Ibrahim El-Salahi: Alhambra at Salon 94



As we’ve established in previous posts, and will likely continue to demonstrate in the future, New York City is home to a staggering number of museums and cultural institutions, and they offer a virtually limitless number of exhibits and installations to appreciate.  While Chelsea has long been the heart of the city’s art scene, art publications like ArtNews and Artsy have been covering the migration of many art galleries to the Lower East Side now that the High Line and the Whitney Museum have ushered in exponential growth, and therefore, rising rents in Chelsea.  

Ibrahim El-Salahi Alhambra

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Ramones and the Birth of Punk at Queens Museum


“The Ramones all originate from Forest Hills and kids who grew up there either became musicians, degenerates or dentists. The Ramones are a little of each.”
—Tommy Ramone, first press release

Ramones at Queens Museum

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American Psycho on Broadway



American Psycho the Musical is the latest iteration of Bret Easton Ellis’s 1991 novel about Patrick Bateman, a young Wall Street executive obsessed with appearances, and his murderous activities. The musical follows the successful 2000 movie starring Christian Bale in the lead role, of which, admittedly, I am a big fan.  I enjoyed the commentary about materialism as well as the concept of the villain, though highly exaggerated, who lives among us.  As the tale unfolds, we eventually come to learn that some of the murders didn’t take place, leading us to question if any of them did — the realization that we are dealing with an untrustworthy narrator is a nice plot twist that alludes to the inner workings of a disturbed mind.

American Psycho Broadway

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The Frick Collection



I’d be hard pressed to name a favorite museum in New York City — it would be like naming a favorite child (if you have over a hundred of them).  But I can assure you that the Frick Collection would be hovering near the top of the list.  It’s such an intimate and warm space, and although many other residences have been converted into museums or galleries, this one still feels like a home.

First, a little bit of history:  the museum is named for Henry Clay Frick, a Pittsburgh industrialist who came into his fortune during the Gilded Age from his endeavors in coke and steel (he partnered with the likes of Andrew Carnegie and J.P. Morgan).  Frick used his means to accumulate art, and when he moved to New York in 1905, a lot of it came with him.  He eventually built his home where the Frick Collection currently stands on East 70th St with the intent of turning it into a museum upon his death.

Frick Collection NYC

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The Humans on Broadway



Sometimes a play — a really, really good one — gets under your skin and stays there long after the curtain falls. Stephen Karam’s most recent effort, The Humans, is precisely that kind of play.

Humans on Broadway

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Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival


“I don’t think there is a life in the mundane 9-to-5 hypocrisy. That’s not living. That’s just part of the Matrix. And drag is punk rock, because it is not part of the Matrix. It is not following any rules of societal standards. Boy, girl, black, white, Catholic, Jew, Muslim. It’s none of that. We shape-shift. We can do whatever we want.” – RuPaul

While we’d like to encourage you to be happy with who you are, we’d also like to embolden you to be anyone you want to be. That may involve introspection and ambition, or it may simply involve putting on a costume when the occasion allows it. There’s a boldness to the business of getting dressed up and standing in the spotlight. Some New Yorkers get up and do it every day, while others wait for an instance like the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival to get their shape-shift on.

At the Parade and Festival on Sunday, some outfits were literal (think Easter baskets, eggs and rabbits), while others were more abstract (matching stripes and polka dots with paper umbrellas and pointy hats — still thinking on that one). Some were simple (colorful chapeaus) and others elaborate (handmade head-to-toe costumes).  The colorfully-attired participants came together on Fifth Avenue, where the dramatic Neo-Gothic exterior of St. Patrick’s Cathedral provided the perfect backdrop for their unofficial parade.  They graciously posed for pictures for, and with, admirers from far and wide. I’m sure Southern hospitality has its charms, but when New York City plays host, you can be sure you’ll get a show.

Easter Parade Bonnet Festival

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Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden



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.

Orchid Show NYBG

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Flower Show at Macy’s Herald Square



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.

Macys Flower Show NYC

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Neal Brennan: 3 Mics at Lynn Redgrave Theater



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.

3 Mics Neal Brennan

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K2 Friday Nights at the Rubin Museum



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”.

Rubin Museum NYC

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