The Great Big Theater Recap

As Rayna has pointed out, I am possibly the only grad student who is busier in the summer than during the school year. That’s because there’s simply so much to catch up on! The last half of May into the first half of June was a busy time for theater. And with that, I gladly present THE GREAT BIG THEATER RECAP.

  1. If/Then: First up is the new Broadway musical If/Then. The most exciting thing about this show was definitely Idina Menzel and Anthony Rapp. It was absolutely breathtaking to hear Idina sing live. It actually gave me chills. Then add to that the lovely story. Most musicals are about Big Things with capital letters—True Love, Adventure, Lions. But what I loved about If/Then was its immediacy. It is about the small choices we make and how they shape us. Add to that being in a similar place to the main character (new-ish to NYC, trying to build a life, over analyzing everything), a gorgeous score, and a really cool set design, and I was completely sold. I was also a happy/sad sobbing mess. But no spoilers!
  2. Mayfair: Ok, so this wasn’t really a show, but it was certainly theatrical. The annual Spring event at the McKittrick was over the top this year. I realize none of these places will make sense to anyone who hasn’t been to Sleep No More, but all these places are in the Mckittrick hotel, one magical building in Chelsea.We started in the evening with a performance in the bathtubs in the asylum, then a trek through the woods while ballerinas danced off the path. There was a Maypole dance in the streets of the town. The shops opened over the course of the night, with each one featuring different entertainment. Classic rock turned to karaoke in Agnes’s sitting room, while a blue-lit rave happened in the morgue next door. Violet and Maximillian hosted egg races Malcolm’s detective agency. The Fool from The Drowned Man performed in the window of the tailor shop.Wandering into the speakeasy, I found a full brass band and dancers on the pool table.  There were surprises literally around every corner. It was a fantastic night, one of the most amazing extravaganzas I’ve ever seen, and I can’t wait for the next McKittrick party.
  3. Much Ado About Nothing: What’s not to love about Shakespeare in the Park? It’s free, it’s Shakespeare, it’s in the beautiful Delacorte Theater, and they are currently putting on Much Ado About Nothing, one of my favorite comedies. Add to that the gorgeous weather we’re been having (or had, it’s currently back to the usual muggy grossness) and it was enough to get me out of bed at 7 AM on a Saturday to trek up to Central Park. It was perfect weather for sitting in the park with friends, and despite the long line (no seriously, it was the longest line I’ve ever seen) we got tickets with ease. The show was wonderful. The set was gorgeous, and Hamish Linklater made possibly my favorite Benedick I’ve seen—the perfect mix of over-confident, funny, and charming. And we got to see Pedro Pascal (that’s right, that Pedro Pascal) as the plotting Don John, which was an added bonus. I’d definitely recommend catching this production if possibly; it was a fun, funny, and beautiful performance.
  4. Then She Fell: There’s a rabbit hole on a quiet street in Williamsburg. Or, more specifically, there is the Kingsland Ward, where the immersive story of Alice and Wonderland combines with the life of Lewis Carroll in an insane asylum. This production is not at all what I expected. Filled with the familiar thrill of anticipation at a new immersive show, I was prepared for something dark and brooding; what I got was a sweet melancholy nostalgia. Rooms full of boxes I could open and unlock, characters who fed you grapes or told you a bedtime story. It was a much more guided experience than Sleep No More or Queen of the Night, but the loose structure helped add to the feeling of fate; it was dumb luck that led you on your past rather than your choices. As with The Drowned Man, I don’t want to give any specifics because it’s best to go in knowing as little as possible. But it was a beautiful show: very intimate, and the dancing was unique and gorgeous. It uses the space in strange and interesting ways, and I think I might have to go through the looking glass again soon.
  5. Cripple of Innishmaan: Finally, I saw this strange play on Broadway. Not going to lie, I went to mainly to see Daniel Radcliffe. But the play was fun; generally musicals are more my scene (with the exception of Shakespeare), but this was funny and dark and challenging. The set was absolutely gorgeous, somehow they actually created the effect of clouds rolling, and the rotating set made for some really neat scene changes. The play itself is about a small island village off the coast of Ireland. It’s about small towns and small people and the things that cripple us. It was really funny, and I enjoyed the way it plays with audience expectations. It was wickedly clever. It wasn’t my favorite show ever, but I think that might be more my taste rather than any particular fault with the show. It had some really great moments and I enjoyed it overall.

