Sunday, June 28, 2009

Season 3

Tonight I close my third season here at the Indepence Studio on 3 at the Walnut Street Theatre.

It's been a very tumultuous year for me personally, but I am eternally grateful that my experience at work this season was a very, very good one. I don't think I could have made it otherwise.

That being said, I'm profoundly exhausted. I can't express just how much I am looking forward to a few months off-- to relax, settle into the new apartment and regain a sense of myself again.

To everyone who worked upstairs, I thank you for making this season a great one. See you next year.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Business of Eating

Deb and I went to see the documentary Food, Inc. yesterday. It was amazing. I encourage all of you to check it out-- it's a good look at how our food system has become totally industrialized.

I mean, do you really KNOW what's in your food? What do all of those dense words in the ingredient list mean? And where are they coming from?

This movie really helped to solidify my commitment to eating whole foods that hopefully come from local sources. Oh, and seeing the inside of some of those slaughterhouses made me happy to have chosen vegetarianism.

I can't recommend this movie enough. And for those of you in the Philadelphia area who want good local food sources, I encourage you to check out this website for information about farmer's markets and buying clubs that will deliver you a box of local produce, dairy products, grassfed meats and eggs every week. Amazing, and actually very affordable.

Your body will thank you for filling it up with such good stuff!

Sunday, June 21, 2009


I would like to take a moment to give my respects to all of those fighting for freedom and democracy in Iran, especially the peaceful protesters who are being viciously beaten and sometimes killed by the Basiji police.

I'm sure many of you have heard of Neda, the young woman who was peacefully watching the protests and was shot. She has become a symbol of the resistance-- an innocent life taken by this brutal and oppressive regime.

Technology has made this revolution so present, so in our faces. From the way that Twitter has helped Iranians to communicate to youtube users posting this video of Neda, right after she was shot, so that people could see what was really going on in Iran, despite the government's attempts to silence everyone.

A warning: this video is very graphic. But I felt I had to share it, to help spread the message to Iran that the world is watching.

**UPDATE: This video link no longer works, due to it's content violating youtube's terms of service**

I pray for peace and democracy for the people of Iran.

Faux Pas

I stumbled across this on the wide, wide world of the interwebs and it sure did make me chuckle:

This image was a part of a fashion spread in Italian Vogue. I love it. It's so... continental. Imagine an American magazine depicting a mother smoking around her baby and the shit-storm of controversy that would ensue....

Not that I, of course, condone this type of behavior, or even the concept of the fashion spread: that fashionable women are cold bitches who'd rather indulge in a cocktail or a ciggie rather than take care of their offspring, but still, I can't help but laugh at the sheer absurdity of it.

I found this via Sociological Images, a kick-ass website that y'all should be checking out on a regular basis. The full fashion spread, in all of it's nutty glory, can be found here.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Growing, Eating

Although this constant rain has been unbearably dreary, it's doing wonders for my garden. I harvested two banana peppers, a bunch of green beans and lots of basil last night:

I had some veggies from the farmer's market kicking around in the fridge that needed to be used, so I decided to do a very veggie casserole:

It turned out so well that I can't resist posting the recipe so everyone can try it. I basically modified a recipe of Mollie Katzen's-- her recipe is here.

Here's my recipe:

Sara's Early Summer Casserole

Olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
2 banana peppers, diced
handful of green beans, diced
3 carrots, shredded
4 small zucchini or summer squashes, chopped
10 cremini mushrooms, chopped
handful of fresh basil, chopped
1 cup non-fat plain yogurt
1/2 cup shredded aged Gouda cheese
4-5 eggs
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1/2 tablespoon dried basil
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large skillet, add onion, garlic, peppers, green beans and carrots, saute in olive oil until just tender. Add zucchini, mushrooms, fresh basil and dried spices (minus the paprika), saute until flavors blend and mushrooms get a little soft, being careful not to dry out veggies. (Add more olive oil if needed) Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a bowl, mix together yogurt, eggs and cheese. Make sure all yolks are broken and eggs are thoroughly incorporated.

Remove veggies from heat and stir in yogurt mixture, coating veggies. The mix should be just a little runny. If too thick, add a little soy milk or regular milk to thin it out.

Pour mixture into a greased casserole dish and sprinkle top with a little paprika. Baked covered for 35 minutes, uncover and bake for 5 minutes more or until the mixture is "set". Give the dish a jiggle, and if it still looks runny, pop it back in the oven. You want to take it out when the sides of the dish are firm and the center is mostly firm.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Of course all of the veggies in my recipe are just what I had in the fridge and the garden-- this recipe is so versatile you can experiment with whatever you've got on hand. Try using different types of cheese or different dried spices! I suggest you look at Mollie's recipe for a more Mexican-flavored dish, or try your own flavor combinations!

