listersgirl: (nothing happened)
This not sleeping thing is getting a bit ridiculous. I would like some sleep please! LAME.

As a follow-up to my freecycle post, I've now had the original two takers back out, and the next two that I picked (based on grammar - oh, like you wouldn't do the same thing) be EXTRAORDINARILY complicated. Next time (and there will be a next time; I'm just collecting all the remaining stuff) I'm giving so many qualifications that it'll take a determined person just to get to the end of the email.

I've just started watching The Wire season 4. Love! My favourite moment so far was totally awesome. )

I took a brief look through the Fringe play listings yesterday (Fringe! So excited! Also: TJ). So far the themes seem to be opera and hockey. But not together. It's right after I move, so I think I won't be seeing as many things this year, but I'm sure there'll be room for a few things. I WILL MAKE ROOM.

I'm sure I would have many more exciting things to say, but [see first point].
listersgirl: (too early)
Am very hungry. Very very hungry. This appears to be my default status these days. It's a little distracting.

Manners for Men: Really excellent, funny in a somewhat terrifying way, and awfully depressing. The guy, whose name is Justin somethingthatI'mtoolazytolookup, creates amazing characters with just the tiniest motions.

Curriculum Vitae: Funny wander through one man's work history, framed with silly observations about writing a CV. Tailed off weirdly at the end, but kept me laughing the whole way through.

We also tried twice to get into Talk Thirty to Me and failed both times. The second time, the last tickets were sold to the people right in front of us. Denied!

And now, the interactive portion of this entry:

I am stymied by dinner once again! I spent ages in the grocery store on the weekend, trying to think of what to buy to make dinners for the week, and left with almost nothing. So, what are you eating these days, in this summer weather?
listersgirl: (cabaret)
We saw two shows on Tuesday, and two on Wednesday. Not a disappointment among them. We are Fringe stars!

Dishpig: Very funny one-man show about life as a dishwasher, co-written with TJ Dawe, which is why I wanted to go. Yes, I am that predictable. As with most one-person shows, it's the performer that makes the material interesting, but I actually worked as a dishwasher one summer, and this brought back some terrible memories. I used to have dreams every night about washing the floors! Anyway, it was very frenetic and entertaining.

Expiry Dating: Written by and starring our very own [livejournal.com profile] girldetective! It was a very funny show about dating on a deadline, and I could totally hear A's voice in the writing, which was awesome.

Fuck Off and Die: Tales in Teen Angst Poetry: Bad poetry. Bad poetry written by a 13-year-old. Bad poetry written by a 13-year-old performed with over-the-top interpretation. Seriously, how can you miss?

Gibberish: Chris Gibb, the performer, asked us all not to describe the show because then it sounds really bad, so let me just say he is a funny, funny man, and the audience was killing themselves. Also, backflips. Seriously.
listersgirl: (supernatural forces)
As promised, Fringe reviews from day 1:

First Heist Club: I have this theory that traditional style plays sometimes don't work at Fringe, simply because they suffer in comparison to the inventiveness of everything around them. Although probably that theory just applies to me. In any case, First Heist Club is about a group of women planning to rob an armoured car company, but not everything is as it seems. It was okay - occasionally funny, and a pretty good script, but the cast seemed to be working way too hard for the size of the space, and the beginning in particular was weak. I don't know, it needed something. The people around me seemed to find it entertaining, though.

Napoleon's Secret Diary: Very funny idea, great presentation and I always enjoy Ryan Gladstone (although he stumbled over his words or mixed up lines in quite a few places, which, this wasn't the first show or anything). Also, there were a couple of places where he was clearly expecting the audience to respond back, but since the whole thing is set up as Napoleon talking to his diary, it was completely unclear what was going on. Entertaining, though. There was a hilarious bit about the history of France enacted through vegetables that cracked me up.

Legoland: My first AWESOME show of the season. A two-hander about the ridiculous adventure of a teenaged brother and sister. So funny, very clever writing, fantastic cast, and my favourite kind of Fringe show - non-linear, lots of sidebars, something you wouldn't see elsewhere. Brilliant! Go see it!

