Thursday, February 28, 2008
Where we ate and places along the way in the EV.
Why does performance art seem so RETRO? And if so, what is au courant these days? I am not the Mr. Blackwell of what is hip and happening I will confess, yet I am not in a fox hole next to a Walmart either. I applaud people who are out there doing their thing. And I also applaud people who are just out there. And I applaud people who are out there being their thing.
Ron and I went PS 122 in the East Village to see Justin Bond's show called "Lustre: A Midwinter Trans-Fest." Now Justin isn't exactly some unknown up and comer. He is a Tony nominee. That ain't obscure. And he, as Kiki, along with Herb played for years in San Francisco and were just at Carnegie Hall. Not so underground. But I guess this was his/her own thing and s/he was trying it on. It was a gender-f*ck cabaret theatre thing. Here I am in the East Village in this boite with trannies and those who love them and I am wearing a cardigan. A safe blue starched shirt, tan corduroy trousers and a cardigan like I just put down my pipe and put the kids to bed. WHO is the real trannie? I was horrified when I saw myself in the mirror of the multi-gendered bathroom.
I have to say the show was rough, but I really appreciated where it was going to with the idea of sexual fluidity. Not a path I am on, just thought it was interesting. There were the tired drag queens, but the womyn at the piano whom I could not TELL for sure and Justin were great. There was also a tap dancing obese dyke/chick in a tux who took her clothes off, sat in a chair in all her floppy post-breasted cottage cheese glory and then shimmied effortfully into a unitard. Quite moving. Justin sang a song about being in the I Magnin dressing room in San Francisco and how he is able to get his bearings when he is in that dressing room. He only knows where he is in New York and the I Magnin's dressing room in San Francisco. (which, of course, is no longer there.) There was a lyric about Market St. and Church St. and the white trash in Redwood City. Ron and I were the only two who laughed at that. And not because of any white trash connotation with Redwood City. Only the pure randomness of hearing someone sing about Redwood City in New York City. To me that was the most random thing of the evening. Until the guy sitting next to me leaned over and whispered in my ear "I live in Redwood City." He was here on business. I loved that.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Brooklyn: Glasgow with better coffee and better pizza.
Robin and Lexa with the Good coffee.
How GREAT is this moment!
So happy she won Best Actress. Amazing performance.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Today I planned to change the sheets on my bed. Necessary, somewhere between vital and a tree falling in the woods, but worthy. I got up made coffee and did some writing. Then I remembered I promised myself even after a wacky carbo-binge week (i.e. it took half a lemon pound cake to process that my job was going end.) that I would go to Weight Watchers no matter what. Grrrrr. Off I went
Then I worked on my practice chanter to learn some of the music for the new pipe band I joined. But I wanted to walk through the park and go to MOMA. Rush, rush for leisure! Cram, cram all that loveliness in or it is all crap!
Out the door into the park. Ahhhh. The Choir of Angels (via i-pod) sang in this heavenly place all doused with snow. Branches and heads of statues alike. Glorious. I think Central Park is the go to place for all seasons/reasons. I walked across the park and down 5th Avenue to MOMA. "Being a local with a corporate card that gets me for free" I stroll through a few exhibits and make sure to see the Lucien Freud etchings on more time. Picassos there are great, but I gotta fly. I did see Billy Crudup an his baby there which was odd because I saw the baby's mother, Mary-Louise Parker in a play the night before. So odd/crepy/happensallthetime to think this stranger/semi-voyeur is seeing this woman, then the man who dumped her before that kid in the stroller was born and they have no clue who I am or that I exist. Before I get a 3 name psycho-killer mindset I leave and head west on 55th.
MOMA. Look at stuff. Look at People. People look back. Art too sometimes.
I arrived at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre on 55th and 9th. I felt as if I was going into a forbidden naughty place and circled. I had heard a woman in Weight Watchers that morning talk about a class she took at the Ailey School. "You can do that?" I thought. Then I did the "I am going take a class there. (beat, beat) SOME DAY. " So I decided to push myself and go today. My dad had taken me to City Center in New York when I was 19 to see Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre. It was amazing. And here I am about to take a class at the school. Personally very cool.
I have not taken a dance class in 25 years. Seriously. I took an Intro Horton class. It was in a studio with a mirror, ballet bar and TWO HUGE entire wall windows in the corner of the 6th floor that looked out of over the city. It was amazing. The teacher worked us hard and I did okay for an old guy. Save for the drummer I was the only guy old or young in the room! Duh. We worked on a combination and it was fun. I am going to go back. I am sure I will feel pain tomorrow!
