Thursday, May 20, 2010

Why do I not have my own place in New York City?

Saturday I was on the train from Boston to New York City.....Again!  Is this a pattern or what ??

Having dinner with Sara, Travis, and Matt at the fabulous China Brasserie on Lafayette Street. The weather was perfect for sitting at a sidewalk table….

Sara told us funny stories about working in Guest Services at a big hotel and Travis was excited about his Brooklyn garden and Matt told about his play that will be read on Martha's Vineyard this summer. It was a perfect dinner with the most perfect company. I always feel how lucky I am to have so many young people as friends. At my age, most of my contemporaries are playing bingo and going to the Senior Center in their community. I am so blessed to be able to be in tune with these wonderful and exciting men and women at the time of life when all opportunities are possible. They keep me young.

After dinner we went down the street to the Public Theater to see “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson”. This play has been extended 3 times, it is so popular.  James Barry has one of the lead roles and sings a rocking Rock Star song. Now another friend, Joe Jung, is joining the cast as of June 1st. So much excitement!!! James and Joe joined us after the show for drinks…..

Also with our party was James’ high school teacher and her husband and friends. They had come into town from Connecticut to see James perform. What a tribute to James…and to his teacher…that they kept this contact and that she had such a positive influence on his life. We all had the best time. Actually Matt had a good time wearing my shawl and pretending to be The Countess…..

On the way home in the subway I ran into some lovely people on their way to an after hours party.  Of course we made eye contact and became fast friends in the five minutes before the train.  I told them all about the JUDY DARLING parties and gave them my card.  I hope to see them again one day.  They were so delightful....and aren't they beautiful....
Sunday I met up with Joe Jung's beautiful wife Jessi Blue for brunch.  This lady is so talented in her own right, recently performing a one woman play that she wrote and starred in about women she knew in West Virginia,  "Mark My Words".   I always have such a good time with Jessi and love listening to her stories.  
At 6 pm I met Matt and Kristin at the Abingdon Theatre to support Gayfest and see my wonderfully talented friend, Phillip Taratula, perform in Romeo and Hamlet.  So we supported a good cause, laughed our asses off, and got to kiss Phillip after the show.  How do you say Win! Win! Win!  Then we were off to Splash to see the Broadway Bares Kids strut their stuff for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids.  There was lots of beefcake to enjoy while we supported another good cause....
Not to mention my darling Travis working behind the bar in his cute undies....which I did not get a good picture of :(

Monday afternoon I was at the Alvin Ailey theater to see the Regent University actors showcase.  Last year I met Anna, an acting apprentice at the Berkshire Theatre Festival.  She has such talent and charisma that she made an immediate impression on me.  And so I was very honored to be invited by her to attend her showcase.  She performed two pieces but the first one, as Sylvia, was unforgettable.  You see, Sylvia is a picture dog with loving master, then a walk in the park and a meeting with a cat.....oh my, Sylvia has forever changed my perception of this probable meeting.  And here is the beautiful Anna at her birthday party last year in the Berkshires....
Later that night I finally caught a performance of The Temperamentals.  This is such an important play dealing with gay history.  I was fortunate enough to catch the final Talk Out which featured the entire cast.  How thrilling to hear their stories about the play's evolution and their parts in it and how it has affected them.  Gay or straight, this is a history lesson that all should learn.
And so I bid adieu once more to New York City.  I'll be back on June 11th to attend a private party and see some shows and meet some friends.  Again.....Why do I not have my own place in New York City?
Countess Bedelia 5/20/2010 01:18:00 AM | 1 comments |

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A...mah...zing !!!!!!

Accent on the second syllable.  Tuesday night I was invited by 'BarryFromBoston' to see the a...mah...zing Seth Rudetsky doing his one man show "Deconstructing Broadway" in Boston.  He must say 'a...mah...zing' at least 1,000 times during the show.  It might seem excessive but it was totally adorable.  Seth certainly knows his music.  Look at these video clips and you can appreciate the ear that he has for the most minute little trills, chest voices, head voices, etc.

Of course, he picked The Countess to answer the only audience question he asked.  Why do they always find me?  I was in the dark in the second row....he looks around and zeros in on me!  And by the time he asked the actual question, I had completely forgotten whatever I was supposed to have learned and answered the question WRONG!  The audience gave a collective GASP!  Seth said that had NEVER happened before!  But it gave him food for the rest of his performance as he pointed to me every time he needed to make the point about a wrong answer :)

I did turn to Barry (a professional musician, mind you!) and told him that he did not have to know me for the rest of the performance :))))))))))

After the show we went to Stella's in the South End for a most delicious mushroom and oyster flat bread pizza.....and maybe a Glenlivet or two.  Barry is playing at the Beachfire Grille in Ogunquit, Maine, on Sunday evenings during the month of May, so go see his show and say 'Hi' from The Countess.

