Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Alone Again, Naturally?



I woke up alone this morning. This is not because I am usually in a relationship or am a tramp. Frankly, I would go for either!, but I am just coming down off three weeks of WONDERFUL houseguests (shhh, they are blogreaders) No, really it was all great. I had a wonderful time.

Now there is just me, some wilting flowers and a few mousetraps. I guess it is back to talking to myself again. What will I say? What will I do? ("I don't know.' "How about you?" "I haven't a clue." "We need milk." "You are so right." "What excellent coffee." "Thank you." )

Gosh, this is a slow news day. No hop on, hop off bus to take, no Eastern Euro restaurants or impromptu rooftop dinner parties. Will I set a place for two on my terrace? No, the neighbors will notice.

I think I will try that reading a book thing I heard about.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Hot Riga Nights


I turned off the day and Tory and I went out for the night. If she were a gay man and single and living in New York and attracted to me, this would have been a perfect date. But even without some of these "must haves" it was a great night out of two old friends.

Flashback with harp to 22 years ago: We met in Venice, Italy. We were young, drinking red wine and smoking MS cigarettes. Nary a care in the mondo. She and my sister Eileen are AMS (Italian for BFF) and were on the year abroad program at Cal. I was a young, handsome travelling playwright/minstrel/international bon vivant/really confused young man.

Then we all lived around the corner from each other in San Francisco and finally two of us got married and one defected to Los Angeles. Mixed in with death, relationships, children, the usual.

Tory is in New York to hang with pals, see shows, catch her friend's cabaret act and just have some peace and quiet in the very loud metropolis. We got to hang and that was great.

Tonight we went out to the East Village to catch a film at the Tribeca Film Festival. It was a German doc about a man who found out in his 50's that he was adopted and was really from Riga in the Ukraine. Trying to match the proper food to a Nazi-infused needle in a haystack film was difficult, for reason too convoluted to explain we were headed towards Japanese until Tory spied Veselka (faithful reader Brad's beloved place) and we ate Ukrainian food which was perfect and more satisfying than the film, but hey we were at the Tribeca Film Fest and a 24-hour Ukrainian restaurant. You can't get more NYC cool than that.
Great to see you Tory!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Blustery Day




Tory came in on the red eye this morning from San Francisco. It seemed like Fidelma took all the good weather with her back to Ireland. It was a cold and wet day acting as if Spring wasn't really here all the previous week. April showers I suppose.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Fidelma Takes Manhattan

Final days suck. Cousin Fidelma left this evening. But we had a great day leading up. No pressures of museums, shopping, lost passports in a drunken haze. All we had was Greenwich Village. Sean, Greenwich Village denizen, and probably most photographed man in this blog, met us at Florent in the Meatpacking district for breakfast. It was fun, fast and fashionable. We all split pancakes for our starter. Something you do when you have all but forgotten that you used to love Weight Watchers. "Yes, we'll have the full pancake breakfast to start and then I'll have. ..." And then you insist on SKIM milk.



Excellent composition.


Warm and friendly, but no composition. And no feet.

Fidelma and I parted ways with Sean and did our Village tours. We saw writers' houses and coffee houses and Bob Dylan's guitar string shop and the arch in Washington Square and mused at many a mews. As we were coming upon the narrowest house in New York City here comes my friend Sue carrying purchases that essentially looked like a baguette and a bunch of flowers. I don't think there were actually flowers, but it just helps the small town neighborly aspect of the tale. I had not seen Sue in ages, but she knew of Fidelma's adventures thanks to the blog. (Small town meets Hi tech gazette) (Hi Sue it was great to see you! Have a GREAT time in Turkey!)

I wanted to photograph new and old world pals but here I hit a double word score of NO. Fidelma and I already had an agreement of no facial pictures of her as she hates having her photo taken and Sue pulled the "It's Sunday morning and I have not had my shower, no way" clause. They both agreed to this "footage":


Two Lovely women. So pretty and so youthful. Belles with Bags.


