Saturday's project was the long-awaited outing to Avenue Q, organized by Jon and Stephanie most of a year ago.
We didn't actually get together with the pre-show dinner party, because we weren't sure of our timing. (Our lives are stressy enough right now that we're avoiding making commitments when we can.) But in fact, we wound up right next door to them, at Tantric, also in the City Plaza building. It's an Indian restaurant melded with a farncy bar -- we felt a tad underdressed, but generally had a good time. They appear to get crowded right about at the stroke of 6pm (not surprising for the theater district); fortunately, we got there about five minutes before then.
The food was very solid if unremarkable Indian, with all the usual options. The veggie appetizers were quite good, and the Tikka Masala was excellent; my veggie Korma was tasty but the sauce was less flavorful than I usually go for. Fortunately, the Garlic Naan was great, so I was able to indulge in my favorite Indian food, Naan Masala. (I realized some time ago that the chicken in Tikka Masala just gets in my way -- the *real* purpose of that sauce is for dipping bread.) Cocktails were good, and a tad exotic -- my Basil Ginger Gimlet wasn't optimal, but was a worthy experiment.
Avenue Q itself was a riot -- actually, even funnier than I'd expected. I know the soundtrack fairly well, having been turned onto it by ladysprite quite some time ago, so I thought I knew the show. But in fact, there are a lot of nuances that aren't at all obvious from it. In particular, the Bad Idea Bears are a riot, and I'd had no idea they were there. As with the soundtrack, the show is brutally funny and quietly touching by turns, and eminently worth seeing if you get the chance. This is one I don't expect to show up as a high school musical: the puppetry just requires too much subtle skill. The puppeteers were all brilliant, merging their own body language with the puppets to produce a more powerful effect than anything the Muppets ever achieved.
Sunday's project was Jon and Stephanie's wedding. (No, they didn't intend that confluence -- that just happened to be the way the dates worked, so Avenue Q was kind of a pre-wedding party.)
It was a very homebrew affair at the Concord Scout House, with virtually nothing done by outsiders: the whole project was done by the community, heavily but not entirely by the SCA friends. The food was potluck, the cake was from Richenza, Abigail minded the children -- most people pitched in in one form or another.
My responsibility for the day was Everything Relating To Music. They'd originally approached me to run an hour of period dancing; that gradually morphed into me manning the speaker and juggling iPods for the day. That was fine -- I'm usually happier if I have something to do -- but did get a little complicated. The speaker was a loaner from Harald, and there was some self-education in getting it to play nicely with the iPods. There was lots of music to run, including the processional for the wedding itself. (There was intended to also be a recessional, but everyone broke into traditional Jewish song as soon as they kissed; the rabbi and I just shrugged at each other and let the crowd do what it would.)
The modern dancing was fairly light, which wasn't really surprising -- getting the crowd seriously up and dancing requires concerted effort and a playlist designed for that. But the Hora set got lots of people dancing, and the period dances went over well. The period dance list got trimmed to just three dances (which I think surprised me less than it did Jon -- it was a tight schedule, so I'd figured compromises would be necessary), but we got most of the SCAdians and a good fraction of the rest up for it, and everyone seemed to have fun.
The surprise for the end of the wedding was someone vaguely familiar coming over and saying hi to me -- it turned out to be Steve Balzac, who I haven't seen in well over a decade. Steve is known to the old-guard LARP crowd as the author or co-author of a number of the early and important games, including Operation: Atlantis (which ran the same day as my first LARP, Shakespeare's Lost Play), Secrets of the Necronomicon (which I usually describe as "I was the Wolfman, Charley was Dracula, and Rick was The Insane FBI Agent -- we were the good guys"), and Nexus, the rewrite of the original Rekon I.
Anyway, Steve had been out in California for many years, and I had thought he was still there, but it turns out he moved back to this area a few years ago. He met Jon a few years back entirely by coincidence -- it's a small geek world. He still keeps his hand in the LARP world (perhaps the only founder who does), but is mostly focused on the Serious Games side, doing leadership exercises for companies, crisis simulations for the government, and stuff like that. I encouraged him to come check out Intercon next year -- it would be lovely to get him back involved with the community again, as much as he has time for. (With a consulting career and a young daughter, his life is understandably busy.)
And thence home for a traditional Easter dinner. (To be followed this weekend by the traditional post-Easter Lamb Vindaloo...)