Oops.

September 17, 2012

Nothing like being linked to from a friend’s blog to inspire an update. The lovely Amy Spalding asked me to write about everyone’s favourite weep-fest Les Miserables for today’s Musical Theatre Monday feature.

Other things worth linking to that I’ve written in the past few months include this local travel story about fun places to go on the Go Train (30 years in Toronto and I’d never used Go Transit before, so I thought I’d try and make up for it). Also, this Popcorn Panel about Premium Rush, probably the greatest film of 2012, and maybe ever. Certainly the greatest bike courier chase movie out there. After I saw Premium Rush I got caught (on my bike, OBVIOUSLY) in a massive downpour, the likes of which I’d never seen before in this city. In normal rain, I suck it up, get drenched, and carry on, especially if I’m heading home, but this was no normal rain. The water on Queen Street was at least four inches deep in less than five minutes – as close to a flash flood as Toronto gets. And it had just gotten dark out. I was completely soaked within seconds, and it wasn’t safe to continue riding. Fortunately, a TTC driver took pity on me and let me haul my bike onto the streetcar, even though I only had a toonie and a few pennies on me (cash fare on the TTC is $3). A couple of the pennies fell out of my wallet as I awkwardly balanced my bike and paid my fare, and a woman looked at me pityingly to tell me I had dropped a few pennies. I looked so pathetic, drenched and dirty and maneuvering my bike on the streetcar, that the homeless guy walking up and down the car asking people for change took one look at me and moved on with saying anything. AND I ruined the copy of Lucky Jim that was in my purse.

Karma paid me back handsomely the following week, though, in yet another rainstorm. I left the house during a clear patch on a very rainy day, but after biking for ten minutes, it started to come down hard. The nearest shelter was a Lexus dealership, so I ducked into their covered parking lot for a few minutes, sure that I was either going to be very wet or very late. But I was neither, because the Lexus manager came out after five minutes to ask if I needed a ride – his service guy was going out in the van, there was room for my bike, and he could drive me anywhere I needed to go. I’m not usually one to accept rides from strangers in vans, but it was 10:30 in the morning and it was a Lexus van. I took my chances, was both dry and on time, and very grateful for the kindness of strangers.

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September catch-up

September 25, 2011

I wrote a bunch of things this month that I didn’t tell you about because I spent this whole past week at a cottage without any connection to the modern world and absolutely no news sources besides the Parry Sound North Star, which mainly reports on euchre results. (Also, a local boy won the national arm wrestling championship, and the town’s third graders aren’t testing very well.) It is a stellar publication, I urge you to pick it up if you are in the area.

First, on a chilly and dampish day in early September, I single-handedly summoned back summer weather by putting on my swimsuit to go paddleboarding in the Beaches.

Also, I wrote my first book review in seven years, of Wendy and the Lost Boys, an incredibly insightful biography of my favourite playwright.

Then I went comic book shopping with documentarian Morgan Spurlock, who was very excited that I am a member of a graphic novel book club.

AND I saw Contagion, which did not turn me into a germaphobe as anticipated.

Now we’re all caught up.

Winging it

September 5, 2011

I’ve interviewed a lot of comedians in the past couple of weeks. Comedians and also Hercules, who phoned me and left a message that I annoyed/delighted several friends with for a week afterwards.

Then I went for lunch with the new Second City kids at Wayne Gretzky’s and we spent a lot of time talking about chicken wings. For the record, I enjoy the wings at Sneaky Dee’s and Kilgour’s – at Kilgour’s, the blue cheese dipping sauce is particularly good. I have never, however, enjoyed the television program Wings.

I didn’t actually get to fly for story for my Standing Engagement column in the National Post, but I did get to sit in a tiny plane and fiddle with pedals and steering wheel and wander around on the tarmac inhaling the sweet scent of jet fuel.

Normally

July 27, 2011

I interviewed the capslock-loving (and stupendously talented) Alice Ripley last week about the devastating Next to Normal (also, rollercoasters). If you don’t know who Alice Ripley is, you should watch this immediately:

She’s the twin on the right, with the slightly crazier eyes. She’s wonderful. She doesn’t play a twin in Next to Normal, though. So if you’re looking for conjoined twins, that is the wrong musical for you.

