Twitter Facebook Instagram Email

2022 Ledgers


March | May

MARCH

March 26, 2022 — Love Quirks returns off-Broadway this summer + Everything’s Up to Date in Kansas City

Happy Caturday! Pardon the double subject, but I didn’t want to bury the lede. For those of you who aren’t on social media, you might not have heard that “Love Quirks” is returning off-Broadway this summer! But also, I wanted to mark this update as a trip recap, as well, because so many people enjoy those the best. So, this ledger will have both plus some more exciting news!

EVEN WHEN LOVE WORKS, THERE ARE ALWAYS LOVE QUIRKS

After 27 months, “Love Quirks” returns off-Broadway with its original cast! I have spent the last 2 years so depressed over the fact that we had to shut the show down before it could really find its life, and now I’ve gone from depressed to stressed… which I believe is better. The show is going to have a limited 12 week run for 3 months at the brand-new AMT Theater on W.45th St! We are beyond thrilled to christen this new space with our little show. Our performances are going to be (with a few exceptions) Thursdays at 7PM, Fridays at 8PM, Saturdays at 8PM and Sundays at 3PM from Thursday, June 16th through Friday, September 2nd.

I was going to wait to send this till tickets are available, but I actually have time today to write this, and I didn’t want to hold it indefinitely then have to go back and add extra updates or revise tenses, etc. So just check out lovequirks.com and theoretically a ticket link should magically appear very soon. If you would like a personal note when tickets are available, please let me know.

Everything seems to be opening up here in NYC, and there are tourists all over Times Square again. We are cautiously optimistic that this summer is going to be a boom time. We also intend to get the show licensed so that we can send it around the country (and the world) and get productions of the show every and anywhere. We are obviously tremendously dedicated to the show, and we will be doing whatever it takes to make this little show that could not be extinguished into a cult classic.

I do hope that you all can come see the show, and those of you who have moved away from NYC have a perfect excuse for a visit this summer because it’s been too long since I’ve seen all of you!

PUBLISHED CROSSWORDS

I am happy to say that my THIRD published crossword will appear in the LA Times, and many papers near you, on Wednesday, March 30th! Given the amount of rejections I get, I think it’s a miracle that I managed to get 3 into the paper. Crossword crafting has become exceedingly popular during the pandemic, and it has gotten exponentially harder to get an accepted puzzle. But I’m nothing if not persistent! Plus, I find writing puzzles to be extremely relaxing, so it’s just a nice surprise when one makes it into a paper.

If you missed my other puzzles, you can always to go sethbh.com/puzzles to find PDFs of them, and of course, on late Tuesday night, the third one will magically appear there, too!

Speaking of puzzles, I have joined the Wordle bandwagon. All in all, it’s basically just an app version of the old game Jotto, and it’s pretty easy, but it’s super fun to compare scores daily with people, and when I get the word in only 2 tries (which has happened 7 times!), I feel very good about myself. Though, today I didn’t get it till the 5th try, but it wasn’t an easy word today…

OTHER PROJECTS

Speaking of popular, the turnout for my Don’t Tell Mama showcases this season has been tremendous both in quantity and quality. I do think that bodes well, in general. I am showcasing dozens of performers, a lot of them from the classes of 2020 and 2021 who had their college showcases canceled. I got so many submissions that I am doing 7 performers per show instead of 6. Additionally, I have added 3 extra non-Tuesday shows. And if that wasn’t enough, I actually have a waiting list for if performers drop out. At some point soon, I probably have to start booking the summer. But that point is not here yet!

I started the year with 4 Sondheim Tribute cabarets. If you missed it, here’s my rendition of “Good Thing Going” from “Merrily We Roll Along”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTxNgVEElgc

On May 3rd and 6th, I am doing Ahrens/Flaherty cabarets, which should be super fun.

In terms of writing, “The Secret Adversary” is down to only 5 songs that we haven’t started. We hope to do a reading either in the fall or next spring, depending on how the rest of the year shapes up.

And the fourth season of my podcast, “Millennials are Ruining the World? an Xennial perspective: bridging the gap between generations X & Y. I’m not woke, but I’m awake!” returns for 8 episodes this summer starting June 1st! We have some great eclectic topics this year including puzzle writing, astrology, toxicity and cats!

I GOT TO KANSAS CITY ON A THURSDAY, BY SATURDAY I LEARNED… NADA

So, as I mentioned last time, I have been touring the country with the “Fabulous Fanny Brice” show starring Kimberly Faye Greenberg. We did a weekend in Tucson, AZ, where it was unusually freezing just for the time we were there. But at least the resort they put us up at had a hot tub! But even more exciting, we did a show in Kansas City, which gave me the opportunity to check off 2 more states: Missouri and Kansas! Here is a brief rundown of the trip.

On Thursday, I splurged on a Lyft to my AirBnB since the flight was covered by the show. I had decided to come in a few days early so I could see the downtown area of KC in Missouri since our show was in Kansas. I found a really cheap AirBnB, and when I got there, it became pretty obvious that’s because it was in a very sketchy neighborhood. Spoiler Alert: we survived! But yes, I was really glad I took a car there. I was starving, so I found BBQ at Gate’s BBQ about 10 minutes away. I had some delicious ribs and french fries.

On Friday, I walked into down — though I later found out buses were still free because of covid — but I prefer walking whenever possible, anyway. I went to the American Jazz Museum, which I quite enjoyed until there was a school trip that destroyed my zen. Before that I was the only one there. They have lots of listening stations set up with obscure recordings from all the greats: Duke Ellington, Louis Armstong, Ella Fitzgerald, Charlie Parker, etc. They also had a special exhibit on the Pixar film “Soul”.

After I walked to the main area with Union Station and the Liberty Memorial and World War I Museum and Monument. Not being a history buff, I skipped the WWI one, but I did go to the free Money Museum in the Federal Reserve Building. I had already been to the ones in Atlanta and Denver, but I can never turn down a free museum! I walked through downtown to go to City Market to see the Arabia Steamboat Museum, which was really cool. Basically, these men decided to excavate a steamboat that had sunk in the 1800s in the Missouri River. And when they found it, there was a treasure trove of antique treasures, which they decided to display. There was also a section about how steamboats worked, and overall, I quite enjoyed it.

