August 25, 2016 -- Grandmother Tribute + Trip Recaps
The Seth Ledger
What a busy summer it has been! What follows is a recap of the latter half and a fall preview.
In honor of what would've been my grandmother's 88th birthday last week, I have posted the speech I gave about her life at Auschwitz-Birkenau on my Poland trip in July. I would highly recommend tissues:
Also, if you didn't see on social media, here is the instrumental piece that I composed after visiting Majdanek Concentration Camp:
I will forever remember my grandmother and be grateful for her sacrifices.
As fall falls upon us, auditions for regional theatres should pick up a bit. I am having my own auditions, as well, for Showcases 424-438 weekly from September-December.
In addition to that, I'm happy to say that the pilot of Every Day a Little Seth got into the ITV Festival in the Network Notes portion:
This means that October 6-9, my collaborators and I will be going up to Vermont to meet with a network executive, and then will proceed to network with everyone and anyone until we somehow get the show onto the TV or a streaming platform!
To that end, this means we will be launching the show publicly on October 1st… That's right: YOU get to watch the sitcom pilot on October 1st! And then we will need EVERYONE to send it to EVERYONE they know to help us get the show on TV!
Furthermore, I'm happy to announce that my 3rd music video will be one for Hillary! I'm going to be overlaying the whole thing with pictures of Hillary supporters doing Hillary poses, so if YOU would like to be featured, please let me know.
Finally, while we're here: save the date for Broadway Can! 8 - Monday, November 14th!
GOVERNOR's ISLAND, DELAWARE and CALIFORNIA... OH MY!
I'm not going to do super long recaps of my day trip to Governor's Island, weekend in Delaware or my week in California because unlike Europe, they are places that a lot more of you have been and will go. Also, after my last trip, I didn't want to spend time taking copious notes. However, I did post 264 pictures from California on the FB, and as always, if you non-FB people would like the best of the collection, please let me know!
On August 6th, we did a quick day trip to Governor's Island in search of a new long slide, which turned out was only for kids. However, we did have a lovely view of the Statue of Liberty and it was like being on a European Island that was right by Manhattan. I had never been before, so it was nice to go once.
The weekend in Delaware (August 11-15) was a wonderfully relaxing time. My friend, Anne's, parents own a house in Fenwick Island, and Mollie, Anne and I rented a car and drove down. (By that I mean, I drove while they mostly did things on their phones.) It was such a lovely time that included two beach trips (one too many for me, but when you're with a group you have to compromise), kayaking, a boardwalk walk, me completing a 500 piece puzzle, Anne winning in Trivial Pursuit, me winning in miniature golf, grilling on the patio, all you can eat seafood where I just got a chicken sandwich and finally: delicious ice cream sandwiches that had been left in the freezer for all to share!
I started my California trip (August 17-23) in Oakland where I stayed with Charise and Evan. Wednesday night, since Virgin (I checked - you didn't to be a virgin to fly) Airlines didn't have complimentary food on the plane (not even free snacks?!), we stopped for a burrito at a lovely food truck after the hour trek from San Francisco Airport. Then we just hung out a bit before bed.
I will just get this out of the way here: public transportation in California sucks. It's the worst I've ever seen, and I've been all over the world! I thought SF was pretty bad, but LA has none whatsoever. Just horrible. I honestly don't know why anyone would live in California, but I am happy that I got a vacation and got to see some friends.
Thursday, I went to Mountain View/Menlo Park to visit Chris at Google and Samidh at Facebook. I got tours of both, and took lots of pictures! To get to Google, I had to walk 45 minutes from the train station. I used this new app - Google Maps - not sure you guys have heard of it, but it's what Mollie was using in Poland. So I successfully found my way to Google using Google. Then, to get to FB, I actually had to uber, but I had a free one, at least. So first time using googlemaps and uber this trip!
Google has amazing free food, and had a visitor center for employee's guests. There I had a wonderful massage, took a quick nap in a nap pod, swam in the ball pit, played some golf, found my apartment on Google Earth on a giant screen, pretended to work in a Google office for my mom and saw a Google car and lots of Androids…
Facebook has more free food (including a juice bar and froyo which we had), conference rooms named after Star Trek aliens, a park on the roof, an arcade and a mini-town that's designed by the guy who did Disney World's Main Street, USA. I signed the Facebook Wall, though apparently it is erased every few months.
Also, I saw Mark Zuckerberg, but Samidh wouldn't let me snap a photo or talk to him to tell him how much FB has ruined the world or list the 100 ways I have of making it better.
Samidh and I went to see his cute house and family. It was so lovely to see them all after so many years! Then, we had a wonderful dinner at an Italian restaurant on California Ave.
