Monday, August 29, 2011

Billy Elliot, the Musical

Last week we went to see Billy Elliot, the Musical in San Francisco.  The partner and I LOVE musicals but we are also very judgmental about them.  This was one that fell into the category of not so great, sadly.  We knew that they were doing rush tickets for $40 each (which is a lot for rush), so I was there early enough to grab some of those.  We also heard that the show was closing a month early and canceling the rest of its national tour.  Even after hearing all of this we decided we still had to see it, it won the Tony for Best Musical two years ago so there must be something good about it, right?

Well there wasn't much.  There weren't very many good singing numbers and besides Billy and a few other select leads the dancing wasn't even that good (wasn't this suppose to be all about the dancing?).  The overall show didn't really go anywhere either.  It wasn't really a drama and it wasn't quite funny enough to be a comedy, which just left us feeling very blah.  The accents were awful and some of the characters were pointless.  But none of these were the worst part.

The worst part was that this musical beat out Next to Normal for best musical that year.  I saw Next to Normal a few months ago (see here).  And it was one of the best musicals I've seen in a while, not to mention one of the few original musicals* to come out in the past few years and has some really great music.  Now that I've seen both musicals I feel like I can sufficiently judge them and confidently say that Next to Normal was by far the superior musical and definitely got snubbed at the awards.

Ok done complaining. I don't recommend spending the money to see Billy Elliot (even if its $40 rush), there are much better musicals out there and I will happily recommend one if you ask :)

And now my crappy TV shows are over and I've finished drinking the rest of the wine out of the bottle (classy, I know) so that's all for tonight!

*I really wanted to link this to the song "Original Musical" from title of show, but couldn't find it on youtube so here's a great montage from that show.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Theater + Oysters = Awesome

Last night the partner (formerly known as the bf) and I went to a fun filled night of food, theater, and oysters.  Our lovely roommate is part of the theater company Pianofight and they had a one night show last night called Roughin' It.  It was held at the Tomales Bay Oyster Company north of the San Francisco Bay.

Our roommate told us it would be cold and to bring a picnic and to be ready to eat oysters.  I've been to a couple of Pianofight's previous shows and found them all very funny and enjoyable so I couldn't wait to see this one!  It sounded a little strange when our roommate described to us that the shows would be moving around us and that at times we would have to move too, but it all made sense when we were there.  There were about two scenes in each location and we were constantly moving from one place to another which was kinda nice for keeping us warm.  All the scenes were great but I think our favs were "So Good" which the partner described as a typical LA party, and "Hansel and Gretel, the Aftermath" which had a humorous take on what happens after Hansel and Gretel escape the witch.

They also had oyster's for $1, which were very, very tasty.  I've never eaten that many oysters (I had 7) but they were so fresh and the sauce they had for them was delicious.  We also made friends with the people at our table and, of course, one of them was from Michigan.  Overall it was a very fun setting for this show (and a great idea for Pianofight) and we will definitely be going back to that oyster company in the near future.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Audio Book Review: Beauty Queens

I love listening to audio books.  It's nice to have one in the car even its its only for a bunch of short trips, its also nice to listen to at work if I have a particularly boring task to complete.  There are only certain books I enjoy in audio form, they need to be books that will capture my attention quickly and easily and not require to much thinking.  Young Adult books are great for this and I've found myself more attracted to them thanks to this website.  Another good way to go with audio books are thrillers or mysteries, you really just need something that would be  page turner if you were reading it. 

One of the best audio books I've listened to lately was Beauty Queens by Libba Bray.  It's basically about a plane full of Miss America participants that crashes on a remote island.  Craziness ensues and it is hilarious. The best part of the audio book are all the different voices used and how all the pageant participants are portrayed.  It also takes place in a sort of futuristic world, so you hear a lot about "The Corporation" and how it impacts the world in which they live.  This book was a great light read, and I'd recommend it to you even if you don't like young adult books.  The setting was great and all the characters were different, and funny.  If you are looking to get and new audio book, I would say definitely get this one, it was great!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Do You Hear The People Sing?

First off, I know I'm breaking one of my blogging rules (I'm at work...shhhh) but its breaktime and this is important!

One of my dream jobs is to play in a professional pit orchestra for a musical, however that probably would've required me to be a little more focused on studying and practicing music.  I recently got an opportunity to play in a pit orchestra, although not quite broadway.  Its for a local youth production and our community orchestra was asked to play for it!  Of course, I jumped at the chance, figuring this is as close to broadway as I might ever get :) The fact that they are performing one of my favortie musiclas of all time, Les Miserables, didn't hurt either.  It is seriously awesome, the music is wonderful, the kids who are performing ar super talented, and I just love the atmosphere surrounding a production like this.  This brings me to the point of the post:

Everyone should come out and see this show!!

They are trying to get a full house every performance, which would be so great for everyone involved.  Yes, its a youth production of a major musical, but don't count these kids out, there is some great talent there. Anyway, here are the details:

What: Les Miserables (school edition)
When: August 11th (TODAY!), August 12th (Fri), and August 13th (Sat) at 7:30pm
           August 13th (Sat) and August 14th (Sun) at 2pm
Where: The Performing Arts Center at El Cerrito High School, 540 Ashbury Ave, El Cerrito, CA
            (Walking distance from the El Cerrito Plaza BART station)
Tickets: $20 and you can buy them here, or at the door.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Best dinner in a while...

I just had a really wonderful dinner, thanks to the bf...err...partner (more info on that here).  I always give him a hard time for being the "cook" in the family but never really cooking full and good dinners for me us.  Usually we come home form work and I end up throwing something together because we are both tired and hungry.  Tonight my partner cooked a delicious meal.  Using Julia (said with a Julia Child type of voice) as a guide he cooked white ruffy (I think) in some french creamy buttery winey lemony sauce.  I know he did some fancy stuff, but I wasn't in the kitchen so I really have no clue how it was prepared.  What I do know, it that I was presented with a plate of fish with a delicious sauce, a side of green beans, and some crusty bread.
Ok, it doesn't look like much, but it was REALLY good
I am the biggest critic when its comes to his cooking so this good review is a big deal (or at least I think so).  I also liked his setup in the kitchen, cook book on the dish drainer (yay small kitchens).
yes, I added the flowers
I also have a bunch of leftover sauce that I'm planning to put on some veggies, I just don't know which ones yet, maybe asparagus? other ideas?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

National Night Out

Last night was National Night Out (NNO).  I don't know if it is a big deal other places but it is a huge deal in Oakland.  There were over 500 NNO parties last night in the city of Oakland, which is awesome.  NNO is when neighborhoods are encouraged to have block parties to get to know your neighbors and make it safe for you to spend a night outside in your neighborhood.  A house up the street had our block party and it was a great time.

Our neighborhood has a few minor problems (occasional break-ins/robberies), but it was great talking to so many people who have lived in this neighborhood for over 20 years and hearing how much they love it.  It made me realize what a cool place Oakland really is.  I met neighbors who were musicians, chefs, professors, and everything in between.  I also realized how important it is to get to know your neighbors and how they all seem to feel safer just because they know their neighbors.

We are currently considering looking for a new apartment, but it will be really hard to find anything that beats this neighborhood, and it might be a good enough reason for us to stay put (if only our building management was a little better)