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By Terresa Marta Costa

"Poets get very hungry after they read..." claimed an old poet friend of mine. So of course no poet in their right mind would eat a full meal & get up to read/perform...
   Usually, we stop at diners, which are not like they used to be. Most times the help is bringing out the mop which reeks drastically of ammonia, which if you're like me. your appetite is gone & all you taste is ammonia. So I stay away from diners.
   Downtown Woodstock offers a small variety of places to eat. One which notoriously also has poetry readings on Monday nights, music the other nights. Of course this is inside the famous Wok 'N Roll Restaurant in the most famous small town on the planet. The food is scrumptious. Not too pricey. Yet one could order a plate of chow fun, & not be too hungry afterwards. In fact the editor of Home Planet Newss has a fondness for chow fun w/shrimp... And they serve a nice portion of it too. This delicious plate comes w/yr choice of chicken, tofu, shrimp or pork. It's very very yummy. And if you love spicy foods, they have the spiciest soup on record: Hot & Sour. I always know when the heart palpitations start, the food cannot get any spicier. But I LOVE hot & sour.
   The menu is full & their number one specialty is sushi. There is Chinese, Japanese & Cantonese... & vegetarian.
   My all time favorite appetizer is steamed dumplings. They are delicious.    Most all the portions are just right. Just like their prices. Wok 'N Roll Restaurant is located on Mill Hill Road, downtown Woodstock, just past Not Fade Away. <>


Lehman weichselbaum

By Howard Pflanzer
Medicine Show Theatre Ensemble.

Three points on the twentieth century's most brilliant philosophers' triangle dart through a darkish romp in Howard Pflanzer's idea epic Living With History: Sartre, Camus, De Beauvoir. the Medicine Show's spring feature. The play's two halves—skipping more or less neatly through two wars, one hot, one cold— wants us to believe that ideas really do matter, despite what seems to be significant evidence to the contrary. Exhibit A is Jean-Paul Sartre, interpreted zestfully by David Elyhu as an alternately blustering and bemused breathing icon of his day, as massive forces upend the world in general and his native Paris in particular, in the face of his gasping and globally scrutinized struggles to make sense of it all. The slaughter of millions on three continents? Nazi occupiers making a quotidian hash of the City of Light? Jean-Paul springs into action, penning No Exit both as an act of intellectual anti- occupation suversion and a lens to cast this life in a fresh, deservedly bitter light. Hell is genocidal wannabe empire builders at your doorstep? No, hell, famously, is no more than other people. It's left to the curfew-flouting "fiestas" of Paris' intelligentsia, the scuttling gunplay of Resistance street guerillas and ultimately Eisenhower's and Patton's liberators to bump hapless France a couple of infernal (and welcome) circles north. Then there's Albert Camus, played searchingly by an almost naively earnest Mark Gering. Sartre's rival existentialist brother settles in his writing and his own daily habit on a less floundering solution to the first problem of philosophy (it's suicide, remember?). in the form of a life unaffectedly and adventurously lived. Camus, of course, proves the supreme exemplar of his set's standard of personal ''authenticity," dying at the wheel of a too-fast car. But in the play's grand triumvirate, Jascha-Janet Bilan's Simone de Beauvoir comes closest to carrying the day for the case of the philosopher- hero. With her steadfastly beaming face and ringing voice—as well as a striking physical resemblance to the real de Beauvoir—Bilan delivers a robust sketch of a champion of the "second sex" who undeviatingly restates her brief against social oppression rooted in historical antipathy toward women and for a course of free love notoriously put into steady practice by herself (including a dalliance with Camus) and her paramour Sartre. Unlike Sartre, she appears to suffer few moments of being caught philosophically or politically short, as questions of passive collaboration or softness on Stalinism rear their heads over the years.


Lehman weichselbaum


"Under the direction of Barbara Vann, who in this play of ideas clearly has her own idea about making philosophy "fun," this haute comic-strip panorama of great minds and impassioned hearts across three decades barely pauses to catch its breath in its broad two - hour run time. As the three principals step through their complex dance of thought and rhetoric, a large cast and chorus mill and dart, sing and dance in careful and nimble staging through swift-changing vignettes, against a set of hanging red swastika banners and shards of faux-cubist paint. Other stars of the time and place in question—Picasso, Arthur Koestler—make appropriate and worthy appearances. Given the built-in hazard of any historical play, the epochal scope of Living With History leaves the work both a little overstuffed and a little thin. At the same time, perhaps most remarkable about the script by Pflanzer—also the author of a just published book of poems. Dead Birds, or Avian Blues—is the author's free and copious use of his protagonists' own words not as mere markers on biographical timelines, but as integral engines of the human drama coursing from scene to scene. Sartre dithers on the need for "action" while Germans and maquis rebels shoot it out in the alleys. De Beauvoir discourses on open relationships as inches away Sartre cruises a tableful of cafe hotties. Camus delivers his Nobel address to pro-Algerian hecklers. And there are no less than four verbatim excerpted plays-within- the-play. It's high credit to Pflanzer that the viewer quickly finds it impossible to fell apart the playwright's applied plagiarism and his own original words, implicitly raising fundamental questions of authorship and perhaps, yes, authenticity. Can Sartre, Camus and De Beauvoir be listening? <>


Created on ... Jan. 12, 2012