Do all the things

OK, still catching up, now we’re up to the end of October, beginning of the month.

This first year of widowhood is very much a process of just figuring it out as we I go along. C and I have always enjoyed a monthly string of events starting in late August and going through Valentine’s Day – and of course, I’m not only having to figure out how to celebrate without him, it feels deeply wrong to do so. Our wedding anniversary is the last day in August – I took myself out to dinner and raised a glass. My birthday’s at the end of September – I took myself to Ptown, and that was pretty successful. His birthday is a month later, the last week of October.

There had been some discussion this summer about celebrating his birthday with some sort of wake, particularly for the ‘old restaurant crowd’, the old and close friends he made when he was a waiter and sometime actor, back in the day before I showed up. But on discussion, we realized that most of that crowd had already been part of the funeral/grieving process and, frankly, I wasn’t up to hosting a party. But his two closest friends, Patti and Tessa, and I met for dinner the night before his birthday, for a small-scale quiet celebration. These are the people that were close enough to him t o admit to each other all the feelings – how pissed off we are at him that he left us, for instance. Anyway, it was nice and cathartic and private. And the next day, I took myself out for a nice lunch and had a glass of champagne, and raised it to the heavens, and kissed my wedding ring, as I do when I think about it.

Now I look ‘forward’ to the first Thanksgiving, Christmas, meetaversary and so on without him. *sigh*

Then I did all the things.

New York has a professional Gilbert & Sullivan company, NYGASP. I’ve never worked with them directly, but I’ve worked with most of their actors in informal concert settings and such, and they’re all great people and great performers. I’ve seen, I guess, about half the canon in NYGASP productions (plus oddities like an excellent Rose of Persia), and this season they did a weekend of The Gondoliers. I went to opening night on Friday. I don’t like the show as an evening of theater – but it’s a fantastic score and it’s great to hear it sung by excellent actors who understand the material. I had a great time and thought they did as good a job as you can do with that show – including making some normally-leaden scenes very lively and funny. So good on them.

The next day, my buddy Carol, a flute player friend of mine from college, came in for a visit. She lives outside of San Francisco now, but she loves NYC and Knows People enough to be able to score some great tickets. (on previous visits, she got us in to meet Elaine Stritch after “A Little Night Music”, and got us into the VIP section for the Late Show audience with Stephen Colbert.) So we had plans.

After arrival, settling in and stuff, and going out to dinner, we watched “Nope”. Carol had already seen it several times, was enthusiastic about wanting to see it again. I enjoyed it a lot, but am ashamed to say I was falling asleep on it at the end. It’s a weird movie, and I would like to see it again, preferably in the theater, because the gorgeous cinematography would benefit from the big screen.

For Sunday, new Drag Race fan (me) had proposed we go to see a show called “Night of the Living Drag” in Brooklyn. Hosted by Yvie Oddly, the queen who’d won the season of RPDR I’d just finished, was hosting, and there were seven other queens, playing the ‘7 deadly sins’. Well, all that sounded fine and fun, but it was in Brooklyn, which is a pain to get to from Queens on public transport.

But we decided to do it and make it a ‘Brooklyn day’. Carol hadn’t seen much of Brooklyn, and I don’t know it very well myself. We did it somewhat haphazardly – if we had been aiming for geographic sense, we would have ordered it differently, but we didn’t care. We started by subwaying to the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge, then walking over. It was a beautiful day, very warm. Of course the BB was crowded – it always is, because it’s iconic – but it was fine.

Ended up in Dumbo, where we stopped for brunch. I will say at this point, Carol has the best restaurant luck, it’s a gift. Time after time we’d find ourselves in a situation where there was a line out the door waiting for tables (which normally would send me off to find a different restaurant), but we’d get in line and instantly, ten tables of people would get up and leave and we’d get seated right away. We were eating small – Carol just had a bowl of soup and I had a piece of carrot cake, but it was yummy. Walked around Dumbo for a while, then decided to go to Williamsburg.

There’s no good way to get to Williamsburg from Dumbo via public transit, so I just summoned an Uber and picked a touristy destination to aim for. We took the BQE, and when we came off the exit into Williamsburg, I realized that we were right by (and could clearly see) the spot where I had my bike accident last year, when I broke my collarbone. “Aha, we meet again!” I cried. Anyway, explored a craft mall, walked around the funky streets of Williamsburg, went in other stores and so on. Could have had dinner there, but decided to see what was near the theater instead.

The Kings Theatre is in Flatbush (a neighborhood I’m unfamiliar with), right south of Prospect Park. My vague perusal of Google Maps showed that there were restaurants there, but once we arrived, turned out it was a somewhat depressed neighborhood and all the restaurants were pizza takeouts and Taco Bell and such. It was dark now, and I didn’t feel all that comfortable walking around, but we went a few blocks east and found what looked like the only sit-down honest-to-god restaurant around. It was called Golden Blue, and looked like it might be Chinese, but we went in and sat. The only white people there, clearly out of our element, but they were very friendly. It turned out to be a Haitian restaurant.

It was an odd mix of really good food and terrible drinks. I got a glass of wine – they had more than one Pinot Grigio, and I ordered one, but it was gawdawful and (worse) warm. Carol got a can of Diet Coke, but it was off, probably expired. We told them about it and stressed over and over again that Carol didn’t want another one, we just wanted it off the bill, but they brought another one anyway, oh well. Carol got barbecued chicken, which apparently was delicious (I didn’t try it), but, with the sides, was a lot of food. I lucked out with a pair of shrimp skewers that were delicious and just the right amount of food.

Off to the drag show. The theater was gorgeous (and huge). We were sitting in the orchestra, pretty far back, but on the aisle, nice seats. Lots of patrons dressed up in drag and other fun outfits (this was the night before Halloween). The show started pretty late, and we were startled how consistent the traffic was during the entire first half, with people getting up and coming back from the bathroom and bar during the show. But it was fun. Yvie Oddly basically did a Beetlejuice impersonation as host, and was very funny. There were seven queens who each did their own production number as a ‘deadly sin’. For instance, Kim Chi, who I’d seen on RPDR, was “Gluttony”. That was pretty bad, actually, she couldn’t really move, but she had dancing chorus boys with her. Other queens we got to see were Bosco, Aquaria, and the omnipresent Miss Vanjie, and some of them were excellent. There was some really good dancing. The numbers were all lipsynched, and there were video projections behind. I thought it was fun, but overly loud and we were sitting too far back to see really clearly. At one point, Yvie went into the audience and pulled out three volunteers to ‘audition as dancers’, and that was a cute bit. The ‘audition music’ turned out to be things everyone knows, like the Macarena and the Time Warp. One of the audience members pulled up was dressed as RuPaul in her ‘drag race referee’ outfit, so Yvie just kept referring to her as Mama Ru.

So, it was fun, but I don’t know if I’d rush to go back to that sort of thing again.

As feared, the show lets out and it’s now like 11:00 on a Sunday night, and everyone including us is summoning Ubers and then trying to find their Ubers. But we got ours and it didn’t take that long to get home once we got in the car.

Coming up! Into the Woods, The Banshees of Inisherin and more!

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