Wednesday, October 06, 2010

As if I could get MORE Back!

Not only does my main source of exercise these days entail climbing our 8 flights of stairs, but also, Wellington is hilly as (if this phrase confuses you, please see prior post on unfinished comparisons).
Like, rimmed by hills, the likes of which would make even Gollum cringe in fear.
The kind that would leave Frodo and Sam gasping for air.
It's actually impossible to walk 8 blocks in any direction from our apartment and not be climbing hills steep enough to require stairs.

Did you not get the memo, Wellington? I have enough junk in my boot, thank you so much.

The veiws are incredible- you'll just have to take my word for it until I manage to get photos. Next week, when my little children's show closes and I spend all day wandering about, frantically looking for a job.

Those of you who want to come visit, do some training first. No joke, the elevation climbs are sick. Plus, they are all in meters, so they seem farther.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

BATS: 99 seat theater in Wellington

Turns out there's just one 99 seat, experimental, do-it-yourself theater in Wellington, and I live 300 meters from it. And my co-worker ALSO works the bar there. So, I've been there lots.

Saw 3 shows, none of them outstanding enough to do a full review on any of them, so I'll just sum up:

Walls. Doors. And Also Silence.
- the 20 year old version of You, Me, and Everyone We Know, with more institutionalization and less romance.
Cool use of set pieces- these door frames with stretchy translucent material. They got titled and used as a bathtub.

Father Famila- well-written work about a daughter and her dad with dementia/ Alzheimer's. Respects the intelligence of the audience (leaves details like subtle fragrances to follow, lives in New Zealand without being ALL ABOUT how its set in New Zealand, explores big scary universal themes in a specific, clear way). Grown-up theater that's not too stodgy.

Resolve- about hearing impaired young adults, written and performed by hearing impaired young adults. We all wear earplugs and hold on to inflated balloons, and there are few words of dialogue. Cool concept, poorly executed.
One of those shows I think could be so so so much better with a few tweaks. Oh Well.
Someday I'll run the world, and there will be no more crap theater.

Though I find seeing crap theater gives me time to reflect about how to do better theater. And time to plan my evening. And time nap.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Oh, not again.

I once broiled brownies, thanks to a really hi-tech Ikea-type oven with nothing but symbols and numbers on the dials.
They were delicious, but didn't cut well to be served at the party I was hoping to take them to.
So, I wasn't allowed to bake for a while. In fact, I'm still a little scared every single time I turn on a kitchen implement. I'm ready for the future, where I talk to my appliances and they bring me food.

So OF COURSE our place has an oven that is even MORE confusing than a rocketship, and the manual is of little help, and the temperatures are in Celcius, and I'm terrified of it. Luckily we didn't have a pan or cookie sheet or any implement that I could put in said oven.

But then someone left a totally un-touched but opened beer in my place, and after a day of not drinking it, I decided I'd brave the oven. Like Hansel and Gretel.
So I bought gingerbread cake mix, and a pan, and some eggs and cinnamon, and made ginger beer cake so moist, so spicy, it warmed all the cockles of the hearts of those who ate it.

The moral of this story is: not ALL ovens are scary.
Also, beer makes any food better. Luckily I had enough left over to make kale/ bacon/ beer saute, all Louisiana Style.

I'll show you, ovens of the future. Where's my jetpack?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

smarmy old liars

I've seen several plays in Wellington during the past 3 weeks, and I thought I'd take some time to talk about them, and about theater in this city as I've seen it so far.
Last week I saw "Shipwrecked!" by Donald Margulies at the Circa Theater, which is a bit like the Geffen Playhouse in LA. Kind of stuffy, old school, celebrity-filled programming for everyone. They are doing a more risque show (that I'll see next week) but the show that's packing the houses is "Shipwrecked!"
It actually played at the Geffen last year.
Overall, the acting and production aesthetic was very impressive- The narrator was stellar, vibrant, lithe, charming, and the two supporting actors who play multiple roles (and multiple instruments) were dynamic. Their speedy character shifts were beyond virtuosic. But I felt that we didn't have enough depth into any one relationship within the exciting life of our hero. No matter how playful and surprising all the little vignettes were, the pace of the show got exhausting.