Glamour ended and we had to get Fidelma to Port Authority to take the bus to JFK. It all worked out like a charm. Though we sadly did not get to see our cousin Margaret in Queens and have a massive Ward US reunion, we had a wonderful, wonderful time together. I am so glad we have kept in touch. Now it is my turn to invade her country!


So sad that Fidelma is leaving.


Making certain she is actually gone.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Baltimore!



Your cousin comes to Americay and you being the big city cousin think you know best and say that a Broadway show is a must. There is probably some truth to that, but there is also truth to the fact that if you are me, you just want to see another big Broadway musical. But it comes across like total caring about their good time which translates to total redeemable cousin points later. Unless, of course, they want to see Rent or Mama Mia. Then all negotiations would be left on the table.

Well, Cousin Fidelma and I went to see Hairspray. I was going for big, splashy, fun musical. Boy did I pick right. We got great seats and had such a good time. It was a total joy from beginning to end. In fact, ONE of us could not stop singing and dancing out in the street. It was embarrassing for one of us.


The childlike wonderment. So touching.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Past, a Present



Fidelma has heatstroke and allows rare photo

Pat inspects the immigrant names wall

Our brilliant plan today was a quick hop down to Battery Park to go to Ellis Island and then I would go home to work and practice pipes while Fidelma went to the Met and then shopping. Then we would meet up in the evening to go to the theatre. Brilliant plan full of diversity, hope, balance, etc.

We did one thing.

We were told to get to Battery Park early if we wanted to get on the island of Ellis. We got there at 10:30am and it was 2.75 hours in the sun we waited to get on the boat. Going to see the Statue of Liberty up close and the tour of Ellis Island was well worth it, however. I think we both felt all the ghosts in the main hall on Ellis Island. So many, many people from so many countries came through here and helped to build and shape America. It is a humbling, awe-inspiring and a true patriotic experience. It makes me feel the USA is stronger than the regime in office presently trying to bring it down. I felt such a part of the immigrant experience in there. And in many ways I am. My mum came through New York to this country, but not through Ellis Island. I am not exactly sure why, but I think it had to do with that they were not using it for immigration right after the war.

We got back to the mainland around 6pm and up to the Times Square unable to get 2 seats together at the theatre. We were on our morning mission ALL DAY! Oh well, there is tomorrow. It was a great time together and so worth it.

Stay tuned.

Uptown Bus

16,958 Steps


Where's Bob?

Fidelma and I continued with our open air bus tour. We did the upper part of Manhattan. First stop was St. John the Divine. It is the largest cathedral in the world. The Vatican is not technically a cathedral. There is a statue of heaven and hell there where God and the devil have the same face! Ponder.


Harlem. Was Haarlem.

We had a GREAT tour guide who knew so much about so much. I bet he moonlights as a history professor at Columbia. I loved travelling down 5th Avenue passed the mansions. We even saw disgraced Gov. Elliot Spitzer's house. His prostitute has a down-loadable song that she recorded where she makes 70 cents per download profit. She has over 2 million downloads after the scandal! Do the math and wonder why you are not leaving your desk to become a singing prostitute.


2 Micks find me namesake pub. Self-promotion much?

After an ill-fated attempt to get to Ellis Island, Fidelma and I had a good walk around St. Pat's, Rockefeller Center and Grand Central Terminal. Lovely.

Then, folks, it was high-style, big city, al fresco dining on my patio in the sky. Such a lovely night it was and what a great time we had then it was knackered-town and falling asleep.
Respecting Fidelma's "No Photos" wishes, I present her arm.
Oh my. Where did I get this voice from!? Yipes. Fidelma hates her voice too I find out so this is rare.

video

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Der Bus

15,254 Steps

Fidelma and I did the downtown loop on the tour bus. Excellent. I really recommend this mode of seeing the city. We are on City Sights NY which has been great. It took us all over and we learned so much about architecture, parks, history and where Gwyneth and Serica Jessica live.

