Sunday, December 20, 2009

Tonight Tonight Tonight

The newest incarnation of The Knitting Factory opened in our neighborhood recently. We peeked in a couple times, but finally had the excuse to go to a show there last week when The Prigs hosted a release party for their EP, Bridge Fresh.

The dudes in this band are so adorably fun and upbeat, its really hard to not have a blast at their shows. Especially once the gold star glitter starts flying . . .

image and video via

The Kindness of Strangers

There are some theater moments that are so iconic, so deeply ingrained in our collective cultural consciousness, they eclipse the theater pieces they are from.

In the BAM production of Tennessee William's A Streetcar Named Desire directed by Liv Ullman, the talented cast distracted from the anticipation of that moment. A luminescent Cate Blanchett plays Blanche Dubois as a willowy, delusional, dramatic woman, who is slowly unraveling while hiding out from a ruined life with her sister Stella and new brother-in-law Stanley.

And when "the moment" came, it almost was a surprise. A menacing, goose bump inducing surprise.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

When the stars threw down their spears

Proximity to the Wednesdays at One concert series at Alice Tully Hall is one of the biggest perks of my job. This week's concert showcased 5 amazing singers. My favorite was Benjamin Bloomfield, a Bass-Baritone, who performed three pieces that were perfectly matched to his personality and stage persona.

For me, the standout was "Tiger! Tiger!," Virgil Thomson's treatment of William Blake's The Tyger (from Songs Of Experience). The dramatic text divines the origins of an animal with an extremely contradictary existence -beautiful but dangerous. I was reminded of when we studied Blake in high school and I think I will remember this quatrain for as long as I live.

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

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Make Way for Ducklings!

We are throwing a baby shower for my boss today, who is about to pop with Baby # 2. In addition to the gift certificate we pooled money to purchase (boring), shower guests were encouraged to gift their favorite childrens' books.

After agonizing over my choice, I selected Robert McCloskey's Make Way for Ducklings, which is the tale of Mr. and Mrs. Mallad's search for a home for their young family around landmarks in Boston, MA.

I hope my boss's little ducklings enjoy the story as much as I do!

You should be listening to records, man

A member of the Jazz Royal Family, Branford Marsalis, spent a couple days on campus leading rehearsals, conducting master classes and generally whipping the school's Jazz Studies students into shape. I accompanied some jazz fans to a master class and witnessed Mr. Marsalis mercilessly pushing his pupils to see beyond the traditional tenants of jazz and music instruction and become thoughtful, intuitive artists.

Here are a few pearls of wisdom from his session with 8 young saxophonists:
  • If you use a double embouchure, you will bite through your lips.
  • Songs are not vehicles for soloing. Pay attention to melodies.
  • Understand what a song is saying and then craft your solo using the same sentiment.
  • In general, learn more solos. Transcribe music from the 30s and 40s.
  • Flawless technique is not artistry.

One of the students played a snippet of 'Round Midnight that was particularly beautiful. His played with dynamics in a really creative way, which Mr. Marsalis praised. "Thats a very hip instinct," he remarked.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Afternoon at the Museum

Aaron is a pretty big science geek, so we spent the afternoon of his 28th birthday at the American Museum of Natural History.

After a wicked cool show in the planetarium called Journey to the Stars (narrated by Whoopi Goldberg heehee) we meandered through the rest of the museum to see as much as possible before closing time. I loved the Margaret Mead Hall of Pacific Peoples and the Hall of Ocean Life, while Aaron nerded out over the Hall of Biodiversity and the gem and mineral exhibits.

Master of Mélodie

Soprano Susanna Phillips' beautiful voice was showcased vibrantly in her debut recital at Alice Tully Hall this past week. The recital's program included several selections by french composer Gabriel Faurè, known for his ingenuity with the art song, or mélodie.

