Friday, December 2, 2011

here the angelic voices

After yesterday's missive, Laura (Austanspace) sent me a link to a Joey McIntyre performance of "O, Holy Night" from a year or two ago. (Thanks, Laura!) It was one of those videos taken by someone holding a cellphone. I  noticed that there were a few other videos of varying length for the one performance. In the longest one that I found, he starts off off key and ad libs his way around to starting over. He's funny and charming. And it looks like an off the cuff moment that would be scripted. I'll put a link up further down in this post. But first, a message from our sponsor. The message today is very much about seeing the same thing from a different angle. In other words, I changed my search term from "Joey McIntrye, etc." to "Tree lighting Boston Common". It produced the desired result.

You know that by now I've had to google the kid. He was a New Kids replacement, joining just before they hit it big. He was 13 at the time. As the youngest member of the band, he never really fit in. He's been married for a few years now. He and his wife welcomed their third child this year. After the New Kids broke up, he played the Boy in the movie version of The Fantastics. He took over the lead male role in the Broadway show Wicked. When he couldn't get a solo recording contract, he used his own money to record an album and sold it over his website. The album was called Stay the Same and had a popular eponymous song hit. It is included in the segment below. There's also a little something near the finale when McIntyre is joined onstage by his friend and former boy band co-hort Jordan Knight. As a by the by, Mr. Knight quietly came out earlier this year.

So here's the performance I mentioned yesterday.
Now that I've seen it a second time, I'm still impressed.

And if you want to see the performance where he started off off key, click here.

I just listened to him again.
I'm still impressed.
I guess I needed to change my mental search term on 'boy band member'.
He's starting to get that Leonard Cohen edge of prophet thing.
I'm going to have to start paying attention to his career.

It's a nice discovery with which to start off the month.
You know, I just may come out of retirement and do Christmas again this year.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Second to the right, then straight on til morning.

Gosh, it's been so busy. Or I've been so busy. I only had four hours of work today, had several errands to run, things to do, and so on and so forth. So of course, I decided to wander around down town (which is a short walk from where I live). The local holiday season kickoff is tomorrow (Friday). First up is a weekend long retail promotion dubbed "Holly Days". Tomorrow at 5pm will be a tree lighting in a little vest pocket park at the main intersection on Main Street. Sadly, I won't be able to get there, I'll be working. Lately, I seem to have developed a kind of sadomasochistic love/hate relationship with this town that I adopted as my own. This last year the town has suffered a soul and mind numbing series of natural disasters and murders that exposed nasty attitudes of condescension and disgust by the new age republocrats of economic superiority towards the working and disadvantaged classes. I really want to be there for the tree lighting. Our town needs this, we need to show our support, we need to show our care. We all need to be represented.

I've got the tv on in the background, and it keeps interrupting my train of thoughts that I wanted to record today. They are lighting the Christmas tree in Boston tonight. I lived in Boston for eight years. It's a wonderful city, and had my industry (the film business) not left town, and if it weren't for the high crime rate, I'd be there still. The tree is put on the Commons, and is always around 45 feet tall. Every year, it is sent as a gift of thanks to Boston for the emergency aid that was given Nova Scotia after an early December 1917 disaster, which remains to this very day the largest ever accidental man made explosion in the world. The show was opened by Boston native Joey McIntyre, former and current New Kid on the Block. He's grown up, to say the least. He opened with a solo statement of "Oh, Holy Night" which was joined by a chorus of young black women. McIntyre looked too thin, haggard and maybe possessed. He stood almost argumentatively at first, too clear eyed to be drunk, staking out his ground. He was an Irishman with the fever upon him. It was just about the best damn version of that song I've ever heard. I hope it shows up on YouTube.

Anyway, I was wandering around downtown because tomorrow is also Gallery walk, and I wanted to see what was to be seen before the madness and crowds take over. Where the town's newspaper, magazine, and office supply store (Baker's) used to be, there is now an oh so very trendy home furnishings shop. I thought I'd take a look at what they were offering. And there it was. It was stunning. It was gorgeous. I should have taken a picture. An extraordinarily well preserved, in perfect condition Heywood Wakefield art-deco stick wicker club chair. The left arm-rest magazine holder was in perfect shape. It was beautiful, and I want one. It was $650.00 and  was/is
easily the best I have ever seen. I have no idea if that was a good price or not. If I had money, I wouldn't care about that. I wouldn't even pause to ask. I'd be getting out my means of payment. The example to the right is missing the backrest pillow, and the backrest height is a little short. And the painted trim is only one color. The one I saw today had both a dark green stripe, and one dark maroon. And the left arm magazine slot was a tad smaller and better integrated into the whole. But you get the idea. My Great Great Uncle Harry had one in his summer home in Ocean City, New Jersey. I loved that chair. At least I have good taste.

There are a couple of birthdays for a December 1st that I should like to note:

Today would have been Matthew Shepard's 35th Birthday.
He was martyred in mid October 1998, at the age of 21.

He was kidnapped, tied to a fence, savagely beaten, and left to die alone in the freezing cold.
When the perpetrators of his horrific deed were tried, there was no way to accuse them of a hate crime even though they had bragged about what they had done to the "faggot",
as the state in which the trial occurred had no such enabling legislation.

