Evan Kessler Dot Com

The Home of the Brave

Why Is This Week Different From All Other Weeks?

Posted by evankessler on April 14, 2006


Well for one it’s the first week in a long time that I’ve hung around my family for two whole days in a row. That has to be some sort of record. However, there are several more reasons that it is different. It’s probably the first time I’ve been to a Broadway show in 10 or so years and it has also brought us the beginning of the Passover (Pesach) holiday. It’s a shame with all of that going on I haven’t managed to make even a dollar through my store or from working.

Tuesday during the day (wow, no seque, eh?) I did some wandering around as well as Met game watching before meeting my family at Joe Allen for some Pre-theater dinner on 46th street. The meal was okay if unremarkable but there was much anticipation in the air prior to venturing into the critically lauded Broadway producton of Spamalot. I tend to be skeptical of most adaptations or remade productions, as well as movies or shows that everyone raves about, so I was extremely apprehensive heading into the Monty Python and The Holy Grail based Spamalot. As I walked through the doors to the theatre I saw the Broadway tourist machine spring into motion. There was any number of Spamalot related products; original cast recordings, programs, and shirts. Though I was pleased to see the acknowledgement of the plays origin on the souvenir table, as there were Monty Python live DVD’s and a Monty Python documentary. Perhaps my favorite item was the Killer Rabbit stuffed animal. It may have been the best piece of Broadway merchandising and though skeptical of what awaited me I let out an amused chuckle.

Now, to be honest I’m not a fan of Broadway musicals. I’ve always abhorred people breaking out into song for no good reason. There are very few instances in which I find an inspired burst into song to be acceptable. The first acceptable instance is while I’m in the shower. I’ve given myself that license. Probably the only other acceptable musical outburst has to do with South Park episodes or movies. Team America: World Police and South Park Bigger, Longer, and Uncut contain some of the most memorable songs to date. However, on stage outbursts about forbidden love and dancing children are things I wish to avoid at all costs. As the show began, a historian came out to describe Middle Ages England, which led to a performance of a song about Finland, loosely derived from a similar song on one of the Monty Python comedy albums but adapted to be even more silly for the stage. Normally, if anything is changed from the way I originally remembered it I am immediately bothered, but I did not feel irked in the least. Instead, I felt an odd mixture of amusement, delight, and relief that told me everything was going to be okay, and it was. I was aware that they probably could not have adapted Monty Python And The Holy Grail as it was to the stage and they changed it around enough to make me feel like I was seeing something familiar yet fresh. It seemed as though a large portion of the musical aimed at taking the piss out of Broadway and the institution of the Broadway Musical. Nothing seemed sacred as the traditional Broadway love ballad was lampooned, heroic masculine knights came out of the closet, obscenities were unleashed in front of children, and it was declared “you can’t make it to Broadway if you don’t have any Jews.” During the song which contained the latter sentiment, I wondered how many Midwestern people in the audience who may have never met a Jew felt awkward about laughing.

Though some of my favorite moments of the movie did not make it into the production I was glad to see the Prince Herbert in the tower scene as well as “The Knights who say Ni” amongst other scenes. By the end of the show I was smiling and glad I made it out to the theatre for such an event. Who knows, maybe I’ll make it back there in another 10 years or so.

After the play, my brother went to some benefit thingy and I went with my mom and Step-dad in the car back to Rockland County (that’s where all of The Rock comes from) for Passover. The Seder was Wednesday and what would be the point of taking a train home the next day if I didn’t have any work on Wednesday. Hey, free ride. Forty-Five minutes later we were home and my house was freezing. I don’t know what it is, but my mom likes to keep the house on ice. I think I saw my breath at some point while watching TV.

Wednesday morning came after a lovely ten-hour sleep on my lovely comfy childhood bed. This came after a three hour Monday night sleep. I was thankful for the extra time. Crankiness would’ve been the order of the day had my mother woken me up at some ungodly hour. My day in Rockland was spent doing more job perusal on the Internet. So really it was no different from my life at my apartment. The highlight of my day was when my mom sent me to the Stop ‘n’ Shop to pick up some missing seder ingredients. The highlight of that highlight was when I was walking in the supermarket and realized that the aisle the candles I had to get were in was called the “Super Savings Spot”. It seemed as though I was living out a scene in a movie about suburban boredom as I mindlessly trolled down the fluorescent-lit aisles with floors so clean you could eat off looking for macaroons and chocolate matzos. Though to be fair, those items were in the special Passover aisle, not the” Super Savings Spot”. Okay, wait when I said the “Super Savings Spot” was the highlight of my trip home but really it was the actual ride to and from the Supermarket. There’s no better place to listen to music than your car when you are alone. On my way home from the Stop ‘n’ Shop (formerly Grand Union throughout my childhood) I blasted the new Loose Fur album while driving through the curvy mountainous neighborhood with the windows down. It was one of those all time great feelings that I miss but I feel that if I were living somewhere that such an occurrence was commonplace, it would somehow mean less.

At around 6:30 pm the Seder gathering commenced. Longtime family friends Rhona, Stuart, Camille, Jack, and Nerissa joined us. As usual we only made it through the halfway point of the Seder. We only ever make it to the 2nd cup of wine, which is when you’re supposed to eat the meal. What a meal it was though, Turkey, Brisket, Matzo Ball Soup, Sweet Potatoes, grilled mix vegetables. It was a vast array of delicious food. Afterwards we’re either too stuffed or too uninterested in continuing. We left out the tradition where you’re supposed to open the door for Elijah the Prophet to come in and drink a cup of wine that you leave out for him. We left the cup out for him; we just didn’t let him in. I’m sure Elijah didn’t have a problem finding other Jews in the neighborhood. He probably got drunk before he got to our door and decided he’s call it a night anyway. We sat down and had a nice dessert and soon after everyone left. I drove my car back into the city with my brother while listening to the Minus 5 album. Really the best place to sit and listen to a new album is on a long car drive, or at least a car drive that can last an entire album. You can really figure out if you like an album or not in that time. If you start skipping songs right off the bat, maybe it’s not such a good album. Anyway, that was Seder day.

I woke up this morning, Thursday, at around 9:45am and no calls for work came in. I did a little job hunt but then decided to take advantage of the sunny weather and do a little reading in Washington Square Park for an hour. I’ve got about 70 pages left in A Confederacy of Dunces. I thought I’d finish it before and it’s not that I’m reading slow but sometimes I’m taking a couple of days between going back to it. I am really enjoying it though and I’m excited to be nearing the end since I really am not sure where it could be going. Well that’s not completely true, I see a convergence of characters but the outcome remains a mystery to me and I think that really makes a difference between good literature and crappy literature.

When I got back from the park I sat down to watch the Mets game. I don’t know what to say, the Mets are awesome. I may end up talking about the Mets every day. I know that might bore everyone to death but I was watching the game and I just kept thinking, “I can’t believe how good the Mets are! They just keep getting hits and scoring runs! This is awesome!” Cross your fingers and hope it continues.

I was about to go to the gym at 4:30 when my roommate Ellen came home with beer and her friends Lindsey, Kiera, and J.R. came over. That took care of the rest of the night mostly. When they left and Ellen went to bed I got a drink with Kristin E at Marie’s Crisis. Note to self: Stop drinking so much and go to the gym tomorrow. You’ll probably feel better.

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