Category Archives: Joss Whedon

Throwback Thursday: Firefly and Serenity

I have loved Joss Whedon for about two decades now. Ever since I saw my first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer twenty years ago, I was hooked. Now, I’ll admit it, I didn’t see the first episode on it’s premiere night. I actually saw it when the WB reran it over the weekend. The show caught me a bit off guard as I’d seen the movie at the theater during its original run. This was due in large part to the fact that I actually worked at a movie theater at the time. If I hadn’t, I might not have seen it. The TV show was nothing like the campy, but fun, movie I remembered from high school. I was a bit confused about the different school and characters, but when her new principal mentioned the burning down of the gym at her old school, I realized it was still some version of the movie I knew.

I faithfully watched (and rewatched and rerewatched) every episode of Buffy. When Angel split off with his own series, I watched that too. I was especially enthralled when Spike managed to survive the seventh season of Buffy and moved on over to Angel.

Somehow I managed to miss news about Whedon’s show Firefly, at least until right after it was cancelled. Not that it was hard to miss considering how little publicity Fox gave it. Or the fact they aired the episodes out of order which confused people. Or that they only had it on the air for 12 of the 13 episodes. It was almost like Fox did everything in its power to tank the show.

Thankfully a friend of mine told me about it and lent me his DVD’s. From the moment I watched the first episode, I was hooked. And then I was devastated that I only got 13 near perfect episodes to love.

So when Serenity was made, I was in line on opening day. And I loved it. To this day it is still one of my favorite movies. In fact, I love it so much that each year I introduce my Film Lit students to it as part of their final. A surprising number of them end up really liking it as well and then go on to watch Firefly. Some even go on to watch Buffy and Angel. Of course, that might have something to do with the Buffy clips I show too.

Recently I learned that there are Serenity comic books. I knew that Whedon decided to add to the Buffy legacy by creating what would have been the 8th season of Buffy in comic book form. Right after they came out, my husband bought me the first few for my birthday. Then a friend lent me the rest of them. They were fun, but not quite the way I saw the show going (look, if it doesn’t somehow end with Buffy and Spike back together my interest level wanes).

I knew he’s also created Angel comic books, but I didn’t look into those. I liked the show, but it’s my third favorite of his shows (Dollhouse is my least favorite).

Until two weeks ago I had no idea he’d also created a comic book series for Serenity. When I found out, I logged on to my library to see if by chance they had them. Amazingly enough, they did. I put what I thought were the first four on hold, however, at this point I’m still not sure the order of the books. I’ve looked online and while I found a post about the correct order, it lists books I can’t find at my library or on Amazon. It also definitely does not list them in the same order my library (and Amazon does). So although I am a bit confused, I’m going to read them in the order I think they go in and if it’s not right, I’ll be ok with that and just enjoy them.

So far I’ve only read the first one (I think), Those Left Behind. It was definitely fun. It probably would have made a great episode of the show. I love seeing the characters drawn just like the actors and I love reading their words, which of course I hear in my head in the voices of the actors. I love getting to “see” Nathan Fillion play out more adventures of my beloved Mal. It’s not quite as good as more episodes would have been, but it’s a nice consolation.

I may have to get copies of them for my classroom for students who fall in love with the movie to read.

 

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Free Reading Friday: You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost)

Never weird on internetI feel the need to be perfectly candid about something upfront in this review: I love Felicia Day. Although not a “gamer girl” myself, I have been immersed in geek culture my entire life, so I relate to her in so many ways. It probably also doesn’t hurt that she was on one of my all time favorite TV shows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, AND in my favorite web min-series Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, AND my favorite web series, The Guild. Although I was not overly enamored of her awkward character Vi in Buffy, I simply adored her as Penny and Codex/Syd. I’ve also loved seeing her on Supernatural.

So when I saw her memoir, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost) in the display window of my school library, I texted our librarian (school was over at the time) and told her I wanted it first thing the next morning. By the time I’d hit my car though, I was searching the online public library to see if maybe, just maybe, there was an audiobook.

There was. And even better, Day reads the audiobook! I LOVE when author’s read their own works. You get so much more than their stories when they do. You get the emotions that go along with those stories. In a way, it’s like listening to a good friend tell their personal stories. Because the author gets to relive the experience, so does the listener. Not that voice actors can’t do amazing jobs reading audiobooks. I’ve hears some spectacular performances, but an author reading their own work always excites me.

