Thursday, July 30, 2009

Life in the Fast Lane...

Life must be good if you are too busy to post a blog. The Countess has no complaints! The Royal Social Calendar hardly leaves a day to rest. But you all know my motto: I'm running as fast as I can, while I can!

It's hard to believe that it has been a week since last Thursday's karaoke night at Rumpy's Tavern. And now it's time to do it all again!
Last week Jimmy Kaye, Steve, and The Countess belted out "Under the Boardwalk" and "Love Shack".....
What will tonight bring?
And will Gladys make an appearance?
More coming up....I promise!
Countess Bedelia 7/30/2009 10:45:00 AM | 0 comments |

Monday, July 27, 2009

Neil Simon's "Prisoner of Second Avenue"

Last Saturday was opening night for "Prisoner of Second Avenue" at Berkshire Theatre Festival which played to a sold out house. The play stars one of The Countess' favorite actors, Stephen DeRosa. I adore this man! Such a talented actor!

Mel and Edna Edison, a middle-aged couple living in New York, find their luck is quickly deteriorating during a terrible heat wave and a garbage strike. When Mel cracks under the pressure, his family intervenes in an attempt to nurse him back to his old self, with predictably unpredictable results. World renowned playwright Neil Simon presents a comical, and sometimes poignant, look at the pressures placed upon a working class family that ripples with his trademark crisp dialogue and quirky, hysterically memorable characters.

Stephen DeRosa and Veanne Cox in BTF's Main Stage production of "The Prisoner of Second Avenue." (BTF photo)

Press night has sparked some excellent reviews which you can read here and here.

The play is appearing through August 8th so be sure to get a ticket to see it if you want a really good laugh out loud night out. With all the rain we have been having and all the depressing economic news that hits us daily, it felt good to just relax, laugh, enjoy, and....did I mention laugh?

The weekend was jam packed with parties and events. Stay tuned.....
Countess Bedelia 7/27/2009 10:56:00 PM | 0 comments |

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Weekend update

On Friday afternoon there was a play reading at Berkshire Theatre Festival. It was a new play about two Florida sisters back in the '30s and their problems dealing with the death of a daughter 7 years prior. The most memorable part was the acting of James Barry who played the younger brother. James transformed himself into quite 'a good ole boy' and his performance was delightful. BTF has these play readings every Friday afternoon for anyone who is interested.

That night I went to Michael's of Stockbridge for karaoke with my friends. It's always fun when the theater crowd come in to sing. They definitely raise the level of entertainment! When I entered the bar, a gentleman sitting near the entrance asked me if I was The Countess. He reads this blog and recognized me. So Richard, thank you for is our picture....

Susan always pours The Countess a glass of Glenlivet as I walk in the door.....

C.J. Wilson sang a song. It was last call for "The Einstein Project" actors as they were closing their show the next night.

The two BFFs, Liz and Jason were there......

And Steve and Lindsey were having a great time!

On Saturday night after seeing "Living with it" which I posted about earlier, I went to Moe's Tavern for "The Einstein Project" cast closing party. It's always bittersweet to close a show and say goodbye; especially when it was such a good play and such a wonderful cast.

Here is Tommy Schrider, who played Einstein, Kyle Fabel, The Countess, and the beautiful Nurit, Tommy's wife.....

The Countess stole James' hat for awhile. I don't know why we look so serious here.....

We ended up closing the place and I think there was some discussion with Sadie, the bartender, about having to order more Glenlivet for next week!

Monday night there was a benefit play reading at Shakespeare & Co. I went with Linda and we were both dressed so pretty that I can't believe I didn't get a picture of us! Next time, Linda. At least I was able to catch up with John Douglas Thompson and congratulate him on getting an Obie for his performance as Othello in NYC last spring. He is playing the Moor again this summer at Shakespeare & Co. and his performance is worth the price of admission alone.

This coming weekend is jam packed with parties and plays. One of my dearest friends will be visiting for the weekend and joining me on the Merry-Go-Round. The highlight will be opening night for "The Prisoner of 2nd Avenue" starring Stephen DeRosa. This is going to be hilarious....just what we need to brighten our spirits after the endless rain we have had.
Countess Bedelia 7/23/2009 03:51:00 AM | 0 comments |

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"Living With It"

Once in a while you get a reality check that makes you stop and reflect. I didn't know that this would be the case when I received an invitation to go to a friend's one man show that he was performing as a benefit for NAMI Berkshire County.

"Countess, Are you coming to my solo performance piece this Saturday? It would mean a lot if you could make it. Take Care, Frank"

Frank La Frazia was talking about his autobiographical solo performance piece that deals with the issues of a teenager caring for his mother who suffers from Bi-Polar Disorder. The title is "Living with It". Frank doesn't hide much in his portrayal of teenage life with a mother suffering from a mental illness. His story is brutal in its honesty, yet compassionate and loving in his portrayal of a mother who loved her children so much and yet could not take care of them. He also showed the stigma of those teenage years when you want so much to be just like everyone else, to have the 'Leave it to Beaver' family stereotype, to be able to bring other kids home from school to hang out, to be able to participate in activities and not worry that your parent needs your care.

