The Wedding of John Daly’s Daughter!

I’m taking a short hiatus from my newfound theatre review career (which I’m still waiting for it to take off) to recap and write about the beauty of the love of Bridget and PK. I don’t think I’ve ever written two blog posts about a person so I hope Bridget takes this as a truly special honor and tells her grandchildren about it years down the line. What an interesting relationship I have with Bridget, in the fact that I’ve only met up with her now two times in my life. The first resulted in us getting matching tattoos and the second was me being invited to her wedding. I can only assume that the third will involve me helping her in the delivery room if past experiences are any indication of how I always end up around for momentous events. I know I normally try to limit my cursing in these posts anyway, but I’ll ensure I do so in this post specifically so Bridget can hang this framed copy in her den for all of her giant Irish family to see.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. For I am a modern day Charles Dicks, I like to start with a reference of his that makes no sense to the context of Bridget’s wedding. Or does it? We did have a book club together (RIP) so I’ll consider it relevant. Like all good weddings, a man arrived late to a rehearsal dinner after being scammed by a cab driver with suitcase in tow. Who was that man? I was that man. I walked in, pink backpack representing my zany flair, and seemed to have my hand immediately kissed by a boy who really liked kissing hands. If there’s anything I can tell you about the Daly clan, it’s that they know how to make someone welcome. For instance, my associate, Javier, had not even met Bridget until the day before her wedding. Of course he’d been in a group chat with her for what feels like hundreds of years and they’d developed a bond, even if as pen pals. By the time I got there, he was referencing all these folks by name that I still didn’t know by the end of the weekend and it seemed like he was already a part of the family. Calling someone Aunty so and so and Papa John. I don’t know how much I actually have to expound upon regarding the rehearsal dinner for I only was there for the last 45 minutes of it anyway. They did call soda, pop though. It’s these kind of tangents that are going to not have this prominently displayed on her wall. Let’s head onto the wedding.

The glitz, the glamour, the old adorable priest. Nothing like a ceremony at a Catholic church where you have no idea what to do for over 75% of the traditions. Did I feel a little weird as one of the few people who didn’t kneel before I walked into the pew? Or as a person who didn’t know what to do for Communion so I just sat there? Or when there was a Peace Be With You moment where you shake hands with everyone and I didn’t know what was happening so I shook someone’s hand and said: “Nice to meet you.”? I realize this is mainly just a retelling of my events of her wedding, but again, I’ll throw in some schmaltzy things as well. When the bride walked down the aisle, the whole congregation spontaneously burst into tears and gasps of the great beauty that walked before us. There was a lot of kneeling involved in the ceremony, there was a lot of healing, and there was a lot of peeling. Peeling onions because the tears were flowing. I know it’s typically chopping but it didn’t work with the sentence structure. Again, I’m not sure everything that actually happened during the wedding because I was very focused on getting as many good shots of Bridget (and PK) as I could for the international spectators who wanted to be at the wedding and couldn’t. What else is there to say about the wedding that hasn’t already been said? It was a beautiful ceremony, it was a beautiful church, I realized I was the only male in the entire attendance that wasn’t wearing a tie, and it took me a long time to realize that the pianist was singing songs and it wasn’t a recording.

Should I already have moved onto the reception? I’m not sure, but I didn’t think I would already have this many words which is making it seem like it’ll be a few pieces of paper framed in the den by the time I’m finished. The reception, wow, what a reception! Let me tell you, the only downfall of a coat check woman and an open bar is when you realize you have no cash because of a scummy cab driver and you feel guilty every time you get a drink and mutter under your breath, “I’d pay you if I had money and/or you took cards for tips”. Did they ever hear me? I do not know. But their face of disdain as I continue to not slip them a dollar will forever be burnt into my corneas. Oh right, the wedding though. What a wedding, lemme tell ya! There were many types of appetizers, there were seating placements with chocolate attached, there was a bathroom with gold in it! What else can be said about the reception? Knowing me, a lot more redundant information. I did conclude the night thinking “I want to be Irish.” Just for the sheer fact that they love imbibing and they love doing dances where they do a lot of kicks. As an aspiring tap dancer myself, I think it could do me well to learn from the Lords of the Dance. When one has such a collective of people as Bridget and Paul did for their wedding, I think one can ascertain that these are people who are beloved. That people don’t fly from out of the country, from out of state to see people that they consider a mere acquaintance. I love Bridget, my bud Javier loves Bridget, I love PK vicariously through her love, and obviously, hundreds of other people must as well if they showed and stayed throughout the entire ceremony and afterparties. Though it may have taken the beginning beat of Mambo #5 to get me and brown boy to the dance floor, we did, we shared merriment with the Irish, with the Jennrichs, and we got to watch Alabama beat Oklahoma in the college football playoff.

