I saw "The Band’s Visit"


What I saw: The Band’s Visit, a production of the Atlantic Theater Company, at the Linda Gross Theater on W 20th Street between 8th and 9th

What I did beforehand: cleaned the dining room, watched the Bacon Provider bottle a batch of beer.


What I wore: black motorcycle boots that I bought at the Ranch & Home in Kennewick, Washington in 2002, rust stretch corduroy James jeans with horrifying and degrading non-functional front pockets, black Tanner belt, black Lululemon tank, black slouchy neck Smartwool top that they don’t make anymore, no makeup 

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Who went with me: the Bacon Provider, who seemed like he would have rather done nothing

How I got tickets/Why I saw this show: I subscribed to the season, online, but oh wait also okay in December of 2011 I ate lunch at a table next to Tony Shalhoub and was very distracted by his voice behind me, animatedly discussing the details of an exciting new project.

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The percussionists had sticks in their bags. And I didn’t know about the “h” then. Or also how soul-crushing New York is.

Where I sat: Row E, Seat 9


Things that were sad: this is not a tear-jerker, but is rather a sad musical about the desolate lives of lonely people 

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Things that were funny: police band uniforms, roller disco, first dates. As we left the theater it seemed the rest of the audience filing out around us had lapsed into  speaking Hebrew.
Things that were not funny: the joy of celebrating the glorious diversity of our world’s different cultures now feels like a dangerous and naive indulgence

Something I ate: fried calamari at a decent Italian restaurant about a block away

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What it is: a new musical adaptation of a movie, performed without intermission, and lasting 90 minutes. 

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Who should see it: people who speak Arabic, people who speak Hebrew, people who are waiting for a phone call, policemen, fans of Tony Shalhoub

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What I saw on the way home: a large and healthy-looking rat peeking its head out of the bushes on a traffic island near West 34th, torrential rain that rendered the surface of the normally dark and narrow Saw Mill Parkway a glassy lake, and a mouse that I did not run over about half a mile from home. It was one of the scariest drives home of my life.

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I brought a card

What I did: went to a friend’s kid’s Bar Mitzvah party.

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What I did beforehand: overslept, fed the sourdough,  made oatmeal, posted blog, stripped bed, paid some bills, vacuumed, washed sheets, made bread dough for baking tomorrow, went to town to drop my navy pantsuit at the cleaners and to buy a Bar Mitzvah card, turned dough, moved sheets to dryer, texted friend for advice about Bar Mitzvah gifts because when I was 13 I always bought and wrapped a Swiss Army Knife, turned dough, walked dogs, turned dough, took shower, turned dough, regretted stripping bed, turned dough, looked at clothes and wished I had more pant suits, got sheets out of dryer, turned dough, tried to dry hair, bench rested dough, put on jewelry and makeup, grumbled about my hair, final shaping of dough, put on inoffensively conservative black dress.

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What I wore: Wolford black tights, black Fluevog textured loafer Davis heels, fancy black Coach handbag that is larger than many of my evening bags, black Boden dress that is a little  shorter than I’d prefer and frustratingly pocket-less but strikes me as having the virtue of being inoffensively conservative,  Lilith jacket dress. 

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Who went with me: the Bacon Provider (who agreed to autograph some Xbox games-related party swag, because people ask him to do things like that), a gajillion 13-year-olds, and my friend’s assorted, non-overlapping but numerous closest friends and relatives.

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How I got invited: a gorgeous dark metallic-ink-printed invitation via the USPS.

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Why I saw this show: we were promised good food. 

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Where I sat: at the table marked “Xenon.” The party had a science theme. Who doesn’t love the noble gasses?

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Things that were sad: the shoes I picked are slippery on the inside now that they’re broken in and  I purchased some black suede things that you stick inside shoes to prevent the sliding but I forgot all about doing it until we arrived at the party and of course I didn’t have them with me.

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Things that were funny: “I will only get up and dance when they play Hava Nagila.”

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Things that were not funny: there are many Americans who believe that their religion should be the national religion, and we should deny civil liberties to people who practice the “wrong” religion. 

