Main

October 20, 2010

5Rhythms Spiritual Dance Practice

The 5Rhythms is a dance practice called movement as spiritual practice and a healing journey for the untamed spirit.

5Rhythms

Created by Gabrielle Roth several decades ago, it has an international following and thrives in New York City. Introduced to this through the grace of meeting someone training to teach the 5Rhythms, it has brought remarkable awareness into my life. Initially, sweating like never before was astonishing and fun and felt good. Then the real experiences started. Moving so much started to "unstick" things inside me. I am amazed to witness this. It's fun but can lead to some difficult places too. For anyone who is a seeker, the places are where we want to go, scary as they might sometimes be. It might sound a little nuts that a dance practice could do this but life is full of things that are nuts, including us, right.

December 5, 2009

Holiday Roundup

The Smithsonian has a fun exhibit showing many artists' holiday cards from seasons past.

The example above is a Mario Carreño holiday card to Enrique Riverón from 1930. Highdie ho and happy trails to one and all.

November 7, 2009

Swingin'

When you pause to appreciate it, New York city hosts more amazing opportunities for fun than a person can take in in a lifetime. I had a fantastic time dancing for hours with a great guy one recent Saturday at the Edison Ballroom in midtown. The sounds of Joe Battaglia's Big Band that we danced to were smoooooooth. 

Food at the Edison Ballroom is amazing and the service solicitous. It was a stormy night when I went, traffic was horrendous and all the garages were full. The contrast of a great time, once landed, was that much better.

January 19, 2009

Monday Magic

Billed as New York's longest running off-Broadway magic show, Monday Night Magic at the Bleecker Street Theatre is a blast.

Monday Night Magic

Torn money magically re-affixes in the hands and artistry of Asi Wind

Performers vary on different Mondays so you may want to go more than once. The magicians I saw were incredible and all had different styles. The stage allows the audience to see from three sides, making the illusions extra difficult. All sorts of incredible feats are performed and witty banter accompanies. A great time out with big imagination at play.

December 21, 2008

Fine Fare

Gallo Nero means black rooster, the name of a wine bar on 44th street off 9th avenue with a huge assortment of wines. And speaking of color, the red of the Pinot Noir we had — deep and bright both — reminded me of an art film where a main focus is on a certain red that keeps appearing.

Gallo Nero wine bar

Offering a refined rustic atmosphere, the food menu is amazing. I had thickly piled masses of vegetables and cheese on thick crusty bread that they called bruschetta but which is unlike any you've had before — and a beautiful salad. The service was superb.

December 19, 2008

8,000 Great Places to Go

Unassuming on the outside, enchanting on the inside, La Paella in the East Village features a tapas menu to make your mouth water. 

La Paella

The food is pretty much perfect. I love the decor, down to the menu design, which has a beautifully distressed thick cover on it. The place is small and intimate, perfect for a date. 

November 3, 2008

Social Dragonfly

For Halloween four days ago, I was a dragonfly.

Dragonfly

As with last year, being in costume on Halloween is a ton of fun. People smile as you walk down the street and the other costumed people make for a festive scene. Union Hall in Brooklyn was much emptier than last year, which I think is because it was a Friday night so many people may have had private parties to go to whereas on a week night, they'd be more likely to go to a local spot. But it was still a blast.

October 21, 2008

Great Live Jazz

Mentioned a while back on this blog, Puppets Jazz Bar in Park Slope, Brooklyn offers up serious live jazz in a great atmosphere with amazing music, great drinks and a small delicious menu of food.

Puppets Jazz Club

Puppets has moved down the block to swankier but still intimate digs at 481 Fifth Avenue off 11th Street. My friend and sometime keyboard player for my band plays with heavy hitters in both the jazz and pop arena and he had a recent gig at Puppets the last couple of weeks with bassist extraordinaire Alex Blake. It's been longer than I realized since I heard juicy live jazz and this night did me much good. They even played a knockout version of Night in Tunisia, the Thelonius Monk beauty, for me that was stunning, especially Ted Cruz on piano. The audience loves the jazz being played here, which is always a nice contribution that keeps the air pulsing along with the music.

