Friday, April 21, 2017

show review: RENT 20th anniversary tour

i'm typically iffy on most musicals; a full two hours of showtunes tend to make me start twitching. but there are two that i can't get enough of: rock of ages and RENT. i was fortunate to see the latter for the fourth (!) time on wednesday night at the shubert theatre in boston as part of the 20th anniversary tour, and it was fantastic and i teared up about four times.

based on the opera la boheme, the show premiered on broadway in 1996 and centers on a group of artists/musicians/creative types living in manhattan -- most of whom are drug addicts living with HIV/AIDS. not the sunniest subject matter, for sure, but most of the songs are surprisingly upbeat and get stuck in your head immediately. i had to stop myself from mouthing along the entire time like a freak. my favorite, "la vie boheme," from the movie adaptation which includes references to pee-wee herman, the sex pistols, soy burgers, dildos, and even pablo neruda.

the entire cast was incredible this time around, but i've gotta say that aaron harrington, an apparent "musical theater newcomer" who played tom collins, was far and away the best vocalist i've heard in a production (including broadway) in a loooong time. my mouth dropped open every time he sang, legit.

and of course, the iconic "seasons of love" just got me right in the feels as always. i mean, that high note at 1:16? HOW CAN YOU NOT SOB? she nailed it just like in this video, too.

TL;DR: go see RENT if you have the chance.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

5 things i love right now

1. this cover of the talking heads' "this must be the place"

covering talking heads is sort of like covering the beatles: if you're going to do it, you better damn well do it right. i was extremely skeptical (but intrigued) when i saw this on my spotify friend feed and listened intently, as the original is one of my favorite songs of all time. i hear a bit of vampire weekend, a bit of alt-j, and a bit of ra ra riot. i love it! what do you think?

2.  this new york times series, sunday routine

i'm endlessly fascinated by glimpses into the lives of random individuals, and this wonderful little times column satisfies all of my curiosities by profiling a sunday in the life of a well-heeled NYC resident each week (a radio city rockette, the editor-in-chief of redbook, bill nye!). i'm always surprised at how typical and similar to my sundays they are. and now, it's become a little sunday tradition of my own to read about them along with my morning coffee. how meta.

3. this insane dance choreography to the lil' jon classic, "snap yo fingers"

okay, SO. you guys know by now that i could happily watch dance videos from the millennium complex in LA alllll day. and probably have. but i've gotta say that willdabeast adams (red shirt) is the only choreographer that just kills it on a consistent basis, and i love that he mixes it up with not-so-current songs (like this one). his girlfriend, janelle ginestra, is a beast of a dancer in her own right; check her out in the front of that first group. and like, just look at them dancing together to one of my favorite guilty pleasure jams. power. couple. please never talk to me again if this doesn't make you smile:

4. this show, 13 reasons why

this teen drama, based on the novel of the same name, is minimal on the cheesiness, maximal on the drama and darkness, and just a really good guilty pleasure to enjoy with some wine and cheese while painting your nails or whatever. the basic premise: a teenage girl commits suicide, and leaves behind a set of 13 cassette tapes that explain her fateful decision. i'm only on the third episode, but i'm totally hooked.

5. these perfect summaries of harry styles' new, epic single, "sign of the times:"

Thursday, March 30, 2017

a spring fashion wishlist

i'm currently on a shopping hiatus to conserve funds, so i've been spending much of my time drooling over cute spring apparel on various sites, adding 20 items to my cart, and closing the window. please indulge me and enjoy some of the best pieces i've found in my recent internet travels.

this adorably springy dress and also maybe that pup (modcloth)

a retro bomber jacket (anthropologie)

a sassy romper that i'd have absolutely nowhere to wear (urban outfitters)

this cheeky graphic tee (human)

