Lots of catching up to do, not all of it in this one entry. But let us get started.
Celebrity Death Watch: Hal Hackady was a lyricist. In addition to Snoopy!!! The Musical, he wrote the lyrics to "Let’s Go, Mets." Of course, that’s the theme song from 1986 on and is not nearly as good as "Meet the Mets," but such are the times we live in.
Joshua Wheeler was the first American soldier to be killed fighting ISIL.
Esther Geller was an artist, who I only know about because my father lived with the family of another woman of the same name in Detroit when he first came to the U.S. and the Bostonian artist came up when I googled for the Detroit one.
Ted Ingram was the world’s oldest paperboy, dying at age 95. I would have thought that attaining such an age made him a paperman. Along similar lines, Edythe Kirchmaier was, at 107, the oldest known facebook user. Apparently, she had brought a few new wrinkles to social media.
Finally, the puzzle world has suffered yet another huge loss with the death of Henry Hook. He was one of the constructors who played a large role in the transformation of crosswords from memorization of obscure words to word play and the clever themes that lead to aha moments.
Out of Mourning: Yahrzeit for my mother was the 15th, so I am officially no longer in mourning. That allowed for the theatre-going binge which is one of the main things I have to write about. It would also allow me to go clothes shopping if I could manage to find some time to do so.
Theatre Binge, Part 1 – Moon Over Buffalo: I have a friend who is from Buffalo, New York. Therefore, she wanted to see a show called Moon Over Buffalo which was being done by St. Mark’s Players, a community theatre group on Capitol Hill. I should have done a little more homework before agreeing to come along. The play was written by Ken Ludwig, whose work is generally not to my taste. In short, I dislike farce and particularly dislike farce with theatrical settings (in this case, a repertory group on tour in Buffalo). And I really really hate humor that depends on a character being drunk. On the plus side, it was well-acted and I will give a particular shout-out to Lauren Devoll as Roz.
Sonoma: Before the farcical evening, we had dinner at Sonoma, a wine bar on Pennsylvania Avenue. They have a good happy hour deal, which would have been an excellent option. Except it is only available in the lounge and that was closed for a private event. So we ordered off the regular menu. I got a funghi pizza which had too much cheese and was too salty. We split an order of crispy Brussels sprouts, which were excellent. That used to be a vegetable I wouldn’t eat, but then a couple of years ago, I was coerced into tasting some and they’re really quite nice as long as they aren’t overcooked. But, overall, based on the pizza, I’d say there are better options for dining on the Hill.
USA Freedom Walk Festival: This festival is an annual Volksmarch / International Marching League event, which offers walks of varying distances (from 6 kilometers to a marathon) for three days in Arlington, VA and Washington, DC. I did the 12K walk on Saturday. The route was an excellent one, through Georgetown, up to the National Cathedral, and winding back on natural surface trails through Glover Archbold Park. I usually think I know the city pretty well, but this took me through parts of it I rarely or never get to, as well as some familiar ones (e.g. Embassy Row). I wish I’d had time to do one of the Sunday walks, but I had too much stuff to do at home.
Theatre Binge, Part 2 - And the World Goes ‘Round: My second theatre binge outing was to see this Kander and Ebb revue at Creative Cauldron, at ArtsSpace in Falls Church. What a lovely little theatre! And it’s only about a 15 minute drive from home. I was expecting this to be amateurish community theatre, but it isn’t. It was directed by Matt Conner, who is well-known (at least locally) as a musical theatre composer and the five cast members have all appeared with various local professional theatres. There were many familiar songs, but also some less so. Notably, I had not heard "Pain," a song about what choreographers do to dancers, before. The staging was also excellent. Overall, this was a delight and I will definitely go to future shows here.
Theatre Binge, Part 3 - Mark Russell at Fords’ Theatre: Next up was seeing PBS comedian Mark Russell perform at Ford’s Theatre. He’s been doing his mix of jokes and music parodies, mostly about politics, for a long time. The current crop of candidates makes for lots of opportunities for this sort of shtick and my only real complaint was that his show was rather disconnected. His best joke of the night was that Steven Spielberg is making a movie about Hillary Clinton. It’s going to be called "Saving Private E-mail."
By the way, as I was entering the metro to go home, I ran into an old friend, who had also been at the show. It was nice to catch up a bit as we waited for our respective trains.
Co Co Sala: Because of its proximity to Ford’s Theatre, we had dinner at Co Co Sala. We should have made appoint of telling the waiter we had theatre tickets, as the pacing was unnecessarily slow. I started with a glass of prosecco. The beet salad was disappointing, as it needed something more acidic. The tuna tartare was better, with a spicy dipping sauce. I ordered the cupcakes for dessert, not realizing this would be three full-size cupcakes. So I ended up bringing two of them home. Overall, it wasn’t bad, but I have had better meals there.
A Brief Note on Washington: I was at a symposium part of last week. Who knew it would be so much more complicated to get into the Commerce Department Building than it is to get into a Senate Office Building?
Theatre Binge, Part 4 - Beautiful: The final stage of this recent theatre binge was seeing Beautiful: the Carole King Musical at the Kennedy Center. I’m not a big fan of jukebox musicals and probably would not have chosen to see this on my own, but there was enough of interest this season for me to do a Kennedy Center theatre subscription. The book is pretty thin – teenage pregnancy leads Carole King to marry songwriting partner, Gerry Goffin. Their marriage goes wrong, but her career works out. There’s a parallel line on the relationship between their friends and rivals, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. The main thing is that the show is full of music that is sure to bring a nostalgic smile (and maybe some silent mouthing of words) from pretty much anyone of my generation. Let’s just say that every 50-something woman I know owned a copy of King’s album, Tapestry. There were earlier pop songs, some of them of the "I didn’t know they wrote that" variety. All in all, this was enjoyable fare and I was able to forgive it the lack of depth, e.g. a bare hint at the issue of white songwriters writing for black musicians.
More to Come: I made a trip down to Norfolk and Virginia Beach last weekend, but this is long enough already, so that will wait.