First, the obvious celebrity death to note is Amy Winehouse. It wasn't actually surprising, but what a waste of talent. I thought she had a great voice, infusing her music with real jazz sensibilities. Sadly, the comparisons to Janis Joplin continued to dying at age 27. I will also note the death of General John Shalikashvili, former chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Most of what I was busy with was the Capital Fringe Festival. I saw four shows. The first was Pun: (n) a play on words, chosen largely for its title. The characters were a group of words, all of whom turned out to be keywords in the dictionary, i.e. the words at the top of page that serve as a sort of index. Rational does not quite live up to his name and pals around with Floccinaucinihilipilification. Creepy makes poetic pronouncements in the style of the three witches. Other characters are Barmaid, Insanity, and Bullshit. The crisis the play revolves around is the admission of Ain't to the dictionary, which will knock the others (except Afterthought) out of keyword status. While the concept was interesting and there were some amusing jokes (e.g. a bit about beers at Romeo and Juleps being named "This" and "That" leading to a sort of "Who's on First?" routine when people, er, words try to order them), the script could have been tighter and the performances could have been more polished. This wasn't terrible, but it wasn't brilliant either.
Next up was The Victorian Lyric Opera Company's production of Foggerty's Fairy, a non-musical play by W. S. Gilbert. The story involves a young woman who wants to marry a man who has never known love before. She thinks she's found one in Foggerty but there was that woman in Australia who makes a regular practice of getting engaged to men and suing them for breach of promise when they escape her. Guess who shows up just before the wedding? Foggerty has a fairy who makes it all right by making things as if he had never met Miss Delia Spiff. That turns out to have other consequences, including one that provides the eventual loophole that makes everything turn out all right. It was reasonably amusing, though dragged a bit in the middle. The VLOC always does a good job and I want to particularly note the performance of John Marclay Burns as Talbot.
The other two shows I saw were storytelling performances by friends. I'd heard about half the material in Geraldine Buckley's Destination Slammer before and enjoyed them. I do wish, however, that she had done a bit more to pull the pieces together into a unified whole, instead of just leaving them as stand-alone stories. Ellouise Schoettler's Finding Gus, a piece about how she unraveled a mystery in her genealogy and learned about her grandfather, was very satisfying. She used subtle changes of voice, combined with changing her eyeglasses, to switch between characters. The glasses were particularly effective.
All in all, I was reasonably satisfied with what I saw. I'd have liked to see more shows, but had limited time due to other commitments. The fringe started when I was in Providence. Then, Robert was here. He saw Foggerty's Fairy and Destination Slammer) with me. He liked the former more and drifted off during the latter. (To be fair, it started at 10 p.m.) And I had to go to Lynchburg for a Virginia Storytelling Alliance board meeting this past weekend. I am looking forward to a weekend wtih nothing scheduled. (Well, not quite nothing. I have tickets to see the Nationals play the Mets on Saturday night.)
I should also mention that while Robert was here we had dinner one night at Elephant Jumps,, a newish Thai place in Falls Church. It was reasonably good, but too much of their menu is deep fried. The next morning we had brunch at Original Pancake House, which was complicated by their having moved. They are actually slightly closer now so I may go there more often. I do think they're much better than IHOP. The only better buckwheat pancakes locally are the blue bucks at Eastern Market and that is decidedly out of the way for me. Finally, we had dinner on Saturday night at Acadiana, with the special treat of their having an early bird special offering three courses for $35. It was good value and they always do a good job with gumbo and redfish. The beignets I got for dessert were also fine, but I think that their bread pudding (just about my favorite dessert, though I could also argue for creme brulee) is better.
I do have things to say about my relationship with Robert but, no, not publicly. The basic problem comes down to his being incredibly bad at reading my signals. And, yes, I know it is unfair to expect men to be mind readers.
Finally, I am relieved that the heat wave has broken. It is really pathetic when a high of 93 is considered a relief.