Monday, December 07, 2015

Storytelling, Star Wars, Songbird and Spring Awakening

It's actually been a fairly busy first week in December so instead of waiting until the end of the month as I've been doing, I'd better post sooner.

After Monday night's episodes of "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries" with Puck and Natalia, Puck and I ventured to Brooklyn Tuesday night for a new event called "Take Two Storytelling" at a bar called C'mon Everybody. Puck went to school with one of the organizers, and we met Kelli Dunham, one of the storytellers, at a Poly Pride rally several years ago.

The idea behind Take Two Storytelling is that people take a true story and tell two versions - one the way it actually happened, the other where they rewind time to make it all turn out differently. You tell what happens when you take the other fork in the road, right the wrongs or wrong the rights, say what you could have said, do what you could have done, flip to a different page in the choose your own adventure. The event tied in nicely with the book we just finished reading this week, one of my childhood favorites called "A Necklace of Fallen Stars" where one of the characters is a storyteller.

On Wednesday I planned to help Chelsea move a dresser with Yoshi, but a few minutes before I was to leave, I discovered that my GPS died. So I had to scramble to print a map to get me to the destination, and I relied on Chelsea's smartphone to get us to her home. But after we finished moving the dresser and we parted, it took me almost an hour to get out of Brooklyn and into Manhattan, and even then only with phone help from Puck.

I planned to go back to TSMC and get stuff to bring to Staten Island, but I didn't realize that the Rockefeller Center tree was being lit that night, so when I finally got close to home the entire area was cordoned off and police were everywhere. I couldn't turn on my street so I decided to give up and head back to SI. I was calling Puck to let them know my status when a cop started yelling at me to get off the phone and he smacked my window a couple times, very hard. Obviously I wasn't going anywhere fast and it rattled me - I hung up the phone immediately. But then I nearly hit a pedestrian in a crosswalk because I was so shaken by the incident. By the time I got back to Puck's place I was nearly in tears and I couldn't wait to get home.

Thursday night Angel invited me out to see her play for The Snarks, a theater company, called "Play On!" It was hands-down the funniest play I've ever seen! The play is about, well, the making of a play - Act One takes place at a rehearsal of "Murder Most Foul," three days prior to opening night. Act Two is the dress rehearsal the night before the opening, and Act Three is opening night. The play cleverly sows the seeds of chaos throughout the rehearsals and everything that can go wrong does go wrong on opening night. Of all the plays I've seen in New York, only a few select Shotz performances have made me laugh harder than I did Thursday night!

I spent Friday night alone to relax and put up my holiday tree, including this year's ornament: the dried flower corsage I wore at Chris and Bruce's wedding. On Saturday, I hosted the second half of the Star Wars "Machete" cycle with Katie and Lillian, and their friends Carolyn, Rebecca and Jen. For food I made my curry chicken salad and stuffed it inside mini pitas to make finger sandwiches. Rebecca asked for the recipe but I've only made it twice so I'm still working out the exact proportions - but it's mostly seasoned to taste anyway. So here is the basic recipe:

Mischa's version of Ess-a-Bagel's Curry Chicken Salad

2 pounds chicken breast fillets
1 cup cashews halves or sliced almonds
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup chopped celery (use the tender hearts and chop to about Tic Tac size)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup capers
2-3 cups mayonnaise
3 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon habanero or cayenne chili powder
Salt and pepper

1. Boil chicken for about 30 minutes, then cool and cut into chunks (about grape sized).

2. Mix the mayonnaise and dry spices together in a large bowl until well blended. Add all other ingredients and toss. Adjust seasoning to taste.

3. Cover and refrigerate at least an hour before serving.

Sunday I spent the whole day with Liz, which was a treat because we haven't seen each other in months, since the apple picking trip in early October by my reckoning. We met up at Amali Sustainable Mediterranean Restaurant for brunch, where we both got a very appetizing shakshuka, which is baked‎ eggs, tomato, chilies, feta cheese and grilled pita wedges. I've made this dish once before at home based on a recipe in the New York Times but this version was much better. I might try to reverse-engineer this one next.

We poked our heads into Dylan's Candy Bar for just a moment, then went to Sprinkles cupcakes for dessert (Katie M introduced me to my first Sprinkles just last week). Then we made our way to the 59th Street Theater to see the closing performance of Songbird, a musical play set in Nashville and based on Chekhov's "The Seagull." The music and lyrics were by Lauren Pritchard, who originated the role of Ilse in the Broadway musical, Spring Awakening (which we were to see later that same night).

The show and especially the music were fantastic, even though I didn't particularly like the ending, which I attribute to the characteristically bleak Russian source material. It reminded me a lot of the Broadway musical Once, which I saw back in 2013 when I experienced a renaissance in my musical interests. Since this was their final show, we even got treated to an extra song by the composer and cast post-curtain. Liz's friend and cast member Eric told us after the show that they might do a cast recording at some point, but in the meantime, most of the songs were performed by the cast on YouTube - here's my favorite, Cry Me a River.

We walked back to TSMC (getting caught in the Rockettes RCMH show crowd for a bit) to have tea and snacks before heading to the 7:30 pm performance of Spring Awakening. Our seats were high in the rear mezzanine but since it wasn't crowded we moved down several rows at intermission. The show was enjoyable with several high points, but overall I actually liked Songbird's music and story better, despite the conclusion. The Broadway show was flashy and had interesting visuals, but I had trouble following the story and keeping the characters straight - probably in part due to being so far from the stage. At Songbird we were in the fourth or fifth row of a much smaller theater.

This week I am once again busy four of five nights, so I'll probably need to post next weekend as well. In addition to lots of fun stuff, I also have a second interview with a big company tomorrow, and possibly another second interview with another company later in the week. Maybe this time one of them will turn into a job offer.