Saturday, February 28, 2009

David Byrne adventure or what would David do?

Last night I found myself with an extra David Byrne Ticket (a hot NYC ticket last night) I thought of selling both for a profit ( i paid 0) and making off with my $$ and going home. I started to sell the ticket and found that lots of young 20 year olds show up at concerts wanting tickets with NO MONEY to pay for them.

I started to try to sell my ticket and had a buyer for 80 and lost her cuz I wanted to sell the pair. It was early 715 and it was rainy and cold. I was talking to a woman who was losing her job at Virgin who was living hand to mouth and Finally, I said to her, come on....

I went to the show and gave her my extra. In talking to her, I found out that she gets into lots of shows for free. Sometimes sneaks in, sometimes a spare ticket for free. She follows ACDC, Motley Crue, the Dead and Phil Lesh, Bob Weir. She sells posters at their shows, She makes juggling sticks and those posters. She works hand to mouth. Off the books, sells things she finds on the street. Does what she needs to to survive. She sees more music that I do for less money

Then I started to think.... My good deed and it was my good deed seemed over shadowed by her ability to be resourceful. I started to feel scammed by her. She did not choose for me to take her. She was the receipient of my good deed. I felt that it was improper to sell a comp ticket at this show, though clearly she would have done so if she had the chance. I felt that my karma was to help her and she was to receive but she would not have held the moral high ground that I did when it came to being able to sell the tickets for pure profit.

It bothered me that our values were so conflictual..... My moral high ground is her survival......a case of competing needs....

david byrne put on a good show but i could have lived without it? I am glad i saw it complete with dancers and musical interludes. the music of Eno and Byrne is infectious. audience was talking head fans and phish dancing boys....

I hope the dancing dead girl had a good time.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Capricorn Horoscope for week of February 26, 2009

Capricorn Horoscope for week of February 26, 2009

In his book The Invention of Air, Steven Johnson says that as coffee drinking came into vogue in the 18th century, it became a driving force in the Age of Enlightenment. Prior to that time, alcohol had been the drink of choice -- more so even than water. As the stimulant replaced the intoxicant, the level of discourse rose dramatically. Creative ideas flourished and new discoveries and inventions proliferated. I bring this up, Capricorn, because I suspect that you're entering your own personal Age of Enlightenment. Imbibing caffeine may not be necessary to fuel it, since cosmic energies will be conspiring to inspire your mental processes.


Some days good things outweigh the bad.... Wednesday was an interesting day. After stressing and missing the NYC Beacon Theater Leonard Cohen show, I tried for presale tickets to the Wang Center show. The tickets went on sale at 10am. I had lots of computer trouble at work. Explorer wouldnt let me in and Mozilla put up a fight. I called telecharge and the password was changed for that venue. All my tricks werent working, then suddenly, the page popped open and I was able to buy a box seat, orchestra rear.....Blessing 1

Then I had to go down and see about a disqualification notice on my civil service test. Though I had my paperwork, and they needed to me outline my social work and related credits for a two degrees in the field where the programs imply the credits, I needed to complete all forms. I was besides myself thinking what i needed to do and how to do it. The clerk got a copy of the test for me and explained it to me. Blessing 2 -(they generally arent that kind or go out of their way)

I remembered that there was a copy of my Salem State College transcript at Personnel so i went over there and i got in touch with the supervisor who outside of standard practice, made me a copy of my transcript and sent me on my way... Blessing 3

I then decided to go to the Doctor. Generally, there is a clinic style line, first come, first served..... i walked in at 505 and there were two people in front of me.
She saw me and handed me the prescriptions I needed... Blessing 4

I went to the Pharmacy and they said they were out of one item - and due to my schedule I couldnt get it until Saturday. I would have to wait an hour for the other. the Tech, checked again and found the first item and handed me the second. She gave me a partial on the first with more to be distributed after i complete the first 30. So i walked out with both ..or enough to get me started.... Blessing 5

Going the extra mile, providing customer service is something I do regularly even when the people around me refuse to do it....

It was a day that clearly the good, goodness in people outweighed the bad... really there were glitches.... not anything bad.... All was good.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

valentine's week according to mutts

Leonard Cohen

On the Road, for Reasons Practical and Spiritual


Published: February 24, 2009

The day after his first American concert in more than 15 years, Leonard Cohen sat in a Manhattan hotel suite warily submitting to an interviewer’s questions, including one about the music in his laptop’s iTunes. In response, he played a klezmer-style Hebrew hymn, then followed it by singing along with one of George Jones’s weepy country morality tales.
Skip to next paragraph
Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Leonard Cohen will embark on a two-month North American tour in April.
Music Review | Leonard Cohen: Pop Music’s Perpetual Old Man, Now 74, Is Back on the Road (February 21, 2009)
Times Topics: Leonard Cohen

From Leonard Cohen Beacon Theater Concert

“I’ve had choices since the day that I was born,/There were voices that told me right from wrong,” Mr. Cohen crooned in his stern baritone. “If I had listened, no, I wouldn’t be here today,/Living and dying with the choices I’ve made.”

Religious devotion weighs heavily in both music and life for Mr. Cohen, and it takes many forms. After a five-year stint in a Zen Buddhist monastery and various legal distractions, he is back on the road: an undertaking that seems to combine his quest for spiritual fulfillment with an effort to regain his financial footing, lost when his former business manager made off with his money while Mr. Cohen was living as a monk on a mountaintop above Los Angeles.

“It was a long, ongoing problem of a disastrous and relentless indifference to my financial situation,” Mr. Cohen said on Friday of the resulting legal proceedings, which awarded him $9.5 million — money he has yet to collect. “I didn’t even know where the bank was.”

