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By the time you read this, my daughter should have returned from an adventure. I can’t wait to hear all the details—particularly what it was like to watch Independence Day fireworks exploding over San Juan Harbor. She traveled down to Puerto Rico for a week with some friends of our family (and without us), both to celebrate her graduation from eighth grade, and to help their daughter with the care of their 20-month-old grandson. My wife could have gone with them—she’s off for the summer—but we decided it was time to let our daughter enjoy this experience, well, independently.

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July 4th

We were going to roast a pig. In our back yard. A whole pig. I mean, that was the plan. I was skeptical and certain that roasting a pig in one’s back yard in Brooklyn would win us a very expensive ticket.

My roommates, Ryan and Robin, were into it; doing research, making phone calls, really trying to make the pig roast happen. My first thought was that we should make a documentary about it.

They put in a valiant pig search before giving up, and my documentary never really got off the ground, but the party-the party was always a sure thing. We had planned it in the middle of our first Humboldt Street July Fourth BBQ, exactly one year earlier.

“We should do this every year,” I remember Ryan saying. “Like a tradition.”

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The landscape mind


Ten years ago, I started my theatre company, NACL, in New York City. Eight years ago this week, NACL took over the old Catskill Actors Theatre in Highland Lake, NY. For the next five years I, along with co-founder Tannis Kowalchuk, would come up to Sullivan County, mostly on weekends throughout the year, and for entire summers to host the NACL Catskill Festival of New Theatre.

I remember those first journeys so clearly. I would leave New York City on a Friday afternoon, and arrive here at night. Every time I rounded the final bend on Highland Lake Road, I would experience the same feeling—wondering if the old, wooden church-turned-theatre would still be standing, if the old Lakewood House resort hotel-turned-artist-residence would still be there.

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