Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Flashback Tuesday: Finally Legal Edition

My sex appeal predates Annie 2: Miss Hannigan's Revenge, said no sexy person ever.
I’m not sure what’s most disturbing about this picture: the bar mitzvah clown smile, the Disney villain eyes, the dinner-plate glasses, the scarecrow neck, the weird-ass way I wore my watch on the inside of my wrist or the pink-on-white shirt that hung on me with all the sex appeal of a Mayan burial gown on an immolated corpse. The girls on my floor (Loser alert! I was living in the Foreign Language House, a co-ed dorm filled with language dorks who stayed in on Friday nights studying verb declensions!) had decorated my door with pink 21s. Probably to match the shirt. Or the homosexuality. I’m not sure where I got the wine, but I am sure I had only a sip of it to celebrate reaching such a milestone age. Because actually drinking a whole glass of alcohol on my 21st birthday would have been something the cool kids would do.

Gratuitous 49th birthday gym selfie


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Have your cake and fucking choke on it

I'm sorry but I'm not done being furious and appalled and repulsed by our man-boy president's "most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you've ever seen" information-prioritization aberrancy last week.

Why on earth would he even think the aesthetic details of his dessert were newsworthy enough to bring up in a high-profile interview about a massive, deadly airstrike that could potentially precipitate a global war?

He seemed completely oblivious to the embarrassment he should have felt admitting that not only was he not in a lengthy, morally and sociopolitically anguishing situation briefing when it happened but also to the emasculating (for someone who's struggled his entire life and then through his unseemly campaign to build his personal brand on a foundation of masculine business ruthlessness and sexual infidelity and assault) embarrassment that he didn't even make the decision to authorize the airstrike before it happened and he learned about it only during a leisurely, diplomatically mortifying dinner after the fact.

He wasn't even embarrassed that he couldn't name the country he let his generals decide when and where to bomb.

Despite obvious conversation topics ranging from humanitarian concerns to hasty retaliation to arms proliferation to the escalation of aggression to minimizing civilian casualties to the reasons he wasn't directly involved in the strategies and the considerations and the very execution of the airstrike, he chose to tell the national news about ... what his cake looked like.

When I was new in advertising and didn't know enough to research and prepare for any possible question on any product- or industry-related topic a client might bring up during multimillion-dollar campaign or strategy pitches, I learned after only ONE mortifying and thankfully not account-destroying desperately-babbling-about-anything-I-could-think-of answer that I drooled out in front of two layers of my bosses and probably four layers of client hierarchy to a completely obvious and to-anyone-else-expected question that I ALWAYS NEED TO KNOW EVERYTHING THAT'S GOING ON WITH A PROJECT AND IN WHAT ORDER OF IMPORTANCE IT ALL FALLS when I talked to anyone outside my office. Man-boy clearly has neither the capacity for embarrassment over his intellectual and educational failings nor the interest in making any effort to overcome them. It's like the man playing our president has suddenly fallen ill and his handlers have desperately thrown a babbling toddler in the spotlight to take his place.

And the media and the public continue to focus on the contentless content of his babbling instead of the contentless lack of coherent thought that's driving it ... and possibly driving us into a devastating global war. All because we keep giving our babbling toddler a microphone and a national stage.

Even though he's not entirely sure what country we just bombed.

He's confusing the Electoral College with Trump University again


Those who can't president go golfing

I've never heard our puerile inarticulate man-boy president brag about how awesome he is at golfing. And he's been golfing quite nearly every weekend he's been our failure of a president. And he brags about how awesome he is at EVERYTHING. So he must be as disastrous (one of his favorite words!) at golfing as he is at presidenting.

He gets a lot of practice at golfing and he doesn't get any better. He gets a LOT of practice at lying and he doesn't get any better. Despite his repeated, baldfaced, heavily tweeted declarations to the contrary, he's giving himself very little practice at being president. And by all measures and accounts and logical conclusions he's actually getting worse.

But in his defense, he clearly worked very hard and was very efficient at getting himself under FBI investigation.

