Gemma’s Gem of the Week: A Deeper Appreciation for Social Interactions
Walking down the streets of New Haven, I was determined to find an aesthetically pleasing, unfamiliar coffee shop where I could plant myself for a few hours to write. I noticed a family walking in my direction holding white and brown coffee cups, so I decided to walk in the direction they were leaving from. Sure enough, I found a coffee shop by Yale’s Science Park entitled “Fussy Coffee Shop.” Their logo is a pair of arms wrapped in snakeskin forming an infinity symbol while holding hands. I was immediately hooked. I walked in, and the two baristas were so fashionable that I couldn’t help but compliment them.
“Okay, I just have to say that I adore your sense of style,” I tell the first barista, who is wearing winged eyeliner that could cut glass, along with sky high black boots. The barista proceeded to tell me about the artist who made her earrings, reminiscing on the day she purchased them. I am now going to use a nerdy Zelda reference here – in the video game Breath of the Wild, there are fresh, glittering healing pools that allow your HP (health points) to increase. Tiny hearts in the top left corner of your screen will replenish themselves until your character has fully healed. Welcoming these subtle, yet effective social interactions back into my life after a year of isolation feels like standing in one of those sparkling healing pools.
Throughout my trip, these little grand moments became more and more prominent. Meeting my professor Mary Collins and my classmates for the first time, despite our virtual setting, filled me with unexpected levels of joy. Mary’s sheer joy and passion towards the workshop was so charismatic that the limitations of the virtual atmosphere seemed to dissolve almost entirely. Witnessing such effortless enthusiasm from your instructors really adds to the environment immensely, and I was even more determined to soak up every ounce of this experience because of that.
Deciding to expand on this impactful ambiance further, I relocated from New Haven to Boston on a whim. “Hey, would it be crazy if I planned a trip to Boston and left right now?” I asked my friend, who was living there at the time. “Not at all. Spontaneous trips create the best stories,” she replied. An hour later, I was staring outside my train window, watching the shimmering, glistening ocean speckled with ships that adorn crisp, white sails, pass me by. I was filled with glee to see my friend waiting for me outside her car, beaming, ready to adventure alongside me for the next few days.
Suddenly, I was taking in every new sight, sound, and scent with careful focus. I felt like a dog sticking its head out of a car window, completely fascinated with every little corner of the world – vegan ice cream shops, new vibrant murals on the sides of buildings, breakfast sandwiches on biscuits, sailboats on the harbors. Hell, I was even excited about the rotaries in Boston – that’s when you know it’s been a long year away from the world…
Later that evening, I was sitting by the pool with an old friend while the mouth-watering aroma of authentic Mexican cuisine filled the air. Through impeccable timing, a sweet man walked up to us with a platter of hot food wrapped in tinfoil. “Hi, my name is Miguel. This is my wife and family, and we would be honored to share our food with you this evening. We want to welcome you as our neighbors, and would be happy to cook for you anytime,” he said warmly. I was instantly taken to a flashback of my first time visiting Germany, when my exchange family cooked a delicious array of bratwurst, roasted potatoes, vegetables, and salads for me upon my first day arriving. The warmth of that welcome wagon filled my soul, reminding me of the sheer goodness of humanity. Miguel’s kindness not only symbolized the beauty of humanity, but revived my faith in compassion overall.
Since coming home, I’ve experienced countless random acts of kindness from complete strangers. From a woman buying my smoothie after telling me about her organization that specializes in healing communities through random acts of kindness, to a clerk offering me and my date free decadent strawberry cake before closing earlier today, taking time to understand those around me has resulted in some incredibly beautiful, profound moments that I’ll hold onto moving forward.
Although the pandemic presented one of the darkest experiences many of us have ever faced, coming out of the darkness with a deeper appreciation for social interactions creates the opportunity to build relationships more valuable and meaningful than ever before.
My View: It’s Today! It’s Tonight! Marilyn Maye Rehearses For Her New York Pops Carnegie Hall Debut
Sometimes you have to pinch yourself at the opportunities you are presented with. TODAY would be one of those. Or as Marilyn Maye might sing to you, “It’s Today.”
This afternoon I had the privilege of witnessing the 95 year old star, rehearsing on the stage of Carnegie Hall, under the baton of Maestro Steven Reineke, in front of the mighty New York Pops Orchestra. It all happens tonight and has been a lifetime in the making. As if The New York Times piece, bylined by Melissa Errico, wasn’t enough to whet your appetite for what is sure to be a historic evening, maybe these photos will help get you even more excited. Thank you to all who made this happen for me, to present to you….Humbly Yours, Stephen
My View: Someone Named Storm Caused Lots Of Excitement In New York City Last Night
Storm Large has made a name for herself from tours with Pink Martini to orchestral appearances at Carnegie Hall to the television stage of “America’s Got Talent.” But it is with her loyal and fearless band, Le Bonheur, that she grabs audiences. by the lapels and refuses to let go. Love, Storm her new show played 54 Below last night. It’s a playlist of songs by pop luminaries, rock goddesses, and Storm’s fiery originals. There might be someone in the news with a variation of her name currently causing some political excitement, but few entertainers can create the musical excitement that exists in a Storm Large performance.
My View: The Only Thing Missing Was A Latte ( with extra foam) Marcy & Zina Party at 54 Below
The only thing missing at last night’s party for Marcy and Zina was a Latte choice in the beverage section on the menu at 54 Below (with extra foam). The show, titled Make Your Own Party: The Songs of Goldrich and Heisler was conceived by Scott Coulter and performed by a cast of five. It celebrated over three decades of quirky, heartfelt and utterly contemporary romantic comedy songs written by Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich.
From “Taylor the Latte Boy” to under appreciated altos we were introduced to the cast of characters that inspired these inseparable, irreverent friends to write over three hundred and counting musical love letters to the city, the theatre, and the people who make them sing. The evening was filled with the heart felt stories that these two award winning women have created and was performed by a first rate cast of Broadway super singers. The lyrics, the music, the luscious harmonies…it was the best party of music I’ve ever been invited to.
The Performers: Jill Abramowitz, Cole Burden, Alex Getlin, Joe Kinosian, Kelli Rabke, and Austin Rivers.
Joe Kinosian,piano, Matt Scharfglass, bass
Marcy & Zina have been performing and writing together since 1992. Their critically acclaimed romantic comedy songs have been featured in venues across the world, recorded by artists across many genres, and appear in numerous folios and collected works. Their Off-Broadway musical Dear Edwina earned them a Drama Desk nomination, and other works have been produced by regional powerhouses such as Paper Mill playhouse, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Goodspeed, and the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. Their shows include Ever After, JUnie B Jones, and The Great American Musical, based on the bestselling book by auther/director Julie Andrews.
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