Tag Archives: Alan Rickman

Adventures In Unplanning

The Barrymore theatre.

As a Statistician, it should come as no surprise that I love random things. So it should really come as no surprise that I love when random things equate to random awesome adventures.

Take for example my recent trip to New York. The trip was roughly planned out between Steph, Gerarda, and myself. That is, we emailed a few ideas of things to do, places to go, food to eat, drinks to drink, and plays to attend. Based on our conversations, Dr. Steph had sketched out an itinerary that included such things as a gin sampling at the Breuckelen Distilling Company, eating at Crumbs bakery, drinking copious amounts of wine at Maloney & Porcelli‘s Weekend Wine Dinner, and seeing The Book of Mormon. But, we are not the type to be so stuck on our plans that we can’t change them on a whim. Granted, after buying the tickets for The Book of Mormon in advance we likely wouldn’t have been changing those plans.

Regardless, our original list was soon revised, and revised, and revised again. Not because anything prevented us from completing our original list of awesome New York activities. Instead, other opportunities presented themselves and we had to jump on them. Take for example the gin tasting; first it was moved from Friday to Saturday because we randomly found ourselves going to see a Jimmy Fallon rehearsal, then it was removed from our list to accommodate Seminar – the play I mentioned yesterday. In the case of the Jimmy Fallon rehearsal, we acted as guinea pigs; our reactions were used to determine which of his opening monologue jokes would make it into that evenings act. Most of the jokes were hilarious, but a few were absolute bombs and they did not make the cut. We also sat through his Thank You Letters which were terribly hilarious. Seeing Seminar with Alan Rickman was a time limited opportunity; we reasoned that the distillery would still be around next summer – a time when we could sit on a patio and enjoy gin-based beverages while watching the world go by.

Another item that made it onto our list that we hadn’t planned – seeing Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin in concert. We managed to snag tickets for this show the same night that we bought the tickets for Seminar. We only learned of the show while perusing the website for the Seminar tickets. Since Gerarda is a huge Patti LuPone fan, this was a no-brainer.

Me, taking a bite out of the big apple, I guess.

The show was amazing. We were fortunate to have purchased some excellent seats, although I really don’t think any of the seats in the Barrymore Theatre were bad. The show was a medley of famous broadway songs, presented on a stage consisting of a piano, a cello, and various microphones and lights. A simple set, but enough for the two actors to work with. They managed to keep me completely engaged with the barest of props – a testament to their ability as stage actors.

Of all the songs they performed, I’d have to say my favourites were those related to Evita. For those not in the know, both LuPone and Patinkin made famous the lead roles of Evita. LuPone sang Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, while Patinkin sang Oh What A Circus – which was absolutely freaking incredible. I only learned of their roles in Evita thanks to Gerarda. Clearly I have much to learn.

Anyway, while our original trip itinerary ended up being slightly modified here and there, the end result was an amazing adventure. In fact, I prefer not having things so planned on a trip because it provides the opportunity to stumble on some great things. In this case, we managed to pack in two extra shows, plus see Jimmy Fallon live. Awesome.

Waiting For Rickman

Friday night, after wandering New York, gorging on chocolates from Godiva and from Michel Cluizel, attempting our hand at shopping, seeing The Book of Mormon, and enjoying a most delicious post-theatre dinner accompanied by a very nice bottle of Don David Malbec at Sosa Borella (an Argentine restaurant we randomly stumbled upon), Gerarda, Steph, and I made our way back to On The Avenue hotel.  There we tried some of the 30-year-old port that I had picked up, along with a small bottle of bubbly that Gerarda and Steph had purchased to celebrate our first full day in the city. While this might sound like a wild night it was actually low-key; which was exactly what we wanted given that Saturday night would be anything but – what with the planned wine dinner at Maloney & Porcelli’s.

Gerarda and I searching for tickets.

Anyway, while we were enjoying the port we opted to listen to The Book of Mormon soundtrack – something that Gerarda had on her iPod. While listening to this we decided to investigate a play that we had noticed in The Book of Mormon playbill earlier that day. Specifically, a comedy written by Theresa Rebeck called Seminar, and staring Professor Severus Snape (a.k.a. Alan Rickman in the land of the Muggles). The inclusion of Rickman was enough to tempt all three of us to perhaps open our wallet one more time that day. Amazingly and despite the fact that the official opening was set for Sunday, we managed to snag 3 excellent seats for the Saturday matinee.