Frank was only 19 when his mother died suddenly. Just starting his freshman year in college in New York, his adventure was brought to a sudden halt by his mother's untimely death while she was visiting him for a weekend. He ends his piece by showing the love that always underlined the hardships that he and his family lived through in trying to cope with his mother's illness.

As I sat in the audience and watched his performance, I alternately laughed and cried; but most of all I just wanted to hug the boy that he once was. Perhaps because I grew up in my own dysfunctional family which came to a head during my teenage years, I identified with a lot of what Frank had to say. Friedrich Nietzsche said "That which does not kill us makes us stronger." As a teenager trying to deal with adult problems, you can't possibly see the wisdom in that saying, but as an adult, you can appreciate the inner strength that you obtained through the trials you endured as a youth.

In the Q&A after the show, Frank said that he couldn't have written this piece when he was 19. Only after several years did he have the perspective to sit down and put this on paper. He is using his personal experience to bring more light on the world of mental illness and also to benefit NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Berkshire County, where he serves on the Board of Directors. I applaud his courage in bringing such a personal story to the public.

After the show I went off to another party, but the show stayed with me. When a friend asked me how the performance was, all I could say was "My heart is full."
Countess Bedelia 7/21/2009 08:45:00 PM | 0 comments |

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"The Best of all Possible Worlds"

The Countess has been suffering from a Common Cold for the past week. Is there no justice? How can Royalty suffer a Common Cold? Perhaps the apocalypse is near!

I did manage to make it to Linda's Big Birthday Party for a few minutes last weekend at....where else? Rumpy's Tavern, of course! She had lots of family and friends in attendance and a big table of gifts. Naturally, as members of my court, the ladies wore crowns....

(Linda is the second one on the left)

Entertainment was provided by Robby and his band....

Janine accompanied me to the party and bonded with Troy. We are turning Janine into a Party Girl! I love that Janine is always enthusiastic about every event.....

Even though I had to rise from my death bed, I couldn't miss the opening night of "Candide" at the Berkshire Theatre Festival Unicorn Theatre. My dear friend, Ralph Petillo, directed this delightful production and, as I posted previously, his enthusiasm is infectious. If you want to laugh and forget your troubles, see this wonderful show that let's you live in 'The Best of all Possible Worlds'.

McCaela Donovan is perfection as Cunegonde. It is worth a trip to the theater just to hear her beautiful soprano voice tripping up and down the scales.....

Julian Whitley is a handsome Candide and Julia Broder is hilarious as 'the old'. That is Samantha Richert in the background. Samantha plays the Baroness with all the proper regal airs. I told her she could keep her crown!

The entire cast......

All photos from Candide courtesy of the Berkshire Theatre Festival website

There might have been an appearance at the paint shop party later in the evening but not for long. Although I did hear that it was the shortest paint shop party on record. I guess once The Countess goes home, the party is over!
Countess Bedelia 7/16/2009 11:19:00 AM | 0 comments |

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, Ditmar !!

Ditmar, the famous celebrity bartender in South Florida, is now the General Manager of Karnival Beach Club, the BEST gay bar in Ft. that he is running it !!

Ditmar is hosting a fabulous birthday party for himself today and wants everyone to join him. He put me in charge of getting the Northern Court to attend but I'm sorry to say that we won't be able to make the party.....but we are all there in spirit.

Free champagne, lots of entertainment, and best of all.....Ditmar !

At least he won't have to worry about The Countess getting behind his bar and giving away all the drinks.

We love you, Ditmar. HAPPY BIRTHDAY from The Northern Court.
Countess Bedelia 7/11/2009 12:00:00 PM | 1 comments |

Monday, July 06, 2009

Happy Fourth of July weekend !!

The Countess hopes that everyone had a fun time over the holiday weekend.

My weekend started on Thursday when I stopped in at Moe's Tavern in Lee to say Hello to Josh, the fabulous owner who stocks the best beer selection in the Berkshires. Natalia, the Berkshire Theatre Festival graphics designer, came in for dinner but decided to do a little work on the Moe's Tavern ad while she was there.....

The cast of "Candide" was having a cast party there that night.....a little celebration before starting tech next week. "Candide" will be playing at the Unicorn Theatre starting tomorrow.

Ralph Petillo is the director of the show and his enthusiasm is infectious!! It's gonna be a great show. Here he is with Liz and Steve at the party.....

Sadie was running the bar that night. This is one great gal.....stop in and have her pour you one of the many fabulous brews that they have on tap.

From Moe's I went to Rumpy's Tavern for the Thursday night karaoke party. Janine decided to pop in for a surprise visit. We love Janine and hope that she returns to Rumpy's Tavern many times in the future.

Laura from Firefly, Justina, and a pal belted out a number....

And Cute.Boys add to the atmosphere....

On Friday I attended the first lecture of the season in the Friday afternoon series at Berkshire Theatre Festival. David Auerbach gave a very informative talk about "Einstein: The Letter and the Bomb". David had lots of background on the subject which helped me to understand the subject matter of "The Einstein Project" a little more.