Particularly lovely was his song Nell, Op. 18, No. 1, which I think my friend Nell B. should adopt as her new theme song. The song's text was an interpretation of Robert Burn's A Red Red Rose and had the swoony romantic schmaltz that gets me every time. My favorite stanza:

The singing sea all along its shores
will end its eternal murmuring
before your image, oh Nell my love,
ceases to bloom in my heart.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

There is history in this room.

In The Kirby Theater Company's production of Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, five bridesmaid huddle together in the bride's childhood bedroom to escape a Southern circus wedding. They commiserate about the bitchy bride and their hideous bridesmaids dresses while sharing stories from their hapless romantic histories.

The play was written by Alan Ball of True Blood fame. His feisty bad girl Southern belle characters are familiar and their snappy dialogue is as hilarious as Sookie and Tera's repartee on True Blood. Minus the blood sucking vampire stuff.

German Expressionism at Ikea

Aaron and I took one of those "we just need one thing but will end up spending a fortune" trips to Ikea in Red Hook on Saturday. We are still searching for something to hang in our tv nook and the above image is a contender. What do you think?

As I'm sure you can tell, the picture is Klimt-inspired, which reminds me that I still want to go see From Klimt to Klee at the Neue Gallery as soon as possible.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Handel's opera seria Ariodante is set in Scotland, where a scheming jerk named Polinesso attempts to break up an engagement, slander a princess and ruin the opera's namesake's reputation all because the princess has refused his romantic advances, thus blocking his accession to the throne.

Polinesso's evil plot is evenutally found out, but not before he has implicated Dalinda, the princess's lady in waiting. Poor Dalinda is so smitten with Polinesso that she will do anything he says, even impersonate the princess to mislead her noble fiancee. The things we do for love!

Here is Dalina expressing her unrequited love for the dirtbag Polinesso.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Follow the Heron!

Is there anyone more adorable than Maeve Gilchrist? I think not!

The Scottish cutie pie played her harp and sang at Caffe Vivaldi the other night and transfixed her audience with gorgeous songs talking of love, life, and Scotland, of course.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Your Secret Reading Self

A.S. Byatt visited the 92nd Street Y last week to talk about her newest project, The Children's Book. Byatt read two selections from the book and then engaged in a Questions and Answers sessions with a former colleague, David Ebershoff. In his introduction, Ebershoff recalled another such session with Byatt when she was asked by a fan, " How do you know so much about so many things?"

"I read," she replied.

Byatt and Ebershoff talked at length about the complex characters alive in The Children's Book, including Olive, a wife, mother and writer who pens special stories for each of her children. Byatt talked about how brazen this was for a mother to do; forge a familiarity with her children's "secret reading self." I love this acknowledgment of the clandestine part of reader's identity that is allowed to pursue intellectual and personal curiosities without fear of consequences.

Byatt admitted that as a girl she didn't "like stories about other little girls." Instead of reading what was considered appropriate materials for young girls, her secret reading self was drawn to the dark fairytales and nordic mythology that has influenced her life as a writer and a reader.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

Happy Halloween!


final product

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Friday, October 30, 2009

New Dances/ Edition 2009

Choreographers Larry Keigwin and Andrea Miller previewed their work this week. Andrea's work was inspired by a recent stint in Israel, where she was deeply moved by the mandatory military experience. Her selections were manic and aggressive; people in the front row were scared they would be plowed over by the vehement choreography.

Where Andrea's work was spontaneous and bombastic, Larry's work was controlled and collaborative. He worked with older dance students, and the pieces we observed were full their mature, controlled voices.

images via and

Bar Boulud

Tasty meal at Bar Boulud near Lincoln Center- beet salad, scallops and Tartere de Boeuf. Loved it!

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Noble Attitude and Thrilling Voice

Juilliard 4th year actors performed George Bernard Shaw's Arms and the Man this past week. The lovely Vivienne Benesch directed the production and led a behind the scenes event revealing the actors' process from script reading to stage. Benesch pointed out how Shaw's scripts were extremely language heavy and showed a couple of exercises the actors used to work through particularly challenging passages, including a hilarious game where the actors perform scenes speaking entirely in gibberish. Image the scene below, only completely indecipherable:

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

What is the What

A few brave souls tackled What is the What, by Dave Eggers in book club this month.

