Saturday, March 31, 2012

Captured Cleveland

Without trying to sound like a geography snob here, there's basically only one person I can think of who could find and capture the soul of a place like Cleveland. Even make you want to go there. That person is the inimitable friend of my youth, Brandon Blackwell. This is the same guy who had a massively successful art exhibition featuring paintings in his own blood, and who I still say is the Best Fourth Thing

His latest artistic venture is capturing the un-obvious magic that lives in the city he somehow found himself in for more years than I think anyone plans on spending in Cleveland. I was skeptical. But then I saw his work. He's always been good. He makes stuff that has no right to work (ahem, blood paintings) work. 

Friday, March 30, 2012

It's the last Friday of my Twenties Links

Farewell, twenties. This is the last weekend I'll have have to contemplate my activities as a twenty-something. As for this final Friday, I'm having a "birthday party" at my house. I use quotes because almost no one can come and also, it's not technically my birthday. I shouldn't complain because I'm having two parties in the US, but I'm prepared to hit the eject button on the house party and go out dancing with G and whoever else might show up. Let's hit the button for the links. 

- Even Gwyneth knows the wonders of the British pharmacy. Oh, goop.
- Look at my sweet, handsome cousin modeling on The Love List.
- Beautiful Alexis Russell jewelry
- Frank Rich's article about the GOP's woman problem
- Dena made me this sweet video for my birthday
- In case you magically missed all this, but Sally Draper is still my fave. 
- I love the movie Twins. I think it should be a musical. Now, it gets a sequel. Boom. 
- Getting ready for Game of Thrones Season 2. We caught G up this week. Also this. Damn, it feels good be a Lannister. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Back on Broadway Market

Back bright and early on Broadway Market this morning awaiting the visa delivery man. There's been a bit of a paper chase with this delivery, so I don't want to miss it. I sat outside at a coffee shop and waited while I worked on a new song for our tooth fairy musical. Now I'm basking in sun from Adam's window while I get more work done and contemplate my life. 

Despite the constant clog of prams and cyclists who refuse to dismount, I love Broadway Market. It's one of the only places I'd feel comfortable just hanging out on the street for several hours. I love Cat & Mutton and when I'm really hungry sometimes, my mouth can send signals to my brain making me think I'm tasting the tagliatelle and meat sauce from the newly opened Market Cafe

The scariest thing about happiness is that it makes you care that it could go away. That isn't the real definition of happiness, of course, but it sure feels like it sometimes. I want it to stay Spring. I want to stay this happy. I want there to always be the feeling of this much potential. I want to keep this up. What I'm working on now, I'm not willing to lose. 

And, despite the sunshine today, I am saddened to learn of Earl Scruggs' passing. I'm a child of Bluegrass and this banjo legend will be missed. Dad, I hope you get the chance to do a little "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" today for Earl.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

In case you can't think of what to get me for my birthday - The Keats Brothers

While taking a turn through a bookstore this week, I had one of those moments of panic that arises in me when I realize I have missed the publication of a book super relevant to my life. In this case, a new dual biography of John and his brother George Keats

If you read this, you no doubt know Keatsy as my cosmic boyfriend. And George, John's younger brother, is not the recipient of some of John's best and most famous letters, (including prime article of my life numero uno on negative capability) but a pretty amazing story of rise to power in his own right through immigration to America. 

This new bio, by Stanford scholar Denise Gigante reveals new insight into both men's lives by looking at their relationship. I think I actually drooled on the floor of Blackwell's. 

For more check out here & here. Also, you KNOW I'll be attending this

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Keep it Up. I Know You Can. Just Keep Following the Heartlines on your hand. ' Cause I Am

Last night, Carrie invited me to an evening of new works at the Soho Theatre, Hub Nights. There was a short comedy, an extended dramedy monologue about real estate and the first scene from an opera about abortion. Carrie and I had lots of fun and the works had some really great moments. But it got me thinking about two things. 

1. How much better the UK is at putting together small showings like this that both are and are not cabaret. In the US, we do a lot of concerts. But less small productions. And there's certainly less subsidizing of it from any larger artistic entity. The actual support for writers here blows New York out of the water. 

2. More than ideas, or even ability to execute, what will separate one writer out from another is the ability to sustain that idea, sustain the level of execution. Five minutes of brilliance vs. the whole fifteen minute play vs. a complete two hour arc. 

