Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Mon. 12/5 I: In Which Eric Tries to Find an Open Movie Theatre Without Losing His Pants

Yesterday was one of those days that could happen only in New York.

With the day free, I wanted to accomplish two tasks before my evening of concert going. First, check out some portable sound systems for use in my upcoming work with the dancer Robin Becker (I need to be able to amplify the cello, use an effects pedal or two, and play a CD simultaneously), and see a movie.

Sounds simple enough, especially since there’s a Sam Ash superstore just off the north end of the Times Square area on W 48th St., and, I remembered, plenty of multiplexes cinemas in Times Square.

The subway let me off about three blocks from Sam Ash; just perfect. After a good discussion with one of their salesman, we determined that the system (Fender Passport PD-150) that I had narrowed things down to on the web was the right one for my needs. Except they stock every Fender Passport system model except the PD-150.

Well, at least I’d talked to a knowledgeable human being about this, and can buy one elsewhere. So off to the movies.

Right in the heart of Times Square is an enormous marquee for LOWES THEATRES. So I headed there. But nowhere on the street level was there an entrance marked for the Lowes Theatres. I walked around both corners. Nothing. I looked up in the air again. LOWES THEATRES. So I went in the Virgin Megastore (which sells CDs and DVDs and lots of other stuff as well) and asked the security guard. “Oh, the theaters are two flights down,” he explained and pointed me to the escalators. Sure enough, there were some signs by the escalator, along with about a hundred video monitors.

So down I went. The doors to the theatre closed. Lights off at the two box offices. No list of show times. What, are they closed, I asked myself.

So back to the street. I had decided not to ask the helpful security guard for more advice and turned instead to the man with a table set up in front of the store (he was soliciting donations for the homeless). He told me there were a bunch of movie theatres at 42nd St. and 7th Ave. I walked down there, and there weren’t, but I could see a big sign for the AMC 25 at the other end of the block, at 6th Ave. So I made my way down there. The entire theatre was closed for a “private screening.” And so was the big Lowes multiplex across the street.

So back to Times Square, where I noticed a life-size head and shoulders of King Kong set up in the park and lots of cameras and whatnot. So I figure the theatres must have been closed for some sort of promotional stuff—there was an Access Hollywood set at 42nd and 6th.

I walked up to 54th St. to pick up some music in a store there, and then on to Carnegie Hall to buy tickets for upcoming events. By now, my jeans, which were pretty tight when I put them on in the morning and consequently I did not wear a belt, since I had on a sweater and leather jacket. By now, though, they had stretched out and decided it was time to start sliding off. So every block or so, I now had to hitch up my jeans, which was a challenge since one hand was holding the bag with my music.

I bought the tickets at Carnegie and, since my pants kept wanting to fall down, did the only sensible thing (not!) and decided to walk to Lincoln Center to buy a Metropolitan Opera ticket for Thursday, as well as tp see if there was a good movie playing up there. Got the ticket and also ended up seeing the 4:30 show of the recent re-release of Antonioni’s classic “The Passenger” (starring a fairly young Jack Nicholson).

I didn’t really get it, especially at first. It had that art-film vibe which I experience as this-doesn’t-make-sense-on-the-surface-but-it-is-significant. I'm sure there's a lot to it, and there were fascinating, thought-provoking sections. Anyway, just seeing it made me temporarily feel like a Cultured Upper West Sider. Despite the fact that I had to keep hitching my pants up and may have looked to others like a tourist from Indiana without enough sense to wear a belt! I had that I’ve-been-to-an-art-film inner glow and sense of superiority.

I suppose all that could only happen in New York, but for sure only in New York could this have been followed by two great contemporary music concerts, about which I’ll write in the next entry.

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