Sitting at dinner with my friends last night, I was worried it wasn’t going to be as good as I needed it to be. I had been anticipating last night for a month, planning it for two…how could it not be disappointing? I was terrified Sleep no More wasn’t going to live up to my excitement.
And I was dead wrong.
I know, I know, I’ve posted about this already, but this is more of and in depth review of my experience last night, because I felt like it. So there. I think a good portion of my enjoyment of the show, or of anything at the hotel, comes from the buildup. The same bubbling of excitement and anticipation that happens every time I check in. It’s so strong it’s borderline anxiety. But it’s a wonderful feeling, it’s such a high right before you take the plunge and you’re immersed in that world. My friends back home are probably sick of me talking about this thing. It’s hard to understand how it is if you haven’t been, how utterly intoxicating it is. It’s like falling into an alternate universe where strange and mysterious things not only happen, but they happen to you.
Anyway, a recap of last night. After my butterflies in the entry maze, I relaxed into the pull of the show. I decided to follow Banquo, because I haven’t had much to do with the main characters, and he walked me out last time, so I was curious. I lost him for a bit after Duncan’s funeral and scrambled to find him. I gave up, only to bump into him playing card in the Speakeasy. Sometimes I feel like the McKittrick leads you to where you should be. I’d seen his fight with Macbeth before, but having followed him, it meant more. I followed Dead!Banquo out into the main street; He stopped and turned and whispered to me before dashing off to the banquet.
I tried following Macduff for a time after the banquet, but he got crowded, and some of the other followers were a bit rude for my taste. I did get to see him find Lady Macduff, and I saw his dance with the door…that was amazing, I’d never seen that before. I left him in the Macduff quarters after one elbow-in-the-side too many and decided to visit the Porter.
I love the Porter so much. He’s longing so much for Boy Witch, even though BW with will never want him. But he wants so much…and I think he wants more than just love. He wants a life as someone more than The Porter. Watching him handle the items around the lobby, I got that impression last night. That what troubles him is more than just unrequited love. It is unrequited love, but he’s also so trapped in who he is, and he wants so much to get out. Perhaps Boy Witch symbolizes that for him. And god, I understand that wanting. That longing so bad that it aches, the hole inside you that you’d do anything to fill, that follows you constantly, and sneaks up on you every time you’ve managed to forget it.
I followed him for the second loop, and was crushed when he pulled someone else into his office. At loop’s end, I was still feeling his story, so I decided to hang around. And that was my moment. He met my eyes and pulled me off. It wasn’t what I expected, my heart broke for him, and he left me with a smear of lipstick and a ring. I love the Porter’s story even more now. (I read a very interesting and scholarly take on the Porter and Hecate and the loops, but selfishly I like the simple version of love and longing better for the moment, simply because it struck several chords in my last night. Besides, I’m still young and new, you have to enjoy the shallows before you can dive to the depths.).
After our moment, I felt sad and unsure, and I hadn’t visited the town much, so I decided just to stop up there for 10 minutes before the final banquet. I managed to stumble in on the rave, which was a bit of a jarring adjustment after the quiet of the lobby. After, I tried to stop back and check on the Porter, but the black masks were out, so I headed down for the banquet. After the final scene, Lady Macduff walked me back to the Manderly and wished me a good night.
Swapping stories with my friends was cut short by a very educational performance by Calloway (who was new to me; the previous times I’ve been to the Manderly, it’s just been Maximillian). It was a funny performance, and the cast got to showcase some of their other skills (how is it fair they can dance and sing? Bah!). It was nice to end the night on a lighter note. All in all, another memorable night at the McKittrick. Three down, many more to come I hope.
In businessy blog news, I’ve changed the title! KnowEdits doesn’t really work anymore as A. I’m still not editing and B. this blog has nothing to do with editing. So it can be about my knowing things, or my not knowing things. Hopefully I will find a better title, but for now this works.
It’s official. I have survived my first year in New York. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has been a lot of fun. I’ve made a ton of wonderful friends, gotten to see some fascinating new takes on theater, and gotten accepted into grad school. Busy year!
Two weeks ago, my friends Marilia, from Brazil, and Katie, from Chicago, came to town for the much-anticipated BEA. It was wonderful to see them, especially as June marked our one year anniversary. We discovered an interesting bar on the west side, which is actually an old boat on a barge. The drinks were pricey (though not too much more than average), and the views were gorgeous. We went to BEA, which was just as hectic and fun as last year. I didn’t get any business cards, but I did walk away with 25 books, 4 comics, a handful of tote bags, and a really awesome set of Rainbow Fish stickers.