Hearing Day’s stories in her own voice was brilliant. She made me feel just as awkward and quirky and uncomfortable as she felt in so many of her childhood stories. And that was perfect, because I could relate. While I was not home schooled, I grew up in a very strange household myself and I found myself connecting on a very real level with her tales of social anxiety and awkwardness. It probably helps that Day and I are almost the same age, so many of her childhood and teen obsessions were also mine.

I still remember my step-dad bringing home our first computer when I was in 5th grade and the hours and hours and hours I spent playing video games on it. It was so much easier to play those games than it was to deal with real people sometimes. Especially when I was getting ready to start my 5th school in 6 years. Computers were far kinder to new kids than the other students were. Especially when those new kids were a bit chubby, had glasses and were insanely good at school (and serious, serious teacher pleasers to boot).

As an avid attendee of events like Comic Con, I loved Day’s stories of meeting other celebrities because they are so relatable. It’s lovely to see someone I look up to and know I would get a little tongue-tied to meet have the same problems. Her story about going out of her way to buy donuts so she could offer one to Matt Smith (of Dr. Who fame) was hysterical. Considering that until I was in my late 20’s I was the only Dr. Who fan (aside from my dad) I knew, I could see myself doing something similar. Heck, when I met John Barrowman I almost lost my mind. I loved hearing that Day did the same.

I also truly enjoyed reading about Day’s process of staying true to her inner geek by creating her own web series and then her own geek company. I particularly found her message to young, geeky girls inspiring. I wish I’d had someone like her to look up to when I was the only one in my 7th grade homeroom who had seen every episode of Dr. Who and could name all of his companions in order of their appearance on the show. It would have been nice to be able to feel proud of that instead of worried someone would find out just how odd I was. It also would have been lovely to know someone else was writing Fan Fic before there was a word for it. Yep, that’s right, I had notebooks full of Dr. Who Fan Fic back in the 1980’s and early 1990’s!

One of the most interesting and important parts of the book is Day’s account of her experiences during Gamer Gate. After hearing stories like Day’s it is hard to believe anyone could possibly still believe Gamer Gate was not sexism at its ugliest.

I am so glad I read this book and have already recommended it to several of my students, added it to my AP non-fiction list and look forward to talking to students about it.

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Fandom Fest

I make no apologies for the fact that I am a geek. Always have been, always will be. I like comic books and superheroes and comic books about superheroes. I like Star Trek and Star Wars. I love Buffy, Angel and Firefly. I go simply ga ga over Dr. Who. Back in the day I was even known to play some D&D (that’s Dungeons and Dragons for all you non-residents of Geek Town U.S.A.). So, it’s really no surprise that I like Cons.

Until this year my conning has been fairly limited in scope. Ok, it’s been extremely limited…to one Con. However, I’ve gone to Wizard’s World Comic Con in Chicago for five or six years now and I’ve loved it. This year my friends and I were all set for another great round of conning when my best friend had to go and get herself a professorship in Georgia. Although we still really wanted to go, the university expected her to show up for pre-teaching meetings the Friday we’d normally be heading to Chicago listening to Florence and the Machines and having a grand ol’ time chit chatting. Since she wasn’t willing to skip her first day on the job (her priorities are so messed up), a dark cloud fell over our plans. That was until another friend of ours (who we meet up with every year at Wizard’s) told us about Fandom/Fright Fest in Louisville. In the blink of an eye, we were making reservations at the Galt House Hotel.

We should have known there was gonna be trouble the moment we tried to find parking. The Galt House is pretty darn huge. So huge it actually takes up both sides of the street (with a fun little bridge on the third floor). We weren’t sure which side to park on and when we tried to ask the attendants, they didn’t know what to tell us either. My BFF finally went in and asked and we were directed to the right parking garage. Our room was nice and the place was swamped with fellow conners. In Chicago we never stayed at the official hotel of the con, but at the lovely Aloft hotel, which was really modern and fun. We’d grown really comfy hanging out at “our bar”–the only one in the joint. The drinks were good and the seating was plentiful, at least for the clientele. That was not the case at The Galt House. The place was packed! The main bar which spans the bridge on the third floor was the place to be. I think at one time every single person staying in the hotel was there.

