Tonight, I wanted Ben & Jerry's. Ever since I had seen the words in a story I was editing at work, I had been envisioning digging the largest spoon that I own into a cool carton of B&J. Only after I had let it sit out on the counter just long enough to get mushy and melty, that is.
I knew what I wanted. I knew where it was (freezer at the far left).
But, en route to my sweet destination, I nearly toppled onto a ... dinner table.
It was a sight. It struck me. It stopped me mid-step.
Here were these three men, workers there at the market, having dinner together, at the foot of the crackers aisle.
Each man hunched over, each sat on an egg crate. There was plenty of steamed broccoli and chicken to go around. Bowls teeming with food sat on a spare crate, the dinner table, at the center of the circle the men had formed.
They didn't gab. They were silent, just eating the food in front of them without really looking at each other. They were somehow serious. Weren't they dying to talk to one another, I wondered? About anything -- about everything? But, no, they passed bowls, piled plates high, lifted and lowered chopsticks....smack-dab in the middle of the market.
There was something in it sacred. It seemed as if I had stumbled, unbeknownst, into a temple, clacking my pointy high heels as I made a bee line for the ice cream aisle.
I wondered if this is how men bond. They sit together and they eat. It looked fraternal. There was a sense of solidarity in the circle formation. I mean, they could have eaten in separate corners if they had really wanted to.
So, I got some corn to go with the ice cream. Seemed wholesome. And the scene had looked somehow wholesome.
Feast away, brothers. It's fine by me if you don't want to talk. I like the quiet calm, too, sometimes.
It's good to be reminded that it's not so much the where, as much as it is the with whom.
Weeee. Roller blading in the park. Now that was fun.
My friend was commenting today, as we sat in Sheeps' Meadow: So, do all the non-good-looking people just hide out in their apartments, or something? Because everyone here in Central Park is hot. Yeah, I looked around. Everyone was hot. And, fit. And, athletic. Throwing Frisbees, and baseballs, and footballs ... Ahhhhh. Nice.
So, the new Feist CD? I have to admit; it's a disappointment. I just wasn't feeling it -- not like I was feeling 2004's Let It Die. Last summer, she played at Summer Stage on Canada Day for free. This summer, she's playing Town Hall on June 11-12. Yes, it's sold out. The cheapest tickets I now see on Ticketsnow.com are going for $170 a pop. Orchestra Section.
Yep, they started selling her CDs at Starbucks.
What I am feeling this summer is Brandi Carlile. The woman can sing. And, she doesn't hold anything back. Hold on tight if you're putting in her CD, and crank it up. No matter who you are, or how tough you think your urbanite exterior may be, she could quite possibly have you weeping like a baby ... or at least send you on a winding stroll down nostalgia Blvd. Buckle up.
YGAT's tracks of choice: What Can I Say?; Turpentine; and she does a killer rendition of Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah.
Now, many of this summer's top shows are already sold out, yes. But, before you go spending some $170 on a ticket to one of those shows, consider these top picks and get in there before these shows are sold out, too!
June 16: Madeleine Peyroux & Josh Ritter. Beacon Theatre. $35-65.
June 26-7: Manu Chao & Radio Bemba Soundsystem. Prospect Park Bandshell. $TBA.
June 26: Wilco. Warsaw. $35.
June 30: Bela Fleck & the Flecktones. Carnegie Hall. $30-75.
June 30: The Stills + Sam Roberts Band + Malajube. Prospect Park Bandshell. $3.
Yes, yes, I know. The Police show is long sold out.
Dang it. Just who are these ticket purchasers, anyways?
Get in on the zeitgeist. Arturo's Window is scalding hot. The script -- based on the true story of New York's John Jerome, corporate-party-planner-cum-$4-million-embezzler --not only made the cut for the Developmental Readings Series at the York Theatre Company, but was wait-listed uncommonly early. One might say it's the heat of this year's series.
It's the question on every New Yorker's mind: Could this be the next Avenue Q? After all, Q was discovered through DRS series just a few years back. While the rules (Yes, YGAT does follow them sometimes) prohibit me from writing a full-on review of the show -- since it's not yet a full-on production -- I did secure an exclusive with Cheryl King, the "torch bearer" of the project. She assembled the creative team, liaised between John and York, and gathered the actors. Meet Cheryl King, whose charge was to "set the record straight" on the John Jerome saga. Hear what she had to say the night before the performance.
YGAT: So, who's idea was it to send the Arturo's Window script into the York Theatre Company?
