Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Chicago to NYC to GAP to BWAY, NY

Well…this will be short.

I worked at the convention center all day and then broke the booth down to ship back to Atlanta.

I arrived at O’Hare, exhausted. I walked in to find that my flight was canceled last night and I was moved to a different airline. Their flight was delayed twice and I ended up not landing in NYC until 2:30 this morning.

I went right to bed so I could be up at 7:30 am to be at the GAP for my first day of Training by 9am. It was a long day of training that wrapped up at 4pm. I walked up a couple blocks to BROADWAY, NY and worked there from 5 to 11:30.

I have to do this all again tomorrow and the next day. Don’t know how I am going to survive it.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Heading to Chicago...

Well, I was up at 4am so I could be at the airport by 5am and be on a flight headed to Chicago by 6am. It was a really short night.

This will be a short post because already I can hardly hold my eyes open.

I flew into Chicago today for the American Library Association. The show and conference opened a couple of days ago and Peachtree brought me in to close it. It was so wonderful seeing Margaret in the booth this morning.
I was in the booth at the show from 9 this morning until 6 this afternoon. Having been up so early, it’s made for an exhausting day.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Just a mini-look at the bigness of the parade stretching down 5th Avenue. Posted by Picasa

NYC PRIDE & Brooklyn Closes and the Altar Boyz ROCK

Terry and I hit the town hard today. We ate at Eatery, one of my favorite places, and then picked up our tickets to the closing performance of Brooklyn and headed over to 5th Avenue to watch some of the PRIDE parade.

The PRIDE parade – reflecting the power of diversity – stretched for miles and lasted over 5 hours. We took in an hour and half of it before having to head back to the theater.

I have never attended the Closing of a Broadway show. The Closing of the musical Brooklyn was quite an experience. Though the show opened last Fall to mixed reviews it had a strong following. The cast of Brooklyn walked out to what would be one of numerous standing ovations throughout the show. Of course each big number, Once Upon a Time and Raven, were stopped throughout because of the applause.

By the curtain call the cast was still growing strong but were also emotional. Terry really enjoyed the show and left saying that he had to get the CD. He loved it too. The music is great and it just sweeps you away.


After the show we met up with Elizabeth. We all had a bite to eat before heading to see Altar Boyz. I don’t know what was more fun – the show or watching Terry and Elizabeth’s reaction to it. It has been a long time since I’ve seen Elizabeth laugh that hard at something…at anything.

After a movie, show, TV show or anything like that – Elizabeth has a tendency to mimic the most memorable moments of whatever we’ve just seen. After Altar Boyz, Elizabeth would try and repeat different parts of the show and just break out laughing. She had tears running down her cheeks she was laughing so hard thinking back on the show.

The Altar Boyz were in fine form and the show was just as good as the first time I saw it. I was so happy that Terry and Elizabeth enjoyed it and that the end of Terry’s visit ended on such a high note.


We got home just a little bit ago. Terry and I have to be up very early in the morning so I can fly to Chicago and he can fly back to work in South Carolina. So, I’ve got to draw this to a close. It’s been a full and fun day.

The PRIDE parade in full swing Posted by Picasa

Delta's Mini-Cooper leads the way for it's MACY like balloon Posted by Picasa

Delta flying high at the NYC PRIDE parade Posted by Picasa

A Family joins the parade route. Posted by Picasa

The dancing continues... Posted by Picasa

Many parade floats were portable dance floors. Posted by Picasa

BROOKLYN marquee Posted by Picasa

The Plymouth Theater Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 25, 2005

The Glass Menagerie

I had to work all day. Terry took in Hurly Burly, which closes next weekend. I hope to see it before it closes. It is suppose to be good.

Another facet of theater life…the opposite side of the move-in, would be the move-out.

The BROADWAY, NY store is nestled just under the Marquee Theater home of the revival of La Cage Aux Folles. The show closes tomorrow and yesterday and today I saw dancers walking out with the remnants of their dressing rooms bagged up. I haven't gotten to see the show but I'm told that it's really a wonderful production.

I remember that feeling. I always make a dressing room my home away from home. In almost every show I’ve been in my dressing room has always been the place to hang out. I always have music, pictures, gifts, flowers, etc. A dressing room is a sanctuary.

