grrgoyl: (snowcake scrabble)
[personal profile] grrgoyl
As promised, I have returned from my trip to New York, and I bring stories. I was going to try to write in bullet points in an effort to keep it short, but as usual my wordiness got the better of me. So

First, the flight in. Not that eventful but for my seatmate: A tall thin pleasant looking guy, who took the aisle seat in the hopes that our third was a no-show. We shared stories of past flights where we had lucked out with an empty seat. I had just fallen in love with him for pulling out a tattered copy of "The Tao of Pooh" when our third came stumbling on the plane seconds before the doors closed, a sweaty overweight kid with a hacking cough. Pooh and I looked at each other ruefully, and I promised not to hog the arm.

Our love seemed pure and true, that is until halfway through the flight when I became aware of him very blatantly and aggressively picking his nose and eating it. Not that that's a deal-breaker. However, the nose-picking combined with me technically being married to Tery might be.

On arriving in Boston, the first hurdle to overcome was my 2-year-old niece, whom I hadn't seen for a whole year. I'm pleased to say her adoration was bought for the low, low price of an Elmo hat found at an airport kiosk moments before boarding in Denver. That and a game I played where I made a moose figurine saunter past her dinner plate and pretend to try to steal her food. She LOVED me.

She is really one cheerful little kid

So much so that when Amy and I returned from dinner my last night there, to my surprise Jane looked towards the door, completely ignored her mother in front of me and squealed delightedly, "Auntie Yaine! Auntie Yaine!" Not too shabby for someone who doesn't consider herself to be a "kid" person.

Before I forget, dinner was my beloved Friendly's clamboat platter, pictured here:

I'm going to print it out and hang it above my bed

Now for New York. We took the bus, a 4-hour ride which wasn't too terrible except for sitting directly in front of the restroom which smelled increasingly vile as the hours stretched on (in addition to the floor inexplicably becoming covered with water halfway through).

We landed in Manhattan, stopped for lunch at a Greek place that claimed to have the best burger in the city (I had a turkey burger so cannot comment), then plotted our route on Google Maps. I swear, how did anyone find their way around before smartphones?

First stop was the New York Marathon expo for a souvenir for Tery. We hoped to get in and out quickly, but there were thousands of people in that building. We stopped at the first apparel vendor we saw, where I snatched up the first shirt that caught my eye. It just happened to be the most popular style, with only two left on the shelf that were soon being squabbled over by other customers. We paid for it and escaped as quickly as we could through thousands of people.

Then it was on to the theater. I should mention that these locations were all separated by about ten blocks, give or take. Anxious to avoid the subway, this meant a determined racewalk to make sure we got there on time, so we were pretty sweaty and miserable by the time we arrived with about ten minutes to spare. However, Amy was pretty proud of how well we did and announced that "New York's not so hard!" (that's a joke -- we totally lucked out to have all our destinations in fairly close proximity to each other.)

We thought we'd stop quickly at the restroom (remember my disastrous Equus trip where my diminutive bladder stood between me and a possible Daniel Radcliffe autograph); unfortunately, the line for the ladies' curled around to all four corners of the basement. The gents', of course, did not. It became so ludicrous that they decided to make the men's room co-ed, which worked for a few minutes until the guys started getting shy and using the stalls too.

We got to our seats. I was extremely anxious about sitting in the back section (albeit the front row of the back section), but I didn't even need the binoculars I packed. Sure, the next section down would have been better, but we could still see everything perfectly, so kudos to Broadway for designing theaters where almost every seat in the house is the best one.

Amy was seated next to a 20-something girl who kept texting even after the curtain came up (I asked her to put it away and she immediately apologized and did so. And people say New Yorkers are rude). Whereas I was stuck next to an older woman who kept trying to sneak hard candies out of her purse, taking an agonizing five minutes to unwrap them crinkle by deafening crinkle. Wouldn't you plan ahead and unwrap them all at home first?

The play. The first scene was all setup for the four young writers, no sign of Alan, giving me a good ten minutes longer to stress about whether he was actually in this performance (remember, previews and matinee, plus Tery's gleeful speculation that he wouldn't show). Then he strolled out onto the stage, and my heart skipped a beat (didn't stop completely, which is what I expected).

He was larger than life. He completely dominated the space. Four other actors who? It became so easy to forget they were there, particularly with the staging that almost never had them physically interacting, always at opposite ends of the set. The few times Alan did walk among them, they seemed frozen like trees, probably like I would be.

It was so surreal to see him up there, in the same room as me yet still so untouchable. At times, it seemed like a really high quality 3D movie. But movies don't show us his face when he's not delivering lines, and he apparently has a nervous habit of twitching his jaw when not speaking. Yum.

What's the play about? You mean other than staring in awe at Rickman? Leonard (Alan) is a washed-up writer giving private seminars to young aspiring authors, though as you would expect he is quite brutal and at times grossly unfair in his critiques. I had a professor just like him in college, dubbed the "anti-Christ of English majors." Not nearly as sexy though just as harsh. I earned my first C grade EVER from him. Maybe I wouldn't have minded if he looked like Alan.

The role was clearly written for him. I know he hates to be typecast (as all actors do), but there's no denying he has an innate talent for nasty, snarky, unpleasant characters. And when the summary promised "sexual mindgames" for some reason I didn't dare hope they would involve Alan, but he almost immediately sets about seducing the pretty Asian girl (mostly offstage, except for one scene where he stands behind her and idly runs his fingers through her hair while lecturing), then later the tall blond feminist whose work he tears apart the most cruelly.