Peeps are not your peeps


Friday, April 14, 2017

Bring up the curtain, la, la, la

MUSICAL I HATE: Cats (which is the first show I saw on Broadway), Mama Mia (love ABBA, hate the show)

MUSICALS I THINK ARE OVERRATED: The Producers, Gypsy, My Fair Lady, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Kinky Boots, Spring Awakening

MUSICAL I THINK IS OVERDONE: Grease

MUSICALS I THINK ARE UNDERRATED: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Mame, Once on this Island, On the 20th Century, Kiss of the Spider Woman, City of Angels, Big River, Chess

MUSICALS I LOVE: A Chorus Line, Next to Normal, Jersey Boys, Ragtime, Evita, Newsies, Book of Mormon, any Sondheim

MUSICAL I CHERISH: West Side Story

MUSICALS I COULD LISTEN TO ON REPEAT: Company, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George, On the 20th Century

MUSICALS I STILL WANT TO DO: Sunday in the Park with George, Hairspray, Company, Sweeney Todd, 1776, Follies, On the 20th Century, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Full Monty

MUSICALS I STILL WANT TO SEE: Hamilton, Chicago, Dear Evan Hansen, Urinetown, The Music Man (but only because I live in Iowa)

GUILTY PLEASURE: Bye Bye Birdie, Wicked, 42nd Street, Pippin, Joseph/Dreamcoat

Flashback Friday: Cicero Edition

The Chicago Gay Men's Chorus allowed me to check off a lot of things that are on every man's bucket list: Sing the National Anthem at a Cubs game, record a CD of beautifully arranged love songs, choreograph a show called The Ten Commandments: The Musical, and rock the six-wived Lipschitz out of Velma Kelly's wig and heels in a reverently faithful re-creation of "The Cell Block Tango." POP!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Well, crap

I've ordered a good $500 worth of jeans in various tasteful and age-appropriate colors from Amazon over the past few months, and I finally sat down tonight to figure out how to return the ones that are too small. Which is pretty much all of them. Even though I ordered the size I always wear. But I just discovered to my procrastinated dismay that you can't return stuff to Amazon after 30 days. And you ESPECIALLY can't return stuff to Amazon with a cat in the box.

So I am now the proud owner of about 10 pair of 36 (cough! cough!) x 34 slim-fit jeans in tasteful shades of khakis and blues and greens. And I certainly don't expect people to compensate me for my procrastination and my inability to read fine print, so if you live nearby and think you could fit your hips in some brand-new, still-betagged 36 (cough! cough!) x 34 slim-fit jeans, shoot me a private message and I can totally hook you up.

Also! Remind me to tell you the story about the time more than 30 days ago that I somehow ordered two boxes each of two different pair of totally cool sneakers. (I know. Who DOES something that dumb?) Bring your size 12 feet on by and see if they fit.

First come, first to get a bonus free cat.

It's always the messiest before it gets the organizediest, right?


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Today in stupid

1. I chose to eat dinner at McDonald's.
2. Sean Spicer.
3. The person taking my McDonald's drive-through order asked me if it was for here or to go.
4. "The Holocaust center."
5. The North Carolina House GOP filed a bill to invalidate the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, directing the state government to defy it.
6. Hitler "didn't even sink to using chemical weapons."
7. The Texas Senate advanced a bill that would allow county clerks to refuse marriage licenses to gay couples in the name of not-at-all-secret-code-for-homophobic-hatred "religious liberty."
8. Hitler “was not using the gas on his own people in the same way that Assad is doing.”
9. Kenneth Adkins, an anti-gay Georgia pastor who said that the victims of the Orlando massacre "got what they deserved," was found guilty -- the only not-stupid part of this list -- of molesting a boy and girl who attended his church.
10. Sean Spicer. Seriously. Sean Spicer.