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What it is: congregations have to hire people to stand guard at Jewish and Muslim gatherings  across the United States. Episcopalians and Catholics don’t. But anyway, there were some heartfelt speeches and music and dancing and, yes, good food.

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Who should see it: go to that bar (or bat) mitzvah.  A Jewish kid has spent a really long time learning a bunch of hebrew, and is gonna read/sing it in front of a shitload of people. Then that kid has to give a speech and make sense of the chunk of Torah that corresponds to their birthday. I mean, they might get Noah’s Ark. Or they might get a shopping list. The Old Testament has all those begats, remember? It can be amazing. 
I mean, 13-year-olds can be very smart and funny and have their weirdly specific enthusiasms. You know how you have to close your eyes to sneeze? Being 13 is that moment: when you close your eyes to sneeze. Before you sneeze, giant child. After, baby teen. It’s quite a sneeze.  

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What I saw on the way home: I changed from my heels into Tieks flats (the kind that fold and fit in your handbag) so it was easier to drive. But what was tricky was extracting my husband from the autograph-seekers. 

I saw "Hold On to Me Darling"

What I saw: “Hold on to me Darling” at the Atlantic Theater on W 20th St., off-broadway (or, off-off-Broadway) in Chelsea, NYC

What I wore: James jeans, black suede Puma sneakers, black Brooks Brothers no-iron cotton blouse, black Zara cardigan with self-tie that I’ve had for ages and is the only item I’ve ever bought from Zara that didn’t fall apart after one wearing; 90s scarf from my mother, who died 12 years and a couple of days ago; tan Barbour jacket.

Two Trinity Kumquat Saisons


What I did beforehand: stared in silence as I saw Joe Tippet and Theo Stockman on their way to their respective theaters; went to the crowded mall that is Chelsea Market for a sandwich, and may or may not have actually seen Ira Glass; waited for the show and had two Trinity Kumquat Saisons at a place called Cooper’s while we took the place of the most famous people in the back bar; noticed that some young people of legal drinking age appear not to be old enough to hold job.

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Who went with me: my good friend W., who should continue to come see a play with me once a month.

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How I got tickets: online, full-price

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Why I saw this show: because it was written by Kenneth Lonergan 

Where I sat: Row G, seat 11


Things that were sad: though billed as a comedy, this play is filled with bittersweet moments about mid-life ennui, about the decline of the American middle class, about grief and mourning, about overcoming the loss of a less-than-perfect parent, and about bad decisions.

Things that were funny: Lonergan’s writing has the kind of humor that isn’t so much about laying down the rhythm track of  peals of audience laughter as it is about teasing out a ballad of muffled guffaws.

Things that were not funny: a guitar is injured in the performance.

What it is: a well-crafted and satisfying funny play, in two acts, with a fifteen minute intermission.

Who should see it: fans of hearing brilliant dialog and reasonably accurate Missouri and Tennessee accents.

What I saw on the way home: the uptown E was waiting for us, doors open.

I saw “Buried Child”

What I saw: Sam Shepard’s “Buried Child” at the Pershing Square Signature Center
What I wore: wool skirt and tights
What I did beforehand: ate shrimp with the legs and heads on at a tapas place
Who went with me:  a close friend
How I got tickets: online, full price


Why I saw this show: I had a good friend in college that I have fallen out of touch with. Her father was a famous American poet (as if that’s a thing people are). I think I have seen her twice since I moved to New York, but she appears not to remember me. I believe the reason I know the name of playwright Sam Shepard is because of this friend. Was she an admirer of his? Did her father know Sam Shepard? She looked right through me when I saw her last, in a café in the West Village. I returned the favor to Sam Shepard himself, who was waiting ahead of us to see his play on Wednesday night. I recognized him, and looked right through him.
Where I sat: front row, balcony, in uncomfortable seats that did not improve with uncomfortable subject matter
Things that were sad: everything about “Buried Child” is sad
Things that were funny: almost everything said by the character Dodge, played by Ed Harris, is funny, and he never leaves the stage; corn shucking and carrot peeling; hollering from upstairs
What it is: a masterfully crafted play about family dysfunction, with no intermission
Who should see it: people who like Sam Shepard plays; people who feel like their families don’t know them

What I saw on the way home: empty taxis we didn’t take