I really like to document my friend's and relative's visits with me with some photos of them. Fidelma has put an end to photos since she hates her picture taken so I negotiated and have won body parts and personal items as representation that she was here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Get OFF!


I had meetings all day and was out the door in the morning. Met up with Fidelma and we had a lovely 4pm lunch after I worked some more on the computer when I got back. It was a lovely day here and we walked through the park all they way down to 5th Avenue and then over to 50th and Broadway. As it happened I got talking to one of the African sales people of the Step On Step Off bus tours. Cut to next scene and we are on the night tour atop an open-air double decker.




I rolled my eyes at my friend Brian when he suggested we do this in Munich some years back. But they really do give you a comprehensive tour of the City. And for $49 bucks (pocket change to someone from the Celtic Tiger country of Ireland) it is an amazing value as it gives you the night tour plus two more days of on and off touring AND the Circle Line Boat tour And Free City of New York Museum access. Ginzu knife set was not far behind.




We had a great guide who showed us all over. I especially loved being shown the window where the engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge sat bedridden after being paralyzed by the bends and looked out at the construction of his beloved bridge. He window is still there! This was a 2 hour tour and it was excellent. I learned a lot and loved it. Tomorrow we tackle more.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Old Sod


4 years ago at my cousin Aileen, Fidelma's sister's wedding.

My cousin Fidelma came to town tonight from Ireland. This is her first time in the States and it is a thrill to have her staying with me for the week. I only say that because she is a devoted reader of this blog.

She arrived with her Barbie suitcase and was all smiles. So good to see her after 4 years. We had a good blether until almost midnight. She brought excellent tea from home and we broke out the bickies and chatted. I worked all day and had an early rise and she was knackered I am sure.

Tomorrow starts the tourin'...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Shvitz.




Brad and I took our asses down to the Lower East Side this morning to the Russian and Turkish Baths. This place has been around since 1892. That is over 100 years to you and me! It was amazing. There are so many forms of steam to begin with: There is the Russian Sauna which has 20, 000 lbs of cooked rock that gives off radiant heat. Ouch. You dump buckets of cold water over your head. Very 3 Stooges. Nyuck, nyuck! And right outside this is what they call the Ice Cold Pool. The "Pool So Cold Your Little Guys Recede and You Never See Them Again Pool" would not fit on the sign. There is also a redwood sauna, an aromatherapy room, a Turkish room and a Swedish Shower. So international. It almost sounds like names of Guantanamo procedures, but they are all just really relaxing. If you do want to border on telling what you think they want to know, you can even pay extra to get beaten with Platza Oak Leaves. By a specialist. (wink) There is even a roof to lie out on afterwards to watch the steam rise off your body.

All in all I left there feeling A-mazing.

English is definitely a second language here.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Apres Jazz




Was out at The Blue Note until almost 3 this morning. Got to bed at 4am. This is old New York and old Me! New New York and New Me is up early, out for a walk, coffee, sun streaming through window. Some work. Some sit-ups. None of this happened.

Absolutely shattered today.

Truth is I did do some work and I watched "30 Rock" on my computer in bed and dreamt of sleeping. I then got out in the evening to go to a dinner party and watch a movie.

This was my day. And that is all. A very slow news day when one has an overhang from glamour the night before.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Friends. Food. Music. I Heart NY!


Ron, Vince, Michael, Fabio, Kara, Gillian, Pat, Brad
@ OG

I took the subway to meet friends at OG Restaurant in the East Village for dinner. I was seated on the B train and listening to music as I was flipping through the photos on my iPhone . What we in the business call multimedia/multitasking. With the combined music and visuals I was even "scoring to picture!" Looking at all those faces close and far that are near and dear to me and listening to this amazing score, I was OVERCOME with delirious happiness. Overcome, I tell you. I kid you not. I felt so incredibly blessed and happy to have all these people in my life and to have had an incredible life. It is truly a wonderful life. I am not planning on going anywhere, but I just have to say! It is hard to have an emotional spew in a crowded subway, but I did. Perhaps even an Indian garbage tear.


