Cosmic Orchid
       curating integrative theatre
Carpe Diem Per Diem
From Firenze to Florence


Once upon a time…


We got married in the Sala Rossa at Palazzo Vecchio in Firenze. We honeymooned in Venezia, Roma & Paris. Returned to NY for our wedding reception on the World Yacht. And our wedding cake was from Veniero’s.


I don’t remember the reason for the glitch, but the cake did not have the requested buttercream frosting. The lovely gentleman gave us a gift certificate to compensate.


I believe it was pinned to our bulletin board for a bit. I have no recollection of this. But it must be true, as there are pin holes on all four corners.


Over the years since, it has resided in our fridge, in and amongst the takeout menus. Yes, we keep our takeout menus on the fridge door. Where else would we keep them? They are, after all, if not food, a representation of it.


In the 24 years, 2 months, and 6 days that we have been in possession of said gift certificate, we’ve been through three refrigerators. Each time a new model arrives at the house, the contents are transferred, including the takeout menus and gift certificate.


Over the years, I have been to Veniero’s many times, though never in possession of the certificate. Last year, I unearthed the gift certificate, shot a photo of it, and posted about it. But it ended up buried, once again, in and amongst the menus.


As I have recently been working at Theater for the New City, I pass Veniero’s regularly. And as we are winding down the holiday season, I had dinner plans with friends on Twelfth Night, if you are a purist and count the days of Christmas to culminate on the Epiphany.


About a week ago, I was walking down First Avenue. I was thinking that I wanted to bring something to the dinner but, since I was going there directly from the theater, I didn’t want to cook something only to have it sit for hours.


Just then I saw Veniero’s and thought cannoli would be a good choice. My mind then went to the gift certificate. If not now, when? I made a mental note to bring the certificate with me the day of the dinner. For once, the mental note actually worked!


I arrived at Veniero’s on Friday, January 6, 2023, with a gift certificate dated October 31, 1998. In its customarily busy state, I cued up not certain how best to broach the encounter. I entered the exchange with; “Yes. I think I need to speak with the manager.”


Of course, one cannot make such a statement to a shop clerk without a corresponding explanation substantiating such a request. The young gentleman glanced at the signature on the gift certificate, exclaimed that it was Angelo who was the manager, and he was on duty. He proceeded to call Angelo down.


Since we are in the process of getting a beach apartment in Francavilla al mare, I recently attended an Italian class to augment the horrid combination of broken Italian and indiscernible dialect with which I have been getting by for most of my life.


I began my interchange in Italian, quickly shifting to my go-to phrase: “Per favore, vorrei parlare in inglese.” I was careful to use “vorrei”, as I recently learned that the way I have been throwing around “voglio” over the past 35 years is considered both rude and pushy. Color me thoroughly embarrassed.


I suggested Angelo may need to sit down. I asked if there were any hidden cameras. And then I produced the gift certificate. Angelo was as elated to see the gift certificate as I was to give it to him!


It was from his first year working at Veniero’s. And there was no question he would honor it.


He queried me on the order because he felt certain he’d remember the details of his experiences that first year. Amadio. World Yacht. It seemed to be ringing bells in his head. When I mentioned getting married in Firenze, he beamed: “My daughter lives in Florence! I’m taking her to the airport tomorrow to go back.”


In the end, my order exceeded the value of the certificate. I had earlier joked that I wouldn’t charge him interest, but I ended up with pastries valued at the current dollar value of the credit - inadvertently adjusted for almost 25 years of inflation.


My only regret is not photographing the two (yes, two) pastry boxes that I left Veniero’s with. For one brief moment, I wanted to pay for the whole order, retrieve my gift certificate and place it back between the Chinese and pizza joint menus.


But I am learning to yield when a thing has run its course. I am learning to surrender.


Had I waited until October 31st, the silver anniversary of the gift certificate, I would have likely missed it. And then, Angelo’s daughter would not be needing a ride to the airport.


Florence brought that buttercream credit full circle. It bookended the life cycle of a gift certificate. Divine timing. All in divine timing.

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We now live in a digital world where so much of our existence is integrated.  By exploring

this integration as a collective of multidisciplinary artists, it is hoped that the 

audience experience resonates with themes from their own integrated, often chaotic lives. 


We want the conversation of 'collective creativity' and 'blurring the lines of the respective

art forms' to resonate once our audience has walked out the door.  Not only do we wish

to engage the audience in this exploration, we hope for them to ultimately see themselves

as artists, in whatever life roles they embody.  

Stay tuned for discussion streams about theatre, art, creativity, spirituality and what ever else flows through the ether!
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Cosmic Orchid is a fiscally sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Donations for the purposes of 

Cosmic Orchid must be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Cosmic Orchid is a fiscally sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Donations for the purposes
of Cosmic Orchid must be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.