"cropped linen overalls" even though i typically hate overalls, because you can't deny these (urban outfitters)

some casual espadrille tennis shoes for $158 (anthropologie)

this unique and sweet '90s top (it says "just take these flowers")(etsy)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

around town: commonwealth market & restaurant

it's one of the most wonderful times of the year ... restaurant week! oh, sorry, i guess it's officially "dine out boston" or some nonsense now, but i will forever refer to it as restaurant week. for the past three or so years, my friend kathleen and i have had a standing date twice a year to stuff our faces for a fixed price at a variety of spots in the boston area: bergamot, tw food (RIP), henrietta's table, beacon hill bistro, marliave ... we've conquered 'em all and lapsed into food comas immediately afterwards.

we'd each been to commonwealth in cambridge's kendall square neighborhood shortly after it opened a few years ago, but i barely remembered the food. i distinctly do remember, however, being preoccupied with some dope i was dating at the time and agonizing over him the whole meal. LAME. so i was more than eager to reclaim commonwealth and savor every damn bite of my meal without worrying about anyone or anything.

if you aren't familiar with the concept of restaurant week, you basically get a full three-course meal for $38, and choose from a selection of appetizers, main courses, and desserts.

the vibe of the place is super rustic, with wood planks and white lights all around. basically the restaurant equivalent of a mason jar, if that makes sense. oh-so-cambridge.

there's also a market in the front portion of the restaurant, which offers all sorts of yummy treats and pickled things, etc.

but onto the food!

to start, kathleen opted for the nashville hot wings with slaw and bread and butter pickles:

and i ordered the crab-stuffed deviled eggs with salmon roe, which made them look kind of like little alien eggs or something:

(i'm kind of a deviled egg freak, and these were among the best i've had.)

for the main course, i went with the chicken cordon bleu with creamed leeks and green bean almondine:

and kathleen got the stuffed peppers with wild rice, roasted tomato sauce, and avocado ranch:

for the grand finale, i went all in with the red velvet cake, which was accompanied by toasted coconut ice cream and butterscotch oat crumbles:

(yes, i actually died and am writing this from the grave)

kathleen ordered the chocolate pie with banana cream and peanut butter cookie. guuuys.

everything was delicious, and the service was fantastic as well. if you find yourself near kendall square, i wouldn't hesitate to recommend commonwealth.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

are you my workout?


"so, you're just not going?"
my mother has mastered the ability to say "i'm not mad, i'm just disappointed" during every single conversation we have, without actually saying the words.
"no, not after yesterday. i felt like an idiot out there," i whined, pulling the covers over my eyes as i remembered the horrific events of my first day of summer field hockey camp.

okay, so nothing particularly bad even happened. i was just miserable, sweaty, and had no clue what the hell i was doing. i'm not sure exactly what possessed me to sign up, considering I'd never played a day of field hockey in my life, but i think it was the name: cave girl. at 15 years old, i was still trying to find my post-middle school identity, and anything i could do to make myself seem more tough and intimidating to the abercrombie-wearing, lacrosse-playing mean girls that made eighth-grade gym class a living hell was extremely appealing to me.

however, my newfound field hockey-playing persona didn't stick. it joined my brief elementary school softball stint (which ended because i was too busy collecting rocks on the field to catch the ball), and those bruise-inducing few months as a flyer for the church cheerleading squad -- they kept dropping me! -- in the graveyard of abandoned sports.  some people are serial daters, some people are serial killers. i'm a serial exerciser. sorry, i guess the correct term would actually be serial exercise dabbler.
the only constant that remained over the years was dance. from age four, i pirouetted, tapped, leaped, twerked, or some combination of those things on a regular basis, taking as many classes as I could handle and spending most weeknights in high school practicing with the dance team or performing during halftime at basketball games.
yet, much like the career of a professional ballerina, the window of opportunity to shake your groove thang in a controlled environment begins closing rapidly after you turn, like, 20, so here i am again. i've searched and searched for something that comes close to the exhilaration i feel when i stick a new piece of choreography and sync up perfectly with my fellow classmates, to no avail.
the music at jazzercise was surprisingly hip, considering that i was the youngest person in the class by a good 25 years. unfortunately, the moves were more ho-hum than hip-hop, and i think i may have offended some of the sweet octogenarians with my aggressive grapevines and plies. i just can't help myself when an usher remix comes on, man. then, i threw myself into another craze, something called "turbokick." it was inexplicably held in a pole-dancing studio that proved extremely distracting, and incorporated far too many push-ups, burpees, and actual exercise for my taste.