Piping, Painting, Art, Sculpture, Photography, and Dance. All in one day. But no bed change.
Friday, February 22, 2008
While others were shoveling, scraping, and probably exfoliating, I put on my headphones, ear muffs, parka, snow shoes and walked to work. I was a mobile cacoon with snow falling heavily all around me. The feeling was of being safe/protected and engaged at the same time. My happiness scale was an 11.
Oh look over there it's the world famous
The apartment-side pavement of Central Park West was salted, but I chose the woolly road less travelled Central Park side. Except for yellow snow left by the dog walkers (dogs themselves actually) it was pristine over there. I was not alone in my enthusiasm for fresh snow. I stopped a kindred spirit, this really happy woman, and we photographed each other in the park.
View from my office in Times Square
After work I met Robin and Lexa at the Theatre Row Diner on 42nd Street. We were having dinner before going to Playwrights Horizons to see Mary-Louise Parker in "Dead Man's Cell Phone." These tickets were so hard to get I, of every angle/scam I know school of operating, could not get them. Lexa came in from LA ( It is SO fantastic to see her beautiful smiling face!) and she got them from her pal who is an editor at The New Yorker. (He came into the diner with the comped tickets. What a nice guy he was. On his way home from a book party in a 5th Avenue New York Penthouse like you would imagine when listening to those radio plays about the Manhattan swells on the wireless.) His wife is a curator at the Museum of Natural History. Robin is a published author starting her book tour and Lexa is a writer for a world-famous catalogue. I asked at dinner "Does anyone in New York just work at Walgreen's?" Apparently not.Robin, Lexa, and a guy who used to work in the film department at Walgreens
I have never been to Playwrights Horizons before, but I know it is a key place in New York where so many plays and musicals are workshopped. The crowd looked to be made up of at least 50% theatre folk. Every other person looked like a stage actor. I am probably right. I sat next to two friends of the playwright, Sarah Ruhl. I offered them an Altoid. They declined. But politely.
Here is my lifelong issue/frustration with theatre: I go to a play after a full day of work. It is the first time all day I have sat down and been completely quiet. The lights go down. What was initially a wedged-in my seat between two people feeling becomes "cozy." I fall asleep. Immediately. And I am one of those people who goes straight into a dream, an alternate reality that I accept straight away, so I have NO IDEA that I am asleep! I did this throughout classes in high school and college. (Editors at The New Yorker probably never fell asleep in school.) I don't remember any of my dreams from last night's 1st Act, but they might have been something like I am standing on a moor in England with the woman down the hall in my office, whom I created a report for earlier today, SCREAMING at me about the amount of pie I ate. I get this and I feel remorseful. But the wind on the moor is howling and I cannot seem to explain to her that the pie I had to eat or her child was going to die but I could not tell her because the dancing llamas forbade it. Then I come to and Mary-Louise Parker is standing on a table kissing a man who's brother has just died. And I wonder if the friends of the playwright have HEARD me sleeping. And if they think that I am not OF THE THEATRE because only a drowsy HO-DAD would offer Altoids like he was in the local township's barn seeing yet another production of "Bus Stop" starring the woman who actually does work at Walgreens opposite the post man. I try to quiet my mind and pay attention to MLP.
(Here, gentle reader, I make a plug. I know I have a vast YA (Young Adult) readership and published author, Robin Palmer's book is for YOU. Please check it out and buy it. It is called Cindy Ella and you can get it by clicking on the title. She was also commissioned to write an original essay for Powells Books. Check it out. Great prom photo, Robin!)
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Maybe all the books will be shelved upsidedown.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Yes, I am in my honeymoon phase. I have not been tested except for when I was first arrived in town and was dropped off by the cabbie 8 blocks from where my flat was and I had 300 lbs of luggage and a set of bagpipes. Oh and the mice in my apartment who were eating my food and not paying rent. But I have not been through the worst of weather. That will be summer I am sure. And I still have employment and a flat. These are both temporary. So the bowels of this city may just be gurggling for me yet. But the buildings and the parks and the rivers and bridges will all be here and that gives me comfort. Columbus Circle will still invite me to look up. And Broadway will still invite me to look down. And I can spin in Grand Central and caffeinate in the Village and illuminate at St. Pat's and ambulate across the Brooklyn Bridge and stroll up 5th Avenue and ferry for free to Staten Island and pay a buck at the Met for one of the best collections in the world and sit in the park and see the guy with the bird on his head.