And Stratford:

Oklahoma and My One and Only: These were both fantastic. Stratford always does such a good job with the musicals. Neither of these are musicals that I particularly care about, so my favourite parts ended up being the chorus boys - how can you resist dancing cowboys? And My One and Only was full of amazing tapping, and these three guys that acted as sort of a tapping greek chorus. Funny. My one complaint is that someone needs to tell Cynthia Dale she's far too old for the roles she keeps taking. She wasn't terrible, just much older than her co-star.

Merchant of Venice: This has apparently been getting mixed reviews, and I can see why. I think the director was going for a sort of Julie Taymor's Titus or Baz Lurmann's Romeo and Juliet feel (lots of quick cuts, hyper-realism, contemporary and historical mixed into one), but couldn't quite pull it off. Honestly, though, I think a lot of the fault lies in the play itself (sacrilege, I know!). From everything I've read, Shakespeare wrote it as a true comedy, with Portia and her romantic partner whose name I can't remember as the leads. But over the years it has come to be regarded as one of the dramas, with the Shylock and Antonio story as a the central part. So it felt jumpy in mood and in scenes, and the whole ring scene at the end felt very tacked on. The woman playing Portia was great, though, and all of her stuff, especially the bits with the various suitors, was great.

The Blonde, the Brunette, and the Vengeful Redhead: A one-woman show, with the one actor telling the story (of a woman (the redhead) whose husband leaves her, and then her neighbour (the brunette) sees him with another woman (the blonde)) in seven segments, as seven different characters. Really fantastic. Some of the character transformations were brilliant.

Shakespeare's Will: Another one woman show, this one about Anne Hathaway, reflecting back on her life just after Shakespeare's funeral. This may have been my favourite play of the ones we saw at Stratford. It was really just fantastic.

And now, I am supposed to be at another Fringe show, but I let myself get scared off by the thunderstorm. Oh well. Tonight!
listersgirl: (beatrice!)
[livejournal.com profile] starfishchick pointed out that I have not yet publicly expressed my delight that Fringe is nigh, despite the fact that my head is full of excitement, so: EEEEEEEE! Fringe!

I've been reading the show listings on the website, but I'm waiting for the paper schedules to come out so that I can pull out the pens and do some serious circling and starring and crossing out. Hurrah!

(I have learned my lesson from last year, though, and I'm going to respect the heat, respect my energy levels, and not let myself get burned out, especially since I'll just be coming off spending a week with my parents (who are wonderful, but that's a week of making sure other people are happy, and I normally get to be pretty selfish). Restrained planning and "convincing" other people to see shows with me so that I can't back out -- it's the way to go!)
listersgirl: (jack sword)
My fringe show of the day was excellent, again.

Real Time

It's about two people who meet in a gaming room on the internet and turn out to not be quite what they portray themselves as, which is a trite concept, but they made it fresh. Plus the two actors were very physical, throwing themselves around the stage at one point in a fantastic representation of a video game.

Unfortunately I had terrible transit luck on the way there and back (on the way back, two streetcars in a row somehow managed to not see me at my stop, and they weren't out of service or too full. I am invisible! Plus it took me so long to get home that by the time I had lunch and got ready to leave again, there was no point in leaving because I would have been too late for my second show). Also, I could hear people honking outside even during the show, which put me in a terrible mood for the rest of the day. And it just got worse from there on. Bathurst was SO FUCKING LOUD. Why do people have no respect for other people? Is it entirely necessary to hold your horn down for 3 minutes straight while stopped in the middle of the street, AND blow your whistle? I hate sports and sports fans. I suppose this is what I get for living on the edge of Corso Italia, but for fuck's sake, they didn't stop driving around honking until after 3 in the morning.

Yesterday I was so annoyed that apparently I allowed everyone around me to be mellow, because I took all the annoyance on myself. Today, I'm still annoyed, plus I'm running on three hours sleep and I can't see straight. HATRED.

