In case you didn’t know this about me, I’m majorly into sports. Spectating, not participating. I’m almost a guy when it comes to this subject. I occasionally still guest on Fred Wallin’s sports radio shows, which I used to do on a regular basis. He and I have rarely agreed on anything, except this; neither of us is a fan of Women’s Basketball.
I can’t remember his reasons, but mine are that I just can’t stand to see women sweating that much and banging into each other. My chest hurts just thinking about it.
But I do love to dance and admire those who do it well. Which brings us to the point of this little yarn. The LA Sparks have a cheerleading squad named the Ole Skool Crew, which is made-up of women who are 40+. When I first heard about it, I pictured a bunch of cute little old ladies. Then I realized that 40 is the new 20, so they may be hot older chicks, which I aspire to be one day.
If you’re a female over 40, and can dance, even a little, the try-outs are this Saturday, May 12. You can get the info at their website below. I don’t think there are any pyramids involved, so just bring sneakers and a sense of fun.
I love stories that are connected, especially if I’m living them. So, what follows in this section is one of those, with a couple of reviews along the way.
The other night, I went to an opening of an old school musical from the REPRISE! Series, presented at UCLA. The show is “No Strings,” one of the very few musicals that I’ve never seen, but wanted to my whole life. Growing up in New York, and having both parents be teachers which meant summer travel, I got to see loads of shows with my family. We covered everything, but somehow, only the grown-ups ever got to a production of this one. I knew the music by heart, though, just by how often we played it at home.
I love the music so much to begin with, and this orchestra, led by much-heralded conductor Gerald Sternbach, played it beautifully. It’s actually the first time in my life I wanted to lag behind to hear them some more, instead of being the first one at the after-party.
I’m nuts for fabulous costumes, too, and again, was not disappointed. I didn’t even realize till afterwards that they were designed by Bob Mackie. This series of shows usually doesn’t do that much in terms of staging, due to the short runs, but from what I’ve read about the original Broadway production, this one actually had as many production values as that one, which was a pleasant surprise.
I don’t want to mislead you into thinking that it wasn’t sort-of old-fashioned because it was. But I feel that the story could be of today, too, in some ways.
The only thing I never understood back in the day was why the lead actress was black and everyone else was white. I know that nowadays other ethnicities are cast in what are originally Caucasian roles, and I always wonder if that’s part of the story or just diverse casting. The lead girl here was black, as well, so I guess that’s a subtle part of the story that comes into play near the end, if you can think back to ’60s America.
[Sidebar: I just, by coincidence, did research on Sammy Davis Jr. because I made reference to him in this week’s restaurant review, and found out that inter-racial marriage was banned in thirty-one states until 1967. That’s shameful. At least now I understand the play.]
I just wish that the script would have somehow explained it straight-out because it’s a tad distracting to me to wonder exactly what’s happening. (I’ve never been good at reading between the lines.) But I guess that the first time it was done, everyone knew what was happening with race relations in America.
The leads, Scott Bakula (of “Quantum Leap” fame) and Sophina Brown (from CBS’ “Shark”) were weak, but the supporting cast was much better, most notably Bets Malone and Ruth Williamson. I thought all the way around, though, it was an enjoyable night of entertainment. And now I’m searching for the original soundtrack, though I guess I’d need to then find a turn-table to play it on.
So, here’s the best part: I almost fainted when I saw whom I was sitting next to--Michael Orland, American Idol’s amiable pianist, and one of my stalking victims! I was thrilled; Michael, not so much. We both realized that we saw each other at the “Zorba” opening here, exactly a year ago. How did we know that, you ask?
Because it was the night that the final three were announced, and he knew the results, of course, while I was waiting to watch the recording when I got home, the same scenario as this year. But he’s so fun that last year he asked me who I thought the three would be. And I got them all right!
This time, I was so nervous for Melinda and Blake, that I couldn’t even discuss it. (Just that part because believe me, I chewed his ear off about every other aspect of the series. Not during “No Strings,” of course.) I did get to tell him that if Melinda Doolittle doesn’t win, I’m never going to watch Idol again. She blows everyone out of the water. Actually, I mean every contestant ever, save for Clay Aiken and Fantasia.
But I know there are people out there pulling for Jordin Sparks, who I feel is a very composed and beautiful young lady, and I like her, but can’t quite get the attraction to her singing, which I find kind-of boring. And Mr. X says she has a screechy upper register. But here’s another coincidence. (Besides sitting next to Michael on our year anniversary of my stalking him.) (Don’t laugh, BTW; I did it to Mr. X, too. So much so that he calls me “the stalker who won.”)
At “No Strings,” I was wearing the only necklace that I wear nowadays, which is a silver pendant on a black cord, designed by Kerstin Belk of GabrielXXO. And guess where else it had just been seen? On Jordin on last week’s results show! And, I’m jealous to say, she had on the matching earrings, as well. (If you go to my archives page, I described it in my Golden Globes suites column.) www.gabrielxxo.com
And if that wasn’t coincidence enough, guess with whom I was having lunch the very next day? (For the first time, I might add, that we’d been trying to do for two months.) Kerstin Belk! You see how one thing leads to another?
And now guess in what city she wanted to eat? Beverly Hills, of course. So, off we went to the popular Mako, a new restaurant to me. We had only salads, so I’ll try to do a full review in the future. The owner did send us a Bento Box of desserts, though, and hit every one I like, which is a rarity. www.mako.com
And all this occurred in eighteen hours. Which is just short of how long it’s taking me to write about it! (Good thing I’m not writing about Lent.)
No Strings running through May 20, 2007
Freud Playhouse at UCLA 310-825-2101
And lastly, when Mr. X and I moved in together, our good friend, Eadie, gave us a creative and costly house-warming gift of setting up a lot of plants in the window box in our kitchen. I managed to kill them all within two weeks, without even trying.
So, I admire anyone who can deal successfully with flora. (I’m better in the fauna category.) I’ve heard about the stunning gardens chosen for the Brentwood Garden Tour next week-end, on May 20, and the generous people who so kindly welcome the visitors in.
It’s a self-guided tour, so you don’t have to go at the pace of others, which is a bonus. Several of the homes have guest speakers to answer your questions along the way. (They’ll need to add another day just for mine, which are usually many.) Check out their website for more details. And wear comfortable shoes and tons of sunscreen.