By that point in the late afternoon, Kim’s flight had arrived and she had dropped her bags off at the AirBnB. She met me downtown to the Power & Light District (this time I took the free trolley down Main St instead of walking) and we went out to Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que at the County Road Ice House. I had the most delicious brisket burger EVER, and then we went to Insomnia for ice cream/cookies — I had a delicious cookie sandwich. Afterwards, we headed to the Green Lady Lounge for some jazz! It was only a $5 cover and no minimum, so I ended up buying the jazz trio’s CDs — 2 for $10 — so I can always relive that night now in my apartment! I also think it’s very important to support fellow artists.

On Saturday, we took a Lyft to our fancy hotel in Overland Park, Kansas, and as we crossed the state line, I marked off my 26th state on my Been App! They put us up in a Marriott in Park Place, which was basically an outdoor mall, so we could walk to a few restaurants and stores. We were starving so we had some Thai at Bamboo Penny’s. Then, we had a tech rehearsal at the gorgeous White Theater in the Jewish Community Center. Who knew there were Jews in Kansas!? We had around 300 people show up for the show Sunday afternoon, and it was just wonderful. A beautiful theatre, and it was so nice to just give everyone a break from world.

That night, with nothing much to do, I went to the movies, and then Monday we flew back. It was a really nice, quick trip.

Next up: my friend Sammy and I are going to Yellowstone National Park in May for 10 days before “Love Quirks” completely swamps my life for the summer. We are going to fly into Idaho Falls, then go up to see my friend Sherri in Missoula, Montana, then 4 days in Yellowstone & Grand Teton Parks in Wyoming, meaning I will be at 39 states soon! Only 11 to go!

Additionally, Emi & I hope to finally go to Japan this fall, and in February, we are going to Antigua, Guatemala for Celia & Victor’s wedding.

ANOTHER YEAR, ANOTHER BIRTHDAY

As most of you know, last month I had yet another birthday. It feels like the last 2 years were a bit of awash, but what can you do?

It was really nice to be able to see 7 friends at an Italian restaurant again, and while I didn’t do a larger bar party, I did have my final Zoom party ever. I say final b/c it wasn’t that well attended, and no one really wants to do virtual things anymore. But it was nice to virtually see some folks I never get to see in person.

Additionally, my friends and I did two escape rooms! The first was the Houdini room at Clue Chase, which was one of the hardest ones we’ve done. Thankfully, we got out with 2 minutes to spare! And then my lovely friend Teresa was able to get us a free room at the one where she works. Indeed, we played the Office room, which was the first escape room ever in this country! It was a bit old school, but you could see the seeds for a lot of the other rooms we’ve done. When Stephen Sondheim did the room, they only had 5 minutes to spare, but our team got out with 16! We are a well-oiled machine!

IT’S IN THE CARDS

A few weeks ago, I hired one of my showcase regulars, Ashley O’Neill to do my astrological chart and also a tarot reading.

Via my astrological chart, I learned I have 2 signs in common with Sondheim: using music to express myself (Mercury in Pisces) and having a super career drive (Moon in Aries). Also, I’m a perfectionist with major ADD who is into traveling & publishing. Finally, I’m due for tremendous longevity & major success in the next year after a long period of building towards it.

My tarot cards were The Magician, the 7 of Swords and the 3 of Pentacles. Basically that translates to: 1. I have done an amazing job putting things together 2. I should re-examine all my personal rules and 3. Collaboration will help bring me to a higher level of success.

Finally, I did a quick one card pull from her special cat deck, and I got the Cat Priest, which is about patience and accepting that everything will unfold at its own pace.

Ashley is also going to be on my podcast this season to talk about how she got into this stuff, and also to delve even further into my reading. If you’re interested in one, you can find her on Instagram: @tarotandashtrology.

JONI THE KITTY

Speaking of cats at their own pace, after 3 months of living here Joni is finally really feeling at home! She is very much into attention, so now there are 2 needy folks in this apartment… (me and her…) She has popped up on the desk to block the computer multiple times since I began writing this 3 hours ago! We love Joni very much. She is actually turning 1 year old in a week! She’s still tiny, but it seems like she has grown so much since we first got her. Here is a video of Joni interrupting Emi’s self tape audition:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAdRm1H5qfM

And, of course, you can always find her Caturday photos on my Instagram and on her FB page: @jonithekitty.

BOOKS

I’ve gotten much busier than the last 2 years, so I don’t think I’m going to get to 50-60 books again, but here is what I’ve read since the year began.

The Guest List – Lucy Foley’s thriller about a murder at a destination wedding on an island was a fun, quick read.
The Lost Daughter – I read Elena Ferrante’s poignant novella so I could watch the movie – she is still one of my favorite authors!
Putting It Together – This lovely memoir by James Lapine about the making of my favorite Sondheim musical is a must-read for all theatre fans!
Memoirs of a Muppets Writer – This book had so many great stories about Jim Henson & Frank Oz, even if it could’ve used a best editor.
His Dark Vanessa – Kate Elizabeth Russell has written a modern “Lolita” from Lolita’s perspective, and it was a wonderful page-turner.
The Brothers Karamazov (second half) – Okay, so I had this on my 2020 list, but I finally got around to finishing this one in 2022. Phew! And Leah came over and we watched the movie with William Shatner and Yul Brynner!
The Perfect Nanny – Leila Slimani is another of one of my favorite new writers, and this dark story didn’t disappoint.
Oligarchy – Quick satire by Scarlett Thomas, which was decent.
The Nest – I loved this book by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney about a dysfunctional family waiting on their inheritance.
Girl, Woman, Other – This set of vignettes that mostly come together by Bernardine Evaristo had a lot of good moments, if you could get over the lack of punctuation.
What the Fireflies Knew – I’m about done with Kai Harris’s debut novel. The writing and story are good, and it’s been enjoyable so far.

With Entertainment Weekly stopping its physical magazines, I will no longer hear about as many books. It is quite devastating, and I am mourning the loss of magazines.

MOVIES

I have seen the majority of the Oscar nominated films now, and my vote is “Coda”. Hands down.

