Friday, February 28, 2014

Weather/The Bridges of Madison County/NY Phil Concert/Some Baseball



Friday==>WTF?? Let’s get the bad news out of the way. It is still freezing cold here in The Big Apple, The Greatest City In The World. At 8:30am the temperature was 13º, wind chill down to , with an icy wind coming off of the Hudson River. WTF??

Snow is in the forecast for Sunday and Monday, with the possibility of heavy accumulation on Monday. WTF??

Well ... let’s move on to Billi Pod’s report card on last night’s totally AWESOME Broadway show ...

THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, the new musical about a photographer and the unhappy Italian wife he tenderly romances, in rural Iowa==>A

There is a Tony award-winning performance by Kelli O’Hara. She really captures the conflicted wife, both with her spoken dialogue and with her beautiful voice.

The chemistry between she and Stephen Pasquale is simply amazing and their “relationship” is believable.

The rest of the cast is outstanding too, especially Hunter Foster as the unsuspecting husband, Bud.

The show borders on being an opera since much of the story line is developed via the songs/lyrics.

With a running time of 2:40, with intermission, it is a bit long and could use about 15 minutes of trimming, IMHO.

Yes, I really enjoyed the show. I think my enjoyment was bolstered by the fact that I had neither seen the movie nor read the book ... so ... what was happening on stage was totally new to me.

I must make a correction of an error in yesterday’s posting ... the show is not in previews, as Billi Pod posted. It officially opened on February 20th. Thanks to Michael Pederson and others who took the time to call this error to my attention.

Now, a bit more on the show ... it received mostly favorable reviews but ... the house last night was only about 75% full and on one of the Broadway chatboards this morning someone posted that rumors are flying around that it will shortly post its closing notice. That would be a shame.

So ... Billi Pod says==>see this show!!

It is playing at the Schoenfeld Theatre on West 45th Street, has a running time of 2:40, with intermission, and, at the moment, is an open run.

After the show my theater-buddy Dian Crystal aka My Lady, who was at the same show, and I met up with our friend Marty Kosarik aka Whatever, at Angus Bistro, one of my favorite Theatre District restaurants, located on West 44th Street.

It had been awhile since the “Three Amigos” had been together so we had a lot of catching up to do, which we did over some excellent food.

It was a great ending to an enjoyable evening here in The Big Apple.

Moving on ...

Tonight’s entertainment event is a concert at Lincoln Center ...

8:00==>NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC with Mary Chapin Carpenter @ Avery Fisher Hall - “The five-time Grammy winner is joined by Joan Baez, Shawn Colvin, Jerry Douglas, Tift Merritt, and Aoife O’Donovan to perform new orchestral arrangements of songs from throughout her career.” (concert - discounted TDF ticket)

I think that this concert sounds like a lot of fun and I am really looking forward to it.

Moving on ... 

Just a quick sports note ... the Yankees lost their second game to Pittsburgh yesterday, this time by a score of 8-2. Derek Jeter made his debut, playing 5-innings and going 0-2

The good news is that he appeared to be 100% recovered from the ankle injury(s) that ruined his 2013 season.

Of course I watched the game, and, honestly, I had forgotten how basically boring spring training games are. Oh well ... at least it is baseball.

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND EVERYONE!!

Yesterday’s Pedometer mileage==>2.31 miles (or, 5,049 steps)

Total mileage for 2014==>178.96 miles (average 3.09 miles per day)

GO GATORS & GO YANKEES!!

Billi Pod
“Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you.”

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Almost Midnight/The Bridges of Madison County/News Update


Why am I skipping the weather I know many of you are asking your inner selves? Well ... inner selves ... the answer is rather simple ...

Does anyone out there in the hinterlands, boondocks and wastelands really care that at 11:11am here in The Big Apple, The Greatest City In The World, it is 30º, wind chill 20º, with overcast skies and a probability of snow in the mid-afternoon? Case closed!!

So, we will get started with your favorite blogger’s report card on last night’s Broadway show ...

