Oh my God, you guys!

I have noticed something about myself: I seem to get the most done when I have a lot going on. Like, for instance, this weekend. I told J (when I sent her my revisions and the MB prologue!) that I would be finishing MB this week in California, because I figured, what with my sister finishing up film camp and having to entertain her that I wouldn’t have time to do it. WRONG. This weekend was chock full of activity, and yet here I am, about five pages from the end of the novel. When I left off last night, I was two pages into the epilogue. I will most likely finish in the Washington-Dulles airport during my TWO AND A HALF HOUR LAYOVER tomorrow.

Anyway, my sister had never been to a Broadway show (having never been to New York before this summer), so we went to the TKTS booth in Times Square yesterday. I timed it perfectly, actually. We got there at a quarter to two, got some Starbucks, and we were very close to the front of the line so when they opened up the booth at three (…fifteen, annoyingly), we got right in and bought tickets to Legally Blonde. I LOVE the movie, and I’d heard pretty good things about the show, but I could never really get anyone to go with me. My sister was game, and didn’t really have a preference since her favorite musical, Little Shop of Horrors, isn’t playing on Broadway.

I have to say, I was so pleasantly surprised. It was really cute! Very much in the spirit of the show, and that song, “Oh My God, You Guys!” is so, SO catchy it is now permanently burned in my brain. If possible, the romance between Elle and Emmett is cuter, because they have this whole thing where (probably to keep him on stage more) they give him a little bit of back story (he raised himself up from poverty and paid his way through Harvard law and thinks that Elle’s problems are kind of silly in comparison and tries to tell her that, hey, if you want people to take you seriously you have to be serious and make sacrifices) and more motive. So they spend a lot of time together and become really good friends. Not that the movie doesn’t do an excellent job with that relationship, too, they just do it differently, but I really liked it. The girl who played Elle was the girl who won that MTV show that I didn’t even know existed, the one where they do a search for the new Elle? I’m happy to say that she was really, really good! And the girl who played Brooke Wyndam looked like Amy Poehler, at least from where I was sitting. Anyway. If you’re coming to New York anytime soon, I highly recommend it. Just try not to sit directly in front of the chattiest, most annoying pre-teens in existence, one of whom has your same name, which they will say over and over again until words lose all meaning. TRUST.

Also, on the book front, I’m reading Robin Benway’s Audrey, Wait!, which I must confess I just love. It’s weird because one of the main characters in AUT is named Audrey (look at me, casually dropping facts about the book; I hope this doesn’t come back to bite me later) and she is just a way different girl in way different circumstances than Audrey, Wait!‘s Audrey Cuttler and at first it was weird for me to read this word, “Audrey”, that I’d been writing and reading for three years in various incarnations of AUT and have it refer to someone completely different. And even though I love my own Audrey, I have to say that Robin Benway’s Audrey rocks, too (literally, she’s a big music fan). And, despite the fact that it’s sort of a hot mess right now, what with the paparazzi and fans and the evil popuwhore who’s trying to steal her mens and ruin her life, I’d much rather have Audrey Cuttler’s life than my Audrey’s life, insofar as my book is much darker and my Audrey’s existence is more dangerous and I’m incredibly risk averse. Although, I’m also attention-averse, so who really knows? It’s a toss up. Anyway. Not that everybody doesn’t already know that Audrey, Wait! is an incredibly cool book, but I’m just here to say for the record that it is.

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My Brooklyn weekend

Wow! This was the most inconvenient weekend of my life! The MTA has seriously jumped up to #1 on my Enemies list after the last three days of subway hell. And, ironically, this was the weekend where I had to be in Brooklyn like the whole time. Not that the people who read this blog read it to hear me whine ad nauseum about the New York public transit system, but bear with me, I promise it won’t happen again (for a while).

So, here’s the thing about the subways here. During the week, they run with regularity; trains get a little spotty at night on some lines, but all in all the system is pretty reliable and it runs 24 hours to all but four stations. Sounds pretty good, right? Okay, but on the weekends, everything goes absolutely berserk. And I know this. I’m prepared for it. I expect to get on a 1 train and hear a garbled announcement informing me that it will be going express for four stops or skipping every other station or waiting for five minutes while another train passes. I’ve gotten used to it. But THIS WEEKEND? It was like the entire subway system had spontaneously combusted.

So, Friday was the only day this weekend that I didn’t spend in Brooklyn. My phone was dying, so it was pretty tough to get in touch with people and I didn’t know exactly where I was going, but I ended up at Cooper 35, an Asian pub in the East Village where I had four dollar bay breezes with Katie and Nikki and their work friend Vivian. Later, we went to Phebe’s, a bar near there, and then after that Cambria and I wandered over to the Washington Square area and had chicken strips and French fries before heading home. We also met this guy in a band who asked us to stand outside and watch his stuff while he brought out the rest of his drums or whatever. It was odd.