Licorice Pizza – This would be my second pick for the Oscar. I really enjoyed this quirky love story.
The Lost Daughter – Without reading the book first, I’m not sure I would’ve enjoyed this movie. I knew the inner dialogue already, but there is only so much you can get across with just a look.
Death on the Nile – Truly enjoyed this Agatha Christie adaptation, and called the ending – whether or not that was because I read it 30 years ago or I’m just smart (or both?) we’ll never know.
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On – Saw an early preview of this charming movie based on the YouTube character voiced by Jenny Slate.
Don’t Look Up – Watched this on in Kansas City on my iPad and really loved it! Nothing like a dystopian comedy! It combines 2 of my favorite genres.
The Batman – I saw this one in Kansas City after our show, and I mean, it was good, but completely and exactly the same as every other Batman movie! And can’t we have a happy ending for Batman and Catwoman, just once?
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent – This Nicholas Cage meta-movie is so phenomenal. I cannot say enough good things about it! From start to finish, it was 90 minutes of pure enjoyment and hilarity.

TELEVISION

There has been a dearth of new shows that I’ve really enjoyed. I worry that the peak TV era is coming to an end. Here are 3 shows that are new that I have enjoyed, and then some that are still going strong.

The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window — This Kristen Bell parody spoof was really fun and an easy binge.
American Auto – I actually really enjoyed this NBC sitcom by the guy who created “Superstore” starring Ana Gasteyer. It’s very smart.
Severance – The final new show I’ll mention is Adam Scott’s new show, which I just started. Sci-fi and something weird is definitely happening, so I am hooked enough to finish it.
Upload – Speaking of sci-fi shows which weird things happening, the second season of “Upload” was wonderful.
Servant – And another creepy show, the third season of “Servant” did not disappoint, and I’m relieved they were renewed for a 4th and final season so they can end on their own terms.
Star Trek: Picard – This is the best new “Star Trek” out of the 5 shows! Patrick Stewart can do no wrong, and the writing is on fleek! (Do people still use that term?)
My Brilliant Friend – The 3rd season of my favorite book quartet is also wonderful, and I’m also relieved this got its final fourth season confirmed.
The Walking Dead — The 11th and final season has been so good that I’m actually sad they didn’t decide to do a 12th! Although, they have already announced spinoffs with 4 major characters, so we know they don’t die…
Resident Alien – 2nd season of this funny show has been great.
Superman and Lois – 2nd season of this superhero show has also been great.
Kung Fu – And another CW show has had a great 2nd season so far. (Both this and Superman got renewed already! The only CW show I love that hasn’t yet is “Legends of Tomorrow” which I hope gets one more season.)
This is Us – Finally, a shoutout to my favorite TV drama, and I am sad to say the final episode will be out when I’m in Yellowstone so I’ll have to watch it on my phone!

THEATRE

The spring and summer are shaping up to be full of theatre to see again! Hallelujah!

Company – Patti LuPone in a Sondheim revival. Need I say more?
Tosca – Puccini will always be my favorite opera composer, and since it was January, we ended up getting rush tickets in row I (i).
English – Enjoyable Off-Broadway play about Iranians learning English.
Shhh – Off-Broadway stream-of-consciousness play about an existential crisis.
Anyone Can Whistle – Sold out Carnegie Hall concert version of this show starring Vanessa Williams.
The Life – I always regretted missing this show on Broadway in 1998, so I was glad to get to see a version of it at City Center.
Hart Island – Off-Broadway, experimental piece about the mass graves on Hart Island.
Birthday Candles – Debra Messing stars in a solid play about aging.
Liz Callaway: To Steve With Love at 54 Below – This was a flawless concert of Sondheim songs and stories. You can actually watch it at 7PM tonight on a livestream, if you are still into virtual things…

CONCLUSIONS

Well, there you have it! I do apologize that I haven’t sent an update sooner this year. 2022 has been quite a rollercoaster ride.

I really, really hope that all of you will make to NYC this summer to see “Love Quirks” off-Broadway. It has now been 12 years since we started this show, and I truly hope it lives up to our expectations.

I hope you are having a wonderful 2022 so far, and please reach out to say hi when you get a chance!

Always,
Seth

MAY

May 30, 2022 — Trip to Yellowstone + Buy your LQ Ticket

Happy almost summer! Before I delve into my lovely, relaxing vacation, if you have not bought your “Love Quirks” tickets yet… what are you waiting for??? We start performances in TWO WEEKS!!!

lovequirks.com/tickets

If you can afford to pay full price, please do so, but here is a discount code for all June performances besides opening night Monday June 27th (which we have only a few seats left for): SETH25.

After 27 months, it is such a relief to be reopening the show, and I trust every single person who reads this email is going to make a trip to NYC this summer to see us before we close on Friday, September 2nd!!!

Additionally, the LQ cast album will be available on all streaming platforms on Tuesday, May 31st!!! That’s so soon! There will also be a limited run of 500 copies of the physical CD with a beautiful 8 page booklet available.

PUZZLING PUZZLES

Before I get to my trip, I just wanted to say that if you missed it, I have now had 3 crossword puzzles published by the LA Times:

sethbh.com/puzzles

And I have my first puzzle in Universal Crossword — which you can find on Sunday, June 19th! Yes, you guessed it — it’s a Father’s Day puzzle!

Finally, I have also been hired to write an NFT puzzle hunt for a video game company. Don’t know what an NFT is? You’re in good company!

Since it goes with puzzles, I do want to say that a bunch of my friends just did a wonderful escape room at Mission Games — Cyberpunk — probably the hardest one we’ve ever done, and we got out with 75 seconds to spare! Highly recommended if you are looking for a challenging one! We also liked their other 2 games, as well.

