Archive for February, 2009|Monthly archive page

jcm’s ’09 World Championships’ Contest

TO PLAY:

worlds_2009_logoPost your predictions for the top 4 medal placements (including the fourth place “pewter” medal), in any or all 4 figure skating divisions in the “Comments” for this posting. If username does not link to your email address, be sure to include your email address as well, so I can contact you should you win (since I moderate all comments, I’ll extract your email address before it’s posted, so it won’t be made public). All participants may post updated votes up until March 20th (Extension: til midnight, March 21st), especially to eliminate any withdrawn skaters, however, this may effect the contest results in the event of a tie (see below.) I will announce withdrawals on the site in the “Comments” for this post, if they emerge.

SCORING:

  • 10 points for correct top 3 placements (gold, silver, & bronze) for 1 division
  • 5 points for 1 correct medal placement (ie: “Jane Doe – silver medal”)
  • 2 points for 1 correct medalist in any top 3 placement (ie: you post “Jane Doe – silver medal”, but Jane wins bronze)
  • 1 point for 1 correct fourth place “pewter” medalist

PRIZES:

amazon_logo_tallThe winner for each division will be awarded a $20 online Amazon.com gift certificate, the week following Worlds. (A total of $80.00 prizes are at stake!)

The small print:

If there are any withdrawals in any division that effect a prediction, your 4th place (“pewter”) vote will automatically move up into bronze position. (This is why the 4th place vote is essential.) If there are 2 withdrawals in any division that also effect your predictions, I will only count the top 2 votes for that division. If there are no withdrawals in a division, the fourth place medalist vote will be used as a tie-breaker, and to add 1 point, if correct (see above.) The earlier post (including any updates) breaks any tie, if all 4 placements are the same in 2 or more submissions.

You can review the top tier contestants in all 4 divisions here:

http://www.isuworlds2009.com/media_comp_topmen.php

http://www.isuworlds2009.com/media_comp_topladies.php

http://www.isuworlds2009.com/media_comp_toppairs.php

http://www.isuworlds2009.com/media_comp_topteams.php

(This contest is not bullet-proof, but since it’s just for fun, hopefully I’ve accounted for all possible scenarios, to allow for ideal fairness.)

Triple-Header Weekend

Although we do more than the average amount of theatre-going, this weekend was surely one of the most chock-full. It included “In the Next Room: The Vibrator Play,” by Sarah Ruhl, at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, “Souvenir,” featuring Judy Kaye, at A.C.T., and “Origin of Love,” by and with John Cameron Mitchell, at the Victoria.

“In the Next Room” showed how that the vibrator was often the prescription for “hysteria” in the early 20th century… for women AND men. Although the premise seems a guaranteed night of laughs, it was a rather tepid performance, and the world premiere script will likely need some tweaking to fine tune the characterizations and dramatic arc.

“Souvenir” is a fantasia on the life of Florence Foster Jenkins. She is up there with Mrs. Miller, when it comes to novelty artists/albums that people have adored for generations. I can specifically remember the first time I heard Flo. I was in a record store in Boston… I ran up to the sales guy and asked: “I must know who this is!” Amusingly, another shopper asked it to be turned down or off. I suppose that is a microcosm of the polarization around F.F.J. You either “get her” and love her, or you don’t.

Take a moment to experienct F.F.J., and even compare her to some of the finest recordings of the same aria (Lakme’s “Bell Song”):

Do you have a preference? Despite F.F.J’s performances sounding like a joke, it is largely believed that she was NOT in on the joke. As portrayed in the play, she likely heard something very different when she sang (as MANY of us do!) To make this point, one of the most beautiful moments in the play is at the very end, when after mimicking F.F.J. thoughout, Judy Kaye takes the stage and sings “Ave Maria” beautifully… as “F.F.J heard it.”

My favorite quote from the show was “singing is like dreaming in public.”

“Origin of Love” was a wonderful opportunity to see and hear JCM’s artistry LIVE, and to “share” the stage with him. I was honored to perform as a backup to Anita Cocktail, the guest host.

