Countdown to 2020: 2019 TV

Disclaimer: I only rank shows that I watch and I’m not a TV critic. Also, there are some spoilers. Read at your own risk…

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Countdown to 2020: 2019 Theater

Slava’s Snowshow

Last year I saw 65 shows, my lowest yet. This year I saw 89. I don’t know whether to congratulate myself for increasing my number by more than 20 and getting back to where I’d been in previous years or chastise myself for spending too much time at the theater and not enough on my own writing and other things. Last year I’d accepted the fact that I was now only going to be seeing 60-70 shows a year. However, last fall I was incredibly busy with my own shows, so I did miss a lot that I’d wanted to see. Would I rather see less and do my own writing and shows more? I don’t have an answer.

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Countdown to 2020: 2019 Movies

Well, I really stepped up my game this year. Last year I saw 5 movies, a new low, and that was with the streaming movies. This year I saw 15 movies in theaters! I’m really proud of myself for seeing more films and also proud of the movie industry for making and re-showing more films I want to see.

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DAYS OF RAGE in Concert at Green Room 42!

On Friday, October 25th, at 7pm, join me for Days of Rage in Concert at the beautiful Green Room 42 (42nd Street and 10th Avenue). Days of Rage has music and book by Hyeyoung Kim, with lyrics by me, and this concert will feature 14 of our beautiful and powerful songs. We’re so excited, and we hope you can be there.

Cast and Creative Team Info and Ticket Link Press Release

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NOT COMING BACK, Well, Came Back!

My one-woman show, NOT COMING BACK, well, came back on September 16th at the Duplex Cabaret Theater. I perform the entire 60-minute show, which includes both original songs and a few songs from musicals and popular songs. I love working on and performing this show, which has music by seven composers that I’ve worked with: Gaby Alter, Eric Day, Rob Hartmann, Gregory Jacobs-Roseman, Hyeyoung Kim, Julia Meinwald, and Russell Stern. Each song has a different feel and yet is totally of the piece. I was also lucky to work again with my director Lori Steinberg and my music director Christopher D. Littlefield and an awesome band, 2/3 of which were able to return for this showing. Video clips are coming soon!

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An Interview with the Writers of the Musical Black Hole Wedding

Renewable Energy is coming to the New York Musical Festival–in the form of the new musical Black Hole Wedding. In this satire of energy politics, a corrupt oil baron battles a shy geek and his fiancé in the face of a large and powerful black hole. I talked to writers Katherine Brann Fredricks (words) and Paul E. Nelson (music) about musicalizing a black hole, researching and writing about a chicken bone fuel generator and an electronic sniffer, and why you shouldn’t call this a sci-fi musical. 

Shoshana Greenberg: Where did this idea come from?

Katherine Fredricks: Paul wanted to do an office musical, something set in an office. He mentioned Dilbert, and I said, ‘Yeah, but we don’t have the rights to that.’ And so we were talking, and he said something about a black hole trash compactor, and I just fell over laughing. And so we were like, we have no idea what the show is, we have no clue, but yes, we’re writing something about a black hole trash compactor. 

Paul Nelson: My original idea, because I’ve started a couple of companies, was to have the world’s worst start-up company make a black hole trash compactor, and because the company’s so dysfunctional they threaten the entire earth. That was the genesis of the idea. It ended up going in a much more political direction, appropriately, I think. It was an interesting blend of both of our ideas. 

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American Opera Projects To Present The Stonewall Operas

I’m so excited to have been involved in this program! My 30-minute opera with composer Kevin Cummines goes up this Saturday, May 18th, with additional performances on May 19th and May 20th at the Stonewall Inn itself.

There are four half-hour long mini-operas inspired by the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots will making their world premiere at NYU’s Shubert Theatre and the Stonewall Inn. The four operas performed will conclude NYU’s Stonewall at 50 Series, a collection of panels, performances, events, and discussions commemorating the riots and their legacy.

Our opera is called “The Community,” and it is directed by I-Chen Wang.
It’s 400 years in the future, and humanity has rebuilt itself after an apocalyptic event that sent the survivors into another dark age. The only artifact they have from the previous civilization is a book on the history of the Stonewall Uprising. A madcap dystopian comedy that asks, what happens when a society is built on the story of Stonewall and what happens when someone wants to deviate from the norms?

