Vulture Festival and Film Club at the Crosby Street Hotel



My obsession with New York City started early, and when I was a college student in Cleveland I would regularly fantasize about a life in the big, bright city.  I browsed through the New York Times’ real estate listings and weekend magazines, perused the New Yorker’s articles and cartoons, and pored over New York Magazine’s news and reviews.  I’m still a New York Magazine subscriber today because it was quick to move into the online digital arena, where, like the growing majority, I choose to get most of my news now.   Continue reading Vulture Festival and Film Club at the Crosby Street Hotel

Columbia University Film Festival at Lincoln Center



What are the criteria for an outstanding short film? Or, more precisely, what are the criteria for an outstanding student-produced short film? The specificity makes a huge difference, actually. That’s exactly what the Columbia University Film Festival seeks to answer with screenings, voting and discussions. The festival is the result of Columbia University’s MFA students’ years of study in the prestigious school’s film program.  As one would expect, being part of the Columbia University system gives the students access to massive film archives, unparalleled research collections and mentorship from industry leaders.  Alumni have gone on to produce box office hits (Frozen) and Netflix favorites (Making a Murderer), and are regular film award nominees and winners. Continue reading Columbia University Film Festival at Lincoln Center

Modern Pinball NYC



Before the phenomena of binge-watching episodes of that favorite guilty pleasure program du jour on video streaming services or staring down, slack-jawed, for hours at the now ubiquitous mobile device while perusing social networks, there was another place, anathema to parents and teachers alike, where one could go to rot one’s brain and shorten one’s attention span. It was simply known as an arcade — the earliest iteration of which had pinball machines — and it was glorious. Continue reading Modern Pinball NYC

Martin Puryear: Big Bling at Madison Square Park



It was a lovely spring day in Central Park when my girlfriend remarked that she’d only begun noticing strollers around New York City after she’d had her baby and found herself pushing one as well.  I looked around and realized that families had decided to take advantage of the all-too-rare perfect weather just like we had, and had come out to the park in droves.  I marveled at the little kids running around, envious that they get to grow up with Central Park as their playground.   Continue reading Martin Puryear: Big Bling at Madison Square Park

Washington Heights Walking Tour



Every neighborhood in New York has a story, but only a neighborhood within a neighborhood has secrets. Unfortunately, the prerequisite for discovering these secrets is usually the possession of an address within its boundaries, with time and growing familiarity eventually earning the distinction of being accepted within the community as a “local”. Continue reading Washington Heights Walking Tour

Daze: The City is My Muse at Museum of the City of New York



With income inequality becoming one of the defining challenges of our time, it’s not difficult to understand the increasing democratization of art.  In a refusal to cede control to the art world hierarchy, street artists delivered their message wherever they could — public walls and subway cars became means of expression.  It’s unclear when graffiti became mainstream, but there’s no question that it has.  Christina Aguilera bought a Banksy original for £25,000 in 2006.  The Tate Modern in London invited some artists to do outdoor pieces in 2008, and the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Los Angeles ran an “Art in the Streets” exhibition which was billed as “the first major U.S. museum survey of graffiti and street art” in 2011.  A majority of street artists never leave their urban canvas, but Chris Ellis, also known as Daze, is one of the few artists who has managed to successfully transition his work into museums and galleries. Continue reading Daze: The City is My Muse at Museum of the City of New York

Tom Sachs: Boombox Retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum



Somewhere in Tom Sachs’ overdeveloped imagination, the cold, logical utilitarianism of engineering confronted the intuitive, whimsical nature of art and something unexpected — a symbiosis — developed between them. Continue reading Tom Sachs: Boombox Retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum

Sakura Matsuri at Brooklyn Botanic Garden



There are few people who can travel to Japan and not be charmed by it.  I can remember my first trip there with uncharacteristic precision, but like so many others, I flirted with its culture and food long before I set foot on a plane.  There is something so intoxicating about how truly unique it is, so it’s no surprise that Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Sakura Matsuri is one of its busiest weekends of the year. Continue reading Sakura Matsuri at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Roz Chast: Cartoon Memoirs at the Museum of the City of New York



Before the rise of DC and Marvel superhero blockbusters, with their visual effects extravaganzas, there was the original source material — the under-appreciated, often ridiculed comic books and graphic novels — from which their inspirations were drawn. In fact, prior to bellwether films such as The Dark Knight, Sin City, The Avengers and The Walking Dead, the only examples of this broad medium to garner even a modicum of respect were the iconoclastic satire of MAD Magazine and The New Yorker. And more than any other, the cartoons of The New Yorker epitomized the astonishing breadth of this art form, pushing its boundaries and demonstrating its wealth of profundities. Continue reading Roz Chast: Cartoon Memoirs at the Museum of the City of New York

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.

Continue reading Ibrahim El-Salahi: Alhambra at Salon 94