It’s been the usual sort of trip to get to NYC. No, that’s not true, the flight was really special. Let’s see, we’ll start with the young muscle-bound thug in ‘roid rage who took a swing at a 60-70 year old man on the plane before we took off – near as I can tell, the older gentleman pushed past the younger to get to his seat while the former was putting his vapid, blond wife’s flowered suitcase into the overhead bin. Shouts of “don’t you ever fuckin’ touch me” echoed through the cabin as this champion of the gym took on an opponent half his size and twice or more his age while wifey shouted encouragement. Other passengers nearby leapt to the defense of the hapless older gent and in turn got pushed around. It took the flight crew a good half an hour to talk the guy down and then they unceremoniously escorted the couple out the door to the accompanying standing ovation from the entire cabin. By that time we were only a few minutes late to leave, but, of course, they had to search through the entombed luggage below to extract the couple’s belongings. The pilot came on and gave us regular updates on the search, told us the couple had been banned from Delta flights permanently “Delta doesn’t do problem children”, and several times announced their names so that those involved could writeup incident reports. We got underway 45 minutes late. I had an hour and a half in Atlanta to make a connection… but they said they’d make up some time.
…and then back for a little nap, some much needed downtime. Met up for an early cocktail (ok, early by BA standards, have to shift my thinking, I mean, it was already nearly 7pm…) with my friend John, at the new Paramount Bar (officially opening tonight, but they were letting people in last night) in the hotel of the same name, because he’d scored some house tickets to the stage performance of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
Now, I can’t remotely do justice to what we saw last night as we watched, wide eyed and slack jawed in a mix of horror and amazement at the travesty being perpetrated on that stage. It was, as John put it, like watching colorful bumper cars that suddenly got into a deadly wreck. You couldn’t tear your eyes away from it because you didn’t want to miss what grisly thing was going to be uncovered next and at the same time with every fiber of your being aching to be anywhere but there. We were in the 6th row, center aisle, the seats were a gift, we couldn’t leave. It’s not that the cast weren’t enthusiastic, they were to the very core of their souls, with pasted on smiles so bright they could cure all the afflictions known to man. And they belted out their songs, which were numerous, no, innumerable, one after another after another after another… leaving out the defining song of the show from the original movie, Charlene’s I’ve Never Been to Me and replacing number after number (after number) with Madonna and other pop icon songs.
The spinning LED covered bus that provided backdrop for much of the show had more stage time than most of the cast, well come to think of it, other than the three leads, no one else really did anything but prance around in a choreography imagined by a fever-ridden gay junior high schooler having his first wet dream. And there was plenty to wet dream about – the sweat shiny bodies of more than one chorus boy, not to mention the “third” lead, Adam, or Felicia, played by the extraordinarily cute Nick Adams who has a body with muscles so sharply defined you could get a paper cut just touching him, though it might be worth it. Since there was no acting whatsoever happening on the stage it’s hard to tell if anyone in the cast has the ability, there were simply not enough pauses between songs to tell. The constant shifting of references between Australian and American pop culture as if they weren’t quite sure where the show’s setting was merely paralleled the constantly shifting American and Australian accents that the few moments of dialog showcased. And, while quite a few of the drag costumes were impressive, most looked liked they’d been designed by Fisher-Price as mobile baubles to capture the attention of a newborn.
Dinner was down in Chelsea at Cookshop, which has simply gotten better and better over the six years it’s been open. We kept it simple, a round of half a dozen fresh oysters apiece, a bowl of beautifully charred shishito peppers, and then a plate of grilled rabbit with a spectacular warm potato salad and a tilefish (filling in for the porgy that they’d run out of, unfortunately) with char-broiled broccoli and cauliflower and a lemon-tahini and pinenut dressing that was absolutely spot on (look for some play on it coming up at Casa S). A bottle of Clos d’Engora Monsant 2004 was lightly spiced red fruit, smooth and just perfect for the evening. I, too stuffed for dessert, John went for little apple turnovers with a truly delicious gingerbread ice cream (I tasted a small dab). And, back here to the apartment for a much needed night of slumber.