Tag Archives: musicals

November of this Long Fucking Year

I write a hostile headline like that and you think I’m just going to be ranting like a madman.  I won’t be.  It’s actually been, for the most part, a very good month.

First, I Turned 42

Eh, maybe that’s not all that exciting or great, but it was time spent with friends and I can’t complain too much about where things are.  Knock on wood.

Larry made birthday cupcakes for me – I am definitely on board with that.  I think he may have been even more motivated because of the cake caddy that we bought when bringing a cake over for my mom’s birthday!

On the night of my birthday, a few of my bestest friends went over to the French restaurant in Highland Park called Cote Est.   The same people who run this also run Barbrix and All’acqua, so you know it’s good.  And this was no exception – we ended up spending like 3-4 hours there just eating, drinking, and having a fun time.

We Got Some Very Good News regarding Larry

Larry got a follow-up PET scan done the Friday before my birthday, but we didn’t get the results for a few days.  Larry’s 9th round of chemo occurred the week following my birthday, which was also a week when Fran & Joel came back out to visit and spend time with their boy.  So it was very much a happy coincidence that while they were out here, we also got the news about the PET scan results.   On Wednesday’s follow-up to remove the pump, one of the nurses let us know that he’d seen the results and while Larry would need to talk to the doctor, the results were realllly good.  And then on Thursday, they were all there for the Nulasta shot and had a chance to talk to Dr. Arzoo – and he basically said that the triplet chemo we’ve been doing has created results that are as good as could be hoped for.

Larry’s liver had been previously covered in hundreds of spots, which we knew about but didn’t actually want to see the pictures of.  We still haven’t seen pictures, but there’s basically only one 4x4cm spot remaining in his liver after the chemo he’s been getting…which is incredible.   The reason we didn’t have a parade though is that the reality is that this is still not over.   Dr Arzoo wants us to continue the current regimen of chemo, meaning basically finish it up through the end of the year.   I think we can push to at least reduce the oxyplatin as that is causing the neuropathy and Larry’s neuropathy symptoms are getting more intense and longer to recede.  We have to roll that back before the nerve damage is permanent.

Then there is the fact that this is considered a chronic condition – and that there will be some form of reduced chemo for at least another year.   Nothing as long and intense as what he’s getting now, which is good, but it’s not that we’ve ‘beaten the cancer.’  We actually may never ‘beat’ it – at least for the time being, but medical breakthroughs happen all the time.   Anyway, we have an appt with a UCLA liver specialist this week (he is the doc we spoke to about a second opinion this summer) and we should hopefully be able to get more information about next steps, whether it’s continued chemo or who knows, maybe some kind of surgery to cut the spot out?  That’s all guesses on my part, but it will be good to have an idea of what the next phase is.   But the fact is, while there’s a lot of ‘Yeah, but’ above, the chemo did its job and Larry is in a far better state than in July.  We just are processing the reality of his condition.

Fran & Joel Came Out for a Little Bit

They came out and stayed at the newly opened Hyatt Place down the street from our apartment on Central Ave in Glendale.   It’s a perfect location for them as well as us, as it’s on the way to all the restaurants from our place.  It was wonderful that they could be around when all this good news was coming through about Larry’s cancer, plus it was just nice to spend time with them.   We did take them out to eat a few times – and in fact, we ended up going back to Cote Est just a week later than the last time we were there as it’s really that good of a place to visit!

I also ended up getting my birthday gift from Larry while they were out – Larry was way too kind and got me a new Apple Watch!!!   I am a huge fan of this thing and a few weeks into owning it, I can’t imagine not having it.   It’s just the best device.  It’s the freakin’ future.

We did take Fran and Joel to visit the latest at the Glen LA, but I figure I’ll group those pictures together at the bottom of this post as then we took Michancy this weekend to see it and there was some significant progress witnessed this time too!

