Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hairspray, Italian Beef, & Late Night Catechism

Where do I begin...

One year ago I visited Chicago - I came home with 50lbs of Chicago foods for friends and family - yep - Pizza, Candy, Potato Chips, and Italian Beef!!! Italian beef, for those of you who don't know what they are - think thinner sliced French Dip with hot peppers - and they are Yummy!!!

Well imagine my surprise, on the way back from the airport, I passed a new restaurant storefront at 1777 Airline Drive - called..."Chicago Italian Beef!!!" - I was so excited - but they were not open yet... so I waited... and waited... and waited - month after month - the promise of Italian beef so close... but they seemed to never open... It got close a few times - the sign would be lit up around midnight - but nope - they were just working...

A month ago - I was promised they would open "any day now" - I waited... some more... Today they opened - One Year Later!!!

I would have made a couple changes to the sandwich - I would skip the grilled onions and peppers and replace them with just the giardiniera, a spicy pickled mix of chopped vegetables (which they have available on the self serve island). But all that said - it was great! And it came with fries at no extra cost! So if ya wanna enjoy a little taste of "The Windy City" in Houston this summer visit:

Chicago Italian Beef
1777 Airline Dr.


Another Chicago Import is invading Houston this summer - the original comedy from Live Bait Theatre. I saw the show YEARS ago when it was first playing - it was a hit, but I was less then impressed - everyone said it was a blast, but I was far from entertained... An actress dressed as a nun sitting at a big wooden desk at the front of the small theater instructing us in catechism lessons - I was BORED and not amused...

Now STAGES Theatre in Houston has decided to produce the show for their summer offering - so again I was less then thrilled to return to see this show... But, since lately I have missed so many of the offerings from this fine local theatre, I made sure to see this show - and guess what... It was a BLAST!

The biggest difference I can remember is the fact that this time the Sister moves around and the audience seemed much more involved... The result - the show WAS fun and funny!

It was more of a stand up/improve show than I remembered it and I laughed continuously from start to finish - and due to the nature of the show - each performance will be somewhat different, so I'll go back!

I guess that says a whole lot about this production - it is hard enough to present a comedy to an audience that isn't familiar with it, and get them to enjoy it - but if you can take a show that someone doesn't like, and then make them enjoy it so much they would come back - that is truly an accomplishment - and STAGES pulls it off...

So get a group of friends together and enjoy a cool night at a red hot show

3201 Allen Parkway
Through September 30, 2007

And one more warm surprise - the film "Hairspray"

I liked the original John Waters movie (I preferred "Cry Baby" - but that is another story), but I loved the musical - I have seen it a bunch of times - mostly 'cause I love the show, but also 'cause a friend of mine (Dale Calandra) understudied the role of Edna... So I went into the film worried they would loose all the frantic joy of the stage show - which greatly improved on the story of the original film, and added fun songs and more dancing, plus heart and at the same time sweetness...

The TV ads have scared me - the colors were just too bold, the performers just seems... stiff maybe? Well again - I was wrong!

This is just the feel good film of the summer - every chubby girl will wanna go, every gay boy will too, actually anyone who has ever felt different, an outcast, all alone... I guess I should say EVERYONE will want to see this film - the message is wonderful, all about acceptance and equality - and the musical numbers feel real and fresh - not at all forced. The only weak spot would be John Travolta, and mostly for the strange accent the actor choose to use - no one else has an accent in the film - it just was an odd choice to me, and slowed down his ability to spit out his comic lines with he speed needed to make them work best.

But other than that - the film was just a joy and by the end, I even started to be OK with Travolta's Edna...

So take the family and have a blast of "HAIRSPRAY"


Bob said...

Who is the actress playing the nun in the STAGES play? You neglected to tell us. If she pulls off such a coup as reinvigarating your feelings for the show, she deserves public credit.

Jackson said...

Amanda Herbert

Jim said...

I so wish I had taken a picture of all the food as it was being piled either into my trunk or into Richard's freezer. From what I recall, the Friday haul was italian beef, including a jar of the "juice" in which its cooked, a jar of peppers, 10 pounds (guessing) of italian sausages (spicy?), a sausage pizza (stuffed) from Gino's East, a spinach pizza (stuffed) from Calo, and candy from Ferrara Pan. Then there were the two bags of potato chips purchased earlier in the week, and there was a third pizza purchased on Sunday from Art of Pizza. My car smelled like a restaurant for a week! And I loved it. LOL Still have your duffle bag from Target?

Connie said...

I just found out about this new movie premiere around the country today.
EDITH PIAF !!! It's at the River Oaks Tower. Click on link to see trailer and
HEAR the FABULOUS music and songs and see photos...

That Movie Guy said...


"every chubby girl will wanna go, every gay boy too..."

I actually want to see that movie. I bought one of the songs on iTunes and can't stop listening to it...

...Don't tell anyone.