Monday, November 11, 2013

Week 6 More Autumn Fun

"We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us."
             Joseph Campbell  (found in Angel Orensanz Foundation's October Newsletter)

Wednesday evening I was invited to volunteer at a special Rooftop Films Event.  Oh, I am so glad they thought of me!  It was held at an amazing space on the Lower East Side (LES), the Angel Orensanz Center on Norfolk Street.  When I arrived, the Director told me she was having me do coat check since I was "tiny & petite"..I wanted to kiss her.  I am short, and the space was short..I'm afraid she may have had huge misgivings when I tripped and fell with a very loud "splat"!..Thank God, I was alone with a dear friend..although I could be heard all over the event space.  As I look at my bruises, I am reminded of the many klutsy times of my life..

From its Website: “The Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts was established in 1992 as an artistic and cultural resource open to artists, writers, thinkers and leaders from all over the world, and to the community around us. Over the years we have welcomed and been inspired by Philip Glass and Spike Lee; Arthur Miller, Alexander McQueen, Salman Rushdie, Maya Angelou and Alexander Borovsky; Elie Wiesel and Chuck Close.
We cooperate with PS1/MoMA; The Goethe Institute and the Whitney Museum, New York; the Italian Cultural Institute, New York University; Columbia University and Princeton University; the National Russian Museum of St. Petersburg and the Royal Shakespeare Company of London; The World Council of Peoples for the UN, the United Jewish Council and the American Academy in Rome. We work with independent artists from all over the world to develop here educational and artistic projects. The Foundation has just opened a digital department of cultural and artistic projects with a strong educational basis in the community.
We publish a quarterly magazine, Artscape; a weekly TV program on MNN, and maintain an archive of 50,000 pictures of the work of Angel Orensanz. We run a library of social and cultural history as well as a collection of thousands of digital files and video of Angel Orensanz.
The Foundation prides itself in maintaining the building at 172 Norfolk St., the former Ansche Chesed Synagogue (1849), in its architectural integrity and in the tradition of the German Reform Movement of the mid 19th century. Read more about the history of the building in the information booklet "From Ansche Chesed to Angel Orensanz" written by Al Orensanz, Ph.D (PDF format 7.6 MB - you need Acrobat Reader to view the file.)
MEDORA: small town, big heart
Medora from Rooftop Films' website
From Rooftop Films’ website, written by Angelina Fernandez:  MEDORA, a new documentary feature by filmmakers Davy Rothbart and Andrew Cohen, and produced by Steve Buscemi. Rooftop Films will present a special preview screening sponsored by Piper Heidsieck on November 6th at Angel Orensanz Foundation before the film hits theaters this Friday, November 8th.

The film chronicles the story of a small town basketball team, the Medora Hornets, throughout their varsity season in 2011. We get to meet each of these players and learn their stories. It’s a deeply personal look into the life of kids who have the odds stacked against them by default. They didn’t create the recession; they were simply born where they were born. In the same way, the once bustling town of Medora is a victim of circumstance.

We’ve all driven by these towns on our way to somewhere. The strange collection of houses on the side of the interstate, and as you drive past you sit there thinking to yourself, “Who even lives here?” Well, the people of Medora live here. The town is in a state of decline. After two of its largest factories shut down, most people lost their jobs and the town is now comprised of around 500 people. When asked to describe the town to outsiders, one of its residents simply said, “Closed.”

What  MEDORA does a good job of reminding you of is that this town isn’t a bunch of images in an Urban Decay photo book, there are real people living here who are struggling to survive. This was the kind of town that once made up America, and even as they are steadily becoming extinct, they’ve still got a lot of spirit. The boys that are part of the basketball team each have their own problems to deal with, from alcoholism to homelessness. It’s hard to keep their heads above water when the world seems to offer them so little, and when they’ve seen so little of the world. Leaving the town seems to be one of the primary options for a better life, but Medora is their home. It’s a place that will markedly miss their presence if they leave; going out into the world means leaving behind their roots and even hurrying the destruction of the town they were born in.

