Saturday, May 25, 2013

I'm a Stranger Here Myself

Great news: Cabaret artist Mark Nadler's wonderful show about the music, history, and legacy of the Weimar Republic, I'm a stranger here myself, has been extended through June 9 at the York Theatre.

Nadler's a passionate singer and pianist who gives his all and then some--and, boy, does he have amazing stories to tell. Franca Vercelloni on accordion and Jessica Tyler Wright on violin provide haunting accompaniment, and the show features some of the strongest use of projections I've seen.

Despite excellent reviews, the show hasn't been selling out, so there are discount tickets available, but that could well change with the word of many mouths besides mine.

Powerful, moving, and occasionally hilarious, I'm a Stranger Here Myself is a show I won't soon forget (if ever)--and neither will you.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

New Greens

I'd never heard of minutina till I saw it at the
Two Guys from Woodbridge's stand at the Union Square greenmarket on a recent Saturday. With long, feathery leaves emerging from fat rootballs, it was irresistible. I bought a bunch and took it home.

Meanwhile, at another stand, I'd bought, also for the first time, a bunch of chickweed. After being told it was usually used in salads, I'd asked about whether it could be a substitute a kale or spinach in a stew. "Certainly," replied the boss of the stand.

Now, with a giant bunch of minutina in my bag, I figured I might as well use both greens when I made caldo verde that night.

But first I tasted both greens--found them mild and wild, with just a bit of tang, crunchy, and grassy.

Above: minutina, which weighed more than a pound, including the rootball. Below: chickweed, which weighed a bit less.

After the beans, chorizo, and onions had cooked a while, I added about a third of the chickweed (below), and stirred it in.

Next, I broke off about a third of the minutina leaves and tore them into thirds, then added them to the soup. (below).

Once I'd stirred in the minutina (above), it looked as if the soup might like more greens, so I added first more chickweed (below):

And then more minutina, which looked to me like Spanish moss, when I lifted a ladle to fill my bowl.

As it turns out, this wasn't my first taste of minutina. A couple of years ago, I'd bought a smaller bunch from a different vendor at the green market, who didn't know its name but said it tasted like spinach. I sauteed it in olive oil and garlic and folded it into an omelet (see my earlier post: Mystery Green).

Bidder 70

"Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul," said Tim DeChristopher, quoting Edward Abbey.

On December 19, 2008, in Salt Lake City, Utah, at a federal auction of oil and gas leases during the lame duck days of the Bush administration, DeChristopher, an economics student, turned his sentiment into action. Rather than joining the protest outside the auction--of parcels of public lands near Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and other sensitive areas--he entered the auction, and began bidding. By the time the auction was halted, he'd won parcels with bids amounting to $1.7 million--and bid up the prices of the rest.

The Obama administration eventually invalidated the auction, but nonetheless chose to prosecute DeChristopher.

Bidder 70, produced and directed by Beth and George Gage, tells DeChristopher's story, from his extraordinary action to his trial and its aftermath, and his influence on others, including the organization he co-founded, Peaceful Uprising--"committed to defending a livable future through empowering nonviolent action".

It's one of the most powerful, riveting, and potentially life-changing documentaries I've seen, and a labor of love on the part of the filmmakers.

You have till Thursday, May 23, to see Bidder 70 at the Quad in New York City.

After that, go to:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Next on my list. . . .

It's taken a mere decade, but Norman Spinrad's He Walked Among Us, first published in France, is finally available in an English hardcover from Tor (for a while Spinrad offered it on his website as a download). Jim just finished it, and I've got it--can't wait.

For reviews and other information (including Spinrad's forthcoming work), see