I went into the show thinking I’d come out with an answer: which was better? But the truth is, you can’t compare Queen of the Night and Sleep No More. I love them both in different ways. While in Sleep No More, I am a ghost who haunts the story, powerless to help or harm, enchanted to watch, at Queen of the Night I was the Chloe I might be in a fairy tale. I was the Chloe who made eye contact and boldly put herself in situations that made her slightly uncomfortable. I was the Chloe who believed in true love and ran off, hand-in-hand with strange boys, to raid the kitchen and steal champagne. As to the question Jimmy asked me as he hovered above me, I still can’t say if it’s art. But I will say it’s spectacle and adventure, and just maybe you might leave a little bolder, a little more enchanted than when you arrived.
I’m not sure if it’s the city or just growing up, but it feels like time is moving too fast. Like a train going downhill, everything seems to be rushing past too fast, and the scenery is just a blur. I want to pull the brakes. Stop and take a breather, maybe find out where I am or where the train is headed. But of course that’s not how time works. It’s a train that never stops, and so we must enjoy the ride as we barrel into 2014.
After that rather melodramatic introduction: New Year’s Eve in the city. For the record, I’m pretty sure there is no power in the ‘verse that can
convince me that NYE in Times Square is a good idea. I’d be perfectly happy to spend every New Years at the McKittrick at the King’s Winter Masquerade. After getting ready in Manhattan and grabbing dinner at our old favorite, the Taproom, we headed over to the hotel. We got there a bit early and spent an hour waiting outside. It was freezing! By the time we got in, our toes were blocks of ice! But the hotel soon solved that problem; donning our masks we stepped into the lobby, where the Heathens were rocking out. The ballroom was decked in its finest; snow covered pine trees lined the room, and shimmering blue light reflected from the chandelier in the middle of the room. There were masked people everywhere, wall to wall, and two troupes of ballerinas danced through the crowd periodically. The first hour and a half passed all too quickly; before we got our bearings it was time for the show. Dancers took the stage for a performance and we were counting down. Confetti showered from the ceiling. They don’t tell you how sticky that confetti is; I was covered in it!
The rest of the night was a blur of dancing and drinking and celebrating. All in all, a good way to welcome in the new year.
Other than that, it’s been freaking cold here. Absolutely freezing! We had quite the snow storm last Friday. I ventured out on Saturday for a movie and later I finally went to a neighborhood bar I’ve been wanting to try with Kathi and Adam. So far it’s been a good week back. Just hopefully it warms up soon so we can leave the house without fear of frostbite!
To update from last post, I LOVED Twelfe Night. It was hysterical. We even had a bit of unexpected drama during the show: one of the audience members in the on stage seating fell ill and needed to be taken to the hospital mid-performance. The cast handled it really well, and the interruption didn’t affect the performance at all. It was a really enjoyable show, and we had fun doing the stage door afterwards. Stephen Fry was in a hurry after the show, so I didn’t get to talk to him and tell him how much I love his work, but we did get a picture and an autograph! We met most of the cast, including Mark Rylance who was an absolute doll. He seems like such a sweet, quiet man. It’s amazing that dastardly Richard and the funny Olivia can come from such a soft spoken man!
The holidays were lovely. I really can’t imagine how they could have been better. My flight back to Ohio went smoothly (no sick passengers behind me this time!). Mom and I had a girl’s day on Saturday, and the boys and I went to the Festival of Lights that night to see Santa (Mom insists we get a picture every year: he who believes receives, after all). It was perfect weather, and the zoo was gorgeous as usual. Sunday we saw the Playhouse in the Park Production of A Christmas Carol. I love their production; the set is simply amazing. Marley’s appearance scares me every time! Monday we ventured out to the Christmas Ranch. I don’t know the whole story, but it’s a huge ranch that totally decks out its halls for Christmas. Lights EVERYWHERE. And of course more kitschy Christmas shops than you know what to do with. It was very fun, if very cold, and definitely festive. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were lovely: full of family and gifts and good food. I think everyone was happy with their gifts; I got some new nail polishing tools I’m excited to try, as well as some lovely new outfits. My brother got the bulldog he’s been asking for (albeit, it’s a stuffed one and not the puppy he really wants). The day after Christmas is my aunt’s birthday and we went to a fancy steakhouse to celebrate, which was nice. Friday we finished up the week with dinner at LaRosa’s. I think I got all my Cincinnati cravings taken care of until next time I can go home. All in all, it was a really nice week. Going home these days is weird. I’m never there long enough to get sick of it and I’m on vacation, so when I return to New York and responsibilities and work, it’s hard not to be nostalgic about Ohio, as I’m sure you’ve seen from previous posts. Of course I know that if I lived in Ohio I’d have many of the same concerns I have here. I’d probably fight more with my family, I’d be bored and weird and drive a car. But after a week of being taken care of and not worrying, it always takes a day or two to adjust from Ohio Chloe back to New York Chloe, whoever she may be. Luckily with New Years Eve coming up, I should be back to NYC party mode in no time. I had several people over the week at home tell me they enjoy reading my stuff. I can’t imagine why; I feel like these lists of things that I did are rather boring! But, it is nice to get everything out on paper (I guess this counts as paper?), so I’m going to try to write more in the new year. I’m not going to go so far as to say it is my New Year’s Resolution; blogging has to come after all the other crazy things I’ve got planned for 2014. But, I shall try to make more of an effort to blog, hopefully I’ll start later this weeks with tales of our New Year’s Eve escapades.