October 17, 2008

Wing It

As Halloween approaches, here is a sneak preview of my custom-made dragonfly wings, made by Meghann Frickberg of Art of Wings.

gorgeous wings

As I have learned, superior costume wings stay on better. There are some great-looking manufactured ones but they flop around and are uncomfortable and unwieldy. The beautiful pink flowers you see above also grace the center back of these wings. The ones above are extra clips I had made for my hair and costume. Last year, celebrating Halloween by wearing a costume and going to a place filled with costumed revelers was freeing. The eclectic personalities make for a great night. Can't wait for this year's merry-making with Marie Antoinette, Clark Kent, Robin Hood etc.

October 16, 2008

Inside the Designer's Studio

 

NYC's East Side Design Within Reach hosts an IDSA series event called “Inside the Designer's Studio,” tonight, a glimpse into the head and work of some of today's leading designers.

Tonight's event features Rita Nakouzi from Promostyl, a trend forecasting and tracking company, so the slant will be a bit different than an individual designer's discussion of their work. Sure to be very interesting for design buffs.

September 26, 2008

Meatpacking Harmony in NYC

The Gansevoort Hotel is located, funnily enough, right next to Gansevoort Street in the West Village or Meatpacking district of NYC.

Gansevoort Hotel

The name sounds like New York's Dutch heritage to me. It's a chic, luxurious place. The whole neighborhood is thriving. As mentioned earlier, the IDSA held a joint networking event with the HFES (Human Factors Ergonomics Society) this past Tuesday.

Human Factors Ergonomics Society The HFES was in town from all over the country to attend a big conference. Did you know that Human Factors is a discipline in which you can major? And in fact, many, many people do and have for some time. The event was great. Thanks to sponsors, generous sushi abounded, which made the expensive mojitos I couldn't resist that much better.

Interesting to me is that engineers, of which there are many in the HFES, are so different in their thinking from designers, industrial and other, and yet the tasks and interests are similar. While both groups focus on how things operate, look and feel, the sub-focus and abilities vary greatly. All present agreed, however, that working together to design smart, beautiful and well-functioning things is ideal.

September 4, 2008

Bringing the Indoors Out

Yet another open air bar graces The Delancey on New York's Lower East Side.

The Delancey

Named for the street on which it resides, this palm-tree festooned hangout is welcoming. This isn't a vast city view like some of the other spots recently cited on this blog; the bar is about three flights up from ground level. The lovely night air filtered in on this yet again perfect temperature evening and a good time was had by all. Tucked away in this now thriving neighborhood, this spot is definitely recommended.

August 28, 2008

More Skyline Views

Went to the rooftop bar called New Eden last night.

Eden Rooftop Bar in nyc

Another pretty New York nighttime view is available here. As you can see above, the rooftop area is on the cozy side compared to two other NYC rooftop bars I've visited this summer (230 Fifth and the rooftop bar at the Parker Meridien), but still welcoming and a really nice change from the indoors. Once again, it was a gorgeous summer evening with perfect temperatures and wind levels. Ahhh.

August 24, 2008

Everyone Loves Van Gogh

Van Gogh is apparently the world's most popular painter.

Agostina Segatori in the Cafe du Tambourin by Van Gogh MOMA is hosting a new Van Gogh exhibit this September, called Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night.

For art lovers and Van Gogh afficianados, this show is sure to be a welcome fall event.

Van Gogh's universal appeal is all the more touching considering he was a pauper during his lifetime and never achieved financial security, let alone riches. His story is one of those that makes you shake your head in disbelief and at the same time gives confidence to artists of all types struggling to make their way amidst uncertainty and anonymity.  

Above: “Agostina Segatori in the Café du Tambourin” painted by Vincent Van Gogh

August 20, 2008

Mojitos and Mosquitos

This summer has been filled with mojitos and mosquitos.

Delicious Mojitos I'd like to keep the mojito part and lose the mosquito part — no surprise there. I'd heard of mojitos before — they're strong — but hadn't really sampled them. The best ones I've had so far are pineapple mojito concoctions made at the expensive bar at the Soho Grand Hotel, where the NY chapter of the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) meets for our local briefings. At $14 a pop, they better be good — and they are!