CK: I was planning to send the script to a number of Off-Broadway producing companies, but John Mercurio, our composer/lyricist, was at an event where he ran into Jim Morgan, who runs the York. They started talking about Arturo's Window, and Jim suggested we might want to submit it for the developmental reading series. We did -- and were accepted immediately.
YGAT: When and how did you find out it was chosen?
CK: I communicated with Jeff Landsman, who runs the series, and he told me to please get the script to them. I took it to the theatre. I handed it to Brian Blythe. Within a week, they gave us a date: May 21.
YGAT: How long have you and the cast been working on this project?
CK: I have been working on the script since January of 2003, when John Jerome started giving me material. We'd have meetings to talk about his story. My co-writer, Rod Menzies, joined the project about six months later. John Mercurio came on board to write the music in the second year of the project. We've done three informal staged readings in my little theater, Stage Left Studio, which seats 30.
With a cast of eight and a pianist and singer, we had invited audiences of about 12 for each reading. Some of the cast, Katie Northlich, Aaron Petrovich, Tom Gualtieri, and Tom Gottlieb, have been with us for all the readings. Leicester Landon and Paul Belger joined us for the last one, and Wendy Fox is new to the group. I have been playing myself from the beginning.
CK: We are deeply excited. We have done the work. It's been a long process, and we think we have a good product. We're amazed by the response we've had - the write-ups, phone calls. People have called Arturo's Restaurant to see if there is indeed a window table (there is), if they have Clams Casino (they do; it's good). They've even called St. Vincent's to see if John really does volunteer there (he does). Ha!
YGAT: What happens next -- after the performance -- best possible scenario?
CK: We hope to be offered a production ... and we have our eyes on Broadway in the long run. Best possible scenario? A Tony -- or two.
YGAT: Sounds like a small cast -- who are the stars to keep an eye on?
CK: At this point it's too soon to tell. We have a very fine cast. They're funny, smart, good-looking and filled with passion. They love the play. And, we love them.
YGAT: Is the cast small by design?
CK: We have three main characters, John, Cheryl and Double-John. We have five other actors, who play particular roles and are also ensemble players. A large cast makes a production more expensive, and we'd like to make it onto a stage and have a long run. Not only that, an ensemble serves the idea behind the play.
YGAT: How did you decide on the cast members?
CK: Most of them were known to me, either because I worked with them before, they were in my acting classes. I coached them, or they had performed their shows in my theater.
YGAT: What's the latest a rehearsal ever went until -- and did people start doing odd things after a certain hour?
CK: Probably 11 pm. We get a little slap happy eventually. Everyone starts joking. Even Rod, the director, who tries to stick to business. Finally, though, he joins in the hilarity. We make up stuff that we could NEVER say on stage!
YGAT: Could this be the next Avenue Q?
CK: Well, we don't have any puppets, but we do have a lot of fine comedy, some amazing drama, a fabulous story, and really beautiful, powerful music. Certainly, we think we have a play that will keep the audience fascinated, laughing, and crying. And even more than Avenue Q, we believe the basic story, and the issues of the play, will provide lively conversation topics for nights following the performance.
YGAT: Are you going to get any sleep tonight?
CK: I hope so. But it's hard. I doze off, then wake up, and it takes another hour to get back down. John Mercurio's beautiful music, Bobby Belfry's voice, my own experience of saying these things, they all march around in my head ...
YGAT: If inquisitive minds couldn't get their hands on tickets to the booked-up performance, how can they still see the show?
CK: They can go to http://www.arturoswindow.com/ and send us a message saying they want to be on the mailing list. We'll send them an email or postcard when we get a production. They can come to opening night!
YGAT: Congratulations to you and all the cast on your well-deserved success.
Can you handle it?
Keep your eyes peeled this week for the unveiling of "The Last Mrs. Astor," a biography (Norton, $24.95) written by Frances Kiernan.
Hold on tight, Mrs. A. You're about to get a royal image makeover.
Most recently, we've seen the 105-year-old once queen of the UES New York City socialite scene, dragged through the tabloid pages cast in a role that's old and wrinkled, weak and frail, the alleged victim of her son's neglect.
The family fires exploded when Mrs. A's grandson took Anthony Marshall -- his father, her son -- to court to displace Marshall as Mrs. A's legal guardian. As it unfolded, the dame's son did officially relinquish his role as her legal guardian.
Later, he and his son agreed to drop the court case until after her death (so kind and considerate, don'tcha think?).
