13 definition by shreve lamb and harmon

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Broadway musical written by the late, great Jonathan Larson — who, for the record, was neither HIV-positive nor gay. Debuted in 1996 and still going strong. Essentially a modern re-write of Giacomo Puccini's beloved opera La Boheme, but with a happier ending and a score influenced heavily by pop, rock, and techno.

The main differences between La Boheme and Rent:

Setting:
Paris in the early 19th century becomes New York in the early 90s

Characters:

Rodolfo the playwright becomes Roger Davis the HIV-positive musician, former heroin junkie, looking to write one hit song before succumbing to the virus he contracted from his dead girlfriend (first played by Adam Pascal)

Marcello the painter becomes Mark Cohen the filmmaker, trying to make it big (first played by Anthony Rapp, once played by Joey Fatone of N'Sync)

Benoit the landlord becomes real estate mogul Benjamin Coffin III, former roomate to Mark and Roger and a symbol of the coming gentrification of the neighborhood and the eventual death or commercialization of Bohemia (first played by Taye Diggs)

Colline the philosopher becomes Tom Collins the HIV-positive anarchist, a computer geek who sabotaged MIT's virtual reality software and teaches part-time at NYU (first played by Jesse L. Martin of Law & Order fame)

Shaunard the violinist becomes Angel Dumot Schunard the street musician, an HIV-positive sometimes-transvestite and lover to Collins (first played by Wilson Jermaine Heredia, and more famously by Jai Rodriguez from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy)

Mimi, the rhematosis-infected, dying courtesan, becomes Mimi Marquez the Latina bondage performer, HIV-positive, nineteen years old and a junkie, Roger's love interest and former girlfriend of Benjamin (first played by Daphne Rubin-Vega)

Musetta becomes hipster homeless advocate and performance artist Maureen Johnson, a lesbian, Mark's former girlfriend who left him for her stage manager (first played by Idina Menzel, who later played the Wicked Witch of the West in Wicked)

Alcindoro, Musetta's wealthy benefactor, becomes Joanne Jefferson, Maureen's new girlfriend and stage manager, whose role is significantly expanded compared to in Boheme to suit her relationship with Maureen and love-triangle with Mark (first played by Fredi Walker, at one point played by Melanie Brown of the Spice Girls)

Tuberculosis and rheumatism, the diseases which plagued crowded urban centers in the 19th century, are replaced by AIDS, the scourge of the artistic community in the 80s and early 90s
A movie version of the musical, starring the entire original cast save for Daphne Rubin-Vega (who has been replaced by Rosario Dawson), is currently being filmed.

Much like how Puccini died before he could finish his last opera, Turandot, Jonathan Larson died the day before Rent debuted, of an undiagnosed aortic aneurysm stemming from his Marfan's syndrome.
by Shreve Lamb and Harmon July 28, 2005

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A matrimonial union between two people of the same sex. Not a mockery of marriage because it implies a loving relationship between — and listen to these words closely — TWO. CONSENTING. ADULTS. If you honestly think that the next step is going to be bigamy, beastiality, or pedophilia, then you're really off your rocker because none of these things involve all three of those three words. Maybe you can make a case for incest, but that's more often practiced in the Bible Belt between straight people, anyway.
Ironically, the American state with the lowest divorce rate is Massachusetts, the center of gay marriage land; followed by Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and New York. The American state with the highest divorce rate? Nevada, with Oklahoma, Tennessee, Wyoming and Indiana rounding out the bottom five.

That's right, the holier-than-thou Bible Belt has the highest divorce rates in the country, while the liberal Northeast has the lowest. Suck it dry, neocons.
by Shreve Lamb and Harmon September 21, 2005

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Not In My BackYard: a person who opposes particular construction or projects in their community. Particularly prominent in New York City.

Good NIMBYism: Jane Jacobs opposing the construction of the Lower Manhattan Expressway, which would have eviscerated the present-day neighborhoods of SoHo, Greenwich Village, and TriBeCa; Jackie Kennedy saving Grand Central Terminal from demolition and replacement with an office tower.

Bad NIMBYism: Fighting the development of a nearby tall building because it might block your view; opposing a new subway line or water tunnel, which would benefit the city for years to come, because of construction noise in your neighborhood; opposing the expansion of the museum across the street because of minor inconveniences, even though it's the primary reason that your property is so valuable. I.E.: Being selfish

Iffy: People who fight LULUs, or Locally Unwanted Land Uses: developments or institutions that are needed, but that nobody wants near them, like homeless shelters or power plants.
Other forms of NIMBY include the NOPE
(Not On Planet Earth), the BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone), and the TEDAO (Tear Everything Down At Once).
by Shreve Lamb and Harmon June 16, 2005

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A euphemism for Democratic-voting states in the 2004 election, particularly in reference to the Northeast and West Coast.

Ironically, these states also have:

A) Most of the lowest crime rates in the nation.
B) The lowest divorce rates in the nation.
C) The highest quality of life in the nation.
D) The lowest ratio of federal aid to tax dollars paid in the nation.
The "blue states" may have their faults, but they outstrip the "red states" by most accounts.
by Shreve Lamb and Harmon September 21, 2005

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Also known as Pennsylvania Station, the busiest rail station in the United States. The major Amtrak station on the Northeast Corridor and the terminal for New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Rail Road.

