Wednesday, June 11, 2014

tony tonē tonë

On Monday night, a friend of mine posted a link to a Tony Awards red carpet round-up on my Facebook wall, with the following note:

Just in case you don't have plans for Wednesday's post. I know you're not a deejay. I know you don't take requests. You're an artist. 100%. But if you happen to be inspired ...
First of all, MY GOD, YES. Yes, I am an artist. An artist, do you understand? The muse has to speak to me organically, or I cannot and will not work. I'm a thoroughbred! I'm an artist and a horse now, which is even more special. How many horses do you know who are artists? None. None of them. I'm the only one. And I've never done a red carpet post about the Tonys before, because of formless reasons pertaining to art, the art in my brain. But because I'm an artist, I'm going to adjust my beret and turn those formless art reasons into words you can read with your eyes, because I'm also a craftsman. Craftshorse. 

Why I Don't Post About the Tonys: Une Histoire

Long ago, in the year 1975, a child in Port Chester, New York was cast in a play. The play was The King and Queen Can't Speak and the child was given the role of the Queen Mother. The child was only six, and yet already her teacher appreciated her range and gravitas, casting her not in one of the two leads, but in the much more difficult, complex, interesting and sure, okay, smaller dowager role. The child—all right, I admit it, I was the child. I was that child! {{{flourish/bow}}}—had one line.

Queen Mother:  Somebody! Quick! Fetch a doctor! The King and Queen can't speak! 


If the Queen Mother didn't alert the...servants...people...other people, whoever they were...the king and queen might have never spoken again, and the country would have fallen into confusion and disarray. People would have probably died from the disarray, if you think about it, but not too hard. So the line, of course, had to be imbued with the urgency of this knowledge. But then layer this in; this was the Queen Mother talking, so the king or queen was the Queen Mother's child, one of them, whichever one! Can you imagine how worried she must have been? Why couldn't they speak? Was it a pair of tumors? Were they even alive, her child and the...other spousal monarch? Could it not be argued that one is not truly alive without the power of speech? I'm giving you a lot to think about. Yes. Yes. Art. Anyway, the Queen Mother had to battle back her fierce maternal emotions and take charge and save the country. And so I did. I did that. Because of me, the king and queen received the necessary medical treatment and order was restored throughout the land.

I did it for love, by the way. I received no awards for my work in that play, but years later in college, I returned to acting and majored in theatre. My college debut was in Cyrano de Bergerac, where I did a memorable, chameleonic turn as both the "orange girl" and the "third nun". Eventually I clawed my way up to leading roles, where yes, yes, I was finally rewarded for my work. Spring Drama Banquet, 1991. Best Actress. Best. Actress. My name was engraved on a silver bracelet which I kept like my very own Oscar/Tony for years. 

I went on. For a good fifteen years after college, theatre was my thing. I poured my heart into it, truly, and had a great old time doing plays with my extended theatre family here in Seattle. I loved that time of my life, and even though I rarely act any more, I'm forever bonded to the community. The tone has switched here, as you can tell. I've gone sincere and sentimental. Theatre's like that. Spend any length of time doing it and you will get all I trod the boards once upon a time, you know. But that's not my main gig any more. I perform my own writing here and there now, but I don't do plays. It's been years since I did a straight-up play. And so there's a tender, slightly bittersweet, old-boyfriend vibe for me with the theater. I didn't break up with it because I hated it. I just fell in love and got married and had kids and it got hard to keep going, so I eased into writing because I could do it right in my house in my off-hours. And then I fell in love with writing, and we're together now, it's my main squeeze and I'm happy.

The problem is, THEATRE HAS JUST KEPT GOING WITHOUT ME. It's fine, you guys. It doesn't miss me. Some nerve. And the Tonys, which, right, what were we talking about? Am I supposed to swing it back to that? Fine, fine. I'll just show you a couple more adorable and fascinating birth marks and then I'll...okay, NOW, fine. 

Unlike the Oscars and the Golden Globes, I don't always watch the Tonys, and that's because they're giving out awards for a bunch of things I have not seen, seeing as how I don't live in NYC and have a squillion dollars to spare. I'd love to fly to New York and see every old thing, but I can't, and the Tonys remind me I can't, so I feel poor and far away and grumpy. And awards shows—as much as I love them—are famous for being boring as fuck, and that's doubly the case if you don't know who half the people are and triply the case if you're not a musical theatre nut and it's the Tonys on deck. 

And clothing-wise, I feel like it's not quite as sporting to dish about the Tonys. The people coming down the carpet, as famous as some of them may be, are not generally movie stars. They're theatre actors, so being red-carpet-ready is not the same kind of job it is for the movie crowd. Theatre in general, god bless it, is not as lookscentric as film, and I like to protect the semi-sanctity of that. 

