Sunday, September 4, 2011

New York 2011, Day Two

Started the day off a little late.  I had been to the Strand Bookstore the day before and bought about 7 books or so and this morning I went over to the post office to mail them.  I got the idea for getting a few of my favourite books signed and contacted a few authors who almost all responded.  The problem was I couldn't buy US postage in Canada to send them a self-addressed stamped envelope to send the books back to me.  I found a nice patent gay men, also named Adam, at the Grand Central Post Office, he was in his late 50's or so and served to remind me when he recognized a few of my gay authors that not all gay men fit into boxes, appearance wise.  He was very nice and patient and we got all the stamps on but it turns out the customs forms here are more complicated than like anywhere else on the planet.  The person has to take the envelope into a post office, not use a mailbox, and has to sign and date the envelope in front of a postal official.  Who knows if anyone will go to that much bother.  I considered signing and dating with a scribble so that it couldn't be made out and then if they get dropped in a box maybe they'd still make it to me?  Or they could be destroyed as a bomb?  I don't know.  In the end I filled out everything but the signature line.
I didn't get to the LGBT Center on day one as I wasn't feeling well and was cut short.  I went this morning after the post office trip.  I walked in and there was a guy at reception who didn't look up.  I figured if I asked if I could see the Keith Haring bathroom he might say no so I went up to the second floor, found the directory, and walked in.
In this photo you can see where the original fixtures were. In 1989 at the height of the AIDS crisis Keith Haring painted this mural titled "Once Upon a Time" of men having sex in washrooms in remembrance of a time that sex was less complicated.  He went on to become hugely famous and later died of AIDS himself less than a year after this was painted, and this room was converted to a meeting room.
It was smaller than I thought it would be, but I suppose for a NYC bathroom it would have been small. This is the view upon walking in.
I love the detail, I don't know how you think of something like this and keep a coherent message.
I love the giant penis dinosaur, that was my favourite part.
As I walked into the room I noticed a desk and a laptop in use with papers around.  If I had been unscrupulous I could easily have taken it.  I tried to hurry as I knew the person was coming back and about 60 seconds later he did.  He walked in, quite surprised to see me, and asked what I was doing. I explained I had come all the way from Toronto and I had to see the room and I would be quick and thank you and sorry and kept walking around.  The man kind of said nothing.
I walked around looking up at the drawings and asked if the man worked there or what.  He was very nicely dressed.  He looked at me and said "I own the building." and I nearly died.  I was like "Ah, so.  I'd better hurry up then!" I still didn't leave but I did hurry and was glad I hadn't asked, I would have been refused!
Upon leaving I walked up Christopher St.  There's a play at the gay theatre that previews the day I leave.  I was pissed as I looked all over the internet specifically for something like this and this one starred Jonathan Groff from Glee and Spring Awakening whom I love. The theatre ticket was $60, another night at the hotel $85, changing my flight is $75 plus the difference in fare.  When I booked the plane was $109 back to Toronto, it's now $389. So that would be like $500 to stay an extra night and see this play so that's not really happening.
Anyway, I walked through and found the monument to the gays below in front of the Stonewall Inn.
Then it was time to head it over to see Mr. Radcliffe in "How to Succeed in Business (Without Really Trying)".
I got to the theatre just after 4 for the 7 pm show as I had the idea of getting Daniel Radcliffe to sign my Equus poster as he went in.  When I saw him in London he didn't come out for signing that night after the show and I had missed him.  I also heard very few people wait before the show and so I thought this would be my best hope.
I sat there and soon a young girl about 12 and her dad came and joined me.  They had seen the show the night before but had missed getting his signature as it was "crazy" after the show.  I would soon find out just how crazy.
There was no where to sit so I kind of parked half my butt on a fire hydrant and soon found you couldn't really do anything else like read or play a game, this required my full concentration.  I didn't know how he would be arriving, in a car or walking, I heard he would be incognito so I had to look at everyone to make sure they weren't him in disguise and I had to look left and right and really it was a full time job and not a little stressful.  A short two hours later he arrived at 6 pm for the 7 pm show.  His black town car pulls up, his bodyguard gets out to clear the scene and says "he's not signing". Daniel Radcliffe gets out, walks directly into the stage door without turning his head left or right and in about one second he`s gone.  Now keep in mind it was still just me, the girl and her dad, not like a huge mob, so I was disappointed to say the least. Also I couldn`t carry my poster, my marker for signing and point and aim my camera all at the same time so I couldn`t even get a photo, nothing.
I went around the corner and had a piece of pizza, at this point it was only 45 minutes to show time and I felt disheartened.  I questioned the concept of celebrity and why I had bought into it. Why had I bothered waiting, why had I sent those books, why didn`t I just stay with my own life and ordinary people and be done with it. I finished my dinner and went in to the show, the theatre was smaller than I thought it would be and the seats were SO TINY.  The girl beside me kept giving me looks as my legs were kind of in her way, but as I said, I would have had to remove a part of my body to better fit in those seats.  I didn`t have room to slouch at all and had to sit up super straight which I bet the people behind me loved and I didn`t even really have room for my arms.
The show starts with Daniel Radcliffe coming up out of the orchestra dressed as a window washer on a pully platform.  I was second row centre and if I had reached out my arm I could have touched him.  Well, if I could have moved my arm that is. The show was fantastic, the best comedy musical I`ve seen.  The actors were amazing, the songs were catchy, the staging was complex and the dancing, the second last song `Brotherhood of Man`was the best performance number I`ve ever seen.  It brought down the house, there was like five minutes of steady applause, the movements by all, even Daniel, were a level I had never seen and with such a large ensemble, it was fantastic.  John Laroquette was fantastic and funny, the whole cast was great with the exception of the love interest `Rosemary` whom I didn`t think had any personality whatsoever.  The show was narrated by Anderson Cooper, Daniel Radcliffe can really sing (in quite a high pitched voice!) and he moves well and is charming and the whole thing was beyond fantastic.  Loved it.
I went out for a smoke at intermission and saw there was people already lined up for an autograph and I thought `This isn`t good`. After the show I was one of the last out as I was in the front row and the crowd was already 15 deep.  There were about 10 or 12 police men closing the street, people lined up forever, it was a mob scene. I quickly ran over to the far side of the street before it was fully closed and was only about 4 deep at this point.  There was a very short girl in front of me which I figured I could use to my advantage.
Daniel came out with his bodyguard blocking him so no photos.  When he came over to my side I used a trick I had learned when Jamie Oliver signed my cook book.  Stand near short women and hold the item to be signed over their heads. I didn`t know if it would work this time as Daniel is also so short.  As he approached I reached out at the last second and held out my poster and pen.  There was no way he was taking my pen, I had been silly to think he would, but as I was being shoved and jostled around I felt my poster move a little.  I pulled it back and looked and viola!  He had signed it!
I was quite happy as he quickly sped away and felt reassured again in the world.
Times Square at night on my walk back to the hotel. Note the Army Recruiting station on the left.

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