And I already mentioned all the sugar I ate at Cake Pop class, but here’s the story. (And another photo, for those of you who can’t get enough pictures of mini cake on a stick.)

Toronto Fringe Festival time. A time for weird, goofy, fun, surprising, sometimes awful theatre. And lots of alcohol. And hopefully one great train wreck.

I wrote that Fringe preview, and now I can also vouch for Love Octogon (great inventive long-form improv based on the audience’s stories about love and heartbreak) and Raton Laveur (darkly funny play about a man’s raccoon problem).

Go see a play!

Last week I saw the new Woody Allen movie and blabbed about how I wish I’d come of age in the 1920s so I kind of loved it even though it’s actually pretty terrible and Owen Wilson is basically the worst unless he’s animated but anyway I just really like when famous people get dressed up to look like other famous people and here’s the Popcorn Panel we wrote about it.

Remember in Everyone Says I Love You that party where everyone is the Marx Brothers? I’m always hoping that every party I go to will be that party and I’m always disappointed when it isn’t.

The Aikido Network

February 11, 2011

My high school started in grade seven, but wee little seventh graders were exempt from exam week, and instead we were forced to participate in a series of random activities (a week which included, for some reason, a screening of Forbidden Planet, which completely baffled even the nerdiest of a very nerdy auditorium full of 12-year-olds in 1994). Anyway, my favourite of those activities was always Aikido (maybe because we were not just allowed, but encouraged to wear pyjama pants). Evidently, I liked it so much that I didn’t try it again for almost 20 years, when I wrote about it for the Post last week. It was a much more comfortable (for me) atmosphere than the high-aggression Krav Maga class I took a few years ago (I won’t lie, though, Krav Maga was pretty rad).

And apropos of nothing, last week’s Popcorn Panel was about The Social Network because nothing good is opening this winter so I’m getting caught up on Oscar nominees.

St. Popcorn of the Main

February 4, 2011

In this week’s Popcorn Panel, some tech nerds and I belatedly talk about the overrated but still very entertaining The Social Network (I’m getting caught up on Oscar nominees I missed the first time around). I still like Aaron Sorkin’s writing quite a lot and will quite happily watch almost anything he’s written, but you do have to psyche yourself up to tolerate his smugness. It all went down much easier on Sports Night, when he wasn’t important enough not to get jerked around by ABC.

And in The Toronto Star, I interviewed Peter Hinton and Eo Sharp, director and designer of Canadian Stage’s new production of Michel Tremblay’s St. Carmen of the Main.

In other news, there is nine pounds of pork butt in my refrigerator.

So Many Ones

January 11, 2011

Nope, this time I don’t even have an excuse like I was trying to write some big meaningful post about some traumatic life event before chronicling the minutia of my name in the papers again. I’m just lazy. But hey, it’s a new year now! Maybe I’ll keep up some semblance of blog posting regularity in 2011. Maybe monkeys will fly out of my butt. Maybe I’ll just start a Tumblr blog of Wayne’s World quotes (probably not).

December was a Very Sondheim Month – I went to see him in conversation with Robert Cushman, and saw the lacklustre Mirvish/Stratford production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and read Part One of Finishing the Hat and am going quietly insane until Part Two comes out, and I interviewed the lovely Lisa Horner who is in Birdland Theatre’s incredible production of Assassins right now. I saw the show last night, and it was every bit as good as last year, and sometimes even stronger. (Also, my friend Whitney is in it this time around, and she’s so great!) (I’m aware that it’s January now. Maybe every month will be a Very Sondheim Month!)

I’m not going to catch you up on all the things I’ve written in the months since I started neglecting this blog, because really, who cares, but this one from a couple of weeks ago about the Serial Diners was pretty fun, if a bit weird. (By the way, the fries and gravy at Kramden’s aren’t half bad.)

I also started up this absurd little project to make cleaning out my parents’ basement more fun. If you’ve ever wondered how I turned out so weird, well, just look at all the crap I was raised with. (And just wait until I unearth Pee Wee’s Playhouse!)