Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday - And the Oscar Goes To ---

Good Morning my loyal and faithful readers who have been anxiously awaiting my predictions for the winners in the major award categories at tonight’s 81st Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Award Ceremony aka The Oscars.

I have to admit that I haven’t seen all of the pictures and actors that are in contention for the various awards, but I have seen:

Slumdog Millionaire
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
The Wrestler
Tropic Thunder

and I believe these are enough to justify my opinions and predictions, so ... without further ado ... here goes:

BEST PICTURE - Slumdog Millionaire. I loved this movie, but I also liked Milk and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

BEST DIRECTOR - Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire.

BEST ACTOR - Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler. I also thought Sean Penn was awesome in Milk. I wasn’t that turned on by Brad Pitt as Benjamin Button.

BEST ACTRESS - ????. The buzz seems to favor Kate Winslet in The Reader (which no one has seen) but I would love to see Meryl Streep win it for her outstanding role in Doubt. I think, though, that Winslet will win.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR - Heath Ledger as The Joker in The Dark Knight. If there is a lock on any of the categories, this is it, although, honestly, I personally liked Robert Downy, Jr., in Tropic Thunder, better.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS - in this category the only one I didn’t see was Penelopy Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and there is a lot of favorable buzz about her. In this one I am going to pick, tada, Taraji P. Henson for her role as the Mother in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

So there you have it my loyal and faithful readers. Will I be glued to my TV, you ask? Well, actually ... no, not at first because I have a show at 7:30 at the theater on 59th Street called:

“Fresh Kills” - Off Broadway. “Staten Island, New York. Thirty-something Eddie is restless, his wife Marie is busy trying to impress the Women's League with her kitchen cabinets, and their six-year-old is off camping with the local cub scouts. When Eddie meets sixteen-year-old Arnold on the internet, his life suddenly takes a turn. The two meet and it soon becomes clear that Arnold's interests go beyond night-time encounters.” (complimentary ticket).

I have a lot more to report, including some future travel plans, but I will post this and then do something later on in the day, hopefully.

Oh, a lot more negative news coverage on the Yankee ticket fiasco. The ones who seem to have been shafted the most are those former partial season ticket holders who had weekend packages. They are being offered weekday packages only. Why? Because management wants the stadium on weekends to be filled with newbies who will be buying food, booze and souvenirs.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturday - Yankees - I Am Not Alone

The following story appeared in Saturday’s Daily News --


The Yankees are getting a new stadium but some of their most loyal fans are getting the shaft.

Hundreds of full and partial season ticket holders got word yesterday they aren’t getting the seats - or packages - they requested in the Bombers’ new digs. And that’s breaking their pinstriped hearts.

‘It’s so sad what they’re doing to the fans,’ said Marie Wallace, a partial-season ticket holder since 1996 who would fly up from Florida to see her favorite team play.

“I wanted to have seats comparable to what I had before, near the first base line. They told me I was high on the list. Then they put me in these horrible seats by the foul pole line and told me I should be grateful.’

A Brooklyn fan, who asked to remain anonymous because he’s still trying to snag season tickets, said he, too, didn’t get the seats he asked for.

‘These are the real Yankee fans,’ he said. ‘They’ll bend over backwards for the big corporations, but not for regular guys like me.’ Another disappointed fan - a partial-season ticket holder - said he was prepared to shell out more dough for the worse seats because he loves the Yankees and he knows a new stadium means higher prices.

‘I specifically requested a weekend package because that’s what I had before and that’s when I can see the games,’ he said. ‘They offered me a weekday package and basically said take it or leave it.’

There were similar laments on Yankees fans’ websites.

‘I have been a Yankee fan since I could say Mickey Mantle,’ wrote a fan named Johozak, who had seats above the Yankees dugout in the old stadium but was priced out of the new park. ‘Looks like I will be watching games at home.’

Another fan using the handle Three-generationalofyankeefans said he couldn’t have been clearer about what seats he wanted - and when he wanted them.

‘My Saturday plan is now a weekday 12-game plan,’ he wrote. ‘I had been behind home plate and now I am past third base.’

A spokesman for the Yankees said he was not prepared to comment on the furor.”

So, it appears that I am not the only one who is pissed with the Yankee front office.

Just a couple of other observations - I do have an understanding of why all of this is happening and it is about - tada - the money. The Yankee brass knows that people who buy tickets for individual games almost always spend more money at the game than do we season ticket holders. I am a prime example - I don’t spend any money at a game. I sometimes will fork over $4.50 for a bottle of water, but that is it.

Also a lot of season ticket holders take advantage of the rather liberal policy of permitting food to be brought into the stadium, so long as it is packed in a clear plastic bag. Bottles and/or cans were not permitted.

I don’t know if this policy is being carried over to the new stadium. If it is, I have a gut feeling that it will be phased out in order to increases onsite food sales.