Whatever you have to give, if you can float it out longer, keep it going until the end, keep it in the air when the others let it drop, that's often the key. It's certainly the challenge and the key for me at the moment. Luckily, I have good friends like Carrie to help keep things in perspective and to hash it all out over a delicious glass of wine and a cheese plate at Soho House. The vantage point from a plushy couch with a wise and encouraging friend always looks a bit better. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Timorous Beasties + Scottish National Portrait Gallery

During the eight hour stint I had on Friday in Edinburgh between when my sleeper rolled in and when Iona arrived to begin the great car packing extravaganza, I made use of the day by really getting to know the museum at the top of my old neighborhood. For most of the time I was living in Edinburgh, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery was closed for repairs/renovations. (Apparently those Victorians weren't great at building roofs that didn't leak.)

After it reopened, I somehow never made it around--- though I could tell from gift shop that I was going to have a good time. And boy did I. It's a small, comfortable museum. The kind you don't mind spending hours and hours in. I checked my backpack in a locker and partook of the cafe as well as my favorite, the gift shop. 

Because even though they have one of my favorite portraits ever at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, the gift shop is really where it's at. Here's why: Timorous Beasties. My favorite cheeky design company has paired up with the portrait gallery to do some limited edition home wares featuring  the famous faces of Mary, Queen of Scots, James VI & I, Robert Burns, etc. I was in love with the pillows and china. But as per usual, they came at Timorous Beastie prices. In another tax bracket, I would have bought ALL of it. 

The other amazing thing-- which I first discovered at the Prado when we were in Madrid--- is the art on demand feature museums are implementing where you can get your favorite painting reproduced on canvas and delivered to your door. God, I love modern technology. And with a massive gallery wall to fill in my new room, I'm plotting which of my favorite portraits to recreate. Perhaps John Singer Sargent's Lady Agnew. Which would you choose?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Victory is Mine!

London move, we made you our bitch. I don't know how Iona did it, but she fit all my belongings in a Peugeot 508 and we plowed forward from Edinburgh to London in enough time to surprise Mel for her birthday. Today was a gorgeous Spring day and we spent it in Highbury Fields, playing frisbee and soaking up the sun. It felt a bit like that first Spring weekend in New York every year when it feels like all of Manhattan is on Sheep's Meadow. There's less than two weeks until I turn 30 and I'm going to make that time my bitch too. 

Thanks to everyone who made this move possible. You know who you are and you're fabulous. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Fairy Pools on Isle of Skye

When you have to do something sort of scuzzy (like, say, cram all your belongings into a small estate vehicle and drive them South to London on an ugly sort of scuzzy Scottish morning) I find it's best to mentally project yourself somewhere else. Today, I choose the Fairy Pools in Glen Brittle by the Cuilins on the Isle of Skye. 

As you dear readers will know, Skye is a special place to me-- homeland of my friends, spot for good times, and setting of my novel. But I think it's easy to see why pretty much everyone is a bit in awe of the Fairy Pools. There's not a lot of modern day magic left in the world, which is why these little glittering things seem like a little portal to some more medieval time. In fact, they probably are, if you swam deep enough into one of the caverns. 

I'm about to wade in pretty heavily into Skye folklore and fairytales, so I'll let you know what magical stories about the Fairy Pools and the white witches I think you need to know about. Hope you're having a dreamy Saturday!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Is This Week Over Yet? Links

What a week. And not just for me-- though, believe me, I'm wiped-- there's all kinds of good stuff floating around the internet. What are your plans this weekend? I'll be driving my belongings from Scotland to London. Wish me luck!

No surprise here: I loved this article about theatre for young people saving the world:

"Much of the toxicity in this world comes from a collective draining of empathy. We don't understand each other, and we don't want to. But theater invites us -- no, forces us -- to empathize." YES.

