Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Year Ago Today

Via The West Side Rag, one year ago today, Central Park was the recipient of 20 inches of snow. Remember that?
(photo: Central Park Conservancy)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Fire and Ice: Prometheus and Zamboni-man

Immediately after my early morning Bergdorf's photo-fun in early December, I continued south on 5th Avenue to see The Tree, sans throngs of Christmas pilgrims. Like the Bethesda Fountain at midnight or Times Square during Hurricane Irene, the enveloping silence during these magical moments of missing frenetic movement allows New York's other, less celebrated personality some breathing-room. Equal and opposite to the crush of happy tourists and the rush of impatient natives, here at the the intersection of art and architecture, Christmas and commerce, man and machine, sometimes the hush of contemplation is the loudest voice.

Note: The NYT just ran a beautiful profile of the man who has done this job with dignity and discipline for 20 years.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

On a Clear Day You Can See Forever

"On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" at St. James Theatre, December 15, 2012 

Post by Mondschein


Why change the focus of the story from Daisy, now David (David Turner) to the psychologist Mark (Harry Connick, Jr.) 

Why hire Mr. Connick to perform on Broadway and not let him do what he does best? Did none of the producers and/or creative team see Pajama Game?  "Hernando's Hideaway" turned that show on its ear, combined with the infused chemistry playing opposite Kelli O'Hara.  We get neither here.

Why not have him accompany Melinda's (Jessie Mueller) numbers, particularly "Ev'ry Night at Seven," among several others of which could have been beefed up to accommodate him.

Two Great Albums by Singer-Songwriters With a Christmasy Song on Them

By West Village Bill

If it were possible, I'd have worn a digital groove in my iPhone listening to the great new albums by Matt Alber and David Mead over and over again.

I really enjoyed Alber's first album, Hide Nothing, and his second, Constant Crows, is a very successful follow-up. It starts off with the fantastic "Velvet Goldmine," whose second verse mentions Christmasy things like letting it snow, tinsel, and angels getting wings. And he sings Who-ish syllables toward the end of the song, after the listener has been swallowed up in gorgeous strings and horns.

Another favorite song from the album is "Brother Moon," a fun and sweet number Matt performs with his brother, Bryce. I had assumed that was who his singing partner was and confirmed it by asking Matt on Facebook. Look at me doing original reporting for this review. :-)

The river in question from the title of the second song on the album isn't named until the last three syllables. Read all about it here, if you're a geography buff. It's the longest river in North America but only the 13th largest in terms of discharge of water because it drains from rather dry parts of the U.S. and Canada.

Other highlights are the beautifully produced "Wallingford" and a fantastic cover of Madonna's "Take a Bow" that ends the album.

A couple of quibbles: I would have welcomed some more uptempo songs—after "Brother Moon," the rest of the album is decidedly slow—and some more songs period. There are only 10.

But I'm happy to have this new material from Matt, and I'll definitely try to catch him when he performs in New York in 2012.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Theater Review: Lysistrata Jones

By David

Lysisrata Jones, the new musical on Broadway that opened on Thursday, is quite possibly the most fun I've had in a theater in quite some time.  This is geniune, Grade A, frothy musical exhuberance.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Perry Brass: 12 Seductive Gifts for Christmas

                                                                                 Image courtesy of MySpace. 

“Santa baby, slip a sable under the tree, for me.”

I know Christmas is a drag. There are all these rituals you have to do, like office parties and get-togethers with people you’d rather not get together with, and presents you have to accept from your Aunt Yetta that came either from the bargain basement section of Filene’s Basement (sad, ain’t it that F’s B is going out of business: what will Yetta do?), or the aisles of Walmart, when what you really want to do is . . . of course, get laid.

I mean, like who wouldn’t want to spend the holidays in bed with a gorgeous guy? Is there any red-blooded American who’d feel differently? Even gorgeous straight guys want to spend the holidays in bed with a gorgeous guy—namely themselves—if they could find the right person to accompany that idea.

So, with this in mind, I have solicited my own humpy Santa to come up with 12 scrumptious presents for the 12 days of Christmas. You can tailor this list a bit and cut it down to 8 for the 8 days of Hanukah, but the idea is basically the same: unwrapping something that foreplays further unwrapping. And all of this comes from the author of The Manly Art of Seduction , so of course I know what a seductive present should be like.

1) A book of poems. Start here. A good book would be something like Walt Whitman, Shakespeare, or Perry Brass (The Lover of My Soul , which has a genuinely seductive poem called “The Man Sucked Me Off in San Francisco”; who could ask for anything more?), or Gavin Dillard, the Naked Poet. You can find these books and more at most lgbt bookstores, or even Barnes and Noble. But I prefer you patronize your own seductive neighborhood booksmith. Now, after you unwrap the poems, read them in bed. And if he has a favorite poem, read it to him between recitals of licking him all over.

