Saturday, August 28, 2010

NYC Variety

The Campbell Apartment is the coolest bar you could never find. This is tucked in a far corner at Grand Central Station. Very nifty history and a speakeasy atmosphere. Did not have a drink here. Don't think I could afford a drink here. But walk in, play tourist, and soak up the effect.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. Awesome. The entrance fee is actually at your discretion. "Suggested fee - $20 for an adult." I truly have no problem with museum fees if I'm spending all day. However, I paid $5 that Sunday. We caught a nifty exhibit on the American Woman - fashion from 1890 to present day. And then we zoomed to the Egyptian wing and marveled at the Temple of Dendur. This is fabulous plunder from Egypt. Allegedly we saved this temple from drowning due to a dam and water re-route. Whatever occurred, it is an excellent wing of the museum.

Lower East Side Tenement Museum is a must-see. My friend, Joan, recommended this and she was spot-on. Amazing history in regards to our immigrant ancestors. We did the garment worker tour and this encompassed one hour of immersion in a 325 ft.square apartment that originally had no heat, no air, no plumbing, etc in 1890. A family with a few kids plus a few worker bees were cranking out fine laced garments in this wretched condition. Definitely makes you think - and at the time, those folks had it "good". It was better than the old world, and they could progress ... ultimately create their own businesses and move upward. Talk about tenacious.

The Staten Island Ferry is THE bargain of NYC. Yep - hop aboard for a one hour round trip. Over to Staten Island and then back to Manhattan. Why? The view. The scenery. The Statue of Liberty. And it's FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Eating pizza at Vezzo's on Lexington and 31st. These signs were posted around the area. Film shoot - streets closed. Very cool - looks like it was going to be a Volkswagon Commercial. NYC is the place to be.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Broadway Baby - Lights

Times Square has to be seen to be believed. Video advertisements are way cool. Aeropostale spent a ton of bucks to catch my eye.
I saw the Lion King back in 2007 or so. Awesome production. Julie Taymor's costumes and creations are genius.

Come Fly Away is Twyla Tharp amazing. The blend of choreography and Frank Sinatra tunes is two hours of entertainment and wow! factor. The dancers work hard for the money and their skill is par excellence. Huge thumbs up on this show.

Yep, Me and Linda shlepping in NY. We saw a matinee of Promises, Promises and it was sheer joy. Kristin Chenoweth is a tiny thing with a HUGE voice and she delivered. Lovely performance. Sean Hayes, new to Broadway, is charming, funny, and talented with a pleasant singing voice. Together, the song "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" proved charming. Other Burt Bacharach/Hal David winners are "Say a Little Prayer" and " A House is Not a Home". The whole production was A-1 fantastic.

Friday night - caught A Little Night Music recasted. Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch totally kick butt. Bernadette is a national treasure. I can't exclaim enough over her acting, singing, and stage presence. Elaine milked her role and so she should - she's been around a zillion years and has the ooomph. Kudos to Steven Sondheim for wordplay, thought, and calculating lyrics. Excellent revival and a total holy cow! experience.
Dinner at Sangria's on 48th St (between 8th and 9th avenue) was a treat.
Gotta love NY theater and dinner.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Splendid Summer Days

My blog readers are going to have to bear with me - I had too much fun in New York City and took lots of pictures. So, upcoming posts shall feature the Big Apple. I normally hate to be in pictures, but here's Linda T. and me. Actually we were on our way to A Little Night Music
, but Come Fly Away would be Saturday night. Couldn't miss the photo op. I'll feature Broadway in the next post. Here's Saturday in Central Park - an oasis of greenery, people watching, and the opportunity to stroll. I contemplated the miles famous writers have walked in the park - seeking plot points, working out characters and no doubt drawing from the hordes crossing paths. It is inspirational.

Glorious weather on Saturday 8/14 - mid-80s with a breeze. Sure beat the 100+ in Texas.

