Thursday, April 17, 2014

Back to Civilization

                         “April hath put a spirit of youth in everything."  William Shakespeare

Spring in the Park
Back to “civilization.”  Boy, I guess I am becoming a real city slicker snob.  Coming home, it was a boon to my soul to walk most mornings in my Park (Central), and see the blossoming of spring, literally.  I am so blessed!
Sping time @ Sojourn!
Catching up with a woman with whom I coordinated the ESL program at YearUp years ago in Boston was a treat.  We met recently on a very snowy day.  This evening was a taste of spring at my Sojourn.  In touching base last fall we found we were in the same neighborhood in NYC!  It was wonderful having a friend join me as I met her new beau, and caught up on some amazing projects they are doing.  I wish them well, and look forward to watching their progress.  Of course, I stayed for my Monday night music with Keren and the Sugar Daddys.
From Stoop to Nuts blog; Kurt Gertsman
Since it was the second week of the month, I headed down to the Cornelia Street Café in the Village to enjoy Thomas Pryor’s “City Stories: Stoops to Nuts.”   My first experience attending one of Tommy’s storytelling events, in January, had this close knit group of people reeling from the death of a man I wish I had known.  From this particular evening’s program:  “Kurt Gerstman a close friend of Cornelia Street Café and Stoops to Nuts died suddenly earlier this year.  He was scheduled to do this show, and he will.  We’re honoring Kurt in a showcase tribute featuring a short film by Dean Dacian.”   Cornelia Streets Cafe’s owner, Robin Hirsch, joined the tribute by repeating the wedding toast a beloved Uncle gave at his wedding many years ago.  It was poignant and fitting.  (This Uncle was bunkmates with Anne Frank’s father at Auschwitz.).  Besides the beautiful film, Robin Gelfenbien and David Noven rounded out the evening of stories.  I will be following Robin.  She has an interesting career, and also hosts a monthly storytelling series, “Yum’s the Word” which features homemade ice cream cake!    It was a beautiful night. 
As I love continuing my traditions, I was joined by my Library Friend at Marie’s (Crisis) for an hour or so.  I love sharing my favorite places with friends.  Rounding up my night at my Sojourn for Tuesday night music with Gus et al, surrounded my neighborhood friends, was the icing on my cake! 
My classroom..Grand Central
Trying to get comfortable, and really learn my new Mac Air (so afraid to leave my trusty little Acer PC laptop behind..), I signed up for a 3 day online course through Creative Live.  Good idea in theory, I  got lost almost immediately.  I also had a wonderful one to one class at the Apple store in Grand Central.  I will figure it out.  God know, this will be “easy” compared to all the other things I have had to figure out, especially in the last two years.
Videology's "party" room
Always delighted when I hear from my friends at Rooftop Films, I accepted an invitation to: : "Filmwax Live at Videology”  Filmwax Radio is a Brooklyn-based podcast that may be either accessed from Rooftop Films' website or iTunes. The show includes myriad conversations with folks from the entire spectrum of indie films. To kick of the afternoon, Rooftop Films' Dan Nuxoll will discuss highlights of the 2014 Summer Series lineup, followed by a series of interviews with up-and-coming filmmakers such as Onur Tukel (Summer of Blood), Gillian Robespierre (Obvious Child) and Desiree Akhavan (Appropriate Behavior).  Meet the filmmakers and find out what you'll see (and what NOT to miss) at Rooftop Films this year.”  Rooftop Films has exposed me to amazing films, events in the film world, and cool places and spaces in NYC.  I am so grateful!  This particular afternoon brought me to Williamsburg in Brooklyn for the first time.  Cool, gritty neighborhood that reminds me a bit of the East Village.  Apparently it is as expensive as the East Village as well.  Videology is yet another cool place, a video store cum bar, fun!

William Shakespeare
Drom Drunken Shakespeare's website
Rounding out my first week home was the Cast Party for 4th U’s VDay.  It was held at our loving organizer’s home, one of the coolest apartments I have had the pleasure of visiting on the UWS on Riverside Drive..If I could spend the rest of my life living in cool NYC apartment, how fun would that be?!  Each time I get to know these Ladies a bit more, I fell so blessed.  Many of us have plans to go see “our Eve’s” one Woman show, “Natural Novice,” written and performed by Siobhan O’Loughlin, in June.  (I also want to go see, “Drunken Shakespeare” which has one of my favorite ladies from both VDays, Christina Liu, performing in it.)