But, hey, what the heck. I watched most of the Tonys this year and I wasn't bored at all, even if that's because I was playing Bubble Shooter on my iPad the bulk of the time. I saw Alan Cummings get all raunchy and charming in his Cabaret bit, and Neil Patrick Harris kick out the jams in his Hedwig number, and I saw Audra McDonald cry a bunch when she won her sixth Tony or something, by which point you'd think you'd be taking a win a little bit in stride, but hey. My point is that I feel qualified to make a few remarks, as my TV was legit turned to CBS while this was all going down. 

So: five minutes to places, people. (Thank you, five*!) 

Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick.


*those are theatre references, for  a t m o s p h e r e

:) :(  d r a m a  m a s k s 

Idina Menzel is one of the most Tony-awards-est people I can think of, so we'll start with her. And listen, let me tell you right now, some of these people I won't know on account of the aforementioned not-NY-living, no-$1,000,000-for-traveling-n-theatre-seeing. And so I'm not going to be Googling all of the ones I don't know and finding out names. Maybe that's wrong, but it's real, you know? As in "keepin' it". 

Look, it's not Idina Menzel's fault that my cousin gave us her leftover curtains that look exactly like the fabric of this dress, but it happened and I can't make it not have happened and I also can't see anything else when I look at this dress.  But I went this whole two paragraphs and didn't call her A**** D*****, so that has to be worth somethiOH SHIT I CAN'T DO IT ADELE DAZEEM ADELE DAZEEM ADELE DAZEEM 

Idina MenCAN'T SHE JUST CHANGE HER NAME NOW ADELE DAZEEM IS SO MUCH MORE FUNzel is what they call a "triple threat" in the theatre; she acts, she dances, she sings. What you never hear about is a "double threat" or just a "threat", and I think that's too bad. I just think if even one of those things is a threat, then we should be giving props/cowering more widely. Although, I guess if somebody sings really well but can't act or dance, that's not—you know what? I'll continue this line of thought in my diary.

If The Coneheads were The Munsters, Rupaul would be the Marilyn Munster of the family. He's a Conehead, sure, but just a little one, and he's so pretty. 

Vera Farmiga is killing it, as I would somehow expect. It's so pleasing when an actor dresses like the thing you appreciate most about them. She's so intelligent and such a cool customer, and this dress agrees/puts an exclamation point on it. 

You don't need to see the rest of Kate Mara's deal here. Spoiler: it's a minidress. Obviously that's unimportant. What is important is that she and her shoulders just signed with the Seahawks in a hush-hush deal. Every now and then, Kate Mara will show up on the field (((poof))) just like this, standing there in front of an offensive player from the other team. She'll look at him with this exact face, in this dress, all "What?", all "Try it!", all "You're stymied, aren't you? I'm a girl," and then "Go Hawks!" and (((poof))) she'll disappear. See you at the Super Bowl again, suckers! 

I'm so happy for Emmy Rossum, if this is Emmy Rossum. Silky-milky-silver...what's the liquid that the elves gave Frodo in that little stay-well kit? It's that. What Frodo didn't know is that if he needed to go to an awards ceremony on the way to Mordor, he could have turned the bottle upside down and this would have slipped out. You elves think of everything! I wish I could buy elf energy bars, real ones, at the store. I bet they'd be so good.

The reason I've popped Tyne Daly on here is to illustrate why it never seemed right to do a red carpet post about the Tonys. Not that she looks any way but exactly how she should—she looks perfectly delightful—but this is a human mortal woman having a deluxe evening, and I don't think I oughta crouch in the bushes and examine her threads. (I'd just like to say that I recognize that everybody at the Oscars and Golden Globes will die one day.)

On the other hand, Ben Vereen! Ben Vereen will illustrate for the defense! Ben Vereen demands to be seen and spoken of. He might as well have come over to my house and lifted me out of my bed and handed me my laptop himself. Ben! God bless the new President of the Federation of the United Battlestars of Galactica. We're looking at interplanetary space dignitary wear at its finest, but for the orange-soled...I'm gonna say sneaks. What can we glean about Ben Vereen from this outfit? We glean that Vereen doesn't ask himself a whole lot of questions on his way out the door. He's gonna be a real shoot-from-the-hip-type space prez.

I do believe this lady's name is simply Orfeh. She's ready for us, ready for all our questions, as you can see. She's getting on the good foot, out in front of this Orfeh thing. What of it? Yes. I am Orfeh. I am Orfeh! I have no idea what she does, but I'm sure she smacks the shit out of it, whatever it is. 

We had to look at Krystal Joy Brown from two angles to catch all the goodness. If somebody else hadn't run up to her dress and put little kisses on it, I would have. The lip prints scattered on the fabric charm the sunglasses off me. They're so wrong and right. And that long side braid is the dreamiest. All you have to do to hypnotize me is to give yourself a braid like that. It's just that easy. You could be coming at me with some shitty old subpoena and if you had a braid like that I'd feel like you were handing me an ice cream cone. Fank you! 