Seven years ago today I was in NYC having a Birthday Broadway Binge Blowout

Next week I leave for another NYC Birthday Broadway Binge Blowout. I'd say this trend makes it safe to conclude that I'm gay, but that doesn't begin with a B. And I refuse to switch out the initial letters and associate myself with the word Girthday, which thankfully isn't even a word. I gope.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Going nuclear

Today, "Fascism Forever" club founder, Constitutional "originalist" and declared Constitutional "faithful servant" Neil Gorsuch was sworn in as the 113th Supreme Court Justice of the United States, a position -- or at least the opportunity to be sworn into that position -- that Constitutionally belongs to someone else.

On August 6, 2016, Senate Majority Leader, integrityless obstructionist, too-lazy-and-corrupt-to-hide-it hypocrite and hideous melted candle Mitch McConnell declared at something literally called the Fancy Farm Picnic in his not-racist home state of Kentucky, "One of my proudest moments was when I told Obama, 'You will not fill this Supreme Court vacancy'" [with then-president Barack Obama's SCOTUS appointee Merrick Garland]. Intentionally -- or incompetently -- misinterpreting the 1992 so-called Biden Rule that proposed that lame-duck SCOTUS nominations couldn't be voted on and confirmed AFTER election day, McConnell declared that "The American people‎ should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President." He knew he had the Senate majority to support this final belligerent, partisan attack of Republicans' eight years of Obama obstructionism, and the Garland nomination died after 293 days of McConnell's gross dereliction of duty.

On January 31, 2017, our new, inarticulate man-boy president nominated Gorsuch for the SCOTUS seat, and after Senate Democrats -- who knew a 60-vote Senate supermajority didn't exist to confirm Gorsuch -- threatened to filibuster and obstruct the nomination through Constitutional channels instead of through partisan dereliction the way McConnell had, the grandstandingly indignant McConnell whined, "Apparently there's yet a new standard now, which is not to confirm a Supreme Court nominee at all. I think that's something the American people simply will not tolerate."

McConnell had but one weapon of retaliation: the so-called Nuclear Option, which replaces the 60-vote Senate supermajority requirement for SCOTUS confirmations with a 51-vote simple majority, which he knew he had. And which he did. And which resulted in the unholy confirmation and swearing in of declared fascism enthusiast and profoundly dubious Constitutional faithful servant Gorsuch.

And which set an admittedly-on-both-sides-of-the-aisle highly dangerous precedent enabling either party to pack the SCOTUS with extremely partisan judges -- and further and further polarize the electorate and the entire country -- in perpetuity.

In perpetuity. Because of divisive, bellicose partisan absolutism. Because of McConnell's gross and intentional dereliction of duties. Because of racism. Because of personal political gain over the interest and welfare of the country.

In perpetuity.

Sibling Day. I guess.

True facts:
1. Too much Dippity-do makes it look like you've dyed your hair black.
2. I have a long and obstinate history of ignoring memos about family sleeve-buttoning standards.
3. Same with family white-turtleneck compliance ordinances.
4. There are dated family photos and there are hideously dated family photos. I think I can safely say that in this instance, we managed to keep our appearances neutral enough that this photo qualifies as the former.
5. It's apparently some pointlessly manufactured social-media festival called Sibling Day today, so I will refrain from making fun of my sister's hair.
6. No, really. I won't even bring it up.
7. On a completely unrelated note, remember when people used to put mousse in their hair to make it fluffy and out of proportion to their heads?
8. Me neither. Nobody would ever do that, right? I think it's actually just an urban legend.
9. Dappled background screens may match your family's full spectrum of chambray, but that does not make either side of the equation acceptable or appropriate for impressionable children.
10. Chambray would make a great name for a gay cat.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Till we find our place on the path unwinding

