#370: The Map Room, Larry David hated my Caricature of him, and I experience Moulin Rage
+ Sketches from a comedy road trip and Morris snores very loudly for a change.
…from the Map room at the New York Public Library. I hope you’re having a dusty old book smell of a week.
From seeing Moulin Rouge at the only theatre in New York named after a famous cartoonist to being castigated by Larry David at Sardi’s, this week has a particularly Broadway flavour to it. I hope you like the stories below.
A Night at the "Moulin Rouge" AKA: The Al Hirschfeld Theatre
Attempting to wring the last drop of bohemian romance from our lingering Parisian enchantment, we went to see our favorite musical. But it didn't go as we'd anticipated...
Of all the Broadway theatres named after a famous cartoonist, the Al Hirschfeld has to be in my top ten. Since flinging open its doors a hundred years ago as the Martin Beck, it’s hosted shows like Dracula, Death of a Salesman, and My Fair Lady. But in 2003, when the most iconic New York caricaturist of the 20th century died a few months shy of his own 100th birthday, they renamed the theatre after him. And it’s where Sophie and I decided to go for Spaghetti Wednesdays* this week.
*Date night. Where we inevitably end up eating spaghetti.
`We `eventually took our seats with a few minutes to spare. I took in the view: a grand old theatre and a great set. As the lights came down and the music swelled, the ensemble cast began to crawl from the shadows and take their place around the theatre. It’s a slow burn to get you immersed into the fantasy world of the Moulin Rouge: an absynthe-riddled fever dream of Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Love and— Oop! There’s another smartphone.
Aaaand another one. Oh, and look— an iPad!
“But I paid for my ticket!”
the young lady in the next row obnoxiously belched at the usher. “Ma’am, there are strictly no photos or videos— this is your last warning.”
This same little exchange played out about sixty-one times in the interval between taking our seats and the first song. A small battalion of ushers were darting down the aisles to castigate anyone who whipped out their screens.
There were signs plastered everywhere prohibiting the use of cameras or phones in the theatre, and three separate spoken announcements over the speakers for the stubborn or dyslexic. In the era of everyone being their own freelance paparazzi, this doesn’t matter— The same way people wear pajamas to the airport, audiences no longer respect the sanctity of the theatre. It’s no longer somewhere they can just be.
In celebration of the newest (and possibly last) season of Curb Your Enthusiasm premiering this week, I thought you might like to revisit this old gem…
While I do love the convenience of an iPad/Wacom/Xenselabs tablet… I can’t ever replicate the joy of using analog tools. I’m launching a new Substack called “Process Junkie” to explore all of the joys of the Process of making art. If you’re interested in that kind of thing, you can sign up here.
Until next time,
(Snores like a jackhammer while twitching)