April 21, 2015 § Leave a comment
Okay. Here’s my NEW BUSINESS IDEA:
A Bar. With Snacks.
The Bar is called “Good Grief.”
You go there to sit and drink alone and maybe cry. All the tables are for one. It’s okay to talk to other solo bar patrons if you both feel good about that (like if you’re commiserating) but if they just want to drink and cry alone, you’ve gotta respect that. Also, while there are no rules to specifically prohibit it, it would be really uncool to go there to pick someone up.
There are rules to keep people safe. The bartender will only let you have, say, two or three drinks per hour to keep you from drinking too fast, leaving and getting hurt. There’s probably an overall max number of drinks you can have too. (We’ll have to look into the science and make some educated choices about the amount of alcohol we’ll let someone consume . . .) The bar would also have taxis and/or cars for hire always on call so that sad, drunk patrons could get home safely.
The drinks are straightforward but EXCELLENT. Always fresh lemon and lime juice, simple syrup, etc. – no margarita mix or sour mix or any of that mess. The wine won’t give you a headache.
The snacks are similarly familiar but upscale. A cheese plate. A good salad. A couple of sandwiches. Maybe one “real” entree on a rotating basis. The food is tasty and doesn’t make you feel like you did something bad to your body by eating it, and it keeps you from feeling too hungry or drinking on an empty stomach.
The decor is dark. Everything is black. There is some attractive (though dim) lighting – perhaps some of those now-ubiquitous Edison lightbulbs? Maybe some great wallpaper behind the bar. The tone is hushed. The music is always very sad. Kleenex everywhere (but maybe in custom-made holders so they blend in and look kinda cool.)
The world needs this. Or, at least, New York City needs this. Sometimes you need a place to drink and be sad and be by yourself. And maybe (probably?) you’re less likely to overdo it and get sick if you’re at a bar where drinking alone and crying are the norm.
Are you a restauranteur looking for new business opportunities? Let’s do this together!! (You probably think I’m kidding, but I’m not!)
April 7, 2015 § Leave a comment
Have you watched Monica Lewinsky’s TED talk yet?
All within a few days, I heard about the talk, read this article in the NY Times and, in the course of cleaning out my family home, found this old clipping, randomly, in the piano bench:
It’s Monica 1.0. It came out during the time period she recalls during her TED talk when she was being publicly shamed not just on TV, Radio and in Newspapers, but on the brand-new, and rapidly expanding internet. But the poem doesn’t feel particularly dated if we swap out he protagonist, and I’d say that’s one of Lewinsky’s main points in her talk: public shame is at a premium these days as a form of entertainment and we are all increasingly in the habit of passing judgement as casually as we might pass the time of day.
Worth a watch, I’d say, if you’ve got 20 minutes. And if you do watch, let me know what you think in the comments.
April 2, 2015 § Leave a comment
Last Tuesday morning I woke up early. I took a walk to a car to a bus to the air-train to a plane to a transfer to another plane to a hotel van to get to Louisville where, on Tuesday night, I saw Coleman Domingo’s play “Dot” which is being presented as part of the Humana Festival at the Actors Theatre of Louisville.
Wednesday, I took a hotel van to a flight to an oh-my-god sprinting-through-the-airport transfer to another flight to an air-train to a car to a walk back to my apartment.
It was a quick trip.
I went because my friend Kevin is in the play and because I’d long heard of Humana but never been. Initially, I tried to arrange a trip where I got to see some other plays and spend a little more time in Louisville, but . . . well, there’s a lot going on and it just didn’t work out. No matter. Next time.
“Dot” is wonderful. The writing is wonderful and the performances do a bright and loving job of bringing the writing to life.
The play is about a family whose matriarch has dementia and has just begun to decline beyond what can be shrugged off as mere forgetfulness. The patriarch has died and so the younger generation – three biological children, one spouse, one neighbor-the-family-has-known-forever, and one illegal caregiver hired off of Craig’s List – all with problems of their own, are faced with the dilemma of how to deal with the mother’s inevitable decline. The writing is bravely and effectively honest about the anger and impatience family members feel when faced with a failing loved one, as well as perceptive in its portrayal of the matriarch’s take on and response to her situation. The entire play is loaded with laughs which make it feel even more true to life, but which also keep the whole from veering too deeply into pathos and despair.
My own mother did not have dementia, but we did go through a lot with her over a period of about a year. In the process, I had a window onto what it is to be aging in America (at least in my corner of America) which is not a pretty picture.
Coleman Domingo’s play is, I believe, an important contribution to the conversation on caring for our sick and elderly. While you likely missed it at Humana (it closes April 12), it is my hope – and suspicion – that it will see many productions around the country in the coming years and I hope you’ll take the opportunity to see one.
February 10, 2015 § Leave a comment
This week I saw TWO great shows:
1. Big Love by Charles Mee at The Signature Theater. I think Signature does an outstanding job, Charles Mee’s plays have always been some of my favorites, and this production is superlative. This play manages to be serious and funny, deep and feel-good. Tina Landau’s direction is mind-bogglingly good.
2. The Human Symphony created and directed by Dylan Marron. This is the latest full-length/main-stage offering from The New York Neo-Futurists. Clever, Engaging, informative and charming. This show is a beautiful use and example of the Neo-Futurist aesthetic; it also manages to be truly experimental without evoking any of the negative connotations that the term “experimental theater” can sometimes conjure. It only runs ’till February 14th so hurry up with this one!
It is worth mentioning that both plays have extremely affordable tickets and that they actually, as it happens, make a nice pair. (Clicking the links above will take you to info and tickets for each show)
Leave a comment if you’ve seen one of them (or if you go) and tell us all what you think!
