Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Things Are Slowing Down

Well, that was interesting.  About ten minutes after that last post, the phone rang, and it was John and Jeanne asking me out for a I hopped in the fastest shower ever and grabbed a cab and met them at the Bistro.  Unfortunately, I hung out after they left, which was a mistake...ah, well.

So I skipped Jiggers' set on Thursday night, but went to the other band's set on Friday.

And then it was Saturday and Fair Day!  As always, piles of old friends to say hello to...fellow PS41 parents, old drinking buddies, and the roving band at our table.  Then for reasons that are entirely unclear to me (probably having to do with going to the Bistro after the Fair, not to mention all that beer AT the Fair), it seemed like a wonderful notion to join Sarah and friends to go up to 118th Street to see our friends for their last porch party before they move out to Brooklyn.  It was fun...and I almost managed to stay awake in the car service coming home.  Frankly, it'll be easier to get to them, or at least easier to get home from them, when they move to Brooklyn.  Given that I live on the Lower East Side, the Williamsburg Bridge is MUCH faster than the FDR. 

And since then?  Nothing, nada, nil.  This is probably a good idea, actually...I've been having nice long naps which I probably need after all this bouncing around.

Tonight I actually cooked myself a decent meal (as opposed to just sort of grabbing something)...I got some asparagus, and a little steak, and I cooked a potato, and it was lovely, thank you.  As usual, I read a cookbook while eating, and I ran across something that I don't think I ever noticed before in my old 60s Gourmet cookbook...which, as we all know, is a positive motherlode of things nobody in their right mind would ever do, such as stuffing black olives with a pastry tube. 

This one is a take on deviled eggs.  You stuff pitted black olives with creamed blue cheese.  Put one olive in each egg white and fill the egg white with finely chopped pimento.  Cover the rim of the egg with butter mixed with chopped parsley and dust with paprika.  Stud generously with toasted slivered almonds.  ARE THESE PEOPLE INSANE?

First of all, what do you do with the egg yolks?  This being Gourmet, I'm gonna presume that you mix them with truffles or some damn thing and stuff them into something else.  But never mind the egg yolks.  Who in their right mind stuffs an olive with anything, except those nice manufacturers who have nice big factories to do it?  (I'm partial to anchovy stuffed olives myself.)  The pimento sounds okay, I guess, but covering the rim of the egg with butter?  How would you do this?  I imagine you use another pastry tube...I mean, you wouldn't want to break your insane momentum by having to wash the one you used to stuff those olives, right?  But HOW?  The rim of a hard boiled egg white is pretty thin, or at least it is when I hard boil eggs for deviling.  And unless you're serving these on a bed of ice, wouldn't the butter start to get awfully soft?  This sounds messy to eat, but perhaps they mean it to be a plated first course at the table.  I guess the ladies of the era were just grateful that Gourmet didn't suggest doing this recipe using three dozen of those tiny quail eggs.  But honestly...

Ah, well, this is not now nor will it EVER be my problem.  If I hard boil eggs, I use mustard, mayo, salt and pepper, pickle relish, and maybe a pinch or so of curry powder, mash it all together with a fork and throw it in the egg whites with a teaspoon.  There.  Done.

And Carolyn, Adrian is Sarah's most recent boyfriend, who is a very nice guy...nice and mellow, which is a good contrast for my kid, who tends toward Speedy Gonzalez.  He even seems to enjoy our cross-talk comedian conversations, unlike Seth, a previous boyfriend, who would always sit around totally bemildred, having NO idea what we were talking about.

And to the rest of my readers..."bemildred" is not a typo, it's a childhood joke.  So there.

With any luck, I'll have something more interesting to say the next time I post...and if all else fails, there's always the vanity press page in the Book Review on Sunday, or another old cookbook to mine.

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

All Kinds of A Social Life

Well, talk about your social whirl!  My social whirl, actually.  Or it looks pretty whirly to me, since my usual activities in that direction consist of going to Sarah's Brooklyneer job (a different bar...she's not at the Bistro any more) once a week.  The Brooklyneer, by the way, is in Manhattan...don't ask.