Creativity in the workplace
The Awl on an old fave, The Secret History
Facebook's female COO, Sheryl Sandberg on why there are too few women at the top
SMASH gets renewed for a second season. More recapping for me, I suppose. 
B*tches in Bookshops
Not a huge fan of Millhauser, but I'm happy someone's winning $$ for stories
For my pal Em, look at all these at home with Frida Kahlo photos
Omar aka Michael K. Williams will be playing Ol' Dirty Bastard
My Life's Sentences from Jhumpa Lahiri 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Focusing on Spring Flowers

My year and a half long stretch of not ever being sick in the UK came to an end with my moving process and now that I'm in London, the virus train keeps on barreling forward. All my favorite people have gotten me ill this year. Iona's even gotten a new strain, so I wonder if when I see her, I'll pick up two simultaneously and the second one from fair Miss Macdonald. Then, I think I'll be able to say I've had all the cold virus strains currently operating in the United Kingdom.

On to more pleasant subjects, let's talk about flowers. I had some disappointing/simultaneously reenergizing news today. It's just non-stop. But the weather is beautiful so I went on another walk despite my allergy/cold combo.

Dansk Flowers on Upper Street has so many wonderful things. I'm too stuffed up to smell, but I could tell the flowers were especially fragrant today. Is there anything better than tons of flowers spilling out onto a sun-lit street in Spring? No, there is not. Check out Dansk on Upper Street and in St John's Wood here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Feeling Springy with artist Claire DesJardins

Most of my life, my style has erred on the side of the classic or the vintage. I liked cozy rooms, warm rooms (womb-rooms, if you will) especially because unless you had the means to renovate to the standards required to pull off that clean, modern look, what you ended up with always looked...well, bad

This was definitely the case in all my NYC buildings-- ramshackle pre-wars and Astoria row houses. Same for the Victorian building in Edinburgh. But since even the idea of London came onto my mental scene, I've been in the mood for light, airy and modern. Maybe I just love Spring. Maybe I'm just ready for a long and extended Spring in my life.

Either way, I am loving the way Claire DesJardins paintings make me feel. This French-Canadian artist is just what right now is all about. And while I think I'm always going to love a little bit of vintage, it's refreshing to continually find how life and taste are always evolving. 

Check out more from Claire DesJardins at Saatchi Online and her facebook here

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Young Adult & Teenage Fanclub

While cuddling up in my new room this weekend, I finally got around to watching Young Adult. I'm not a huge Diablo Cody fan, but from everything I had heard, I was ready to embrace the movie, and especially Charlize Theron as Mavis Gary

I love unlikable characters (with the exception of Kramer. I hate Kramer. Though, I have debates with people about him all the time. Anyhoo.) and while, in person, I have an almost pathological desire to make people happy, content and comfortable, as a writer, I enjoy nothing more than making people squirm. There are some truly, deliciously uncomfortable scenes in Young Adult. I hope to write some discomfort like that some day real soon. (Some stuff, I thought was less well done.) 

But Sister Charlize was on it. The Pretty Girl turned Ugly and Ugly Pretty Girl thing works so well for her. Infinitely better than when she's done the ingenue/leading lady thing. Just one more piece of proof that Charlize is a character actress trapped in the body of a leading lady. You know how I love those. And just when I thought I couldn't love her more, THIS happened. Hear, Hear, Charlie. 

And speaking of hear. I had no idea that Scottish super-band and favorite of Kurt Cobain, Teenage Fanclub was featured so prominently in this flick! Excellent choice, Jason Reitman/Diablo Cody/Whoever the Music Supervisor was. So let's hear it for the Boys from Bellshill and their awesome 1991 ditty "The Concept."

Monday, March 19, 2012

Coveting my Annual Coffee Table Book

Pretty much every year, as soon as I get even a whiff of spring, I end up coveting some beautiful coffee table book. A lot of the time, my friend McC is a big enabler of this addiction. She used to always be sending me links to gorgeous, weighty, tomes that cost like $50. Case in point, Tartan: Romancing the Plaid. You know I had to own that. 

So that was 2009. Or maybe 2008? And Amy Sedaris's hilarious I Like You was 2009? In any case, in 2010 it was the beautiful Grace Kelly pictorial retrospective. Then, in 2011, right as I was hauling my stuff to Edinburgh (one suit case at a time... by bus) it was definitely Inside Edinburgh-- all about E'burgh's classic interior spaces.

