25 October 2007

An unlikely duo.

As most of you know, I prefer to leave work-related items out of this blog as much as possible. But tonight cannot go untouched. So I’ll have to just sub in some names and let you draw your own conclusions.

My office is handling all media relations surrounding the 10-night run of the band Von Hovi* (name changed for privacy reasons) at a brand new arena in Newark, New Jersey. Since you probably have no idea who Von Hovi is, I’ll fill you in on the background: This is a band from NJ that became rather popular in the 80’s and maintains a steady New Jerseyan following. As my friend Sarah said, “Going to see (Von Hovi) in Jersey is like going to see Jesus…in Jerusalem."

Until that week, we didn’t know how much press would be allowed to cover this, but it quickly got out of control and it was clear that all hands would be needed on deck.

So yesterday, one of my bosses says to me: “So? Are you a big Von Hovi fan?”

LG: “I really couldn’t care less about them.”
Boss: “Let me rephrase that. Do you have unbreakable plans tomorrow night?”
LG: “I’d be happy to work the show.” (at this point, not super thrilled…but alright. Why not?)

The essential concert personnel from our office headed to the venue around 2pm today, and the three of us (including me) who were called in for backup headed over around 4:30. One of the guys I was traveling with is fresh out of college, about 5’3" and is ALWAYS bouncing off the walls...and totally cracks me up with his crazy energy. We’ll call him “Fritz.” The other guy could not remind me more of Woody Allen. Right down to the way he talks, lives (in Brooklyn) and wears glasses (thick). We’ll call him “Woody Allen.”

As we were boarding the train to the Jerze, Fritz started naming every Von Hovi anthem he could think of and then proceeded to sing them. Passionately. Oddly enough, this actually got me pretty stoked to see the band. I kind of forgot how many songs they sing that remind me of college frat parties (there are A LOT of Penn Staters from NJ).

Walking from the train to the arena, Fritz mentioned that Eddie was really excited to see My Chemical Romance (There is no sense in changing this name. It’s just too perfect).

LG: Oh? Woody Allen, when are you going to see My Chemical Romance?
Fritz: Tonight. We all are. They are opening for Von Hovi.
LG: WHAT? !?!? Are you sure? That doesn’t even make any sense. At all. (then I proceed to text Robbie that I am going to have an awesome story for him later because I already know that the possibilities are endless when it comes to talking MCR with Robbie. It leads into discussions of Hot Topic, emo haircuts and eyeliner always.)

Now, before I go on, I just want you to sit back and think for a moment about the kind of crowd a MCR concert + Bon Jovi concert IN New Jersey will draw.

If you were thinking “an awesome one,” you are right. Gold star.

When the three of us got into the press room, our boss told us that our main duty will be to escort and accompany the photographers to the front of the stage before each band’s set and escort them out after each band's third song. He then took us into the arena area and showed us where to stand during all of this. The area is between the bouncer barrier and the stage. Closer than front row seats, obviously.

Then I looked up. And Ron Von Hovi is standing over me getting ready to sound check.

I can play like I’m too cool for school all I want, but that is fucking unreal. Ron Von Hovi is kind of an American icon. One that doesn’t age apparently, either, cause he looks great (and I’m not into him at all). Kudos to his dermatologist, personal trainer and dentist.

Then, we walked backstage as Von Hovi's soundcheck was continuing and we passed a gentleman in a black hoodie who seemed friendly enough, gave us the "chin up" nod and a “What’s Up?” I almost didn’t recognize him without the eyeliner and tears running down his cheek, but it was definitely the Black Parade music video dude. Or MCR lead singer. However you want to associate it. Fritz said he thought that his casual salutation was actually an outcry for friendship and perhaps if we were a bit warmer, he would have gone in for a hug. Maybe he is so sad because he needs friends. Don’t hate on emo kids. Change an emo kid’s life by befriending them. There are many on MySpace that you could certainly AT LEAST EXTEND an offer of e-friendship to.

