September 2014


Based on the cast alone, I was wholly excited to see It’s Only a Play on Broadway. So, I saw it on 9/27 and walked away still excited about that cast, but extremely unimpressed with the play itself.

To be honest, the play wasn’t very memorable. It was a string of inside jokes about the theater/entertainment industry. I laughed not because the jokes were inherently funny, but because of who was delivering them. You laugh when Nathan Lane tells a bad joke because it’s Nathan Lane and he has this uncanny ability to contort his eyebrows into some serious furrows. You don’t groan quite so hard at Matthew Broderick’s epically long monologues because it’s Matthew freakin’ Broderick. He of Ferris Beuller’s Day Off and the How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying revival cast album from 1994 that I’ve listened to probably a billion times since I got it for Easter back in 1995.

The play seems to acknowledge how lackluster it actually is. The text is definitely nowhere close to anything substantial. It’s entertaining to a fault, but won’t leave you feeling inspired or challenged or moved.

I do appreciate the play for what it gave me. Or rather, I appreciated the theater-going experience. This was my one chance to see Lane and Broderick on stage together. This was my one chance to see Broderick and Megan Mullaly on stage together (as she’s also on that H2$ revival cast album…). This was likely my one chance to see F. Murray Abraham on stage. This was likely my one chance to see Rupert Grint on stage. This play introduced me to Isabel Keating (Stockard Channing was out with an injury, so Keating has been playing her part and she kicked ass). This play introduced the audience to Micah Stock.

Oh, Micah Stock. What a great Broadway debut. And the one performer in the show who provided me with my biggest laugh of the night… lets just say that Wicked is no longer the only show on Broadway that features “Defying Gravity.” (HE DOES ALL THE PARTS. I LITERALLY CLUTCHED AT MY NON-EXISTENT PEARLS AND DOUBLED OVER WITH LAUGHTER.)

I know a lot of people my age and younger are flocking to the play for Grint. He’s good in his role and a very likable actor/person. But he’s not the main character by a mile (it’s an ensemble show, but Nathan Lane is definitely the “star” and seems to log the most minutes on stage). Hopefully those who are seeing this for Grint will realize that they are actually in the presence of theater giants and should be grateful for that experience.

I’ve seen a few other shows on Broadway the past couple months that were infinitely better than It’s Only a Play.

This is Our Youth was entertaining and actually made me reflect on my 20s. I’ve been a fan of Keiran Culkin and Michael Cera for years, so it was great to see them on stage. This play started a bit slow for me, but then picked up the pace and was rather engaging. I had no idea who Tavi Gevinson was before seeing the show, but I was impressed with her stage presence. Each of the actors really added that intangible “something” to the production and I was really glad I saw this early in previews.

The same say I saw It’s Only a Play, I saw The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. I read the book a few months ago and loved it. I loved the stage version as well. The set was amazing – it was basically a giant chalkboard that doubled as projection screens. It was really rather modern and fairly minimalist.

I was personally glad that Taylor Trensch was in as Christopher during the performance my friend and I attended. I saw him once before in Matilda (his understudy was in when I saw Bare) but wondered how he would be in a play instead of a musical… well, he’s wonderful. Christopher is such a complex character that I really related to when I read the book and it was a real pleasure to see such a capable actor portray him on stage. *This* is the play to see if you want to feel something real.

In addition to these three plays, I also went and saw Hedwig and the Angry Inch again. I had never seen Andrew Rannells on stage before and was desperate to see him in this before his run ended. (I will be seeing the show again when Michael C. Hall takes over, mark my words.) I saw the show when NPH was Hedwig and it was the single most amazing theater-going experience of my life. Rannells’s Hedwig was amazing as well and I am forever grateful that I got to see him in this role. The show itself is flawless and I just get so much out of it when I see it (or listen to it… that soundtrack is pretty much on repeat on my Spotify account).

The next thing I have tickets for is The Real Thing at the end of October and Cabaret in December (EMMA STONE, Y’ALL). I plan on seeing The Elephant Man and Hedwig again. And I just found out that Jake Gyllenhaal will be on Broadway in something at the start of the new year, so I’ll try and see that too.

Basically, SEE ALL THE SHOWS.

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If you follow my blog, or keep tabs on me in real life, you’ll know that I used to post in-depth recaps of Glee. I stopped after Season 4 because I was getting so mad at the show. I’m still mad at the show and at this point I wish it would have just been cancelled already. It’s hard watching something I once loved get so far away from what it once represented and championed.

