Sunday, April 30, 2006

Your one-stop Drowsy Chaperone information station...

Bob Martin, who plays the Man in Chair, is interviewed in the Sunday New York Times: In 'The Drowsy Chaperone,' Bob Martin's Birthday Present Became His Broadway Debut. The headline writer must have only skimmed the article, because it does not mention Martin's birthday at all; some may get up in arms when the old grey lady makes mistakes, but I always think *whew* it's written by humans. (The musical, by the way, started off as a wedding gift.)

Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Blogerati Files.

BlogTO asks yours truly questions. Yours truly replies: "[Y]eah, my blog has become more boring over the years."

Friday, April 28, 2006

Aisle say!

I poked fun at the New York Post's Michael Riedel in my article about the Drama Desk nominations in the National Post today, quoting his Spring Broadway preview where he wrote about the Drowsy Chaperone: "Insiders have been snickering about 'the worst ad campaign in recent memory' and 'the worst title ever.' ... Beyond musical theatre nuts and nostalgia freaks, who's going to care?"

So I was pleased to see he poked fun at himself today too:
A few weeks ago, in my column about the spring crop of new Broadway musicals, I wrote, with the assurance of a pundit who's never wrong, that none of them would pose a threat to "Jersey Boys" at the Tony Awards.

Today, with equal assurance, I say that I was, well, wrong.

There is a stealth contender stalking "Jersey Boys."

It has a terrible title and a dreadful ad campaign, but, judging from the beaming faces of audiences exiting the Marquis Theater, it's a winner.
He's talkin' about the Drowsy Chaperone, of course.

Post-script

Meanwhile, back in Toronto, Nightwood's production of the French play Mathilde opens in previews tonight starring Martha Burns and Tom McCamus, two of my fav actors. And here's my Q&A with the director, Kelly Thornton.
If you make it here...

Hey, The Drowsy Chaperone, the Canadian musical with book by Don McKellar and Bob Martin and music/lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, picked up 14 Drama Desk nominations yesterday. The DD nods, voted upon by New York's critics, are a good sign that when the show has its official opening on Broadway on Monday, the reviews will be good... And they may be a harbinger of Tony nominations to come.

If Drowsy Chaperone (which started at the Toronto Fringe in 1999) is a hit, it will be a nice change from Canada's previous musical attempts to woo the Great White North. Anne of Green Gables ran from December 21, 1971 to January 2, 1972 on Broadway. Rockabye Hamlet went lasted 7 performances in 1976.
Billy Bishop Goes to War lasted 12 performances in 1980.

Am I missing any?

This isn't, by the way, to slag any of those shows, all of which did very well elsewhere. Nor is it to say that we need to look to the States for validation of Canadian culture. It's just a fun bit o' trivia...

And speaking of Hamlet: The Musical, Alison from Torontoist sent me these awesome clips from a bootleg copy of (or perhaps archival footage from?) Carrie: The Musical. Yes, a for real musical! Never before has the incineration of high school students been so well choreographed! Check it:

"In"

"And Eve Was Weak"

"Out For Blood"

"Wotta Night"

"The Destruction"

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Eye-yi-yi!

Kate at Montreal City weblog explains the sitch: "Saku Koivu will be off the ice Friday with an eye injury, as Montreal plays [Carolina] in the fourth game of their series with the Hurricanes. Rumours that the referee is also having his eyes checked have not been confirmed."
Hick like me.

Nothing says urbane condescension like this Reuters review headline: "Wedding Singer" musical may delight tourists.

I'm going to check out the first musical to be spun off from an Adam Sandler movie on Saturday (yes, for real), so I'll let you know if I'm delighted or not.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Mac Adventures #1


Adventures with Mac panel
Originally uploaded by uncascrooge.
Switching from a PC to a Mac ain't exactly a walk in the park for J. Kelly. Check out his wacky fish-out-of-water exploits in Mac Adventures, his new comic strip about trying something new... and learning a little bit about himself in the process!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Trekkergate Escalates!

My blogoprayers have been answered: Optimus Crime has discovered a most intriguing photo of Prime Minister Harper competing in a Star Trek Convention Costume Contest!

"Take my Worf... Please!"

Monday, April 24, 2006

TrekkerGate!

