Friday, December 28, 2012

Taking Stock

Getting to that part of the year where one takes stock.  It's been a rough fall-into-winter - the Storm, the shootings, the subway pushings, the other evidence of Humanity's lack of humanity: these affect everyone, irrespective of what might be your personal drama (or family drama, or work drama, or some version of 'all of the above').

Let none of this mute your comfort and joy.  Breathe in the beauty, live deeply, gather ye rosebuds while ye may.  Or anyway, that's one idea.

Back to London.

The first viddy I put together uses a lot of images from the first couple days which are already represented here, so I'm going to skip that one for now.  Here's one that's more food-centric covering the T-Day redux and the German Holiday Market on Southbank, along with shots from Bermondsey and Rotherhithe showing Execution Dock (where pirates would be hanged in gibbets) and the ruins of Edward III's hunting palace, including Holiday imagery that it's not quite too late in the Season to put out there.


Monday, December 17, 2012

What's Next

Leonard Bernstein had this to say in the wake of John F. Kennedy's assassination:

“This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”
Thanks to Clay Zambo for reminding me of that.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Piano Adoption

The comments thread on the article that revealed the video shared on that last post had some revelations of its own.  This link, about Piano Adoption, was of particular interest.  Good to know such things exist.


It is more than worth the 5 minutes it will take you to watch this video.

Sound on or sound off, it is gorgeous.  Pop it into full screen and take a look.  Fair warning: you might cry.

It was made by Anthony Sherin, and put out there by Times.  You can read more about it here (or click the Related Article link. I recommend you read the article after you watch the video).

Words Fail

They just do. And people fail even more.

The Sandy Hook shooting goes beyond anything I can put into words, and no one else has had much luck as far as I can tell either.  We could (and we will) go off on the media, the elected officials, gun policy, gun culture, the underlying aggression in our culture, the evil that visited that community (see? those words from Governor Malloy seem both overwrought and not enough. I'm not criticizing the Governor for that - he had an impossible job.  Words fail.) but for now we just have to be in it.

Please be as kind as you possibly can today.  I mean, all the time, but especially today.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

London, Continued

The London trip was spurred on by a need to bring Thanksgiving to the Brits.  Well, more accurately, to bring it to a couple of our American friends who are living in Britain for a few years.  T-Day-ers, no less, and a couple who used to live in Plymouth, Mass. at that - so it was particularly urgent that we help them get their turkey on to celebrate the Mayflower Pilgrims.

We had a fantastic time.  This is not surprising, of course, but it is pleasant to report.  These shots, like most of those that I've posted so far, are from the first day we were there - Thanksgiving Day, strictly speaking, but not the day we had our Feast.  No, that day we only had incredible meat pies on a walk through Borough Market, Pints at two fab pubs nearby, and a brilliant Tapas meal to wrap it all up.  The days of London being known for bad food may be behind us for good.

Not bad for the evening after an all-night flight.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The Waste Land of Area X

 More on London later.  For now, here are two images for the Dante fans out there (and you know you're out there...)

This is the "Area X" that has sprung up in Port Authority since the Storm, to allow for all the extra people taking the bus to the 'boken while the Path is out of commission.  What does it have to do with Dante?  There's a big ol' hint in the title of this post.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Last Weekend: or, The Much-Needed, Absolutely Essential Return of T-Day

Yes, it was time once again for the Best Holiday of the Year to roll around.  T-Day made its triumphant return, to Cape Cod this time.

I did not take many photos this year, and those I did were on the phone camera rather than the camera camera, but here's Ye Olde Cape Cod Beauty in action:

We didn't know how much we needed it until we were there, but we really had to get out of the City in the wake of the Storm and the emotional agita of the Election.  [Do I need to tell you how much more tolerable it was to deal with the removal of our car and the reconstruction of the 'boken knowing that We the People had won victories for women, gay rights, reform of drug laws, access to health care, and so on?  I don't think I do.]  

The drive up was late and great.  We left after work last Thursday.  Definitely emotional pangs picking up the rental car.  Yes, yes, I know - it's just a car, an inanimate object.  Sue me for having a sentimental weakness for her.

I will paraphrase an email I wrote to the T-Day crowd: 
Lola was hit by Sandy, Lost in the Flood, shot down in a Meeting Across the River (although that probably actually refers to the other side of the river), caught in My City of Ruins, drowned in the Land of Hope and Dreams, and probably a half dozen or so other Jersey Strong Springsteen songs that would make some semblance of sense.
I'm not saying I'll never mention her again, but here is the last photo I took of her, going off to the Scrap Auction for Charity in the Sky:

Not for nothing, there is a wrong way to do this.  We had a very good experience with the NPR/Car Talk donation program, but not before we had a very bad experience with these other guys.  To recap: these guys good; these guys very, very bad.