Water feature near Rockefeller Center. Sure, there's lots of people and taxis and traffic and noise. But New York also works at greenery, fountains, and plots of calm serenity. You just have to seek them out.

Reflection in more ways than one. I was sitting in Bryant Park on Tuesday morning, munching on a multi-grain bagel, watching folks do free yoga behind the NY Public Library (does it count as exercise if you watch?) and the trees/buildings reflected in glass caught my eye. It's in my notes and might pop up in a poem or a book scene. Or as a happy memory.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

New York Inspiration

Spent a splendid long weekend in New York City, and I strolled Library Way in front of the New York Public Library. Great quotes from great writers to spur imagination, creativity, and education.

Often one needs to look up in New York. The buildings tower and the edifices, cornices, sculptures, and doo-dads glisten in the sunlight. However, it's intriguing to look down too and be captured by deep thoughts.
The New York Public Library is dauntingly massive and worth a public tour. Marble everywhere. Wood painted plaster. Murals. The official reading room (which is often seen in cinema) is amazing. Swarms of people are doing research, reading, thinking, and creating. It's fabulous and FREE. This is not a lending library. Instead the soul purpose is research with over forty miles of book stacks. FORTY MILES. The thought of all of those books makes me dizzy.

Or there's a map room. Or periodicals dating back to the 1800s. Or geneology. Or.................................the sky's the limit.

There will be many posts ahead concerning New York - the revitalization of my spirit, not to mention fantastic pizza at Vezzo's - 31st and Lexington! Feed the soul and the stomach.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Trilogy

Stieg Larsson kicked butt with his trilogy - Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Girl Who Played with Fire, and Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. Lisbeth Salander is a character for the ages. Computer hacker genius, total anti-social mess, and a girl who looks out for herself. She is compelling and spellbinding in her life, past, and relationships. Mikael Blomkvist, reporter and writer, is forever tied to Lisbeth and ultimately must save her as she has saved him.

The books have that European aura - sexual tension, violence, and intelligence - adult material that will hook you, and it's nice to be treated as an adult. American sensibilities and squeamishness be damned. Mr. Larsson plays his cards right and heightens the pace on every page. He gets a tad political in the third book and I was forced to skim a teensy bit, however the writing and storyline are still stellar and worth reading.

It's a shame Mr. Larsson died before reaping the benefits of worldwide acclaim. The Swedish film version of Girl With a Dragon Tattoo was well cast and excellent. I rented it on NetFlix (hurrah) and stayed hooked. Yes, there are subtitles, but hey, we can all read. Exercise the brain and eyes at the same time. The young lady cast as Lisbeth was scary excellent.

So books, film - however you can get your fill of Swedish meatballs - seek out the trilogy and root for Lisbeth and Mikael. Gotta love conspiracies, chases, shootouts, and computer hacker success (against the bad guys).

Svenska rocks!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Summer Scattershoot

Party for a two year old. Makyla just unwrapped our present and there's a small tug of war over the really cool rubber ball we gave her. You know, there's a lot of drama in life at age two. It's not all goodness and light - deep seeded resentments prevail and motivation for theft. Fortunately, the attention span is short and we had more presents to open.
Ray and I attempt to build Makyla's library. So there's a book flung on the floor and she has one in hand. The general titles and pictures are not enthralling (forget the Stieg Larsson Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,etc series). However, barnyard animals, colors, and opposites are engaging when you are two. Kevin, her father, is pleased to have some new reading material to recite over and over and over. And, you know, he's still working on his colors!

Books in hand, she seemed happy. Other kids were ready to move on. Barbies were a big hit as well as a vanity set. However, I do believe the books have staying power.

Props to Maria (the mother) for a very lovely oreo ice cream cake. The party theme was garden - flowers and butterflies. The decorations were extremely clever and the cake was yummy.

I told you it was yummy. This is the way to eat ice cream cake. Strip to the skivvies and dig in. Just don't open a book to read until you've wiped your hands ... and face ... and ..........