Lucy'sFollowing cleanup, I went to the after party at Lucy’s in the East Village on Avenue A right across from Thompkins Square Park.  A cute old bar owned and operated by an adorable German lady, Lucy!  I joined two of my co-volunteers for a couple of hours; lovely to get to know them a bit more since we’ve spent so much time together since July.  It did get me home at around 3:30am though.  I do believe I am falling right into the New York life of the city that never sleeps!

Seen @ Columbus & 82
On my way to the West side on Thursday I stopped into Birdbath, a new café in the neighborhood (79th & 3rd) as I saw one of my Rooftop friends behind the counter!  The chocolate zucchini muffin was to die for the next morning at breakfast..  On the way to a lecture at the St Agnes library on Amsterdam Avenue (81-82 Sts) I popped into a cute little Mexican restaurant, Covina Economica, and enjoyed homemade guacamole, pork posale (soup), and a lovely non-alcoholic drink, Strawberry sparklette.  I then went to an informative lecture: “How to Write a Non-Fiction Book Proposal” with Doug Carr.  Informative, scary, and free.  (I did encounter my first truly obnoxious, crazy NY Lady, but Doug was able to keep her in her place and under control!)

From there I headed up to Columbia University.  I’ve been there only once before, many years ago, doing the college tour with Katie.  I fell in love with it then, wishing I could go back to college.  Oh, my, at night, it was beautiful.  I truly want to be a co-ed…Katie, interestingly enough, had sent me a list of lectures that Eve Ensler was participating in.  Ms Ensler, the Tony award winning play­-write (The Vagina Monologues) and activist has been a hero in my family for many years.  Kristi was able to participate in “The Vagina Monologues” twice, in Manchester, England and at UMass Amherst her senior year.  It was an amazing evening: Thursday, November 7: The State of Female Justice in America

Building on last year’s sold-out public forum on the State of Female America, V-Day is bringing together a stellar group of women for a public panel discussion on The State of Female Justice.

Hosted by Laura Flanders (GRITtv) and featuring:
Cathy Albisa -
National Economic & Social Rights Initiative
Kimberle Crenshaw
- Columbia Law School / UCLA Law School
Eve Ensler
- V-Day
Monique Harden
- Advocates for Environmental Human Rights in New Orleans
Saru Jayaraman
- Restaurant Opportunities Centers United
Sylvia McAdam
- Idle No More
…and more to be announced!

Join us as we explore why women experience economic, racial, and cultural violence; and ask ourselves what might real justice look like for women in America?

WHEN: Thursday, November 7, Doors: 7:30pm, Program: 8pm
WHERE: Jerome Green Hall, Columbia Law School, 435 W 116 St, NYC

Friday I headed to Chelsea to the Muhlenberg Library looking forward to Memoir writing class as I had missed a couple, only to find out that Ben has put it on hold until after the Holidays.  No problem, I did some errands in the area, including heading to Trader Joes..I love that store..Back home to UES…Errand in regards to home sale in Milton..back downtown to the Village..Eve Ensler had invited everyone present Thursday night to become involved with Vday, February 14..the theme is to be “1 Billion Rising for Justice.” Don’t mind if I do!  So, I spent a very interesting hour or so at the New School, and am now part of the organizing committee.  It sounds like it will be an amazing day culminating  “with Everyone dancing their a…off” per Ms. Ensler at Hamersley’s Ballroom!

The 2nd restaurant in NYC that could have used Kris' collection!
I then headed back to my ‘hood, and met my Philosophy Friend at Pig’s Heaven on 2nd Ave (between 80-81st sts).  It is right next to Cascabel Taqueria, but I had never been.  As my Friend warned, their ribs are to die for.  A Sojourn friend had told me about the live Rock n Roll music on Friday and Saturday nights.  Well, it’s true..a Chinese restaurant turns Rock n Roll Club on weekends..only in New York!  The owner, Nancy Lee, makes it a point to make everyone welcome and loves to dance the night away herself.

