Abra Goes

on theatre, running, writing, and looking up

Archive for the ‘NYC’ Category

X-Cross – if you could go back in time

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We’re were you last night? At around midnight?

My sympathies if you weren’t at the IFC movie theatre in NYC for the Subway Cinema’s ONLY screening of X-Cross.

A slice of synopsis from the Subway Cinema site:…two women go to a secluded hot spings resort as one recovers from a breakup, only to find that the resort is nothing but a–

front for a cult of inbred, backwater leg fetish maniacs who live to amputate female legs. Split up from each other, they keep in touch via cell phone with the action constantly rewinding to show us what’s happening from multiple points of view.X-treme female bonding as two young women wander into a village where young women are ritually mutilated. High gloss, high IQ survival horror at its twisty best.

Not really one for the gore films, I found this Japanese horror/thriller irresistably fun. The organizers of subway cinema say Director Kinji Fukasaku finally hits his stride with this one. I haven’t seen his flops, but have to concur on the greatness factor. X-Cross is slick and loaded with style, and the plot actually has PLOT to back up all of the twists. 

I enjoyed every minute of this film and hope… wish, er,  wish I could command everyone in the city to see as many films in Subway Cinema’s line up as possible. That the theatre was not sold out last night is a tragedy.

I know it’s gross and muggy outside. And why does it storm every Sunday the minute I start walking to the grocery store and reach the point of going too far to turn back? Nevertheless, Subway Cinema is going on until July 6th. The films screen at the Independent Film Center in the village and the Japan Center. If you’ve never been to the IFC, avoid the gray chairs with stars because they’re all broken. Otherwise it’s a clean, comfortable theatre. And it has a shimmery gun-metal curtain that pulls back just in time for the previews. Need I say more? 

GO!

 

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June 29, 2008 at 10:55 pm

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Abra 2.0

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After a long week and an embarrassing clash with Karaoke, I’m sitting on the subway tonight when it hits me that everything is actually coming together. Not in the way I planned six months ago. More in the way I planned years ago when I first came to New York City with the plan to not only write, but to work in theatre.

My freelance writing is going in the direction I want it to. That is to say publication.

And while I haven’t stopped writing plays, I stopped trying to find paying work in theatre long long ago because instead of pursuing my ‘dreams’ it felt more like grinding my face against a brick wall in order to see the other side.

Fast forward to tonight. Tonight I’m picking out my clothes for my first day tomorrow working with a new performance venue. I’ll have more time for writing queries and plays (minus) having to do any business writing. At some point I’m going to wrestle this ‘why’: Why is it so hard to find work that involves a paycheck at a theatre space. Why did it take me years?

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June 6, 2008 at 3:27 am

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Robert Rauschenberg departs

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Books, Inq. Started my day with this: Robert Rauschenberg died Monday night.

Now I’m staring at a pile of work, out the window, bright walls and fluorescent lights. Coffee is getting cold, but did you know Merce Cunningham once had all of the elements of a show designed independently- choreography, lights, & music. The first time his dancers moved to the lights and music was opening night. Dancers were leaping in the dark, off the wings, unable to see where they were landing!

If you’ve never seen this documentary of Cage and Cunningham’s collaborations and friendship, take tomorrow off and watch it on repeat.

I’m glad Rauschenberg lived and sad he’s gone. His work and approach to life will forever reference that of John Cage, Merce Cunningham and Jasper Johns- artists who came together through their work, unbound by medium and influencing generations to come me.

Who wants to take a field trip tomorrow? Let’s go to the MOMA and erase a sculpture or touch up one of his paintings, cover it with white paint.

More to say, but I’ll leave it to a white canvas to translate

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May 14, 2008 at 7:08 pm

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My first 5k

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I ran my first 5k through Riverside park this morning.

Though misty near the Hudson river, it didn’t rain on us, for which I’m thankful. But I was way under-dressed for the chilly morning. We arrived at registration right on time, an hour before the race. It took all of one minute to give our names and get our numbers, leaving an hour to jump up and down and try to stay warm.

Who knew you can check a bag and coat at registration? I arrived in thin pants and a thin hoodie over my running top, holding my metro card and questioning how anyone does these races without bringing any stuff. Now you and I know their dirty check-in secret. Next time I’m checking two bags. And a coat.

Unfortunately, no pictures because none of my bums friends came to run along side me, documenting each stride, frame by frame. My running partner, RC, ran, too. But apparently he’s too uncoordinated to run and photograph me. I’ll have him work on that.

It feels silly to talk about running a 5k, especially as I’m reading First Marathons, edited by Gail Kislevitz, and just finishing Ben Cheever’s Strides. After reading about grueling, exhilarating, lengthy 26.2 mile marathons, 5ks go by fast. I couldn’t believe how quickly the whole 5k shibang I’ve been obsessing about was over.

The fastest man was 18+ minutes and fastest woman was 19+ minutes.

I had energy to burn after so I know I could have gone way faster. When the race started, about a hundred people charged and I thought ‘They’re gonna pay for it in the last mile when I pass them!’, pacing myself more for 6 miles instead of 3. The chargers never slowed…and I never passed them.

However, I ran my fastest 3.1 miles yet so I can only get fierce from here. Right?

