Ooh! Barb re-posted her recipe for Pear and Cream Cheese Pie, one of my all-time favourite things to make. Check it out, and share the deliciousness with your friends and family at your next pie-friendly occasion!

Speaking of pie, Kristin Chenoweth (Olive on Pushing Daisies, as well as the original Galinda in Wicked) did a book signing at the Lincoln Triangle Barnes and Noble last night! You know I was there! Man, that woman is about seventy trillion times cuter in person.

It’s amazing, the effect she had on the audience. People love her. People are enraptured by her. I’ve seen people fanboying and fangirling over actors, but this was something special. After her interview, she took questions from the audience, and every other person opened their question with an ejaculation of “I love you!” She’s like a human joy-generator.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to give some of that joy back! She mentioned in the interview that she despaired the lack of good Southern cooking in New York, so I gave her the address of Mara’s Homemade, a fantastic Southern/Creole restaurant in the East Village. She seemed absolutely delighted! As a thank you, she signed my Pushing Daises DVD case, even though the Barnes and Noble folks wanted to limit signatures to her book only.

I lead a charmed life. :D

My world has been so full of exciting events lately. On Friday, Mike Cho and I saw Vienna Teng perform at Le Poisson Rouge, as part of her international tour. She’s such a fantastic performer, and I rejoiced to hear her sing a number of my favourite songs, including as “Blue Caravan,” “Antebellum,” and “Stray Italian Greyhound.”

Before she went on, though, a band called Paper Raincoat and a solo performer, Ben Sollee, played a few numbers. After Paper Raincoat played their first song, I happened to glance to my left and realize I was standing one person away from Vienna herself! Between songs, I said hello and re-introduced myself.

We’d met in February, when she did a gig benefiting the Caffe Vivaldi. We had a mutual friend in Jenn Jackson, Jim Butcher’s agent, and the three of us spent quite a while chatting after her show. I gave her lessons in being evil and she gave me a hug. It was an awesome night. I’m amazed I never got around to blogging about it! Bad Cellie!

Anyway, she remembered me, and she greeted me with enthusiasm. We didn’t have time to say much then, as the Paper Raincoat’s next song started up, and I didn’t want to be disrespectful, but we got to chat briefly after the show again, at which time she signed my Book, “Always great to see you! :)” Mike took some great photos here, including two of Vienna and me together.

But the fun doesn’t stop there!

Sunday, Craig, Shecky, Sue, Sue’s mother, and I went to the Bronx Zoo on Sunday! It was Easter, so we had much of the zoo to ourselves. I took oodles of photographs, though my shutter finger was tempered somewhat by the fact no store in or near the zoo sold film, and I had to be conservative with what I had. It’s unbelievable how difficult it is to get film these days! I’m so grateful that my mom is lending/giving me her sexy digital camera, as she hasn’t used it in ages. It’s something like eight years old, but it was top of the line then, so it’s still a fantastic camera by today’s standards.

I think I got a handful of decent shots from our explorations, but I felt “off” photographically most of the day. Some recent feedback I received on my photos, raising a skeptical eyebrow at my attachment to my Lensbaby, struck a nerve. In reaction, I tried to take a mix of Lensbaby and traditional photos, but I ended up sabotaging myself, obsessively questioning every move I made instead of letting inspiration strike organically. I need to get over myself. Hopefully, I’ll have the few good shots ready for posting in the next couple days!

Anyway, photography aside, it was fabulous to spend time with the crew. Craig is also a big Dresden fan and Shecky is a fellow beta, so we spent part of lunch squeeing over Turn Coat. Afterward, Craig invited me to his family’s Easter dinner, a feast of Italian family proportions.

And that’s all I have to say about that!

So! The concert!

Christina Courtin opened, and I was actually a little disappointed. In the time since I saw her perform last July, I’d built her up in my head as a paragon of soul-nourishing cuteness until she became my mental musical equivalent of Pushing Daisies. But tonight, she chose a much more aggressive set list, and as she skipped around, singing with her whole body, rather than being cute she just came across as spastic. Toward the end, she sang “Foreign County,” which helped, but the cuteness train had already jumped the tracks.

