Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Central Park

I went to visit my friend Mary in hospital and passed through the northeast part of Central Park.  This is the part I am in the least.  What a beautiful day out and what a great feeling it was to be part of it. And the icing was seeing Mary recovering so nicely.  All is well today in my New York.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Kids Are All Right

Went to a screening of "The Kids Are All Right" tonight.  Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo and the director Lisa Cholodenko were there for a Q &A afterwards.  I cannot remember a film I liked so much in recent history.  It was really well done and did not go to the eye-rolling areas it could have.  It was so good in fact that it made me miss Los Angeles!  That is really saying something.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Tammy Grimes

Ellie, my connection to all things celebrity in New York, took me as her guest to see two-time Tony Award-winning Broadway legend and first wife to Captain Von Trapp/Leo Tolstoy and mother of madwoman from "Pulp Fiction" Amanda Plummer, at the Metropolitan Room in Chelsea.

Ellie and Tammy have been friends for years and we had amazing front and center seats to see her show.  In the category of "New York keeps getting smaller for me" we sat right next to legendary Glasgow-born photographer, Harry Benson.  I had met him at his show and reception in SOHO during Scotland Week.  It was great to see him again and meet his charming wife Gigi.  She is Texan and really wonderful.  Anyway, this was supposed to be about Tammy, but click on Harry Benson and you will be amazed at the photos that you know that he shot. What a life!

Tammy Grimes has that distinctive voice. It was no wonder she was asked to replace Glynnis Johns in "A Little Night Music" She has a much better voice, but they both went to the warbly school of eccentric voices and it is an alluring one to hear.

I felt for her as she forgot lots of lyrics, but she was still in good voice at 76 and looks wonderful. It was a pleasure.

Friday, June 25, 2010


I will be cryptic here.  Intentionally.  I always think cryptic is intentional, but often it is unintentional and sometime pathological.

No earth shattering news here:

I went out on a date.  We played tennis and went to dinner.  Normal.  Fun even!

It was a fourth date if anyone is counting.  I like dating.

That was not cryptic, that was lying.   I hate dating.

Well, not dating so much. I hate the not being able to see the bubble over the other person's head and I spend so much time looking for it that I can miss the moment. And my own feelings on the matter.

I wrote on my Facebook status once what was in my head and I thought was a funny joke: "I'll like you if you like me!"  Sadly, this is only half a joke. 

Dating is about discovery.  But I seem to think it is about destiny. It is not.  It is about getting to know the other person and seeing if it is a match. Sadly I seem to need to be hit over the head.  Nothing less than skywriting and a singing telegram (lyrics that you composed yourself) will prove to me that you are into this. Sigh.

But there is no bubble and there is no skywriting. I am flying solo on this thing and must learn that if it is working it is working. 

But what does "working" mean exactly?

Ann Craven

Ann Craven for you losers who are not hip and do not know is a really hot artist who had a show recently at Macarone in the West Village in New York.  The New Yorker wrote up a really glowing piece about her and this show, but I cannot find it on line to link it for you. Who is the loser now?

I only say losers to elevate myself. I didn't know who she was until I was introduced to her by my friend Ellie. We had lunch with her and her artist partner, Peter Halley.   What a great afternoon that was. 

We went to see her show today and it was wonderful. Wonderful!

She painted a series of roses in a vase.  These large scale, almost monochrome, paintings were hung in one room and in an adjacent gallery hung their mirror images that the artist did from memory.  The whole effect was quite striking.  I am sad for some reason that this whole rose family cannot stay together and pieces from the show are sold individually.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

BAFTA Digital Media Panel

Tonight was the night after mucho dates switches and hard work.

I produced (with the help of many) a panel called "Master Class:  Who Changed the Channel: the Digital Media Landscape in 2010."  It was for BAFTA East Coast.  The event was held at this great space called The Scandinavia House on Park Avenue South which has a wonderful theatre and a lovely reception area with outdoor space.  (Not to mention Scando store and restaurant!)

I could not have asked for a better panel or moderator.  The conversation was lively, interesting and much more in depth that I had imagined. I learned a lot.

Here was my excellent line up:


Shelly Palmer. Host of "Digital Life with Shelly Palmer"


Rob Barnett, Founder and CEO, My Damn Channel

Albie Hecht, 
CEO, Worldwide Biggies

Kenny Miller, Co-Founder, Starling TV

Emil Rensing, Chief Digital Officer, EPIX

They were asked by Shelly what one website they are excited about right now and here is the list for your perusal:

ob Barnett  of  "My Damn Channel"

Albie Hecht  of " Worldwide Biggies'

Kenny Miller of "Starling TV"

Emil Rensing of "EPIX"

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summer in the City

Tonight was one of those magical, all-is-possible New York summer nights.  My friend Jerry, who is on the board for the Anti-Violence Project, invited me to their summer fundraiser at the historic Stonewall Inn in the West Village. 

The joint was hopping and once I got past "Everyone is SO young" and "It is SO loud," I met a load of really great people and had a ball.  (Once again a good attitude is KEY, I find.  And then I don't find and have to find again.) 

