Friday, July 29, 2011

My out-of-body moment

I just had a truly out-of-body experience. Truly.
The summer between my seventh and eighth grade years, we moved from the town that I had grown up in to a town that was about twenty minutes away. While I wasn't a big fan of this at the time, it ultimately turned out to be for the best.
BUT, in moving, I left behind all of my friends there. This was before Facebook and cell phones, so there wasn't a way to really keep in touch with people. So I grew up in a different school district, with different friends and my life went in a different direction entirely.
When Facebook came around, I began searching for some of those old friends and I indeed did find some. Small talk, caught up with a couple, but nothing really life-changing. Until today.
I saw that one of those old friends had posted in their Class of 2001 Ten Year Reunion group. It hit me, they all graduated when I did and also have their ten year reunion coming up. So I started looking through the group, seeing faces and names that I haven't seen in ten years. And that's when it hit me. I was looking at my own alternate reality. It was like I was looking down on what my life could have been, had I stayed where I was at.
I'm not saying that I missed it or felt like I should have had that high school experience as opposed to the one that I had. Not at all. My life has played out just like it was supposed to. But it was so strange to see these people who I would have been friends with all living their lives, completely oblivious to the fact that I was having an out-of-body and they were the cause.
Maybe this doesn't make any sense to you, but it was a very strange feeling for me. I don't know why. I think it was just like I was looking at the future that I thought I would have when I was younger, and while that future didn't turn out to be that way, it was still like I was looking at it from beyond it.
Who knew I'd be so floaty and ghosty today? Cheers to ten years being out of high school. Cheers to ten years of the wildest adventure I never knew I'd love to be on. And cheers to those kids I moved away from.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Me, my mantra and Shakespeare

I titled my blog 'Truth is Truth' because it's a phrase that I began living by when I was early in college. It's something that kinda covers all aspects of my life, from the deep and meaningful to the obnoxious and inappropriate. It's something that my friends have quoted back to me and something I've typed here more times than I can count.
Friday night, I was at Shakespeare in the Park seeing Measure for Measure, a play that I've neither read nor seen before and I have to be honest, it was so hot and muggy that I wasn't all that interested. It was well acted and interestingly staged, but I was just so tired of being outside in the heat...until Act V Scene i when Isabella says "Truth is truth" to one of the characters. I have to admit, I had the church giggles then. It was wonderful.
I don't claim to be particularly brilliant, unique or ahead of my time, but I love a moment when an idea that I had at some point is had by someone else who is considered all of those things. It makes me feel validated in a strange way. I know that's weird.
So Shakespeare said it before I did, but that's alright. Truth is truth.

Weekend Photo Diary 7-24 Edition

 While I understand that there's an ice cream theme happening here with this table and chair set, I can't get past the fact that it looks like an egg in a waffle cone. Not appetizing.

 Far too hot but still so beautiful in Central Park.

 Saw Shakespeare in the Park. Fun experience. The actors must have been burning up in those heavy costumes.

 The book I loved as a child.

 The book I wish I'd written.

 Passing through Times Square with old friends and ran across...

 ...the Express fashion show. Again, the guys in the winter coats must have been on the verge of a heat stroke.

 The shield from the Captain America movie is at Toys R Us.

Back in Times Square...about six hours later. It's amazing how empty it is in the middle of the night.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weekend Photo Diary 7-17 Edition

 Rockin the cassette player on the train. Right on.

 A little free inspiration from the street.

 The sign speaks for itself.

 Interview with Zach Schmal of Schmackary's for the mag. Get excited gang. It's gonna be a great issue. (And while I tried to do some promo for Zach while at work by giving some of the cookies away, I am owning the fact that I, personally, ate most of them and have absolutely ZERO regrets.)

 80 degrees in July. Amazing.

 Attended a wedding, if only for a few minutes while in transit. Cheers.

 Gonna check out some theater with the guy who knows everyone in every show (so it seems at least).

 Shakespeare outside in Battery Park. Quite fun.

 From Battery Park, the show moved onto a ferry. Boat ride and a show.

