2011 Highlight Reel Part 2 of 3

Theater, Movies and Music

I’ve been fortunate to see lots of theater in 2011. I was delighted by Daniel Radcliff in How To Succeed in Business (Without Really Trying). The young man had such great energy. My dream is to see him do Geeks! The Musical! on Broadway someday (and hopefully playing the young Jordan, and not the has-been Mel Tyler). That same night, I had my heart wrenched by The Normal Heart, a powerful drama about the early days of the AIDS crisis. If you weren’t angry by the end of it, I’d fear you were a robot. Ellen Barkin ripped the stage to shreds. And there was a little comic relief with Jim “Sheldon Cooper” Parsons playing a bitchy Southern queen. And my Broadway luck continued in December when I saw Other Dessert Cities, a dramady about a dysfunctional family’s Christmas in Palm Springs. There were wonderful performances by Stockard Channing, Rachel Griffith, Stacey Keach and most of all Judith Light (who I swear was about to scram at one point: “I am a common hooker!” – let’s see who gets that reference).

Locally the highlight was God of Carnage. What a cast! James Gandolfini, Marcia Gay Harden, Jeff Daniels and Hope Davis. Of course, without a great script, the talent of these actors would be lost.

And what a year for geek movies! My favorite was X-Men: First Class. Now this is how you do a prequel! I also enjoyed Captain America, the story went in a direction that could have been a disaster, but I think it really worked. And if you’re going to have a musical number in a superhero movie, you’d better get Alan Menken to write it. Thor was not bad, but it didn’t do much for me. Green Lantern was not as bad as the critics said, granted, it wasn’t Shakespeare, it was a comic book movie, plain and simple. Cowboys and Aliens should have been a heck of a lot more fun.

I certainly enjoyed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 as much as the next geek. And I was also surprised by Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I hoped for a guilty pleasure and found an actual good movie. The same could be said for The Muppets, which just made me happy!

And the non-geek movie of the year was Midnight in Paris. But hey, it had time travel in it! But it was a nice fix for my literature habit.

I will probably do a list of my favorite music of 2011 in the next couple of days. But concert highlights of 2011 started with, of course, Peter Murphy. I almost tied my record of seeing him 6 times in one year, but only got to 5. And though one was an instore performance, it did count, since not only did we catch the warm up, and he played a good 45 minutes, I also got to meet him after. OK… more than meet. Sorry to repeat for those of you who heard this story, but as Peter was waiting for a backing track to kick in, he was buying time by talking to the audience. Somebody asked if they could touch him and he complied. Of course, others had to do the same. So he welcomed people in the back, gesturing in my direction, to come touch him. And he was OK with guys touching him, too. I’m a fanatic, but I really didn’t need to run up and touch him. He came out for an encore and pointed at me and said, “You still haven’t come touch me yet.” Of course, I assumed he wasn’t talking to me, but he did confirm, “Yes, you.” So I shouted, “I’ll touch you later.” And he coyly replied, “Oh… later.” And sure enough, when I met him for my autograph, I told him I was there to touch him now. He opened his shirt and in I went. Sorry, he was too warm to be a vampire. And yes, I have since washed my hand.

What more do I need after that? How about going to see a play written and performed by David J (who, along with Peter Murphy, make up half of the band Bauhaus). At his request, we shot some video to post on his Facebook page. That opened up a nice little e-mail conversation with him. I had contact with ½ of my favorite band in 2011. Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins better look out!

Besides that, some 80’s shows were fun: The B-52’s, The Human League, Duran Duran. And seeing The Cure perform their first three albums at a small venue like The Pantages was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Tune in tomorrow for a review of Comic-Con 2011.

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