Sunday, January 20, 2013

California is great

and I like it a lot.

I've hung out with Alexia and my grandmother and Ruthy, I've had Mexican food four times with a fifth time on the way, treated myself to a double-double, explored San Diego and the zoo (pics to come on facebook!), attended Shawn and Sara's lovely lovely lovely wedding and danced a lot at the reception! Watched the 49ers head to the Super Bowl, and am watching Baltimore and New England in the AFC championship!

I'm not going into lots of details because there will be pictures and because everyone has been hanging out with me while I do all these things!

Oh, also I saw Les Mis and have lots of thoughts about it. Some of them are, poor Russell Crowe, how did no one realize that he was utterly out of his depth and embarrassing himself and bringing down the movie and how did they not replace him?!?!? Hugh Jackman is a stellar actor and has a great belting voice and strong musical theatre technique, but lacked the chops for the offhand and quiet stuff, most crucially "Bring Him Home." (I just caught a glimpse of the 25th Anniversary Concert version on TV in between football games. That guy knows how to do "Bring Him Home.")

(that guy being Colm Wilkinson)

I think the music director was a little too hands-off. Anne Hathaway was delightful. Amanda Seyfried threw her songs away with a weird short of breath wavery vibrato thing, which is a shame because I hear she's classically trained, and her voice underneath is beautiful. Aaron Tveit is brilliant, as are all the students, probably because they're actual Broadway performers/classically trained. Also, he is super hot. I kind of liked the new placement of "Do You Hear the People Sing" - straight out of the book, really - and I loved the build of it... and then they threw it away. Another four bars of repeat in harmony would have made it so satisfying and stirring. Although it was a little slow for my tastes; I happen to think it oughta be a march! Speaking of placement of songs, though, some of it really derailed the build of the show, especially with the orchestral tweaks it made necessary. I particularly thought it problematic that the recitative section wherein Valjean is in the convent and panicking mistakenly that Javert has found them didn't lead straight into "One Day More." The actor who played Eponine was the best female singer of the bunch, and she acted the crap out of it too. That said, I wanted more direction, and fewer big face shots of people crying. "One Day More" I think was shot nearly as well as it could have been, but it's just not as strong without seeing everyone standing all together, which you can do on stage with some locational suspension of disbelief but which you can't really get away with in a movie. But did they need that many close-ups, in "One Day More" or in the Finale? Ack. Also I missed the Fantine-Eponine harmony in the Finale. The kid playing Gavroche was great, and also totally looked related to the kid playing little Cosette.

Short version, I don't love the show but it has grown on me. I liked the movie a lot but with many critical caveats.

Unrelatedly, I have "Love Take Me Down to the Streets" (Not Wings) stuck in my head, and now I want to watch Role Models. Also, I Love You, Man.

Monday, January 14, 2013

I Probably Don't Want to Read This Book

but I LOVE the cover!

If only, possibly, because I'm so sick of photo covers.

Anyway, here I am in LA, hanging out with Ethel and Ruthy and Alexia, soon to see Meredith and the good ol' OC, San Diego for a wedding... oh, you know all this!

Also I'm reading 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson. Science fiction, but not up my usual alley. Very long. I'm almost 200 pages in and I'm finally starting to get into it. We'll see how it goes! Also I'm memorizing 1492 (I think I posted it in my Chanuka post!), publicizing CSJO and J-West, I wrote two songs (except they're sort of the same song) on the plane and can't wait to sit down at a piano and get the stuff behind the lyrics and rough melody, scribbling a bit more flesh-out into the opening third of the book I started writing 8 years ago (I know I can finish a novel, I've done it before... but, you know, can I? and will it be good? It isn't, yet), seeing Zero Dark Thirty tonight (ack. But I know it will be good for me), MEXICAN FOOD.

I love California!