 Then it was over to Governor's Island (which was France in this particular play)

 Uh...we were encouraged to charge the actors...okay then.


 Why not end up at Otto, Mario Batali's restaurant?

All that was in my freezer this weekend. Frozen gummi bears (the only way to eat them by the way)

It All Ends

I, much like the rest of you, saw Harry Potter this weekend and while I didn't cry or have any sort of profound moment during the film, I did have one as the screen faded to black at the end.
I felt release, an emotional exhale if you will. It was over, it ended as it should have ended, and the ten year journey that we, the collective culture of our day, have been on ended right. For all the conservatives that threw up such Hell when Harry Potter culture came into its own, its ultimately not a story about magic at all. It's about good winning out no matter what. And not only did that happen in the story, but it happened with the films as well.
The films started as children's fare, fairly shallow given the direction the story would head eventually, and grew as the actors and as the audience did. What they became was, I dare say, the greatest franchise in cinema. Has there been any other franchise that's retained the same cast and has remained as relevant? Even the cinematic brilliance of the Lord of the Rings films can't compare to the sheer magnitude of the Harry Potter phenomenon. If anything, Harry and Frodo share a similar place in literature and cinema. More than the fact that they were both trying to take out a Dark Lord and were both trying to destroy something that held the power of said Dark Lord inside it, they stand together as the most contemporary literary heroes we have.

More heroic than James Bond, more believable than Batman and more heart than Jack Sparrow, Harry Potter and his gang of friends have seemingly walked with a generation as they grew. All over Facebook and Twitter, you could read people referring to this ending of the series as the 'ending of their childhoods.' It's for this reason why I feel that Harry Potter eclipsed Frodo in a way because millions of people have literally grown up with Harry. The connection is deeper, the growth more pronounced and the devotion more solidified.
I didn't necessarily grow up with Harry. I was older than the target audience when it started. But I have been along for the ride, and what a ride it's been. I should say this about this particular film: As someone who appreciates a good full-circle Oprah moment, all of the little things in the film that were reminders of the journey we'd been on together were enchanting. The pixies, all the professors from the previous films, the basilisk in the chamber...it made everything come together to be a really beautiful present. A gift to the people who've invested in all things Potter.
And that's what finales should be, a gift to the people who love it. We see it on television far more than we see it on film. The FRIENDS finale tied up the loose ends and gave the people we loved for a decade the hope that we all wanted for them. The LOST finale (however slanted your feelings might have been about it) closed in a brilliant and poignant statement about life, death, love and human nature. Of course, The Return of the King was full of gifts for fans, having four or five different closing moments actually.

So at the end of the film, as the screen faded to black on the image of the three characters we have loved for ten years and as my theater full of people burst into applause, I took a deep breath and smiled. Good won over evil, Neville Longbottom got thin and Bellatrix finally got what was coming to her.  It all ended, and it ended well.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The second weekend in July: the photos that prove it happened

 Even the billboards know what Christmas in July means to me!

 If ever there was a delicious summer drink...El Centro never fails me.

 Yes. I've seen it. Read my previous blog to know what I thought.

 Please understand that the sign says "Bruce Lee in Casual Wear." Comic books stores in Manhattan are fun.

 The overhead view of Union Square on a Saturday.

 I love this photo. Just everything about it.

 "5000 light years to Birdland but I'm still preachin' the rhythm." - This is dedicated to a certain SING act that I love more than anything / the people I love more than anything who hate it.

 If you look in the center of the '1,' you can see the Statue of Liberty.

 These two photos go together. We are standing in Battery Park looking at the Statue of Liberty, there's a breeze blowing, the water is crashing on the dock, and I'm standing over this vent. As the water crashes underneath us, it would shoot a pillar of air up through the vent: hence the following photo when the air was blowing my shirt and glasses into the air. Yeah, I'm owning it. It happened.

 For my Peas.

 My favorite place.

 This is for Holly because it reminded me of when we swam in the fountain in front of Buckingham Palace. This was in Columbus Circle so it's no where close to the same, but it made me think of Holly.