I will conclude on schmaltz because I don’t need to waste more words on the complexity of the squash bisque or the deliciousness of the assorted desserts. I could speak about the heart wrenching, heartwarming, speeches by both the parents of the bride and groom, the beautiful words spoken by the sister, by the brother, but I’ll just end on my own thoughts. I have known Bridget a long time and though we’ve rarely been around each other in person, I consider her a dear and close friend. I’ve watched her bloom and blossom from a young lady to a still young married lady. I may not have seen her grow in spirit with my own eyes, but I’ve watched her evolve and become a better and better person. Who do I have to thank for that? I would like to say myself and though I imagine I did a lot with those limited engagements we had together, I have to give credit to Barb, to Papa John, to Cait, and most importantly to PK. Though I barely know him, minus the fact that he has an extremely strong grip, I will always be thankful for him for the happiness he brings to Bridget. If he was a big reason that she’s been much more absent in the group that brought us all together, I can only imagine how amazing he must be to take time away from me, Effy, Javier, and the various characters that have come and gone throughout the years. Just because I don’t know him doesn’t mean I don’t know Bridget and again, seeing the change in her throughout the years or in the more recent years, I am thankful for him to have ignited. Papa John and Barb and Cait did an amazing job molding such a wonderful woman, and Paul was there to apply some finishing touches to create the person that we all cherish dearly today. It was a beautiful reception, it was a beautiful ceremony, it was and is a beautiful couple. Again, I can’t wait to be in the delivery room, possibly as a nurse, probably as a doctor and I know I’ll see PK and Bridget beaming at one another then just like they did the entire wedding and just like they will until the end of time. Congratulations to the married couple, and may your love last as long as time, and then some more. So it goes.

The New One

Editor’s Note: This post has nothing to do with 2019, the New Year, or anything related to the Earth completing an orbit around the Sun.

Author’s Note: I do not actually have an editor because if I did these “reviews” would be much more streamlined and coherent. I, myself, don’t even edit my own self because it’s much easier to just word vomit onto the page.

Does seeing a stand up comedy show on Broadway really differ that much from seeing it in a theater in Orlando? After doing a rigorous experiment comparing the two, I think it’s safe to say that there isn’t much of a change. Granted, in only one version do you get to see a hundred props fall from the ceiling onto the stage and are able to witness Mike Birbiglia demonstrating the use of his handmade, homemade sleeping contraption. Plus, I got a chance to sit in both more comfortable chairs and closer to the stage. I don’t think that has anything to do with a local theater vs a Broadway theater other than the fact that I paid about the same price and got more comfort via Broadway. So there ya have it kids, if Mike is touring in your city, instead fly to Broadway on the off chance you get a nicer seat! Mike, if you’re reading this, you’re welcome for both the promotion and I will accept any form of free stuff that you offer. Thanks in advance.

Mike Birbiglia’s, The New One, is around a 90-minute story/comedy set that is essentially about his experiences of becoming a new father as a man who never wanted kids. I don’t expect this review will create a giant influx of new viewers to check out his show currently running on Broadway for the next month, but in case I do have a widespread appeal and influence that’s unbeknownst to me I won’t divulge many more details of the plot. It’s also because yet again, I saw this show like two weeks ago and have had so many holidays in the time since then. Plus, it is still a stand-up comedy special so it’s more specific jokes I’d have to remember compared to explicit plot points so it’s harder to recap in general. If anything, the main takeaway of this review, or really to sum it all up would be that I paid for me and others to see it six months before and then I paid for myself and others to see it again. It’s not like it changed, it’s not like it was a new story compared to what I already knew. Did I get the more comfortable seats and the props falling from the heavens? Yeah, I got that but I just wanted to see it again because I laughed so much the first time. I laughed so much and thought to myself, this is really relevant to one of my best friend’s who just got married and is now expecting a baby. Now I saw it again and thought, this is really relevant to one of my best friend’s who’s been married for almost a year and has a new baby. As a not new parent, or parent, or someone who isn’t expecting to be a parent until he adopts his son, Reginald, as a 35-year-old single father, this show might not directly pertain to my life. However, Mike Birbiglia’s knack for storytelling and jokes, in general, is what draws you back in. I can think of the concept of the jokes, I can think of the gist of them, but if I tried to actually quote them it would just bastardize them and make them sound painfully unfunny. Which isn’t the intention because again, I’ve been a big fan of Mike (I say this because I pretend we’re friends) for years and I don’t want to do him any disservice.

Look, don’t expect these reviews to be less rambly and brambly than before or don’t think I won’t have tangents that are completely nonsensical because this is a little more polished. It could be the fact that I wrote this in essentially one sitting, or the fact that it’s much harder to review a stand up except by saying it was hilarious, I laughed a lot, and my eyes teared up as well. It’s poignant, it has a sense of beauty to it, and it’s a comedy experience that few comedians can rival. Mike can both tell jokes and tell a captivating story and you’re enraptured either way. See his movies, watch his specials, read his book, and well, get yourself tested for testicular issues because they’re more common than you think! So it goes.

Dear Evan Hansen

When I first heard about this show and got excited for it, I was dating a girl that could quote the entire musical verbatim and knew all the songs by heart. By the time I had moved to New York City and the possibility of seeing it on Broadway became a likely reality, my cousin was dating the sister of one of the original stars of the show. By the time I saw the show? Both of those relationships had dissolved but at the very least I managed to walk in still barely knowing even a semblance of the plot. At some point I naively may have believed I’d interact with the original Connor and due to our bond we’d make in a single dinner, he would play the titular character of my work in progress musical and finally win his own Tony award. Did that happen? It didn’t and I do have my cousin to blame for it. It’s also true that that thought has never actually crossed my mind until I wrote that sentence but it sounded better than just saying it would’ve been nice to have met the guy even though I’ve never seen him do any theater but I hear he’s pretty good. I’m more just impressed with myself that I managed to actively avoid listening to songs, revealing the plot for an entire year. Is it that hard to avoid Broadway musical songs when you don’t actively search for them? It’s extremely easy, though us humans are impatient creatures so I’ll still give myself a pat on the back for doing something so simple.