Tonight Terry and I saw The Glass Menagerie with Christian Slater and the amazing Jessica Lange. It closes next weekend and I’m glad we’re getting to see it.

It’s been a day of heavy plays for Terry – it will change tomorrow with a couple of musicals.

The show was fantastic. We had great seats and enjoyed the show from start to finish. One rare highlight of the evening was the opening of the second act. A unexpected reaction from the audience that Christian Slater played off of ended up making co-star Sarah Paulson break character and get the giggles. She fought it as best she could but lost it after trying to continue on with her lines. Christian Slater got caught up and it just built from there. Jessica Lange made her entrance, saw the situation, and turned right around and walked back off stage.

The audience indulged her and let her work through it. They had to restart the scene twice but they finally got things back on track.

A few minutes later, Jessica Lange had re-entered, Christian Slater exited and the scene continued. Sarah’s giggles returned and this time Jessica Lange went down with her. Both women clutched each other and turned inwards as they laughed.

It was so funny watching an acting giant like Jessica Lange loose it in front of an audience. That happened to me once during Sordid Lives and there is a real sense of nakedness about it. It is reassuring to know that it happens to everyone.

The show's marquee. Posted by Picasa

Show Poster Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 24, 2005

Terry's Takes the Town

Family friend Terry Dix flew in this afternoon. He’s here for the weekend to take in some shows and celebrate PRIDE here in New York City.

I worked this morning at GAP for the last few hours of my training and then met up with Terry. Got him settled and then we headed to Midtown.

I went to work at BROADWAY, NY and Terry went to eat dinner and see the play, Steel Magnolias.
Afterwards he met up with Elizabeth at BROADWAY, NY and he and I headed back to the apartment. We only saw each other in passing today – and tomorrow will be the same. He’s pretty much on his own and he’s alright with that. He’s lived here before and he’s got his day filled with shows.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The show poster and image from the most remarkable play I've every seen. Posted by Picasa

Beast on the Moon

Today I saw the play Beast on the Moon.

It is quite possibly the most brilliant play I’ve ever seen…and I’ve seen a lot of theater. It is just amazing. I called 4 people as I left the theater to tell them that they have to see it.

I went right from the play to my shift at BROADWAY, NY. I dazed out several times tonight while folding I LOVE NY t-shirts because the play stayed with me all day. Every customer who came in the store asking about a good show to see – I hat to mention it to them.

I can’t even put into words the experience of this play. It’s no wonder that it has won award after award around the world. It has been translated into numerous languages and right now it is running Off-Broadway.

If I try to summarize the show I will fail to do it any justice whatsoever. All I can say is that, please visit the site below – and if you live in the NYC area or if you’re planning a trip to the city – make plans to see the show.


The healing embrace. Posted by Picasa

A family photograph that has had the faces removed holds the key to her husbands secrets and pain. Posted by Picasa

The first honest embrace. Posted by Picasa

Hiding together, from each other's secrets. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 19, 2005

LENNON moves in Posted by Picasa

The front view of the Broadhurst Theater Posted by Picasa

Lennon Moving In

Today was my first day working at Theater Circle – the theater bookstore. I love the feeling of the store. It has a completely different vibe than the BROADWAY, NY store. It has that bookstore feeling to it that I know and love.

I LOVE everything about theater life…even the technical side of which I know nothing about. There are huge cases, sprayed with the
Lennon logo on all sides, lining the sidewalk outside of the theater. The marquee over the theater looks really cool.

On my break I walked along 44th Street and looked at Lennon finding a home at the Broadhurst.

I haven’t heard any of the music from the show but I’m intrigued. It is a cast of 6 people – 3 men and 3 women – different colors and ages. I do know that throughout the show all 6 will, at some point, play John Lennon. I think that is a very different and creative take on telling his life story. The choice was made to reflect the universal power of his music and message.

Close-up of the Tech cases. Posted by Picasa

The new marquee. Posted by Picasa

The show poster. Lennon looking down over 44th Street. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Christina Applegate as SWEET CHARITY Posted by Picasa

Sweet Charity

Elizabeth and I had the day off today. Next week she will start at BROADWAY, NY – so who knows when we’ll both be off again.

We wanted to see a happy show…something upbeat. Something we knew we would love (and something cheap). We went to Wicked and entered the lottery (I’ve lost track of how many times we’ve entered. But we’ve both already seen it, so we’re ok when we don’t hear our names called.).