In case you can't read it, that thermometer reads 78 degrees. It's July. I love New York.

Does whatever a Spider (tried to) can

I'm horrified that I can say this, but yes, I've seen Spider-Man on Broadway.

Listen, curiosity caught me in its web (pun clearly intended) and I went and witnessed it for myself. I needed to know.
Now I know.  Half the battle, over. Here's what I have to say:
Perhaps the wrong piece of the puzzle was removed? Visually, it's stunning, amazing, breathtaking and brilliant. I saw things I've never seen before and at this point, I'm pretty jaded, so that's saying something. It really does look like a comic book coming to life. Really, it was amazing to look at and experience. Julie Taymour knows how to visually present something in an incredible way and while I didn't see the initial, apparently tragic, version of this show, perhaps the underlying problem with this MUSICAL was...
...the MUSIC. The cog in this popcorn-movie-turned-show-machine that should have been removed was Bono and The Edge. I've never heard such bad music in a musical in my life. There were approximately one and a half songs that were worth anything and the rest of them were so terrible that I, and everyone around me, was getting bored while they were being sung. Bored. Spider Man is flying around in this show and there are moments of sheer boredom? It also stands to be mentioned that the choreography was really terrible. I've seen much better in SING acts at Baylor. Much much better.
I should say that I'm glad I saw it because I'm such a visual person and really, they did things that I didn't think you could do on stage. But for real, the music was so terrible that if I saw Bono on the street, I would smack him in the mouth and tell him to go back to singing in stadiums and leave the musical theater to Elton John. It really was that bad.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My baby

Have you read the new issue of BLEEP Magazine? Well you should. I think the writing is some of the best that's been in there and the photography is amazing. I'm really proud of what my friends have done here and that I get to facilitate their creativity.
So check it out.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

God help America

I'm horrified about the state of our nation. While everyone is on Facebook talking about the verdict of a murder case, I'm watching Toddlers and Tiaras and I'm here to tell you that the problem with America does not lie in the judicial system acquitting people for lack of evidence, but in the fact that there is enough interest in dressing toddler-aged girls up like Madame Alexander dolls.
I mean, did someone somewhere decide that their American Girl doll would be more fun if it was alive and pooped glitter? Why does this exist?
And why is everyone on the show southern? I will admit that I haven't seen any episodes of this show except this one and when Kathy Griffin went to one to make fun of them, but it doesn't shock me that these women would be southern. That's coming from someone who is from the south, but come on. This is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen.
Ultimately, this concept is setting feminism back about 100 years. Why do these women condone these girls to put on fake tans, fake hair, fake teeth on their girls and having them walk around on stage like plastic people. Then you've got these girls who are four years old, have the thickest country accents you've ever heard, and who are (for lack of a better term) complete bitches. I don't plan on having this problem, but if I ever had a daughter who threw a temper tantrum, slapped me in the face and threw juice all over the hotel room - I'd send her to live with my mother. That would end real quick.
Prettiest hair? What are these categories?  I just can't get over this Glamour Shots version of real life that these girls are being put through. Total disconnect from reality and now, after seeing this, I understand why foreign people hate Americans.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Fourth Weekend that was

The Fourth of July is a super-sized family holiday in the Brinson household but since I'm in New York and they are all in Texas, I had an un-traditional Fourth. 
It started Friday, when I met a friend in Union Square in route to a play. He told me he was in the middle near a sign and orgasms. Right. There was actually a giant sign covered in red cards that said "Orgasm is" on them. A local new age sex cult wanted people to write in their definition. Some groups want to raise money for the homeless, some raise awareness for AIDS. These folks just want people to talk openly about sex...right. Did I mention the girl who was in charge was named Rainbow?  I was invited to come to the sex cult but you will all be happy to know that I abstained...courteously. (That's a 1776 reference and an homage to my friend Rachel who passed away last year. We watched 1776 in Mr. Robb's history class, that we renamed Mr. Robb's Neighborhood, and we quoted it unendingly. "Ryan and Rachel abstain...courteously.")