I never edit these blogs and this is the first time I think I actually did. It’s not like I changed much, just a paragraph that I wrote and upon rereading made next to no sense. I think the words were nice and they sounded intelligent even if the sentence itself was poorly structured. Or maybe it was the best sentence I’ve ever written in my life and I thought I had to dumb it down for the uneducated masses. Let’s go with that one. The one thing I do remember is that when I planned to write this last Saturday and I was thinking about it Friday, I made a comment to a friend about the variety of topics I hoped to hit in this review. I’m at around 500 words already and I maybe hit on just one of the topics and I barely gave it the attention I originally intended. That’s just some inside scoop into my hastily crafted writing process.

One of the reason’s I was desperate to watch Evan was the fact that I don’t allow myself to listen to songs from a show until I’ve seen the show. I haven’t heard an entire song from Hamilton ever and l sure would like to. Though I seem to have poor luck over and over and over again trying for those 10$ lottery tickets, one of these days. With some shows, I’ll give some leeway. I think it’s fair to think I’ve heard a song or two from Oklahoma and that’s the only example I can even think of. AlLastso a lie. I have only heard one song from Oklahoma. I’m a real stickler for the rules honey. To be fair, the only reason I thought the songs were any good was because a former flame raved about them. And it did win a lot of Tony awards and I guess that means I’m susceptible to the marketing hype. Before I start espousing about the medium is the massage, I’ll move onto hitting more of the comments that I promised myself I would make.

Last year, my friend Effy had the privilege and honor of spending a month with me in Alabama in the middle of lonely July and August. How does this apply to Dear Evan Hansen? It doesn’t really. I’ll make it apply though. Even if Newsies is more known for its choreography and ensemble, I came out of the show listening to singular duet for the entire next year. That song was entirely a cheesy duet and I think I just enjoyed the saccharine sap for being so bad it was good. That brings me to finally commenting on Dear Evan Hansen. Or have I already commented on it? I’m not entirely sure. I started this a couple of days ago and since then have flown across the country, have had Christmas activities, and due to my no editing policy, there’s no way I’m going to go back and delete redundancies. The point I’m trying to make is that since I last saw Dear Evan Hansen, over a week ago, not a single day has gone by without me listening to the soundtrack. This is not in a way where I think, “Oh boy, what a load of crock that lyric is.” This is more in a sense of them being relatable lyrics that I can feel a personal connection to. Which sounds a bit contrite since a key song/plot point of the show is about everyone connecting to Evan Hansen after a speech he makes goes viral. Is that bad though? Oh wow, a song that’s relatable and catchy and deals with depression and mental health stigma? Maybe I should be celebrating its effect rather than feeling too mainstream by relating to it.

There was no need to make a paragraph break here, but for people who like to start reading 800 words into a review, here will be my strictly Dear Evan Hansen comments. It is a tale of two plays. The rise and fall of Evan Hansen. The first half is light and breezy and speaks about rubbing nipples. The second half punches you in the gut and then holds your head underneath the water of emotional feels only letting you up for air as you’re on the precipice of what you think you can take. Maybe it’s just that I could relate to Evan Hansen, be it his fall from a tree, or his crafting a made up friendship and riding that lie as far as he could. I haven’t done his same specific actions in life, but the thought processes behind some of the things he did were strongly resonating with me throughout the entire show. I did not cry and yet there were tears that welled up inside. Contrary to Evan Hansen who spent almost the entire second half either crying or looking like he’d just finished bawling his eyes out. How do critics write a thorough review without spoiling plot points? I feel I could express my comments about Dear Evan Hansen better but I would have to chronologically go through the play and critique every single song and accompanying scene. The point is, the first half ends on a climax of rising action and then comes crashing down in the second half as ones lies are always to be exposed when they get too big. Look, it probably would’ve been easier to describe and write all of this if I didn’t write this damn post over like 4 days now? Interesting factoid though, there was not a bar at this theater. Just a man standing around wearing a cooler who sold wine. It’s this hard-hitting atmosphere analysis that my reviews are known for. Also, people really need to learn bathroom etiquette. I don’t know specifically what I’m referencing when I say this, yet I’m entirely sure that something happened during intermission that peeved me.

Knowing I’ve written 1300 words or so now, I think it’s time to bring this to a close. Not because I couldn’t say more or cut out half of what I wrote, but rather just to train myself for the word limits that the NYTimes will obviously hinder me with. You’re telling me they won’t want 5,000 words where I can’t regurgitate a single comment about the actual show? Regardless, the show lived up to the hype for me. The show, which my personal desire outlived my own relationship, my cousin’s relationship, John Kelly’s career, and so much more. Though some things in my live may have dissolved, the Dear Evan Hansen fire kept burning. Now it burns even stronger as I can finally listen to the songs and already work on my top tracks of 2019 on Spotify. I’m excited that my own family will get a chance to see this when it comes to Orlando, I’m excited that more people in general will get to see it as it tours. Most of the time when I over hype something in my head, it inevitably lets me down. Dear Evan Hansen was one of the rare cases where it exceeded what even I had built it up to me. You will be found. Actually putting that song title right there makes no sense even in context and I could’ve done that in a much better way. Woops. So it goes.