PODCAST

If LQ and puzzles weren’t enough, I also managed to record 8 new episodes of my podcast for season 4! I know I usually do 13 each season, but so many of my friends refused to come on for fear of getting canceled 10 years later… so I’m really grateful to the 8 who chose to join me. The episodes will be released, as always, Wednesdays at 1PM starting June 1st. The schedule is as follows:

June 1st, 2022: Episode 40: Ashley O’Neill & Seth discuss ASTROLOGY
June 8th, 2022: Episode 41: Erin Rhode & Seth discuss PUZZLE WRITING
June 15th, 2022: Episode 42: Pranjal Vachaspati & Seth discuss JEOPARDY!
June 22nd, 2022: Episode 43: Amitha Jagannath Knight & Seth discuss CHILDREN’S BOOKS
June 29th, 2022: Episode 44: Mary Lauren & Seth discuss CHILDREN’S THEATRE
July 6th, 2022: Episode 45: Adriel Garcia & Seth discuss TOXICITY
July 13th, 2022: Episode 46: Walter Petryk & Seth discuss STAR TREK
July 20th, 2022: Episode 47: Jessica Webb & Seth discuss CATS

I do hope you will tune in, and if you missed any of the other 39 episodes, you can always catch up at: sethbh.com/podcast!!

JONI KITTY

I’ll get to my trip in a second, but I wanted to say Joni is sweetest cat ever, and we love her so much! If you haven’t been following her on Facebook, or Instagram, you can now also find her on the TikTok! It’s technically my TikTok — @sethbhdotcom — but I’ve only posted her so far. I might post a bit more when we start promoting LQ there, but we’ll see. I don’t really see the appeal at all of it, but apparently it’s very popular. Anyway, if you are on the TikTok, please go follow us.

By the way, Joni was so relieved when I came home last night; she was meowing and running all over the place, which I appreciate as someone who craves attention and validation… but anyway, before I start CATastrophizing, let’s get to vacation…

As always, you can find the 671 captioned photos on the Facebook, but here is a Google Drive for those non-social media folks:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1yUhP9nQ_EM-bxCOsIXdxmFcnIbmS19Do?usp=sharing

WEDNESDAY, MAY 18TH: FLYING, DAY ZERO

Why Yellowstone? Why not?! First off, I had heard from multiple people it was pretty magical (and it was), but of course, going to that corner of the country, checks off another 3 states! Also, my friend Sammy had a lot of vacation days she needed to use or lose, so we decided to embark on this epic journey.

We flew out of LGA and then had a layover in Denver. We arrived in Idaho Falls rather late, rented our Toyota Corolla, and drove to the first AirBnB which was in the basement of a house. Both AirBnB experiences were really great, and both hosts left us some snacks! Much appreciated!

THURSDAY, MAY 19TH: DAY ONE: IDAHO FALLS

Our first stop in Idaho Falls on Thursday was the amazing Collectors’ Corner Museum.

This cute little spot is run by a lovely couple Jim & Nida who have been together 62 years. Jim is actually from New Brunswick, NJ, though they’ve lived in Idaho for 50 years now. Both Jim and Nida were into collecting things – just like me and my Muppets and “Star Trek” stuff, but they took it to a much higher extreme. They are now retired and run this museum 5 days a week just because they love it.

There were so many items. I loved it so much! They had Trolls, M&Ms, celebrity dolls, robots, Smurfs, the Jetsons, “Star Wars”, “Star Trek”, Barbies, “Harry Potter” llots of Disney, Pez, stamps, Peanuts, a complete set of First Lady dolls – sadly only a few Muppets – a Japanese doll section, and a working Coca-Cola register which tells you how much you owe on the top! (Go see my photos for more!) Oh, they also had the same 1964 Fisher Price xylophone my grandmother had in her attic for us to play with as kids!

So many of the items had been donated by collectors, and it’s nice to see these things have a permanent home. It was just a wonderful place. And they had some collectibles for sale, and I could not stop myself — I got a Cowboy Bert which is not on top my TV, an original 1977 Rubber Duckie which has joined my Yeshiva rubber duckie from the Copenhagen Jewish Museum, and 2 Chip & Dale Rescue Ranger McDonalds collectibles that were only $1 each, so I couldn’t resist… sadly, the only Muppet toy they had was the Fozzie from the McDonald “Muppets Treasure Island” set, which, of course, I have the entire thing of.

If you can’t tell, I really loved that museum, and could’ve stayed all day.

However, we were hungry, so we went to Smitty’s Pancake & Steak House for some brunch. I had delicious strawberry pancakes with bacon and scrambled eggs. After, we walked a bit on the Snake River and went to the Japanese Friendship Garden. Unfortunately, it was really windy, so we decided to head on to Missoula.

Sherri, who we were going to see in Missoula, recommended we take the historical, scenic drive even though it was a half hour more. Thankfully, Sammy was able to get 3 months to Spotify for free, so she downloaded episodes of Conan O’Brien’s podcast, which helped to pass the time. (Incidentally, I miss Conan so much, and he’s still so funny, but I just can’t foresee myself listening to podcasts at home because I prefer having the TV or just music on. If I drove more often, I would definitely subscribe to Conan, though!) Five hours is quite a bit to drive, however, so we stopped a few times on the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail and Sacajawea Historic Byway.

We were starving when we got into Missoula, so we had dinner right by our AirBnB at Mackenzie River where I had yummy Chicken Alfredo.

FRIDAY, MAY 20TH: DAY TWO: MISSOULA, MONTANA, PART 1

Friday morning at 11:15, we met up with Sherri for brunch at Catalyst in the Downtown area. I had homemade blueberry waffles with bacon and scrambled eggs. We walked down by the river for a bit, and then since Sherri had to go back to work, we then walked around downtown. The first stop was the free Missoula Art Museum. There were only a few rooms to explore, but they featured modern artists like Marcus Amerman in the Native American section.

Next we dropped by the Florence Hotel which has been converted into a place where you can sit and have some chocolate, perhaps. We opted instead for handcrafted ice cream at Sweet Peaks where I got huckleberry & chocolate love. YUM!

After indulging our sweet teeth, we took Sherri’s recommendation and went to her favorite hike — the Barmeyer trail, which was a bit strenuous but had a rewarding view of the entire city.

Next, we checked out some Irish Music at the Imagine bar, and then we had dinner at Ciao Mambo. They gave us free cheesy garlic bread, and then I ordered the eggplant parmesan.

Back at the AirBnb, I finished the 550 piece puzzle that the owner had on a shelf while watching “Degrassi: The Next Generation” on the Roku Channel (the only free channel available without us putting in our own passwords). Sadly, it was missing one piece!

