Einstein!

Actor and former dinner interviewee Jack Fry is getting great reviews for his one-man show “Einstein!” in which he plays the eponymous scientist as he describes his push to prove his theory of relativity.

Jack and I had dinner one night in December 2009, after I saw his other one-man show “They Call Me Mister Fry.” That play was based on his real-life experience as a teacher in South Central Los Angeles. It was a great show, with Jack deftly portraying several characters in a story that never once lost my attention.

During my interview with Jack in New York City, I learned that when he’s off stage he’s just as interesting and charismatic as when he’s performing.

I haven’t had the chance to see “Einstein!” but based on the reviews on the show’s website, I’ll make a point to see it should Jack end up performing anywhere near Washington, DC.

Louisa’s Ukelele Shows

I’m back from holiday, hooray! I did two new interviews, hooray!

Now I have to do the hours-long process of transcribing and editing them. Far less hooray. But stay tuned, because I hope to have the 61st dinner interview online next week.

Meanwhile, if you live in the Washington, DC, area, you can hear the hilariously offbeat musician Louisa Hall performing with her ukulele at several shows in August.

According to her website, Louisa will be on stage August 1 in Haymarket, Virginia; August 2 in Tysons Corner, Virginia; and as part of a nine-songwriter series August 9 in Washington.

I interviewed Louisa in May at the Big Bear Cafe, and had a blast. If you’re on the fence about going to one of her shows, check out my interview with Louisa. It includes a clip of her singing a song. That should push you off the fence — in a good way, naturally.

Holiday Road

Heading out on the road for a holiday with a few stops along the eastern seaboard, so there won’t be any updates for a couple of weeks. That should save you the exasperation of hitting refresh every five seconds.

I’ll be doing a couple of interviews while on my travels, and hope to have the first of those up later this month. Meantime, I’ll be sporadically updating my Twitter feed, so go follow me on there if you like.

And I’ll still be checking my email, so if you live in Philadelphia, Atlantic City, New York or Miami and want to do dinner with a stranger between now and July 27th, follow this link to book a meal with me.

Behind The Craft

Writer Dave Barry once quipped, “Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.”

Brendan Kelleher would likely agree. He runs Behind The Craft, a website featuring his visits to craft breweries where he samples the beers and chats with the owners and staff about making their beverages.

Late last month, Brendan and I put Mr. Barry’s statement to the test by getting pizza and beers in Washington, DC. Click here or on the picture above for my interview with Brendan, in which he told me about his previous life as a futures trader in Chicago and his current focus on learning about the art of craft beer.

Gettysburg Rap

If you’re looking for some musical entertainment today, check out ukelele-playing singer-songwriter Louisa Hall’s tremendous “Gettysburg Rap” — a lyrical ode to one of the most important battles of the American Civil War.

Louisa is a funny and charming woman, as I discovered when I interviewed her in Washington, DC, recently. Click here for the interview. And her great sense of humor is present (along with a cameo by her kazoo) in the above video.

She performed the rap as part of the UnreheasedDC series, which has the simple but tremendous goal of filming great bands in unique locations. The location for Louisa’s performance? A shower. Once you’re done with the musical history lesson above, check out some of the other videos on the UnrehearsedDC site — including Louisa’s “Awkward” song.

Chatting With A Cellist

During my visit to New Orleans last month, I had a couple of fun interviews. First up was retired high school teacher and now dedicated zydeco dancer Mary Burns, and I’ve already posted part one and part two of my lunch with her.

The day after my time with Mary, I went to historic French Quarter restaurant Tujague’s — the second oldest restaurant in the Crescent City — for a leisurely lunch interview with professional cellist Daniel Lelchuk.

Originally from the Northeast, Daniel told me how he first learned about the cello, and his progression from practicing the instrument through to his current role as assistant principal cellist for the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.

Click on this link or the picture above to read about my meal with Daniel.

Aaron’s Trip To Blues Alley

Jazz pianist Aaron L. Myers II, a former Dining With Strangers interviewee, will be performing at Blues Alley in Washington, DC, later this year. Here’s a link to the details for the show, which takes place on September 3 at 8pm.

I didn’t get the chance to hear Aaron tickle the ivories during my dinner with him in the District, but he did sing snippets of a few songs — and if the high quality of his singing is any clue to the quality of his piano-playing, the show will be great. You can also hear samples of Aaron’s music on his website.

Zydeco People

Last Friday I uploaded part one of my interview with Mary Burns, an outgoing and energetic woman who used to be a catholic school teacher in New Orleans. These days she teaches dancing to zydeco music.

She had so many stories to tell that I figured the best option was to break up my interview with her into two parts. The first, which you can read by clicking on this link, focused on her life as a school teacher.

In today’s second part, Mary describes how she first got into zydeco dancing. And she shares other important tales, including her experiences during Hurricane Katrina, and her time as a budding amateur actress.

As an added bonus, today’s article features two videos. One of them shows off Mary’s dancing skills. The other features me trying my first ever raw oyster. Click here, or on the picture above, to find out more.

On The Move

Hey you! Yes, you, the one reading this!

Do you live in New York City? No? How about Atlantic City? Also a negative, eh. Well, what about Philadelphia, Miami or Chicago? If you’re in any of those places and want to do an interview for this site, get in touch!

I just updated my upcoming travel plans page with dates for trips to all of the above-named cities. I’ll be making short stops to each, mostly in July but with the Chicago portion of my journey in early August.

If you’re interested in dining with a stranger (me) and sharing the story of your interesting life/career/whatever, click on this link and fill out a handy form to get the ball rolling on organizing a meal.

The Pink Haired One

Special Agent Galactica will be bringing “her” unique cabaret show to Virginia and New York next month. After seeing the space traveler perform at a small show in Washington, DC, I can recommend going.

I used quote marks to describe her, because in reality Galactica is the alter ego of District resident Jeffrey Johnson. A former theater director, he now spends his spare time donning a bright pink wig and entertaining music lovers with tales of Galactica — an assassin who travels time and space, and performs cabaret in her downtime. I learned all about Galactica during a dinner interview with Jeffrey earlier this year in Washington.

She’ll be performing July 12 at the Duplex Piano Bar & Cabaret Theatre, then again on July 19 at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA. Check out the Pink Haired One’s official website for more details.

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