Another observation - the Yankees have an “arrangement” with StubHub regarding re-sale of individual tickets. We are “encouraged” to use them to sell tickets that cannot be used, for whatever reason. My gut tells me that even though there is an exchange policy in place, the availability of tickets for exchange will be virtually nonexistent, so our alternative will be to eat the ticket, or ... tada again -- use StubHub.

These and other “business” decisions place us in the conundrum of loving the team but hating the management.

Oh well, I have vented enough. I still can hardly wait for the season to begin, so ...

Go Yankees!!

Billi Pod

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday - Good News and Bad News from the Yankees

Yesterday I received the official notification from The Yankees regarding my 2009 season ticket package request. It contained both good news and bad news.

First a little history. I have been a partial season ticket holder since 2001, opting for what was called a “20-game Flex Plan,” meaning I could select which of the 20 games I wanted to attend, with certain restrictions regarding “premium” games, ie. Boston and The Mets.

Each season I also purchased tickets to additional games, making my regular season record of between 33 and 38 games. I opted for a seat location in the Loge area but was never in the same seat from game to game. The Loge is a covered area between the field level and the upper deck. In 2001 my seats started in the area just behind either lst or 3rd base but, dammit-to-hell, each year my seat assignments were moved further and further into the outfield areas. This was due to more seats going to corporations and big spenders. This pissed me off, but there was nothing I could do about it.

When the 2008 season ended we were sent notices that all season ticket holders, regardless of type, would be placed in a “relocation pool” and would subsequently be offered a package based on things like seniority, prior history and availability. The Flex Plans were eliminated. We were given the opportunity to request other packages.

So, I took a deep breath and requested an upgrade to a 41 game package that begins with the Opening Game and then every other home game thereafter. I also requested a seat location in the area in the new stadium that most closely resembles (as best as I could tell) the Loge area in the old stadium.

When the envelope arrived yesterday I took a deep breath and opened it - well, first the bad news, I was offered only a 20-game package that begins with the second home game and then every 4th game thereafter. Ticket exchange is permitted, subject to availability.

The good news - the seat location is excellent, section 212 in the Main area, row 4, seat 11, right in the middle of the section. It is on the first base side about 1/3 of the way between lst base and the right field wall. It is the same seat for every game.

I was given the option of declining the offer and seeking an upgrade, which meant that I would be placed back in the “relocation pool’” and would forfeit this package and seat location. They stressed that there was no guarantee that my request to upgrade would be met. I would have until February 27th to decline, or to pay in full ($1,425.00). The tickets are $15 more per game than last year.

Actually, once I calmed down and thought about it, I determined I was better off to accept this seat location, thereby establishing priority status for future seasons, than running the risk of being upgraded to the 41 game package but with shitty seats, or, worse-case scenario, not being offered anything.

I slept on it and, as “they” say - the check is now in the mail and I am glad the issue is finally resolved.

When single game tickets go on sale to the general public I will try to score some additional games but I know that most games will be sold out early on.

Couple of other observations about the new stadium - the old Yankee stadium had a seating capacity of 56,886 and the new one is 52,325 (including “standing room” - whatever in the hell that means). The outfield dimensions in the new stadium are exactly the same as in the old one. Seats are wider and there is more leg room. The old stadium had 4 dining and lounge options, the new one has 12. Restroom availability has been increased by 35%.

I am more than ready for the season to begin.

Have lots of other stuff to report, but will post this and then begin working on the other stuff.

Go Yankees!!

Billi Pod

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Who Is Jack Schitt? - Revealed!!!

For some time many of us have wondered just who is Jack Schitt? We find ourselves at a loss when someone says, “You don't know Jack Schitt!”

Well, my loyal and faithful readers, thanks to the genealogy efforts of my dear friend, retired District Court of Appeals Judge Gilbert Goshorn of Gainesville, FL, you can now respond in an intellectual way. This is what his former Honor reported to me in an email this afternoon (and you know whatever a former his Honor reports MUST be true):

“Jack Schitt is the only son of Awe Schitt. Awe Schitt, the fertilizer magnate, married O. Schitt, the owner of Needeep N. Schitt, Inc. They had one son, Jack.

In turn, Jack Schitt married Noe Schitt. The deeply religious couple produced six children: Holie Schitt, Giva Schitt, Fulla Schitt, Bull Schitt, and the twins Deep Schitt and Dip Schitt.

Against her parents' objections, Deep Schitt married Dumb Schitt, a high school dropout. After being married 15 years, Jack and Noe Schitt divorced. Noe Schitt later married Ted Sherlock, and because her kids were living with them, she wanted to keep her previous name. She was then known as Noe Schitt Sherlock.