And while I've changed cities, my mood is still in the same place re: coffee table books. So at the mo, I'm lusting after Chloe Grimshaw's New London Style. She's gone through by postcode (postcode is much more used here than in the US. It makes everything feel very 90210-- but only with respects to actually using postcode to determine anything. ) and documented some of the most creative artists, designers, architects, etc etc. Originally published in 2008, they updated it in 2010. While I think it's unwise for me to be blowing my extremely limited wad of cash at the moment on coffee table books, (especially since, as of right now, I don't have a coffee table) I make a point of leafing through some of the colorful pages whenever I go into a bookstore that has a copy. 

While I might be enjoying the idea of white walls for the first time in my entire life, I'm not about to stop admiring anyone willing to paint a whole room turquoise. Or mauve. Or slate grey. Or.... 

What about you? What's your favorite coffee table book? Hope you're having a great Monday!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Being at home is the best feeling in the world. Especially after an extended period of time where I've felt in flux, in transition and a bit up in the air. But I am a gypsy no more! After some nail-bitingly close moments regarding international banking and some lessons in trusting the people around me, I got the keys to 4 Ovanna Mews. 

And guys? It's the nicest place I've ever lived. It's so lovely. It's a little gated community with a garden and bikes and it's tucked away behind these pre-war buildings. I've never lived anywhere with this much natural light. Interior photos really don't do it justice. I've never had my own floor before. My room is on the top floor (of three!) I have my own bathroom. When I get all my own stuff in here, I am going to be in such heaven, I wonder if I'm going to lose my mind from happiness. 

So that's why this blog is late. I've been nesting. And scoping out my new fave neighborhood coffee spot. (It's amazing. It's called Reilly's Rocket. More on that later.) And of course working on my big presentation for Tuesday. But I think it's starting to come together. It's all starting to come together. Hope you're all having a fabulous finish to this weekend. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

It's a Metaphor

Before I moved to New York to work in theatre, I used to give long deconstructions of this song to people who didn't much care to listen. Since then, I haven't trotted it back out much, but I maintain my ardency about its near perfection as a musical satire number. 

Because as much of a spoof as it is, as silly as it is, it never lets go of the nugget of idea at its center. A sincere heart surrounded by laughs. Which is what all the best satire has going for it. A clown heart. 

Well, and Sara Ramirez. That tone. She's another really expert interpreter of songs. I wish she'd come back to musicals. Nothing she's done on telly can compare as far I'm concerned. (Except You've Got Mail. Let's not forget that. That was a genius 1.5 minute performance. "Happy Thanksgiving Back.")

And, because it's me and I'm a nerd, when the road seems long and tedious, I still listen to this song. It reminds me to laugh and not take it too seriously. But also that creating the exact life you want for life is serious as a heart attack. There's nothing more important than that. If you can keep that in mind, you've already won.  And that's your grail. That's your grail. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Everything All At Once Links

Everything is happening all at the same time, guys! As positivity-centered and optimistic as I am, when absolutely everything is at stake... but seemingly on-track, I start to get a little suspicious. You mean... I can get ALL the things I want? At the same time?? Like... all of it? This is when the trust part comes in. Universe, I need you to have my back right now. I know it's going to get harder than this. The challenge part I'm okay with. As long as all the plates stay in the air, I don't mind how much they wobble. Wobble away. 

The thing I'm realizing about what my year and a half of mental and emotional recuperation and exploration in Scotland meant is not that the world gets any harder or easier. You just let yourself get lax. Or... I think in this case, you just get better. 

Anyhow. I'm up at the crack of dawn this morning heading out to BumbleEff Croydon to make sure they'll let me stay in this beautiful country. Here's hoping all goes smoothly and by the end of this weekend, I'm feeling settled in my new spot on the Earth with a bang-up presentation all finished and ready to go for the job I just can't stop thinking about. While we're standing by, here's what's what from the internets this week.

- Some cool Zodiac drawings. I like how the Aries girl has blonde curly hair. Duh. 
- Vulture has really been on it lately. Thirteen Blonde Movie Villains
- Also this. Novelist as Marlboro Man. 
- The GOP is so. off. the. rails
- One of my favorite twitters is the Sorkin Dialogue "Sorkinese." You should follow. 
- Gordon made such a sell of this book about a Kenyan corruption whistleblower, I had to pass it on. 
- Congrats to uber-awesome Matilda on leading the Olivier Awards with 10 (aka ALL the categories!)
- I knew I was right about ALWAYS painting your bedroom
- Just in case you want a tour of my house. I plan on replacing pretty much everything on those walls. 