So that’s the GREAT BIG THEATER RECAP for May and June! I’m hoping to try to get to Hedwig and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, but I’m afraid that might be impossible post-Tony’s. Keep your fingers crossed! In the meantime, I’m heading home on Friday. I’m looking forward to taking a break from the city and seeing my family!

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London Calling (Really Late)

Big Ben 1

So British!

It’s been entirely too long since I’ve updated you all…yet again. There’s so much to talk about! Biggest thing first: London was great.  I love that city so much; it’s clean, it’s friendly, it’s full of delightful accents! The only downside is that the entire city shuts down way too early for this night owl. Where are my 24 hour subways? I mean, I might not ever actually stay out until 4 AM, but it’s comforting to know I could if I wanted to! But seriously, I think what I love about London is the mixture of old and new. Centuries old buildings on modern street, Gothic architecture and Canary Wharf. You feel so small and yet so connected.

The London Book Fair was really interesting. You can head over to NYU’s Publishing blog for my post about the fair. Here I’ll just give some highlights: I saw the Duchess of Cornwall, I attended a presentation about the beautiful new rebrands of the adult British Harry Potter books, and I got to work with an actual British butler who said “Cheerio.” The conference was really interesting, I really loved hearing the optimism about ebooks and learning a little about the difference between the British and American publishing industries. It was really interesting to compare the fair to BEA, which was a couple weeks ago. LBF is much more business to business oriented, while BEA seems more about marketing and promoting their list. I’m so glad I got to attend!

As for the touristy stuff, we had a very thorough cab tour of the city on our first day, which was nice. I can’t believe how much we saw in those 3 hours! I also got to spend some time with my favorite Brazilian, Marilia. We not only partied together at the very exclusive Kobo Party (which featured the world’s greatest cover band, no joke), but we spent my free day together shopping and touring the Globe, which is just as lovely and fascinating and inspiring as I remembered.

Very Hogwarts!

Very Hogwarts!

I also got to attend The Drowned Man, Punchdrunk’s latest production. In case you’re new here Punchdrunk is the theater company behind Sleep No More and Drowned Man is their  newest show based on Georg Buchner’s Woyzeck and The Day of the Locust. The show is closing in July, and I was so lucky to see it. It’s been running since last summer, and I’d

long ago resigned myself to the fact I’d never get to go…but then this London trip happened and I was able to squeeze in two shows! I loved it so much; it was like Sleep No More cranked up to 11: everything was bigger and grander and a little more overwhelming. There was an entire DESERT on one floor, complete with sand! And the finale was nothing short

of spectacular. The big moments shone and the smaller, intimate moments were just as special. I was extra glad to be able to introduce my friend Alicia to the show; she is a dancer and I feel like she can appreciate the choreography much better than I can! It was really good to see her and even better to be able to share this art form I love so much! And while

it’s killing me there are still so many mysteries I didn’t get to solve, I’m honored I had the opportunity to visit Temple Studios for myself.

So that was London. A rush of books, friends, history, and mysteries. I’m going to leave you here, but I promise, I will have a blog post up next week. You can look forward to the GREAT BIG THEATER RECAP. Until then, cheerio!

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Art and Dreams

“Is this art?” asked the man doing a handstand over my head as I lay back, staring up at him. I didn’t know. “I don’t know, either,” he responded before somehow bounding back to his feet and pulling me off on another adventure at the immursive spectacle/dinner theater Queen of the Night.
 
On the other side of my trip into the Diamond Horseshoe, I’ve decided it’s art, but more than art. It’s art+; so much more intense, more personal than anything I’ve encountered before. It blurs the lines between what is and what could be, and when you come out of those murkey woods, you feel a little different than before. This sounds melodramatic, I know, but as most of you know, I’m sort of obsessed with Sleep No More, another experiential theater piece. Yes, part of the reason is the story, I do love Shakespeare, and Macbeth is fascinating. But honestly, it’s that experience. It’s the blurring of that line between fiction and reality, between who I am and who I could be. And in my quest to experiment with that line, I found Queen of the Night. 

Last night found my partner in crime, Sari, and I at the Paramount Hotel, donned in our finest cocktail attire. 

