I remember attending the special 40th-year Anniversary screening of the film West Side Story at NYC's renowned Radio City Music Hall courtesy of and with friends of mine in early October of 2001, less than a month after the fateful 9/11 attacks on United States soil, having a wonderful time, and thinking of how fantastic it was that 5-6, 000 people could get together for such a wonderfully spectacuiar, fantastic evening, after and in spite of what happened.
Not long after this spectacular event, when I was cruising along on my computer and on the internet, I stumbled upon the old WSS/Leonard Bernstein board, westsidestory.com. Still savoring the joys of that recent special Saturday night down in the Big Apple, seeing friends and relatives, along with West Side Story, my all time favorite movie, on a great big, wide movie theatre screen (as it's meant to be viewed!), I began posting at length about how much I not only enjoyed that evening, but about how much I loved West Side Story, generally.
This was also the start of my being a full-fledged member of a special online community of people from different backgrounds and walks of life, who'd all been brought together for one reason: An intense love for West Side Story. It was on the WSS/Leonard Bernstein forum/message board that I "met" and corresponded with everybody that I'd end up corresponding with on this board and on Seinfeld for a number of years, before the advent of Facebook, Twitter, and other similar online sites.
I remember with sad fondness, the fact that (the late) Floridajake, who was one of the most, if not the most colorful posters on our board(s) made me feel at home on the WSS/Leonard Bernstein board right away, as did other people, but he, especially, seemed to go out of his way to make me feel welcome, and I treasure that memory to this day. (RIP, Floridajake! You are missed!). Tom was another person who also made me feel at home and welcome on the boards, and he, too, is missed (RIP, Tom. You're also missed!).
Another person I remember is Kevin, who was also a cool guy, as well as Mitch and some others. (Kevin...I hope you're okay...haven't heard from you for awhile!)
Hardly a day passed when I didn't post on either the WSS/Leonard Bernstein board, or the Seinfeld board, when it came up, and I often had long, long essays to post about my love of West Side Story, whether it be right after seeing it in a movie theatre, on stage, or even on TV, and, even just having it on my mind, generally. Along the way, I "met" other posters, and, for the most part, except for a period where one poster and I were really at loggerheads for awhile, bickered frequently, and even went so far as to exchange insults on the WSS/Leonard Bernstein board, things went smoothly, and I got along. After awhile, however, I and the particular poster that I'd been at loggerheads with ended up getting along and becoming friends.
The WSS/Leonard Bernstein board, however, wasn't without its problems. Trolls would come up, rather frequently, and act rather disruptive, and could be hard to ignore at times.
Jerseyjohn, who was more a live theatre person, also had some cool, interesting things to post on the West Side Story websites. People of virtually all ages posted on there, some remained faithful, while others just came and went, if one gets the drift.
Although there were occasional spats among various posters on the WSS/Bernstein board, due to flare-ups of differences, we generally had lots of fun on that board, and on the Seinfeld board, when it came, although the Seinfeld boartd is peaceful. People would post just to say hello to other posters, and sometimes even off-topic subjects such as politics, etc., would come up. It was cool.
Anyway, as someone who's still a devout fan of West Side Story (and who has been for more than 40 years!), I'll also be attending another West Side Story screening at the Brattle Theatre, in Cambridge, MA, in early July, which I've already bought tickets for! I'm also excited about seeing the West Side Story/Boston Symphony Orchestra concert at Tanglewood in mid-july, as well.
Please note: This thread is also crossposted on jetsandsharks101.com