Friday, I went to the Golden Gate Bridge. Then I walked around the Presidio Trails, which doubled as a nature walk, but really was because I didn't feel like dealing with SF transportation anymore, so I just walked for about 5 hours that day. I went to see the Painted Ladies AKA the buildings they show during the theme song of Full House. I took a lovely video there of me singing the theme song, which somehow got a lot less likes than my Sound of Music one in Salzburg. Guess I don't know that many Full House fans?
Coincidentally, Rori happened to be in town doing Showgirls the Musical the same week of my vacation which I had planned months ago. We walked around Golden Gate Park, and then I went to see Cyrus and his new house, husband and kitten. Tofu is only 4 months, and he was the sweetest! We had a wonderful dinner, and then I went to see Showgirls the Musical. Afterwards, Marcus, Rori and I went out for a bit, but since SF transportation stops at 12:30, I couldn't linger. It took me 80 minutes to get home because I missed the 2nd to last subway back to Oakland by 30 seconds, and hence missed the 2nd last bus back to Charise's by 3 minutes. Thankfully, I made the last bus, or I would've had to waste $ on an uber!
Saturday, I stayed in Oakland. I took a very long time to get up and out because I had been so busy the prior two. I went for a walk around Lake Merritt, and it was a perfect day with perfect weather. Charise, Evan and I then went to Redwood Regional Park, dinner in a tiki bar, Jack London Square and dessert at Chicken & Waffles (yum). After that, we played 3 rounds of Rummicube, and I won them all so fast that they were shocked, impressed... and annoyed. My other grandmother would be proud!
Sunday, it took me 2.5 hours to get back to the airport because the subway system wasn't running a piece. So I took a bus to the subway, walked 15 minutes to the Caltrain, took that to the other side of the subway, took the subway, transferred, then took the airtrain to get to my terminal. In fact, I spent way more time commuting to the airport, and even more time at the airport than I did on the flight to LA.
In another happy coincidence, my BFF Niki (who you'll remember from my Ireland and Iceland trips) ended up getting asked if she wanted to go to LA for work on Monday. She flew in the afternoon before, and we had perfect timing with her picking me up, which is no small feat. Her work was nice enough to rent us a car, so we went to see the Griffith Observatory, which has a fantastic view of LA including the Hollywood sign and a lot of science/space stuff (perfect for MIT people). We drove around Rodeo Drive, Mulholland Drive, had burritos for dinner at a 5 star Yelp rated place, and then on Emily's suggestion had Salt & Straw homemade ice cream for dessert. It was incredible.
I stayed with Dave's sister Emily who I had reconnected with at his wedding. She was super nice to let me stay with her and her husband and dog. I had my own room and bathroom, and they had Starz on a huge HDTV, so I ended up watching some movies (see the movie section).
Monday, I went to Universal Studios with my friend, Zhe, who i haven't seen since MIT! We had the most amazing time. I especially loved Harry Potter World, and I took lots of pictures. I bought an Elder Wand (couldn't resist) and we had butterbeer fudge. I also really loved The Walking Dead attraction, which I went in 3 times (no lines because kids under 13 weren't admitted!). I basically did everything in a day - all 3 shows, studio tour - every ride. The best things about Universal were they had things for you to do while waiting, had fairly accurate wait times posted, and none of the rides were that intense. I went on the Harry Potter ones twice, as well - once Zhe left and I was a single rider, I got through the lines in 5 minutes. Note: we should've just said we were single riders the whole time since you don't really talk during the ride anyway!
After Universal, my friend, Brianna, picked me up and we went to In & Out Burger since I'd never had it before. They weren't quite as good as Shake Shack, but it was WAY cheaper.
Tuesday, Emily and I met up with my friend, Vanessa, who I haven't seen since MIT either, and we saw a taping of The Price is Right. I am tearing up to tell you that I was not chosen. We are pretty sure it has to do with the fact that we didn't buy or make Price is Right tickets. I also don't think the casting person realized I was there with them, and I imagine they can't really let people who have no friends go up because it doesn't really fit their narrative. Regardless, it was the most disappointing part of a wonderful summer, and I will never watch the show again.
The taping ran over an hour, and I was extremely rushed getting to LAX. I had to use Lyft, but instead of a free ride, they only give you $5 off the next 10 rides - who would ride it 10 times? Once is enough for me for at least a few years. Anyway, I made it to the airport with 45 minutes to spare and was so starving I had to buy an $11 sandwich at the airport. Thankfully I flew JetBlue back, and they have unlimited free snacks and drinks. I had a lot of snacks, and the nice steward didn't even judge me when I took one of everything he had! No free movies again means I was able to finish 2 books this journey (see book section).
Overall, I had a most loverly vacation, and it was quite wonderful to reconnect with so many friends!
PHONING IT IN
I'm sad to announce that after hours and hours of trying to get Verizon to get me a new free phone, I have broken down to buy my first smartphone that has not been handed down to me for free.