So the day after my Boardwalk stint, I went off to a bar in Soho called Boom, which is a place I happen to basically dislike.  The reason is that I only ever go there when my pal Tracey is in town, and since she now lives near Rome, I only get to see her about once a year.  Therefore, I would like to be able to sit and catch up with her know, have a conversation.  However, Tracey's taste in bars is loud, crowded and expensive, which makes this difficult.  But since this is her favorite place in NY, I just bite the bullet.  Luckily, this time around we at least (me and Philippe and a friend of his and acquaintance of mine named Angel, and a couple of friends of Angel's, one of whom was a former Miss Atlanta and a darling gal) got a table fairly far away from the live band, so at least I didn't have to scream (much) to be heard.  At any rate, a good (if expensive...who charges 8 bucks for a lousy bottle of Budweiser?) time was had by all.

Then on Friday, my pal Jiggers was playing at the Bistrto, so I went to hear him.  He had brought his drummer with him, Jon, but unfortunately Jon had been on a tear for a few days and played the first couple of numbers with Jiggers, but then proceeded to fall off his drum set, which enlivened the performance no end.  Jiggers convinced him that going home (or at least somewhere else) was probably a good idea.

Quiet weekend, then a stint with the lawyer on Monday which couldn't have been worse timing.  I had been mentioning to Sarah that I had a yen for ham...good, home baked ham.  I hate that thin sliced flabby deli stuff, and somehow I never seem to get over to the Polish butcher on 2nd Avenue who has the good ham.  So Sarah replied by asking 10 people to dinner for Monday.

Yes, Sunday was occupied by grocery shopping followed by making what in our house is called P.S. 41 salad, because it's the macaroni salad recipe I always made every year for Sarah's grammar school potluck, and baking two large chunks of ham.  This was because I know from experience that ham goes VERY fast in my since I couldn't get a 16 pound half ham, which is what I was looking for, I got two shank halves just under 10 pounds each.  If this sounds like overkill, you have to understand that we have one friend at least (who unfortunately wasn't at dinner) who can go through a 10 pound ham singlehandedly. 

So Sarah and Adrian came over Monday while I was at work and put together green salad and deviled eggs and got cheese and various breads and crackers...and I came home for the festivities.

Dear Sarah.  She someone managed to collect a group of her absolutely best...vegan and vegetarian friends.  This was certainly not's just the attrition that occurs whenever you invite a largeish group over for what is essentially a sort of casual potluck type meal in Manhattan.  Now if anyone can tell me what the hell to do with the remaining, UNTOUCHED almost ten pound ham...actually, I know what I'm going to do with it, which is slice it up and freeze it in meal size portions.  Luckily, as stated above, I LOVE ham.  Anyway, we had a lovely time.

Then I did nothing whatsoever for the rest of the week until Friday, when my friends John and Jeanne arrived in town and I met up with them at an art show in a bar in my neighborhood...Jeanne's son is an artist.  We had a great time; John's an old acting pal and I love Jeanne dearly, but they live in LA now, so obviously casual nights out together are a little difficult.  Actually, I see more of Jeanne than I do of John these days, since her son has been in art school here and she's in a lot more frequently than John is.  And Larry joined us...another part of the acting crew that includes me and John.  We all met doing a perfectly awful production of Richard III, and like soldiers who fought a war together, we remained friends.  I was so glad to see Larry.  For madly complicated reasons (short version...we dated for a while and he thought that I wanted a firm commitment, which I didn't, and now he refuses to be friends in the sense that he never calls, or answers emails, or anything because he thinks...God knows what he thinks). I never get to see him unless someone else arranges it (i.e., a Richard reunion or John being in town), and I love him dearly.

And finally, Mother's Day turned up.  Sarah and Adrian took me to brunch in Brooklyn, followed by a stop at their home bar there, followed by a stop at another bar, so I got to see all kinds of our friends and had a lovely day (I got a little blurry around the third bar)...but unfortunately, I had to go work for the lawyer the next day, without which I could have done.  I felt VILE.  Whatever happened to those days when I could drink tequila (not that I was drinking tequila...I'm a little odd, but not flying INSANE) and get to a job at 9 the next morning and feel fine?  This aging thing is just no fair.

