If you took an Economics class in college, you might recall discussions around irrational behavior and speculation leading to market bubbles and crashes. While the dot-com and real estate debacles might be fresher in our memory, one of my favorite examples of this was the boom and bust of tulips in the 1600s. Yes, tulips. If you’re unfamiliar, the story goes that when the Dutch Republic gained independence from the Spanish crown in the 17th century, it ushered in a Golden Age with growing trade and commerce. Fortunes flourished and estates grew, and soon the prized tulip — its bold colors unlike that of any other flower at the time — became a status symbol. As demand multiplied, speculators were drawn to the quick profits and the prices ballooned. At its height it was said that a single bulb was exchanged for 1000 pounds of cheese. But in 1637, a default on a contract caused widespread panic and the tulip market abruptly crashed.
Continue reading Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden
Every year, New Yorkers get to embrace spring (whether or not it feels like it outside!) by visiting the Macy’s Flower Show at the retail giant’s flagship location in Herald Square. This year’s theme, America The Beautiful, features miniature garden displays with the flora from different regions of the country. The Southwest garden includes cacti varieties while the Pacific Northwest garden incorporates rhododendrons and begonias. The main floor is transformed into a shopper’s dream, with colorful flowers littering the paths between makeup counters and jewelry displays. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself wandering towards the perfumery, inspired by the amazing florals that surround you.
Continue reading Flower Show at Macy’s Herald Square
From the linguistic dexterity and poetic brilliance of the late George Carlin to the rapid-fire, quick-witted, rage-filled rants of the inimitable Lewis Black, I’ve been lucky enough to witness comedic genius in action on quite a number of occasions. As stated in a previous post, storytelling — of which, as I see it, stand-up comedy is a specialized subset — is, in it’s highest form, an art. And Neal Brennan’s inspired performance at the Lynn Redgrave Theater served as a stark reminder of this fact.
Continue reading Neal Brennan: 3 Mics at Lynn Redgrave Theater
A friend of mine was visiting from London years ago, and had brought with her a big box of chocolates she’d picked up on a trip to Belgium. The group of us chatted as we sampled from it, when someone exclaimed, “I can only have one piece, it’s so rich!” Having probably devoured eight pieces by that point, I’ll admit that the notion of having too much of a good thing eluded me in that moment.
My unnatural capacity to consume desserts aside, I find that the law of diminishing returns tends to hold true in most other areas of life, and a self-imposed threshold can do wonders in increasing one’s enjoyment. For me, this definitely applies to art. While it’s easy to lose oneself in a great museum or gallery for hours, I’ve discovered that after a certain amount of time has passed, or after I’ve viewed a certain number of pieces, my ability to truly appreciate additional works decreases. The Rubin Museum has a unique approach to this problem.
The Rubin Museum features art from the Himalayas, India and neighboring regions, but they’ve always promoted a more immersive experience, encouraging visitors to engage in more than just walking through the galleries. They regularly offer meditation and yoga sessions, talks and a variety of other programs to “inspire visitors to make connections between contemporary life and the art and ideas”.
Continue reading K2 Friday Nights at the Rubin Museum
Storytelling, at its apex, is an art. It requires the philosophical contemplations, critical observations and the communicative dexterity of a writer, coupled with the intuition and instincts of a performer. It has existed from mankind’s earliest days, long before the first written word, as the primary narrative mode to disseminate ideas: communicating historical accounts, outlining philosophical theories, expressing ethical concerns, and challenging cultural norms.
Though much of my exposure to the social significance of storytelling originated with an elective class on folklore I explored at university, it wasn’t until my first trip abroad, to the United Kingdom, that I began to truly appreciate it as art. From cabbie to bartender, a newly minted acquaintances on the train from Edinburgh to Glasgow or on a bus in Dublin, the wit and mirth of the oral tradition were on full display in all its grandeur.
Continue reading Isaac Oliver at Joe’s Pub