Dinner and a Movie

Tonight, gf_guruilla and I did something we haven’t done in a while (other than our regular theatre evenings): we went out to see a movie (Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore), and then had a lovely Italian dinner, before coming home.

The movie was excellent. I wish everyone would see it, and see how we’ve been led into fighting the wrong enemy. We should encourage Congress to investigate the claims made in the movie, for if they are true, we’ve been criminally misled. I said it best to my wife walking to the car after the movie: Clinton didn’t screw anyone, left a stain, and got impeached for it. Bush screwed the country, left a stain on our reputation around the world, and gets away with it. Where are our  values? Go see Fahrenheit 9/11. [Warning: Some scenes are too strong for children, and I’m not talking about all the footage of Shrub.]

On the Small & Feisty front: We didn’t receive a letter, but my dad received a postcard. She wrote that she is having a really great time at HK (Hess Kramer), and her counselor Mo is really cool. I think camp was a good investment: she’s having a great time and learning about Judaism, and we’re getting some needed decompression, and she’ll come back to happier and less stressed parents. Win-win, in my book.


Everything Today Is Thoroughly Modern… Sort Of…

Today, we went to go see Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Ahmanson. It didn’t leave me as excited as other musicals or plays have. Yes, the dancing and the music was great. However, the show had a number of problems:

  • The plot was, shall we say, stupid. You needed to disengage your brain, unlike Urinetown. It didn’t even have a message like Hairspray. This is mostly the fault of the movie they started with—they were stuck with the white slavery plotline. They tried to recover, but it was just silly.
  • Much as the actress playing Millie (Darcie Roberts) could sing and dance the part, she just didn’t have the right ingénue look.

There were some good parts—in particular, Pamela Isaacs was great as “Muzzy”, and Diana Kaarina was great as “Miss Dorothy”. I also noticed an increased trend as a result of the Internet: quite a few of the cast listed their websites in their biographies!

This is a summer for musicals for us:

One additional observation. As we were walking up to the Ahmanson, my wife and I were commenting on the number of original Music Center sponsors that are gone: Security Pacific National Bank, Litton Corporation, TRW, Hughes Aircraft, Teledyne Systems; Carter Hawley Hale; and others. All of these are no longer around to support the arts in Los Angeles. Who has filled their shoes?


A Day at the Movies

Today was a day at the movies. Originally, we were going to get together with ellipticcurve, but she was not feeling well (and we hope she feels better), so it was just the family.

We started out seeing Shrek2. Reviews have found this better than the 1st, but I found it to be suffering from sequilitis, i.e, if it got a good reaction in the first, let’s put in more in the second. There were some very funny bits, and overall it was quite good… just not as inventive as the first. There were lots of movie parodies and little references; it will probably be worth getting on DVD to look for the stuff that goes by. There was less than usual after the credits. Some of the new characters were great, and I bet that most kids that saw it don’t get the “Mogo” reference.

After a lunch and shopping break (we were at the mall of course), we came back to see Harry Potter 3. I found this to be very good. They cut stuff from the book (of course), but they kept the story moving. The casting, in my opinion, was supurb. I applaud the producers for not only keeping the main actors around, but the minor actors as well.

As for the previews, here’s my opinions/predictions:

  • SpongeBob Squarepants Movie: Pffft.
  • Shark Tale: Too derivative of Nemo, will barely break even if it does.
  • The Incredibles: Looks good, will do well.
  • Vanity Fair: not our taste; ellipticcurve and L will like it
  • I Robot: Will Smith Action Movie. Pfft.
  • A Cinderella Story: Teen movie. Pfft. Small & Feisty says she wants to see it.
  • The Terminal: Looks good.
  • Polar Express: A Christmas movie. Limited interest. I’m not interested. I don’t think it will be a hit.
  • The Notebook: So unmemorable I forgot about it for 24 hours. Won’t pay to see.
  • Catwoman: Very short trailer. Probably an eye-candy movie, not much substance.

Now on to a fun evening: The Tony Awards. We watch this as a family as well; I’ve gotten my daughter into liking Musicals. I applaud her taste in music: when the youth of today is following the Brittanys, Hilarys, and so on, she stands by the Spice Girls, her favorite group. I may not love their music, but I applaud her standing by her taste, whether it is in-style or out.


For Those Who Like Wisteria and Sunshine

[Disclaimer: Although this is dated Saturday evening, I’m really writing this Sunday morning. I often do this for the late night entries, so if the tense gets screwed up, that’s why]

Today has been pretty good, although it ended with one of the headaches I often had. I have to remember to keep Excedrin with me.

During the day, I went to the barber (and am no longer quite so shaggy), filed all my Temple paperwork (so that I can transfer it easier), and updated my master calendar. In particular, I added dates for the Concerts in the Park that VCC [May 27 Update: The link now works] sponsors. These are free Sunday afternoon concerts that are held in Warner Park in Woodland Hills. The three that were of potential interest to me were: July 11, Preservation Hall Jazz Band; July 18, Young Dubliners; and August 29, Glenn Yarbrough and the Folk Reunion. For sure, I know we’ll make it for Preservation Hall Jazz Band; Dixieland can be fun, even if you can’t cakewalk.

This evening, we went to the Pasadena Playhouse and saw Enchanted April [review]. I’d recommend folks to go see this, but it closes Sunday night. This is the story of four women who rent a castle in Italy, filled with wisteria, for a month in April, shortly after the “Great War”. During the month, their dour rain-wearied British souls become re-enchanted, and you see each rediscover the enchantment within themselves. A very good play, with some excellent actors and actresses. My wife liked Chris Conner, who played Anthony Wilding, the castle owner; I liked Nancy Bell (who played Lotty Wilton) and Monette Magrath (who played Lady Caroline). Next up on the Playhouse schedule is a musical: 110 in the Shade, with music from the folks that did The Fantastics and I Do! I Do!.


Urine Good Company

Little Sally: What kind of musical is this?! The good guys finally take over and then everything starts falling apart.

Officer Lockstock: Like I said, Little Sally. This isn’t a happy musical.

Little Sally: But the music’s so happy!

Officer Lockstock: Yes, Little Sally. Yes it is.


Little Sally: I don’t think too many people are going to come see this musical, Officer Lockstock.

Officer Lockstock: Why do you say that, Little Sally? Don’t you think people want to be told that their way of life is unsustainable?

Little Sally: That, and the title’s awful.

Officer Lockstock: I suppose you’re right, Little Sally. I do suppose you’re right.

[Lyrics quoted for review purposes]

Today, we went to go see Urinetown. Ignore the bad name, and go see Urinetown while you can. It is one of the funniest musicals I’ve seen in ages, with obvious parodies of other musicals, great acting, and one of the most satirical and sardonic books I’ve seen in ages. For those not familiar with the story, simply put, it is a classic love story about a boy and a girl, fighting injustice in an town whose bladders and pocketbooks are oppressed.

If you’re not in Los Angeles, and the tour comes your way, go see it.

BTW, this was my first time at the Wilshire Theatre. Really good sight lines; much better than the Pantages.

We went to the Grove for dinner afterwards. This was my first time there since they’ve redone it. At least the Farmers Market core is still there, but the Grove itself is overpriced (a few good stores). It’s fun for the people watching, but unless you’ve got extra cash, you can likely do better elsewhere. They do have an interesting replica Gilmore Gas station, but the buyer for the Farmer’s Market store needs to learn history. He/She has it stocked with Route 66 merchandise, but Route 66 ran along Santa Monica Blvd, not Beverly or 3rd.