I saw “Sweet Charity”

What I saw: “Sweet Charity,” at the Pershing Square Signature Center at 480 West 42nd, between 9th and 10th in Manhattan.

What I did beforehand: took the train into the city, checked into the Library Hotel at Madison Avenue and 41st, had tapas with R.

What I wore: gray wool Ibex cowl-neck top, James jeans, navy cardigan, Chinese-made Australian boots, new black parka, pearl earrings, silver bracelets.

Who went with me: the Bacon Provider.

How I got tickets: online, a few weeks ago when I thought spending a night in the city a few days before Christmas would be fun and productive rather than inconvenient.

Why I saw this show: I impulsively subscribed to the New Group for the season. It makes me wonder about the existence of free will and the power of advertising.

Where I sat: Row D, Seat 10.

Things that were sad: this is another play about loneliness (my cousin recently pointed out elsewhere, “All plays are about being lonely.”). And not all musicals have tidy, happy endings, even ones from the 1960s. 

Things that were funny: knowing so many of the songs but never knowing where they came from, the charming clumsiness of the main character, and realizing that this is the 5th show I’ve seen this year featuring people dancing in their underwear. Here are links to the other four.

Things that were not funny: the coincidence of having unintentionally reserved the New Media room at the Library Hotel was only kept from downright creepiness by the gentle absurdity of many of the books being, with predictions about the coming revolution and dominance of interactive television, just old enough to be hilariously inaccurate. The Bacon Provider wrote a book about digital disruption this year, in fact. 

I am happy to recommend the Library Hotel, just about a block from Grand Central Station and the main branch of the New York Public Library, to book-lovers and anyone seeking a small, quiet boutique hotel in mid-town Manhattan.
Something I ate: butternut squash soup, pimientos, and pan con tomate at the tapas place in Gotham West, over in Hell’s Kitchen. 

What it is: this musical is from 1966, and has been revived a number of times and was made into a movie in 1968. It manages not to serve a heaping helping of the nostalgic charm of a period piece and also not to be easily updated with modern seasonings. It is, nevertheless, a fine romp.

Who should see it: Fellini fans, students of mid-20th century gender studies, people who like to see actors dancing in their underwear.

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What I saw on the way home: I think the pillow on our bed in the hotel room was meant to be fetchingly bookish. It seemed lonely and sad to me.

I had a dream

What I did: I dreamed I was in Vietnam.

What I did beforehand: bedtime has been tricky since the election. I try to get comfortable, clear my head and close my eyes and drift off. I have an old shoulder injury that’s been bothering me, and it inspires me to worry about my kids, what environmental protections a climate-change-denying, pro-business, anti-regulation congress and senate can destroy, how our Supreme Court changes with one or two new members bent on the reproductive enslavement of poor American women, and then, what about all my friends who are immigrants? Not to mention the white supremacists and our broken electoral college. Who can sleep?

But last night I somehow set it all aside and found a ten minute window free of anxiety, and just as I was drifting off to sleep I could hear my old dog Cherry, locked in the kitchen, but standing by the door whining.


What I wore: a politically opinionated t-shirt, TomboyX flannel pajama pants, and my wedding ring that doesn’t come off.

In the dream, I had a khaki uniform, with pockets everywhere including on my pant legs and my boots fasted with chromed latches like on my mother’s old pair of 1960s black Rossignol ski boots.

Who went with me: my cat, Schwartz, who takes up half the bed when the Bacon Provider is out of town.


How I remember my dreams: they say you should keep a dream journal by your bedside and write them down as soon as you wake up. Anything on my nightstand ends up being a drink coaster. Sometimes, I tweet my dreams. 


Why I saw this show: see “What I did beforehand,” above.

Where I slept: because of my permanently messed-up shoulder, I sleep on my right side, and mine is the right side of the bed


Things that were sad: I dreamed I was in Vietnam, in the early 1970s, towards the end of the war. Caravans of U.S. military trucks were taking soldiers and civilians and whatever anyone could carry down the bomb-rutted roads and out of the city. I don’t know what city I was in. There were people everywhere– women with groups of tired children, a very old man with an empty dog leash– all walking around and looking like they didn’t know where to go. 

Things that were funny: my job was to set up the children’s libraries the United States was planning to leave behind, as a gift to the people of Vietnam.  

Things that were not funny: the books, housed in a crumbling warehouse that might have been a bad-guy hideout for the 1960s Batman TV show, were carefully stored in clean cardboard cartons, their colorful glossy covers like new, their pages fresh and straight. And every single book in every single box, in every one of the hundreds and thousands of cartons, stacked row upon row was in English.


Something I ate: last night for dinner we made a spicy carrot soup from a new cookbook, called “Zuppe,” which means “soups” in Italian.


What it is: my friend C. thinks this dream is about being frustrated.

Who should remember their dreams: people who want to forget the real world


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What I saw when I woke up: I got a text quite early, from 19. He was offering to walk the dogs and feed them, but pointed out that Cherry had had accidents all over the kitchen in the night. It was my turn to clean them up.

Cherry is 14