But I digress.

We rolled into the Big T-Day House at about 12:30 Friday morning.  Hugs, food, drinks, banter started right away and lasted for four days.  Also pinochle, poker (for the first time at T-Day! I did alright.), a Murder Mystery Role-playing game (another T-Day first.  Turned out I dunnit.  I also invented a drink called the Dead Louie.  Recipe available upon request.)  And even yet still more food.

This year featured the central turkey meal, naturally, and the increasingly count-on-able Shrimp Bahaiana, Rosemary Bread, Kentucky Chocolate, etc.  I made a sweet potato soup, but didn't take a photo of it.  It looked just like a pot of soup.

I did consider the frittatas I made the morning after the big meal to be suitably photogenic.

This is the meaty-one, with two kinds of linguica (many thanks to Rich!)

And here's the veggie one, after it was cut. 

Both had onions & shallots, peppers, portabella mushrooms and plenty of cheese.  The veggie one also had olives to fill it out a little.  No potatoes or turkey, because in an attempt to minimize leftovers we only made two turkeys and about 7 pounds of potatoes.  The potatoes were gone the night of the Feast. The minimal remains of the turkeys were scraped from the container by the time I got the veggies chopped.  So be it.

And that's that.  All hail T-Day.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012


Please vote.

That's really all.  Vote for your candidates and issues, whatever they are.

Please don't NOT vote.  Especially please don't not vote because you think something is predetermined, predestined, or in the bag.  You know where your polling place is (even if it changed recently) right?  You can deal with the line.

Please vote.

Oh, and if you're in Hoboken, please vote No on Hoboken Question #2, and preserve rent control protection.  The landlord-paid handbill distributors are out again in force, but you know better.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

R.I.P. Lola

The Hurricane was every bit as Frankentastic as promised and them some.  

I'll have more later, but for now, to sate the curiosity of the people who've asked about the demise of our car Lola, here's the video I shot the day I returned to Hoboken.  I still sort of had hope that she could be brought back, but those of you who know, well, anything about cars will see right away that that was not going to happen.

When I opened the glove compartment, water just poured out.  I did make the effort to bail the water out (not really a necessary task, as I found out later), but when we returned to her later, there was standing water in the back seat again.  She was a great car for us for a bunch of years and a bunch of miles.

Hope all are safe, healthy, and comfortable.  More soon.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


The Storm is on its way and everyone knows it is on its way.  You've pulled out the E. Power Biggs, stocked up on the water, beer, and snacks, and hunkered down, Northeast.  So now, we need to focus on the gravest danger of them all: Storm Zombies.

This is surely the riskiest Storm Zombie moment of our lifetimes, with landfall scheduled to come mere minutes before Halloween, and the freakish Frankennature of the colliding hurricane, cold front and low pressure center almost certain to lead to Electrical Incidents of the kind that are simultaneously lethal and re-animating.  So take the precautions and protect yourselves and your loved ones as much as you can.  A few things to remember:
  • As with all zombies, the only sure way to stop a Storm Zombie is decapitation.  A machete is your best bet, but if, like most city dwellers, you don't have one of those lying around, make sure you know where your largest butcher knife or cleaver is.  The undead flesh and bone is much easier to cut through than a live person's, but you'll still probably need to get in three or four hacks - be persistent!
  • They're after brains.  In the event of a zombie encounter, wear a hat or, better yet, a helmet.
  • The subway is probably the most dangerous place for the next few days - all that rampant electricity, plus those dark damp tunnels are already a natural home for the zombies.  Use your head (without being conspicuously brainy - see above).
  • If a family member or loved one does get Zombified, eschew impulses of mercy.  Put sentiment aside and be strong - remember, you'll be saving them from an interminable future of insatiable brain-lust.
  • That said, be very certain before you start getting all stabby and slashy with family members.  Your brother-in-law is probably not a Storm Zombie.  His usual, hollow-eyed look is not enough of a symptom.
  • Under no circumstances should you have sex with a zombie, no matter how tempting.  It almost never ends well.

That's it for now.  There's lots more information out there if you are still craving defense strategies.

Be safe, be well, and may all your problems be imaginary.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Suddenly San Francisco

Not for us going there; for it coming here.