And to go back to Mother's Day for just one more time....Does my daughter know me or what?  This is the card she gave me....

A...MAH...ZING !!!!!
Countess Bedelia 5/13/2010 06:49:00 PM | 0 comments |

Monday, May 10, 2010

Two mothers out to celebrate....

The Countess and my daughter, The Principessa, journeyed north from Boston late in the afternoon on Mother's Day to the seaside community of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  Our destination was the Coat of Arms, a British style pub where Chef Chadli Sassi presides over the kitchen.

On the way my phone beeped and I had a text message from the Grand Duke Ryan wishing me a Happy Mothers Day.  The Principessa couldn't receive a message like this because she doesn't text!  What is a Countess to do when she can't get her sons and daughter into the modern age of iphones and Facebook? Thank goodness for grandchildren...they can keep up with The Countess !! I conveyed a message from his mother and Ryan and I chuckled a bit over his 'old-fashioned' mother :)

Chef Sassi and The Principessa

Chadli greeted us at the door and gave us a warm welcome.  It was delightful to chat with him about his journey as a chef from France to St. John in the Virgin Islands to Portsmouth and to find out what his recommendations for our dinner would be.  He is a wonderful host and a fantastic chef.  A visit to the Coat of Arms is recommended to all my friends as you travel up and down the New England coast.  You won't regret it.

We started our meal with a cup of Baked French Onion Soup and ....

Spinach, Artichoke & Crab Dip
Made fresh and served warm with pita points.
I ordered Smoked Haddock & Leek Pie
Delicately smoked Maine haddock with leeks in a garlic cream sauce, topped with puff pastry

and The Principessa ordered Guinness Marinated Tenderloin Tips
Hand cut tenderloin tips marinated in their own recipe and grilled to your liking

When Chadli came back to our table to make sure we were happy with our dinners, he told us to make sure to save room for dessert as he had a special surprise for us!!

Golden Syrup Pudding and Bakewell Tart with a side of Guinness and Glenlivet!  Oh yes, a fine dessert it was!!!

The decor of the Coat of Arms is old English Pub style and no pub would be complete without a telephone booth....

Such a lovely day with my daughter.  We both lead very busy lives and don't have these opportunities often enough, so it was a day to be appreciated.

We bid a fond adieu to the Coat of Arms and went back to the Castle Bedelia with full tummies and take home bags for the next day.  A win, win situation all around.

Since we never did get a picture of the two of us together yesterday, I will put up one from a trip to London that we took a few years ago.....

We had hopped a plane to see Idina Menzel reprise her role as Elphaba in Wicked in London.  Yes, they had Guinness and Glenlivet there too :)
Countess Bedelia 5/10/2010 07:00:00 PM | 0 comments |

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Not your average Grandma....

Yesterday I spent the day with the Baby Countesses.  We danced the Limbo, wearing pink flamingos in our hair, heart shaped sun glasses, and leis around our necks.  I'll be sorry when they get too old to play with.

My oldest grandson Ryan used to be my playmate but now he is a successful businessman, a manager of a branch office in Illinois for the large corporation he works for.  I am so proud of his success but I miss the days when we would hang out and I could introduce him to some Patriot's cheerleaders...

Ryan's mother, the Principessa, sent me a telegram a week ago, "Could The Countess turn back into my mother for Mother's Day?"   She is taking me out to dinner later today to a seaside restaurant where the chef, a friend of hers, is preparing a special feast for us.

I really missed my lost camera yesterday while playing with the Babies so I treated myself to a Mother's Day present....a beautiful Sony Cyber-shot TX7 camera. 

I can't wait for the mailman to deliver it!  In the meantime...

Countess Bedelia 5/09/2010 12:50:00 PM | 0 comments |

Saturday, May 08, 2010

The High Holy Holiday of Motherhood is upon us...

As a single parent with four teenagers under my roof, I used to think that on this one day of the year a halo should sprout from my head and heavenly choruses sing to me....I must be a saint!  How else could anyone survive this stage of childhood development...four times over!!  And then it was suddenly over, the chickens flew the nest one by one, and for the first time in my whole life I was living alone.  And a very strange thing happened.....they all came back asking for my advice and counsel.  I was now a very wise woman with something to say that was worth listening to :)  Where was that woman when they were teenagers?  It seemed like no one listened to anything I said then. Ahhh, life....isn't it wonderful !?!

Now these wild, rebellious, wonderful teenagers have grown into very responsible adults with children of their own.  And when my grandchildren became teenagers and I listened to their parents anguish over them, I smiled. 
Countess Bedelia 5/08/2010 01:16:00 PM | 0 comments |

Thursday, May 06, 2010

A Tree grows in Brooklyn and other fundamentals....

Today Travis sent out this picture of his beautiful back yard in Brooklyn.....