They wanted an LA brunch before leaving, so we took them to one of the fun places in Hollywood we’d been to before, Madera.   Goood times and good food, and loud music.  🙂

Dear Evan Hansen w/ Nicki

It has been a little bit of time since we’d seen a show (Come From Away back in May, I think, when we saw that in NYC) so when Nicki reached out to see if we’d want to see Dear Evan Hansen at the Ahmanson, it was like duh.  It was on a Saturday night so we had the ability to get some food beforehand, so we met up at Bottega Louie for a fabulous Italian dinner, then took an Uber to the Ahmanson.   Last time that Larry & I had been there was seeing Les Miserables 25th Anniversary staging of the show – which was an event unto itself.  Anyway, concerning the show itself – I really liked the staging and the music, but the story and plot were a bit interesting to consider. Obviously, it’s a damn musical – but it’s not that the situation was fantastical or unrealistic, it was that the main character is taking advantage of a situation that benefits himself and another family…only up until the truth of the situation gets out.   I’m being vague to not spoil anything, but it’s just hard to feel sad or empathy after a certain point with Evan Hansen as it’s like, come on, dude, this is fucked up.  So yeah, it was good….but also, I didn’t love it because of the above.  Whaddya gonna do.

Fireball Island!!!!

I subscribed to a Kickstarter for Fireball Island early this year as hello, Fireball Island was one of my favorite games as a 10yo kid.  I don’t know what happened to my original game (probably grew out of it and thought I was too cool for school) but when I saw a post on Kotaku about this being Kickstarter’d, I was IN.   I was IN for a lot too, as I ended up basically buying nearly every option.   Happily, they met their Kickstarter goal by a LOT and for the last few months, the updates were all about production and getting distribution lined up.  This past month or so was all about the games going out, and I was hoping it would be here for Thanksgiving and happy day, it was delivered!  We did get to play it finally with Michancy and I gotta say, I love it.   The new version has a lot more sophistication and structure to it, but there’s nothing so satisfying as getting to launch a fireball and it takes out your intended target.  It’s wonderful.

Michancy Visits for Thanksgiving

It isn’t Thanksgiving if Michancy doesn’t come down to visit!  It had actually been since last Thanksgiving when we saw her last, but a lot of curveballs were introduced obviously this summer, so not unsurprising.  It was really good to see her.   I think we had hopes to have been in the new house by this point, but that was not the case and so Michancy did get to enjoy the fact that we rearranged the office to allow for a bit more room when the air bed is set up.

On Thursday, Thanksgiving ended up just being the three of us as mom wasn’t feeling well, so we had a lot of food (from Whole Foods, again, as that option is the best option around for hosting Turkey Day).   We did drink plenty of wine but it was NOTHING like last year’s ridiculousness.  Still can’t believe how much wine was drank then.  We also played Fireball Island and I am so happy about that.  We went and saw Widows on Friday (it was okay, but somewhat disappointing), ate plenty of good meals, she got to see the house in its most current state, and then on Saturday she took off back to Vegas.  Her luck was awful though as there was an accident at the top of the Cajon Pass, holding her up for almost 3 hours.  Then it only got worse, and she finally got home like 8-9 hours after leaving.  That is not good.   I wouldn’t be surprised if she never came back this way again!  But we loved having her around so much.

Larry and I have had the remainder of the weekend to ourselves – first we did go to my mom’s yesterday to have Thanksgiving Round 2, as one can’t not have a turkey dinner this weekend.  She also has a good amount of turkey leftovers too for further meals.  Today Larry & I had brunch with Nicki and her sister and mother, who were in town for Thanksgiving.  Went to Republique in LA which was wonderful.   Then we went to see Ralph Breaks the Internet and it was fantastic.  Stay through to the very end of the credits, especially if you loved this part of the trailer:

And now it’s the end of the 4-day weekend!  BOOOO.

Updates from the Glen LA:

Before you leave though, here are pictures of the place at the Glen LA.   The first set is from the second week of November and is when we saw that we had tile in all our bathrooms and all the exterior work was finished!   It was exciting.

The best news that visit though was the fact that the gas company had FINALLY connected Phase 1.   At least part of it.  So people in Phase 1 finally closed escrow on their homes – not only that, while we were there, we saw some of those people moving in!   It was kind of…stunning.   It’s actually going to happen.  Our date is currently the later half of December – we’ll just have to see if that holds.  I have my doubts, but you never know.

The next set of pictures are from this past Friday – and while in the set above the tile was down, the hardwood floors were not.   Well, that’s not the case anymore!  All the floors are down, except for carpeting on the stairs, which won’t happen till the very end.   Even more, there’s running water in the unit, along with toilets and sink fixtures.   No power or gas yet, but it’s coming along!!!

Anyway, on to December 2018.  Let’s end this fucking year right.

Musicals Monday, Apparently

Mondays are always brutal coming back to work, and it wasn’t until tonight when I was finally back in a good mood.  Why?  Musicals, of course.