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Heat is On

Day Six over 100 degrees. I recommend moving slowly and steadily into a cool building, like the Fort Worth Museum of Science & History. I talked about the Leonardo exhibit, but there's a lot more to do and see. The Fort Worth History Gallery features a streetcar journey through the past. Check out fashions and frolic from mid 1870s to the 1930s. Or mosey over to the Cattle Raisers Museum section, and gasp at all of the branding irons, spurs, barbed wire styles, ten gallon hats, and interesting ledgers on the business of cows, steers, bulls, and ranching.
This cool looking alphabet chair will sear your bottom, so I recommend sitting indoors at a bookstore and perusing material. Sadly, Legacy Books in Plano, a huge independent bookseller, is closing its doors August 14th. The heat is on in regards to brick and mortar. Hard to sustain a loyal following for an independent, and huge chains like Borders and Barnes & Noble are in dire straits. Half Price Books hangs tough - their market in used books stays steady.

A final suggestion for keeping cool - movies. Summer popcorn trashy fun can be found at my favorite theater, Cinemark Grapevine. Four dollar matinees before six. That can't be beat. So, here's my review (also published in The Little Paper of San Saba):
No pepper needed, Salt is enough. And that's Evelyn Salt as portrayed by Angelina Jolie in total kickass mode. I love Cold War Soviet spy thrillers and this movie is old school fun. It's short, fast paced, total blow 'em up hokum, but it works. Evelyn Salt looks like an ordinary worker bee at a company with a fake name. Sure, she's CIA, but still has to be a loyal American. Until ...
A Russian defector walks in the door (in Washington DC) and names her as the spy who plans to kill the Russian president in New York. What? Sure enough, she escapes from her workplace and looks very guilty. Bam - she's in NY and blowing up a church (and the Russian Prez) sky high. Or is she? I'm not going to give away more plot. Needless to say, she's an orphan and was raised in Russia with hordes of other youth.
Liev Shrieber plays her CIA partner and he's shocked by her actions and betrayal of all that he knows. There are other agents who question what is happening, and ultimately why is Orlov, the Russian defector now dead? The stunts and chases are exciting. The director, Phillip Noyce, has worked with Angelina before and the two make movie magic. She's larger than life on screen with those huge eyes, big lips, and lithe tall body. Apparently she did a lot of her own stunt work, and that makes the movie extra fun.
Russian bad guys are always awesome movie fodder. This is a great summer popcorn flick. Go for the large tub, extra butter, and yeah, a diet cola on the side. Maybe add some extra SALT.
Stay cool everyone - the heat is ON.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Roaring Genius

I treated my husband, Ray, to a Fort Worth birthday. Lunch at Lucille's (he had chicken fried steak & eggs brunch), then we greeted this T-Rex with a roar for a tour of the newly refurbished Fort Worth Museum of Science & History. Plus, Adrenaline Rush at the Omni Theater proved exhilarating. Museums are a fabulous source of information, plus people watching - all imperative for a writer of fiction, poetry, or non-fiction.

A dinosaur topiary is only one of many attractions welcoming you to a day of learning and plenty of wow.
Special exhibit on Leonardo da Vinci is exceptionally well done. When one looks at the time line of his life and what he did from 1452 to 1519 ...well, obviously my lazy butt hasn't done enough. Art - a little painting called the Mona Lisa is more than most artists could hope to achieve. But, wait there's more - how about drawings that show automobiles, cranes, pulley systems, arched bridges, and human flight?

Mad dreamer in his day? Perhaps, and yet this genius artist and inventor is relevant five hundred years later and inspires scientists and artists alike. It is amazing to watch children turn cranks and learn physics properties and ask for more.

Flight is the ultimate dream. In Adrenaline Rush, we see a group create a parachute based on a Leonardo design. It had never been tested before. Will the principle of seven yards of material work? I won't blow the plot line - go see for yourself. Treat yourself to a day of questions, learning, and insight into a genius. Fort Worth Cultural District is the place to be on a Saturday.