The Doctors, ready to take on New York

The play itself is about a group of four friends who gather together to have their writing reviewed and critiqued by Rickman. They all approach writing from different worlds, different views, and for different end points; but they are no match for Rickman’s sharp tongue. The play is engaging, witting, intelligent, and a lot of fun to watch. In a way, it’s a bit of getting to see Snape in action, but without the PG restrictions of the Harry Potter films. As the play shifts from one of the friends’ apartment to Rickman’s home (at the end of the first act), we are granted full access to the experience and wisdom of Rickman’s character. His speech is moving, heartfelt, and also tough to hear. But it resonates because we realize that what he does, he does for love of writing and a desire to see the best writers make it. It’s here that we learn how much of a teacher he really is, despite his questionable methods, his questionable ethics, and his exceedingly sharp tongue.

The play was fantastic and I’d definitely recommend that you check it out if you have the opportunity. I’m so glad that we managed to get tickets to see it. Seeing Rickman live was worth every penny we spent.

For those curious, the play also starred Lily Rabe, Hamish Linklater, Jerry O’Connell, and Hettienne Park. We managed to spot Hamish, Jerry, and Hettienne after the show. Sadly, we were left waiting for Rickman. He and Rabe opted not to sign autographs and greet the fans. No worries – Harry Potter himself (a.k.a. Daniel Radcliffe) was playing just down the road; so Gerarda, Steph and I moseyed off in that general direction in hopes that I might be able to show him my Harry Potter-esque scar. Yup, we truly are that nerdy.

How To Succeed In Shopping Without Really Trying

Having travelled to New York, I fully expected to shop. That is, I came here expecting to buy some new clothes. I could have bought them at home, but I really wanted to try to find some things that I wouldn’t necessarily be able to find (easily) at home. The fact that our dollar is as strong as it is (compared to the US greenback), and the fact that the cost-points in Canada are always greater than in the US, and the fact that the US economy – to be frank – seems to be swirling the drain, may have strengthened my desire to shop here. That is, the prices were all but guaranteed to be excellent.

Happy shoppers, despite not finding any new clothes.

Well, shopping day 1 – that being Friday – didn’t really turn out so well. I mean, we wandered the streets of NYC looking for something, anything that would turn this poor pathetic man into something that would force passerbys to do a double-take. But sadly, nothing. I did see a few things that were interesting, but nothing that jumped out at me. Nothing that screamed “buy me”. All I managed to buy were some chocolates. And that on its own is something to write about, but when one is expecting to find some new clothes and all one manages to find are several bars of chocolate no matter how delicious and wonderful, one feels a bit let down. Gerarda fared a bit better – finding a new Swatch watch. Steph was in the same boat as me.

To drown our failed-attempt-at-shopping sorrows, we decided to celebrate with a very tasty 30-year-old bottle of port that I mentioned in a previous post, and chocolates that we purchased from Michel Cluizel. These chocolates were recommended to me by Jeremy Newton of The Twitter (a.k.a. @NewtonsNoGluten – whom you should follow because he’s awesome). And I have to say, well-played Jeremy, well-played indeed. The combination of the chocolates and 30-year-old port more than made up for our lack of shopping success.

Dear Michel Cluizel, your chocolates are in my belly.

Of course, if one fails one shouldn’t give up. It’s best to get back up on the horse after being thrown from it. Even better – if one can get back up on the horse without really trying. And that dear friends, is what happened today. That is, on the way back from seeing Seminar staring Alan Rickman, we moseyed by Hugo Boss – or for those who know me – my personal form of crack. I discovered Hugo Boss just before my 30th birthday. It was also then that I learned how good an idea it is (fashion wise) to let the salesperson play dress up with you. They are after all, the supposed experts. This doesn’t always make one’s bank account happy, but we’re not focussed on financial smarts right now.

ZOMG - It's Snape!

Anyway, I was fortunate to have Dino serve me. The man clearly knew what he was doing. He found me several pair of pants – that actually make me look like I have an ass – no simple feat. He also managed to find several sweaters; something that I desperately need as I have very few of them. And given the coming winter freeze, something that I absolutely require.

The extra bonus; because of the economy and the Canadian dollar, I didn’t spend nearly as much as I had thought I was going to. In fact, I spent just slightly more than half of what I assumed the clothes would cost. Amazing!

The final verdict: I have somehow managed to successfully shop without much effort. Even better, I feel pretty damn sexy in my new clothes. I can’t put a price on that.

Note: More pictures are coming, but we’re off for more adventuring so they’ll have to wait.