Monthly Archives: January 2013

Four More Years

It’s pretty special living in DC during an election and an inauguration. Particularly when a really terrific man is reelected President.

Last night I went downtown with a friend. We walked around a bit before and after seeing a movie. (Argo. Fantastic. Way to go, Ben Affleck.) The streets were buzzing with politicos young and old. Some were in ball gowns, some were bar hopping, all were in total inaugural bliss. (Except for maybe the crazed group of protesters dressed all in black holding two large, obscene signs and screaming their way down 7th Street at 11:30 pm. But I suppose they were in their own kind of inaugural bliss.)

ANYWAY. There were close to a million people here this weekend and while the traffic has never been worse, the celebrations have never been better.

I woke up early this morning, watched Matt Lauer broadcast from Capitol Hill while I drank my coffee, then put on my red lipstick and my warmest clothes and walked down to the National Mall.

It was a mad house. (In the best way possible.) People of every age, race, class, and gender were there to celebrate our President and our country. It was a very unifying, equalizing spirit among an exciting and diverse crowd.

Now I have to take a minute or so and air my only criticism of the day: crowd control. When a million people are expected at an event of this scale, you hope for some semblance of an efficient admission tack. But you are sorely disappointed when you stand for THREE HOURS barely moving as they let SIX PEOPLE in at a time, checking each person’s electronic devices and bags before inviting them one at a time to move through metal detectors. It was a little outrageous. We didn’t make it through the security check-point in time for the speech so we watched it on people’s cell phones and iPads in the crowd. We could hear echoes of Obama and Beyonce and the cheering crowd, so it still felt real, but I was bummed that security was such a nightmare. (However, I stopped feeling sorry for myself after talking to some people next to me who had driven ten hours to get there and had been in line since 6 am.)

After finally being checked and inspected and detected and admitted, I walked through the mall toward the Capitol Building. The city looked so beautiful. All the buildings were decked with flags and signs of support for President Obama. People had donned their pins and hats and all kinds of Obamapparel. It felt big and exciting. I started scouting out a good spot along Pennsylvania Ave for the the parade.

I found a place and stood with a retired elementary school teacher from the Bronx, a mother and her 7-year-old daughter from North Carolina, and a young guy and girl from New Zealand who were in DC for an internship. Everyone was buzzing and a little exhausted, but happy.

When the parade began and they announced President and Mrs. Obama, the crowd went wild. (I posted a video below.) It was sort of surreal watching the motorcade go by. It was a very historical and significant feeling. I was so grateful to be there.

Tonight when I re-watched his speech at home, I felt incredibly proud to be where I am right now. Proud and lucky. And energized and enthusiastic and ready for four more years.

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Inauguration Parade

President Obama making his way down Pennsylvania Avenue.
Inauguration 2013.

Film and the art of articulating an opinion.

It’s awards season and I’ve seen four films in the last month – two about past presidents, one about [almost too] recent history, and one that has sparked the fiercest of Facebooking from musical theatre lovers and haters. When the critics and critiques get right up to the verge of driving me crazy, I step back and realize that that’s exactly what art does. It sparks conversation and curiosity. It makes you think. It makes you ecstatic or infuriated. It forces you to have an opinion. So here are a few of mine. Because it’s my blog. 

Les Miserables was an epic film of an epic musical based on an epic novel. I was nervous to see it for a few reasons: 1) I had read ad nauseum on Facebook how much everyone loved or hated it. 2) Les Mis is so iconic in the musical theatre world that it’s often overdone, easy to make fun of, and ridiculous. 3) I didn’t actually know the story or music terribly well. (I know, for shame!) But despite all my reservations, I was hooked from the first scene and was really very moved. The acting was phenomenal. I will admit to being skeptical about Anne Hathaway. She’s bugged me in everything I’ve seen her in. Until now. “I Dreamed a Dream” was heart wrenching. Hugh Jackman can do no wrong. And yes, please, by all means argue that “Bring Him Home” should use falsetto. True though it may be, I don’t care. I think that singing only has the power to mar a performance if the acting isn’t brilliant. And clearly that was not the case. The Thenardiers were disgusting and amazing, Marius was a dream, and Russell Crowe was just fine. I can’t believe it’s taken this long to make a movie musical with live singing and I hope not a single other is made recorded. This film did the iconic music and the epic story proud.

Hyde Park on Hudson was about the skeazy, weird love life of FDR. Terrific performance by Bill Murray. I think the lessons learned were: historical figures held in high esteem were still just human beings with gross flaws, and early feminism may have looked liked being okay with being one of many mistresses and just keeping your mouth shut about it because you like it. And Eleanor Roosevelt was a bad ass.

Lincoln. Oh, Daniel Day Lewis. Is there any actor better than you? Are you really the same man who gave the milkshake speech in There Will Be Blood? This movie was brilliant and compelling. The history came to life, the politics were fascinating, and seeing it in DC was extra special. Maybe in another 150 years a similar movie will be made about Obama and marriage equality and I’ll be proud to have been on the right side of history.

Zero Dark Thirty was so utterly captivating and terrifying that I absolutely have to see it again, and read every story and article I can find about the real-life operation. It’s sort of surreal to watch a movie about an event that happened so recently, and while it’s not 100% factual, it somehow makes real this world – this CIA intelligence world that I know nothing about. Yet. And the fact that Kathryn Bigelow wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for Best Director discounts the entire category. She is brave and brilliant.

So for whatever it’s worth, there’s my two cents. And that’s a wrap.

Inaugural post.

2013. The year the Mayans never saw coming. The year Barack Obama becomes the first black man to serve a second term as President. The year Nicki and Eric get married. And the year I write more.

Welcome to my new blog.

I have no idea what I’ll write about, but it’ll probably be something like: how grad school is hard, how grad school is fun, cupcake successes and failures, how weirdly consistent it is to get the double-honk/whistle from utility workers in DC, how I want to have a slumber party with Tina Fey and Lena Dunham, how I miss Utah sometimes, awesome theatre that I see, terrible theatre that I see, babes I meet, dorks I meet, how not supporting the arts will ruin us, and probably a lot about food.

I’m excited about this. This feels really exciting. Stay tuned.