Once the grandest gateway into New York City, since 1962 has been little more than Madison Square Garden's basement, a mishmash of "modern" corridors, low ceilings, and endless rows of suburban chain stores. Its loss is comparable to — possibly even worse than — a similar "modernization" effort on London's late, great Euston Station around the same time.

The original terminal, designed by Beaux-Arts architects McKim, Mead and White and erected by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1909, was a grand temple to rail travel which occupied four city blocks bounded by Seventh and Eighth Avenues and 30th and 33rd Streets. The Seventh Avenue facade was dominated by a collonade of granite pillars modelled after the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. The main waiting room, designed to echo the Baths of Caracalla in Rome, featured a giant barrel-vaulted ceiling as high and long as the nave of Saint Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. And the main departure concourse featured a dramatic glass train shed which brought ample sunlight down to the train platforms themselves. Richly detailed sculptures abounded, including twelve statues of giant eagles which once perched all along the cornice of the station.

McKim, Mead and White had intended for their masterpiece to survive for 500 years; it barely lasted 53. With postwar rail travel on the decline, Penn Railroad merged with rival New York Central in the '60s to form Penn Central, which immediately set out with plans to "improve" Penn Station and its crosstown neighbor, Grand Central Terminal. Entering into deals with the owner of Madison Square Garden, Irving Felt, it was decided that both groups could maximize profits if the Garden were moved from its 1925 building on 51st and Eighth to a new, "modern" structure right on top of Penn Station. The result: the most supernal rail terminal ever to be built in the United States was dismantled and carted off to Secaucus, giving New Jersey the claim to having the world's most elegant dump. The banal replacement was "architect" Charles Luckman's oil drum that was the new MSG, paired with an ugly slab office tower, with plenty of cramped, claustrophobic, artificially-lit space for scurrying suburban commuters downstairs.

There was a silver lining to the loss of Penn Station, however. The public outcry was immense: the New York Times called it a "monumental act of vandalism" and "the shame of New York." Architectural historian Vincent Scully lamented, "Through (Penn Station) one entered the city like a god. Now one scuttles in like a rat." And Ada Louise Huxtable, the Times' architecture critic, warned, "We will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed."

The result of this outcry was the creation of the New York City Landmarks Commission, the first of its kind in any city in the U.S. Multiple buildings and districts in New York have been preserved since, particularly Grand Central Terminal, New York's last surviving grand gateway. Before it was declared a national landmark in 1978, it was very nearly razed in a similar venture by Penn Central — which went spectacularly bankrupt in 1970. Karma's a bitch.
The loss of Penn Station can probably never be undone, but some of the damage can be repaired and some civic penance can be done. In 2005, plans finally moved forward for many of Penn Station's operations to be moved into a new terminal across Eighth Avenue, to be housed in the Central Post Office which, serendipitously enough, was also designed by McKim. The new terminal, to be named after the late State Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, will serve LIRR and NJT commuters, as well as some Amtrak riders. Hopefully, MSG will eventually be moved somewhere else and the current building will be demolished, allowing for something worthwhile to take its place.
by Shreve Lamb and Harmon July 31, 2005

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Contrary to the uninformed beliefs of Gumba Gumba, is a game that was invented in the United States by a New Orleans sports teacher named Clara Baer. She had been learned of a new game called basketball which had been invented in Massachusetts in 1891 by Canadian immigrant James Naismith, and wrote to him asking about the rules.

Baer misunderstood certain aspects of the court lines that Naismith had included in a sketch enclosed in his response, and thus netball - originally known as women's indoor basketball - became a game quite distinct from Naismith's game. The first official game of netball was played in 1895.
Source: IFNA International Netball Weebsite.
by Shreve Lamb and Harmon June 24, 2005

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A city and/or metropolitan area with a very high population or average density. A megacity is generally considered to be an urban agglomeration with a population of at least 10 million, though the United Nations defines it as a metro area that is home to at least 5 million people living in an area of consistent urban-level density. Most of the world's megacities are in the developing world — particularly sub-Saharan Africa and South and East Asia — which is rapidly urbanizing to the same high percentage that is seen in the United States, Latin America, and Western Europe. However, these cities are generally built with little in the way of construction regulation or public infrastructure. By the year 2030, it is estimated that more than 60 percent of the world's population will be urban.
Today the largest megacity is by far Greater Tokyo, with includes the nearby cities of Yokohama and Kawasaki and is home to nearly 35 million people; however, its current population growth is practically stagnant. The other nine largest are:

* Mexico City, D.F. (22,350,000)
* New York (22,150,000)
* Seoul, South Korea (22,050,000)
* São Paulo, Brazil (20,000,000)
* Mumbai (Bombay), India (19,400,000)
* Delhi, India (19,000,000)
* Los Angeles (17,750,000)
* Tehran, Iran (15,000,000)
* Jakarta, Indonesia (16,850,000)
* Osaka, Japan (16,750,000)

Smaller megacities include Bogotá, Colombia; Lagos, Nigeria; Manila, the Philippines; Shanghai, China; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Beijing, China; Karachi, Pakistan; London; Paris; Istanbul, Turkey; Chicago; Cairo, Egypt; Dhaka, Bangladesh; Ruhr Valley, Germany; and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
by Shreve Lamb and Harmon September 25, 2005

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