Monday, June 7, 2010

Susquehana Mama

As my life has been abundant with travels far and wide, it is only appropriate I chronicle my recent bus trip to Mill Way, PA. Dazed from my recent return and departure from Indiana, reeling from matters of lost luggage (now found) and mixed-up sublets (now straightened out), I made my way to the Port Authority Bus Terminal early Sunday morning, ready to embark on my theatrical journeys. The trip began in tranquil fashion, a grand total of three of us departing from New York (though others would soon join). I adjusted my pillows, spread my legs and blanket, and settled into my seat for the 7+ hour trip, luckily finding sleep as we traveled westward. As the morning gave way to noontime, our bus became more and more populated, weary travelers making their way through New Jersey and Pennsylvania. After about 4 hours on the bus, a toothless wonder I have deemed the Susquehanna Mama, mounted the bus and soon after launched into one of the more impressive monologues I have given witnessed. After approaching the bus driver to ensure that she was indeed in the right place, she made her entrance, clad in tank top, pony tail, bitchin' sunglasses, and even a sweater wrapped around her shoulders (a lady after all). Immediately attaching herself to the young gentleman seated behind her (thank God I was asleep or adequately "disinterested looking"), she began telling him the better part of her life story. Toothless mouth a flapping, she modeled the great finds she had recently purchased at the local CVS, little things to help her kids know they love them. Who knew one's love of the Dollar Store could run so deep? Hey, she may not be perfect, but she does what she can to be a good mom! "You don't got a girlfriend, do you? Mind if I call you sometime? I don't got too many friends, you know, and I get along better with guys. I mean I ain't got no man or anything, I mean my baby-daddy, but he's not really in the picture, so it's not a big deal. Now, here's my married name, but sometimes I go by my maiden name as well. So, if I call you, you aren't gonna pretend you don't know me, right?" It was then that I realized I was coming dangerously close to West Virginia. Toto, we are not in the city anymore. Apparently her ticket was being for via the hospital (???), but my fellow horrified city clicker dramatist and I were not able to accurately piece together that aspect of her story. It was only after our talking traveler left that I dared look at her unlucky victim. A look of relief and wonder spread across his face, indicating that he indeed did not know this woman, nor would he be calling her anytime soon (apparently he gave her a wrong number as well - ballsy). Now, how did he get so instantly friendly with this Appalachian Amazon. Smoking. One shared cigarette led to what would undoubtedly be one of the more terrifying experiences of my life. Remember kids, smoking kills. The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful, our bus making it to the Williamsport station before transferring on to Lock Haven. Along the way, we did pick up a couple of other theatre gypsies, one director, two carpenters, an electrician, and one actor (me) in total. Now, here I am, in the mountains, in the middle of nowhere, energies completely focused on theatre for the first time since school. Strange faces soon becoming familiar, who knows what tales I will have to tell about my new company/family and the show we are contracted to create.

In Defense of "Sex 2"

These past few weeks have seen me busily preparing for my current summer stock gig, cramming in voice lessons and plays, finishing out my final shifts at Locale, and spending a much needed week back in the Broad Meadow. During this time of coming and going, I fortunately had the chance to catch this year's edition of Sex and the City. After an early morning audition, my friend Alissa and I snuck over to the Regal Cinema in Times Square to get some opening-day Sex before noon. Now, I must admit, I am a huge Sex fan. I love the TV show, I loved the first movie, and everyday I try to more and more channel my inner Samantha. No doubt my recent transplant to New York was in at least some way prompted by this monumental series. After all, while the series certainly centers on the four ladies' love lives, it also chronicles their love affair with New York (it is indeed called Sex and the City, not Sex in the City). So, I may be the least bit biased to this treasured series. However, since its debut, this desert-clad movie has received nothing but flack, bad reviews, and even some unwanted wrinkle counting. While I am not foolish enough to deem this early summer blockbuster (it has already grossed over $100 million worldwide) a cinematic masterpiece, it is a film that I believe should be watched and celebrated. Not meant as some great dramatic piece, social commentary, or special effects wowzer, the film relies on its fabulous destinations, both exotic and domestic, its star studded cast (not to mention glittery cameos), and witty dialogue (while it may be short on plot, it is stacked with zingers) to capture audiences. Many critics have condemned the film's shameless glam and excess, deeming it inappropriate during our current economic downturn. However, as Samantha says during an opening scene, "This recession has been a bitch, and I'm tired. We're going on a fucking vacation!" And you know what, I couldn't agree more. The film is camp, it is kitsch, it is fun. This sometimes silly ladies run around in pretty clothes, lapping up luxury, and continually getting themselves into the most ridiculous of situations - what's not to love? My friend and I were nothing but laughs for the good part of the film's two hours, our fellow audience members joining us in belly laughs and cat calls. In fact, the lady next to us had snuck away from work in order to catch the flick. Why not join these four ladies on their dessert escape? It should be noted that this is probably one of the strongest casts in the summer blockbuster landscape (because who really goes to the movies to watch Megan Fox act?), each in roles that play to their strengths and make their stars shine brightest (with the exception of Tony winner Cynthia Nixon, most of the cast has struggled to find success post-Sex). While some of the camp does go a bit overboard (group karaoke numbers tend to leave me feeling the slightest bit uneasy), in generally, the shameless, no holds barred comedy is right on (OK, the giant white bulge was perhaps a little too much; well, not for Samantha). If men can get away with ludicrous humor of this year's Hot Tub Time Machine, who's to say the ladies cannot get into the fun as well? Might I add that most film critics, are (straight) men, not the target audience for a film this, per se. Might these sniveling cinephiles be just a bit intimidated by our sexy sirens? Oh, and there is one more big reason to catch summer's flashiest movie. LIZA MINNELLI. My word, I couldn't breathe. I haven't been that excited, since well, I saw her in the hallway at Chelsea! Now, for those who find more enjoyment from say, John Wayne than Judy Garland, this may not be such a strong draw for you. However, if glitter and legs jive your turkey, you are in for a treat. The legs, the hips, the singing, there she is, Ms. Minelli in the flesh and not missing a beat. Looks like there is life after David Guest after all. "Single Ladies" indeed. So, if you dare, ignore the critics, forget what you have heard, and dawn your highest heels and biggest hat (and whatever other gaudy, flamboyant wardrobe you can find), feel a little bit ridiculous, and head over to put the Sex back in your life.