So on April 2, for reasons both practical and aesthetic, Mr. Cohen will embark on a two-month North American tour, including a performance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 17 and an appearance at Radio City Music Hall on May 16. In addition, Columbia Records on March 31 will release a live CD/DVD of a show he did in London last year, and songs from the concert he played last Thursday at the Beacon Theater will begin streaming online on Thursday on the National Public Radio Web site ( or

Mr. Cohen’s world tour, which actually began in May 2008 in his native Canada, is scheduled to continue through the end of this year, a feat of endurance for a man his age. At 74, Mr. Cohen is nine years Mick Jagger’s senior and two years older than John McCain. But he is remarkably limber, skipping on and off the stage during his three-hour show and repeatedly dropping to his knees to sing.

Roscoe Beck, Mr. Cohen’s musical director, says that even on the longest flights Mr. Cohen sits cross-legged and straight-backed in his seat, in a monk’s posture. Asked whether he also does yoga to build strength and agility for his stage shows, Mr. Cohen, his demeanor courtly but reserved, smiled and replied, “That is my yoga.”

In fact, Mr. Cohen appears to see performance and prayer as aspects of the same larger divine enterprise. That may not be surprising, coming from an artist whose best-known songs mingle sacred concerns with the secular and the sexual and sound like “collaborations between Jacques Brel and Thomas Merton,” as the novelist Pico Iyer put it.

“There’s a similarity in the quality of the daily life” on the road and in the monastery, Mr. Cohen said. “There’s just a sense of purpose” in which “a lot of extraneous material is naturally and necessarily discarded,” and what is left is a “rigorous and severe” routine in which “the capacity to focus becomes much easier.”

Mr. Cohen said he stopped touring in 1993 partly because he was drinking “too much red wine” between shows. But even with his money problems, he had to be persuaded to go out on the road again, said Rob Hallett, the promoter of the tour, in which Mr. Cohen performs with a nine-piece band.

“For three years, every time I’d go to Los Angeles, I’d try to convince him to do it,” Mr. Hallett said. “But he didn’t think anyone cared.”

After 99 concerts in places as far-flung as Bucharest and Auckland, Mr. Cohen now knows that is not true. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008, but unlike many other pop music figures who emerged in the 1960s he never overexposed himself, and he has maintained an air of mystery around his person and his songs.

“In the years he was away, the work was still there to be found, and people caught up with him,” said Hal Willner, the music producer responsible for “Came So Far for Beauty,” a Cohen concert tribute that toured the world in 2004 and 2005. “The records always kept surfacing, being talked about as influences on the young kids coming up, like Kurt Cobain and Jeff Buckley, and those who listened found themselves being drawn into the songs, in a Venus’ flytrap sort of way.”

Thanks to that new generation of artists and listeners, more recent songs like “Hallelujah” have now become as widely known as “Suzanne” and other compositions from Mr. Cohen’s early years. “Hallelujah” has been recorded almost 200 times, with two different versions reaching the Top 10 in Britain late in 2008, and was even sung by a contestant on “American Idol” last year, which gave it another boost.

Because so many of Mr. Cohen’s songs have been recorded by others, many of his new admirers associate his work mainly with the artists who have popularized them, like Rufus Wainwright and Mr. Buckley. But Mr. Cohen dismissed the idea of reclaiming possession of his songs as one of the motives for going back on tour.

“My sense of ownership with these things is very weak,” he responded. “It’s not the result of spiritual discipline; it’s always been that way. My sense of proprietorship has been so weak that actually I didn’t pay attention and I lost the copyrights on a lot of the songs.”

About the meaning of those songs, Mr. Cohen is diffident and elusive. Many are, he acknowledges, “muffled prayers,” but beyond that he is not eager to reveal much.

“It’s difficult to do the commentary on the prayer,” he said. “I’m not a Talmudist, I’m more the little Jew who wrote the Bible,” a reference to a line in “The Future,” a song he released in 1992. “I feel it doesn’t serve the enterprise to really examine it from outside the moment.”

Mr. Cohen said he hoped to make a new record when the tour ends, and offered to play one of his newer compositions. Tentatively called “Amen,” it features a Farfisa-style keyboard, a trumpetlike solo played by Mr. Cohen on his synthesizer and lyrics like this: “Tell me again when the filth of the butcher is washed in the blood of the lamb.”

Jennifer Warnes, the singer whose 1986 recording of “Famous Blue Raincoat” helped revive interest in Mr. Cohen at a time when he was out of critical favor, said: “He has investigated a lot of deities and read all the sacred books, trying to understand in some way who wrote them as much as the subject matter itself. It’s for his own healing that he reaches for those places. If he has one great love, it is his search for God.”

Mr. Cohen is an observant Jew who keeps the Sabbath even while on tour and performed for Israeli troops during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. So how does he square that faith with his continued practice of Zen?

“Allen Ginsberg asked me the same question many years ago,” he said. “Well, for one thing, in the tradition of Zen that I’ve practiced, there is no prayerful worship and there is no affirmation of a deity. So theologically there is no challenge to any Jewish belief.”

Zen has also helped him to learn to “stop whining,” Mr. Cohen said, and to worry less about the choices he has made. “All these things have their own destiny; one has one’s own destiny. The older I get, the surer I am that I’m not running the show.”

paul simon cross pollination

Luciana Souza was at the BAM show and now is performing with Cyro Baptista, Paul Simon's long time bass player. They met at the shows. David Byrne sang with a Cameroon singer at his BAM shows and he has her on tour with him as he is performing ENO music...