For those of you who don’t know, the RIB in the title of this post refers to Glee creators Ryan Murphy, Ian Brennan and Brad Falchuk.

MAJOR SPOILERS for Glee Seasons 2-6. You have been warned.

I’ll say that again… MAJOR SPOILERS for seasons 2-6.

I should be working on another chapter of the book I’m writing. But instead, I’m typing this out because I feel I needed to get up on a soap box for a moment and express my utter discontent about Glee as we continue on in the hiatus between seasons 5 and 6.

At the moment, MyTV is rerunning Episodes 5.1 and 5.2. In 5.1, “Love, Love, Love,” the glee kids sing a bunch of Beatles songs but one of the bigger plot lines is that Blaine Anderson (Darren Criss) is planning a marriage proposal for his boyfriend, Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer).

Kurt and Blaine (referred to as “Klaine” by fans) have been a fan pairing since Blaine’s first appearance back in Season 2 (Episode 2.6, “Never Been Kissed”) and officially canon starting in 2.16 (“Original Song”). Their relationship has been punctuated with several meaningful moments – their first school dance together (2.10, “Prom Queen”), the first time they said I Love You (2.22, “New York”), when Blaine transferred to McKinley to go to school with Kurt (3.1, “The Purple Piano Project”), their first time having sex (3.5, “The First Time”), their first big fight (3.17, “Dance With Somebody”), their first break-up (4.4, “The Break Up”), their first big step toward reconciliation (4.8, “Thanksgiving”), Kurt’s dream sequence of them singing “Come What May,” i.e. the song they were planning to sing to each other at their wedding (4.15, “Girls [and Boys] on Film), when Blaine asks Kurt’s dad about proposing to Kurt (4.21, “Wonder-ful”), when Blaine buys Kurt’s engagement ring (4.22 “All or Nothing”), when Blaine and Kurt get back together and Blaine proposes to Kurt (5.1, “Love, Love, Love”), when Blaine and Kurt live together in NYC (5.14, “New New York”), when Blaine and Kurt have a huge fight and decide not to live together in NYC (5.16, “Tested”), when Blaine and Kurt have another fight but ultimately decide that loving and trusting each other is something they will choose to do and they move back in with each other (5.20, The Untitled Rachel Berry Project”).

And then we come to Season 6, which although is presently filming, won’t air until early 2015.

I don’t actively seek out spoilers (in fact, I’ve unfollowed a lot of people on Twitter and Tumblr to avoid spoilers), but plot points have still popped up on my dashboards and from what I’ve gathered, Season 6 starts off six months after Season 5 ends. Kurt has called off his engagement to Blaine, Blaine has flunked out of NYADA and moved back to Ohio and is now dating (living with?) David Karofsky. Yes, that same David Karofsky who used to bully Kurt (to the point of death threats) and whose only two interactions with Blaine have contained shoving matches where Blaine tried to stand up for/protect Kurt (2.6 and 2.17, “Night of Neglect”).

It has been increasingly harder to care about Glee the past few seasons, but this is really it for me. It is so frustrating when the show has taken my favorite character (Blaine) and has repeatedly committed epic character assassination. Not only is this a huge disservice to the fans; it’s an overall disservice to the people who have actively looked up to/cared about Klaine.

When Blaine was first introduced in 2.6, he was seen as a mature mentor and confidant for Kurt. Blaine was someone Kurt could talk to about being bullied and being out at school. Though his age/grade was never explicitly stated on the show, fans assumed Blaine was either a year ahead of Kurt or in the same grade as Kurt.

Season 3 was Kurt’s senior year of high school. It was revealed, however, in 3.2 (“I Am Unicorn”) that Blaine was a junior. And all of a sudden, the confidant Blaine disappeared and his character became a lot less confident, a lot more whiny and increasingly further away from the strong character he was introduced as. Flaws were a necessity to knock him off the pedestal Kurt had put him on, but the radical shift in character was inconsistent even with the already noticeable lack of character continuity on the show. (Among other things, it has since been revealed that Blaine was meant to be a junior in Season 2 and subsequently should have graduated when Kurt did. Fan theory is that because Blaine/Darren Criss were fan favorites, he was Benjamin Buttoned to be a junior in Season 3 to keep him around at McKinley for an extra season and a half.)