SATURDAY, MAY 21ST: DAY THREE: MISSOULA, MONTANA, PART 2

On Saturday, we took a 10am Missoula Underground Tour (“Unseen Missoula”). For two hours, we went around town hearing some historical stories, which I’ve completely forgotten at this point. We saw some places that there were speak-easies, but unfortunately one of the underground tunnels we were supposed to go to is under renovation. We went to the Union Hall and to the Elk lounge, and also saw the Mercantile which is a converted mall type place. It was definitely very informative and fun and only $12!

After that, we had lunch at the Farmer’s Market. I had a combo platter from Wok-ee Mountain, an Asian Cuisine food truck which included chicken teriyaki and chicken peanut curry.

We ran to Good Food Store (basically Whole Foods with all local, natural foods) to pick up some veggies for the grilling we were going to do at Sherri’s that night, and I got a really nutritional smoothie with orange juice, yogurt, mango and banana.

Next, we met up with Sherri, her husband Tom and Sherri’s kids to ride the Carousel, which was super fun because it was really fast. You could also reach for the brass ring from the dragon every revolution. Of course, when Sherri suggested ice cream again, we could not say no, so I had campfire s’mores and flathead cherry chocolate this time. Sherri gave us a brief tour of her work office (LMG Security), then we followed them to their gorgeous home where I got to meet their 3 cats: Elephant, Monkey & Shark! They had to go drop off the kids, so they sent us on the Rattlesnake Greenway trails for an hour. We saw a cute fairy garden, and also tried to find a geocached box. We couldn’t find it, so Sherri and Tom met us and led us to the box of plastic eggs so we could sign the log.

We went back to their place and grilled some food, and had a lovely dinner on the creek in her backyard, from which we could see deer on the other side.

After dinner, we went back to downtown and spent an hour watching Dueling Pianos at Stave & Hook.

SUNDAY, MAY 22ND: DAY FOUR: LINCOLN & BUTTE, MONTANA

Sunday was another day full of a bit of driving, but our first stop was Blackfoot Pathways: Sculpture in the Wild. It was definitely not as good as the Storm King Art Center right outside NYC, but at least it was free.

We walked around and saw the international sculptures including: Picture Frame, Gateway of Change, House of Sky, Montana Line Drawing, Hill & Valley, Montana Memory, East West Passage, Of Earth, of Sky, of Place Between, Ponderosa Whirlpool, Bat Beacon, Gateway & Tree Circus, Stringer, The Bridge, Untitled Dark Trio, Clearing, and A Place is a Place is a Place. (Okay, now I can recycle the brochure!)

We drove to Historical Butte, which is a cute little town right by a mountain. Sadly, all things in the town were closed on Sundays, so after driving around a bit, we had dinner at Sparky’s Garage, where I had some chili and a chocolate milkshake (to keep myself awake for the next few hours of driving).

We made it to Gardiner, Montana before sunset so we walked to the Yellowstone National Park sign, and passed some dear deer on the way before making it an early night.

MONDAY, MAY 23RD: DAY FIVE: YELLOWSTONE, PART 1

I read a lot of blogs to figure out the best way to see Yellowstone, and if I do say so myself, I think I nailed it. We stayed two nights in Gardiner, MT and then one in West Yellowstone, to finally end up in Jackson, WY, for 2 nights, which was by far the best of the three. I would say either doing the parks this way, or reversing everything makes a lot of sense. We did 3 days in Yellowstone and 2 days in Grand Teton. I think if we had only 2 days in Yellowstone, we would’ve felt super rushed to get to everything. Grand Teton has less to do, but given we could only handle 1-2 hikes a day, 2 days was nice there. If you are really into hiking or camping or anything super nature-y, then you probably want a few more days in Yellowstone. If you’re not going to hike at all, then 2 days might suffice, but it’s pretty spread out. We were smart to go in May because we didn’t experience much traffic in the park. According to my mother, when she went later in the summer, there was gridlock all the time. We got stuck a few times because of buffalo crossing or people all trying to get photos of wildlife, but in general, it was pretty smooth sailing. While a few things (and one road) were still closed because it wasn’t June, almost everything was open. All in all, I think going mid-May was a wonderful way to see the entire park without being inundated by people. Don’t get me wrong: it was still fairly crowded, but I think it would pale in comparison to what it would’ve been in a few weeks.

Anyway, our first stop was the Albright Visitor Center where a really nice ranger (much like Sherri in Missoula) just mapped out our itinerary in about 30 seconds. (It’s like he’s done this before!) And it matched the picture of what I thought we needed to do in my head. Day 1 would be everything in the North since we had to double back to Gardiner anyway. Day 2 was everything in the middle, ending on the West side, and then Day 3 was the South, so we could just drive straight through the edge of Grand Teton to Jackson. This worked out perfectly, and I highly recommend this itinerary for seeing the park.

Alright, we started our first day at Mammoth Hot Springs. This isn’t a spring you’d want to sauna in, however. It’s naturally forming beds of heat. We started with a mini-hike, but then walked around the boardwalk seeing the springs: Jupiter Spring, Mound Terrace, Cupid Spring, Canary Spring, Cleopatra Terrace, etc. We were supposed to go next to the Tower Falls, but accidentally continued on the wrong road for a bit. We stopped to do the Bunsen Peak hike, which was pretty strenuous. It was also a bit muddy and snowy, and unfortunately I was only wearing sneakers, so I ended up slipping a few times. We got to a great view, and decided that was plenty.

So, we headed over towards Lamar Valley and just had to stop to take pictures of lots of bison! The baby ones are so cute! We kind of went gaga the first day, but by day three, we were like — more bison!? Ugh! The problem is people just stop and take pictures and the roads get clogged. However, as I just said, May is still off-peak, so we probably would’ve had it much worse.

We saw the Petrified Tree, which is not a frightened tree, but one that was overcome by volcanic flow about 50 million years ago and has been basically frozen in time since then.

We reached the Tower-Roosevelt area, and saw the gorgeous Tower Falls then the Calcite Springs of Oil and Sulfur. Even more bison in the valley, plus, we ran into a group of people with telescopes that were watching some wolves and cubs about a mile away. They were very nice to allow us to look for a bit. Indeed, everyone we met in the park was super friendly. Travelers are the best people!