In college, we had to see a Shakespeare play and compare its take to the text. There was a glam rock production of Richard III in town that featured David Bowie and puppets. It was strange to say the least; after intermission, Richard entered the stage as king dressed in full Iggy Pop gear. It was the only time I’d seen a production of the play until last night. It was an interesting take, comparing Richard’s use of a persona to that of a rock star.
Mark Ryance’s production of Richard III may not have David Bowie, but it has to be one of the coolest theater production I’ve ever seen. In case you don’t know, this production is as authentically Elizabethan as possible- men play women, candles adorn the set, the actors dress on stage before the performance, there are no mics, and an Elizabethan style music troupe performs atop the set. It was a fun experience to watch the actors dress, and it was interesting to see it done as it might have been done back in the day (you know, WAY back in the day). And I won’t even mention the curtain call…the curtain call was perhaps my favorite part of the whole approach, and I don’t want to spoil it!
While I love the detail that went into this production, I think the authenticity was the least interesting of Rylance’s choices in the production–which is saying something! His Richard was not the dastardly mastermind but a mad and perhaps accidental genius. He would cackle mid-soliloquy, prance about like a fool, and molest poor Anne’s fingers in a rather horrific fashion. While I always read the play as a terrible man (but slightly sympathetic, he has, after all had a tough lot in life) who goes insane as the weight of his greedy deeds mounts, Rylance’s portrayal shows a man who is already slightly insane who goes off the deep end entirely once he gains power. Many of the scenes that are often chilling were actually funny in Rylance’s hands. He reminded me of Albert Finney in Scrooge. (I doubt anyone will get that reference, I think my mom and I are the only people in the world who have seen and adore that film, but it’s a fantastic performance.) He was funny, and because of that, you like him, even though he’s a homicidal maniac. I’m not sure it was my favorite interpretation, I’d have to see more actual productions (read: non glam rock themed), but it was really enjoyable, and I’m even more excited to see their production of Twelfe Night next week.
With my discussion of Shakespeare aside, it’s been busy as usual. Finals week is coming up, so things have been quiet as I’m too busy studying and preparing papers and trying not to run screaming through the streets to do anything interesting. It was nice to go home for Thanksgiving and see my family. I enjoyed taking a break from the busy city to eat a lot of food and check out the country craft fairs. I’m starting to get into the Christmas spirit; once I finish finals I think I will be in full holiday cheer mode!
It’s probably time I post something on my blog. As usual, I’ve been meaning to, but everything has been so crazy lately that by the time I get home and collapse on the couch, I don’t seem to have the energy to do anything but marathon Netflix.
Brief update on me: School is going well. I’m busier than I expected to be, which I silly. I guess I thought since I was only going half time it wouldn’t be that much more work. But I’m enjoying it, it’s nice to get to talk about publishing issues, and I think I am learning a lot. I’m refusing to give in to the common wisdom that when it comes to work, school, and social life you can only balance two. So for example, Halloween found me running to a meeting after work, then class, and then a really odd party in the Village. Tons of fun, but it’s quite possible I’m overdoing it. I can sleep when I’m dead, right?
With the holidays approaching, I’m really ready to go home. I think I said it before, but I’m surprised at how much I miss home. Partly I miss the ease, just day to day life in Ohio is easier, with cars and houses and normal things. And of course I miss my family. But it’s also the familiarity. Some days I feel like some sort of ex-pat. I’m still in the same country, but some days I feel so out of my league.