The Book of Mormon

Orlandooooooooooooooo! Ah yes, that glorious city that all Mormon boys hope to flock to in order to perform missionary work. Nothing more appealing than heaps of Brazilians traveling throughout Disney World that one can convert to the prophetic words of Joseph Smith and that racist Brigham Young. I saw this musical originally in Orlando and I can safely say that I forgot it played such a prevalent role in the show when I saw this play again on Broadway. It was my first time standing for an entire show but hey, if you can get a ticket for less than 30$ and still be in the orchestra section then I’ll stand any day. Plus, of the three people I went with, one of them had seen the show 4 times on Broadway and stood every time? The standing part is very irrelevant for that anecdote, I was just more surprised that a person would see the same show four times. It’s like, you do realize that you can get the soundtrack on Spotify and listen to that. Who am I to judge though? I’m just happy they’re heading back to France so they can’t try to overtake me as head theatre critic (potentially) of the NYTimes because they sure did see a lot more shows than I have so far. Some say that she went back to France on her own merit, others say I deported her out of the country because I hate competition because it’s hard enough to compete versus my own self, let alone anyone in the world. Blah, blah, blah, I don’t have a lot of thoughts about the atmosphere of the show. Yes, sometimes the person sitting in front of me head would run into my arm draped over the railing and I’d have to pretend that it wasn’t my fault. Uh…I didn’t really fall asleep during this show because it’s harder to do that standing up and I think that’s about it. Onto the in-depth-scandalous-scathing-suppository review!

For coming from the creators of South Park, the Book of Mormon is actually fairly tame. Yes, it does have a character constantly mention how he has maggots crawling in his scrotum and the whole song about Fuck God and someone does get a literal Book of Mormon shoved up his butt hole. However, compare it to South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, the South Park movie that involved Satan and Saddam Hussein having sex together as a musical number in hell. Though to be fair, that’s not a way you win a Tony Award. Maybe I should actually give more credit to Trey and Matt than criticism for this feat. They already have their animated show where they can say whatever they want, as profanely as they want. It’s actually quite impressive how they’re able to put such earnest into songs and with less profanity than usual, it provides much more shock when it does arise. Even compared to their own episode about the Mormon faith where it was extremely ridiculed, this play treats the religion with almost something resembling respect. It does make fun of the outrageous, ridiculous tenets of the Mormon faith, but it also shows the humanity and goodness that at least the Mormon missionaries seem to have. There is a comedian, Brian Regan, who does his whole act clean. He doesn’t do it because he never uses profanity or whatever in his everyday life, he just wants to make people of all ages laugh. He mentioned something about how much harder it is to write a joke and get a big laugh without using any bad words. Since in our puritan society, just a punch line of “I f’ed so and so in the so and so” can garner laughs for its audacity. To craft something without the shock value of vulgarness is a complex task. To reference the song “Turn It Off” from the play, they comment on homosexuality that you have to tamper down in order to be accepted by the church, the trauma that one may face within their personal life that one has to shut down to provide a smile and the word of God, and I don’t know where I’m going with this. My point is, using the Mormon construct, the songs are all done in an innocent, pure manner to represent their attitudes while they do hit the mature subjects and make jokes out of them without throwing in a constant stream of F-bombs. The more I ramble about this, the more I’m impressed and I wonder if using the Mormon template was a way to challenge themselves to rein it in while also writing biting social commentaries. Because that’s what reviews are all about right? Me figuring out my opinion when I’m 75% done with writing the thing anyway.

What is my final review? It doesn’t matter because I don’t give a score. All I know is that I enjoyed the show and I’m glad I saw it again. I didn’t plan on seeing it because I’d already seen the musical before, but it’s hard to decline a 29$ ticket. And it was great! Again. Plus, I have the Book of Mormon that I was given by a girl who desperately wanted it out of her possession just as desperately as she wanted out from under the control of her strict Mormon parents. This is for you, Natalie! I guess I could’ve said seeing it the first time was for you and this subsequent time really had nothing to do with you at all. That’s much more true and now I regret that shout out. I reference everyone else in vague allusions to them and now you get your own name spoken? I specifically mentioned deporting a French girl as to not have another person claiming the throne of NYTimes Culture Editor and I don’t even give her a name? Obviously that was because I don’t want the authorities on my tail because I know I’m so close to being offered the position. As of this writing, I am still yet to have anyone reach out from any publication but I know my chance is coming. Was I talking about the Book of Mormon? Oh right, yeah. Solid show, solid songs, and ORLANDDOOOO. So it goes.