a while back, a coworker dragged me to her "pure barre" class. i have to admit, i really had high hopes for this one based solely on the name. a workout that utilized the ballet barre had to be perfect for me, right? wrong. there were no elegant arabesques, dainty chêne turns, or graceful across-the-floor work. there was, however, a cult leader of a teacher that kept using foreign words like "tucking" and "seatwork" as she reprimanded me for not doing them, or doing them, or doing them wrong. i still have absolutely no idea and don't really give a tuck. the struggle, as they say, could not have been more real. every day for the next week, i silently cursed everyone involved in the evening of october 21, 2015 as i hobbled to and from my cubicle and my car, indescribably sore and full of pure rage for pure barre.

to calm down and get some clarity or whatever, i turned to yoga. i desperately wanted to like it, but i think my chi's out of wack because i just could not get it under control long enough to stop whispering to the women on either side of me about how lame the new-age music was. i said namaste, and then waved adios, to downward dogs and children's poses for good.
needless to say, the quest for my perfect workout continues. for now, i burn most of my calories in the best way my 30-year-old self can: twisting and shouting, doing the electric slide, and kicking up my heels to "cotton eye joe" in a fancy cocktail dress, glass of wine in hand. at least i don't have long to wait before wedding season rolls around again.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

i refuse to title this post "netflix 'n chill"

at the risk of sounding like a total fuddy-duddy, i'm fairly new to the netflix world, having finally took the plunge for the gilmore girls reboot in november and sticking with it because i got hooked on stranger things. here's what i've been watching lately, for better or worse. more recommendations, please!

audrie & daisy: 8/10

be forewarned that if you decide on this documentary, your evening (or day) is about to take a pretty dark turn. audrie & daisy explores the world of teen sexual assault and cyber-bullying through two recent cases. it was fascinating and very well done, but i was utterly disgusted by the lack of remorse and self-awareness on the part of both the boys involved in the cases and the sheriff who led the investigation of daisy's case ... to the point where i was actually yelling expletives at the TV. still, very much worth watching.

tiny furniture: 7/10

i fiiiinally got around to watching this indie film, written by and starring lena dunham of girls fame before she created the show. between the plot (aimless post-grad millennial moves back in with her mom, complains a lot, and has cringe-worthy sex with a terrible dude in a large metal pipe) and the other stars (jemima kirke, who plays jessa on the show, and alex karpovsky, who plays ray), it's basically like an extended girls episode. if you're a fan of the show, this isn't a bad thing, and it was equal parts enjoyable and infuriating in the same way.

comet: 5/10

y'all know that i'm always down for a good out-of-order love story a la 500 days of summer, or my personal favorite, peter and vandy. comet drew me in by promising a similar plot ... and justin long. the only difference was that it was supposed to take place in "a parellel universe." maybe i'm dense, but i didn't even notice this element in the movie, nor did i understand why it was necessary. a couple more gripes: it was paaaainfully slow at parts, and the female protagonist, played by emmy rossum, was a total pretentious bitch. actually, the whole movie had an air of pretension that was just lame and didn't sit well with me. mehhh.

twinsters: 6/10

being an adoptee myself, i was intrigued by this documentary about a girl who randomly discovers the identical twin sister she never knew she had through youtube. i'll admit it was a bit plodding at points, but my personal connection to their story kept me watching. plus, it was really cool to witness these pretty amazing milestones: meeting each other for the first time, getting DNA testing, attempting to contact their birth mother. the girls' personalities shone through, and it was a heartwarming watch overall.

