Archive | City Matters

‘Angels in America’ Saves Us All

Yesterday I did a full Angels in America immersion–10 hours in Midtown for Parts 1 and 2. I scored cheapo tickets on TDF.com and into the Neil Simon Theater I smuggled water, sliced apples, nuts, whiskey, and lavender water in case my neighbors had hygiene challenges. (They didn’t, but because they were tuna sandwich smugglers, the lavender water proved useful anyway.) Outside the theater the city was cloudy and cold and Mercury Retrogradey. Which is to say: there was nowhere I’d rather have been.

Put simply, it was the best theatrical experience of my life—timeless and timely, emboldened and emboldening, transcendent and holy fractured. The staging–neon boxes and steampunk lanterns and ladders sliding up and down, side to side– was extraordinary. Ditto for the performances—Nathan Lane, raw and raging and hilarious, was the best anyone’s ever seen, and even Andrew Garfield’s look-Ma-I’m-playing-gaaaaaay conceit was not appalling once he found his rage. And get this: every straight male role was played by a middle-aged lady wearing a doggedly bad wig!

But all that pales in contrast to the powerful joy of hearing Tony Kushner’s words uttered live for the first time. I honestly believe he is this greatest country’s finest voice. Even in a too-many-cooks-in-a-kitchen mess like “Lincoln,” through his cadences course everything–salt and blood and cum, stone and silt and copper. The sweat and tears of our country and our heavens, basically. As when I saw Hamilton, I felt connected to the groundlings taking in Shakespeare while he was still alive. Connected to all of time.

Yes, Mrs. Lincoln, everything, and I do mean everything, was vibrant and devastating in equal measures. By the time I walked out, my legs barely worked anymore, so it was a good thing I could fly with the play’s 1980s Jewish Mormon homosexual lady angel wings. As I soared, the Eustacia Vye phrase I’ve whispered since I was a teenager flashed like another sign on Broadway: “Send me great love from somewhere, else I shall die.” That great love never did show up for me in the mommy-daddy, one-on-one incarnation I expected. But in New York’s museums, galleries, kitchens, caverns, sidewalks, subways, and, o fuck, stages–all those “melting pots that never melted”–I feel it all the time. I guarantee you everyone in attendance at this play feels it too: great art, great truth-yes, great, great love. It comes in such finely feathered forms.

Mars and Me Enraged

I just came home from a bad night a bad week a bad year so far, who am I kidding? Stopped at the bar at the corner before I came back because I had no booze in the house and it seemed wise to take the edge off all the pistons misfiring–the fight I had tonight, the hot-hot-hot flamenco to which I bore witness, the revelation that my burning love for someone had been a tiny subplot in his burning love for someone else. So yes tequila tequila before entering my house. (Don’t want to scare Grace.) Continue Reading →

February Rains

I wake and for the third morning in a row hear Joan Armatrading singing these lyrics in my head:

If you’re gonna do it do it right
Don’t leave it overnight

Also for the third morning in a row–more like the sixth, who am I kidding?–the rain is pounding against my window. I can tolerate this much rain in the spring–there’s a point to it, even a gift–but in February it’s just mean. Cold and wet and mean. Which is how I’ve been experiencing everything, including myself. Take the dream from which I’m waking. It’s as rough as the weather. Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy