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Sazerac March 2023

Sage Gardener

Lettuce pray — and praise — my favorite garden vegetable, Lactuca sativa (which Wiki says is a member of the aster family? Whatever). The “Latuca” part comes from “lactis,” the Latin word for milk, so-named because of the milky juice that gets all over you when you cut it. (“Sativa” means cultivated.) Lettuce juice, by the way, contains a trace amount of an alkaloid similar to that found in the opium poppy! Just imagine, Dorothy and her squad could have fallen asleep in a lettuce field. First cultivated for its medicinal properties, lettuce is depicted on Egyptian tombs; was propagated by the Greeks; and popularized in Rome by the Emperor Augustus’ physician. New Delhi TV’s news site insists that lettuce (along with other leafy greens) has belly-fat burning capabilities. What’s not to like about a vegetable anyone can grow, even on your patio? N.C. State says seeds can be planted from February through April, and that lettuce thrives at temps between 60 and 65 degrees. (It can germinate at 35.) The average high in Greensboro in March is 61, 70 in April. So what are you waiting for, especially with seedlings crowding every home-improvement store? Being Scots-Irish, I try to grow what’s expensive in the grocery stores. Checked the price of lettuce lately? Tired of salads? Check out Larousse Gastronomique, where you’ll find braised lettuce, chiffonade of lettuce, marinated, deep-fried lettuce and — wait for it — candied lettuce. And now, lettuce eat!        David Claude Bailey

Unsolicited Advice

March is the Goldilocks of months, not too hot and not too cold. We’ve put together a little easy-peasy to-do list for you so you can soak in the glorious weather without getting soaked in perspiration.

 Plan an outdoor project. Now’s a great time to build that chicken coop you’ve been  dreaming up. With the current price of eggs, that hen house will pay for itself in about three weeks.

⃣  Order mulch. Spend a morning shoveling, hauling and spreading only to see that the pile doesn’t seem to be shrinking — at all. Call the neighbor’s teenager to finish the job while you sip an afternoon cocktail.

 Schedule a pedicure. We know what our feet look like after a long winter and it’s not pretty. While you’re at it, shave that big toe. C’mon, you know you do it.

 Spring clean. Wipe down your baseboards,upper cabinets and ceiling fans. Move furniture and discover dust bunnies big enough to keep as pets. Heck, they don’t need to be fed or walked. Better than a Furby, if you ask us.

 ⃣ Take your workout outside. When was the last time you Prancercised?

 March to your own beat. Do whatever it is that makes you bloom this month.

Star Gazing

Long before Hulu’s witty Only Murders in the Building comedic series starring Steve Martin hooked me, I had already scoped out his house in Beverly Hills. (For the record, it’s on Calle Juela Drive.)

Dammit. I cannot be his neighbor because he sold the house next door, one he also owned, in 2019.

Allow me a lottery fantasy: If I won, I might try to tempt the new owner to move and sell me a little chunk of 90210.

Or maybe not. 

Because Mr. Martin already knows I’m starstruck.

Some years ago, I was in Manhattan meeting an architect friend, Katie, for a bite at a local deli.

After lunch, we stood outside remarking to one another about the astonishing, clear light. Bending over, I pointed out the sharp shadows on the sidewalk to Katie.

“Have you ever seen such?” I asked Katie, sensing something unusual.

Katie, too, was open-mouthed.

Suddenly, I was aware of a casually dressed man in a baseball cap who stopped to look at the sidewalk, joining our little huddle. 

“You know there’s an eclipse today, right?” the stranger said in the unmistakable voice of one famously wild and crazy guy. My head snapped up. STEVE MARTIN!

We all fell silent.

My heart thrummed. He hurried away. I looked at Katie, and inexplicably said of the funny man in swift retreat, “Let’s follow him!”

We gave chase, like celebrity-crazed fools. When Martin picked up his pace, we did too. In fact, we were all soon practically running, weaving through throngs of people at lunch hour.

He escaped, walking up a few steps at a building, where he was rung inside.

It was an art gallery. 

I was out of breath, telling Katie between gasps about his California home with few windows and strategically placed skylights, ensuring his art collection was protected. His collection includes Cindy Sherman, Roy Lichtenstein, Edward Hopper and Willem de Kooning. Add to that list Lucian Freud, Picasso — well, you get the idea. 

Martin has been performing in the Triad since 1975, and tells a story about running into Kreskin, a famous mentalist, in the lobby of a Winston-Salem hotel. “Steve! What are you doing here?” Kreskin asked. “How are you doing? Are you performing?”

Martin remained silent, just like he had with me and Katie.

All he could think, Martin says, was, shouldn’t a mind reader already know?   

  — Cynthia Adams

Just One Thing

“A horse is a horse, of course, unless . . .” it is muscled with machinery parts, wrenches, shovels, light fixtures and golf clubs. Harnessed seven years ago by Jose Rafael Rodriguez, this iron horse is stabled at Artmongerz Gallery, perhaps Greensboro’s most eclectic art venue. A co-op style gallery, Artmongerz has been a fixture on South Elm for two decades. Rodriguez says he took up welding at an industrial overhead garage company 42 years ago after he left his native Venezuela. Also a prodigious abstract painter who does kinetic yard sculptures, Rodriguez always meant to go to art school but never quite made it. The cat he coupled together from silverware couldn’t care less. And the horse doesn’t seem to be saddled with it either. Let’s just say the neighs have it. Info:

Scene & Heard

We all know it’s what’s on the inside that counts, but who doesn’t love a pretty face? For 96 years, the Carolina Theatre’s classic Greek Revival facade has welcomed patrons, who enjoyed live music, classic movies, stand-up comedians and all sorts of live entertainment in an over-the-top interior bursting with Italian-Renaissance flourishes. Good looks must matter: She’s survived downtown decline in the ’60s, was saved from demolition in the ’70s and barely made it out alive from a fire in the ’80s. She’s one tough customer, but still standing with open arms to invite all who support the arts inside.

In 2018, the theatre’s Setting the Stage campaign was launched, focusing on improving both artists’ and audiences’ experience inside the building. The improvements were so fabulous that now her facade needs to match her resplendent interior. In the words of Cher Horowitz, “Let’s do a makeover.” Of course, we’re not Clueless and this kind of undertaking is not possible without community support. The Carolina Theatre’s cosmetic surgery is going to cost her lovers $600,000.

She may not be young anymore, but she’s “hip, so beautiful and she’s gonna be a supermodel” once again as she approaches her centenary. For more information on how you can help Set the Stage, see