Klein, Cartier-Bresson, Rutgers, and Macchio

I went New York holiday sightseeing Saturday with a friend. We went by Rockefeller to purchase a Christmas ornament at the Swarovski booth. I could have sworn the Christmas tree at Rockefeller was much taller in years past. Perhaps I've just grown taller?
Our next stop was the Met. One of the exhibits we visited was the compact photography exhibit "Few Are Chosen: Street Photography and the Book, 1936-1966". It's not a large collection, but it contains work from my favorite photographer, William Klein, and a few of my other favorites, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank. They had old, old copies of the books Life is good & good for you by Klein and The Americans by Frank behind glass cases, but not a copy of Cartier-Bresson's The Decisive Moment, an out-of-print book I'd love to own. The image to the left is perhaps Cartier-Bresson's most famous, "Behind Saint-Lazare station, Paris, France, 1932."
After a Xmas-tree ornament-hanging party Saturday night, James and Angela took me to Blue 9 Burger in the East Village. Good burger, often referred to as the NYC equivalent of In & Out, but not quite that good. A burger with a bit of grease or fat? That's okay, much better than a dried out patty. I always feel guilty eating burgers with Angela because she orders them without the meat; it's the anti-Atkins burger. I'm not sure what you call that. The man behind the counter said, "Oh, you want grilled cheese."
Sunday, I took the train out to New Jersey to meet up with Scott and Ruby and their golfing buddies for a round at the Rutgers course. We lucked out with a sunny day after the previous day had nearly brought snow. I haven't golfed since the end of September, which just means that I hadn't grooved my already ugly stroke. The first nine holes, I felt like a beginner to the game. I could barely remember how to grip my clubs, and I shot a 55, one of my ugliest nine holes in years. Then I shot a 39 on the back nine, maybe my lowest nine hole score ever (from holes 10-18 I went triple bogey, par, par, par, par, par, bogey, bogey, birdie) and actually had a ten or eleven foot putt for eagle on the 18th, a par five I reached in two. What a schizophrenic round.
It was my first round of golf since moving to NYC, and I now have a sense for what's involved: a long train ride out of Manhattan, with clubs in tow. Not the easiest thing in the world, but doable. I need to get in my rounds with Rob before he becomes a father (of twins, no less!). I know enough new parents to know what that means for one's free time.
Yesterday night, I went with friends to see It's Karate Kid! The Musical. With tickets costing $15 and set in Teatro La Tea in a community center on a somewhat sketchy street on the lower East side, I was fairly certain as I walked in that I wouldn't be seeing Sarah Brightman as Ali. And yes, at least a third of the audience were friends of the cast. This buyer be warned.
Now, Karate Kid is a movie that could be adapted almost straight up and serve as a comedy. It's a much-adored cult classic (at last check, a new first print of the DVD was selling for $99.99 on Amazon). I even remember seeing it in theaters with Tim Rush and his parents back when parents had to take my friends and I out to see movies. But this adaptation chose to dial the spoof up to 11. Almost every character in the musical was gay except Ali and Mrs. Larusso, who was bisexual. Picture Mr. Miyagi as a black drag queen, and his magic hand-rubbing-chiropractic-magic-move administered while seated on the back of a moaning Daniel Larusso and you'll have a good sense of what type of play this was. Don't bring your child if you don't want to be answering "What does [insert sexual obscenity] mean?" all night. The entire show is built on a conceit that doesn't hold up from start to finish (and I never picked up on any latent homosexual overtones in the movie; Top Gun, sure, but Karate Kid seemed fairly asexual to me), and the dance moves and music don't even attempt to aspire to Balanchine or Gilbert and Sullivan. The dialogue and lyrics were often difficult to make out as speakers fired the songs out in all directions in a somewhat echoey room. But the show has its moments. My personal favorite was "Miyagi's Lament," a rap tune that I'd love to get on tape.
The funniest moment, though, came when Scott told us at intermission that the actor playing Johnny Lawrence was the same guy that Scott had just beaten up at a restaurant a short while ago. Supposedly this guy and his friend were being extremely rude to Scott and his date, and so Scott had gone out to the sidewalk and chucked this guy into a car. In Scott's version of the story, the actor was the big guy, and his friend was a short bald guy.
After the second act of the show, Scott was certain this was the guy. So I looked up his bio in the program, and it turns out that this actor had most recently directed and starred in several Saturday cartoons for Fox, the Kids WB, and PBS, and was gay. When I'd first heard the story of Scott's altercation I was picturing the big guy as Vin Diesel, and it turns out he was a gay drama student. I'm going to blame the lighting--trendy New York restaurants are dark, so dark you can't tell if you're drinking red wine or tap water, beating up a bouncer, or one of the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy Fab Five.