Friday night when we rolled in there was a movie playing on a huge screen on end of the room and a side bar set up selling beer and popcorn. We’d already had a few drinks at a really tasty bistro we found while walking around downtown (that is one HUGE plus Fandom Fest had over Wizard’s–location–there were so many awesome places to eat all within about 10 minutes walk of our hotel, whereas the only places to get food at Wizard’s are in other hotels or by ordering carry out which takes forever), so we didn’t quite mind all the people and the waiting. It was fun to watch. That’s one great thing about cons, there is so much people watching to do. There was some sort of drunken pirate show going on and a very nice gentleman in full steam punk regalia tried to get us in, but unfortunately since we didn’t have tickets for Friday night, the event was closed to us. We did, however, have a truly fantastic time talking to him before the show and then again after the show when we saw him in the lounge area.

That’s another great thing about cons, you meet so many fun and interesting people. Suddenly all 10,000 or so people attending the con become your new friends. Everyone  you meet in line talks to you and since they have similar interests (in a lot of cases), it’s easy to talk back. Now, don’t get me wrong, some of them are total douches, but you can usually weed them out pretty quickly and start up a conversation with someone else more interesting. And, I have to say, if you are a girl at a con, even one who maybe has never felt really been very popular or has been self-conscious about your looks in anyway, cons are the place to be! We always manage to find cute and quirky boys to talk to. While I’m married, one of my friends isn’t and we are always trying to find her a nice geek boy, so we end up talking to a lot of them and their equally geeky friends. This year was no exception.

The highlight of my whole trip actually happened Friday night as we were talking to boys trying to make a love connection for our friend. Although we hadn’t even picked up the tickets for the con yet, as we were sitting sipping on cherry vodkas and diet Cokes, John Barrowman walked through the lobby. I won’t lie, I totally fan-girled out. If you don’t know how John Barrowman is, you obviously are not quite my kind of geek. He played Captain Jack Harkness on Dr. Who and then later on the spin-off Torchwood. While I’m not sure if he is my favorite Captain (it’s a toss up between him and Captain Reynolds), he is simply fantastic! As I was slightly hyperventilating over his presence, one of the guys we were talking to asked him if he would take a picture with me. He said he couldn’t stop because he’d already told someone else no and that if he stopped for me he’d have to stop for everyone. I totally understood and told him so. I think I babbled a bit about being a huge fan and thanking him even for talking to me. After he left, I just kept gushing about how I’d seen him. Seriously, I was a mess, which is not me at all.

Of course, I was an even bigger mess when two minutes later he snuck up on me from behind, put his arm around me, leaned close and said, “ok, pretend we are talking about something and tell your friend to get her camera out.” As I sat there with a Cheshire cat sized grin, babbling on about how much I love his work, my friend struggled to get her camera out. He laughed and said, “My God woman, take the picture!” and when she did, he was sweet as can be. I couldn’t stop smiling all night. I even did a little happy dance in our hotel room. And I’ll admit it, I told anyone who was interested my story. What was really cool was so many of them had stories too. Since the actors and artists were all staying at the Galt House, they had tons of similar run-ins with fans and were all super nice, willing to stop and talk and take photos. It was kind of awesome. allan tudyk

That, however, is where the awesome ended. The con itself was a bit of a nightmare. I’ve never been in a more unorganized situation in my life. No one knew which line people were supposed to go in, including the workers who were supposed to be directing people to lines. Despite arriving well before the con floor opened, we waited in line 30 minutes for tickets we’d already purchased. Then, we waited in line 30 more minutes to buy a photo opportunity with Adam Baldwin (Jayne from Firefly). I waited about 30 minutes for John Barrowman to sign my copy of his book Anything Goes, which wasn’t too bad since the people in line were super friendly and included a little boy who was about four and the spitting image of Matt Smith’s Dr. Who. It was also cool because I got to snap this cute (and illegal) picture of Alan Tudyk on my phone.

