Celebrity Death Watch: Jesse Witherspoon was a country singer / songwriter. Steven A. Shaw founded eGullet. Lorenzo Semple, Jr. wrote the first few episodes of Batman for television. Rubin "Hurricane" Carter was a boxer, but better known for having been wrongly convicted of murder and vindicated after many years in prison. Mickey Rooney was an actor.
Moving on to the literary world, Sue Townsend wrote about Adrian Mole. Peter Matthiessen wrote about snow leopards (among other things). Gabriel Garcia Marquez has the distinction of being the author of the book that has been in my unread pile the longest. I bought One Hundred Years of Solitude a good 20 years ago for a book club which fell apart before I got around to reading it and, somehow, I still haven't opened it. Seeing as how I am more likely to read dead authors, maybe it’ll bubble to the top of the stack soon.
Networking: The MIT Club of Washington had a dinner talk on Orbital Debris. That being a work-relevant topic for me, of course I went. I brought along two friends, one of whom is currently job hunting. What struck me is that neither of them made much of an effort at networking. I realize that they may have felt a bit shy because they are not MIT alums, but this was an obvious opportunity. I don’t think of myself as particularly good at schmoozing people up, but it seems natural at this sort of event. (And, yes, the talk was interesting, though I can’t say I learned much.)
Pierre Bensusan: As I have inevitably mentioned before, Pierre Bensusan is my favorite musician on the planet. He’s doing a 40th anniversary tour and he played a concert at Jammin’ Java, which is very close to my house. So, of course, I had to go. I’ve seen him perform numerous times before (for over 30 years, in fact) and I am happy to say his guitar playing is as amazing as ever. I was particularly pleased that he played Agadir Ramadan. He even played some new material. And, of course, I bought his new recording – a 3 CD live collection. If Django Reinhardt were still alive, maybe Pierre would have some competition, but that isn’t the case.
Pesach: Did you know that, prior to splitting the Red Sea, Moses had to file an Environmental Impact Statement?
In other holiday news, I cooked a potato and kale frittata which proved to be a surprisingly good idea.
Don Quixote: The American Ballet Theatre was at the Kennedy Center. I went to see Don Quizote on the grounds that I prefer narrative ballets to mixed repertory programs. On the plus side, Veronika Park and James Whiteside were very impressive dancers. However, the narrative was pretty weak, at least for somebody who has actually read the novel. Beyond the tilting at windmills scene, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza were mostly spectators to village (and gypsy camp) dances.
Tender Napalm: I don’t see a lot of straight (i.e. non-musical) plays, but Signature Theatre has a few as part of their annual subscription. This play, by Philip Ridley, was interesting, provocative, and disturbing. It involves two characters (Man and Woman) who may be stranded on a desert island. There is a lot going on between them, which may or may not involve a tsunami, a sea serpent attack, battling armies of monkeys, and/or an alien abduction. What seems to have happened in the real world is the death of their daughter, possibly in a terrorist attack. The violent imagery is a bit much to handle and it’s a difficult play to watch, but it definitely held my attention. I’m glad I saw it, but I am hesitant to recommend it. It felt more like a fringe production than something at a more mainstream theatre, so maybe I can offer a cautious recommendation on that understanding.
By the way, for future reference, Easter Sunday is possibly the ideal time to go to Signature. This was the first time in ages that there were dozens of open spots in the public parking areas of the Campbell Street garage. Unfortunately, I will probably forget that by next year.