Currently in previews at The Palace Theater on Broadway, Priscilla Queen Of The Desert: The Musical is based on the 1994 movie of the same name. The a rousing tale of three drag queens discovering themselves as they take a road trip across the Australian outback in the title character…a big pink bus. While camping is a part of their journey across the country, CAMP is a big part of the show! While not in the traditional Broadway musical style, the show highlights some great choreography and vocals to some of everyone’s favourite pop songs. Starting off with a rousing rendition of “It’s Raining Men” sung by ‘The Divas’, a threesome of ladies who sing the numbers when drag queens perform & lipsync; “Sempre Libre”, “Shake Your Groove Thing” “MacArthur Park” or “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”. A number of these big production numbers are ‘drag shows’ within the show and feature over the top costumes, in fact there are 320 costumes used in this production. From a movie that won the Oscar for Best Costumes, the musical has a lot to live up to and indeed it does. Other smaller numbers, like “I Say A Little Prayer”, “Always On My Mind” and “We Belong” help the story along, featuring the vocal talents of the very capable casts. Leads Will Swenson, Tony Sheldon and Nick Adams have spent the last 12 weeks in Toronto before bringing the production
to Broadway. This trial has given Swenson and Adams time to grow into their roles and I’m sure it helped them get used to the small costumes and very high-heels, Sheldon has played Bernadette in every production since the show debuted in Sydney in 2006 so was already ‘wearing’ the role like a dress. Familiar music, outstanding sets and costumes along with a good story make Priscilla Queen Of The Desert a feel good, dancing in your seat, sing-along (but please don’t) rousing good time! If you get the chance to see it when it in previews or when opens on Broadway March 20th, or even in London’s West End, you will have a smile across your face when you leave.
Recently, my friend May & I had an opportunity to make a quick getaway to New York City. After our recent daytrip to LA for The Ellen Show, she applied for a variety of other talk shows that we thought might make good excuses for excursions and adventures. This time she got tickets to The Martha Stewart Show in NYC. While we could have done this as a day trip too we decided that we’d stay overnight and have an extra day in the big city. The timing of the Cathay Pacific flights from YVR to JFK are perfect for a quick getaway as being red-eyes, they maximize your time in the city. We headed out on Sunday night at 10pm PST and arrived in NYC at a bright an early 6am local time (if you are able to sleep on the plane, which I rarely do, it’s even better). Luckily we both have NEXUS so can speed through customs and were out on our way immediately. Taking public transit from JFK to midtown Manhattan is easy, in less than an hour we were off the subway at Penn Station and walked the four blocks to the Fairfield Inn Manhattan/Chelsea which was super convenient located in the Flower District on the edge of Chelsea and Midtown.
Being so early we expected to just leave our bags and then head back out to the city but happily the room was ready and they allowed us to have the complimentary breakfast too. Bonus!! After a quick change, shower and bite we were recharged and ready to go. This was only May’s second trip to the Big Apple and my 4th so we pooled our experiences to show each other parts of the town that we’ve found and liked. First we headed uptown to Columbus Circle and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, the lobby lounge has one of the best views in the city. Located on the 35th floor and open to non-guests it’s a great spot to take in a (reasonably priced for NYC) refreshment and enjoy an amazing view of Central Park.
After a pot of tea and some star spotting…Ian Somerhalder of The Vampire Diaries was having breakfast at the next table…we were back on our adventure. Walking along Central Park towards The Plaza Hotel and Fifth Avenue, we tried for some more star spotting as Gossip Girl was filming in The Plaza but just saw a big group of extras and none of the cast. Wandering down Fifth Avenue browsing in the boutiques and shops we ended up at Rockerfeller Center, we’d both done it before
Skating Rink at Rockerfeller Centre
and we’d highly recommend visiting the Top Of The Rock and taking in the amazing views from the roof the the Center. We stopped in at the nearby branch of the famed Magnolia Bakery for some mid-morning sustenance. Then over to Times Square for the true tourist experience and the amazing hustle and bustle. While there we checked at the box office of The Palace Theater to enquire about tickets for that evening’s preview of Priscilla Queen Of The Desert, we’d seen discounted tickets on Travelzoo and luckily the box office was able to honour the discount and save us the $9.50 Ticketmaster service fee!
It was now midday so we thought we’d venture into a new area of town and headed downtown to the FI-DI (Financial District) to check out Wall Street,
I’d told May a few times about Stone (Pearl) Street and what a great place it is too hang out…in the summer it’s better as the street is filled with tables and all the restaurants serve in the street. In the frigid winter everyone is indoors. From the FI-DI it was a short walk over to Century 21 for some discount shopping, if you don’t know about it check it out next visit…it’s madness! After a few purchases we meandered through SOHO and into the West Village for more boutique browsing and bargain purchases at Uniqlo and Marc Jacobs. All the while on our ventures the sights, sounds and smells of the city filled our senses, people watching is a major sport in a city like New York. While roaming the West Village a friend emailed to say he had us on the guest list to check out a band showcase at the Mercury Lounge at 7pm. Since it’s an iconic venue we jumped a the chance but it was already 5pm so we needed to hurry back to the hotel to drop off our shopping and again refresh for the rest of the evening’s adventure. Catching a taxi to the Mercury was a classic New York moment, from standing in the street to hail it to the ‘edge of your seat’ drive through heavy traffic to the lower east side.