As we stood waiting for them to draw names when Elizabeth spotted a familiar face. She told me to call Tim and tell him that Tommy Murphy was standing a few feet away from us. Well, I didn’t know Tommy and Elizabeth wasn’t sure he’d remember her – but evidently he went to school with my brother and with Elizabeth.

I called Tim. Left a message. Two seconds later he called back.

I told Tim we were standing near someone named Tommy Murphy.

Tim reminded Elizabeth that Tommy is a boy who memorizes Georgia Zip Codes and never forgets anyone.

With Tim on the phone we walked in Tommy’s direction and via the wonders of cell phone technology a mini-reunion transpired. Tommy’s friend Jason was introduced and together we all waited to hear the results of the Wicked lottery.

The cell phone was passed around and Tommy caught up with Tim before handing the phone back to me when he turned his attention to Elizabeth and started catching up with her.

I said goodbye to Tim and we listened as all four of us lost the lottery. Together we walked down 8th Avenue and Elizabeth and I talked up other shows that Jason and Tommy could take in while they were in the city.

In exchange for all of our unsolicited Broadway input, Tommy bought Student Rush tickets to the musical revival of Sweet Charity for us. With a Student I.D. he was able to get $25 tickets for both of us. We’d both wanted to see Sweet Charity for weeks but couldn’t afford the tickets. We could get tickets for $55 - but that’s just not in our budget right now. For some shows, if you have a Student I.D., you can get discount tickets the day of the show.

We escorted Tommy and Jason over to the box office of Brooklyn – one of the shows Elizabeth and I recommended. They were able to get Rush tickets there as well, also for $25.

We parted ways with Jason and Tommy and headed to the movies. It was turning into a full day of entertainment for Elizabeth and I. We saw Batman Begins at the movies and really enjoyed it. Elizabeth is just excited to be going to the movies again. She and Nathan went to shows, family gatherings, church, etc. but never really the movies.

We jumped on the train. Changed clothes. Headed back downtown to the theater.

Sweet Charity was wonderful. It was fun to see a dance-heavy musical for a change. There aren’t a lot of those on Broadway anymore and I kind of miss the spirit they invoke.

Christina Applegate was delightful. It has been a hard road for her to make her Broadway debut. She broke her ankle during one of the show’s out-of-town tryouts and it was said she wouldn’t be opening the show when it reached New York. She had fought so hard to land the role – I read somewhere that it had been a grueling auditioning process for her because of a career that is made up of primarily film and television work.

Once she broke her ankle and it looked like the show would open without her the show started losing money in advance sales and the producers decided to suck up their losses and close the show before it reached New York.

Within 24 hours the producers announced the show would stay open on the road and would come to New York. Christina would be out the first few weeks of Previews but she was determined to work twice as hard in therapy and be on stage (and it is rumored that she also became one of the show’s producers – investing a million dollars of her own money to see to it that the show came to be.).

And it did.

She was greeted by a thunderous applause when we saw the show. The whole theater community has really embraced her and is trying to support her for the way she has been so fiercely determined to make the show a reality.

There were many Fosse elements incorporated into the choreography of the show, which was a great tribute to the original production.

It was also great to see Dennis O’Hare again. I’ve seen him in the Broadway shows Take Me Out and Assassins. He is one of those actors who is consistently great. He’s so funny and he envelops the roles he plays with such sincerity. I’m a big fan of his work. I love that physically he is so unassuming yet creatively his work is genius.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Thrill Me

Happy Birthday TIM!

Today’s my brother’s birthday. I haven’t been able to get ahold of him. He’s in Alabama somewhere for a wedding.

Tonight Elizabeth and I saw the Off-Broadway musical, Thrill Me. I had heard different things about the show but we both wanted to see it.

It was truly Off-Broadway. The theater was in the basement of a Methodist Church just off 5th Avenue.

The performances in the show were great. Very intense. The subject matter – the famous gruesome murder of an innocent child by thrill killers Leopold & Loeb – is far from the material you would think of for a musical.

The show is performed with just two men and only the piano for orchestration. The sets, props, etc. were all very simple but that seemed to balance the heaviness of the subject matter.

