My review of the latest Cafe Nordo show is available online and in the current (May 8-14) issue of Seattle alt-weekly The Stranger. Nordo’s SMOKED! is an homage to the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone, and runs through June 16. From “A Fistful of Salt: Cafe Nordo’s Latest Limps into the Sunset“:
Artistic audacity should never be punished. Better to aim high and fail spectacularly than shoot for mediocrity and succeed. Reviews and word of mouth had led me to believe that Cafe Nordo productions are made in this spirit—bizarre dinner/theater hybrids that inspire love, hate, and bewilderment. Sadly, their latest show is dinner theater as we already know it: half-baked on both fronts, without meaningful integration of the two.
My internship at The Stranger is at an end. I’d only ever written on the long, layered schedule of magazines before (and the unfathomably long process of book-writing), so being at a newspaper taught me a lot about writing and interviewing in a crunch, without time to dwell on a single word or psych yourself up or do excessive/tangential research. Especially when writing for the blog — “Can you put something together by this afternoon?” is a phrase that takes some getting used to.
On an unrelated note, during the aforementioned long book-writing process, I’d often comforted myself by thinking about the acknowledgements page. I love thanking people. I make great wedding speeches. When the day finally came, in the form of a nonchalant email from the production editor, I found it surprisingly hard to write. I raided my bookshelf to see how other authors did it. It boiled down to two approaches: a list of names, or a mini-essay in proper prose, with big name writers tending towards the former and first-timers towards the latter. I suspect first-timers worry that this might be their only chance to do it, so they want to do it effusively, while veteran authors have run out of ways to thank their agent and significant other. The mini-essays were risky, as they could be sweet or cloying, funny or jarringly jovial (at the end of a dark, serious book, say). And most of them were shockingly, raggedly personal.
The page doesn’t mean a lot to the people who aren’t in the list, but it means a helluva lot to those who are, something I’m lucky enough to know from experience. You feel honored in a concrete, public way, and the myth of the lone author-auteur is lifted. Better to write it for those people, rather than the majority of readers who close the book a couple pages earlier. And if there’s no way to say a heartfelt “thank you” and “I love you” without being a bit of a cheeseball, so be it.
Hey, everyone: thank you, and I love you.