Saturday, my friend Brigitte and the rest of her friends from Minneapolis came into town and we met up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the Courbet exhibit, which was pretty stupendous I must say. You know what wasn’t stupendous? Forgetting my phone at home and then going home after the museum to get it only to find the 79th and 86th St. subway stations closed. I was not going to walk another 10 blocks to 96th St., so I got on the very crowded and very slow M104 bus. I got home right about the time I was supposed to be at dinner. IN BROOKLYN. So of course I just called and said it would take me forever, but due to the aforementioned MTA meltdown my friends were having a hard time getting around, too, and everyone was late. We ended up going to a very tony restaurant in Williamsburg called My Moon. The bread was good, but I only had a side dish of asparagus because nothing on the menu looked appealing and I was trying to conserve cash. The asparagus was good. Afterwards, we walked to Monkey Town, a restaurant/bar in Williamsburg, for a City Breathing concert. The place was really odd and hard to find. Once we got inside, there was all sorts of goofy shit hanging from the ceiling–I think it was supposed to look sort of jungly–and there was a restaurant and a bar, but it was pretty small. The back room where the concert was was really interesting. It was a square room with huge screens on each wall and against each wall was a couch that spanned the length of the wall and really low tables. The band set up and played in the center. We were sort of squished on the couches despite having made reservations, but it was really the perfect setting for the music; we just sort of leaned back and closed our eyes and let the music wash over us, every once and a while looking at the video projections that were accompanying the playing. City Breathing is simply amazing; go on their MySpace and download their album, then if you’re in the area come to Brooklyn any Wednesday in May at Bar Matchless in Greenpoint.

On Sunday I was supposed to go to brunch at Bubby’s in DUMBO with the MN crew, but I declined via text message as I knew that I would have to get up really early to get there by 11:00, what with me living on the Upper West Side and brunch being in Brooklyn, which is a slog anyway when the subways aren’t on crack. I had gotten home from the show at about 3:00 AM, also. So I slept until noon and then headed down to the Times Square area for the matinee of Spring Awakening, which was amazing. About half of us didn’t read that little bit in the Playbill where it tells you where and when the play takes place, so we were like, “Why are they all German? And what is this, 1894? What’s with the dumpy FLDS-type garb?” Turns out, it was set in a German provincial town in the 1890s! Apparently, the musical (with music by Duncan Sheik, remember him?) is a slight adaptation of a nineteenth century play by German writer Frank Wedekind; back in ol’ Frankie’s day, Spring Awakening, which deals with teenage sexuality and criticizes bourgeois attitudes towards sex, the play was banned a lot. I don’t know how Wedekind would feel about bringing the play into the twenty-first century by adding dancing and musical numbers with such titles as “You’re Fucked”, but I suppose he’d probably be on board. Anyway, although I really loved it, I left with sort of a creepy feeling that I haven’t been quite able to shake. I think it was the fact that, though the play took place in late nineteenth century Germany, the music and a lot of the staging is so contemporary that it sort of threw me off. Also, the play’s ability to create humorous scenes that, over time, take on greater significance and become fairly horrific is pretty unnerving. Awesome, but unnerving. Also, side note, the nudity’s not that bad but there are some brief explicit sex acts so probs you shouldn’t bring your kids.

After a quick jaunt back to my apartment to put on some pants (spring, come back, where have you gone?!), I hopped back on the effed up subway to go BACK TO BROOKLYN IF YOU CAN BELIEVE IT. We went all the way to Midwood (what? yes, that’s what I said too)–that’s the Avenue J stop on the Q, if you’re a New Yorker, although you still might not know where that is, I certainly didn’t–to eat pizza at Di Fara’s. Now, this was supposedly the Best Pizza In New York–they had lots and lots of articles on the wall to prove it, and a plaque from…somebody who gives out awards for good pizza, I don’t know. And the pizza, when we finally got it, was completely delicious. BUT! I got there at 8:00 and I believe we waited until 10:30-ish to eat, a lot of that outside in the cold. Said Brigitte, “Of course it’s the best pizza in New York! By the time you get it, you’re starving!” Also, apparently the bathroom (which you can only get to by crawling under the counter and going in the back) was so disgusting (“Filthiest bathroom I have ever been in,” according to Amy) that everyone who used it practically bathed in Purel after. However, necessity being the mother of invention, the group composed a collaborative pizza poem while waiting, which was then performed various times aloud. Good times!

It was so late by the time we finished eating that we all decided to go home, which sounds lame, but the New York people had work the next day (today!) and the MN people still aren’t quite over their exhaustion from flying out of Minneapolis so GD early on Saturday morning. Boo, jet lag. Anyway, it was a very packed weekend full of Brooklyn, and though I’ll miss Brigitte and the rest of the crew I won’t mind spending next weekend getting a little more sleep and getting a lot less accomplished.

P.S. I’m really struggling to like Brooklyn (my best friend is moving there in less than two weeks and I’m not super excited about it because it’s really effing far from where I live), so if anybody has any reasons for me to like it (“hipster culture” is NOT a good reason) or places in Williamsburg that we might like to experience/explore (again, I’m cautioning against anything that smacks of hipsters), please feel free to leave suggestions in the comments or email me. Yay for Brooklyn?