We saw a really serene lake, the soda butte and ended our day at Pebble Creek. That concluded the Northwest and Northeast corners of the park, so we headed back to Gardiner for dinner. Unfortunately, Gardiner had only 2 options open and they were both unappealing. We ended up picking the less crowded Iron Horse Bar & Grille and had overpriced burgers that weren’t that tasty. Ah well, every day a little death.

TUESDAY, MAY 24TH: DAY SIX: YELLOWSTONE, PART 2

On Tuesday, we passed through the Roosevelt Arch which Teddy Roosevelt donated to the park in the early 1900s. We drove past the Mammoth Hot Springs and Bunsen Trail and continued on the road towards Norris.

First stop of the day was the Sheepeater Cliff , which was named for the Shoshone Indians who used bighorn sheep. We met a nice crow by the Obsidian Cliff which was filled with lots of valuable rocks. Next up was the Roaring Mountain which had steam coming out of it. Finally, the Frying Pan Spring, and then we were at Norris.

The museum at Norris Geyser Basin was closed till June, but we could see it was named for Philetus Walter Norris, the park’s 2nd superintendent from 1877 to 1882. Philetus! What a name! At Norris there are two boardwalked trails (Back & Porcelain), and we went around both to see all the cutely named geysers and smelly springs including: Whirligig Geyser, Steamboat Geyser — which is actually the world’s tallest active geyser and erupts 300 feet unpredictably! It seems we missed it by a day, but it went off at 6:45AM on Monday, and we wouldn’t have been there anyway — Cistern Spring, Echinus Geyser, Crater Spring, Arch Steam Vent, Puff ’N Stuff Geyser (wins the cutest name award!), Green Dragon Spring, Porkchop Geyser, Vixen Geyser, Veteran Geyser, and the Monarch Geyser Crater.

Next up we drove over the Canyon Area where it was snowing! In the parking lot while trying to figure out what to do next, we saw a girl with an East Brunswick sweatshirt and a Rutgers backpack! It turns out she and her parents are from our hometown, so that was really funny!

Since it was snowing, we decided to continue South and then double-back hoping the weather would clear up (which it did). The snow started abating around the Mud Volcano Area so we got out and walked that little path. That was our close encounter with a bison! It was only a few feet away, then it actually came on the path! We knew not to approach it, so we backed away slowly and all was fine. Bison are less scary than bears… (#foreshadowing) Anyway, we saw the Sizzling Basin, Churning Caldron, Grizzly Fumarole (not to be confused with a mudpot!), Dragon’s Mouth Spring, and the Mud Volcano itself.

We continued on South for a little bit to get to one end of the Yellowstone Lake, which was just breathtaking with the Rocky Mountains in the background. Snowless, we were able to stop by places we had skipped on the way down including the Lehardy Rapids and Sulphur Caldron.

So, then we went to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone: the South Rim, then the Brink of Lower Falls and finally the North Rim. At the South rim, we took wonderful pictures at Artist’s Point of the waterfall. And then we did a 2 mile hike to Point Sublime, which lived up to its name. That hike was also a bit treacherous, and I slipped yet again, but thankfully it wasn’t actually that close to the edge. That would’ve been a bit terrifying! My shoes also got really, really muddy. Anyway, the Grand Canyon was filled with many colors, but a lot of yellow, as Yellowstone is of course named after the Native American name for the area which translated to yellow stone. It was really truly incredible, and I encourage you to see the pictures because those are worth a thousand words at least!

We saw a beautiful rainbow at the Brink of Lower Falls, and then took a mile hike to Inspiration Point on the North Rim, and we were indeed inspired.

So, that night we came out the West Entrance to stay in West Yellowstone, which was nicer than Gardiner, though still very much a town built just for tourists on the edge of the park. Thankfully, there were many more restaurant options and our hotel concierge recommended Serenity Bistro, which was very yummy. I had squash ravioli.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 25TH: DAY SEVEN: YELLOWSTONE, PART 3

On our final day in Yellowstone, we first stopped off at a few things we had passed on our way out of the park on Tuesday including Madison River, Artists’ Paintpots (so called because the variety of colors in the pools resembles an artists’ palate), Beryl Spring and Gibbon Falls. Then, we continued past the turnoff for the West Entrance and stopped by Firehole Falls and Fountain Paint Pots before hitting the main stops for the day: Midway Geyser Basin and Old Faithful.

Midway Geyser Basin consists of the Excelsior Geyser, Turquoise Pool, Opal Pool and the main site to see: Grand Prismatic Spring. The Grand Prismatic Spring was a rainbow-colored pool and uniquely beautiful. There was a bit of wind and steam making it hard to really capture it, but it was still breathtaking. I do apologize if I’m using the same cliched words over and over, but the ineffable beauty of the park is hard to describe.

We got to Old Faithful, which is definitely the most built up part of the park, completely ready for loads of tourists. The Old Faithful Geyser is so named because it goes off every 90 minutes or so without fail, so we knew when we got there we had about an hour before it would erupt. We checked out the exhibit on the park, including a seismographer, some rocks, and lots of informational scientific panels. Then, we walked around the geyser making sure to not throw any objects in pools, as the signs forbade. (Who would do such a thing??) And then we got seats and waited for Old Faithful to do its thing. It was really quite cool as it spewed hot water!

Our final stop in the park was West Thumb, which is a geyser/pool basin on the other side of the huge Yellowstone Lake than we were at on Tuesday. There we saw a really cute deer and a chipmunk, in addition to the gorgeous lake and many small geysers and pools including the aptly named Abyss.

Well, honestly, at that point even though it was still only 4PM, we felt we had exhausted the park… and most definitely: it had exhausted us.

We drove on the border of Grand Teton National Park on the highway you don’t have to pay for. While we were too tired to stop for more photos, we had a picturesque view the entire hour while driving and listening to Conan.

We arrived in Jackson, Wyoming with the sun still shining, and we walked through the charming town and Town Square with many different restaurant options. Jackson is also a ski town, so it is really well set up for tourists to have plenty of choices! There’s even a Playhouse, but sadly “Paint Your Wagon” didn’t start for another week. Anyway, we ended up at Kalu: Latin American Cuisine and I had chicken quesadillas.

