Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Hedwig and the Angry Inch



Another very high energy show. Two hours of now stop music. A funny and very poignant show.

And Darren Criss who played Hegwig was amazing:
All I can say is, Criss’s towering performance is a revelation. And plenty of Gleeks turned out to see him the night I attended, jumping and whooping without knowing the lyrics to the songs (which is how I deduced they came via Glee and not Hedwig). This wallop of a show has the power to convert TV fans to theaterhounds if anything does.

Criss gets strong support from a twistedly charismatic Rebecca Naomi Jones (Passing Strange) as Yitzhak, four fine onstage rock musicians, bang-up glam costumes (by Arianne Phillips), and those titanic wigs (by Mike Potter) called out in the song “Wig in a Box.” Kevin Adams’ lighting and the artfully childlike animations add atmosphere and spectacle. But all would be for nought without an intensely charismatic Hedwig, and Criss fits the bill and more as the self-obsessed, spiteful, and gleefully punning antihero who proves herself heroic after all in soldiering on through disappointment after disappointment.

An amazing performance.

We stayed around after the show to get pictures. At least that' what Denis and I got. Christian got a couple of autographs as well. Darren was the last one out. Probably about an hour after the show ended.

I used the burst function on my camera to get pictures. It's hard to get good shots when the person is looking down at what they are signing. Here are a few. You can see he still has nail polish on.









Charlie Brown Goes to Camp, Part I

Here is a very funny series from Peanuts of when Charlie Brown goes to camp. Enjoy






Charlie Brown Goes to Camp, Part II

The conclusion of Charlie Brown's adventures at camp.






Monday, June 29, 2015

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time



That was the first show we saw. I have to say all the things we saw over the weekend were high energy. High energy with a bit of loud screaming thrown in as well.

This was a great play. But the stagging added to just how amazing it was. As Christian said if this had been a straight play, it would not have been as impressive. The set was fairly bare bones. Just a stage with a grid on it. But at the same time it was incredibly elaborate. The main character would use chalk and draw on the floor and you would see those drawings on the back wall. There were small doors on the side walls that gave access to all sorts of props. There doors in the floor that lead to discoveries by the main character. There was even a recreation of train tracks on the Tube.

It really gave insight into what an autistic person’s life if like and what happens to the lives around that person. Also the lengths that some people will go to hide events from people. And the havoc of hiding those events can cause.

Here’s a sampling of reviews:

New York Times:
But more than any mainstream theater production I know, it forces you to adopt, wholesale, the point of view of someone with whom you may initially feel you have little in common. That’s Christopher Boone, a 15-year-old mathematical genius for whom walking down the street or holding a conversation is a herculean challenge.

Played by the recent Juilliard school graduate Alex Sharp, in the kind of smashing Broadway debut young actors classically dream about, Christopher is in some ways a parent’s nightmare. He hates being touched, is bewildered by the common clich├ęs of small talk and is sent into cataclysmic tantrums by any violation of his rigidly ritualized world.

But he has a distinct advantage over most of us, and he knows it. “I see everything,” he says, while looking out the window during the first train ride of his life. “Most other people are lazy.

Variety

Believe the buzz. The National Theater Production of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” is spectacular, like Cirque du Soleil with brains. Scribe Simon Stephens has made sensitive work of adapting Mark Haddon’s bestselling book about a high-functioning boy with Asperger’s Syndrome who learns to use his uncanny genius for math to navigate the world. Under Marianne Elliott’s imaginative direction, a brilliant design team allows us to inhabit the boy’s consciousness on a terrifying journey that begins with the death of a dog and ends with his discovery of the power of his own mind.

In his extraordinary debut performance, Alex Sharp (who graduated this spring from Juilliard) plays 15-year-old Christopher Boone, who lives in a suburb of London with his father (Ian Barford, in a searing performance) and attends a school for children with special needs. Christopher exhibits the behavioral traits of hyper-sensitive autistic children, including the screaming meltdowns when someone touches him. But he also has that characteristic and quite wonderful inability to tell a lie, along with a prodigious talent for mathematics that his sympathetic teacher, Siobhan (a radiant Francesca Faridany), cultivates.

Washington Post:
“The Curious Incident” revives, on the strengths of its ingenious design and the dazzling portrayal of its main character, 15-year-old Christopher Boone, by 25-year-old Alex Sharp, in a thoroughly commanding Broadway debut.

