Tag Archives: Nathan Lane

Waiting for Godot-Part 2 April 18th 2009

I sit down in Dillion’s a small long bar, probably a dive bar for those who couldn’t make it into or got thrown out of Studio 54 back in the day, but now a simple wooden floor bar with a seating area for food in back. Yes this is THE Studio 54 from back in the good old days, bought by the Laura Pels Foundation and made into a theater. The girl behind the bar is working like a dog to get the next shift set up, setting up the bar with beers and ice and everything needed for the night shift, but also takes time to make conversation with me and a few other people while she works. Later she tells a guy near me she plans to take a nap and then go out and get drunk, I can’t say I blame her. She wears a fedora on top of long brown hair and has a Roman nose on her soft pointed features which actually works for her and makes her very attractive,  (of course about 25 years younger than me and has the pick of the crop when it comes to boys) and a nice body to match. Not a model just a nice package in black slacks and a white top with a sleeveless black vest, a classic look for a pretty girl.

But soon it’s time for me to go so I say my goodbyes, leave a tip and walk the short distance to Studio 54, there is a school group here waiting to get in to the show. These are high school age teens cutting up and talking loudly while we wait to be allowed in to get our seats. I hope they will behave themselve tonight, or I will ask for a refund as I watch the silly boys doing antics to impress girls and weird out teachers, they are of course old enough to know better, I watch only half amused impatient to go in and see the show.

When we do get in after a while, I decide to not pay the high prices for drinks and snacks so I get my seat in the lovely old looking theater. I find that we are hemmed in like sardines in the small seats designed for smaller people from a bygone age, I mean I’m not that tall but there’s no leg room at all! My knees are right up against the seat in front of me, this is why it’s always good to pay extra for better seats and if possible choose an isle seat. However, when it was built in 2003, it was made to be beautiful and reflect the old look from the Golden Age of New York, and it is beautifully decorated inside with fancy carpeting and plush seats, and walls and ceilings decorated like a kings court. The light soon go down and we are reminded to shut off our cell phones, there’s always one idiot who forgets or refuses to do so it seems.

When the curtain is raised, we see Nathan Lane sitting on a rock in an outdoor setting, a strange rocky landscape with a path running through it, with one small leafless tree. He appears to be homeless and is in the process of trying to get shoes off swollen feet, he is in much pain from walking…I can relate.  Soon he is joined by Bill Irwin and they are both  there waiting for something or someone called Godot. He is a strange mysterious figure who can provide work and or shelter and food, although they never explain how or why, the rest of the time they live by their wits, trying to survive in a hostile environment yet preserve their dignity. The play offers no hope, no glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel as it were, but rather shows the interplay of two men, two friends who while deciding  they are better off alone, cannot live without each other. This is easily seen as an Abbot & Costello relationship and the performance of Nathan and Bill puts one in the mind of the old duo from a better time long ago and far away from today’s problems and fears. The addition of John Goodman as Potto; a wealthy looking man being attended by a worn out slave like character who he mistreats, is striking as he provides grist for the mill of the characters as they look for ways to pass the time while they wait for Godot. Days lose all meaning to them and memories are unnecessary, because one day is like another. The play while not uplifting is thought provoking and deep and provides one with a sense of how time should be spent rather than wasted, I leave the theater and wait outside holding my program waiting for an autograph.

But after a while I notice that no barricades are set up and when a couple come along hoping for the same, I wonder if we are in the right place. I see into the lobby and a similar area seems to be open on the other side othe theater which opens out on the other block. Even with my glasses on I can’t see well enough. I mention it to the couple near me who just came along and the husband goes in to check and comes out to inform us that we have to go to the other side of the theater, we are on the wrong block!  We all dash off down the block and cut through a parking garage that goes thru to both sides to the theater where black cars are waiting to take the actors home or where ever they go after a show. Just as we arrive on the scene Nathan Lane is signing autographs, I try to get around to him but am told to stay behind the barrier. While he moves to the other side and signs a few and then gets in the black Escalade to leave, not one to be deterred that easily I walk over to the driver as he comes around and holding my program out I say one word “Please” and with a sigh he takes it and I follow him to the drivers side of the Escalade where he gives it to Nathan to sign, I say to Nathan that it was a fantastic performance and he inspired a bunch of high schoolers tonight and he thanks me and they drive off.

I feel a little bad for the young couple but they didn’t move with me just stood there like dummies, they missed out, still I wait with the others avoiding the gaze of the couple if it was coming my way and wait for Bill Irwin to come out, he is very nice and signs for everyone and poses for pictures, I get the chance to tell him that his performance reminds me of Red Skelton and he is quite pleased, and also the whole Abbot and Costello routine and he says he must tell Nathan that the next time they meet before the show. I know I have in my own way helped enourmously and feel good about putting my two cents in, after I help a couple from Boston who want pictures taken of them in front of the lit up sign for the show on the wall next to the exit. But now as I talk to them I realize that my voice is half gone now as the germs from my company have taken firm hold and I am sick, so the only thing to do is to high tail it outta there and get back to Penn Station and get home to bed.