Spring skies
Trying to buckle down to “the “ job search..I am so dragging my feet..I did, finally I think, get my resume where I want it.  I saw an interesting job on “the” events magazine’s website, sent a short cover letter as instructed with my resume attached. I got a response!! From the CEO!  After a preliminary phone interview, we decided not to go forward.  There is so much to learn.  Social media is the norm, and all encompassing.  I thought I was so cool being on Facebook.  Not nearly enough, now I must learn Instagram, Foursquare, become proficient on LinkedIn, not to mention Excel, Raizor’s Edge, Outlook, Powerpoint.  I am truly exhausted.  But, I will persevere!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Family Reunion in Tennessee!

"Like branches on a tree, our lives may grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one"                           Unknown  

What do you get when you bring a rowdy Boston Irish Catholic clan spanning four generations to Tennessee?  Belly laughs, lots of them.  My Mom graciously, and very generously, brought us all together to celebrate her 80th birthday.  For no other reason than “life”, we (Mom and the 4 of us “kids” and respective families) had not all been together for ten years.  A lot happens in ten years.. .
"GiGi' and Babes
"Papa"? and Babes
Baby entertains
We flew and drove in from all corners of the country, literally.  The majority of us are still in the Northeast (Boston area and New York City).  Louisville Kentucky and Truckee California (in the Lake Tahoe area) were also represented.  We had our favorite Octogenarian at the helm and her first great-grandchild of seven months bringing up the rear.  Mom’s “Kids” range in age from 48 to 56 (yes, that’s me); grandkids from 9 to 32.  Nineteen of us in a massive log home for one week, we had a blast!  It can be pretty amazing when a house full of People can be mesmerized and entertained by a precious Angel.  Kennedy worked her hardest to achieve her goal of crawling that week, but didn’t reach it til arriving at her Grandparents’ (my Brother’s.  It’s unbelievable that he’s a GrandDad!) in Kentucky the following week.
Me and my Ladies
Photo: Jammin to Rod Stewart in Tennessee. Let the hilarity begin.
"Selfies" in the car (reverting to childhood?!)
We were just outside Smoky Mountain National Park on the outskirts of Gatlinburg.  Culture shock at its best.  At first, my Girls thought everyone was faking that southern accent!  They weren’t.  Mom, the Girls, and I shared a car from Knoxville, and driving the scenic route, I felt like we were on a very long Route 4 in Vermont. 
It was lovely with a river, and some whitewater!,  running next to us most of the ride.  On our first drive through Gatlinburg, we all thought, “cute”.  Later, after a dinner at a not very great, and kind of expensive (and I’m used to Boston/NYC prices) restaurant, we thought not so much (cute). 

Photo: Waterfall selfie. #smokeymtns  #sullfamreunion
More Selfies
Mom’s vision, dream, was that the cousins would bond, enjoy walks, and the like.  She got that and more.   As I mentioned, the house was a huge log “cabin” with plenty of room for everyone without feeling cramped at all.  Mom rented through Stony Brook Cabins.  Our humble abode was the Grand View Lodge, chosen for exactly that.   It was perfect for all of our needs. 

Crystal clear river
PhotoPhoto: Ty working the water. Still working on technique, but the hat makes him look good.My Brother in Law wins the award for best sport as he took “the Men” fly-fishing many afternoons.  We Ladies would walk/hike in the Smoky Mountain National Park which is beautiful, go for rides (including horseback!), and do a bit of shopping. We were even guided in an amazing yoga class on the balcony overlooking the Smoky Mountains.  Thank you, Katie!

One thing that there are plenty of are pancake houses (or flapjacks as they are often called in Tennessee).  Katie started talking about going to one on that first drive through down.  So, one morning a group of us did just that, a pretty cheap, great breakfast.  Then we poked around town.  After about an hour and a headache later we had had more than enough.  The Kids did enjoy their time in the arcade (lots of those as well.)  Not my cup of tea.  My “big” kids did a moonshine tasting (also lots of that around). 

Will always love sunsets..
It was a narrow, winding, precarious road to the house, which didn’t really entice anyone to go out at night, which was fine as there was not much to do anyway.  We shared big dinners at the huge tables side by side lovingly prepared by Everyone but me!  It was delightful.  Thanks Ladies and Gentlemen!  That prepared us for rollicking, rowdy games of Celebrity most nights.   Black Minister!
Mom and her "Kids"
Looking up!
We did find one small museum, the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum.  It was closed, permanently.  By the end of the week we firmly decided that Gatlinburg  defines ticky tacky honky tonk.  And, don’t even get me started on Pigeon Forge (forever in our memories as Pigeon Hell).
The Clan!
It was a wonderful week creating many great memories.  We also got to celebrate Mom’s first Grandson in law’s birthday as well. I hope, I don’t think another ten years will pass for us to get together again.  Thanks Mom, aka Nonnie, and now GiGi! 

Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life!                                   Albert Einstein

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Week 25: Broadway Cares, etc.

                                      There's nothing that can match Broadway for stature and dignity.   Sammy Davis, Jr.

