April 2014
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My play translation debut

A very special day for me – Valeriy Pecheykin’s excellent play “A Little Hero / Crematorium” that I had the honor of translating together with John Turiano premiers at Dixon Place Theater tonight!!!

In my biased opinion, it provides a pretty powerful insight into the psychological reality of living gay in today’s Russia. Its message is beyond gay or straight – it is about those who desperately cling to love and dignity at a time when Russia’s massive propaganda machine mercilessly injects its citizens’ brains with fear and hatred.

It was written just a few months ago as “A Little . . . CONTINUE READING → My play translation debut

some afterthoughts

We just learned that the recently wed couple who was tragically trapped inside the stairwell during the fire lived in the apartment right above ours.

It shouldn’t change anything about how one perceives the tragedy but it does. We never met in person but they did write us an extremely nice note when they first moved in to apologize for any possible construction noise. We could sometimes hear their parties, sometimes there was a doggy barking. This is so heartbreaking.

I was thinking yesterday about all the constant fire drills in American schools that teach you literally nothing else than . . . CONTINUE READING → some afterthoughts

my account of the fire

NYT: A 27-year-old man was killed and dozens of residents were displaced Sunday in a three-alarm fire at a luxury high-rise building in Hell’s Kitchen, officials said.

This was a pretty terrifying hour-and-a-half, being trapped inside a 37th floor apartment by myself, even though, as it turned out, my life was fairly safe the whole time… Counting my blessings today though, and would like to say a big heartfelt thank you to the brave New York City firefighters, our equally brave building staff, 911 operators, all emergency responders and all friends and strangers who offered their support. And to send . . . CONTINUE READING → my account of the fire

Answer to the photo quiz, plus a bumblebee

A quick splash of magenta for this rainy and foggy but so amazingly cool(er) day.

The image above was the challenge of the latest photo quiz. And the correct answer is…

- the bud of a zinnia flower!

No one guessed it… but a few people thought it was an artichoke – doesn’t it remarkably look like one? Well, they belong to the same Asteraceae family (that also includes sunflowers, asters and daisies), so it’s not surprising that . . . CONTINUE READING → Answer to the photo quiz, plus a bumblebee

And now cicadas?!

Found this newly emerged alien on a sorrel leaf today… I didn’t even know we have cicadas in Canaan, NY. Couldn’t resist snapping a bunch of closeups. Enjoy! (Or not.)

. . . CONTINUE READING → And now cicadas?!

Japanese beetles, Fatniss, weeds - and some pretty photos

What is this, you ask? Brooklyn Battery tunnel? But where are the toll booths?

No, it’s not a tunnel – it’s a woodchuck hole under a rhubarb plant. Fatniss Everdeen is back, ladies and gentlemen, and she dug out an even larger hole in place of the one I foolishly thought I’d sealed last time. Both President S’crow and I grossly underestimated her resilience.

Fatniss has stomped out half of my onions and keeps tasting tomatoes for ripeness.

. . . CONTINUE READING → Japanese beetles, Fatniss, weeds – and some pretty photos

Spanish Mackerel Ceviche

Mackerel is one of my favorite types of fish to eat raw. I love its firmer, denser texture and delicately fishy taste (sounds like an oxymoron, I know…). Weirdly, I even prefer mackerel sashimi to yellowtail (mackerel sashimi box at Izakaya 10, mmmmm….), and wherever there’s mackerel ceviche on the menu, I go for it. Last week I made up my own version.

Confirm with your fishmonger that the mackerel is very fresh — you don’t want it to taste any fishier than it already does by . . . CONTINUE READING → Spanish Mackerel Ceviche

Today's breakfast: French toast with mango and blueberries

I woke up with a strong craving to do something with the baguette that Anna and Nick brought on Thursday night and that has since gone delightfully stale on our kitchen counter. Here’s what ended up happening:

There was also a slightly overripe mango and a pack of blueberries that got a bit of a frostbite sitting on the top shelf of the fridge that need to be used up. In my mind, mango combines very nicely with blueberries (plus a pinch of cinnamon), blueberries . . . CONTINUE READING → Today’s breakfast: French toast with mango and blueberries

Mint is out, Supertunias are in

supertunia Picasso

How is my little garden doing without me in this heat? It was 109 degrees in NYC yesterday, and things are melting. It’s a little cooler upstate, of course, and Jesse and Barbara have been diligently watering the garden; so I’m not too worried about it being parched. But they also report that Fatniss the Woodchuck has returned and exhibits no fear of Strawm the Scarecrow. I asked Barbara to put a bar of Irish Spring soap under the garden shed – let’s hope woodchucks are repelled by its scent the same way deer are…

. . . CONTINUE READING → Mint is out, Supertunias are in

A fortnight ago at Wheatleigh

A rosé is a rosé is a rosé, some might say. But why then are these two glasses fluorescing so brightly? Because, I think, they feel happy in their natural habitat, at Wheatleigh.

Which serves to prove that simple pleasures in life are best enjoyed in luxury settings. Two weeks ago, we ventured out to experience Wheatleigh’s new summertime tradition — BBQ Wednesdays – with a fun group of friends and neighbors.

. . . CONTINUE READING → A fortnight ago at Wheatleigh