Friday, April 30, 2010

New Art!

We finally unveiled our new decorations - framed vintage movie posters from the Soviet Union.. more to follow...
Here's JP, who's slowly recovering from the confluence of a bad cold and end-of-semester...

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Many MPH

Fast, fast, fast... What a wildly busy week, and with a slight sniffle.. Hence, the spotty posting.
Here's a small, unassuming 'trailer park' theme restaurant on W 23rd around the corner from me...

Here's part of the restaurant's un-subtle outside decoration...

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Get Counted!

Especially if you, like me, are half of a gay couple.. The Obama administration
is encouraging gay couples to list themselves as 'married' whatever the legal status allowed in their state... Yay!!

Only 70% of census forms have been returned... What are you waiting for? Christmas, or New Year's? :-)

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tortilla Soup

One of my favorite Mexican dishes is seldom served in the US.
It's Tortilla Soup, a spicy rich broth with chicken and vegetables -there must be a thousand variations. One version I loved in Mexico City had dried diced chili peppers and tortilla strips.. Andrew & Michelle regaled us with this version here last week...



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Monday, April 26, 2010

Defies Categorization

This week's song, the devilishly catchy and twangy "Marlene,' is by Lightspeed Champion aka Devonté Hynes, a British composer, songwriter, producer, and comic book author whose life, music and career are a challenge to categorize....

Though he's British and grew up in Essex, he was born in Houston and now calls New York his home.. The name 'Lightspeed Champion' is taken from a series of comic strips he drew as a teenager in the margins of his math textbook...

Here's the great video for Marlene, certainly the strongest song Hynes has ever written. It's the single off his recently released second album 'Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You!":

From his first album, 'Falling Off The Lavendar Bridge,' it's the swaying, buoyant 'Midnight Surprise.'

At age 18 he joined the admired but short-lived dance punk band Test Icicles, making the duo into a trio...
The band claims their name has nothing to do with testicles but involves a primeval testing of icicles for their strength and fitness for use as weapons.. Uh, sure... Here's the Icicles' clip for 'Circle Square Triangle..'

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bundle of Joy

Last week JP & I finally met Maya! This luminous little lady, who turned four months yesterday, is the very definition of 'bundle of joy..' Maya Ariel Schwartz is the daughter of my friends Jon and (pictured here) Oriyan...



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Saturday, April 24, 2010

It's Very Sunny Here!

....and we're going out to deepest Jersey, to Olive Grove, to visit friends. For your pleasure,
Oktopodi, a lovely Oscar-nominated animated short from France... followed by vintage Miss Peggy Lee... I'm feeling a bit over-programmed, looking forward to some unstructured time tomorrow..

You was right, baby....

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Before There Was A Seed...

.. there was a tree.. My Dad, who's been gone for 19 years, would have turned 74 today.. Here he is with me circa 1962...

Here he is waist-deep in my 2nd birthday party..

and here he is as a newly-minted Master of Social Work..

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fine Ska Aged 30 Years

Tuesday night, exhausted but happy, JP & I saw
seminal UK early 80s punk-ska-meisters The Specials at Terminal 5, for their 30th anniversary tour. They've lost none of their energy and punch. Here's an early video their controversial breakthrough hit 'Too Much Too Young...'

One more: 'A Message To You Rudi'...

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Disaster Averted...

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Why Brazil is closed today: Tiradentes (August 16, 1746–-April 21, 1792), was a leading member of the Brazilian revolutionary movement known as the Inconfidência Mineira whose aim was full independence from the Portuguese colonial power and to create a Brazilian republic.

When the plan was discovered, Tiradentes was arrested, tried and publicly hanged. Since the 19th century he has been considered a national hero of Brazil.

Tiradentes was raised by a tutor, who was a surgeon. His lack of formal education didn't stop him from working in several fields, including dental medicine; Tiradentes means "tooth puller", a pejorative denomination adopted during the trial against him.

