Monday, December 6, 2010

vive la college process.

I got the email. High school seniors should know what the email is, but for those who already went through that or soon will, the email is, well, an email. Mine is from a certain private university that I applied early decision to, with the instructions to check a certain website this Thursday to find out the verdict. I am not looking until late Friday evening (I have cheer practice, and I'm seeing a friend's play) - it will take a lot of will power and strength, but I can do it. I have three applications left, and then, bliss, but hopefully bliss starts this weekend. So here's to either a few more days of waiting, or a few more months of waiting.

Two play reviews, some music, pictures, and a food thing coming soon - must blog to keep my mind busy!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Like List #2

My dear readers: I do apologize for my self-induced blogging hiatus. It's the beginning of December, which means college apps. I've been writing more essays than blog posts, which is a good thing, but in no way enjoyable. I thought I would start up again with my second Like List. Posting will remain infrequent until all 13 of those college apps and dozens of scholarship essays are done and sent (10 down, 3 to go!).


1. Starbucks Holiday Drinks

Halloween has sadly come and gone, which means Starbucks Christmas cups and holiday drinks are back! While I am a huge fan of the Cinnamon Dolce Latte, they can get stale after ten months. For the next two months, it will be Peppermint Mochas and Gingerbread Lattes for me. Plus, the adorably festive red cups remind me that it, in fact, is the holiday season despite the fact that the high for today is 80 degrees.


2. Books
I love to read, but school work and activities have taken away from my reading time. Thanks to a college short answer essay inquiring the books I've read in the past year, my love of reading has reborn. I've already read a novel (a slightly disappointing one...) and I'm currently immersed in the new 984-page Ken Follett  book "Fall of Giants" about the political events in the early 20th century (I highly recommend it - its fascinating and addicting!) Next on my reading list: The Tipping Point (thanks Meryl) about social trends and why they happen.

3. Rain
It rained today. I never thought I could be that happy, but I was so close to running outside and dancing in the rain. Fortunately, my better judgement advised me against it. But rain means rain boots, tights, sweaters and scarves! I'm so excited to put on my black Hunter wellies with the cozy red welly-socks, some knit tights, and a scarf. Living in SoCal, I rarely get to experience "winter," so this is the closest I will get to freezing temperatures and snow until college next year.

4. Modern Family and 30Rock


These are probably the funniest shows on television. If you missed last week's episodes, go check them out asap. I actually laughed out loud watching them, which is incredibly rare for me, because I usually find sitcoms to be trite. These shows are subtle and based in a "demi-reality" - the situations could be real, but they are just so strange. Modern Family, in the middle of its 2nd season, is more dry and realistic than 30Rock, which is entering its 6th season. However, I find the two to be incredibly well written, well acted, and well directed. Lots and lots and lots of laughs.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

concert review: vampire weekend/beach house/the very best.

A few Saturdays ago, I saw Vampire Weekend, Beach House and The Very Best at the Hollywood Bowl.

The Very Best opened up first. To be honest, they weren't for me - I heard from a lot of people I talked to that they loved them, but I just wasn't a fan. They played African hip-hop fusion, which I like normally, but all their songs sounded the same. Their back up dancers, however, were amazing. I was with friends (hi Matt, Em, and V!) and we all shared the same wish to steal their dance skills.
I love Beach House, so I was very excited to see them live. Biggest shocker - the lead singer is a girl. Yes, as a fan I should have know that, but I always thought she was a he on the recordings... Anyway, they were fantastic. Played a really great mix of songs, the set was really cool, they were great. Enough said.

Vampire Weekend was flawless. I love them a lot - they are adorable, preppy, musically inclined hipsters who have songs that just make you want to dance and lyrics that show off their Ivy League educations (Columbia grads). They played new songs, old songs, fast songs, slow songs. They closed with Walcott which was so fun - imagine the whole Hollywood Bowl dancing and singing. Cousins was fantastic live, the call-answer of M79 was perfect with the whole Bowl; basically, it was awesome. They played their biggest hits, which was kind of a let down if you (like me) were a fan of some of their less well known songs. They are fantastic performers - very charming and charismatic. They made a lot of jokes, and interacted with the audience which is always great.

