Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Who knew King Lear inspired so much nudity?

(Introducing) Hello Kitty and I saw King Lear at the Goodman this weekend. First, I haven't seen so many naked parts since.....well, I'm not that kind of girl, so I never see that many naked parts. For those of you who are die hard King Lear fans (and who isn't a fan of tragedies), they kept the language, but spiced up the setting. The modern context they put the original prose to was part gypsy, part Russian Mafia, part hip-hop. Hello Kitty says one of the reviewers said it was supposed to be set in post- Milosovic Serbia. (Here's a shout-out to the former leader now being tried as a war criminal, from his supporters). I can buy that. Unfortunately, whatever ethnic group / setting it was supposed to be, was actually a cause of distraction. I had high hopes that it would enhance the play, but it was inserted unevenly and resulted mainly in blaringly loud, bad music. As for the acting, Stacy Keach as Lear rocked the house. (And ladies, you do get a special derriere shot from the man himself, along with others). We also enjoyed the actors who played Cordelia, Kent, Goneril (no, not Gonorrhea, like we first thought we heard). We had some issues with "the other sister" and thought perhaps she overacted a bit and wasn't a natural-born projector. Hello Kitty really turned out to like Edgar, while I had my eye on Edmund, the bad boy. Overall, the price is right at hottix. Hello Kitty's final word is: thumb slightly elevated above the middle point - or for those of you who crazily don't use that system - 2 1/2 stars. I would say that's about right. We got kick ass seats at half price, and I would do that again. Full price...not over Cordelia's dead body.
Up next: Hamlet at the Shakespeare Theater.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

What does that siren mean?

Cowboy and I experienced our first tornado siren - where there was actually a tornado spotted in the area. Cowboy and I were driving in NW suburbs of Chicago and the weather turned really bad. All of a sudden the sky got dark and greenish and it opened up with pouring rain. Cowboy commented that this really seemed like tornado weather. I agreed, and then I heard the warning siren. It was a little faint, so I thought I had just psyched myself into thinking I heard it. At the same time, we both said - that's funny, I could've sworn I heard the siren. He rolled down his window, let a bunch of water in, and sure enough - it was blaring away. (Testament to our car's noise control I guess) We slowly got to our destination where it seem to lighten up a bit - notwithstanding the lightning strikes all around us. Then the sky got light green, quarter size hail came down, it quickly went pitch black, and we headed for the basement - siren still blaring. I have never seen a storm like that, and I have to admit it was a little exciting. I LOVE extreme weather. We know what the siren means, but Cowboy has lived in the Chicago area forever and he's never heard a non-test siren. We thought maybe the city had changed it to indicate a severe lightning storm for all those crazy soccer playing kids who can't possibly miss practice even when the storm was forecasted. Turns out there really was a tornado sitting in the little suburb where we were. Love it! (I don't think it caused too much damage, or hurt anyone)
Check out Unpublished Opinion's video's on the storm.

Update: Dr. 90210 left a message on my first London post about all the wacky things I left out of my blog. It's true, part of this trip entailed fighting for one of 20 beds in some crowded hostel and fighting with Spaniards who spoke with the assumption that no one else in the world spoke Spanish. Another note she didn't mention - we noticed that in the land that brought my mom and my sister their beloved Pride & Prejudice - chivalry is dead. Only us Yanks gave up their seat on the tube for people who were carrying a child or were otherwise in need of a seat. (I was so tired, I have to admit I was inclined to follow the custom of the land - When in Rome.... - but I couldn't really do that) I could swear they looked at us wondering what our ulterior motives were. This trip in particular reminded me that an interesting side-effect of travel is that I realize just how "American" I am. This is funny because (especially lately) I am generally grossed out by our popular culture. I've noticed I get more "American" as I get older too.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Few more UK pics

St. Paul's Cathedral - somehow survived the WWII bombings.
The Old Bailey (below).
The Tower of London (below right).
Last tidbit - we went to Fabric - a nightclub in London. It's supposedly one of the hottest clubs in London - whatever that means. It's located in a Victorian meat cellar - you have to descend a couple of flights. It was a lot of fun and very interesting. "Trance" music is aptly named.

Monday, September 11, 2006

My Brighton Beach memoirs

After taking London by the horns, we cruised down to Brighton. Brighton is great! It's this little sea-side town with so much character, lots of beach (pebble shores) and English charm. The guidebooks say that it's a day trip, but we had a lot of fun there in two days. After all, we had to take Brighton by the horns too, and we didn't think 1 day was enough.
There are all these little market stalls along the sea front - mostly selling fish and other food, but also jewelry and novelty items. One guy at a fish stall got Dr. 90210 and I to try a sea snail. (In case you are wondering - they are fishy and chewy.) I wanted to try a "roll mop" which is herring wrapped around pickled onions, but didn't get around to it. (here's the recipe.)
We cruised the stalls on the way to the Pier.

We also checked out the Royal Pavilion. This is the palace built by King George (before he was King). So amazing - worth the trip to Brighton alone if in England. Definitely check out the link.

We also checked out the little shopping areas - The Lanes and Kemp Town.
Finally, it was time to go back to London.

London meant another V for Vendetta moment with the Old Bailey and the Tower of London

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Here in London, giddy London

Dr. 90210 and I just got back from taking London by the horns. I tried to post while we there, but blogger was not working properly or something...anyway, at least you get pictures as a result of the delay. We had quite the whirlwind adventure. We went to the British Museum, where I contemplated my opinion on whether they should give the Parthenon marbles back to Greece.

Perhaps the museum can't afford to start a trend - the place is HUGE and full of antiquities acquired long ago - perhaps from the days of the British Empire.
From the Museum we went to the London Eye.
So cool. We had a little bit of an overcast day, but it really didn't matter. It's the 6th tallest structure in London and I believe it's the tallest observation wheel in the world. The view was incredible, and well worth the roughly $22 price. (I don't say that too often). We hopped in our little pod or "flight capsule" and took off way above the London skyline. We could pick out most landmarks, the parliament was right in front of us, we found the Palace in St. James Park, Trafalgar Square - lots of highlights were easily identified.
From there we walked across the Westminster Bridge, saw Parliament Square (had "Remember, remember the 5th of November" running around in my head - V for Vendetta) and Westminster Abbey. Hunted for 10 Downing Street, flirted with very well armed police who were outside the gate, wondered if we could pretend we were on "the list" when we saw a bunch of people from the EU get checked off "the list," walked through St. James Park, completely harassed one of those Royal guards of whom everyone asks if he's real because he can't move, found Trafalgar square where these punks -complete with multi-colored mohawks- asked if we'd pay them to take a picture with them (no thanks, we have you guys in the States), went to Soho for a late dinner before finding our way back to our little hotel.

Parliament + Abbey from the Eye Can you find the palace?

St. James Park Abused Royal Guard