Meanwhile, Dip Schitt married Loda Schitt, and they produced a son with a rather nervous disposition named Chicken Schitt.

Two of the other six children, Fulla Schitt and Giva Schitt, were inseparable throughout childhood and subsequently married the Happens brothers in a dual ceremony. The wedding announcement in the newspaper announced the Schitt-Happens nuptials. The Schitt-Happens children were Dawg, Byrd, and Horse.

Bull Schitt, the prodigal son, left home to tour the world. He recently returned from Italy with his new Italian bride, Pisa Schitt.” source: Crock O. Schitt

Now, my faithful and loyal readers, when someone says, “You don't know Jack Schitt,” you can correct them, thanks to the selfless efforts of Gilbert Goshorn. Thank you, your former Honor.

I only report - you decide.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Saturday Morning in The Big Apple

Good morning from the Greatest City in the World and to each and every one of you loyal and faithful readers out there in cyberspace - Happy Valentine’s Day too!!!

I am happy to report that the weather here was somewhat better over the last several days although wind was a nasty factor on Thursday. It is now in the low 30s but that is much better than the low teens.

Yesterday I completed my entertainment schedule for the next 10 days and this is what it looks like at this moment --

Saturday, February 14th - 8:00 - “East 10th Street: Self Portrait with Empty House” - Off Broadway. “Edgar Oliver takes the audience on a fantastic voyage through the strange rooms of the apartment house where he has lived since his first years in New York. Inhabiting the dark, mysterious halls of an East Village tenement building are a dwarf Cabalist, a possible Nazi, the landlord's former wet nurse who apparently lives in a nest of rags, and many other memorable persons.” (complimentary ticket)

Sunday - 8:30 at Carnegie Hall will be a concert called: “Music of Bach, Handel, Sibelius, Bernstein, and Wagner,” performed by various choruses and orchestral groups from around the county. (discounted TDF ticket).

Monday - 8:30 - at Carnegie Hall - “MidAmerica Concert - Sweet Adelines” - presented by the Christchurch City Chorus from New Zealand, Prairie Winds Chorus from Texas, and the Olympia Chorus from Washington. (complimentary ticket).

Tuesday - 8:00 - “Will Ferrell: You’re Welcome America. A Final Night with George Bush” - Broadway. This is the press blurb for the show: “It’s time for a change in America, but not without a few parting words from the 43rd President of the United States. Don’t miss your chance to discover the man behind the myth, the truth behind the lies, and the logic behind the illogical in this limited Broadway event. If you keep in mind that our recently retired head of state was president of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity at Yale University -- which is generally considered the inspiration for the film Animal House -- and if you also keep in mind that Will Ferrell has made a specialty in his movies of playing adult men suffering from seriously arrested development, then you'll have a good idea of what's in store for you in this 80-minute show.” (full price ticket)

I was fortunate to score a good mezzanine seat for this show because the run is virtually sold-out. The show has gotten very good reviews and I am looking forward to it. Just sorry my dear friend Gil Goshorn of Gainesville, FL, couldn’t see it with me since he is such a Dubya supporter. Oh well ...

Wednesday - 2:00 - “Taoub Groupe Acrobatique de Tanger” - Off Broadway. This sounds very interesting: “Like the intoxicating scent of exotic spices, Groupe Acrobatique de Tanger will transport you to a far away fantasia. The lively sights and sounds of a Moroccan bazaar fill The New Victory as this agile troupe climbs and cavorts its way through dramatic tumbling and balancing acts. Evocative staging, mesmerizing music and aerial exploits conjure illusions of majestic mountains and vast terrains.” (discounted TDF ticket).

Thursday - 7:30 - “Humor Abuse” - Off Broadway. “Humor Abuse is the unique story of Pisoni's upbringing as the youngest member of the Pickle Family Circus, the Bay Area's tiny big top that entertained thousands of people worldwide and launched the careers of several legendary performers. Filled with the clowning that Pisoni learned at his father's knee, and the wonder, heartache and complexity of stepping into (and out of) his father's shoes, Humor Abuse shows that running away with the circus isn't always all fun and games.” (discounted TDF ticket).

I feel rather confident that this show will be in either the “love it or hate it” category.

Friday - 8:15 - “Gates of Gold” - Off Broadway. The press blurb for this show is: “Written by acclaimed Irish writer Frank McGuinness, Gates of Gold is an acerbic duel between Hilton Edwards and Michel MacLiammir, the fashionable and eloquent theatrical trailblazers who founded Dublin's internationally acclaimed Gate Theatre.” (discounted TDF ticket)

This show is at the 59th Street Theater that usually has stuff I really like.

