Sunday, May 22, 2011

Horse Sense and Sensibility

My friend Ron and I went to Delaware after attending a fancy and lovely Bat Mitzvah in mainline Philly. We got changed into our suits for the event in the men's room of the science building at Haverford after chowing on cheesesteaks and gelato in town. The first of a few costume changes that day.

Our friend Kara who was urban cool in Philly has chosen the contemplative life of a horsewoman in the country. And we were the beneficiaries of this "inner city school kids go to summer camp" experience of being out of Big Apple and on the grassy paths of the DuPont Estate to walk Kara's horse.

Our next costume change: guys who walk with a woman who walks her horse.

I loved the whole thing. Fresh air is inspiration. After I had my fill I was back in Manhattan for a 7pm curtain in the East Village. Ahhh.

All good.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Lost Bohemia - the Doc

Josef Astor, Editta Sherman and I can't remember his name but he fought hard for the artists.

Sean and Peter and Diego and I went to Sean's friend Josef Birdman Astor's documentary about the ousting of the last residents of the apartments high above Carnegie Hall first requested to be put there by Andrew Carnegie himself as a place where artists could be artists. Writers, painters and dancers all lived. My idol Bob Fosse was one. Isadora Duncan another. And Caruso and Marilyn Monroe. Mark Twain hung out there. It was that kind of place. And now it is a place with cubicles and warrens with no light. Sad.

We saw the doc on opening night at the IFC on 6th. Editta Sherman, photographer, a.k.a. "The Duchess of Carnegie Hall was there. She is 97, I believe, and is still on the ball. She signed a book that she and Bill Cunnigham, NY Times man about town with his camera and fellow Carnegie Apt. evicted resident, did in the 1970s. I bought one. I now cannot find. Lost Bookhemia.
Editta signing my misplaced book.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Arcos Orchestra - Highlights of the Lowlands

My friend Patricia (friend from high school, friend from college, friend from early years in New York and friend from early years in Europe) was in town from Amsterdam with her partner Ym. I adore them both and we had the good fortune of being able to go to a concert of Dutch music composers at the Temple Emanu-El on 5th Avenue. Patricia is kind of a big deal in the Dutch music scene in Amsterdam both as a singer and a radio show host.

The space alone is so beautiful and the music was wonderful. Patricia's mother from San Francisco and brother John who lives in New York were there as well.

It was wonderful to see Patricia's mom again. I had not seen her since college I think. She always insisted on clearling the plates at dinner and would not allow help as she doesn't like them to be stacked due to mess getting on the bottom of the dishes. I thought of this while listening to "Lullaby of Young Girl Dreaming" by Patricia's friend and fellow Yank ed-pat in Amsterdam, Vanessa Lann. She was at this event and we had a chance to talk before and after the concert.

Patricia's brother John told me as we walked up to the aisle of the massive temple to our seats that he knew my ex-boyfriend of sorts, Dr. Ron. They both went to Yale together. New York is a small town. And Yale is a village. But what I have to do with either constantly amazes me. I am having a renaissance with Dr. Ron and grateful for his friendship. So here this Catholic-grazed boy from San Francisco culturally via Scotland and Ireland sits in the biggest temple in the world listening to Dutch music and muses about Patricia, Dr. Ron and dirty plates in San Francisco all the while it buckets and buckets rain outside.

And I sadly beg for it to wash away the previous time I was there.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hunter College, NYC Distinguished Writers Series

My head has gone from "I want to write" to "I am a writer" to "I need to get a masters in Creative Writing." Clear signs that I am 1. on to something and 2. I need to take some baby steps as the "All or Nothing" monster is lurking.

I am interested in taking the program at Hunter College on East 68th Street. They have a top program and it is affordable. AND it is hard to get into. But so was "Modern Love."

My baby step was to go to Hunter College tonight and hear Nicole Krauss speak and read at the Distinguished Writers Series they have. She has written three novels and numerous essays and short stories. Her bio is quite impressive and so is she for that matter.

I was taken with her the moment she began to read from her novel GREAT HOUSE. There was a Q & A afterwards and I was so struck by her intelligence, tranquility and humour. She has the voice that I could listen to on a meditation tape, but she is not at all boring. She is a wonderful speaker: articulate and insightful. Her writing process is one of complete abandon to letting ideas and characters evolve. It almost sounds aimless, yet there seems a relief in not trying to force the page. I found it all very interesting, inspiring and daunting.

The "all about me" bubbles were: "I don't read enough." "I don't write enough." "She is way smarter than me. Or is it I?" "Damn."

You can go here and read some of her New Yorker essays. etc. Well worth it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Anti-Social Media

My location.

This weekend I was at Columbia University at the Journalism School attending Social Media Weekend. I was thrilled to be there to learn about more about the world of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Foursquare and beyond.

The best thing you do is learn by doing. And in this environment typing and texting in session was, of course, encouraged.

As much as I love the world of "I am now taking a sh#t, read all about it" I have to admit that sometimes immediately chronicalling ones life can detract from actually living it. But I Tweet out of both sides of my mouth.

Before I get to the invent I must tweet that I am going in less than 140 character. "Going to #smwknd @Columbiajourn. Will keep you posted."

I arrive. Now I must use Foursquare to document my location and earn points and maybe become a "Mayor" on Foursquare. That is for somebody who checks in a lot to one place, I believe.

The Social Media Doctors' Quque. The Doctor is In, LinkedIN.

I hit my Foursquare app in my iPhone and the GPS finds that I am at Columbia. But I want them to find me at the specific building (Later on I learn there is a Foursquare location especially for this specific event. But I am still at #grasshopper.) Before I post my location info to everyone on Facebook and Twitter who is just #dyingforthenewsofmywhereabouts I must take a photo to accompany it. What? I do one quickly. Ah, it loaded. Done.