Sure is shits and costs a lot of money, but you get what you pay for. If it's what you want to buy.
The air outside was humid and the smell reminded me of Scotland. This could only mean rain.
The park is a magical place to me and I love playing there. I have a spot that I usually go to but there was a guy sleeping on a rock with his head resting on a milk crate so I decided to give him his space.
I went down this lane a bit and played there. The sky was getting black. The Heavens opened. There were two women watching me with their umbrellas and wellie boots. As it just bucketed rain I kept playing while they danced in the lane with their umbrellas over their heads. Pure joy for me. They had a dance, I had a tune and we waived goodbye as I packed up and got out of the onslaught.
I took the #1 train tonight to the end of the line in the Bronx. Byrne the P/M picked me up and I went to Something, Something Kelly Something Pub where we practice. Yes, we practice in a bar. Well, the posh banquet hall of a pub, actually. I met a lot of the guys and we had practice. I got some uniform parts and a pipe bag cover that says "Monaghan Pipe Band - New York City." How cool is that?
And St. Pat's season is just around the corner. I will be busy.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Met Frank for dinner tonight. Went to Burger Heaven before he caught Rufus Wainwright at Radio City. I took my computer-blinded and hunched-over carcass for a much-needed stroll home. So nice to see the lights and walk along Central Park West and look in the grand apartment building windows and make up stories or dream about what it must be like to live there. I love seeing those library bookshelves that go from floor to high ceiling and gorgeous paintings hanging on the walls. Going past the gothic-vibed Dakota Apartment Building and realizing John Lennon was only 40 when he died right there on W. 72nd Street is chilling on a few levels. I also realized his son Sean is opening for Rufus tonight. I guess he may come back there afterwards. I would.
I stopped in at the Buttercup Bakeshop down the street from Mr. & Mrs. Lennon's house and got a red velvet cupcake for myself. 7 Weight Watchers points, but I had lentil soup and a turkey patty on a slice of dry wheat toast with a tomato so I felt okay about it.
Red Velvet. Mmmmm.
I got home to my apartment that I LOVE and made some tea, ate my cupcake and watched a doc about Karl Lagerfeld.
All in all a good day was redeemed and enjoyed.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Ron and I ate at a diner on the Upper Westside after the show. I had soup and poached eggs with spinach. Isn't that a genius order? I love the diner culture in New York. The people are nice, the places have good grub and they are open at all hours. So much to love.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Looking out my window at my wee piece of outdoor wilderness
Just thrilled to bits with the snow. When it first began I pressed my nose up against my office window and looked out. Someone said, "He's from California" to excuse my behavior. I didn't care. M.E. Those New York girls know how to pose! I love it!
I dragged my co-worker M.E. out in it. We went out the revolving doors, past the gauntlet of really dedicated smokers and into the elements.
Tomorrow Kidscreen, the big Children's Television convention, begins in New York. My friend Olivier came in today from Paris for it. He is a bigwig now and I am thrilled for his success. Such a good, good guy. We worked together on a cartoon show many years ago and have remained friends ever since. We have seen each other in Paris, New York previously and Los Angeles. I am happy that we remain friends over all these years as he is one of those up guys who is always great to see. We trundled through the snow to 9th Avenue to a Greek restaurant. The service was slow, but the food was good. If I could only speak French like he speaks English I would move to Paris in a heartbeat. Olivier just off the plane from France in the elements.
We are both heading uptown.
No disrespect to New York, but part of me secretly hopes I end up in London. And don't tell London, but I really, really want to live in Paris. Of all the places in the world, that is probably my favourite. It is the big city that just knows how to do it right. I appreciate every detail there. The architecure, the food and the people watching and the parks and even the birds. I throw it out there into the etherblogosphere. Who knows? But there is that pesky language barrier. "Barrie-ay?"
But tonight New York is my kinda town. Walking across Broadway to catch my train and looking down the street at the lights of Times Squre with all the snow on the ground just made my heart sing. I am home in so many ways. Home is where I hang my parka?
Monday, February 11, 2008
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Friday, February 8, 2008
Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding. Gooder. Mmmm-er. And Nilla Wafers have fiber?