After the ink from the headlines spelling "disgrace, disaster, scandal" started drying, Kiernan, the 62-year-old former New Yorker editor, saw her writing schedule kicked into high gear, reported USA Today, as deadlines were moved up on the calendar.
Reports Bob Minzesheimer in USA Today: Author Kiernan makes it clear that the book includes little mention of recent murky family matters. As Kiernan told him: "If readers come to the book solely for the scandal, they will be sorely disappointed."
Instead, the writer's objective, she said, was: "to bring Brooke alive the way she had been: Charming, fun, sexy and calculating at times."
Hmmm, from sagging to ... sexy? That's a leap I'd like to see...and if I may add, a much better note on which to exit the stage. Good on ya, Mrs. A.
Yes, yes, of course this is going to make YGAT's monthly reading list.
You can read it too and we can compare notes. (Buy it on Amazon for $18.96)
Can this much-anticipated book deliver?
Let's dig our eyes in and see. The product of a former New Yorker editor, at least we can be sure of one thing: The writing will be good.
Right here on the Upper East Side, at Club Macanudo, the august cigar bar on E. 63rd St., back in the summer of '99, according to an article in New York magazine by Lloyd Grove.
It's said that Nathan, who was 44 at the time, went right up to the then-mayor. Unlike other women, who would approach him as he puffed on cigars at Club Mac, Nathan didn't ask for his autograph. She said hello.
The rest was melding mature, complex marital histories into wedded bliss. Read more about the politcs, the side-be-side offices, how friendship budded into romance, the close .. and the estranged ... kids, here.
Turkish-American Day Parade: Noon. Starts at Madison and E. 56th St.
Norwegian Constitution Day Parade: 1:30 p.m. From Fifth Avenue from 89th St. to 67th St.
And, YGAT's pick: The first-ever Dance Parade. As many as 6,000 beboppers are expected to sashay in from some 100 dance organizations for this dancing in the streets shindig. Waltz it, hula it, flamenco or salsa it down to where it's at...in this case, Washington Square Park. The old-school break dancers the B-Boys will make an appearance, as will hip-hop dance legend DJ Kool Herc. Belly dance, Clogging, Fox Trot. Sashay it in the streets like you just don't care.
The footloose festival is actually a silent protest of sorts (shh!) to spotlight the NY cabaret law that prohibits three plus people from dancing in a venue at one time ...without a special permit.
We are still so dang puritanical, aren't we -- just what were those buttoned-up law makers so afraid of unleashing?
When: Saturday, May 19, 2pm
Where: 31st St. between (Fifth -B'way)
York Theatre Company, a non-profit run out of the basement of St. Peter's Church, receives some 40o unsolicited manuscripts a year. They find volunteers to read the scripts and host this reading series to try the shows out in front of live audiences ... for free.
Monday, don't miss the reading of Signposts and Diversions.
Adapted for stage by Elizabeth Penney and Adrian Packer, it will be performed by students from the London-based BRIT school. It's a musical centered on Britons and the somewhat strange but wonderful communities they live in -- communities linked by signposts.
Could it be the next Broadway phenom?
Take a seat, and judge for yourself.
Where: The Theatre at Saint Peter's: 54th St., just East of Lexington
When: Monday, 7:30pm
Call: 212-935-5824, x24
*Call to reserve your spots -- other upcoming shows such as Arturo's Window, May 21, are now wait-listed!
So you're ready to lavish Mom with some love.
*Special Mother's Day Hours: Brunch: 8am-4pm; Dinner 5:30pm-9:30pm
Check out "Discovery",when The Nation's Poetry Contest Winners will be presented at the 92nd St. Y.
I'm curious about these budding poets...aren't you?
When: 8:15 pm
Cost: $18...unles you're under 35 in which case you pay $10
Where: Lexington at E. 92nd St.
See you there!
Get to know your neighbors at ... May Fair
There will be food, live music (Dancing in the Streets time), pony rides for the kiddies, cool crafty stuff to buy. And, best yet, live plants to buy at prices heaps better than what you'd find at a fancy schmancy florist.
Be there, plant lovers. Every apartment needs a few living, breathing, green things around.
Why? Because they're fun to name. And, you get to water them and watch them grow.
WHEN: Saturday, May 5, 11am-5pm
WHERE: E. 88th St (First & Second)
Did I mention it's for a good cause? Proceeds go to the Holy Trinity Neighborhood House which benefits the Soup Kitchen, Shelter for the Homeless, Children's After School Program, Children's Summer Day Camp, Rachel's Room, Senior Luncheons, Thrift Shop.
