chain of Fools.”

There were a few other soul throwbacks in the concert, but its greater substance was gospel music. On “Precious Memories,” which involved a powerful blend of several background singers, and “Ain’t No Way,” which featured Cissy Houston (though not in her original soprano role), Ms. Franklin sang with conviction, gravity and fire. It was here that her voice sounded most miraculous, and here that she dug in deepest with the band.

Ms. Franklin made a point of acknowledging not only her birthday — she turns 66 on Tuesday — but also Easter. For an encore she sat at the piano and offered a serene rendition of the Irving Berlin song “Easter Parade.” It was hardly the classic that her fans were clamoring for, but it was appropriate. And it was what had been decreed.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

In Treatment

i have gotten hooked on the HBO series In Treatment. each night of the Week, a different patient. Monday, Laura, an over sexualized Anesthesiologist who has been in therapy with Paul for a long time. She confuses her love for him, and sparks a tail spin of "erotic counter transferance for Paul, the therapist"

Laura was a product of a couple where her mom dies and father withdraws into a depression. Laura meets David and his wife and we learn stayed with them for a summer in california but David continues to see a 15 year old Laura when he is a on a business trip. It comes out that Laura started having sex with him at age 15. She played out that primary need for her father through her relationship. She meets Alex, Tuesday patient and has sex with him. She interacts with the men in her life through sex. She is on the verge of getting married and terminates her therapy. She sees PAUL one last time when her dad who is hospitalized and attends another crisis session. She sees Paul again at Alex's funeral and struggles with seeing him outside of the therapy room. She pulls away and finally leaves.

Laura interacts with the world through sex and sexuality though she has a responsible job as an anesthesiologist. Her disorder and relationship with the world gets played out in her therapy. She is planning to marry a man who asked her whom she doesnt love but it seems that she can manipulate. The relationship is sexual though she doesnt seem to like sex with Andrew. She is self destructive and a little dangerous to herself. Laura seems to like to control the situation and how it plays out. Her relationship with Paul is part father, part fantasy lover. She works with Paul on how she uses sex with men.

Alex is a airforce pilot who comes to therapy after a mission where he bombed a school in Iraq and killed 16 people. Though his therapy, we see that he grew up with a contolling, demanding father, who was a civil rights activist and smothered his own father as a mercy killing. Alex during therapy, leaves his wife and son, struggles wiht his sexual identity, picks up and sleeps with Laura but suffers sexual dysfunction. After he starts therapy, Alex goes back to Iraq and visits the school and reports on it. His bringing Paul an expensive coffee maker is explored but not handled well as Paul allows it to stay. Alex, leaves his wife, moves in with friends, as she is a controlling, demanding woman who plans everything. Alex who has a son struggles with not transferring "how to be a father like his father to his son" but doesnt really know how to get along with his own son. His son, reported as a bright kid who doesnt have many friends and plays chess, is a concern for Alex and we see many of the explanation of others around Alex as his own projection. As the series continues, we realize that others may be extension of Alex or his perceived self. Again we find a man where he left his wife and denied a reunion with his wife in a 5 star hotel. He choose to hang out with his new found gay friends. In the venue where he hangs with the gay friends, he is the center of attention and desirable.
We learn Alex's father was a civil rights leader who has a wife ( alex's mother) who is submissive. Alex has to face that he married a woman like his father.

Sophie an olympic gymnast who suffers an accident that we learn becomes 3 accidents, really suicide attempts. She runs her bike into a car, takes too many aspirin in her therapist office and ends up with a dislocated shoulder. She is angry and vindictive against her mother. We learn that she has been sent to live in gym camp and moves in with her coach to care for his daughter while his wife is away. At `16 she has sex with him after sleeping in bed with him for about a month. His wife returns and Sophie moves out. She doesnt believe it is wrong but early on in the series, Paul questions sexual abuse and Sophie denies it. Later we learn that she has been exposed to her father's nude models and as a 7 year old observes her father having sex with women not her mother. Though her relationship with her father, who she idolizes, she colludes to keep the secrets from her mom. Her parents split and she internalizes it as her fault. Sophie is an angry adolescent who is very smart and can use her natural intelligence in therapy. She is not short on words and can curse up a storm. Through therapy, we see Sophie grow and start to understand that she is angry at the wrong sources. Again Paul become a positive, stable father figure. Sophie's father, a photographer is inconsistent with Sophie and as they are in a pattern of her idolizing him, he takes advantage of that fact and in the last Sophie episode we meet her father, who comes to town after her meet and expects Sophie to be available. We meet a changed Sophie who tells her father in front of Paul, that Paul knows her better. WE are lead to believe that Sophie's father comes to town because Sophie doesnt return his calls. But thats not believable, there have to be other reasons why he came, his own business because his pattern doesnt show enough to Sophie. He was with a woman who refused to take Sophie in and he remained with her for two years. Sophie ends up confronting him with this facts. We see Sophie practicing some of these and clarifying these with Paul. Sophie tests limits. She lifts her shirt and shows Paul her breasts, and mocks him. She is demeaning and sometimes plain mean to him. He remains consistent and there for her. She tries to get him to reject her and he refuses. Paul is the "good object" that Sophie needs. She drinks too much, eats too little, and lashes out at her mom. Paul calls her on that and sides with her mom.
Paul is technically pretty sound with Sophie. He uses her transference in a healing manner for her. Sophie grows alot during her treatment.

Amy and Jake are the hardest for me to watch. They enter therapy with Paul to deal with a pregnancy that they are thinking to terminate. We meet them as a couple and individually. As a couple, they hurt each other and can be vicious and then have just as passionate sex to make up. We learn that they are stuck in patterns. We sees these patterns played out in their therapy. Amy has a miscarriage and the couple continues. Paul explains that some couples come out of therapy stronger and some decide to end their marriages. Amy and Jake get a chance to examine their relationship. Amy makes more money and is in the corporate world and Jake is a singer songwriter who gives guitar lessons. We see this couple violent with each, She hits him and he tapes he on his cellphone and plays it back over and over and over, her words used against her like a weapon. the intensity of their love and hate or sex and hate is played out in the therapy...stories of sex. Amy explains that after a passionate and angry sexual encounter, Jake threatens to kill her while still inside her.

When we meet Amy alone, we learn she was a very overweight child who witnessed her fathers death. They went out for ice cream cones and Amy was going to get a second and when she returned her father had a heart attack. During her adolescents she dieted and never regained her weight. Her needs for control and to hurt other was explained. Her feelings or lack thereof for her son was also explored. She comes to Paul with knowledge that she will be picked up by her boss who she plans to screw. She was married when she met Jake and cheated on her then husband, a country club snob as described by Jake and started up with him.

When we meet Jake alone, we hear about his growing up with two university professor parents where literature and languages were prevalent in the home. Jake reports feeling neglected and never being able to meet up the expectations his parents have. His brother is writer who is nominated for some award. Jake a guitar play has a huge vocabulary and Paul recognizes his intelligence. Jake and Paul have sons the same age and Jake is empathetic to his son. We see real emotion from Jake. He cares about his marriage, the effect on his son and cries as they discuss divorce. He finds out that Amy screwed around on him and they will be separating. This separation is also something that Jake explores is a disappointment for his father. Jakes reports that he met a woman who was unhappy in a relationship and he took her away, thinking she would be happy. She wasnt. they had a baby, he thought that would make her happy. It did not. He felt that he had be misled by Amy. He felt deceived and couldnt recover from that. He started to pull away...