It isn’t the kind of show I could go through again but I’m glad we saw it. There were moments…like the abduction of the child that were chilling. I would love to sit down with the actors and talk with them about what they go through to reach into the darkest sides of humanity to bring those characters to life.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Indigo Girls

The last couple of days I’ve just been working at BROADWAY, NY. I’m learning the ropes and meeting all the different employees who float in and out depending on their shift and the store they’re scheduled to work in.

Today I am off. It’s a nice break. The work at BROADWAY, NY isn’t difficult but the you’re on your feet (on hard tile over hard concrete) all day. It wears you out.

This morning I had my third and final (?) interview with the GAP. I’ve talked with several people back home and mentioned that I was going in for a third interview and the comment was, “Third interview? How hard is it to fold a sweater or ask if someone needs something in a different size?”

After today’s interview and getting to know the management side of GAP, I’ve learned that there’s a lot more involved in the kind of business they seek to run – especially at the location off Times Square (where over 4,000 people comes through the doors every day). They approach their work and store differently than a lot of other retailers and with each interview I’m appreciating it more and more.

It is their belief that I will be a benefit to their store and staff and next Friday I will begin.
I’m looking forward to the job and the possibilities that it presents. Both BROADWAY, NY and GAP are a departure from my work in publishing but I’m embracing it and enjoying the shift. Working for the GAP (and continuing to work with Peachtree Publishers as well as Toronto’s Fitzhenry & Whiteside) will allow me the flexibility that I’m needing to pursue auditions. I’m open to anything and everything.

Tonight the rain moved in…but there was no way it could dampen our plans.

Elizabeth and I went to VIRGIN Megastore off Times Square to see the cast of All Shook Up at their CD signing. I already have their CD and we’ve both been listening to it for the last couple of weeks but we still wanted to hear them perform at their mini-concert. We caught the last half and found them just as enchanting outside of the theater as they are on stage.

When the four-song set was over and the store began setting up for the signing, we darted into a huge rainstorm to head up a few blocks to the Roseland Ballroom.

The big event of our day today was seeing Indigo Girls. The Girls have always been advocates for accessibility and their concert tickets are always affordable. Elizabeth and I are both on a very tight budgets – so, more than ever, we appreciated the spirit they embody.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a HUGE fan of Indigo Girls and their music. It was Kara Bailey who first introduced me to their music when I was 13. We were pulling out of Lakeland Square Mall and she cranked up the song, Hammer and a Nail.

Wow. I hadn’t thought of that memory in years. Where did it come from?

Anyway…I have all of their CDs and I have seen them numerous times in concert with a band at places like Chastain, in acoustics sets like a benefit they performed at the American Library Associations conference when it was in Atlanta, and also with the Atlanta Ballet – thanks to a free ticket from my friend Charlie Miller. I always leave one of their shows wanting more from myself, my community, and my country.. Wanting to be a positive force of change in my world.I have always said that anything I might’ve learned about harmony I learned from singing in church and listening to Indigo Girls.

Indigo Girls, if you don’t know them, are a great folk/rock due made up of Amy Ray and Emily Sailers. I have seen them many, many times and each time it is an experience. Tonight’s show was no exception.

Tonight there was an unbelievable energy in the air. Both girls remarked about being excited to be playing the Roseland Ballroom (a frequent stop on their tours). They played for almost 2 hours and mixed in a couple of new songs with many familiar favorites.

I have a strong attachment to them and to their music for many reasons. I love their writing styles and the positive force of change they seek to be in this world. Many of their songs are touchstones to relationships and experiences in my life. Tonight they played a song that hit very close to home for me and my past. I hadn’t heard it or played it in over two years. When Emily started playing the opening chords, I could feel my throat tighten and tears come into my eyes.

Though I have absolutely no desire to go back down the dangerous and damaging road that made up large parts of that relationship, my heart’s desire is to once again obtain what’s reflected in the lyrics of this song.