Head Over Heels

If you’re me, then when you think of The Go-Gos, you might confuse them with a band like Bananarama. Or you might confuse the three female-led New Wave songs that you know and think that only one band ever produced that type of music and that thinking that proves that one is an ignorant dolt. I’m so well aware of The Go-Gos and their mythology, their discography, their band members that I totally didn’t have to look up the actual spelling of how the band declares themselves. Does the plot of this play even matter? It might to someone but am I going to share it? I make a vague reference or two regarding it. Something about the 16th century, something about prophecies that if aren’t blocked will lead to the destruction of the world, basically anything you could find in your typical Shakespearean fare. Where the play imbues its own sense of originality is in the gender-bending, the lesbian relationships, the first trans actress on Broadway in a leading role (even if Peppermint was not present for my performance), and just the total inclusion of LGBTQ+ culture. Plus, it’s just nice to see a show where you leave and you walk out happy. Did it help to go with another person? It did. I learned my lesson from seeing the Wavery Gallery just a couple of days beforehand. Except comparing a musical where a character dons the dress of a woman in order to seduce the daughter of a king, while also being pursued romantically by the King and Queen, can’t really be compared to the experience of watching a family’s matriarch wither away. My point is, regardless of the company, I would’ve had a much better experience anyway just due to the content overall, and yet I do want to shout out my fellow theater companions who inspired me to write this blog as I noticed the look on their face as I drolled on about my thoughts on how to incorporate an artist’s songs into an original play. I mean, obviously what I’m saying is that they had such sheer delight and glee upon their face that I wanted to write this to share my beautiful thoughts with the world and I’m totally not saying that their disdain for my monologue led me to shut up my intricate thoughts about 60 seconds in.

What are those thoughts you ask? Oh, dear reader, I knew you would ask, just like my theater companions always do. Listen, as I already said, I do not know much about The Go-Go’s discography. Until the day of the musical, I didn’t know that they were the first or only all-female band to play all their own instruments and write all their own songs. Prior to the day before the show, I didn’t even know The Go-Gos had a musical based off their songs nor did I have any idea why they put it in a medieval setting. Then to transform those songs into like pro LGBTQ+ representation ballads and love songs and war cries? I just don’t know how they did it! And I still don’t know how they did it, and I never will know how they did done it. I do think that my ignorance of the music of The Go-Gos could have something to do with some of my incredulous thoughts revolving around how you could throw plot around their college of songs. Since they were at their apex in the late 70s and early 80s, and they were an all-female group, it’s probably reasonable to assume that they were a bit more inclusive and open-minded than your typical pop fare. Plus, I don’t think the plot itself and how it connects to the music is what impressed me. No, it is. But I guess what I’m trying to say is more how any coherent narrative structure could be constructed around songs without making them feel shoehorned in. I say this because all of the songs included in the musical do feel very organic and even more so without my knowledge of The Go-Gos so I didn’t have a familiarity with the songs and I just felt they really worked with the show. There were high energy pieces, there were love song duets, there were individual showcase solos, and none of it felt like it had no place in the musical. As a musical writer myself, a person who’s talked about writing one for the last few years and hasn’t written down a single word, I’m just amazed by the composition of the musical. How does one determine that this song by the all-female band become a solo for the King? How do you decide that this song will be turned into a duet for lesbian lovers? It just seems almost more impressive that you can mold these songs into fitting the story you have and it’s not like you can just change the lyrics, or invent new ones.

One of the reasons I typically don’t edit these posts too much is that I don’t like to read over my incoherent ramblings because I’d regret everything that I managed to say. I’m not entirely sure if what I was trying to say in the last paragraph made a lot of sense, but I stand by my words. I’m just trying to say that I enjoyed the show a lot, that I don’t feel like the LGBTQ+ elements were an awkward addition but they fit naturally and it wasn’t just there for the play to proclaim itself as “woke.” I left the musical both inspired to continue writing my magnum opus and also wishing to hear more of The Go-Gos back catalog. Did I have a lot of thoughts about the show when I walked out? I did. Would it maybe have made a bit more sense to have written them down sooner than 10 days later? It would have. Listen, until the NYTimes starts paying me the salary that I deserve (or I’ll accept you New York Post) then not everything is going to be posted completely on time. I’m trying to get better though and I realize I objectively wrote less about the show that I enjoyed more compared to the former post. I don’t care though, because dammit, until you start paying for my tickets random free daily newspaper on NYC streets then I’ll do whatever the hell I want and you’ll enjoy it. Or you just won’t read it and I’ll continue to beg for your validation. So it goes.

The Waverly Gallery

Yes, it is true that I saw this play specifically to see Michael Cera on Broadway and rectify my absence from missing him in a concert in Ireland over three years ago. Was this play about an aging grandmother plagued by Alzheimer’s as fun as seeing him with The Unicorns or whoever the band he was playing with had been? I’ll never know the answer to that question but I do imagine only one of the options would have left me feeling like shit as I left the theater. Or is theatre? I’ll just use them interchangeably with no set standard to my pattern. Anyway, I saw the play like twelve days or so ago? Do I remember what happened and have a thorough review of it? Of course I don’t, as I mentioned in the previous post, I was dozing off in the first half and only woke myself up with a 23$ drink that was worth half that at best. Except people don’t read these critiques for my utter breakdown of a playwright’s prose, but rather they wish to know the human experience, my human experience. The experience of wondering why a man will make a joke that he must think is comical about his large size that leads it to be uncomfortable for the person sitting next to him. As I thought then and I still think now: “Buddy, you came with your wife. Her seat is next to the wall. Switch seats with her and make it so she suffers alone, and not force her to suffer alongside that of a stranger.” Maybe in a way, his girth overwhelming me and cramming me inside my own seat, felt like a protective cocoon of nurturing which lulled me into a slumber. I’d rather think that than something negative for I wish to make this new column for the Times, one of positivity and glee, not just mean jabs at other patrons.

