Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Prestige Smash TupperWare!

I’m not a fan of TupperWare parties. Actually, I’m not a fan of any party where girls get together to “ooh” and “ahh” over household products, whether they’re candles, cooking utensils, or plastic containers that need to be burped. Don’t get me wrong, I love that Stacy is in to that kind of thing, because our house usually benefits, but I would rather not be in the room when they happen.

That’s why Vince and I went to see The Prestige last night. We went to the Manassas Cinemas CafĂ©, a fourplex with one theater converted to a cinema eatery. It’s a cheap place and the ability to order food in front of the big screen is a fun novelty. Vince and I had eaten dinner earlier at the behest of Stacy, so we weren’t too hungry. I ordered the nacho plate, a medium popcorn to share and some twizzlers. Vince ordered the appetizer combo and a pitcher of root beer. If you did the math and came up with the answer that this was way too much food for two fed men, you win the booby prize (I said booby) which is much like Marvel’s No Prize in that I don’t give you anything, thanks for playing. As a result, we had a lot of food left over by the end of the movie. Sorry, starving kids in Africa.

The Prestige stars Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale, but is not Wolverine Versus Batman, which is the only unfortunate thing about the movie. The supporting cast wasn’t half bad either with Michael Caine, Andy Serkis (of Gollum fame), David Bowie (as Tesla, natch) and the always gorgeous Scarlett Johansson. The plot revolves around Jackman and Bale’s characters as competing magicians with very personal grudges. The action takes place in a convolution of present-day and flashback scenes that can be very confusing if you aren’t paying attention. This elaborate timeline allowed the creators to weave in some excellent plot twists ending with the best plot twist I’ve seen since The Sixth Sense (What a tweest!) I will say this, you will find it difficult to sympathize with either of the main characters. There really is not a hero as the two magicians struggle in a back-and-forth game of obsessions. You will find yourself feeling for each of the supporting cast as their lives are either ruined or ended from the tumultuous fallout of the feuding magicians. It is a riveting story and worth the admission price (though maybe not all the extra food.)

The Blue Man Group

I didn’t want to write another post until I got some pictures from Disney World up here, but I can’t stop myself.

My brother is in town this week. Our mom bought him a ticket out here as a birthday present. Stacy and I decided to get him a ticket to see The Blue Man Group as our present to him. Naturally, I had to go with him.

Wait a sec. I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go back a little bit first.

I was born in 1975 at a military hospital in central California.

Wait, too far.

Stacy and I went to CES (Computer Electronic Show) in Vegas the first year we were married.

Yeah, that’s the spot.

We stayed at Excalibur because its cheap. Excalibur is connected to the Luxor by a walkway thingie. The Luxor is the one that looks like a black glass pyramid with a flashlight tip. Since we heard they had a decent buffet (doesn’t every resort in Vegas?) we headed through their walkway thingie. I was taken by surprise by three blue heads emerging from multicolored pools of paint. It was disturbing at first, but the music they played during the ads intrigued me. I’ve always been a fan of heavy percussion, and this sounded cool. As we browsed Luxor’s gift shops after dinner, I came across a video of the blue guys performing. It was then that I learned they had a very descriptive name, The Blue Man Group. I had to see them in person. Naturally, we didn’t have the time or money to book tickets. I satisfied myself with their CD, which I listened to steadily on the entire drive back to Utah. Excellent driving music, by the way. Even though we made it to Vegas another couple of times before moving East, I never got to see the show.

Fast forward to my first year here in Virginia. A friend of mine was getting married. She was quirky and liked quirky things like me, so Stacy and I got her a pair of tickets to see The Blue Man Group near their honeymoon spot. Those were the hardest tickets to give away. I mean, New York is just a 5 hour drive away. I could give them a nice toaster oven and then…ROADTRIP! I didn’t, though, and she loved the show.

The years stretched on, I kept having kids, the Blue Men released another CD, and I still hadn’t seen the show. It was actually Stacy’s idea to take Vince to the show. I resisted at first, wanting to share my first live experience with Stacy, but she insisted. Vince was overjoyed. He discovered the Blue Man Group after me, but was just as into them. He’s dressed as one for Halloween even. So, with tickets in hand, we made the drive to New York on Tuesday.

The drive was easy. I’ve made it a few times before and it is much shorter than driving to Orlando. I stuck Vince in the back of the van with my remastered Super Dimension Fortress Macross DVDs (Robotech from the 80’s) and tooled up I-95. The trouble didn’t begin until we got near the Lincoln tunnel. Apparently, 5:00 PM on a weekday is not a good time to try to get into Manhattan. Who knew? About an hour later, we found ourselves circling blocks trying to find the parking garage printed on the ticket. We spent half an hour of fruitless searching before parking right across the street from the unmarked parking garage we were looking for. Parking achieved, we set out looking for the theater. It wasn’t until we entered the small police station in Times Square, our heads hung in defeat like the lost tourists we were, that we found the garage was way downtown from the midtown theater. Curses! The kind cop with the Brooklyn accent told us which subway train to ride to get to our street. It would’ve worked, too, if Vince and I could read signs and figure out how to get out of the subway right. I used my own personal Talking Google Maps (thanks, Stacy!) to point us in the right direction. The end result? Leaving two hours early got us to the theater 10 minutes before the show.

The first thing that struck me was the size of the theater. It was tiny. We had mezzanine seats and were fairly close to the stage. Speaking of the stage, it looked barely big enough for three people. A little leery, but excited to see the show we had both been waiting years to see, we waited.

We were not disappointed.

In fact, my expectations were far exceeded. The Blue Man Group was hilarious, talented, skillful, and very interactive. I heard they had an interactive show, but I didn’t know that meant I’d get a Blue Man’s behind shaken in my face as he balanced on the handrail, or that he’d be catching burgled Toblerone pieces in his mouth mere feet away, or that I’d participate in a rave-like TPing of the entire theater with white crepe paper. I still have my Official Blue Man Group Headband (about a yard of white crepe paper.) I didn’t think they’d drag people up on the stage and have a romantic dinner of Twinkies with one or practice body painting with another. It was a singular experience that I want to repeat. So much more happened in the show, but I cannot do it justice in print. My vocabulary, writing, and editing skills are lacking far too much to really describe the action.

If you have a Blue Man Group close by, you must go see this show. Scratch that. Even if you don’t have a venue close by, you must go see this show. The Blue Man Group is worth the effort and money. Trust me on this one.

My goal now is to save up enough for front row seats and a train ride for my blushing bride and I to go see them in New York. I’d also love to see what they do with the much bigger stage in Vegas, but that is for another time.