I walk down 8th Ave back downtown, it’s fairly warm now about 60 degrees so I don’t bother witha cab, I mean I know I’m sick so a ten dollar cab ride won’t change a thing. But even when I try to get one after re-thinking my decision, there isn’t one to be had. So I stop in a Duane Reed and get a cold drink and walk the twenty blocks to Penn, with an assortment of drunk college students, tourists, natives who ignore everything, and weekenders like myself going back from whence they came. This is an endless procession of charecters and types, young ethnic men hitting on cool young chics, aging intellectuals walking home from dinner & drinks, couples fussing over over something in Spanish that seems vitally important, and young people who’s only concerm is here and now.

The array of types is amazing here, straight and gay, rich and poor, foreigners and New Yorkers, suburbanites and out of towners all struggling for a bit of fun, a sense of peace, and a claim to space in a crowded urban sprawl. I find myself wearily entering Penn Station from the Amtrack side  and have to make my way amidst the crowds and unfortunates looking for change to the LIRR area. I’ve got about 15 minutes to wait for my train so I go to Tracks for a quick Harp before I have to get my train. The beer is cold and crisp, I enjoy every mouthful till I bottoms up, dash off to get my train, more than a little tired but happy to have had my birthday gift to me.

I ride home knowing I will be sicker by tomorrow, but some things are worth getting sick over, I will wait for the next big event to come and enrich my life like this one has. But maybe that is the message of the play, not to Wait for Godot. But rather to grab him and make him give up his secrets! There is no need to wait for Godot because he really doesn’t exist, he is just a metaphor for people to decide for themselves. I can be a leader, I don’t have to wait for Godot or anyone else to succeed. I have spent too many years waiting as it is, I have to knock loudly on opportunities door, I think that now that is what I must do, it’s not going to knock on mine.  So I sit on the train and think about the future, what I could make for myself as we rattle along I try to stay awake and think about the possibilities.

Peace

Glen

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Filed under Food, Memories, New York City, NY, Plays, Samuel Beckett, Theater

Waiting for Godot-Apr 18th 2009

A mild warm day for us, it’s a little overcast but not raining yet. We have three days of rain coming tomorrow but you know what they say about April showers…I’m going to see the play Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett; starring Nathan Lane! This is my birthday gift to myself and as such I also will be going to the Village for an early dinner. I board the train and we set off noisily, it’s full of sports fans and families with kids. A young mom with a cute little boy turns down an offer from two young fellas to sit down. A classy move on their part but she declines citing the boy would not keep his seat andshe stands by the door with him in her arms so he can get the best view as we speed along to Penn Station on an express. I think moms are the real heros of our world, I mean to take a kid to New York by yourself especially one that’s not trained yet  is a heck of a job even with a husband along to help. The trees are budding as I look out the opposite door from mom, the Cherry trees are flowering now, you can smell them for miles when your outside, soon they will be replaced by the Dogwoods in a few weeks. A panhandler smelling of booze asks me for some change, he spends all day skimming from people to get his next drink or hit and moves down the car looking for sympathetic faces. It’s a shame people live like this in our world.  A week ago I was entertaining relatives from England staying in the city, we had a ball, I miss them and can’t wait to see them again.

Soon we arrive at Penn Station and I’ve got plenty of time so I go to my favorite watering hole in the city, Tracks. There I grab a Harp and visit the loo before getting on the subway, the bar is not crowded at this time so I really enjoy my cold draught without the dinn of the usual crowds that will fill the place later. I finish my beer and head down to the subway station, weaving through the mass of people as I do so and get on the subway to W. 3rd St, when I get off  I begin to wander passing some of the places I took my relatives to a week ago. I find a trendy looking Indian place called Cafe Spice near University Place, but it’s not open yet so I read the menu in the window and take note for next time. (just a footnote, I looked on Menupages.com and people said it was pretentious and the staff were lacking as was the food so I guess I won’t be trying it.) Moving back towards Washington Square Park I approach the open side where people can still gather during the rennovation to sit and read, eat, a bunch are listening to a Chinese drum team. They sit on the ground and twirl these sticks in time to a captain, it’s very impressive I think as I pass a man holding a book and decide to take a closer look, his name is Robert Fogelnest and he is selling his book “The Streets of Greenwich Village, A Self Guided Walking Tour” it’s only twelve dollars and has a street by street listing of all the prominent residents, it’s not so much a tour as a book you can carry with you as you walk  scanning  for building numbers to see where people lived years ago. It’s a real hardcore Villageaphile kind of read but for me it’s right up my alley, so I buy it and tell him the most fun I had was taking relatives through the Village, guiding them around and how I wish I could get paid for it. He looks at me and says “You can, it’s easy” He pulls out his wallet and shows me his official tour guide card, and tells me how you go about studying for and passing the test for tour guide licensing and where to get a job making a decent salary doing what I now know I love.