This led to the immediate creation of a National Hate Crimes Act,
which was rejected by the Republican United States House of Representatives.
(Then President George W. Bush had also promised to veto the bill if it should pass.)

In 2007, under Nancy Pelosi's leadership, the bill was reintroduced in the House.
And in 2008, and in 2009.
During the 2009 debate, the Representative from Virginia labelled the listing of Matthew Shepard's death as a hate crime "a hoax".
Mr. Shepard's mother was sitting in the gallery at the time.
The House finally passed the bill.
In the Senate, Ted Kennedy and Vermont's Senator Lahey immediately reintroduced the bill.
It passed in October 2009, and was signed into law by President Obama  - 11 years after Matthew Shepard was beaten to death because he was gay.

The fence is gone now, it has been taken down.
But that will not erase the memory of what happened.

On a lighter note, today is also the birthday of Cyril Ritchard,
who was so marvelously campy as Captain Hook.

In one of those wonderful coincidences of synchronicity, today is also the birthday of Mary Martin who played Peter Pan in the same production. The Broadway show was so popular, it was broadcast twice when I was a child. (It was live both times.) It started my life long obsession with the Pan material.

In the late 1970's or early 1980's, my best friend at the time, director Jerry Campbell and I realized that two friends of ours were perfect for parts in a production. Acting teacher Michael Graves stood over 6 feet tall, and would have been a joy as Hook. His son, not quite 5 feet, had waist length jet black hair and an elfin manner. He could have been a great Peter Pan. The Freudian overtones would have been incredible. Sadly, the production never came together.

About that time, I started running a theatre bookstore for Bob Nahaus, who owned a popular show biz watering hole and eatery named Curtain Up. Two very dear friends of mine needed something special to get them the attention needed to obtain union cards. So, using my then 31 year old angst, I started writing a show called "Rehearsing 'Wendy and Peter' ", in which actors rehearse a play in which Wendy and Peter are middled aged. It gave me plenty of opportunities ' to poke fun at actors and the off and off off Broadway scene. And it gave my two friends the showboat of a lifetime - in the show they would start the 11 o'clock as Wendy and Peter in middle age, and without anything other than acting ability progress through recovering their youthful magic, to the charcters they play in the rehersal, until they ended as themselves at the end of the show. One of the store's clerks was a woman who wrote screenplays for big budget historical tv mini series. We discussed my ideas. Around that time, I was shot in the back of the head. I was seen, in a public place, kissing a male friend who was returning home to Germany. I was shot minutes later. The police were given a description of the shooter by eyewitnesses. The police never arrested anyone, blaming the incident on kids shooting at pigeons. Needless to say, I missed several days of work, and under doctors orders reduced the hours I was working. My boss then reduced my pay, which had been salary not hours-ly. I quit. Within a couple of months, there was an announcement in the trade papers that Steven Spielberg was going to produce and direct a major  movir about Peter Pan and Wendy in middle age. After I moved to Boston, I ended up working for Columbia/Tri-Star which released it as a Christmas behmoth, and ended up selling it to movie theates throughout New England.

To this day, if you want to see a grown man cry, stand beside me when I click on this:

Clap, Damn it.      CLAP!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Stolen moments

There are so many things I wanted to write about over the last few days, but even getting -to- the blog has been impossible. I've just been too busy. I find myself looking forward to retirement more and more. Of course, I won't be able to afford to do it but the idea of having my time to myself is sometimes just such a wondrous thing that it still manages to give me a sense of hope, however false that might be.

So here I am in stolen minutes, when I should be dressing for work. The bus won't be here for half an hour yet. Tonight I'll be done work at 6pm. There is a bus at 6:04pm. Depending on who runs the floor this evening, I may or may not be able to catch it. If one is supposed to be done at 6pm, several of the shift leaders won't let you shut down your line until then. Which means that you still have a line of customers to process. Which means walking home. After 8 hours (plus 1/2 unpaid) of work standing up, walking is not easy for me. Pain is something to be overcome, and I guess I should be thankful that people at my job are so eager to help me do that. I just can't get over the idea that since they expect me to be there on time, they ought to let me out on time. I have expressed this thought. The following week I had three shifts which lasted until 8 or 9pm. And the week after that. And the week after that.

This week, I don't even have the minimum number of hours for my personnel level, which is 28. I discussed this with the personnel department a couple of months back. I was hired for 38.5 hours of work, but they can get away with 28. I was promised that the issue of minimum hours would be raised in a manager's meeting and my name would not be used. Thee following weeks did see my hours bump up to 32 per week. And three nights a week of walking home after the last bus. Get the message?

For Thanksgiving week, they suddenly bumped me up to 36 hours. How nice.

Thanksgiving was wonderful. I had the day off, something that hasn't happened much this last decade. I had dinner at austanspace's. It was a tremendous effort on her behalf, and an excellent meal. Then it was "pie night" when friends show up with the price of admission - one home baked pie. We then get to sit around, drink, gossip and bitch. It was the best Thanksgiving I've had in years.

Today will be the third day without any anti-depressants, anti-anxietals, antihistamines, anti anything. How many days are there remainig until the end of time?