On top of that, VW had plexiglass chandeliers that moved up and down, a huge Aztec like circle with lyrics in it as a backdrop and the best use of the changing colored dome I've seen in a while. Only other downside: the T-shirts were disappointing. The four of us (my friends and I) stood there for a good deal of time deciding which shirt was the least mediocre. Mine has dogs on it (not goats, Matt).
I've had Vampire Weekend stuck in my head for weeks, and I'm totally fine with that. A perfect way to end my Hollywood Bowl season for the year.
Vampire Weekend! Those bright orbs are the chandeliers. 

Like List #1

So periodically, I will post things called "Like Lists" which basically are numerical orderings of things I like, or don't like. Sometimes they will have themes like "Movies" or "Museums" or "Dumb facebook statuses," but most of the time they will just be things I find I happen to enjoy or want to see less of. To start things off, here is Like List #1:

1) Make It or Break It 
I am obsessed with this ABC Family show about gymnasts. I had been told my numerous people to watch it, and once I finally caved in, I was hooked. I'm done with seasons one and two, and its just so good! Drama, gymnastics, more drama. New favorite show.

2) Podcasts
Despite the fact that I have had an iPod for as long as I can remember, I just recently discovered podcasts. I love them. I have a bunch of food ones, theatre ones, all the New York Times ones, some philosophy and history ones, yoga, The Onion , NPR Concert Series (just to name a few). I listen to multiple podcasts every day. They are interesting and informative, short and sweet, and don't make me feel like I'm waisting time.

3) Cold(er) Weather
I live in Southern California. When it's 65 outside, we native SoCals break out our pants and boots and coats and hats. But for me, cold(er) weather means soup! I love soup. It comes from my mother - who loves soup. For lunch a few days ago, I made some Trader Joe's Organic Tomato Soup (the kind from the box), with a melted brie sandwich. It was delicious - the fact that the fireplace was on, I was wearing a sweatshirt, and the whole house felt like fall just made it even better.  We had a few days of rain, which made me the happiest camper, and I got to wear my new shiny-black Hunter boots. Unfortunately, today was hot again, but maybe as we progress into fall the Valley will cool down.

4) A Cappella Groups
As a member of my school's choir, vocal ensemble, and one of the presidents of the Glee Club, I have become a huge fan of collegiate a cappella groups. Technically, I'm doing college research - I want to find a school with some sassy a cappella groups. And I'm researching for Glee Club - I am finding songs and studying performances. But I'm really just having a blast. Favorites: Columbia Nonsequiturs and  Tufts Amalgamates.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

concert review: phoenix/grizzly bear/girls.

I saw Phoenix, Grizzly Bear and Girls at the Hollywood Bowl on 9/18. It was a great concert! 

Girls opened up. I wasn't familiar with them, but they were good. Their first three songs were really good - upbeat, happy, whimsical, reminiscent of SoCal surf rock. The ending songs of their set were not as enjoyable - they leaned towards heavy metal, which I'm fine with, but they were such a drastic change from the opening songs that I was confused and waiting for the old Girls to come back. I downloaded a few songs, not the whole album

Grizzly Bear was fantastic. They are in my Top 5 favorite bands, and seeing them live was spectacular! Edward Droste (vocals, guitar, keyboard) has the voice of an angel - his voice is like honey and melted chocolate. Their music sounds amazing on a CD, but three times as fantastic live. It made me love them so much more. A nice mix of songs from Yellow House and from Veckatimest. I definitely want to see them again any time they play in LA.

Phoenix was the perfect way to cap off the night. Talk about performing - these guys have enough charm and charisma to circle the world a few times. Their music is awesome, but again, it was superb live because they are such great performers. I danced the whole time! It made me pull their CDs out again and listen to them on the way home and the rest of the week.
But the best part of the whole night: going on stage. I was with my friend Katharine, and we got front row-center seats, which was absolutely amazing. Then, at the end of Phoenix's set, they pulled people up on stage, and Katharine and I were two of them! We danced on stage with them for the last song, and then, once the concert ended, were promptly escorted offstage by Hollywood Bowl personnel. But I got to tell Thomas Mars that I loved his music, so it made it all better.