Paul doesnt do a good job with couples.....

Paul begins to see Gina on Friday. We learn his father is in a rehab center with Alzheimer's. A doctor who leaves his wife and kid and runs off with a younger patient. Paul has three children, one in college, a daughter Sophie's age who begs him to fix the relationship with his wife ( her mom) and Max the youngest. Paul finds out that his wife is having an affair and goes off to Rome with her lover. Paul vacillates between hurt and anger, internalized and acted out. His wife, learns that she was like a patient and Paul would listen to her and could understand her behavior. We learn from their therapy with Gina, that Paul doesnt turn off his being a therapist with his wife. WE see him extend himself, give his cellphone to his clients and extending patient boundaries while he doesnt know much about his daughter's life. His home life suffers as he spends his energy on his patients. His wife's affair is a symptom of the relationship.
Paul enters therapy to deal with his counter transference with Laura who he thinks he is love with. He returns to Gina, a friend from the institute who doesnt support his application to be the Director. His mentor betrays him he feels. they have a long understanding and its seems she knows his history as she raises issues for Paul between his father and He and Laura. He gets angry with her and many times he is also sniping with Gina. He tests her and bounces his anger off her accusing her. He is presumptuous about her life but really its only a reflection of his own feelings. Paul uses Gina as a blank slate and she allows it. Her interventions are technically sound and she is a good therapist. She remains calm and holds her composure at some pretty wild accusations Paul makes. She calls him up when he talks about his clients and not himself.
Midway though Friday, we see paul and his wife in therapy to deal with their issues driectly. WE see his wife start to grow and realize she may have outgrown Paul. She doesnt need his protection or fatherly nature. She grows up and we get a sense that Paul is replacing the needy woman with Laura. Paul needs to be needed and she doesnt need him any more. Paul and she start to explore their feelings. Gina uses a techique called Imago, a seventy pop psych techique to get adults to talk. Its is effect though Paul is pissing and moaning about Imago and refuses to participate. HE reluctantly does and we learn alot about his wife and children. Paul is a therapy snob and not a very good patient. He is arrogant and condescending to Gina and his wife...

Gina negates to deal with family life cycle that they may be starting hte empty nest syndrome and with the children needing less, they are left to face themselves and reevaluate their relationship. Couple split up at this stage in the life cycle.

Paul returns alone and he accuses Gina of many things, including not knowing what she writes, hiding away in her study and not seeing real life. He extends his charges to how Gina feel in love with a patient and hurts him,giving up a good man. Gina finally unleashes at Paul and we learn more about Gina. Paul was totally off and we learn that he was projecting all his stuff on her. Gina reflects their relationship as attacking one another or slapping each other around. Paul is admonished finally and Gina throws him out of her office.

Paul receives a visit by Alex's father and we see that confidentiality extends into death. Alex's father finds out that Paul is not a friend of Alex but his therapist and comes to see Paul to see if he can find out what may have killed Alex. it becomes clear that Alex may have killed himself. or didnt save himself. WE hear the same stories we heard from Alex about his father and son through the eyes of his dad.

Lastly, Paul goes to meet Laura and confronts his counter transference. Laura is firm and tries to get Paul to understand that he is not in love with her. She explains what she learns but as paul insists, she enters the bedroom and undresses. Paul who reports to Sophie he has a history of panic attacks, has one and leaves Laura's apartment to visit Gina.

In treatment, isnt always technically sound.... sometimes the therapy is too dry and moves the plot forward. Paul is an overinvolved and crippled therapist. HE is a wounded healer who has the same or similar issues as his clients. How can he remain neutral or not judgemental. HIs transference extends beyond his "erotic Transference for Laura." Each client represents something about Paul's own life

Use of phrases like "mia" and "annie" for bulimia and anorexia was out of place and seemed to be condescending to the audience by the writers. There were other such events that caused my hair to stand on end.

when we see Paul last.... He has no clients... Laura leaves therapy...cured?
Alex leaves and gets killed
Sophie moves to Training camp in Denver.
Jake and Amy are divorcing and succeeded in figuring out what they want
and Paul remains with Gina...

sing out Loise, becomes gypsy rose lee

Night after night (and two afternoons a week), Laura Benanti’s makeup assistant spends quite some time masking the butterfly the actress has tattooed on her lower back so it won’t show in “Let Me Entertain You,” the eye-riveting number in which Ms. Benanti, as the gawky Louise in “Gypsy,” molts into the stripper Gypsy Rose Lee.

It’s even harder, she said, to tap into emotions naked enough to become Louise, the neglected, dreamy, second-fiddle daughter who astounds herself and her pathologically pushy mother, Momma Rose, by discovering a talent for seductive, racy celebrity. The production, directed by Arthur Laurents, who wrote the show’s book, and with Patti LuPone giving her considerable all as Rose, opens at the St. James Theater on Thursday. Boyd Gaines plays Herbie, Rose’s strung-along gentleman friend, in the story inspired by Lee’s memoirs. “For this,” Ms. Benanti said, “I tap into a loneliness I felt as a kid.”

Ms. Benanti, 28 — a stripper now, a sultry movie star with Antonio Banderas in “Nine,” a slinky singer in “Swing!” — “was a bit of an ugly duckling growing up,” she said. “Also, when I got to be about 11 ½, the other girls didn’t want to play dress up and pretend anymore. I started to keep that other part to myself. There was a lot of singing show tunes into the mirror in my room.” School and community theater in Kinnelon, N.J., paved a swan’s way out.

Mr. Laurents appreciates Ms. Benanti’s emotional availability. “I don’t know how hard it is on her,” he said. “Only she can answer that. But we enjoy working together. And that voice. Her emotions are very close to the surface. She’s emotionally honest. She’s not interested in effects.”

That quality, he said, is exactly right for the 1959 musical in 2008. “This production is unlike any other,” he said.

The staging, based on the Encores! Summer Stars version he directed last year with the same leads at City Center, “is more a play with music,” he said. “It’s totally about character.”

But there’s not a sign of the real Gypsy Rose Lee in Ms. Benanti’s dressing room. “I read her book and watched a few of her clips,” she said, “but no movies, and I’d never seen a ‘Gypsy’ production. I didn’t want to do a caricature of her. I tried to take only her sense of humor, and honesty.” And her genius with elbow-length gloves.

Far more seminal, she said, was reading “Original Story By,” the memoir by Mr. Laurents, 89. “It did make me feel like I’d been born into the wrong time,” she said. “There’s just something incredibly beautiful in musical theater about the idea that when you can no longer express yourself in words, you can sing it or dance it.”

“Gypsy” has sung and danced its way to a standing as one of the great American musicals. Ms. Benanti shares that assessment, but she said it is significant as well for its role as “a gay icon, particularly for a generation of men who couldn’t be open and watched their sisters do what they wanted to and couldn’t” — much as Rose ultimately envies her daughters.

