Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Madonna at MSG

Madonna! Madonna! Madonna! (Think Robin Williams's Armand Goldman in The Birdcage.)

I promised myself that I would see Madonna live in concert at least once in my lifetime. And considering I love her latest album, Confessions on a Dance Floor, I thought that now would be a good time as any to see her. Unfortunately, I couldn't get 2 tickets to any of her concerts at Madison Square Garden. Her show must've sold out in less than 5 minutes. So then I did the next best thing. I searched for one ticket on TicketMaster and snagged one. So I went alone! Ha!

Tonight's performance was her first NYC show on her tour. This morning I was warned by a radio announcer that Madonna was keeping the air conditioning low or off (couldn't exactly hear) in the Garden to preserve her voice. Oh puhleaze! What a diva...give me a break. She was pulling a Whitney Houston.

A little put off by the fact that it would be stifling hot in the Garden that night, I came prepared and wore a tank top underneath my work clothes and the hippest pants I owned that would still be professionally acceptable. I get to my nosebleed seat (seriously must've been tenth row from the roof!) but got compensated because it was an aisle seat. Thank goodness because I don't think I could've handled being sandwiched between sweaty people.

The ticket said the concert started at 8pm, but my girl did not come out until 9 nor did she have an opening act. So what did our crowd do? By 10 to 9, we were getting antsy so one really flamboyant gay male several tiers down decided to harness that energy into doing the wave. After several attempts, we managed to do a 3 or 4 complete waves all around the Garden! Hysterical!

There was an announcement about the AC being turned off or low (again, couldn't hear above the screaming crowd) but the pleasant man's voice assured us by saying, "Madonna appologizes for any inconvenience but hopes you enjoy the concert." The lights go down and "Future Lovers" starts to play with a background slide show of horses and Madonna in her equestrian get-up. Then this crystal ball lowers into the middle of the Garden floor and opens up to birth a Madonna in her riding outfit complete with hat and whip (of course), which she used as she played dominitrix to her back up dancers. In these first few minutes of the concert, I realized that out of all the concerts where my seats did not matter, this one did. Madonna puts on a show. And you want to see it clearly with your own eyes rather than watching a jumbotron 'cuz what's the point of that. You may as well be home watching it on TV.

There were some parts of the concert that were painful to watch like when she played guitar. I don't even think it's playing...strumming is a better adjective. She even slipped with her guitar as she skipped down the runway at one point. But her yoga practices have taught her acceptance instead of resistance. So she let herself fall to her knees instead of trying to break her fall and it was cool to see that even Madonna is human. She trips and falls like the rest of us!

But lemme tell you, all that yoga must be doing something right. That woman's body at 47 is ripped! Of course, she makes millions of dollars so there is no excuse to look anything but amazing. If I could look at least half as good as Modonna at 47, I would be stoked! But she's inspiring nonetheless. Middle-age isn't a death sentence as it once was and seeing her in concert tonight taught me that. I hope to be staying active, fit, and doing what I love at middle-age too.

Overall, the concert was amazing albeit hot. She sang "I Love New York" and she was disappointed afterwards and said, "I wrote this song for you guys and I don't even see you jumping!" So of course, we complied and jumped as she started singing "Ray of Light". But we stopped and in the middle of the song she yelled, "You're NOT jumping!" I yelled back, "Bitch! That's because we are hot!!!" LOL. Still, I had a great time and sang every single word to all her songs. And she did what she did best -- dance! My favorite part of the concert was when she and her back up dancers dressed up in 70s suits and moved like John Travolta. It made me want to go out and get a shiny white suit with the big shirt lapels and dance to Disco Inferno or something.

One final note, I have to admit that I shook my head when she got lifted on a disco cross as if crucified with a crown of thorns on her head singing "Live to Tell". I wasn't offended but rolled my eyes at the serious ego that this woman has. I mean seriously, what makes her think that she can be the Christ? I know she was trying to send a positive message encouraging a unified faith community as verses from several major religions flashed in the background, highlighting the virtues of love, forgiveness, and peace in humanity but was the crucifixion scene really necessary?

Oh Madonna, what a piece of work! Nonetheless, I still live for her.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

American Ballet Theatre's Giselle

Photo courtesy of ABT.

For work, I had to entertain the Foundation's South African guests this evening. Since we are a supporter of the performing arts, we have many connections in the dance, theater, and orchestra world. Six complimentary tickets got us inside tonight's performance Giselle at the Met.

Did I mention that I work for a great organization?!?!? What a perk!

Friday, June 09, 2006

To pursue the PhD or not?

Met with the Archaeologist today for morning coffee. He's really got me excited about my work on the Filipino balikbayan box. He was shocked that I did not want to pursue the PhD and encouraged me to consider it since he believes that I can make a new and exciting contribution to the intellectual conversations on the immigrant experience and that this MA thesis can easily become a PhD thesis.

Nooooooooooooooooooo!!! Virtual poverty, more school, no benefits in my 30s?!?!?! I don't know. I've got to really think this through.

Monday, June 05, 2006

A Wedding by the Sea

I love all the things there are,
and of all the fires
love is the only inexhaustible one;
and that's why I go from life to life,
from guitar to guitar,
and I have no fear
of light or of shade,
and being almost earth myself,
I spoon away at infinity.

-- Pablo Neruda

The Cooking Anthropologist & her husband, the Computer Scientist sharing their first dance.

I was honored to be asked to read at their wedding. I read a poem by Neruda, an excerpt I included above.

A German tradition, where the new bride and groom have to saw a log in half to represent teamwork and unity. You can see these two were having fun.

Below is JK & me. I haven't seen her since her Vermont wedding in 1999. Now she has two beautiful boys!

The obligatory MHC shot below.

African drummers at the reception.

I spent time with the Cooking Anthropologist & the Computer Scientist in Tanzania when she was doing her year of fieldwork. We went snorkeling off the coast of Kigombe and lunched on a sand island only exposed during low tide.
A double-date weekend at the Cape, this time with Mojo in tow.