27 April 2015

The Answer

Washington Square Park. Photo by Michele.

Some days you wonder why you live in New York. The high costs, the crowds, the stress, the smells, the studio the size of a closet that you call home can cause you to question your life decisions. And then one sunny day you find yourself sitting on a bench in Washington Square Park listening to a man play Beethoven on a piano and you know the answer.

21 April 2015

Technical Difficulties

Apologies for the recent radio silence around here; it was due to technical difficulties—my laptop deciding to stop working. I'm happy to announce though that one replaced logic board later, everything is back up and running. So stay tuned for some new posts coming up.

05 April 2015

Happy Easter

Mary Pickford. Photo from here

Happy Easter! While I didn't go to the Easter Parade this year like I have in the past, I did head over to Brooklyn and Prospect Park Zoo where I spent the afternoon with my friend and her twins watching the sea lions and feeding the barn animals. Hope everyone had a lovely day.

03 April 2015

Happy Birthday, Doris Day!

The incredible Doris Day turns 93 today. Born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff on April 3, 1922 in Cincinnati, Ohio, she began her career as a big band singer, scoring her first hit, Sentimental Journey, in 1945. She successfully transitioned to film and became one of the biggest stars of the 1950s and 60s, starring in a string of classic musicals, dramas, and comedies opposite the likes of Cary Grant, James Stewart, James Cagney, Rock Hudson, and James Garner (to name a few). 

After her television show, The Doris Day Show, finished its five-year run in 1973, Day retired from acting and devoted her time to helping animals. Her two charities—the Doris Day Animal Foundation and Doris Day Animal League (now part of the Humane Society of the United States)—have helped save and improve the lives of thousands of animals.

Day has always been a personal favourite. As a young girl I watched By the Light of the Silvery Moon, On Moonlight Bay, and That Touch of Mink dozens of times. Yet my all time favourite film of hers is Calamity Jane (1953), which I've talked about before on the blog. To this day, I still know each song by heart and never tire of watching her antics in glorious technicolour. So Happy Birthday, Doris Day! 

23 March 2015

Magical Björk

Björk  from the Vulnicura cover shoot by Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.

Yesterday was my birthday, and I spent it in Brooklyn being mesmerized by Björk.

One of seven sold-out New York shows, Sunday’s performance was at the Kings Theatre, a recently renovated former movie palace from 1929 that is gorgeous and the perfect setting for this brilliant performer.

Björk was accompanied by her co-producer Arca (Alejandro Ghersi), percussionist Manu Delago, and Alarm Will Sound, a 15-piece chamber band (loads of strings). Dressed in a white ensemble and sporting a headpiece of quills that obscured her face, she swayed across the stage, moving her hands and arms in rhythmic response like a ballet dancer.

The first set was comprised of six songs from her new album, Vulnicura, beginning with “Stonemilker” and ending with “Notget.” While Björk sang, “animated notations” were projected onto a screen above the stage. The combination of sound and visual was almost hypnotic. I haven’t purchased Vulnicura yet, which in a way turned out to be a good thing as I got to experience the songs for the first time live.

After an intermission, Björk returned to the stage, hair down and wearing a short dress, to sing two more songs from Vulnicura along with songs from her other albums including “All Neon Like” and “Come to Me,” a personal favourite (although I could have done without the video of two snails mating). She rarely spoke save for an occasional "thank you" or "gracias" and to introduce the musicians on stage. For her final encore she sang “All is Full of Love,” which aptly describes how the audience felt about 
Björk.

I didn’t take any photos of the show. There were signs posted on the doors asking the audience not to at Bjork’s request because it was distracting and that she wished us to enjoy being part of the performance, “not preoccupied with recording it.” And that is exactly what I did.

21 March 2015

The End of an Era

Man Men returns next month for its final season and there are celebrations going on in various cities including New York. Tonight I went to the Film Society of Lincoln Center to see "Mad Men: The End of an Era," a conversation with the show's creator, Matthew Weiner, and Jon Hamm, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, and John Slattery, moderated by Chuck Klosterman.

My terrible photo taken from the back of the orchestra at tonight's event.

Jon Hamm may be the handsomest man I have ever seen in person. He was also very funny (and wore red-striped socks). John Slattery told a hilarious story about filming the infamous scene where he wore blackface. January Jones was gorgeous and spoke the least but got in one good zinger.Christina Hendricks explained how the Joan walk came about (tightness of the dresses) and at one point left the stage and returned with drinks for her and Jones. And Matthew Weiner told tons of stories like how his son, Martin, came to be cast as Glen and how he wanted to give his characters things to do while delivering their lines but didn't want them to walk and talk like in The West Wing


The evening included screenings of clips that each of them had chosen. The first one up was from Mystery Date from Season Five (above). Weiner picked it because he had always wanted to see it screened in front of an audience. It's classic Mad Men and a great example of the humour on the show. The event served as a reminder of not just how brilliant the show is but how sad I'm going to be saying good-bye to the employees of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

Mad Men returns to AMC on April 5, 2015.

18 March 2015

Joan


In 1968 photographer Julian Wasser was sent by TIME Magazine to shoot a young Joan Didion at her home in Hollywood. The resulting black and white images of the author—staring directly at the camera, cigarette in hand; with her daughter, Quintana Roo, on her lap; in her new Corvette Stingray—remind us (as if we needed reminding) that Didion has always been cool.

The Danziger Gallery currently has an exhibit of these images including outtakes and contact sheets (I always find these so fascinating to look at). The show closes on March 21, so get over there if you can. 

For more information about the exhibit, visit here.

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