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The first steps into the Diamond Horseshoe seemed underwhelming…and under construction. The walls were bare, white drywall, and the coat check was constructed out of those weird boards they use for scaffolding. I’m still undecided if this is intentional or if it’s actually under construction. Why would it be intentional? Because there’s a slow descent into the night. As soon as you turn the corner, you are faced with an old, weathered marble stair case. Dusty champagne glasses are stacked in the corner of the first landing as if they’ve been uncovered from an archaeological dig. But the deeper you go, the cleaner, brighter, more lavish things are. 
 
While waiting on the stairs, Sari was suddenly whisked away by a lanky blonde man in outlandish clothes, leaving me crushed that I was left behind. But a moment later, another man in short shorts and a black-and-white motley suit coat came up the stairs and caught my eye. We stared at each other for a moment (intense eye contact is a frequent occurrence), and he put his hand on the shoulder of the girl in front of me. ‘Denied again!’ I thought. But he looked up at me again, a wicked gleam in his eyes, extended his hand, and we were off. I was given a slip of paper and told to pick a drink (the drinks were outlandish, full of strange fruits and herbs.) After ordering me to take a drink (“Good girl,” he praised), he vanished. I stood sipping for a moment before I ran into Sari again, returned from her own adventure with a quest to deliver a note. We had a moment to chat before a young woman approached me and asked if I could help her, and I was pulled away again down the rabbit hole. Over the course of the next 30 minutes, I met and assisted the princess, snuck around the kitchens, and scored a whole bottle of Prosecco before I reunited with Sari to compare our discoveries. During all of this, the strangest part, and the most challenging part, was being myself. In Sleep No More I can hide behind a mask, I’m voiceless. I follow wordless instructions. But here, I could engage and be engaged. It was both thrilling and a little terrifying.
 
Soon after reuniting, we were seated, sharing a table on one of the raised platform with a very nice couple. The performance was amazing. Dancing, circus stunts, acrobatics…I’m sure I watched the first half with my mouth hanging open. Later, dinner was served: gilded cages of lobsters, whole roast pigs on spits, heaping plates of ribs. Apparently, if we wanted to try all the dishes, we had to barter. Luckily, we received the lobsters, the hot commodity, and people came to us to trade, bearing plates of rib and the most delicious pork I’ve ever tasted. My poor little grad student body didn’t know what to do with such delicacies!
 
After we’d eaten, the show resumed, as entertaining as ever. Dessert was served in quite an interesting way after a truly beautiful ending to the performance. The whole evening was magical and sensual and transporting.
 

I went into the show thinking I’d come out with an answer: which was better? But the truth is, you can’t compare Queen of the Night and Sleep No More. I love them both in different ways. While in Sleep No More, I am a ghost who haunts the story, powerless to help or harm, enchanted to watch, at Queen of the Night I was the Chloe I might be in a fairy tale. I was the Chloe who made eye contact and boldly put herself in situations that made her slightly uncomfortable. I was the Chloe who believed in true love and ran off, hand-in-hand with strange boys, to raid the kitchen and steal champagne. As to the question Jimmy asked me as he hovered above me, I still can’t say if it’s art. But I will say it’s spectacle and adventure, and just maybe you might leave a little bolder, a little more enchanted than when you arrived.