We watched this past week’s episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and I think I’ve talked about it before, but this show is fucking wonderful.  It’s not only hilarious, and set in West Covina, but it’s also a musical show, with actual song-and-dance original songs in a whole variety of musical styles in every episode.  And there’s usually at least 3-4 songs per episode.  It’s fantastic.  The episode tonight had Rebecca and Josh going back east to a bar mitzvah, and of course, you know I’m in.  And even better, they had this song I linked to above set during the hora.  And even best?  Patti Lupone was guest starring in it.  It’s bliss.

The guy holding up the chair is cute. Jewish, of course.

After that, it was time to watch “The Wiz, Live!” for the first time in a while and it really is something special to watch.  The lack of an audience is still what is missing, but the spectacle and performances are so great.  I ended up buying it on ITunes for $10, and I’m not embarrassed to admit I almost bought it just for the Emerald City intro alone.  I wish that music was downloadable, dammit!  I also wish I could embed any of the show from Youtube, but NBC looks to have been pretty protective of its content ending up there.  Ah well.

Grease Live! was actually…Fantastic

After NBC came back with a really strong live musical in The Wiz Live!, it kind of seemed like FOX’s Grease Live! was just going to be an embarrassing also-ran.  The commercials looked cheesy, and there just didn’t seem to be much in the way of an interesting take on it being advertised besides mimicking the original movie.  But shut my whore mouth….because FOX came out guns a’blazin’ and threw the muthafuckin’ gauntlet down at NBC.

It was immediately apparent that certain criticisms of The Wiz Live! had been addressed when the production had an audience mixed in throughout the sets.  Second, the production design was enormous in scope.  There were outdoor sets, there were huge inside spaces, and there were scenes that had such amazing quick-change elements that just left you stunned:  the performance of “Freddy, My Love” and “Greased Lightning” were two numbers that immediately come to mind.  Third, they decided to not only include numbers from the movie but also brought the stage’s songs back into it that had been shortchanged in the film version.

The entire thing was a pretty awesome spectacle and I’ve got to give it to FOX for rising to the challenge of really making this memorable.  I guess I’m not quite as scared as I once was when hearing they were tackling The Rocky Horror Picture Show….but I still blame them for what Glee did to it.

It’s kind of awesome that we’re getting live musical performances on network television – I still loved what The Wiz Live! did (that entrance into Emerald City is still magic and endlessly watchable) but what it lacked (emotional connection with an audience, a freakin’ curtain call and an encore) Grease Live! did and more.

P.S. Aaron Tveit’s (Danny Zuko) athletic outfits during that sports montage were INSANE.  It’s possible that sequence alone influenced my opinion of this whole shebang!

The Wiz Live! & Its Fabulous Emerald City

Larry & I were catching up on American Horror Story: Hotel (kinda obvious that was who the Ten Commandments Killer was, just sayin’) and The Goldbergs (so funny, as always) when at around 8:30, I suddenly realized, oh shit, The Wiz Live! is on tonight! So we flipped over and caught the tail end of Dorothy in Munchkinland, so I missed the opening part in Kansas and Amber Riley’s amazing number “He’s The Wiz.”  It felt a little slow stepping in right then but the momentum started building as she met the Scarecrow, then the Tin-Man (Ne-Yo, who was looking all sorts of cute/attractive all silver’d up), and finally the Cowardly Lion (David Alan Grier, awesome btw).  It was cool to hear “Ease on Down the Road” but I really didn’t remember the movie or songs beyond that.  So I wasn’t sure how much I liked it…

TheWiz_EmCity3…but then they stumble upon the “Poppies.”  Talk about a change, and it kinda felt like the dancers from Scrooged‘s production of  Christmas Carol.  In other words, awesome.  Then, they get to Emerald City, which ends up being basically the hottest, most fierce club in the world.  All green fashion, tons of attitude, and sultry vogueing and owning the floor – the synchronized dancing and performances were amazing.  I’ve watched that scene a LOT today as it’s just so cool.  I was hoping to see that scene or music as part of the soundtrack, but alas, it’s not.  io9.com has a video clip of the scene although the sound quality is questionable – if you can suffer through the many ads, nbc.com is where you can watch the whole thing too with much better quality.

Regardless, The Wiz Live! was a blast to watch.  The songs and performances were great, and the girl who played Dorothy had an amazing voice.  Well done, NBC! I think we can all agree that Peter Pan Live! should be quickly forgotten.