Thursday, December 30, 2010

QNY Review: Eric Yves Garcia - The Chance To Sing

By Tony Adams

I strongly recommend this beautiful album by equally beautiful New Yorker Eric Yves Garcia. And before I go any further, let me give you the good news that you can download it here on QNY for free!

Let's get the obvious out of the way. He's handsome, no? We all harbor private speculation about who would play us in a movie version of our lives. Eric tops my personal list for the musical version of that assignment. He's an actor/singer who weekly entertains the guys at the piano of The Townhouse at 236 East 58th Street. You'll find him there on Mondays, 6-9:30PM. (Check out his other regular NYC gigs.)

I'm picky about coverage of American Songbook and jazz standards. Love the purity of Ella Fitzgerald, the roughness of Etta James, the velvety Diana Krall, the dreamy Chet Baker, the accents on Mel Tormé and Michael Bublé, the sadness of Billie Holiday, and the quirky surprise of Cyndi Lauper, Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell or even Miss Ross. (Hate everything by Bobby Short and Rufus Wainwright.) A good cover of a classic is like a bus driver who tells his passengers "I'm taking a different route today, folks. Hope you like it." The detour takes you home, but the scenery is fresh. "The Chance To Sing" is a spectacular detour you'll want to take more than once.

Eric's delivery is bright, clean and spirited. I don't think we should fault him because his voice doesn't have that "I've been through recovery" wisdom of the rebuilt Rosemary Clooney, for example. He's rather a classic crooner, at this point in his career. Just better than most. I was especially satisfied by the perfect balance and interplay between Eric's piano playing and his voice. Neither bends to the other and both are equally dazzling. It's really more of a duet rather than voice with accompaniment.

Hope you enjoy this as much as I do, and please stop by his FB fan page. I've got a hunch that we'll be seeing and hearing a lot more from Eric.

I've included a shirtless pic after the jump because I know you want it.

Mummenschanz at NYU's Skirball Center

By West Village Bill

On Sunday, I'm taking my sweetie, Tony P., and my friend Jen and her kids, Abbe and Zane, to see Mummenschanz at New York University's Skirball Center. Tony saw Mummenschanz live when he was a kid, and I remember being entranced by the mime troupe's performance on The Muppet Show back in America's bicentennial year. Mummenschanz is appearing at the Skirball Center through Jan. 8.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

the approach


Dominance and Submission by Blue Öyster Cult; The Best New Year's Eve Song Ever

By baad lamb
There are literally thousands of Christmas songs, and many hundreds of them get played over and over again throughout this holiday season (which now conveniently starts in October). The repetition makes you so crazy you want to jump in a time machine and go back about 2010 years  to delay a certain family’s departure from Bethlehem on their way to Egypt.

But New Years Eve songs? There can really be only one. And for nearly three centuries it’s been Auld Lang Syne.

It’s really time for a new New Year’s Eve song, don't ya think, and I’ve got one everyone should agree on. It starts with one of the best screams in Rock n' Roll, has plenty of fun, Times Square-centric lyrics; a bouncy call and response chorus that practically forces you to sing along; and contains not one, but two ridiculously fast and furious finger-melting guitar solos.

And it’s from the 1970s, a decade that everyone loves, right?
It starts innocently enough, with an ascending minor key, choppy-chord introduction. But then an emphatic “OH YEAH!” aggressively grabs your earlobes, pushes you to your knees, and sets you up for the fun n’ fear that might happen next. Or not. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Winter Wonderland in the Village

By West Village Bill


An angry snowman on Christopher Street. It looks like he's mad that he can't get a cab to stop for him.


The intersection of Christopher and Bleecker


My height-challenged dogs, Rudy and Emme, on Charles Street

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Christmas Tradition

By Tony Adams

My  QNY friend BJ (who is also my bloggodfather) over at the very NSFW BJland has posted, for a seventh year, my favorite Christmas clip in which Dawn Davenport does not get the CHA-CHA heels for which she wished. (For a less NSFW route to the clip, go here.)




Friday, December 24, 2010

Miracle on 22nd Street - A QNY interview with the Gay Santas

By Tony Adams

You've watched the video and read their story. Here's my QNY interview with the new gay Santas.


