Happy 2015!

Happy 2015. For me, 2014 was a year of big changes: the loss of one job, and the start of a better one.

Once again, I went to First Night Last night. I started at Copley Square, and saw the ice sculptures and Grand Procession (and no, I didn’t see the protesters), then took the Green Line up to Park Street to see the ice sculptures on the Common. There were three there: one devoted to Einstein, an American Eagle, and Captain America:

Captain America Ice Sculpture

Captain America Ice Sculpture

Ice sculptures at night are hard to shoot — pictures don’t fully convey both the color and the detail simultaneously.  I suspect it would take a tripod and HDR, which would be very difficult to manage with the throngs of people there. Once I had seen the ice sculptures, it was only a short wait for the early fireworks.

After the fireworks, I walked down to Old South Church, for their “Pipes and Pops” performance on organ and brass. Once again, they opened with Also Sprach Zarathustra, AKA the 2001 Theme, and ended with a very good version of the 1812 Overture.

From there, I hurried down to the Hynes convention center to see a comedy program, “Divas After Dark”, performances by three female standup comediennes. The first and last ones were good; I thought the middle woman was more of a soccer mom than a diva — she had some good lines, but her delivery needed something.

Next up for me was some puppet improv, courtesy of the Puppet Showplace Theater. I’d never thought of Puppet Showplace as a place for grownups; these two guys were very funny.

Then came what was probably the strangest performance of the night, “Sleeping Weasel: Birth Breath, Bride Elizabeth”.  The description runs:

Revel in madness and cake in this runaway hit “lecture play,” written and directed by Kenneth Prestininzi. A deconstructed Mary Shelley/Bride of Frankenstein, performed by Stephanie Burlington Daniels, gives a wackadoodle lecture to young brides/scholars — she’s never sure which, due to her alternating bi-polar mania and verbal short circuiting.

I have to give props to Ms. Daniels – she nailed the performance, and I liked the idea of a mock lecture, but the content itself, while funny in spots, was definitely strange.

For the last show of the evening, I went back downstairs to the Puppet Showplace Theater, for the Late Night Puppet Cabaret.  This was four performers, including a shadowbox performer, and a couple of marionette performers who amazed me with what they could do.

By this point, it was quarter to twelve. I didn’t see any point in waiting around for the count down, and didn’t have the time or the inclination to get over to the waterfront for the late fireworks, so I called it a night, and headed home.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Happy 2014

Happy New Year 2014! I tend to agree with what Rich Siegel said on Twitter last night,”Oh, and a final thought to 2013: DONT LET THE DOOR HIT YER ASS ON THE WAY OUT.”

I went to First Night last night, and had a grand time, despite the cold. Dressing for it helped. I saw the procession from around Arlington St. It started off with a big truck carrying Mayor Menino and his party, blowing confetti all over the place:

Confetti truck at the First Night Grand Procession

Confetti truck at the First Night Grand Procession

After the procession passed, I walked up to the Public Garden (re-experiencing the tail end of the procession) to watch the fireworks. They were great.


Fireworks over the Common

After the fireworks, I headed up through the  Common to look at the LED sculpture there; there was also a single, small ice sculpture. I miss having the big sculptures at the Common. From there, I headed down to the Old South Church to see the concert put on by the Old South Brass, Organ & Percussion. They were magnificent. The church boasts an incredible organ with about 8,600 pipes located to the front and rear of the church. When the bass pipes play, the floor shakes, and that’s what it did, as they started the program with the Fanfare to Also Sprach Zarathustra, more commonly known as the theme to 2001, A Space Odyssey. Then, when the brass and kettle drums came in—it was awesome.

After the program, I walked down to the Hynes to see a stand up comedian from Laugh Boston. I wish I could remember his name; he was good. A hall in the Hynes is not the best place to see comedy, but he made the most of it. First Boston had provided a sign language interpreter for him; it was interesting to see him play off her. I wish I could understand what she was ‘saying’.

While at the Hynes I saw a big computerized LED wall. It was kind of mesmerizing.

LED wall

LED wall

I then walked back to Copley Square; there was only one ice sculpture there, called “Peaceable Kingdom”, about the lion laying down with the lamb.

Peaceable Kingdom-- ice sculpture of the lion laying down with a child and lamb

Peaceable Kingdom

At that point, I didn’t feel like heading over to Fanuil Hall or the harbor, so I called it a night and headed home. On the way back from Riverside, I swung by the Weston Ski Track to take a look at the snowmaking.

All things considered, it was a good night. I wish the organizers would schedule around the early fireworks a little better; it’s hard to get from the Common to the Hynes to make a 7:30 program, which is partly why I chose the 8 PM program at Old South Church. I was using the First Night app as a guide; it was good for figuring out the schedule and location of the individual programs, but not good at describing or locating the “overall” features like where to find the ice sculptures or what time the fireworks would take place, what would be the route of the procession, or content that would be available all day.

Here’s to a bright shiny new 2014.