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Countdown to 2019: 2018 Books

2018 in Books

Last year, I read 11 books! This year I read 14! Two of those books were A Series of Unfortunate Events books–I had started this re-read of the series with my babysitting charge and now I’m finishing it on my own. I also read the children’s book Hero Dog at babysitting, so I included that as well. I completed my usual goal of 10 books (not babysitting books) per year, adding an extra one this year for a total of 11 non-children’s/babysitting books. I’m glad I’ve kept up and even surpassed my reading pace.

Overall, I read 5 fiction books (3 classics, 1 new (fantasy), and 1 book of short stories–last year I read 4), 5 non-fiction books (1 history book, 3 memoir/personal history books, and 1 feminism book–overall, the same as last year), 3 children series books, and 1 book of poetry. I didn’t read any non-American authors this year; last year it had been 2. I also decreased in my number of women authors from 9/11 to 8/14 (not really a major decrease), with 4 of the 8 being women of color. 4 books were for my virtual book club with my college friends, and 2 were for another book club at work. Usually I read 1 book by someone I know, which I wasn’t able to do last year, but this year I did with the poetry book. 1 book I read because it related to something I was writing/working on.

These stats are fairly similar to last year’s. I am happy that I kept up with reading more women authors, although I’d like to try to read more non-American authors again next year. I also kept up my resolution to read 1 feminism book a year and to keep my good mix of fiction, non-fiction, children/young adult books, and poetry. My resolution has been to read 1 poetry book a year, and I have stuck to that, as well as to my resolution to read 1 Thornton Wilder book a year. However, one of my resolutions last year AND the years before that had been to read a biography, and I still did not do that.  I basically achieved all my reading goals except for biography, though. Next year: Continue with at least a 50:50 ratio for women to men authors and continue with my reading variety–make sure to continue to read 1 poetry book a year, 1 feminism book a year, and 1 Wilder book a year–but make sure to read a biography as well.

I also read 8 New Yorkers (1 more than last year!) and 7 New York magazines (2 more than last year!) in between each book, as well as various other magazine/web articles. Plus, every Time Out New York. Next year: Try to bring myself up to previous years’ numbers of 10 New Yorkers and 10 New York magazines a year.

I’ll still list the online reading/writing classes I was in, although unfortunately I was not able to keep up with ModPo this fall. I kept up with some of the posts, however, and will look over the materials in the new year. Last year I read 9 short stories, and I didn’t read any this year except for those in the book collection I read. I’d like to get back to reading short stories next year as well.

Favorite Book of 2018

My favorite book(s) of the year:
Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own
The Ides of March

Special shoutout to Backlash, which I read for the second time and still loved, especially reading it in the reading group.

The List:

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Countdown to 2019: 2018 TV

Disclaimer: I only rank shows that I watch and I’m not a TV critic. Also, there are some spoilers. Read at your own risk…

I had to push a lot of 2017 shows to 2018, like the final season of Girls, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Transparent. I did manage to watch a lot more this year, including starting shows but not quite getting to the latest seasons, like Westworld and The Bold Type. This list is a reflection of those shows I watched this year that aired the season I watched this year.

This is the last year I can use this graphic.

1. The Americans
It’s still hard to accept that The Americans ended, even though it was probably one of the greatest finales in TV–completely unexpected and yet so right. The showdown with Stan, leaving Henry, Paige’s choice, and Elizabeth’s and Philip’s return–I could never have predicted it. It left viewers with so many questions and interpretations in the best possible way. And I don’t want to forget the rest of the season, especially that sequence set to Patti Smith’s “Broken Flag.” I will miss you, The Americans, but can let you go because you ended wonderfully.

2. The Middle
As I said last year, The Middle could go on forever. But it ended, and, like The Americans, the ending was wonderful. It’s hard to find a family sitcom that was conistently good for nine years, and The Middle never wavered, even as the older kids went off to college and graduated. Sue remains my favorite character and one of my favorite TV characters overall, and there is talk of a spin-off centering on her character. If that happens, someone up in TV land is looking out for me. 

3. The Good Place
I’d been meaning to start this show, and I’m so glad I finally did. It’s always surprising and enjoyable, and just goes farther and farther out there while getting deeper and deeper. It’s like a constant brain teaser, challenging you philosophically but at the end of the day, it’s more about the emotion and relationships. Also, the cast is fantastic.

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Countdown to 2019: 2018 Movies

I saw 5 movies this year.This is two fewer than last year, which had been a major drop. What more could I expect though since I basically stopped going to the movies? The number was so low that I had to include a movie I watched on a plane and a movie I watched on Netflix. 

This year, I saw 3 new movies in the theater, which is on par with last year. 2 were with my company as field trips. Of the 5 I saw this year, I saw all of them for the first time.

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