The band Noxshi, was late coming on so we only got to catch a couple of songs of their showcase but still interesting and entertaining even in that small of a dose. The next taxi was again a thrill ride as it raced it’s way up the east side to get to Times Square, but the driver made up twice the distance we’d gone earlier in less than half the time. Getting to The Palace Theatre with time to spare we found our seats for Priscilla Queen Of The Desert. Still just in previews the
musical, based on the 1994 movie of the same name, is an amazing spectacle: over-the-top costumes, outstanding vocals and choreography plus a big pink bus onstage…what more could you ask for? After a great time at the show we met another friend at Junior’s in Times Square, famed for it’s cheesecake, we had to try a slice! Yum! Besides the tasty food and good company, people watching was the order of business as all walks of life cross through the Time’s Square area. Finally after lingering at Junior’s for a couple hours we made a quick trip into Times Square for a ‘tourist’ pic under the lights
and a quick jaunt into the massive Forever 21 branch so I could get a second opinion on a jacket…shopping never sleeps either! Back to the hotel for a little shut-eye, morning came too soon as we quickly packed up again after breakfast and then made our way a couple blocks to the Chelsea Studios for The Martha Stewart Show taping. An incredibly organized experience (would you expect any less from Martha?!), even waiting for the show was an experience.
Well known stand-up comic, Joey Kola, is the warm up guy and also tells us what we should expect and what’s expected of us during the show. Quickly we are whisked into the studio where we are still able to take photographs right up until the taping starts. Martha’s celebrity guests for this live episode were Joan and Melissa Rivers, they were a fun duo for Martha to cook for/with. Other segments of the show were about Allergies and Sensitivities, featuring specialists in these fields. After the taping we were again allowed to take pictures while Martha answered questions from the audience members. We were quite amazed at how unexpectedly interactive and accommodating Martha was to her audience. We really enjoyed the show, we’d do it again. After the taping we roamed around the Meatpacking District,
through Chelsea Market and the East Village on the way to Union Square. From there it was a quick subway uptown to Grand Central Terminal and again to sit and people-watch in Times Square before making our way back to the hotel to grab our bags and head out of the city to our flight home from JFK. Overall we packed a whole lot of seeing the city into our 48hour trip, we were worn out but would probably do it again in a heart beat!
Next time you’re at the movie cinema think about these hints to help everyone have an enjoyable experience!
1. DO arrive on time. Even if it’s just during the trailers, no one likes having you squish your way into the seats once the house lights are down. 2. DON’T take up more than your own space. If you have bags, coats or parcels keep them on your lap or under your feet. 3. DO turn off your mobile phone or at least put it on silent! 4. DON’T talk throughout the movie. If you must ask your friend something, whisper quietly in their ear. 5. DO enjoy something from the concession. 6. DON’T loudly slurp your empty drink or rustle and crinkle the wrapper or your candy 7. DO laugh or exclaim at the movie but try to keep it appropriate and contained so not to interrupt the next scene of the movie 8. DON’T loudly snap, chew and pop your gum. 9. DO dispose of your gum and other trash in a bin as you leave not on the floor, especially a greasy popcorn bag or unfinished drink cup. They spill and make the clean up slow for the next patron to enter the theatre. 10. DON’T forget this isn’t your living room, you are still in public, keep other bodily sounds contained!
As you may be aware, I attend a lot of concerts and over the years have noticed many concert-goers demonstrating a lack of respect for the other patrons and the artist by display poor concert etiquette while watching the show.
Before you go out to check out your next gig you might want to consider some of these pointers to make sure everyone has a good time!
1. DO temper your drinking before the band starts so you aren’t ridiculously drunk and falling down while the band plays. 2. DON’T block others behind you if you’re tall or at least don’t stand directly in front of someone shorter. 3. DO smoke pot (c’mon…this is Vancouver, we all know it happens) in the middle of the crowd, not the edges, security is less likely to hassle you. 4. DON’T carry your drink into the middle of the crowd or mosh pit…it will splash on someone, probably yourself! 5. DO pay attention to the volume of your voice if you must talk throughout the performance. Yes, the band is loud, you are still louder. 6. DON’T shout out requests or quotes from different bands/artists, remember what band you are seeing. 7. DO dance all you like and while it’s lovely and spiritual to dance as tho no one is watching…in reality we all are watching especially if you’re bouncing all over and tromping on our feet! 8. DON’T need to travel in packs, ladies, holding hands as you push your way into and out of the crowd. It’s not the Red Sea, it will not part for you. 9. DO-udes, keep your fist pumping & high-fiving to a minimum…you may think you’re from the Jersey Shore…but really you just look like a douche! 10. DON’T be ‘that guy’ who shouts out “I LOVE YOU” “YOU ROCK”, if the artist is trying to play a quiet acoustic tune, interrupting the intimate moment does not make you cool and no they will not love you back!
Prophetik designer Jeff Garner’s latest eco-friendly collection entitled “Artists Wonderment” is inspired by the court of Louis XV. Featuring all natural plant and earth based colours. Ripped silks and organic velour are combined with 100 year old southern quilts, handed down from Jeff’s grandmother. The classic stylish gowns show why Jeff has dressed many celebrities including Taylor Swift, Sheryl Crow and most recently Livia Firth, wife of Oscar winner Colin Firth, for the Golden Globes. In addition to the luxurious gowns and well tailored jackets this men’s and women’s show featured live performances by actor/musician Thomas Ian Nicholas and local bluegrass band Viper Central
Designer/Recycling Activist/Project Runway Finalist Kim Cathers wears many hats but on this night at Eco Fashion Week she was her to debut her latest Kdon clothing collection. All of the fabric for her 100% recycled eco-friendly line is sourced from Our Social Fabric a local textile recycling non-profit organization.
Designer Margarita Angelatos’ second line at Eco Fashion Week, Peridot Kiss (her other being Red Jade) is another eco-friendly, comfortable, casual, hemp clothing collection made for today’s woman. This line is aimed to bring high quality style at an affordable price point to women of all ages.