Sunday, September 23, 2012
The Great Wallingford Wurst Festival. This benefit for St. Benedict Catholic School has been held annually for the past 30 years, and according to the school website, it attracts 10,000 visitors.There's a lot more than wurst there, but that's what Chris and Oscar started their fair experience eating, while I opted for a grilled salmon sandwich. There are also burgers, hot dogs, ceasar salad, corn on the cob, pasta, Filipino food and a seriously giant bake sale that even includes soft serve ice cream.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Memphis the musical, you're not alone. I hadn't either, but savvy musical-theater types probably know that it won the Tony award for Best Musical in 2010, and had 1,166 Broadway shows, ending its run this August. In terms of story, it reminds me of both Dreamgirls and Hairspray, tracing the injection of 1950s soul music into mainstream cognizance. Memphis also has a mixed-race romance between Felicia, a black singer, and Huey, a white exuberant hillbilly DJ who brings her talent to the Memphis radio airwaves. Memphis was at the 5th Avenue Theater in 2009, before it hit Broadway, and returns tweaked and presumably improved. The vocal talent in the show blew me away--the quality by far is the best I've seen in Seattle to date. I was enamored of deep-voiced Horace Rogers, who plays Felicia's protective brother, Delray, and of Julie Johnson, who plays Huey's cantankerous racist mother. For me, the writing and music didn't shine as much as the performers. The songs didn't stick with me, and the story felt derivative, even though it's based loosely on a real Memphis DJ. I mean, if you're making a musical it totally makes sense to base it on music history, but because Dreamgirls and Hairspray are so entrenched in my musical consciousness, it can't help but pale in comparison. The romance part of the story, which should have brought me to tears, amazingly didn't. I tried to figure out why, and it might just come down to the fact that I really didn't like Huey's hick-like accent. It didn't sound like the people I know from Tennessee; I don't know if it was authentic to his uneducated, mid-century lower-class character or not. Either way, I felt cheated out of what should have been some cathartic heart-wrenching drama. That said, I highly, highly recommend this show! It's well-staged and the singing and dancing are exceptional. Catch it in Seattle through October 7. A nationwide tour is underway, so you can see it in other cities as well; check the schedule here.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Sky City Restaurant, located atop Seattle's most iconic landmark. Soon after I moved here, my neighbor recommended that I eat lunch there if I wanted to go up to Space Needle's observation deck, because admission is included with a meal, and the price to get to the observation deck alone was a steep $19. It was good advice, and my lunch was great. But since Chris was working, he missed out, and he's the biggest Space Needle fan in the family. So last weekend we returned for brunch to celebrate Chris's birthday, and it was fantastic. It's $49.95 per adult ($15.95 for kids), so not cheap, but then again, I wasn't hungry for the rest of the day. Also, Chris had joined the restaurant's Celebration Club, and received a certificate for a free brunch, so it ended up being merely expensive instead of ridiculous. And anyway, the food was fantastic. The veggies in my scrambled egg were amazingly flavorful. The orange juice is fresh squeezed. The silver is replaced as you use it. Lovely! Brunch includes a starter, a main course, and a dessert, as well as juice, coffee, and an assortment of breads. Unlike at some fancy restaurants, portions are generous, so beware. Here's our food. Starter: Tomato bisque:
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Groupon deal: $15 for $30 worth of of 'Zaw pizza. When you cash in your Groupon, you get a punch card for $10 off on three pizzas, and you have to use it on three visits. Of the pizza I've tasted in Seattle over the past year, 'Zaw is my favorite. Here's how much I love 'Zaw: My oven was broken for the entire summer, and the only reason this irritated me is that I couldn't get 'Zaw pizza, because you have to bake it at home. I recently had the oven repaired and got two 'Zaw pizzas that week. What makes 'Zaw so good? First off, you can order it on the Internet and choose a pick-up time. Second, you could also have it delivered (they use bikes or scooters to have less negative environmental impact). Third, their produce and tomato sauce is organic, and they use local suppliers. But most importantly, their pizzas are interesting and delicious. There are so many combinations I'd like to try: Farmstand Veggie with oven-roasted summer squash, walla walla onions, large summer tomato slices, and mozzarella on ruby red sauce, finished with parmesan, basil, and fresh ground pepper; Cowardly Apricot with chicken breast, two styles of apricots, basil, and caramelized onion, with gorgonzola and mozzarella on an olive oil-painted crust; Shroom Fest with gently sautéed portabella, button, and crimini mushrooms, roasted red onion, fresh thyme, garlic, and asiago and mozzarella. But I love the Big Fat Greek (spinach, sundried tomatoes, roasted garlic, kalamata olives and free-range marinated chicken served on a base of housemade pesto, feta and mozzarella, with fresh oregano on top) so much that I keep ordering that one. And in case you were wondering, there are lots of meaty options as well.