I love that cross pollination......

Monday, February 23, 2009

Saturday, February 21, 2009

celebrity sighting at Emmylou, Shawn and Patty

Steve Earle and Allison Moorer was at the Three Girls show...

So wasnt Isabel and Gene Frey, they are celebrity

Friday, February 20, 2009

Capricorn Horoscope for week of February 19, 2009

Capricorn Horoscope for week of February 19, 2009

Even when you are not feeling your best, you try hard. You're strong when things are broken. Where there is hurt, you rise up with surprising resilience to provide help and inspiration. If there are people who don't know where they are or where they're going, you are often a beacon of calm. Thank you, my beautiful friend. I applaud your urge to fight for justice not only in service to yourself but also on behalf of others who can't be as composed as you are when things are broken. And I'm happy to inform you that the favors you're doling out now will ultimately be returned in kind when you least expect it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Monday, February 16, 2009


Diamonds on the Soles, Paint on the Walls, Nostalgia in the Air

Published: February 15, 2009
To welcome the new president Paul Simon played “American Tune,” a sigh of exhaustion reportedly written in response to Richard M. Nixon’s re-election in 1972: “I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered/or driven to its knees.”

Of course the president he was welcoming was Jimmy Carter, at his inauguration in 1977.

That same song was used last year in an advertisement promoting Barack Obama, and Mr. Simon played it on a November appearance on “The Colbert Report,” in support of the release of his book “Lyrics 1964-2008” (Simon & Schuster).

But “American Tune,” and its pessimism, were nowhere to be found during Mr. Simon’s Friday night show, the inaugural performance at the newly renovated Beacon Theater, which has reopened following a $16 million makeover by its operator, Cablevision Systems. (Mr. Simon also played there on Saturday.)

Politics of another sort were on Mr. Simon’s mind — namely, those at the intersection of the city’s financial and artistic worlds.

“The Dolans did an incredible job on this place,” Mr. Simon said, referring to the family that controls Cablevision. “Turn the lights on for a minute.” Noting the restored murals on the walls, he said, “There are the Allman Brothers.” (The Allmans, near-annual regulars at the Beacon since 1989, are not on the walls.) At intermission he had a deadpan entreaty for the well-heeled crowd: “Make some deals and answer your e-mail.”

Biceps popping out of his black-and-white-striped polo shirt, Mr. Simon, 67, played a grab bag of hits from across his career in a manner both committed and indifferent. Some high points were expected (“Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes,” “Slip Slidin’ Away”) and others not (“The Cool, Cool River,” “Father and Daughter”). In “Loves Me Like a Rock,” “Proof” and other numbers Mr. Simon’s upper body undulated unconsciously, suggesting a sort of kinesthetic memory at work. But even as his frame connoted joy, his vocals didn’t always. At times they verged on dour.

There was a cheerful suite from “The Capeman,” Mr. Simon’s ill-fated 1998 Broadway musical, in which he was joined by a doo-wop ensemble (including the genial salsero Frankie Negrón), and an uninspired run of songs with the Brazilian jazz singer Luciana Souza. When Mr. Simon announced that he’d be playing a new piece, “Love in Hard Times” — “a song I wrote in the last year; that seems to be my output per year” — he was met with dissent from someone in the balcony: “Play stuff we know!”

Mostly he did: significant chunks of the albums “Graceland” (“You Can Call Me Al,” a hit that looks more and more bizarre the farther away in the rearview mirror it gets, earned one of the night’s loudest responses) and “The Rhythm of the Saints.”

After all, only in part was this a Paul Simon show; it was also a coming-out for the remodeled Beacon, with an audience including Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, James Gandolfini, Harvey Weinstein and Paul McCartney, who arrived at intermission and threatened to attract more attention than the headliner.

James L. Dolan, the Cablevision chief executive, received a smattering of boos during his opening remarks, though presumably those had more to do with the recent pitiful play of the New York Knicks (also a Cablevision property) than the overhaul of the space. Its newly vivid reds and golds and mash-up of Roman, Greek and Renaissance motifs toes the line between arresting and gaudy.

The sound, though, was pristine and refreshing. Each strike of Charley Drayton’s snare was crisp, and Mark Stewart’s guitar playing slashed through the room. (At times, as when the microphone for the trumpeter Jim Hynes, who whistles on “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,” was too loud, maybe a little too pristine.)

Or course in a night about wiping clean the toll of history, there had to be Garfunkel. And so there he was, Art Garfunkel, joining his former partner for an encore. Where Mr. Simon was grounded and prim, Mr. Garfunkel was uncertain, raspy and affecting. After “The Sounds of Silence” and “The Boxer,” they closed with a stirring medley of “Old Friends” and “Bookends,” and when they sang of “a time of innocence, a time of confidences,” it was the night’s first moment of true bite. “Preserve your memories,” they warned. “They’re all that’s left you.”

More Beacon shots of Capeman

Paul Simon at Beacon

Frankie Negron at Beacon Theater

Frankie Negron at Beacon

Frankie Negron at Beacon

paul simon at Beacon

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Paul Simon Beacon again

Bold faced names showed up for the re-opening of the gloriously renovated Beacon Theatre last night. With Paul Simon performing, Fox News' Roger Friedman spotted celebrities like Paul McCartney with girlfriend (and MTA board member) Nancy Shevell, Jon Bon Jovi with wife Dorothea, Harvey Weinstein and Georgina Chapman, Rosie O’Donnell and Kelli Carpenter, Whoopi Goldberg, James Gandolfini and his wife, Jimmy Fallon with wife Nancy Juvnonen— plus Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. Friedman wrote:

he night was billed just as a Paul Simon, and that would have been enough. Simon played for over two hours with a twenty minute intermission, and covered all parts of his solo career from “You Can Call Me Al,” “Graceland,” and “Boy in the Bubble” to earlier hits like :”Me and Julio,” “Loves Me Like A Rock,” “Late in the Evening,” and “Slip Slidin’ Away.” For very old Simon fanatics, he threw in “Duncan” from his first solo album.

