What's In Your Fridge: Jessica Mann Gutteridge of the Chutzpah! Festival

    1 of 4 2 of 4

      What’s In Your Fridge is where the Straight asks interesting Vancouverites about their life-changing concerts, favourite albums, and, most importantly, what’s sitting beside the Heinz ketchup in their custom-made Big Chill Retropolitan 20.6-cubic-foot refrigerators.

      On the grill

      Jessica Mann Gutteridge

      Who are you

      I am Jessica Mann Gutteridge, the artistic managing director of the Chutzpah! Festival and the Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre. I joined Chutzpah! in late February 2020, perfectly timed to give me a few weeks in the office with my new colleagues before we all got sent home to weather the pandemic. My third Chutzpah! kicks off November 3–only my second festival with live events. It's been a few years of pivoting and re-pivoting, but I think we have found a way to make exciting artistic events happen for the community–both the Jewish community and our entire community of arts lovers.

      I came to Vancouver eight years ago from New York. I have a theatre background as a dramaturg, but I also was a practicing lawyer for 17 years. I missed being part of arts and culture, so moving to Vancouver has really been a dream come true in that regard.

      First concert

      Well I am no doubt dating myself when I tell you it was Shaun Cassidy at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. These were the days of Dynamite magazine center spreads hung on the walls of our basement rec room and The Hardy Boys on TV. I remember very clearly the thrill vibrating through the audience of screaming pre-pubescent fans when Shaun turned around during his set and executed the "Shaun Cassidy Wiggle."

      Highlight of the past year was having an actual multi-tweet conversation with Shaun himself on Twitter. GenX women I have never met were bombarding me with likes and DMs after that!

      Life-changing concert

      I'm going to cheat here and refer to a work of musical theatre because it's done in the form of a concert and it blew my mind.

      I got to see Michael Cerveris (who replaced John Cameron Mitchell) and Miriam Shor in the original production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Jane Street Theatre in New York. Every moment of that show had a raw power that I have rarely encountered in a theatre. I'd heard it was going to be good, but I truly was not prepared for the combination of punk and glam energy, heartfelt vulnerability, and the show's ability to bring the audience into a world so completely. And the score absolutely rocks.

      Top three records

      Amy Winehouse Back to Black  I once heard Tony Bennett remark that Amy Winehouse was the "real deal" and I completely agree. Nice Jewish girls like me don't often find badass counterparts out in the world, and Amy brought all her love and pain and struggle into her music. I can't not groove along when I listen to this one.

      The B-52's The B-52's I was a member of the online community The Well for many years at a time that GenX was going from young adulthood to the dot-com boom and bust, to getting married, having our first kids, and starting to see the start of middle age. One of our conversational touchstones was "Where were you the first time you heard "Rock Lobster?" I was in summer camp in Western Massachusetts, where one of our cooler counselors played us the track while we got ready for a "punk rock" party. Nothing else gives me that early ‘80s vibe the same way. I am instantly transported.

      Dolly Parton The Grass is Blue  I mean, come on, it's Dolly. Dolly going back to her bluegrass roots. Top bucket list achievement unlocked was finally getting to see Dolly live in Vancouver at Rogers Arena.

      All-time favourite video

      Bonnie Tyler "Total Eclipse of the Heart"  As a child of the initial heyday of MTV, I  think my taste in videos was formed at a time that makes me love the most over-the-top cheesiness possible in the art form. I spent a fantastic evening not that long ago with my 20-year-old son bouncing from video to video on YouTube trying to impart a sense of what the music and aesthetic of my youth was all about. I think we both agreed that the video for "Total Eclipse of the Heart" has every possible weird and ridiculous trope of the era, from high school kids in uniform to doves flapping around in empty halls to glaringly low-tech special effects. So it may not be my favourite but it has to win some kind of award. 

      What’s in your fridge?

      Four dozen eggs. I have three kids, none of whom like the same things that their brothers like, so coming up with dinner ideas night after night is my endless burden. Eggs are the solution! We buy them in bulk packs from Costco and I can bust out an egg-centered dinner any night of the week. Fritattas! Quiche! Spaghetti Carbonara! When in doubt, we put an egg on it. If our supply ever drops below a full dozen I feel anxious.

      Honeycrisp Apples. I knew I had made the full transition to West Coast life when I replaced my go-to apple with Honeycrisps. Previously, I had been loyal to the remarkable New England heirloom variety the Macoun, which is like a very high class Macintosh with a purplish cast. But now the Honeycrisp is my ride-or-die. They are just so perfectly crisp and sweet-tart. And huge!

      About 50 million varieties of mustard. Mustard is the monarch of all condiments, and if you disagree you are just wrong. Grainy, Dijon, smooth, brown, sweet, spicy–any pantry worth its salt has a mustard for every occasion. 

      The Chutzpah! Festival runs November 3-24 at various venues around town. For more information go here