Lobster. Mmmmm

So I get off the train and walk to OG where my good friend Ron works. Brad from LA, Michael and Fabio from San Francisco, Kara and Vince who came up from Philly and Gillian from New York and Ron and I all joined together on a warm Spring night at this great restaurant and had just an amazing time together. Old and new friends just hitting it off. I have to say my total "social orgasm" is having people from different parts of life meet each other. And I was meeting new people too so it was just great. The food was superb as well. Go here! Who doesn't like lobster Asian fusion crepes and gorgeous halibut? A total Asianfusioneastvillage YUM.





Then it was off, OF COURSE, to the world famous The Blue Note jazz club in the West Village at midnight to hear Kara's friend's band Rubblebucket Orchestra. I felt like the war had just ended and we were off to celebrate. (If only.) It was so much fun, but getting to bed at 4am SUCKS!!!


Rubblebucket. Youthful energy

Still my joy over an evening of food and friends and music makes for sweet jazzy dreams.


Ron and Gillian. So cute together.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Algonquin OR How I Choose to Luncheon


The Group (with somewhat more intellectual/dressier crowd in mural behind)

Just when I think I am settling into an ordinary life in New York I get to say to someone on the cell phone "I gotta run. I am meeting friends for lunch at the Algonquin." It is sentences like that that keep me amused. They may sound smug, but at least they are truthful. And smug. With a dash of quaint dorky touristyness.

Charlotte Fullerton and I used to work together many years ago at Fox Kids. She and her boyfriend Dwayne McDuffie, creator of "Static Shock," are in town to go to Comicon. Dwane is there to represent "Ben 10" for Cartoon Network. Charlotte, the instigator of all things wacky and creative, decided to bring her friends together in the room where the ghosts of Robert Benchley and Dorothy Parker roam. It was an excellent idea and I applaud her as she walks into the virtual room of this blog for having the idea and executing it. My friend Brad Griffith who works in international marketing at Warner Bros. joined and we met Cheryl Blaylock, Actress/Writer/Puppeteer/Documentary Filmaker, Livia Beasley, Writer/Producer and President of Women in Children's Media. and Josephine Cashman, Actress. Cheryl and I both unintentionally happened to be reading books that we had on our persons that were written by personal friends. Mine was "Cindy Ella" by Robin Palmer. Maybe Cheryl will write in and plug her friend's book.




(Patrick, Livia, Dwayne, Cheryl, Josephine, Brad. Bon Mots strewn on table in foreground.)

It was all very air-kissy, literate and Algonquinian. I loved it.

I had the Salad Nicoise.
******************
Earlier and Later that Day:
My beloved pal Michael Acker and his partner Fabio Arajuo flew in from San Francisco this morning. We met in Bryant Park which is IN-credible right now with the weather being so nice. Had a coffee by the fountain. Michael works for Popchips, this healthy snack food that is really truly great. You can get them at amazon.com or fine food emporiums west of the Rockies. Hey, I plug my friends! (Wait, that came out SO wrong.)
In the evening we went to the Jeff Bailey Gallery on W. 25th for a whine and cheese for The New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project. My friend Jerry Blake is on the board. It was a good event with really nice people. The very office supply inspired Martin McMurray paintings were such a nice segue way into our next stop, the Minetta Lane Theatre to see "Adding Machine."
I loved it. Great cast and the bleak musical was in a way thrilling to me. Go see it if you are in New York.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cherry Lane Theatre on Commerce Street


Tonight I went to see two Edward Albee one-acts: The American Dream and The Sandbox. They were performed at my new favorite theatre, The Cherry Lane Theatre. I just had an instant feeling of joy when I turned on to the street and went inside. It is in a tucked away part of the Village and you can really feel Beckett and Albee and Ionesco who all put up plays here in their day. Albee is still doing it. Of course I am able to turn a night out into all about me and why didn't I just move to New York in the 60s and become an off-Broadway avant garde playwright. I was 7 when the 60's came to a close, but that would have only added to my mystique. Absurdism would have come effortlessly. But my parents wanted me to stay in Sister Natalie's class and finish 2nd Grade. All I remember about 2nd grade is Jean Fahey.

