September 21, 2005

This evening, after doing a bit of record shopping at the Virgin Megastore in Times Square, I ducked into Ollie's on 44th for a bit of Chinese. I was seated at a small table facing a large window that looked out across the street at the brand new Nokia Theater, which just opened this week. It's not a playhouse like the other theatres on the block, but a live music venue, and a nice one, too. The massive high-tech marquee screen showed several promos of acts who were booked to appear there, like Steve Winwood and Pat Green and O*A*R, and also acquaintances of mine like Cross Canadian Ragweed and Spoon. I felt happy for all these guys from my neck of the woods who had slogged for years and finally made it into a really swank room smack in the heart of mainstream America. At the same time, I felt sad that I would miss them, especially since I would've been right down the street, about three doors down. It seems that just as I'm leaving New York, everyone else is just showing up. Friends from Texas are planning to vacation there in October, others are relocating, and all of them are contacting me wanting to hook up. It's getting to where I don't even wanna write back anymore; it's too damn depressing.

To add insult to injury, the place I'm returning to is likely to be ravaged this weekend by one of the biggest hurricanes in recorded history, by the name of Rita. From the satellite view, this bitch makes Katrina look like a spring shower, over five hundred miles wide, over half the size of Texas, with winds currently at 175 mph. I live about 180 miles inland, and while the storm will slow down considerably after it demolishes Galveston and Houston (where my family is evacuating), it's expected to still be a hurricane by the time it reaches Austin, bringing the possibility of damage to my home as well as my family's.

Luckily for us, we won't actually be in Austin until after the storm has ended, and it's possible they may have power restored by then, too. So I've been one of the fortunate ones who can afford to focus on things other than hurricanes, like other employment opportunities, some of which may bring me back to New York sooner than expected. Others may take me to places I've never been before. I'll find out more in a few days.

Meanwhile, at the Broadhurst, the countdown to closing night has begun, and the time is ripe for pranks among the cast, onstage and off. This afternoon, Mandy introduced a new prop into the second act: a rubber severed finger with a bandage. Unnoticeable to anyone but the players onstage, the bloodied appendage was passed from one unsuspecting actor to the next, provoking more than a few brief breaks in character. By the end of the show, it had made its way around the cast. And the pranks range from the macabre to the vulgar. A day or so before, Will and I stood off stage right and mooned Chad and Julie while they performed a serious duet. I'm not sure, but I think we got at least one of them.

Comic relief. You gotta love it.


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