Tag: Lombardi’s

Eleven festival

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008 | All Things, Arts, Eats

Pre-theater pizza at Lombardi’s on Spring Street with its unmissable mural of a pie-wielding “Mona Lisa,” whom manuscript experts at the University of Heidelberg have definitively identified as Florentine Lisa del Giocondo, putting all other theories to rest. (La Gioconda, inspiring artists everywhere.)

The “Pizza” episode of the History Channel’s “American Eats” series — set your TiVos for the next airing: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 — tells the story of Gennaro Lombardi, the “founding father of American pizza,” and his contribution to New York City pizza: locally grown tomatoes (instead of San Marzano), cow mozzarella (instead of water buffalo), and pies fired in coal ovens. To some extent, all the old school city pizzerias can be traced to Lombardi’s pioneering shop at 53½ Spring Street.

That first pizzeria was established in 1905, though in 1994, Lombardi’s grandson re-opened it at its current location at 32 Spring. For the pizzeria’s centennial on November 10, 2005, Lombardi’s sold whole pizza pies for 5 cents apiece.

We paid somewhat more for our pepperoni and mushroom pie, but it was still worth it.

At the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center’s Milagro Theater on Suffolk for the premiere of playwright Carla Ching’s TBA. The 1898 building is a former public school (P.S. 160), but since the mid-1990s, has served as a multicultural center for contemporary arts and art-related community services. CSV has four theaters and exhibition spaces; 53 visual artists have studios in the building.

Enhancing the LES hipster vibe was a dimly lit bar/gallery through a beaded doorway on the ground floor with vibrantly colored paintings of female nudes and cans of PBR, which we were invited to bring inside the theater.

Through April 5, theater company Second Generation celebrated its eleventh anniversary of supporting Asian American dramatic literature with ELEVEN, a month-long festival of 11 plays: one full-length production, four developmental staged-readings, and an evening of six one-acts. The centerpiece was Ching’s drama, starring Lloyd Suh, Second Generation’s artistic director and a playwright in his own right. (Both he and Ching are members of the Ma-Yi Writers’ Lab.) Suh appeared as a last-minute replacement for Ken Leung, who was called back to the set of Lost, where he has a recurring role as Miles Straume.

From TBA’s press notes:

When Silas Park’s girlfriend leaves him, he becomes a shut-in, pumping out blistering autobiographical writings in his little East Village apartment. Just as Silas finds himself unexpectedly on the verge of literary stardom as the next Asian American wunderkind, his brother Finn shows up on his doorstep, accusing Silas of stealing his life. A play in two acts, in the crevice between fact and fiction.

An intriguing exploration of how impression and memory can form their own reality. Excellent work all around.

Oh, and we sat in front of Dr. Chen from ABC’s “Eli Stone,” whose real name is James Saito.

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