“One of the most wonderful people I ever knew was my Uncle Bob,” Ms. Benanti said, “who lived in Washington, D.C., and never got to express his love of this art. He was in the Gay Men’s Chorus there, and I sang with them two years before he died. I think of him sometimes when I watch Patti in ‘Rose’s Turn.’ ”

Ms. Benanti’s mother, she rushed to say, “is the exact opposite of Rose” and wouldn’t let her audition for professional theater until she was in her late teens. Though her parents — Linda Wonneberger Benanti, a former actress who became her daughter’s voice teacher, and the actor Martin Vidnovic — divorced when Ms. Benanti was young, she remains close to both. Her mother’s second husband, Sal Benanti, is a psychotherapist, and she chose to take his last name.

“He taught me to embrace myself for who I am,” she said, “and to cultivate my being a very emotional person toward a positive place. He also taught me concern and empathy for people beyond myself rather than giving in to the narcissism that comes with being an actor.”

Ms. LuPone, she said, is another guide. “Ultimate commitment is what she has taught me,” Ms. Benanti said, “and that there’s no such thing as overanalyzing.”

Ms. Benanti caused her first Broadway sensation when she was only 19 — as a nun. As Rebecca Luker’s understudy Maria in “The Sound of Music,” she was such a hit during Ms. Luker’s vacation that she won the part once the star left the show.

She was tripped up, however, by a glass slipper. One of her pratfalls as Cinderella in the 2002 Broadway production of “Into the Woods” fractured her neck, an excruciating and at times partially paralyzing condition that went misdiagnosed for nine months. Forced to miss many performances yet constrained from speaking about the cause, Ms. Benanti said she was criticized as “a drama queen and a faker.”

She underwent an operation for her injury that could have damaged her voice. It was a success. In “Nine,” the show she did almost immediately afterward, she wore a wide choker to hide the scar on her throat.

Only in the last year has another scar faded, from the dissolution of her marriage to Chris Barron, lead singer of the Spin Doctors. In September, between her two productions of “Gypsy,” she married the actor Steve Pasquale.

“I can walk, and I can sing, and I am healthy for the first time in a long time,” she said. “People sometimes draw analogies between ‘Gypsy’ being about vaudeville dying and interest in theater now being in decline. But that puts a negative spin on the framework I’m in. I don’t think theater is dying, and musicals are a great American art form. We’ve got apple pie, jazz and musical theater. I want to do this my whole lif

Aretha Franklin at Radio CIty

Aretha Wears same dress to Radio City

i got the chance to see Aretha Franklin again last night. She was at Radio City Music Hall, a huge space in all its art deco glory. There were man and women, whites and blacks and young and older and accents of all sorts. We were there on the eve of Easter for the Queen Of Soul. Aretha pointed out her bestfriend neighbors, gave us her NYC history lesson including 5 years with Art Blakely, John Coltrane and her time at the Village Vanguard. She also introduced Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson in the audience. Cissy Houston Sang backup vocal. Aretha had the Aretha Franklin Orchestra and sang a variety of songs from over her catalogue. Chain of Fools, Respect, My Funny valentine...
She was joined by Ali Ollie Woodson from the Temptations. THey did a duet. Aretha played less than 90 minutes with a 10 minute bit with her son singing two HIP HOP numbers.

She also sat at the piano and played Falling out of Love. Seeing it was before Easter there were 3 numbers from Amazing Grace and as part of an encore Aretha Played
EAster Prade on the piano. She said she always wanted to be there, be here so she was gonna go to the easter parade. She told old NY stories about the 5 years she lived in NYC. She started at the Apollo and moved downtown to the Village Vanguard and Village gate where she sang with Art Blakely, John Coltrane. and more....
she acknowledged Reverend James Cleveland, as her gospel mentor

Her set list was a little different than below but similar to the show i saw...

Soul diva engaging, worthy of respect

For those who were around during her late-'60s heyday, when her voice was a wondrous force of nature and seemingly every hit record became an anthem, that time is treasured. She wasn't just the Queen of Soul but a beacon of pride in black communities. Feminists celebrated the naked emotionality and iron-willed determination conveyed in every note of her classic music. It has become a cliche to call Aretha Franklin one of pop's greatest singers.

Although her status as a legend is incontestable, Franklin has long stopped performing with the explosive passion that years ago cemented her exalted place in the pop pantheon. But her Thursday night performance at a packed Meyerhoff Symphony Hall was still engaging.

The 90-minute show, which benefited the Bon Secours Foundation of Maryland, started with a long, Vegas-style medley of Franklin hits, courtesy of her gargantuan band. There were about 22 pieces altogether, including a 10-piece horn section. Afterward, the Detroiter made a diva entrance, decked out in a robin's-egg blue spaghetti-strap gown trimmed in matching feathers. She kicked off the set with Jackie Wilson's "Higher and Higher," a questionable choice. Franklin surely has enough punchy songs of her own that she could have started with.

Although she was mostly overwhelmed by the band, her take on the song was brief. She slowed things down a bit and vocally skated through the 1970 classic "Call Me" before shifting back to brassy soul with "Think." The most moving part of the show came later, during Franklin's performance of "Angel," the 1973 ballad written by her sister, the late singer-songwriter Carolyn Franklin.

As the artist began the famed spoken intro of the tune ("I got a call the other day. It was my sister Carolyn ..."), Franklin choked up. She turned her head away, wiping tears. The band played on as the house clapped and shouted encouragement: "It's all right, Aretha!" "Take your time, girl!"

After a stagehand brought her a tissue, Franklin dabbed her eyes, regained her composure and beautifully crooned the brokenhearted ballad as if it were a prayer.

From that point on, the notoriously aloof diva warmed up to the crowd. Beaming, she introduced her son Teddy, who played guitar in the band. Before launching into "Ain't No Way," Franklin also introduced her old friend on background vocals, Cissy Houston. The mother of Whitney, she famously sang the soaring vocal obbligato on the original 1968 recording. Presumably the New Jersey singer, who's well into her 70s now, can't hit those notes anymore. So the duties were turned over to a younger background singer named Brenda White. Her voice swooped and spiraled behind Franklin's buttery tones.

Between songs, the legend offered glimpses of sly, self-deprecating humor. Before sitting down at the piano to sing a cut from her still-unreleased new album Aretha: A Woman Falling Out of Love, she told the house, "This gown is a little tight tonight. I want y'all to pray for me as I go sit down. Things can pop out, you know." Tickling the ivories, she added: "But some brothers like it plump. Huh? Hallelujah!"

Never leaving her church roots far behind, Franklin ended with "Old Landmark," a rocking, sanctified number from 1972's Amazing Grace. She didn't wail and shout the way she did on the album all those years ago. Fans may long to see the Queen of Soul lose control like that again. But she hasn't gone there in years.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of March 20, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of March 20, 2008

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
You would stir up exciting changes in your approach to life in you took time in the next few weeks to find out more about the crowning achievements of your most intriguing ancestors. It will also be a favorable time for you to engage in dreamy conversations with the historical figures you admire most, and to muse in luxurious detail on memories of events that were crucial in making you who you are. For extra credit, have fun imagining who you were in your last two incarnations. The past has gifts to give you, Capricorn. Go gather them up.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Gypsy with patty lupone

Curtain Up! Patti LuPone Gypsy Is Headed to Broadway in 2008

By Andrew Gans
28 Nov 2007

Patti LuPone in the City Center production of Gypsy.
photo by Joan Marcus

After a limited engagement this past summer at City Center — the inaugural production of the Encores! Summer Stars series — the acclaimed mounting of Gypsy starring Tony and Olivier Award winner Patti LuPone will arrive on Broadway in 2008.

