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Thursday, October 14, 2004

The Culture Gods Must Be Angry
I was in New York Friday to Wednesday, but I don’t have much by way of witty urban anecdotes to show for it. I spent a lot of time walking strange (to me) streets and discussing Brooklyn neighborhoods, and I didn’t get to enjoy a single scrap of culture (unless you include two episodes of Desperate Housewives and a very unsatisfactory Law & Order: Special Victims Unit watched on the hotel-room TV—and I don’t).

On Saturday, we returned to the Theater District in just enough time to discover that there was nothing worth spending money on left on the TKTS board. On Tuesday, my last night in the city, the tragedy was even greater. I popped out of the office around 3 and snagged tickets for that night’s performance of I Am My Own Wife—Tony, Pulitzer, only two more weeks in the run—and arrived, after having grabbed a speed-freak dinner, five minutes before curtain up … only to discover that the actor, Jefferson Mays, was unwell. This is one of those tour-de-force one-handers in which the performer moves between character, genders, and so much more at the drop of an eyelid, so you don’t want to see the understudy (apparently, there wasn’t one anyway) or the provincial tour. There was no time to get to anything else, so, determined to see something, I propelled R to the one movie theater I knew of within a five-block radius of where we stood. So intense was the gods’ desire that I remain un-entertained that we were barred from this too: Duran Duran were doing a personal appearance in the Times Square Virgin Megastore and the security was at presidential levels. You couldn’t even look down at the boys from Brum (well, at this point, the old geezers), much less even think about descending the escalator to go to the cinema. (Actually, it was pretty wacky—because of the security, potential customers were shut out of huge sections of the store. Doesn’t seem like very good business practice.)

Ah, but I did get to shake hands with music god Bob Hurwitz of Nonesuch. (See this NYT article, but feel free to skip the first three grafs, which are execrable.) I was all flummoxed like the time someone introduced me to a bullfighter, and that was just a picador—basically a fat guy with a long sharp pole and an armored horse.