Monday, December 19, 2005

A couple of months ago Fritz suggested we spend a weekend in New York visiting a student of his from his days teaching and directing plays in Las Vegas. E has made a very nice career for herself teaching voice and speach among other subjects at good institutions like The New School and City University of New York. So we drove down on Friday.

It was my least favorite kind of weather in which to drive--constant heavy rain with limited visibility. Several of the major roads into the city from the north were closed because of flooding. But exactly at the Connecticut/New York border the cky opened and we had brilliant sun right into Manhattan.

E had gotten us tickets for "Avenue Q" on friday night in the sixth row orchestra. The show is beyond delightful. Excellently cast, it utilizes almost exact Japanese Bunraku puppetry techniques, but so obviously descends from Sesame Street that a disclaimer is posted in the lobby to the effect that Jim Henson's company is not involved in any way. If you can imagine Sesame Street puppet characters as adults with occasionally foul mouths, active or repressed and hurting sex lives, and all manner of urban angst, you'll have a good idea of what the show is like.

Watching one puppet take another home for a night of sex in every position imaginable--and the contortions the humans involved go through to make their night of passion happen--alone is worth the price of admission. The music's good, the humor ribald and the human condition includes inter-species romance, racial tensions in the neighborhood, and the eventual and triumphant coming out of the main puppet.

The current lead is Barrett Foa, a dynamic young man with a great smile and seemingly limitless energy. Cute, tall and blond with a solid singing voice, I suspect he's going to have a very good career. He's got a good site with blog at

Saturday we breakfasted with E's former brother-in-law and his curent lady, a delightful couple from Las Vegas. He's a composer who's currently working on a chamber opera about the formidable Greek heroine Medea. We had a great time together, and I'll be taking information on him and his work to the director of Intermezzo, the chamber opera company I design for these days.

We spent the afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum. The current big exhibit is a superb collection of paintings by Fra Angelico. The big surprise is the embossing and gilding of the surfaces of the paintings, giving them a splendor that isn't hinted at in photo reproductions. We also spent a lot of time in the Van Gogh drawings exhibit, which was crowded almost to the point where you couldn't see it properly, and in the Santiago Calatrava Sculpture to Architecture show. Before we left we did some Christmas shopping in the museum shop.

Saturday night we went down to Union Square for Slava's SnowShow, a mime and clowning spectacle with a hard-working cast of five and some spectacular effects, like the blizzard that engulfs the audience at the finale, followed by extended play between the audience and the cast when balloons ranging in size from three feet to ten feet in diameter were bounced out onto the stage and punched into the auditorium. Slava, who's Russian, brought early versions of the SnowShow to London, winning enormous acclaim. Parts of it have played the Cirque du Soleil.

After the SnowShow I took Fritz and E to Osso Buco, a fine Italian restaurant just south of Union square that had been a family favorite back in the day when I had family living in the area. It hadn't changed or deteriorated in the five years since my last visit. Sunday we drove back to Boston, very happy and ready for the onslaught of Christmas and New Years.

You may remember my recent story of our friend J and his creative use for plantains (sure you do--I got more comments on that post than on any other recently!). An interesting and sweet man, he genuinely enjoys making guys happy. Well, J has a new toy now, and last week I got gloved.

The Fukuoku Glove is a battery-powered vibrating garment covered in some kind of teflon or silicone fabric. Whichever it is, the glove glides sensuously but with amazing stimulation over skin. Each finger has its own mini-vibrator and when the glove's powered up and applied to various parts of the anatomy, the result is absolute delight. Here's the description from one site that sells it:

This will give either of you the most erotic hand job you can imagine. We are lucky enough to have such a futurisic vibrating toy in the year 2004. The Fukuoku glove has five fingers each with an individual vibrator (yes a vibrator) at the tip. Buzzzz finger, feel, grope and probe with each finger. The glove is cloth & feels super! The single-speed control to control all five fingers (Whew!!!) resides in a waterproof pouch at the cuff. Cleaning is super easy, remove the controller, & vibes, & wash the glove with your lingerie! Hand wash, Hand dry!

Different sites sell for radically different prices. The best price I saw was $45 (others ranged up to $70) at Mr. S Leather ( We're so hoping he'll bring it along for our big New Year's bash!

The other night, a dog was attacked and killed by a pack--not one or two, but by a large pack--of coyotes in the George Wright Public Golf Course while it was being walked by its owner. It's a lovely golf course, one that draws families in the winter for its good sledding hills and hiking. My daughters and I sledded there and I did a lot of cross-country skiing over its rolling landscape and through its woods. The George Wright Golf Course is one quarter of a mile away from my house.

I read recently that the coyote population in the U.S. is exploding.
I think I mentioned that a friend of mine saw coyotes in the South End! Or was it Southie? Either way... yikes. Make sure the dingo doesn't eat your baybay!

That glove. Geez, another oddball approach. Worth a try, I guess ;) As long as it's securely insulated. I am not at all into electrostimulation.
Wow, coyotes in Boston, I wouldn't have believed it. They're pretty common around the edges of Tucson and even into the city near the dry riverbeds and some of the parks. They're usually shy of people, but cunning, and sometimes hunt in packs - a lone coyote will act as a decoy, while the rest sneak up from behind. I think they are more dangerous in winter, when prey is more scarce.

As for the glove - well, that explains the old adage: nothin' says love like a vibratin' glove. Your parties sound too fun!
Brian, it wasn't too long ago we had two separate incidents of moose running around the streets here. One even got onto the Beacon Street trolley tracks and was heading right toward downtown Boston.

I was talking once to a guy from the Animal Rescue League who told me about taking a pair of timber wolves out of a back yard in Everett, a fairly close-in suburb, and of having to capture and relocate a family of racoons that had taken up residence in the Hotel Vendome in Copley Square--right in the heart of the city.

Atari--the Glove's supposed to be heavily insulated and waterproof so you can wash it in case anything should, ah, spill on it.
Will, I misread your last comment and briefly had a vision of the moose getting on the trolley itself and heading downtown! Even the wildlife is getting lazy...

And as for the glove, your description might make it one of Santa's most-requested toys this year!
I just discovered your blog and wanted to say hi. Sounds like a good time in the city. Glad you enjoyed Avenue Q; I went to school with Barret Foa, he's a really good guy.
Hi, Cooper--by coincidence, I visited your blog just today, and thank you for the link to me. I grew up in NYC and am back there for performances an indecent amount.

I had never seen Barrett on stage before and was very impressed. E had seen him when he first took over the role and was very impressed with his growth in the part.
Matt and I had the Fukuoku when we were together. But somehow in the "divorce", I got the glove but not the battery pack. argh.

Not it's essentially just a glove.

That reminds me. I was driving between Clarksburg and Parkersburg, WV on US Rte 50 and saw a dead coyote on the side of the road. It seemed so out of place as opposed to the other dead animals that grace the asphalt landscape.
Sorry we missed your visit (again). :(

Nice glove. Might need one of those! :)

Sad story about the dog.
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