A cousin of Jerry's is Ed Valentine. He is a writer and nominated for a daytime Emmy this year.  In fact he is on a plane tomorrow to LA to see if he and his writing partners win.  Good luck tomorrow, Ed.

From my years in children's television we knew so many people in common.  I even know his agent! 

I saw my pal Sam and met some dear Facebook friends.  I met one guy once before and he told me he loves my postings!  So modern this Facebook - To know me by my blurbs is to know me.   He told me that he went to Kenya, but I knew that.

Christine Quinn, City Council Speaker,  spoke and she was wonderful. What a good speaker. I was impressed how well she knew her audience, topic, etc. when she has to speak to so many different groups.  To be on-topic, on-message and warm and friendly and compassionate and sensitive is a skill. believe. Or read about so many politicians who don't have an ounce of it.

I walked out into the summer night a BUZZ with people and life and the credits rolled and the camera lifted on a crane and I walked happily home.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New York City - No End of Rope

If one were between jobs is New York City a good place to be?

It is expensive as hell.  But you don't need a car.

It is a have/have not competitive jungle. But you can pay a dollar to get into the Met.

Central Park has benches/Central Park has benches.

Lately (like for a long ass while) I have had no new ideas.  This makes me panic.

In the movie version of this there is an inciting incident (like war, kidnapping, switched briefcase, dropped glove, missing glass slipper) that gets the protagonist moving after being totally beaten in the knees and he then gets the job/girl/boy/houseboat/key to the city/release of prisoners/secret recipe/cure/magic powers/operation/buried treasure/recognition by his peers.

Someone asked me if I would go back to California since this is "not working out."  Like jobs are falling off trees in California.

In many ways it IS working out. I love it here. I am happy here. 

If one has to be between jobs, New York is an excellent place to be.  When I crawl from under a rock in Central Park I see that there are endless possibilities here.  It never ends.  Something goes away, something else replaces it.

This includes careers.  There is something out there for me.  That I could love, that I am good at.  Gotta keep looking.

Or get kidnapped by aliens and learn to love again.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

Oh right. It's Father's Day.

For me it hasn't been Father's Day for 15 years. Fifteen years I have been "fatherless." Funny, because writing it can only sound sad-sackish, woe-is-me--ish. I don't feel that way.

15 ties.

I feel hazy. I feel graspy, but not done wrong.

15 pair of socks.

I don't feel fatherless, as in lacking.

But I don't feel fatherful either. I definitely don't feel fatherful. 

You have faded a bit, Dad. Can you even believe that?  I can't hear you.  Can you speak up?  Maybe we got a bad connection.

I see your seersucker robe, I can feel your beard stubble, but your voice, it is distant Dad.  

15 cards and 15 phone calls.

No disrespect to dear old dad. When I think about him, which is often, I miss him deeply. He was a huge influence in/on my life. Sadly a very untapped resource. I feel I could have learned so much, but I spent a good portion of time away from him trying to "fix myself." Sad because I really think we would have had some great times.

15 Cats. 15 Cradles.

Sure, we had great times, well good times, but how good can they have been when we were both hiding behind the dog or the tease or the Joe's of Westlake steak dinner?

Being back in Ireland at his mum's house and seeing the historic doorway where he told my mum something for the first time in 1970. Wow, I know why my mother said I was just like him.

Happy Father's Day, Dad. I miss you and I thank you. See you around? Come on over, I got nothing to hide and I can make you a sandwich and we can talk about New York back in the Day. I will even go to a Yankees game though I know you supported the Giants when you were here.

But like you, they left town. They went somewhere else.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


My friend Michael works for popchips.

Very e.e. cummings.

I always photograph the bags in stores and send them to him.  My fave is the one I sent from the desplay in the cafe  at the Met.

I recently saw a discarded, empty bag of his product on the ground on 14th Street.

I thought it was good advertising and an idea for an odd marketing campaign where one would litter big cities with empty bags of popchips. People would see popchips bags discarded all over the place.  It would get the name out there AND show people that folk were eating popchips by the cart load and what about you?!

Friday, June 18, 2010

"Paper Engineering: Fold, Pull, Pop, and Turn”

A new exhibit opened at the National Museum of American Historian in Washington D.C.  It is an exhibit about the art and history and how-to of pop-up books entitled:   "Paper Engineering: Fold, Pull, Pop, and Turn.”

Some fantastic stuff is on display and I highly recommend you check this out.

I know this is not a New York event I am plugging, but a New York filmmaker and good friend of mine, Sean McGee, directed and produced the excellent video that loops during the exhibit.

The video explains in a straightforward manner how pop-up books are made and features another talent and friend, Chuck Fischer, a well-known pop-up book master. 

The exhibit is on now until September 1, 2011, so no excuses!  Plus it is DC so it is FREE!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Play Me I'm Yours

I was coming back from the Hudson River after a good practice session on my bagpipes (where else can a New York bagpiper practice? Ideas?)  and I passed through the Chelsea Market to get some brown rice sushi.   I saw a piano in there and a little girl was playing it.  "How delightful," I thought.