As mentioned before, Kurt and Blaine had their first huge fight in 3.17. Kurt was texting/flirting with another boy (Chandler) and it was making Blaine jealous and feel insecure about their relationship. He was already worried about losing Kurt when Kurt went away to NYC the following school year, and Kurt texting another boy was adding insult to injury. Kurt was jealous of Blaine with other guys twice before (Jeremiah in 2.12, “Silly Love Songs;” Sebastian in 3.5, “The First Time”), but his texting with Chandler was a bigger problem between them because of the impending distance issue. Kurt and Blaine came out of 3.17 seemingly stronger than ever with promises that distance was not going to be a problem.

Of course it was, though. As soon as Kurt got to NYC in Season 4, he and Blaine’s relationship became strained, driving Blaine to cheat on him. They officially broke up in 4.4 and it pretty much broke the fandom. (Note – I was there when they broke up. Some friends and I were at Battery Park while the Glee cast was shooting the scene where Blaine told Kurt that he was with someone else. There was a lot of tears from both the fans and the actors. It was a really emotional night watching my favorite tv couple – at the time – break up over and over and over again.)

Fans were hopeful, though. And so was Blaine. (Sadly, Blaine just said his line from 5.1, “Kurt and I will have a happy ending” as I’m typing this… Stab. Twist. Remove.) From then on, Blaine was insistent on earning back Kurt’s trust and getting Klaine back together. Even though I was dead-set on them getting engaged (the characters were too young), I was on board with them reuniting.

Since Klaine happened, their relationship became a big deal in the fandom and in the media. Criss and Colfer (dressed as Kurt and Blaine) were featured on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. Klaine won several online polls about favorite couple, including Entertainment Weekly’s Greatest TV Couple of All Time. They were even nominated for a People’s Choice Award for Best On-Screen Couple. These young men were a positive representation of a gay relationship on television and inspired countless people. If you’ve seen the Glee 3D Concert movie, you can see clips of fans talking about how much they love Kurt and Blaine and Klaine. If you are into fanfiction, there are hundreds or thousands of stories revolving around Klaine. These characters matter to a lot of people. Though fictional, they were characters to root for. We fell in love with them as they fell in love with each other. And it was nice.

Until it wasn’t.

Kurt and Blaine went through some more relationship drama after they got engaged. Though bumpy, at least it was a depiction of the realistic ups and downs couples face (jealousy, miscommunication, needing space, etc…). They lived together. Then they didn’t live together. They dealt with STD testing (since Blaine had been with someone else). They dealt with making a home but also needing to make space for themselves. There were some decently written (and much needed) discussions between the characters and we saw them grow as men and as a couple.

But then all these rumors and spoilers for Season 6 started floating around and even the biggest Klainers were like NO.

Why are RIB tearing our beloved couple apart yet again? Is that really necessary to drive the story.

At this point, No.

Season 6 is Glee’s last/final season. With Rachel and Finn no longer an option for the show’s big couple, Klaine is basically it. And RIB is ripping them apart in the worst way possible. Not only by breaking them up, but by having Blaine dating Karofsky. (Annnnnnd, as I’m typing this, Blaine and Co are singing “All You Need is Love” to Kurt and then making the most romantic proposal speech in recent television history. Sigh.)

Having Blaine date Karofsky not only diminished Blaine as a character, but it seems like the ultimate disrespect to Kurt’s character as well. (Kurt has gotten the short end of the stick for pretty much all of his plot lines. No character has gone through more shit on Glee than him. He gets absolutely nothing handed to him and often has to overcome layers of obstacles just to break even. And don’t even get me started about how the NYC characters from Season 5 are all back in Lima in Season 6. Like, way to quash the characters’ hopes and dreams about growing and moving away from their small town to achieve their life goals.) I just can’t wrap my head around a plot that would make sense for Blaine to date Karofsky after Karofsky bullied (and then ultimately befriended) Kurt. You just don’t do that to a person who you love. You don’t date his tormentor. You don’t date the person who beat him up. You don’t date the person who threatened to kill him. You just don’t do it. And it doesn’t matter how reformed Karofsky is (because guess what, I liked Karofsky as soon as he got nice and began to accept himself) – you don’t write scripts where Karofsky and Blaine are dating.

But on top of that, you don’t write scripts where Karofsky and Blaine date each other if you still plan of having Blaine and Kurt get back together. Because you know that and Blaine are still going to get back together. And they’re probably going to get married. But at this point, I kind of actually don’t want that to happen.