power of two

now the parking lot is empty
everyone’s gone someplace
i pick you up and in the trunk i’ve packed
a cooler and a 2 day suitcase
cause there’s a place we like to drive
way out in the country
five miles out of the city limit we’re singing
and your hand’s upon my knee

so we’re okay
we’re fine
baby i’m here to stop your crying
chase all the ghosts from your head
i’m stronger than the monster beneath your bed
smarter than the tricks played on your heart
we’ll look at them together then we’ll take them apart
adding up the total of a love that’s true
multiply life by the power of two

you know the things that i am afraid of i’m not afraid to tell
and if we’d ever leave a legacy it’s that we loved each other well
i’ve seen the shadows of so many people trying on the treasures of youth
a road that fancy and fast ends in a fatal crash
and i’m glad we got off to tell you the truth

cause we’re okay
we’re fine
baby i’m here to stop your crying
chase all the ghosts from your head
i’m stronger than the monster beneath your bed
smarter than the tricks played on your heart
we’ll look at them together then we’ll take them apart
adding up the total of a love that’s true
multiply life by the power of two

all the shiny little trinkets of temptation
something new instead of something old
all you gotta do is scratch beneath the surface
and it’s fools gold
fools gold
fools gold

and now we’re talking about a difficult thing
and your eyes are getting wet
but i took us for better and i took us for worse
and don’t you ever forget
it is the steel bars between me and a promise
suddenly bend with ease
and the closer i’m bound in love to you
the closer i am to free

so we’re okay
we’re fine
baby i’m here to stop your crying
chase all the ghosts from your head
i’m stronger than the monster beneath your bed
smarter than the tricks played on your heart
we’ll look at them together then we’ll take ‘em apart
adding up the total of a love that’s true
multiply life by the power of two

As Emily played and sang, I let the tears go. After a couple minutes, Elizabeth slipped her arm around me and I cried it out.

It is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful Indigo Girls’ songs. If you haven’t heard it – check it out. If you own no other Indigo Girl’s CD – pick up their album Retrospective which highlights some of their most fan-loved favorites.

They played some new songs but mostly sang their most beloved tunes. Unlike any other artist I know, they have a remarkable relationship with their audiences. There were so many moments throughout the evening when the Girls would stop singing and the audience would sing out their lyrics back to them.

There was an incredible energy that ran rampant around the hall and everyone felt swept away in it. It just grew throughout the night. By the end of the show the Girls were overwhelmed by the audience’s applause and welcome. They play their encore and were called back for a second. Amy and Emily exchanged glances and shrugged. They whispered and finally agreed on a second encore.

As we filed out of the ballroom everyone was smiling and basking in the glow of the show. It was a WONDERFUL show and it was just what I needed.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Broadway Under the Stars

Had a good first day at the BROADWAY, NY store. Theater’s are “dark” on Monday’s (a full day off for cast/crew) so we weren’t super busy with theater-goers. We had a steady flow of tourists and locals – usually it is a mix of all three, or so I’m told.

I learned how to fold shirts and stock sheet music. I also checked in new merchandise –hundreds of variations on the I LOVE NY theme. The store has all kinds of stuff: T-shirts, mugs, magnets, snow globes, matches, key chains, etc., etc., etc.


After work I met up with Elizabeth and we walked over to Bryant Park. Tonight they had a FREE concert in the park featuring some of the leading men on Broadway. Every year Bryant Park plays host to Broadway Under the Stars. It was a two hour concert with a huge orchestra, numerous Broadway folk and the Rockettes. The best part – all FREE.

The concert began at 8:30. The lawn was opened to the public at 6:00. It was incredible to see thousands of theater-lovers stampede to claim their own piece of land for the show. Elizabeth and I both got totally caught up in all. It was frantic mad dash into the park, blankets under our arms and cooler in hand.

There were over 15,000 people crammed into that small park to enjoy an evening of music and I am proud to report that Elizabeth and I scored a spread right up front.

Once we spread out our blanket and kicked off our shoes we settled into the realization that we had 2 ½ hours until the show started. I left for food and she talked on the phone to Nathan.

When 8:30 finally rolled around the crowd was ready – even if the tech side of the show wasn’t. They were filming it to be televised later in the week, so there was stopping and starting and re-doing of the opening song (half way through they completely lost their lighting). Everyone was a good sport about it the delays sprinkled throughout the night and enjoyed the performances.

Sweet Charity star, Christina Applegate hosted the night and some of the men of the evening were, Brent Barrett, Cheyenne Jackson, Tom Wopat, Marc Kudisch, and many others.

It was an evening was a nice tribute to the music of Cy Coleman and Fred Ebb (both of whom passed away within the last year.) and I’m glad that we were able to share in it.


Now, bed time.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Fish Can't Fly

It just seems to be getting hotter and hotter here. Within the last week, Elizabeth and I have completely lost all inhibitions with each other. The apartment has been so hot that we’ve both taken to just wearing our underwear when we’re at home. A few days ago I just asked, “Are you looking at me?”