Luckily I avoided some of the evil by going to see Pirates. Pirates! )
listersgirl: (cabaret)
Dude, I have been awesome this year, with getting only the good shows. As [livejournal.com profile] starfishchick and I were discussing last night, the first show we saw, which we thought was great at the time, is now probably our least favourite. It's kind of wonderful when that happens.

Stealing Venus

A one-man caper experience, telling the tale of stealing the Birth of Venus from an Italian art gallery. The story was fun, but the real entertainment lay in the characters - the South African who found himself inadvertently masterminding the caper, the 7 foot albino Jamaican hired to watch over him, the Irish driver. One scene near the end went on way too long (actors playing drunk gets old really fast), but the first three-quarters of the show was a riot.

After this we went for dinner, and then attempted to go to Antoine Feval, but it was sold out by the time we got there, just 15 minutes after tickets went on sale! Bastards. So we conferred and regrouped and went instead to:

Drama Queen

You know when the first three words you hear are "Champagne chocolate cunnilingus" that you're at an Alex Dallas show. This was fabulous - mostly telling stories about her acting career (including some Sensible Footwear stories) and her father's death. She deftly manages to move between the sombre and silly, and even when she drifts into much-mined, less personal material, her expressions save it all. Very funny, and the audience loved it.
listersgirl: (bunny)
Two excellent shows yesterday.

Zombies

Okay, so this wasn't actually about flesh-eating monsters roaming the streets, which was briefly disappointing, but it was a fantastic one-man non-linear piece from one half of Screwed and Clued out of England, about actually living your life vs. just going through daily monotony. Which makes it sound really boring. But it was great! Clever and physical, slightly bizarre and highly entertaining. What the Fringe is all about! Definitely recommended.

The Lab

Oh Matt Payne, I love you the most. I have never been disappointed by anything that Theatre SKAM has done, and this was no exception. Taking place in a massive trailer, it was the story of a guy who applies for a summer job in a lab and gets sucked into something beyond his comprehension. But really, it was about Matt Payne being all these different characters with the most entertaining use of lighting I have ever seen (the shoes! ha!). By the end, I felt like I was in the middle of some sort of bizarre experiment, although that could have been because my butt was completely numb and the heat was stifling. AWESOME. Go now (but take a cushion for the bench).

Today I have sacrificed some fringing time for sleep, laundry and groceries, which I think is an excellent decision. But two more shows tonight, yay!
listersgirl: (follies)
Yay! Fringe has officially begun for me: I have stood in my first ticket-buying line-up and my first ticket-holding line-up, and seen my first show, and in fact, my first sold out show.

The Catering Queen

This got a lot of advance buzz, and I'm glad I made it to the first show (with [livejournal.com profile] starfishchick), because it's going to be one that's hard to get into. And it was a good start to Fringe season: funny and well acted, if a little slow at times. It's what I think of as a Type 1 Fringe show: a standard small-scale plotty play that could really be performed anywhere, but is good for Fringe because it's got a small cast and minimal sets. The audience was having a great time, and there were definitely some excellent moments. I just felt it dragged a little in the second half, especially during the scenes with the ex (who was also not the strongest actor on the stage). Alison Lawrence (who also wrote it, I believe) and Dmitry Chepovsky (I totally misspelled his last name) were excellent. Recommended.

Tonight, two more shows, and I need to start planning the rest of my schedule.
listersgirl: (break's over)
LOOK I AM STILL ALIVE.

But just barely. With so many people away right now, I feel like I'm running a one-woman library. Which would be fine, except that there is enough to do for a staff twice our normal size.

Wait! Come back! I promise, no more boring work talk.

Things which I learned yesterday

Being at a French organization when France is doing...something in the World Cup is not smart. It was very loud. But anyway, I had my first French class last night, which was fun. I was sitting next to my exact opposite - someone who has a vast quantity of words stored in her brain, but can never remember any grammar. Together we managed a vaguely coherent dialogue (remember those? it's like grade 9 all over again!) on the terribly exciting subject of shopping.

So far the class seems easy. It's a bit deceptive, though - I've never been in a language class that felt above my level, but that doesn't mean I remember anything I learn, or am able to use it later. It doesn't really matter, though, since I'm here to get better comprehension and more fluency, which I'm terrible at no matter what level. I am gaining skills in surreptitious guzzling of water, though - we're not supposed to have food or drink in the classrooms, but I JUST CAN'T DEAL.