Parliament Hill Shocker! Wonkitties reports that not only is Prime Minister Stephen Harper a Star Trek fan, which I believe has been confirmed, but he is a hardcore Star Trek Fan. How hardcore? Well:
[T]his weekend in Colorado Springs [a] secret source, who threatened me with my very life if I reveal his name, more or less revealed that our prime minister once competed in a Star Trek Convention Costume Contest!
People: Imagine if someone out there could find a picture! I throw out a challenge to all of you -- find a picture. FIND IT. Find photographic evidence. I don't know exactly when this took place, but I believe it would have been in the late 70s or early 80s. I for one am on a personal mission to see the leader of a teeny, tiny, fraction of the free world dressed up like...well, the obvious guess is Spock, since that would require so small a stretch for Prime Minister Harper. But who knows? I believe the man has humour. Perhaps he dressed up like Uhura -- or even better, like that hideous salt-sucking creature who looked like a beautiful woman and who left suction marks on all its victims.
There must be a photo. Please God (of God Bless Canada fame), let there be a photo. Please, please, please...
Merde sainte. Montréal 6, Caroline 5.

Quel jeu! Quel yo-yo! J'ai perdu six mois de ma vie durant la prolongation. Et c'est seulement le deuxième jeu.

Voici un fait intéressant: Cam Ward, le gardien qui a remplacé le Gerber baby food pour les 'Canes, est né le 29 Février. Alors il a seulement 5 ans et demi. Beaucoup de temp a apprendre.


Sweep Caroline... Bu-bu-bahhh... Good times never felt so good...

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Compliments to the chef.

The Gazoo's Jack Todd pulls out the food metaphors to describe the Habs' shit canning of the 'Canes last night:
Long before game time, the sun was out and tailgaters outside the RBC Centre were well into the barbecue and beer.

Also on the menu, fans of the Hurricanes figured, was a main course of crushed Canadien with a side order of humbled Hab. ...

Trouble was, the Canadiens brought their very own French-born chef and Cristobal Huet turned in a beautiful piece of cordon bleu cookery that left the Carolina snipers fit to be fried.
That's not even all of it. I'm not a big sports fan, so I only read the section during the playoffs... You just gotta love the audacity of these sports scribes.

Go Habs Go!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

But really...

Who hasn't posted a comment on his blog using a different name during a moment of weakness?

I suppose we must hold our Pulitzer Prize winners to a higher standard, however; we wouldn't want that prestigious award to fall into disrepute...

Friday, April 21, 2006

Liberal leadership race.

On the Fence would like to officially declare our support for, of course, 'Acquaman. This blog has long expressed sympathy for the Bevil'. He does have the key to Dallas, Texas after all.
Come clean, sir...

Here's what I really want to know from Warren Kinsella: Did he vote for The Beach or The Beaches?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Sick Degrees of Separation.

While my computer was down, the one topic that I was dying to blog about was the uproar over the news that Michel Tremblay and Robert Lepage has kinda, sorta, not really renounced separatism. Politics and playwrights: What could be more exciting to a feller like me?

As it happened, I was in Montreal last weekend for Easter and a belated birthday celebration with my family. So, while there, I went to see the latest plays by the two biggest figures in Quebec theatre -- Lepage's Le Projet Andersen at Théâtre du Nouveau Monde and Tremblay's Bonbons Assortis at Théâtre du Rideau Vert -- and asked, only half-seriously, "Do these works reveal anything about their creators' newfound sympathy towards federalism?" My answer is here (no sub. necessary).
And we're back!

And we're writing on our brand new MacBook Pro.

And we're broke. But that's okay, because we're cool. And that's all that matters. That and talking in the first-person plural.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I can't blog on. I'll blog on.

Update for those, er, dozens of people who are eagerly awaiting my return to blogging. I ordered a computer. It will be here in 8 business days. Yes, it's a Mac. And twice my budget.

Also, we had some awesome Samuel Beckett tragicomic strips in today's National Post in celebration of the playwright's 100th birthday. I adapted, Scott Chantler illustrated. They're not online, but if you see a copy, pick it up...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Ill!!

Not me... My computer. It ain't even turning on half the time. When it does turn on, it runs like a sick snail. So, until my new 'puter is purchased and set up, blogging will be light to non-existent.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Mehldau in my medulla.

Back in university, I made the occasional trip to Boston with my New Jerseyian buddy and constant stage manager Felicity. She was friends with a jazz bassist who lived in a giant house with about 15 other student musicians studying at Boston University and Berklee. In the basement, they had a speakeasy (you had to be 21 to drink in actual bars) where concerts and jam sessions were held every Friday night. We always an amazing time staying there and I got to listen to and meet a bunch of budding musicians while drinking lousy American beer.