That Tuesday, Marilia, Vivian, Tabitha and I went to see Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. The musical is based on a passage from Tolstoy’s War & Peace and includes a Russian dinner. It was a blast! The dinner was quite tasty, the theater was gorgeous (especially since the “theater” is actually a huge white tent…it was easy to forget that once inside), and the play itself was electric. There wasn’t a stage; instead the actors ran around through the audience, singing their stories. The whole thing was really fun and creative. I’ve decided I really like these new interactive forms of theater. I’m getting spoiled by all these avant-garde works in the city!
Sadly, Marilia and Katie went home, but the apartment was empty for long. My mom came for a visit last Friday. We had a really nice time. The city was rather wet, but we managed to keep busy. We visited our favorite pizza place in DUMBO, found some treasures at the Brooklyn flea, and introduced Mom to the wonder of soup dumpling. We also explored the depths of Brooklyn in search of a clothing store at Kings Plaza. Getting there was an adventure full of interesting bus rides, but the store was worth it. Monday was her last full day, and we tried to go to Union Square. It was so miserable even the crazy people weren’t out, though, so after lunch at the Tortaria and coffee around the corner, we headed home to pack and nap. We found a tasty spot in Little Italy for dinner.
I’m glad I’ll be going home for a week in July, I almost forgot how much I miss my family. After a year here, that’s still one of the harder parts. But, there’s no weird theater in Ohio, and most of all no publishing. So, I’m still here, and with grad school starting in the fall, it seems things are going to keep getting busier!
Hello old friend!
Well, so much for my New Year’s resolution to post more. I have, however, kept my resolution to DO more. The past 3 months have been full of doing. From advanced screenings of movies to finding new bars with friends to sitting on the Iron Throne of Westeros.
I think one of my favorite discoveries is Sleep No More, a theater experience in a converted warehouse space in Chelsea. The show is Macbeth meets Hitchcock meets a creepy adult playground. There are five floors to explore over the course of three hours, and the show loops three times, splitting up and running all over the 100 different rooms. The show itself is beautiful and wonderful and more than a little intoxicating. The closeness of the actors and the fact the whole point is to be brave and explore (“Fortune favors the bold”) makes for a unique and exhilarating experience. But it’s more than that. The very atmosphere is magical, full of mystery and possibility. Even The McKittrick’s other event spaces are wonderful. Last night, some friends and I went to a concert at the upstairs restaurant, and it was wonderful. It felt like what New York should be, sitting in a booth with my friends sipping overpriced but deliciously classy cocktails and listening to chill bluesy covers in a dimly lit plush bar.
In a city that is very often isolating, where we put on our headphones and turn up our music and try not to meet anyone’s eye, there’s something to be said about an experience that makes eye contact sensual and a simple hand hold exhilarating. At The McKittrick, whether you are there for the show or just there to relax and have a drink, it’s easy to feel like you’re part of something, something sophisticated and secret and wonderful.
So, it’s 2013 and I should probably write a blog post. I’ve decided that my new year’s resolution is to do more. I mean, I did a lot in 2012. I graduated from college (ok, that was 2011, but still, December 2011 is essentially 2012, worked for US Bank, came to New York, attended a publishing program at NYU, made a bunch of wonderful new friends, moved to New York with one of said new wonderful friends, got a job, MET JK ROWLING, survived a hurricane, met Matthew Crawley (aka Dan Stevens)…so yeah, 2012 was pretty busy. But thinking about New Years resolutiony things, I thought I could do the usual “eat healthy, work out, lose weight and become a super model,” but I resolve to do that like every other week. I mean, I live in NEW YORK now, so there’s a lot of stuff to do. And I want to do it.
And, I’m already off to a pretty good start, if I do say so myself. I went out last weekend and had a minor adventure involving a kitschy café in the Village, a bar with a wedding-reception like dance party, and McDonald’s. Also, I decided at the very last minute to get tickets for An Evening of Awesome with John and Hank Green and the Mountain Goats and it was…wait for it….AWESOME. So much awesome. I knew it was going to be fun, but I was not prepared for the amount of fun I had. Neil GAIMAN was there, and he pointed in my general direction, and he said he would literally suck donkey balls. I got to hear the Mountain Goats perform live and I got to sing my favorite Mountain Goats song live with an ENTIRE CARNEGIE HALL OF NERDFIGHTERS. I don’t know how much an ENTIRE CARNEGIE HALL OF NERDFIGHTERS is, but it should be a unit of measure that means, approximately, “a lot”. I then MET the Mountain Goats and discussed with John Darnielle (who is totally the nicest genius ever) how crazy it was that he just performed on the stage where Martin Luther King Jr spoke. And I met some new friends, yay new friends! I honestly have not had that much fun in ages. There’s something about jumping up and down in the very top row with an entire Carnegie Hall of nerdfighters belting out “I am going to make it through this year if it kills me” that just makes you want to not just make it through the year, but keep making it through in this crazy, exciting, action packed fashion. And hopefully that’s what 2013 is going to be.