Here's to much more delicious summer eating...

June (baby) Showers

As our run draws to a close, the cast and crew of Forbidden Broadway decided to throw a surprise baby shower for our musical director Gina between shows on a rainy Saturday. The only room available in the building was the 4th floor rehearsal hall, so we had a true theater-style baby shower, complete with presents and food piled on top of prop tables!

Our set-up (can you tell she's having a boy?):

Gina was super surprised! After we ate some of the delicious food that everyone brought (we played the shower off as a company pot-luck to insure that Gina would stick around between shows) Gina got to open her gifts:

Me and the beautiful mother-to-be! It's getting harder and harder for her to reach the piano:

I couldn't have done it without the super-sneaky help of my two backstage elves, Melissa and Kate!
This has been such a great show and a great cast to end our season. I'm definitely looking forward to a break, but I will be sad to see this one close. We have one more week, so come and see it if you can!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Greyt Day

Hyde has been having lots of fun at our local dog park-- he's meeting all kinds of nice dogs that he loves to run and play with. Unfortunately today he had a little too much fun. Somewhere in the tussle he cut open his shoulder pretty badly. Greyhounds have notoriously thin skin, and this cut, although not caused by anything major, definitely needed stitches.

After his last round of mishaps, we decided that we weren't going to take him to our in-town vet. They are very sweet and obviously care a lot about animals, but they are HELLA expensive. So instead we called the place where we adopted him, the National Greyhound Adoption Program, or NGAP for short. They agreed to squeeze us in, so we piled into the old Subaru and took a ride to North Philly.

Of course they took great care of the Hyde-ster, but the real fun was getting to see all of the cute greyhounds:

These guys are just off the track. They were very excited to see us! Don't you just want to take one of these handsome dudes home with you?

Pet me! Pet me!!

But most importantly, we got our handsome boy all fixed up:
If anyone out there is considering adopting a dog, I can't recommend getting a greyhound enough. Hyde has changed our lives for the better-- he's the best friend and slobbery companion a girl could wish for.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

First Harvest

I had my first garden pickings today-- a jalapeno and some green beans!

(Sorry about the poor photo quality, because of my stupid broken viewfinder, I can't turn off the flash or zoom in on anything...)

I decided to make chili with my super-fresh veggies. I threw in some red bell peppers and some shredded carrots that were kicking around in the fridge to make it a super-duper supreme veggie chili:

And if I do say so myself, it was deeee-licious. I'm looking forward to much more from the little roof garden this summer...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Arty Farty

I had hoped to be 100% moved in and unpacked at this point.

Although Deb and I lived together before this apartment, we had never moved together. I moved in to the 2 Street apartment after she'd already been there for a year, and tried my best to incorporate my stuff with hers.

But this time was different. All of our stuff came to this empty space together, and we've been trying ever since to combine and compromise and get everything unpacked and in some semblance of order. Since we plan to live in this place for a long time, we have decided to make it really nice, really homey, really... adult.

You see, Deb and I have moved on average once a year for the past 10 years or so. College, summer stock, theater... it's been a transitory decade, that's for sure. And in each new place, we've thrown stuff up on the walls willy-nilly, knowing it wouldn't be there for long.

Well, all that's changing now. We're turning over a new leaf, see? We're adults now. Deb and I have decided to really make our apartment into a home that is full of cool and interesting art.

Now of course we don't have a lot of money, so we're being all kinds of crafty. To that end, I've been scouring our great city for some affordable art, and I've found that there's lots of it around. I discovered Dumpster Divers on South Street, a gallery that features art made from found and recycled objects. I bought a great little abstract painting on a slab of re-purposed wood for only $5! And I've become an etsy fanatic, buying one-of-a-kind pieces at great prices.

So slowly our walls are becoming a little less bare, and we've come up with several themes for our different rooms. The living room is becoming a pop-art and clock room, the kitchen is going to have a 40's diner theme, and we're going to adorn our hallway with as many photos and theater-related memorabilia as we can cram in. I'm taking suggestions for our bedroom and spare room-- any thoughts? And if anyone has a lead on affordable art, either in Philly or on the interwebs, I'd love to hear it.

Just one more tiny step towards true adulthood...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tony! Tony! Tony!

The American Theatre Wings 2009 Tony Awards were this past Sunday. I love the Tonys. I know many of you may be rolling your eyes at the sheer nerd-dom that is the Tony Awards, but I think they're wonderful. A great way to celebrate our industry, to showcase the best and the brightest in the theater world.

That being said, there were a few flaws in this year's award ceremonies. It's pretty amazing to me when corporate America intersects with the theater world-- most often, disaster results. Theater is such a fleeting, temporal art, best seen in the long view and best appreciated by a live audience. To film such an event, with close ups and commercials and other television trappings often results in a very wonky experience.