What happens when two guys living in New York City’s Chelsea gayborhood mysteriously begin to receive an avalanche of mail addressed to Santa? That is the premise of the beautiful and touching story of Jim and Dylan, a gay couple who have inadvertently found themselves at the center of this year’s biggest Christmas miracle. How and why hundreds of letters to Santa from kids in various New York neighborhoods ended up in their mailbox is still a mystery, but their response to this situation has done us all proud. Rather than ignore the letters, they decided to answer them and to send gifts to the children who wrote them. They enlisted friends and co-workers to help with the daunting task. Their story was featured in the Christmas Eve edition of the New York Times, and I had a delightful conversation with Jim soon afterwards.

Happy Holidays!

From Tony Adams and the Baad Lamb

Miracle on 22nd Street

[Update: I've had a chat with our new gay Santas!]

Please take a moment to write a thank you note to these guys for doing us all proud.

Santa Claus
(Jim and Dylan)
W 22nd Street
apt 7A
New York City, NY 10011




(Sarah Klein - New York Times)


Something tells me the post office will know the street address.

A Christmas Card Requiring a Backstory

This is from Eric and Asaf of NYC. Eric is one of the best writers/bloggers in the world. For an explanation of the card and for a wonderful read, go to him. Often.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ladycop

I have a fondness for videos made all-in-one-take. Here's a fascinating one of the Brooklyn indie group Ladycop.

A QNY Interview With Joel Derfner

By West Village Bill

After Joel Derfner commented on my post about Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys, the docu-reality TV show he's appearing in on the Sundance Channel, Tony A. suggested I interview him for QNY. Here's the resultant Q&A: 

How did you come to be on GWLBWLB? Did you have trepidations about being on a reality-TV show? And was it hard convincing Mike to be on it?
I’m a musical-theater composer, and a guy I know from that world e-mailed me and said, Hey, I’m the executive producer of this show about the friendships between gay men and straight women; you should audition for it. So Sarah and I went and auditioned, which basically consisted of having a conversation on camera. We thought it would at the very least be good exposure for our books (she’s the author of For All the Tea in China, the story of how England stole tea from China in the greatest act of industrial espionage in history, and I’m the author of Swish: My Quest to Become the Gayest Person Ever and What Happened Instead and Gay Haiku, which are about what you’d think they were about) and for my music.

It’s interesting; when we started filming, we were told, this is going to be a different kind of reality show, more documentary, less manipulated that what TV audiences are used to. But then, as far as I understand, halfway through filming, Sundance Channel got bought by people who were interested in making a more traditional reality show, so it’s been fascinating to watch the changes that have happened and are happening.

Mike was actually incredibly resentful and hated being on the show. He was willing to do it because the exposure would be good for my book and my music, and every time they filmed him he was miserable. We’ve had some good sessions with our couples therapist, though, and everything seems to have worked itself out—but he’s not watching the show.

Lightlining a Frank Gehry Building

Even in plain daylight, I love the IAC HQ building at 550 West 18th Street in Chelsea, but this really makes it come alive.

Thirty years ago, I attended a "Son et Lumière" show in Egypt at the temples of  Luxor. This takes it to a whole new level. Wouldn't it be great if this happened constantly all over the city? I know a certain drab Huntington Hartford building on Columbus Circle that could certainly benefit from it.


The LightLine of Gotham from seeper on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Small Fire

"A Small Fire" at Playwrights Horizons, December 21, 2010

Adam Bock returns to Playwrights Horizons' main stage with this story of a callous construction contractor as she deals with unexplained health issues.  Emily (Michelle Pawk) thrives in the rough and tumble world of commercial construction.  She seems most comfortable with her employee Billy (Victor Williams).  Her connection with her husband, John (Reed Birney) has reached a working balance of love and dysfunction, but the same can't be said for her soon-to-be-married daughter Jenny (Celia Keenan-Bolger).  A prophetic "We'll work it out." repeats over and over on the presumption that there's always time to resolve issues and difficulties.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Raspberry "Pop-Tarts" and Some Other Christmas-Morning Breakfast Treats

By West Village Bill

I enjoy making breakfast treats for my family to eat on Christmas morning. Sometimes I make them ahead of time, and sometimes I'll bake them at my Granny's house. This year, I'm making a riff on Pop-Tarts that I found in Bon Appétit magazine back in April. I started the process on Sunday here in the city up to the point of freezing the filled tarts, and I'll take them frozen to South Jersey to bake on Saturday.

For the filling, I used raspberry jam I made when I visited my blogger buddies Mark and Rodger out in Portland, Oregon, over the summer. I doubled the recipe for the tart dough, and I used the kitchen scale Dad and Jean got me for my birthday to make sure the four portions I needed to separate the dough into were equal: Each weighed about 9 1/2 ounces. I shaped the four wads of dough into discs and chilled them in the refrigerator. The very buttery dough had come together pretty easily.

