October 29th, 2009


A few more snapshots from my trip to Disneyland

I got to ride in front!

The haunted mansion was redecorated in a The Nightmare Before Christmas theme for the Halloween season. For a movie that didn't seem to fit into Disney's usual realms of shiny happy animals and princesses, I was surprised at just how much Disney has continued to expand and exploit this franchise, with all sorts of merchandising and reuse of its music, theme, and characters - even in the fireworks show! The movie now has enough fans (as well as new goth kids every year) that its 3-D version has been re-released every year at this time for the past 4 years.

Part of the California Adventure park is designed to look like a Hollywood studio backlot.

Another shot of the spinning teacups. Since I rode them as a teenager (getting my wrists all cut up on my friends' Speidel Twist-o-Flex™ watchbands as we all madly turned the center wheel to make our teacup spin faster), they've expanded and relocated the ride. It's now in an open-air setting, lit with a rainbow of Chinese lanterns.

Disney has the best art directors and designers, and art directors and designers who work for Disney have the best jobs.

It was interesting to see how Disneyland has responded to societal changes, subtly going "green." In addition to all the churros, popcorn, and ice cream, there are now stands selling a variety of fresh fruit. And who did they choose as the mascot for their recycling bins? Why, the Disney character known for his conscience, Jiminy Cricket.

There's plenty of branding and sponsorship and cross-marketing throughout the park.

Another shot of putzmeisterbear and fogbear, just 'cause they're so fucking woofy.

My nephew Brent and my brother-in-law Scott, being molested greeted by a couple of furries the ever-cheerful Chip and Dale, who have never been identified in any of the cartoons as brothers, so I like to think of them as gay lovers. Plus which, they're not wearing any pants. It was Brent's birthday so we were all wearing buttons, and all the park employees "cast members" wished him a Happy Birthday.

And here's a little bonus shot of the front and back of Brent's too-cute T-shirt. Brent was barely 40" tall - the minimum for a good number of the rides - so his Dad put gel insoles in his sneakers and had him wear extra socks so he'd hit the top of all the measuring signs at the rides.

applause applause

The depth of sophistication

I probably squeeed when I saw these in the supermarket and ran home excitedly with them. But… they’re just OK. They’d probably be a lot better if they had used real dark chocolate.

A delightful evening last night, first dinner with friends Roger (qnetter) & Dave visiting from Seattle, Kaz & George, and Nayland. We scored a table without too long of a wait at the too-popular Five Napkin Burger, an upscale burger restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen. The dining room looks like the set of a horror movie, with low-watt bare light bulbs and meat hooks hanging from the ceiling, even more so because they had strung fake cobwebs between them for Halloween.

The burgers (and all the other offerings, including chicken matzoh ball soup, fish and chips, grilled shrimp salad, and lobster roll sliders) are excellent, and kudos for four different fried potato offerings, all executed perfectly: shoestrings with the burgers, thicker fries for the fish & chips, their version of tater tots which are actually small potato croquettes made with sour cream and chives (and far better than any tater tot you’ve ever had), and (the winner!) Tuscan fries, the larger fries tossed in olive oil, garlic, rosemary, parsley, and grated Italian cheese.

I can see why the place so popular, with food so good and speedy and proficient service from the kitchen and waiters. The burgers (with side) and most of the other dishes are around $15, and since none of us ordered drinks, appetizer, or dessert, we got out of there for $20 each, including tax and tip. Five stars for the food, although the waits and noise level often make me subtract a star or two for the total experience.

Then Nayland and I went off to The Tank, a scruffy little off-off-off-Broadway theater space, for their bimonthly Puppet Playlist, sort of a puppetry & music slam or mash-up, with a variety of puppeteers and musicians performing new work, this month around the theme of The Seven Deadly Sins. While waiting for the show to begin, Nayland and I tried to name the Seven Cardinal Virtues (we couldn’t remember Justice). We thought Bodacious would be a good virtue/woman’s name, and wondered whether that word came from the Celtic warrior Queen Boadicea.

The evening had its moments but wasn’t all that good (naylandblake has a very good critique up on his LJ), but I still thoroughly enjoyed the experience (plus which tickets were only $7), feeling very much like the sophisticated New Yorker, as alternative spaces and events such as these have a long history in the city, serving as creative labs for the next generation of performers, the same sort of cozy spaces and cabarets that have nourished the talent that brought us works like the New Faces series and Forbidden Broadway, and that went on to create masterpieces such as On The Town.

And speaking of sophistication, tonight I’m off to the theater again with Jeff/hammerride and Nayland, this time to see Richard Foreman’s new work, Idiot Savant, at The Public Theater, with Willem Dafoe. Richard Foreman is probably the leading American avant garde playwright-director, alongside Robert Wilson (Einstein on the Beach). I’ve seen two of his productions before, and they’ve usually left me scratching my head, so I’m glad I'll be seeing this one in the company of Jeff (theater director and professor) and Nayland (big Foreman fan), who may be able to help explain it to me!