I was in New York very briefly last weekend before flying back to Los Angeles, and did something I almost never did while I lived in New York: I intentionally went to Times Square and saw a show, the amazing "Rock of Ages," which I'd wanted to see for a while.
"Rock of Ages," which starred the amazingly powerful and nuanced performance of American Idol finalist Constantin Maroulis, featured all the 80s music that I listened to as a teenager - it was the soundtrack of my life, much like it was the soundtrack of this show. From Journey to Foreigner, from Poison to Pat Benatar, it was all there. Of course, there's no confusing this show - a paean to the rock/metal lifestyle - with my teenage experiences (um, yeshiva day school anyone? Why was I listening to Def Leppard?). But the nostalgia factor was amazing, and the energy of the cast was simply off the charts.
Standout performances were the Jack-Black-meets-Bill-Hader style of Mitchell Jarvis (the Narrator) and of course, Buffy alum Tom Lenk (Franz), who rocked out in amazingly committed character. After the show, having decided in advance not to stalk the actors, we headed out toward the lights.
Times Square was cold, but the location itself draws crowds no matter what the weather; now, thanks to urban planners, the nexus of all things Broadway and tourist-related has undergone an overhaul. I almost didn't recognize it. But what I did notice was that, as a tourist, it definitely looks different than when you're a resident 40 blocks to the north.
In surveying the changes, I also had the chance to try out my new toy - a Flip Mino HD video camera - that my parents, thanks to the insightful whispers of Hanukkah Harry, gave me for Hanukkah this year. Check out my first official Flip video here, featuring a cameo by my finger over part of the lens. Hopefully it's way more interesting than those 15-second spots they're using in the Flip commercials.
Enjoy - more videos are on the way, whether you want them or not...