(I also can't deal with my lunch, which just collapsed all over me. Sigh.)

Colour me unsurprised

I have so much more tolerance for annoyance during Fringe season. Last night, while attempting to buy passes, the poor volunteer's mouse kept freezing, and there was DRAMA, and the other office person had no suggestions other than "clean it", and the guy was getting embarassed and frantic, clutching my credit card in his hand as if to hide the fact that he hadn't been able to DO anything yet. And I stood there and smiled beatifically. Because it's FRINGE! And everything is good. Plus it's totally awesome weather for fringing, unlike last year, which reduced me to tears any number of times. Not that that's hard to do - I cry at everything! Go me! - but still. I have all my Fringe update sites bookmarked (including your blog, [livejournal.com profile] girldetective), I have multiple programs, I have people who want to see a few shows, I have far more excitement than is healthy.

Here, have another song: Or, actually, don't, because I can't get it to load, and lunchtime is over. Later, skaters.
listersgirl: (wash and zoe)
I think my fan is giving me a headache. Actually, I hope my fan is giving me a headache, since I've had one every day for the past who-knows-how-long, and I'd like something to blame.

Ow.

Anyway, for the curious, I am back from my one-day trip to Montreal. It was extraordinarily wet there, but I was in a sub-sub-basement, so I didn't see much of it. It was a very nice sub-sub-basement, though. I had a somewhat random conversation with my boss over lunch where I think I managed to indicate my interest in having everyone under my control moving up in the world, if there is somewhere to move. So that's good, I suppose.

Meanwhile, I have been perusing the Fringe program. [livejournal.com profile] sarcasma, there are zombies! I'm going to post a tentative list soon, in case anyone wants to join me for things, which would be lovely. And I'm going to go to bed, because I got up at 4:30 this morning. Honestly, that seriously doesn't even count as morning. Evil!

Good night, all.
listersgirl: (kiltie)
And Fringe is over for another year. I saw lots of good shows, missed out on a few that I would have liked to have seen, and spent lots of money on food. Oy.

The Comment Card

Life as a waitress may not be the most original of topics, but this was very funny - she had a lot of stage presence and excellent energy. The show would have benefited from a better structure to give it some flow and make it more than a series of stories, but the stories were funny, so it was worth the hour of my time.

Now I promise I won't talk about theatre for at least another week. In fact, probably longer, given the state of my bank account.
listersgirl: (just disgusting)
That was kind of disgusting out there yesterday. One minute in the air, and ew, sticky! Blech. At one point we took refuge in a pub that turned out to have been around for 150 years. There was a history lesson on the back of the menu.

Tales From Another England

This is the kind of one-man show that I like - not just stand-up, not just telling stories, but something with structure, where things brought up early that seemed to have no point turn up again later in the show. And Sage-Passant's characters, especially Dave, were awesome. Definitely worth making three attempts to see it.

The Demimonde

The story of two sisters who move to Dawson City during the gold rush, intending to escape their past and become proper actresses. It was pretty good, although a little long, and the acting varied wildly in quality. But overall it was fun - the music was great, and they made good use of the venue (a room in a pub), including the bar itself in the staging.

And I also saw In Trousers again with [livejournal.com profile] vestra, who was in town for the day.

Meanwhile, it's both pouring rain and sticky out there, so some of the fringing plans have been scrapped. I am going to attempt to meet up with [livejournal.com profile] girldetective later tonight for one last show, though.
listersgirl: (misbehave)
The Three Sisters: A Black Opera in Three

This is what Fringe is really about. Technically based on Chekov's work (and now I want to read it to see just how much came from there), it's a wild, gothic and darkly funny piece of musical theatre about a transvestite who puts his/her three daughter up for auction in order to save the farm. Comes complete with fantastic makeup, accordions, a swing doubling as a window to great effect, and the best villian catchphrases ever ("Poooork"). Bizarre and gory and truly excellent.

Mitchell!

