Review of Fun

Shasta

 

That last post made 2013 sound like Billy was all work and no play, but you know better. So, before I toss my calendar, and because I will likely lose my mind, here is a list of shows I went to and trips I took. You will probably want to stop reading now, unless you’re a fan of musical theater and gaycations. Really.

In March we saw the tour of Catch Me if You Can at the Pantages Theater. I thought this movie would make a great musical, but I was wrong. This show was dull as hell and was lacking both a leading lady and a hero. We also saw End of the Rainbow downtown at the Ahmanson. This is a show I will never forget because of an unbelievable performance by Tracie Bennett as Judy Garland. The actress really didn’t look or sound exactly like her, but through sheer talent she absolutely became Judy for what was a thrilling and exhausting tragicomedy with songs.

We spent Easter in Palm Springs. I dressed as a giant pink bunny and Albert as Prudence the duck. We rocked out at Coachella with Steve and Corey. We saw a Takashi Murakami art show. We went to a Renaissance Fair and had pleasure. We went to Puerto Vallarta for Memorial Day Weekend with a big gaggle of friends and had mucho pleasuro.

We saw Scottsboro Boys at the Ahmanson, which was a good, not great minstrel musical by Kander and Ebb. Again, not enough females in the show. We also saw the fantastic tour of Priscilla The Musical at the Pantages. If you live under and rock and have never seen the Academy Award winning desert drag queen road trip movie, rent it. For the stage version, they hang women diva singers from the ceiling and have the men lip-syncing below them. Genius. The story is sweet, hysterical, and very dirty, and the costumes and music are terrific. We also caught the tour of Sister Act The Musical, which was surprisingly great. I would say the nuns were even better than the drag queens. Alan Menken’s original music for this show is so good that my Jewish friend Gabi, who doesn’t like religion at all…or much of anything I should add, declared this to be his favorite musical.

We went to Coldwater Lake, Michigan in July and visited with the family, which was really fun. Albert and I also took a side trip to the town of Saugatuck, Michigan, which is always described to me as Chicago’s Palm Springs. Cute.

In August we saw Chica’s Angels at Casito del Campo and Miss Diana Ross at the Hollywood Bowl. The first was, as always, hysterically funny, the second was an amazing night led by a superstar. We went to Provincetown for an amazing vacation with the boys on Cape Cod. It is one of my favorite places and I was with some of my favorite people for a Las Vegas themed mardi gras week. We returned to LA in time for a John Williams night at the Hollywood Bowl. There is nothing quite like seeing 17,000 people outside at night waving Star Wars light sabers to the Philharmonic orchestra.

September brought us to the Hollywood Forever cemetery for a screening of Aliens, We saw the rock opera Bare and returned to the Hollywood Bowl for M83.

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In October we saw Moby at the Fonda for an amazing concert backed by a choir and with some of the best lights I’ve ever seen. We were zombie Wizard of Oz characters for the Halloweenie event downtown at the gorgeous, historic Los Angeles theatre. I was a brain-eating scarecrow and Albert was a very bloody tin man. We also caught the tour of Evita at the Pantages, which I loved.

In November we rented out our properties, then threw a kick ass Day of the Dead party. We went to San Diego with Gabi for a production of the musical Sideshow. We also spent a weekend in Santa Barbara to witness our good friends Trevor and Joey’s beautiful wedding. The ceremony was at the stunning historic city hall and the reception in a glass greenhouse room of a charming little restaurant. Perfect. Then we decided to see the rest of California and drove to visit Albert’s aunt and uncle up by Sacramento and continued on past Mount Shasta to Medford, Oregon where I met his dad for the first time. I caught a fish and shot a gun, both of which were really fun and more butch than I will probably be for some time to come, and less butch when you know I was thinking of Charlie’s Angels as I shot the gun. More butch when I tell you I was Kate Jackson? There is, of course, a much longer story about the trip, which is for the book. We also spent a couple nights in San Francisco which is always fun. We spent Thanksgiving at John Price’s new house in North Hollywood. We also hiked in Runyon Canyon in wigs with friends for our annual Thankswigging! It was a day late because of rain but we made the Huffington Post.