Vosges Haut Chocolat
Saturday I enjoyed my Philosophy class as usual.  Then I did some errands around the ‘hood, including the Green Market, picking up some fresh fish and other goodies, literally.  I then headed down to Soho for a Daily Candy Bazaar.  Cool idea, I am definitely not in the age demographic it was geared for  But, surprsingly, Soho was not insane, as it usually is on a Saturday afternnon, so I thoroughly enjoyed the walk around.  I treated myself to an amazing hot chocalate (white chocolate with lemon myrtle, lavender, and vanilla bean) at Vosges.  I had been there before on a chocolate tour.  And, then believe it or not, I crashed.  Lighting my first fire for the season, and thoroughly enjoyed hibernating for the evening.

Fuentiduena Chapel
Sunday I met my NYC Friend and we bused our way uptown to the Cloisters, the medieval branch of the MET (Metropolitan Museum of Art ).  A dear Milton Friend and bookclub member had emailed me earlier in the week to tell me of a magical musical exhibit that she had read about.  From the Cloisters’ website: “The Forty Part Motet (2001), a sound installation by Janet Cardiff (Canadian, born 1957), will be the first presentation of contemporary art at The Cloisters. Regarded as the artist's masterwork, and consisting of forty high-fidelity speakers positioned on stands in a large oval configuration throughout the Fuentidueña Chapel, the fourteen-minute work, with a three-minute spoken interlude, will continuously play an eleven-minute reworking of the forty-part motet Spem in alium numquam habui (1556?/1573?) by Tudor composer Thomas Tallis (ca. 1505–1585). Spem in alium, which translates as "In No Other Is My Hope," is perhaps Tallis's most famous composition. Visitors are encouraged to walk among the loudspeakers and hear the individual unaccompanied voices—bass, baritone, alto, tenor, and child soprano—one part per speaker—as well as the polyphonic choral effect of the combined singers in an immersive experience. The Forty Part Motet is most often presented in a neutral gallery setting, but in this case the setting is the Cloisters' Fuentidueña Chapel, which features the late twelfth-century apse from the church of San Martín at Fuentidueña, near Segovia, Spain, on permanent loan from the Spanish Government. Set within a churchlike gallery space, and with superb acoustics, it has for more than fifty years proved a fine venue for concerts of early music.”
Janet Cardiff Forty Part Motet
From The Cloister's website; Janet Cardiffs The Forty Part Motet
It was indeed magical, mystical, and beautiful.  I had so many feelings, memories, rushing through me.  Mostly Jake, my infamous uncle the Priest, who has taken such an important place in my new life as I work on writing a book about him..Once, again, Uncle John, thank you.  We then decided to do a tour with a docent from the MET.  On first observation, She seemeds like a dour Librarian..oh, talk about not judging a book by its cover..She was delightfully entertaining and witty while sharing her great knowledge of the Cloisters.  A glorious afternoon followed by another fire at home and a delicious, if I say so myself, dinner (baked stuffed flounder..stuffed with spinach, coated with lemon and grated cheese, with broccoli and spinach-mushrooms as sides).

Today I scrubbed and cleaned the Hx3, caught up on emails, did some writing.  And, I will head to my Cheers in NYC, Sojourn, for some live music surrounded by familiar faces!  Life is good.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Week 5 Halloween and other Autumn Pleasures

"Writers who are considered immortal or just plain good and who intoxicate us have one very important trait in common: they are going somewhere and call you with them...The best of them are realistic and paint life as it is, but because every line is saturated with juice, with the sense of life, in addition to life as it is, life as it should be.."
                                                                   Chekhov's letter to Suvorin  November 25, 1892

