Chaos Attraction

The Secret Ingredient is Marmalade

2021-12-19, 6:28 a.m.

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Cast list as of November 2019

Saturday update:

Set building/painting day, day 1. I note I'm the only one who showed up at 9 a.m., Alexis came in around 9:20-ish, two other people came around 10 (Scott and Other Jennifer), and that was about it before +I went off for lunch at 12;15 while paint dried. I came back and a lot more people were there, mostly building set pieces--specifically more flats, the front of the Schubert Theater and accountant's tables. We had Sarah from Mary Poppins come in--she's going to do lights, good luck-- and Monica from Camelot/Mary Poppins came in to do "marbling,' which I guess really happens tomorrow. I have done marbling before and asked her what she meant by that, because I was pretty sure that she didn't mean "dripping oily paints onto water and then pressing paper/fabric into the patterns" like I've done. It sounds more like stenciling/texture-y stuff.

I am not a woodworker, so I wasn't involved in that stuff except at the end when I vaguely helped Scott put wheels onto a new flat before he left-- he can only work Saturday, he did a lot of stuff, I vaguely helped him finish the last thing even though I suspect he didn't need it since Danny decided to stick around and help too after everyone else left. Much as I hate that that sort of thing ends up being gendered, it kind of is, you know? I didn't grow up woodworking with my dad. I remember him having one of those wire cutter saw tools and that's about it.

I ended up painting a couple of flats (note: walls on flat rolling platforms) before lunch with Other Jennifer, and moving a lot of furniture out of storage for props, then we never got back to that because those got moved out of the way for construction and they needed to be laid down. After lunch, more furniture and wall things were moved out of storage. Then Monica, Elizabeth and I painted all of Roger's house furniture pink. We had to mix a non-Pepto pink up--now dubbed "Roger de Bris" pink--and painted pillars(!) and a staircase.

I was told to hammer down the paint lids when we were done, and I ended up splattering red paint ALL over Steve in his new Titanic sweatshirt--he looked like he had blood on his mask too. He was not happy. Monica was all "why did you wear your new sweatshirt to painting day?" (He got the paint out, he's fine.) Elizabeth also got some on her, but seemed pretty unfazed. I managed to not get much paint on me at all, which is doing pretty well. I didn't even wear my painting shirt today (but was pretty junky clothing'd) because I assumed we'd do more painting on day 2 than day one due to building (Monica said that's usually how it goes). Later I suggested having pulldown window things advertising the shows in the show, and Steve said that redeemed me for the paint thing earlier.

I'm seriously wondering on all the staircases because while I know this show usually uses them, apparently Richard can't do stairs because of "really bad feet." And he has to wear high heels. "He has them from when he did the show before." Hmmmmm.

I'm surprised at how much stuff got done in a day, actually, especially when most people were only there for half a day. They rebuilt the accountant's tables, built a new flat from scratch, remodeled another flat and put in doors to use for the Schubert Theater. I think tomorrow they continue to paint the flats I started today, install railings on the staircase and paint those, finish painting the tables, paint the theater flat, create the other one from scratch...stuff like that.

After that, I went to the Dollar Twenty Five store (sigh....) for Christmas wrapping bags and water. The bags were $1.25 apiece, the water was 30 cents. Huh? I've at least wrapped the gifts I have done in the house now, so there's that.

Talked to Ashley tonight--she hung out with Rae today, did too much walking (she has heart problems) and is pretty tired. She said on Monday night at karaoke some random people got too drunk and drove into the nearby ditch and Stephanie had to get her chains and pull them out. In the horrifying rain that night, mind you! She said something about Solano not having a mask mandate and I said now EVERYONE has one and she said she didn't even know if karaoke was going to keep going on if they have to mask indoors there. I said I've been singing indoors with a mask on for months, they can deal with it, and she said she kept hers on last time too. I won't be able to go to karaoke much for a few weeks due to show stuff, so who knows there.

Later I got a call from Rae, saying that that trip to Harry Potter Land in March we were going to go on? Her family is going to go to some beach or other afterwards, so I'll have to get myself home via plane. Um....I may very well have a problem with that come omicron now...I um, don't know what to say to this. Like I am no longer feeling cool about committing to a trip months in advance now (okay, so it's not like money has been paid as far as I know) anyway, and then either take a plane or I drive myself there and back for hours alone doesn't sound great either.

I have an online pen pal who doesn't believe in the hippie crap that I do. I finally got around to reading her latest tonight and she said she had a random dream about a relative of hers dying and she told some of her relatives and everyone took it as a joke...and then the guy actually suddenly died and now the family is exploding over that dream :( When weird spiritual shit happens to someone, I call it becoming a member of the Weird Shit Happens club. I've been a member since age 11. What a horrifying way to become a club member, I can't help but think. I'm not an expert on psychic dreams since I sort of only had one once, but I have read stories of people dreaming of plane crashes and the like and then they come true, so I think occasionally something of the future must bleed through somewhere.