In December we went to a gorgeous production of The Magic Flute downtown. It was an amazing show but it confirmed that I definitely do not like opera. We also saw a touring production of Peter and the Starcatcher, which I liked, didn’t love. I think it would have worked better in a smaller house, the Mark Taper as opposed to The Ahmanson. We threw a holiday cocktail party for friends and headed to Cincinnati for a jam-packed week of friends and family. It was really one of the best holidays. We rang in the New Year at our friends Jon and Jason’s house party. By the luck of the Gods our sober friend Mark asked to join us, so we also had a designated driver. They say to spend the evening how you want the year ahead to be. My 2014 will be drunk with friends and snacks but safely home, and you really can’t beat that.

No, 2013 was definitely not all work.

WIgs

Thankful

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Well, it has certainly been a while since I’ve chatted at you. Last we spoke, our new kitten Max had broken his own sternum. He seems to have healed from that, and has gone on to scratch our other cat’s eye, for yet another trip to the vet. He is adorable and his name is being expanded to Maximilian because of the millions he is going to cost us in medical expenses. He is napping on my lap as I type this, between stints of attacking Ratty and vomiting on my hardwood floors.

I haven’t blogged since Thanksgiving, which was lovely. Our friends Trevor and Joey had us to their beautiful mid-century modern home in West Hills, which is literally over the river and through the hoods, as far as one can drive without packing luggage. It was a really fun and delicious potluck with a huge gaggle of friends. The next day, Albert and I organized Thankswigging 2, our second annual wig-hike in Runyon Canyon. The purpose of this is to work off some of our calories from the feast, and to avoid Black Friday. I am much more thankful about hiking with friends, than I am for beating up strangers for bargains on products that none of us need anyway.

Friday night after the hike, Albert got violently ill from both ends. Then we learned that everybody from Thanksgiving was getting sick. I believe it was the flu and not food poisoning, because I didn’t get sick until Sunday night, and it lasted for four days. I’m not going to blame anyone because I probably got it from Albert…who probably got it from Eric Whitaker! Of course, this was just days after I passed on getting a flu shot from my doctor, when I said, “Flu shots are for old people!” Karma quickly projectile vomited out of my old mouth.

Well, it hasn’t been all disease and doctors since November. We went to a tree trimming at out our friend John Price’s and a fun white elephant party back at Trevor and Joey’s. We also went to holiday parties at our friend Maggie’s place, at the W in Westwood for Albert’s work (thanks for your patience with my blogging, Ellen), and at our friends Art and Aaron’s beautiful home in Pasadena. We get around.

I also have a couple of theater reviews for you. Albert and I went to see the play Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz, downtown at the Taper. This show was on Broadway in 2011 with Stockard Channing and Judith Light, who won the Tony award for her performance. I didn’t love this play about a liberal writer confronting her conservative parents about secrets from their past. JoBeth Williams was excellent in the Stockard Channing role, but Jeannie Berlin couldn’t carry the role for which Light won her award. The character is great, and there were times when the actress nailed it, but other sections when she was just reciting text. The problem could be in the material itself, which I often felt was too repetitive. The lead daughter came off as a liberal whiner, and her parents as misunderstood one-percenters, with a secret I didn’t care about by the time they revealed it. Skip this one.

Last night we went to the Tony winning revival of Anything Goes, downtown at the Ahmanson. First let me say, that I don’t love old-fashioned musicals or jukebox musicals, and this is both. This show dates back to 1934 and is packed with the hits of Cole Porter. It has been updated and revived many times since then and I can pretty much guess why—two numbers. The big tap-dancing Act 1 finale “Anything Goes” and the Act 2 showstopper “Blow, Gabriel, Blow” are spectacular. They are really amazing to watch. The rest of the show feels like filler. With that said, it is beautiful filler. The songs are pretty and the costumes are gorgeous. Also, Rachel York as Reno Sweeny is unbelievably good. She is a true triple threat in a very demanding role and she is stunning. So, if you like old-fashioned musicals, this one is done VERY well. If you don’t, then buy cheap seats on goldstar.com and bring an old person, or just watch those two numbers I told you about on YouTube.

I just got back from Bronson Canyon where I was running next to a coyote. It was very exciting until I realized that it is more likely that the coyote would bite into me, than I would it.MaxBed