“No,” she said.

“And I’m not looking at you,” I added

Wearing next-to-nothing seems to be the only way we will survive until we can get her window unit installed in the living room. Right now it is in my bedroom because my fire escape window is the only window without a grate on it. We’re trying to funnel air from my bedroom into the living room and then into her bed room.

It really isn’t working.

I was up and out the door early this morning. I needed two trains and a good 45minutes to get from my apartment to MCC New York – a interdenominational church I wanted to visit. I was hot leaving the apartment for church and was sweating profusely by the time I walked in to the service.

So much for first impressions.

I enjoyed the service. Members of the choir and drama program were presenting a Biblical musical of sorts for the Sunday worship service which was very well written and had a great message. There was no sermon really, but I have heard the preacher before. She is very, very passionate and I look forward to visiting again when she’s preaching. I’ve had several churches recommended to me, so for right now I’m church-shopping and looking for a place that will be a spiritual home for me here in my new home – New York City.

In the last few weeks I have found “church” in different places and moments. One that comes to mind I stumbled on to at Target. While Elizabeth and I were shopping I discovered that Nichole Nordeman had released a new CD, Brave.

About 3 years ago I was introduced to Nichole’s music by my dear friend, Damon Bishop. Her album, This Mystery, impacted my life in variety of ways. Encouraging my spirit and strengthening my heart – empowering my journey. I LOVE her. I love the truthfulness she brings to her music. She isn’t afraid of asking the questions that make Sunday School teachers nervous. I appreciate her for that. She sings beautifully of a God that provides and cares for her in one song and then in the next will refuse to back down from questioning and challenging God and her faith.

Her new CD, Brave, continues to reflect her journey. The messages of songs like Live We Build, and the title track – were exactly what I needed. Her CD is in heavy rotation in room and in my soul.


After church I met up with Damon. We got tickets to see a Swedish film Hilda’s Journey. It has been a while since I’ve seen a foreign film and this film reminded me of how much I miss them. I love the risks foreign filmmakers take when telling a story. Their work doesn’t conform to the flashy spectacle of American movies.

After Hilda’s Journey we walked down a few blocks to another theater to see the documentary, Fish Can’t Fly. Though produced simply and with very little gloss, I found the film very important. The stories and journeys shared were heartbreaking and in turn the discoveries and revelations beautiful. Damon and I were both moved to tears as we saw lives transformed by the celebration of truth and the acceptance of glories found in God’s diversity.


Turning a Q & A afterwards I spoke briefly about spiritual abuse and questioned places along my journey. As I tried forming questions for the panel tears came breaking through.
A few minutes later, as we filed out of the theater, I was approached by a reporter, Mark Benjamin. He gently approached me and asked if he might interview me for a piece he’s working on. He writes for Salon magazine and is working on several pieces that he believes I can add great depth to.

I agreed.

As Damon and I hit the sidewalk and headed toward the subway he mentioned that he forgets the layers of my journey and what I’ve experienced. He said he looks at me and sees me as a man secure in my faith and life but when I got emotional speaking he realized that there was still great damage done.

I told him I felt exactly the same way. I explained that it wasn’t until I was speaking that emotions came. I didn’t even feel the tears coming. As I phrased my question and comments I could hear myself becoming stirred. It was unexpected.

He hugged me and said he knew he probably didn’t have to say it, but he wanted to. He wanted me to know that he was there for me if I ever needed him.

Thinking of his struggles and journey, I told him that that spiritual road we share runs both ways and that if he ever needed to talk and have me just listen, I was also there for him.
I rode the train home letting everything sink in from today. It has truly been one of those days that you know and believe are destined and designed especially for you. I’ve been exposed to so much today…I don’t want to waste a morsel.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Mama Dell Hits the BIG APPLE

Last night seemed to go on forever.

Mama Dell and Nathan’s flight was delayed again and again. They were already getting in late and each delayed moved their arrival into the early hours of this morning. I rode the bus out to Laguardia with Elizabeth and while we were in transit we got a phone call from Nathan.

They had landed.

Landed in Baltimore.