The rest of the con was a let down though. There weren’t that many vendors. Not that I usually buy a lot, but I like to look at the wares. There were hardly any artists at all, which is actually a really cool feature of Wizard’s–all the independent artists who have booths there. In fact, our first year at Wizard’s, we met an artist named Josh Johnson and not only did we buy some of his art, he became our friend. The layout of the place was nuts. There were no real maps to figure out where events were going to be held. The staff, aside from being clueless, actually forgot several actors at different places around the city. They left John Barrowman at the airport. They forgot to pick Alan Tudyk up from the hotel to bring him to his signings (and when he managed to get there, security didn’t seem to understand he was an actor, despite his celebrity badge–fans had to badger them to let him in), Colin Baker was never picked up for his panel, so he tweeted to his fans from his hotel room, John Barrowman’s panel had to be moved because they scheduled it the same time as his photo ops, Stan Lee’s panel ran over, so they cut the Firefly cast’s panel short, the director of Monster Squad wasn’t told he had a panel until a few hours before he had to host it and other panels were advertised but didn’t take place and had no cancellation notices.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, the lines were atrocious. We didn’t actually get to see any of the panels we wanted to because there were two lines to get in to each panel, the VIP line (for people who paid $175) and the regular line. Before they let any regular ticket holders in, the VIP’s got first dibs, so panels were filling up 1/2 and 3/4 full of VIP’s only. The photos from Saturday weren’t ready by the time they shut it down at 8pm, so they told everyone to come back the next day to get their photos–the only problem was we didn’t have tickets for the next day. Luckily I managed to find the only helpful employee (who was 6 months pregnant) who let me in and then made our picture a priority. The lines to see some of the celebrities were outrageous. There were a slew of actors from The Walking Dead there and the line for Norman Redus was over two hours for VIP’s and over 5 hours for non-VIP’s.

They seemed completely taken off guard by the number of fans who showed up for the con, which I find odd considering most of their sales were pre-orders.

Although I loved many aspects of this con, I’m not sure I’d ever go back. The shear lack of order and the hours wasted in lines was just a bit too much for me.

 

 

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Chocolate Monday: Chocolate FX

chocolate fxA few weekends ago I attended Fandom Fest in Louisville, KY. While I’d been to several comicy type conventions before, this was my first trip to Fandom/Fright Fest. I was actually scheduled to go to Wizard’s World Comic Con in Chicago, but my darling BFF had to go and move halfway across the country and wouldn’t be able to go to Chicago with me because she’d be starting her new job. Since the con is always our big girls’ weekend, we opted for Fandom/Fright fest since it was within a day’s drive, was held two weeks sooner and had the added bonus of being the hometown of a friend of ours.

While there were quite a few things about Fandom/Fright Fest which disappointed me (I’ll have another blog about that on Wed dear readers), I was super excited to find a little chocolate booth set up in the vendor’s hall. In all the years I’ve been going to Wizard’s World, there has never been any sort of edible treat to purchase (aside from some damn tasty twisty cones at the snack stand). I’ve always reserved my chocolate buying for Ethel M’s (before they abandoned me) and Vosges on Armitage Street.chocolate fx package

Fandom/Fright Fest not only boasted John Barrowman (of Torchwood and Dr. Who fame) and three cast members from Firefly (Wash, Jayne and Kaylee), but also Chocolate F/X. This seemed inspired to me. My friends grabbed a package of the toffee to split, but being the sucker for truffles that I am, I had to go with the fancy decorated chocolates. I mean, I love toffee and all, but who can argue with chocolate that has Dracula, Godzilla, Frankenstein and other horror classics on it? Not this girl. Turns out that despite the fact that one type of toffee was clearly labeled as bacon toffee and the other wasn’t, my poor BFF, who has been a vegetarian for like 12 years now, accidently bought toffee that also had bacon in it. Our other friend lucked out as she loves bacon, so she got all of the toffee. Bad marketing.

chocolate fx godzillaThe first one I tried was the dark chocolate Godzilla. I was not at all impressed. The filling was a caramel of sorts, but it was overly sweet in a really artificial way. Now, I know I’m not a huge fan of dark chocolate, but that is usually because I don’t like the bitter taste (and after taste). This one was not at all bitter. In fact, it was sort of cloyingly sweet. The caramel was super chewy and had a vaguely liquorish taste. I don’t mean licorice like the candy, I mean liquor as in alcohol. The only problem was that I couldn’t place the specific spirit it seemed to be trying to replicate. All I know was that I did not like it. No sir, not one bit.