Based closely on Mark Haddon’s 2003 novel, about a gifted English boy who’s challenged both by a neurological disorder and the severe disturbances of his broken home, Simon Stephens’s script begins with Christopher’s discovery of the body of a neighbor’s dog, speared by a pitchfork — a killing at first mistakenly blamed on him. And though the play embarks with Christopher on his mission to find the killer, the show’s more important ingredients are the unusual workings of Christopher’s brain.

Bunny Christie’s set, a grid lined like a piece of graph paper, is a splendid canvas for Christopher’s rigidly ordered, numerically oriented circuitry, as well as for the images generated by video designer Finn Ross and lighting designer Paule Constable. The odd gaps in Christopher’s ability to relate to other people — he can’t bear to be touched, for instance — are filled for us by the pictorial rendering of his interior life. Projections of cascading numbers and letters, representations of street noise as flashes of undifferentiated static, vividly capture the external stimuli that overwhelm him.

You know a play is pretty special when it gets nominated for best choreography.

I was blown away by it.

I was told by Stu to stay after everyone took their bows because there was one additional piece of the play. Earlier when Christopher was taking his test there was a problem he wanted to show his work for. His therapist says that that would bore the audience. She suggested doing it after the play ended. And that’s what happened, Christopher showed his work on the problem. A great way to end the show.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Ride Up and the Hotel in NYC



The ride up was slow. Not that there was a great deal of traffic but because the driver drove slowly.

I timed how long it took to go a mile a couple of times. All those times he was going under 60 miles per hour.

We were running late. I texted Denis to say I would be bringing the bags to the hotel while Christian went and got the tickets to our first show.

It turns out we were not all that late. The back up at the Lincoln Tunnel was not bad at all. Even quicker was getting across town. That can take 15 minutes or more some times. This trip we only stopped when we hit a red light. I think that was in part because it was an over cast and sort of drizzly day.

We got off the bus and headed up to the hotel, The Row. Dropped off our stuff. Had a few minutes to rest and then headed out.

The hotel is really nice. As I said before it has the City Kitchen there. The location was just fantastic. You are right in the center of Times Square. Rooms were a nice size. Solid comfy beds with nice pillows (there can never be enough pillows as far as I'm concerned). The only draw back was the bathroom was on the small size and the shower had almost no water pressure.









Catching Up with the New York City Trip



I've fallen even farther behind on posts. So trying to make up for it over the next couple of days.

At the hotel we stayed at, The Row, was this place called City Kitchen which had a place that sold donuts. And oh were they great donuts.






Cuddly Kitty Cats Up for Adoption



My friend, Yolanda, is a volunteer with the Washington Humane Society. She's part of a cat adoption fair this Sunday.

The fair will be at Annie’s Ace Hardware, 1240 Upshur St NW, today from 12pm – 3pm.

So if you are looking for a furry friend and companion, stop by the fair this Sunday and see all the wonderful cats ready to be adopted.

More about the Humane Society:


The WHS Mission
The Washington Humane Society inspires and creates a community where all animals have secure homes and where people and animals live together with joy and compassion.

About WHS
The Washington Humane Society (WHS), the only Congressionally-chartered animal welfare agency in the United States, has been the area’s leading voice for animals since 1870. As the open-access shelter in the Nation’s Capital, the Washington Humane Society provides comfort and care to over 43,000 animals each year through its broad range of programs and services including sheltering for homeless animals, a comprehensive adoption program and off-site adoption events to find new families for the animals in our care, low-cost spay and neuter for pet owners and other local organizations, an aggressive TNR (trap-neuter-return) program for feral cats (CatNiPP), investigations of each allegation of animal cruelty or neglect through the Humane Law Enforcement, lost and found services to help reunite lost pets with their families, pet behavioral advice to help resolve issues that lead to animals being relinquished to shelters, working with breed rescue groups to find more homes for more animals, volunteer and foster programs to allow other members of the community to help us help more animals and an award winning Humane Education program that teaches kindness to animals to the next generation of animal lovers.

I just love the picture she found for this month's event!

You can also follow the Petworth Monthly Cat Adoption Event on Facebook.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Uberwhelmed

That’s how I can best sum up my first experience with Uber. Completely underwhelmed.

I downloaded the app several weeks ago but kept forgetting to set it up. I was going to use it to go home from a late game the week of my birthday. But hadn’t set up my account. I finally did that last week.