2) A black cashmere sweater. Nothing looks better on a man, aside from chest hair, than black cashmere. My favorite cashmere sweaters come from Brooks Brothers (it’s a fatal weakness; I admit it). But you can get other cashmere variations at J. Crew or some discount place (OK, back to Filenes, but they’re going under . . . ). The point is, as soon as it comes out the box, put it on him and nothing else. Few things look as good on any guys as just a black cashmere sweater. Now, if you can’t/won’t spring for cashmere, then get a black merino wool sweater, but I have to warn you: anything other than cashmere may make his nipples become erect fast. Golly. How awful. But isn’t that the reason hot Guido-type guys have been wearing tight sweaters with nothing under them since the time of Michelangelo?

hanging out by the wall

Sunday, December 11, 2011

QNY Film Review: "Crazy Wisdom"

In 2006 through an experience with psychedelic mushrooms I started down the path of becoming an adherent of Buddhism in this lifetime. Since then I have felt a close kinship to Buddhism that I know goes back to one of my past lives on this planet. In 2006 I was living in Colorado and was privileged to visit The Great Stupa of Dharmalaya in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado at the Shambhala Mountain Center. This Dharmadhatu meditation center was one of many founded by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, considered by some to be the best known Tibetan Buddhist Lama to live in the United States. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche's brand of Buddhism falls under one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, called Kagyu. He was the founder of the first Buddhist University, (Naropa in Boulder, Colorado) in the West.

When I moved to New York two years ago I searched for that well of Buddhist spirituality here in New York and found it at the Shambhala Meditation Center at 118 West 22nd Street, 6th Floor. Since 2006 I have been constantly striving to experience and learn more about Vajrayana Buddhism and specifically Chogyam Trungpa's Shambhala Training. So when I heard that the Shambhala Meditation Center in partnership with the Rubin Museum of Art was going to show a documentary on the life of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, I knew I had to see it.

The documentary is called "Crazy Wisdom: The Life and Times of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche." Imagine if you will, if there had been a camera around in Jesus, Muhammad's or Buddha's day and pictures were taken and key people were interviewed that knew them. Well, Crazy Wisdom is just that. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Cherry Orchard

Post by Mondschein

"The Cherry Orchard" at Classic Stage Company, December 2, 2012

(photo: Carol Rosegg)

Classic Stage puts up The Cherry Orchard, the last production of its Chekhov Initiative, that included The Seagull, Uncle Vanya and Three Sisters in a new and very casual translation by John Christopher Jones.

Mr. Jones reportedly worked directly with the cast during rehearsals to make the vocabulary choices for their respective characters.  It had to have been great fun for the actors, but the result ends up straddling the border of anachronism and "huh?"  It was my first time seeing this play and I can't help but wonder there's something about Chekov that never makes it through translation.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

In case my husband has not yet done his Xmas shopping.

13 December 2011 
Christie's New York, Rockefeller Plaza 
(The Krupp Diamond)
Estimate: $2,500,000 - $3,500,000

Part of the proceeds will support the work of the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lysistrata Jones

 "Lysistrata Jones" at Walter Kerr Theatre, November 18, 2011

Transferring from off-Broadway run downtown, Douglas Carter Beane takes on the Greeks again in this re-telling of the Aristophanes classic.  Tongue remains firmly in cheek, much as it did with Xanadu a few years ago.

Bergdorf Windows Without the Crowds

by baad lamb

If you and your camera want to enjoy Bergdorf's window displays without the massive pre-Christmas crowds getting in the way of your shots (Fifth Avenue sidewalks in December seems to rival Times Square for pedestrian density), here's the trick: Get up pre-dawn on a Sunday morning, pour your coffee in a to-go cup to save time, and arrive on site seven-ish. The tourists have not yet left their hotels, the tour buses are still en route, and the locals are still sleeping or still dancing. You will have the place to yourself (except for the 10 other people who had the same idea!)

Unless you're a professional photographer, shop windows are quite difficult to get full photos of, mostly due to the unavoidable reflection of nearly everything surrounding them. Lights, sky, taxi traffic, other pedestrians, the brightly lit windows across the street, and even yourself, all add complications that only occasionally can be  used to your benefit. So I leave the "whole window" shots to the pros, and instead focus on details, textures, colors, or eye-catching components. Luckily, the Bergdorf's window dressers seems to think that if "less is more", than way more must be excellent! Minimalism is not practiced here.

Even MORE more after the jump...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

by baad lamb

Today's "back door" lesson. Just in case you're looking for it...

   This is not Roseland...                                           THIS is Roseland  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Who Would You Pick For The Job Of HRC President?

The search is underway. In this piece for 10thousandcouples.com, I review the job description, talk with some LGBT bloggers and highlight a few LGBT leaders who would be good choices. Agree? Disagree? Got a favorite?