Saturday - 2:00 - “Blood Type: Ragu” - Off Broadway. “This show is a humorous and poignant exploration of the Sicilian immigrant experience based on the life of writer/performer Frank Ingrasciotta. This one-man-show features more than 20 characters, who live, love and laugh as they struggle to thrive in a new culture, while nurturing the traditions of the old. Its not drama . . . its just family! And we all have one.” (discounted TDF ticket).

Sunday - open at the moment.

Monday - 8:00 - “Broadway By The Year @ Town Hall” - concert. “The Town Hall presents the opening concert in its critically acclaimed BROADWAY BY THE YEAR series. The first concert features THE BROADWAY MUSICALS OF 1924 featuring music from The Student Prince, Lady, Be Good!, Rose-Marie, Charlot's Revue, The Music Box Revue of 1924 and more.” (discounted TDF ticket).

These concerts are usually very well performed and a lot of fun. Since it is on a Monday night when most Broadway shows are dark, the audience will have lots of “theater-type” folk in attendance and that is always nice.

So, that’s Billi Pod’s agenda for the next 10 days in The Big Apple.

In summary form here are my comments and observations about entertainment events mentioned in detail in the February 4th and 10th postings --

Tuesday - February 10th - “The Story of My Life” is a two-man Broadway musical about friendship and the personal cost of success, performed by Will Chase and Malcolm Gets. Even though there has been a lot of very negative chat-board buzz about this show I found it to be very well performed and very moving, as did the folks seated on either side of me.

Wednesday - the matinee performance of “Becky Shaw,” a comedy/drama about a first-date that doesn’t go as planned, was funny and also thought-provoking, although it didn’t help that during the final scenes the theater shook from demolition work on an adjacent building. We had been assured that a deal had to been made to keep everything quiet during the run of the show. Oh well, it is NYC after all.

That night was the premiere of Demetri Martin’s show “Important Things with Demetri Martin” on Comedy Central. I was looking forward to this show since I have seen Demetri Martin several times in live performances, but I have to say that I was under-whelmed. Hopefully things will get better and funnier as the show develops.

Thursday night was a very interesting comedy/drama called “The Savannah Disputation” about two Catholic spinsters who allow a Pentecostal missionary into their home, causing each of them to question their beliefs. Even though it had comedic moments, it really was more depth and drama. I liked it a lot.

Friday night I returned to The York Theater in the basement of the Citicorp Building to see “Enter Laughing” for my 5th visit since the show was first presented by The York as a staged reading in 2006. I guess I fall into the category of being a groupie but I can’t help it because I still find this show to be one of the funniest and best performed shows in the City. It is based on the autobiographical novel by comedian Carl Reiner, and tells the hilarious story of a stage-struck, woman-struck teenager who blunders his way into manhood via showbiz.

It does have a following because there were 5 other people in the audience who had seen the show 5 or more times. It has been selling out. It closes on March 8th and I hope to see it one more time.

Well, you loyal and faithful readers and you cyberspace friends, you are now up-to-date, so ...

Go Gators!!!

Billi Pod

PS: I hope that all of you who receive this via email understand that what you get is a draft version of the posting and that the final product is on the website:


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday - An Activity Report For You

What an interesting time the past 7 days have been. I attended a very eclectic array of entertainment events, most of which were detailed in the February 4th posting. In summary fashion these are my reviews, comments and thoughts --

Tuesday - February 4th - “Lansky” is a one-man show by Mike Burstyn about the last years in the life of mobster Meyer Lansky, including his unsuccessful attempt to become an Israeli citizen. It was very well performed and I learned a lot about the Jewish mafia. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS SHOW.

Wednesday - the All Mendelssohn concert by the New York Philharmonic was wonderful. The conductor was former Musical Director Kurt Masur and he gave a very emotional tribute to his friend, composer Lucas Foss, who died earlier in the week.

Thursday - in the February 4th posting I made the following observation about the Encores! production of “Music in the Air” --

“The Encores! can be hit or miss but my experience has been more hit than miss.”

Well, unfortunately, this revival of the 1932 musical by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II gets put in the miss column. The show just didn’t work for me. It didn’t help that my seat was in the far rear mezzanine where the sight-lines suck.

Friday - the early preview production of “This Beautiful City” was outstanding. The show is a musical based on interviews done in Colorado Springs and focuses on the impact the Evangelical movement has had on the city. Needless-to-say, the fall of Ted Haggard played a major role. The staging and sets were excellent.

Saturday - in the afternoon I took a deep breath and finally saw the Brad Pitt movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” about a man who ages backwards. The reason I had delayed seeing it is the running time - 2 hours, 47 minutes, which is a long long time. Having said that, I found the show to be very good, especially the performance of Cate Blanchett. It has been nominated for and won numerous awards. I recommend it.

Thank goodness it had warmed-up because my evening show, “Jeffery Self - People I Have Slept With Who Never Called Back,” was at the Ars Nova venue, located about as far on the Westside as you can get. It is a long walk from the closest subway station.