It seems this is part of an art installation in New York by an English artist where pianos are placed all over the city now until July 5th.   Check out locations and get more info here.

When we don't think we make a difference then you read that someone came up with this idea.  And it is realized.  And people connect with it. 

I am always amazed by people and music.  It is a love connection.  And I really enjoyed this clip from England where this installation took place and they gathered all types and sang Hey Jude to someone playing the piano.  It makes me realize how quickly it is all over and how lovely that meanwhile I can be a part of this.

Maybe we should leave bagpipes all over town?!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Home for me is New York City. Today I am home.

But...Home is Ireland. Home is Scotland.  Home is San Francisco.

I have a lot of homes (but no real estate!) for a lot of reasons, but where I choose to hang my hat (and not my head!) is New York. 

That being said, when I was in Ireland outside my grandmother's house standing with my two cousins I knew that there was home there too.  The "it's in me bones" factor happens in certain places for me very strongly and Ireland is one clearly.  It is a longing feeling, but this time in a good way.  A be/longing feeling, if you will.


Today I awoke not in Ireland as I had yesterday, but in Manhattan. Yesterday there were cows mooing outside my window; today, sirens.  How can that be?  It is called air travel, I know, but spiritually, emotionally it all seems wrong.  Like one needs a detox or a re-entry program.

And people expect you to just get back into the swing ASAP.  And I get that, but I can't do that. 

But I picked myself up, started my day, got milk (from a deli fridge, not a cow) and no one gave two figs that I was walking through green fields thousands of miles away less than 24 hours ago. Nor should they.

These moments are for the individual only to cherish and notice.  This bridging feeling and processing where I have been and what I experienced are for me alone. 

As they are for you when when you go to Switzerland and try to tell me about eating muesli with Gretchen just 20 hours ago.  I don't care, get back to work!!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

La breithe shona dhuit, Tricia

Patricia and I went to Lough Rynn Castle to have afternoon tea to celebrate her birthday today.  What a place.   Amazingly beautiful grounds, great service, and a glorious estate where people get married and have affairs.  (But with sufficient time in between I am sure.)

This place was the home of Lord Leitrim under the British occupation. He did a lot to make this the magnificent estate and grounds what it is. But he was horrible to all his workers and tenant farmers. He, of course, was assassinated. 

And now they have a lovely tea service.

All the best for a great year, dear friend.  Happy Birthday.

My Pants - Leitrim, Ireland

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Gentleman Farmer- Leitrim, Ireland

A hard day on the farm chopping wood and collecting peat for the fire.   I worked up a big appetite for my breakfast. 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Big City Boy

I love, LOVE living in New York City. It is in me bones.  I cannot imagine being away from the madness of it all for long.  But being in the country where the cows replace the coppers and the subway is a good pair of walking shoes, well that gives me a sense of peace and a chance to regroup.

Here in Leitrim there are cows a plenty and peat fires and tea and toast and good craic.  For today that is all I seek.

I leave the rest with the doorman.

Fidelma - Mythical Island Princess

My cousin Fidelma will not allow me to take her photo.  She certainly wouldn't want it posted here.

Though I cannot visually prove I even have a cousin Fidelma,  those out there in cyberland will just have to believe.

This mythical cousin in this mythical country.

I would not really be here in Ireland if it weren't for our friendship in so many ways.  I feel blessed that we got to know each other after my mum died and I was able to come back to Ireland to a family wedding.  It started it all. She came out to New York City and here I am back for another family wedding.

This time we started our genealogy investigations and we got to have longer to hang out and chat.  I liked that a lot.

I think she thinks I am insane and I think she is insane and that is why it works.

She is a woman of a lot of words and few words.  Here are some:  "Hm."  "Mm." Mm-mm" and the two-syllable negation: "No-ah!"

Here are some expressions that I learned from her that I quite like:

A reaction to therapy:  "Build a bridge and get over it."

A reaction to being taken advantage of:  "I was born at night, but not last night."

Today I had to say goodbye after such a great visit.  I will miss her, but I will see her again somewhere and that is good. 

Fidelma's shoes.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Carlingford, Co. Louth

Fidelma, Declan and meself took a drive north of Dublin to the stunning village of Carlingford, Co. Louth.

I was happy because they had never been there before and then happier because I was there and got to see this place.

It is one of those towns that location scouts would check out as the possible place to shoot one of those cheesy romantic comedies where Gerard Butler is about to marry a local girl to please his parents who are convinced that these same nuptials will finally break the 300 year old curse against the family, but an antique buyer from Salem, MA (played by Jennifer Aniston of course) is on the run from a broken heart seeks refuge in Carlingford and knocks over Gerard's sausage purchase at the local victualler straight out his hands while trying to text her business partner back home about this amazing chest that they must buy from the craggy local innkeeper played by Milo O'Shea. Gerard and Jen fall in love, but the village is convinced she is a witch and come to wreak havoc.  Comedy and romance ensues.


Newgrange: created when Stonehenge couldn't tell time and the Pyramid of Giza was a just a twinkle in a Sphinx's eye.