This "fictionalized memoir" described the harrowing journey of Valentino Achek Deng, one of Sudanese refugees called "The Lost Boys" who traveled through their war torn country, battling soldiers from various political factions, armed bandits, not to mention lions and crocodiles to set up new communities in Kenya, and later, the US.

One of the objectives of our book club is to challenge our normal reading lists, forcing us to branch out to read titles we wouldn't normally attempt. This month's selection certainly fell into that category for me, and I'm glad I read it and highly recommend it to anyone who wants to put a human face on the horrific stories that have come out of Sudan and Darfur.


My darling friend Liza visited New York this weekend and invited me along to Saturday night dinner with her family to enjoy some delicious Korean fare at Don's Bogam.

I ordered sesame leave and bulgogi bibimbap and it was soooooooo tasty. I loved all of the accouterments like kimchi, seaweed and a funky fruit salad. Thanks Liza! xoxox

Making Life

"I wanted to be a torch singer," says poet Lorna Goodison. "Sarah Vaughn, Nina Simone . . .their voices are in my work."

Thus, the selections that the award-winning Jamaican writer chose to share at the reading I attended last week where heavily influenced by music. Poems like "I Saw Charles Mingus" and "Apollo Double Bill" celebrate the jazz and R&B of the late sixties but also describe her experience as a woman in her twenties living in New York City, good AND bad.

She also read some very moving poetry dedicated to her son. My favorite lines came from "My Will," in Selected Works.

May you like me earn good
but just to be sure,
love books.

image from a printed review of Goodison's memoir, From Harvey Road, via

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Real Deal Diva

Renee Fleming conducted a master class as part of the re-dedication of The Peter Jay Sharp Theater at The Juilliard School last night. She was amazingly gracious with the participating Vocal Arts students, offering thoughtful advice and guidance while still engaging the audience in a really meaningful way. Not to mention she looked insanely gorgeous (those cheekbones!) and was immaculately dressed.

Fleming's next gig starts this Thursday, October 22nd at the Metropolitan Opera in Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier.

photo via

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Red Hot Chili

Perfect Sunday night meal to warm us up!

Chili, corn bread mini muffins, hearty green salad.

Creepy hot

Devendra Banhart is a weird dude, but some part of me finds him strangely attractive. Plus his tunes are wicked appropriate for the chilly, rainy, dark and spooky fall weather that has rolled into New York this past week. Perfect Halloween tunage.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Waffley Good

This past Sunday was the first quiet weekend morning we've had in a long time, so we celebrated our downtime with a yummy breakfast. We listened to Dr. Dog and made waffles with the Stonewall Kitchen Farmhouse Pancake and Waffle mix, picked up at LeRoux Kitchen on Commercial Street during the last Portland trip. The waffles were topped off with some strawberries and real maple syrup. And then I went into a sugar coma.

Greene with Envy

After driving past The General Greene a million times on our way to the Brooklyn Flea, we decided this weekend it was time to stop by and check it out. The space was rustically pretty and the menu was chock full of artisnal dishes. My lunch buddy and I split two sandwiches- roast beef with blue cheese slaw and a smoked trout melt. Both were delicious.

Plus, they played Patsy Cline the whole time we were there. Sweet!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Cello Students

Sarina Zhang, an extraordinarily talented young cellist AND pianist, performed as part of an event I produced this week. Her first piece (on cello) was composed by George Crumb, a contemporary American composer who writes atonal and complicated work. Sarina's take on the first movement of his Sonata for Solo Cello (which Crumb wrote while still a student), was playful, raucous and full of her 13-year-old energy. The audience was charmed beyond belief.