Tomorrow I should go and see Jiggers at the Bistro again, but maybe not.  I've got to be there on Friday anyway for my favorite band, and then Saturday is the best street fair in the Village, whch NOBODY misses.

I tell you (pace Satchel Paige), the social ramble ain't restful.

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Being Bizarre on the Boardwalk

What a weird damn day.

You have to understand that everybody who works on Boardwalk Empire loves it to pieces.  It is the best set in the world to work on...runs like clockwork, you're treated like a human being, wonderful food, great people.  Well, today the whole thing fell an extent, anyway.

We were shooting in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a self report location (you don't get a courtesy van/bus from Manhattan).  Well, that was fine, because the shoot was directly under the subway stop (the trains are elevated out there) and holding was a short three blocks away.  I was due at 5:30 pm (yeah, 5:30 in the evening), but I got there very early because I don't know the area very 4:15 or so.  So once they saw there were a few people there, they started rushing us into costume, hair and makeup because evidently the director wanted to rush the first scene through.  This was fine, but for some reason it ended me up getting my hair done 3 times.  First they wanted me immediately, and decided I was going to wear my original shawl over my head, so they just pulled my hair into a bun.  Then they decided they had more time and started with the hot rollers.  Then they found out that Lisa wanted me to wear the hat instead of the shawl, so now we had to go with the full dress hair, with all the hot rollers.  Before that, my Asian girlfriend whose name I never remember did a lightning fast makeup job on me.

Now they decide we're going to set, so since I was only wearing a heavy sweater, I grabbed my coat.  And my purse, since nobody had brought the prop purses yet.  Then we went over to set, and I was put in a scene and taken right back out of it and told to go back to holding.  This, I think, was when the last hair stuff came up.  Then they issued me a coat, which was much appreciated because it was damn chilly outdoors today.

Anyway, me and a few other people hung out in holding and then suddenly they called lunch, and vanned us over to lunch...which was held in the same place where I was in holding last week for that ghastly Iceman shoot.  Luckily, this time it was warm and we had gorgeous fried shrimp and roast beef and tiny pastries and things (the food was not in the least affected by the general weirdness of the day, thank God).

Then back to set and down to the slog of filming until we were wrapped at 1:30 in the morning.  And vanned back to the city...and the nice bus driver even let a few of us off at Allen and Houston, which meant I was practically home.  Yay!

But in the middle of all this, two of the background guys had some sort of altercation, two neighborhood guys tried to bull their way through the set while we were filming and threatened the crew guy who told them they couldn't, and weirdest of all, a large group of the Hasids who live in that area decided to watch us.  That was entirely strange.  They stood there, probably 15 or 20 of them and the occasional wife, in their black and white clothing and those tall crowned hats and their side curls, and I couldn't figure out why.  Frankly, there are few things duller than watching a crowd scene being filmed.  Would you stand around for hours watching people walk back and forth?  What was worrying me about it is that the Williamsburg Hasids are known for not co-existing very well with the hipsters of the neighborhood, to the point of occasional violence, and I was frankly afraid that they would decide that the film was doing some sort of damage to their holy neighborhood and rush us...and it didn't help that they were on all sides of us.  It waas beginning to make me twitch, but that may have been a function of the fact that the third hair style didn't work very well with the damn hat, which kept sliding down to the bridge of my nose, thus rendering me even blinder than I normally am on set (no glasses).

However, the gods eventually smiled on us.  We wrapped, as I said, got on the bus for home, and just as we pulled away, it started to rain.  As we came off the Williamsburg Bridge into Manhattan, the rain turned into a full-fledged thunderstorm...BUT IT DIDN'T HAPPEN WHEN WE WERE FILMING!

Meanwhile, I occupied my time before going to Brooklyn by being a very good little girl.  I have now paid my rent, cable, telephone, electricity, Actors Equity dues and SAG/AFTRA dues.  Aren't I great?

Here's to a better shoot next time...

Love, Wendy