When there wasn't a concert on, there was great music playing in the house. After hearing that I was a fan of Radiohead, one of the residents pulled up some mp3s of jazz pianist Brad Mehldau and his trio on Winamp for me. In addition to jazz standards and his original compositions, Mehldau plays a lot of songs by pop and rock musicians. Radiohead is one of his favourites. At the time, he had recorded piano and trio versions of Exit Music for a Film and Paranoid Android; he has since added Everything in its Right Place and Knives Out to his repertoire. Some of the other artists he covers include Nick Drake, Paul Simon and Nirvana. Mehldau treats them with the utmost seriousness and is never ironic or cutesy about it. (Or maybe he is, a little: 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover is kind of funny in how seriously it is done.)

When I got back to Montreal, I went out and bought his Art of the Trio IV - Back at the Vanguard, which is a pretty great album. I wasn't too keen on my next purchase of his, Largo, a fusion studio recording with a full band produced by Jon Brion (Aimee Mann, Fiona Apple, Rufus Wainwright). But I've recently got back into him and can recommend both his aweseom solo Live from Tokyo album (featuring a kick-ass 20-minute version of Paranoid Android) and his new trio album Day is Done, which is a breath of fresh air thanks to his new drummer Jeff Ballard.

Of course, Mehldau's selection of tunes is not all that distinguishes him. His classical training is very apparent in his playing (a la Bill Evans, a comparison he hates), but what I really like is the way he dissects, buries and then ressurects a melody like curious kid Jesus playing with a fly. My brain gets all tangled up in knots by his higher-math sense of rhythm, so when he finds his way back something resembling the actual tune in question it produces a real feeling of pleasure in my brain. Some people find him cold, but I get a real visceral response to some of his stuff.

Mehldau, who is opening solo for the Wayne Shorter Quartet at Massey Hall tonight, agreed to an e-mail interview with the Post and it is here. He didn't answer any of my questions about the Radiohead, Paul Simon, etc., covers, though he did reveal that he is digging the Arctic Monkeys. Those who find him pretentious (and, reading his epic liner notes, you'd be forgiven for thinking that) will be pleased to know that he finished one of his answers with a smilie, which, unfortunately, did not make it into print.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Double Double Trouble.

A man blew himself up in the bathroom of a Tim Horton's at Yonge and Bloor today. Or something like that. We're not sure exactly what happened, but the police have ruled out a terrorist attack:
"He's not a strap-on al-Qaeda bomber guy," [Staff Sgt. Don] Cole said. "It sounds to me like a guy who either wanted to do a torch job or commit suicide."
Strap-on Al-Qaeda... Now there's an image.

Of course, all afternoon, Torontonians were wondering if a terrorist blew himself up in the Tim's bathroom, which I suppose is how folks think in this day and age. There were "rumours" that the man had been seen going into the bathroom with wires and explosives strapped to his chest; journalists helpfully passed these along. A blog I read and respect was referring to "the bomber" before we had any idea if there was a bomber. My friend and I hypothesized over coffee that, if it was indeed terrorism-related, someone would immediately blame it on Stephen Harper for inflaming the Muslim world or, failing that, Ezra Levant.

The whole jinxed java jihad scenario reminded me of the Brigade d'autodéfense du français, an FLQ offshoot that planted bombs in three Second Cup franchises in Montreal in 2000 and killed, uh, no one. (Though Rhéal Mathieu, who was eventually sentenced to a whole month in jail for the Second Cup attacks, did succesfully kill a receptionist at the Lagrenade shoe factory in the 1960s; he spent less than four years in jail for that murder.)

Which is to say that there is a grand tradition of botched bombings of coffee houses in Canada -- the conclusions jumped to were not completely ridiculous. But still, a sign of the times. If a man exploded in a Tim's bathroom, oh, a decade ago, I think it still would have been the talk of the town, but wild speculation about the cause of the explosion would have likely had a darkly humorous tone to it, I suspect...

Sunday, April 02, 2006

What the heck!?!

Anybody know why my blog has gone all wonky? It looks fine on my Firefox and in IE at work. But at home in Explorer it's craaaazy. Also, people have e-mailed me about this, so it's not just my buggy-as-heck computer. Help!

In other news, I am looking to buy a new laptop. I think I want to stick with Microsoft, because I am scared to go to Mac and I am cheap. Any suggestions? A friend told me to wait a couple of months for Microsoft's new operating system... Good idea? Bad idea? My laptop is on its last legs, so I might just go ahead and buy now anyway...