America Divided at The New Yorker Festival

Living in a bustling metropolis certainly has its perks, and reading The New Yorker has always been an easy way to remind oneself of that. I can recall many quiet evenings on the secondhand futon in my tiny Cleveland apartment, thumbing through the pages of the magazine, a large Arabica iced mocha often within reach. I’d delve into the analysis of current events, read new fiction from distinguished authors and scour the pages for witty cartoons. Then I’d land on the listing of all the goings-on about town, and I’d wistfully make a list for my next visit. Continue reading America Divided at The New Yorker Festival

Afternoon Tea in New York City

I grew up in Malaysia, a small Southeast Asian country that calls Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia its neighbors.  It’s a relatively young country, achieving independence only in 1957.  It was colonized by the Portuguese, the Dutch and then the British, with British rule being the longest.  You might be wondering where this is going.  This little history lesson is, quite simply, my roundabout way of justifying my penchant for afternoon tea. Continue reading Afternoon Tea in New York City

Ralph Steadman Retrospective at Society of Illustrators

Lynn’s a natural-born planner, and I’m, shall we say, a little more “fluid” in my approach to life. She writes ruler-straight notations with breathtakingly symmetrical penmanship in composition notebooks and prolifically schedules our digital calendar with placeholders for upcoming events. I plan what I’m wearing 10 minutes before we head out for the day and am never more happy than when a pedestrian evening in the city takes a serendipitous left turn and we end up at strange locales we never would have considered in advance. After many, many years of marriage, I like to think that we balance each other out. She has opened my eyes to the fact that a little structure often leads to more frequent and more meaningful experiences, and I remind her that spontaneity in life is an important counterbalance to the weariness and monotony of everyday existence. Continue reading Ralph Steadman Retrospective at Society of Illustrators

Never Too Cool for School: Take a Sashimi Class at Osakana

I follow quite a few New York bloggers and Instagrammers, but I also love to read blog posts from people who are traveling to the city for the first time.  While it’s partly because I’m curious about what they choose to do on their visit, it’s also because there’s a genuine feeling of wonder and excitement that’s infectious.  I find their observations charming, whether good (“there’s so much to see!”) or bad (“it smells horrible!”).  Traveling has always given me that high — going into sensory overload as you take in things you’ve never seen, smelled or heard before.  And while many cities have charmed me, few have done so like Tokyo. Continue reading Never Too Cool for School: Take a Sashimi Class at Osakana

New York Coffee Festival: Takeaways (besides a caffeine high)

Like many coffee aficionados, my devotion began less as an expression of passion and more as a product of necessity. The world may run on fossil fuels, but people, well, they run on caffeine. The delivery method of choice comes in the form of seeds (commonly referred to as “beans”) from the coffea plant, a commodity so precious it is more valuable than oil. Add to that the third wave of coffee, an artisanal movement elevating this respectable staple to a gourmet foodstuff and a burgeoning national obsession (though we’re not quite to the level of Australians), and you have the groundwork for an event such the New York Coffee Festival. Continue reading New York Coffee Festival: Takeaways (besides a caffeine high)

Tango Pop-up Art Exhibition at Chelsea Market

One of the fundamental differences separating humans from most of the animal kingdom is our innate ability to recognize basic patterns. We are endowed with the cognitive aptitude to learn through association, to differentiate and categorize, to see the world through a frame of reference unlike any other living creature, and this acumen informs what we think and say and do. And what differentiates “creatives” from the rest of our species is their exceptional ability to see the achingly simple or astoundingly complex patterns the rest of us are unable to distinguish. The Chinese artist, Gao Youjun (also known as Tango), who is famed for his clever illustrations on the social network, Weibo, is a perfect example of this subspecies. Continue reading Tango Pop-up Art Exhibition at Chelsea Market

Silence of the Music by OSGEMEOS at Lehmann Maupin

When you arrive at 2nd Avenue and 1st Street in the East Village of New York City, you’re met with a massive yellow figure climbing out of the wall, dressed in a turned-around cap and a track jacket,wielding a boombox.  It’s a tribute to the hip hop culture that heavily influenced the artists, Brazilian twins known artistically as OSGEMEOS.  The mural features one of their signature yellow characters which is meant to be racially neutral (in contrast with having to identify with one of the six preset emoji skin tones offered by WhatsApp), and it’s just one of the thoughtful concepts you’ll find at the duo’s exhibition, Silence of the Music, at the Lehmann Maupin Gallery in Chelsea. Continue reading Silence of the Music by OSGEMEOS at Lehmann Maupin

New York Fashion Week: Hot to Adopt with Fresh Step

Four years and twenty-six days ago, I lost my cat Felix.  Everyone thinks their cat is special, but calling Felix “special” would be doing him a huge disservice.  He was uncannily shrewd.  He figured out how to open doors and drawers.  He manipulated timed feeders into futility.  And he orchestrated cover-ups: he’d once gained access to a large bag of food in the pantry, but continued to pretend he was hungry at feeding times so we wouldn’t get suspicious.  Felix gave me fourteen years of laughter, frustration, pride, annoyance, and lots and lots of love. Continue reading New York Fashion Week: Hot to Adopt with Fresh Step

New York Fashion Week: Tommy x Gigi

Most kids remember getting up early to watch Saturday Morning Cartoons while they noshed on their breakfast cereal of choice, but I remember eagerly anticipating Sunday mornings at 10 am, which is when Fashion File would come on in Malaysia.  I’d plop myself in front of the TV and watch as models strutted the runway in Versace, Lacroix and Gaultier.  To say the industry has evolved since then is quite the understatement!  Fashion has become more accessible than ever, and now addicts like myself can easily live stream runway shows, refresh social media feeds, or check blogs that are being updated every few minutes during major events like New York Fashion Week. Continue reading New York Fashion Week: Tommy x Gigi

Indonesian Street Festival

When we would return from school holidays while I was growing up in Malaysia, some of my friends would render tales of surfboarding in California or chasing pigeons in Trafalgar Square.  I don’t know if we couldn’t afford it, or if my father simply didn’t find the travel and/or destinations appealing, but we never visited the western hemisphere.  Our family vacations took us to closer locales like Thailand and Indonesia.  There’s a lot of overlap between Indonesian and Malaysian culture — we share similarities in language, food and beliefs — but Indonesia is much larger and more diverse.  The archipelago of over 18,000 islands has hundreds of ethnic groups and distinct dialects, so it manages to feel familiar and exotic at the same time.  Visiting the Indonesian Street Festival this past weekend was a fun return to that very same intoxicating combination. Continue reading Indonesian Street Festival