The dialogue is clever, quick and witty, yet skillfully lighthearted while people's dreams are being torn down and stomped into itty bitty pieces. Then the whole tone changes when one of the students proves to have real potential. Unfortunately he has lost all respect for Leonard, setting Alan up to deliver the passionate speech that's obviously the heart of the play, about how hard a writer's life is, especially if you become successful (that dreaded second book).

Act III takes place in Leonard's apartment where he's shacking up with the blond. At one point she pads out in nothing but a man's shirt and her panties and kisses him, I mean a full 30-second snog. I didn't even notice what he looks like kissing someone (he DOES occasionally get to in his movies), all I could think was "That lucky bitch gets to kiss him eight times a week!"

This moment quickly paled to the next however, after she leaves the room and he gloats about her to the talented student with the words "She sucked my balls until I saw stars!" Wh...what? Did...did he just say "sucked my balls"??? I may have blacked out for one or two seconds after that. Oh, the imagery. I wouldn't need to read any Snarry for a week.

Oh yes, and Alan runs on stage. Remember my Alan Running observation? (He seems to run in all but maybe three of his many, many movies. And he doesn't run well.) That alone might have been worth the purchase price (well, that and "she sucked my balls").

The play ends with Leonard offering the student to become his protege, and the student appearing to consider it. Fade to black.

We exited the theater and met up with [ profile] swankyfunk. The plan was obviously to try to get an autograph. We joined the others waiting on the sidewalk, though we seemed to be last in line. A security guard announced that Alan wouldn't be coming out, but we all stayed anyway in hopes that he was lying. I was clutching my imported copy of Snowcake in a sea of pseudo-fans holding only the Playbill from the show.

(Of course Tery, who LOVES to insinuate that I'm Alan's only fan, had joked about this. "Mr. Rickman, you have fans outside waiting for autographs." Alan (with exaggerated astonishment): "I do??" Followed by acting out personalizing each autograph for his fanclub of octogenarians, Ethel, Gladys, get the idea. She thinks she's sooooooo funny.)

Jerry O'Connell did come out (oh yeah, did I mention he was in it?) and was very gracious, signing for everyone and even taking pictures with people. My sister got an autograph, but stupid me was just too singlemindedly focused on Alan to get one as well (plus I was only holding the DVD cover, and it would have made very little sense for Jerry to sign that).

Jerry O'Connell being awesome

Alan didn't come out (Tery theorized he needed a nap before the evening show). Had I been a better actress I could have worked up some sobs, maybe wailed about how I had come all the way from Colorado for him, how I had GONE ON THE PILL FOR HIM, but I doubt that would have been very well received. It's all moot now. Had I known there'd be no photo op outside, I might have tried harder to get a pic inside.

To answer the poster's question: Money would be no object. I would sell my niece if I had to

After stopping for an early dinner at an Italian restaurant (which actually played a Billy Joel song), we headed back to the bus pickup, stopping at the theater where Dan Radcliffe was performing in "How to Succeed in Business" (literally one block away from "Seminar"; I like to imagine Dan and Alan meeting for dinner occasionally for old times' sake) when we noticed a cluster of fans outside the stage door. We stayed and watched for awhile to see if he would come out. I announced that I wasn't leaving until SOMEONE signed my damn DVD cover. Amy turned to Meisje and said, "I think you're going to have to sign her DVD cover." Then they started putting the barricades away. Dan was a no-show too. These Harry Potter stars get a little fame and instantly forget about their fans.

I would have liked to maybe check out the birthplace of Occupy, but Meisje assured us it was pretty far south and not easy walking distance.

Our walk back to the bus was lovely, simply by virtue of having enough time to not make a forced deathmarch out of it. We stopped for photos at the Empire State building and to admire the biggest post office we'd ever seen (it stretched for three city blocks. It was as big as Parliament!) Then Meisje generously waited with us at the bus corral.

I ducked down to try to get the Empire State building in the pic, giving Meisje a fleeting taste of being taller

I love the building and the moon in the back

Somehow we got herded into standby, which was good in that we got to leave an hour sooner than planned, but bad in that we were among the last ones on the bus. The only seats left were along the back, where we were sandwiched between a teenage girl who kept falling asleep and plopping in Amy's lap, and on my side a woman who it seemed was calling everyone in the tri-state area to inform them she was on the bus. I mean it, she must have spent the first two hours on her phone, and when she wasn't chatting loudly she was waving it around in my eyes like a flashlight. I kept praying for the battery to die, but she seemed to have that Cloverfield technology, i.e. electronics that keep running beyond all reasonable expectation.

New York was the highlight of the trip, and the most stressful. With that out of the way, we had two days with nothing to do but hang out together. Monday Amy took me to her YMCA where we rode stationary bikes with video screen programs that were insanely fun -- the bike automatically increased resistance for hills and you could shift gears and everything. A really, really great workout, and of course the minute I got home I looked into something similar. (No luck. The closest I could come was the Cyberbike for the Wii, which has the video interaction but unfortunately doesn't change resistance automatically. I'll see how much of a waste of time it is on Friday.)

Jane suddenly became shy during our traditional "holy crap, we need a group photo before I leave!"

Then the plane ride home, where I had the most considerate seatmate you could ask for: When we landed he insisted on pulling my bag down out of overhead for me, and was equally adamant I proceed up the aisle in front of him. People like him are a dying breed, and it really helped my trip end on a high note, so thank you, kind sir.

And that was it! Back to my dull, Alan-less life for the foreseeable future. Although I'll always have "she sucked my balls."
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December 2011

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