April 15th, 2011

Diner - Booth Service

I eat work make stuff go walking

SUNDAY: Up and a nice morning brunch with Miss C. at the Exchange St. Bistro in Malden. The Bloody Mary was weak (does that mean it was more Mary than Bloody, or the other way around?) but I plowed through a Monte Cristo like it warn't no thing. There are ways one can screw up a Monte Cristo, but fortunately this place did not know them. A Monte Cristo is a brilliant breakfast food since it combines everything you like about breakfast except for the juice, cereal and coffee. Also, it provides laffs a-plenty if you screw up while ordering and ask for a Monte Carlo. Ha ha ha! Oh, it is to laugh! For our next joke, we'll ask the grocery cashier if the item's free since it didn't scan right!

Headed in to Boston for a Midsummer Night's Dream rehearsal in a very tiny room at Emerson. We are fortunate to get rehearsal space but it makes blocking a bit of a challenge. Thankfully there's a whiteboard on one side of the wall in which moves are drawn and displayed, football style. Lysander on 2, makes an end run around a sleeping Bottom, while the fairies provide screen defense with sprigs of foresty things. BAM!! Thankfully our director enjoys organic blocking, so we'll be all right moving around in the actual performance space (the Democracy Center in Cambridge. More details on that later.) The Dream, as you must refer to it if you are a Thea-tor type, will be set in the late 60s and fashioned as a love-in of sorts. As I play the grumpy father Egeus, a Nixon/Goldwater Republican, I will be the only person in the cast who does not get to dress outlandishly, though I am hoping for an insane white upper-middle class hunting outfit for Act IV.

It was a beautiful day in Boston, and I spent time before rehearsal watching a Greek Independence Day celebration on Boston Common right next to a collegiate Quidditch match. I guess they call it Muggle Quidditch since you can't fly, but whatever it is, it's wonderfully chaotic and a cross between Dodgeball, Basketball, Kill The Carrier and Chase The Dude In Yellow Around. The goal is to hold on to your broomstick with one hand and throw balls with the other, either a Quaffle through the hoops if you're playing offense or a Bludger at the kid with the Quaffle if you're on defense. (Feel free not to correct me on any of the terms. We're going for the Bemused Tourist angle here.) Everybody adheres to the rules very well, and there's no arguing over whether or not you actually got hit. You just drop the Quaffle and run back to your own goal before starting out again. One kid actually took a hell of a headshot and fell to the ground with a spin and a flop. He was up and okay soon after, so I wondered if he was roleplaying a very dramatic fall off his broom or something.

At a dramatic point in the game a dude in yellow, representing the Golden Snitch, came out and started running around. Everywhere. There don't appear to be many boundaries in Quidditch because he hopped a fence at one point and weaved around some very confused-looking people in traditional Greek attire. I think the actual Snitch is a tennis ball in a yellow sock, since he waved it around his head, and I think the Seeker has to not only take the Snitch but bring it back to the goal hoops to win, cause that's how the match I saw ended. The color-coordinated teams all cheered nicely for themselves and each other, and then referees were chosen for the next match, but by that time I had to go in for the rehearsal.

MOMENT IN WHICH WE FELT OLD: I had thought for a minute how odd it was for a group of college kids to recreate a sport from a children's book, until I realized they pretty much were the target age when the books first came out. Oh. I had started reading them at the ripe old age of 25. They grew up with the series, not me. I am not sure what equivalent my generation in college would have made. A Calvinball league, perhaps?

We shook off all shackles of age by taking a stroll after rehearsal from the Common to the Mass. Ave bridge, counting the Smoots (woefully fading away; which MIT organization has the task of repainting them?) and walking all the way up to Central before heading on home. After that I met up with the Theatre@First Steering Committee as they made plans to go to Joe's in Woburn for steaks and other fare. Naturally I went along because I don't see many folks on that committee often enough, and we took over an entire row of tables. Our waiter was perplexed and vexed when we broke out of his usual serving schedule, as if getting the bread and water before we ordered would contribute towards the complete breakdown of society as we know it. But when you've got Twelve Hungry Diners trying to make up their mind about what to get, a little food helps the decision-making process. Honest. I ended up getting a prime rib with completely fresh grated horseradish on top. I had to mash the horseradish just a tad to get the good stuff out.

Finished the meal with a Glenmorangie 18-year "Extremely Rare" scotch. Normally I view such notes on a menu as sensationalism and justification for hiking the price, but it was very reasonably priced for a glass of 18-year and a generous pour besides. As it turns out the label really does say Extremely Rare since it was made in limited batches blah blah woof woof. It was smooth, each sip starting off like golden honey, and was just a treat. Perfect for the occasion. You sit back among friends, make presumably witty comments from time to time, and enjoy the sustained glow.

This week has been a cavalcade of culinary something-or-other, culminating in a dining experience last night that ended with a naked guy (not me) running down the streets of Harvard Square. I don't claim to understand this life; I just live it.