            After the wonderful night with Kristi watching, and celebrating, the Red Sox win the World Series, I was a bit lazy on Halloween until I headed to the Village to Marshall at the Village Halloween Parade Many people, Kris included, thought I was crazy.  My good Friend, and former co-worker had always talked about the Parade as one of her favorite things.  I went on Her advice.  It had been cancelled last year due to Sandy, so the T-shrts we wore were 2012’s, recycling at the best.  Luckily,i t was a  warm night.  I am so glad I went!  It was a bit raucous and rowdy, but much less than I expected.  I ran into a Friend from the Food Film Festival, also volunteering! (Have I mentioned how small this city seems to be getting?!). Very nice Lady (VNL) I worked in crowd control, etc was great.  When all of our floats were launched we walked the parade route amidst the throngs.  Great fun, so glad I was part of a true NYC tradition.  (I still have no desire for Times Square on New Year’s Eve..) 
From the New York Times
Friday I admittedly slept in, skipping my Memoir Writing Class.  Later in the day I headed down to meet my NYC Friend on Bleecker Street in NoHo.  We enjoyed a lovely glass of wine at Noho Star (corner of Bleecker and Lafayette) Then we crossed  to see Culture Projects’s production of Chekov’s “The Seagull” with Trudie Styler (Mrs.Sting) at The Lynn Redgrave Theater (45 Bleecker Street).  I love exposing myself to the classics, not just "popular" plays.  This was intense, not light-hearted, although funny at times.  Defintiey glad I saw it. (and the price was great as I got the tickets through Play  by Play!)
Saturday morning I once again joined my Philosophy Class. From there I did some food shopping, a job I have always hated. But walking to the Greenmarket (that I discovered is year round!) to smaller markets picking up odds and ends was actually enjoyable. It was a perfect Autumn afternoon so I went to one of my favorite places in my new neighborhood, Central Park, I walked for hours, watching all the people, enjoying the gorgeous colors, weeping happy tears in gratitiude. (So nice after all the sorrowful tears that I have shed in recent years.).  I also came upon a wonderful Artist who gracefully chatted and allowed me to take her picture. (
Post Marathon!
Sunday I had nothing planned, but very happily joined Kristi and her Friend in Central Park to watch Jess' Husband in the New York Marathon.  I had been reading about the Red Sox Celebratory Parade and the emotional time at the Marathon Route when Kris I was feeling a bit homesick and melancholy..  It was perfect going over to Central Park once again to cheer on a wonderful man, Tom, in his race.  The NYC Marathon was also cancelled last year to Sandy, so it too, had a bit of an extra festive, if not a bit pensive air (and more security due to Boston’s Madness).
In the Mets's lobby
Silla: Korea's Golden KingdomWhile walking home I decided to pop into the MET (Metropolitan Museum of Art); one of the joys of being a member, just popping in for a quick visit.  I’m glad I did as it was the last day to visit the rooftop.  And, it was member’s day to enjoy a new Korean exhibit, which was very enjoyable.
The Moth Stage
At Grand Central
Monday I did some research, writing, and then headed to Grand Central to see a special popup of a new bath, body, and cosmetic line for Target.  The set design was quite impressive.  I was then headed to Brooklyn and had some tie, so I treated myself to a lovely cocktail at the Campbell Apartment’s Parlor.  Heading over to Brooklyn again, to The Bell House on 7th Street for their monthly evening of The Moth.  I enjoyed this night much better as I was able to sit, and surprisingly a few stories really resonated with me. (One Man, who has won awards at Moth events, spoke of his little Mom who was quite resilient, and a dental hygienist!  I did speak with him at intermission!)  From there I caught the last set of music at my Sojourn, surrounded by many familiar faces..

Ballet photos cutout_opt
Jennifer in the East Side OurToen newspaper

Tuesday I crossed the street to help out at the Yorkville Library working with  Seniors on Computer basics.  The truly lovely Lady I worked with was charming, and still works as an interior designer.  We have exchanged phone numbers and plan on getting together on our own!  I then walked down to the 67th Street Library and took advantage of a free adult ballet class.  It is led by a very interesting, kind Lady, Jennifer Grambs (who has started a website for the group: www.   Quoted to Joanna Fantozzi in East Side Our Town newspaper: "“Ballet takes us back to being lovely women and handsome gentlemen,” says Grambs. “We have to learn to love our bodies, no matter what age.”  It was wonderful, if not crowded, men included, as it is gaining in popularity.  Amazing how I felt like I got a good workout.  I do believe I’ll go back.
Later, I had a lovely surprise visit from Kristi!  We shared in some of the chili I made over the weekend and hung out for a bit.  Off she went.  T then headed across the street to Sojourn for some more of my live music…
This picture is a perfect example of what a small city this is.  I was explaining my fun experience at the Halloween Parade to Kristi and Jessica at the Marathon.  I showed them my pictures.  Some of them as crazy as the Parade is known for.  They know this young Lady.  She was in the first running of “Father of Songs, ”written by Marathoner Tom Slot!