Month: March 2005

Doing the job of a stick

Why are there so many street corner sign-holders in Arvada? At first it seemed like only the lowbrow independent shops paid people to wave signs at passing cars. Usually mattress sales and rent-to-own specials. But lately there have been larger businesses, like Kmart, hiring the stick people. Recently I spotted both Safeway and Quiznos stooping too. How tacky.


What a relief! My office finally has a new suite where we can move. We can finally stop worrying about where we will be working this summer–and start worrying about actually moving 😉

Amanda, Mom and Dad came up last weekend and we had a pretty good time touring Old Town. I had Indian, English, and Moroccan food within 24 hours. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures to share.

This morning there was no hot water. Now, there have been times when the pipes are running with other people showering, and I can barely get lukewarm water when I turn the faucet all the way. Usually if I wait for the other pipes to quiet I can have a decent shower. But this morning there was only icy cold water on all the taps in the apartment. I checked every ten minutes for 45 minutes, and even when the pipes weren’t running there was nothing but ice! Needless to say, I had a grumpy Monday.

Ben sweetened my day by taking me out to eat, buying a special cheese (Ski Queen) along with our groceries, and then we watched Tampopo together. Tampopo (meaning dandelion, and in this case, a woman’s name) is about a woman who wants to run a better noodle shop. More than that, the movie is a series of vignettes, showing how the Japanese love and savor their food. Very weird but very good. I came across the movie on IMDB’s movie of the day, here. I wouldn’t recommend it if watching a lot of loud noodle slurping sounds annoying to you. Or if you don’t find Japanese culture completely bizarre and fascinating, like I do.

Salt Lake City trip

A SLC sunset. Andy, Jill, and Annie fly a kite.

Amanda’s play, the Seussical. I couldn’t even fit all the cast in the photo.

A Peeps Tree!

Josh only left one “squashed” jelly bean behind.

Ahh, beautiful Colorado again. What a lovely view I had during my flight home.

Truly Outrageous

The great thing about Netflix is that it encourages you to rent DVDs you wouldn’t normally pay money for. Recently Ben rented Jem, a show I remember from long ago. Watching it again brought on a flood of nostalgia. It’s so weird that hot pink and assymmetrical clothing makes me think of my childhood.

For those who never knew Jem (or have forgotten), it’s a Hasbro cartoon (the same universe as GI Joe and Transformers) which debuted in 1985. Jerrica Benton’s father died and left her Synergy (below) a super computer which projects audio and visual holograms, so Jerrica and her friends (Aja, Shana, and Kimber) can become rock superstars.

Jerrica takes on the alterego Jem, causing much trouble for her boyfriend Rio, because he naturally falls for Jem as well. Meanwhile, The Misfits, a rival band, stop at nothing to try to ruin Jem and the Holograms’ sucess. Each episode has three music videos. If you’re lucky, it will have a chorus AND a verse.

I’m enjoying this show far too much for my age. I’m also realizing where I developed a warped sense of the world as a preteen. I didn’t know universities were schools until I was in high school. I thought it was just a place where you lived after you graduated. Where would I get such a simplistic definition? Well, let’s look at how Jem describes adult issues:

Episode 1: Jerrica and her friends live in a charity home she inherited from her father–but it’s falling apart. “We need money to fix this place up” says a girl. “But where will we get money?” asks another. Jerrica replies “when my dad needed money, he would get it from Starlight Music.” Cut to Jerrica walking past security into Starlight Music, the company she recently inherited. Eric (who owns the other half of Starlight) says “Jerrica, what are you doing here?” Jerrica replies ” We need money.” Eric says “I can’t just give you the money.” Jerrica says “But I own half this company.” Eric replies “We’ll see about that.”

No wonder I had many strange ideas about how the world works.