The most difficult and unexpected aspect of running a 5k was pacing myself and breathing. I run with myself all the time so I just assumed I’d naturally find my race pace – slightly faster than my usual. But everyone else seemed to be going so much faster! While I wanted to keep up with that first wave of starting run charger, and I don’t think I could have, I didn’t even try because I was pacing. Pacing.

It wasn’t as hard as I though it would be to let people pass me. They just did.

Next time, my pretties. Next time, I’ll do a few training runs at faster than usual/ not quite race pace in order to get my breathing up to speed.

Everyone there was in great shape, and it was nice to be around a large number of runners who all woke up around 5am.There were many smiles before the miles and plenty after as the organizers quickly announced winners and prizes while we all inched away to the warmth of bus exhaust on our faces.

I can’t wait to do another 5k now that I get:

  • When they say ‘GO’ You really ‘GO’ – with kick.
  • 3 miles is not much so if you run regularly, you really can push yourself.
  • There’s always going to be handfuls and handfuls of runners who can just run faster than you. It’s fun to be in the same race with them, and maybe one day I’ll be in a handful of someone else’s un-catchables.
  • Find out if you can check bags and if so bring a camera and something warm.
  • bananas and cashewnut butter are our best friends

Here’s the course we ran, south of the George Washington bridge, through Riverside Park. I did my best to

map it, but it’s about .02k short. Jersey’s on the left.:

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May 3, 2008 at 7:56 pm

Posted in NYC, running, Uncategorized

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Theatre or another NYU dorm?

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It’s a really hard choice.

Do I go to the village to see Theatre? Yes

Will I go to see NYU dorm and more law classrooms for NYU…NO

Will the village continue to be a place of culture amidst NYU’s increasing shadow?

More often than not I’m embarrassed to say I’m an alum of NYU. Because by attending university I contributed to the monster. Not to be too dramatic, but that’s how it feels. Particularly now, as their expansion plans for the next 20+ years are announced and the village looks like it will completely disappear beneath dorms and classrooms.

On the list of buildings to be gobbled up in the name of NYUs manifest destiny: The Provincetown Playhouse. I had my first reading here. Perhaps more of note, Eugene O’Neil staged his first plays here.

This blog by Leonard Jacobs articulates the situation better than I.

UPDATE:

Here’s part of what I wrote to President of NYU John Sexton, with this letter:

I graduated Tisch Dramatic Writing in 2003. I dug myself into a deep hole of debt to study playwrighting and theatre at NYU, and thanks in part to you, the spaces that existed just a few years ago for me to stage my work are Gone. History implies that the University will do as it pleases, continuing its expansion … I am disappointed in and ashamed of my alma mater. … the theatre community gives more to the city than NYU’s dorms and extra classrooms. It gives more to the city than it will ever get in return. Theatre is not about ROI. This community shines in your shadow, and you will not be able to replace what you will lose by tearing down the Provincetown Playhouse.

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May 2, 2008 at 4:41 pm

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Come ride with me June 8th

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The Tour de Queens is a 20 mile leisurely ride through Queens on June 8th. Registration is FREE and it’s organized by Transportation Alternatives.

The ride is limited to 500 cyclists so register now if you want to partake.

I signed up and can’t wait. The hardest part will be staying on the bike and refraining from stopping off at every single food stand. Queens is well endowed with tasty, authentic ethnic food from Indian and Thai to Greek, Italian… Many don’t realize that empanadas are premium cycling fuel.

Think you got what it takes to take a leisurely roll? 20 miles is more than I’ve ever gone on a bike, and at just 6.2 miles short of marathon distance, I’m curious to see how it feels. Let me know if you plan to ride.

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April 30, 2008 at 3:08 pm

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Theatre guilt

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I haven’t posted because a plague is upon me. It’s called ‘I am a very bad person’ plague, and it haunts you if you commit to seeing a show and don’t.

After all my jabber (see post below), I didn’t make a show on Friday. I stared at Cai Guo-Qiang’s gunpowder paintings (are they considered paintings?) and sculptures too long. We didn’t leave the Guggenheim until near closing Friday.

I’m going to go see When is a Clock this week. Not because playwright Matthew Freeman posted a comment on my blog – though for that he is awesome. I am going to see the show because after reading about the production and story a few weeks ago, I haven’t forgotten. I’m intrigued and the possibility of seeing a good show, when I haven’t seen one in so long, is irresistible.

Why do we choose the shows we do? It’s easier to pin point the negative. Deal breakers – reasons why I will not go to a show – include:

  • Gimmicks – After I was kidnapped and forced to watch Heddatron at HERE, I will never be suckered into a theatre gimmick again, no matter how many robots are rolling across the stage. Can you tell I’m still bitter about the time wasted that fateful evening?
  • Personal Connotations – a graduate of Tisch Dramatic writing and part of the NYC theatre community since 99, I pre-judge quite a bit based on who’s involved (but don’t we all regardless of industry?) But this is just as often the only reason I go to shows so that can’t be a negative.

So what makes a show irresistible? What would make you leave an exhibit early or even better – buy tickets in advance? Do good reviews seal the deal for you?

What if you had a show in two hours and your potential audience is uptown blankly staring a big paintings and suspended cars?

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April 29, 2008 at 7:06 pm

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