That is, our friend Leslie (our host for our trip to SF last year), who we knew was coming to town for business, is staying with us.  Her plans changed on Thursday and she asked if she could stay with us starting on Friday.  Fine with us!  Early Autumn Adventures in Nuevo York!

In other news, conjure good mojo for my family please, especially for my aunt who is going through a seriously hard time.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Summer Sun

Lots going on as that ridiculously hot summer gives way to a much more temperate fall.  Some of what's going on falls into the Not-So-Good category.  Here are some shots to reclaim the joy a little bit. They're from a Chalk Art Festival we went to a couple months back.

Also on the 'things that make life worth living' side of the scale was the Fresh Grass bluegrass festival we went to at MASS MoCA last weekend.  I don't have many shots from that, but I'll post a couple here soon.  Meanwhile, I have three words for you that you should take very seriously: Carolina Chocolate Drops

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Atticus, etc.

Just a few shots from my recent trip to Burlington.  Mostly of this year's entry to the 'World's Cutest Baby' competition, plus a couple pix of wall art outside the JDK Gallery, which had an extremely fun retrospective of a Printing Workshop they'd done with some local kidz.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Farm Share City

Our friends Les and Megan were out of town last week, and they offered us their weekly share in the CSA (which stands for Community Supported -sometimes 'Shared'- Agriculture. I know. I looked it up.) they belong to.

"Would you like to go to a building that's not really even out of your way and fill a bag with food that was picked out of the ground/plucked from a tree within the last day or two?"

"Why, yes. Yes we would."

One fairly obvious result of this is that there has been more than the usual amount of cooking going on around here this week.  So let's open with a photo of the braised baby carrots and kale chips that went farm to table via 9th avenue on Tuesday (accompanying an egg & pecorino sandwich on gluten free english muffin), then we'll go to the story of where shrimp tacos come from.

Monday, July 23, 2012

What Hath God Wrought?

The headline almost says it all.

Mariners Trade Ichiro to Yanks for Two Prospects
One of the great, great players of our time, distinguished to the point of heroism not least for staying in sad, anemic Seattle (the baseball club, not the city, which is fantastic).

And then there's now...

I have lived too long.

That is all.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Post for Woody

Today is Woody Guthrie's 100th birthday.  Which is as worth a mention as just about anything I can think of.

Thanks to Chris O. for the image.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Closing Thoughts

In the wake of the closing of Lost in Staten Island, here's a very nice piece by Nicky Silver in the wake of the closing of The Lyons on Broadway.  Worlds apart, but hopefully of interest.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Lost in Staten Island, More Tales of Modern Living had our first performance last night, and I'm about to head to East 4th for show #2 in a few minutes.  It's a good one, and you should join us one of these nights.  We run through July 1 - a bit of an unusual schedule (10 p.m. show tonight, 5:30 tomorrow, our official Opening Night is Monday at 7:30; 10 o'clock shows next Thu-Sat, and another 5:30 show next Sunday; we wrap up with three 7:30 curtains the following Thu-Sat and a 2:30 matinee on Sunday, July 1)  It's a good company [Sarah Corey, Wendy Merrit, Chris Orbach, Catherine Porter, and Richard Scheinmel (who also wrote the script), along with yours truly, with songs by Clay Zambo, directed by Jason Jacobs] and there are some really wonderful moments, if I may say so myself.  Click on the link for ticket info; or, you know, just be in touch with me.

This afternoon, I finally caught Venus in Fur.  Kicked myself for letting it go until so late in the run, but I'm very happy I didn't let it slip away altogether.  If you haven't seen the show yet, change your plans for tomorrow and go see it.  You won't be sorry you did, but you might be very sorry indeed if you don't.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there.   Have a good rest of the weekend.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

June Moon

I'm almost two months past my surgery.

Cory is two days out of her dance company job (and three weeks away from starting her TV job).

R.I.P. Richard Dawson (most famous for the Feud, I first saw him on Hogan's Heroes, like most people, but probably remember him most fondly for his appearances on Match Game 70-whatever.)

The next incarnation of the Modern Living series starts in less than two weeks at La MaMa.  Rehearsals really clicked in for me this week - good group and some killer material.

This weekend we had George again.  Yay!

Last weekend we went out to the Old Country for Grandma and Grandpa's 70th Anniversary.  70 years, people!  Crazytown!!

The Red Sox are finally above .500 and out of last place.  The Celtics are fighting hard to even up the series against the Heat.

Tonys next weekend.  Fingers crossed for Clybourne Park.

