Good Taste

September 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

In fifth grade we went around the science classroom and chose, out loud and on the spot, topics for our report about some part of the body.  I’d been gunning for the nose – largely because it seemed fairly contained as a subject (read: easy) – but someone ahead of me beat me to it.  So I did my report on the tongue.

That was a long time ago, but here’s what I remember:

1. I built a balsa wood model (after my stunning success with my fourth grade balsa wood Kachina doll) of a tongue which I chose to paint Pepto-Bismol pink.  The tongue was cut in half  from tip to root and then hinged so that you could swing it open and see a cross section of tongue anatomy.  This consisted of maker drawings of tongue cells but also, much more excitingly, with my dad’s help (everything was with my dad’s help by the way, Kachina doll, tongue . . . if wood was involved, Dad had a hand in it) I had hollowed out a sphere the size of a pink rubber ball which represented a giant version of a taste bud.  Somehow my Dad had even managed to stick thick, waxy brown string into the “taste bud” to represent the nerves.  Awesome.

2. Using a pad of transparencies my Dad had secured (I think just by taking it from the advertising agency where he worked . . . but maybe he bought it, I don’t know . . .) I created a map of the areas of taste on the tongue: salt, sweet, bitter, sour.  You could see them all at once or just one at a time.

3. Most importantly: taste is smell!  The vast majority of what you “taste” comes from your ability to smell it.

I was super proud.  And then, I remember, the kids in my class took the “nerves” of the giant “taste bud” and used them to swing the “taste bud” around over their heads and then throw it across the room.  Repeatedly.

Ahhhhhhhh, fifth grade . . .

Last week I was on vacation in California and one of the activities in which I was fortunate enough to participate was a food and wine pairing class at the West Coast branch of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA).  The course was taught by John Ash.  He immediately debunked the tongue map (although that was old news to me), he agreed that smell and taste are essentially one and the same, and then he introduced me – all of us – to the Aroma Wheel.  And, friends, this is actually why I’m blogging about this.  Here is the Aroma Wheel.  It’s a way to help you name what you’re smelling (and tasting) in wine (or, I suppose, in other things) as a helpful step in knowing what flavors either go with or contrast the wine in order to create a successful pairing. GENIUS!  John Ash also pointed us towards the Monell Center which studies taste and smell and which is VERY interesting.

My sense of smell is the pits, but the Aroma Wheel holds lasting allure for me . . . check it out.

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Tonight . . .

September 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

The New York Neo-Futurists (of whom I am one) will win the New York Innovative Theater Awards’ Cafe Cino Fellowsip.  We are winning this award because we, they say, consistently produce outstanding work.  I agree.  We do that.

And tonight, as part of receiving this award, the New York Neo-Futurists (of whom I am one) will be doing a short performance included in which will be this song, written and performed by me.  I will be wearing a much fancier outfit tonight, though, so try to imagine that while you watch the video:

Feeling a little bit proud . . .

“This will make you happy”

September 15, 2010 § Leave a comment

That’s what the tweet read.  “This will make you happy.”  It’s a pretty big promise, but I think the link that followed delivers:

The tweet came from Sxip Shirey (@sxipshirey).  He will also make you happy.  Well, he makes me happy with his excellent Tweets and his extra-excellent most recent album Sonic New York.  Check him out.

Also . . .

September 15, 2010 § Leave a comment

Yesterday was my second wedding anniversary.

Wedding at the Water Club

September 14, 2008

Back to school

September 15, 2010 § Leave a comment

I love autumn.  And I love back to school.  And I’m sure those two things are related.

Yesterday was the first day of a five-week acting class I’m taking at ESPA – the educational arm of Primary Stages.  I got really nervous – about the whole thing – and I kind of clammed up, but I left feeling like “why was I nervous about that?” which, really, is a testament to my delightful classmates and to our teacher, Andrew Leynse.  At the top of class, Andrew paid some lip service to class being a “safe space.”  Even though, when the shoe is on the other foot and I am at the front of the room, I really believe in the “safe space” classroom, when he said that, I rolled my (internal) eyes a little.  “Safe until I really take a risk and you write me off as too kooky or quirky or something?”  What’s got me feeling so optimistic, though, is that by the end of the class I thought “he really means it . . . and I think he might pull it off!”

Who knows how risky I will or won’t have to be in the coming weeks, but I’m looking forward to learning what there is to learn from this class.  Hopefully I can learn to be a little less nervous along the way.

Shine on

September 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

Last night I went to see Patrick Thomas sing and play at Rockwood Music Hall.

It was a really great gig at a really cool venue and I had a great time.  I could say a lot of things about Rockwood and drinks and acquaintances and shared experience and the community of an audience, but neither of us has all day for this.  So I’m boiling it down:

1. I recommend Patrick Thomas to those of you with ears.  Those of you with eyes and brains and hearts and feet that can tap and knees that can jig will enjoy him even more.

2. I went to the gig because Patrick is a new friend of mine and I think it’s important to go out and support your friends – they feel supported and, invariably, there’s some kind of surprise pay off for me when I extend myself by leaving my house to take in some art.  I’d heard his music online but I’d never seen him perform live.  It was a revelation. He shone.  It was like watching an amazing athlete perform her sport at the top of her game.  Unselfconscious, frictionless, joyful.  The whole band had it going on – everyone was in his own groove, all of them seeming to be in their own synchronized yet individualized performance reverie.  It’s not that I haven’t witnessed this sort of thing before – it’s what being a good performer is – but it’s always extra fun to watch it happen to someone you know.

3. Watching Patrick and his band last night made me start to think about all of the other great artists I know (and don’t know), all over this city, quietly doing their day-to-day things ’till it’s time for them to shine.  It made me think about how some day jobs let you shine more than others.  It made me excited to live in a city with so many shiny people.  It made me proud to count myself as one of the shiny ones, lucky to be part of a community of other sparkly people.

Cloakatively

September 9, 2010 § Leave a comment

Oh. My. Gosh.  I just stumbled across this Save The Words website and it is completely exciting to me:

1. It is adorably designed

2. It’s all about adopting words.  When you adopt a word, it doesn’t cost anything but you do have to promise to use that word more in your writing and conversations.

3. You can buy a T-Shirt with your word on it!  I declined to do this because it’s a $25 T-Shirt, but I’m thinking this will be excellent for future gifting.

My word is “Cloakatively” which means “Superficially.”  I figure it’ll be an easy first word to work in.  The example sentence was something like “Barbara improved her appearance cloakatively with plastic surgery, but she still doesn’t know how to dress.”  Ouch.  I think Cloakatively and I are going ot get along.

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