Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Unicorns and Openings and Mothers, oh my!
Continuing where I left off…
The rest of Saturday was spent relaxing. The first thing I did once I got back from my biking adventure was to cook up some tasty lunch with my market goods. I’ve recently gotten into sauteing vegetables with garlic, shallots, and a splash of wine, then putting them over pasta (I kept a stash of pre-cooked penne in the fridge in case I’m in a big rush). It’s a quick, easy fix that still tastes amazing, and I’m perfecting it every time.
Sunday started off much the same, although this time the rain clouds were nowhere to be seen. The sunshine also made for a perfect excuse to explore the neighborhood, something I’d been meaning to do for a while. After eating my fill, I strapped on my backpack and headed down Broadway. To be honest, I didn’t find too many interesting bits that direction (seems that 207th is the happening place). The walk was nice though, and by the time I got to the 190th street subway I was just bored enough to be curious about the large throngs of people entering the half-hidden entrance. Following their lead, I was packed into a giant elevator that let me out at the entrance of Fort Tyron Park, where I finally got to see what all the fuss was about: The 2009 Medieval Festival.
It was the perfect event to stumble upon. Brightly colored pennants snapped in the breeze as I strolled along the booths, admiring the intricate costumes of warriors, maidens, and knights. Although it was already quite crowded, I managed to dodge the wooden swords of rambunctious children and miss the projectiles of the tiny toy catapults for sale—mostly. I took my time browsing through the abundance of masks and jewelry and silver figurines, enjoying the high spirits of the vendors and the sounds of lutes and lyres. And then of course, there was the food. Turkey legs dripped and simmered over open-fire spits while fried dough crackled and popped in boiling oil. The spicy smell of mulled wine was overwhelming at first, but it mingled nicely with the cacophony of autumn fair-food deliciousness.
After wandering the length of the fair (and spying a unicorn!), I returned to the jousting arena and promptly settled down with a sugary elephant ear. There was no jousting at the moment, so I settled for the somewhat amateur hawking demonstration that was going on. The two men seemed to be better trainers than entertainers. I stayed just long enough to eat my treat and lick every last bit of cinnamon off my fingers, then made one last loop of the grounds and headed for home. After a short nap, I returned with my roommate Stephanie, and we did get to see a bit of jousting. We left soon after though, opting for a relaxing evening at home.
On Monday it was back to work. There I learned that Tony Roberts, one of the actors in the MTC production of THE ROYAL FAMILY, had suffered a minor seizure during the Sunday matinee, a literal “is there a doctor in the house?” moment (his understudy took over for the evening show). Everyone was glad he was alright, though the plan for opening night (four days away) was still unclear.
That evening, I headed over to NYU with another intern to see their production of KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN. I knew I was going to be a hard audience member to please, as I directed the same show this past March at the University of Michigan, through the producing organization MUSKET. I did not expect to be so thoroughly disappointed, however. Without going into the details (again, this is not a theater criticism blog!), all I can say is that it made me miss the high standards of Umich. The opening talk with Terrence McNally (librettist) and John Kander (music and lyrics) was very interesting though, and I was glad I went.
Then on Wednesday it was Stephanie's birthday. I somehow managed to get out of work that evening, and was able to meet her at Red Bamboo, a swanky little vegetarian place in the village that specializes in meat-like dishes. It's a tiny hole-in-the-wall place, and you end up sitting very close to your neighbors (we struck up a fun conversation with ours though, so we didn't mind). Once we got settled, we ordered some tasty "crab" rangoon for our appetizer and then had "beef" stir-fry, and portabello mushrooms for the main course. We had both been eyeing the vegan desserts, but we were completely stuffed after our meal so we passed this time. After that, we made our way up to a theater district bar called Deacon Brodie's (a popular techie hangout, I'm told). It was lots of fun meeting up with all of Steph's friends, telling stories and playing strange games. Steph even got some birthday wishes from a troupe of European tourists!
That late night wouldn't have been so bad if the next day wasn't opening night for THE ROYAL FAMILY. The atmosphere in the office that day was akin to Christmas eve; everyone was giddy and excited. Fortunately, the day passed quickly, and by the time we left it was confirmed that Tony Roberts would be able to make the performance. Most people went to the show (with an early 6:45pm curtain), but I already had plans to attend a Umich alumni event, so I decided to just show up to the after party. Unfortunately, the alumni event was a disappointment; there were too many people in too small of a space, it was too loud, and there was no where to sit. We ate our Ann Arbor food (Cottage Inn pizza and Pizza House breadsticks - the highlight of the evening!) and left soon after.
The after party was a totally different story. It was at Planet Hollywood in Times Square, and everyone was dressed to the nines (see the picture above of me and some fellow interns). Waiters roamed the crowd, armed with wine and tasty snacks, including milkshake shots. It was lots of fun, as was the after-after party at Sardi's where the MTC staff hung out until the wee hours. It was very interesting reading the reviews (released once the curtain goes down on opening night); they were mostly positive, with a few surprising quibbles. The New York Times review is good example of this - check it out if you have a moment.
It was a thoroughly exhausting two days, but the fun wasn't over yet. Friday night, my mom flew into the city. I met her at the airport and took her out to the Piper's Kilt for a late dinner, where we got to catch up and enjoy "the best hamburger in inwood" (or in my case, the veggie wrap!). On Saturday we woke up early and hit the town. First, I showed off the Farmer's Market and cooked up a scrumtous lunch of veggies and multi-grain bread. Once the dishes were all cleaned up, we headed downtown, with no particular destination in mind. I had avoided making any solid plans for the day, prefering instead the freedom to wander. It worked out wonderfully, as we got to explore Times Square before stumbling into a street festival. After walking up and down the merchandise, we continued on to Bryant Park. I showed off the reading rooms and the library, and we both enjoyed the juxtaposition of events taking place, namely wedding photographs and a halloween costume contest. Soon after that we headed down to Washington Square Park, where we checked out the dog run and met up with Stephanie for some Thai food.
The next day we stayed closer to home, exploring Inwood. We had a lovely brunch at the Garden Cafe, and then walked up to the Cloisters and all through Fort Tyron Park. I had never ventured that deeply into the grounds, and we ending up finding some wonderful spots, like the bloom-filled Heather Garden. Showing off my neighboorhood, I was reminded of how happy I was with it. The combination of nature and city is perfect for me. Mom seemed to like it too - I know she was eyeing those dog runs and thinking how much our puppies would enjoy it!
It was harder to say goodbye than I thought it would be, but I know we both had a lot of fun. This week should be a bit slower, at least until Friday - then Aidan arrives!