Archive | April, 2019

Diana The Musical

16 Apr

The Princess Diana musical starts with a girl in a replica of Diana’s iconic wedding dress. The veil is pulled over her face, her hands hold a plastic bouquet.

Real Diana enters the stage in an orange skirt suit. “You know what I was thinking right here, at this moment? Before I agreed to all ‘this’ — perhaps I should’ve dated him more than 13 times.”

The crowd roars.

Thus begins Diana: a new musical.

Diana is a delight.

Diana the human being, of course, the woman who took to the stage at the Royal Ballet to dance to Uptown Girl for Charles’s birthday.

But Diana the musical as well.

It is big and loud and electric. I felt like I went to a concert, one where the rock stars were bitingly funny, clothed in couture, and occasionally wore tiaras.

I laughed out loud, in that sort of way when you’re not expecting it and can’t hold it in. I fell for the music, I fell for Diana.

Jeanna de Waal captured Diana so well. The young, bright-eyed kindergarten teacher who barely knew Charles when she said yes. The romantic who loved happy endings.

The sad married woman, the mother, the woman who regained her power, who used the press as a weapon, who confronted Camilla at a party.

That was a particularly fun scene. Diana strutting in. Pulling Camilla aside.

The two powerhouses singing back and forth. It was set up like a boxing match, with spectators on the side, as both women duked it out. Both women wanting the same man, but loving him for different reasons.

Diana didn’t want a divorce.

That’s perhaps the tragedy in it all.

She just wanted her husband to love her. She had the adoration of the world, but not the adoration of her spouse. Her parents had divorced when she was young and she didn’t want that for her kids.

But what to do when the man you married never really loved you?

One of the great opening songs is called

Whatever love means anyway

During their engagement, when asked if they were in love Diana answered “of course,” while Charles said, “Whatever in love means.”

That line was turned into a song. The beginning of the end.

The beginning of the beginning.

Charles, Diana and Camilla are all players in this Greek tragedy. Charles kept from the woman he loves. Diana unable to gain his affection. Camilla living a life on the fringes. It wasn’t fair to anyone.

And Diana, the lively, bright, loving, emotional Diana was left behind.

Of course, Diana’s story is what she made of it.

Traditionally, she would be a side note, an afterthought. Camilla and Charles are the star crossed lovers here, kept apart by tradition, by a country, by a monarchy! I’ve read this story many times. We’ve all read this story.

And the poor fool who marries the person already in love with someone else is always a minor character in this plot. We don’t know how they turn out. We only care about our lovers.

Diana flipped this narrative on the head.

She wasn’t just a girl stuck in the middle, she was a girl with her own story to live. And so, through her heart and grace and charm and vivacity we all cared more about her story than that of the protagonist.

She emerged triumphant while Charles and Camilla quietly ended up together, no longer the stars of their own show.

The musical is framed in “once upon a time.” For that’s what this was seen as– a modern fairytale, Diana a modern princess!

And then there’s the reality. At one point Diana sings, “I need a prince to save me from my prince.”

The ending was my only qualm with the musical.

Well, I also wish we had seen the infamous interview with Martin Bashir. I’d have loved to have a song around “There were three in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded” or even her “Queen of hearts line.”

But other than that, the ending was my only qualm.

It’s all rather abrupt. She dies. The chorus sings a few lines.

Diana returns, triumphant, in her white beaded gown and tiara, a Gandalf the White, gone through the fires and returned stronger than ever to bow to the crowd.

Show ends.

I wanted…

I wanted more.

I bought every piece of merchandise the show offered.

I tried to start normal. An ornament, a magnet. Fine, OK, a tote bag. But I use tote bags!

Not thirty seconds after leaving the stand, I realized I would regret it forever if I didn’t have the mug, the stationery.

I wanted the CD but it doesn’t exist yet.

I have to believe that it will soon. That this show will make its way to bigger stages, to a worldwide audience. How could it not?

With music by a founding member of Bon Jovi. With costumes by a man who owns over 100 books on Diana’s looks.

With differing musical styles for differing characters. With inside jokes only royal aficionados will get, but an overarching tragedy, one that is instantly recognizable and felt by all.

Yes, Diana is a true delight.

Diana the human, of course, but Diana the musical as well.

The True Story of Lavinia The Lemon Cake

6 Apr

I was born August 15, 2017, but I didn’t become a celebrity for an entire 24 hours.

A wedding cake on a plane is thing to behold, but I like to think it was me, my personality, that rocketed me to stardom.

I was made for the spotlight.

People stopped and stared right away.

A cake destined for a 2,500 mile journey? I must be something special.

Yes, I assured them. I am.

The logistics were simple, but don’t tell that to my carriers. I shall call them M and A, for they deserve at least an initial in this tale.

M picked me up from my bakery and threw away half of her freezer to store me. This is what we call in nature survival of the fittest. And I, of course, was the fittest.

She met up with A at the Salt Lake City airport and together they each took a layer of me through security, through lines, through my introduction to the world.

The attention was immediate.

“A wedding cake” the TSA agent said. “Send it through the x-rays.”

“A wedding cake?” a woman cried, “I was stressed taking my dress to a destination wedding. I can’t imagine taking a cake!”

Yes, thank you. I am very special and important.

People stared and took pictures with me.

They asked if M and A were going to eat me.

I was kind and generous with my time and my fame, as I am.

M and A seemed stressed.

A had the heavier layer. She kept saying “I have no upper body strength whatsoever!” This was true.

I worried she would be the weak link. I worried she would drop me before we even got to the gate.

I overheard them making vows that if something were to go terribly wrong they would replace me and never tell my bride about it.

This was silly.

You can’t replace me.

