I got some good news this week: the basement storage bin that I was on the waiting list for finally came through. It’s in an adjacent building in my development rather than in my own building, but hey – I’ll take it. In fact, I've already paid for it and gotten the keys.

Last year I walked over to a public storage warehouse that’s about a five minute drive from me to inquire into space there, as I really need to reduce the clutter around here. The bin I got here, which is about the same size as the one at the storage warehouse, required a one-time payment for me to use it for as long as I live here. For that same amount, I could have rented a space at the storage warehouse for about five months. I’ll probably start to bring stuff over on Saturday – my old suitcase (so I can put the new one in the closet), boxes, magazines I need to go through before getting rid of them for good, laser discs, some DVD players that I’ve upgraded from but still work fine, etc.

Of course, the problem with putting stuff ‘temporarily’ into storage before getting rid of it for good is the old ‘out of sight, out of mind’ problem. Still, I’ll worry about that later. I just want be able to see the other half of the floor in my junior bedroom again (that is, the half that’s now obscured by piles of magazines, etc.)

I’m going to see Il Trovatore at the Metropolitan Opera on Friday night. This is one of the great works by Verdi but somehow I have managed to miss seeing it until now – not necessarily a bad thing, as the previous Met production of it was supposed to be pretty bad. This new one is said to be much better, so hopefully waiting was a good thing.

Over the past few years, photography has been so overwhelming in my life that I haven’t taken the time to do too many other things. (Things look surgery and getting hit by a car didn't help, either.) To continue to get out and about the way I used to, I’ve decided to buy a subscription at the Met for next season. I had subscribed for a couple of seasons a few years ago, but I let it lapse. My subscription series includes:

Le Nozze di Figaro/Marriage of Figaro (Mozart)
Der Rosenkavalier (R. Strauss)
Elektra (R. Strauss)
Carmen (Bizet)
Aida (Verdi)
Hamlet (Thomas)
Der Fliegende Hollander/The Flying Dutchman (Wagner)
Armida (Rossini)

Of these eight, I’ve only seen three of them before. One of those is Elektra, and as I’m not a big fan of the operas of Richard Strauss, I’ll probably try to switch it for Verdi’s Attila or Stiffelio (both not performed too often). However, I am looking forward to seeing Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier, which I have not seen and is supposed to be his best opera. (We’ll see.) I’m not a big fan of Wagner, either, but Flying Dutchman has always been of interest to me as one of his more accessable works.

Aida is also an unusual one for me. Although I’ve performed in it at the Met for two years as an extra, I have never actually seen it in its entirety and from the audience! The Met is doing some other good stuff next season, so I also ordered individual tickets for:

Les Contes d’Hoffman/The Tales of Hoffman (Offenbach)
Simon Boccanegra (Verdi)
The Nose (Shostakovich)
Il Trittico (Puccini)
La Traviata (Verdi)

All of these will be new to me except for La Traviata, which will be featuring my favorite singer, Angela Gheorghiu, in the role that made her a star. (I went to see her in it a few years ago but she cancelled that particular night.) She'll also be singing the title role in Carmen. Simon Boccanegra will be interesting in that Placido Domingo, one of the great tenors of his generation, will be singing a baritone role. Then there’s The Nose by the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, about a man who wakes up to find that his nose is missing (or isn’t it?).

Today's photos are (from the top down): Italian soprano Barbara Frittoli (who will be singing the role of Micaela, the good girl in Carmen); Angela Gheorghiu; and the great Placido Domingo. All photos were made by me at the Metropolitan Opera here in New York.

(By the way, if anybody other than Stephen Haynes finds any of this even remotely interesting, please do let me know!)

Finally, from the sublime to the ridiculous: I’m on a DVD. Yes, a real honest to goodness commercially produced DVD that can be bought in a video store or online. The name of the film (sit down for this one) is Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead. It was produced by Troma Films, the good people who brought us the Toxic Avenger films and other such schlock.

Anyway, my friend ‘Troma action star’ Joe Fleishaker has been in a number of their films, including this one. He plays a character named Jared, and after eating a toxic egg at a new fried chicken joint, he – well, take it from me, you really don’t want to know. At one point his character’s head implodes, so in order to do that, they had to make a cast of his head. Joe asked me to accompany him to the headcasting session, and someone from the film company was there with a video camera to record it, and it’s now one of the extra features on the three DVD set. I wasn’t sure if I’d be in it, but Joe got me a copy that I watched last weekend and I can indeed be seen a few times, and can even by heard asking a question or two to the guy making the cast.

So, it’s not Hollywood, but at least it’s given me my five seconds of fame.

(The Amazon link, in case you’re that interested, is: http://www.amazon.com/Poultrygeist-Night-Chicken-Jason-Yachanin/dp/B001D5C1PS/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1236821664&sr=8-1 . And hey, I see that 29 reviewers have given it a 4 ½ star rating…LOL)

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