Simon also brought members of the cast of his late lamented Broadway show, “The Capeman,” who did some of those numbers. And he threw in some obscure but beautiful gems like “Fathers and Daughters,” “Train in the Distance,” and “You’re the One.”

But there was a buzz in the air, probably because yours truly spotted Garfunkel’s singer wife Kim in the audience. At least a couple of us knew what was going to happen: Garfunkel, flown up on a private plane from the middle of a Florida tour, took the stage to a thunderous ovation. I mean, people were screaming — even Paul McCartney.

The reunited pair sang "The Sound of Silence," "The Boxer" and "Old Friends." According to Newsday's Glenn Gamboa, Garfunkel told the audience, "The fact that you still care is tremendous." Here's video of Simon and Garfunkel performing "The Sound of Silence.

Paul And Art at the Beacon

Paul SImon Beacon 2-13

Live: Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel Reunite at the Beacon Theater

Live: Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel Reunite at the Beacon Theater
Posted by Zach Baron at 2:09 PM, February 14, 2009

Paul Simon
Beacon Theater
February 13

Consider the slack, orgasmic vagueness that invades Paul Simons face as, down below, his right hand twitches, by reflex alone, into the first four chords of "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard"--a song that appears, even when being played by the man who wrote it, to have written itself. At times like this, in an overfilled, over-stimulated Beacon Theater, our evening's entertainment just gets out of the way. For that handful of seconds, Simon is an instrument, a conduit, nothing more, the place where inchoate nostalgia gathers, takes form, and is applauded.

Michael Bloomberg is here. So is Tony Soprano, and Chuck Close. Paul McCartney waves from the wings and nearly causes a stampede. Arriving at the theater, I end up in the presumable background of many a photo of Bon Jovi and his wife. To get to my seat, I have to push past Steve Schirripa, who continues talking as I circumnavigate his considerable torso: Do you know how many favors I called in for this?


Once ensconced among the electricians and contractors who'd spent months rebuilding and renovating the Beacon Theater (and to whom the Dolans threw prime orchestra tickets by way of reward), and other, august members of the media (who will soon shamelessly stand and applaud when Paul Simon takes the stage, just like everyone else but me and the dude from the New York Times), I send my Graceland-addled mother a text message and wait for Simon to go on.

The CBS reporter to my left creases and uncreases what appears to be a printout of a digital photo: Simon's setlist, maybe, bootlegged from "friends in low places." When the lights go out and Simon emerges, bows with two hands, and commences to play the sneakily pre-Valentine's Day come-on "Gumboots," my seatmate smacks his hands together and whispers Son of a bitch, it's authentic. If the blurry encore that trails off the bottom of his page is correct, Simon and Art Garfunkel are two sets and an intermission away from reuniting to play "The Sound of Silence," "The Boxer," and "Old Friends." Two hours later, this is exactly what happens.

In between, it's ample Graceland/Rhythm of the Saints/Paul Simon vintage-era reprise, broken up by a long Capeman interlude that prompted one audience member to drunkenly scream play stuff we know, as if Simon might be capable of doing otherwise. During the few songs Simon is without a guitar, as on "Proof," he gets low and wavy, an amoeba in a t-shirt and a tie, conducting a band that, in appearance, looks to be about half grizzled, studio veterans, and half dudes with the kind of ponytails that suggest they pray cross-legged at sunrise each morning. In amongst this outfit, the diminutive, balding Simon flits around the stage, cruising by the mic at leisure, a deceptively easy delivery for a man who, at age 67, can still sing his way out of anything, it seems. When he and Garfunkel finally link up, the contrast is glaring: Simon, quietly precise; Garfunkel raspy, straining, visibly anxious.

The highlight is "Graceland," is of course "Graceland," the Technicolor song woven in among memories of my parents when I was young, the song Simon readily cops to being his best, whose tricky emotional line eludes the automatic play Simon brings to the rest of the chestnuts in his catalogue. Sixteen million dollars have made the Beacon curtains very red, the gilding very gold, and for a minute Simon and band appear to freeze, the stage a jewel-box diorama. "Looks nice," my neighbor says when time has started again and we've finished the second set and are waiting for the encore. "Until the Allman Brothers play here, anyway--then they'll be scraping the bong resin off the statues all over again."

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Capricorn Horoscope for week of February 12, 2009

Capricorn Horoscope for week of February 12, 2009

Would you like to stir up deeper and smarter intimacy? Are you interested in attracting good surprises that would air out your romantic dogmas? Do you think it might be fun to discover a new love secret? To encourage these happy developments, Capricorn, carry out the following assignments. First, practice loving something or someone you don't understand. Second, any time you start longing to be loved more than you are, make it a point to go out and love someone more than you have in the past. Third, visualize your heart growing softer and warmer and more receptive.

Paul SImon at Beacon

On Stage: Luciana Souza, the cast of Capeman including that cute Frankie Negro as Salvador Argron, and Art Garfunkel.