We were so, so lucky. That’s what I’ve come out of the past couple of days thinking. Luckily we’re close enough to the middle of Brooklyn that we didn’t get any flooding, the wind was bad, but not so bad we lost any trees or had any serious apartment damage, and we didn’t even lose any power. Watching the news as I come out of my first hurricane, I just keep thinking about how lucky we are.
For me, it started Friday at work, when I overheard my coworkers talking about a hurricane headed our way. I’m working for a property insurance company, and Friday, it was like being in the headquarters of some sort of major operation. There were meetings all day, people were counting supplies, making sure we’d have enough for the rush of claims we’re expecting. I texted my roommate that we were expecting a “Frankenstorm,” and she thought I was joking. It was actually quite exciting. I love storms, and I’d never been in a hurricane before. And even better, I might get a day off work!
So we spent the weekend prepping for the storm, two Midwesterners waiting for their first hurricane. We bought bottled water and batteries, fielded regular phone calls from our mothers, and went out Saturday to celebrate an early Halloween. Sunday we turned on the news and hunkered down.
Monday morning, we were underwhelmed. “This is it?” We went out for a few minutes to take some pictures, so we could say we’d been out in the storm. But as the day went on, the wind got louder and louder. I was sure the tree across the street was going to fall over. The wind was actually pushing one of our windows out of its frame, we had to duct tape it in place (which made us feel better, even if it didn’t do much good). A wire tore lose from the wall outside and kept smacking against the window, scaring us every time. But that was the worst of it. Mostly, we just curled up on our couch with a bottle of wine, watched two seasons of Downton Abbey, and made fun of the crazy news casters.
We went out today to inspect the damage. There’s a tree pulled out of the ground across the street, and a sign hanging precariously on Courtelyou. But mostly, things seem normal. A lot of leaves and debris on the ground, but nothing crazy. I keep saying it, but we got so lucky. Seeing the devastation on the news has been unbelievable. I’ve been through bad weather before, tornadoes were frequent spring visitors in Cincinnati. And I’ve seen the terrible scenes from natural disasters on TV before. But now, it’s a natural disaster on a grand skill, and it’s close to home. It’s my new city’s streets that are flooded, my subway system that is shut down, my neighbors without power, or even worse without a place to go. Needless to say, I’ve never seen anything on this scale, I’ve never lived through anything like this. I mean, we got lucky, we just got wind, but thinking of what could have happened if the storm had a different path or if we’d decided on an apartment in a different neighborhood…it is a little frightening.
Anyway, I’m so grateful that we are safe, that we have power and food and water. And I’m thinking about and praying for all those who are less fortunate than us.
So, you may have noticed that I like Harry Potter. It follows me everywhere, or I guess I bring it with me everywhere, a bit like a security blanket. Like a security blanket, it can be a bit embarrassing sometimes, like when people find out or remember that I did a fan podcast for a fan podcast about Harry Potter when I was in high school(we were just really meta before it was cool, ok?). But there are other parts of it that, like a security blanket, make me feel warm and safe, like the fact that I have good friends literally all over the country. Like I can walk into a nerdy or Harry Potter themed event in New York City, and chances are I will probably know someone. It’s kind of comforting, that network of people that I can count on if I have to, for anything from a pick me up Facebook message to a place to stay for a month (both of which happened.).
But then there’s the place where the security blanket metaphor ends, the place where my connection to Harry Potter is more than just warm, comforting, and occasionally embarrassing. There’s the times I volunteered to organize and staff a conference for Harry Potter fans, seeing the community there, knowing that I am a part of that, and knowing that we have done wonderful things together. I mean, we sent five planes of supplies to Haiti named Harry, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, and DFTBA. How many clubs or communities can say that? There’s the satisfaction of the joy on the little kids’ faces when my friends and I organized a Harry Potter day at a local castle; knowing that whatever else, we made 300 people’s days a little brighter by dressing up and being silly and promoting reading. And then, there’s standing in front of JK Rowling, who smiles at me and looks me in the eye while I tell her she is the reason I want to publish children’s books, and there’s having her reaffirm my dream. There’s definitely that.