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Just Getting Started

As you may be aware, we have gotten a ton of snow lately. This has resulted in at least one snow day a week for the past month (I went back to work today after 5 days off, between the snow days, the weekend, anImaged Presidents Day). I never thought I’d say this, but I’m thoroughly sick of snow! SO SICK OF IT. At least in Ohio I could hide in a nice warm car…in the city it’s all ice slicks and puddles and sand-snow-slush. I like winter, but I’ve decided that February is a pointless month. It should just go home so we can all go outside again!
The plus side to all the snow (besides the snow days) is that I’ve finally forced myself to sit down and write a blog post! January was quite a month. 2014 has certainly gotten off to a great start.  In addition to 50-something inches of snow, there’s been a birthday, some good news, and some adventures.
The birthday was quite the extravaganza. I had some extra vacation days from 2013 that I had to use by the end of February, so I decided to take a four-day weekend for my 24th. I celebrated with some excellent mac and cheese and even better company Friday night. If nothing else comes from New York, at least it’s introduced me to this wonderful, crazy bunch of people. I continued my revelry on Saturday with a a birthday visit to Sleep No More with Rayna and her sister. It was another excellent show. I really love that each visit brings me deeper into the story and helps me solve some of the mysteries. I think Rayna and her sister enjoyed the show; it was their first trip to the McKittrick. I’m hoping I can lure them back another time because there’s still so much to discover! While at the McKittrick, I finally met up with some of the Sleep No More fans I follow on Tumblr. They were very friendly, and I’m hoping we can meet again soon to compare stores!
So, other adventures. In January, I got tickets to see Birdy perform at the McKittrick. It was a lovely, intimate little show, and I really enjoyed it. From what I overheard in the elevator, it was mostly a show for music tobogganindustry people, so the crowd was really chill. I quite enjoyed myself, and Birdy herself was amazing. What a voice! Later in the month we braved the Super Bowl crowds to ride the toboggan in/near Times Square. It was an hour and a half wait (after you got the tickets), but it was fun! After all, how many times can you say that you rode a giant slide down Broadway?
So far, February has been just as busy. We returned to school at the end of January and I’m loving my Children’s Publishing class. Finance is finance, but not the worst thing I’ve ever taken. On the fun side, I managed to snag a pair of tickets to see the Colbert Report, which was a blast. If you see the February 4 episode (Pussy Riot was the guest), you might be able to spot Sari and me in the crowd (though I hope not; I was completely unprepared to go to a taping of a show; I was wearing a I-need-to-do-laundry sweater from the back of my closet and my hair was…well, my hair. But spontaneity, right?). Later that same week I went to another comedy taping for Steve Byrne. He was…semi-funny. If you run out of things on Netflix and watch his comedy hour on Netfilx, you might see me and Rayna looking vastly uncomfortable in the fifth row. But even if the comedy wasn’t super funny (it was sort of funny), I enjoyed watching how they set up for a comedy taping like that. Plus, the opening comedian was the guy taking over for Seth Meyers on SNL, so that was cool (Note: He was much funnier than Steve Byrne). And I got to have Eggs Benedict for dinner.
Now, finally, for the big news: I’m going to London with NYU! NYU is organizing a trip to London to volunteer at the London Book Fair, and I was one of the students selected to go! I’m so excited; I love going to BEA, and I can’t wait to see what a more internationally-focused book fair is like. Plus, my friend from Brazil, Marilia, will be there on business, so I will get to celebrate her birthday with her! We don’t have many details yet, but I can barely wait until April!
2014 has been a success so far! I’ve always felt more comfortable with even years, so I hope there’s more to come. I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of the year brings!
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New Year’s Eve

I’m not sure if it’s the city or just growing up, but it feels like time is moving too fast. Like a train going downhill, everything seems to be rushing past too fast, and the scenery is just a blur. I want to pull the brakes. Stop and take a breather, maybe find out where I am or where the train is headed. But of course that’s not how time works. It’s a train that never stops, and so we must enjoy the ride as we barrel into 2014.

After that rather melodramatic introduction: New Year’s Eve in the city. For the record, I’m pretty  sure there is no power in the ‘verse that can

Imageconvince me that NYE in Times Square is a good idea. I’d be perfectly happy to spend every New Years at the McKittrick at the King’s Winter Masquerade. After getting ready in Manhattan and grabbing dinner at our old favorite, the Taproom, we headed over to the hotel. We got there a bit early and spent an hour waiting outside. It was freezing! By the time we got in, our toes were blocks of ice! But the hotel soon solved that problem; donning our masks we stepped into the lobby, where the Heathens were rocking out. The ballroom was decked in its finest; snow covered pine trees lined the room, and shimmering blue light reflected from the chandelier in the middle of the room. There were masked people everywhere, wall to wall, and two troupes of ballerinas danced through the crowd periodically. The first hour and a half passed all too quickly; before we got our bearings it was time for the show. Dancers took the stage for a performance and we were counting down. Confetti showered from the ceiling. They don’t tell you how sticky that confetti is; I was covered in it!

The rest of the night was a blur of dancing and drinking and celebrating. All in all, a good way to welcome in the new year.

Other than that, it’s been freaking cold here. Absolutely freezing! We had quite the snow storm last Friday. I ventured out on Saturday for a movie and later I finally went to a neighborhood bar I’ve been wanting to try with Kathi and Adam. So far it’s been a good week back. Just hopefully it warms up soon so we can leave the house without fear of frostbite!