So we left the sex cult station and went to see an Off-Broadway play called "Unnatural Acts" (I know this may seem like there's a really dirty theme building up here but I promise there's not) and it was really spectacular. I like when you go to a random piece of theatre and it not only surprises you but you feel like you were able to really walk away with something. I love that. It was so creative and interesting and we had really amazing seats for very little money.
Well, and you know that I prefer musicals over plays but this play grabbed the audience and didn't let us go until the end. Plus they did this really cool choreographed monologue at the end that was fascinating and they actually sang at the beginning. I like plays that are able to incorporate other mediums to tell the story.

I should also mention that Friday when I left work, I walked past one of the summer pianos in the city. During the summer, all these pianos get put out all over the city, they're free and people can just sit there and play them. It's really kinda fun because whenever I walk by them, legit people are playing and I am able to turn off my music and actually listen to what they are playing. It's like adding a literal soundtrack to the city.
My soundtrack right now would include the song "Kissing You" from Romeo and Juliet. Not that I am doing any kissing, but I just can't get it out of my head so I listen to it all the time. Just thought you'd like to know.

 I'm such a fan of this photo because it's the most typical club photo there ever has been. It makes me laugh. But you know, sometimes you just need to go out and dance around in the dark (in public) right? I mean, I know we all dance around in the dark in the privacy of our own rooms and apartments but sometimes we just need to get out there and be moderately ridiculous. Plus, there is no greater people watching.
I've found that some weekends, you just need to go out and let go. I'm a person that likes to be in control and we need to just give it up sometimes. Everyone does it differently I think. This weekend, we needed to dance around and play in the city in the middle of the night. (insert obvious comment about being overly excited about Homecoming in the fall with theSix.)

 The Fourth is an outdoor day so I spent time...outdoors. Sheep's Meadow in Central Park is the place to be for shirtless and sunbathing people. I mean it, it looks like the aftermath of a sexy war out there with all these half-naked people lying around taking naps.  I wasn't there to do that, but I did get some exercise which became necessary since I was there to meet up with a guy who will be featured in the next issue of BLEEP. He started his own cookie company, Schmackarys, and let me tell you...I could have eaten an entire dozen. I didn't. I had one. But I could have had multitudes more. Self control on the Fourth? Check.
It's important to mention here that not one but two of my friends told me today that they were also going to miss out on the Brinson family Fourth celebrations. Pledging the flag in the front yard, fireworks on the golf course, my father conducting the Boston Pops on TV, more food than anyone should eat, the ice scoop...it's all a part of the fun.
So not only am I missing out on the party but the friends I've brought along to the party in the past were missing out on it as well. Next year, I hope to have a spectacular Fourth celebration day, starting some traditions of my own here in the city. But topping the Brinson family Fourth will be nearly impossible.

I went out to see the fireworks because they were saying this was the largest one in the country and I believe them. Basically, it's the size of 6 fireworks shows because there are six barges all along the river that are shooting identical shows up and down the island. There were thousands of people out there, and I actually liked that there were so many people there. Why? Because as much as I wanted to kick the little kid that kept slapping my butt, once the fireworks started, everyone actually 'oohed' and 'ahhed' the entire time. It was so strange to me. When a fun firework went off, everyone cheered. That's not how it happens on the golf course in Dallas. But it was great.

Finally, tired and thirsty, I went into a Duane Read to get something to drink and there it was. Literally the last Orangeade in the store. It was like Jesus Christ Himself made sure that no tourist was able to see it. See small miracles every day gang. It's the small things in life that are the most meaningful and tonight, it was the solo Orangeade saved just for me.

So while my weekend was a little different than it would have been had I been back in The Republic, it was eventful for sure. But, I should say this about my family. We are thick as thieves and we make sure that we are all a part of the celebration. So, courtesy of my aunt and my cousin's arm, you are able to see how they made sure I was a part of the party. I even posed for a patriotic photo. I love my family.  I love the Fourth.