I goofed up when I made the first bunch of tarts. For some reason, I was thinking I needed to make only two tarts instead of four from the first disc of dough, so those turned out extra large. I made out much better with the remaining three discs and so got 12 tarts with the desired 3-by-5-inch dimensions. I froze all of the tarts in plastic containers with parchment paper separating the stacks.

Yesterday morning, I heated up one of the extra large tarts for my breakfast. I really dug it. The crust was nice and flaky, and the jam tasted wonderful in combination with its buttery shell. It was much better than an actual Pop-Tart, which my Aunt Marian always likened to two pieces of cardboard with jelly in the middle.

***

Perhaps my most popular breakfast treats with my family—and certainly with my Dad—were the Chocolate-Orange Sweet Rolls With Orange Glaze my nephews helped me make at Granny's House back in 2006. The recipe still isn't up on Epicurious. Maybe that's because it appeared in the R.S.V.P. section of Bon Appétit in which readers request the recipes for dishes they've enjoyed at a restaurant or, in this case, a B&B: The Acworth Inn on Cape Cod. If you want the recipe, you can Google it, and you'll find it on a site that credits a blogger who says she got it from a friend. Who got it from BA but didn't say that she did. :-)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

SENATE VOTES TO REPEAL DADT!

by Maurice Michaane


SENATE VOTES TO REPEAL DADT! G-d Bless America,

More to come, till then leave your thoughts here.....

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Christmas Card From QNY's Fave Media Whore,

Mike Diamond

winter solstice card production

as the holidays approach i go through my stack of photos taken over the previous 12 months, choose my favourites, and then go into full production mode creating individual cards; prepping, printing and mounting the images (a different one for each card), hand stamping the salutations, etc.  it's a lot of work and takes much time, but once it's done it's fun to put them all in the mail.   happy solstice everybody!

Christmas in Key West

photo series by baad lamb
Though it almost seemed cold enough to snow on my first-ever day in Key West, New England-appropriate jackets and hats kept us warm as we temporarily left behind the Island House luxury to stroll the streets and admire the tropical-Christmas color. There is no evocative song expertly expressed by Ella to accompany these photos, but the bright hues and southern sunshine-saturation should have you feeling the heat that we could not. Things are back to almost normal now, as daytime temperatures tomorrow are expected to be mid-seventies.

Above, orchids and amaryllis nearly obscure Santa at a lovely private-house patio on Fleming Street

Bows, wreaths, ribbons and garlands galore after the jump.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Is There Room in Your Heart, NYC?


by Charlie Vázquez

This is not your typical musical production, but proceeds from tickets sales and donations will go to help fund Sylvia’s Place, a Manhattan shelter for homeless LGBT youth. My boyfriend and I attended last night’s performance, and I’ll admit that neither of us are fans of musicals, but Is There Room in Your Heart? transcended all of that and opened a Pandora's Box of humanism that dazzled with good old in-your-face New York City realism. For many in the cast are indeed homeless.

The strength of this experimental musical is the way in which it dissects homelessness, from a monolithic condition, to a wider span of individual circumstances that transform everyday working people to folks that lose everything; jobs, homes, families. Forced to wander and depend on the charity of others and of the government, even more is lost: health, pride, confidence.

Each story will stay with you for a long time—plus the singing is fantastic!
It's estimated that nearly half of the homeless youth on the streets of New York City fall under the LGBT umbrella, so attending one of the four remaining programs will help us to help our own! And plus, it's that time of year.

For tickets and information click here.

73 and sunny

The Baad lamb and I are in Key West where the big chill of the last 48 hours is almost over. We are sharing a very comfortable two-bedroom apartment with JoeMyGod at the fabulous Island House.

QNY Free Laurie Anderson song

Laurie Anderson's Grammy award nominated song Flow from her Homeland album is available as a free download through QNY because we luvya and we luv Laurie.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Writer/Composer Joel Derfner Is One of the Boys in "Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys"

By West Village Bill

I hadn't planned to watch Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys, the new docu-reality TV show on the Sundance Channel, until I saw that Joel Derfner was one of the boys. You may know Derfner as Faustus, M.D., writer of the blog The Search for Love in Manhattan. Or as the author of Gay Haiku or Swish. And he's also a composer of cabaret and musical theater songs.