Yes, it's really devastating to me to admit to this, but my poor iPhone 4 (aka Eric's old phone) is dying, and I have to accept it. The screen is cracked, and the back camera and flashlight stopped working… plus, I couldn't actually download Lyft which I needed to get to the LA airport since there is no public transportation. There's another first - I wasted $32 on a ride (only had a $5 off promotion code) to get to an airport! I have NEVER spent that much $$ for that sort of thing, and never will again if I can help it.
Regardless, tomorrow I will have a new iPhone SE that will actually work correctly, work faster, and will allow me to download all sorts of apps and iOS 10 which is apparently coming out next month.
Sad news, indeed.
In happier news, Smee is quite relieved that I am back. He hasn't let me out of his sight for the last two days! We'll see how long this clingy Smee lasts… He also wants me to mention that we raised $400 at Broadway Meows in July. He is very proud of that fact.
Smee and I had our 9th anniversary of his adoption this week, as well. Nine years! He's turning 10 this December, but he claims he doesn't look a day over 6.
Unfortunately, I feel after a decade of ledger writing, I am finally out of puns for these final sections. Incidentally, I had these sections way before I started getting EW magazine, but it's hilarious they have almost the same ones (albeit with books last and a music one, which I don't feel the need to add).
Anyway, here's what I've been reading in the last month since the last ledger:
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - got through this new 2-part play very quickly - I quite enjoyed it, though I think viewing it would be more exciting than reading it.
The Girl on the Train - I spent $5.50 on this book because everyone said it was so good, but it was really kind of banal. I guessed the ending really early, and found the writing kind of mediocre.
Mary - This is Nabokov (Lolita)'s first novel, and it was so good. I have now read 3 of his books, and must make it a point to buy the rest!
Station Eleven - Got recommended this fantastic sci-fi book. It was SO GOOD. This is my top recommendation for people to read! SO GOOD!
I also read a few Fitzgerald short stories on the end of the flight, and just started Lauren's copy of Danny Isn't Talking, which I don't love so far, but will continue with.
I've only seen two movies in the theatre since I last wrote:
Star Trek Beyond - I went with a group opening night at the Imax to the new Star Trek movie, as usual. I'm not quite sure why it was called beyond - beyond what? Regardless, I thought it was the best of the 3 reboot movies, even though I still way prefer all the older stuff. I am very much looking forward to the new Star Trek TV show, even though I have to wait till it's completely aired and then get a free week trial to binge watch it since I refuse to pay for CBS Access. In other Star Trek news, Aaron and I are going to the Intrepid Starfleet Academy Experience on Saturday!
Cafe Society - I quite enjoyed the new Woody Allen movie! I mean I always like them, but this one I thought was in the top of the middle tier.
I forgot one movie I saw on the flight back to Poland (oops) and here are the 3 I watched on Starz in LA:
Run, Fatboy, Run - cute Simon Pegg movie
The 5th Wave - Another dystopian movie, but I liked it enough to buy the whole book series (gotta see what happens since they're not going to make the other 2 movies!)
The Lady in the Van - Maggie Smith is just wonderful, but I found this movie a little on the dull side
Grandma - Lily Tomlin is fantastic. This movie was GREAT. Just GREAT.
Well, it seems in the last email I already talked about summer shows and fall shows. On the Universal Tour, we saw the studio where they are filming The Good Place but I didn't see Kristen Bell or Ted Danson. Still looking forward to it, though!
My newest summer show I liked was Dead of Summer. If you like scary shows, I would recommend this one; it's written by the Once Upon a Time guys.
One more shoutout to UnREAL (best summer show ever!) and Mr. Robot. Also, Halt and Catch Fire and The Strain are back!
I did finally watch Orange Season 4, and thought it was the best season since 1. I still have to watch Stranger Things on Netflix… and also The Night Of on HBO. Add to those House of Cards season 4 and Transparent season 2, and I will at least have caught up on things before fall shows start. So that's my goal for the next few weeks!
Not much theatre in the summer, but I went to:
Broadway Unplugged - I actually arranged the harmony for “Climb Ev'ry Mountain” for the finale of the Town Hall concert this year!
Troilus and Cresida - one of Shakespeare's weirder shows - I liked about a 3rd of it, and I wish they had cut it down from 3 hours...
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater - wonderfully fun concert version of an esoteric off-Broadway musical by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken based on a Kurt Vonnegut novel - really enjoyed this!
Small Mouth Sounds - off-Broadway show with very little dialogue (spoiler alert: I prefer shows with dialogue)
Finally, I am happy to say I am going to see Barbra Streisand get interviewed tomorrow for SiruisXM Radio! (Thanks, Ilene!)
And then there's ten free nights of the Met Opera in HD screening at Lincoln Center including The Merry Widow with Renee Fleming & Kelli O'Hara, and I am very much going to at least half of them.
Alright, that only took 2 hours, so that's probably a record for the shortness of a ledger! I guess if I sent them out monthly, they would be shorter.
Anyway, I hope you had a most wonderful summer, and I wish you all the best for the fall.