Overall, a fantastic evening! Great music, the Hollywood Bowl, friends, food, and oh yeah, dancing on stage.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Play Review: The Glass Menagerie

I saw the opening night production of the Mark Taper Forum's producion of Tennessee William's classic The Glass Menagerie on 9/12. I have to say, it was one of the best things I've seen in a while. The thing that separated this from other producions of Menagerie was that director, Gordon Edelstein, put a "30 degree spin", as Michael Ritchie, Center Theatre Group Artistic Director called it, on the show.

It is seen through the eyes of Tennessee Williams (aka Tom Wingfield) after he has left his mother and sister - sort of a semi-autobiographical play. When you look at it from the perspective of Williams' life, the show has a new spark and life.

The acting was phenomenal. Overall, strong performances from a great group of actors. They played off each other very well, and generally had some great chemistry. 

Judith Ivey played Amanda, the former Southern-belle who just wants to get her daughter a husband. She was perfection - the right blend of overprotective and neurotic, and vulnerable and pathetic. Her character development was a joy to watch, and when I say a joy, I mean uncomfortable and disturbing. She played the role perfectly. Without giving too much away, her final scene was heaven - fantastic acting at its finest. In short, she stole the show, as any two-time Tony Award winner should.

Keira Keeley played Laura, Amanda's disabled daughter. While I felt she was a little one-note in the first act, she blossomed and shone in the second. Her scenes with Jim, played by The O.C.'s Ben Mckenzie (who was perfectly cast), were so real and so raw, I felt like I was watching two people having a conversation. Then when she crumbles at the end, she is so broken; the contrast is stunning. She really evolved as a character, which is nice to see, instead of a Laura who is sad and lonely the whole show. Without giving too much away, her performance towards the end of the play really made me think everything was going to turn out well. Lots of very natural and strong emotions, but not overdramatic and unrealistic. A very beautiful performance of a difficult role when looked at holistically. 

Speaking of Ben McKenzie, I was at first very excited, then very worried when I saw his name in the program. However, he was Jim O'Connor. I felt bad for him, but I still had some hope that his character was going to make it out okay. He was incredibly real and natural. I saw in his eyes the desperation he had to try and relive his glory days, and the spark that came to his voice when he and Keeley discuss their high school lives in Act II. He shows he can be a lot more than Ryan Atwood.

At first, I had problems with Patch Darragh who played Tom. I felt his voice was too whiny and his mannerisms were too outrageous. He was a character, which detracted from the character of the mother, who is supposed to be the most outrageous and extravagent personality of the four characters. As the show progressed, I remembered that he was playing Tom as Tennessee Williams, so now that I understood his character choices, I liked his performance so much more. Still, he was the weakest in the bunch - he wasn't awful, but he wasn't as strong as Ivey, Keeley or McKenzie.

This was a very magical production. Its funny, its sad, its disturbing, its pathetic, its smart, its thought provoking. It really is like looking in on a family going through a hard time - very real and very raw.  However, one thing that did bother me (and this is being a bit nit-picky) was that the hotel Tom starts in is also used as the Wingfield house. The lighting differentiated between the past and the present, the hotel and the house, but I still would have liked to see some stronger differences. I know that it is the Taper, so big set changes are not possible, but I felt like the space was too open - there were no distinctions between rooms or areas, and it just felt a bit awkward. There were some uses of a transparent backwall that were very creative - again, without spoiling the ending, made the final scene very spooky.

I've rarely seen bad productions at the Taper, and this one was no exception.  Even if you have seen the show thousands of times (like I have) and read it (like I have) and love the movie (like I do), this new production will blow your old impression of the show away, and make you think. Because, in the end, isn't that what the theatre is supposed to do? If you have time and even if you don't have time, I strongly reccomend going to see it. Its playing at the Mark Taper Forum downtown until October 17.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Hello blog world!
So like many of my peers who did a little summer program called NHSI this summer, I have been inspired to start a blog. Although I never had the guts to go up and do a blog reading on Sunday nights, I do have the guts to write something from the comfort and safety of my home. 
To the juicy stuff. In my blog, I will be giving you a glimpse into my life as a high school senior, and talk about my favorite and least favorite things in culture: art, movies, music, books, musicals and theatre, food, everything.
So let me to the talking (writing?) and you just sit back and eat some culture cake.