Even an hour in, the writing got flat, and for me the singular, biased voice of our narrator was so seamless and convincing, without any dissension for so much of the play, that when his tale is thrown into doubt, we are blindsided as an audience.

So: great performances, cool design, sadly emotionally flat. AND it's creepy to watch men in their 60's make out with women in their late 20's. No way around it.

Oddly, the first Google entry for Shipwrecked the play is a review of the NY premier, which starred Donnetta Grays, one of my former FAVORITE UC Irvine grad actors. Tiny little world.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cheap As

This blog is not meant to be ENTIRELY a comparison between life in the States and life in New Zealand. However, my brain and hands are fried from tech/ build/ dress rehearsals, so now might be an appropriate as comparison time.

Somethings cost far less here, other things not.

On Par or More Expensive:
organizational storage items
athletic gear
the movies

Cheap As:
kitchen things

In case you haven't been near a Kiwi person, it's OK to add "as" to any descriptive term.
Such as Sweet As, Cheap As, Yummy As, Angry As, Tired As, Emo As . . .

You don't actually need to finish the simile, or to even compare one thing to another in any way. New Zealand is where the English language comes to get mangled by shepherds and hipsters.

It's creative as.

Monday, September 20, 2010

NOT a review of Inception

One of the things I love most about being in another country is being around people from another country than either my present country or my country of origin (If you hook up with such a person, its called a tri-fecta). The layers of possible political, cultural, emotional discourse are frequently breath-taking.

Last night, I finally saw Inception with Brian. We sat in the Wellington's version of The Arclight, a posh theater called The Embassy, where all of Peter Jackson's premieres take place. Swanky lobby bar, delicate Art Deco interior, massive, plush assigned seating. So, on a slow Sunday afternoon, we sat next to a middle-aged non-Caucasian man.
And I could not help but notice that he kept gauging our reactions to the film.
I thought it must be because we were noticeably American. I expect people can tell my brazen American-ness straight away. But as we filed out of the theater, he said "Woah, I'm not sure I got all of that." "Ha, me neither! A bit over-complicated, quite a few holes," I replied (may or may not reflect author's opinion). Brian, who had already seen it once, admitted that he had to look about on the internet to answer some of the questions he had about the plot. And so the three of us continued our conversation as they shut down the theater and kicked us onto the street, where we chatted in the cold wind.

Turns out, our companion was on a bit of a world tour, possibly starting in India, going through Japan, China, Malaysia, Thailand, New Zealand. He was headed to South America next. We didn't get his whole story (do we ever?) but he thought we were from New Zealand (We DO look New Zealous), and he wanted to talk about plot twists, science fiction, and translation. His English was pretty perfect, but some concepts that are tricky: dreams, subconscious, existentialism. Limbo. A Soul. Concepts whose very existence is intangible, therefore untranslatable.

Take a movie like Inception, or The Matrix, or Eternal Sunshine on the Spotless Mind.
In a foreign language. I cannot imagine the mental hoops through which this poor man had to leap. Though, given the choice, I'd take Eternal Sunshine, enjoy the love story, and keep some grasp on plot and logic (may or may not reflect author's opinion).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wear shoes, people.

What is it with people in Wellington (mainly men), of all ages, not wearing shoes?
Just, around, on the sidewalk, on a run, coming from work, on their way to the gym.
It's honestly not a community of Hobbits, scampering along the gently rolling fern-dappled hills.
There are sidewalks, and concrete, and bricks and broken glass and vomit stains - it's a fucking city. Come The Fuck On!

And don't compromise by wearing those creepy ninja amphibian sock/ shoes with separated toes (I'm not just talking to Wellington here. You know who you are. And how your fashion blunders disgust me.)
You are not wearing a unitard. You are not one of the X-Men. You are not going to spontaneously climb that building. You work at Ogilvy and you walk 2 blocks for your latte. Be a man.

You want to be comfortable? Tough. Women walk in heels all day.
We don't live on tatami mats and within pine forests. REAL ninjas don't need to show everyone that they are ninjas.

Either back-flip off that telephone pole and earn your ugly shoes, or grow up.