Kurt and Blaine have been referred to the “Ross and Rachel” of Glee. I wish they were considered the “Monica and Chandler.” Because Monica and Chandler were the heart and soul of Friends. Ross and Rachel were the “will they/won’t they/who gives a flying f**k” couple. They never seemed to have their shit together and by the end of the series, I didn’t care if they did or did not get together.

I care about Kurt and Blaine. Or at least, I did much more than I do right now. And I think RIB used to too. But now they just seem to care about causing unnecessary drama on a show that already has too much drama and ruin the one great thing that it had going for it – a strong gay couple with fan-favorite characters. Sure, people are talking about it… but when everyone is talking about how much they wish the show was cancelled already or that they don’t want to watch anymore because everything we loved about the show has been tossed by the wayside. Well… that just seems like poor planning on RIB’s part.

Why piss off fans who have been loyal to Glee for 5 years? We, the fans who went to the live tour, bought the CDs, downloaded songs on iTunes, bought DVDs and Blu-rays, bought merchandise, increased visibility and notoriety of the people on the show… There are 13 episodes of this stupid show left. For all time. Why ruin it for the people who built you up from nothing? Why besmirch the integrity of the characters? Why destroy the happiness of the people who have stuck with you through time slot changes and shortened seasons? Sure, RIB will likely end up giving us what we wanted in the beginning (a Klaine wedding), but now it will just feel tainted.

Glee no longer brings me as much glee as it once did. It hasn’t for a long while now.

And yet I still watch. I’m too stubborn to give it up. Though I still enjoy the covers, I now hate-watch the shows and seethe about how the writers have almost entirely given up on everything that was once good about Glee.

There seriously needs to be more hours to the day… or at least one more day included in the weekend. Right?

It’s been a busy few weeks… read a lot of books, saw a few movies and a couple shows on Broadway. I’m also 25+ chapters into the book I’m writing, have submitted query letters for the book I finished writing a few months ago, and have been having all sorts of terrible interactions with guys. (Ranging from seeing a guy jerk off in public to getting dumped by a guy via text even though we weren’t dating. Good riddance to that, though. The text guy was really rude and called me all sorts of names – “weird,” “crazy,” “complicated” – all because I wouldn’t tell him where I lived or agree to go with him to go see a movie right when he asked. Mind you for that last one, I was already in bed with a migraine. But this self-proclaimed “nice guy” told me he was done with me and wished me good luck finding someone as nice as him. Because, you know, “Just keep in mind I never asked for any obscene pics or anything like it.” Gross, right?)

But enough about my oh so entertaining personal life. This post will be about the three movies I’ve seen in the last two weeks.

The Maze Runner

I’ve read all four books in Dashner’s Maze Runner series and The Maze Runner is by far my favorite. I was really scared heading into the movie that it was going to be dumb… but it wasn’t. The Maze Runner movie was actually really well done for the most part. The cast (led by Teen Wolf’s Dylan O’Brien) was a capable group of young actors and they brought a real sense of urgency to the story. The guys in the Glade have been there for years, but the audience is introduced to them at the end of their respective ropes – Thomas (O’Brien) and the lone girl Teresa are the last two Gladers to arrive and then everything basically goes to shit. The large walls surrounding their Glade suddenly don’t provide the protection from the Grievers that they once did and they either need to find a way out of the maze or everyone will die.

There were some huge variances from the books that bothered me (the shape of the maze and Thomas and Teresa’s lack of telepathy, among others), but I bet if you haven’t read the books it wouldn’t affect your enjoyment of the film because you didn’t know what you were missing out on. I was looking forward to the cliff, but was okay with it not being there. I was not a fan of the big exposition-filled monologue at the end of the film. The movie was hugely entertaining leading up until that, and then it just felt like someone was sitting you down and explaining all this stuff you had absolutely no idea about if you haven’t read the books. But for the people who have read the books, it’s adding insult to injury by not using better plot devices to foreshadow what’s going on outside of the Maze.

Although I wasn’t a fan of The Scorch Trials or The Death Cure, I will see the latter films in this series. (I know The Scorch Trials is already in production…) I don’t watch Teen Wolf, but some of my friends do and have told me repeatedly of their infatuation with O’Brien.

I get it now.

This is Where I Leave You

A cast that strong deserved an infinitely better script than what they had to work with. I haven’t read the book from which this film was based on, but I think I probably would have liked it better just because it felt like the movie was missing something meaningful.

