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31 October 2017 @ 05:04 pm
Much Entertainment  
I indulged in lots of entertainment over the past several days.

Pink Martini: Thursday night, I went to see Pink Martini with the NSO Pops at the Kennedy Center. I’ve seenthem several times before and always enjoy it, mostly because China Forbes has an awesome voice. In this case, they were (again) joined by NPR reporter Ari Shapiro, who also has a pleasing voice. And is handsome to boot. Okay, he is young enough to be my son and married (to a man), but I can drool. There was a great mix of music in multiple languages, including "Sympathique" and "Amado Mio." For "I Am Woman," China brought several women up on stage to sing along. I was at the end of a row next to the wall, so didn’t attempt to get there. By the way, in the Small World Department, a guy I used to work with was sitting right in front of me. It was a fun evening and left me with multiple earworms.

Johnny Clegg: I had been debating about whether or not to go to Johnny Clegg’s concert, largely because it was at the Warner Theatre, but: a) it is his final tour (and, even though his cancer is in his remission, pancreatic cancer does tend to be a life limiter), and b) my friend, Paul, was going. I don’t like the Warner because the balcony there is particularly vertiginous and I inevitably find myself on the edge of a panic attack getting to my seat. Also, their leg room sucks and they don’t let you bring In a bottle of water.

The concert itself was enjoyable, however. Johnny’s son, Jesse, opened for him and, frankly,his music is less exciting to me. It was, however, nice to see father and son sing together later on in the show. The high points were the familiar Johnny Clegg songs like "Scatterlings of Africa" and, especially, "Asimbonanga." And, of course, his demonstrations of Zulu dancing, even if he sounded a bit out of breath afterwards. He talked a lot about his life and his career and the changes in South Africa and the world. As a bonus, I always enjoy hearing South African accents – and there were also plenty in the audience. And, of course, I got to see Paul. I was glad I went, though it is still a venue I am not keen on.

Saturday Lunch: bugsybanana was in town for a conference and we met up on Saturday for a late lunch. We ate at Sette Osteria, where I had reasonably good eggplant parmesan. We had a nice conversation about conference survival and freelancing and baseball and shoes and strings and sealing wax. Afterwards, we walked around Embassy Row and I demonstrated how bad I am at vexillology. That is, I suck at identifying embassies by their flags.

The Book of Mormon: I had enjoyed The Book of Mormon on Broadway, So, when I saw tickets available on Goldstar for the touring company at the Kennedy Center, I suggested it to the group of friends for whom I am the de facto Chief Entertainment Officer. One of them bit. Because of the weather, she decided to drive. We had brunch before the show at The Silver Diner in Clarendon. This is a chain of somewhat upscale diners, which means they are a lot cleaner and pricier than real diners. The food is decent enough and it is infinitely better than the Café at the Kennedy Center, which is dreadfully overpriced and barely adequate in quality.

As for the show, it was enjoyable even the second time around. I was concerned because I had seen Josh Gad on Broadway, so was relieved that Connor Peirson did measure up in the role of Elder Cunningham. I also want to note the choreography by Casey Nicholaw, especially for "Turn It Off" and "Scary Mormon Hell Dreams." A couple of the jokes do get repeated too often, e.g. Elder Cunningham’s inability to remember Nabulungi’s name and the whole "I’ve got maggots in my scrotum" bit. Overall, it’s a very funny show, with a lively score, but requiring a fair amount of tolerance for offensive language. I’d say it also has a point about the uses of religion and the value of not taking ourselves too seriously.

Bernstein at 100: After the musical, we went up to the Terrace Gallery and checked out the exhibit on Leonard Bernstein, in celebration of his 100th birthday. They had a good mix of material, though a bit less on his personal life than I might have preferred. I particularly liked some video clips of him talking about conducting and trying to strike a balance between Mendelson’s idea of being true to the composer’s intent and Wagner’s more emotional approach. There were audio clips of some of his compositions and video clips of him conducting, with enough material to fill hours should one wish to. It was fun to watch him, as he was so expressive. It’s an excellent exhibit and I may go back the next time I am at the Kennedy Center for something.

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