I say yes to Audra McDonald's giant, stylized floral print. She really did blub away up there when she won, though. She and I have the same birthday. We're Cancers. That is the shittiest name in the Zodiac. Thanks, Zeus. Back in the day, my friends and I used to buy those little rolled-up horoscopes in plastic tubes they used to sell next to cash registers everywhere, and once the little tube called us Cancer women "wobbly moon-maidens". Shut up, tube. But she's seriously won this shit six times or something. They said that while I was playing Bubble Shooter. So, I don't know. That's pretty wobbly. I myself haven't cried in, like, four hours.

Thank you sincerely for the exciting tie-scarf-anemone, man I do not know and can't get off my bum to Google, even though I could stay on my bum to do that since we don't keep our Google over by the fridge or anything.

I just signed over all my belongings to Gladys Goddamn Knight and this gold leather jacket. Ugh, I love it and her so much I'm kicking everything in sight! Ugh! Tip over, table! You're next, wall! Unnh! 

Anna Gunn does look pretty fantastic in an Aphrodite-meets-Lady-Bird-Johnson kind of way, but after Gladys Knight, this is just Lesser Gold. 

Ethan Hawke, what in the world are you Zoolandering about?  Are you doing a catalog shoot right there?  

Maggie Gyllenhaal's the sexiest little goose ever, but this hem. As my friend Beth used to say in college when she held up/pointed to an oddity in somebody's room, "Explanation, possibly an apology?" 

Judith Light has for 100% certain taken advantage of the wonders of modern surgery, but her doctor's good and this Blondie vibe is pretty foxotronic. The angle of her foot is giving me pain in my phantom leg, however.

Fantasia Barrino, forgive me, but that ass is heaven. I can't take it. I would never stop spanking myself if I had that ass. I would make strangers spank it and bounce quarters off it all day wherever I went. And this sea-turquoise-aqua-mint-teal what the hell do you call this color is taking me on my honeymoon. 

This cool-looking lady in an oddly-shaped dress continues on beneath the red carpet, I assume.

If you ran into the room I was in and suddenly held up this dress with no context, not mentioning theater or the Tonys or anything—and I'd never seen it before—I'd yell "Fran Drescher!" before you could even think to yourself, "I hope she guesses Fran Drescher." If we were playing Pictonary with an orange crayon, and you drew anything at all, I'd yell "Fran Drescher". Basically, if we ever play Pictonary, or any other game ever, I will always guess Fran Drescher first because of this picture and we will dominate. Don't stop to think about that too much. Just be excited.

When people ask how I died, and someday they will, you can tell them I slowly died of Cicely Tyson. Tell them it was a good death. Tell them Vishnu incarnated as Carl Sagan, squashed up Maleficent and Glinda the Good Witch, folded them up in an origami star truffle, held my nose shut, popped it all into my mouth when I opened it to breathe, and shot me far into the Cosmos when I inhaled. And that's where I am now, traveling through space, Cicely-Tysoning to death. It's beautiful out here. Write me. 


KCF said...

An excellent way to start my day! Thanks!

Sabrina Prada said...

Somewhere, deep in my thespian archives, I have a copy of that play, "The King and Queen Can't Speak." It was put out by Scholastic, I believe. LMAO
Thx. (a sister from NJ, been on the West Coast since '91)

Tara P. said...

Yours is my new favorite blog. I forget how I discovered it, but thank you to whoever (whomever?) led me over here. I'm now stalking you on, AHEM, I mean, FOLLOWING you, on Facebook and Twitter, too. Thanks for the giggles. :)

Cheryl in Wisconsin said...

Dear Wobbly Moon-Maiden:
I hope you were able to recover from that table kickin' over episode easily.
The only reason I am aware of Idina Menzel is because of Adele Dazeem so that is just an automatic switch in my brain. Not that I'm proud of that.
I hope some day someone buys me Gladys Knight's jacket, but in silver. I'd be delighted.

Eve said...

I've been slow clapping for an hour over the overwhelming art-horsiness of this kickass post. YES. (whinny) <3

Kathryn said...

You are fantastic!

FYI- man you do not know is Billy Porter- he one the Tony last year for his performance in Kinky Boots (the Cindy Lauper musical)

Cool looking lady in oddly shaped dress is Lena Hall who won the tony this year for best supporting actress for Hedwig and the Angry Inch-

Now you don't have to google it-

Dr. Max said...

Thanks for the review. Would have commented earlier but I've been trying to snag one of those Ben Vareen jackets.

Anonymous said...

I love this post so much, and I've never even managed to get into theater, ever. I watch from the cheap seats. Well, I get on stage to call dances, but that's a different animal. Nobody gives out prizes for that, and the crazier the dress the better.

I've seen a few of these pics, but love your commentary! It's freeing to not have to know everybody. If I won six of anything, I'd be weepy too. Rock on. :)


maryo said...

what do you eat/inhale/consume/to have such an entertaining buckshot vocabulary delivered with landmine scattershot acuteness. WHAT ARE YOU/ amazing, and i too cant believe you are not hired, paid beyond belief and fast on wat to being of the one percent and then you can write shit that infiltrates their greedy microbes and they disintegrate and you are left, in the cosmos,