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Home and Back Again

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Stephen Fry!

To update from last post, I LOVED Twelfe Night. It was hysterical. We even had a bit of unexpected drama during the show: one of the audience members in the on stage seating fell ill and needed to be taken to the hospital mid-performance. The cast handled it really well, and the interruption didn’t affect the performance at all. It was a really enjoyable show, and we had fun doing the stage door afterwards. Stephen Fry was in a hurry after the show, so I didn’t get to talk to him and tell him how much I love his work, but we did get a picture and an autograph! We met most of the cast, including Mark Rylance who was an absolute doll. He seems like such a sweet, quiet man. It’s amazing that dastardly Richard and the funny Olivia can come from such a soft spoken man!

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The Goodhart Family and Santa at the Christmas Ranch

The holidays were lovely. I really can’t imagine how they could have been better. My flight back to Ohio went smoothly (no sick passengers behind me this time!). Mom and I had a girl’s day on Saturday, and the boys and I went to the Festival of Lights that night to see Santa (Mom insists we get a picture every year: he who believes receives, after all). It was perfect weather, and the zoo was gorgeous as usual. Sunday we saw the Playhouse in the Park Production of A Christmas Carol. I love their production; the set is simply amazing. Marley’s appearance scares me every time! Monday we ventured out to the Christmas Ranch. I don’t know the whole story, but it’s a huge ranch that totally decks out its halls for Christmas. Lights EVERYWHERE. And of course more kitschy Christmas shops than you know what to do with. It was very fun, if very cold, and definitely festive. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were lovely: full of family and gifts and good food. I think everyone was happy with their gifts; I got some new nail polishing tools I’m excited to try, as well as some lovely new outfits. My brother got the bulldog he’s been asking for (albeit, it’s a stuffed one and not the puppy he really wants). The day after Christmas is my aunt’s birthday and we went to a fancy steakhouse to celebrate, which was nice. Friday we finished up the week with dinner at LaRosa’s. I think I got all my Cincinnati cravings taken care of until next time I can go home. All in all, it was a really nice week. Going home these days is weird. I’m never there long enough to get sick of it and I’m on vacation, so when I return to New York and responsibilities and work, it’s hard not to be nostalgic about Ohio, as I’m sure you’ve seen from previous posts. Of course I know that if I lived in Ohio I’d have many of the same concerns I have here. I’d probably fight more with my family, I’d be bored and weird and drive a car. But after a week of being taken care of and not worrying, it always takes a day or two to adjust from Ohio Chloe back to New York Chloe, whoever she may be. Luckily with New Years Eve coming up, I should be back to NYC party mode in no time. I had several people over the week at home tell me they enjoy reading my stuff. I can’t imagine why; I feel like these lists of things that I did are rather boring! But, it is nice to get everything out on paper (I guess this counts as paper?), so I’m going to try to write more in the new year. I’m not going to go so far as to say it is my New Year’s Resolution; blogging has to come after all the other crazy things I’ve got planned for 2014. But, I shall try to make more of an effort to blog, hopefully I’ll start later this weeks with tales of our New Year’s Eve escapades.

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“If not to heaven, then hand in hand to hell”: Truly Old School Theater

In college, we had to see a Shakespeare play and compare its take to the text. There was a glam rock production of Richard III in town that featured David Bowie and puppets. It was strange to say the least; after intermission, Richard entered the stage as king dressed in full Iggy Pop gear. It was the only time I’d seen a production of the play until last night. It was an interesting take, comparing Richard’s use of a persona to that of a rock star.

Mark Ryance’s production of Richard III may not have David Bowie, but it has to be one of the coolest theater production I’ve ever seen. In case you don’t know, this production is as authentically Elizabethan as possible- men play women, candles adorn the set, the actors dress on stage before the performance, there are no mics, and an Elizabethan style music troupe performs atop the set. It was a fun experience to watch the actors dress, and it was interesting to see it done as it might have been done back in the day (you know, WAY back in the day). And I won’t even mention the curtain call…the curtain call was perhaps my favorite part of the whole approach, and I don’t want to spoil it!