I never liked country music in Ohio. I thought it was a bit silly, and I could never relate to it. I listen to it more, now, and while I still can’t relate to much of it, I feel like I can better understand it now. That underlying nostalgia for the simple life, the fierce defense of the warm summer nights on a back porch with a beer or driving around in the open country with your windows down and no where particular to go. So when I’m feeling particularly out of place, or longing for home, I listen to country music. I think it’s a symptom of this weird transitory state. I’m not quite a city girl, my Midwestern roots go too deep, but I’m not really that Ohio girl I was anymore, either. I know I can always go home if I need to or want to, but I think in some ways I can’t go back. While it still does feel like everything is up in the air, like I’m still unfinished, I think a year here is long enough to change me into something new. Someone who needs the weird surprises of the city and the possibilities it offers. Someone who, despite the feelings of displacement here, would feel just as out of place in a quiet suburban life. Most of this I guess is just typical of life in your early-20’s; we’re all still cooking. But I think it’s true, that once you move away, you can’t go back to the way things were. We can never really return to Manderley.
Ok, that was supposed to be the end, but I can’t leave off on that awful, cliched, depressing note. So I’ll finish with this: I may not be able to go back, but I sure am enjoying going forward. The spontaneous late night concerts, the free events, the bizarre shows, the 24 hour biscuits (which are new, but I’m sure they will become a staple), and mostly the group of friends I have here. I may be in transition, but at least I’m not in it alone, and there’s plenty to do in the meantime.
There’s a tiny courtyard not far from where I work that perfectly describes life in New York. It’s a tiny little improvisation of the gap between an ancient church and a monstrosity of an office building. It’s such a surprising little slice of nature, with its carefully manicured gardens lining the edges and even a square of grass towards the back.
But then you go back to sit on the grass and you realize it’s plastic. And the suits around you seem a little too silent as they eat their lunch on the checkerboard cement tables. And you have a choice. You can look at the perfect gardens and the fake grass and the non-talking Wall Street suits taking up all the seats and you can be disappointed, even angry, that you’ve been misled, that it’s all a big plastic and nothing is truly real. And I think everyone goes through that phase, whether it’s when they discover the hidden courtyard or when they move to the big city. But you can also choose to sit on the low brick wall at the back and kick off your shoes in the plastic grass. You can eat your lunch at the cute little green table and revel in the cool shade cast from the nondescript office building and the peaceful silence of lunchtime and this alcove of the city.
Like living in the city, it’s easy to be annoyed and frustrated and disappointed. It’s what they don’t tell you about New York–The day to day of it all, at least at first, sucks quite a bit. But you try to deal with the suckiness and find the surprising little secrets. You unpack you lunch, open your book, and enjoy the corners where you find those secrets.
Oh, what a weekend! Though first, I suppose I should back track a bit and talk about my week home. It was wonderful to go back, even though the flight to Cincinnati was a little traumatic (I got vomited on a little. It was awful. Could have been worse. Got free booze, though.) It was an incredibly busy week. Mom and I did a lot of shopping, since I’ve shrunk at least 3 sizes since this time last year. So I have clothes that actually fit me now, which is exciting! (Being an adult is weird…I get excited about all sorts of boring things these days.) Dad and I went to the zoo, which was awesome. I got to go to the Black “Wild Stallion Eyes” Shelton concert, which involved rum and Waffle House. Country music, Jack Daniel’s Down Home Punch, and Waffle House are a combination that is either the best thing ever or the worst. The crowd watching was almost as interesting as Union Square or the subway after midnight.
The Cincinnati Zoo has made all sorts of changes since I was little; the most exciting has to be the new Africa exhibits. I got to feed a giraffe, and I got about a foot from a lion named John (there was glass between us, and he was a shy lion). The new facilities are gorgeous, and there’s scheduled times to watch each animal work with a trainer, so that’s pretty awesome. 10 year-old pre-vet me would have lost her mind. 23 year-old publishing me pretty much did lose her mind.
I ate SO MUCH FOOD. Everything tastes better when I don’t have to make it, and it’s even better than that when Mom makes it. I don’t think it’s my cooking skills; I think it’s just a universal fact. We also went to the Dublin Irish Festival, which was a lot of fun. I got to see a few of my friends there; though I wish we’d had more time. Time always seems to be the issue when I’m home. I discovered some great new bands (Enter the Haggis is pretty good, although they are about 150x’s better live) and we got to see Gaelic Storm. It was a fun weekend and a good way to end the week.
So, back to New York. The flight back was much more uneventful. We had the company picnic on Friday, which was nice. Less like an episode of “The Office” than I’d expected (I assume all offices function like The Office until proven otherwise) and I enjoyed talking about books with my boss’s daughter. This weekend was insane. Saturday we saw Jukebox th
e Ghost, live in concert, on a boat. Yeah, that’s right, ON A BOAT. It was pretty awesome to listen to some of my favorite music while looking at the gorgeous skyline. It was one of those nights where I remembered “I live here. This is my city.” It was sort of magical, jumping up and down, feeling the deck rock, literally and metaphorically, beneath me and everyone else as the Statue of Liberty loomed overhead. I didn’t quite feel infinite, but we came pretty close.
