A Capital anticipations list: Red Hook tacos, Persepolis, pie, ‘Knuckleball!’, print parties
Each week, Capital's editors and writers will offer a list of the events, activities, releases and personal obsessions that we are looking forward to during the next week. Here is a list of our anticipations.
But I'm not missing this: the Red Hook Food Vendors are opening their season on Saturday, April 28.
The first time I went there it was for a Chuck Schumer press conference in 2007. He announced his support to help keep the vendors in the park, but bring them into compliance with city regulations. Reporters gathered around, took notes on what Schumer said, then, followed him as he ate a bunch of food. Eventually, we all did.
And I've been going back ever since.
Knuckleball! at the Tribeca Film Festival
Reid: For two short years in the late 1980s, when I was a small but voracious consumer of local baseball, the Texas Rangers' two best pitchers were Nolan Ryan and Charlie Hough. Ryan was easy for a kid to get behind. He was a leathery, native Texan who brought a kind of ranch attitude to the mound; at 41, with a long wind-up (and a couple of Advil), he blew fastballs by hitters even when they knew exactly what was coming.
Hough was much harder to comprehend. He was the anti-Nolan: an old Hawaiian who smoked Tareytons and served the ball up with a soft delivery that looked about like dad tossing me batting practice.
But even when you couldn't see it move too well on our old box set with an antenna, you could see the frustration on the hitters flailing after Hough's signature pitch, the knuckleball. Bob Uecker summed up how best to catch one: "Wait'll it stops rolling, then go pick it up."
Anyway, this is all a long wind-up for my only weekend plan, which is to see Hough explain his craft in the new documentary Knuckleball! The movie is about a couple of his successors, Tim Wakefield and the Mets' R.A. Dickey, but the Tribeca teaser promises "copious archival footage and illuminating interviews with legends like Charlie Hough, all with a level of reverence and detail that would make a true baseball aficionado proud."
Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis 2
Dana: I'm aware that I'm many years behind on this, but I just finished reading Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, a graphic novel based on her life growing up in Iran during the revolution, and have just started reading Persepolis 2. In the latter, Satrapi's parents have sent her to the relative safety of Austria, where she attends a Catholic boarding school, learns about Bakunin and hangs out with the school's marginal crowd. It's a book about culture shock and assimilation, and about being a teenage girl. It's reminded me of how gratifying graphic novels can be. I'll finish it this weekend. And then, of course, I'll watch the movie.
Joe: Now that's it's all warm and sunny it seems like the spring media-party season is entering full swing. There are a few good ones next week. Erstwhile West Coast smart-people mag Miller McCune celebrates its relaunch as Pacific Standard Tuesday evening at Corkbuzz near Union Square. We're told some California wines will be poured for guests in a gesture of regional pride. Then Thursday's a double-header: Our friends at Longform.org are hosting a fete for their second anniversary Thursday night at Financial District watering hole The Wooly. And Mental Floss has a swank soiree planned at The Cabanas at The Maritime Hotel, which means drinking outside! RSVP for that one is here.
Gillian: I grew up in horse country in Massachusetts. Drive west of Boston past Worcester and sandwiched between Springfield and the New York state line are fields stacked on fields of horses grazing in long grass, swinging their heavy tails, lolling around rundown barns. My mom's lifelong dream was to own one of those horses and we could finally afford one when I was a pre-teen. She adopted Joe the Bartender, a Morgan with muscular shoulders, a chestnut brown belly, black shins, and a dusty, midnight-colored mane. He had an attitude, and wasn't fast enough in races or elegant enough in jumping competitions, which is why he was put up as an orphan. We loved him. Mom and I worked off his board at a barn by mucking out stalls, feeding the other horses, and tidying up the place.
In front of the farm, sprouting between overgrown grass that the owner, Bob, never mowed, were stalks of rhubarb, the tart plant that has poisonous leaves but rich red celery bodies that taste great in pies when mixed with strawberries and sugar. My mom and I once picked some of the plants and she made me the first strawberry-rhubarb pie I ever tried. We ate it with whipped cream and a glass of lemonade on a spring day.
This weekend I'd like to make that pie using this Smitten Kitten recipe. It's simple, and perfect for this time of year.
"Law & Order," season 1
Tom: I've begun a Netflix obsession with a very particular corner of the "Law & Order" universe: The very first episodes of the first season. It's astonishing to see how different New York looks and feels here. After a single episode I found myself gobbling up online stuff, like this very thoughtful statistical analysis on the website Overthinkingit. It charts the conviction rates on the show against the murder rate in New York, and what emerges is a fascinating springboard for thinking about the city and how its self-perception developed over the last 32 years since Episode 1.
For those of us who are obsessed with old pictures of the city, but who thought 1990 wasn't old enough, here is telling you that these episodes, even with the sound off, provide some of the best visuals, and really alienate you from the year 1990 in a way you might not have thought you were quite ready for yet. The silver lining: Something alien can be observed more closely. Watching the cops drive quickly up Eighth Avenue by night and passing the construction site of Worldwide Plaza, or stalking the lowlifes and undergrounders who scuttled around on the greasy sidewalks of the Meatpacking District. It's actually addictive to me. But there are more mundane pleasures, too. In just a few episodes I saw Cynthia Nixon playing the role of a female Bernard Goetz; Philip Seymour Hoffman and Gil Bellows playing young drug-dealing punks on the Lower East Side (they actually look too young for the roles), Frances Conroy as a wealthy uptown dominatrix who trawls the avant garde Chelsea art galleries for trade, Patricia Clarkson as a million-dollar madam ... You actually fall out of the chair laughing as these actors come and go, wondering whether it's at all possible that some punk or madam or evil doctor you're seeing on a silly procedural drama today will be collecting Oscars tomorrow.