Well, folks, the post-Thanksgiving holiday spirit madness is somehow already in fourth gear. If you happen to work in Manhattan, you are no doubt keenly aware of this as the streets are already completely clogged with frenzied shoppers. My office is on Broadway in Soho, which is second only to Rockefeller Center and Herald Square in terms of being Mayhem Central. Walking to work this time of year is a contact sport.Now I have a confession to make. The past few years, I have struggled to combat an inner-Grinchiness that surfaces in December. The causes of it aren’t unique, so I’ll spare you the psychoanalysis. My loving wife has worked hard to try and turn this Yule-moodiness around by making our apartment a happy, festive environment and, in spite of myself, it’s working. One of her latest favorite decorating sources is this online home & garden store, Terrain, and I know this because there are large boxes with their logo on it arriving at my apartment every day. I have to admit that if you’re going to do some holiday-specific shopping for your home, they have really great stuff. Natural decorations made from plants and organic materials and vaguely rustic, homespun kinds of decor. Much more creative and less lame than the usual cheesy gilded holiday fare. Makes it harder to be a crank when everything is so well put together.The other thing that’s fading my seasonal malaise is watching the wonderment in my two-year-old’s eyes as she experiences some of these things for the first time. It’s a cliché, but through her these things no longer seem contrived. That said, I’m not completely cured: check back with me after I attempt to wrangle a Fraser fir into my living room.
We used to go see Broadway shows with some regularity. Access to amazing theater is one of the great things about living here, but we really fell out of the habit after we had the kid. I thought about getting tickets to see Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Death of a Salesman last year, but I was asleep at the wheel and that show came and went and I lamented not having seen it. So when I saw they were reviving Mamet’s classic Glengarry Glen Ross with Al Pacino in October, I was determined not to miss it. Especially since Pacino won’t be reprising his original role as Ricky Roma, the young hotshot sales agent. This time he’ll be poor Shelley Levene, the washed-up and desperate salesman who’s past his prime. Great casting move, right?I just called American Express to see if they would hook it up for me and tickets to an evening performance are $305 a seat. That’s close to $640 for a couple after fees and everything, and that’s “preview pricing.” And that’s not for front row or anything, just middle of the house orchestra. Really?!? Am I the only one who is not OK with this? I love this play to death, but screw them on principle. Besides a corporate sponsor, who can possibly feel good or justified or pleased when shelling out that kind of dough for a friggin’ show? Whether it’s a ballgame, a play, a concert, whatever — when real fans can no longer justify the exorbitant costs of participation, there’s something grievously wrong with the system. So I’d like to call “BULLSHIT” on all of Broadway for a situation that’s totally out of hand. I guess I’ll always have the film adaptation, which is also a classic (and does not cost $640 to enjoy.)
Rant over! What do YOU think?