- Finally, a March Madness I can get behind! Vulture has a greatest tv drama of the last 25 years bracket going. Up this week was Mad Men v. Lost with Mad Men advancing to the next round. I should say. While I have mixed feelings about some of the advancing shows, I applaud the idea and the general candidate pool. I foresee a final match up between The Wire and Sopranos with Sopranos taking the title. (People get so hot for Sopranos...Sigh.) Which of course I will hideously and vehemently disagree with. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Exploring Upper Street - Little Paris

Even though my address will not be Upper Street, I'm still more than ready to explore the shops from Highbury & Islington down to Angel and imaginary-shop for furniture, etc. Today's lovely store is Little Paris. Voted one of the 100 Best Shops in London by Time Out, the Little Paris style features contemporary French designers (like Zoe de las Cases!) as well as vintage items from the 40's, 60's and so on and so on. 

Best of all, perhaps, is their high turn over. They get a new delivery from France every three weeks and so all the inventory is cleared out and restocked. Not that I've had the chance to experience that first hand, as it's only my two week anniversary in London. It feels like I've been here a lot longer than that. Check out their full inventory if you like imaginary shopping as much as I do. Or read their design blog, Bags & Boudoir

Also check out this on the Vintage Guide to London about Little Paris's Crouch End store & this: in the most recent edition of Time Out, all about Paris in London.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Summer House at The Gate

Last night, Gordon & I saw The Summer House at The Gate. Billed as a "comedy thriller" (I was intrigued) this three man play centered around a somewhat botched stag-do in Iceland and ideas of modern male friendship & masculinity. It was a bit of a circus, really, with Norse Gods and Vikings and tiny model houses and plastic wrap and crazy repeat gags. I loved it. And I spent most of the hour and a half laughing out loud. 

To describe The Summer House, it could easily come off as sounding something like the 6th movie in The Hangover Series. The Hangover 6: AWOL in Iceland. (Not to mention, a bit of Hot Tub Time Machine... in the most ridiculous way possible.) But the nuanced relationships and patter between especially the groom-to-be and his best man lives in specificities that give the whole show an authenticity and credibility unlikely for a show that features that much plastic wrap and where the characters spend most of the time in a fake hot tub wearing one-horned viking helmets. 

All elements quickly unravel and then things really get crazy. We'll throw in some elements of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and some High Fidelity (especially with regards to music hashing/bickering and you've got the Time Out Four Star pick

The show was devised by the three actor/writers, all of whom were fantastic and one of whom, Will Adamsdale, is a friend of Gordon's. We hung out at the restaurant below the Gate afterwards. It's always so nice to meet other playwrights-- and one who's even interested in musicals no less! 

Will has a great on-stage quality and physicality-- his whole vibe was part young Robin Williams and part middle age Aidan Quinn. And Las Vegans, Matthew Steer, playing the fanny-pack wearing best man reminded me so much of AJ Magness I couldn't get over it. 

Anyhow, it's on in London until March 24 and you can get your tickets here. I'd love to see the show in NYC, in which case, I'll make sure you NY theatre peeps get your keisters on down to LaMama or the Daryl Roth or Cherry Lane or some such like where a such like The Summer House would end up to laugh as much as I did. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Imagined Lives: Portraits of Unknown People

Yesterday, my Canadian pal Heather was in town on a layover before embarking for a whirlwind month in Spain and Morocco. I'm feeling pretty excited about my own current adventure, but I must say, I'm jealous. We did some London sights and she was gracious enough to accompany me on some general life organization missions re: flat leases and enjoying the cheap Turkish cuisine of my new neighborhood. 

We also swung by the National Portrait Gallery so she could pre-purchase her ticket to the amazing Lucien Freud portrait exhibit. While we were there, I was taken with the idea of one of their projects, Imagined Lives. It's really right up my alley. Fourteen un-identified and formerly mis-identified portraits with fictional backstories cooked up by some of Britain's finest authors including Julian Fellowes, Joanna Trollope, Alexander McCall Smith & John Banville

Incidentally, a lot of the portraits are of Scots. One was believed to be of Mary Stuart (later disproved) and one of Lady Arabella Stuart

Anyhow, you can purchase the collection of stories surrounding the mysterious portraits in the gallery's gift shop or online. Check it out. They're even welcoming visitor's own imaginings as part of a story competition. You can send in your stories to the Gallery and they've posted one winner per month in the gallery. It's going on until July. Perhaps if I weren't in the middle of one of the busiest times of my life, I'd be tempted to send something in. You know I love to imagine the lives of others. 