OFF Stage: Suzanne Vega, Mayor Bloomberg, Ray Kelly, Rosie ODonnell (who i ran into in the lobby) Whoopi Goldberg, Jimmy Fallon, Jane Krakowski of 30 Rock,James J. Gandolfini of the Sopranos,

Those are the celebrities that I saw in the audience...... i wonder how many i didnt see..

The Set list was divine.... It spread over Paul's solo career including two new songs. One solo and one with Ms Souza where she put scat words to his melody called Amulet. He touched on each of the solo records. Ms Souza added the Ryhthm of the Saints three songs from BAM..including Born at the Right Time and Spirit Voices. Frankie Negron and the BAM cast of Capeman opened the second set with Capeman doo wop and Paul played Umbrella Man Bermudez for 4 or 5 songs.... The audience was yelling
"sing something we know". I knew the songs and knew I may never see Frankie sing those Capeman songs again...
Finally, Graceland... with NYers going crazy on Diamonds on the Souls of her shoes, Graceland and You can call me Al. most of the audience didnt know songs like Cool Cool River and Proof or Father and Daughter, or even Duncan....
they wanted those Paul Simon..... and Art Garfunkel tunes so he finally teased them and gave the audience in this 2800 seater....

ART GARFUNKEL..... sound of silence, the boxer, old friends with Bookends.... and NO Mrs Robinson

what a night it was at the Beacon.... Lots of memories of concerts gone by... the sewer pit it used to be and how beautiful it really is...

Thank you Paul Simon once again for a night to remember....

Beacon Restored to Glamour of Vaudeville Days

Published: February 11, 2009
There were dozens of quasiarchaeological discoveries during the seven-month renovation of the 80-year-old Beacon Theater in Manhattan. The most telling, though, was the Folgers coffee can.

A Rock ’n’ Roll Survivor Prepares for Its Rebirth (September 9, 2008)

It had long been thought that a sparkly, 10-inch-wide, cut-crystal ball — the principal ornament at the tip of the 900-pound chandelier in the rotunda of the former movie palace — was attached with a sturdy bronze fixture.

But when the chandelier was lowered to be cleaned, rewired and repaired, the real support for the crystal orb was revealed: a vintage 6-inch-tall coffee tin.

“It was slathered with gold house paint” to match the chandelier, said Marc Tarozzi, a vice president of facilities at Madison Square Garden Entertainment, a division of Cablevision Systems Corporation, which in 2006 leased the Beacon for 20 years. “The original bronze was lost in the mists of time.”

He added, deadpan: “Actually we’re not certain it was Folgers. But the original color was definitely bright red.”

Now replaced with a bronze fixture, the dented tin was a slipshod token of neglect in the theater, at 2124 Broadway at West 74th Street. It is familiar to generations of New Yorkers as a film and vaudeville mecca, an all-around performance space, and, in recent decades, as the Carnegie Hall of city rock rooms.

During a rehearsal on Wednesday, Paul Simon, the headliner for the reopening celebration on Friday night, said: “I’ve performed here many times and it was always fun, but I was overwhelmed to see how beautiful it is now.

“It’s a great house with a great vibe and its funkiness matched the music in a way,” he added. “But it’s nicer to have clean seats.”

During the renovation, which cost about $16 million, about 1,000 workers toiled in the opulent theater, an “Arabian Nights” pastiche of Greek, Roman, Renaissance and Rococo elements.

They uncovered many surprises in the Beacon, which was declared a landmark in 1979 and had been partially renovated many times, “often ineptly,” said Jay Marciano, president of Madison Square Garden Entertainment.

The unsightly main box-office kiosk on Broadway, coated in layers of cheap house paint, was revealed as a delicate birdcage of brass, glass and marble.

A long-lost stairway also came to light, yielding a remnant of venerable carpeting that inspired a replacement to adorn the lobbies, auditorium and stairways: 2,100 square yards of custom-patterned wool woven in gold, yellow, green and maroon.

In addition, an alert worker preparing to repaint an original water fountain — which was not working — was startled to realize that it was made of alabaster, Mr. Tarozzi said. It was cleaned and restored to working order.

During the renovation, the Beacon’s electrical system was redone for the first time since the theater’s construction, said Richard Claffey, senior vice president for theater operations at the Garden. New draperies with gold tassels replaced long-missing originals. A misplaced canvas mural in the neoclassical rotunda was recreated based on historical photographs.

New end standards along the aisles of the 2,829 new rust-red seats were cast from patterns close to the originals. Furthermore, multiple levels of ceiling cove lighting were rewired, then the fixtures rebulbed, as restorers say, returning the illumination to a glory not seen for 50 years, Mr. Tarozzi said.

Back to that poorly painted coffee tin: What will become of it?

“We’ll wrap it in plexiglass and put it in someone’s office,” Mr. Marciano said. “It should forever be part of the folklore of the place.”

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

running into people

Today, I was gonna walk to MSG but decided that after I walked a colleague to the train that I would come home. I walked to west 4th street for the B train and never have done that on a work day, As I was going down into the station, I ran into a colleague that I teach with.... Sycronicity or random....

random stuff

I find lots of coins.... pennies mostly... But for the last 4 days, I have found at least a dime. I have capped out at 17 cents in one day... One Dime... 7 pennies.....