Strong and flavorful, biting and soothing both. Yum.

August 13, 2008

View from Above

The rooftop bar at 230 Fifth showcases an amazing city view.

230 Fifth Avenue Rooftop Bar

The bar scene doesn't feel like New York, though, as most reviews note. It's got a Miami feeling and design, with palm trees wafting. The place was packed when I was there for an event last Thursday and the bartenders and waitresses kept up with the crowd. It was another perfect night in terms of weather and we had a fantastic time. Downstairs one flight in the “Penthouse Lounge,” you can catch a retro funky purple bar that looks a little airport-y to me, although still fun and cool, besides being vast.  

August 1, 2008

Summer Garden Series

MOMA — the Museum of Modern Art in NYC on 53rd and 5th — is holding its summer garden series.

MOMA summer garden

Music sets go on at 5:30 and 7:00 p.m. every Thursday night in July and August. Cocktails of a summer bent are served. Musical performances are eclectic. The setting is pretty. Outdoor summer events offer a special New York view; the weather and setting combines to produce memorable experiences.

July 18, 2008

In a Funk

Getting down in a Funk? If so, come take a Funky turn this Friday at Lincoln Center's Midsummer Night Swing festival that runs for three weeks, Tuesday through Saturday, in July.

Funk Dancing at Midsummer Night Swing

They call it midsummer but to me, summer has just begun and it is time to move to the grooves. You can go just to listen to the music if you're not a dancing body but I hope you are — it's nice to be out in the summer music-filled evening in that part of the city. This year, they've moved the event around the corner to Damrosch Park because of construction in the main courtyard.

Muscially, I see an emphasis on Latin music in this festival — Salsa, Samba and more — with a few other nights of Funk, Jazz, Swing and Tango. My personal dancing favorite is Funk. Tonight (Friday), you can experience what they call Afro-Soul, Funk, Afro-Latin Electro, Garage-House with three different bands. Next Tuesday is a program featuring the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra, with classic jazz played by a large band.

A dance lesson in the style of the evening's music is given at 6:30 for no extra charge. Dancing is its own art form and a great way to get exercise. Plus, it's social; you get to mingle with just the right amount of people interaction.

July 14, 2008

Skies Filled with Music by the Skyliners

The Skyliners are a drum and bugle corps from the NY Tri-State area who regularly perform at stadiums and outdoor events.

NJ Skyliners Drum Corps

Three horn players above include my good friend, Bob Urspruch, far right, who took the solo beautifully in “Hava Nagila” at Saturday's concert. Bob's brother, John, in center. Note matching yalmukas donned for this song.

My friend Bob has played with this group for years, along with his brother, John. Both proficient horn players with in-depth knowledge of jazz, blues and other musical genres, now that I've gone to an event, I get why they enjoy playing in this different milieu.

Audience Participation

Bob's wife, Camelia, with friend, Buzzy, lend audience support 

The power of the large group, the outdoor arena, the uniforms and synchronized marching all create a special kind of performance that is a lot of fun. Many people go to see one group but it was informative to see the Bridgemen, who played before the Skyliners. It gives you more of an idea what kinds of music and entertainment a corps like this can produce to see some variety.

July 13, 2008

Summer in the NYCity

The Metropolitan Museum of Art on 82nd Street and Fifth Avenue boasts a beautiful roof garden made for taking in a panoramic city view on a breezy summer night.

Jeff Koons at the Met's Roof Top Garden

Currently on display at the Met Roof Garden are sculptures by Jeff Koons

Tonight, the IDSA held their monthly stammtisch gathering there. The rooftop was jammed but it was big enough to hold everyone. Drinks are served from several bars. The view is spectacular. The weather tonight was perfect with just a touch of a breeze. Walking through the Met's vast collection on the way to the rooftop garden is awe-inspiring too. I couldn't help thinking how hard it must be for the museum to safeguard their treasures with vast throngs of people constantly going through. I don't know how they do it, even with guards, cases, ropes and security systems. Check out the roof garden if you're in the neighborhood for an appreciation of the city. It's fun to watch the lights come on in the buildings and the setting sun as the view changes. Art is all around us.

