The Merchant of Venice at the Lincoln Center Festival



As I mentioned once before here, I studied English Lit at university. And I’m sure it will come as no surprise that I read a fair bit of Shakespeare during that time, and by “fair”, I mean a lot. And throughout my studies, I analyzed, discussed, and wrote a lot of papers about the famed playwright and his innumerable works. The Merchant of Venice was one of those works — a challenging one. It was required reading in a few of my later classes, so I’m quite familiar with it. It’s sort of notorious for being an emotionally complicated and intellectually treacherous play to study, and it’s much less read for enjoyment due to its subject matter. And for this reason, it’s anathema for many students. Of all of Shakespeare’s plays, I cannot think of another fostering a more strained and contentious relationship between readers, academics, historians and the material itself. Continue reading The Merchant of Venice at the Lincoln Center Festival

Summer Streets: A (Temporarily) Car-Free New York City



My love affair with New York City started out as a long-distance relationship filled with whirlwind visits, teary goodbyes and months of longing in between.  As my feelings for it grew deeper, the distance became unbearable and the decision to close the geographical gap became inevitable.  Once we were no longer apart, I endeavored to explore it more deeply, anxious to unearth all its secrets.  I was enthralled by its charms and blind to its flaws.  But alas, time is no friend to commitment.  Adorable quirks began to turn into grating annoyances.  Fortunately, New York City is a savvy lover: it realizes when it’s been too trying, too needy, too demanding.  So it does something special to remind you how great it is.  This past Saturday it pulled a little velvet box out of its pocket and gave me Summer Streets. Continue reading Summer Streets: A (Temporarily) Car-Free New York City

Diane Arbus at the Met Breuer



There are artists that inspire other artists, and Diane Arbus is one of them.  Even if you’re not familiar with her name, you’re likely to be familiar with her work.  You might recall seeing her famous photographs, Child with a Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park or Identical Twins, Roselle, NJ (which happens to bear a striking resemblance to the twins from Kubrick’s The Shining).  You might also recall a movie starring Nicole Kidman based loosely on her life.  When her photographs were shown at MoMa in 1967, the Director of the Department of Photography at the time included Diane Arbus in a new generation of photographers which he believed varied from the photographers of the past in that they “had a belief that the world is worth looking at, and the courage to look at it without theorizing.” Continue reading Diane Arbus at the Met Breuer

Don’t Think Twice



Let’s imagine, for a second, that you watched Casino Royale and fell in love with the Aston Martin. You dreamt of owning it. You started an Aston Martin Fund.  You collected pictures of it. You learned everything you could about it. Then one day your best friend shows up at your house in an Aston Martin.  “Isn’t it cool?”, he says. “My dad bought it for me.” Continue reading Don’t Think Twice

Unfinished at the Met Breuer



When the Met Breuer, named after its famous architect Marcel Breuer, opened in March, it promised to be the Met’s hip younger sibling — a response to the growing hunger for contemporary art.  However, its maiden exhibition, Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible, was greeted with a lukewarm response.  Comparisons were drawn to the space’s former resident, the Whitney, and other contemporary art museums like MoMa and LACMA.  I’m probably less discerning than an art critic, but I found Unfinished to be a fun reshuffling of the deck.   Continue reading Unfinished at the Met Breuer

Governors Island



Even when you love this city as much as we do, there comes a point in the summer when it becomes unbearable. It’s as though the skyscrapers bend, crowding around you, imposing their crushing weight of glass, steel, stone and concrete. The streets are open blast furnaces filled with throngs of sweaty human kindling. The claustrophobic subway stations become pressure cookers filled with the suffocating, putrid stew of slowly tenderizing bodies. Even your daily commute isn’t immune. The trains travel slower, the buses less frequently, and foot traffic runs at an even more uncivilized, frenetic pace than usual. Soon, your emotional armor, so methodically constructed and maintained, goes from disheveled to distressed to nonexistent. That thick, calloused skin — the pride of all New Yorkers — is peeled right off, unceremoniously, like a discarded rind, mercilessly exposing the raw, tender nerves just beneath. Under such dire circumstances, there’s only one solution: you must leave. Even if just for a night, a day, a few hours. Continue reading Governors Island

Public, Private, Secret at the International Center of Photography Museum



We’re fiercely private people, Lynn and I. And we’re aware — lest you think the irony went unnoticed — that the notion seems laughably conceited coming from bloggers. But that doesn’t make it any less true. Continue reading Public, Private, Secret at the International Center of Photography Museum

Bastille Day on 60th Street



Bastille Day is a French holiday that commemorates the Storming of the Bastille on July 14 1789, a crucial part of the French Revolution which eventually led to the passage of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, the abolition of feudalism and the transformation of France into a democratic and secular society.  The National Day is celebrated in France with a grand military parade that runs along the Champs Elysee, but here in New York City, the largest celebration is organized by the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF): Bastille Day on 60th Street.  A city tradition for twenty years, the outdoor affair stretches over three blocks and offers Francophiles the 4Cs: Continue reading Bastille Day on 60th Street

IKON by Nychos at Jonathan LeVine Gallery



Kurt Vonnegut said, “To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow.”  I believe we all have an innate desire to create — to produce something we can call our own, however big or small — whether we’re painting, baking a cake, taking a photograph, or writing.  Every now and again an artist is able to hone his or her craft to the point of achieving a signature style, one so recognizable that it’s associated instantly with that individual.  Nychos, the Austrian illustrator and urban street artist, is fortunate to be one of those talents. Continue reading IKON by Nychos at Jonathan LeVine Gallery

Manus X Machina at the Metropolitan Museum of Art



I have a confession to make: I am terrible at being a girl.  I’m tragically unromantic, I’m disastrously undomestic, and I’m really not much of a nurturer.  I pluck my eyebrows only when they’re one step away from becoming a unibrow, and I mostly sport unpainted, barely trimmed nails.  But I love fashion.  (I spoke a little about my fashion obsession in this post.)  When I find myself in the presence of pretty, pretty clothes, it’s the only time I feel 100% like a girl.  So I was thoroughly excited to finally make my way to the Manus X Machina exhibition at the Met to indulge my oft-neglected girly side. Continue reading Manus X Machina at the Metropolitan Museum of Art