I saw "The Place We Built"

What I saw: “The Place We Built,” a play in two acts, with a fifteen minute intermission, at the Flea Theater, 41 White St., in TriBeCa 

What I wore: the black jeans that are really too long, the short boots with noisy heels, brown jersey top, long black Eileen Fisher cardigan which I’m ready to send to the cleaners and set aside in a moth-proof zippered bag until November but I’m still wearing to go out at night, darn it, because I don’t know what else to wear; red linen scarf that I bought a few years ago intending to give it to a friend for her birthday but I ended up keeping for myself.

What I did beforehand: rode the downtown A train

Who went with me: the Bacon Provider, in tan pants and shoes

How I got tickets: online, with a slight discount, thanks to the Flea Theater’s general admission pricing, where I guess tickets are cheaper the further in advance that you buy them.

Why I saw this show: I like the Flea Theater; we used to live next to their rehearsal space. 

Wine Threat

Where I sat: in the front, on the end, in a chair with very short legs, in front of some people who thought the chairs were uncomfortable, and near a young guy who responded audibly to a number of things in the play that he found too intense to allow to go without comment. On my other side was my husband, and next time him, a guy who brought a tiny flimsy plastic cup of wine into the theater and threatened repeatedly to spill it. Expecting him to finish the cup of wine in the fifteen minutes before the lights went down, we were disappointed to see that he intended to balance it in one hand, aiming for my husband’s tan pants, for the duration of the first act. 


Things that were sad: democracy’s kind of a bitch when the ultra-nationalist right wing has a two-thirds majority and your prime minister rewrites the constitution every couple of years 

Things that were funny: afterwards, at dinner, there was a woman at a table next to us who I did not see eat anything. I mean, she didn’t even have stains on the paper where her crumbs would have been. She sipped from her glass of ice water and ignored her full glass of red wine. When it came time for dessert, she ordered a cup of hot water.

Things that were not funny: when the woman with the cup of hot water spilled the whole glass of red wine that she had not been drinking and it splashed on my husband’s tan pants and shoes.

What it is: a play about Hungary, and freedom of assembly and expression, and, also, about the indelibility of Hungarian anti-semitism. There are several songs performed, and these are the very best parts of the play. I think the show needs many more songs, especially the already strong final scene. 


Who should see it: red wine drinkers, fans of creepy puppet shows about politicians, anti-anti-semites

What I saw on the way home: Afterwards, we had a reservation at the Odeon, on West Broadway. When we lived in this neighborhood, this was our favorite don’t-know-where-to-eat restaurant, and we hadn’t been back in a couple of years now. I spent a little time in the afternoon before the show thinking about what I wanted to order. When we got to the restaurant, we were 25 minutes past our reserved spot, and though I’d been told this wouldn’t be a problem when I made the reservation, they had given away our table and only had something quite small to squeeze us into. The Bacon Provider, still traumatized by the red wine threat, worsened by the panic of perhaps losing our reservation, sat down and announced that he wasn’t hungry. Somehow, though, the arrival of oysters and french bread with butter got him in the mood, and by the end of the meal I managed to convince him to have some dessert even. And, readers, they have tiny hot freshly made spoon-shaped doughnuts, served with raspberry puree and maple dipping sauce. Yes, the wine spilling was regrettable.

1978 Jackie Chan

But anyway on the A train back uptown there was 1978 Jackie Chan and the very fly, time-traveling detective pursuing him in the hopes of joining modern day Jackie Chan in restoring the rift in the time-space continuum before it’s too late.

White satin pants wearing time traveler

I saw "The Wildness"

What I saw: Sky Pony’s “The Wildness” at Ars Nova, on W 54th, off-off-Broadway 

What I wore: favorite jeans, boots, scarf given to me by an old Seattle friend that I’ve lost touch with, long cardigan; you have to check your coat because the venue is small. 

Ars Nova (projected sign on building across W 54th)

What I did beforehand: ate a hotdog  
Who went with me: The Bacon Provider 
How I got tickets: online 

Why I saw this show: I read a review that made it sound a little weird and stupid and like something I needed to see

Where I sat: on a sofa in the section labeled “COAT,” our names written on pieces of tape. If you go, get a “premium” seat on the sofas, and don’t volunteer to be one of the “Brave Ones.”

Things that were sad: the songs were better than the business connecting them
Things that were funny: sequined underwear, lyrics 

Your ticket is a blindfold

Things that were not funny: the Bacon Provider sitting down, looking around accusingly, pulling out his phone and looking up a review of the show and saying, “Oh, God.” This entertaining and somewhat insubstantial show was neither as bad as its bad reviews, nor as good as its good reviews.

What it is: While it is billed as an alt-rock fairy tale, I would say it’s an indy-pop show, with fascinating costumes, candy, blindfolds, cool lighting effects, decent music that wasn’t too loud, and sporadically charming choreography.

Who should see it: fans of Sky Pony


What I saw on the way home: The Food King, with its sign reading, “WE DELIVERY”

Later that night I dreamed Backup Singer/Handmaiden #1 was living in my yard, at the bottom of a steep ravine. I recognized her by her red-blue wig. I gave her some clothes, and promised her food, and climbed a ladder through the shower to get back in my house.

I saw "but i cd only whisper"

What I saw: “but I cd only whisper” at the Flea Theater, on the south side of White Street in TriBeCa
What I wore: American-made dark-wash jeans (with stretch!), Chinese-made Australian boots

Sunset O’clock

What I did beforehand: watched the sunset over the Hudson River and took the E train
Who went with me: The Graduate
How I got tickets: online, full price

Why I saw this show: for two years, we lived in TriBeCa, two doors down from the rehearsal space for the Flea Theater. Not long after we moved in, I saw a line of people outside the door, waiting to audition for the Bats, which is the name of the Flea’s ensemble of actors. Some looked bored or tired, many were reading, one mumbling a monologue. Some actually sat on the sidewalk. They were there for several days, and the line was sometimes long. I wondered if I could bake them brownies or if that would be weird. I let one guy pet my dog. In retrospect I should have baked them brownies. Far more actors showed up over those days than would ever be chosen as Bats. New York is tough that way.
Where I sat: front row
Things that were sad: this is a very upsetting play, about race, class, sanity, responsibility and culpability
Things that were funny: seeing today’s young actors dressed in the clothes the adults wore in the late 60s and early 70s
Things that were not funny: a guy at the bar beforehand had to ask his friend what Diet Coke was. He had an accent.
What it is: an engaging play, performed by talented actors in a small space
Who should see it: if you come to New York to see theater and don’t include off-Broadway shows, you are doing it wrong

What I saw on the way home: bros on the subway