I had to go to the Men's Room upstairs in this theatre that was once a brewery in the 1800s and then a tobacco warehouse and box factory. The door to the gent's was SO tiny it felt like you needed a "DRINK ME" bottle just to get in to expel. I asked a guy to take my photo. I hope he knew that I was on the up and up. I wanted my sexfootthree frame in the shot for perspective. I tried to art direct him, but the poor guy was doing me a favor. Still I wanted it right. I am a blogger after all and I owe my readers. Damn, I guess my head could not fit through the door either.



I swear I am even taller than this against this door. Oh well.


Taken without permission.

The plays were fine. I am going to think about them a little longer. I sat next to a lovely older couple. The husband is a theatre professor in Hilton Head and they have a place in the city and a place in Hilton Head and they go to Mexico (Old or New I couldn't make out) for the winter. We talked about Albee during the intermission. I have no idea why the Cherry Lane is not on Cherry Lane, but Commerce Street is old and cool and we bade farewell on the street and I walked down the lane just as a crowd of people were loading a bleeding dog into an SUV. I thought "There is my absurd idea!"

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I Went to This Place and I Saw This Thing



Oh, I am just fit be to tied that I cannot talk about what I did tonight. Arggghhhhhh! I went to this place and I saw this thing. It was a taping for a new FAB show that is going to air on the FAB channel where I used to work. It is hosted by this great singer guy who is married to a great singer gal and he interviewed a LEGEND who sang and told great stories and that is all I can say. My teeth are biting down on my index finger, I want to GUSH! I even saw them in the green room. Arrggghhh. Now you know it is GREEN!



I can say it was taped at Rockefeller Center in the, wait for it... LEGENDARY Saturday Night Live Studio. All the famousest photos were on the wall and I was DIE-YING! You knew you were swathed (and partially steeped) in history. I even saw Rachel Dratch there and I wanted to tell her how I always used to want to be Bono from U2, but now I want to be Tina Fey, but I reasoned that she would not really want to hear any of that so I let her be.


In the elevator which famous people use to get to their work. (Geek-o-rama award goes to ME!!)


Brad and I had excellent seats in the front of the balcony tier in this intimate space. All the ghosts were in this place; it was cool. We sat next to four Canadian women. I think if you want to spy on a country, hire Canadians. They plain look like everyone else, but they are in fact Canadian! Arrgghh. I felt like I gave away something. Okay the guy's famous wife may (or may not) be Canadian. Argghhh. There I go! But they look like everyone else so she may not be. See, I threw you off!

Speaking of fine lines there is a fine ass line between a tourist dork and a semi-professional blogger when it comes to snapping photos. I look like a tourist dork, but I am really a semi-professional blogger. I wanted to snap the SNL studio but I was stopped by an aging Page! I love those pages. I wish I was a page. It is like pre-law for entertainment to be a page. I was not. I worked at Walgreens in the camera department. That is where I got my qualifications for working in entertainment. I won a bet when I worked at Walgreen's that I could fit inside a box of Pampers. I was bored; they were training me for management. I still feel guilty. But I won the bet.

Anyway, I tried to throw you off of what I can not talk about until December. Jordan the most excellent producer at my most excellent place of working told me not to blog about it until December 3rd. That is hell of far away. So I leave you with this: Watch this show I cannot tell you about in December on that channel where I used to work and write and tell them that you loved it and I didn't even mention it to you until after Thanksgiving.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Bo Knows Fish


Brad and Bo with the killer City view.