It was unfortunate, as I adore her voice and I always support musicians experimenting and moving in different directions, but… no. Not so much. Hopefully her upcoming CD will have more cuteness, like her cover of the Beatles’ “Honey Pie,” which caused puppies and kittens to spontaneously manifest into being all over the Union Hall stage. Oh well. If you were a foreign country, I’d still visit you, Christina!

(Good LORD I love my iPhone! It takes such pretty, pretty pictures!)

By the time Vienna Teng came onstage, I’d drifted up to the front of the room (it was a “standing room only”-type affair, so I was standing against the stage. As my luck would have it, they ended up maneuvering her piano so that she was sitting smack-dab in front of me! I could have reached out and poked her with a short stick, had I a mind to. Not quite a ruler, perhaps, but a yardstick would have been more than adequate.

She did a very long, very varied show, which included a cover of Radiohead’s “Idioteque.” I’ve never known her to do covers, so that was a fun surprise! She performed a lot of my favourite songs, including “Blue Caravan,” “Pontchartrain,” “Gravity,” “Unwritten Letter #1,” “Homecoming,” and “City Hall,” the last of which received RIOTOUS cheers. It’s clearly a song that means a great deal to a lot of people, and for good reason.

Her band remained–as always–excellent, especially her percussionist (Andrew Chen, IIRC?). See him rock in her encore performance of “Hope on Fire,” on YouTube already! God bless the internet. And DUDE, you see that head obscuring the shiny speaker in front of her? THAT’S MY HEAD! I have a sweet and photogenic head, yo.

And hmm, I realized in the process of writing this that I should probably blog about seeing Tim Burton speak at the Lincoln Center at some point, as it was quite awesome. Basically, what you should know is:

  1. Tim Burton is awesome.
  2. Sweeney Todd is going to be awesome.
  3. I have conclusive proof that at least the musical numbers “My Friends,” “Epiphany,” and “Johanna” (the final one, sung by all the main players) are awesome, so one can infer the rest of the film will be awesome as well.

And there was much rejoicing.

Last night I went to see Vienna Teng and Christina Courtin in concert. Too awesome! Vienna Teng is quite possibly my favourite artist at the moment, and I was positively gleeful last week to see her name on Union Hall’s website when I was browsing for info on the Jonathan Coulton concert. Union Hall is a small, intimate venue in Brooklyn, and its casual and slightly offbeat atmosphere would make it just the kind of hangout I’d frequent if I lived closer. I’m so happy to have discovered it!

Vienna was wonderful and charismatic in person, and to my delight, she played just about all of my favourite songs. I was sitting a little too close to the speakers for comfort and as a result had to listen with a finger on one ear, but I guess that’s what happens when you get out of work at 7, the doors open at 7:30, and it takes about 45 minutes to get there. I still had a fantastic time! She opened with “Blue Caravan,” a song that has particular significance to me as my roommate choreographed to it last spring. And at the request of me and another random guy in the back, she played my favourite song of hers, “The Tower,” performing it solo for the first time. Fabulous!

I was particularly impressed with Vienna’s percussionist, who was totally hardcore. It was so awesome to see how many bizarre instruments he played and added to the mix. Said instruments included a glockenspiel, a tambourine that he STOMPED on, an ordinary plastic box (which he also sat on), and a weird sci-fi looking thing I’ve never encountered before that resembled a metal sphere with spikes, played with a bow.

After Vienna Teng finished, I spontaneously decided to stay for the other act, even though it was getting late. I’m so glad I did! I’d never heard of Christina Courtin before, but I totally fell in love with her. She seemed so HAPPY when she sang! She performed barefoot, and she gave the impression that she was singing with her whole body, dancing around totally without pretense or self-consciousness. My favourite part was when she sang a cover of The Beatles’ “Honey Pie.” She was so freaking adorable! I am totally gay for her. XD Here she is on YouTube, singing one of the songs she also sang last night.

Three cheers for living in New York!