The other dark chocolate offering, which looked a bit like Dracula’s dune buggy was a bit better. It was still sweet and not bitter, but it wasn’t as sweet. It had a rather non-descript chocolate filling. It was a bit like a brownie, both in texture and in taste. It was a bit chewy, but overall, not too bad. Nothing to write home about, but also nothing like that caramel I didn’t like.

Since I’m a save the best for last kinda girl, after I got rid of the dark chocolate, I moved on to the milk, hoping that the overly sweetness of the candy hadchocolate fx skull something to do with the darkness of the chocolate. My hopes were quickly dashed. The first milk piece, which had the sort of zombie skull on it also had a chocolate fudge-like filling. It was also better than the caramel, but still too sweet for even my sweet tooth. The second milk piece nearly killed me. When I turned it over, I noticed the salt on top of it and figured it was a sea salt caramel. Well, it was a salted caramel all right…a spicy salt and a pepper caramel. And not the harmless black pepper kind either. One bite set my mouth on fire. I like the combo of sweet and hot, but when my lips are tingling after 8 ounces of water, I like it much, much less. I think the caramel itself would have had a better flavor than it’s dark companion, but it was too hot for me to really figure out.

The final piece was the white chocolate piece. It was my favorite, but the flavor was a bit indistinct. There were definitely some sort of coffee hints, which really shocked me as I don’t like coffee one bit. Coffee pieces are usually my least favorite, but this one was a bit more chocolate mocha than straight coffee, which made it better. Not great, but better.

Overall:

Taste: 2/10
Appearance: 10/10 (come on, this was clever and cool)
Value: 2/10

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So, will I really change?

This week has been rough. Who am I kidding…all of my weeks have been rough this year. I don’t know what I thinking when I decided that motherhood, two different AP classes (AP Lit and Comp AND AP Lang and Comp), the newspaper (and we are going print and online this year) and a masters degree was something I could handle. Well, I guess I am handling it, but I think some sort of psychotic break might be coming on.

Ok, so maybe not a full blown psychotic break. But I think there is going to be some real old school wailing and knashing of teeth. Possibly a full on, throw myself on the floor, kick and scream and make an increadible fuss, old school tantrum. Or, it might manifest in something even more disturbing: a day where I just sort of forget the world exists and have a 24 hour Joss Whedon marathon, not bothering to shower, or eat or even respond to the crying baby. So far I’ve been masking my stress and frustrations with chocolate and muscle tension.

So here I am just a little over three months into a 20 month masters program. This is my last assignment for my second class and while I am AMAZINGLY relieved, I am also sort of freaked out because that means a new one starts tomorrow. I know I should be thrilled because that means two down and only like seven to go, but that seven seems really overwhelming right now. Especially since that seven also includes a HUGE portfolio assignment which actually has two more mini-classes (which brings my tally to 9 more to go). It also has two research classes  that are less than 3 credits, but that still sort of makes it 11 to go, and now my stomach starts turning a little.

Couple that with the fact that I’m comfy in this tech class, and my stomach is now reeling.

My current (well, at least for three more hours) tech class isn’t “easy” exactly. I’ve had several assignments that I have spent a great deal of time on (the videos for my group project, fixing my Moodle pages, creating my WebQuest, revamping a lesson to make it focus on tech), I haven’t struggled with the concepts at all. I am really quite comfortable using technology in my classroom since I do it every single day. I stress far more on the days when the interent isn’t working correctly (three times this week) than on any other days. I mean, tech is my teaching life blood.

And I’ll admit it, when I first saw the tech check list, all I could think was, “this is going to be a waste of time.” I mean, I already used most of the tech on the sheet in my classroom. However, I will also admit that over the past six weeks (technically eight, as we had two breaks), I have learned a few cool new things. My favorite was probably how to make a Jeopardy game using Power Point. I know I keep raving about this to anyone who’ll listen, but I’d always wanted to do it, but had never really taken the time to learn how. Since I made it, I’ve already used the one I made for class once (and I’m getting ready to use it again next week for another section of the class) and I’ve even created a second Jeopardy game over vocab. It was a HUGE sucess and it even helped humble a few of my AP kids who are kind of know-it-alls. It turns out that during a competative game, even the best freeze a little. However, they all did much better on the final quiz, so I call it a rousing success.