If you're interested in submitting, send your 300 word story to 
Imagined Lives Story Competition
Marketing Dept.
National Portrait Gallery
St Martin's Place
London WC2H OHE

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Good Mews... I Mean News & The Bad News

Well, so there's a lot of good news. As of Friday, I'll be a resident of lovely Ovanna Mews in Dalston! I'll have my own bathroom in a three floor flat with tons of light, etc etc. More good news: had a lovely time back up in Crieff for some hiking, friend making, relaxing and general merriment-making. We petted highland cows, drank good wine, played whist, visited Glen Turret Distillery/ Famous Grouse Experience. Back in London,  I'm preparing for my second interview at a place I'd absolutely love to work, but I'm also trying to be open about what my professional future might look like. Not to mention, it is straight up Spring already. Bring it. 

The less than good news.... slash bad news... is that move-in costs in London are higher than even a New Yorker like me had expected. And my in-person visa renewal meeting is at 8:30 Friday morning. Everything should be fine, but it's stressful. I feel like I'm drowning in logistics at the moment-- from visas to flats to jobs to coordinating getting all my belongings down from Edinburgh in a van (which I have to get some kind soul to drive considering I have no drivers license.) 

Of course, these are all princess problems and problems I'm fortunate to be able to have to solve. All that was put perfectly in perspective last night when just thirty minutes outside of London, when we were enjoying ourselves on the train-- just like I mentioned in my post yesterday-- we felt a jolt and then smelled a terrible burning smell. The train came to a stop and we received the announcement that the train would be held while they investigated what the train had hit. Eventually, we learned it was a body and we waited for two hours while emergency services investigated, etc. It was very sad. And further still disturbing, when we arrived at King's Cross, and saw the gore on the front of the train. How people were taking pictures of it with their iphones.  

There's always going to be a lot to feel overwhelmed by, to make you feel out of your depth. The only thing I can always always go back to is this. Always this. And training the way you think to stop seeing the obstacles. "It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive in the adult world day in and day out." But it is the only objective that matters. And that's the good news. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

It's Not Quite the Orient Express, But I'll Take It

While the National Rail Service isn't quite the Orient Express-- or its special line, the Venice Simplon-- in my head, it's every bit as romantic. Speeding through the Scottish & English countryside from Stirling to Kings Cross reading and cuddled against the arm of a handsome man. You'll hear no complaints from this small American. I'm not a big believer in 'reality'-- or, at least, I'm a big believer in reality is what you make it. So here, thanks to the people at the beautiful This Is Glamorous blog, are some images of what I feel today, even if it's not entirely true to what I see. 

Speaking of train travel, as part of our 'get street cred for Nicholas & Alexandra' Russia trip, we talked about taking the Trans-Siberian Railroad. I'm still up for that as well. Bring on any form of travel that doesn't require a pat-down and a full body-scan is what I say! Hope you're having a dreamy Sunday, wherever you are.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Passage fans Rejoice! The Twelve has a release date

For over two long years now (I read the galleys of The Passage in January before it came out) I have eagerly awaited the sequel to my college writing mentor's hit book, the first in a triology. Despite my incessant efforts to charm, bribe and/or blackmail any advance material out of him, (I mean, as if all the babysitting of his precious children I did in my youth wasn't enough, not to mention the hilarious jokes I told during class, I was going to trade him some Season 2 of Downton Abbey before it came out in the US, so I think I had the goods.) I have yet to read this mysterious and certainly gripping, The Twelve

Well, it turns our the wait is almost over! Sort of. At least we have a release date and that date is October 16, 2012! Dude, that's like another seven months. I can't wait that long. Luckily, there's a new excerpt coming out in this week's Entertainment Weekly with the hottie Jon Hamm on the cover, so check that out. Word on the street from the man himself is that the excerpt features my favorite character, Alicia. Boom.

