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All nuts are seeds, but not all seeds are nuts

History Resource Center dropped by our desk today with the conundrum of the day, based on the latest nut scandal – this time involving pistachios, not peanuts: how many nuts don’t have “nut” as part of their name? So far we’ve come up with pistachio, macadamia (sometimes), almond, cashew…and we’re spent, at least without cheating. Feel free to help us out while we build our new amazing Gale product, Nut Nomenclature Resource Center.

Having already beaten salmonella to death last month, today we checked out BioRC‘s coverage of pistachios. We were rewarded with some fascinating information about the avant-garde choreographer Sara Shelton Mann.

Mann began making her own work in 1967. Throughout the earliest period her dances had titles like Silence, Duet for One, and Catalogue 5. By 1973 Mann was creating pieces like Crazy Dog Events, made up of four solos based on American Indian ritual, and For Bo Jangles, a dance for six dancers on pistachio shells danced in a circle with the audience inside the ring. The wackiness of pistachio shells in concert with sacred ritual eventually became the signature of the company she founded, Contraband, whose holy sensualism and scruffily romantic and sometimes incomprehensible outrage seized the Bay Area in 1985 with its first large-scale work, Evol. Quickly the group became the barometer against which all other local performers were measured; for many years, few were regarded as so hip or so primally honest. They alone seemed to combine the Beat generation’s belief in transcendence through exile from the status quo with the counterculture’s trust in apotheosis through sexuality. As critic Dennis Harvey wrote in the San Francisco Weekly in 1990, Contraband has ruled the “world of archetypical, Californian self-exploration through dance, text and radical polemic.”

We also unearthed some key information about the author Harry P. Leap (1908-1976), whose hobbies and interests included “Likes words, art, music, and pistachio nuts.” He also described himself as “a hermit who likes people.”

Finally, the former president of Iran, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, was the son of a prosperous pistachio grower and was raised on a pistachio farm. Pistachios — perhaps the most influential nut of all nutdom!

(By the way, we are happy to report that our Kashi granola bars are back on the shelves at Costco, so apparently the great peanut crisis of 2009 is over and done with. Up next: chestnut calamity?)

“Sara Shelton Mann.” International Dictionary of Modern Dance. St. James Press, 1998.
“Harry P(atrick) Leap.” Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2009.
“Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, President of Iran.” Current Leaders of Nations. Gale Research, 1998.

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Posted on: March 31, 2009, 2:05 pm Category: Factoids Tagged with: , , , , ,

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