Tony and I watched the first two episodes of the eight-show series on Thursday night. We immediately liked David, who dressed up as a mime for his girlfriend Elisa's 45th birthday party in the hope that that would help him keep his mouth shut. We also saw him start teaching Elisa how to run. After he hurt his knee, he took to a bench and smoked a cigarette while she continued going around the track behind him.

Joel came across as sweet and fun, and he and his boyfriend, Mike, have a nice rapport. But his girlfriend, Sarah, is so self-absorbed she told him it should have been her getting engaged instead of him when he announced that Mike had proposed to him. (That's Sarah and Joel in the photo.) Tony and I decided to cut her a little slack—a little—after it was revealed she spends a great deal of time taking care of her ailing mother.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Lucy and Mary

While watching White Christmas tonight, I was once again mesmerized by the curious Mary Wickes who played the busybody housekeeper. I remember her also from I Love Lucy. Here she is in one of the few non-housekeeper roles of her long career. (Lucille Ball who studied acting briefly (and performed on Broadway equally briefly) in NYC is brilliant in this episode.

A Pre-Christmas Visit to Columbus Circle

By West Village Bill


Trombonequartercolumbuscircle121010On a day off yesterday, I went to the Columbus Circle Holiday Market, like my co-worker Joyce had done on her day off on Wednesday. Because I've simply got to keep up with my friend who was featured in one of my first posts for QNY. :-)

I bought a couple of small Christmas presents for my Granny and some made-in-Queens Raaka chocolate bars for myself. And I listened to a delightful trombone quartet that performed the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah and other standards in four parts. (This was yet another occasion when I wished I'd had my camera with me—or a camera phone with video-making capability—so I could have recorded a snippet of their performance.)

Piesnthighschickenbiscuitatcolumbuscircleholidaymarket121010Like Joyce, I got a chicken biscuit from the Pies 'n' Thighs stand. It was sinfully, but not life-changingly, good. I'd asked for only the hot sauce on it, not the hot sauce AND honey butter it's supposed to come with, because I was thinking that combo would be just too damn much on top of the fried chicken and whatever fat is used in the biscuit. Maybe my life would have been changed if I'd gotten the honey butter too. :-)

I also enjoyed the slice of sweet potato pie I got from PnT. I'd wanted to get a cup of ginger tea to cut through all of the richness, but the guy working the counter said it wasn't hot yet.

While I was up that way, I also hit Columbus Circle Wines & Spirits, where I picked up a few bottles of wine to replenish my almost empty cabinet and Crème Yvette, the violet-flavored liqueur produced by Rob Cooper, the same dude who makes St-Germain.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Congrats to JoeMyGod!

Joe Jervis wins Village Voice 2010 "Best Political Blog" Award!

(photo by QNY's Dr. Jeff)

"Taking A Chance On God" - The Newly Released Trailer

By Tony Adams

"On April 14 1987 Jesuit superiors arrived at the apartment of Fr John McNeill at 98th Street in NYC. In English and Latin they read the Vatican “Decree of Expulsion”.  McNeill, Jesuit priest of 40 years, was expelled from his religious community because of disobedience to Vatican authorities. He questioned Roman Catholic teaching on homosexuality. This was the final act of an expulsion drama begun a decade prior in 1977."


"Taking A Chance On God" , a documentary film, is John's story, beautifully realized by New York activist, Brendan Fay. I wrote about John in the South Florida Gay News.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Social Calendar - Monday Night: Stanton Social

Unlike the last 15 years living in New York, for this week, I have something social to do EVERY night.  This is to say, that when presented with a challenge, even now, I can rise to the occasion.

Tonight it was dinner with good friends at The Stanton Social (warning: annoying Flash site) down on the Lower East Side.
(Continue reading about the amazing food after the break...)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Robert Fripp Soundscapes Live at the Winter Garden

by baad lamb

Robert Fripp, the King Crimson mastermind and maybe the world’s best (certainly the most "disciplined") guitarist, played four free Soundscapes performances this Friday and Saturday at the Winter Garden in the World Financial Center, NYC. I was lucky enough catch the 12:30 Saturday gig.

Play, record, echo, delay, reverb, repeat.
That, in the simplest of terms is the Frippertronics formula, and the method employed for his “Soundscapes” series. Technology has changed since his pioneering work with Brian Eno in the mid seventies, so instead of double modified reel-to-reel tapes, Mr. Fripp uses a stack of modern digital equipment piled immediately to the right of his guitar stool, giving him plenty of knobs, dials and buttons to twiddle with after each guitar phrase is recorded and looped. As previously recorded riffs get processed and re-recorded, he adds another note, sound or riff to accompany the earlier ones, subtly shifting and shaping these sonic textures, layering sound on sound and deciding how long to allow the overlap and echo, till it quietly fades away. The result is lush, beautiful, cerebral  and often- very quiet.