Went to dinner with friends afterwards at a place called Uptown on 88th Street and 3rd Avenue, a prime example of the countless restaurants throughout the city you can just fall into that have killer delicious food.  

July 4, 2008

Patriotic Recycling

Recycled sweaters are the forefathers of this patriotic blanket made by Crispina.

Recycled Sweaters Blanket and PillowsThe company specializes in blankets but also offers some really cute toys and other items. The fuchsia and orange add much pizzazz to the traditional red, white and blue.

Sustainable living and products are terms I'm hearing constantly, meaning to reuse materials and create less waste. These items made from fabrics that have already served people well but can live again in beautiful pieces are a great example of smart recycling. No reason to throw something away that has tons more life left to love in it. Refurbish and refresh, baby.

Recycled Possum

Possum made from recycled materials by Crispina is ready to be loved by a new family, like yours.

Happy Independence Day 

July 4th means it really is summer now. Summer means fun. Summer means swimming. Summer means dinner while it's still light out, sometimes at Leno's Clam Bar.

Leno's Clam Shack

Leno's Clam Bar really hits the spot. The best fried clams and huge portions. Fantastic corn on the cob. This is the kind of place that will always seem nostalgic and is very American. The present owner's family bought the place in 1967 and the building has been there as a joint since the 1920s.

Summer means walks down to the tiny beach with bare legs and feet in the water. Summer just feels so darn good. Give into it. Happy summer and Happy July 4th.

July 1, 2008

Float on Down

IDSA is the Industrial Designers Society of America.

Ran Lerner Designed Forks

“Float” flatware designed by Ran Lerner

Come join me and my new IDSA friends for Inside the Designer's Studio on Thursday, July 17th, co-sponsored by Design Within Reach. Cost is $15. Wine and light snacks will be served. I designed the announcement for this upcoming event. Ran Lerner of Ran Lerner Design is the guest speaker. Ran designs items including cutlery, lighting, watches and kitchen tools. He is a down-to-earth guy and I am looking forward to hearing him discuss his successful company and designs. His work is carried by stores such as Bloomingdale's, The Conran Store, Bed Bath & Beyond and MOMA. Hope to see you there. 

Time: Thursday, July 17th, 7pm
Place: DWR Tribeca, 124 Hudson Street, NYC

June 15, 2008

Our Fathers Who Art in New York,
Jersey Etc. Hallowed Be Thy Names

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers in the land.

Fathers Take Revenge
 

Father's Day More Revenge I made these cards for my own fabulous pop soon after I started being a designer. Luckily, he found the morbid sense of humor fun. I figure if it's Father's Day, it should be their time for a little revenge, no?

I couldn't make these images much smaller for the blog or you wouldn't be able to see the unfortunate little things happening to the children. Poor little children.

June 14, 2008

Z is for Zoo

Friday I went to the zoo.

Magnificent peacock

Dazzling peacocks moseying around the grounds 

Seeing nature's vibrant colors up close is startling. What was really fun about the peacocks is that they were behaving like pigeons, walking around the picnic tables hoping for tidbits. We saw giant camels, lions and a polar bear. Turns out the Bronx Zoo is very near my home stomping ground of City Island so I intend to visit more often. We took a ride on their pleasant trolley that transports you through the gracious grounds. Here is my niece Avery with her lovely blue tongue from our lunch of science fiction-colored frozen blueberry and grape drinks with pretzels, potato chips and nachos made from what looked like the sides of taxicabs (plastic or metal combo of yellow cheeselike substance). A great time was had by all.

Avery with a blue tongue

Avery displays her peacock-challenging turquoise tongue 

May 29, 2008

Music, Food, Hardware & Art
Amp Up in Brooklyn

For those who love artistic things that function well, the upcoming Crest Hardware Art Show in Brooklyn with a fun opening celebration June 7th and running until July 11th hosts a satisfying concept.