That is all.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Current Conditions

Shoulder - stiff and sore
Brain - hazy but excited
Body - very, very tired
Soul - satisfied
Heart - full,
Prospects - outstanding
Sleep - imminent

Monday, April 09, 2012

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

In Other News...

We spent last week with George. Remember George?

In addition to his adventurous side, we found he was quite a discriminating aficionado of al fresco dining.

But he hasn't lost touch with his fierce side.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The World We Live In

The Stranger to Kindness has closed. One of the more intense experiences of my recent life.

Getting ready to jump into the third installment of Richard Sheinmel's Modern Living series. I'll keep you posted.

Work has been nutty. 'Nuff said.

I have been catching some good stuff out there. Manu Delago & Christophe Pepe Auer really impressed at Joe's Pub in their "Living Room" incarnation. Their Coloring Book CD/DVD gives a good idea, but the live show takes it to another level.

Authentically really good, creative music.

Also had a fun night at Kelly's place watching good/bad movies - this evening surely deserves its own post, but I don't know if I'll get around to it. If you have any level of appreciation at all for how amusing bad movies can be (and I sincerely hope you do), you must, must, MUST get your hands on Birdemic: Shock and Terror. Run to the video store or your favorite online purveyor and enjoy the wonderful awfulness that is the Birdemic, which should sit quite justly near the top of many lists of Worst Movies Ever. And then you can buy me a drink to thank me for recommending it to you and we'll spend the night remembering scenes and enjoying it all over again in the retelling. Hilarious. I never realized how low sound editing could go, or how amusing the result could be.

After, and only after, you've seen it, you may want to listen to this podcast from the good people at 'How Did This Get Made?" (After, people; you're cheating yourself if you listen to it before you see the movie. But once you have, it's more than worth it.)

You seriously have no idea.

And then we capped the double feature chez Kelly (Kelly deserves some sort of award for his music and video archive) with the Pia Zadora masterpiece Voyage of the Rock Aliens. Made in 1984, it opens with a duet of Pia Z. and Jermaine Jackson which requires a herculean act of imagination to be tied to the rest of the film. Oh, and it co-stars Ruth Gordon. As the Sheriff. Need I say more?

Later, I will say more.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Stranger to Kindness

Well, there's it's been on the Upcoming Events sidebar for several weeks, but now The Stranger to Kindness is up and running at the Kraine Theater, and you should go see it.

We opened on Thursday night; it went well - good house, people quite liked it as far as I could tell. It's a lovely show, if I may say so myself. I'm very much enjoying working with director Heather Cohn for the first time (and don't mind mentioning here that I really enjoyed what I've seen of her company, Flux Theatre Ensemble).

My cast mates Antonio Miniño and Susan J. Bob are a joy to work with and are doing some damned fine work. The script by David Stallings is first rate and I'm thrilled to be working on it. (though you might not be able to tell that from this photo - hey, not everything that happens in this play is exactly overjoyed. Many thanks to David for the photos)

It's part of the Frigid Festival, and you have four more chances to see it. I heartily suggest that you do.

Friday, January 27, 2012

On to Vienna

Just because I'm on a roll - here are some more shots from the trip to Central Europe last fall.

Vienna from nycmick on Vimeo.

Vienna was astonishing. Every bit as impressive as Prague (or any city I've been in, really) but in a completely different way. If Prague has a rather anarchic spirit, the spirit of Vienna is, well, archic. It's history as an imperial city is evident everywhere. It has to be the most follow-the-rules, law-and-order place I've ever been. Never have I received such stoney glares for jaywalking. Cory made the mistake of going out the in door at a supermarket and the manager literally ran across the store screaming at her. In German, of course. Disconcerting.

But it was a gorgeous, stunning place. A living monument to music, both literally in terms of the concert halls, opera houses, statues, etc., and figuratively as a historical capital of composition and musicianship. It's long and, um, complicated history is on display in all corners as well. The food was great, and copious. We dove as deep as we could in two days into the city's offerings of architecture and visual art: Klimt and Schiele, the Belevedere, the Secession (holy sh*t the Secession!) the Leopold.

Although we didn't stay with them, we had the great fortune to have a couple of friends to help show us around. Ellen, a filmmaker and producer whom Cory knows from the dance world, helped us book our hotel (a great hotel! We had a super room with a balcony and they served a really good breakfast!) at a discounted rate, had a couple meals with us and went on some long walks with us. Her husband Rudi, a lighting designer and technician, got us into a performance of Woyzeck, in German but with music sung in English by The Tiger Lillies. (One of the best quotes of the trip came from Ellen: "If anyone had told me I'd marry an Austrian, a non-Jewish Austrian, and live half the year in Vienna, I'd have said they were out of their minds") It was Rosh Hashanah, so Ellen took us to the kosher bakery to get challah and we talked theater on the walk back.