I am pissed at Feckin Ticketmaster for shafting the pubic, skimming tickets and selling bad seats for lots of Money...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Billy Elliott

Published: November 14, 2008
Your inner dancer is calling. Its voice, sweet but tough and insistent, pulses in every molecule of the new Broadway musical “Billy Elliot,” demanding that you wake up sleeping fantasies of slipping on tap or ballet shoes and soaring across a stage. Few people may have the gift of this show’s title character, a coal miner’s son in northern England who discovers he was born to pirouette. But the seductive, smashingly realized premise of “Billy Elliot,” which opened Thursday night at the Imperial Theater, is that everybody has the urge. And in exploring that urge among the population of a down-at-heels coal town suffering through the British miners’ strike of the mid-1980s, this show both artfully anatomizes and brazenly exploits the most fundamental and enduring appeal of musicals themselves.

David Alvarez, center, plays Billy Elliot in this musical adaptation of the 2000 film.

It’s been more than three years since “Billy Elliot,” directed by Stephen Daldry and featuring a score by Elton John, first sent critics and audiences into a mass swoon in London, where it continues to play. The delay in bringing the show to Broadway hinted at fears that it might not sit comfortably on American soil.

Adapted by Lee Hall from his screenplay for the affectionately remembered 2000 movie of the same title (also directed by Mr. Daldry), “Billy Elliot” is told in thick working-class accents and an argot that, even in London, necessitated putting a glossary in the program. What’s more, the show traffics in a particularly British brand of bitter treacle, wallowing in the glory of the bravely defeated and the pathos of small, trapped lives.

But the timing of the production’s arrival here, with the United States newly chastened by severe financial woes and fears, gives it a resonance it might not have had in 2005, when big spenders ruled with complacency. “Billy Elliot” is a hard-times musical. And as the culture of the Great Depression made clear, in times of economic darkness there can be blessed relief in dreams of tripping the light.

Much of the power of “Billy Elliot” as an honest tear-jerker lies in its ability to give equal weight to the sweet dreams of terpsichorean flight and the sourness of a dream-denying reality, with the two elements locked in a vital and unending dialogue. This isn’t wholesale escapism à la Busby Berkeley or “Mamma Mia!” In tone, it’s closer to the song-dotted working-class films of Terence Davies or, on television, Dennis Potter’s “Pennies From Heaven.”

This production never lets us forget the elemental tug of war between Billy’s longing to dance and the forces pulling him away from it. Mr. Daldry and his prodigiously inventive team make sure that the conflict is carried through on every level, from Peter Darling’s inspired scene-melding choreography, which gives a new spin to the idea of the integrated musical, to Ian MacNeil’s fluidly moving sets and Rick Fisher’s shadow-casting lighting. And it’s telling that Mr. John’s songs (with lyrics by Mr. Hall) are as infused with the energy of anger as of joy.

The plot, which sticks close to that of Mr. Hall’s screenplay, doesn’t even try to avoid the clichés common to tales of talented, odds-beating backwater youth. Billy is, natch, a motherless boy with a loving but unlettered father (a touching Gregory Jbara) and an adorably addled grandmother, played by the estimable Carole Shelley. Billy is portrayed by three young teenagers, Trent Kowalik, Kiril Kulish and, in the performance I saw, the excellent David Alvarez. (No public schedule is available for which Billy performs on which night.)

There’s the inevitable inspirational teacher, a Mrs. Wilkinson (the sublime Haydn Gwynne, who created the role in London), who sees a spark of greatness in the lad. There’s the time-honored progression from resistance — here by a rough, masculine culture — suspicious of all things arty (embodied by Billy’s brother, played by Santino Fontana, and his father) to acceptance, when the whole town bands together to help send the boy to London for his big audition. There are even, heaven help us, visitations by the fond ghost of Billy’s mother (Leah Hocking).

Yet Mr. Daldry and company turn tripe into triumph by making us understand the depth of the appeal of its classic show-business fairy tale, not only to us but also to the people whose dreary daily existences touch on Billy’s. The evidence of this appeal is abundant in “Billy Elliot,” most obviously in the motley ballet classes presided over by the wryly disparaging Mrs. Wilkinson and a Christmas frolic at the miners’ hall where everybody dresses up as their favorite villainess, Margaret Thatcher. But it’s not just the amateur performers who feel the ineffable pull of song and dance.

Billy’s grandma shucks her shabby housecoat to reveal a sparkling dress and summons a spectral chorus of partners past as she recalls the respite from an unhappy marriage provided by nights of dancing with her alcoholic husband. Mrs. Wilkinson’s grubby rehearsal pianist (Thommie Retter) strips out of his civvies to become a gyrating disco boy for a number called “Born to Boogie.”

And Billy’s best friend, Michael (Frank Dolce, who alternates with David Bologna), reveals the thrill of dressing up in his sister’s clothes and making like Sophie Tucker in the show-stopping “Expressing Yourself.” (The everyday metamorphosis-ready costumes are by Nicky Gillibrand.)

That number — and an electric outcry of frustration called “Angry Dance” — come closest to what one might expect from a venerable pop-chart topper like Mr. John. But much of his work here, far more restrained than his more mawkish scores for Disney musicals, is in a folksier vein, drawn from North country ballads and protest songs. And undercurrents of anxiety, wistfulness and melancholy run through the most tuneful pieces.

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This show makes sure that we always keep in mind the grittiness and despair of the society that produced Billy, so that the poetry of his dancing seems all the more startling and inexplicable. Mr. Darling’s surreal blending of Mrs. Wilkinson’s dance class with a clash between miners and police is one of the freshest, most exciting uses of narrative dance I’ve seen in years. And until the finale (which is a tad overdone), he rations his big, knock-’em-dead sequences. “Billy Elliot,” you see, isn’t a dance show; it’s about why people need dance.