I hear a rumour that the AC at one of the theatres has been fixed, so I might try to get into a few of those shows this weekend - there were a bunch at that theatre that I wanted to see. Also, contemplating sneaking out early (read: making up excuses) to go see something else.

[Title courtesy of a poor woman in the bathroom before the show. Funniest thing I've heard all Fringe.]
listersgirl: (armageddon)
No fringing on Tuesday, because summer SUCKS and I feel like someone is taking away my TOYS or not letting me open my PRESENTS.

And yes, I realize I'm taking this all way out of proportion, but I look forward to Fringe all year so I'm going to pout.

Whatever. At least the theatre last night was airconditioned so starfishdude and I did not melt into complete puddles.

The Making of Jurassic Park: The Musical

It's a mockumentary about a fake musical. Got it? And it was pretty funny. Some of it was not particularly original, but there were some good bits about getting into the emotions behind the dinosaurs, and the auditions were downright hilarious. The scary part is that the way Broadway is heading these days, the thought of a musical based on Jurassic Park is not that incomprehensible.

[I realized last night as I was leaving the house to walk to the theatre that I've become someone who can recognize, and appreciate, the difference between 30 and 34 degrees. This is definitely learned behaviour - I don't think I'd ever even felt 30 degree heat before I came out east - and really, it's a skill I'd like to never have to use again.]
listersgirl: (supernatural forces)
I just noticed that two more of the shows that I wanted to see are in the evil venue from last night.

Summer is killing my fringe experience!

*weeps*
listersgirl: (sondheim)
All right, I give. Summer wins; I am defeated.

Last night I tried once again to go see Tales From Another England. This time when I got down to the theatre there were tickets left, but there was also a sign that said 'NO AIRCONDITIONING'. To which I replied 'Fuck this shit' and took myself for sushi dinner. I'm sorry, but it was so hot yesterday that I thought I might fall over just from crossing the street. I am not shutting myself in a closed theatre for an hour without airconditioning. From now on, it's cold venues only.

Luckily, my second show of the night was at a perfectly decent theatre.

In Trousers

I love William Finn. LOVE HIM. This is the first production of any of his shows I've seen, though - they're not done that often. Anyway, the show was great. Marvin was exactly right physically and vocally; the three women were stronger in the trio parts than individually, but they had great stage presence and I enjoyed it immensely. Recommended!
listersgirl: (misbehave)
Yesterday at the Fringe I encountered two renditions of George Michael's "I Want Your Sex", two playings of Chumbawumba's "Tubthumping", and two instances of men having their nipples rubbed. The collective Fringe brain strikes again!

BoyGroove

Oh lord. This was an unbelievably funny take-off on boy bands, complete with the requisite band members (the bad boy, the sensitive one, the cute one, the gay one), perfect cheesy boy band songs and choreography, and a hilarious rise and fall story. Ok, the end was maybe a tiny bit lame, but there were so many brilliant moments that it didn't matter. Hey, the reviewer for NOW was sitting beside me, and he gave it 5 out of 5 stars.

The BIBLE: The Complete Word of God (abridged)

If you've seen The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), you know how it goes: short, fast, funny. This was...not quite that. It felt like the show had been shortened down to an hour, because I'm quite certain they didn't manage the entire bible. And the cast weren't nearly frantic enough (although, given the diction sometimes, that's not entirely a bad thing). But they were likeable and enthusiastic, and some parts of it were entirely funny, so it was worth seeing.

SARSical

This was kind of a spontaneous Fringe moment, as I'd gone to the Fringe Club to buy an advance ticket for something else, and when I went back outside I saw that this show was just about to go in, and that they even had a few tickets left. So I got one. The show was fun: too long, but the cast was great, and David Mirvish was a character, so there was all sorts of mocking of Toronto theatre. Plus there was a brilliant video of SARS as a boy band, complete with rapper interlude. Bwa. A little to heavy on the obvious jokes and Mel Lastman got tiring (how true to life), but enjoyable.