In this new update of WordPress, there isn’t a word count so I have no real clue of how much I am rambling because I don’t want to go through all the trouble of copy and pasting this in Microsoft Word in order to ascertain those details. I just felt I said enough about the atmosphere and my seating arrangement during the show and I needed to move onto my hard-hitting analysis. The play itself? Well, it would probably be easier to review it had I not seen it almost two weeks ago. What I distinctly remember is that I understand how you have to speak to an older adult, typically using a slower cadence and louder delivery, in order to ensure they can properly hear you. That was delivered in spades in this drama, but I think the over annunciation from dealing with the grandpa kind of seeped into other aspects of the play. The dialogue itself never seemed entirely natural and always had an awkward, stilted quality to it. Which again, made sense in the moments with the grandmother, but less so when they were interacting in scenes without her. I also do not know what strange accent Michael Cera himself was going for, but it led to just me thinking “Why is he doing this?” than being impressed with his vocal performance. I also find it a bit strange when you have a cast that’s mainly known for their movies and then there’s just the one random theatre actor thrown in. Like, you just couldn’t find one more actor that wanted the role? You’ll give him a part just about as meaty as everyone else but you’ll mainly wonder where he’s from compared to the established acts you already know. The grandmother herself though was fantabulous. I don’t remember her name because of me writing that after the fact, but she was renowned for something she did and she was definitely the best overall performer in this play. Except she kind of has to be. Well, that’s not true at all. However, the play would be truly awful if she wasn’t the best character since she’s the centerpiece of which the play is constructed around. Though there’s plenty of works that are centered around characters and the actor portraying them is awful. I don’t mean to belabor that point, I just wanted to give her kudos for her showing the ultimate cognitive decline and her descent further into dementia. The most affecting scene would probably involve her and Lucas Hedges as she keeps waking him up in the middle of the night to speak of her closing gallery and seems unable to understand the concept of time, space, and well other things that are relational to time and space. Then there’s the pivotal climax, or maybe it’s just the conclusion where well, you see the peak of her illness which ultimately results in her death. Again, what a fun ending to a fun show about watching a woman decline before your eyes.

I could write more but I both don’t remember everything and I think I wrote enough already since I said I would have four of these done by the weekend and it’s a Tuesday and I barely finished this one. Am I supposed to give this a number ranking or something? I already said I wouldn’t so I won’t regress that quickly from my original intentions. If you made it this far then congratulations. My advice? See the show, why not? It was good, but don’t make the mistake I did and go alone. Because when you exit the theater you will not feel happy and it’s tougher to be unhappy when you’re by yourself because then you just sit in your own thoughts about the inevitably of the decline of all of us and you get sadder. Nobody wins that way. Thus, make a friend, take them to this show, and have them renounce your friendship because they’ll wonder why you’re taking them to something so depressing even if they do get to see Michal Cera with a very scraggly beard. So it goes.

The Revival, The Return, The Revision, The Rebirth.

Or other R words. I believe way back in April or May whenever I posted my last blog that I still had around 49 more to do before the end of the year? Well here’s to 48, bitches! Oh, will I finish the goal before the end of the year? No. No, I won’t. But that was before and that blog has died and this new one is rising from the ashes like a phoenix. There’s also a possibility it could be directly related to me currently having another crappy mustache that I keep saying I will shave and don’t and wonder why I don’t every single night before I go to bed. It could very well be possible that all of my creative justices are fueled specifically only by mustache hair follicles and the longer I let them the grow, the more inspired I become.

So what’s the new change you ask? The Revival? The Renewal? The Rambunctious new beginning? Well, let’s just say it’s my attempt to become a world-class theatre critic. After trying and failing for many weeks to win a single Broadway lottery to see a cheaper version of a play or musical I’d seen years before, I gave up, I broke. I said, “Self, maybe it’s time to just start finding cheap deals or hell, paying full price for a show you want to see because you sure as hell aren’t getting these cheap tickets because you’re unlucky and you suck.” It was a strange pep talk, but it worked. In the last week, I’ve seen what? 3 shows? A play, a musical, another musical. And doesn’t the world deserve to hear my thoughts on all of those? Do you really expect the reviewers who go into restaurants and award Michelin stars are actual chefs? To be honest, I have no idea, and they very well could be chefs and that would render my comment moot. You know a way I found to get cheap Broadway tickets? By joining the Theatre’s Guild. Of course, to do that, you have to have written a play and had it performed or something like that. Easy, I say! Haven’t I spoken about writing a musical for hundreds of years and have nothing to show for it? Of course I have! And you know what inspires that? Watching a musical with songs by The GoGos that takes place in the 1600s and then it makes me think lots of boring thoughts that no one cares about so I don’t actually discuss them out loud but I’m bringing this blog back to write down my thoughts and pretend like three people are reading them. Plus, you’d have such thoughtful commentary like “Why is this giant man sitting next to me? Why couldn’t he trade places with his wife?”, except for that would go on for another paragraph of comments. Or “Is that beard on Michael Cera just that scraggly or did they just glue random hair on his face? Is that what my facial hair would look like? Why do either of us think facial hair works?”. Are you getting that from your NYTimes culture section? You probably aren’t. Again, I’m going in with a lot of assumptions about what other top-shelf critics like myself are saying because for one, I do not read them and for two, I am not going to read them and for three,  I don’t want them to be jealous of my better reviewing skills. I’m so good in that I can hardly tell you the difference between a 9.0 play and a 10.0 musical and you know I’m unable to discern any difference between a leading man or woman and their understudy. 