Fun Follies Fact: I'm the king of whatever it is that I'm the king of in our "Circle of Life" finale. I carry my lovely and regal queen onstage among all the romping animals and glorious singing at the end of each show. I spin her around regally for all to admire on my regal shoulder (which is actually just one of the two regal shoulders I possess; they come in a set for us royalty). I set her down. We ascend a singer-lined staircase, gesturing gracefully with our regal arms. We reach a platform at the top. Our adorable child races up the staircase after us. I lift her proudly and regally to my regal shoulder (though I remind you that both of my shoulders are, in fact, equally regal) in that momentary musical breath between the singers' final "of" and "life." The profoundly emotional and eternally grateful audience leaps to its feet in roaring waves of obsequious adulation. And, scene.
Now, I spend a great amount of manly backstage time each show moving our massive staircase and platform units. I spend a great amount of showtuney onstage time each show dancing on our massive staircase and platform units. I am therefore exceedingly familiar with their roomy massiveness. But every night when my beautiful and regal queen and I gracefully ascend our "Circle of Life" staircase, it seems uncharacteristically crowded. Up until tonight I've been focusing on not tripping during our ascent, so I didn't spend any time focusing on solving the mystery of the uncharacteristically crowded staircase. Tonight, finally confident in my ability to climb a staircase without tripping, I noticed that all the singers were actually leaning forward on our graceful ascent, as if they had each simultaneously dropped a quarter and wanted to make sure it didn't roll away. Which happens more than you'd think in big splashy musicals. In any case, all that quarter-searching was really restricting our stair-climbing space, and it was reigniting my temporary dormant fear of tripping.

And then tonight, halfway up the staircase as the music soared around us and the animals romped below us and our graceful arms gestured regally about us, it suddenly hit me: There weren't any lost quarters; everyone was BOWING. To US. Because we were ROYALTY. In CAPITAL LETTERS.

Now, despite all the rumors and the understandably logical conclusions they inspire, I have never, in fact, been royalty. So until tonight I've never been -- or even suddenly realized I was being -- deferentially mass-bowed to, on a staircase or otherwise. Being surrounded by servile sycophants has never really been my thing. UNTIL IT SUDDENLY WAS TONIGHT ONSTAGE IN FRONT OF 2,000 ENRAPTURED WITNESSES. And even though it royally impedes my royal ascension of our royal-by-association staircase, I WANT MORE BOWING. So you need to always remember to bow in mass obsequious deference when you see me, whether or not there is any combination of soaring music, romping animals or graceful arms involved in the circumstances of your sycophancy. Kthanks.
Other Fun Follies Fact: I maintain a balanced and equitable budget in whatever it is that I'm king of by pairing my royal, not-at-all-triage-nurse-or-attending-surgeon-looking regal garb with my house-painting shoes that I got for $3 (total! not each!) at Walmart. It's royal austerity measures like this that go a long way toward keeping my peasants bowing not because they're desperate to keep their quarters from rolling away but because THEY KNOW WHAT'S GOOD FOR THEM.
And, scene.

Follies: Seasons of Love

It's time now to sing out, though the story never ends. Let's celebrate, remember a year in the life of friends.

Oh, nothing

Just hanging out with my lobby girlfriend (I have a lobby girlfriend) after my standing ovation. How was YOUR afternoon?

Curtain up!


Happy opening night, Follies!

Well actually it's happy opening matinee, which makes the sun wash out the shimmery chaser lights on the marquee and exposes the fact that my worshipful, adoring opening-night throngs are really just some random dude who didn't even know his indifferent butt was photobombing my glamour selfie, which means I am not, in fact, living the Bette Midler dream this afternoon, which also probably undermines my Equity points and my Broadway salary, which means it's just pretzels and beer again for dinner, but I'm still here writing a Facebook post so I guess I'll do the show. Just as soon as I can find my hat.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Catastrophic crash + glow tape = theater magic

So Follies preview night was a smashing success, despite the fact that even with all my meticulous costume presets I still managed to mis-preset a pair of pants and completely lose into never-to-be-found thin air the giant overcoat I'm supposed to wear in the opening number.

But! I also learned some kind-of awesome Paramount Theatre lore: There is a rather unfortunately located column just offstage right behind the first masking curtain. I don't know if it's load-bearing or if it contains can't-be-moved electrical or plumbing lines but it's a person-wide tower of concrete that stands exactly where a person would naturally exit from the front of the stage. Plus -- like every backstage surface at every theater in the universe and beyond -- it's painted black. The Paramount Theatre stage crew has helpfully marked the corners of the column with glow tape and posted signs to call attention to its presence so actors don't crash dramatically -- as if there were any other way they'd do it -- into it as they leave the stage. But from time to time it's bound to happen, right?