Last week Hannah and I talked about going out for a drink tonight, but I'm not going to bug her about it. It's freezing cold and the outdoor plans we had aren't really viable and everything I'm reading about omicron makes me lose the will to live, so.... I think given how dangerous I am already now, I'm going to skip doing some of the new things I wanted to try to do this season, like going to the Renaissance Faire village at Six Flags or that Imaginarium thing in Sacramento. Sigh.

Seriously now they're just saying that everyone is going to inevitably get Covid. There's no hope not to now. I'm restraining myself from writing about this tonight, especially since I am risky as all hell doing a show. Broadway is canceling all over the place and I seriously wonder if it's because they aren't wearing masks while performing. Giving anyone an exemption to do that is horrifying to me.

Tonight's Lifetime: The Enchanted Christmas Cake: producer dude (Gavin) hits Gwen up to be on a cooking show with Dante. Dante wants her "magical" (note: unlike that magic Christmas cookie movie, no magic in this movie really?) recipe for lebkuchen so he can steal it. I don't think Gwen actually HAS said recipe since her grandmother died, and apparently she didn't bother to tell her granddaughter how to make it?! Dante is a pretty obvious jerk and you feel sorry for Gavin having to deal with him. Gwen has very odd hair--like her bangs and about 2/3 of her hair have highlights, but the top of her head is straight up brown without the highlights? What's with that? I do like Gavin, though. I kept thinking he's Dylan Neal, but apparently he's a lookalike.

I'm gonna discuss this review in quotes because it's a ridiculously quotable movie:
"Who wouldn't want a magic Christmas cake that makes people fall in love?"
"We NEED this enchanted cake, or we're cooked!"
"Is this a love cake? Who doesn't want to share their love? I like to share my love with as many people as possible. That did not come out the way I wanted it to sound."
"Of COURSE your mother and Jeff want to go to Antigua."
I see a PINK VAN. "In this?" "Don't worry, she's seaworthy."
"She's not going to give you the recipe for the show." "Don't worry, I'll figure it out...I'll change it up, it'll be mine."
"What did I say about not answering the phone while you're in the bathroom?"
"I want a cornucopia of Christmas! I want a festive festoon!"
Gwen asks for Dante's advice on changing the recipe, and he is all "I need to see the recipe first" and she is all wanting advice without doing that, to which even I am all "yeah, right, I don't think that would work even if he wasn't skeezy."
"I could name dozens of obscure German sugars and spices."
"I'm sorry, he's like a child, he throws tantrums."
"The id is fine. That's what we call Dante. Not to his face. He wouldn't get the reference anyway."
"What self-respecting artistic director doesn't have the complete works of William Shakespeare?"
"You know I don't do ellipses! I find my own pauses!"

Gwen finally agrees to be on the show and when Dante asks about the "fable" behind her cake, she starts to tell it and he totally cuts her off and complains that she's wooden and not exciting to Gavin. (Um, it's a cooking show, not an action flick?) "Don't worry, everyone screws up their first time," he says to Gwen.
To Gavin, he says, "We are going to have to good cop, bad cop, this thing. Definitely Turner and Hooch."
Gavin: "Hooch was the dog."
Dante: "Because you're loyal, and keep chasing your own tail. Or we could Big Lebowski it."
Gavin: "I don't know what we're talking about now."

Dante announces that "the secret ingredient is marmalade!" Gavin is all OH NO IT ISN'T and Gwen is all "I betrayed my grandmother!" Um....a recipe being "out there in the world" is um, extremely low consequences. Gwen's mother is the one who made up the marmalade answer "because I'm a sucker for puppy dog eyes!" and she openly has a tacky wrong crush on Dante.

"Please tell me that using marmalade instead of marzipan is going to completely ruin that cake." "Marmalade is going to completely ruin that cake!"
"A million people will think that the Enchanted Bakery's signature dish is made of marmalade."
"Making it taste terrible and ruin my grandmother's legacy." "But if we tell him it's marzipan, who needs the bakery at all?" (I note that I started Googling for recipes on this cake and I may not bake or have any clue, but nobody's so far mentioned marzipan, or marmalade.)


Suddenly Gwen is running off to Ohio because some lady wrote and said she has her grandma's recipe. "You could call?" her friend says. "I tried!" She tried Google, phones, NOTHING, just the address on the envelope! "I only met her once, it was a decade ago," the lady says. She just "gave it to you?" Gwen asks, and I'm thinking same after all this hype. Why would Grandma keep it a secret for years and just blab it to a lady she met once? "She did it for YOU, dear!" Um....this doesn't make sense and the "explanatory" letter from Grandma doesn't either. "My granddaughter needs to get out more" does not make sense as a reason to deny a baker a recipe, but no, it's more like "she doesn't have to carry on my legacy." I still think this is fairly dumb.

Meanwhile, Gavin is quitting his job out of sheer disgust. Dante of course pulls a "no, I fire YOU!" Gavin's parting words to Dante are "Why don't you have some Christmas cake?" Gavin's daughter Michelle, IN A VOICE OF PURE VENOM: "You could definitely use some." Folks, this is a sad burn, not a sick one. The Id deserves a far better kissoff than this. Lifetime, you're not Hallmark, you can afford to get a bit trashier with this one.