AFTER MIDNIGHT, featuring the glamour of Harlem’s Golden Age and the legendary Cotton Club, with an array of fiercely talented dancers, singers and musicians and currently starring Grammy winner K.D. Lang==>A

Folks, I am happy to report that it was 90 minutes of pure delight that more than lived up to its glowing reviews.

My discounted TDF seat was excellent, row T in the orchestra, house left.

The singers and dancers and the world-renowned Jazz At Lincoln Center orchestra were superb.

The “guest” vocalist was the androgynous K.D. Lang, who appeared wearing a suit and tie. She/he/it, who will be in the show through March 9th, did a marvelous job and the audience was really into her/him/it.

When the show was over the cast received a well-deserved roaring standing ovation.

Billi Pod says==>You gotta see this show.

It is playing at The Brooks Atkinson Theatre on West 47th Street, has a running time of 1:30, without intermission, and has an open run.

Moving on ...

Tonight’s entertainment event is my third consecutive Broadway show, back to back to back ...

7:00==>THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY - “With her family away at the 1965 state fair, Francesca Johnson looks forward to a rare four days alone on her Iowa farm. But when ruggedly handsome National Geographic photographer Robert Kincaid pulls into her driveway seeking directions, what happens in those four days may very well alter the course of Francesca’s life.” (Broadway - discounted TDF ticket)

This show stars the incomparable Kelli O’Hara with rising star, the hunky Stephen Pasquale. It is still in previews and the advance buzz has been very mixed.

It is playing at the Schoenfeld Theatre on West 45th Street, has a running time of 2:40, with intermission, and is an open run.

My theater-buddy Dian Crystal aka My Lady is seeing the same performance. When the show is over we will meet up and then have a late bite at one of my favorite restaurants in The Theatre District, Angus Bistro, on West 44th Street.

I have asked Marty Kosarik aka Whatever to join us but at the moment it is uncertain whether he will be able to work us into his schedule.

Moving on ...

This afternoon @ 1:05pm I will see my first Yankee spring training game. They are playing the Pirates and the game is carried on YES. Finally, some baseball!!

In closing==>major kudos go out to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, who vetoed a bill that would have given business owners the right to refuse service to gay men, lesbians and other people on religious grounds.

The fact that two legislative bodies in that state passed the bill is yet another sickening example that hate and bias are still alive in the US of A. Yes, we have come a long way, but there is still a long way to go.

Yesterday was an excellent walking day ...

Yesterday’s Pedometer mileage==>4.69 miles (or, 10,265 steps)

Total mileage for 2014==>176.65 miles (average 3.10 miles per day)

GO GATORS & GO YANKEES!!

Billi Pod
“Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you.”

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Snow/Mothers And Sons/After Midnight/Sports


Wednesday==>When will it ever end? At 9:30am here in The Big Apple, The Greatest City In The World, it is snowing yet again and the temperature is 28º, wind chill 19º. When will it ever end?

It is snowing just hard enough to result in terrible conditions on the sidewalks, crosswalks and intersections. Damn! 

Normally, I would just stay in the warm and cozy confines of PHC, but, this afternoon I have to head over to my cardiologist’s office, on the far far Eastside, to have blood drawn in preparation for my semiannual checkup appointment for next Thursday. Hopefully, it will have stopped snowing by then.

Oh, well ... nuttin’ I can do but bitch, moan and whine ... so ...

Moving on to something much more interesting and that is Billi Pod’s report card on last night’s Broadway show ...

MOTHERS AND SONS, a woman pays an unexpected visit to the New York apartment of her late son's partner, who is now married to another man and has a young son==>A-

Folks, Tyne Daly gives a Master Class on acting as she totally inhabits the rather unlikeable Mother. You are torn between wanting to bitch-slap her for being such a self-centered narrow-minded bigot and feeling and understanding her pain for her loss(es) and for living a life unfulfilled.

The back-and-forth between her character and her son’s former lover, played by Frederick Weller (right in the picture), is believable and emotionally involving.

Bobby Steggert as the younger lover/husband is excellent and their 7-year old son, Bud, played by Grayson Taylor, is adorable.

My only quibble is that the story line (which I won’t detail and spoil it) is somewhat predictable with way too many issues crammed into 90 minutes.

