Monday, April 28, 2014

No Remorse About Forking Over for This Rent

More than 10 years after seeing it on Broadway, I have now watched the movie version of Rent - an underrated tour de force that’s not as gratifying as seeing the play live when you’re very young and its message was just what you psychologically needed at the time. I listened to the original-cast soundtrack on my yellow Discman, non-stop, for weeks afterwards, which is how I still know most of the words.

Ten years ago, I developed a crush on the guy who played Angel, the street-drumming drag queen. I (ONCE, AND ONLY ONCE) semi-strategically placed myself in the bar next to the Rent theater on 41st Street, knowing the show ended an hour earlier and any after-partying would soon begin. He didn’t come in that night, although Scary Spice (who didn’t scare me at all; I would describe her as sociable) did.

Another night, without even trying, I saw him on an escalator in Port Authority. He was the only one coming up, I was the only going down, like a scene out of the movie adaptation of Rent. (The movie, more than the on-stage production, made me wish daily life were a musical. Philosophers might insist it already is. But I mean a literal, verse-by-verse musical, where people are expected to suddenly break out into song while jaywalking or hauling sandbags out of Home Depot, or right before digging into a Shake Shack cheeseburger, instead of Instagramming proof of it.)

His real name is Justin and we both hail from the Midwest.


  1. Recently I had a conversation with a female friend in my own age category. We are both in our sixties, with adult children. She asked me who my present or past movie star crushes were or are. Little by guilty little, I opened up (after all, I am married, and it felt a little unfaithful to 'fess up on this subject). It all started with Clark Gable when I was a kid, and that crush continued straight into college, at which point adorable, mustachioed Clark was kicked off the pedestal by Paul Newman (super cool Cool Hand Luke). That crush lasted into my late twenties, at which time I actually met Paul Newman for thirty seconds. End of that crush. (There's something about reality that ruins daydreams, darn it.) For a long time, there was no one else, probably because I couldn't afford movies at the time and did not own a TV set, so I lost track of cute men. But then, the television set entered the house, and I have to say, there have been several crushes. More recently, two stand out: Shemar Moore for a while (ooh, those abs!), and now Simon Baker, The Mentalist. Ooh, that smile! It knocks me flat. But sometimes he appears on the Late Nite TV circuit with enormous eyeglasses that take precedence over the smile, plus a very strong Australian accent that I can hardly make out. Reality again. Oh well, on to the next. By the way, I know who my eighty-six-year old husband's movie crush is: Merle Oberson. WHO? you ask (understandably). She was a drop-dead gorgeous star of the 1930s. She was half Anglo, and half Indian (of India). Her two most notable movies were "The Scarlet Pimpernel" and the 1939 version of "Wuthering Heights," both of which you might catch on TV at 3:00 a.m., if you are an old movie buff. I have to hand it to my husband, he has remained faithful to Merle (and to me, I should add) for all these years.

  2. I misspelled Merle's name! It is Merle Oberon, for those who would like to catch a flick with this beautiful, graceful woman in it.