My very talented boyfriend, Tom Bovo, has work in yet another photography show. There is a closing reception for his latest group show on Friday evening, February 27th from 4:00 to 7:00. The Donnie 2009 International Contest & Exhibit is at the Museum of Computer Art, 139 Eleventh Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Tom has three pieces in it, including this one, and received an honorable mention for his work. Free wine and cheese!
Before I learned to read, I was read aloud to. A lot. And one of the thrills of the primary grades, while I was learning to read, is that every week we'd visit the library in our school, and one of the librarians would read to us from a picture book. The three of these books that really stuck with me- to the point that I can see them in my mind like it was yesterday- were "A Snowy Day" (which has a place on my nieces' bookshelves), "Baba Yaga," and "Tikki Tikki Tembo." What I didn't realize until two weeks ago is that "Baba Yaga" and "Tikki Tikki Tembo" were illustrated by the same man, Blair Lent. "Baba Yaga" is a Russian folktale about a scary witch, and "Tikki Tikki Tembo" is a Chinese folktale.
I have a stack of clippings that are ideas for blog entries. If they aren't time sensitive, I rarely use them. I guess it's my blog security blanket. But on Tuesday, October 23, 2007, there was was an odd collision of worlds on the New York Times obituary page. Two icons of mid-century cooking died three days apart. The first, Peg Bracken, was a copy writer turned author. Her bestseller was the "I Hate to Cook Book." I know my mother had a copy, and yours may have, too. There aren't many funny cook books that I've run across, but in her recipe for Skid Row Stew, Bracken writes: "Add the flour, salt, paprika and mushrooms, stir, and let it cook for five minutes while you light a cigarette and stare sullenly at the sink." Her Times obituary is at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/23/arts/23bracken.html. The second was Vincent DeDomenico, Senior, who with his two brothers Tom and Paskey invented Rice-A-Roni ("The San Francisco Treat"). Mr. DeDomenico also established the Napa Valley Wine Train, using restored Pullman cars. I have never been to northern California, but that sounds pretty cool to me. His Times obituary is at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/23/business/23dedomenico-backf-obt-34-07.html
The benefits of my La Mama Umbria sojourn continue. This coming week, there will be two nights of readings from work by many of the La Mama Umbria '08 playwrights. The readings are at 7 at the Galleria (not on 4th Street); Six East First Street, between Second Avenue and the Bowery, on Wed., Feb. 18 and Thurs., Feb. 19. The readings are free. My play, “The Benders,” features wonderful actors Cotton Wright, Michael Mattie and Elizabeth Munn. The other playwrights are Raquel Almazan, Siobhan Antonioli, MT Cozzola, Marco Calvani (all the way from Rome), Barbara Jwanouskos, Carlos Matos, and Mark Clayton-Southers. The readings will be juxtaposed with an installation about "CATS!" The photos are of "CATS!" and the view of La Mama Umbria from the olive grove.
I had a very interesting playwright experience last night. Horse Trade Theatre Group is interested in my play, Geography. In considering new plays, they have their apprentice company, The Drafts, read the first 30 minutes or so. I had exactly nothing to do with the process- I didn't know the actors, and I only knew the production coordinator via email. It was almost like going to hear someone else's work. So my boyfriend Tom, Joan Liman (a student of mine) and I went to Under St. Marks last night to hear 25 minutes of my play and another. The actors did very well. The script sounded pretty good. And now I get to do what playwrights do much of the time- wait to hear.
My friend Cheryl Davis and I saw the best play we've seen in ages yesterday at Manhattan Theatre Club. For me, it was the best since Albee's "Peter and Jerry." It is "Ruined," Lynn Nottage's take on Brecht's "Mother Courage and her Children" set in the recent past in Congo. Absolutely fantastic. The play, direction, acting, design- all worked beautifully together. And unlike most plays, it has live music, too. All the actors are good, but Saidah Arrika Ekulona as Mama Nadi is exceptional.