Now I can enjoy the event. Wow everyone with the hashtag #smwknd is Tweeting about what the guy just said before I can. Whew I get one in : " puts his office and cell on his page. Maybe use Google/voice instead." Good going. Wait what did he say now? I missed that. I will find someone else's tweet in the #smwknd thread and RT it. Done.

And it goes and it goes like that. And it seems that everyone has been on Tumblr eons longer than me? Where have I been? Playing tennis maybe? Dating perhaps. Look where that got me. Maybe I should have been virtual ages ago.

I met this guy Joe. We talked about the muffins at the break and the coffee. We exchanged ecards on Hashable. Then I wanted to take a photo of the muffins and coffee and tweet with tweetpic of the snacks that I just met joe and here is the ACTUAL muffin and coffee I was holding when we talked about the #muffin and #coffee @columbiajourn.

Someone stop me...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"Reading with Robin" - On Radio in Rhode Island.

One of the many amazing things about getting published in Modern Love in the New York Times has been the feedback and the contacts.  Besides my excellent friends and family, I have received emails from perfect strangers who connected with my piece.  That is SO gratifying. A drug almost. A lovely drug. To think that people who don't know me at all wrote and said they laughed and cried was just electric to me. And believe me, I have mostly cried, so receiving these emails has been wonderful.

One person who contacted me was Robin Kall who hosts a radio show where she interview writers on 920WHYJJ called "Reading with Robin."  She so enjoyed me piece that she wanted to interview me on the radio!  Hey it was at 7:10am on a Saturday and for the smallest state in the Union, but it was a wonderful experience. And it is global on-line so I am sure it has a wide following because Robin is a great host.

Robin was so nice and really celebrated me and my writing.  She plugged my piece and this blog often which I guess is what writers want -to be exposed in order to be read.   I someday hope to be back on her show with a book to plug. 

Thank you, Robin! 

Check out the interview here and click on "Robcasts."  And check out her excellent show where she talks to writers. You can listen on-line every Saturday morning 7-8am. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Jeni Aron Performs at Rockbar

From the Upper East Side to way west Christopher Street in the West Village.  I was all over town this evening being uptown fabu and downtown cool.  Oh and midtown working.

My friend Jeni is a stand up comic and this is the first time I have seen her perform.  I made it in time to see her go ow.  Oh.Em.Gee.  She was fantastic. Filthy, yes, but FANTASTIC.  She killed as they say in comedy club parlance.

The venue was Rockbar.  It is well, a bar, where Christopher Street almost falls into the Hudson. Very friendly and a lot of fun. I will not repeat Jeni's set here because I would blush, but I am still laughing. I hope she goes on to great things. She should.

Louis the Plant Geek

This evening I was up high in the penthouse of a 5th Avenue apartment on the swank Upper East Side overlooking Central Park.  It is beautiful up there. No wonder people want to live there!

It felt like I was in an Italian villa.  Lovely bites went around and I met lovely people.  Just a perfect escape from my mood. Which in plant terms was droopy and needing sunlight and water and some new soil.  I need to be repotted!

This was a launch party for Louis Raymond's new website - Louis the Plant Geek. Check it out here.
The site is full of gardening tips, trips and snips.  I do not garden, but I learned a lot from looking at his wonderful website.  This is a go to place for anyone with a thumb any shade of green.  On the front page now is a video shot on the Amalfi coast (Italian villa tie-in) and one on pruning.  The whole magilla of gardens and gardening is here. 

My friend Eve who is wonderful and supportive and just, well, lovely invited me to come along and I had a ball.  Everyone was so nice including Louis and his partner Richard. ( FOEs - Friends of Eve's!).  I even met a book editor from Good Housekeeping who knows my friend Trent. Imagine having a small world at the top of the world.  It was great. 

Richard and Eve.  She is so wonderful she has her eyes shut thinking good thoughts for everyone!

I wish Louis every best wish with his new website.  Check out and tell them Patrick sent you.

Times Square, The Day After

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Dizzy's - A Finer Diner, Brooklyn

Seems impossible to get into a rut in New York City.  But it is SO possible.  "Here is your grocery store, here is your dry cleaner, here is your post office and here is your restaurant, or restaurants. "

"What? You mean in the most dazzling city in the world and I have to go just here to eat?"

My friends and I usually meet for brunch in the West Village. It is a great way to catch up and have a lovely afternoon, but it sometimes get ruttish.

My friend Sean proposed doing something out of the box, something different. His idea was venturing to the outer West Village. The wilds of the outer West Village. 

I suggested Brooklyn.  Park Slope. The idea seems so "two days by coach" but once you are on the subway and spend 20 minutes you are in a whole new world. It is worth the time to see something new every once in a while, no?

When we popped out of our subway rabbit hole on the other end we were in tree-lined Park Slope and there was our destination,  Dizzy's , straight ahead.   A long way to go for eggs, sure, but it was the spirit of something new we were after.

Dizzy's is this great funky brunch place with good food, really friendly service by waiters in "Got Bacon" t-shirts and a free basket of muffins and excellent coffee and OJ included with your $12.50 breakfast. Really, really not a bad deal. And the food? Really, really good.

Sean and I opted to share our heart attack so we split the steak and eggs and the biscuits and gravy. I  have never thought of myself as a biscuits and gravy person and I don't want to start, but these were fine: sausage and bacon mixed into a lovely, creamy white sauce and slathered (you have to use that word here) over a fluffy biscuit and eggs. All your food groups: fat, cholesterol and some grease.  But you are closer to heaven! Literally.  I would say that another biscuit to soak up the gravy would be nice, but that is my only complaint. Otherwise a great brunch.