And guess what? Not only does it indeed happen from time to time, but look at the tally marks in this picture. The stage crew actually keeps track of the crashes. WITH GLOW TAPE. And even though I've never seen a crash of glow-tape-worthy severity -- and I certainly understand and empathize with the people in the rushed, in-total-darkness-situations where such crashes could unfortunately occur -- I nonetheless see this glow-tape crash tally as pants-splittingly funny. And I know a thing or two about splitting your pants on stage. And it's always funny
So anyway. We open tomorrow at 2:00. And by 5:00 Sunday our three shows will be over and we'll all disperse to wherever my overcoat went until the next show that some of us do together. And now that I've jinxed myself by laughing so callously at the 11 mysterious strangers who've earned glow-tape tally marks and may have broken bones or lost teeth in the process, I'll probably earn the 12th hash mark before our run ends. And I'll probably be wearing the wrong preset pants when I do it.

Follies Flashback Friday: Parasols Edition

Last year I got to sing "Sunday" just two blocks from the blue purple yellow red Cedar River with these two.
This year I'm a backup gentleman for Joe's velvety "Luck be a Lady" and a -- duh -- dancing queen behind June's spacewoman-outfitted, discoriffic "Dancing Queen" trio. And then I'm the dancing king of the entire Pride Lands in our massive "Circle of Life" finale. The KING.

Do you want to miss these moments? No you do not. And you have only this Saturday and Sunday to see them before I put away my royal dashiki forever.

Get your tickets at www.crfollies.com!

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Superstars!

Up-to-the-second runway fashion from backstage at Follies directly to you! Black-and-white adidas Superstars are what all the trend-right kids are wearing today.

Literally.

All. The. Kids.
Bonus fashion knowledge: adidas keeps its shoes affordable by not spending money on capital letters and then passing the savings on to consumers. Supply-side economics, baby!

[Sparkly shooting star.] The more you know.

Do NOT be accountable for your actions

Using one of the most cowardly and cruel weapons possible, Bashar al-Assad unleashed yet another deadly chemical attack on his own Syrian people yesterday.

Our petulant, inarticulate, puerile man-boy president immediately blamed Barack Obama, using words that are clearly too big for his demonstrated vocabulary by calling it "a consequence of the past administration's weakness and irresolution."

To wit: Instead of working to form a multilateral or even unilateral response to the chemical attack .. instead of providing or even discussing humanitarian aid for the victims of the chemical attack ... man-boy spent the day of the chemical attack at a building trades union conference and a CEO town hall promising to destroy "horrible" Dodd-Frank consumer financial protections that in his third-grade vocabulary needed a "major haircut" plus -- PLUS! -- bragging about the states he won in his presidential election. Which was five months ago, for those of us who are now focusing on his current failures instead of his past victory.

But back to blaming Obama: Not that anyone wanted man-boy's educationless opinion at the time, but after Assad unleashed one of his chemical attacks on his own people in 2013, man-boy repeatedly -- REPEATEDLY -- "advised" Obama via the time-honored diplomatic-advisory channel known as Twitter to "do NOT [his caps] attack Syria."

Man-boy went from advising "our very foolish leader" to "do NOT attack Syria" after a chemical massacre to another chemical massacre being "a consequence of the past administration's weakness and irresolution."
Nothing is ever man-boy's fault. Nothing of importance or value not relating to himself is ever man-boy's priority. Nothing is even ever worth man-boy's time and effort to fully understand.

There is nothing good or decent or honest or respectable or noble or even humanitarian about him. He is nothing but nothing. Nothing.

Monday, April 03, 2017

There are premature goodbyes in the sky

I guess this is goodbye, old pal.
You've been a perfect friend.
I hate to see us part, old pal.
Some day I'll buy you back.
I'll see you soon again.
I hope that when I do,
It won't be on a plate.

