Inhuman Swill : NYC : Page 4


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Speaking of electrical problems, do you remember that nine-day blackout we had in Queens a couple of years ago? I swung by the old apartment one day last week to pick up our mail (which our stupid old post office has thus far utterly failed to forward), and found amongst the pieces a check from ConEd back in New York. It was a hundred bucks in compensation for the power outage. We didn't have it as bad as some, since for some reason we at least had power for the appliances in the back half of our apartment, but hey, I'm not going to turn down money from a utility. In fact, given the state of banks lately, I deposited it as fast as I could.

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I realized an odd thing yesterday, which is only meaningful to me. September 11th very nearly and neatly bisected my time in New York. I rolled into the city for the first time in a moving truck on (I think) October 9, 1995. Just shy of six years later, well, you know. And a bit shier of six years after that, June 30, 2007 (also my sixth wedding anniversary), we rolled back out of New York in a loaded SUV. Weird.

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The Rorschach test

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Seven years on, what does September 11th mean? Nothing.

Perhaps it would be less confrontational to say it means everything, or anything.

I had a terrible argument with a relative of mine during those bleak last months of 2001. I said something to the effect that a person's experience of September 11th was more valid if he or she was there, or at least that's how, in my clumsy way of speaking, my words came across. My relative took great offense at the idea that he wasn't as affected in Utah as I was in New York City. "You're telling me," he said, "that you wouldn't feel bad if someone blew up the Church Office Building in Salt Lake?"

"Of course I'd feel bad," I said. "But I wouldn't feel the same way as a person in Salt Lake. It would be more abstract for me."

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Shiny happy people

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We're on our way to New York! Well, I'm waiting in line for a shoeshine at O'Hare, but excitedly. We bought lunch anonymously for three soldiers a little while ago in a concourse restaurant. Going home makes us feel happy.

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I have quite a backlog of little items I've made notes about that I've meant to blog over the past couple of months, and maybe today or soon I'll start getting to most of them. Though before I get to the one immediately at hand, I just have to note that outside right now is raging the SECOND snowstorm of spring.

Now to the main monkey business. Laura and I are heading to New York tomorrow to spend a lazy weekend. The prime motivator of our trip is to see our friend Laura Peterson's new dance program Electrolux, at DNA (280 Broadway). You should come too. Seriously. Go buy tickets. The run starts tonight and ends Sunday.

Electrolux might look something like this rehearsal footage:

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Old shoe week

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John eat BRAINS!
Going home to New York City is as comfortable as slipping on an old shoe. I flew there Tuesday afternoon with just a backpack and the parka on my back, and I was immediately at ease and confident in a way I don't yet feel in Chicago. The only bad part was that I was alone, since Laura was on a concurrent business trip to Rochester.

But I wasn't solitary for long. I took a cab from Laguardia to my borrowed apartment in Astoria, Queens, dumped off most of the contents of my pack, and headed into the city. After a quick stop at my old office, I met John Klima, in from Iowa way, at the Tor offices in the Flatiron Building. I acquired an advance copy of Cory Doctorow's Little Brother, I chatted with Patrick Nielsen Hayden for a minute or two, and John and I hauled his bags back to Astoria on the subway.

We had a full evening ahead, but before I tell you about it I have to back up several months and remind you of the segment of Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" that Laura and I caught back in July:

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Travel poker

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Getting to O'Hare Airport on Saturday morning should have been simple and relatively quick. (Since this is Chicago we're talking about, that's heavy on the "relatively.") We allowed ourselves a bit of wiggle room, even, and hauling our suitcases over to the Blue Line station to board the train.

The train, of course, took forever to appear. Once we had boarded, we putted along at an infuriating pace. Then suddenly the conductor was on the PA system telling us that due to track work our train would stop at Jefferson Park, we would transfer to a shuttle bus, and we would board another train at Harlem making all stops to O'Hare.

I don't want to bore you with the details of watching the time tick past even as the train crawled at far less than the mandated 15 mph through the final stretch to O'Hare. Suffice it to say that once we finally alighted at the airport, a series of miracles occurred.

First, having checked in from home and printed boarding passes already, we went directly to our security gate and passed through unbelievably quickly. The TSA dude checking IDs told us it was the only slow period so far that day.

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For all you sci-fi musical theater fans—and you know you're out there!—I thought I'd share this official press release about The Last Starfighter: The Musical I received from Skip Kennon...

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE                 August 28, 2007

Tony Award winner Chuck Cooper and Broadway veteran Adinah Alexander join cast of THE LAST STARFIGHTER at NYMF



Music and Lyrics by SKIP KENNON.
Choreography by DAVID EGGERS

THE LAST STARFIGHTER is pleased to announce that Tony Award Winner CHUCK COOPER and Broadway veteran ADINAH ALEXANDER have joined the cast of The Last Starfighter at NYMF.

Chuck Cooper won the Tony Award for his performance in The Life, and has been part of many Broadway casts including Caroline, or Change; Chicago; Lennon; Passion; and Getting Away With Murder. Adinah Alexander was part of the original Broadway casts of The Wedding Singer; Wicked; Urban Cowboy; and Parade.

