(Photo by Helen Maybanks.)
Sunday night Jenny & I went to go seen Alan Cumming perform his "one man show" (with band) at the Highline Ballroom. We'd bought our tickets before we broke the bank, so we were all set on our trajectory. Hey, plus it was a benefit for gay civil rights, how about that. We trundled to the Gansevoort Market area to wait in line to get in. In line, you hear me, none of this "on line" business. You are online on the internet, not at the supermarket! Waiting in line for events is strange, & really only made me feel more Meatpacking District-y. In we went, & we were seated at a table with another couple. We shuffled our seats with them eventually to be side by side. Then, because of the way the venue was set up, it was time to wait-- our tickets, even though they were for a table on the floor, were not for a specific table on the floor, so we had to get there early. Doors opened at 6:30, but they didn't let us in till 7:00. Then we had a drink minimum. Normally I would have been excited for the chance to cut loose a little under semi-fancy auspices, but being el cheapo is the watchword these days. Still, I had a martini, which was...not that great. I made Jenny order it for me, since I was stepping off to the bathroom. To be surprised by towel service! Oh man I had it when there are bathroom attendants. Turning on the water for me, handing me towels, all that. I didn't have tip money in my pocket! So out I went. Jenny had ordered my martini, & it came back wrong, but not wrong enough for me to complain. See, I wanted a martini with Bombay Dry, but they gave me a dry martini with Bombay Sapphire. Not the worst case scenario, but there you have it. No olives? What? & not nearly cold enough; I get that the bartender was slammed, but if you are going to sell out your ballroom, hire more bartenders. On top of that-- one last mention about the venue-- the food. We didn't order any, but the guys across from us did, & so did people around us. Between the portion sizes (huge) & the amount of fried ancillaries? I half felt like I was at a TGIFridays chain restaurant. Not classy at all. Physically the space was nice, & the sound & lights were fine, but on a food/drink axis, I was unimpressed.
Finally Mister Cumming's set was on! He started up with the Hedwig & the Angry Inch mash-up, which as you can imagine, was great. I'd heard it, since Jenny of course bought the album, so I was ready for it. Considering that the first song played at our wedding was sung by Alan Cumming ("Married" from Cabaret), & the second one was from Hedwig ("Origin of Love"), I obviously was a prime suspect for enjoying it. That being said, I really think that the best song of the evening was his "Mein Herr." Since Cabaret is where I have the majority of my exposure to him from, I may be biased, but I think even bias aside it was the best. Or well certainly one of them-- "Don't Tell Me" had both a very good lead-in anecdote (his pianist/conductor/collaborator Lance Horne & he both dated the same guy...who the song is about), a really excellent performance, & a good "cheer-up" bit of stage patter that all combined nicely. Surprisingly though, the Dolly Parton mash-up, "Here You Come Again / My Interpretation" is the one that was stuck in my head while I took a shower. Then there are the cuter songs to take into account-- of those, I'd have to say "Taylor the Latte Boy" beats out "Next to Me." I like his version better than Kristin Chenowith's, no offense to the noted Pushing Daisies alumnus. Towards the end, I crept into the bathroom-- with a dollar! Surprise sucker, I'm ready for you! Alan Cumming was very gracious about his encore(s). He joked about what a farce it was, him leaving only to try to tempt more clapping from the audience, so he really only made a token exit before running back on, for both of his performances. All in all, a lovely show. Also maybe one day I'll get Alan Cumming's hair cut.