And here's a plea to my pals working at Random House: Anyone who gets me the galleys of The Twelve will get Season 3 of Downton express from me to you a full year in advance of the US release date. It could be the start of a beautiful friendship. Just think about it. And check out The Twelve. There is possibly no living human who has had a bigger impact on my constant, repeated, occasionally ridiculous-seeming choice to persist in being a writer. Thank you, JCC/What the eff did you get me into?

Friday, March 9, 2012

I'm in my Prrrrime Links

Well, I successfully made it through my first week living in London. Actually, it felt like a dream. A dream in which everything went my way, but man did I walk a lot. Sometimes, the world is just on your side. And I don't want to jinx anything, but so far, London and I get along quite well. Of course, because things are going so well with London and me, I'm going to play just a little bit hard to get and head up to Scotland for a country weekend in Crieff and some business I need to take care of in Edinburgh. 

'Burghers, if you're around during the day or early evening Friday, please let me know! 

Here. Are. The. Links. 
- As much walking as I'm doing, gotta have shoes you love. I think I physically NEED these
- I touched this dress in Toast the other day & fell in love. BUTTER. (But, PS- why can't Toast style their models? This dress is about 2 sizes too big... Ugh.)
- This print. Because, I mean, have I mentioned it's almost my 30th birthday?
- Oh, Wallllll Streeeeet.
- Ten Amazing songs with no choruses from NME
- Muriel Sparks & Prime of Miss Jean Brodie & whatnot. Oh, Fascism.
- Speaking of which, now that I'm out of Scotland, I think it's time to rock this poster in my house. 
- Or maybe this one
- Getting SO excited for Newsies! My lovely AKB-Ball is doing a Meet the Newsies Series on his ever-popular blog. Here is Meet Jack Kelly, played by another fave collaborator of ours, Jeremy Jordan!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Some Ha-Ha's from Kevin Bridges

I don't know how it took me moving London to find out about Glaswegian Comedian Kevin Bridges, but I'm just glad I found him when I did! (Or was introduced. Thanks, G.) He's one of those comedians who is proof you can do more with less sometimes. Much of his funniest stuff is set up, with just a small, held gesture doing the work. And it's to-die-for. 

Not only does he play to insanely huge sold out stadiums and write humor books, but now he also has a show on BBC that goes behind the scenes of some of his most popular sketches. My favorite was when he sought some French lessons to improve a bit and ended up getting his tutor to teach him how to sing Craig David "Seven Days" using the days of the week in French. You know I love me some old school Craig David. Check out the lovable Kevin Bridges and know why Scots are some of the funniest folks on the planet. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Exploring Upper Street - After Noah

Over the past few days, I've been taking what is hopefully the short amount of time I'll have in London as an unemployed person to explore the specific areas where I might live. Though almost everywhere we're looking at is somewhere in Islington (or its immediate borders with Hackney-- DeBeauvoir Town, Shoreditch) Upper Street would certainly be the slightly-out-reach crown jewel. It really is that adorable. It's all West Villagey and even weirdly sort of Boston-y. Essentially, I love it. 

So there's this one place that is actually kind of doable and right in the middle of Upper Street. I'm trying to weigh the pros and cons of this. But my mind kind of only sees the pros and wants to be as close in proximity to this cuteness as possible. Cute-Case-in-Point: After Noah. Part antique furniture, part novelty shop, After Noah is an amazing place to spend a windy afternoon and mentally decorate your hypothetical Upper Street flat. Shop away, people. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

My College Roomie Won a Grammy!

Man, I had better get my ass in gear! You may have seen when I posted this. I could not be more proud of my lovely, quirky, snoring first Rice room mate. I was fortunate enough to see Sasha's performance as Kitty Oppenheimer in Dr. Atomic. It was inspiring and beautiful. Just like Sasha is every day. Couldn't happen to a nicer person. You go, Sasha

Also, Happy Birthday to another beautiful and talented red-headed songstress, Autumn Hurlbert!! 

And since it's Tuesday, don't forget to check out my SMASH recap over on BroadwaySpotted!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Matilda Monday

You guys. We need to talk about Matilda. I mean, it's been a while since I've had that glorious feeling of going to the box office to pick up my comps to see the culmination of years of work, the best thing in the world-- a new musical. So I was riding high just to be there. And it's an understatement to say that tonally, Roald Dahl is one of my biggest inspirations-- Matilda, the story of an abused little girl with sort-of-superpowers who finds a surrogate mother, most-especially close to my heart and close to home. 