According to a casting notice, the classic musical will open at a Broadway theatre-to-be-announced March 27, 2008. Rehearsals will begin Jan. 27, 2008.

Gypsy co-creator Arthur Laurents, who helmed the City Center run, will direct on Broadway as well. The casting notice says that the entire cast of the Encores! production have been offered the chance to repeat their roles on Broadway, but only LuPone has currently been cast. Richard Frankel Productions is producing.

The creative team will also include Patrick Vaccariello (music director) and Bonnie Walker (reproducing Jerome Robbins' original choreography).

The Encores! Summer Stars production of Gypsy played its final performance at City Center July 29. The limited run began previews July 9 with an official opening July 14.

Directed by Laurents, who wrote the book to what is considered one of the finest American musicals, the cast also boasted Boyd Gaines as Herbie, Laura Benanti as Louise, Leigh Ann Larkin as Dainty June, Tony Yazbeck as Tulsa, Alison Fraser as Tessie Tura, Nancy Opel as Mazeppa/Miss Cratchitt, Marilyn Caskey as Electra, Sami Gayle as Baby June, Emma Rowley as Baby Louise, Jim Bracchita as Uncle Jocko/Pastey, Bill Bateman as George/Mr. Goldstone/Bougeron-Cochon, Bill Raymond as Pop/Cigar and Brian Reddy as Weber/Phil.

The creative team also included James Youmans (set design), Martin Pakledinaz (costume design), Howell Binkley (lighting design) and Dan Moses Schreier (sound design).

Gypsy features a score by Jule Styne (music) and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics) and a book by Arthur Laurents. The musical bowed on Broadway in May 1959 at the Broadway Theatre, playing 702 performances before closing at the Imperial Theatre, where it later transferred, on March 25, 1961. Ethel Merman created the role of Rose in the original production; subsequent Broadway Roses include Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly and Bernadette Peters. Merman and Peters were Tony-nominated for their performances; Lansbury and Daly won the coveted award.

A Tony Award winner for her work in Evita, Patti LuPone also earned an Olivier Award for her performances in the West End productions of Les Misérables and The Cradle Will Rock. Her other theatrical credits include Sunset Boulevard, Anything Goes, Oliver!, Working, The Old Neighborhood, Master Class and Pal Joey. LuPone also headlined two solo Broadway concerts, Patti LuPone On Broadway and Matters of the Heart, and received glowing notices for her performance as Mrs. Lovett in the Lincoln Center concert version of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd and a Tony nomination for her performance in the recent revival of that Sondheim work. She was seen in the Kennedy Center's staging of Marc Blitzstein's Regina and recently joined Audra McDonald for Los Angeles Opera's production of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. Her screen and recording credits are numerous.

Patty Lupone bring her Gypsy to Broadway

Patti LuPone in ‘Gypsy’: Light the Lights, Boys! Mama Rose Hears a Symphony

Published: August 15, 2006

RAVINIA, Ill., Aug. 12 — No tuba, Mama Rose?

None needed, thank you. Granted a temporary sabbatical from the ghoulish marching band in Broadway’s “Sweeney Todd,” Patti LuPone got to leave the brass octopus behind in New York. Playing the indomitable antiheroine of the musical “Gypsy” for the first time in a trio of performances over the weekend here, Ms. LuPone was backed by what is surely the most deluxe band ever to play vaudeville and burlesque, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. That little outfit doesn’t require any assistance in the musical department.

Ms. LuPone has become something of a fixture at the Ravinia Festival outside Chicago. Over the last five years she has appeared in a series of staged concert performances of the musicals of Stephen Sondheim, often in the company of Michael Cerveris, her co-star in “Sweeney Todd,” and Audra McDonald. (The Ravinia production of “Passion,” featuring all three, was later seen in New York and broadcast by PBS on “Live From Lincoln Center.”)

This summer she was starring solo, tackling what is arguably the most demanding female role in the Broadway canon. Even had she undertaken it in less lustrous circumstances, Ms. LuPone’s reckoning with this formidable part would be a noteworthy theatrical event (“the character she was born to play,” declared the Ravinia Web site, not without reason). And with this sumptuous orchestra behind her, performing the ebullient score by Mr. Sondheim and Jule Styne for the first time, it naturally became a musical one, too.

Neither of these essential participants disappointed. Ms. LuPone sang with exciting power and warmth, and the 47-piece orchestra played with a textural clarity that made you sit up and take notice, even during the underscoring between scenes.

Under the veteran Broadway maestro Paul Gemignani, the score retained plenty of jazzy punch where needed, but the suppleness of the orchestra’s technique — a sinuously sexy violin solo here, the jokey trill of a flute there — revealed the intricacy that underlies its infectiousness. Inspired by Mr. Sondheim’s sharp, sometimes slashing lyrics and the canny book by Arthur Laurents, Styne reached an artistic zenith in his music for this bleakly comic musical about the corrosive allure of showbiz and the havoc it wreaks on an already tattered family.

In contrast to some of the previous Ravinia productions and the standards at the Encores! series in New York, this was not a stripped-down presentation of “Gypsy” but a fully staged performance, with a fine array of costumes by Tracy Christensen, plush lighting design by Kevin Adams, simple but smart sets by Tony Straiges, even a little lamb (possibly a little goat, cast against type). Lonny Price, who has directed Ms. LuPone in all of her Ravinia appearances in Mr. Sondheim’s works, staged the production effectively and essentially traditionally, even without a proper proscenium, meaning that the wings loomed so far off to the sides that the actors all but sprinted off and onstage at times.

Ms. LuPone would surely have preferred to prepare for a role of this stature unencumbered by the strain of a nearly yearlong run in a Broadway musical. (She missed three weeks of performances of “Sweeney Todd” for rehearsals and performances in Ravinia, and returns to the show for its last weeks on Tuesday; it closes on Sept. 3.) She is not the first actress to play both Mama Rose and the bloodthirsty Mrs. Lovett of “Sweeney Todd.” Angela Lansbury, the original meat-pie-maker, starred in the first Broadway revival of “Gypsy” in 1974.

But I’d wager that Ms. LuPone is the only major performer to face the challenge of inhabiting both of these magnificent monsters all but simultaneously. So even had she delivered a less impressive performance, Ms. LuPone’s achievement would have been remarkable. And, watching her alternately friendly and frosty Mama Rose with her cackling Mrs. Lovett in mind, you couldn’t help but notice psychological affinities between these two superficially divergent characters.

Both are animated by a peculiar combination of maternal affection and killer instincts. Both go to nearly inhuman lengths to seek their ends (in the case of Mrs. Lovett, entirely inhuman). Mrs. Lovett is looking for undying love in the arms of a sociopath, but is Mama Rose’s dream of warming her empty heart in the heat of the spotlights trained on her daughters any less deluded — or destructive?