Anyway, I was thisclose to the stage for MCR, and homeboy wore all black, but no makeup, surprisingly. And if it’s not tooooo weird to say, he’s actually a very pretty guy under all that Sephora. Perfect teeth (which I have a thing for) and gorgeous eyes (why detract with all that eye gunk? Sounds like SOMEONE needs a Jane “makeUNDER”!!!)

The we escorted the photogs out after three songs. I was going to try and go back in to catch the last song (which I assumed would be “Welcome to the Black Parade,” and I am not ashamed to admit I really like), but my services were needed backstage blocking the media from attacking the catering room. One chick asked if she could go in and get some hot soup. I wanted to be like “What? Are you Oliver Twist? Does this look like a fucking soup kitchen? First of all, steak and fettuccine alfredo are what’s on the menu. Second of all, are you starving? Go around the corner to Quiznos like everyone else. Better yet—a base has just been stolen in the Sox game. Free Taco.”

Then the Hovi hit the stage. And I was in charge of keeping order amongst the photographers in the stage left area—the side closest to Von Hovi guitarist Dickie Shamshora.

And there is one question that will continue to perplex me until the day I die: How does that guy score chicks from Melrose Place? He is a wrinkly old bag. If he weren’t a rock star, best he could do is chicks from The Golden Girls. Best. And I’m talking Bea Arthur and Rue McLanahan (let’s face it, she’s a ho. FO sho.). Estelle Getty has higher standards than that.

All in all, totally fun night. Totally unexpected. And TOTALLY Jersey. I didn’t know whether to tease my bangs or sweep them over my black-rimmed eyes. One thing is for sure though: tight pants required.

18 October 2007

The ballet is TIGHTs! (that's a slang pun).

Last night I went to City Center to see Christopher Wheeldon’s premiere of “Morphoses.” As a person who knows relatively little about ballet, besides my two-year stint as a ballerina around the ages of 5/6 (which coincided with my stint as a tap dancer…god I hope those cowgirl pictures of me tapping in the fringe skirt and sequins never surface) and know who Mikhail Barishnikov is (who, by the way I SAW outside of the theatre last night. But just to prove how much of a non-ballet-focused person I am, my first thought after my eyes popped out of my head was “OMG! Alexandr Petrovsky!! Why were you such a dick to Carrie?!?).

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes. As a person who knows relatively little about ballet, it was….AWESOME.

Which I think was kind of Wheeldon’s point, from all the press I’ve read (his publicist needs a pat on the back).

Check out this New York Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/30/arts/dance/30solw.html
And this week’s New York Magazine article: http://nymag.com/arts/classicaldance/dance/features/39314/

Wheeldon wants to bring ballet to the young folks…and make it fun, youthful and sexy. Mission accomplished, sir.

About a month ago, Sarah B. sent me a list of various events she wanted to attend and if I wanted to go to any with her. Given my budget I only allowed myself one. Between picking from various ballet and theatre events she listed, as well as an Arcade Fire concert (and you all know how much I like Arcade Fire), as soon as I looked up the description for Morphoses, I was sold. I think the nail in the coffin was the fact that Wheeldon brought in Narciso Rodriguez to do the costumes. I figured, even if I hated the show, I could appreciate the outfits.

I didn’t hate the show. In fact, I was mesmerized. During the second part of the show, each ballet was introduced by a short behind-the-scenes rehearsal film, which I thought added an entirely new and interesting element to the presentations.

The real jaw dropping show was the last piece: Fool’s Paradise. My first reaction after watching it was “Did David Lynch direct this ballet?” So, OBVIOUSLY, I loved it. It was totally weird and sexual in a creepy yet awesome way that makes you want to watch it again. Which is how I feel about most David Lynch projects.

