Monday, June 25, 2007

"Give It Up for Relish!"

That was the quote of the weekend, and I heard it Sunday night at a Brooklyn Cyclones. baseball game. I've only been to one other game, and I think that was four summers ago, so I'd forgotten the many cutsie (or cheesy, depending on your point of view) promotions and contests they hauled out between innings to keep fans engrossed.

Without a doubt the piece de resistance is the Hot Dog Race, in which Ketchup, Mustard and Relish leg it down the third base line amid cheers from the crowd. Essentially, it's three people in hot dogs suits with different colored capes to delineate their condiment. So utterly ridiculous that I absolutely loved it, especially when Relish won and the announcer, with complete deadpan seriousness, boomed, "Give it up for Relish!"

This little gem of a journal is fiction, but I think "Diary of a Brooklyn Cyclones Hot Dog" captures the tone and absurdity quite nicely.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Death to the Stage

Most of my journalistic pursuits these days involve mysteries and theater, but rarely do the two intersect. So you can imagine my surprise when I received word about a mystery play festival billed as "star-studded" that took place in Owensbro, Ky., last week, the International Mystery Writers' Festival.

Frankly, I would have loved to attend, in part to see Angela Lansbury receive the First Lady of Mystery Award (Murder, She Wrote has always been a guilty pleasure of mine), but also because one of my early Broadway experiences was seeing the play Deathtrap, then starring Farley Granger and always starring Marian Seldes, and I think it's a shame that the Broadway thriller has disappeared from the landscape. You can still find the occasional thriller elsewhere, though. Last summer I caught Roger Rees and Rick Elice's Double Double at the Williamstown Theatre Festival (although if Rees weren't the company's artistic director I'm not sure it would have been staged).

Here's hoping this new festival really does become an annual event. If it does, perhaps Columbo Takes the Rap will find its way to Broadway soon.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Garden of Barbra

Spent the weekend at the lovely country home of my friend David, who in addition to being a very generous friend, is also a local celebrity thanks to NY1. Beyond eating, drinking and catching up on second-rate reality TV, we did a bit of gardening (well, I did a bit, David did quite a lot, actually).

He had the task of digging up a pair of non-flowering rosebushes and replacing them with fresh ones -- and not just any rosebushes but ones that carry the Barbra Streisand seal of approval (see photo above).

So they're bushy, large, over 35 (in petal count) and "can nearly overpower you with strong sweet scent." I wonder what a Mandy Patinkin rose would look and smell like.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Life of Reilly

I'm terribly late in paying tribute to the wonderful Charles Nelson Reilly, a pivotal figure of my childhood (as were many of the Match Game panelists). (One of the many downsides to moving is that sometimes it takes a while to get basic services like the Internet up and running.)

But I was thinking about Charles as I watched part of the Game Show Network's Match Game marathon tribue on Saturday and perused YouTube for videos of him (including this very odd dinner visit to his house that somebody uploaded). I was even tempted to break out my old Skyscraper cast album for a listen, but my loyalty only goes so far!

Incidentally, I did have the privilege of interviewing him nine years ago for Back Stage West when he was directing a production of The Gin Game starring Julie Harris and Charles Durning. Initially it was supposed to be a dialogue between the two actors, but luckily for me Charles Durning doesn't do a lot press, so Reilly, who'd been a friend of Harris' ever since they co-starred in Skyscraper, filled in. The article doesn't contain even half of the wonderful anecdotes they share during our lenghty conversation, but I'm pretty sure I still have the full interview somewhere, and if I were more techno-savvy I'd find a way to upload it.