But I wasn't sold after the first act. I thought.... Billy Elliot + Spring Awakening + Annie + Oliver! In fact, I spent a majority of my dreams on Thursday night rewriting said first act. The parents are sort of a weak link and there's too much of them. (I saw the Mr. Wormwood understudy-- he was like a cross between Pete Doherty and Beetlejuice.) Miss Honey's first act song could (and she deserves) way way better. That's not to say, however, that there are moments where they get it absolutely right. The opening number is amazing and so right for right now. What it isn't, though, is as close to Roald Dahl as it could be. Bertie Carvel, however, as Miss Trunchbull is so pitch perfect, I actually squirmed with glee every moment the character was onstage. At first, in fact, I was convinced the role was being played by Summer Heights High's Chris Lilley. The Lavender and the Matilda were delightful. And there is this adorable Asian child with these prosthetic ears that just... I can't. 

After we came back from intermission, we got things started off right and the perfection simply never stopped. The show hits its stride in a way like I have almost never seen. The way it commits to its own vocabulary and insanity and Roald Dahl-ness. There are no less than four perfect numbers. Perfect in every possible way. Lyrically, musically, tonally, conceptually, dramaturgically. I actually COULD NOT contain myself in my seat. 

"When I Grow Up" on these swings...dude, the video does not do it justice. Same for "Revolting Children" and Trunchbull's big second act number "The Smell of Rebellion" set in gym class is so over-the-top-wacky that it WORKS like nothing I have ever seen. (I really want the TRUNCH hoodie she wears in the number.) Kudos, Tim Minchin. (And Dennis Kelly & Matthew Warchus & Peter Darling.) Kudos. 

So listen. I'm one jaded-ass m-fing theatre-goer. I spend a lot of time analyzing and deconstructing theatre that it's almost impossible for me to let myself go to the point where I get swept up in what the show wants me to feel. But the second act of this show Took. My. Breath away. That is rare. That is precious. That is heaven. See this show. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Washed Out at the Lakehouse

Here's a nifty little video filmed at the same Lake house where I spent some of the best times of my childhood. Washed Out's Ernest Greene is married to my childhood friend, Blair. And I had no idea when I first heard it that one of my favorite albums of last year was recorded at one of my favorite places. Do you think we psychically know things like that? That our soul can somehow recognize things like that? It's worth a think...

Hope you're having a wonderful Saturday!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday Night Lights Links

Seems like a good Friday to hit the town in celebration: it's my first Friday as a London resident, friends are in town, and the feeling of Spring has settled in. It was a busy week for me, but I still managed to round up some ha-has and whatnot from around the interwebs.

- An excellent TED talk from YouTube Trends Manager, Kevin Allocca, about why videos go viral
- The meme that went a little far. But my favorite is this one.
- Time Out did a "direct neighborhood to neighborhood London/NYC comparison." Actually sort of useful. Though it was a couple of years ago.
- What if I got this bike?
- NYMag's "Do Not Play In Prison" Playlist actually seems great for a Friday night...
- OH MY GOD! PLEASE give Pat Kiernan this job!! (And then give me Kelly's job.)
- While there is no NYMag for London, apparently there is a Gothamist... Londonist. Don't know if it's any good.
- Though this is a good start, Londonist...Not to mention...These Top Ten Lists!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Today I Go Here

Today, I go here to see what I can make of myself. I'm definitely feeling excited and nervous about all sorts of questions that need answers...or at least exploration. But the wacky inner compass I've been following all my life has yet to guide me anywhere less than extraordinary. I've got some challenges ahead, but one thing that comes easy is the gratitude I feel to be able to have this freedom to make my life what I want it to be.

Part of that freedom comes from support. And I know I've got that pretty much everywhere I look. In fact, as soon as I arrive, I'm meeting up with some of the New York peeps. And nothing makes me feel more ready to take on the world-- literally, all of it-- than pep sessions with the New Yorker Exuberants. (People have given me this book as a gift on multiple occasions. ) There might even be a musical involved. Next Chapter, Get At Me!

Why Stop Now?

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