And then last night was my last trip to Sleep No More. I will spare you all the details, as I’m sure most of you who actually talk to me are sick to death of hearing my ravings about this show (he
y, I could be addicted to hard drugs or One Direction. At least this is an artistic addiction!). But it was another wonderful night. I got a blessing and a necklace, a shot o
f booze, and a whole new perspective of bloody rave Macbeth. It was a great way to end things before my self-imposed hiatus.
Other than, that, things are pretty quiet here in the big city (or as quiet as they ever are). I’m getting ready to start classes next month. Was getting ready to start at OSU this confusing? I don’t know how I’d do this without all my lovely friends who started last year. And next week we’re going to finally make it down to Coney Island. I’ll let you know how it is, if I don’t get attacked by a shark and/or a homeless person. Signing off!
Sitting at dinner with my friends last night, I was worried it wasn’t going to be as good as I needed it to be. I had been anticipating last night for a month, planning it for two…how could it not be disappointing? I was terrified Sleep no More wasn’t going to live up to my excitement.
And I was dead wrong.
I know, I know, I’ve posted about this already, but this is more of and in depth review of my experience last night, because I felt like it. So there. I think a good portion of my enjoyment of the show, or of anything at the hotel, comes from the buildup. The same bubbling of excitement and anticipation that happens every time I check in. It’s so strong it’s borderline anxiety. But it’s a wonderful feeling, it’s such a high right before you take the plunge and you’re immersed in that world. My friends back home are probably sick of me talking about this thing. It’s hard to understand how it is if you haven’t been, how utterly intoxicating it is. It’s like falling into an alternate universe where strange and mysterious things not only happen, but they happen to you.
Anyway, a recap of last night. After my butterflies in the entry maze, I relaxed into the pull of the show. I decided to follow Banquo, because I haven’t had much to do with the main characters, and he walked me out last time, so I was curious. I lost him for a bit after Duncan’s funeral and scrambled to find him. I gave up, only to bump into him playing card in the Speakeasy. Sometimes I feel like the McKittrick leads you to where you should be. I’d seen his fight with Macbeth before, but having followed him, it meant more. I followed Dead!Banquo out into the main street; He stopped and turned and whispered to me before dashing off to the banquet.
I tried following Macduff for a time after the banquet, but he got crowded, and some of the other followers were a bit rude for my taste. I did get to see him find Lady Macduff, and I saw his dance with the door…that was amazing, I’d never seen that before. I left him in the Macduff quarters after one elbow-in-the-side too many and decided to visit the Porter.
I love the Porter so much. He’s longing so much for Boy Witch, even though BW with will never want him. But he wants so much…and I think he wants more than just love. He wants a life as someone more than The Porter. Watching him handle the items around the lobby, I got that impression last night. That what troubles him is more than just unrequited love. It is unrequited love, but he’s also so trapped in who he is, and he wants so much to get out. Perhaps Boy Witch symbolizes that for him. And god, I understand that wanting. That longing so bad that it aches, the hole inside you that you’d do anything to fill, that follows you constantly, and sneaks up on you every time you’ve managed to forget it.
I followed him for the second loop, and was crushed when he pulled someone else into his office. At loop’s end, I was still feeling his story, so I decided to hang around. And that was my moment. He met my eyes and pulled me off. It wasn’t what I expected, my heart broke for him, and he left me with a smear of lipstick and a ring. I love the Porter’s story even more now. (I read a very interesting and scholarly take on the Porter and Hecate and the loops, but selfishly I like the simple version of love and longing better for the moment, simply because it struck several chords in my last night. Besides, I’m still young and new, you have to enjoy the shallows before you can dive to the depths.).
After our moment, I felt sad and unsure, and I hadn’t visited the town much, so I decided just to stop up there for 10 minutes before the final banquet. I managed to stumble in on the rave, which was a bit of a jarring adjustment after the quiet of the lobby. After, I tried to stop back and check on the Porter, but the black masks were out, so I headed down for the banquet. After the final scene, Lady Macduff walked me back to the Manderly and wished me a good night.
Swapping stories with my friends was cut short by a very educational performance by Calloway (who was new to me; the previous times I’ve been to the Manderly, it’s just been Maximillian). It was a funny performance, and the cast got to showcase some of their other skills (how is it fair they can dance and sing? Bah!). It was nice to end the night on a lighter note. All in all, another memorable night at the McKittrick. Three down, many more to come I hope.