I saw “Man of Good Hope”

What I saw: “Man of Good Hope” at the BAM Opera House in Brooklyn, NY

“I think this is an opera house.
See how it says ‘opera?'”
What I did beforehand: drove to Brooklyn, being re-routed twice, and arriving to discover that the parking garage described on the website did not exist (and there was a coupon you had to print out to use it). Also, there was a Rangers game at the Barclay Center, so the streets of downtown Brooklyn were full of sober, pre-game hockey fans.

What I wore: Chinese-made Australian boots, favorite jeans, Tanner indigo belt, feelings sweater, earrings that kept trying to fall out.

Who went with me: my dear friend W., who was born in Zambia.

How I got tickets: online, when I realized I would not, as promised, be able to take her to the recent revival of “Master Harold and the Boys” because those tickets were $30 and they sold like hotcakes.

Why I saw this show: I am a sucker for a story about refugees.

Where I sat: Mezzanine Row A, seat 18

Things that were sad: stories about refugees are always filled with death and fear and loss and terrible set-backs.

Things that were funny/not funny: the part about the little boy living on the streets of Nairobi who went from one house to the next and every night had a dinner with a different family, and the song about how America is safe, how there are no guns here, how everyone drives big trucks and everyone is rich.

Something I ate: hummus and pita chips, standing in the lobby, while trying to balance a beer in my other hand. 

What it is: a profoundly moving, engrossing, and lively production, featuring African music and dance and a refugee story that is both utterly like and unlike any others. 

Who should see it: people who, like me, believe that all shows should have live music; people who, like me, believe that if you are going to have live music you must place the musicians where the audience can see them; people who, like me, who are working very hard right now to remember what good things America is supposed to represent to people in the rest of the world; people who, like me, know and love several immigrants.

What I saw at home, two days later: W. texted me that she was still thinking about it. 
I am, too.

I saw “Vietgone”

What I saw: “Vietgone,” a play with some songs, dancing and rap at the Manhattan Theater Club City Center Stage 1 on W 55th between 6th and 7th Avenues.

I forgot to get a picture of the cookies. 

What I did beforehand: went to a German Xmas party at the apartment of  French friends where we admired the view, drank glühwein, and exchanged stories about near-accidents involving our children. 

What I wore: Fluevog boots, brown tights, Lilith pinstripe dress that is difficult to zip, my mother’s gold bracelets, my own gold bracelets, my grandmother’s watch, mascara. 

Who went with me: my friend S.

How I got tickets: online, very recently, since this plan was hatched only once I realized that the Bacon Provider would be on yet another international trip where he would lose two weekends–one getting there and the other getting back.

Why I saw this show: I read a review that said this show was an excellent companion piece to Viet Than Nguyen’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, “The Sympathizer,” which I read on the recommendation of a woman who I sat down next to in a theater earlier this year because she was reading it on her phone and could barely put it down.


Where I sat: A 108, or thereabouts. A woman next to us orchestrated a three-way trade so she could sit next to her husband, who had a seat in the same row. Everyone was more than happy to re-arrange themselves.

Things that were sad: the show closed 12/4/16.

Things that were funny: a character named “the playwright” starting the show by scolding the white audience for accepting racist portrayals of asians. Jokes about life in a refugee camp. A fight scene with slow-mo punches and ninjas. A dance number about wanting to have sex. More cussing than #ragecook burning dinner. 

Things that were not funny: the two delicious lead actors had more chemistry than all the other couples that were supposed to be in love in all the plays I’ve seen this year put together.

Something I ate: German Xmas cookies.

What it is: a very funny, profane, slightly uneven, but lively and likable show with rap, singing, and some dance, running over two hours with a 15 minute intermission. This show features actors using contemporary slang to depict events in various locations in the U.S.and Saigon in the 1970s.

Who should see it: people who can tolerate not always being perfectly clear about when scenes take place.  Audiences that are prepared to revisit what the Vietnam War means as a metaphor.

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What I saw on the way home: a buck with huge antlers on the shoulder of the Saw Mill Parkway, trotting in the direction of traffic.

Just imagine the deer

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I wore a pantsuit

What I did: attended the Bellevue/NYU Survivors of Torture Benefit


What I wore: gold hoop earrings that were a gift from the Bacon Provider in the 80s, blue Fluevog Guides, navy pantsuit that I bought back when I thought that straight As and an extra leadership certificate would lead to some interviews when I got my MBA and sent out my resume, a pale blue Italian-made blouse with covered button placket, a big pointy collar, and long, weird cuffs that require cufflinks, tiny turquoise Furla evening bag with a long, gold cross-body chain that serves as a strap, new navy overcoat that I bought at Zara on a recent trip into the city and discovered I was under-dressed. 


What I did beforehand: riding lesson, bought bagels, shower, shot past the strip mall where the salon was, turned around, got stuck in a dead end, found a service entrance, haircut, got dressed, made online account to bid on silent auction items, drove to town and parked, bought a peak/off-peak round trip train ticket, got on train, smushed onto subway at rush hour, walked across Washington Square Park, read a flyer about vaginas.



Who went with me: my friend R., whose Chit-chat-with-strangers Game is better than mine.
How I got tickets: I was invited by a NYC contact who has persistently attempted, through her continued invitations to lunch, to demonstrate to me that not all New Yorkers are toads.

Why I went: the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture provides comprehensive care, in the form of medical, mental health, social and legal services to survivors of torture and war trauma and their family members. Last year they offered multidisciplinary services to over 900 people from more than 70 countries. Since 1995, the Program has developed an international reputation for excellence in their clinical, educational and research activities. Their stated mission is “to assist individuals and families subjected to torture and war trauma to re-build healthy, self-sufficient lives, and to contribute knowledge and testimony to global efforts to end torture.”

Where I sat: Table 4


Things that were sad: this year, the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture welcomed 135 new clients and 93 new family members.


Things that were funny: I dropped both of my forks.


Things that were not funny: that pale blue Italian blouse fits better in theory than in practice.

What it is: this benefit recognizes both the efforts of the many professionals serving clients in the program and also honors some of the achievements of its clients. There was also a silent auction.



Who should see it: Americans needing a reminder of what our 240 year old experiment in democracy stands for in the world.



What happened on the way home: I fell down the stairs on the subway.