Billi Pod says==>want to see excellent acting, then see this show.

It is still in previews, is playing at the Golden Theatre on West 45th Street, has a running time of 1:30, without intermission, and tickets are on sale through June 8th.

Moving on to tonight’s entertainment event, another Broadway show ...

7:30==>AFTER MIDNIGHT - “Evoking the glamour of Harlem’s Golden Age and the legendary Cotton Club, this raucous, joyous, white-hot revue features an array of fiercely talented dancers, singers and musicians and currently stars Grammy winner K.D. Lang.” (Broadway - discounted TDF ticket)

This show has been very well-reviewed, is playing at The Brooks Atkinson Theatre on West 47th Street, has a running time of 1:30, without intermission, and has an open run.

Now ... how about just a bit of sports ...

First, my Florida Gators won a nail-biter last night against Vanderbilt, 57-54, to clinch at least a share of our second straight SEC title and our seventh overall.

Second, spring training games are underway. The Yankees beat Florida State 8-3 as Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston went 0-2.

The first game to be carried locally on TV will be Thursday afternoon @ 1:00pm against the Pirates. Yeah, I will watch it, of course.

Well, it is 11:30am and the snow has stopped so I will post this and then head out to the far far Eastside. Oh, the blood work is “fasting” so I am starving at the moment ...

Yesterday’s Pedometer mileage==>3.26 miles (or, 7,141 steps)

Total mileage for 2014==>171.96 miles (average 3.07 miles per day)

GO GATORS & GO YANKEES!!

Billi Pod
“Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you.”

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Broadway By The Year/Mothers And Sons/Gators Number 1


Tuesday==>Well, my loyal and faithful readers and followers, it is still cold here in The Big Apple, The Greatest City In The World. At 11:00am the temperature is 30º, wind chill 20º.

And, dammit-to-Hell, snow is in the forecast for tomorrow. I am really tired of this cold weather, that is for certain.

Anyway ... moving on to last night’s entertainment event ... 

BROADWAY BY THE YEAR: BROADWAY MUSICALS OF 1915-1939 @ Town Hall==>B+

First of all, my comp. seat was excellent, row A in the balcony.

I found the program to be mostly enjoyable although some of the performers were a bit shaky. And, as the show went on it began to have a feeling that we were at a blues concert in a cabaret, rather than a concert featuring classic Broadway show tunes.

In the new format the program consisted of one song per year, or 25 songs in all, and, in my humble opinion, that resulted in a show that was about 20 minutes too long. It was 10:45pm when the show was over.

It was 11:00pm when I opened the door to the warm and cozy confines of PHC. I was starving.

Fixed some veggies and chicken and then settled in to watch Fallon and then Seth Meyers @ 12:35am.

Jimmy did another good job and I thought that Seth had a good opening night for his show, although I only watched the first 30 minutes of it.

Moving on ...

Tonight’s entertainment event will be a Broadway show in early previews ...

8:00==>MOTHERS AND SONS - “A woman pays an unexpected visit to the New York apartment of her late son's partner, who is now married to another man and has a young son.” (Broadway - discounted TDF ticket)

This provocative and timely play is written by Terrence McNally and has a terrific cast, starring Tyne Daly, Frederick Weller and Bobby Steggert.

It is in its second week of previews, is playing at the Golden Theatre on West 45th Street, has a running time of 1:30, without intermission, and tickets are on sale through June 8th.

In closing==>YES!! The Gator basketball team is now ranked Number 1. YES!!

BillyD has tried to downplay the significance of the rating, until the end of the season, and, of course, he is right ... but ... it still feels good to know that at the moment my Florida Gators are viewed as the best basketball team in the US of A.

Time to make the weekly visit to The Food Emporium ... so ...

Yesterday’s Pedometer mileage==>3.54 miles (or, 7,735 steps)

Total mileage for 2014==>168.70 miles (average 3.07 miles per day)

GO GATORS & GO YANKEES!!

Billi Pod
“Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you.”