The house was sold out and as might be expected, it was a very young audience of mostly gay guys in their 20s. The show was funny, risqué and very enjoyable, lasting just one hour.

Sunday - in the afternoon was an outstanding concert at Lincoln Center by Joshua Bell, violin and Jeremy Denk, piano. The audience gave them a well-deserved roaring standing ovation at the conclusion of their concert.

That evening I saw another movie, “Doubt,” starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep, about a nun who believes a priest is having an “improper” relationship with a young altar boy. She sets out to drive him out of the parish, even though the evidence of his so-called wrongdoing is scant at best.

I believe Streep deserves and will win the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the role of Sister Aloysius. Man, I am not even Catholic and she scared the crap out of me. This is another “must see” IMHO.

Last night, Monday, I saw the very first preview performance of the new Broadway drama “33 Variations” starring Jane Fonda as a music scholar who is investigating the true reasons behind Beethoven’s seeming obsession with a trivial waltz, for which he wrote 33 Variations.

The house was full and as might be expected for a Monday night performance, there were a lot of “theater-type” folks in attendance. The woman is also dealing with her diagnosis of The Lou Gehrig Disease, which is always fatal. In the cast is Colin Hanks, Tom’s son, and he does a nice job. I found the play to be very entertaining and thought-provoking and I liked Jane’s performance. The show got a thunderous standing ovation. They have a month of previews before opening so I am certain it will only get better and better.

So much for things I have seen - tonight is a Broadway two-man musical called “The Story of My Life” which has received mixed buzz. Wednesday afternoon will be the well-reviewed comedy “Becky Shaw. Thursday the comedy/drama “The Savannah Disputation,” and Friday night I will return to The York Theater to see “Enter Laughing” for my 4th time. Yeah, I know, but I really think the show is funny, I am a York Theater patron and the young man who plays the lead does a terrific job.

Saturday is open at the moment.

Sunday evening at 8:30 at Carnegie Hall will be a concert called: “Music of Bach, Handel, Sibelius, Bernstein, and Wagner,” performed by various choruses and orchestral groups from around the county. (discounted TDF ticket).

Again, as described in a previous posting, I have to admit that the highlight of the past week was the scoring of the tickets to see tapings of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.

Let me end this posting with an update on the brothel issue that I reported on in the February 1st posting. In that posting I questioned whether the super and staff knew what was going on in the apartment on my floor. Well, this is what I learned from a “source” who has a “source” on the condo board --

Yes, the board suspected something illegal was going on and they had attempted to get the owner to do something about it but were unsuccessful because the owner was: old, retired and living in Florida; unaware that anything was going on;and, was pleased with the occupant’s payment history. The board felt it didn’t have enough evidence to institute action themselves against the occupant. This building is a condo, not a co-op.

But, a board member had a connection to the local vice squad, so the staff began to keep a record of the comings (no pun intended) and goings in the apartment and ultimately the board convinced the police that something illegal was happening, thereby resulting in the sting operations. The city initiated the proceedings to bring about the ouster of the occupant.

Whether this is true or not I don’t know but the occupant moved out of the apartment on Monday, however, there has been nothing official from the condo board or the managing agent about what happened and I think that most of the residents remain unaware of what went down (again, no pun intended). I also find it rather unnerving that the doormen were keeping records regarding an occupant’s activities and all that stuff.

But, as far as I am concerned - case closed and I can honestly say that I no longer live in a brothel aka a whorehouse.

And, you loyal and faithful readers ask, what about A-Rod’s use of performance enhancing substances in 2003 before he joined the Yankees? Well, all I can say at this point is ... A-Rod is a Mother F**king A-Hole.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Monday, February 9, 2009

Monday - Billi Pod Scores x 2

In my 2008 Activities Report I posted on January 12, 2009, I made the following statement:

“Seeing a taping of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report also remains on my to-do list.”

Well, my loyal and faithful readers, I am happy to report that I have scored tickets to a taping for each show.

First was The Daily Show. Saturday night I went online to their website and found out that the first available show was Monday, July 13th, so I did all of the stuff the site required and I have a “confirmed” ticket.

I think that “confirmed” means I will be on their list when I show up at the designated time. This is an excerpt from the confirmation email --

“Our suggestion on arrival time is between 3:30pm and 4:00pm. We over book all shows to ensure that all seats in the studio are full. Therefore, entry into the studio is on a first come first serve basis. You reserved your tickets with us but you will not be confirmed until we start giving out our studio tickets. Our doors open at 5:15pm. Show ends around 7:15pm. You may not obtain tickets for auctions, fundraisers, raffles or any kind of benefits through this method.”

Their studio is 733 11th Avenue, between 51st and 52nd Street.

