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“Without You,” coffee and chocolate

Spoiler alert: some friends will be getting bags of coffee this Christmas. Yesterday, on an incredibly mild December Tuesday, I rode my bike to the Merchants of Green Coffee at Dundas near Broadview, and once more fell in love with the place. It’s a comfortable bright open space with the most delicious coffee smell ever, and their beans are as politically correct as is possible and scrumptious too.

Check it out one day, if you live in Toronto, and take home some beans. Now in the morning, I leap out of bed with even more joy than before, because … which brew shall I taste today? The Jane Goodall? “The Stop community food centre” dark roast? The holiday special “Evergreen Holiday blend” from the Merchants? A cornucopia of coffee.

And another cornucopia – nearby, at Queen and Broadview, is Ambiance Chocolate, also a local artisanal place using politically correct beans. My beloved friend Patsy, from Gabriola Island, has sent me for Christmas a large gift certificate to spend at Ambiance Chocolate. What bliss is this? I can cycle over and plunge into my heady choices – and stop at Merchants of Green Coffee on the way home. Too much pleasure for one day. Almost. I can take it.

Less pleasure this afternoon, another extraordinarily mild day – David Mirvish kindly sends out notices of reduced ticket prices, so I bought a $20 ticket to see “Without You,” a one-man musical by actor Anthony Rapp, who was in the original production of “Rent.” This piece has been well reviewed internationally, and since I’m writing a one (wo)man show myself – yes yes I am, however slowly – I thought I should see it. Rave review in the “Star” and all.

Well – the Grinch, c’est moi. Drama is about a journey. Take me somewhere, show me something I don’t know, how it affects you, what changes. In this show, there’s a callow young man at the beginning, and, at the end, a callow slightly older man who has lost both the writer of his hit show and his mother. But otherwise, he is unchanged, and we don’t know what these things mean to him, as he bellows his songs at us without mercy. I found it banal in the extreme. Some of the audience, of course, stood up, because he remembered his lines. I applauded the excellent band and got out as soon as I could. We deserve more than warmed-up clichés.

I’d like to leave you with a quote from Maeve Binchy, who died last year and whose latest novel has been recently released.
I don’t have ugly duckings turn into swans in my stories,” she told an interviewer, who’d accused her of romance writing. “I have ugly ducklings turn into confident ducks.”
RIP the warm and generous Maeve Binchy.

Oh, and one more thing, a community service: a reader called Allison Morris from a site called Online Education read my post on plastic bags and asked me to post this link about the use and abuse of plastic. A good reminder of what we use every day, and about the vital importance of recycling. Thanks, Allison.



2 Responses to ““Without You,” coffee and chocolate”

  1. Lani says:

    Looks lovely, Beth. I'd like to coin a new (as far as I know) phrase: Bean me up, Kaplan. Early next year I'll visit and we'll go!

  2. beth says:

    Lani, we'll wake up and smell the beans together. Looking forward to your visit.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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