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Welcome to The Moment

Posted by Steve Anderson on

Welcome to The Moment, an online publication from Break North.

The Moment is about catching up with friends of Break North from all over the world to find out what they’re into right now.

Stephanie Bastek from Smarty Pants

Stephanie Bastek

Web Editor at The American Scholar and mastermind of the magazine’s Smarty Pants podcast

Where do you call home?

I’m in Washington DC, in the cool part: Petworth.

What do I need to do when I visit DC?

Definitely visit the Rock Creek Church Cemetery; it’s the oldest one in the region and has grave markers predating the Civil War! And then bike down the hill to see if you can get into this hip new Filipino restaurant, Bad Saint, but when you’re inevitably disappointed by the long lines you can mosey over to Thip Khao, the best Laotian restaurant this side of the Pacific.

What new activities you are feeling?

I am something of a knitting fiend, and have recently dipped my toes into dying my own yarn. My favorite color combination so far is beet juice + turmeric, though soon I’m going to have enough onion skins to give those a try.

Anything new in your earbuds?

I am obsessed with Austra; I bought tickets to see her at the Black Cat in January once she releases her new album, Future Politics. Katie Stelmanis, the genius behind the band, was classically trained as an opera singer and now does amazing electro-pop that is perfect for about every mood, from jubilation to melancholy to quiet seething.

Any music you’ve revisited lately?

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds always helps me out when I’m feeling low, whether it’s The Boatman’s Call or my favorite double album of all time, Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus. Check out “O Children” and get back to me when you’re done weeping. Side note: Cave also released a new album, Skeleton Tree, which was written after the death of his teenage son. It’s incredible, and so moving.

What about books?

This year I tried to read all of the long-listed novels for Man Booker Prize, and I pretty much succeeded, with two exceptions! My favorite by far was Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien, which follows the stories of two musical families from the dawn of communism in China, through the Cultural Revolution and past the Tiananmen Square massacre. The best part about my job is I could finish that book and then email the author for an interview so I could pick her brain.

Any new standout purchases?

I just bought a heinous amount of baby yak and baby camel yarn to make two sweaters. Don’t tell anyone.

Tell me about something old you've recently pulled out of the deep closet.

Oh yeah, I have a set of wild vintage dresses that I used to wear all the time when I was living in Portland, which I never really took out when I moved to DC because they seemed like a little much. But now that the world is going to end, I don’t care anymore, and I’m ratcheting up the colors and the layers and the jewels.

New recipes?

I recently learned the “red cooking” method of braising meats—it’s a Szechuan style with a lot of spices cooked with onions over low heat. I’ve been using it for hearts. I love eating hearts. :)

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