Let me mention at this point that pretty much the only exception to completely sunny days on our entire trip happened the morning we took the really early train from Prague to Vienna - which just meant that I got to see the sunrise through the mist while listening to Mahler. Don't know how we managed that kind of luck...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Ghost of Times Square Past

I am not a 'good old days' advocate (and I don't know that this would qualify for that at any rate) but I do sometimes miss this version of 42nd Street.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Ave Atque Vale Václav Havel

I haven't yet written a proper eulogy for Václav Havel. Well, I'll never write a proper eulogy for him, but I want to write something from my point of view. He certainly was a personal hero of mine, which puts me in broad company. He was, of course, brilliant across an entire spectrum: writer, philosopher, activist, playwright, politician, theorist, statesman, artist. I guess I must have first heard of him in the late 80s, just before the Velvet Revolution was getting ready to happen. I'm sure the first play of his I ever saw was Audience, a brilliant and powerful one-act based in part on a time in Havel's life when the Communist regime forced him into line work at a brewery, and one of the first Off-Broadway shows I ever saw, back when I was just visiting the City from time to time, before I moved here.

He got a lot of press in the late 80s and early 90s, going from being a dissident who was never far from the threat of arrest, if not actually in prison, to being the President of the country whose leadership he'd helped to topple. Before I became aware of Havel and the Velvet Revolution, what did I know from Czech? I'd knew what Czechoslovakia was, of course, but only in those broad (and often only semi-true) strokes that a Midwesterner was likely to encounter: as a child I had general awareness that it was part of the Communist Bloc and therefore somehow vaguely evil, or at least repressive.

I later learned that it had been the first nation that the Nazis invaded and annexed against its will, but this was not to be confused with fleshed-out knowledge - again, just a vague sense of a place suffering from victimhood: it was a place lumped in with places like Poland that Hitler took over and where he built concentration camps; and then lumped in with Romania, Yugoslavia and, again, Poland as a place under the Soviets' thumb that tended to produce athletes who were successful in Olympic Games.

And then when I was old enough to watch Stripes, I got to see Czechoslovakia as the place that Bill Murray, Harold Ramis and company invade accidentally while on a joyride in the Urban Assault Vehicle they borrowed from Uncle Sam, and got to take misguided pride in the exchange (paraphrasing now)

Bill Murray: "It's not like we're going to Moscow. It's Czechoslovakia! It's like driving into Wisconsin!!"

Harold Ramis: "Yeah? I got the shit kicked out of me in Wisconsin once!"

Funny? Sure. But not much of a lesson in history or international relations.

Then college happened, and Czech got more real. Franz Kafka, Milan Kundera, Milos Forman. And Václav Havel and 1989.

Thanks to our trip to Prague in the fall, and especially to the time we spent with Ondrej, we got some more personal insights into Havel and the Velvet Revolution. Saw the café where he met and drank and smoked with other dissidents and writers; of course we went to Wenceslas Square (in Czech, "Václavské Námesti, Václav being the original Czech word for Wenceslas), but it meant a lot more hearing from our tour guide Jakob the story of the body of the 'dead student' that helped to intensify public support for the revolution (and learning that the guy was neither dead nor a student, but actually a member of the secret police who never explained why he did it), and hearing from Ondrej first hand about his going to the protest as a boy with his father, both of them rattling keys - as in the Keys to the Castle, as in "Václav to the Castle," the cry of the people who filled the square and fueled the transition.

Havel had been seriously ill for some time, but it was still a profound loss when he succumbed to cancer at 75. But I don't want to be too morbid in my mourning. I'll post the last couple photo-montages from our Prague trip and leave it at that for now.

Prague 3 from nycmick on Vimeo.
Prague 4 from nycmick on Vimeo.

Monday, January 16, 2012

What There Was... terms of food.

Shrimp and Grits (with bleu cheese and gorgonzola)

A certain amount of roast beef.

Not pictured here are the sweet potato soup, the Yassa garbanzo beans, or the collard greens.

For dessert, the old standards: mom's peanut brittle, bûche de noël, peanut blossom cookies.

Here's the bûche after the evening got the better of it. Looking a little tired in this photo, but it was pretty damn good, if I may say so myself.