January 13, 2015 § Leave a comment
Happy New Year!!
Even though we’re already a couple weeks in, the first blog post of the year feels like the perfect place to tackle the well-worn but somehow still compelling subject of resolutions!
I make resolutions all the time, but that doesn’t exempt me from making them at New Year’s as well. This year I have three:
1. WATER. I’ve made a version of this resolution every year but never with much success. This year, instead of resolving to “drink more water” or even to “drink 8 glasses a day,” I’ve resolved to drink 4 glasses a day. It’s half as much as the recommended daily allowance but it would still represent an increase for me on most days. Also, when I tried to drink 8 glasses a day, I’d loose count, but 4 I can keep track of without really trying which makes the goal more concretely achievable. And if I can form this habit, I’d love to add more glasses as the year progresses.
2. ROUTINE. You know that Flaubert quote: “Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” 2014 was a year characterized by disruptions. This year, I want to stick to a schedule as much as possible so that I know, where I am, where my kid is, where my husband is, when he’s coming home, what time we’re all sitting down for dinner and when I’m free to leave the house to get something done or do something fun (and when I can be violent in my work!) My husband’s work schedule (oh, and my own project) are already working against me in 2015 as far as hitting our marks every day, but that’s okay. Like my water-drinking resolution, waking up and knowing what to aim for is more than half the battle, and it takes time to form new routines and habits. Just knowing that this is a big priority for me right now clarifies so many decisions, it’s already paying off even while I keep trying to really succeed in achieving it.
3. LEAVE THE HOUSE – PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY. When you have a kid, most people expect you to disappear, and when you have a hard time showing up for parties and dinners and events, people tend to chalk it up to the fact of your being a parent. 2014 might have been the year that I started to re-connect more regularly with my arts colleagues: attending more shows, participating more in others’ projects, just being out in the world . . . but events conspired against me. Instead, 2014 found me spending a lot of time more-or-less alone. I miss participating in the arts community, I miss my friends and it kinda bugs me when people blame my kid for something that’s not his fault. This year, once I get a handle on the schedule (see above) I aim to start more-regularly scheduling outings of both the professional and social variety.
How about you? What are your resolutions and how are they going? Let us know in the comments!!
November 5, 2014 § Leave a comment
A strange thing happened the other day.
The kiddo and I were out taking the dogs for their afternoon walk. The dog walk can be kind of a struggle because the dogs often disagree about which direction they want to go, when they want to stop or start – there’s a lot of wrangling.
We were making our way around the block when we encountered another dog-walker – a tall, gangly guy in his early 20’s with a disaffected youth/Dungeons & Dragons vibe. I recognized him because he’d stopped me before to pat our bigger dog, Lucy. People on the street love Lucy. Anyway, he was walking two small dogs so our small dog and those dogs were sniffing each other and Lucy was semi-tolerating the pats of the young man and my son was announcing “I’m the Rolly Polly Bird!” because we’d just finished reading The Enormous Crocodile for the first time and, that’s how my kid rolls – lots of reading lots of pretending.
“Does he always say that?” asked the young man.
“Just today. He’s the Rolly Polly bird,” I explained in case the guy hadn’t fully understood. My son moved around Lucy to speak again to the man who was squatting down, giving Lucy his full attention.
“I’m the Rolly Polly Bird!”
“Get out of my face,” said the man with a weird clenched-teeth grimace-cum-smile. Woah! I thought. And without waiting for my son or I to react, the man put his finger on my son’s chest – my 28 pound, two-and-a-half year old’s chest – and pushed him saying “Back off . . .”
“We’re just going to say good-bye now” I chirped and I moved my son and dogs away as quickly as I could.
I felt like I’d just seen something really dark – something about this person that most people who walk past him or, say, serve him at the bagel store would never see. I feel like I’ve got a secret about this guy.
When my mom was in the hospital/rehab/hospice I was acutely aware of how UNaware we all are of the interior lives of all of the other people we walk around with here in this big city. At the time, I made extra efforts not to let my own stress/unhappiness negatively affect my citizenship. During that time, I think I was a much more compassionate person as I encountered others; if someone was brusque or stand-offish, I thought about what might be going on with them to motivate that instead of just deciding they were a rude or obnoxious person.
I’d stopped thinking this way – about the mystery of my fellow (wo)man – so actively and so often, but the run-in with this guy brought it back to the front of my mind, but with this added twist: we don’t know what other people may be struggling with and that means compassion but also, maybe, keeping our guard up a bit. You never know . . .
What do you think? What’s your outlook as you make your way through your day?
October 28, 2014 § Leave a comment
I invented a really fun game over the weekend!
It’s the Venn Diagram Game and here’s how it works:
1. Each of two players draws one of the circles of a (two-circle) Venn Diagram and then, without letting the other player see, writes a word in that circle
2. The players reveal their words and then agree together (quickly) on how to label the overlap.
3. Once you get the hang of it, you can add a third player to make a three-circle Venn. That allows you to label the overlaps of each pair of circles AND the area of overlap for all three.
Our version was pretty non-competitive, but it’d be pretty easy, through a rotating judge system (as in Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity), speed or some combination of the two, to award a winner each round and play to a number of points.
It kind of reminds me of a nerdier, in-person version of Say The Same Thing which is an app developed by the band OK GO based on a very similar sort of game they (apprently) play togther. (If you want to play Say The Same Thing with me over our phones, send me a message!)
Anyway, try it yourself and let me know what you think.
Maybe most importantly, this SUPER COOL game needs a SUPER COOL name (like the Cones of Dunshire, say). Post your suggestions in the comments!!