Crest Hardware Art Show

Here's what store manager Joseph Franquinha says about the recurring show:

“As manager of Crest Hardware, I am thrilled to provide a unique, non-traditional atmosphere to showcase the artwork of the creative and vibrant community we service. I have such a love and appreciation for art and I am fascinated with seeing the transformation of basic hardware materials into something other than what they are intended for.”

Hardware as Art at the Crest Hardware Art ShowThe celebration offers music and food as well as hardware and art. Great hardware really is art anyway but in this show, they get carried away.

One of my talented musician friends, Bill Bell, is performing. Bill's musicianship is superb (he plays pretty much every instrument and plenty you've never heard of) so stop by Saturday, June 7th if you can.

May 28, 2008

The Jewish Cheesecake gods Dig In

Some people might say that

New York = Cheesecake.

To the Kosher Giftbox, resource for delectable gift-giving, upcoming Jewish holiday

Shavu'ot = Cheesecake.

Yummy cheesecakes at Kosher Giftbox

Incredible cheesecakes from the Kosher Giftbox in Westport, CT

June 9th and 10th (the date moves around according to the Jewish calendar) is this year's Shavu'ot, which commemorates harvesting of the first fruits and the giving of the Torah to the Jews at Mount Sinai. It is customary to eat a dairy meal during Shavu'ot. Good excuse for cheesecake, says the Kosher Giftbox, whose decadent cheesecake options range from tried and true original New York cheesecake to amaretto, chocolate ganache, brownie encrusted and caramel and pecans with chocolate. Wow. — I'm farshtopt just talking about it.

May 24, 2008

Fine Furnishings Bloom in Rhode Island

Red Elephant Gallery, which carries my rugs in their online store, calls home base Bristol, Rhode Island. They sell beautiful handmade designs ranging from striking affordable jewelry to tactile-friendly goblets and more.

Items available at Red Elephant Gallery

Above, from Red Elephant Gallery: copper and brass wine glasses by Morningstar and pewter handcrafted salad servers by Michael Michaud

Red Elephant Gallery is a great place to find gifts (and things for yourself) because items are unusual, beautiful, often functional and reasonably priced. You usually won't find their offerings at larger design resources. Speaking with Karen, the owner, today, she told me about another furniture fair that may be a welcome opportunity to display my new rug line: the Fine Furnishings Show, which takes place annually in Milwaukee and this October in Providence. I am excited to learn about this potential showcase, which introduces diverse designs for the home. There's a lot of talent blooming in the design world. After attending ICFF last week, it's nice to know that more lies in wait. I'd love a trip to Providence and it looks like there's one in my future.

Fine Furnishings Show in Providence

Above, bench by Todd Ouwehand and large sideboard by Frank Procopio

May 14, 2008

Fast, Cheap and Great Dinnerware

In my business (design / advertising / communications), they say you can only have two of the three: FAST, CHEAP AND GREAT. Well, that is almost always true but the dinnerware below achieves all three with rare elan.

Super Well-Priced Dinnerware at CB2

These nice square white plates are priced from $.95 to $4.95/each at CB2 and are just $1.95 for the medium 6.5" size. They are sturdy and look great. White looks soothing on your table when added to other striking colors. Every now and then, a real bargain comes your way. Also check out CB2‘s stemless glasses for another good deal in pretty housewares that will leave you enough money to consider owning a bed and chairs.

May 9, 2008

What Not to Do on Mother's Day

Mother's Day is this coming Sunday, May 11th.

Mother and baby bear

While it's great to celebrate the incredible effort of mothers and to honor them, I was raised being told that this type of holiday is a “greeting card holiday,” meaning that it was invented purely as a money-making proposition. I think my parents are right, although it's nice to take a moment and celebrate the arduous challenge of being a mother. Not being a mom yet myself, I am in extra awe of the work moms put in. It's hard enough to try to hold down any sort of job, get your own basic needs taken care of, let alone do the laundry. But try to get some tyke off to school? Rush them to the emergency room? Help with homework? Who wants to do homework?! Not to mention pay for a thousand things. Animal mothers work their butts off for their offspring too and perform heroic feats to protect their little ones. The mother instinct is a beautiful thing.