I immediately went to the website for The Colbert Report only to discover that no dates were available for the next 12 months. Damn and double damn. The site did suggest frequent availability re-checks.

Oh well, thought I, at least I have a ticket for Jon Stewart.

This morning, on a whim, I went back to The Colbert Report website and was stunned to see that they had listed an available date, Tuesday, April 14th. Needless-to-say I immediately started the process and I am happy to report that I now have a “confirmed” ticket for that date, with the following conditions --

“Everyone attending must be at least 18 years old. Tickets are non-transferable. The person whose name appears on the ticket must be present. Everyone attending must have a government issued photo I.D. You will not be emailed or sent physical tickets. Please give your name at the door. We strongly suggest arriving by 5:15pm. We overbook all shows to ensure that all seats in the studio are full. Therefore, entry into the studio is on a first come first serve basis. A ticket reservation does not guarantee entry. Our doors open at 5:30pm. Show ends around 8:00pm. You may not obtain tickets for auctions, fundraisers, raffles or any kind of benefits through this ticket reservation system. Individuals may only attend once every six months unless asked back to a specific show by a member of our production staff.”

Their studio is at 513 W. 54th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues. It is a few doors down from Ars Nova.

I am sooooooooooooo charged about this.

I have a lots of good things and stuff to report but first I have to finish my errands, yes, Monday is Errand Day for moi.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wednesday - Billi Pod Is At It Again

Despite the nasty weather and snow and freezing cold I have been scheduling and then attending lots of things and stuff. I actually drafted this posting on Saturday but didn’t get around to finishing it up until this afternoon, Wednesday, so the timing and tense(s) may be a bit off.

Before getting into the details, and I know for some of you too many details, I just have to comment that this posting typifies why I remain in The Big Apple during the winter rather than heading somewhere to a warmer climate. Where else, my loyal and faithful readers, could I even approach the things that I have scheduled and done for the timeframe covered in this posting, roughly from January 29th to February 12th?

This is why Billi Pod aka Reverse Snowbird aka Bill Norris lives in the Greatest City in the World, The Big Apple. So, without further ado, lets get on with the narrative ... beginning with ...

Monday, February 2 - at 1:00 I had my semiannual HIV test and the results were NEGATIVE. Then I had a late lunch down in the Lower Eastside at Spitzer Corner with student/bartender/manager Scott Reed. It was excellent. This coming weekend Scott is flying out to Seattle for a whirlwind first time visit, including snow boarding at Whistler, British Columbia. Have fun Fabson, have fun.

8:00 - “Plan B, The Musical” - Off Broadway. “This musical comedy in one act, tells the story of a young scientist named Johnny who is working on the Perfect Woman, a robot named Isabel. Old man Jack, his boss at the lab, makes fun of Johnny for his youthful idealism but secretly admires the perfect robot, who is much easier to control than his daughter Julia, the foul-mouthed garbage woman at the lab who knows a thing or two about science. Julia helps Johnny build Isabel, secretly trying to win him over and prove to him that only a real woman can in fact be perfect.” (complimentary ticket).

I thought this was very funny and very well performed. I laughed a lot.

Tuesday - Happy 54th Birthday to my daughter Kathi Bendeck of Columbia, SC. Yeah, I was kinda (read very) young when I got married for the first time.

7:00 - “Lansky” - Off Broadway. This is the press blurb about this show: “American and Israeli star Mike Burstyn portrays Meyer Lansky, the infamous gangster who masterminded some of the most ingenious wealth management systems for his gangland brethren. The play also deals with Lanskys little-known efforts to become an Israeli citizen and uses his life story as a crucible to explore Jewish identity and the choices that some first-generation Americans made in order to achieve wealth and success.” (discounted TDF ticket).

This is in early previews and it sounds very interesting.

Wednesday - 7:30 - New York Philharmonic Orchestra @ Lincoln Center. The program is: All Mendelssohn - Overture to ruy Bus; Violin Concerto (featuring Anne-Sophia Mutter); and “The First Walpurgis Night.” (subscription series)

I have renewed my New York Philharmonic subscription for 2009/2010, for 3 weeknight series, which will result in 21 concerts plus 3 free concerts I get to select later.

Thursday - Happy Birthday to Sandy Mullon of Anna Maria, FL.

8:00 - “Music in the Air” - Off Broadway. “Encores! Great American Musicals in Concert presents a new staged concert production of MUSIC IN THE AIR, a 1932 musical by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II. Broadway favorite Kristin Chenoweth is joined by a large cast along with The Encores! Orchestra. Lovingly restored by the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, it has not been seen in its original form since its premiere Broadway engagement in 1932. Set in Munich, it tells of an aging rural music teacher, his naively charming daughter and their misadventures trying to break into the cynical, world-weary theater scene in the big city. Songs include Ive Told Evry Little Star and The Song Is You.” (discounted TDF ticket).