Audio Slide Show
Billy on Broadway
The performances, for the most part, are broader than they were in London, with more mugging and heart-tugging stickiness. But the two most essential portrayals — that of Ms. Gwynne and Mr. Alvarez — were spot-on the night I saw the show. Hard-shelled and all too wary of the limits of her life, Ms. Gwynne’s Mrs. Wilkinson perfectly embodies the tricky balance of sweet and salty the show requires.

And Mr. Alvarez, a natural lyrical dancer, exudes just the right air of conviction and perplexity. This Billy can’t articulate his need for dance, but he understands the potency and worth of his emotions. You always feel his ambivalence and, in the final scenes, his confounded sense of the privilege — and guilt — in entering another realm.

For everyone else in the play, like most of us in the audience, the transcendence of dance is something to be sampled, falteringly and only occasionally, rather than lived. Billy’s grandmother sings of her youthful nights on the dance floor: “It was bliss for an hour or so/But then they called time to go/And in the morning we were sober.”

“Billy Elliot” never doubts that it’s the sobriety that endures in life. Which makes those intoxicating, fleet-footed flashes of art, where leaden bodies fly and discord turns into harmony, all the more to be cherished.


The Musical

Book and lyrics by Lee Hall, based on the Universal Pictures/Studio Canal film; music by Elton John; directed by Stephen Daldry; choreography by Peter Darling; sets by Ian MacNeil; associate director, Julian Webber; produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Jon Finn and Sally Greene; executive producers, David Furnish and Angela Morrison; costumes by Nicky Gillibrand; lighting by Rick Fisher; sound by Paul Arditti; general manager, Nina Lannan Associates/Devin Keudell; production stage manager, Bonnie L. Becker; music contractor, Michael Keller; production supervisors, Arthur Siccardi and Patrick Sullivan; hair, wig and makeup design by Campbell Young; music supervision and orchestrations by Martin Koch; music director, David Chase. Presented by Universal Pictures Stage Productions, Working Title Films and Old Vic Productions in association with Weinstein Live Entertainment. At the Imperial Theater, 249 West 45th Street, Manhattan, (212) 239-6200. Running time: 2 hours 50 minutes.

WITH: Haydn Gwynne (Mrs. Wilkinson), Gregory Jbara (Dad), Carole Shelley (Grandma), Santino Fontana (Tony), David Bologna and Frank Dolce (Michael) and David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish (Billy).

2nd ave is a place for people I know and know of

Last week on Friday, I was walking up 2nd ave as far as the corner, further than i ever walk and I ran into Michelle who I know from Weight Watchers. She had a rather had
difficult Thursday meeting and expressed her struggle along with some tears. She was there in a Starbucks eating lunch so i stopped to chat.

Yesterday, I was on 2nd Ave and saw a man, vaguely familiar who was walking around and looking around. I realized it was Bill Irwin, the pantomimist and actor who is in town to work on Waiting for Godot.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Capricorn Horoscope for week of January 29, 2009

Capricorn Horoscope for week of January 29, 2009

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
Studies suggest that one out of every 10 men and one out of every 20 women carry around an excess of anger -- so much so that they're capable of damaging property in an outburst. If you're one of these rage-aholics, Capricorn, you now have a window of opportunity to calm way, way down. The cosmos is conspiring to relieve you of a significant amount of your chronic aggravation. And even if you're not among the world's most furious people, I hope you will take advantage of this grace period. You have the power to purge at least 20 percent of the ever-simmering agitation that you accept as normal. How to begin? Meditate on what it would mean for you to love yourself better.


I dreamed that I went to go to a movie. There were some people from work there and I agreed to join them at the movie they were attending. I really went alone and when I found out that they were seeing a movie called Gravity. I had regret because I didnt want to see that movie. I had lots of shopping bags and had to collect my stuff to join them. I had to get a soda. Getting to the theater, I had to cross roads that looks familiar from dreams but I dont remember being at.

At the movies, I saw my old boss from afar, she approached me and looked well with a new haircut but thin. She hugged me and asked me to do something. I knew that this something would head off a string of events. She asked me to decertify two foster homes. By doing this, I would avert a string of events that could occur. She asked me to do this. In the dream, she also told me that it was not my fault. She vindicated that the agency closed due to factors other than the admissions department.

Shrek the Musical

I saw a person I know from Thursday.... working at the merch in the lobby...

The Belching Green Ogre Has a Song in His Heart

Published: December 15, 2008

’Tis love, the fairy tales tell us, that turns dross into gold and clods into gods. So it seems appropriate that about halfway through the leaden fairy-tale-theme costume party called “Shrek the Musical,” which opened Sunday night at the Broadway Theater, it’s a love scene that gives us a startling glimpse of true happiness.
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Joan Marcus

That vision arrives when the hitherto adversarial hero and heroine of this latest screen-to-stage musical, adapted from the popular 2001 animated film and the children’s book by William Steig, recognize they just might have something in common. Never mind that this something appears to be a shared affinity for breaking wind and belching really loudly.

As embodied by Brian d’Arcy James and Sutton Foster in a breezy song called “I Think I Got You Beat,” Shrek the ogre and Fiona the princess find a chemistry that’s more than merely gaseous. In the best tradition of screwball comedy, they transform glowery friction into dewy-eyed romance. And a show that has been trying way too hard to entrance us suddenly relaxes into goofy, genuine charm.

Such metamorphoses happen but seldom in “Shrek,” directed by Jason Moore, with a score by Jeanine Tesori and a book and lyrics by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire. Aside from a few jolly sequences (nearly all featuring the hypertalented Ms. Foster), this cavalcade of storybook effigies feels like 40 blocks’ worth of a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, accompanied by an exhaustingly jokey running commentary.