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This Is Ground Control

Bruno & I had some serious fun with
Stomp Rocket Jr!
rocket launchers

Bruno learned the aerodynamics of foam rockets... We shot them everywhere... up the stairs... into the kitchen.. at each other...
this is ground control

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Last week I took these artsy photos of the lovely 31-story skyscraper at 135 East 57th St, with the idea of later using Doodle Buddy to color them.

On the ground floor, facing Lexington, is the closest Starbucks to my workplace. They keep me sated with lattes, music, and.... once in a blue moon...

....chocolate-covered espresso beans..

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Northern & Unplugged

As I rush ahead of a dinner party for six (I write this Sunday night), I bring you the relative calm of 'You, Destroyer' an acoustic ballad by a Canadian indie-pop band, Immaculate Machine.. It's a sweet, sad, wise song that won my heart last summer.

The group is a coed quintet, with the three ladies handling lead vocal, bass, guitar, and keyboards, while the guys handle drums and second guitar...

Their keyboardist, Kathryn Calder, is also a member of Canadian supergroup New Pornographers..

Today's song has no video, so we present a pair of midtempo singles that are high points in the group's seven year career. First: "Sound The Alarm:"

and finally the witty 'Only Love You For Your Car...'

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Little Night Musical Documentary

Last night we were thrilled to see 'Sondheim On Sondheim,' a revue of his finest work interwoven with excerpts of an interview with Stephen Sondheim himself (pictured here today and in the 1950s), in a triumph of brilliant material, top-drawer talent (Barbara Cooke, Vanessa Williams, Tom Wopat), and superb, inventive stage design. The show, celebrating the 76-year-old visionary's life and work, was a treat and a revelation... It's a show that beckons you to enjoy the talent and appreciate it in context. It left me both very satisfied and hungry and curious to explore the oeuvre, indeed, to swim in the glorious stream that is New York theater....

It was worth it just to see Barbara Cooke, the seventy-something theater legend who's intrigued me ever since my parents were bowled over by her live show in DC two decades back..

Here's a great YouTube feature on the show (which, indeed, achieved a broad smile at YouTube's expense)..

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Twilight Highlight Part 2

More lovely windows on a warm spring night... I'm off to visit our friends in New Jersey today, including Bruno, my absolute favorite two-year-old in the world.. Bruno will probably like this luminous crystalline dinosaur spine...

Red red red red red. It's a very social weekend, a full life... Last night we pigged out, sans camera, at Rocking Horse Café. Promise I'll remember the camera next time...

It's the fabric shark...

For Mom. The Essence of 60s Romance...

Andy Williams and Denise Van Outen, in a video where the 60s literally meet today!

Here he is in 1970 live crooning..

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Alternative Careers: Chicken Suit Person

Should I just chuck my financial career, and take up commercial performance art?
I gotta be.... ME! I gotta be.... ME! just kidding, I'm just so terrifically happy after watching my very first episode of Glee! But I actually did see this here individual hawking 'Texas,' a new fast-food chicken eatería near jobería. Bruno, this one's for you...

He's the man with the four-way hips... He's man with the fouuurrr waaay hiipppsss...

Got To Got To Got To

As long as I've brought it up... Here's a blast from our distant past by my fellow individualist and (naturalized) Semite...

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Twilight Highlight

Last night JP & I broke up our work week by meeting for a picnic in Central Park. My office is only 3 blocks from the park's Southeast corner.
We had salad with turkey breast and trail mix, washed down with seltzer water, followed by Milano Mint cookies for dessert. As we walked hand in hand in the twilight, down 5th Avenue, toward the subway station, we passed these very striking window displays at Bergdorf Goodman. I once worked there for 3 weeks, btw. More on that later..

The largest creature that ever lived on earth is actually still alive. More to follow..

I go ape over noticing what's around me!

Shades of naked E.T... Did you know that, upon losing Best Picture with 'E.T., ' Stephen Spielberg went catty on the winner. And I quote: "Ghandi was a great man. E.T. was a great picture...'

Protect your sweet, gay love...

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pretzel Logic

Bruno is amused...


I love his expressions. Kids are really something...