THURSDAY, MAY 26TH: DAY EIGHT: GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK, PART 1

We started Thursday with a lovely breakfast at Persephone where I just got a strawberry croissant to go. After a quick stop to the Visitor Center, we decided to just hit the highlights of Grand Teton. (It cost $35 for a week pass to Grand Teton, and just FYI it was also $35 at Yellowstone for a week.)

The major highlight was Jenny Lake. We decided to walk the 5 miles to the hidden waterfall. This trail goes all the way around the lake. On the way, we ran into a black bear and her cub. The cub was absolutely adorable, but we knew that the mama would get really irascible if we came close. We backed away slowly, and we were going to just call it a day, but other people started to come. Once we had a large enough group, the cub got scared and eventually the mother, who was clearly acclimated to humans, went up the hill. We bonded with the group and stayed in a cluster for a bit. I met another New Jersey native, this older woman who loves theater, so hopefully she will come to see LQ! And at the top with the wonderful view, we sat with a couple from MA for awhile. They are actually living out of their car for a year, and it’s been 8 months of them seeing the country. Absolutely nuts! And it turns out that the girl is Billy Stritch’s niece. Very few people on this list probably know who Billy is, but he’s Liza Minnelli’s friend and pianist and has accompanied a lot of Broadway people including his neighbor Linda Lavin during the pandemic. Anyway, Amanda said that I was the only person who got her namedrop when she made it! They might come to NYC for the summer to see LQ, too. It’s always important to connect to strangers and invite them to your show because you never know who will actually show!

Besides the bears, we also saw a few marmots, chipmunks and a sleeping moose on this trail, which was much easier going back down.

Next we went to the Chapel of the Sacred Heart, which was closed till June, but we did see another moose right outside. Then, we drove up to the Valley View on the Summit of Signal Mountain and saw incredible views of the Grand Tetons and the valley. That was really a trip highlight right there.

Finally, we continued driving around in our circle and saw the Jackson Lake Dam & Reservoir and the Oxbow Bend Turnout before heading back to Jackson for dinner. We ate at Jackson Drugs, which used to be a drugstore, and I had a Southwest Chicken Salad then a scoop of homemade chocolate chip ice cream for dessert.

FRIDAY, MAY 27TH: DAY NINE: JACKSON, WY & GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK, PART 2

Our final trip day, we had a lovely brunch at Cafe Genevieve where I had scrambled eggs with hashbrowns, bacon and toast.

We went to the History Museum, which was $9, but a bit overpriced as it was only 1 room. There were some displays on the founding of Jackson, including a player piano, also some animal horns to play with and some taxidermy. They also displayed some of the first photos ever taken of Grand Teton and Yellowstone by William Henry Jackson, who is not to be confused with the town’s namesake David E Jackson. Lots of Jacksons, apparently! There was also a wall of important Wyoming women.

Next up, we went to the National Museum of Wildlife Art. We decided not to go inside, but we took pictures of the Spirit Totems which were animal sculptures by Herb Alpert that surrounded the place.

We headed back into the park for a final hike to Taggart Lake, which was a fairly easy one compared to some of what we had done. After sitting by the lake for a bit to take in the final moments of nature, we drove down the Antelope Flats Road in the hopes of seeing some elk, but only saw a few horses. Finally, we drove 2 hours back to Idaho Falls through the tree-filled Caribou-Targhee National Forest. In Idaho Falls, we had dinner at Snow Eagle Brewing & Grill right by the Falls, and I had a cobb salad, since I was trying to get back into healthy eating now that the trip was ending.

Getting in by 7PM allowed us to watch 3 episodes of “Stranger Things” thanks to the fact our AirBnB came with Netflix included! I have, of course, since finished the other 4 episodes of this part of Season 4, and am looking forward to the final 2!

SATURDAY, MAY 28TH: I’M GOING HOME

Saturday morning after driving 1,351 miles on the trip, we returned the car to the airport. After a flight, a layover in Denver, another flight, a bus and a subway, I was finally home.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Sammy for coming on this trip with me. It was super worth all the mishegas, and I highly recommend Yellowstone, just like everyone else who has ever been there. Sammy is a great friend, and I’m super grateful we had this time together.

And for those of you counting, this means I’ve now been to 39 states!!!

If you live in or near by the following 11 states I haven’t been to and want me to visit, let me know: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana or West Virginia.

BOOKS

I have read a lot of books since the last ledger, though I’m reading fewer these days in general and probably won’t read a ton of them this summer compared with the last 2 ones.

The Lost Daughter — What a pleasure to read Elena Ferrante again! A lot of the themes from “My Brilliant Friend” are in this seminal novella.
Putting It Together — Reading James Lapine interview and talk about my favorite musical “Sunday in the Park with George” was wonderful.
Memoirs of a Muppets Writer — This book needed an editor, but it was really amazing to hear stories about Jim Henson & Frank Oz I hadn’t heard before.
His Dark Vanessa — This was a fantastic book by Kate Elizabeth Russell about a boarding student who sleeps with her professor and the ramifications years after.
The Brothers Karamazov — I think deserve to put this on the list again b/c I actually finally finished the second half thanks to Leah being in a book club and reading it. Then, she, Emi and I watched the movie version starring Yul Brenner & a pre-“Star Trek” William Shatner! The movie had a better ending than the 900 page novel b/c Dostoevsky was planning a second part he never got to write…
The Perfect Nanny — Leila Slimani is such a good writer. This book is just wonderful.
Oligarchy — This satirical novel by Scarlett Thomas was a fast read.
The Nest — This is a wonderful novel by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney about a dysfunctional family waiting on an inheritance. Fantastic.
Girl, Woman, Other — This was a poetic novel by Bernardine Evaristo recommended to me by Leah. It had some really good characters.
What the Fireflies Knew — This Kai Harris debut was very enjoyable and sweet.
The Paris Apartment — Another Lucy Foley thriller, and it doesn’t disappoint! Twists and turns and Paris!
Disorientation — I LOVED this satirical novel by Elaine Hsieh Chou. Highly recommended! I don’t know why I’m reading so much satire these days…
The World Cannot Give — Tara Isabella Burton’s sweet coming-of-age novel was a great read.
The Candy House — Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Egan is a marvel. This book is wonderful, and I’m shocked I haven’t read her other works yet! They’re all my queue now!
Vladmir — This was a fun read about a female college professor’s obsession with a hot new teacher at her college who is 20 years younger.
Sea of Tranquility — Emily St. John Mandel never disappoints. This short novel was such a fast read because I could not put it down — I read it in 2 sittings! She loves to play with time, and then it all comes together, and it’s like… magic. Highly recommended!
Ohio — My friend Rebecca recommended this epic by Stephen Markley and I managed to get through all but the last 80 pages on the trip. It’s good!