More pics and video after the jump.

QNY's Justin Elzie on FOX

He handles his FOX interview eloquently.

you can always go downtown

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Adopting A Showgirl.

I went to an orchid show earlier today and acquired this gorgeous creature from among a crowd of almost irresistible offerings. At noon I attended a lecture about the care and repotting of orchids. I learned that it is preferable to collect orchids that are locally grown. The ones in Hawaii are tempting and inexpensive but they are grown thousands of feet above sea level and need much time to get used to their new homes. This means they may not bloom for a few years causing their adoptive parents much anxiety. A New York window is a fine place for many types of orchids. Be sure to read up on the light, moisture, growing mix and temperatures each variety prefers. If it's your first, start with the rugged phaleonopsis that will take much abuse and still rebloom more than once a year. Cymbidiums are also fairly easy to manage, but their sprays of tiny flowers don't thrill me like this showgirl.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Manhunt Daily Wood: Jack Mackenroth

I luuuurve the beard on my friend Jack Mackenroth, one of New York's favorite guys. It's a recent addition and I think you'll agree that these photos on Manhunt, by Ray John Pila are incendiary. Can the man get any hotter?

Cleaning Up "The Deuce"

By Tony Adams

Watch this video about the nearly completed clean-up of 42nd Street.

I am not entirely convinced about what Disney hath wrought on 42nd St. I know the real Times Square still lurks under this glitzy family-oriented skin. Ask any New Yorker. Do we walk through Times Square? Rarely. It's not a vibrant part of the city. It's a tourist park pasted into the middle of the city.

I wouldn't relish a return to the sleaze of the 70s/80s, but was this soul-killing, sexless sanitization the only alternative?

Rugetella

by hungry rabbit


Hanukkah started at sun down on this past Wednesday. To no surprise,  the chatter among my Twitter community is all about the food that they will prepare for this festive holiday. Latkes, matzo ball soup and even sufganiya, jelly doughnut, are some of the hot topics of the week. Granted I lived in New York and are familiar with the Jewish culture; but I am certainly no expert in cooking the dishes. Most Jewish households have  their own favorite recipes, passed down for generations or cookbooks written by experts such as Joan Nathan.

Since this is also Cookie Week, I will stick to my goyim approach and do what I know best. Rugelach is one of my favorite cookies. Biting into a slightly crispy sugary exterior, you will encounter a tender buttery dough wrapped around either fruit or nut filling. No matter which flavors you choose, it always yields the sound of ecstasy.

Another ingredient that can produce the same reward would have to be Nutella, a hazelnut chocolate spread. This is also an ingredient that has a huge following in Twitterverse. Many have made delicious baked goods that highlight the seductive capability of Nutella. So I say, why not make Rugetella-rugelach with nutella filling.

Since Nutella is produced as a spread, it oozes out of a typical rolled up crescent shape rugelach, so I use a different technique. A sprinkling of toasted hazelnuts and Nutella spread sandwiched between two sheets of rugelach dough, baked in a baking pan until golden and slighty crispy. Unlike a bar cookie, Rugetella has a softer body, I cut them into small finger-size stripes to prevent them from crumbling.

Bake these Rugetella to celebrate Hanukkah, but since Nutella is a spread that everyone loves, why not archive this recipe and baked the Rugetella when ever you have the urge to hit that special spot.. Have a wonderful holiday season and bake something special for your friends and family.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Exploring A Lagoon


For nine years, we've only looked at this fresh water lagoon from our balcony over Fort Lauderdale's Birch Park. This Thanksgiving, we decided to explore it up close in a bright yellow canoe.
After negotiating our rented watercraft away from the protective guard-duck who seemed miffed at not being fed, we set off into this mysterious and primitive waterscape. There were large drifts of water lilies, at times thick enough to nearly stop the boat. Strange and beautiful plants along the banks had us zig-zagging back and forth for close-up inspections.
Punctuating the lush hammock surrrounding the lagoond is one last stand of silvery dead trees, the remains of invasive, non-native Australian pines that the park service has been eradicating over the past few years.

Lots of pictures after the jump, and as always, click to embiggen for full screen pleasure.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010