There was a layover and more lugging, the descent into Boston and more luggage. A few more carriers joined the journey, one so bold as to take me in a single arm.

M and A complained of fatigue.

Being celebrity adjacent can be exhausting.

I was placed in a temperature-controlled rental car and left with the air conditioning on while my carriers made a stop at Walgreens.

I sat on laps as they drove over bridges into quieter towns, as the landscape turned from city to suburb, suburb to Cape.

Eventually I was delivered to my bride, an intense woman with intense feelings.

She knew of my importance, of how it could only be me, for she had commissioned my existence. She had said only this chef, only this cake and even though that bakery and that cake were across the country from where she was to be wed, she stood steadfast.

She cashed in on years of friendship with my carriers.

She had her mother make a buttercream frosting to top me, had her cousin light candles to finish me.

And when the entire crowd gathered round me and sang —

Happy wedding day to you

Happy wedding day to you

Happy wedding day Jill and Rob

–right before she blew out the candles, holding hands with her groom, she gave me a smile.

She knew how important I was.

I was born August 15, 2017, but I didn’t become a celebrity for an entire 24 hours.

My name is Lavinia the Lemon Cake and this is my story.

Nora Ephron’s Hot Dog

2 Apr

Hilary visited this weekend.

She told me her stomach hurt all morning and then she realized it was excitement. She was going to see Jill!

I told her I didn’t sleep well the night before and I realized it was excitement. I was going to see Hil!

We tried Nora Ephron’s hot dog which is really just a Nate ‘n Al’s hot dog forever immortalized by Nora.

She said that it was her final meal, the meal she would choose above all else. With it, she issued a warning

When you are actually going to have your last meal, you’ll either be too sick to have it or you aren’t gonna know it’s your last meal and you could squander it on something like a tuna melt and that would be ironic. So it’s important … I feel it’s important to have that last meal today, tomorrow, soon.

We tried Nora Ephron’s hot dog.

The deli itself is straight out of a time warp. Taupe seats. Jello cubes jiggling in a fridge. We ordered the hot dog with pastrami and relish, sauerkraut and mustard.

I burned my tongue.

I’ve been lonely lately.

LA is a lonely place.

People move here from all over, filled with big dreams, and then they leave. Either when the dreams don’t work or they realize they were chasing the wrong thing all along.

LA is transient, and I’ve been here almost seven years. In that time there have been periods where I haven’t even thought about loneliness, where the word felt foreign on my tongue. There have also been periods where it’s felt all-consuming, where the word is tattooed on my brain.

Lonely, lonely, lonely.

We drove to the flower fields on Tuesday, the car thick with Kacey Musgraves.

I read her Tom Hiddleston’s profile in GQ and we talked about Getaway Car and if the journalist was in love with him, and what a celebrity profile!

Has there even been another celebrity profile?

We talked about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry and the intricacies of the British royal family.

I read an article about mediocrity and we parsed through the things that we do for pleasure, for fun.

We stopped well out of our way for sugary drinks. We sang Celine Dion.

And we got to the flower fields, something to behold.

I wished I was Mary Oliver so I could describe it perfectly, to tie it back to God and mysteries and maybe even have the flowers talk to me, but instead I am me and this is my description:

The flower fields were healing. The flower fields were beauty.

We walked around them. We took pictures. Hundreds of pictures with lots of laughter.

Hilary attempted a backbend. She danced with the flowers.

There was a moment where I looked around at the crowds waiting in line to take a picture on the posed benches and I said “We are having more fun than anyone else here.”

I’ve tried various things for my loneliness. I have spearheaded social events. I’ve hung out with all sorts of people, some far outside my comfort zone. I have set goals and met goals, but the truth of the matter is, you can’t set a goal about getting a stomach ache when you see someone.

You can’t try hard enough and then end up with a bosom friend.

Those friends are rare, forged in the fires of time and secrets.

I joke that if you don’t know about the intricacies my trauma, and how my trauma has been passed down to me, what are we doing here?

I joke, but I’m not joking.

Hilary visited this weekend.

We tried Nora Ephron’s hot dog.

We tried to make her proud.

I am

full

full

full.

The 10 People You Meet On An LA Hike

2 Apr

Hiking is the city activity of Los Angeles. If you go on a weekend you’re going to be stuck in traffic, mobbed with people, the joy of being outdoors robbed by the pain of being in a loud, public forum.

We made this mistake last weekend, hiking just after brunch, and while I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of noise on our hiking trail, I was also taking notes.

Notes I present to you now.

The 10 people you meet on an LA hike

1. The Influencer

Dressed in Outdoor Voices, speaking to their followers. This hike is their photoshoot and the rest of us are just living in it.

2. The Very Casual

Plastic Starbucks cup in hand, jeans on. They are not prepared! Should we be worried?

3. The Very Prepared

You know the fancy backpack of water that I speak of. Maybe some sort of walking stick?

4. The Family

They are regretting attempting this and so is everyone else around them.

5. The Couple On A Date

It’s usually early days and I wonder if this ever works out for them? Hiking is always very emotional for me but, then again, I’m only in moderate shape?

6. The Guy With Speakers Instead Of Headphones

Very presumptuous, forcing the rest of us to listen to your choice of music on full blast, buster.

7. The Runner

Are they barefoot? Are those just very thin sandal running shoes?

8. The Mountain Biker

Listen, it explicitly says no biking here, but that’s not what this is about. How did you pedal your bike up this cliff? The terrain won’t allow for it! I can barely walk!

9. The Dog Owners

Holding their frou-frou dogs or guiding their wolf dogs or apologizing to you that their excited dog has developed a liking for your shins.

10. The Writer

Taking it in, taking notes, going home to blog about it.