Friday, February 27, 2009


Long-distance romance

By Edward Copeland
There was another love story at the heart of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and that is the camera's with New York. It's a romance to which I fully relate because I knew deep down that that city and I were meant for each other long before I ever set foot in it. Unfortunately, New York and I never got to cohabitate and it is highly unlikely we'll ever see each other again, but she's still my gal and always will be.

I actually visited Europe before I was ever able to touch down on the soil of New York. People thought I was crazy when I said I never felt more comfortable or at ease in my life. It's long been said that there are two types of people: NY people and L.A. people and to a certain extent, I think that's true. When I've been to Los Angeles, I've always had the sense of palpable evil. People who prefer L.A. feel that way about New York.

NY people never get that. What's not to love? The food. The culture. The excitement. The ease of transportation. Never a lack of things to do. You'd also be amazed for a city with such a large population how often you are likely to randomly happen upon someone you know from wherever it is you come from.

One of the first times I went to New York (trips became frequent, often thanks to movie junkets), a friend of mine who worked in one of the World Trade Center towers had me come up for lunch at a restaurant near the top of one of the towers. What a remarkable view. Years later, I had a job interview in one of the buildings. The towers remains one of two sets of buildings (that I know of) that I've been in that no longer exist, though the other was brought down by an act of urban planning, not terrorism.

My first non-junket trip there was to see my first Broadway show: Both parts of the exquisite Angels in America, which remains the best Broadway show I ever saw. It launched my Broadway addiction. The first musical I saw was, of course, a Sondheim, Passion while it was in previews. One of the most wonderful nights of my life was when I saw the play Buried Child then walked out, went next door, bought a ticket from a scalper and saw a late show by Elvis Costello in connection with All This Useless Beauty at The Supper Club.

My obsession grew so fierce that I kept moving closer and closer to shorten the gap between me and my love. First, I moved to Florida, where at least I found myself in the same time zone. Next, I found myself in northern New Jersey, where I could get there by train and I often did, almost on a weekly basis. Needless to say, my debt ballooned.

After moving back to Oklahoma to get my credit in order, I only went back to New York twice, then my health problems hit and it is very unlikely I'll ever be there again. During my last trip, I hadn't been diagnosed yet, so I got a hotel directly next door to the theater I was going to so I wouldn't have too far to limp to on my cane.

It was a musical. Fittingly enough, it was Sondheim again, this time the Broadway debut of Assassins, one of my favorite scores even if its book doesn't quite reach its heights, though its cast did, especially the great Denis O'Hare, doing a hysterically insane gallows walk as Charles Guiteau.

New York is depicted in countless films, but few have affected me as it did in Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. Probably, because so many of those are filmed in Toronto. Nick and Norah loves New York and it shows and reawakened my longing for that far-away isle I'm unlikely to ever see again. I thank the filmmakers for that.

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Hey Ed -- We'll be here when you decide it's time. We won't look anything like what you remembered but we'll be here.
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