Monday, February 24, 2014

Forbidden Broadway/Broadway By The Year/Jimmy vs. Dave


Monday==>At 11:00am on this “Back-To-Work” Monday in The Big Apple, The Greatest City In The World, it is 37º, wind chill 26º, with azure blue skies and wispy clouds.

There is the possibility for some snow flurries in the early evening hours.

So ... now that you loyal and faithful readers and followers have been force-fed your daily weather report let’s move on to some really important stuff ... like ...

Billi Pod’s report card on last night’s Off Broadway show ... 

FORBIDDEN BROADWAY: ALIVE AND STILL KICKING, after an absence of nearly a year, the musical parody returns to NYC with new victims and new laughs==>A

As I had anticipated, it is funny, raucous, often profane and well performed by a stellar cast of Scott Richard Foster, Carter Calvert, Erica Dorfler and Marcus Stevens.

Sooooooo glad its back.

For me the funniest skits involved “Matilda,” “Once,” “The Book of Mormon" (called “The Book of Morons”) and the upcoming third revival of “Les Miz.”

I am happy to report that the new seating in the refurbished first floor space at the renamed Davenport Theatre is comfortable.

Billi Pod says==>If you are a theatre-nut like moi, then you gotta see this show.

This show is playing at the newly refurbished and renamed Davenport Theatre on West 45th Street, has a running time of 1:40, with intermission, and is currently selling tickets through May 11th.

Moving on ...

Today, being Monday, it is your favorite blogger's usual errands and stuff day and he has a pretty long list of things that need to be done ... so ... let’s move on quickly to ...

Tonight’s entertainment event is ...

8:00==>BROADWAY BY THE YEAR: BROADWAY MUSICALS OF 1915-1939 @ Town Hall - “The critically acclaimed Broadway by the Year series enters its fourteenth season with a new twist. Instead of four years in four shows, the 2014 season will bring 100 years of Broadway history in four incredible evenings. (Off Broadway - complimentary ticket)

This well-reviewed series is written and hosted by Scott Siegel. It is usually 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” folks in attendance and that is always nice.

If the past holds true, my comp. seat is gonna be in the very rear of the balcony. Well, as “they” say ... it goes with the territory.

Moving on to the TV World ...

Tonight Jimmy Fallon goes head-to-head with David Letterman and the fight for late-night supremacy officially begins.

Jimmy’s guests are Reese Witherspoon and Fred Armisen while Dave has Kaley Cuoco (who??). I will be watching Jimmy.

Then, @ 12:35am on NBC it will be the opening night of “Late Night with Seth Meyers.” His guests are Amy Poehler and Vice President Joe Biden.

I don’t usually watch TV after midnight but I will make an exception tonight just to see how Seth does. I liked him a lot when he was on SNL.

In closing==>Billi Pod is anxiously awaiting the release of the polls to see if his Florida Gators are ranked Number 1, as they should be.

Oh, yesterday was also a good walking day ...

Yesterday’s Pedometer mileage==>4.51 miles (or, 9,868 steps)

Total mileage for the week==>23.68 miles (average 3.38 miles per day)

Total mileage for 2014==>165.16 miles (average 3.08 miles per day)

GO GATORS & GO YANKEES!!

Billi Pod
“Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you.”

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Open House/Michigan State Wind Symphony==>BLAH!


Sunday==>Well, my loyal and faithful readers and followers out there in the morass known as cyberspace, in the name of fair and unbiased reporting your favorite blogger here in The Big Apple, The Greatest City In The World, has to share with you that yesterday’s entertainment doubleheader failed to live up to Billi Pod’s expectations. Yeah==>BLAH!!

Yes, this was one of those rare occasions where things just didn’t pan out as anticipated. I guess this is to be expected when one sees as many entertainment events as does Billi Pod. He does, however, a good bit of advance preparation and research before booking events but ... well ... you know ... sometimes things just don’t click.

And this is just what happened yesterday ... so ... without further ado let’s just move on to Billi Pod’s report cards on the less-than-stellar events ... starting with ... 

THE OPEN HOUSE, the World Premiere of Will Eno’s drama about a dysfunctional family, but with something of a twist==>C

Decent acting saves a very confusing story line, assuming there really is a story line. 