Friday, August 24, 2012
Acro-cats show now playing at Stone Soup Theatre. What about a cat standing on its hind legs, holding up one paw next to a sign that says "Who's Number One?" Yep, these are the kind of insanely cute tricks performed by owner Samantha Martin's troupe of cats, ranging from adoptable kittens to old hands. Samantha is a cat-lover turned trainer, and if you're all up in arms about cats being forced to perform, you should know that she rescues and fosters cats, and finds "forever" homes for them. She uses the clicker/treat reward system of training, and the "tricks" are based on normal cat behaviors. The Stone Soup Theater is quite small, so it really does feel like you're watching the show in Samantha's living room. (In fact, she told the audience that all the props and gear in the show are actually her living room furnishings.) Anyway, it's pretty hard to get a cat to do anything it doesn't want to do, so I didn't feel bad at all for them--and I hate zoos and circuses that keep animals in captivity. These domestic cats seem happy. Back to the show: Along with the cats, there are a few rats, a couple of chickens, and a groundhog(?!) who rides in a wagon pulled by an RC car. There's also a cacophonous music segment, with cats playing guitar, keyboard, drums, chimes, cowbell, and a chicken playing tambourine and cymbals. The show's in Seattle until September 1, so go see it! A couple of insider tips: You can buy tickets at at the door no problem (at least last night), but I recommend getting there early so you can get a front-row, center seat AND so you can listen to the cat-themed music before the show ("Stray Cat Strut" by The Stray Cats, "Year of the Cat" by Al Stewart, and so on). Also, this is one place you won't be out of place wearing that cat sweatshirt your grandma gave you, or your Halloween cat ears (but if you forget them, you can buy some at the show!)
Thursday, August 23, 2012
ZooTunes concert: Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue. It was sold out, and the lawn at the Woodland Park Zoo was packed with picnic blankets and folding chairs. You can bring a kid, free, with each paid ticket, and it's an early show (doors open at 5; concert starts at 6), so it's very family-friendly, if not job-friendly. I love the sound of horns, so I was excited to listen to Trombone Shorty. Since they're from New Orleans, I was expecting more of a New Orleans jazz sound, but they had a much more modern vibe; there was even a Nirvana song in their set (in honor of Seattle, maybe?). Since I was sitting in the back with friends and kids, it was much more like being at a picnic than at a concert, but it was fun nonetheless! We brought food, but there are also concessions, and the carousel is running to entertain the kiddies. Parking is an issue, though, so be forewarned. We had a three-block walk back to the car, which might be an issue if you're carrying a toddler, chair, and picnic basket. ZooTunes has some great concerts--I would have loved to have seen Pink Martini, which played two shows earlier this summer. But there's still one show left this season: Rosanne Cash on August 29. As of today, there are still tickets!
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Sunday, August 5, 2012
1965 movie starring Lesley Ann Warren and ultra-handsome Stuart Damon on TV when I was a kid and loved it. I think I only got to see it once or twice, but one of those times I tape-recorded it (yes, on cassette tape) so I got to listen to the music repeatedly. Why this movie wasn't in more frequent rotation is a mystery to me, because it's got great music and lyrics and wonderful comedic twists to make it more entertaining than sappy. Just check out this clip of the stepsisters on YouTube! (This movie was remade with Whitney Houston and Brandy in 1997, but I never saw that one.) I got to relive this childhood memory yesterday with my nearly 4-year-old friend and princess-lover Isla yesterday (and her mom!) at Snoqualmie Falls Forest Theater. Like the Kitsap Forest Theater, it's a tiny outdoor amphitheater--which stayed a perfectly comfortable temperature on a sweltering day yesterday. It has a nice intimate feel, and holds only about 275 people. This is great for kids since it's not as overwhelming as a large theater can be, and the actors can interact with the audience. When the prince and his pages were looking for the owner of the glass slipper, they tried it on some audience members before they found Cinderella's home!
Sunday, July 8, 2012
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
It's summer! One of my favorite things to do in the summer back in Oakland was to pack a picnic and watch cheesy musicals at the local outdoor amphitheater. I really miss that place! So when I saw a flyer for Kitsap Forest Theater, I knew I had to check it out. This past weekend we made the trip to see my very favorite musical, Fiddler on the Roof. We had a crazy busy morning and barely caught the ferry to Bremerton, but made it to the Kitsap Forest Theater in plenty of time to buy tickets, snacks, and rent cushions for the terraced earth seats. There were hot dogs, chips, and candy for sale, but we were really jealous of the elaborate picnic lunches some of the other patrons had brought with them. It's a good thing I ate a big breakfast. In short, I think taking the time to pack a nice picnic lunch is definitely mandatory for next time. The trail down to the theater opens at 1 p.m., and the shows start at 2 p.m. The winding path through the woods to the amphitheater was lovely, and charmingly decorated with vignettes from the play. A men's hat with a bottle on it, a wedding canopy, a set of glasses for toasting l'chaim.... The day was pretty sunny, but the surrounding fir trees provided shade so the temperature was perfect. I imagine it would be pretty miserable in the rain, though! And the play! Well, the singing and dancing definitely wasn't the best ever, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. I cried when the cast sang "Sunrise, Sunset" during Motel and Tzeitel's wedding. I cried when the Russians disrupted the wedding and ruined their gifts. I cried when Hodel took the train to Siberia to join Perchik. I cried when Tevye says Chava is dead to them because she married outside of the Jewish faith. And of course I cried when the villagers were forced to leave Anatevka. I've seen this movie and play so many times that I can practically recite it word for word. (And I recognized every time the play script deviated from the movie one.) You'd think my familiarity with the plot would make me less sensitive to it, but it actually seems to work the opposite way! After the play, we hiked down to see the "Big Tree," one of the oldest trees on the Kitsap Peninsula. The hike was fairly strenuous, but just 13 minutes each way. If you've seen a lot of redwood trees, you might not be that impressed, but it is a big, tall tree. Anyway, after the hike and a stop at Dairy Queen, we caught the ferry back to Seattle. It was well past dinner time when we were back in the city, so seeing a play at the Kitsap Forest Theater is definitely an all-day event for us. Even so, we're going to try to return for the next production there: Footloose, showing on July 28-29 and August 4-5 11-12, and 18-19.