Meanwhile, whatever you do to acknowledge mothers, do NOT come to City Island on Mother's Day. For some unknown reason, the entire borough of the Bronx and more seems to swarm here on Mother's Day and you cannot get on the island after a certain hour. Why anyone would want to put themselves through this is beyond any of us residents. Last year, I had to leave for some reason and it took over an hour to get through a five-minute section. This is not the day to visit our cute spit of land. Come the day after or the day before but do yourself a favor and avoid it like the plague on the actual day.

May 5, 2008

Happy Cinco de Mayo

Today is Cinco de Mayo or the fifth of May in Spanish, a day of celebration.

Mexican food

Officially, the holiday commemorates the victory of the Mexican militia over the French army at The Battle of Puebla in 1862. In reality, in my part of the world, it's an excuse to celebrate and eat Mexican food. A group of my friends and I went to an early outside festival on Sunday (the 4th) in Peekskill and had Mexican food at Ruben's Mexican Café, as well as at the outside fair. There was much merriment, music, food and fun, although the restaurant was strained way past capacity. The food was mostly great with one odd exception being the nachos. The guacamole was fantastic. The day turned out to be beautiful despite a week-long prediction of rain. We got to spend more time at the Flat Iron Gallery which was, as before, inspiring.

April 19, 2008

Happy Passover

Tonight at sundown starts the week-long celebration of Passover for those of the Jewish faith.

PassoverThrough the magic of online resources, I found the Kosher Gift Box, located in Westport, Connecticut. They offer delicious gifts for Jewish holidays (you don't have to be Jewish to enjoy them) and fun other items too, such as their Passover Box of Questions. I've been told it's a Jewish trait to question things in general; the questions in this gift box are intelligent and provocative, to take seriously or with which to have fun. Check out their chocolate-covered matzoh (currently sold out so no link!) — yummmmm. Here's wishing all my friends (and enemies too, if I have any), Jewish and of other persuasions, a great new season. May you all achieve happiness and prosper this emerging spring.

January 5, 2008

All Wrapped Up

2007's all wrapped up — welcome to 2008 and a heaping helping of opportunity and new beginnings for us all.

At my first ever small party on December 29th, my place was festooned with leafy garlands and blue LED lights. Some time around November, it struck me that I should decorate my place for the holidays. The staircase was begging for garlands (never had a staircase before). I haven't had a tree in a couple years because although they're festive and pretty, they're expensive and drop needles everywhere. But I had had a break and was ready to do it again. Plus, I'm evolving as a designer and moving into interior design so I was itching to express myself this way. It was rewarding and the party was much fun. Thanks to all my lovely guests, who were very well behaved too. Guess who's the only one who spilled? That would be me. And no, I was not tipsy. I didn't see someone's glass and knocked it over onto light carpet, dousing the area with rich red wine. The amazing thing is that I got the stain out by using seltzer right away and two pet cleaning solutions the next day. 

November 2, 2007

Yes, I Really Can Fly

For the first time in a while, I went out in a costume on Halloween:

Halloween

In case you can't tell (duh), I'm a wood nymph. I had gotten this costume that I love, complete with (working) wings for a party two years ago that never happened. So this year, I just thought, I'm putting it on and going some place. That place ended up being Union Hall in Brooklyn, which I mentioned a few entries back as having fun and good-looking bocce ball courts. Well, did we ever have a good time (my friend and I). The place was very full but because it's so big, there was still enough room to walk around without it getting uncomfortable. It was like being in a party at a beautiful mansion. The costumes were fantastic, from Marie Antoinette to Clark Kent to pirates to many original oddball combos that were hilarious — lots of great wigs with huge hair — the inventiveness was satisfying. Everyone was friendly and you could easily talk to strangers because the costumes were a good introduction. About a fifth or so of the crowd wasn't wearing costumes and even that was fun, making it an odder and more eclectic scene. It was a perfect party and I'm so glad I went out. I'm definitely doing this again.