31 October, 2010

What I've Been for Halloween: A List

Now. When your mom is a professional costumer and you have constant access to the world of the theatre, Halloween becomes a really serious event. Costumes do NOT just come out of a bag. They build themselves over several weeks (if not months!) and take some serious shape.

Halloween is my favorite holiday-- especially spent here in America. The leaves, the smell of autumn, the dark magical quality. . . Happy Halloween all.


1. A BUNNY. [pictured. you are free to marvel at my cuteness...]

2. Alice (as in, in Wonderland)

3. Mary Poppins (fortuitous rain made the classic Poppins umbrella really effective as well as functional)

4. Football player

5. An angel

6. Tweedle-Dee

7. The Red Queen

8.  Peter Pan

9. Jem (from Jem and The Holograms)— and yes, I was truly truly truly outrageous…

10. Storm (from X-men)-- arguably the most outrageous Halloween party I've ever attended. A Superheros/Super-villains party on tour in Carousel while we were in Plymouth. It ended with almost universal cast and crew despair...

11. Dorothy (great memory of going out with Dad who wanted to be thematic and asked Mom for help with a homemade Tin Man costume of foil...)

24 October, 2010

Found: Book Inscriptions

Having recently received a full-on shipment of all my belongings from my lost home in Michigan, I took several days to pour over the contents of a lifetime's worth of boxes full of old yearbooks, childhood toys, embarrassing and heart-melting photo albums, trinkets, mixed tapes, love letters and most wonderfully of all-- the books. The books from the vestiges of my entire life.

But one of the most profound discoveries what what lay inside the books-- most often on the inner cover, sometimes on the title page: the inscriptions.

Isn't it amazing how book inscriptions can really mark and capture a moment in life so profoundly? Something so seemingly innocent and off-the-cuff can become a flag-in-the-ground kind of marker post of one's life. This was given to me on my 18th birthday, one thinks. I remember the way his eyes looked when he handed this to me. He loved me once, one recalls. Or, best of all, Oh, how I had nearly forgotten that...

Below, are a few of my favo(u)rites. Important, amusing, moving, or milestones.   

What are some of your best ever inscriptions?

And one for you.

Dear Reader,


Our Town by Thornton Wilder
"On August 17, 1999, This book was read by Alexandra 'Al' (she is a wonderful girl) to Jay (an ignorant boy) and she and it changed his life."

Illuminations by Walter Benjamin
14 May, 2010
"Dear Al, On the occasion of the lovely outing, one of my favorite essay collections. In particular 'Unpacking my Library' is one of the great love letters to books as emotionally endowed objects that I know. Love G." 
Tiger at the Gates by Jean Giradoux
March 1999

"My lovely Al,
Idolatry has always been funny to me. Idolatry in myself is the heartiest of all. This play is funny to me because I see myself in it. I see our best friends and most admired people in it. All of these make it a gem that I hope you'll value too. Giradoux. How can you go wrong? Truth. Love. Truth of not-love. All these, sparklingly present in the pages ahead. I think of you too when I read this. Thank you for the smiles and smirks you'll have turning the pages. I can see them. They make me happy. Mostly because they're shared. Celebrate love. Covet humor. Live truth. And please, enjoy this addition to your library and soul. 
Wrapped in love, 

The Ballet Russes  by Vicente Garcia-Marquez
12 October, 1990

"To Alexandra with all my profound love and affection, Vincente"

"To Alexandra, Nice fifth position. 
With all my love, 
Tatiana Raboushenskya"

Honey & Salt by Carl Sandburg
June 2003
"To Alexandra, may the little white bird always fly home to you , and nestle you under its wing. Everything, B" 

Routines by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
3 July 2001
"Happy Birthday Al! Today we celebrate your 18 years of LIFE! You have given us such joy, thank you. .. Love, 'Jom' & 'Jad'"

The World Doesn't End by Charles Simic
June 2001
"To my love, In memory of a beautiful Spring morning, and a secret rendezvous by the lake. Yours, JNF"

Acting by Richard Boleslavsky
3 July 1998

"To Alex on her very important birthday July 3, 1998! Constantin Stanislavsky founded the Moscow Arts Theatre in 1898-- one of his favorite pupils was Ricahrd Boleslavsky; this man came to the U.S (with Michael Chekhov, Maria Ouspenskaya, and Stanislavsky himself) in the 1930's and the Moscow Art Theatre played a series of plays in New York. They stayed on and started 'school' to teach the Russian philosophy of acting, amount their students was Valentine Windt who became professor of theatre at University of Michigan and who taught acting classes and directed shows. Lucy Chase and I studied with him for many years. This book was one of our text books and a favorite! So we are direct philosophical descendants of Stanislavsky and Boleslavsky! And you, my dear, are following right in the line of descent.
Happy Birthday,
LC and JB Stephenson"

Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman
 2 March 2009
"To Al Silber-- the writer, from L: her common reader"

Eloise: The Complete Collection by Kay Thompson
5 May 2002
"Alexandra, my truest of lovers... Love, as described by Sophocles is like the ice held fast in the fist of a child. I will hold on to you forever, and if you melt, I can drink a case of you and still be on my feet. Always, M"

and, my most treasured inscription,

The Museum at Purgatory by Nick Bantock
May 2008

"To Alexandra. Whose talent is matched only by her warmth and hunger for truth. May you stay forever young. N"

10 October, 2010

Visible Cities: A List

Just a few...

"Memory's images, once they are fixed in words, are erased," Polo said. "Perhaps I am afraid of losing Venice all at once, if I speak of it. Or perhaps, speaking of other cities, I have already lost it, little by little."
Detroit (Birmingham)...
...Traverse City (Interlochen)...
    ...Washington DC...
                                 ...New York...

"...what he sought was always something lying ahead, and even if it was a matter of the past it was a past that changed gradually as he advanced on his journey, because the traveler's past changes according to the route he has followed: not the immediate past, that is, to which each day that goes by adds a day, but the more remote past. Arriving at each new city the traveler finds again a past of his that he did not know he had: the foreignness of what you no longer are or no longer possess lies in waiting for you in foreign, not-yet-possessed places."
                                          -- Italo Calvino

07 October, 2010

I've Been...

On Kudish's boat. With Rebecca and the Kud. Yo.

to the San Gennaro Festival + first-ever cannoli + Ferris wheel = a totally surprising, possibly life-altering delight...

Settling in

getting a randomly dark tan in about 3 freakishly warm autumn days... causing Arielle to say "my, you look awfully Basque these days!"

really feeling the warmth and generosity of my friends.

watching two of my best friends get married
...and speaking in the ceremony... the greatest honor of all. 

juggling. literally and figuratively.

committing to New York City

kicking some serious bureaucratic ass

taking photographs again

finishing the book (*girl squeal*)

celebrating Kit's birth

going to art gallery openings (my how chic of me....)

making new friends

singing. a lot.

Self-respecting. (Word.)

planning the cabaret
....and literally dying from the incredible collaborative efforts shared with my musical soul-mate Mr. Andy Einhorn on said cabaret. (Don't miss it! We are such a lovely team!)


autumn leaf peeping in the Berkshires

oh, and riding on Kudisch's MOTORCYCLE.... another Yo.

loving my fire escape view of New York

eating a lot of breakfast for dinner

hanging paintings

reading more Russian literature than I can keep up with (thank you public library!)


really finding and feeling my power again

feeling that my connection to London and the West End is still strong and potent and loving and feeling so heartened by that.

going to the opening of Barbara Cook and Michael Feinstein's cabaret act (along with Judge Judy, The Fonz and Kathie Lee Gifford... fine....)

Getting well. For real. For good.


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