Ms. LuPone conveyed, at various points, all the conflicting impulses of this loving but hurting, self-denying but selfish character: the hungry-eyed intensity of Rose’s backstage vigils, the calculating mind behind the cajoling exterior, the bursts of spontaneous affection, the bewilderment as she is abandoned by everyone she loves. And just as she transformed the inelegant Mrs. Lovett into a persuasive seductress, Ms. LuPone made of Mama Rose a forcefully sexual woman. The playful ballad “Small World,” one of Rose’s more innocuous songs, became an intimate and irresistible seduction.

Fine as it was, Ms. LuPone’s performance was not a fully integrated one; both vocally and dramatically, there were lapses into the mannerisms that can mar the integrity of her work. But Mama Rose isn’t a particularly well-integrated woman now, is she?

Interestingly, and perhaps surprisingly, the highlights of Ms. LuPone’s performance were not the big set pieces: “Some People,” “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” and the climactic breakdown, “Rose’s Turn,” none of which reached the hair-raising emotional pitch you might have expected. Ms. LuPone was more effective, and more moving, as the misguided but loving stage mother than as the ravenous ego in song.

Supported by fine work from Jack Willis, as Rose’s perpetually put-off suitor, Herbie, and Jessica Boevers, who charted the growing maturity of Rose’s daughter, Louise (Gypsy Rose Lee), with unusual sensitivity, Ms. LuPone’s Mama Rose expressed such warm comfort in the company of her makeshift family that her blindness to their needs became more pitiful.

And when she lurched into the razzle-dazzle histrionics of self-display, she was magnetic but somehow empty, like a woman possessed by an alien spirit, driven by hungers she could not understand and would never be able to sate.

Correction: Aug. 16, 2006

A theater review yesterday of “Gypsy” at the Ravinia Festival misstated the festival’s location. It is Highland Park, Ill., not Ravinia, Ill.

joan osbourne review from her fan list with set list (edited)

How Sweet It Is
Pretty Little Stranger
Breakfast in Bed
St. Teresa
Man in the Long Black Coat
Help Me
Baby is a Butterfly
Heart of Stone
Spider Web
I Know What's Going On
New York Town (new song)
Hallelujah (new song)
Cathedrals (new song
Crazy Baby
Brokedown Palace
One of Us
Only You Know and I Know
What Becomes of the Brokenhearted

Another highlight was when a fan in the audience asked her to
sing "Happy Birthday" for someone named Charlie and Joan
sang "Anything But Love" almost completely acapella and sounded very
sweet and good. I wouldn't be surprised if she didn't do a
jazz/standard record someday - that would be excellent. As for the
other songs, I think "Help Me" was the standout - she just sings the
hell of it and it's always thrill to hear. Of course, there wasn't
really a bad song in the bunch.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sheriff: Woman sat on toilet for 2 years

Sheriff: Woman sat on toilet for 2 years

By ROXANA HEGEMAN, Associated Press Writer Wed Mar 12, 7:27 PM ET

WICHITA, Kan. - Authorities are considering charges in the bizarre case of a woman who sat on her boyfriend's toilet for two years — so long that her body was stuck to the seat by the time the boyfriend finally called police.

Ness County Sheriff Bryan Whipple said it appeared the 35-year-old Ness City woman's skin had grown around the seat. She initially refused emergency medical services but was finally convinced by responders and her boyfriend that she needed to be checked out at a hospital.

"We pried the toilet seat off with a pry bar and the seat went with her to the hospital," Whipple said. "The hospital removed it."

Whipple said investigators planned to present their report Wednesday to the county attorney, who will determine whether any charges should be filed against the woman's 36-year-old boyfriend.

"She was not glued. She was not tied. She was just physically stuck by her body," Whipple said. "It is hard to imagine. ... I still have a hard time imagining it myself."

He told investigators he brought his girlfriend food and water, and asked her every day to come out of the bathroom.

"And her reply would be, `Maybe tomorrow,'" Whipple said. "According to him, she did not want to leave the bathroom."

The boyfriend called police on Feb. 27 to report that "there was something wrong with his girlfriend," Whipple said, adding that he never explained why it took him two years to call.

Police found the clothed woman sitting on the toilet, her sweat pants down to her mid-thigh. She was "somewhat disoriented," and her legs looked like they had atrophied, Whipple said.

"She said that she didn't need any help, that she was OK and did not want to leave," he said.

She was reported in fair condition at a hospital in Wichita, about 150 miles southeast of Ness City. Whipple said she has refused to cooperate with medical providers or law enforcement investigators.

Authorities said they did not know if she was mentally or physically disabled.

Police have declined to release the couple's names, but the house where authorities say the incident happened is listed in public records as the residence of Kory McFarren. No one answered his home phone number.

The case has been the buzz of Ness City, said James Ellis, a neighbor.

"I don't think anybody can make any sense out of it," he said.

Ellis said he had known the woman since she was a child but that he had not seen her for at least six years.

He said she had a tough childhood after her mother died at a young age and apparently was usually kept inside the house as she grew up. At one time the woman worked for a long-term care facility, he said, but he did not know what kind of work she did there.

"It really doesn't surprise me," Ellis said. "What surprises me is somebody wasn't called in a bit earlier."

the big lewbowski Mooch

Was that really 'the Dude' in 'Mutts' recently? In a word, 'Yesh.'

Michele Heinz, Special to the Tribune
February 19, 2008

Q: Were we imagining it, or was the "Mutts" comic strip recently full of inside references to the movie "The Big Lebowski"?

A: Yes, the Dude abides, says cartoonist Patrick McDonnell, in town to meet fans and sign his new book, "Hug Time."

McDonnell's gentle "Mutts" comic strip, which runs daily in the Tribune, was an ingenious takeoff on "The Big Lebowski," Joel and Ethan Coen's 1998 movie that has become a cult classic. McDonnell transformed his character Mooch the cat into the Big Moochowski for a series of six strips.

"I always liked 'The Big Lebowski' movie, and Mooch has a lot of those qualities. He likes to wear a bathrobe, and I put surfer shorts on him," McDonnell said, drawing Moochowski for his audience Feb. 12 at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville.

The series of strips never mentioned the movie itself, but Mooch spouted such Lebowski catchphrases as "You're out of your element" and "The Dude abides."

A few "Lebowski" fans on the forum spotted the homage and posted gleeful comments, but McDonnell said he had not received any direct feedback from readers on the "Moochowski" strips.

He cautioned parents not to run out and rent the Coen brothers' film for their kids. It's not meant for them.

"I could have drawn a hundred strips" based on the movie, he said, "but the papers wouldn't have been able to print them."

McDonnell noted that he got to meet Dr. Jane Goodall after he featured her in a strip, so "wouldn't that be great if I would hear from the Coen brothers?"