Chuck Cooper will play Otis Wright, a character similar to the Stage Manager in Our Town, genially guiding the musical's audience through the day-to-day activities in an idyllic town, but with an intergalactic twist. Adinah Alexander will play Mrs. Miriam Rogan, the manager of Starlite Starbrite Trailer Park, mother of title character Alex Rogan, holding down more jobs than she can handle while being the confidante for Alex's cherished girlfriend Maggie.

Joining CHUCK COOPER and ADINAH ALEXANDER in The Last Starfighter are previously announced cast members JOSEPH KOLINSKI (Titanic, Les Miserables, Dance A Little Closer, Brigadoon, A Christmas Carol) as Centauri -- the role played by Robert Preston in the 1984 film, DANNY BINSTOCK (High School Musical at NSMT; Titus Andronicus at Shakespeare Theatre Co.; My Fair Lady At Signature Theater) as title character Alex Rogan, JANET CARROLL (Aunt March in Little Women) as Granny, TOM TREADWELL (the 20th anniversary Broadway revival of Annie) as Rylan leader Enduran, MARY ELLEN ASHLEY (whose many credits start with the ORIGINAL Broadway Annie Get Your Gun) as Elaine, MICHAEL CONE (Broadway's La Boheme, Rags, Brigadoon, A Christmas Carol) as Hugh, JESSE J.P. JOHNSON (a standout as Luke in the Altar Boyz tour) as Marty, JONATHAN RICHARD SANDLER (Nat’l Tour of Dr. Dolittle) as Jerry, LAUREN MARCUS (Hello, Dolly at Paper Mill Playhouse; Our Town at Provincetown Playhouse) as Darlene, RYAN JESSE as Blake and the villain Zur, NATALIE HALL as Jenny, SEAN MONTGOMERY as Toby, and JESSICA BLAIR as Lynn.

From JONATHAN BETUEL’s screenplay for the beloved 1980s sci-fi film comes the cosmically entertaining romantic musical fantasy THE LAST STARFIGHTER. It’s Spring 1983 in a Sierra Nevada trailer park. High school senior Alex Rogan’s hardworking, unrewarded life takes an unexpected turn when he breaks a video game record and is spirited away by the game’s inventor, the alien huckster Centauri, to fight for the Star League in a faraway galaxy. Centauri leaves behind Beta, a body double droid of Alex, to cover Alex’s absence with his mother, brother and beloved girlfriend Maggie while Alex is off fighting the evil Zur and the Ko-dan Armada. Beta’s comic mishaps on Earth with Maggie and the neighbors in the trailer park, and shape-shifting alien assassins in pursuit of Alex on his home turf, alternate with Alex’s heroic starfighter achievements. Alex must reach inside himself to discover his true potential – the universe and his life depend on it!

Composer/Lyricist SKIP KENNON wrote the music for the one-man musical HERRINGBONE (June 2007 at Williamstown starring B.D. Wong, Playwrights Horizons, Hartford Stage starring Joel Grey, Edinburgh Festival, Prince Music Theater, St. Nicholas Theater) and for the one-act AFTERNOON TEA (INTAR, August 2007 at 59E59); and the music and lyrics for BLANCO (Goodspeed, National Music Theater Network), FEATHERTOP (WPA Theater, Pennsylvania Stage Co.), and TIME AND AGAIN (Manhattan Theatre Club, Old Globe, O’Neill Center).

Book Writer FRED LANDAU is a member of BMI and an alumnus of the BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop. He wrote the book and score for THE HAPPIEST OF TIMES, which was seen in production at New York’s Triangle Theater and as part of BMI’s Festival of Musicals in Miniature, as well as in workshop presentations at ASCAP and Circle Rep.

Director ELIZABETH LUCAS has previously directed two new musicals for NYMF, CAPTAIN GRAVY'S WAVY NAVY and THE VIEW FROM HERE, and is currently directing two feature films, the rock movie musical CLEAR BLUE TUESDAY and the teen slasher RED HOOK. Her multi-award-winning short musical film ISABELLA RICO has appeared in 33 festivals worldwide.

Choreographer DAVID EGGERS can currently be seen on Broadway in the cast of CURTAINS, and is also the Dance Captain for that show. David was previously Dance Captain for the recent Roundabout revival of THE PAJAMA GAME, and the Broadway show THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE.

The design team includes lighting design by HERRICK GOLDMAN and costume design by MARK RICHARD CASWELL. Technical Director is KEITH TRUAX. Production Manager is JULIE MILLER. Casting is by MICHAEL CASSARA CASTING. JULIE MILLER is the Producer.

"THE LAST STARFIGHTER" is an official selection of the 2007 New York Musical Theatre Festival.

Images, sound clips, and bios can be found at

Visit the show's website and join as a friend:


NYMF Publicity Contact:
Charlie Siedenburg / Sam Rudy Media Relations (212) 221-8466

Now in its 4th year, The New York Musical Theatre Festival is the largest musical theatre event in America. NYMF premiered 99 new musicals during its first three seasons, with more than a dozen of these shows transferring to successful off-Broadway and regional productions. Hailed as "the Sundance of Musical Theatre," NYMF is widely regarded as the premier source for new material and talent discovery.

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Posting from BlackBerry

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That storm barreling down on you New Yorkers? It has us grounded in Pittsburgh. We spent a long time in a holding pattern. Our pilot wanted to refuel anyway, but then the FAA closed arrivals. So here we are waiting on the runway.

I have a book, but perhaps The Lathe of Heaven is not the most comforting reading material....

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