So, a little over a month ago, my friends sent me a link to buy JK Rowling tickets the night before they went on sale. I had already come to terms about the fact that I wasn’t going to be able to go; I had to work, and I wasn’t making enough to justify the expense, and there was no way I’d be able to get a ticket. But then, the opportunity just fell into my lap, and I had to. I mean, there are many reasons I am sitting here in Brooklyn right now trying to go into publishing, but in my pie chart of reasons, JK Rowling is probably the biggest factor. Her books showed me the power books can have, and the people I knew through Harry Potter gave me my first taste of the publishing world, and most importantly, my experiences with her books made me want to help do that for someone else. So when you get a link to tickets to see the person who has influenced your life so much, you can’t not buy them. You honestly can’t.
So that’s how I found myself on October 16, dressed in my business casual finest, with about 100 other Harry Potter fans in Central Park. A friend was organizing a big thank you for Jo: We were going to spell “JK Rowling in NYC” out of people. I was the bottom half of the “C,” it was pretty great. And then, I found myself in the David H. Koch theater with 2,000 other fans, watching JK Rowling speak. And here’s the best part. She and Ann Patchett didn’t do the usual TV news interview promo of The Casual Vacancy. They actually geeked out about it, about the writing, about the technical pieces of it, the challenges, the way it all worked together. It was like a seminar from my publishing course, only staring my favorite author.
And I lied, that wasn’t the best part, although it was pretty good. The best part was JK Rowling herself. Getting to meet her. Row by row, they shepherded us out into a line where we got a copy of A Casual Vacancy to get signed. I was in the second row of the first ring/balcony of the theater, and it took like an hour, hour and a half to clear the mezzanine. Then it was our turn. I couldn’t believe how nervous I was. I was actually shaking a little bit, the butterflies in my stomach, glad I hadn’t eaten dinner kind of nervous. I’d been thinking about what I was going to say for weeks, I’d been excited, but I couldn’t believe I was so nervous. So we filed through the lines, sort of hushed and expectant, we were handed our books, and then suddenly, there she was, sitting at a table, feet from me.
They say you should never meet your heroes. You’ll be disappointed, they won’t live up to your expectations. But whoever “they” are, their hero is clearly not JK Rowling, because she was the most amazing person I’ve ever met. I’ve been to a lot of author signings. They sort of glance up and smile now and then, but it’s mostly a quick, forgettable interaction. A quick file past to pay your respects and you’re out the door. And this was the same set up, no posed pictures, no dedications, but it was Jo herself that was different. She looked up and smiled at every single person who went past. She thanked them for being there, for reading her books. And then, when I stood there and I stammered out, “Ms. Rowling, I just wanted to tell you your books are the reason I’m going into publishing. I want to help do for others what your books did for me.” She smiled and looked me in the eye (Is it creepy to say she has amazing eyes? This was the consensus as we all met in the lobby: she has the most piercing blue Dumbledore eyes ever) and say “That is wonderful, I’m so happy to hear it. We always need more publishers.”
Can I put that on my resume? “JK ROWLING THINKS IT’S WONDERFUL I WANT TO WORK IN PUBLISHING, SO YOU SHOULD HIRE ME.” That’s my personal statement. My mantra. I mean, of course I know she was only being nice, but it is still really impressive that she listened and responded to 2000 people and made them feel special.
The rest of the night was a blur of bumping into people I knew (it was almost all my worlds colliding, people from the publishing institute, people from Leaky, friends from my early Harry Potter days, miscellaneous friends I know in New York City), showing off our signed books, and exchanging stories. It took me over a week to even figure out how I was going to write about it. It was one of those nights that you know you’re going to tell people about, that your grand kids are going to roll their eyes at when you start telling it again. It was perfect.
Ok, so let’s get this out of the way. I hate politics. I HATE them. Maybe I wouldn’t have hated them back when they were invented. Maybe originally, in ancient Rome, politics, like art and philosophy and street graffiti, were of a higher class. If that’s the case, maybe I could like politics. But I really think even back then Politician Antonius was saying that Politician Livius wanted to take all your money and Politician Livius was saying that Politician Antonius was a heartless idiot. I just think our national discourse needs to be better.
