After work on Friday night, I went to a little hole-in-the-wall theater on the Lower East Side to see my friend Matt's latest show, a sketch comedy show called "Happy Hour." $25 got me a seat and all the PBR and watered-down margaritas I could drink. The show was all about love and sex, and Matt's big scene was when he played "Orgasm Man" and four women stripped off his shirt while he raved about his "special powers." It was more of Matt than I ever expected to see, but his performance was funny. Then we went out for a few beers with most of the cast and some of the audience, and I got to watch the Navy's finest trying to pick up girls (it is Fleet Week in NYC).
On Saturday night I went to the New York Philharmonic with Jess to hear Berlioz' Harold in Italy and Mahler's Symphony No. 1. The soloist for the Berlioz was Cynthia Phelps, the orchestra's principal violist, and she put in a solid performance. Lorin Maazel was conducting, and while I liked their performance of the work, I didn't think it was the absolute best they could have done. There were a few places where Phelps and the orchestra weren't completely together, and I thought she could have played louder throughout the piece. But it came together in the last movement (although I didn't realize that the solo viola doesn't play for most of the final movement). The Mahler symphony was just outstanding. Maazel conducted the entire work without a score (I don't even conduct that piece in front of my stereo without the score) and the orchestra sounded like they were all born to play that one symphony. They had everything the score calls for: five trumpets, seven horns, two sets of timpani, a full arsenal of percussion, and all the winds and strings you could possibly want. In the last movement, I got a little chill at my favorite part, when the horns stand up for the final fanfare. It was definitely the best live performance I've ever heard of Mahler's First Symphony. Note to self: look for a recording of Maazel conducting Symphony No. 2.
I went for a bike ride on Sunday, then hung out at home to watch the end of the Indy 500. After dinner I met up with some friends to see X-Men: The Last Stand, which wasn't quite as good as the 2nd movie but was chock full of action and all the subtle X-Men references you could ask for. I did notice one continuity error, and I wondered why at the end Wolverine loses his X-Man shirt in a kind of flesh-eating windstorm but not his X-Man uniform pants.
Today was my day to relax. I did get out to take care of one errand and I spent about a half-hour at PC Richard debating whether or not I should buy another air conditioner for my bedroom. I've got two AC units already, one in the living room and a smaller one in the office, and I don't know if I can justify to myself a need for a third unit just for the bedroom. But this will be my fourth year living in this apartment, and for the past three summers it's been difficult to sleep in the bedroom without air conditioning. I end up dozing for a few hours on top of the sheets, tossing and turning, instead of getting a solid night's sleep. I'm thinking about moving the office AC unit to the bedroom and just dealing with the heat in the office. Since I only use the office at night and on weekends, I might be able to get by without having AC in there. For now, I'm going to wait and see how hot it gets. And while I didn't get invited to any holiday cookouts, I didn't let that stop me from enjoying large quantities of grilled meat: I cooked a juicy, delicious steak on the stove, in my grillpan. It's not quite the same as cooking outdoors on a charcoal grill, but it was still damn tasty.