May 9th, 2016

storyteller doll

Maybe I May Write More in May

Celebrity Death Watch: Jok Church drew the science experiment comic strip You Can with Beakman and Jax. This was, apparently, the first syndicated comic strip drawn and distributed by computer. Daniel Berrigan was a priest and peace activist.

Business Trip: I spent most of the week in Florida for a series of meetings, which were reasonably interesting and productive. The highlight was a field trip to see the last satellite of our current program and the launch vehicle which it is going to get its ride on. This was just a shoe-cover tour, versus one requiring more protective equipment, but it is still always good to get to see actual hardware.

I also got to go out to dinner (at a very good Cuban restaurant) with some old friends who live down that way and talk about international travel.

I should note that this trip was my first experience with Jet Blue. The service was fine and, most importantly for a business trip, the schedule was convenient. And their snack options include blue corn chips, which are always a good thing.

The Mystery of Love and Sex: Despite having had to get up at oh-dark-thirty to drive back to Orlando for my flight home, I went to Signature Theatre Friday night for this play. The title is terribly misleading. While the story does have something to do with people coming to terms with their sexual identities, the real issues involve broader assumptions about who people are. The basic plot involves a Jewish woman and a black man, who have been best friends since they were children and who most people expect will marry each other. The only catch is that she might be in love with a woman. And he hasn’t come to terms with being gay because he’s a Baptist convinced he will go to hell. Then there’s the problem of her father, whose mystery novels have racist, sexist, and homophobic undertones. This all sounds like one of those dreadfully serious plays that 20 year olds write when they are being proud of themselves for coming out, but that isn’t the case at all. It’s actually quite funny and an enjoyable couple of hours. Too bad about the title, though.

Caroline, Or Change: I was too exhausted to do much of anything all weekend, which means I even skipped the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. I did, however, have a ticket to this production at Creative Cauldron in Falls Church. I’m not all that keen on playwright Tony Kushner (mostly for political reasons, which I needn’t get into here). But this was a musical at a theatre I like a lot and I got the ticket very inexpensively, due to a gift certificate at Goldstar. I am glad I went because I liked it quite a lot. The plot involves a black maid working for a Jewish family in 1963 Louisiana and her complicated relationship with the sad son of the family. Some of the clever things involve her interactions with the radio (played by a trio of women in glittery red dresses), the washing machine (a woman), and the dryer (a man). The family is consumed in the tragedy of the mother’s death from lung cancer. The father has married a friend who is not adjusting well and who can’t reach the boy. At their best, musicals use their scores to illuminate character and to enhance the mood and Jeanine Tesori’s score, with a mix of ethnic styles, did this effectively. It also helped that Iyona Blake was outstanding in the title role. I also want to offer shout outs to Ethan Van Slyke as Noah Gellman, a demanding role for a young boy, and Tiara Whaley as Emmie Thibodeaux, who gave a spirited and convincing performance. This is playing through the end of May and I highly recommend it if you are looking for something to do in Northern Virginia.

Don’t Analyze This Dream: I am a bit vague on the details, but I know it involved serving one of my government customers, who is a big burly guy, coffee in little dainty teeny tiny floral cups.