Anyway, here is what I have been up to lately:
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: As part of the United challenge I’m doing, I found a cheap way to add two airports by doing a mileage run between Philadelphia and Seattle. To make this slightly less insane, I actually spent a little time in Philadelphia. A quick bit of web searching revealed a production of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert at the Academy of Music. It was convenient to stay at the Doubletree (right across the street) and a pleasant walk from the 30th Street Station to the hotel.
The stage show is pretty true to my faulty memory of the movie, which is both good and bad. Let’s just say that I walked out humming the costumes. There’s plenty of spectacle, if you like that sort of thing, and I can’t question the talents of the principal performers. Wade McCullom was especially impressive as Tick / Mitzi. But the score is a compilation of bad 80’s music, including “I Will Survive,” which is my second least favorite song of all time. (Before you ask, “We Will Rock You” is worse.) Overall, I understand why people who like this show like it, but it’s really not my sort of thing. (I also have to admit that I have never understood the appeal of drag shows, which probably doesn’t help.)
By the way, the major virtue of the Doubletree was location (and a reasonable price for that location). I took advantage of the location in the morning to get in a pleasant walk, including breakfast at the Dutch Eating Place in Reading Terminal Market. If you are one person, the line moves quickly. If you don’t want to wait in line, they do take-out and you can sit at the food court seating, which is just as atmospheric but provides fewer random conversations with strangers.
Mileage Run: My flights between PHL and SEA (via ORD) were a pure mileage run. That is, I never left the airport in either Chicago or Seattle. I got upgraded from PHL to ORD after I had already taken my coach seat, which was surprising. I did not get upgraded on the ORD to SEA leg, but it was a 757 so there was, at least, free entertainment and I watched Skyfall. (Again, I still need to do a movie wrap-up).
I had enough time in Seattle for dinner at Anthony’s. Wild salmon fish tacos are quite a step up from ordinary airport food. I contemplated getting a little chocolate from The Dilettante, but nothing leapt out at me as essential.
The upgrade on the SEA to ORD segment had cleared 48 hours in advance, so I got as comfortable a sleep as I might on a domestic red-eye. The long layover at ORD was a perfect opportunity to use a one-time United Club pass and I took advantage of a yogurt and (stale, alas) bagel breakfast and purely medicinal coffee, while watching The King’s Speech on my tablet. The last leg was the least comfortable as I was not upgraded and there was a rather large fellow in the seat next to mine. But it’s a short flight and I survived. After which it was a train from the airport to 30th Street, Amtrak, and the Washington Metro home to commune with the Sunday Post and collapse with exhaustion.
Yiddish Music Concert: A couple of days later, I was off to the DCJCC for 100 Years of Yiddish Theatre Music with Zalman Mlotek and Cantor Arianne Brown. When I bought the ticket, I figured this was a sure thing and I was correct. From the first moment, which featured a mash-up of “Az der Rebbe Elimelech” with “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” I was hooked. There were sing-alongs for the more familiar songs (e.g. “Rozhinkes Mit Mandlen”) and the enjoyment of listening to unfamiliar songs and English supertitles to help those who needed them. The unfamiliar material included everything from summer camp songs to an excerpt from the Yiddish version of The Pirates of Penzance. The only downside is that I was humming the WEVD theme song for the rest of the week. (I also bought a few CDs. Earworms are lurking on them.)
Greenlandic Music: I mentioned the Kennedy Center’s “Nordic Cool” series previously. One of the free Millennium stage performances was by Nanook, a band from Greenland. That sounded interesting enough and free music is, of course, low risk. I enjoyed the performance, which was pretty much standard rock music in style, but I don’t feel like I need to go out of my way to see them again in the future.
Storytelling Weekend: Since, G-d forbid I might actually spend a weekend at home, I was off to Lynchburg for the Virginia Storytelling Gathering. The drive was annoying due to traffic for the first section and idiots who don’t bother to dim their brights when there is on-coming traffic on the more rural sections. It was also challenging to find my hotel, which was just off the main road but difficult to see at night. And, of course, they hadn’t bothered to put a phone number on the confirmation email. The GPS in my tablet would have been of some use if I’d either downloaded a map of Lynchburg earlier or had a data connection. But, lacking those, it told me only that I was in Virginia. I managed to find someone in a gas station who knew where it was and discovered I’d driven back and forth past it at least six times.
The conference center for the Gathering was easier to find only because I had gotten directions at the hotel. The event included a mix of story swaps, performances, and networking. I taught my workshop on “The Serious Matter of Being Funny,” which went okay, though I may have condensed more than I needed to in order to fit the time constraints. Anyway, it was great seeing everyone who was there and to meet a few new folks.
The drive back on Sunday was easier, which was a good thing as I had the annual business meeting for my local storytelling guild. That was efficient and productive, as well as sociable. That then allowed me to commune with the Sunday Post and collapse with exhaustion. (You may detect a theme.)
A Quiet Week: Then I had a slow week. I went out one night to a reception with a friend for one of his alumni associations (followed by coffee and conversation). And I spent one night working on yarn bomb assembly. Normal people probably don’t consider a week in which they go out after work two nights to be a slow / quiet one.
More to Come: This is long enough, so my write-ups of my trip to Miami for the World Baseball Classic and some more theatre going will take another entry. And, yes, I still plan to write about movies and about dating and about some recent reading. But first I need to finish reading the Sunday Post and collapse from exhaustion.