I was so taken by her performance that I went online to find other recordings of the Sonata. Youtube found me a clip of the piece played by Italian cellist Umberto Clerici and I was shocked by the performance contrast. Clerici's take is very masculine and aggressive, as opposed to Sarina's buoyant and light interpretation. Check it out for yourself:

Short and Sweet

I love short stories, and not just because of my criminally teeny attention span. I feel like short stories are more potent, since writers are forced to be concise and pack as much punch as they can into a few pages.

I picked up The Dictionary of Failed Relationships, edited by Meredith Broussard, from my local library and devoured it. There are some heavy hitters who contributed, such as Lucinda Rosenfeld and Jennifer Weiner. My favorite stories involved an ex-stripper and an ex-yuppie. I think we could all write our own versions of this book, oy!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monsters of Folk

Monsters of Folk is being heralded as the new Traveling Wilburys because of the all-star line up of M. Ward, Jim Jones of My Morning Jacket, plus Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis from Bright Eyes. I'm not sure if anything compares to a band that counts both Roy Orbison and Bob Dylan amoung its members, but from what I heard their stuff is really good.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Birthday Apéritif

Rosa Regale, a red sparkling wine, sweetened my birthday celebration this weekend.

We also enjoyed some tasty appetizers, including a cured meat platter from Marlow and Daughters. I was so happy to have an excuse to shop there that I wasn't even that grossed out by the live action butchering that was going on right before my eyes.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Perception vs. Reality

Composer Nico Muhly spoke to a room full of composition students, musicians and others yesterday on my lunch break. Because of his age, his cuteness, his professional grooming (protege of Philip Glass) and his more mainstream musical collaborations, Nico gets a lot of press. Its funny, most stories I read describe him as "impish" or use similar adjectives which I thought was silly before seeing him in the flesh. He truly is like some magical, wonderful, musical elf.

Plus he's an entertaining and articulate speaker. He dispensed invaluable advice to his audience when asked about his particular career path, his compositional process and navigating the special relationship between musicians, commissions and composers. Sometimes I forget that composers are such unique and special breeds of musicians.

Nico writes a prolific blog and one student asked a question directly lifted from the content of one of Nico's entries. It was a loaded inquiry regarding the New Music "scene" in New York and elsewhere. I admired his diplomacy and reluctance to perpetuate any exclusivity or negativity by dispelling any type of music scene to be more "perception than reality."

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Oxford Comma

Birthday present to myself! So cute, right? Actually, they are kind of boring, but perfect basics for my fall wardrobe.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Shana Tova!

We celebrated Rosh Hashanah with my dear BU friend Dave and his family on Roosevelt Island last night. The food was amazing- gefilte fish, fluffy challah and the most delicious dish ever: cholent, a hearty stew with lamb, potatoes, egg, and beans.

Happy new year!

The Retributionists

I received comp tickets to the matinee of The Retributionists at the Playwrights Horizons theater in midtown over the weekend. The lead actress moo-ed her lines so distractingly I could scarcely enjoy the play at all. She was supposed to be some kind of manipulative femme fatale revenge mastermind, but instead she was just kind of exhausting.

The handsome Adam Driver provided some consolation. While he was at Juilliard, I saw him in Burn This and have been a fan ever since. His performance yesterday was a bright spot in this otherwise grim production.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Adelaide Salon

I went to see Jess Stover at Adelaide Salon in Greenpoint for my hotly-anticipated hair cut. Jess was great. She gave me a fabulous cut and asked all the right questions to make sure she was giving me the exact style I wanted. Plus, she augments all of the products she uses in her salon with jojoba, jasmine and other natural goodies, which was so lovely.

As for my cut, I think it kind of looks like what Jane Fonda had going on in her cop kickin mugshot. In a good way!

A Happy Marriage

My book club tackled Rafael Yglesias's A Happy Marriage this month. Generally speaking, I liked the book and thought it was poignant and well written. Truthfully speaking, I was happy when it was over. It was heart-wrenching and the narrator was so hard to like.