All I can say is this. Will I write something about a play that I saw a week ago that I did nod off a little in for the first act and will I write this critique with no notes taken and without looking up the names of characters or even refreshing my own brain with a plot summary? I will. I won’t give it a score because I think that’s just tacky, it’s not about the score, it’s about the words themselves. I will give a review of the experience, of my own interpretations of what the playwright was trying to say and I’ll assume that my interpretation is as right if not more write than the author themselves. I can promise you all of this. Who is the you I am speaking to? I do not know but I imagine there are ones of you, followed by tens, followed by thousands when I become the respected critic I know I can be. Oh, and don’t worry. The musical is still happening. When? That doesn’t matter. What is it about? Who cares. Do I know anything about music? Absolutely not. Just be on the lookout for my thoughts on The Waverly Gallery, Head Over Heels, and the Book of Mormon coming soon. I even bequeathed myself my own Christmas gift that I’ll be attending this weekend in Dear Evan Hansen. That will be an interesting one because seeing as how I avoided all plot details and songs within it for almost a year, if that one lets me down, I may given up this newfound career entirely. That won’t happen though. Because the world of theatre needs a man like me. Because when we think creative arts, we always think that we need more straight white males to offer their input (Yes, of course this is sarcasm). And I am answering the call. So it goes.

The Mustache.

Burt Reynolds, Tom Selleck, Charlie Chaplin, Henry Cavill in Superman even though they spent millions of dollars to CGI it off, and Hitler. I share something in common with all of these iconic figures throughout history. What is it you ask? I mean, it’s probably pretty obvious if you read the title of this post. The answer is the mustache. Some might argue that those men are known for other feats and I say that might be true, but in the end, they’ll be remembered first and foremost for the mustache. Except for Hitler. He’s done some other infamous things as well.

The point is not the cast and characters that have rocked the classic (facial) hairstyle for centuries. The point is that all throughout life, all throughout time, we’ve known the mustache to be the best of the facial hair choices. Look at Sam Elliot! Is Roadhouse the same film without him in it? Of course it isn’t, because well, he had a mustache and that’s the second most memorable thing after Patrick Swayze ripping out throats. Actually, since I did probably overpromise on so many blogs and I hold myself to it, do not be surprised if there are five separate posts about Roadhouse. This is what I don’t understand though and maybe I should post a new paragraph for this. I had no intention of talking about Roadhouse, even though it’s a classic movie and it made MacGruber make a lot more sense. I’d been thinking about writing this for the past couple of days and really the only thing I had thought about was a few mustachioed men that I could start off with. Then I figured I would just talk about the evolution of the facial hair and my personal journey with it. Instead, I’m thinking about writing a post about Point Blank as well. I haven’t seen Ghost either, though I did reference it recently and it fell on deaf ears.

The point I’m trying to make is that I’ve now reached a point in my life where I thought it was a smart idea to dye my mustache. Two times. The first time I’ll forgive myself for because I was young and I thought it would be cool. To be fair, whenever I’ve dyed my mustache I’ve never had the intention of doing it to be cool, I just wanted to make it stand out like the star it is. However, throughout both times of dyeing it, I’ve realized it’s still a star that has yet to reach its ascension. The first dye job it was remarked that my face looked permanently dirty and I didn’t know how to wipe it off properly. The second dye job resulted in people wondering if I was imitating a 70s porn star and also wondering why the color was two-tone. I think a big reasoning that I wanted to go for the mustache again is that I’m turning 28 soon. Why does that matter? It matters because my father told me that he couldn’t grow a full beard until he was 27. I’m sure I’ve remarked upon that point before because I’m unoriginal and recycle ideas constantly. But it was that fact regarding him that kept me hopeful during my mid-twenties knowing when I reached that age where all those famous musicians died that I’d at least have a beard. I’m only a little more than a month away and I can’t even grow a mustache that fills in in the middle or stays a consistent color throughout.

WHY GODS OF  FACIAL HAIR, WHY?! HE CRIES INTO THE BLEAK DARKNESS OF FUTURE DESPAIR. I see progress regarding the facial hair. Every year it comes in a little bit thicker and still nothing resembling the barest resemblance to a beard. I told myself that I could handle a mustache. It was only a three-inch area of the face, that surely my testosterone could flood into my baby-esque face long enough to create a thick entrapment of hairs that would annoyingly hold onto any and all liquids. And then I remembered a quote from my friend: “Hank, why do you keep trying? You do this all the time and then you realize that it never looks good on you and you get angry at yourself for wearing the lame pastiche of a man you aspire to me.” I embellished some of that quote to make him sound like a person whose sole life purpose is to use needlessly pretentious words to describe mustaches and beards. He was right though. Will I ever say that to his face? No. Actually, I probably have, but the answer is still no. Because I know myself and I know I will continue the fruitless quest of attempting to dominate the white whale known as Mustache Dick. My Moby Dick reference could probably have been worded better. Call me Hankmael. Again, I should stop with those. Though by the time anyone reads this the mustache will be gone, that doesn’t mean my drive and desire to grow something that doesn’t resemble dirt on my face will be. I will continue down the path of lying to myself and implanting false hope until the inevitable day comes where my beard is glorious and ample and full. Like my heart. Like my brain. Like another Moby Dick reference that I would throw in right here if I’d ever finished the whole book. So it goes.