Madonna and Child with Two Angels (Senigallia Madonna)
Madonna and Child with Two Angels (Senigallia Madonna)
Late afternoon on a recent Saturday, feeling a bit blah I took myself over the MET (Metropolitan Museum of Art) for a glass of wine on the Balcony Bar.  Reading while enjoying the classical music, savoring my wine, and pricey truffle popcorn, I felt at peace. I then meandered through a gallery holding a special, small Piero della Francesca exhibit. Perfect antidote.
Digressing a bit, I’d love to share one of my perfect days.  Don’t you love when life gives us many of these? After Katie graduated from undergrad; she worked for the summer; then did her backpacking gig around Europe.  The beginning of that adventure is a story in itself. The plan was to meet her in Italy to play for a couple of weeks. (I mentioned recently the reason for that and literally bumping into a family member of that lovely young Mom here in NYC.)  Anyway, I found an interesting expat while researching that trip on the internet, Anne Robichaud (Anne's Italy). We spent a few amazing days doing trips with her around Assisi. She invited us on a private trip doing the “Piero della Francesca trail”. I had never heard of him, only knowing the obvious Renaissance masters, Michelangelo, etc. That very special day made me a huge fan.
From its website
On another evening I met with a young man who had been a regular at Kristi’s last bar. He and his crazy Partner own

Manhattan Walking Tours.  I have participated in their Hell’s Kitchen Food Tour, excellent. I went to Alex for advice, and shared a wonderful dinner with him, and friends at Kashkavel Garden  (on 9th between 55/56). A wonderful evening getting great advice, meeting new lovely people, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Bebe Wood and Julie White at Broadway Backwards 2014
Hosts Bebe Wood and Julie Wood (from the website)
Photo Coverage: Inside the Ninth Annual BROADWAY BACKWARDS Benefit!
Robert Bartley and Patricia Morsion (from Broadway World website)
Easily one of my favorite pizza joints in NYC
John's Pizza
After the wind down from 4thU’s VDay weekend, I got alovely invitation from my “roomies” from my Winter in Manhattan Odyssey. They are very active in Broadway Cares and had an extra ticket to the fundraiser “Broadway Backwards.”  (Unfortunately I benefited from the illness of a lovely Lady. I hope she’s better.)  What an amazing night.  The show was a who’s who of Broadway stars. Probably the most moving number was by Patricia Morison, days from her 99th birthday, the original Kate of “Kiss me Kate” (1948). She sang a bawdy balled from the show, “Brush up your Shakespeare.  She got a five minute applause before she sang, and another long standing ovation following!  Following the show the after party was at John’s Pizza  a former Church in the heart of the theatre district.  How fun it was to be able to personally congratulate and thank some of the performers!

Now starts the time where I must seriously start “the job search.” Ugh..I cannot go back into dentistry, physically and mentally it would not be good for me. I have come too far in those regards. I also understand that it will not be easy. But, I think I remember someone once saying, singing actually “If I can make it here (NYC)…” I like, and am very good at events. All of the organizations I have worked with (volunteered with) will tell you so. Now, to monetize that.  I have read, been told, that resumes must be no longer than one page. How do I do that?
Anna Deveare Smith
Sarah Lewis
NYPL Live presented yet another great discussion with Anna Deveare Smith and Sarah Lewis discussing Sarah’s latest book.  From the NYPL website: Is failure a gift to the creative process? Sarah Lewis investigates the importance of grit and perseverance in her new book The Rise.
CityElla NYC
From that wonderful event I went down to Nolita to meet some wonderful Ladies who started, and others who are contributors like me, to a new ‘ezine for New York City women, CityElla.  As is often the case these days I was the Mom of the group, but it was a great time with Ladies I think will be wonderful to get to know, and a piece of mine has been published already!
Terroir Murray Hill
Exploring new places to have a bite is always a treat, so I met one of my fav ladies from the Food Film Festival @ Terroir in Murray Hill to discuss the upcoming Food Film Festival in Charleston, S.C.  I am helping with the volunteers (again, to monetize this new skill as a career..).  I can’t wait to explore a new city with this always amazing, and fun, group of people.
Displaying IMG_1271.JPG
Memoir Class froom Riverdale Library
Finishing my memoir class up in the Bronx with a culminating event was a wonderful way to complete a lovely class with lovely Ladies.  I plan to use my piece as part of the memoir I’m writing about a very beloved Uncle. (Someday it will be complete, no promises as to when).
Mani/pedi service area.
From Yelp
Rounding out the week at Bliss spa, getting a mani-pedi, a gift from VDay, was the perfect way to get ready for a Family Reunion in Tennessee.  My Mom has not had her four “kids” (and assorted family members) together for 10 years.  She is 80 this year.  We will celebrate just outside the Smokey Mountains National Park, four generations!