The Encores! can be hit or miss but my experience has been more hit than miss.

Friday - 8:00 - “This Beautiful City” - Off Broadway. “A provocative new play with music about the expansion of the Evangelical movement in Colorado Springs. While interviews were being conducted with people involved with or affected by the mega-church movement, scandal broke about New Life Church pastor Ted Haggard and shook the entire city. This show is an intriguing and timely look at faith and how it affects the American landscape.” (discounted TDF ticket).

Yep, this is gonna fall into the “hate it or love it” category, without a doubt,

Saturday - 8:00 - “Jeffery Self: People I Slept With Who Never Called Back.” Off Broadway. “Anyone who's waited by the phone (or avoided it) will enjoy this ode to the crossed lines of the hookup world from hilarious writer-performer Jeffery Self. Those on his personal list would be wise to come see what mud is slung--but prepare to duck!” (full price ticket).

This one man show is being performed at a space called Ars Nova located way way West on 54th Street. They usually have very interesting cutting-edge stuff. I am seeing this show on Scott’s recommendation.

Sunday - 3:00 - “Joshua Bell, violin and Jeremy Denk, piano @ Avery Fisher Hall.” Wow, I was able to score a rear orchestra seat for this concert. The program is: Jancek - Sonata for Violin and Piano; Brahms - Violin Sonata No. 3; Ysae - Violin Sonata No. 2; and, Franck - Violin Sonata in A major. (discounted TDF ticket).

Monday - “33 Variations” - Broadway. This show stars Jane Fonda and is in very early previews: “A new American play about passion, parenthood and the moments of beauty that can transform a life, 33 Variations tells the story of Beethoven's fascination with a trivial waltz and the modern day musicologist who sets out to discover the roots of his obsession. From present-day New York to 19th-century Austria, it portrays a mother coming to terms with her daughter and a composer coming to terms with his genius. And, even though they are separated by 200 years, these two people share an obsession that might, even just for a moment, make time stand still.” (discounted TDF ticket).

Tuesday, February 10 - 8:00 - “The Story of My Life” - Broadway. The advance press blurb for this show is: “This new Broadway musical stars Will Chase and Malcolm Gets. It is a funny and moving tale of two lifelong best friends, Thomas and Alvin, and takes an intimate look at friendship, the personal cost of success and the choices made at the turning points in our lives.” (discounted TDF ticket)

The advance buzz on this show has been very mixed and I will be seeing it in very early previews.

Wednesday - Happy Birthday to Ginger Flowers of Atlanta, GA.

2:00 - “Becky Shaw” - Off Broadway. “A newlywed couple fixes up two romantically challenged friends: wife's best friend, meet husbands sexy and strange new coworker. When an evening calculated to bring happiness takes a dark turn, crisis and comedy ensue. This wicked new comedy asks what we owe the people we love and the strangers who land on our doorstep.” (discounted TDF ticket).

At 10:30 my favorite new comedian, Demetri Martin, premieres his new comedy show, “Important Things with Demetri Martin,” on Comedy Central and I will schedule something that will insure I will be back in the apartment in time for his show.

Thursday - 8:00 - “The Savannah Disputation” - Off Broadway. “Resurrect this! When susceptible Catholic spinster Margaret politely admits door-to-door Pentecostal missionary Melissa into her home, her seemingly-solid faith starts to waver much to the chagrin of her feisty sister Mary. But who's the blasphemer and who's the believer? Before long, the God-fearing sisters have ambushed their steadfast guest with the aid of an unsuspecting local priest, setting the scene for a smackdown of truly biblical proportions.” (discounted TDF ticket).

Now this really sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

I think it is a very interesting upcoming 10 days, too, don’t you?

What about the shows that I attended since the Thursday, January 29th, posting you are no doubt breathlessly asking? Well, in summary fashion --

Thursday the 29th was “Jason and the Argonauts” at 6:00, and it was a very well performed highly acrobatic two man show involving the mythological story of the quest for the Golden Fleece.

When this show was over I had plenty of time to make it uptown for the 8:30 performance of “Ride” at the theater on 59th Street. In this show a man and a woman wake up in bed together naked, neither can remember how they got there, or who the other is. For whatever reason this show didn’t turn me on very much, in fact, it didn’t do anything for me because, it sucked.

Friday night, January 30th, was a show downtown in SoHo called “Sixty Miles to Silver Lake,” about a divorced father driving his teenage son from soccer practice to the father’s residence in Silver Lake for weekend visitation. The house for this performance was full. I sat next to a friend named Will, who is an actor, and we both loved the acting but had no clue what the author’s message was/is. I do recommend the show, however, for the acting alone.

When I got back to the apartment after the show I learned that I have been living in a brothel since July 2001. More details in an upcoming post.

