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Spring/Summer 2023 Newsletter: Food, Fun & Fiction Edition

Updated: Jun 16, 2023

WELCOME to my Spring/Summer 2023 Newsletter. In this edition you'll find useful information and discover some fun things I've been working on.

BUSINESS FIRST: From 1 June––by popular demand––I will now be working four nights a week, from Monday to Thursday 6 p.m. until midnight. That's an additional 24 slots per month to guarantee less waiting time for your next haircut, beard service or combo. Kindly note that I'll be off on Monday 26 June as I'll be in London that weekend seeing my beloved Chicago Cubs baseball team playing their rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals, in a regular season series at, of all places, Olympic Stadium London! It will be the first time seeing live baseball since I moved to Europe in 1996!

FOOD: This past January and March, I conducted a little experiment. On two separate evenings, I invited a few of my oldest customers to join me for dinner at Antonio Torres' Señor Torres Restaurant (Zoutmanstraat 57, Den Haag) for delightful Venezuelan cuisine (Antonio is both a customer and native Venezuelan). I wondered what would happen if I brought together a handful of "strangers" to meet and enjoy an evening of food, drink (you've got to try the homemade juice!) and lively conversation with men who all share one unique thing in common––they are all Night Barber customers! Needless to say, everyone enjoyed making new friends, discovering things in common and even exchanging contact details.

To say the least, the two evenings were delightfully enjoyable and the feedback I received in the days after the gatherings was very positive, leading me to think that future events could be equally as successful.

So, here's what I've come up with for a summer event...A wonderful Sunday morning brunch cruise on The Hague Boat. The 90-minute cruise includes a pleasant guided tour around The Hague's scenic canals and a fresh and healthy seasonal brunch accompanied by ice-cold Prosecco.

The 1st Annual Night Barber Brunch Boat will launch on Sunday August 6th at noon. There are a limited number of places (20) so I would kindly ask all those who are interested to make their reservations early. The cost of the cruise and brunch is 40 euros per person––all for the price of a haircut!––all inclusive. To reserve your place, email no later than 15 June and I will reply to your email with a confirmation and payment link. Kindly note that if the event is cancelled due to inclement weather, you will receive a 100% refund. Should the event sell out early, I will book a second cruise! And a third!!


AN EVENING OF THEATRE (WITH THE NIGHT BARBER!): For those of you who might not know (or remember), I had a very different life before I became The Night Barber five years ago. Not only was I a teacher for 26 years, I studied playwriting and theatre arts at The Theatre School of DePaul University in Chicago, one of the oldest, most renowned theater conservatories in North America, boasting notable alumni as Gillian Anderson, Joe Mantegna, Linda Hunt and Elizabeth Perkins.

I spent much of my childhood acting in plays and later, writing, directing and producing my own plays in Chicago, Los Angeles and Spain. I have also been a writer since the age of 11 having adopted the nom de plume R.M. Usatinsky in 1993.

In August of 1985, I began writing my first musical, which I soon set aside. The idea, however, kept popping up every few years and I would play around with the songs and concept, but never really took it seriously.

During the first COVID-19 lockdown, I bought my daughters a new piano as they were about to begin taking lessons. The day the piano was delivered I sat down to play and the first songs that came out were the ones from my old musical and I haven't stopped playing them since. Subsequently, I have re-imagined the play which, I am delighted to say, will be ready to premiere later this summer or early in the autumn.

The one-man show, Adam Driver and the Million Dollar Haircut, is a semi-autobiographical musical narrated by Charlie the Barber, a retired teacher who studied playwriting in college and goes on to write a screenplay which is the imagined sequel to his favorite film starring his favorite Hollywood actor, Adam Driver.

The semi-improvised musical is an always-changing journey through the storyteller's mind, experiences and emotions and includes six original songs accompanied on the piano by my musical director, Matthew.

I will be presenting the first Saturday evening previews at––of all places––The Night Barbershop at Anna Paulownaplein 14! (Yes, you read that correctly!). The performances will be small, intimate gatherings (12-15 audience members per show) and finish with a wine and cheese reception and discussion following each show. If the previews go well, I'll move the play into a larger theatre space in Den Haag. And then, who knows, maybe Broadway!

I will be sending out a special announcement once the preview dates are set and hope to see you at one of my shows.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF BOOK(ING): In November 2011, I was talking to an old friend back in Chicago about writing and mentioned I have tried my writer's hand at many different genres––poetry, short stories, essays, dramatic literature, lyrics––but had yet to write a novel. My friend asked me if I had ever heard of National Novel Writing Month (NANOWRIMO), which I had not. NANOWRIMO, celebrated every November is a self-challenging novel writing event where participants are challenged to write a (minimum) 50,000-word novel. Seeing how the discipline of writing longer works had always eluded me, I thought NANOWRIMO and its strict time constraints would be an ideal way for me to best approach the task of novel writing. And it was!

My novel, A River Runs Wild, was written in just 28 day and topped in a 55,000 words. That's 1,964 words per day! So, it turned out what I needed most was to super-focus on a deadline, and that's exactly what I did. But...

...being a perfectionist, the novel has remained unpublished 12 years later.

After I finished my first draft in November 2011, I tried to go the traditional route and find a literary agent who, in turn, would seek out a publishing deal. I sent about a fifty query letters to an assortment of literary agents both in the EU and US, to be rejected by all of them, the letters mostly saying that my novel wasn't something they were looking for at the moment.

So, I decided to publish the novel myself under my own imprint, Aquitania Press. But first I had to edit, proofread and revise the novel, a task that would take me more than a decade to do.

I'm pleased to announce that my debut novel, A River Runs Wild, is ready to go and being printed and bound as I write this post. I'm also pleased to invite my Night Barber customers to take part in an exclusive pre-order campaign and be amongst the first to receive a signed copy of my novel prior to its official release on 1 August. I will also be planning a special book release event at the shop this summer, so keep an eye out for information about the event on my social media platforms (Instagram and Facebook). Click here to be redirected to the pre-order page.

AND FINALLY... I would like to wish everyone a safe and enjoyable summer and I look forward, as always, to hearing about your travels and adventures. -Richard 💈

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