Tag Archives: South Side

Vive l’amour!

City Theatre’s production of The 13th of Paris. Pictured (left) Matthew Dellapina (right) Jenny Wales. Photo credit: John Schisler.

Matthew Dellapina and Jenny Wales in The City Theatre’s production of The 13th of Paris.
Photo credit: John Schisler.

Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl, or boy argues with girl until they hate each other, or boy opens a major chain bookstore around the corner from girl’s spunky independent bookstore, or boy does something else that’s clearly on the wrong path. But then boy wins girl back. We know the basic story so well, in so many variations, it’s hard to imagine a new twist on it. It’s the classic romantic comedy plot, backbone of countless novels and chick flicks.

The current production at City Theater, The 13th of Paris, is billed as a romantic comedy, but this label is a bit unfair. Sure, the play follows the basic rom-com storyline for the most part. But it doesn’t start with a "meet cute" — it jumps right into the good stuff: the turmoil of the "boy loses girl" stage. And this small change leaves much more time to debate interesting questions of love in a modern world, questions that a standard romantic comedy never has enough time to confront.

In this case, the boy — Vincent — doesn’t lose the girl per se. He walks away from her, of his own volition, because he isn’t sure if the sweet and happy feelings he feels are the right kind of love. Shouldn’t he and she be wildly and crazily consumed by their passion for each other? Think Romeo and Juliet, Heathcliff and Catherine, Rick and Ilsa. Theirs are Great Loves. What is one to make of a love composed of pleasant Sunday mornings sitting in bed and doing crossword puzzles, talking in private languages, or not talking at all? Surely Rick and Ilsa would never do crossword puzzles, and they’d never talk in fake robot talk.

To be clear, Vincent isn’t looking for movie-style love. He wants a real-life love: the love his grandparents had for each other. The love he wants is what he’s seen captured in letters his grandfather wrote in the course of a fifteen year marriage, packed full of talk of endless, limitless love. And who wouldn’t want a love like that?

As simple a question as it seems, this play gives reason to think otherwise, or at least to appreciate the alternatives. And it does so in a wholly entertaining, light, bittersweet manner. Everything about this show evokes Parisian charm with a modern, American awareness, from a stellar cast to immaculate direction to evocative sets and production.

The show trips along in a brisk but unhurried 90 minutes, so it’s also a great component in a dinner-and-a-show evening. If you’re looking for a romantic night out, look to this South Side outpost of the Treizieme arrondissement.

The 13th of Paris at City Theatre, through February 17, 2008
Show details and ticket information at the City Theatre website

Other reviews:
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (preview article)
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

South Side Mid-Winter Soup Contest

Red Lentil Soup

Red Lentil Soup, originally uploaded by R@punseLL.

I received an email about an event next month that will both taste good and do good:

The 4th annual South Side Mid-Winter Soup Contest presented by Iron & Glass Bank will take place on Saturday February 16, 2008 from 12 – 3 pm.  Dozens of South Side restaurants and shops team up to offer FREE soup samples and HOT sales in the stores.  $5 and a can of soup allows you to “soup hop” all afternoon! For more details, visit www.southsidepgh.com.
The South Side Mid-Winter Soup Contest benefits the Brashear Association Food Pantry, which serves over 350 families a month, is sponsored by Iron and Glass Bank and is presented by the South Side Local Development Company.
What? The South Side Mid-Winter Soup Contest presented by Iron & Glass Bank.  Participating South Side shops will feature kettles of soup prepared by neighborhood restaurants.  Participants donate at least $5 and one can of soup to the Brashear Association Food Pantry and are given a map allowing them to “soup-hop” all afternoon.  The Mid-Winter Soup Contest benefits not only the local businesses along East Carson Street, but also helps to stock The Brashear Association Food Pantry for months, feeding the needy of our community.    Last year, in addition to over 1,000 cans of soup and other goods, the event also raised close to $4,000 for Brashear; the Iron & Glass Challenge will help to further provide for the less fortunate.

When? Saturday, February 16, 2008 from 12-3 p.m.

Where? South Side shops. Participants can register at one of three starting points:
The Brashear Association, 2005 Sarah St.
SouthSide Works, 2629 E. Carson St.
WYEP FM, 12th & Bingham Streets

Event Organizer: South Side Local Development Company

Event site: Please visit www.southsidepgh.com for participating shops and restaurants and other event details.

If you’re hungry for some soup in the meantime, click the picture posted above and check out the recipe for Red Lentil Soup, which can be made vegetarian. Mmm good!