Do You Believe in Dog?

Easter Sunday 2009, 5th Avenue

When I wasn't on the lookout for new pet photos, my New York agenda dictated that I cram three plays into two days and as much food into me as possible. I stuck the landing on both counts.

Since there's nobody left to investigate in Cabot Cove, I decided to see what Angela Lansbury was up to. It turns out she's been treading the boards in Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit, alongside Rupert Everett, Christine Ebersole, Jayne Atkinson and none other than Jerri Blank's mother! I feel lucky to have gotten to see this production and hear such crackling well written dialogue delivered with great comic timing by a bunch of pros.

My pre-show scan of the crowd for celebrity types paid off too. Looking past the plastic surgeried folk, I quickly spied MySpace and film icon Mr. Kirk Douglas (when you're that old, I call you Mister!) which was a treat. Sitting in the row ahead of me was Dan Ackroyd and his wife which also was pretty cool. My general rule is that I don't talk to or otherwise engage celebrities but I do enjoy staring until they become mildly uncomfortable.

The only celebrities at the next show I saw, God of Carnage, were up on stage - James Gandolfini, Marcia Gay Harden, Hope Davis and Jeff Daniels. All made memorable turns in the funniest show I've seen in my memory. In the play, two couples who don't know each other well get together to discuss their warring children. Things start with an air of civility that's quickly doffed in favour of a good old fashioned sandbox dustup complete with name calling and shifting allegiances.

Mary Stuart was the third play I took in and in an interesting casting tidbit, Janet McTeer was one of the stars of God of Carnage when it was in London (one of the many interesting facts learned from SOB). Ms. McTeer plays Mary, Queen of Scots to Harriet Walter's Elizabeth in a brilliant slice of revisionist history. Act Two opens with a rainstorm that seemed to excite everyone, the first time I can remember water drawing a round of applause. Perhaps I don't they don't get out much.

Not starring in the play but in her own drama in the audience was none other than Mr. Kathleen Turner (when you're that old, I call you Mister!). Prior to the start of the proceedings, she tossed her hair to and fro and looked around several times. Yes Miss Turner, we certainly do see you. At the curtain call, she was the first to spring up from her seat and wildly applaud, again turning so we could all see she had been moved to tears. Yes Miss Turner, you love the legitimate thea-tah and are unemployed, we get it.

In all, the shows were great and I only wish I'd had more time to see a few more.

Next up it's back to the opera and rocking out with Metallica.


The Completely Bearable Lightness of a Parade of Unusual Beings

Last weekend, I zipped into New York City with John to take in a few shows and generally augment my cultural needs. At the American Folk Art Museum I found myself nearly as intrigued with the people milling about as the exhibits.

While taking in the weather vanes shaped like cars, furniture shaped like people and other items of many manners, my thoughts were several times interrupted by an earnest father imploring his 5 year old son to marvel at the kaleidoscope quilts and wood inlay techniques.

As he went on about the significance of various art pieces, his son dutifully murmured "mm hm" until he found something that really spoke to him. He nearly leapt with exclamation at one of his own finds, "Wow! Look at this Dad!! What are these?!". The dismissive reply "Those are light switches son, we're not here to look at those" became one of the most satisfying exchanges I'd overheard in some time. You can't hurry love and you can't force someone to get excited about tchotchkes they're not ready for.

Most of my time was spent admiring two displays of unusual works by Martin Ramirez and Henry Darger, men with histories as intriguing as their art.

Mr. Ramirez, a Mexican immigrant who spoke no English came to the United States looking for work and instead found himself institutionalized having been labelled a schizophrenic. Once there, he began creating drawings in earnest using whatever was at hand (cigarette papers joined together, lined paper, brown paper bags) and the result was hundreds of rather mesmerizing pictures of tunnels, horseback riders and Mexican themed scenes.

Taking in the large paintings of Henry Darger at close hand was a fascinating and mystifying experience. The context provided was that Henry Darger had been a janitor by trade and a recluse whose work was discovered only at the end of his life. Among his belongings was found a 15,000 page novel he wrote illustrated with fantastical paintings, many over 10 feet long, journals, his life story and 10 years of daily weather journals. On display with his paintings at the museum was one of the large volumes of his novel. The documentary on sale at the museum begged to be bought and so it was.

When I got home, I searched on my favourite documentary loving blogger's site and Chris had indeed written about the film In The Realms of the Unreal. Yesterday I watched it (trailer here) and for the first time really considered art in a different way and why and how it's created at all.

My conclusive thought on seeing these exhibits, the film and my general life philosophy remains that there is nothing better, worse, stranger or more interesting than people.

Next up on Passion of the Dale: dogs in bowler hats and celebrity sightings.



Happy Easter Peeps!

This is likely the only time of year I could get away with saying 'peeps'. At all other times, I'm simply far too white (or yellow) to make it sound right.

In other news, someone's been at my computer a lot lately and also reading my email. See Figure A.

Figure A

Rizzo's other pastimes include watching Chelsea Lately and waiting for the Wii Connection to provide all of life's answers. See Figure B.

Figure B
One more time: Happy Easter Peeps!


Personal Jesus - Get Your Own

For a doughnut described as ‘Key Lime cake donut dipped in vanilla fondant and topped with a key lime streusel’, I have to say it was fairly unspectacular. It was free however, courtesy of the Roll Up The Rim To Win contest. I’m a winner!

In less spectacular news, my faith in the Missed Connections presented by Craigslist is shattered. My friend got an email over the weekend from the guy who started the search for her. It sounded as though he was breaking off a long engagement rather than mulling over having a coffee. He went on at length about having done a lot of soul searching and thinking about his priorities and basically, he felt it was time for him to focus on other things.

My guess is that he really needs to focus on his wife and kids and compose ads that are less likely to be answered.

Amid all this sadness, there is hope – only 12 more sleeps until I can bite the ears off of my chocolate Jesus!