Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Monday, March 19, 2012
5th Avenue Theatre is a significant developer of new musicals. It's produced 14 in the past ten years, five of which went to Broadway and two of which won Tony Awards for Best Musical, including Memphis, which is currently on Broadway. Huh. This past weekend I saw the premiere of a new musical, First Date, which was a collaboration between the 5th Avenue Theatre and ACT-A Contemporary Theatre. It's a 90-minute, one-act, seven-actor piece about modern-day dating. I was initially skeptical, unwowed by the bland opening number and stereotypes, but I was won over in the end -- in large part because of the outstanding male lead, Eric Ankrim (who, incidentally, just played Curly in Okalahoma!). He plays Aaron, a Jewish Wall Street trader set up on a blind date with Casey, a Soho artist. He's an open, optimistic BDV (blind date virgin) who is still trying to get over being jilted by his ex; she's a jaded BDS (blind date slut) with a codependent gay boyfriend. They seem opposite in almost every way, and yet, somehow you end up believing that they'll be great for each other. Unfortunately, none of the music sticks in my head, but the numbers -- such as "The World Wide Web is Forever," about how Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc. can ruin your chances with someone before you even meet -- are heavy on dating humor. There are no spectacular, over-the-top dance or vocal numbers, which is in keeping with the more intimate storyline. (Again, Eric Ankrim has a lovely voice, though!) In short, this play isn't gonna go down in history like Oklahoma! and it's not the next Wicked, but single people and those of us who remember well what it's like to be single, will find it amusing. It's at Falls Theatre until May 20.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Pi Day -- 3.14! If you're thinking "We never had Pi Day when I was a kid," you're right, because it was created in 1988 by a San Francisco Exploratorium physicist and was recognized by the U.S. House of Representatives as a holiday in 2009. Last year, Oscar's 5th grade class celebrated by eating a bunch of parent-supplied pies. I'm gonna take this opportunity to mention my favorite Wallingford cafe, Irwin's, which has couches and armchairs to curl up on on this cold, rainy day, as well as great sandwiches, pizza, and quiche, but above all else, amazing pie. Specifically, marionberry pie, served warm with fresh whipped cream. It's heavenly. There are three Irwin's locations in Seattle, so if you live near one, I suggest you celebrate Pi Day there.
Monday, March 12, 2012
Blue C Sushi is the McDonald's of sushi. Just like a McDonald's hamburger satisfies a different craving than a handmade burger grilled on a barbecue does, Blue C Sushi fulfills a different niche than a fine sushi house. Like McDonald's, it is a 5-star destination for children, young and old. They have some crazy sushi, such as the St. Patrick's Day rolls on green pedestals that are currently offered. Besides a daily happy hour, happy hour goes from 4 to close on Thursdays and Sundays, at least at the two locations I've been to in U-Village and Fremont (there are six restaurants in the Seattle area). The big appeal at Blue C is the conveyor belt, snaking around the entire restaurant, by booths and counter seats, covered in America's version of sushi. It's truly mesmerizing and irresistible, even to me. If you do need a server, say to order mochi or drinks, you just push a button that lights up. After dragging Oscar shoe shopping this weekend, he was in such a foul mood he was barely speaking to me. But Blue C Sushi instantly dissolved his disagreeableness. He loved surveying his options, and selecting the colorful plates of his favorite dishes: shrimp nigiri, kappa maki, pork gyoza, sesame noodles, spring rolls... It was such fun that we selected a lot more plates than I intended. This brings me to how Blue C is not like McDonald's at all. Each color plate has a different price point; the green are $1.50, yellow are $2.75, all the way up to purple, which are $5.50. It all sounds so cheap, but they quickly add up. Sushi is definitely not inexpensive, especially when you're eating with Oscar. But turning your kid's frown upside down is priceless, right?
Saturday, March 10, 2012
"Many, if not most, of our 6th grade students have read the book The Hunger Games and wish to see one of their favorite books come to life on the big screen. They have been anticipating the release of the film for several months. Students who have not read the book seem to be motivated to read it before the film is released to compare and contrast the book and movie."I am still flabbergasted that these middle school kids get to go see a movie -- which most could have gone to see with their families anyway -- during school time! But I'm not about to relegate my kid to sit in the library while everyone else gets to go on one of the most anticipated events of the entire school year. After all, friendships and bonding experiences are a huge part of adolescence, so...whatever. I'm also highly in favor of this sort of hype surrounding book releases (I really miss the anticipation of the new Harry Potter volumes), so this is possibly the next best thing. And just like the letter said, the anticipation of the movie inspired Oscar to reread the book. And this time, he liked it. Now he wants to read the sequels, and I'm happy about that.
Sunday, March 4, 2012
5th Avenue Theater itself is worth checking out. Modeled after China's Temple of Heavenly Peace, the Summer Palace, and the Forbidden City, the interior is unlike any I've seen before. The center chandelier is held in the teeth of a coiled dragon, and dragons feature prominently in the design elements. It's very striking. It's also really comfortable, and even though we were way up in the balcony, we could see and hear fine. I'd definitely like to see another show here.