The first of 52.

When the year was new, I made a promise to myself that I would write 50,000+ words on this site and finally write the musical that I’ve talked about doing for years. It is now almost halfway through March and the last post I made on this blog was last summer. I didn’t even write something about me graduating college in a nine-year span? What about getting into graduate school? Leaving Alabama? Insulating an entire shed without getting particle glass in my testicles?! It’s not like I have the most interesting life in the world but I could have talked about something in the last seven or eight months. Better late than never though right? He says this and then he never writes another post until ten years from now celebrating the birth of his first child, who’s really just an inner city kid he adopted. Why did I randomly change points of view for just one sentence? These are all questions I do not have the answers to but I shall blame on the fact that I haven’t written anything that wasn’t related to school for months now. As I’ve said countless times throughout this site’s history, I have a vague idea of what I might want to say before I type the first letter and then as soon as I do all that planning goes out the window and I just plop down the first thing that escapes my brain and I make sure to never return and actually edit it. Which is why I have things like this long-as-hell run on sentence that I could have easily improved upon.

Maybe I’ll include more pointless paragraph breaks for no other reason than readability. I already ignore normal things like indents and correct punctuation, but some spacing could prove beneficial. Except then I think that Jack Kerouac wrote his magnum opus in one long typewritten scroll. Except then after that, I think about how I read that and had to give up halfway through because I couldn’t stand how it was formatted any longer. Plus, I’m not regarded as a great writer in a literary generation…for now.

The bad part about taking a break in the writing process, and no, I’m done talking about my months-long hiatus, I’m speaking about the five-minute break I just took. Okay. Well shit. Even more important to comment on than that five-minute break is that immediately after writing that sentence I added on an extra 200 words and then I hit undo because I screwed something up and it deleted everything and it wouldn’t let me redo. Was anyone going to give a shit about my anecdote about how I feel self-conscious about how I’m noticing the length of my fingernails while I type this? No, that’s not the point. What is the point? The point is that I was speaking of how I may not have an idea about what I’m writing half the time, but I enjoy the experience of just putting it all on the page regardless. What I do not enjoy is writing about that and then having to repeat myself except nobody knows I repeated myself because nobody will notice what I wrote that is now disappeared forever. Do I blame my fingernails for it? You betcha I do. Also, no, I am not going to the University of Minnesota for graduate school but I did watch Fargo at one point over the time period since the last blog post so maybe I’ve picked up a Minnesotan dialect.

I could have very easily said this was the first of 50, not the first of 52. Originally I was planning to write one post a week for the entire year. Then that didn’t happen and then I thought about how when DC Comics rebooted their universe they named all the new comics “The New 52.” So I was taking that for inspiration while at the same time realizing I do not read comic books, nor do I even watch the DC superhero films so why am I doing an homage to something that matters so little to me. Then I reminded myself that I do not change a title once I choose it (and though that may not be true), I do not remember all my blog rules so it’s a new rule for this next year. And during this hiatus, I did give away a lot of action figures and was given a gift certificate to a comic book store so if I shoehorn in the occasional reference it’s for their sake. I also can not believe that I spelled occasional right without having to use a spell check. Haha, you’re right, I’m a prankster! I actually spelled the word wrong two times in a row and spell check didn’t pick up on it so now I look like a total idiot but since I can’t go back and delete that sentence I have to make my shame public.

As I’ve said countless times in this post and prior, I do enjoy just typing out words and seeing what happens. However, I can also understand that stream of consciousness blabbering without any semblance of a plot is not the most entertaining things for people who aren’t the one streaming. Seeing as how I’m actually going to try to be committed to somehow getting 51 more of these out before the years ends, I will try to at least have a topic, a theme, at the very least an idea of what I want to say. Yes, it’ll probably be derailed within the first 100 words and I’ll end up somewhere out of left field, but I’m going to try to make these a bit more coherent. I just didn’t want to exclusively wait for big events to be the catalyst for a new blog post. I originally started this as a way to detail my time abroad, and I did that, and I did a lot of that, but it also evolved into just a glimpse into my own head, my own thoughts and feelings, kind of like a public talk therapy session for the world. I want to continue that. I would always feel better just laying it all on the table, exposing myself (in a non-criminal, not indecent exposure kinda way) and I’ve missed that. I never know who reads these things, I can’t imagine many do, but whatever desperate fans have been clamoring for more, Hank has heard your beck and call. Now I just went to third person point of view? I’ve used first, second, and the third person all in the span of a thousand something words. That is not how one is supposed to write. I’m rusty. Hopefully, there’s a little bit of improvement in the coming installments. So it goes.