Tag Archives: williamsburg

Ticket to LARP – The Brick Theater, The Dance & The Dawn


I got a notice in my email about “The Dance and the Dawn” this morning, taking place at The Brick theater in Williamsburg. Playing from September 7-14th, the performance takes the shape of “live action theater-style gaming.”

You sign up for a ticket, attend the evening in question as your assigned character, and bring along your own costume. While much of the evening is spent waltzing, the show’s page over at the theater’s website says there will be a brief lesson beforehand, so non-dancers shouldn’t worry.

If anyone goes to check out this production, let me know what you think of it – scheduling means I won’t be able to go take a look myself.
From the summary, the play sounds like a free-form, stylistic piece rather than a tight narrative, which makes sense given the performance style.

Ultimately, the production’s success will depend heavily on the preparation and enthusiasm of its audiences. After completing a questionnaire and being assigned a character, a little homework is required – as the site says, “If you show up having read those materials…” you’ll have a good time. One hopes all the audience members arrive prepared for their roles, and wonders what happens in the event of someone not turning up to use their ticket.

With the ending left to the participants, and for a ticket price of $20, this sounds like it could be an intriguing evening of high-involvement theater.


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Ask A Local: Coming to NYC With The Family

One of the reasons I moved to NYC – aside from it being a great place for writers – was that I knew it was the kind of  place my friends might be likely to visit. I’ve gotten into the habit of fielding questions from those making trips, and a recent email from a friend made me think: maybe it would be useful to post this and other travel-related discussions online.

Feel free to add to this in the comments; if you have a question about NYC or other cities I’ve lived in, get in touch and I’m glad to help out when I have the time. 🙂

So, my inaugural edition of Ask A Local…


Q: Hi Rachel! We’ll be in NYC from June 8-13. Since we’re driving we’ll need somewhere to park the car as well. I was thinking of maybe looking for somewhere in Brooklyn on airbnb. In terms of budget, we were hoping for $200-$250 per night, not sure if that is realistic? The hotels that I looked for seem to be either really cheap and really dodgy looking or really upscale and expensive! We’ll mostly be out and about so don’t need fancy just clean, safe, and somewhere to have breakfast would be good. The kids are small and can sleep in one bed together so we really just need two doubles/queens. Thanks for your tips. Excited to meet you too!

A: I had a quick look into hotels and I think Brooklyn would be an awesome option for a family trip.

Williamsburg has seen so much influx of $ the last few years that their hotels will be mostly new builds. I am slightly wary because I don’t know the bedbug situation in Brooklyn these days (i don’t say that with any alarmist intentions, it’s just a thing modern travellers must be aware of) BUT the solution to this is easy; you just look the property you’re considering up – a Google search like “[PROPERTY NAME] review bedbugs” should tell you everything you need to know, and if u aren’t sure how to interpret something, link me and I’ll give u my opinion. Williamsburg is very cool and relaxed now, lots of hip thirtysomethings and lower who can afford east villiage prices but prefer Brooklyn/the burger for whatever reasons. Cafes, meatball shop, good vegan/vegetarian, cocktail bars and beer halls. If u like video games and nouveau-retro and beer, barcade. Know where you’re going before you leave the house bc lots of blocks and poor signage generally; well-documented on yelp.

The other neighborhood I would feel confident recommending in Brooklyn is Carroll Gardens or park slope. Slightly older and more professional crowd. Kids probably in the range of 3-7 on avg? (based on math taking place in my brain, grain of salt.) A bit twee. Grocery stores (trader joes), bars, near downtown Brooklyn, excellent downtown Manhattan access.

Can you recommend other accommodation or neighborhoods for this friend, visiting the city with her family? This was all off the top of my head, so if you know the ‘hoods I’m talking about, or feel there’s something I left out…join in the discussion. 😀

What You Wanted When You Moved To New York City

I’ve had the last couple of days off, and yesterday I fell into what some like to call “the zone.” In addition to the stream-of-consciousness piece below, I also wrote several thousand words on a short story I’ve been chipping away at for months. It was a good day.


What You Wanted When You Moved To New York City

2013-02-15 15.40.49Here are the days you don’t want when you move to the city: the day you see a dozen cockroaches go scattering in your Bushwick apartment’s kitchen cupboard. The day you and your roommate, a childhood friend, wake up covered in bed bug bites. The day the train explodes down the track, leading to a panic attach so bad it gets you to the doctor for the first time in two years. The day you —

Anyway, those aren’t the days you want.

Today is the day you want.

You were tired and had been off all day the day before, so you went to bed at eight p.m. not feeling like you’d missed out on a thing. Thanks to that, you wake up, and it’s six a.m., and you’ve had ten solid hours of sleep.

The first thing you do is pee. Then you write. And you write and you write. And you write some more. And you’re just going over notes, just refining ideas, but it’s something beyond feeling what you thought you’d be feeling.

And then it’s the time you would normally wake up and you’ve already been through one revision and printed it, and you’re going to review it once more this morning, and after that, go for a walk.