"I don't need Dante, I need you," Gavin says, and Gwen plans one on him immediately.
"Mind if I come in? It's my house anyway." Gwen's mother to Dante, who is sulking on her couch. "YOU LIED TO ME." Mama don't care. "Not that I've been cyberstalking you, but...."
"I'm a second-rate Gordon Ramsay."
"I'm not a celebrity chef at heart! This stresses me out! I AM A THEMED RESTAURANTEUR! And it's time I started being myself!" THEN HE TAKES OFF HIS HAIR, REVEALING THAT HE'S TOTALLY BALD. Gwen's mom IMMEDIATELY STARTS FONDLING HIS HEAD AND CALLING HIM VIRILE. "You ever been to Boca Raton?" "You had me at virile."

Gwen decides to just publish the recipe online since her grandma WAS JUST MAILING IT OUT TO RANDOS FOR YEARS. Dante apologizes for the whole thing. "Gavin, you go make that documentary! I'm going to Boca Raton to put the ketchup in foccacia! I know that doesn't mean anything!"

I feel sorry for this whole Gavin/Gwen/Michelle new family, now ending up with Dante as some kind of honorary in-law if he ends up with her mother. Everyone is totally weirded out now.

Today's Hallmark: Sugar Plum Twist. Salsa dancing! Ballet! Natalia is quitting dancing to do choreography in Richmond. She wants to have open auditions for Nutcracker, which the director reluctantly okays. Another girl, Viviana, is inspired to audition. Her family has a Latin dance studio, but she also does ballet. Natalia meets Mateo, the hot lighting designer. "You could be a real dancer," he says. Natalia is clearly thinking, "I'm already a retired pro." Viviana is told her family studio is "cute" by the resident bitchy girl, Meredith. Kat the director is only slightly less condescending when Viviana says she's taken a workshop of Kat's, and Kat is all "So many ladies come and go." Geeez. "Quite a speech. I wish her performance had been as good." Of course Meredith wins. "This is not your time," Kat snots to Natalia. I hate this bitch already.

"What a crowd!" they say at the sparsely attended (hi, Covid) tree lighting ceremony. I froze the screen and counted eight people plus tree in this shot. Then they go home and have the world's most patriotic Puerto Rican tree decorated in flags. Some random dude named Justin shows up and says "I hear you got the moves....On the dance floor." Awkwardness ensues. He produces music, "If you liked it, it's probably me." "He's all talk, but under that he's MOSTLY okay," his sister says. Dad throws a "Festival of Treats" in which everyone eats dessert and wears ugly sweaters. Justin is all count me out to this. "Who needs more than one ugly sweater in their closet?" Vivi says. Answer: someone whose dad throws a party every year.
Vivi finds one that says "All the jingle ladies," then gets a call from Natalia, who loves her demo reel.

Natalia notes that "your concentration is hiding your emotion" and that she has more passion dancing salsa than ballet because Vivi feels like she has to be perfect at the ballet. Natalia basically offers to mentor her and it's super cute. Meanwhile, Natalia doesn't get to be head choreographer because a white guy with more experience (an old director of hers) is brought in instead. That figures.

I do enjoy the Serrano family's partying. The food looks good, there's that flag tree, and the music is great. Natalia brings Mateo as her date, Vivi is wearing "Jingle Ladies." Later, Vivi does ballet to one of Justin's salsa tracks and she is obviously having a great time. YES, LET'S MINGLE THE SALSA AND BALLET!!!!! I AM TOTALLY INTO THIS. Vivi is afraid of being too...y'know...and Natalia tells her to stop trying to fit and try to stand out. Love this. "Dance like yourself." "Have you been talking to my mom?"

THIS IS THE MOST AWESOME SASSIEST VERSION OF SUGAR PLUM I'VE EVER SEEN. Kat walks in on it and is all "on company time?" No. "On company space?" Nobody's using it. Kat bitches that Natalia can't do anything else but what Kat says. "You're suspended." Da fuck? Tony the head choreographer walks in, hears the news, and takes her out for a drink. "You were meant for the spotlight," not behind the scenes, Tony says. But I got injured...but maybe I should explore other methods of dance? Even Tony is all, I've made a lot of money recreating old dances, but it gets OLD and does this place really need me? Later, everyone in the company is all "Oh, Natalia got this done already, Natalia helped me with this," and Tony is all "I don't think you should can her, but just my opinion." Kat apologizes and says that the last choreographer she fired was cheating on her with another ballet company and she overreacted. Good job, Kat. Natalia says she wants to keep working with Vivi and later Kat goes to visit Vivi at her parents' studio.

Two surprises: Natalia gets the permanent choreographer job (Tony is happy for her and going back to NYC.) and Vivi gets to do her number, called "Sugar Plum Twist." LOVE IT. This is one of my favorite movies this year. Excellent job doing something different in Hallmark--a twist, if you will! It was even Kat's idea. LOVE IT. All the couples get together, of course.

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