Every day is opening night.

“The Bus from Amarillo”

Ladies and gents,

I’m filing this column from a state you don’t mess with where everything’s bigger. Any guesses? … No you idiots, it’s Texas. I’m in Dallas. What is this perpetually coastal liberal doing in the state where J.F.K. was killed and G.W.B. was reared? Saving the world! Yes, that’s right – last night I attended the World Premiere of The Marvel Experience on the grounds of the Texas State Fair. I entered the multi-acre compound of seven, interconnected giant domes a civilian and exited a superhero. Through a series of genuinely fun and interactive challenges, “new recruits” are trained in the various skillsets of superheros (climb like Spidey, smash things like Hulk, etc.) to get ready to combat the biggest threat the world has ever known. The immersive thrill ride takes recruits into a stunning 360-degree 3-D projection film (where the weaker-stomached superheros-in-training are instructed to remove the 3D glasses and stare at the ground should they experience any nausea), and then culminates in a grand finale fight by way of a state-of-the-art motion ride.

Needless to say, I didn’t feel like the target demographic for this comic book-based experience. (If they ever make The Archie Experience, I’ll be first in line.) But within seconds of entering the first dome, I was sold. I haven’t felt so liberated and youthful since my last trip to Disneyland. The Experience is in Dallas for the rest of the month, before heading to San Diego and San Francisco. More tour stops will be announced, I’m told. With tickets starting at just $27.50, it just might be the cheapest high in town.

Tidbits from around town…

Spotted Janeane Garofalo petting a passerby’s black lab in the East Village.

Caught Tom Hanks chatting up Sally Field at a recent performance of It’s Only A Play.

Overheard Cora Cahan, President of The New 42nd Street, waxing poetic about New Victory Arts Award recipient John Lithgow‘s performance in A Delicate Balance.

Finally, on a note of deep sorrow, the theatrical community has lost one of its dearest friends with the recent death Jean- Claude Baker. The legendary proprietor of the midtown eatery Chez Josephine (a tribute to Jean-Claude’s iconic mother, Josephine Baker) was no mere restaurateur. He was best buddy, sympathetic ear, confidante, and great company to everyone who passed through his doors. He will be mourned. He will missed. He’ll never be forgotten.

As always, a toast of something sparkling to you and yours!