This class has taught me that I am definitely on the right track with tech. I’m going to keep using it in my classroom (not like I have a choice since I do have a classroom full of computers) and I’m going to do my best to incorporate some new tech as well. I’m really excited about using podcasts and incorporating more student created videos in my classroom. I’m hoping to make some real leaps forward.

Now, I will say that this class would have been so much better had I learned how to make a robot that could either clean my house OR do my grading. As it is, I guess I’ll jsut have to be glad one more class is done and that I am that much closer to getting some small portion of my life back.

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Wicked Lucky, redeux

Today was a girls’ day out. After a weekend with my family (whom I adore, but stress me out and keep me constantly busy), it was nice to have some me time.

Months ago we bought tickets to see Wicked. Even though I’d just seen it on Thursday with my bff, I loved it so much, I couldn’t wait to see it again. This is not a new phenomenom with me. I once loved a university performance of Romeo and Juliet so much that I went to see it two nights in a row. I won’t lie, it helped that Romeo was drop dead gorgeous, but mostly, I loved the concept for the show and how well it was acted (it was set in 1970’s Ireland with the conflict being between the Protestants and the Catholics–the street fight opened with a bomb going off on stage).

Everything about Wicked was so amazing that I was thrilled to see it again, but especially thrilled to share it with two of my friends who have also been involed in musical theater. One of my friends saw the show a few years ago in Chicago and really liked it. She also happens to be the one with the musical theater degree. So even though I was blown away by the vocals in the show (and while I may not have enough talent to sing for a living, I have enough to recognize really amazing singing when I hear it), I was worried she might be a little more nonplussed. I felt I might have built it up or that with her extensive theater knowledge she might have felt let down.

I didn’t say much about the show, only that I thought both leads were fantastic (with an extra nod to Elphaba), I thought they’d love the staging and that Fiyero was hot. I think I may have stressed this a wee bit.

Luckily, we were all impressed by it. We get glancing at each other with huge smiles. At intermission, one of my friends pointed out the goose bumps “Defying Gravity” had given her. I was happy because I had matching ones.

I was, however, surprised that at the break they were not as impressed with Fiyero. They all agreed he had a good voice, but thought he was just ok looking. I was appalled! Granted, the skin tight khaki pants in “Dancing Through Life” aren’t super flattering, but as I’ve said in earlier posts, they remind me of Mal from Firefly, so I was ok with them. I shook my head, thinking them crazy, and got back in my seat (we were in two different rows).

After the show we decided to grab a bite to eat downtown. We saw a Scottish place up ahead and decided on it. When we got closer though, it appeared to be closed. We stood across the street trying to decide what to do. One of them suggested a pizza place directly behind us. I glanced over and sitting in the patio section were Fiyero and the Wizard. I casually turned to them, and told them if they wanted a closer look at the cast, to turn around. They tried to get me to ask for his autograph. I wanted to, I really did, but I was far too shy to go ask him.

Now, for anyone who knows me, this last statement sounds ridiculous. I am usually courageous. I don’t generally care what others think of me and making a fool of myself isn’t something that keeps me up at night. In high school, whenver someone new came to school, I tromped right up, stuck out my hand and asked who the heck they were. Today though, all my usual bravado was gone. I think it may have something to do with the fact that I find him really, really cute, and I tend to lose my nerve around cute boys.

Luckily one of my friends is far braver. She grabbed a program and walked over. She got both of their autographs and I got the courage to follow her. She told them I wanted a picture with them (and I did) and sure enough, they put their arms around me and we posed. It was awesome!

They were polite and didn’t seem bothered by us at all. The fact that one of them had a sharpee on him and they were sitting outside on a very busy street kind of made me think they might have wanted to be recognized, at least a little. Still, it made my day. And when we finally got to the place we ate at, they all agreed that up close he is quite attractive–in the balcony it’s hard to make out facial features.

Although I love my husband dearly, I have to admit I have a little theatrical crush. These are harmless, of course, as even if I did manage to cross his path and he somehow declared his love for me on the spot, I’d probably be too tongue tied to move with 10 feet of him.