Met Brad and Bo at Bo's Penthouse Highrise Apartment in the Sky above the 60s in the Upper West Side. I had not seen it since the kitchen was finished and it is amazing. The place is amazing. Including free-standing metal sculpture by artist who happens to also be a friend and just the right couch and perfect entryway furniture.



Let's be honest, if you're gay you need to get something. (Oh c'mon, get over it!) Some people get the Gay Decorating Gene. I did not; Bo did. Some people also get the Gay Clothing Gene where you know how to dress perfectly for every occasion. I did not. When saggy ass jeans with a humphy back posture in unremarkable blue shirt on an array of Pottery Barn-safe furniture is La Mode, then I will be H-O-T, but until then I am an outcast. An OUTCAST, I tell you! (Some people do get the Gay Whiny Gene...)



Enough about me...



Bo had us over for dinner. He made fish and roasted veg. A-mazing. (Some people get the Gay Cooking Gene?) He was a wizard in that kitchen and sliced and diced those Trader Joes packages right open. A feast was served and a good time was had.



I was thinking how many people it takes to make a dinner party. I was going to say three minimum which is what we had, but I am going to say one or more. It is the spirit that counts the most and I have had some great moments with me and my TV tray, but it was a pleasure to be a guest at Bo's for a lovely meal.


Can't you just envision a lawn with chickens in the bg?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Miracle GROW!


15,243 Steps


I better keep my steps high if I am going to continue eating the way I have been eating. Jeesh! I am NOT on holiday. (Repeat 10 Times)

Brad and I met the Sean, Frank, Pat and John in the Village for breakfast at Miracle Grill. Always a perfect Sunday event for me. Frank brought amazing chocolate cookies that he made. I ate them. Brad and I did a lap around the Village and the Meatpacking district. This is always good: I can burn calories while looking in windows at what I cannot afford.

I got some work done this afternoon and then we were back out. The evening ended with a hot brownie sundae. Huh?

This doughboy best get back to the Duchess quick. Oatmeal in the morning!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Brad Comes Back

21,482 Steps


Petite French bookstore at Rock Center since 1935. About to lose lease. "Freedom" Bookstore?

Brad came rang on my buzzer at 7am this morning after taking the red eye from Los Angeles. He used to live here for 8 years and had not been back to NYC since he left 4 years ago. It would be a combo visit, vacation and memory lane tour. I am excited to see his haunts and go the places that he enjoyed. If they are still there!

We crashed for a bit and then headed out on what was a beautiful day through the park. That damn park! Like Brooke Shields, it has no bad angles. Huh? Hey it is true, I have seen her in person many times! That park is bursting with buds and kids playing baseball. And I am thrilled for Spring.
After a good walkandtalk we met Brad's friend Roxie at Grand Sichuan International on 9th Ave. at 24th. Brad loves the pork soup dumplings. And he was right, they were amazing. I had been here once before with Hilary and Cheline, but it is now firm that this place is a keeper for fresh, lovely Chinese food.

Brad and Roxie reunite. Very standoffish pair.


Famous Pork Soup Dumplings. Mini volcanoes of goodness!


Brad is happy.


More pork. Never enough pork. YUM!

It was fun to meet Roxie and the three of us headed out to walkandtalk on the way to the Container Store and then to meet our friend Bo at Macys on 34th Street. He works at the MAC counter and gave Roxie a makeover and us some free samples. Brad and Bo are friends from New York daze and I met Bo through Brad when I came here. Blah, blah, blah. I know, but I don't want anyone to get confused!

Bo working magic.

On the way to the C0ntainer Store we got coffee at Cafe Grumpy on W. 20th. Star sighting in line behind us. Two of the regular women from West Wing. One was Josh's asst. and the other was CJ's asst. I am too tired to look them up. Sloppy Blogger!

3 New York Pals

Macys in Herald Square is the largest department store in the world I say without fact checking and over 100 years old. It has wooden escalators.



The poor place needs its own makeover, but it was fun to see Bo in action.