Bonus: If you go for no other reason, go to see people walking around on stilts.
Your Girl About Town
Now, to all my UES Single Gals: You should know that The Guys from Thrillist have a whole timetable set up for a Saturday UES wine-sipping fest. If you want to get your mingle on (and trust me, you want to get your mingle on) with some cute, hip blogger guys, stick to the schedule or at least, start with the schedule until you find a cutie --oops, I mean, a colorful wine label -- you dig.
1) SATURDAY, May 5: Upper East Side Wine Tour -- courtesy of Thrillist. *Freebies. Barrels of them. Wine it up, Babies, with your Thrillist beaus! Here, the juicy details: Go to this link for the exact times the Mr. Ts crew will be there.
Where: Premier Cru Wine Merchants: 1200 Madison Avenue (E 87th-88th)
Where: Best Sellers (who doesn't just love this place -- the staff is so nice and knowledgeable)
What: Cinco de Mayo....Tequila Tasting (Watch that worm, looks so innocent...but, oh you wait)
Where: Vintage Grape
Where: The Wine Shop: 1585 First Avenue (E 82-83)
Where: Yorkshire Wines & Spirits
Where: Park East Wine & Spirits: 1657 York Avenue (Corner of E. 87th)
When: 5:00-10:30 (Whoa -- that's five hours plus!)
Where: East 87th St. Wine Traders: 1693 Second Avenue (First Fl, at 88th)
When: 6:00-11:00 (Geez, who are these guzzlers? Do they....stand...often?)
Where: Wine Lovers: 1752 Second Avenue (91st-92nd)
Swirl, sniff, swish, spit....and, occasionally sip. Yes, sip! Or else Your Girl is going to worry about you throwing up purple for days. And, you don't want YGAT to worry now, do you? It's Friday, after all. Have fun. Be safe.
See you there!
Your Girl About Town
I learned all this from reading Jennifer Gould Keil's well-reported piece in the New York Post-- she filled me in that 35-year-old Posada likes watching his favorite movies such as "Top Gun" (I can see why -- he kind of resembles Tom Cruise). And, he and his wife are apparently avid art collectors having acquired works by Carlos Ferguson, Tierney Malone, Bob Nugent.
And, the Posada's are into philanthropy: Jorge and Laura Posada will be hosting a Heroes for Hope Gala benefit for craniosynostosis treatment and research -- their son, Jorge, was diagnosed with this condition.
What: Heroes for Hope Gala
When: June 11: 6:30 pm-7:3o Cocktails; 7:30 -11:30 Dinner
Where: The Pierre: Fifth Avenue at E. 61st St
Tickets: Individual $750 (tax deductable: $400); All-Star sponsorship $7,500 (td: $4,000)
Ok, really, what would you do if you bumped into the star catcher and the fam at the Food Emporium?
No biggie, right? You're not going to carry a spotless baseball and felt-tip pen around in your satchel now...are you? Just ripe for the coyly asking for a signature your five-year-old nephew would somersault over in checkout line. Nah, Of course not. Nothing new to you, these celebs. Right?
But, oh yeah, they probably have their groceries delivered from Fresh Direct.
Oh well, there's always the late-night diner possibility. Everybody likes to eat at diners, right?
By the way, heard back for Columnist Cuozzo Re: P King at 86 and Third.
Say Cuozzo: "I believe the Papaya King has reopened, but I don't know how long they were closed. Generally, a place can reopen once it's satisfied the Health Dept. that it has corrected the violations...I'm just glad they're back because I love their banana daiquris."
Mmmm, yes, banana daquiries do sound sweet and delicious, Steve. Who knew P King served anything other than ... hot dogs?
Your Girl About Town
Cannot wait to see these gargantuan statues made of stainless steel and carbon fiber in person. They're being shown on the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor garden on the roof (which affords spectacular aerial views of Central Park).
The outdoors installation, fashioned by the 71-year-old Massachusetts-born artist, is accompanied by the indoor exhibit, Frank Stella: Painting into Architecture. What oomph.
While you're at the museum venture into the new Greek & Roman Galleries -- just unveiled April 20th.
Remember, the Met is pay-as-you-wish, which means if you're strapped for cash you could pay as little as 25 cents.
Of course, it also means, if can spare the loot, and you know who you are, then don't be a doofus and support the arts.
So much to see. So much to do. All on the Upper East Side.
Your Girl About Town