On Saturday afternoon I met up with John and Claudia Bullock of Columbia, SC, who were in town for the weekend to celebrate John’s 50th birthday. John retired from the Army and is now involved in the Juvenile Justice System in Columbia and Claudia is a very successful hairstylist. We had a nice lunch at an Italian Restaurant on Restaurant Row on 46th Street and afterwards I guided them downtown to Little Italy so Claudia could do some shopping.

That night was an Off Broadway drama called “White People” - “What does it mean to be a white American? A brutally honest and surprisingly funny examination of race and language in our culture, White People follows the lives of three ordinary Americans placed under the spotlight: Martin, a Brooklyn-born high powered attorney for a white-shoe law firm in St. Louis; Mara Lynn, a housewife and former homecoming queen in Fayetteville, North Carolina; and Alan, a young professor struggling to find his way in New York. Through heart-wrenching confessions, they wrestle with guilt, prejudice, and the price they and their children must pay for their actions.” (discounted TDF ticket).

I have to admit that I left this show not understanding how I felt about the message and/or the characters. I am still processing the show and the jury remains out. It has gotten mixed reviews.

Oh, man, this has gone on for much much too long, so ... let me close by asking ... do you kinda, maybe, sorta, etc. understand why Billi Pod is here in the Big Apple during the winter? I hope you do.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sunday - Living in a brothel???

Have I been living in a brothel since July 2001 and not been aware of it?

OK, now take a deep breath and read this entire blog before you make a snap judgment that I have crossed over into the dark side of insanity, or at best, delusion. Take another deep breath, and ....

First, let me describe where I have been living since July 2001 - 335 E. 51st Street, Apartment 1-F, New York, NY 10022. The building is an upscale, prewar, mid-rise building, 12 stories tall, with 8 apartments on each floor, 2 one-bedrooms, 4 alcove studios and 2 one-room open studios. There are two elevators. My apartment, 1-F, is an alcove studio and it faces the rear of the building as do all of the other alcove studios. Even though my apartment designation is 1-F, it is actually on the second floor.

The building has a live-in superintendent, who lives on my floor in apartment 1-A. On the weekend he is usually away from the building, at his upstate property. We have doormen on duty 24 hours, 7 days a week and their main purpose is to provide security. There are security cameras in the lobby area and in the elevators.

I have always felt that this is a very safe and secure building, as is the neighborhood.

OK, now the story begins. This past Friday night I had a 7:30 show down in SoHo. It was over around 8:45. I came back to the apartment, via subway, getting here around 9:15. For whatever reason I took the elevator even though I usually take the stairs 99.5% of the time.

When you get off the elevator on my floor, to the immediate left is apartment 1-H, directly in front is 1-A, occupied by the superintendent, and to the right is 1-B, a one room open studio. To get to my apartment you take a right from the elevator, walk about 20 feet, take a right into a short hallway and my apartment is on the left.

So ... when I stepped out of the elevator, this is what I saw on apartment 1-B ----

What the f**k? I couldn’t believe my eyes. I examined the papers and one of the papers said that the apartment had been closed due to “prostitution.” What the Hell???

I went to my apartment to leave my backpack, went back and took some pictures of 1-B with my iPhone, then went downstairs to to ask the doorman on duty what the hell was going on.

The doorman was not very forthcoming, to say the least. I did learn later on, from other “sources,” that the cops came in around 8:00, that the occupant of 1-B was not present, that it was part of a “sting” operation, that the occupant had been arrested for prostitution about a year ago, and that she showed up right after the cops left and was very very upset she couldn’t get into her apartment. The entire staff denies having any hint that anything illegal was going on.

Wow!!! All of that was happening on my floor and I was totally unaware of anything. In fact, I have only a dim recollection of seeing the occupant going into the apartment about once in all of the time I have been in the building. Remember, too, I often come into the building at rather odd hours and often late at night.

This is soooooooooo weird.

I spent most of the weekend pondering how this could happen in my building, in a apartment next door to the superintendent and none of the staff being aware of what was going on. I mean, how could this happen?

Then, it dawned on me just a few minutes ago... duh ... of course, in all likelihood the doormen knew about it and, of course, the superintendent knew about it ... because ... they were all part of the “deal.” There is a truism in the City that doormen know everything that goes on in their building, despite efforts to keep “things” secret. They know everything.

Now, I may be wrong, and I hope I am, but this is what my gut tells me is true.

It will be interesting to see what reaction the Condo Board and the Management Agency has starting tomorrow when the rest of the owners/tenants find out what has come down. Oh the drama ...

And, my faithful and loyal readers, the definition of brothel is: “an establishment housing prostitutes.”

Wow!! Living in New York City is certainly interesting.

I report - you decide.

Billi Pod

PS: This was written while watching The Super Bowl. What a game!!