Leggo my logo

We have a light-up Follies logo suspended artfully in front of our gorgeously draped, merlot-hued, golden-fringed proscenium curtain. I bet Hamilton doesn't have a light-up Follies logo suspended artfully in front of a gorgeously draped, merlot-hued, golden-fringed proscenium curtain. Stupid Hamilton. Stupid dead Hamilton.

Follies Fosse flashback

Follies is five days away, and nobody is safe from my relentlessly jazz-handed posts this week. Nobody. Not even you.
Did someone say Follies? Because oh my god I have a Follies memory right here that I can share! Here I am backstage with my indefatigable swing partner Jill in the last Follies I did before I moved to Chicago and she eventually moved away to parts west but I came back so you could enjoy my Follies posts you're welcome. Jill looks all wholesome and ready to six-count her way into the hearts of millions in this picture while I look all awkwardly trynabe sexy in my Fosse black and never-did-fit bowler hat. But that's the magic of theater: decades-apart dance styles and a little bit too much boyblush crossing hurriedly backstage like two ships in the night who pause for a huggy picture even though ships don't have arms.

We have Fosse stuff this year too! Get your tickets already at www.crfollies.com

From the man-boy who's never at fault ...

If there's one thing I look for in a president, it's passive-aggressive grudge-holding. There is no greater tool for building bipartisan alliances in Congress or forging strategic diplomatic relationships with countries we want to keep as mutually peaceful allies.

And if you're a Trump supporter, "tool" has multiple meanings here.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Putting the bass in basement

Here's my decadently rococo Follies home for the next week. Come see our show for my delicately nuanced portrayal of Wally Womper, then stay for my delicately nuanced portrayal of a Jersey Boys backup dancer. If my masterfully crafted character studies aren't your thing -- haters! -- this show is bursting with incredible people creating some breathtakingly incredible moments. Like our transcendent four-tenor "Bring Him Home." And our gorgeously lyrical "Beauty and the Beast" pas de deux. And our take-no-prisoners "Jesus Christ Superstar" flygirls. And -- back to me -- what I count as the supreme privilege of singing "Luck be a Lady" and "Seasons of Love" with people who are both dear friends and powerhouse singers.

And if none of that entices you, the Paramount Theatre has seats of luxe merlot brocade -- brocade! -- velvet and a winding, statue-populated catacomb hallway leading to the downstairs bathroom lounge that positively captivated me as a kid. So if for no other reason, come see me in Follies so you can pee in the basement.

You know what you need to do: www.crfollies.com

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Giggle. Hair toss.

So I discovered to my abject horror this morning that every pair of dress pants that I own but one -- that's EVERY PAIR BUT ONE -- no longer fits me. And not in the good way. So after my desperately extra-vigorous workout this afternoon I went to my friendly neighborhood JCPenney to upgrade to some big-boy dress pants, all of which are 60% (give or take) off right now in case you're in the market for new dress pants. Unfortunately, I needed new dress pants that were 60% (give or take) bigger. Which was a 100% (give or take) blow to my ego. But as I waddled up to the checkout counter feeling very dejected and frustrated, the very cute, very friendly, very too young to remember "Sunday in the Park with George" clerk greeted me with a huge smile and chatted my ear off and laughed way too enthusiastically at my feeble attempts at humor. And I'm either way too out of practice to tell for sure or for sure way too delusional to know better, but I think he was ... flirting with me. Which would have lifted my spirits but I'm old and cynical and now too fat for all my dress pants but one so I didn't buy one second of his couldn't-possibly-be flirting. Not one. Not even enough to write a huge post about it on Facebook. Nope. Not one. (Giggle. Hair toss.)

But! I went right from Girth & Flirt to get my hair cut and the haircut lady cut my hair exactly the way that I like it. Which is a concrete, measurable way to lift my saggy, droopy, every-pair-but-one spirits.

And there's no way I'm going back to Girth & Flirt seventeen more times this weekend to see if he asks to check my ID twice again. Because checking my ID twice for one purchase and saying my last name out loud is probably legally-mandated store policy. Besides, going back would just look desperate and awkward. (Giggle. Hair toss.)