I know this premiere run is sold out in New York, but if Wheeldon’s company takes off, which I predict it will, I highly recommend catching a performance to ballet and non-ballet folks alike. A truly mesmerizing and interesting experience that will make you smile at times and scratch your head in wonder at others—a dichotomy that begs you to come back for more.

Final tidbit: According to his Playbill bio, Wheeldon choreographed the movie Center Stage, a cheesy guilty pleasure of mine (story-wise, the dancing at the end is tight though, so hats off to you, sir) which plays on the Oxygen Network AT LEAST once a week. That did not stop me from impulse buying the DVD at Target for $7.99, though.

05 October 2007

Niles Crane is angry and he's not gonna take it anymore.

Last Friday, Sarah D. asked if I wanted an extra free ticket to the Rangers-Islanders game at Madison Square Garden. Why not? I had an open evening, and had never been to MSG.

Little did either of us know, she COULD have posed the question THIS way:

“Do you want to go to a top shelf open bar suite with an all-you-can eat buffet for free? Oh, by the way, there’s also hockey game going on….....Yeah? Ok. Meet me at 6:45 in front of Madison Square Garden.”

To say that things got out of hand fairly quickly is somewhat of an understatement.

To say that we considered calling the MSG “concierge” to have them bring us another bottle of Johnny Walker because we had already gone through one bottle by the second period, but didn’t have to because the concierge replenished it automatically, would be accurate.

To say that I didn’t consume a week’s worth of food and at least a weekend’s worth of drink would be a total fucking lie.

I don’t know who won the game. I think it was the Rangers. But by that time, Sarah and I were lying on the suite floor. BECAUSE WE COULD. An hour after the game, when the MSG staff told us it was time to pack up, we headed on our trek back uptown.

Our trek involved a stop at what I can only describe as “Disco McDonalds” so that I could use the bathroom, and Papaya King so that Sarah could get the most disgusting looking hotdog I had ever seen. Then, As we rounded 45th Street towards Mike and Sarah’s apartment, Sarah had a glorious idea.

As a bit of background, David Hyde Pierce (AKA Niles Crane on “Frasier”) is starring in a play on the corner of Mike and Sarah’s block. The first weekend I was in the city Sarah and I were walking through a crosswalk and I saw DHP walk right by us. And of course pointed him out. The following week, Mike and Sarah saw DHP on their block hugging Liza Minelli (AKA “Lucille 2”).

Anyway, Sarah’s glorious idea was to wait outside of the theatre with the rest of the post-play crowd that had gathered and meet David Hyde Pierce.

I was pretty amused by this idea. Mike was not amused AT ALL. But he basically got outvoted because I always love watching people make fools of themselves. Which of course was inevitable. Every time a cast member came through the stage exit, Sarah took a picture with them and even had one actress sign her arm with a Sharpie.

We were both visibly and olfactorally intoxicated, which really pissed off the Playbill-carrying crowd patrons (everyone but us). The actors and actresses went along with it and kind of had fun with us.

UNTIL David Hyde Pierce appeared. I guess he was wearing something that had to do with his role or part of his costume or something, but he was wearing a Boston Police Department hat and polo. So after he signed a receipt that Sarah pulled out of her pocket, I asked him if he was from Boston.

DHP: No.
LG: Then what’s with all the Boston garb?
DHP: Well MAYBE if you’d come see the SHOW you’d KNOW.

[Mental note: OOOOOHHHH Snap. I totally just got carried by Niles Crane.]

Sarah: Well we just live next door.
DHP: Well then you really have no excuse.
LG: Um, Ok. Maybe we’ll get tickets.
DHP: Get tickets, come back, and I’ll sign your Playbill.

[end scene.]

Mike, who has been totally embarrassed by the whole situation that had ensued over the previous 20 minutes had a smug look on his face, “You just made mortal enemies with DAVID HYDE PIERCE.”

The next morning, I met up with them to head to a bar for the Penn State game. Sarah still had “Deborah Monk” scribbled in Sharpie on her upper arm.