The Hunt for Treasure

Teaches me right for going entirely from a review. I hadn't really registered this at all, and then I read a 5-star review in Eye, and it sounded good, so I went. And was alternately bored and irritated. It's about two young boys (around puberty, I'd guess) who find a treasure map and follow it, but one of them seemed like an adult, and the other was so annoying that I wanted to run away. The play itself was pretty stupid too. There were neat piano interludes, though, and they made good use of the space while following their map.

Tentative Fringe schedule for the rest of the week )

[livejournal.com profile] girldetective, you interested in going to any of these?
listersgirl: (off kilter)
Yesterday started with me getting all excited about going for brunch, and then discovering that nothing around me opens until 11am, and it was 10:30. Yeesh. At least it got me out of the house and buying groceries. I spent some time revising my Fringe schedule, and then headed off to my first show:

Cheapskate

One of the reviews described this as a live action version of Friends, and that's somewhat accurate - 3 guys, 3 girls, complicated interactions. Very funny, though, and it didn't feel derivative. About dating, relationships, first impressions, friendships and the importance of 15 cents. ([livejournal.com profile] vestra, one of the women played Janet in that production of Rocky Horror we saw a while ago. Which I was glad to read in the program, because I'd spent much of the play trying to figure out why she looked so familiar.)

After that I wandered over to the Celebrate Toronto street festivals, where [livejournal.com profile] sarcasma and [livejournal.com profile] mystery_diva spoonfeeding opera to the masses. They were both awesome. Despite everything. :D

Then I was an idiot, and instead looking at my schedule, I believed myself when I told myself that my next show wasn't selling tickets until 7:45, and I went home, instead of heading downtown with everyone. At about 7:15 I got ready to head out the door, checked to see where my show was, and discovered that the show actually started at 8, not 8:45. I tried, I really did, but of course by the time I got there tickets were sold out. I was so mad at myself. And THEN, on the bus ride back, I made a new plan, and went to the box office to buy an advance ticket for a show (because the new plan was complicated and didn't allow much time between a couple of shows) and I got there just as they closed the door! Right in my face. I was very cranky at that point, so I went home, instead of heading back to the street fest with [livejournal.com profile] mystery_diva (who I actually ran into on the street - I love it when that happens).

However, I was not to be defeated, so at 10:15 I actually left the house again, and went down to another show. It's weird - I was literally the only person in the audience who wasn't there with a group of people. It's always like that at the late night shows. It is odd being out that late by myself, but luckily I could just go hang out in a coffee shop after buying my ticket.

Pajama Men in "Stop Not Going"

These guys - formerly known as Sabotage - are just so random and bizarre. But funny! I can't quite tell if the shows are scripted or improv: the flow, and the way they return to the same characters, definitely resembles sketch comedy, but sometimes one of them will do something, and you can see the other one giving him a look and trying not to laugh. Whatever, it works. My favourite bit (besides the bizarre version of Marco Polo that was played with the lights off for the first part of the show), was a throwaway bit about the 5 evolutionary stages of men's beards ("Now, what is stage 4, when it's big and bushy, and comes halfway down the chest?" "Hell's Angel! Or Rabbi!"). Definitely worth seeing. And yes, they are wearing pajamas.

So yay for a good show to wipe away the crankiness. And more shows today!
listersgirl: (socks)
I have new cds. Yay! All hail the power of the insurance claim. Sadly, the power of my brain is not nearly as good, because I apparently ordered two cds that I already have. Argh.

I am a big wuss, and allowed myself to be completely cowed by the scary hot theatre, so I did not go to my planned Fringe show tonight. I know, I'm a loser, I have fallen off the Fringe wagon. Tomorrow, though, tomorrow I will jump right back on, and eventually I will psyche myself back up and enter that theatre again.

Maybe.

Decisions made tonight: I think I need a new VCR. And ice cream is not worth getting dressed for, not tonight.

Oh, and finally, if you are taking part in the tea exchange, this is just a wee poke to remind you to send your tea out if you haven't done so already. I'd like to do the next round in August, but only if most people have got their tea care package by then. (And yes, I know it's summer, and who's thinking of tea anyway, but that's too bad. You'll be happy when October comes around!)

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