More Weekend

Other items:

The latest episode of “Fringe” – that was nuts. Basically, Walter, Peter, and a certain William Bell make a trip into Olivia’s brain – and with more than a touch of “Inception,” evidently, Olivia’s brain ain’t a pretty place.

Oh, and Walter, Peter, and Bell as cartoon animated versions of themselves was funny, in a logical kind of way (and, really, can Leonard Nimoy ever not emote as a Spock-like person?).

One of the priceless moments was Broyles in an acid-tripping state. As Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly notes in his recap of the episode:

Comic relief was provided by Broyles, who, back in Walter’s lab with Astrid, accidentally consumed some LSD and spent the episode slack-jawed and giddy, tripping on the spirals in a licorice stick. Even here, however, there was a moment of grave seriousness. “I saw death,” Broyles told Astrid, “and it was me.” That is, Broyles must have seen a vision of his alt-universe, dead self.

The actor playing Broyles, Lance Reddick, played haunted and funny brilliantly all at once. As normal Broyles, he really doesn’t smile enough and he doesn’t get to be in the mix that much with the Fringe team (as the stern leader, he can’t go on the LSD or the inter-dimensional traveling as often), but his moments brought a different perspective (and, weirdly enough, Astrid being the sane one was pretty poignant too).

Got to catch up on “Community.” A separate post will probably be necessary.

Oh, and who knew that Mary Wittenberg, head of the New York Road Runners, was a lawyer? Interesting profile of her on NY1.

Weekend – An American Idiot Friday

Saw “American Idiot” on Friday night. Basically a Green Day opera. (see the review by NY Times’ Charles Isherwood).

Johnny (played by Van Hughes) is a clueless young man in suburbia in the post 9/11 world. His friends, Will (played by Justin Guarini – yes, that Justin Guarini of American Idol fame) and Tunny (played by David Larsen), are supposed to join him in the city, where they either chase their dreams (as they hope) or continue their lethargic and meaningless lives (as it might actually turn out to be).

Will, however, is stuck in suburbia, having gotten his girlfriend pregnant (and, staying behind doesn’t mean he’s actually being responsible, as Heather the girlfriend, played by Jenna De Waal, learns the hard way). Tunny couldn’t hack it in the city, and joins the army – and finds that Iraq ain’t what it was cracked up to be. And, Johnny – well, let’s just say that you can’t just go to the city without some real thought about you’re doing there.

Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong is in the cast as St. Jimmy (see the Jan. 2011 commentary by NY Times’ Charles Isherwood on that). St. Jimmy is either an actual drug pusher, who’s destroying Johnny, or else he’s the figment in Johnny’s mind – Johnny’s own alter ego preventing him from pursuing a real life. Either way, Billie Joe had some pretty good sinister humor.

I thought that Tunny’s story was powerfully poignant, even if it is the typical story of the military guy who got into something way over his head and then redeemed by (what else?) the power of love (but, if you think about it, that adventure in the army gave Tunny specifically something far more than what the dystopia of suburbia ever did). I’ll concede that I probably enjoyed Tunny’s story because the actor, David Larsen, was kind of cute, nicely portrayed his character’s sadness, and had such a great voice – and he had a nice chemistry with the Extraordinary Girl, played by Libby Winters, the army nurse who helps Tunny get some mojo back.

Justin Guarini was pretty good (then again, as much derision that poor guy got in the after effects of season 1 of American Idol, I always thought that Broadway would have been more his thing than anything else in the mad world of pop music).

Rebecca Naomi Jones as WhatsHerName (the girl who was Johnny’s lost love – lost because he couldn’t keep her and she wasn’t going to stick with him and his pointlessness) was terrific with her energy and tragedy. If anything, I kind of thought that the stories of the women got lost (and Extraordinary Girl was more a symbol than an actual character). The rest of the cast were quite talented (Joshua Henry as the guy who attracts Tunny into the army was ridiculously charismatic; maybe that was why Tunny ended up in the army), and I liked that the cast came in various shapes and sizes.

The stories of the three guys might be thin (well, it is a musical – musicals do get thin on plot) and the musical was otherwise was a nice reminder that the Green Day album, “American Idiot” was a pretty good album (while trying to be a show, not a concert). And, the musical does make you wonder about this generation – my generation? – and whether it’ll actually do something good in this world.

Go ahead and see if you catch “American Idiot” before it closes. Decently entertaining (even if it isn’t the greatest pop musical on Broadway, not with the way the women got lost as they did. The great pop musical might actually be… “The Book of Mormon,” at the moment, which I haven’t seen, but the hype seems pretty real…).

2011 Hyphen/AAWW Short Story Contest

A cross post from my Literature in Motion blog:

I’ll be remiss if I don’t pass this along – check out the link for the 2011 Hyphen/Asian American Writers Workshop Short Story Contest, the national, pan-Asian American writing competition. Deadline of May 16, 2011. Details may be found on the websites of either Hyphen or AAWW. May the best writers win!