In fact, we spent most of our book club meeting this past Sunday in Sheep's Meadow dissecting his character. I loved seeing the different sides of our argument emerge and was pleasantly surprised by the group's dynamics. Girls who I previously considered to be moral stalwarts were permissive pushovers. Other normally mellow girls showed their secret contrarian/devil's advocate side. I also loved watching other park goers' reactions to our fiery gathering.

Can't wait for next month's session!

oh baby let's go . . .

. . . to a cabin down below.

Recently I was convinced to leave a perfectly nice Upper East Side house party to pursue an elusive bar in the East Village.

We arrived at the supposed address to find a greasy pizza joint. I was confused and disappointed. And drunk.

"Fear not," said my gallant companion, as he picked up a surreptitiously mounted phone and conversed with a mysterious entity. Who was he speaking with God? Oz? Who ever it was suddenly opened some kind of trap door, through which we descended into a cozy, candlelight bar full of attractive people. Fun times ensued.

Its a bar named after a Tom Petty song, how could it be lame?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Brunch

I enjoyed the best brunch I've had in a loooong time at Egg in Williamsburg over the weekend. Located on North 5th Street, this teeny spot emphasizes locally grown "artisanal ingredients" on their menu, meaning everything was fresh and scrumptious-looking. The wait was lengthy, but well worth it.

I ordered the Eggs Rothko- brioche, egg over easy, vermont cheddar and candied bacon. YUM!

Taking Woodstock

I had high hopes for Taking Woodstock. To start, its directed by Ang Lee. Meryl Streep's daughter is involved. The subject matter is one of the high points of our country's musical history.

Unfortunately, it failed. Boring story line and poor casting in Demetri Martin. What's worse is that there was no discernible soundtrack, which is baffling to me.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Kings of Atlanta

Southern gentlemen of Pistolero

I went to see Dali's Elvis last night at The National Underground. First of all, that place kind of sucks- expensive beers and an extremely inattentive sound staff.

Dali's Elvis set was awesome. I especially loved the amped up versions of Velcro Suit and Sundried, probably because usually I hear them play acoustically and things are much more mellow.

We stayed for Pistolero's set afterward and I'm wicked glad we did. Their stuff sounds like a cross between Kings of Leon and Blind Melon and The Traveling Willburys. I can't wait to see them again this Saturday at The Hudson House.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

New 'Do

I'm getting my hair cut next week and have started to shop around for some hair inspiration. Here are my favorites so far:

Sharin Foo of The Raveonettes

Leila Moss of the Duke Spirit

Ok, I know its messed up for a grown adult to want to emulate the style of a teenaged girl, but isn't Taylor Momsen's cut adorable?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bad Medicine

My girlfriend Shana celebrated her birthday last night at an intriguing new spot called Apotheke. After wandering around Chinatown, we finally found it behind an unmarked door on the dark side of the street. Apparently in past lives the space has been an opium den and an opera house, information reflected in the bar's decor.

I ordered a delicious starfruit champagne cocktail from the "Health and Beauty" section of their apothecary. Champagne has health benefits? As if I needed an excuse to drink more!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Rock me like a hurricane

Not even Hurricane Danny could stop two of Maine's most beloved musical exports from bringing down the house at the first annual Machigonne Music Festival this past Saturday night.

After wrapping up their own set (which included Pop Trash!), the Rustic Overtones stayed on stage to act as Ray Lamontagne's backing band. The line-up featured a big gorgeous string section, sweetening the sound of my favorite Ray songs like Jolene and Hold You In My Arms.

Ray was even more handsome than I remembered from seeing him in Boston when he was touring in support of Trouble and I loved that Rustic's Jon Roods played an upright bass. Most songs were down tempo and wicked romantic, a fact that did not go unnoticed by the scores of couples PDA-ing all over the place (vom).

The show was a perfect end-of-summer treat, especially considering I was with some very dear friends. Thanks for a great night girls!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I <3 Ronson

I want F21's faux leather shorts (above) so I can bite Charlotte Ronson's style (below, middle).

Party pic via Refinery 29.