fauxklore (fauxklore) wrote,

The Usual Busy Whirl

Celebrity Death Watch: Clive Cussler explored underseas and wrote adventure novels that sold well, despite being astonishingly badly written. Michael Hertz was a graphic artist, best known for the 1979 New York City subway map. Joe Coulombe founded Trader Joe’s. Johnny Antonelli pitched for the New York (later San Francisco) Giants. Jack Welch was the CEO of General Electric for about 20 years. James Lipton hosted Inside the Actor’s Studio.

Freeman Dyson was a physicist and mathematician. Interestingly, he never earned a Ph.D. He was an original thinker, particularly known for work in quantum electrodynamics and nuclear propulsion. He was also on my ghoul pool list and earned me 23 points (11 for being in that position on my list, plus 12 for uniqueness), which has put me into second place for now.

Pre-Reunion Reception: My 40th college reunion is coming up at the end of May and there was a reception Thursday night to stir up interest among reunion year grads. The food (at Urbana in Dupont Circle) was just okay – cheese and crackers, pizza, mac and cheese – with wine and beer on offer (I had one glass of prosecco, followed by sparkling water). The cake for dessert was better. The conversation was much better, covering a wide range of subjects. There was only one other person from my class there, but it didn’t really matter. One of the things I live about MIT people is that we all tend to be passionate about whatever we do and that tends to make for interesting socializing.

Food Pornography: I didn’t talk about pre-theatre food last week, but there were a couple of restaurant meals I should have mentioned.

There are several Thai restaurants in downtown Silver Spring and I had dinner Friday night at Amina Thai. Frankly, it was just okay, with rude service and insufficiently spicy drunken noodles with tofu. I wouldn’t go back there again, especially as there are at least three other Thai places nearby to try.

A friend and I had brunch at Dirty Habit in the Kimpton Hotel Monaco on Sunday. I had scrambled eggs with home fried potatoes, turkey bacon, and English muffin, which is (admittedly) not a very challenging meal, but was done well. And their coffee was reasonably good, as was the service.

This weekend, I went with a friend to lunch at Coopers Hawk in Reston. I had their ahi tuna salad, which was basically a green salad with pineapple and avocado and sesame vinaigrette, served with seared ahi tuna and pickled ginger. It was very good, with the salad dressing just the right level of spiciness. I had a chocolate covered strawberry and a cup of coffee for dessert. Overall, I was favorably impressed and would go back if I had some reason to be in the area.

Ordinary Days: The reason we were eating lunch in Reston is that we went to see Ordinary Days at NextStop Theatre in Herndon. This is probably Adam Gwon’s best known work and is more of a song cycle than an actual play. The story revolves around four youngish people (mid to late 20’s I’d guess) in New York. Warren is cat-sitting for an artist who’s in jail. Deb is a grad student. Jason and Claire are a couple who have just starting living together, but perhaps don’t really know each other as well as they might. Deb meets Warren when she loses her notes for her dissertation and he finds them and emails her. Their lives also intersect with Jason and Claire’s in a surprising way.

Anyway, I had seen a previous production of this show, which I think is a lovely and intimate one. I had, astonishingly, completely forgotten a major plot point which explains pretty much everything about why Claire is struggling within her relationship with Jason. As a result, I sobbed through much of the song "I’ll Be Here.”" Overall, I thought the show was done well and I was particularly impressed with Carl Williams, who played Warren. One thing we were talking about afterwards was how great it is that we have so many small theatres we can go to for inexpensive theatre, instead of spending a couple of hundred bucks at the Kennedy Center.

Easy Women Smoking Loose Cigarettes: I went to see this world premiere play at Signature Theatre on Sunday. It’s their 60th world premiere and part of a program to showcase works by female playwrights (with female directors). The story involves the people living in a house in Florida. Marian and her second husband, Richard, have taken in two adolescents – his pregnant niece and a boy next door. Then Marian’s 30-something daughter shows up with her own crisis and demands for attention. Marian tries to make the family bond, first by all flossing their teeth together and later by doing exercises that involve letting negative energy out through their private parts.

Frankly, I didn’t know what to make of this. Parts of it (especially Marian’s exercises) are very funny. And there’s a very sweet scene between the teenagers. But Lee (Marian’s daughter) is thoroughly unlikeable and her relationship with Marian is didn’t really work for me. On the other hand, the ending was more satisfying than I expected. I guess my best summary is that I am glad I saw it, but I hesitate to recommend it. As for the performances, they were all competent, but I was most impressed by Susan Rome as Marian. That may have a lot to do with the material each of the actors had to work with.

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Tags: celebrity death watch, food pornography, mit, musicals, theatre

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