The Stunning Return of Stella Starlight: Queen of Space

Hooray!

The world's prayers have been answered. Children sing in the street. Trees erupt into bloom, and not because it's springtime, but because of theater. And by all that I mean, I've got a goddamned play going up! Once again, I've combined forces with the brilliant women of Squeaky Bicycle to bring you theater the likes of which you've never seen, unless you've seen some of our work before.

And not just one play, but three plays. Three not-very-long plays which, like Voltron, combine to make a supercharged evening of theater that can crush monsters and knock over power lines. Three plays which operate under the combined title of:

Tales of Love & Lasers

Sounds pretty all right, right? I thought that baby up myself. So, just what are these Tales of Love & Lasers? They are as follows:

Hyperion Calling: A saga of a woman stranded in space, with nothing to comfort her but the knowledge that this 10 minute short is way better than Gravity

R. For Roxy: First produced in last fall's Bad Theater Fest, this story about love aboard a derelict space cruiser will make you laugh, cry, and hunger for liquified cake.

Stella Starlight: Queen of Space: Oh boy, this is the big one. The one y'all have been waiting for. The one with jokes, and fighting, and dancing, and leaping, and, oh my god I'm just too excited.

So, when does this magic come to pass? Just under two weeks from now, at the Drilling Company on the Upper West Side. We'll be running Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Sundays (May 6 - May 21) at 7 PM. Come on May 6, and afterwards you can watch me get drunk around the corner at The Dublin House. I promise, it's just as exciting as the play will be.

For more details, see the Facebook invite here. Please do RSVP, so we can let you know when tickets go on sale, and so on.

 

Leo the Lip, Arky Vaughan, And A Holdout Called Frenchy

70 years ago this month, the Brooklyn Dodgers found themselves fantastically inconvenienced by a European tiff known as World War II. Rather than travel south for spring training, they went north, and not very far, to the upstate resort known as Bear Mountain. It was cold, it was stressful, it was baseball.

On March 21, 1944, as the Nazis occupied Hungary, the Japanese pushed into India, and the Allies assaulted the ruined Italian hamlet of Cassino, manager Leo Durocher watched the snow, and dreamed of Florida. In deference to the army's need for trains, the sternly patriotic commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis had decreed that no club would travel south for spring training. And so, for the second time, Durocher's Brooklyn Dodgers wintered at the Bear Mountain Inn in New York, where the fires were warm, the steaks were thick and the practice fields were covered in eight inches of fresh powder.

They could work around the snow. While other teams shivered, West Point allowed the Dodgers to use its massive field house whenever the cadets weren't drilling. Durocher's problem was his infield, which had been so savaged by the draft that Branch Rickey had suggested his manager play second base or shortstop. Although ostensibly a player-manager, the Dodgers' skipper hadn't played a full season since 1938. His knees were bad, his bat was slow and he had acorns in his elbow.

If you're asking, "What the hell do you mean, acorns in his elbow?" then you have something in common with the sporting public of 1944. To find out what the hell Leo's talking about, click here, to be taken on to Sports on Earth.

The Killer Named Gyp The Blood

I've spent much of the last few weeks with my head floating around in an imaginary version of New Orleans, editing stories for Narratively's week on the Crescent City. We have some really lovely stories up there, none closer to my heart than the one I spent entirely too long working on, about a Storyville murder that has largely been forgotten. We'll see if I can fix that. 

Ever since the first flatboat sailor came down the Mississippi, loaded with cash and rotgut whiskey, New Orleans has been wary of outsiders. On Easter Sunday, 1913, a trio of New Yorkers learned that lesson well, when they found themselves in the center of a gunfight that forever altered the nation's most famous red light district. Driving the chaos was a man named Charles Harrison, better known as Gyp the Blood.

After the shooting, Harrison got his picture in the paper, under the headline "Harrison Bad Man." The Daily Picayune described him as a cold-blooded killer with a cocaine habit and a sideline in white slavery, but the picture does not match the crimes. About thirty years old at the time, Harrison is shown as soft-featured, with a bulging nose and an awkward smile. In his left hand, this "man of evil days and black surroundings" clutches a small white dog.

"He was spruce," the Daily Picayune would later write, "even dapper in appearance, as far as clothes went, but his pale, smooth-shaven face, bulging at the eyes, caving into sunken cheeks and squaring into a brutal jaw, bore the cold, steely cast of unregenerate impulse to crime."

Gyp the Blood was a hardened criminal of the Lower East Side. Or perhaps he was a fake, a coward who killed a man to prove he wasn't scared. He was a dupe, tricked by his employers into throwing his life away. Or he was a wild man, whose itchy trigger finger caused a bloodbath, and ruined business for hundreds of law-abiding purveyors of vice.

In the photograph, all Harrison seemed to want was to show off his puppy.

If you like that, there's about 5,000 words more. Eat it up—it's juicy.