Monthly Archives: May 2008

Who's Going to James Taylor at Tanglewood?

There may not be much glory in my job, but there are some perks…like two out-of-the-blue lawn tickets (and a parking pass!) to James Taylor’s sold-out July 4th concert at Tanglewood. There will be fireworks and 18,000 people there.

Are any of you going? Can I come to your glamorous Tanglewood picnic like the one pictured above? I could bring something fancy, like this. Or not.

Also, I haven’t yet given away the extra ticket, so I hereby announce the first Gina’s Blog of Curiosities Sweepstakes. If you would like to be entered into a random drawing to be my date to the James Taylor concert, please send me an e-mail at ginahyams @ by Sunday, June 15, 5pm. Winner will be announced at approximately 5:01pm that day. Annalena will certify that I actually close my eyes before I reach into the bag or hat or whatever to pull the winning name.

Hello, Neighbors

Well, yesterday’s off-the-cuff (off-the-wall?) review is generating more local traffic to this blog than usual…hello, neighbors. It’s a little unnerving, as my worlds rarely collide.

Michael Pollan moved with his family from Connecticut to California about the time we made the reverse move. I’m told that he’s explained the difference between the cultures by describing how in New England you might see someone everyday at the post office and after ten years they might consider inviting you to tea, whereas in California you meet someone at a school PTA function and they immediately invite you to their home to try out their new hot tub.

My fantasy of small town New England life involved lots of pie. Neighbors would welcome us with pie. There would be lots of occasions for pie. I’d learn to bake. Suffice to say that hasn’t happened and if any of you would care to introduce yourselves, I’d be happy to meet you.

Theater as Spa Treatment, Part Two

James Barry, Jonathan Epstein, and Tommy Schrider in the BTF production of Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker, directed by Eric Hill. Photo by Kevin Sprague.

“Aston is a mess. Mick is a mess. Davies is a mess. Put them all together and you have an even bigger mess. You also have Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker.”

–Michael Eck, Albany Times Union

“Nothing happens [in The Caretaker] except that somehow it does.”

Noël Coward

I woke up this morning feeling like I’d been rolfed by BTF’s production of The Caretaker. The odd thing is that I felt dispassionate while experiencing the play last night. Objectively, I thought the acting, directing, and production values were unassailably excellent, but I didn’t find the comedy particularly funny and I didn’t understand why the play itself mattered (even though I’d written a press release touting it as “a landmark of 20th century drama”).

But this morning I woke up with Pinter’s language still buzzing inside my veins, feeling like the enigmatic power shifts that happened between the characters somehow realigned my meridians or chakras or something, like the play caused something to blow open in me on a cellular level.

Summer Toes

Blazing lilacs, azaleas, hot “I’m India Mood for Love” pink toenails. Last week I finally took the snow tires off the car. The east coast verb “to summer” is not in my vocabulary, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at my feet. They’re on vacation even if the rest of me is not.

Of All The Things: Dennis Lambert Documentary

I loved, loved, loved Of All The Things, a documentary about songwriter/producer Dennis Lambert whose ‘70s and ‘80s hits included “Ain’t No Woman Like The One I’ve Got,” “Rhinestone Cowboy,” “Don’t Pull Your Love,” “Baby Come Back,” “One Tin Soldier,” “Nightshift,” and perhaps most infamously, “We Built This City,” among dozens more. He had chart-toppers in almost every genre of music — at one point four of his songs were simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, a feat previously accomplished only by The Beatles.

That was then. Today, he’s a 60-year-old family man selling real estate in Florida. But it turns out his obscure 1972 solo album is huge…in the Philippines. A Filipino concert promoter had been begging Lambert to tour for decades, and in 2007 (35 years after the release of his album) he finally agreed.

Of All The Things is a pop/rock/country/R&B documentary that follows Lambert on his whirlwind tour as he rediscovers his passion for music — a two week adventure that takes him from the comforts of Boca Raton, through the remote outer islands of the Philippines, to a sold-out show at Manila’s Araneta Coliseum for thousands of fans he never knew he had.

The film was directed by his son, Jody Lambert. It’s hilarious and profoundly moving and inspiring and I predict will have a distribution deal soon. I don’t know if it’s listed yet on Netflix, but once it is and/or if it comes to your town: See it.

Book Launch 2.0

This video by Dennis Cass is funny and all too true.

Berkshire International Film Festival

It’s BIFF weekend. We have tickets to see a movie Friday night and then four more on Saturday. Woo hoo. Can’t wait.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom

Dear Mom,

It’s true. Art and travel are the solutions to every problem.

With love and gratitude,

Backyard Dogwood in Bloom

A Note from Kim Sunée

Kim wrote last night that she hasn’t forgotten about that promised blog interview. Really, it’s fine…I don’t want this blog to be stressful for me or anybody else…but I appreciated her note and since I know many of you are stumbling upon this blog by searching on her name (almost as many as who are looking for Jello recipes and chocolate games), I’ll share her news.

She’s now in Korea appearing on a television show that tries to reunite adoptees with their birth families.

“It has been an emotional journey so far. I had to ‘audition’ for the adoptee show and, standing in front of the azaleas in a perfectly manicured garden, I felt like an orphan all over again–as if I had to prove I was worthy of being ‘chosen.’

On a lighter note, I met a Japanese chef in Itaewon who uses his cellars not for fermenting vegetables, but for curing duck prosciutto.

Today I am visiting the Star of the Sea orphanage and the markets…then on to meet a national treasure–a woman in her 70s who is the last to know the recipes of ‘the King’s Cuisine.’ It seems the king did not want to be known as a savage so all of his food was minced and hidden among the leaves of cabbages and lotus leaves.

I’m not a good ‘blogger’ but I am trying to post now and then on my site, mainly when I am not able to sleep–like every moment of every day since I’ve been here…

Monday, I will be doing press conferences for the Korean edition of my book. The Korean title is Recipes in the Age of my 30’s (even though it’s about my 20’s): Provence in the middle of Summer, I was a lonely traveler, though I always had Love.

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