I am definitely not a city person. It's just not for me. You can talk to me about "culture" until you expel the last of the smog-tainted air from your lungs, and I may even agree to a point, but my rebuttal to you is that they should move that shit somewhere else.
Suppose someone told you that their dog just swallowed a handful of two-carat diamonds, and if you get them back you can keep them. You just resign yourself to the fact that (a) you're going to be up to your elbows in crap sometime in the next couple of days, and (b) it'll be totally worth it. New York City is sort of like that for me. I dig the idea of museums and art galleries and the theaters, but there is no way I could live there. I think if I had to listen to that noise and deal with the people and smell those horrible, disgusting smells for more than a day or two I would climb to the top of some building (no doubt garishly lit with scrolling LEDs) and jump to my blinking, wildly illuminated death.
There is one good thing about going to NYC in the winter and here it is: Frozen garbage juice doesn't smell. Neither does frozen urine when it comes down to it. In contrast, I've been there in July when it rained, and the reconstituted garbage juice stench was enough to make me gag.
Our friends were taking us to see American Idiot, so we took the train down and they met us at Penn Station. They are much more familiar with the city than we are, which is a good thing. We grabbed lunch, and stopped at B&H Photo for a bit, mostly just because it was bitterly cold out and we needed to duck in somewhere to thaw out, but it was a huge place and pretty cool inside.
I do have a question for all you city-folk, though. WTF is up with all the loogies on the sidewalk? Who spits on the sidewalk? I haven't seen that much mucus since I had the flu. I was constantly dodging small piles of slimy green stuff. I looked like Fred Astaire, and I seriously wanted to burn my boots. At least the loogies were frozen. Every time I inadvertently stepped on one, I kept telling myself that. It didn't really help.
The show itself was interesting. I walked in not at all knowing what to expect. I think a lot of other people didn't know what to expect either, since there were quite a few young kids in the audience. For instance, I don't think the mother of the two pre-teen girls sitting next to us was really prepared for the rampant heroin use. I'm betting she was probably not too pleased with the four-minute simulated hump-fest on the dirty mattress either, but as the saying goes, when you're in for a penny, you're in for a simulated pound.
The music was great and some of the performers had awesome voices. The reason we wanted to go when we did is because the lead singer of Green Day, Billie Joe Armstrong, was playing the part of St. Jimmy for a limited number of dates. Of course, he sang the shit out of his own songs.
The building was ridiculously old, and the seats were ridiculously small. When I say small, I mean small even for me, and I weigh about 145 lbs soaking wet. Have you ever sat in one of those student desks from grade school? That's what this was like. If you were over 5' 11" and weighed more than 200 lbs, you were going to be watching this show standing up. Either that, or after ten minutes of sitting, you'd never stand up again.
It was cool to hear all the tunes in the context of a "play" but from what I could see, it was a pretty loose interpretation of anything that involved an actual plot. Maybe that's normal for a stage musical, I don't know. I'm still not really sure what the hell it was that I watched, or what it was supposed to mean. Basically, the premise seemed to be that a group of fucked-up friends take vastly different paths in life but eventually manage to not die and end up, if not exactly normal, at least relatively ok. Of course, it could be I'm missing something, since I'm new at this. I've had the CD for a while, and I've listened to it on and off since it came out, but I've never really noticed an over-arching theme or anything.
At any rate, it was an interesting experience, and I'm glad I went. I really enjoyed it. The company was great and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. After the show we had some time to kill before dinner, so we sat at a bar overlooking times square and had a few drinks. I had a giant grey goose martini, and it was glorious.
Where else could a self-proclaimed anti-establishment punk have a show on Broadway? You don't see that sort of thing every day. And this?
A giant "Catch VD" advertisement right next to a high definition Disney screen. Turns out it's for Vampire Diaries, but still, a great juxtaposition.
The train ride home? Sucked. It had to be 95 degrees in the train, which I guess is better than it being too cold, but it was like a sauna. I fell asleep and only woke up when I noticed that the train was no longer moving. At first I thought, "Oh, no big deal, we're letting people on or off," but then after waking up a second time to the same sense of non-motion, I figured something was up. Turns out it was so cold out that the air brakes on the train froze. So we were stranded while they tried to thaw them out, and there really wasn't much I could bitch about, because while I wanted the train to reach Albany as soon as possible, I also wanted it to stop in Albany.
We were only about 20 miles out but it might as well have been 200. Finally, they did something that I am pretty sure involved a mob of villagers with torches and the brakes were free. We started moving, but only at about 30 miles per hour, just in case the brakes decided to freeze open instead of closed. About a half hour later, we limped into Albany and probably coasted to a stop.
At least our car started when we got to the station. An hour later, we were home. The next day, all the trains were canceled, so our luck wasn't too bad, considering.
So yeah. I saw a Broadway show. Yay, me. Any other suggestions on what I should see down there? I'm all ears.