Meet Leah Gerstenlauer: dancer, writer, Jane-of-all-trades, and Dd's newest contributor
1. ART: Performance or visual? What place does art have in your life?
Both. Performance and visual art require and inspire different types of energy, and I love to soak up each type on a regular basis. If I could see at least one live performance every week, I’d be like a kid with a chocolate-laced candy cane. My state of mind and movement quality alter markedly after I see a performance–whether dance, drama, or some amalgamation of the two–and the only comparable high is actually performing myself.
The Met Museum is my favorite place to hang out with the classics, and jaunts through summer street fairs are a great way to stumble upon more contemporary creativity. I’m also a fan of antique shop trolling when I’m not afraid to lose track of time.
2. CRAFT: Knit or Crochet or Other? What is your craftiest project to date?
I was definitely craftier as a child than I am today. My mom and I used to make absolutely EVERYTHING: catnip toys, birthday cakes, Halloween costumes–you name it, we tried it. Nowadays, my most monumental craft project is a prolonged attempt to un-halter a halter-neck leotard. Somehow, the finish date for that task keeps moving to tomorrow.
3. DESIGN: Classical or modern? What designer or architect inspires you the
In general, classical design feels more inviting to me than modern. That said, a modern designer occasionally nails an innovative visual or spatial concept that takes my breath away (see Antonio Gaudi’s fascinating Dali-esque constructions in Barcelona).
4. FOOD: Salty or sweet? Do you know how to make your favorite dish?
I like salty and sweet–sometimes, I like them together! But, oddly enough, my current food obsession is the rather blandly flavored Icelandic yogurt made by Siggi’s. It’s sweetened with agave nectar and tastes very much like tart nothing. I can’t explain.
I don’t really have a favorite dish, but my favorite thing to make is strawberry jam, using hand-picked strawberries and way too much sugar. The entire process (especially the picking) is fun, and it tastes so good…
5. THOUGHT: Fiction or Nonfiction? What form does the bulk of your own reading and/or writing take?
When I read, I gravitate towards fiction of all kinds. That said, I’ll never turn down a reading suggestion from a good friend, even if said friend has an inexplicable fascination with books on endangered water fowl or the eating habits of dead presidents.
Most of my adult writing has been academic and business-related, thus far. But I’d love to reclaim the uninhibited, fantastical narrative style I owned as a child. Wish me luck.
6. FUN: Where in the world do you want to go or be stranded? What five things would be in your bag?
I actually have a huge fear of being stranded, so one of the items in my bag would be the key to a plane!
What? I can’t have one of those?
Alright, then. Leave me in Fiji, if you must. In my bag, I’ll have a well-stocked solar-powered iPod (Local Natives, Beirut, Yes, the Beatles, everything Tchaikovsky, Chopin, and Debussy ever wrote… I could go on), a copy of the complete works of J.D. Salinger (fear conquering requires a little levity), sunglasses (I practically live in them), a really big sketch pad and pen (see how I slipped that extra item in there?), and toothpaste (I hate morning mouth, no matter where I am).