 

While I love the detail that went into this production, I think the authenticity was the least interesting of Rylance’s choices in the production–which is saying something! His Richard was not the dastardly mastermind but a mad and perhaps accidental genius. He would cackle mid-soliloquy, prance about like a fool, and molest poor Anne’s fingers in a rather horrific fashion. While I always read the play as a terrible man (but slightly sympathetic, he has, after all had a tough lot in life) who goes insane as the weight of his greedy deeds mounts, Rylance’s portrayal shows a man who is already slightly insane who goes off the deep end entirely once he gains power. Many of the scenes that are often chilling were actually funny in Rylance’s hands. He reminded me of Albert Finney in Scrooge. (I doubt anyone will get that reference, I think my mom and I are the only people in the world who have seen and adore that film, but it’s a fantastic performance.) He was funny, and because of that, you like him, even though he’s a homicidal maniac. I’m not sure it was my favorite interpretation, I’d have to see more actual productions (read: non glam rock themed), but it was really enjoyable, and I’m even more excited to see their production of Twelfe Night next week.

With my discussion of Shakespeare aside, it’s been busy as usual. Finals week is coming up, so things have been quiet as I’m too busy studying and preparing papers and trying not to run screaming through the streets to do anything interesting. It was nice to go home for Thanksgiving and see my family. I enjoyed taking a break from the busy city to eat a lot of food and check out the country craft fairs. I’m starting to get into the Christmas spirit; once I finish finals I think I will be in full holiday cheer mode!

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A Midwestern Ex-Pat

It’s probably time I post something on my blog. As usual, I’ve been meaning to, but everything has been so crazy lately that by the time I get home and collapse on the couch, I don’t seem to have the energy to do anything but marathon Netflix.

Brief update on me: School is going well. I’m busier than I expected to be, which I silly. I guess I thought since I was only going half time it wouldn’t be that much more work. But I’m enjoying it, it’s nice to get to talk about publishing issues, and I think I am learning a lot. I’m refusing to give in to the common wisdom that when it comes to work, school, and social life you can only balance two. So for example, Halloween found me running to a meeting after work, then class, and then a really odd party in the Village. Tons of fun, but it’s quite possible I’m overdoing it. I can sleep when I’m dead, right?

With the holidays approaching, I’m really ready to go home. I think I said it before, but I’m surprised at how much I miss home. Partly I miss the ease, just day to day life in Ohio is easier, with cars and houses and normal things. And of course I miss my family. But it’s also the familiarity. Some days I feel like some sort of ex-pat. I’m still in the same country, but some days I feel so out of my league.

I never liked country music in Ohio. I thought it was a bit silly, and I could never relate to it. I listen to it more, now, and while I still can’t relate to much of it, I feel like I can better understand it now. That underlying nostalgia for the simple life, the fierce defense of the warm summer nights on a back porch with a beer or driving around in the open country with your windows down and no where particular to go. So when I’m feeling particularly out of place, or longing for home, I listen to country music. I think it’s a symptom of this weird transitory state. I’m not quite a city girl, my Midwestern roots go too deep, but I’m not really that Ohio girl I was anymore, either. I know I can always go home if I need to or want to, but I think in some ways I can’t go back. While it still does feel like everything is up in the air, like I’m still unfinished, I think a year here is long enough to change me into something new. Someone who needs the weird surprises of the city and the possibilities it offers. Someone who, despite the feelings of displacement here, would feel just as out of place in a quiet suburban life. Most of this I guess is just typical of life in your early-20’s; we’re all still cooking. But I think it’s true, that once you move away, you can’t go back to the way things were. We can never really return to Manderley.

Ok, that was supposed to be the end, but I can’t leave off on that awful, cliched, depressing note. So I’ll finish with this: I may not be able to go back, but I sure am enjoying going forward. The spontaneous late night concerts, the free events, the bizarre shows, the 24 hour biscuits (which are new, but I’m sure they will become a staple), and mostly the group of friends I have here. I may be in transition, but at least I’m not in it alone, and there’s plenty to do in the meantime.

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Random Musings

There’s a tiny courtyard not far from where I work that perfectly describes life in New York. It’s a tiny little improvisation of the gap between an ancient church and a monstrosity of an office building. It’s such a surprising little slice of nature, with its carefully manicured gardens lining the edges and even a square of grass towards the back.

