Monday, April 12, 2010

Black Roses:Exorcism at the Brick Cafe

"I don't know how I got here. How did I get here? I was - I don't know, there's a kind of a blank." -
Orestes (last one, I promise!)

Dear Mouse,

Dont ask me how I wound up here, but:

"Is it possible that the most popular actors and actressses of the 20th and 21st centuries have been, and are, being possessed by demons?" - 'Hollywood Unmasked', an essay found on fundamentalist Christian web site

Hm. What do you think, Mouse? I'm going to say I may actually agree with Froot Loops, but not in the way that he/she/Pat Robertson may think.

Orestes is over. We closed on a high note, and now I'm back here, wherever that is. As you know, re-entry from these things can be a real bitch. You share every waking moment with a group of people, building an alternate reality, a small, private ecosystem, if you will... and then before you can say "travel reimbursement", it's gone. Disorienting, to say the least. As David said en route from the dentist, "Is this Real Life?"

According to my exhaustive, 10-minute research, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders apparently defines "Possession and possession trance" as

"a single or episodic alteration in the state of consciousness characterized by the replacement of customary sense of personal identity by a new identity."

So there you have it. It's our job! The trick is to maintain perspective and control. Possession, no matter how positive, eventually requires exorcism. Mine, of course, came in the form of ... dinner.

Helena took one look at me and knew what had to be done. I had all the symptoms: compulsive googling of the play's reviews, giggling through repeated anecdotes, mooning over saved text messages, and "intense, maniacal delight in wielding power" (oops, sorry, not that one - same web site again.) Who would know better? As you recall, she and I met on this project which was sheer heaven and which also took us several months and (at least in my case) unhealthy repetitions of the Foo Fighters' 'Let It Die' to get over. "Meet me Monday night", she said, "at the Brick Cafe."

At this point I should probably say that the Brick Cafe in Astoria Queens has a $25 prix-fixe on weeknights that looks none too shabby, though Helena and I ordered a la carte. Second, I will also say that we split a salad, a pasta, and a dessert and it was certainly enough for two people. They plated the pasta separately for us; no charge. Lovely.

Crepes Suzette with Rose Hip Jam. Delicious. Like a cherry and a flower had a baby... made of jam.
An exorcism, as I understand it, generally follows five ritual stages. Here was ours:
The Ritual (Menu)
(with a note that the ordering of
all black food was not int
entional, but is fascinating. Black is the traditional magical color for rituals of banishment. Oooooo....

1. The Presence (Black Olive Tapenade)
The participants become aware of the feeling or entity that must be expelled. This salty, gritty, dark, caviaresque spread arrives with bread. The Boo eats all of it, leaving none for Helena. Mmm. Such selfishness. Such a good idea and alternative to butter.

2. The Breakpoint (Nero d'Avola, or 'Black Wine of Avola')
Pretense collapses, and the demon reveals itself. The Boo drinks two satiny, purple glasses in succession and predicts that she will probably never work again.

3. The Voice (Black Linguine with Shrimp & Clams)

The Victim begins to let out a stream of "humanly distressing babble". Tipsily chanting in Ancient Greek under her breath, The Boo asks Helena if she's already told her that story about the old man in the audience who said "This is Stupid" out loud during the matinee. (Answer: Yes, twice.)

Squid ink makes this pasta black and gives it a subtle, marine intensity...

4. The Clash (Crepes Suzette with Rose Hip Jam)

The demon collides with 'the will of the kingdom' in direct battle. You get to choose two flavors; our second was Nutella. The Boo and Helena begin to discuss upcoming projects and the dinner they will cook for friends next week
Rose hips are what's left on a rose when the petals have fallen off (for serious), and are popularly used in spells of love and healing. Also, according to Wikipedia, they have "recently become popular as a healthy treat for pet chinchillas". Huh.

5. Expulsion (Black Irish Coffee, No Whip)

All present feel the demon's presence dissipate. The victim may not remember anything that has occurred. Helena's BF arrives for a drink, and The Boo tells him the story about the old man at the matinee.

So, Mouse, you can rest easy. I'm out of Argos and among friends. I still miss my peeps, but feel no need to involve Dave Grohl. I'll leave you with this: my research also revealed that the word "exorcism" comes from the Ancient Greek for "to place on oath", not necessarily to cast out. I'm friends with my demon. But if it ever gets the better of me, I'll head straight to a cozy table in good company. Just lock up the tapenade when you see me coming.


The Boo


Frequent Sufferer of Post-Show Depression said...

The Brick - I LOVE that place!! And I also love your comparison of post-gig depression to possession/exorcism. Love love love your blog!

Anonymous said...

I keep spreading the word about how really terrific this blog is - no kidding...but man, you need a new camera...could not see these and the tale so great! always special - deserves better photos! first time!
onward and upward - keep 'em comin'

Stephanie said...

Dearest Boo...

The link between demon possession and acting... so fascinating... We say yes a play and then yes the voice of a character. We trust it and suddenly we are pulled into another reality. We are professionally possessed.

Reminds me of that article about the link between depression and writing poetry... my thought- does that mean poetry can be medicated?

Must we be depressed to write poetry or possessed by a spirit to act?

Hmmmm... not sure, but I do know that eating black food with you at the Brick makes me feel sane and creative.

So glad you're back and I really did enjoy the story about the man who said "This is stupid" both times.


Stephanie said...

PS- I'm off to feed rose hips to my chinchilla now.