Like the time I chronicled in my story Duffy Concert Part 1 & 2 that I met a man who led me to start writing, here now I feel the next part of the puzzle has come. This man has shown me the way out of the job I hate without the loss of too much of my current income, of course you make that up on tips and taking private tours in your off hours from the regular bus tours and such as are offering employment. He says to me you spend your day with happy people on vacation from all over the world. He says Greenwich Village is the beating heart of the city, and by God  he is right…it’s all right here. It’s a revelation to me, I thank him and shake his hand and begin digesting this new information, suddenly I see the city now differently, I have to slow down take more notes and find out about everything in New York, I can’t just cater to my own interests, I have to find the city all over again as a whole entity and it’s history and it’s future. But before I do this for a living I have to lose weight and get some foot problems taken care of too.

Having said that I still can’t help feeling like a door has been opened for me, I wander around the village taking notes, I stop to aid a woman who needs help carrying groceries at the Marketplace, she was in the process of calling her old friend to get out of the car across the street to come over and help her but I volunteered. I follow her into the store and carry three of the packages into the car for her. She thanks me and I continue my walk passing beautiful beds of flowers, early spring is a great time for me and the birds who are  starting courtship rituals andI couldn’t agree more, it’s time to find a nice girl- not easy but nothing is!

I eventually find myself sitting down outside of Gus’s Place,192 Bleeker at MacDougal. My choice of eatery for today and one that I have been looking forward to for a while. This is a Village fixture that closed and re-opened in a new location to the delight of many, a little tricky to find since there are so many places right on top of each other here. It has a 5 star rating for food with only a 3 star rating for price and considered by some to be the most authentic old Greek village food experience in New York City, which is good cause that’s what I’m looking for today. I have to watch my spending so I order 2 small tapas, grilled octopus with EVOO, onion and capers, and Fava beans with tomato and onion, and a glass of Greek red to wash it down.

While I sit and wait I  watch as tourists and residents move about, there are so many people out today because of the nice weather. I notice a man standing in the street to get a good picture of his friends at the table nearby, he almost gets run over by the occasional car that passes these Village streets. My food arrives and boy it is good, the Octopus is seared  tender and the Fava beans are meaty and savory, but the olive oil is outstanding.  I wanted the small fried fish but they are not in season yet so I’ll have to wait till next time, and that’s OK anyway-I gotta cut down on calories. I finish my food and head up to the Union Square market to see what’s good today, I stop first and take a photo of a young couple in New York for the first time who were posing individually so I offer to help, and they pose together so the MacDougal St sign is in the pic.

Funny but I am striving now to make myself available to people like this, I’ve always been kinda shy but now I have to break free of that if I’m to tour with folks one on one. The market is always interesting, a young Rasta looking dude quietly says to me “Hey man I got green all fresh all natural” as I pass, sorry it just gives me a headache I think as I walk along the crowded market, there are artists and photographers selling prints, produce of all kinds from upstate New York are there, cheese vendors, meats, jams, breads, pastries, flowers and plants for apartment dwellers. There are so many things to see it would take all day to sample everything so I go below to get away and wait for the subway, the 6 train is jammed there is a problem as many workers in vests are in the track area and on the platforms. So I take the 5 express to 42nd St. I go up top and walk back to Sofitel to pick up the umbrella that my mom left behind last week. The concierge provides me with it and goes back to his job a picture of class with a little snobbery just under the radar I think as I leave but he was nice enough.

I continue but I actually have  to hit an ATM because right now I don’t have the money for a cab, but decide to just keep walking anyway to save money I can do it. The hustle of 8th Ave is impressive as buses, taxis, black cars, all vie for position like ponys at the starting gates. Suddenly they burst forth as soon as the light turns green with much honking of horns and gunning of motors. It’s a long walk and when I get to 54th St I have to walk a little further to find an ATM inside of one of the many Ray’s Pizza locations. They all claim to be the original but God only knows the truth!  I’ve got bags of time so now I need a drink and to rest before the show, I walk down 54th St and try a bar but it’s noisy so I leave before they even approach me. Instead I see a sign that looks promising…Dillons on the other side of the street, I walk across to have a few drinks and relax before the show.

Cheers

Glen
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Filed under East Village, Food, Greenwich Village, Memories, New York City, Off Broadway, Plays, Samuel Beckett, Theater