However, I do have to say that Colin Donell, is officially in my top 5. I may even get my list laminated!

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Wicked Lucky

Today on a lark my bff and I went downtown to try for cheap Wicked tickets. For every show, there are a few tickets held back. The day of the show, they release the extra tickets in the form of a lottery. It’s pretty simple, but it requires a big time commitment. You have to show up 2 1/2 hours before the show, put your name in and wait 30 minutes for the drawing. Then, if your name is called, you can get up to 2 tickets for the performance.

So we went downtown. We figured our odds were good since the show was a 2pm matinee. If we didn’t get drawn, we’d at least have a nice lunch downtown and do a little shopping. We were the first people in line for the lottery. We waited. And during our waiting, we got pulled in to conversations with several single people also hoping to get drawn. One woman drove 2 hours after reading about the drawing online. She said she was off work and had nothing else to do. Another gentleman had been there the night before for the drawing, where he did not get picked.

At one minute to noon, we gathered around the little cage holding our names. The announcer went through his little ritual, including making all of us give three cheers of “there’s no place like home.” Which we all did, getting louder each time. The first name drawn belonged to a little boy who couldn’t be older than 6. He was really excited, but I could tell his folks were nervous–they had five people and only two tickets. My hopes dropped a little. But, he reached in, grabbed the next slip of paper and called my name. My bff started clapping and let out a very audible “yes!”

I went up to claim my buttons–the key to claiming my tickets. I also had to yell “Sweet Oz” which I did enthusiastically. We got our tickets and headed out for that lunch. We found a trendy cafe and it was tasty. They not only had four different kinds of chicken salad to pick from (I decided on fruited)*, but a SUPER  creamy spinach bacon soup**, and these amazingly moist cookies held together by a tasty creamy frosting.

After lunch we did a little shopping to kill the time. As we were walking back to the car to feed the meter, a small bundle of money blew right toward me. I caught it without really having to bend down. I looked around and there was only one family around. I did the right thing. I asked, but they hadn’t lost any cash, so I got to keep it. It was only $15, but it was $15 more than I had earlier that day.

As for the show itself, it was pretty darn spectacular. Our seats were stage right, second row. There was a slight blockage, but we were close enough to see many of the male actors (including Elphaba’s father) spit as they talked/sang. It was a little gross, but we got some great facial expressions. Plus, we got to see Fiyero, who was really cute, and reminded me of Mal from Firefly (dark hair, rakish good looks, tight pants, sleeves rolled up, extolling a carefree chaotic neutral  outside, but secretely harboring a fairly chaotic good, morally upstanding inside) very up close.

Aside from the hottie on the stage, the performance itself was great. Elphaba, played by Marcie Dodd has an AMAZING voice. It not only gave me chills at several moments, but it is one of those voices that reminds me my voice is just good enough to sing my kid lullabies, but falls so very short of genius that it slightly breaks my heart. The power of her peformance was inspiring and alleviated any worries I had about paying to see the show twice (I bought VERY pricey tickets about three months ago–way up in the balcony).

“For Good” has been going through my head ever since I left the theater, even when we got back to the car and found that despite being parked at the meter for over 3 hours (and those meters only allow up to 2 hours), we had no ticket. It was a GREAT day!

One little thing did disturb me though. As I was looking through the program, I noticed that Chistery, the head flying monkey who does a little flying and has one line, has two understudies. Now, I realize actors in a national touring company like this need understudies. Illnesses and fatigue get the best of even the greatest performers, but two understudies for the flying monkey? Really? Elphaba, one of the two leads (and by far the better), has one. How does she get one? If her understudy is out too, the show literally can’t go on, and yet a flying monkey who prances around in three scenes and has one line, has two people just waiting in the wings to take his place if he trips or gets a sore throat. Something seems a little odd there. Especially since you can’t even see the monkey’s face.

Although I love monkeys, I never realized how important they really are.

*I measure all new cafes by the quality of their chicken salad. While this was not the best in the city–Cafe Patachu–it was pretty good. Maybe a little too much fruit. I was hoping for some grapes, but those might have been they only fruit that wasn’t in the salad.

**I’m a sucker for anything with spinach. I just LOVE it.

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