But then you go back to sit on the grass and you realize it’s plastic. And the suits around you seem a little too silent as they eat their lunch on the checkerboard cement tables. And you have a choice. You can look at the perfect gardens and the fake grass and the non-talking Wall Street suits taking up all the seats and you can be disappointed, even angry, that you’ve been misled, that it’s all a big plastic and nothing is truly real. And I think everyone goes through that phase, whether it’s when they discover the hidden courtyard or when they move to the big city. But you can also choose to sit on the low brick wall at the back and kick off your shoes in the plastic grass. You can eat your lunch at the cute little green table and revel in the cool shade cast from the nondescript office building and the peaceful silence of lunchtime and this alcove of the city.

Like living in the city, it’s easy to be annoyed and frustrated and disappointed. It’s what they don’t tell you about New York–The day to day of it all, at least at first, sucks quite a bit. But you try to deal with the suckiness and find the surprising little secrets. You unpack you lunch, open your book, and enjoy the corners where you find those secrets.

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A Trip Home, a Trip on a Boat, and a Trip to the McKittrick.

This is John the lion.

This is John the lion.

Oh, what a weekend! Though first, I suppose I should back track a bit and talk about my week home. It was wonderful to go back, even though the flight to Cincinnati was a little traumatic (I got vomited on a little. It was awful. Could have been worse. Got free booze, though.) It was an incredibly busy week. Mom and I did a lot of shopping, since I’ve shrunk at least 3 sizes since this time last year. So I have clothes that actually fit me now, which is exciting! (Being an adult is weird…I get excited about all sorts of boring things these days.) Dad and I went to the zoo, which was awesome. I got to go to the Black “Wild Stallion Eyes” Shelton concert, which involved rum and Waffle House. Country music, Jack Daniel’s Down Home Punch, and Waffle House are a combination that is either the best thing ever or the worst. The crowd watching was almost as interesting as Union Square or the subway after midnight.

The Cincinnati Zoo has made all sorts of changes since I was little; the most exciting has to be the new Africa exhibits. I got to feed a giraffe, and I got about a foot from a lion named John (there was glass between us, and he was a shy lion). The new facilities are gorgeous, and there’s scheduled times to watch each animal work with a trainer, so that’s pretty awesome. 10 year-old pre-vet me would have lost her mind. 23 year-old publishing me pretty much did lose her mind.

I ate SO MUCH FOOD. Everything tastes better when I don’t have to make it, and it’s even better than that when Mom makes it. I don’t think it’s my cooking skills; I think it’s just a universal fact. We also went to the Dublin Irish Festival, which was a lot of fun. I got to see a few of my friends there; though I wish we’d had more time. Time always seems to be the issue when I’m home. I discovered some great new bands (Enter the Haggis is pretty good, although they are about 150x’s better live) and we got to see Gaelic Storm. It was a fun weekend and a good way to end the week.

So, back to New York. The flight back was much more uneventful. We had the company picnic on Friday, which was nice. Less like an episode of “The Office” than I’d expected (I assume all offices function like The Office until proven otherwise) and I enjoyed talking about books with my boss’s daughter. This weekend was insane. Saturday we saw Jukebox th

Stolen from Sari because my phone decided it's too hipster for pictures.

Stolen from Sari because my phone decided it’s too hipster for pictures.

e Ghost, live in concert, on a boat. Yeah, that’s right, ON A BOAT. It was pretty awesome to listen to some of my favorite music while looking at the gorgeous skyline. It was one of those nights where I remembered “I live here. This is my city.” It was sort of magical, jumping up and down, feeling the deck rock, literally and metaphorically, beneath me and everyone else as the Statue of Liberty loomed overhead. I didn’t quite feel infinite, but we came pretty close.

And then last night was my last trip to Sleep No More. I will spare you all the details, as I’m sure most of you who actually talk to me are sick to death of hearing my ravings about this show (he

y, I could be addicted to hard drugs or One Direction. At least this is an artistic addiction!). But it was another wonderful night. I got a blessing and a necklace, a shot o

f booze, and a whole new perspective of bloody rave Macbeth. It was a great way to end things before my self-imposed hiatus.

Other than, that, things are pretty quiet here in the big city (or as quiet as they ever are). I’m getting ready to start classes next month. Was getting ready to start at OSU this confusing? I don’t know how I’d do this without all my lovely friends who started last year. And next week we’re going to finally make it down to Coney Island. I’ll let you know how it is, if I don’t get attacked by a shark and/or a homeless person. Signing off!

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