MOVIES

I actually only saw 2 movies in the theater since the last ledger, and here they are!

Everything, Everywhere All at Once — This is one of the best movies I have EVER seen. It is flawless acting, writing and directing. It is both hilarious and poignant. Just wow.
Secrets of Dumbledore — Unexpectedly, this third movie in the “Fantastic Beasts” season wasn’t terrible. It wasn’t great, but it did wrap things up, so hopefully there won’t be anymore.

Sorry that I haven’t seen many movies this spring. I wanted to watch some on the plane, but United sucks and didn’t have screens available for us even though on the webpage, it said they did…

Other than that, I’m really looking forward to the “Bob’s Burgers” movie and I do think at some point when it’s on Disney+ I will watch the new Dr. Strange movie.

TELEVISION

So many of my shows are ending that I’m going to need new recommendations soon! In fact, I don’t really have many new shows that I’ve loved. It’s mostly been watching shows I’ve already been into.

I thought “Ozark” had a good ending. I’m looking forward to the last batches of “Better Call Saul” (what a mid-season ending!) and “The Walking Dead” later this summer/year. “This is Us” went out with many tears, as expected (and even though I had to watch the finale on my phone like a millennial, I still bawled afterwards). “Better Things” left us with a sweet finale, as well, as did “Blackish”.

Cancellation wise, the show I was really upset about was “Legends of Tomorrow” which deserved a final wrap-up season. I also would’ve watched more “Mr. Mayor” and “Pivoting” but what can you do?

“Star Trek: Picard” was fantastic this season, and I’m really enjoying “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds”. I find it crazy how there was a dearth of “Star Trek” for over a decade because now it’s a plethora of it! And high quality Trek! That’s what I appreciate — unlike say, “Star Wars” series, “Star Trek” series have all been top-notch writing, and Thursday night is now my favorite night!

Over on HBO, I thought “Minx” was really funny. And I’m so happy “Hacks” is back! Also on Thursdays, there’s “Made for Love” and “The Flight Attendant” and then on Sundays, “Barry” has been back. But again, none of those are new besides “Minx”…

Moving to the CW which is kind of the same company as HBO, I’m really enjoying the current seasons of “Superman and Lois” and “Kung Fu” which thankfully both got renewed. I’m looking forward to “Stargirl” Season 3 but that got pushed to the fall.

On Peacock, Emi and I love “Girls5Eva” which is in its second season. Speaking of NBC networks, “American Auto” on NBC is pretty funny and got renewed (it’s by the guy who did “Superstore”) and “Resident Alien” on SyFy’s has had a great 2nd season so far.

On Sundance TV, I watched this cute show with 10 minute episodes called “State of the Union” — it’s about couples that are having issues, and it’s by renowned novelist Nick Hornby. I believe you’d have to find that on AMC+ but maybe it’ll reair on Sundance one day.

On PBS, I really enjoyed “Around the World in 80 Days” starring David Tenet, and speaking of British shows, “Ten Percent” on BBC-A is fairly cute. And “Breeders” is back for Season 3 on FX.

And RIP “Entertainment Weekly” without which I don’t know how I will find new shows to watch or books to read… in fact, almost all the books above were from the EW list… not that I have much time to read this summer…

THEATRE

Clearly the reason I’ve seen fewer movies, books and TV shows is that theatre has been back! Here’s what I’ve seen since the last ledger:

Paradise Square — Broadway musical about an important historical event.
To My Girls — Really funny play about some gay friends who go away for the weekend.
The Skin of Our Teeth — Wonderfully weird revival of this bizarre Thornton Wilder play.
Hangmen — Hilarious dark comedy about hangmen in the UK.
Take Me Out — Great revival of this baseball play.
The Minutes — We loved this Tracy Letts satire. Just loved it.
POTUS — This raunchy show was hilarious!
How I Learned to Drive — Deeply disturbing but wonderful production of this Paula Vogel classic.
Little Girl Blue — Off-Broadway tribute to Nina Simone. The Nina portrayal was unbelievable.
Romeo & Bernadette — Cute off-Broadway romantic comedy.
Islander — 2 hander off-Broadway with some cool vocoder effects.
Girl from North Country — Really enjoyed this play with music based on a Bob Dylan song. Very bleak, but spell-bounding.
The Bedwetter — Sarah Silverman brings her memoir about peeing in her sleep to the stage as a musical!
Hamlet at the Met — This is a fantastic production of a 2017 opera adaptation of the Shakespeare play. The opera is a bit long at almost 3 hours (not including the intermission), but it hits all the story beats, while keeping most of the iconic lines; the set was wow. And having orchestra members and cast pop up around the audience was really unusual. And also, it has some hilarious moments especially in the grave scene (which is not actually grave) and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern portrayed as bumbling idiots by a pair of counter-tenors.
MJ the Musical — For those who are counting, according to my webpage this is my 424th Broadway show, which does not include repeat viewings of the same show! This production deserves all its hype. So lucky and unexpected that I won the lottery for the $40 tickets! This show was absolutely AMAZING, and 100% lives up to its hype. Wow. Just wow. If you can get tickets to this, go!

CONCLUSIONS

And now that I had a relaxing vacation in nature, it’s time for some “Love Quirks”! I will be mostly just focusing on the show for the next 14 weeks or so, though I am doing my weekly Tuesday showcases all summer long still, mostly so I can tell the audience of the shows to come see LQ!

I really do hope that every single person on this list is coming to the show, and I very much look forward to seeing you there!!!

Other than that, assuming we make it through the summer, Emi and I are going to Japan, and I’m very excited to see her home country. After that trip will most likely be the next time I write a ledger, so until then, have a great summer! AND PLEASE COME TO SEE “LOVE QUIRKS” OFF-BROADWAY!!!

Always,
Seth