By Naomi Serviss / New York City
There’s no easy way to say goodbye.
Especially if you’re a Serviss family member trying to peel off from a heralded reunion. Ten will get you 20 that 30 minutes after the first air kiss, aunts and brothers will still be hugging it out, chanting “so long!” ad nauseam.
There was so much borderline-hostility-soap- opera-ish drama during a recent Serviss hootenanny, I expected brusque, brush off “see ya’s.” Who wouldn’t be eager to hightail it away from relative overload when tempers fry? But no! Let’s schmooze-delay some more! It’s the Serviss Way!
Your hand may be turning the proverbial doorknob, but hold your horses, people. Allan has another recipe to share. It’s always a good one, by the way.
The above is obviously a metaphor.
It’s hard to write an “Adieu” column. And hard to give up the gift of a steady outlet, even when the time is ripe. Even when you’re hitting your stride covering Broadway and divulging Insider theater tips. C’est la vie!
Contributing to this gutsy website these past few years has been a joyous roller-coaster thrill. Founder and Editor Andrea Sachs manifested her dream vision and in press agent parlance, Andrea (with tech whiz Matt!) “Made Stuff Happen!”
And I’m grateful to have been a part of Andrea’s ambitious labor of love. The Insider’s aim was to engage community despite living through a literal pandemic! Contributors tried to make sense out of a refracted-prism normal that seemed anything but. Readers were hopefully intrigued, informed and entertained.
All while guessing how much disinfectant we needed to decontaminate our mail. Would it be greedy to buy one more pack of toilet paper (if available)? Is that all there is, Miss Peggy Lee? What’s it all about, Alfie?
Haven’t we all been suffering from collective, existential dread (that sounds ominous and doom-y)? Can’t we just call it High Anxiety?
All in the nomenclature.
The Insider’s hook was not just woeful Covid tales and pandemic panic. This lofty endeavor offered readers human connection through myriad writers with varied points of view and expertise.
And they were always entertaining! Some writers shared rusty secrets (me!) and explored unearthed memories.
To have had this joyous opportunity to vent and kvetch and horse around was a welcome one. To have been given support and encouragement meant the world.
Andrea Sachs, I’m looking at you!
I unabashedly got a kick out of following and writing about Royal machinations, because it was so removed from my normal! And we need more fun in our covid-scarred lives. Even if the monarchy is just a tad out of touch with plain folk reality, and forever stained by colonialism.
Still, those color-coordinated pros know how to play dress-up with all the finery and jewels from their conquered worlds.
It was the stuff of which kids’ dreams are made! This kid, at least. Romance! Castles in the sky! Well-loved and cared-for horses! World travel on the commoner’s quid! What’s not to love? Admittedly my rose-colored glasses faded with each trouble-in-paradise revelation.
How quickly tides turn. I was once sympathetic to Harry’s plight and sad sack stories (being the youngest, traumatized in childhood, you know the drill). Maybe he and Meghan were trying to break free from a lifetime of being called upon to rep the monarchy. Simply unfurling their wings! Trying to have their (wedding) cake and eat it, too! I gave them the benefit of the doubt. For a bit, at least.
But ever since the couple sat down and spilled the private beans in that cringe-y Oprah interview, they were anathema to me. I quit the Harry team. After reading his memoir, Spare, I realized how naïve and ill-informed the ginger prince is. Meghan, a (meh) paid television actor, hit the jackpot marrying into royalty. Literally. Or did she?
More importantly, who really cares?
Still, it was amusing covering the colorful pomp and hoopla over the Queen’s send-off. Kate and William’s activities and public appearances are always pitch-perfect and photogenic. I’ve grown to appreciate this dynamic duo’s repping the progeny during the King’s senior years. If someone has to do it, might as well be Kate and Wills.
But this is a happy farewell column! No more chatter about pillaging native lands in the name of the Queen!
The pandemic and forced isolation cracked my world, as no doubt it cracked yours. It was a time for hunkering down and looking for a silver lining. Without a playbook.
In the beginning weeks, artistic rumblings lured me to buy (online, natch) construction paper and pastel-colored scissors in order to channel Matisse in his dimming years.
My paltry collages were short-lived, as was a vision board, which felt too crunchy granola with its celestial anagrams. Then I practiced penmanship and sent handwritten (!) cards to friends with sealing wax stamps for decoration. A college hobby, revitalized while quarantined!
Then came the throwing stuff out stage, which is ongoing still. I joined my local Buy Nothing Group and recycled unwanted clothes and whatnot. Plenty of whatnot.
Broadway and the theater arts have always been my passion, even in my childhood dreams. I was weaned on vinyl musicals both awful (Wildcat with Lucille Ball) and hilarious (Little Me with Sid Caesar). Covering Broadway has been a challenge in the time of Covid. Would theater going ever return to pre-pandemic numbers? Admittedly, it was often nerve-racking to sit in a theater with rows of masked fans trying to breathe without coughing. Easier read than done.
I hope I imparted some joy to readers looking for a show inspiration. Granted there are many mediocre shows on the boards, but tourists flock regardless.
Readers are now informed of the Theatre Development Fund’s (TDF) half-price offerings: day-of show tickets at the TKTS booth at 47th & Broadway and one in Lincoln Center (less crowded). Join! Spend even less! tdf.org.
But my passion extends beyond reporting on theater. It’s grown exponentially with each dire heat warning.
Two words: Climate Change.
It’s here, people.
Early whistleblowers were drowned out by big oil profits worldwide. If corrupt polluters aren’t brought to account for criminal acts beyond the pale, we’re in Trouble with a capital T. If we don’t get this one right, we’re doomed. It’s not a political issue, it’s a humankind one.
With Phoenix, Ariz. clocking in upwards of 110 degrees Fahrenheit for 18 consecutive days, doesn’t it feel like hell on earth, wherever you live in these United States?
The current heat wave has gripped three continents, across North America, Europe and Asia.
Forest fires (Canadian and European) impact all of us, as air grows thicker and breathing becomes challenging.
But I digress.
I’m still taking my leave….
I’ll miss posting Central Park Dog photos, which has become quite the passion project. Perhaps I’ll grace this piece with some newfound four-legged friends. If you can’t leave ‘em smiling and laughing, just leave!
But one more thing: I have a terrific recipe from Allan…
Naomi Serviss is a New York-based award-winning journalist whose work has been published in The New York Times, Newsday, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Highroads (AAA magazine), in-flight publications, spa and travel magazines and websites, including BroadwayWorld.com