Sing with me now the song Ben and I have been haunted by for the past week:
Jem! Jem is excitement. Ooo Jem! Jem is adventure!
Ooo, glamour and glitter, fashion and fame.
Jem, Jem is outrageous, truly truly truly outrageous!
Ooo Jem! The music’s contageous, Outrageous!
Jem is my name, no one else is the same, Jem is my name!

If I were to teach a unit on musicals. . .

Amanda e-mailed, asking for suggestions for musicals to teach. I came up with this:

When I think of musicals, they tend to fall into 4 categories:
1) Musicals which most Americans know (or at least have heard of) or would recognize a song from it. Nevertheless, these shows deserve to be called “classics.”
2) Musicals which are lesser known, but surely any thespian worth their spit can sing two or three songs from each.
3) Musicals that are already too well known (and may or may not live up to that reputation) and shouldn’t be bothered with.
4) Delicious treasures which may not have any historical significance, but are gems to those who know them.

With that said, here is how I would categorize most of the musicals out there. I will includ in () significant notes and sometimes a song suggestion for each of the first two categories. Hmm, and since I’m putting so much effort into this, I’ll post this on my blog as well (hey, I just did!). I love not working on Fridays!

1) Well known – every American should know these:
Oklahoma (Americana, Rogers and Hammerstein’s first smash, first use of dance as a narrative tool rather than entertainment)
“People Will Say We’re in Love”
South Pacific
(Interracial relationships, nature vs. nurture)
My Fair Lady
(Julie Andrews debut, good example of an adapted book musical)
Fiddler on the Roof
(psychological musical about modernization)
“Miracle of Miracles” or “Do You Love Me?”
Guys and Dolls (clever use of vernacular in lyrics, costuming was contemporary in its time, yet now it’s done as a period piece)
“Sue Me”
King and I
(Racial tension, big skirts)
Man of La Mancha
(another good example of an adapted book musical)
West Side Story
(More choreography as narrative, another contemporary turned period piece, Bernstein and Sondheim)
“Tonight” or “America”
A Chorus Line
(innovative narrative, first use of workshops)
“God I Hope I Get It” or “What I did for Love”–which is NOT about a person, it’s about dance
Les Miserables
(Best of the big budget Mackintosh)
“Do You Hear the People Sing”

2) Lesser known – every thespian should know these:
On the Town (Gotta get some Comden and Green, empowerment of women during WWII) “Let’s Go to My Place”
The Music Man
(Comforting Americana)
(Dark, sexuality, innovative format)
(Fosse, plays on the Caberet format, explores the cult of celebrity)
“We Both Reached for the Gun”
(innovative storytelling, dark musical about the people who probably go to see musicals [upper middle class])
“Company” or “Another Hundred People”
(Rock musical, last time musicals intertwined popular music, great period piece)
“Hair” or “Aquarius”
Into the Woods
(Sondheim’s lyrics, so hard to choose one song!)
(Updated opera-turned-musical, AIDS crisis)
“Would you light my Candle?” or “One Song Glory”
(Great period piece, example of the modern coporate musical)
Lion King
(Best of Disney’s adapted movies, Taymor’s direction)
“He Lives in You”

Already too well known – don’t even bother including:
Phantom of the Opera
Sound of Music
Hello Dolly
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat

Delicious, but not necessary:
Sunset Boulevard
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Bye Bye Birdie
Kiss Me Kate
Damn Yankees
Sweeney Todd
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
Little Shop of Horrors
City of Angels
Once upon a Mattress
Ain’t Misbehavin’
Forever Plaid
You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown
The Last Starfighter (Ben made me include it)

Key People
Richard Rogers
Oscar Hammerstein
Irving Berlin
Cole Porter
John Kander
Fred Ebb
Stephen Sondheim
Andrew Lloyd Webber
Ethel Merman
Mary Martin
Julie Andrews
Joel Grey
George M. Cohen
Zero Mostel
Chita Rivera
Gwen Verdon
Agnes DeMille
Jerome Robbins
Bob Fosse
Cameron Mackintosh
Hal Prince

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