“Shrek,” for the record, is not bad. The maiden Broadway venture of DreamWorks Theatricals (a stage-oriented arm of the company that made the movie), in association with Neal Street Productions, it is definitely a cut above the most recent offerings from its creators’ direct competitor in cartoon-inspired musicals, Walt Disney. Unlike that company’s “Tarzan” and “Little Mermaid,” “Shrek” has the virtues of a comprehensible plot and identifiable characters. And as designed by Tim Hatley, whose set captures some of the feral majesty of Steig’s original drawings, the show isn’t the eyesore that Disney’s fish story is.

But “Shrek” does not avoid the watery fate that commonly befalls good cartoons that are dragged into the third dimension. What seems blithe and fluid on screen becomes lumbering when it takes on the weight of solid human flesh.

The pop-cultural jokes and “Fractured Fairy Tales”-like spoofery that are the currency of “Shrek” (and Mr. Lindsay-Abaire sticks close to the screenplay) passed in the wink of a mischievous eye on screen. Onstage they seem to linger and grow old. And morals about inner beauty and self-esteem that went down easily enough in the movie stick in the throat when amplified into power ballads with lyrics explaining that “What makes us special makes us strong.”

Then there’s the issue of performers having to dress up to resemble fantasy illustrations, a process that, to put it kindly, tends to cramp expressive acting. As the title character, a misanthropic green ogre who learns to love, the talented Mr. James is so encumbered with padding and prosthetics that your instinct is to rush the stage and tap his head to see if he’s really in there.

He’s not the only one competing with his costume. As the evil, psychologically maimed Lord Farquaad, the very droll (and normally tall) Christopher Sieber is required to walk on his knees, with tiny fake legs dangling before him — an initially funny sight gag that soon drags, despite being the subject of countless inventive variations. As Shrek’s sidekick, the sassy Donkey, Daniel Breaker at least appears to be having a good time in his furry coverall, letting his fetlocks go limp in dismay and cutting up like a hirsute Little Richard at the Mardi Gras.

What with a whole phalanx of bedtime-story archetypes, led by a falsetto-voiced John Tartaglia as Pinocchio, as well as a giant pink dragon puppet with rolling eyes, the show starts to feel like a Christmas panto, one of those silly seasonal shows beloved in Britain and bearable because, like Santa Claus, they come around only once a year. That’s one parallel that came to my mind. The other, when I was feeling less charitable, was of seeing out-of-work actors dressed up as tacos and French fries in a mall food court.

I never felt that way when Ms. Foster was onstage, though. A performer of eight-cylinder energy and eye-searing presence, she can be a bit grating in earnest parts (as in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “Little Women”). But more recently, with “The Drowsy Chaperone” and “The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein,” she has emerged as an inspired, take-charge musical comedian in the tradition of Danny Kaye and Carol Burnett. (Seeing her in her damsel-in-distress attire, I wondered what she might make of the loud-mouthed princess in “Once Upon a Mattress,” the vehicle that made Ms. Burnett a star.)

Fiona’s big showstopper, the second-act curtain raiser “Morning Person,” is the one number in “Shrek” that gets everything right. Up to that point Josh Prince’s choreography had rarely transcended Radio City Music Hall rote, and Ms. Tesori’s score had seemed cut from the same shiny synthetic pop metal of most youth-oriented Broadway shows since “Wicked.” The staging by Mr. Moore (who knows from puppets, having directed “Avenue Q”) had seemed to move on a gag-by-gag basis.

But “Morning Person,” in which Fiona sings of the joys of a new day with an enthusiasm that crushes whatever crosses her path, has bona-fide wit. Whether blithely ripping the antlers off a deer or tapping like Ann Miller with a chorus line of rats, Ms. Foster manages both to make fun of and exult in classical musical-comedy moves while creating a real, full character at the same time. That the number works as well as it does has a lot to do with there being real human warmth (heck, make that fire) at its center.

Fiona is fun. No wonder Shrek falls in love with her. And when Mr. James responds to her, you realize that there’s a winning character (not to mention a very fine actor and singer) inside that fright suit. I know, I know, that’s what the show’s about: the beauty within. But it seems to me that if “Shrek” had more generally heeded its own advice about substance versus surface, it might have come closer to casting the spell that lets Broadway shows live happily ever after.


Based on the DreamWorks Animation motion picture and the book by William Steig; book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire; music by Jeanine Tesori; directed by Jason Moore; choreography by Josh Prince; music direction and incidental music arrangements by Tim Weil; orchestrations by Danny Troob; sets and costumes by Tim Hatley; lighting by Hugh Vanstone; sound by Peter Hylenski; hair and wig design by David Brian-Brown; makeup design by Naomi Donne; puppet design by Mr. Hatley; illusions consultant, Marshall Magoon; associate director, Peter Lawrence; production manager, Aurora Productions; dance arrangements by Matthew Sklar; vocal arrangements by Ms. Tesori and Mr. Weil; associate orchestrator, John Clancy; music coordinator, Michael Keller; general manager, Stuart Thompson Productions/James Triner. Presented by DreamWorks Theatricals and Neal Street Productions. At the Broadway Theater, 1681 Broadway, at 53rd Street, (212) 239-6200. Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes.

WITH: Brian d’Arcy James (Shrek), Sutton Foster (Princess Fiona), Christopher Sieber (Lord Farquaad), John Tartaglia (Pinocchio/the Magic Mirror/Dragon Puppeteer) and Daniel Breaker (Donkey).