That night I attended a performance of "Radio and Juliet" at Jacob's Pillow Dance. A modern ballet set to the music of Radiohead and danced by the Ballet Mirabor, it is getting rave reviews. You can check out a different performance here on YouTube. The Countess gave a standing ovation and I don't do that very often.

Then off to Michael's of Stockbridge for the karaoke. Another fun night. Once again I will borrow a couple of pics from their website because I didn't bring my camera. It doesn't really matter because Andy and Sean, who run the karaoke and take the pictures, love to take my picture !!

You can see that The Countess was enjoying the entertainment......

A nice picture with Steve....

Two of my very favorites, Sunshine and Rolfe.....

On the Fourth it was opening night for "The Einstein Project" at Berkshire Theatre Festival. My dear friend Cat came over from Albany to attend the opening with me. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Firefly before the show. Then we were off to the theater. I still can't believe that I did not take one picture of the two of us.....we will have to do this again just to get a picture!

The Einstein Project is a fascinating look at one of the titans of the 20th century: Albert Einstein. This truly unique theatrical experience seeks to humanize and contextualize a man that we all think we know. Through conversations with his son Edward and his colleagues, we are able to truly visualize the man who, however reluctantly, ushered in the Atomic Age.

Of course, like all productions from BTF, the acting is first rate. And, in my humble opinion, the direction by Eric Hill is worthy of a Tony Award. What are you waiting for? Get your tickets today!

The party after the play was a barbeque catered by the Route 7 Grill in Great Barrington. They are great supporters of BTF and the delicious food was most appreciated!! Several New York City friends were in attendance and it was a really fun party.

The after party, thanks to our wonderful hostess, Keira, went on until the wee hours of the morning.

Here Jesse, CJ, Keira, and Tara contemplate the Theory of Relativity....

Brandy, one of the stars of 'Einstein', gives The Countess a hug....

Two couples who are on my Favorite People List:

Couple #1, Tara and James, are getting married this fall.....Yea !!!

Couple #2, Tommy and Nurit, have been married for awhile but still have that 'honeymoon glow' about them....

And let's not forget these stars....The Baroness from the cast of "Candide", Steve, (who makes the party happen), Lindsey, (who documents it all), and Kerry, (who is not only an Artist in Residence but also assists the General Manager)....

Needless to say, on Sunday The Countess rested!
Countess Bedelia 7/06/2009 10:35:00 AM | 0 comments |

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The wheels on the bus go round and round....

Friday night took me over to Shakespeare & Co to see their critically acclaimed production of Hamlet. This production called "sharply intelligent, lean and taut…ingenious and thought-provoking…” (The Boston Globe). An extremely enjoyable evening made more so by the performance of a young actor I have had the pleasure of seeing perform in New York City.....Alexander Sovronsky as Rosencrantz. Alex is a multi-talented actor, musician, and fight scene captain.
Alexander is on the left in this photo from Shakespeare & Co.

After saying Hello to Alex after the play, the Royal Coach delivered me to Michael's of Stockbridge for more karaoke fun.

When my favorite electrician, Tom, took the stage and dedicated his song to The Countess, you know I had to get up and join in the fun....

Several of the actors, apprentices, and interns from the Berkshire Theatre Festival joined us and sang their hearts out. You can see many more pictures on Michael's website here.

Here is one of my very favorite guys, Steve....

Tommy Schrider, James Barry, and Jesse Hinson, who are starring in "The Einstein Project" which is opening this week at BTF....

David Adkins and Keira Naughton, two of the stars of "Faith Healer" came in to watch the show...

Ta - Dah !!

The Countess had no set plans for Saturday night and I had been wanting to return to the Unicorn Theatre at the Berkshire Theatre Festival to see "Faith Healer" again before it closes. Such a beautiful play with lyrical language. The play closes this Saturday, July 4th....not much time for you to get a ticket and see it. Really, it is very special. Don't miss it.

Back to Rumpy's Tavern after the theater for a nightcap. I made a new friend that night, Clifford Love.....and a love, he is! Cliff lives in New York City but felt like having a couple of months here in the beautiful Berkshires this summer. I see some good times ahead!

Also had a chance to talk with Laura, the owner of Firefly, one of the best restaurants in Lenox. In fact, The Countess will be dining there this coming Saturday before Opening Night of "The Einstein Project" at Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge.

And so another Berkshire weekend comes to a close.....but The Countess Merry-Go-Round doesn't stop for long. Tomorrow night....Karaoke at Rumpy's Tavern !! If you were there last week, you know you won't forget it.....and if you weren't, why not?

Countess Bedelia 7/01/2009 09:47:00 PM | 0 comments |

Pina Bausch

R.I.P. Pina of the great choreographers of our times. This video is a montage of her work......a tribute to her career.

If you are not familiar with her work, I invite you to see the many videos on YouTube of her work.

This weekend, when I attend a performance of "Radio and Juliet" at Jacobs Pillow Dance, set to the music of Radiohead, I will think of Pina because she inspired this blend of classical and modern in everything she did.

Countess Bedelia 7/01/2009 12:59:00 AM | 0 comments |