And it happens just like that. And no one calls you and you don’t get interrupted and there’s not a problem with having your flow disrupted by anybody else’s drama, and when you leave your apartment it’s a little breezy, a little cool, but you just walk. And walk. And walk.

I cracked up when I saw this sign. Fantastic.

I cracked up when I saw this sign. Fantastic.

And when you get to the L train you just walk on board and take it out to Williamsburg and when you get there you walk up north eighth and a little down Berry towards Blue Bottle but you don’t really believe Blue Bottle exists on that strange, deserted hill, and anyways, all the coffee places in Williamsburg seem like they’d harsh your creative buzz at two on a Friday afternoon, so eventually you circle around back up Driggs and get back on the L and take it back to First Ave, where you were thinking of getting off the train on your way out anyway, but you didn’t.

And you think you’re going to Simone’s, at St. Marks and First. But you get there and it’s two thirty or so now, and the sign says that on Friday, Happy Hour doesn’t start till four, and the hell with it if you’re going to pay full price for a drink that would be half price any other day.

Besides, you’re outside and there’s sunshine and you don’t need to use the bathroom yet. You walk down First and as you pass the McDonald’s and the Duncan Donuts (and the small bar you never noticed before, in between) you think, that’s the spot where that guy and his girlfriend were sitting when I bought them breakfast that time. You felt guilty for being able to offer to buy them a bagel and a coffee each, when he reacted, but all you could do was do it. Afterwards, your family told you you’d been too soft hearted.

You haven’t bought food for anybody in a while.

You walk down first Avenue and a few times you want to turn down one of the streets; at sixth you think, it’s too early for dinner and at fifth and fourth you think, the streets there are shaded… eventually you hit a street with a development where you know there’s an outpost of Vselka, and you’re curious, so you cut across.

The shade is cooler now but it’s been about an hour and a half of walking – first around Williamsburg, now around the East Village – so you keep walking past the taco stand and onto Bowery, on westward to First, then south to Houston (not even half a block) and along the way.

A chance of timing at the lights sends you to the south side of the street, where overlapping shadows cast across the pavement. You’re thinking about a bloody mary now, the ones they serve at Lure with the little shrimp cocktail. It’s neither the time nor the day for Bloody Marys but you’ve walked enough to feel like it’s time for a sip, so…

You use the bathroom at Lure; it’s elegant and clean, and the servers are friendly (when you do drink there, you always make sure to tip well).

2013-02-15 15.31.14A bier hall in the West Village. A little piece of Brooklyn. Bigger on the inside. Something in the day’s perambulation finally clicks, and now it’s time to sit at the bar, sip a beer and write.

You have your notes with you, and something has shifted, everything is blocked out, beyond the paper and a pen made from recycled bottles.

A thousand words pass. Your phone battery dwindles to yellow, then red, and meanwhile you make your way down a strange narrative pathway that seems both inevitable and unnatural.

It’s been a seven-hour walk and there are still hours left in the day. Hours to fill, and reasonable achievement already accomplished.

You head home.

These are the days you wanted when you moved to New York City.

2013-02-15 15.22.49

The Donners are Deaded: Discussion of a Work in Progress

Cara Marsh Sheffler and Luke Cissell in "Guide" and "Infinite Progress."

How does one reconstruct and learn from a man who died over a hundred years before one was born?

In “Guide” and “(The Myth Of) Infinite Progress,” an intriguing little double-bill-in-development at Williamsburg’s The Brick theater, Cara Marsh Sheffler and Luke Cissell have pieced together a series of verbal and aural interpretations of the life of Lansford Warren Hastings, Esq. Who was Mr. Hastings, you ask? Only the man who sold the Donner party the shortcut that landed them in the mountains during the worst winter in California History, in 1846. Fans of the macabre will know how that worked out. For the rest of you, hie thee to Wikipedia!

How did Hastings influence the Donner party and their travel route? He was a raconteur and writer, in a style that, as portrayed, suggests Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) – with less of a conscience. He traveled West – and later, to Brazil – and wrote guide books to each with a mind to inspire people to emigrate westward. He also sent the Donner party a letter, adjusting his original recommended route to include the shortcut they took…to their doom.

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THEATER REVIEW: “Teeth of the Sons” at the Cherry Lane Theater

Teeth of the Sons by Joseph Sousa, at the Cherry Lane Theater, examines family and faith from the perspective of two brothers, each vying to be the one regarded as successful by the rest of their family – and in one’s case, his God.

Jacob, played by Sousa, is the younger of two Jewish brothers. Jacob looks after the family house, studying Torah and being pursued by all the families at temple with girls of a marriagble age. His older brother is the family fuck-up, or so we are shown throughout the character’s familial interactions. It turns out that Sam, who has a habit of disappearing on his family for extended periods of time, has re-connected with the boys’ estranged father and his side of the family – who are Greek Orthadox. Meanwhile, Sam’s fallen for – and knocked up – a Polish girl, and now they want Jacob to let them stay for a while.
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