More articles

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

joan osbourne

Joan Osborne will sing her hits "What if God Was One of Us" and "St. Teresa" when she plays Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, West 57th Street and Seventh Avenue in NYC, at 8:30 tonight. Tickets are $38-$44 at

Joan Sang much more than St Teresa and IF god were one of us. With a quartet she hit the stage at Zankel. She sang

04. Baby is a Butterfly
05. Breakfast in Bed
08. Heart of Stone
16. What Becomes of the Broken Heart
BrokeDown Palace
man in the long black coat
cathedral by Jump little children
Two more new songs with NYC themes
St teresa
God is one of us

I remembered how much i really liked Joan Osbourne. She has husky voice that fits americana and 70s r&b.....

outh Pacific' sails back to B'way

South Pacific' sails back to B'way

Wednesday, March 12th 2008, 4:00 AM
Paulo Szot and Kelli O'Hara share some enchanted evening in 'South Pacific' at Lincoln Center.

Can you imagine Tom Brokaw in "South Pacific"?

An Oscar-winning film producer could.

The producer - who shall remain nameless - pitched a Broadway revival of the 1949 Tony- and Pulitzer-winning musical in which the TV newsman's deep, distinctive voice would be heard talking about the greatest generation during the overture. It would ease audiences into the World War II era of the show, he figured.

Ted Chapin, president of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization, which grants permissions to perform shows from the composers' catalogue, recalls his reaction to the concept: "I said, 'Hmmm. Gee, well, I'll think about it.'"

Then he washed the idea right outta his mind.

Over the years, Chapin, who has worked at R&H since 1981, has done that with a number of "South Pacifics" eyeballing Broadway, including a 1986 Los Angeles production starring Richard Kiley.

From high schools to professional theaters, nearly 500 productions of the wartime love story are mounted around the world each year.

Yet it has taken more than a half-century for one to return to Broadway, where "South Pacific" last ended a five-year run in 1954. The revival opening April 3 at the Vivien Beaumont is staged by Bartlett Sher, who directed "The Light in the Piazza" at the same theater.

What took so long for plucky U.S. Navy Nellie Forbush and French planter Emile De Becque to have another enchanted evening on the Great White Way? Casting and timing were key considerations.

"Over the years, people would poke around and call me to say, 'Hey, I have an idea,'" says Chapin. "Most of those ideas involved productions created around a star, which didn't make sense. There are two parts that are very complex and very important."

The new production stars double Tony nominee Kelli O'Hara ("The Light in the Piazza," "The Pajama Game") and Brazilian opera star Paulo Szot.

"As for the question of timing, I wish I could say there was an era when a show about war and racism wasn't relevant," says Chapin. "But the post-World War II mindset brought its own challenges.

"Some directors have been afraid of audiences coming in and not understanding what audiences understood in 1949," he continues. (Hence, that Brokaw brainchild.) Chapin says he was more inclined to greenlight a production that trusted audiences.

Broadway's new "South Pacific" has been in the air at least since June 2005, when Reba McEntire and Brian Stokes Mitchell co-starred in a concert version at Carnegie Hall. Lincoln Center's artistic director, Andre Bishop, called Chapin afterward. "He said, 'I've always wanted to do 'South Pacific,'" says Chapin. "That's when the light went on."

"Piazza" was running at Lincoln Center then. Chapin, who'd seen early versions of that show composed by Richard Rodgers' grandson Adam Guettel, admired Sher's work. "I'd seen the evolution of the show and saw how Bart kept working and honing," says Chapin.

In July 2005, over lunch across the street from Lincoln Center at Fiorello's, Chapin told Bishop that if he wanted "South Pacific," it was his. "He was pleased and said 'Put "The Light in the Piazza" crew on it.'"

Without revealing secrets of Sher's version, Chapin says it honors tradition and adds something "fresh and new."

And it's not Tom Brokaw.

review of the Bruce Springstreen concert on Monday at Nassau Colliseum

The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum opened in 1972. I first entered this arena in 1973 to witness megastar “Dr. J” Julius Erving carry the New York Nets to the ABA championship. That very same year Bruce Springsteen released his second album The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle. Thirty-Five years later, we returned to Nassau to witness the ageless wonder Springsteen perform an epic song from that very album, “Incident on 57th Street”, as if no time had passed at all. In a show that last over two and half hours, Bruce chose heavily from his 1970’s catalog, and performed highlights including “Because the Night”, “Adam Raised a Cain”, and “Jungleland”, along with a rare “Ramrod” from 1980’s The River.

Although the ill E-Streeter Danny Federici was noticably absent — Bruce hoped for his return later in the tour — the Band was running on all cylinders. Little Stevie was as energetic as ever, but the guitar work and harmonies of Nils Lofgren were particularly strong and notable. One wonders how long this unit can continue to perform at such quality and at such length, but last night time truly stood still as Bruce magically transported us back 35 years.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Uniondale, NY USA

[Total Time 2:32:24]
01 [Introduction]
02 Night
03 Radio Nowhere
04 Lonesome Day
05 Adam Raised a Cain
06 Gypsy Biker
07 Magic
08 Reason to Believe
09 Because the Night
10 She’s the One
11 Livin’ in the Future
12 The Promised Land
13 Waitin’ on a Sunny Day
14 Incident on 57th Street
15 Devil’s Arcade
16 The Rising
17 Last to Die
18 Long Walk Home
19 Badlands
20 [encore break]
22 Girls in Their Summer Clothes
22 Jungleland
23 Born to Run
24 Ramrod
25 Dancing in the Dark
26 American Land
27 [outroduction]

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Shaking It Off By Jeff Tweedy

March 5, 2008, 4:34 pm
Shaking It Off

By Jeff Tweedy

Jeff Tweedy is primarily known as the lyricist, lead singer and guitarist of Wilco, one of America’s most popular and critically successful rock bands. He is also a lifelong migraine sufferer whose headaches were for decades compounded by bouts of depression and panic disorder.

In 2004, Tweedy suffered a collapse and entered a rehabilitation clinic in Chicago to treat his conditions and a resulting addiction to prescription painkillers. In Tweedy’s estimation, his new found ability to treat and manage his depression and panic has helped him to remain migraine-free for the past four years. In a conversation this month, Tweedy spoke about how migraines and mood disorders impacted his childhood, his musical career and his creative and personal life.

Boy Meets Pain

I honestly do not remember a time in my life when I did not have headaches, and know what they were and know they were called migraines. My mother was a migraine sufferer, and my sister is as well. Now, if I was having legitimate migraines or I just called every headache a migraine because my mother had them, I don’t know for sure, but, like I said, I don’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t having them.

As a kid, I did miss a lot of school because I would periodically dehydrate myself — I would vomit a lot with each migraine and it would be really hard to stop. It would often continue that way for hours and hours — 12 hours sometimes.

And I went to see a lot of doctors. I remember long periods sitting around in doctors’ offices waiting to get shots. At one point they determined my migraines were the result of allergies, so I got numerous allergy tests and it turned out I was allergic to everything. I don’t think they ever tested me for an allergy that didn’t come up positive. As a result I got allergy shots twice a week after school for years. I got really good at getting shots as a young kid when a lot of other kids were deathly afraid of them. But it never helped the migraines.

My sister and I compared notes a lot. And my mother stopped having migraines around the time she went through menopause. My own theory is that, in my case, my migraines were connected to my mood disorders.