The game Tuesday night went late because of the rain delay (an over two hour delay and the game was long too). I thought I can get home using Uber. I’m all set to go because I’ve got the account set up. Mark showed me a little of how it worked. I thought it can’t be that hard.

The game ended around 12:15. I headed out. A couple weeks back when I walked to Union Station after a game I had a conversation with a Capital Hill policeman on the grounds of the Supreme Court. We talked about the game (one the Nats happened to loose). He’d mentioned he used Uber. But he always walked a little ways away from the park then called for his ride.

I thought that was a good idea and decided to do the same.

And that was the start of my adventure.

I walked a few blocks from the park. Looked at the app. It still showed me at the park. I figure maybe I’m not far enough away for it to get my exact location. I walk a little further. The same result.

I find the main menu (not as easy as it should be) and look at the instructions on how to get a ride. It says it uses Wi-fi and GPS to find you location. I thought well maybe that’s not on. I open settings and find the Uber app. It says it used my location when the app is on. So it should be able to figure out where I am.

I close the app and open it again. I figure that might make it work correctly. No such luck. I decide to walk to Capitol South. I turn my phone completely off. I figure maybe that will clear everything out and it will work. I get to Capitol South. Turn the phone back on. And the app still says I’m at the park. Well actually it says I’m on M Street a few blocks from the park.

I read more instructions. You can enter the address where you are at and then call for a car. I try that but I some how can’t get that to work. I’m a little pissed at this point and decide to get to Union Station where I can get a cab home.

I get to Union Station and look at the Uber app again. I’m not at the park anymore. I’m at the Russel Senate office building. Not!

I duck into Union Station to use the restroom. When I get back out I head for the taxi station. And there is this huge long line of people waiting for a cab. A train had obviously come into the station. I’m just a little exasperated by this time. I look at the Uber app again. I’m actually at Union Station. I’m trying to figure out when a car might be near the Station. And time when a car will be there change likes every ten seconds or so. Six minutes. No 14 minutes. No 20 minutes. No 16 minutes. And it changes and changes and changes.

I have a desire to throw the phone on to the ground but I don’t. I walk to First and Mass Ave and start looking for a cab. In a few minutes I’m able to flag one down. Ten minutes later I’m home. It’s now well past one but at least I’m home.

I’m sure I wasn’t using Uber the way it was suppose to. But it seems to me it should be much easier to use. When I don’t have to be anywhere specifically at a specific time. When it’s not the middle of the night. I’ll try Uber again and see if I get a better results.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Good Win for the Nats

Teddy toots out lets go Nats on the horn


Stephen Strasburg returned to the mound last night. He threw 94 pitches over 5 innings. As I said earlier that was a little high in comparison to Atlanta's pitcher. But not a bad first game after being injured.

Strasburg said:
“All this time I’ve been working on mechanics and working on fine-tuning things,” Strasburg said. “But when you go out there between the lines, you go out there and compete. I wasn’t going to think about mechanics at all. I was just going to give it everything I had.”
 Strasburg has had a hard couple of years. I've been to several games over the past few years where he's pitched really well. He allowed only a couple of runs. But the Nats offense couldn't provide any support and he ended up loosing games.

This year seems a little different in there have been games where he has just been pummeled. Thus the reason his ERA 6.55 this year. But after this game it's down below 6. Here's hoping it continues to go down. I expect that over his next few starts he will be pitching longer into the game.

Once Strasburg left the bull pen took over. Tanner Roark pitched two great innings. He continues to show just how good he is at what he does. Matt Thorton in the eight. Then things got really exciting i the 9th. Drew Storen came in. Storen got two out then loaded the bases. Thankfully he got a batter to pop up and Wilson Ramos caught the ball and ended the game.

The Nats offense was pretty good last night. They had 12 hits. But they could have done better when runners were in scoring positions. They went 4 for 10. Bottom of the 8th Nats had runners on first and third with one out and couldn't get anyone in. This needs to get a little better for the Nats to continue to win games.

But I was glad for the win even if, like I said, the 9th inning was a nail bitter.




Wild Weather at Nats Park Last Night

Grounds crew out to remove the tarp.


The storm was huge. Thunder and lightening every where. Lightening struck a construction crane near the park. It made a huge noise.

Then after things started to clear the sky turned a really strange color. I got a little of it in a couple of shots I took.