I guess the fact that neither the Playbill nor the website gives any of the characters names should have been an early hint.

You know, I could sense Will Eno lurking in the rear of the theatre and smirking as he was thinking to himself ... “Assholes, you actually paid money to see this because you wanted people to think you understand me. Well, you don’t and you never will ... so fuck you, you fucktards.”

When the show was over I asked the ladies seated on either side of me (one in her mid-30s, the other in her mid-50s) what they thought about the show and both of them basically said that they had no clue about what they had just spent the last 75 minutes watching.

Oh, I have a feeling that the critics, especially The New York Times, will give it rave reviews.

So, to my Tri-State theater buddies==>if you do choose to see this show, please give me the benefit of your thoughts/comments.

The show is in previews, is playing at The Signature Theater Complex on West 42nd Street, has a running time of 1:15, without intermission, and runs through March 23rd.

When the show was over I was able to have a nice walk and wander session in my Hell’s Kitchen ‘hood.

My entertainment event for the evening was a concert at Carnegie Hall ...

MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY WIND SYMPHONY @ Carnegie Hall - “This performance commemorates the 10th anniversary of John Corigliano’s Symphony No. 3, ‘Circus Maximus,’ and will also feature additional works by Corigliano and David Maslanka.”

My comp. seat was excellent, row U in the orchestra, but ...

Billi Pod’s grade==>D<==what a major disappointment.

The young musicians were excellent but the material by Corigliano and Maslanka was nothing but 2-hours of screeching, ear-splitting atonal dreck.

I considered leaving at intermission but didn’t because I had hopes that the second half, Corigliano’s Symphony No. 3, ‘Circus Maximus,’ would be better. Well, it wasn’t. The piece appropriately ended with a loud gunshot from the stage.

I can’t remember ever seeing so many people getting up and leaving while the orchestra was still playing.

As I was waiting for the subway I struck up a conversation with two couples who had also attended the concert. One couple had graduated from Michigan State and they said they were mortified at how bad the program had been.

Oh, well ... as “they” say ... you can’t win them all.

Moving on ...

The major positive for the otherwise mundane/blah day had to do with my Florida Gators. We beat Ole Miss 75-71 to move to 25-2, 14-0 SEC

Syracuse lost for the second time in a week meaning, probably, The Gators will be ranked Number 1. GO GATORS!! 

Tonight’s entertainment event is an Off Broadway show, one of Billi Pod’s all-time favorites ...

7:00==>FORBIDDEN BROADWAY: ALIVE AND STILL KICKING - “After an absence of nearly a year, Forbidden Broadway gleefully returns to New York with new victims and new laughs. This year's targets include Pippin, Kinky Boots, Matilda, Motown, and Les Miz, and many more.” (Off Broadway - discounted TDF ticket)

This show is playing at the newly refurbished and renamed Davenport Theatre on West 45th Street, has a running time of 1:40, with intermission, and is currently selling tickets through May 11th.

I will close this posting by sharing Billi Pod’s AWESOME entertainment schedule for the upcoming 6 days ...

Sunday - 7:00==>FORBIDDEN BROADWAY: ALIVE AND STILL KICKING (Off Broadway)

Monday - 8:00==>BROADWAY BY THE YEAR: The Broadway Musicals of 1915-1939 @ Town Hall (Off Broadway)

Tuesday - 8:00==>MOTHERS AND SONS (Broadway)

Wednesday - 7:30==>AFTER MIDNIGHT, starring K. D. Lang (Broadway)

Thursday - 7:00==>BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY (Broadway)

Friday - 8:00==>NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC, with Mary Chapin Carpenter @ Avery Fisher Hall (concert)

Yeah, I know ... really interesting/exciting isn’t it?

HAVE A GREAT REST OF THE WEEKEND EVERYONE!!

Yesterday’s Pedometer mileage==>4.60 miles (or, 10,062 steps)

Total mileage for 2014==>160.65 miles (average 3.03 miles per day)

GO GATORS & GO YANKEES!!

Billi Pod
“Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you.”