Thursday, January 4, 2007

in NY once again

I've been back in NYC since last Saturday. Saturday through Tuesday morning I was just here for fun and to celebrate New Years (which was fantastic, by the way). I have been far too occupied with school stuff since meeting up with my arts journalism classmates Tuesday, so this is going to be a long entry recapping what I've done thus far. Enjoy.

Saturday I met Lappy in the city and we got dinner at a small, cute place that I can't remember the name of. The tables were chalkboards, though, so we could draw while we waited for our food. Perfect for us art kids. I hadn't seen her since I graduated, so it was wonderful to see a familiar face and catch up on our lives, etc. We walked around the city for a couple hours after that, ate some Cold Stone, then spent the night at her place in Westchester.

Sunday we slept ridiculously late and went to the city again, but split up to go to different parties. I met up with Jon and that whole crew from undergrad, and we went to a party at their friend Ann's beautiful apartment in Brooklyn. I miss those guys something awful and it was spectacular to hang out with all the people I used to see every day. I also chatted it up with some new kids, a couple of whom I exchanged e-mail addresses with. This was by far the best New Years I've ever had.

Monday evening Lappy and I returned to her house, where I read scanlations of Nana (it's a manga by Ai Yazawa) all night. The scanlations picked up about one chapter after the last chapter I'd read in Shojo Beat Magazine, so I missed a key part of the story, but everything that happened after that key point was the opposite of what I was hoping would happen. It was horribly depressing. Yazawa is a manga goddess. I find myself completely emotionally invested in her comics, even though when you get right down to it, they're basically just soap operas. Her talent for drawing expressive faces and for writing believable dialogue suck me right in.

Tuesday I went to the new MoMA (finally). I was kind of disappointed, actually. They have an incredible collection, and it's all organized on the walls really well, and I like the high ceilings. But I didn't like the floor layout at all. Instead of each floor being one meandering loop so that you can walk straight from one end to the other without missing anything, it had offshoots of rooms all over the place so that you had to retrace your steps much of the time to see everything.

In the evening, I met up with the rest of my arts journalism program and we saw the Broadway musical, "The Drowsy Chaperone." It's a play within a play. A guy talks to the audience about how much he loves this musical ("The Drowsy Chaperone") from the 30s, and when he puts the soundtrack on, the musical comes to life in his living room for the audience to see. The mini-musical was really doofy, though. It was about a famous Broadway star questioning whether she really wanted to get married (leaving her fame behind in the process) on the eve of her wedding. The "chaperone" was her consistently drunk maid of honor. Other cheesy characters are involved in the preparations, and "hilarity" ensues. The costumes and the set were gorgeous, and the "man in chair" character was amusing, but overall the whole thing was just too silly for my taste.

Yesterday we toured the New York Times offices, which was really cool. It makes me wonder if I'll ever see the inside again (from a desk, perhaps??). Lunch was spent with Jared Hohlt, culture editor at New York Magazine. He was very nice, though I must add that NY Mag never responded when I applied for an internship. Not even a polite rejection. Boo. (Not that it has anything to do with Hohlt, he was great.)

We next went to the Morgan Library & Museum, where I saw "Bob Dylan's American Journey," Saul Steinberg illustrations, and drawings by Fragonard and his contemporaries. The Dylan exhibit was so-so. It was a ton of stuff in a small, cramped area. It was interactive, in that you could listen to all his records from 1956-66 in their entirety, so that was a plus. And there were a lot of handwritten documents, including song lyrics, which was pretty amazing to see. The Steinberg stuff was pretty good, but not fantastic. The explanation printed on the wall claimed that he did set design, but there weren't any sketches or props from his designs on display. I did enjoy the drawings that were there, though. There was the classic New Yorker cover of the view of the rest of the world from NYC's perspective, and some collages he made out of self-designed rubber stamps, which I liked a lot. The Fragonard drawings were absolutely beautiful. I reviewed them for Wednesday's assignment, and will post my review after some more editing.

Then at night we saw "A Chorus Line." Most of the other AJ kids didn't seem too crazy about it, but I enjoyed it. I hadn't known anything about it ahead of time, though, and had only heard one song beforehand ("One Singular Sensation," which I didn't even know was from this show), so I think it helped that I went in with so few expectations.

Wow. Long day. Today I was exhausted.

Today we workshopped our reviews. My group was with Robert Ivy, an editor from Architectural Record Magazine. He was really helpful and encouraging. Lunch was spent with him and Eric Grode, a theatre critic at the New York Sun, copy editor at the New York Times, and an SU alumni. (Talk about accomplished.)

In the evening we had a networking party, which didn't turn out to be too successful for me. I talked to a number of people, but no visual arts people showed up, not even the couple who'd RSVP'ed. I was really hoping to meet this one woman from Phaidon Press, which is probably my favorite publisher. They put out a lot of art books, especially some absolutely beautiful collections of photography. But she didn't come.

Lastly, we went to Jazz at Lincoln Center (which is actually located at Columbus Circle), and this was incredible. The venue was gorgeous. It was a smallish club full of small tables that each had these really cool lamps that were basically gigantic eggs made of fogged glass with a lightbulb inside. I really want one. I'll have to check ebay. The ceiling had a dropped lip where it met the wall, which snaked all around the room in a wiggling shape. Then one wall was just a giant window with the most spectacular view I've ever seen inside the city, especially at night. There weren't any buildings obstructing the immediate view, but there was a wide cluster of skyscrapers further in the distance that had plenty of lights on. And I hate to admit it, but the glow around the buildings (caused by light pollution) just added to the scene. It was classic NY. Oh yeah, and the jazz was pretty good too (a quintet called "Horizon") considering I'm not much of a jazz person, but I was definitely paying more attention to the view and people watching.

And once again I am going to bed far later than I would prefer after a ridiculously busy day. Tomorrow will be a tour of the Lincoln Center Performing Arts Library, a visit to "Swan Lake" rehearsal (which I am very excited about), and another play (Tom Stoppard's "The Coast of Utopia: The Voyage"), but that last event will be after getting FOUR WHOLE HOURS OF FREE TIME. Finally! I'm either going to go to the Museum of Sex, which is currently showing an exhibit on Japanese comics, will head down to St. Mark's to do some window shopping in the punk shops, or may seek out a decent tattoo shop, as I'd like to get one done while I'm here if I have time.

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