When I was growing up I lived in a household with caring people — my parents were definitely nurturing and wanted me to be happy and healthy. But it was a different time. If a kid was suffering from a mood disorder in my parent’s generation, the typical response was likely to be, “What are you crying about? I’ll give you something to cry about.” That sounds really harsh but its a reality of my childhood. It was much more difficult for me to explain, “I just feel sad for no reason,” than for them to see I was in literal pain. So I think there’s some connection there. In other words, the psychological suffering of the mood disorder may have manifested itself in a very real pain of the migraine that was much easier to express. It’s obvious your kid is hurting when he can’t stop vomiting and he can hardly open his eyes. And with my mother having migraines herself, she could identify – she knew they were real.

There’s a lot to explore there — there was for me — how much of it was an outward manifestation of a mood disorder.


I’ve noticed that the arc of a migraine is very similar to some of the traits of panic disorder.

One of the things that happens a lot with panic disorder is that you’ll have an actual panic attack and for weeks or months after that you’ll have a fear of a panic attack that can heighten your anxiety and heighten your stress levels to the point where you end up having another panic attack. To me those things mirror each other. Migraines would add stress to my life in a way that would contribute to the next headache and it would begin a cycle that would be hard to stop. So I would have periods where I would have a migraine very frequently — every other day or twice a week — for months.

The hospital I went to in 2004 to address my painkiller addiction (which happened in part due to the migraines) was a “dual-diagnosis” facility — they treated my panic disorder and depression simultaneously. And I found that once I was able to manage those two things, I’ve been able to be mostly migraine-free for the last four years. For me, that solidified my theory about the connection.


There are a lot of different ways migraines have affected my music, and vice versa: being a musician has allowed me — for lack of a better phrase — to rise above the pain from time to time. I’ve never missed a show because of a migraine. But I’ve played some really horrible shows and cut them short because there was very little I could do to keep going. I’ve played shows where I had bucket on the side of the stage where I threw up in between songs regularly. There’ve been a lot of horrible experiences trying to, well, you know, have the show go on.

On a creative level being able to play music and disappear into something as meditative as music can be has been a real blessing in my life.
AudioExcerpt of “Less Than You Think,” from “A Ghost Is Born,” Nonesuch Records (mp3)

In the worst periods of migraine suffering — in particular during the making of the record “A Ghost Is Born” —the cycle of pain and pain relief and pain killer abuse got really difficult to dig out of. I was rarely able to function for more than a few hours a day. For a lot of that record I was just trying not to be too drugged out and as a result I was suffering from enormous migraine type throbbing pain. Quite a bit of that came out on “A Ghost Is Born.” There is a lot of material that mirrored my condition. In particular there’s a piece of music — “Less Than You Think” — that ends with a 12-minute drone that was an attempt to express the slow painful rise and dissipation of migraine in music. I don’t know why anyone would need to have that expressed to them musically. But it was all I had.
AudioExcerpt of “Spiders (Kidsmoke),” from “A Ghost Is Born,” Nonesuch Records (mp3)

“Spiders (Kidsmoke)” is another. I think we performed that song once or twice – we knew it was going to be on the record but it was one that was looming as a real challenge in the condition I was in. So when we put it together the arrangement ended up being as minimal as possible with the fewest amount of chord changes and I just got through the lyrics and punctuated them with guitar blasts basically just to play through the song. It ended up being a song we were pretty proud of. But it was not much fun to record.


I’m sure there were misperceptions about my condition. You know, seeing a rock musician vomit on the side of the stage, I’m sure people thought I was completely out of my mind on drugs or strung out. It didn’t have any kind of long term impact on how people perceived the band, though. Crazy thing is, in my business, that sort of thing is considered an asset. Sick but true.

I remember one time we were opening for R.E.M. in a soccer stadium in Italy. There were 70,000 people there, just an enormous audience. I was really in bad shape trying to get ready to go on stage. I was just sitting in the shower on a chair in the dressing room with cold water raining down on my head because it was the only thing I could do that felt good. The road manager got the local paramedics and they came back and looked at me and said, “What did he take?” It was really hard in broken English to explain that wasn’t really that case. There wasn’t anything they could do for me. I wanted them to give me something to take.

The truth is, as migraine sufferer you begin to doubt yourself, too. There were a lot times when I wondered, “Am I really getting a migraine or am I just dreading what I have to do and because of that starting to work myself up in to lather?” And it becomes a vicious cycle, or circle, of second-guessing and wondering what’s really happening, especially if you’re someone prone to the type of self-examination or introspection that I am.

Even being a migraine sufferer I understand that instinct to not believe it when someone says, “I have a migraine.” I know that that I’ve heard people say it and I’ve wanted to say, “Come on, just get it together. We’ve gotta do this.” Obviously I have a ton of compassion but its such a strange thing to try to communicate. People suffering from migraines in a lot of cases look like they’re faking some ridiculous pain.

Killing Pain

As for the pain killers — it happened initially in the way that a lot of drugs find their way into the hands of rock musicians. Someone gave me some at some point and I took them recreationally. There was nothing noble about it in any way. And at that point I just thought, “Where have you been all my life?” I think it had more to do with my panic disorder to be honest. There was a quality to that type of medication (an opiate) that felt very comforting and maternal. It gave me a sense of well being that was really lacking in my periods of depression and panic. So I just thought, it would great if I could feel like this all the time.

But it really became a problem was when I realized I could get a lot of them because I suffer from migraines. I tried a lot of different medication to ease the migraines and to be honest the painkillers never worked better than anything else — it didn’t work better than Imitrex. The way serious painkillers like hydrocodone and oxycontin work is that they make you not care about the pain and that was really desirable to me — to be able to continue to work and be creative and make music and actually feel normal. It was something that allowed me to be functional for a while.

Even when I took the painkillers in a recreational way I never had a desire to live out any kind of rock and roll pursuit of oblivion. I’ve always been turned off by that idea of the suffering drugged-out artist. It’s always made me sort of nauseated to think that I could fit in to that stereotype. But like a lot of addicts, you come up with a way to prove to yourself that you’re different — that that’s not really who you are. And for me, having very real physical pain was a very easy way to convince myself (and a lot of doctors) that there was something different about me.

After a while it became obvious that it was a problem. I was abusing the painkillers. They became something I was having trouble living without. I would get scared by the amount of drugs I was taking. I was afraid I wouldn’t wake up.


I made an attempt to stop taking the painkillers on my own, and along with that, because of the amount of anxiety I was feeling, I was convinced that all of the medications I was taking were making me sick. So I not only stopped taking painkillers, I stopped taking an antidepressant I had been prescribed at the time.

Five weeks later, theoretically with a clean bill of health, in terms of the chemicals that were coursing through my body, I suffered a serious mental collapse, most likely from the way I had taken myself off my prescribed antidepressants. So I found myself in the emergency room two days in a row thinking that I was dying, suffering extreme panic and anxiety, without any sort of dissipation whatsoever: It was like a constant state of terror.

On the second day someone at the hospital suggested I go to a dual diagnosis clinic – basically, a mental hospital that deals with addiction. That was the first time that anyone had every suggested anything like that to me, that there was a connection between the two, and that made an enormous amount of sense to me, so immediately I said, “Take me there now.”