The reason for it:
But after the rain stopped, the real fun began. What made the sky turn that angry shade of crimson? The Capital Weather Gang’s Angela Fritz explains:
Sunsets tend to be most brilliant when there’s clean air — like the kind that’s been washed of pollution by heavy rain — and mid- or high-level clouds for the sun’s rays to bounce off of. Last night, instead of just one layer of clouds for the sunlight to reflect from, there were ragged low and mid-level clouds and above that a more uniform deck of altostratus.
As the post-storm clouds streamed southeast across the metro, they reflected the sun’s upward rays back toward Earth and to our watching eyes. All of the different elements came together to create a multi-layer sunset that looked like brush stokes on a canvas.
Follow the link to see some pictures Nats players took. Also a link to the lightening strike.



You can just make out the rainbow here.


Looks like the clouds were boiling.


More boiling clouds

Strasburg is Solid in His Return From the Disabled List

Strasburg did pretty well. He pitched five scoreless innings. His pitch count was  a little high, 94, but he didn't allow any runs. He got the win as the Nats defeated Atlanta 3-1.

Not that there wasn't some drama to get the win but that was in the 9th inning after Strasburg had left the mound.

More on that later today and my first less than favorable attempt to use Uber.

But now it's off to bed.

Another Amazing Trip to NYC



I’m already behind with posts and this will make me even more behind. And I have a game tonight. Well actually now it's last night.

A real quick recap. The trip was great. Really didn’t have any problems at all. A minor glitch with the bus rides but that really didn’t impact the trip. I think the theme for this trip was high energy. Each of the shows we saw were very high energy but in different ways. And Broadway Bares was just amazing. One of the best ever.

Here are a couple of pictures from the trip. Hopefully starting on Wednesday I will be able to make some headway. Then there is all the news to catch up with as well.

The bottom picture gives a little flavor of the trip!

More. Lots more really soon.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Strasburg Returns

Strasburg returns to the mound tonight. Here's hoping he's got his stuff back. 

He is pitching against the Braves. 

And there's a possibility of a storm or two before the game is over. 




Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sunday Morning in Central Park

Always an amazing walk. 













The Start of a Great Trip to NYC

Another great to to New York City. 

Saw the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. Just amazing. 

A great dinner at Joe Allen. 

Then off to see Hedwig and the Angry Inch. 


A great first day in New York. 

Oh then a late night snack at Europa. 





Friday, June 19, 2015

Nats Loose 5-3, Even Worse Harper is Hurt

Part of the storm before the game


Talk about a silence descending on a crowd, that's what happened the 6th inning when Harper went down. As the Post describes it:
Bryce Harper rolled on his back on the damp outfield grass Thursday night at Nationals Park, grabbing his left leg in the sixth inning, grimacing in pain. Shortstop Ian Desmond was the first to rush out to right field. Athletic trainer Lee Kuntz, Manager Matt Williams and center fielder Denard Span were not far behind.

On the night Doug Fister returned from injury and the Nationals fell to the Tampa Bay Rays, 5-3, the sight of their best player, one of the top offensive forces in the National League, writhing in the outfield was difficult for an already banged-up team to watch. After a few minutes, Harper limped off the field under his own power, and after the game, Williams said the injury was a mild left hamstring strain.

Once Harper got up and gingerly walked off the field, people in the stadium began to breath again but just barely. The main problem, besides Harper getting hurt and that is potentially the big problem, was the inability to get runners across the plate when they were in scoring position.

The Nats were 4-14. Even when the Nats were down in the later innings, they got people on base. Just couldn't get runs out of those at-bats. One bright spot for the night was Yunel Escobar going 5-5. He was one of the runners stranded on base. Sigh.

This was Doug Fister's first start after coming off the disabled list. He did pretty well. A home run in the 2nd. Then there was all the problems in the 6th after the rain delay. If Harper hadn't slipped, we'll never know exactly what would have happened. But certainly the ease of two runs scoring would not have been there.

A sequence of Fister on the mound. You an actually see the ball. Well the blur that's the ball.





I like Fister. He is very much a no nonsense picture. Gets the ball and fires way.

His thoughts on Harper's injury:
“Once I got my bearings around and we figured out where we were, the initial thought is, okay, ‘what’s wrong with Bryce?’ ” Fister said. “He’s still on the ground looking like he’s in a little bit of pain. We figure out what’s going on with him. That’s unfortunate for us. If anything’s wrong, we never want to see anybody go down, especially one of our teammates.”

The rain before the game produced a rainbow which was very pretty. But, unfortunately, was not a good luck charm of the Nats on Thursday.