good kids: 6/10

i'm never above turning off a movie at any point if i get bored with it or start to dislike it, and i was fully expecting to reach a point of exasperation with this one. however, i found myself at the end, having enjoyed it much more than i thought i would. like a poor man's eurotrip -- minus the whole, um, europe thing -- meets american pie, good kids centers on a group of four sorta-nerdy recent high school grads that want to make up for lost time before they leave for college. yes, there are some extremely silly characters and plot lines, like a hippy-dippy martial arts teacher who calls himself "the lion" and the geeky ringleader prostituting himself to the cougars to whom he teaches tennis lessons, but it's all in good fun. if you don't take it too seriously, it's a perfectly fine summery romp.

the invitation: 8/10

what a delightfully freaky, slow-burning psychological thriller. the basic premise: a man and his girlfriend show up to a dinner party at the home of his ex-wife and her new husband in the hollywood hills, and things just get weirder from there. within the first half-hour, there's a coyote getting hit by a car, a wacky pants-less woman, and a group viewing of a cult video. i lost count of the times i uttered "what the fuck?"/"what is happening right now?" and "ohmygod i'm scared" aloud after that. the wary ex-husband, will, is perfectly portrayed by logan marshall-green, and his expressions were probably my favorite part of the movie. i'd post the trailer, but it would spoil the fun. if you're into creepy, suspenseful b movies, this one's a winner.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

5 things i love right now

1. this dude on youtube, the fitness marshall

i recently realized that my whole issue with exercising in the morning is not necessarily the exercising part, but the actually-leaving-my-house part. going to the gym at 6:30am? hahahaha NOPE. but after i received an apple tv for christmas, i had the brilliant revelation that i could now work out in the comfort of my living room with some help from youtube. enter the fitness marshall, who is not only my new favorite person, but also my new source of cardio and endorphins in the morning. the man is a talented dancer and keeps it current in terms of hip-hop tunes, but more than that, he's simply hilarious and sassy and great. this routine was the one that won me over. "SLAY THOSE DISHES!" i'm dead.

2. this now-defunct band, jank

don't you haaaate when you get really into a band and a) see that they had a show near you like, the prior week OR b) are already broken up? the latter is the case with this philadelphia act, jank, who were around for less than a year before some sorta personal drama caused them to disband. at least they left this great album, versace summer, in their wake. reminiscent of other emo revival/garage acts i enjoy like donovan wolfington and tiny moving parts, they've got great hooks and lots of fun, raw energy.

3. cole sprouse's tweets

yes, the cole sprouse from the disney channel show the suite life of zack & cody. i don't even know how i discovered his feed -- perhaps it was during one of my fleeting cougar moods  -- but so what, who cares, it's hilarious. here are some of my favorites:

4. this app, 1SE

might be late to the game on this one, but i saw it on my facebook feed on new year's day and thought it seemed like a pretty awesome concept. it allows you to record a 1-second snippet of each day for a year (or as long as you want), and stitches the clips together in a little life movie. i started a week late, but it'll still be pretty cool to see once it's all said and done.

5. this funny, tarot-inspired artwork

WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THIS? just kidding, i couldn't draw this stuff even if i had. :(

Sunday, January 15, 2017

what does your perfect day look like?

a writing prompt that i saw a while back, which encouraged you to describe your ideal day, stuck with me. it's not really something i think about often, but i'm guessing no one really does, right? anyways, the whole point of the exercise was to note which parts of your perfect day weren't currently part of your daily life, and make an effort to incorporate them into your routine. instead of being super cheesy and poetically mapping out a day from beginning to end, i just came up with the elements mine would include.

  • coffee, crossword puzzle, and breakfast in bed (or on my non-existent patio...)
  • day trip to a place i haven't been, preferably one with a cute downtown i can explore
  • picnicking in a park
  • a not-too-strenuous hike
  • baking a cake to replenish all of the calories burned on the hike
  • a dance class
  • a cocktail at my favorite bar, jm curley
  • relaxing dinner at a good restaurant that has chicken piccata or something equally as delicious on the menu
  • going to see a band i really like at an intimate venue
  • cuddling on the couch and watching a movie while drinking wine and eating pizza hut pizza (very important)
  • ...uhhh what happens when you cuddle on the couch drinking wine

your turn!