JCM performed “Origin of Love”, “My Funny Valentine”, “Midnight Radio”, and “Wicked Little Town”, shared a short story about his travels to Russia, and then offered commentary to his film “Shortbus”, with the help of a few other cast members. It was quite an interesting movie to watch in public. Despite a heavy indisposition earlier in the week, he sounded near 100%. Anita Cocktail performed “Making Love Alone”, a piece done by Bernadette Peters on one of her live albums. And, with her “Lovers” (incl. me), Anita performed “Contact” from Rent, and “Angry Inch” from Hedwig.

It was a very fun evening, although one of the most unorthodox and risque Valentine’s day I’ve shared in.

Backstage at the Victoria: "Origin of Love"

Backstage at the Victoria: "Origin of Love"

Take me!

The Countdown to Worlds, part VI

I am very excited to be descending upon L.A. in March with CJ and a duo of friends to experience the World Championships LIVE! Two of us will be staying at the Magic Castle hotel in Hollywood, which unfortunately appears to be neither magic, nor a castle… but, rather a name to lure in droves of tourist families. I had been daydreaming about making it to the Vancouver Olympics, but the pieces didn’t fall into place, so the Worlds is the perfect runner-up event. The sounds of the recent Grammys may still be echoing in Staples Arena when we arrive (pause for a moment of adoration for J-Hud and Adele.) Although, the stars this time will be of a different sort.

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DID YOU KNOW?

• With the exception of an Olympic medal, a World title is the highest honor in figure skating.

• The magical number “13” determines how many skaters in a given discipline will be sent to the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games! Based on the outcome of medal finishes and final placements, if they add up to 13 or less, then three skaters can be sent to compete in that division. [Example: A silver medal (2); a fourth place finish (4) and a seventh place finish (7) = 13).] If they don’t, then a country can only send 2 skaters in a discipline.

Skating fans are quite worried about the ladies’ competition in this regard. It would be the first time in at least a decade that the US would only have two spots at the Olympics for ladies, if we don’t have a good showing. And, although very talented, Czisny is inconsistent, and Flatt is still green and a bit uninspired. If only we could “WONDER-TWIN-POWER!!!… Form of ladies’ champion… artistic, inspiring, AND consistent!” The pair’s division also only has two spots at Worlds, but this is much more common for the U.S. team.

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Check out the TOP MALE CONTENDERS: http://www.isuworlds2009.com/media_comp_topmen.php

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U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONS:

The U.S. Team we’ll be enjoying in L.A. is comprised of:

Ladies Division: Alissa Czisny (Bowling Green, OH), Rachael Flatt (Del Mar, CA)

Dance Division: Meryl Davis/Charlie White (West Bloomfield, MI/Bloomfield, MI), Emily Samuelson/Evan Bates (Novi, MI/Ann Arbor, MI), and Tanith Belbin/Ben Agosto (Kirkland, QC/Chicago, IL)

Mens Division: Jeremy Abbott (Aspen, CO), Evan Lysacek (Los Angeles, CA), Brandon Mroz (St. Louis, MO)

Pairs Division: Caydee Denney/Jeremy Barrett (Wesley Chapel, FL/Venice, FL), Keauna McLaughlin/Rockne Brubaker (Los Angeles, CA/Algonquin, IL)

Welcome to “jcm”!

“A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”

— Sir Winston Churchill

Sound familiar? It’s no secret that I love to muse on my greatest loves: the classical performing arts, figure skating, and THE great American city: San Francisco. Not to mention spirituality, theatre, and the visual arts. So, I’ve created a forum here where I look forward to sharing impassioned posts, reviews, and stories, accompanied by must-see video, audio, interactive polls, and more.

little_man1

The name was inspired by my frenzied reaction to well deserving performances, and this state of the “Little Man”, which is the icon/illustration for the San Francisco Chronicle’s rating system.

I hope I’ll provide you with a discovery, a laugh, or perhaps inspire curiosity in something new. I look forward to hearing from you as well, and invite your comments.

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