Hugh and Saul

I subsist on beanie weenies* so I can go out and do things like watch Hugh Laurie play the blues and watch Saul Williams talk.

If you know who Hugh Laurie is, you may be thinking, what? He’s an actor. He’s Gregory House. He’s Bertie Wooster. Yes, he is those characters. But he is also a phenomenal piano player who happens to love the blues.

His voice won’t bring the house down, but his piano playing and stage presence will. Just try to imagine an English actor wearing a tuxedo shirt and plaid pants singing and playing the blues. And drinking whiskey and cracking jokes with the audience. Cra-mazing. He had an awesome six-piece band to support him as well, playing “plucky things and blowy things.” I was reminded that concerts are so much more engaging when you can see how much the musicians are enjoying themselves.

In a perfect world, I would be many things. Including best friends with Saul Williams. He is the type of person you could sit with for HOURS and talk with. I can just tell. He is so smart and thoughtful and witty. He is currently on tour to promote a book of poems he edited. His show was totally freeform. First he had a bunch of audience members come up and read their poetry. Just on the fly. I was surprised by how many people had poems with them. After they finished, he did his thing. He doesn’t “recite” poetry. He exudes poetry. Hearing him “slam” is like being relentlessly assaulted with the heaviest, most beautiful words.

In between performing his poetry, he took questions from the audience. He talked about some personal experiences, race in America, favorite poets. He lives in Paris. So does David Sedaris. Ooh, unintentional rhyme alert. Someday I will be an expat too.

I’m hoping to find some inspiration from these performances and engage in some creative endeavors this weekend.

Coming up next week: Molly Ringwald and Davy and Peter Rothbart of Found magazine


*Not really. I don’t even know what beanie weenies are. But it is a fun word pair.

The TV Network in the Sky

I watch two TV shows regularly, and one of them ends next week. House is going to the big TV network in the sky. Sure, it’s time, but I don’t have to be happy about it. Hugh Laurie has played House so brilliantly. He’s a man you love to dislike. He’s manipulative and needy and breaks rules. He’s brilliant and insightful—about everyone except for himself. And Robert Sean Leonard’s Wilson, the long-suffering best friend of House…let’s just say RSL had me at Dead Poet’s Society. Props to all of the actors; they all have been great.

If Wilson dies next week, I am going to lose it. If House dies next week, I am going to lose it. Whatever happens, I will have my hankies at the ready. Farewell, sweet Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, farewell.

Here’s a great article about the appeal of House.

Courtesy of

At the Halfway Point

I completed my 18th item today. I took a tour of the WGBH studios. I really enjoyed it. The building itself is impressive…just opened in 2007. It is a very green building. 80 percent of it is composed of recycled materials. An employee had called WGBH an “idea factory” so they rolled with it and it has factory-looking features inside.

We saw radio studios and control rooms…and a performance studio where live music is broadcast. Then we went inside the two television studios, and some TV control rooms. There is little, if any, taping going on on Saturdays, so it was pretty quiet.

One of the most interesting tidbits I learned was that WGBH invented closed captioning. And there are employees who do closed captioning for other stations and shows, such as David Letterman, and the Hollywood studios.

I might just start watching more WGBH shows now, and listen to 89.7 FM more often! I don’t really watch TV, period. Except for House on Monday nights. The whole reality TV explosion turned me off from the tube pretty much entirely. But the tour kind of rekindled something in me.

I felt a bit nostalgic while taking the tour. I studied broadcast journalism in undergrad, and that was my career path not taken. I worked on the news show at the college TV station. And I also wrote news stories and announced them for the radio station. Lots of good times were had. Writing stories up until the last minute…anchoring a morning news show (getting up at 6:oo am to go the station; what was I smoking???). Running the teleprompter…today it is all computer-run, but back in my day, we literally printed out the stories in large font and had to feed them on what was basically a conveyor belt. And there was a camera hooked up to the big video camera somehow, so the anchor could read the news stories. Hysterical.  I can’t imagine what it would be like to be a college student studying broadcast journalism today. Technology has advanced so so so so much.


My Significant Other Goes…

My Significant Other Goes “Movie Shipped: [insert movie title here].” Sorry Olive, I have a new SO named Netflix. I received Inglourious Basterds and watched it Friday. Put it in the mail on Saturday. Today I was told that I should receive La Dolce Vita tomorrow. And I watched Rudo y Cursi on my computer instantly on Saturday. I am boggled by my new SO’s efficiency!

In other news, another item has been added to the birthday list. I am helping to judge a contest. I don’t think I’ve done that before. The Boston Public Library and 826 Boston are putting on a contest for kids. Kids will be invited to draw or write about their vision for what the year 3010 will be like. Whoa!

New episode of House tonight…I can barely stand it. If things don’t work out with Netflix for some unforeseen reason, I’m ringing up Hugh Laurie next!