Makes you kind of want to move there, doesn't it?  But all this beauty is the result of a lot of hard work on his out the debris, turning the soil, sowing the seed, lugging the shrubs from wherever in Brooklyn you buy shrubs, digging holes, fertilizing, and just plain old sweat and elbow grease.  I admire that kind of perseverance and dedication to a goal.  It's been the basis of my life as I know it.....think of what I want to accomplish, visualize the results, and Go.For.It.

Last weekend I was privileged to be invited to tea by The Wharton Salon.  It was a lovely Sunday afternoon in the Berkshires.  The event took place at a beautiful home in Stockbridge.  It was all to celebrate last year's successful production of 'Xingu' and to promote this year's production of 'Summer'.  Both plays are adaptations of Edith Wharton's stories and are performed at The Mount, Edith Wharton's beautiful home in Lenox, Massachusetts.  Last year I brought several of the acting apprentices from the Berkshire Theatre Festival to one of the performances and they are still talking about it.  To experience the reenactment of an Edith Wharton story in the setting that it was conceived in, is a privilege and a delight.  This is all possible because of the vision of a young woman, Catherine Taylor-Williams.  She had been involved many years ago with the Wharton stories and decided that they needed to be presented once again.  A very determined young lady, she gathered supporters, found a cast, and made her dream come true.  A woman after my own heart.  I hope to see all of you at a performance of "Summer" by The Wharton Salon this summer.

This morning I was part of a conference call with the Richie duPont Award Committee to discuss our benefit which will be held on Saturday, May 22nd, at Firefly in Lenox, MA.  This is the 5th annual benefit for the fund which helps children who want to attend acting camp at the Berkshire Theatre Festival and need assistance to afford the tuition.  This fund was started by some of the young staff at BTF who contributed some of their salaries to fund the initial endowment.  They are to be commended for having the vision and the desire to share the love of the arts with young students.  I was fortunate to become involved with the fund 3 years ago and have made it a priority in my life ever since.  We recently formed a formal committee to ensure that this award will be funded for many years to come and will benefit the children in the Berkshires that have a desire to pursue an interest in theater.

Think, Visualize, Go.For.It......Fundamentals to live by :)
Countess Bedelia 5/06/2010 08:07:00 PM | 0 comments |

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Our Hit Parade, Notes, and more in New York City....

It was bound to happen sooner or later.....I lost my camera in New York City.  I hope it found a home along with the two cell phones I've lost here.  I am only sad because there was a great picture taken of Daiva, Matt, Travis, and myself at 'our' Chinese place before we went down the street to Joe's Pub for the Our Hit Parade show.

Bridget Everett, Kenny Mellman, and Neal Medlyn put on a fantastic show with so many wonderful, talented guest artists.  And when Neal came on stage wearing a black, jewel trimmed top, Bridget announced that he had stolen it from The Countess' closet!  I'll put up a couple of links to videos of my friends performances.

First, my favorite comedy duo, those Heartbreakers, Randy and Sara.....BREAK YOUR HEART

Next, Jenn Harris and Tim Girrbach, who had done a Wendy's commercial together, do a very funny take off of ....CARRY OUT.

And The Countess dances her way into Our Hit Parade history during Bridget's version of ....NOT MYSELF TONIGHT.

Later a few of us walked over to a nearby restaurant for a bite to eat and a chance to just sit in a quiet place and talk.  If you watch the video, you know that Sara is quite pregnant and she needed a little rest after that workout on stage!  From there I went to another club where Bridget was having a fundraiser for a friend and partied til about 4 am.  I love New York!

Thursday night was a play reading organized and directed by Jack Ferver.  Jack is so talented himself and he gathered a cast of friends to perform an hysterically funny drag parody of "Notes on a Scandal".  I couldn't miss this reading because everyone in the cast except one person is a friend of mine!  I hadn't met Christian Coulson who played young Lord Voldermort in the second Harry Potter movie "Chamber of Secrets".  The wonder of never know who you will meet!

After the reading Matt took me to SPLASH, where his boyfriend, Travis, was bartending.  I danced and danced with all the boys.  Fun! Fun! Fun!

The Countess is a big fan of John Douglas Thompson and never miss a chance to see him on stage, so Friday night I went over to Classic Stage Company to see "The Forest", also starring that incredible actress Dianne Wiest.

A very funny play and John is wonderful, as always.

Today we travel back to the Berkshires.  My friend, Brianne, is having a fundraiser tonight to raise money for the "Home Base Program." This program, run by the Red Sox Foundation and Mass General Hospital works to provide help for soldiers returning from overseas with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as well as Traumatic Brain Injury. Her brother is stationed in Afghanistan now but will be home for this fundraiser. Brianne is running a 9K road race for this foundation and the finish line is Home Plate at Fenway Park!!

The party is at The Brick House Pub in Housatonic.  If you are in the Berkshires, come, have a good time, and support a good cause.
Countess Bedelia 5/01/2010 09:13:00 AM | 0 comments |