Four siblings and their mother gather to sit Shiva after the father/husband die (even though they don’t actively practice Judaism). Everyone’s got some sort of problem or secret going on in their personal lives – all stemming from relationship issues. It seems that just about everyone is unhappy, so they cheat on their SO or get cheated on by their SO or want to get pregnant or blah blah blah.

I am so sick of movies and shows that use cheating on people as a main plot point. Like, seriously? Maybe this is just me being naïve, but is that really a plot point that a majority of people can relate to? I know that I rarely side with a character that cheats. To me, that’s a cowardly way out of one’s problems and often causes even more problems later on. WHY CAN’T PEOPLE JUST TALK TO EACH OTHER? Hash out your problems instead of just screwing someone who isn’t your SO. You’re unhappy in your relationship? THEN TALK TO YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER AND DEAL WITH IT LIKE A FRIGGIN ADULT.

To top it all off, on top of all the cheating and whatnot, the movie wasn’t even that funny. It’s mostly a drama, but there were obvious attempts at moments of comedy and a lot of them fell flat. And as much as I love Tina Fey (I LOVE her. So much. She’s my lady hero and I’m actually in the middle of reading Bossypants right now…), she was not the right person to play the sister. Or maybe she would have been the right person if that character was written better. (The female characters were horribly underwritten and there were clichés everywhere. EVERYWHERE.)

You could tell that these characters were supposed to be complex, layered people… but they all just read as flat, douchey privileged people whose lives were falling apart because they were making dumb choices left and right.

I wanted to love this movie. But I couldn’t.

The one thing I did love… Will Swenson was the dad! He kept popping up in photographs and then he had a 30 second flashback. That 30 seconds was the most I was engaged the entire film.

I was so disappointed. On paper, that was one of the best ensembles of the year. On screen, it was just a bunch of talented people being underused as they told a story about irresponsible people making irresponsible choices.

Pride

A friend had free passes to see an advanced screening of Pride and I’m so grateful she asked me to join her.

Pride is based on the true story of how a small group of lesbians and gays in London helped raise money for a Welsh mining community in the mid-1980s. This film reminded me a lot of Billy Elliot, The Full Monty and Brassed Off… basically Margaret Thatcher, unhappy coal miners and how hope and a sense of community can go a long way.

The epically sad thing is, is that I had never heard about this story before seeing the movie – and I took a film class in college that dealt exclusively with the Thatcher Era and what was going on in GB during that time. Obviously this movie wasn’t out while I was in college, but we did study what was going on in the news at that time and this story wasn’t part of that.

Pride was one of the most inspiring films I have seen in awhile. It was really powerful to see the members of the LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners) raising money for a mining community simply because of solidarity. The lesbians and gays had dealt with adversity from the government and members of their community and thought that the miners shouldn’t have to deal with similar situations.

Of course there was a culture clash. The small mining community the LGSM was raising money for was not entirely receptive of the charity because some of the people in said community were homophobic. The LGSM and Welsh community came together through little events and meetings and eventually more and more people realized that the LGSM was just trying to help when seemingly no one else was.

Juxtaposed with the striking miners was the rising awareness of HIV and AIDS within the gay community. This plot line was not at the forefront of the film, but its weight could be felt throughout.

Though Pride was dealing with a low point in recent history, its overall message was incredibly powerful. It was a nice reminder that kindness to others really can go a long way and change peoples lives for the better.

What was really cool about the screening was that some of the actors and creative members from the crew (the director and screenwriter) were in attendance, but even more awesome was that some of the people whose real lives were portrayed on screen were there too! The LGSM member who was the second person in London to be diagnosed as HIV positive was there (according to the “where are they now” bit at the end of the film, he just celebrated his 65th birthday), as was a woman from the Welsh community who later went on to be a member of the government. I didn’t get a chance to talk to them, but I did see them in the lobby as I was exiting the theater and they were chatting with people about the film and their experiences when the strike was actually happening.

I did have a super brief moment in the lobby with Andrew Scott. Most people know his as Jim Moriarty from the BBC series Sherlock, but in Pride he played a member of the LGSM. He was taking pictures with people and talking to press and I was able to tell him how much I admire his work and did get a picture with him.

Pride opens in LA and NYC on September 26th, but I hope it goes wider because more people need to see this wonderfully uplifting film.