W42ST Daily 5/19/2020

My friend Matt and I have been cooking again – he from his Little New York Kitchen, and me from mine, thanks to the wonders of FaceTime. On the menu: Timmy’s Balls (thanks to Timmy for the recipe.) Little balls (well, mine were more like squares) of eggplant deliciousness, they were probably the tastiest thing I’ve had in my mouth since lockdown (especially when snatched, piping hot, from the skillet).

And, if you don’t count the momentary panic over the lack of a blender (it’s OK, turns out my roommate’s Ninja did the trick), me forgetting to roast the beans with the rest of the veg (oops), and the fact that it took all weekend to chip a congealed brown gunge that didn’t look dissimilar to elephant dung off said Ninja’s blades, they were an unmitigated success. Hurrah!

But whose idea was it to make carrot “bacon”? Clearly Matt hadn’t got that memo: simple recipes, few ingredients, no more than two pots to wash. I’m sill not sure what liquid smoke is. Surely $8 is a lot for the world’s smallest bottle of maple syrup? And don’t get me started on all that shredding, and carefully laying the strips of carrot on the baking sheet, and covering with sugar, and painstakingly watching over it to ensure it doesn’t burn. It’s all way too much work for this reluctant cook. What’s wrong with ACTUAL bacon anyway?

In the end, we both both got bored and hung up. I turned the stove off and went out to enjoy the sunshine.

Several lifetimes (or a few hours – I lost count) later, I returned. Ravenous, I tore into the “bacon” – now a cold, crispy, candy-flavored gloop, burned onto the base of a Pyrex dish. In that moment I knew that, even if I never hold a spatula again, I had reached the zenith of my culinary powers. This, friends, was the reason God invented carrots.

Next week, we’re tackling Indian food (thanks to Henry for the recipe). It’ll be a hard act to follow.

“Homeless + hungry. Anything helps.” The hastily scrawled message on old cardboard can’t even begin to spell out the scale of human misery and desperation behind it.

To acknowledge the individual behind the sign is to risk acknowledging our own frailty; our own privilege, and the possibility that, for many of us, those roles could so easily be reversed. 

And, as tensions around those living in shelters or experiencing homelessness increase (as described in our story last week), perhaps we feel afraid too; our sense of personal safety threatened in these uncertain times.

Scooter LaForge sees something else, though. The artist, who has designed for stars like Madonna, Beyoncé, and Debbie Harry, sees an opportunity – potential. Read his story here.

You can also revisit my inside story on the work of Gods Love We Deliver and City Harvest for a small but important reminder of, despite current challenges, how blessed we all really are.

Learn to tap

It’s the week I’ve been waiting for at the New Victory Theater’s Arts Break: TAP WEEK. Families can learn all about the skills required to tap like a master – and you don’t even need special shoes, just a few pennies and some tape. Find out how here.

Talk to the animals …
Or at least their keepers, in this meet and greet at Staten Island Zoo. Get up close and personal with some of their favorite residents, find out more about them, and take part in a Q&A. It all starts at 3pm here.

Join a game night
The team that stages fabulous dinners in surprising places can’t get us all together in one place right now. But it’s doing the next best thing: a virtual retro game night. Tonight and tomorrow’s game of choice: name that tune. Play here.

Live and learn
Alanis Morissette joins the cast of Jagged Little Pill for an evening of reunions, performances, and surprises. Stream tonight here.

Go to a Smash reunion
The cast of the hit NBC show reunite virtually tomorrow for a one-night-only concert, featuring appearances from Debra Messing, Katharine McPhee, Megan Hilty, Leslie Odom Jr, and Renée Zellweger. Find out more.

Watch a live, one-act play
One morning every September, Alice, Christa, and Kelly meet for breakfast to catch up on each other’s lives. Moving backwards in time and spanning a decade, Matthew Lopez’s The Sentinels explores the burden of the past and how we move on from tragedy — or don’t. Watch it live tomorrow, at 5.30pm, for free, here.

You’ve got to have faith
Producer, writer, and author Jeannie Gaffigan talks about how her own life-threatening health scare gave her a new perspective on the redemptive power of suffering in this conversation about faith, family, and laughter, tomorrow. Find out more.

See the stars
As NASA plans its first crewed launch from US soil since 2011, join The Intrepid’s Virtual Astronomy Live on Thursday, for a free preview of the expedition with astronauts Garrett Reisman and Mike Massimino. Get ready for lift off here. 

Play sex bingo
A very adult evening aimed at sparking conversations about sex. Spin the wheel, match the number to a topic, and jump right in. Porn-tastic prizes are promised for bingo wins, as well as Most Entertaining, Most Informative, and Most Thought-Provoking contributions. Sign up for sexy time here.

See Gillian Anderson as Blanche Dubois
The actress plays the lead in the Young Vic’s 2014 production of A Streetcar Named Desire. It’s available for streaming from Thursday, here.

Finally …
If you’re enjoying the W42ST Daily, please take the time to tell a friend. There’s room for everyone at this good, old New York block party. They can sign up on the big, yellow blob below.

A suggestion from reader Karen Raschke today. Complete this sentence: when this is over, I will never …

Karen says she’ll never use one particular brand of cleaning spray again – she now associates the smell with fear and anxiety.

Rae says she’ll never let her supply of Chemex filters or tortillas run low again.

As for me – I’ll never take a hug for granted again. How about you?


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