Take the opening number. What a nightmare. Listen for all of the missed mic pick-ups. Listen to the actress backstage warming up and being broadcast on live television. The arrangements are terrible. It's confusing and hard to tell what's going on. And oh, yeah, at the very end (watch for it!) some dumbass brought a huge piece of scenery down on top of Bret Michaels, breaking his nose. Seriously? Theater people, we can do much better than this. Check it out for yourself:

There were some highlights, though. Check out the performance of the new musical Rock of Ages. Technically very well done, lots of fun (love that shout-out to Michigan!) and best of all, our good buddy Paul Schoeffler is featured. (He's the dude in the suit on the end).

And I really enjoyed the performance of Billy Elliot as well. Billy Elliot swept the Tonys this year, taking home 10 awards. And watching this piece, it's not hard to tell why. Not to mention that another good buddy of ours, Jamie Torcellini, is featured in this performance. Go Jamie!

Another huge congratulations to Brian MacDevitt, winner of a Tony for Best Lighting Design of a Play. Brian is a graduate of my alma mater, SUNY Purchase, and even suffered to teach me and my fellow stage managers a few lighting design classes. (Thanks for bearing with us, Brian!) Congratulations also to Jen Schriever, my classmate at Purchase and good friend, for her part in the lighting design win.

All together, it was wonderful to watch our industry be celebrated on national television. I just hope next year they invest a little more into some of the technical aspects of the production.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Old Friends, New City

Right after my parents left, I welcomed visitors to our fair city of Philadelphia from my alma mater, Purchase College. More specifically, I graduated from the D/T program with fellow stage manager Leah McVeigh (far right) and spent a wonderful freshman year with Raz Barnea (center) before he decided that Purchase wasn't the right place for him.

The stars aligned in just the right way over Philadelphia to bring the three of us together: Leah was passing through on her way to her summer stock gig at Brevard Music Center and Raz was preparing to spend 2 years in Ghana as a member of the Peace Corps.

You know those people that you don't talk to for years, but then when you reconnect, it's like no time has passed at all? That's what it's like with Leah and Raz. It was wonderful to chat and catch up and wish each other well as the night came to a close and we all went our seperate ways again.

I'm already looking forward to our next reunion, when Leah can share her summer stock horror stories, Raz can talk about his time in Africa and I can catch everyone up on whatever it is that's going on in my life.

Until then, godspeed!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Live Free or Die

Today New Hampshire became the 6th in our nation to legalize same-sex marriage. Congratulations to all LGBT Granite State-ers! Full story here.

Come on, nation-- New England is really showing us how it's done! It's time to catch up.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Parent Trip

I spent the most lovely Monday with the two awesomest people on the planet: my parents.

They came down on Sunday and did a double feature, seeing The Producers in the afternoon and Forbidden Broadway in the evening. (Very supportive of them to sit through two shows in one day!) Between shows I took them to the annual Greek Festival at St George's Cathedral and we chowed down on some excellent soulvaki, spanakopita and those awesome, honey-drenched Greek donuts. We shared a shot of ouzo and had a great time. After the show, we took them to our new favorite neighborhood bar, The Devil's Den for some craft beers, delicious late-night food and some laughs. Mel and AJ saw the evening performance of Forbidden Broadway as well, so they joined us for our late night fun.

I was so happy that they decided to stay and hang out on Monday, when Deb & I were totally free. We met in the morning at our favorite breakfast spot, Morning Glory Diner, where we fueled up for the day.

After a stroll around the Italian Market where we purchased cheap sunglasses, fresh pasta and gourmet cheese, we headed uptown and checked out the Comcast building. We stood and gawked at the giant video screen for a while until Mom declared she needed a margarita. More than happy to oblige, we took them to El Vez for some tasty food and salty tequila drinks.

I even managed to convince Deb to take a picture with my busted camera (check out my new blonde 'do!):

I should note that Dad is holding up his Arnold Palmer here to prove that he doesn't need a margarita to be the life of the party...

Deb in her new Italian Market shades, looking cool:

Macho Nachos! Plus a little bit of my portobella mushroom burrito!

After El Vez, we wandered about some more and checked out some of the schmancy shopping along Walnut Street. Mom declared that she needed another margarita, so Deb and I decided to take her to our favorite trashy margarita joint, Copa on South Street. Bonus: margaritas are half off on Mondays!

Thoroughly lubricated from the booze, sunshine and freaky South Street people-watching, we bid Mom & Dad goodbye. (Thank goodness Dad decided to stick with his Arnold Palmers, otherwise they never would have made the ride home!)

All together, it was an absolutely lovely way to spend the day off. A huge thank-you to Mom & Dad for a wonderful day!