And I think it was the first time in my life I’ve ever gotten competent help. I had had a psychiatrist that was prescribing drugs to me without any conscience. I actually had a psychiatrist prescribe Vicodin to me as a way to alleviate anxiety. And I also had a therapist tell me that I needed the painkillers because I had migraines and that I didn’t need the antidepressants because they were just capping my creative energy. This guy was just a quack, an idiot. But when you’re in such a vulnerable and desperate state as I was, you want somebody to help you. I really wish I had been in a condition where I could have known and listened and understood that these people were out of their minds, but I wasn’t. I was vulnerable and I needed someone to help me. But I got really, really bad help. When I got to the hospital, it was the first time I had been given any serious attention and had serious, right-minded physicians helping me.
AudioExcerpt of “Either Way,” from “Sky Blue Sky,” Nonesuch Records (mp3)

After a few days in the hospital, I was stable enough to participate in the program and groups. This was a very hard-core inner city hospital and there were stretches in my month long stay where I was the only white person there or the only person who didn’t come from a gangbanging background, situations that were much, much more serious than mine. So it was never lost on me that I was very fortunate to have a lot of support from a lot of people, including my band and my wife and Tony, my manager. I really didn’t have anybody in my life I was going to have to cut out in order to stay sober and get healthy. I basically had everyone pulling for me in the right direction and everybody in a healthy state themselves.

Next Day

For the most part, I’ve found in the last four years that I do get headaches, but if I’m more conscious and aware and can get to them quicker with something as simple as some Advil, they don’t escalate.

I’ve had one migraine recently. And as a result of the migraine I also had a the first full-blown panic attack I’ve had in months. I think this happened because I didn’t listen to my body and I kept putting off doing anything about it or even admitting to myself I wasn’t feeling well. So that night, the second the kids went to bed — (this is also a trait I’ve noticed: once you have time to fall apart you fall apart very quickly) – I turned off their light and went downstairs and immediately started feeling as bad as I’ve ever felt. And I started to think, “All hope lost, I’m having migraines again.”

But fortunately, it didn’t knock me down completely. I think the amount of work I’ve been able to do in the last four years and the amount of understanding I’ve gained about the different things that contribute to my well-being helped. So it was just a bad day. I had a migraine, I didn’t get anything done. I laid around in bed with ice and I vomited a lot then I got up and did my thing the next day.

Most of the band’s recorded work can be heard in its entirety at their Web site, The band will also be broadcasting their concert at Tipitina’s in New Orleans tonight — Wednesday, March 5 at midnight, E.S.T.

Capricorn Horoscope for week of March 6, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of March 6, 2008

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll says he's periodically asked about what it takes to be a writer. He has two pieces of advice: "Good writers read a lot, and good writers write a lot." I urge you to apply that approach to whatever skill it is you'd like to master, whether it's building a boat, traveling where the tourists don't go, satisfying a lover, or anything else. In other words, practice, practice, and practice some more as you study the work of those who are experts in the field. Now is an especially ripe time for you to identify what this skill is for you, and to sign a formal agreement with yourself in which you promise to steadily upgrade your mastery of it.

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll says he's periodically asked about what it takes to be a writer. He has two pieces of advice: "Good writers read a lot, and good writers write a lot." I urge you to apply that approach to whatever skill it is you'd like to master, whether it's building a boat, traveling where the tourists don't go, satisfying a lover, or anything else. In other words, practice, practice, and practice some more as you study the work of those who are experts in the field. Now is an especially ripe time for you to identify what this skill is for you, and to sign a formal agreement with yourself in which you promise to steadily upgrade your mastery of it.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of February 28, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of February 28, 2008

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
"Often the truth needs to be packed in great illusion," writes medical intuitive Caroline Myss, "to protect it from the carrier of that truth." Your job in the coming week is to chip off some of the illusion that's hiding a precious truth you're shielding yourself from. You're getting closer to being able to handle the whole truth, but you're not completely ready yet. That's why I suggest you preserve a bit of the protective illusion as a buffer. The dramatic revelation will best occur in stages.

south Pacific to be revived at Lincoln Center

Come Away: First Broadway Revival of South Pacific Begins Performances March 1

By Adam Hetrick
and Andrew Gans
01 Mar 2008

Kelli O'Hara in rehearsal.
photo by Joan Marcus

Tony nominee Kelli O'Hara and Paulo Szot head the cast of the Lincoln Center Theater revival of the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II classic South Pacific, which begins performances on the Vivian Beaumont stage March 1.

O'Hara, last seen on the Beaumont stage in The Light in the Piazza, stars as nurse Nellie Forbush alongside Szot as French plantation owner Emile de Becque. Tony-nominated Light in the Piazza director Bartlett Sher returns to stage the new production, which welcomes back another Piazza alum, Matthew Morrison as Lt. Cable. The Broadway revival officially opens April 3.

South Pacific also features Danny Burstein as Luther Billis, Loretta Ables Sayre as Bloody Mary as well as Sean Cullen (as Cmdr. William Harbison), Victor Hawks (Stewpot), Luka Kain (Jerome), Li Jun Li (Liat), Laurissa Romain (Ngana), Thomas G. Waites (Captain George Brackett) and Noah Weisberg (Professor).

The ensemble comprises Becca Ayers, Wendi Bergamini, Genson Blimline, Grady McLeod Bowman, Charlie Brady, Matt Caplan, Christian Carter, Helmar Augustus Cooper, Jeremy Davis, Margot de la Barre, Christian Delcroix, Laura Marie Duncan, Mike Evariste, Laura Griffith, Lisa Howard, Maryann Hu, Zachary James, Robert Lenzi, Garrett Long, Nick Mayo, George Merrick, William Michals, Kimber Monroe, Emily Morales, Darius Nichols, George Psomas, Andrew Samonsky and Jerold E. Solomon.

The new Lincoln Center staging includes the song "My Girl Back Home." A duet between Lt. Cable and Nellie Forbush, the song was cut from the original Broadway production but reinstated for the 1958 film adaptation. The current production, which marks South Pacific's first Broadway revival since its 1949 stage debut, utilizes that song's original orchestrations.

Based on James Michener's Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of short stories "Tales of the South Pacific," the musical focuses on a French plantation owner Emile de Becque and his love interest, Nellie Forbush, a naïve young nurse from Arkansas. Set against the backdrop of the Second World War, South Pacific offers a lushly romantic score while challenging audiences with themes of racial intolerance and bigotry.

The Lincoln Center Theater production has musical staging by Christopher Gattelli, sets by Michael Yeargan, costumes by Catherine Zuber, lighting by Donald Holder and sound by Scott Lehrer. Musical director Ted Sperling conducts a 30-piece orchestra performing the musical's original orchestrations by Robert Russell Bennett and dance and incidental music arrangements by Trude Rittman.

The Rodgers and Hammerstein score includes numerous American songbook classics, including "Some Enchanted Evening," "Wonderful Guy," "Younger Than Springtime," "Happy Talk," "Bali H'ai" and "There Is Nothing Like a Dame." South Pacific, starring Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza, won nine Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for its Broadway debut in 1949.

Tickets for the Lincoln Center Theater revival of South Pacific are available now at the Lincoln Center Theater box office (150 West 65th Street), at or by visiting