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Tex and the City: Romantic Fall

Today on Tex and the City: JP picks his favorite Fall happenings, while Chef prepares for a Nor’easter.

in a colorful fall scarf. photo by Jamie Beck

By the time of our ninth date, it was fairly obvious that Chef and I had radically different approaches to seasonal transitions.  We met in late summer, and so by mid-September Chef was already breaking out hat, gloves, and down jackets for a stroll around Central Park to see the changing leaves.

“Aren’t you a little over dressed for a romantic walk?” I asked, wearing a light sweater and cute new scarf.

“Romantic?  There’s nothing romantic about this weather.  You never know when a snowstorm might hit.”

“I take it you’re not a fan of fall, then.  That’s too bad, it’s my favorite season.”

“If you ask me, fall is just a harbinger of impending doom.  Six months of Nor’easters and no sun.”

So dramatic.  That’s my boy.  Not that I lack a flare for the dramatic.  I suppose my love of Fall is rooted in too many Woody Allen movies as a kid—they were like love letters to the Big Apple.  And then When Harry Met Sally came along I was mesmerized by  the image of Meg Ryan walking through Central Park while the golden leaves fell around her.

When I first moved to Alphabet City, I was overwhelmed by the energy with which New Yorkers attack the Fall season.  It’s as if right after Labor Day, summering finally ends, and they are allowed to unleash every bit of pent up ambition in a flurry of activity that concludes before Thanksgiving.  I always feel like if I don’t pay attention, and plan, then I’m going to miss something important—especially theatre offerings.  I’ve learned to really sit down and study both New York and Time Out magazines’ Fall Previews, and then triangulate it with the New York Times Arts & Leisure Fall guide.

For those of you traveling to NYC this romantic fall, or those of you living here that need a little help, here’s what’s on my radar screen that Tex and the City will most likely be writing about this Fall.

That is, when I’m not strolling the city with Chef—I’ll be the one with the colorful scarf, he’ll be Nanook of the North.

My ticket tip: register with www.theatermania.com and have access to discount codes for purchasing tickets; otherwise go to www.telecharge.com

Mrs. Warren’s Profession.  Cherry Jones—one of the most powerful actresses of our time—stars as a brothel-owner in this George Bernard Shaw play about mother-daughter dynamics.  The daughter will be played by Sally Hawkins, making her Broadway debut.  www.roundabouttheatre.org

La Bete.  Patsy from AbFab on Broadway in a revival of a famous flop?  Count me in!  Joanna Lumley stars with David Hyde Pierce and Mark Rylance (Tony award Boeing Boeing), directed by God of Carnage’s Matthew Warchus.  www.labetetheplay.com

Without You.  Anthony Rapp writes the book and lyrics based upon his book Without You: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and the Musical Rent.  Hey, Alphabet City as a musical?  I’m considering it.  So it’s a must to check out this show part of the New York Musical Theater Festival that gave us hits like Next to Normal and my inspiring fave [title of show]www.nymf.org

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.  Tickets already purchased, thank you very much, for this musical adaptation of the Almodovar movie.  Come on, starring Patti Lupone, Laura Benanti, Sheri Rene Scott and Brian Stokes Mitchell?!  There’s no decision here.  www.lct.org

Driving Miss Daisy.  Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones.  Enough said.  www.daisyonbroadway.com

The Pee-Wee Herman Show.  Paul Reubens is back and as goofy as ever.  And thank God, because he still influences my everyday dialogue.  “Why don’t you marry it?”  www.pewee.com/broadway

Elling.  Although my love for this actor can’t get me to watch him in True Blood, Denis O’Hare will make me run screaming to the theater to see him paired with Brendan Fraser.  They’re two men released from a mental institution living together.  Add in the quirky fabulous Jennifer Coolidge, and I’m not sure how this can go wrong.  www.ellingonbroadway.com

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.  Say what you will, but I live with a guy obsessed with super heroes.  And I’m obsessed with director Julie Taymor.  Let’s hope the most expensive production in Broadway history is either spectacularly terrific or outrageously tragic.  I’d hate for them to have spent a fortune to crank out this year’s mediocrity (sorry, Addams Family).  www.spidermanonbroadway.com

Other Desert Cities.  A new work by writer Jon Robin Baitz—whom I used to read magazine articles about while in Texas and fantasize I would have his life one day.  Story is about a novelist who returns home after six years and announces she’s working on a memoir about a controversial time in the family’s history.  Hmm, sound familiar?  www.lct.org

Out of Town Tryouts—Leap of Faith.  It often takes one for me to travel to LA.  But in case we need to escape an freak early snowfall, I’d consider a trip to Hollywood in October to see this musical.  Stars one of my Broadway boyfriends Raúl Esparza and eye-brow-licious Brooke Shields.  Based on the Steve Martin movie.  www.centertheatregroup.org


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My Nemesis?

Today on Alphabet City: Jon Paul clashes with Chef over his depiction in book & blog.

Sweetly, my partner Chef insisted that he have the honor of purchasing the very first print edition of Alphabet City: My So-Called Sitcom Life.  But as he stood in our kitchen, turning it over in his hands, his proud smile turned to worried concern.

“First in the book and now the blog, I think I’ve become your nemesis,” he said.

“Nemesis?  Are we super heroes?  You watch too much Smallville.”

“No, I mean like I’m always part of the joke.”

There’s that English-as-a-Second/Third-Language issue that charmed me so much in Episode 14: Happy Soul.

“Oh honey, you mean you’re my ‘foil.’  You’re like Ricky to my Lucy!”

And so it begins—a problem most memoirists face—the feedback from loved ones about their portrayal in the book.  For the most part, I’ve tried to head off at the pass any potential issues by letting some key co-stars read early drafts.  Angela quite likes her in-book comparison to Minnie Driver, although her sister Mandy tells me the actress is on her Spit List.  Susan has always admired Brooke Shields, so I knew that one would earn me points.

The biggest concern I had was with my mother’s reaction.  Those of you who know me, or have read the book, understand that we’ve had an up-and-down relationship most of my life.  I sent her relevant chapters before the book was published just to be fair and give her a sense of what was headed down the pike.  Her reaction was surprising—she said that while she enjoyed the characterization of my father (her ex-husband) more than hers, she thought the portrayal of her visit to NYC was spot-on.

I had been focusing so much on a potential rough patch with my Mother that I wasn’t really prepared for a new issue with my partner.  And since Chef and I are both caliente for the actor I compared him to, Gael Garcia Bernal, I wasn’t sure why this nemesis-foil issue was rearing its ugly head.

“I guess it’s just hitting me that my Dad is going to read the book.  You know him, he’ll read and study every word of it,” Chef explained.

“And so?”

“That means he’s going to read the Happy Soul chapter.”

“Honey, this isn’t a surprise.  We’ve talked about it for over a year.  You said it was fine.  It’s even excerpted on the blog.”

“The blog is one thing.  He doesn’t read that.  This is different.  The book makes it so real.”

“What’s the issue?  The chapter is so sweet.  It’s one of my favorites.”

“You know…the part that goes after Happy Soul.”

“You’re kidding?  I think any Dad would be proud of that in a son!” I laughed.  Chef blushed furiously.

“Tell me you’re not going to write about this.”

“Of course I am.  You’re my foil, after all.”

Not sure what goes after Happy Soul?  Guess you’ll have to read the book and find out.  And I guess I’ll find out soon if my foil has turned into a nemesis.

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