Evidently flights were backed up coming into Laguardia and the pilot explained, as they were getting ready to land, that the plane didn’t have enough gas to continue in the holding pattern. The flight had detoured to Baltimore to refuel. It would be 30 minutes to refuel and another 30-45 minutes to land in NYC.

Elizabeth and I got this news just after midnight. Not fun…for them or us.

We had a mini-reunion around 2am and went outside to catch the M60 bus into Manhattan and head home.

Outside of a few pictures, the 2:30 visit to our apartment in Spanish Harlem was the first Mama Dell had seen of our home. We walked in to our slightly cooling apartment and she slowed considerably, taking everything in.

She stood in the kitchen for several minutes. She looked at the pots hanging down from the wall. She studied the framed photos on the wall. Eventually she moved into the living room and repeated the process of soaking in each corner of the room. She looked at my bedroom and Elizabeth’s. She was very, very quiet.

As they moved to the door, Mama Dell pulled me aside and said, “I love the apartment.”

Our home had her blessing.

I was very happy.

Nathan and Elizabeth took Mama Dell to her hotel and I hit the bed. I had dozed off and on at the airport but there was no place to really be comfortable. Having to be up so early to get up to P.S. 195, it had been a really long day. I was ready for bed.

We all woke up around 9:00 and started getting ready for the day. We showered dressed and headed out to gather Mama Dell and hit the town.
We stepped onto the sidewalk and were greeted by a crowd of 10,000 filling our streets. People were dancing, music was blaring, drinks were being consumed…a party of sorts was in full swing.

Spanish Harlem in general and our blocks specifically play host to an annual Puerto Rican festival. Who knew? This party will run all weekend. Good times.

We took the subway down to 51st and picked up Mama Dell and headed in the direction of Times Square and the Theater District. We passed through Rockefeller Plaza and along Radio City Music Hall. We walked down to Times Square and it was a lot of fun seeing Mama Dell taking it all in. The air was lit by hundreds of neon signs and the streets were teeming with people.

Elizabeth and I pointed out theaters and shows. We ate at John’s Pizzera – one of my favorite places. It is an old church building that has been converted into one of New York’s finest restaurants. There are four brick ovens baking the most delicious pizzas. We were on and off the subway all day and Elizabeth was a great navigator. Her mom mentioned noted several times that her daughter had beautifully picked up city commuting. We spent some time in Grand Central and again Mama Dell was a cute sponge for every sight and sound.

I’m sleepy and very ready to get in bed.

Tomorrow I’ll be going to church and taking in a couple of films from a Gay/Lesbian Film Festival that is running around the city. It is the end of the festival and I haven’t seen even half of what I had wanted. The best intentions…

Mama Dell in Rockefeller Center Posted by Picasa

Elizabeth and Mama Dell (Elizabeth's Mom) outisde her hotel. Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 10, 2005

Michael P. White at Work and Mama Dell's A Comin'

We got up and took the subway into the Bronx to meet up with award-winning illustrator, Michael P. White. When he and Traci were visiting for their anniversary a couple weeks ago, they mentioned Michael’s school visit. I said I’d love to check it out and see what it is he actually does. I’ve shipped books to his school visits for years but I’d never actually sat in on one.

Today…all that changed.

Elizabeth and I were up early and on the 6 train headed to the Bronx. While we rode the subway the bottom fell out of the sky and when we reached our station we were greeted with a Noah’s-flood-worthy downpour.

The station was close to the school but we weren’t working with the best directions, so, we just walked in the rain. Clutching our umbrellas, we charted our course by the direction the yellow school buses splashing water onto the sidewalk. We made a couple of wrong turns before making the right one and arriving at P.S. 195.

We signed in and were directed to the school’s library. We passed under the sign welcoming Michael and walked in to find him busily preparing for his first class.

Elizabeth and I sat through 3 of his sessions and each one was entertaining and creative. Every kid left feeling like an artist…and, well, being one. Even the teachers and librarians got in on the fun – as did Elizabeth and I. Packed with puns and lots of humor, Michael guided all of us through the process of drawing, painting and telling a story.

It was good to see Michael again - twice in month.

Elizabeth and I returned home to grab a quick bit to eat before settling into to finally apartment preparations. Elizabeth’s boyfriend (Nathan) and her mom (Mama Dell) arrive tonight for a weekend here.
I took some pictures of the apartment…pictures of my room will follow soon.

The sign over the library Posted by Hello