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

In Living Color

I've always wanted colorful, cheerful tableware! Now I have everything! Watch a beautiful JP meal take shape..



Chickenry and Potatory in Schmalzery...

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Doodle Buddy!

Our young friend Mia, who turned 10 last month, introduced me to
a fabulous FREE iPhone application called Doodle Buddy which allows you to draw up a storm with your finger, even on an existing photo if you wished. And I wished. I decided to make this naked statue in Madison Square a tad more modest...

This is JP's neck, before and after Doodle Buddy...


Here's an impromptu Doodle Portrait of JP I made last night.

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First Lady, Third World, Second Take

Wow! It looks like David Byrne hit another career high with his two-disc concept album about the life of Imelda Marcos, who reigned from 1965-1988 as the very well-heeled dictator's first lady. This is, so far, one of the 2-3 best albums of 2010!

That's quite a statment considering the brilliance of David Byrne's musical trajectory - as a 23-year-old art student he founded Talking Heads, serving for decades as both lead vocalist and principal songwriter of that legendary, seminal new wave band.

His partner in crime is über-DJ Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim of 'Praise You' fame, though it's a Byrne effort through and through. In fact, I'm trying to figure out what Cook actually contributed...

The 22 songs in the Imelda cycle follow her relationship with the much poorer woman who raised her, Estrella Cumpos, from childhood through success and then exile.

These 22 songs are rendered by 22 different vocalists, mostly a 'who's who' of distinctive contemporary chanteuses, including Santigold (on the single 'Please Don't' which is today's Song of the Week), Tori Amos, Nellie McKay, Natalie Merchant, Sia, Kate Pierson of the B-52s, and many many others...

Here's the single, 'Please Don't...

No more videos alas, but the audio is so exciting! Here's Alice Russell's electrifying, melodic and souful disco rave up 'Men Will Do Anything,' about Imelda's first discovery of her husband's infidelities...

Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine sings the gritty but operatic title track and cycle opener 'Here Lies Love...'

Closing out the cycle, Tori Amos & Cyndi Lauper's plaintive and funky 'Why Don't You Love Me?'...

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Getting Down At The Crab House

Last night JP & I were invited to his ex-neighbor's 50th birthday party at Crab House, in Long Island City, overlooking the East River.

Spirits were high, and the live music included a very convincing James Brown impersonator. Watch this:

"Living In America," of course, was James Brown's 80s hit, from the movie Rocky 4, written by disco legend Dan Hartman, whose exuberance and craft finally found a home in disco after many years doing guitars & keyboards for Edgar Winter.... This video is close to irresistible:

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Rebel Rebel

IMG_0376There's... a place for vinyl.... Somewhere.... a place.. for vinyl... and in the window of 'Rebel, Rebel' on Bleecker St, current releases are still sold pressed on 12" plastic platters...

JP & I passed it 4 weeks back on a stroll through the village, the same day I bought a $7 mushroom, but not the $13 mushroom.

No, I haven't come down with Budva Brain again, though I have 'double dipped' into another cold/virus, this time a more typical respiratory affair...

hey la, hey la, my boyfriend's back... This was the first beautiful day of 2010, as JP recalls: 'I walked your bloody legs off...'

Bleecker Street of course was the epicenter of the American folk music movement of the early 1960s, and one latter-day 'rebel' influenced by that school is the lovely Suzanne Vega, only seven months older than I... Here she is debuting her terrific Beatles-esque new song from that woefully unreleased and underappreciated Danger Mouse/Sparklehorse album last year..

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Friday, April 09, 2010

Our Next Last Theater Experience

Last Friday JP & I saw 'Next Fall,' a
poignant and thought-provoking play about a relationship between a 40ish nerdy urban atheist and his cute young actor boyfriend who happens to be an evangelical Christian.

By turns witty and wrenching, its main themes sneak up on you and its characters and situations feel organic and compelling.

The stuff of good theater. It left me happy and excited to see more theater in the weeks & months ahead..

Below is a featurette on the play from Logo with live excerpts...

Here the cast talks about the play...

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