- Landline by Rainbow Rowell ~ Grateful that darling Melissa sent me this but I was honestly disappointed in the book. I still love RR and believe in her as an outstanding writer and human. This one just wasn’t for me.
- The Snow Queen by Michael Cunningham ~ Will anything ever be as good as The Hours? Probably not. But this was mighty beautiful even though not much happens. It is so gorgeously written that I didn’t care.
- How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying by Carol Leifer, The Vacationers by Emma Straub, Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty by Diane Keaton, Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour ~ All decent airplane reads, none life-changing.
- The Internship ~ I thought this was kind of hilarious, but I watched it on a plane, when things are always way funnier or way sadder, so it’s probably not a valid assessment.
- Playing House ~ The obsession continues. I also went back and watched every episode of Best Friends Forever, also created by and starring Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham; sadly, there are only six episodes. Thank God for these two women. They just make me happy. I can see myself going back to watch these shows over and over. If Playing House is not renewed, all is dross.
- This is currently my favorite song.
Favorite things on Internet:
- Ramin Karimloo’s final vlog for Broadway.com. Worth watching if only for his adorable children at the end and his nice Avetts cover.
- Richard Lawson’s post about Cannes.
- Every single thing on the Internet dealing with Playing House, basically, especially the blooper reels.
Best Awards Show:
- During my final round of chemo, my dear friend/neighbor was sitting with me and declared we needed to plan something big and fun for when this was all said and done. Apparently I said, “Let’s go to the Tony Awards.” I have no memory of this as chemo days are basically lost to me thanks to Ativan + IV Benadryl, but she booked our plane tickets and when Tony tickets went on sale she bought those, and so she & my sister & I put on fancy dresses and up and went to the Tony Awards like it was a totally normal thing to do. The day before the Tony’s, I was in Brooklyn with Molly, who told me she wished I could meet her friend Emilie’s friend Elizabeth. And when I got to my seat, who was in the seat next to mine but this very person. That was just one tiny part of what made this night so crazy and unreal. And I also got to meet lovely Emilie in person for the first time. Also – Hugh Jackman hosting. Alan Cumming performing as the emcee! Performances by Sutton and Idina. Carole King joining in the Beautiful performance. Too much. Anyway, the whole thing was surreal and dreamy and wonderfully fun and it still feels impossible that it happened.
Best Food Eaten:
This bowl of goodness at the bar of Totto Ramen, where the noodles and cooks are serious business.
And God’s perfect sandwich at good old Grey Dog’s Coffee, which S. introduced me to a million years ago and still tastes exactly the same.
- Beautiful — Saw this Tony weekend, and while it wasn’t a perfect show, the music was great and Jessie Mueller was FANTASTIC, and in the opening line and chords of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” the whole audience held its breath and the tears started to flow. “Tonight you’re mine, completely…” Ridiculous. So beautiful.
- Hedwig & the Angry Inch ~ Seeing this with NPH was one of my New Year’s resolutions. I fell in love with the movie/music in 2002 and it’s been in my heart ever since. (This is a good oral history.) It was spectacular and thrilling to see it live onstage in ways I cannot explain, and Neil Patrick Harris was perfect. I knew he would be, but he is such a master thespian and was so strong vocally and embodied the bravery and heartbreak of this character so profoundly, from his high heel boots to the tips of his eyelashes, and it was just magical on every conceivable level. “With all the changes you’ve been through, it seems the stranger’s always you.” Devastating! It felt like a dream coming true.
- tick, tick … boom! ~ Much like Hedwig, I have loved this show for more than a decade but had never seen it onstage. When I read that it was being staged for Encores in a four-night run, I knew I had to be there, so I trekked back to New York at the end of the month to meet up with my beautiful friend Anne to see it. The best parts were seeing Jonathan Groff, possibly my most exciting celebrity spotting of all time, sitting right in front of Tommy Kail and Andy Blankenbuehler (director and choreographer of In the Heights, both major celebs and rock stars in my eyes), and being there with Anne. The show was wonderful and what my beloved Lin-Manuel Miranda may lack in the singing voice of someone like Raul Esparza (who played Jonathan originally) he makes up for in overall genius and heart. Read this. I will love this show and obviously beautiful Anne forever.
Walking through Central Park with my sister at the beginning of June and through miles of Ikea with her at the end of the June. Walking all over Manhattan with my friend/neighbor, looking up and thinking about Nora Ephron. Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and turning around and seeing lower Manhattan from a whole new perspective. Walking through Molly’s neighborhood with her and through the Brooklyn Flea and eating fancy hot dogs and buying this ring (much cheaper at the Flea than on this website, score) for myself.
Flowers, Plants, and Trees:
Central Park is a very green and very beautiful place.
My sister and I went to visit the Bethesda Fountain and read the end of Angels in America: Perestroika, which I read over and over through the winter, and it was basically tears and sunshine and love and life. And then we sat on a bench and ate popsicles.
This is my favorite place in New York City. No, in the whole universe. The parts of it I have seen … This angel. She’s my favorite angel. I like them best when they’re statuary. They commemorate death but they suggest a world without dying. They are made of the heaviest things on earth, stone and iron, they weigh tons but they’re winged, they are engines and instruments of flight …
The fountain’s not flowing now, they turn it off in the winter, ice in the pipes. But in the summer it’s a sight to see. I want to be around to see it. I plan to be. I hope to be.
This disease will be the end of many of us, but not nearly all, and the dead will be commemorated and will struggle on with the living, and we are not going away. We won’t die secret deaths anymore. The world only spins forward. We will be citizens. The time has come.
You are fabulous creatures, each and every one.
And I bless you: More Life.
The Great Work Begins.
A story for another day:
June was a banner month in so many ways and some of the highlights are posted here to help me remember. What will have to wait for another day is the story of what was ultimately the most important thing to happen in June and probably all year, the week I spent whitewater kayaking in Oregon with First Descents. I don’t have the words yet but will hopefully find them soon.
Lyrics of the month:
I have often asked myself the reason for sadness
In a world where tears are just a lullaby
If there’s any answer, maybe love can end the madness
Maybe not, oh, but we can only try
You’ve got to get up every morning with a smile on your face
And show the world all the love in your heart
Then people gonna treat you better
You’re gonna find, yes, you will
That you’re beautiful as you feel
–Carole King, Beautiful