Because here’s what I believe: I believe that our constitution says we are free. This means we are free to worship whoever we want and to do whatever job we want and to love whoever we want, as long as our worshipping, doing, and loving didn’t infringe on other people’s ability to worship, do, or love. I believe that we are all people trying to get through this together, and that we should try to be nicer. I believe that we have a responsibility to those less fortunate than ourselves, and we should have systems in place to help them. I also believe that you should be able to work hard and get somewhere in this world. I believe we should all have access to education, and we should value not just an education but the fact we can be educated.
I realize this is all rather broad. I don’t want to get into the nitty gritty bits of my beliefs, because there are
always two possible outcomes, and neither leads anywhere. Either you and I will share these beliefs and be self-satisfied in our belief superiority, or we will disagree, and I will try to convince you I’m right, and you will try to convince me I’m right, and neither of us will listen, and we’ll end up being angry and each will decide the other is an ignoramus. Because these two things are what happens in our political discourse. We have no political discourse.
Our politicians are more concerned with sewing discord than discourse. They lie about themselves and about each other. They believe in their party and their agenda, not the people. They’re essentially all the same. And I’m sick of it. I’m sick of the blame game. Tell me why you’d be a great president. Tell me what makes you the right choice. Don’t tell me why the other party is bad and evil and stupid. Don’t generalize an entire group of people because you don’t believe with them. If the other party really is bad and evil and stupid, I’m an intelligent human being, and I will see it. And I have the freedom to make that decision and not be judged.
So there’s my political rant. We need to be less political. I’m really not thrilled with either of my options in the upcoming race, and I can’t believe in a country this size that these people are really the best we can do. They’re all so far removed from us, they don’t understand our concerns, and they don’t care. Instead, they all talk to empty chairs and straw men, and we fight amongst ourselves over which candidate is better. Politics is barbaric. All I hear anymore is “bar bar bar bar.” So let’s just be nice. Whoever you’re voting for, whatever you believe, as long as your voting and believing doesn’t affect my ability to vote or believe, let’s not fight about it.
“I need to write a blog about this. I need to write a blog. I NEED TO WRITE A BLOG.”
Or so I’ve been thinking to myself pretty regularly for the past 4 weeks. AND I’M FINALLY DOING IT. Apologies (as usual) for the delay in posting. I can’t even say I’ve been particularly busy. I mean, I have been busy, but I’ve had plenty of free time since the NYU program wrapped up July 13. I’ve had plenty of adventures, too. The New York philharmonic, job interviews, and more recently duck in Chinatown (complete with the head), “Into the Woods” at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, and The Curiosity Rover Landing.
And that’s what I’m going to talk about. When I saw that they would be broadcasting the landing in Times Square, I decided I had to go. I mean, I’m in New York, and this is a big deal, it would be like a big party right? Well, partially right. At first, the whole affair was a bit disappointing. It was on possibly the tiniest screen in Times Square, and to hear we had to hold our phones to our ears, and most of the people in the area were more interested in finding themselves on the big advertising screen over the McDonald’s. Maybe they didn’t know that we were about to attempt the MOST DIFFICULT MARS LANDING EVER, but it was frustrating. Didn’t anyone appreciate what we were about to do? Didn’t this deserve a slightly larger screen, a bigger deal? I’m not sure what I expected, I guess a packed square with trumpets blaring and mars confetti or something.
That said, it was really cool. The closer to 1:31 AM it got, the more people who actually cared gathered. There were some nice people from NASA handing out pins and stickers, several news crews, and some really awesome nerdy shirts (including a bedazzled R2D2 shirt). And as we listened to the NASA landing crew talk to each other, not really understanding what they were saying but hoping it was good, there was finally an air of excitement that felt appropriate. No, the square still wasn’t full, but there was something about being in such a big, shiny place, holding my breath with several hundred others as we watched the anxious faces on the screen. And then…success. It touched down. A cheer went up around the square; one guy behind us was yelling “We did it! We did it!”
Up on the screen, we could see the NASA scientists celebrating. They were hugging and yelling and high fiving. That must be the most amazing feeling, knowing that your hard work put something on another planet. I mean, sure, we’ve done it before, but Curiosity is going to allow us to get more knowledge than ever, and just the sheer difficulty of achieving a safe landing is something to marvel at, no matter how many times it’s been done before.
And then the first pictures came in. Sitting in Times Square, we were seeing pictures of another planet. It was astounding. Truly breathtaking, and definitely anything but disappointing.