19
Dec
07

Broadway Babies

I am clearly no professional critic, but I have no problem stating my opinions! For you, my loyal readers, I’ll even give you my reviews for free! You can listen to me or not, but I am an honest judge and know not every show or movie is for everyone.

If you like theater the way I do, then you’re pretty much open to everything and anything. Sometimes this works to my advantage because I see some fantastic performances, and sometimes it backfires and I say to myself that I’m going to have to be more discriminating in what I decide to spend my time and money on.

Recently though I feel I was four for four and being that I try to keep this a positive blog, let’s talk before I see something that makes me want to protest theater like the stagehands.

First let’s take Cyrano de Bergerac staring Kevin Kline and Jennifer Garner. I’m sure you remember Roxanne, the Steve Martin movie, well this is the story that movie is based upon. Kevin Kline plays Cyrano, a man with an uncommonly large nose, who believes because of his unique features, he is destined to live a life without love. He lends his mind, wit and extraordinary poetic ability to another man who acts as a puppet repeating Cyrano’s words to the beautiful Roxane. It’s the words that are most important to Roxane, but when she finds out that Cyrano is the real voice behind the words of love, it is too late.

It’s a comedy and drama in one and as usual Kevin Kline is stellar, here playing Cyrano. I also was pleasantly surprised by Jennifer Garner’s stage acting ability. She did not overdo it, nor was she understated and I have a feeling this won’t be the last time we see her, Ben and Violet here on the Great White Way.

Second, is Pygmalion, closing this month, George Bernard Shaw’s classic about an upper-class phonetics teacher taking a common flower girl under his wing to make her a woman of society. Although sometimes difficult to understand, Claire Danes was fantastic and you could see her struggle when she realizes she “sold” her real self in order to become part of high society. Is she forever in debt to the professor? Does she stay? This version of Pygmalion leaves the answer open-ended and although I feel she probably leaves him, it’s up to you to decide.

Third, Aaron Sorkin’s the Farnsworth Invention. Who knew there was this much drama not ON television, but ABOUT television. Really, who invented TV? According to Philo Farnsworth, he did in 1920 when he showed his science teacher his idea, but how can you develop something so intricate without money and a solid company to back you up? That’s when a Russian immigrant who worked his way out of the Shtetl to the head of RCA comes in and says his men developed the modern day technology. Business, especially during the Great Depression, was and is about money and greed, the kill or be killed theory and there is nothing too dirty or spiteful about playing hardball.

Finally, in the Christmas spirit, I have to encourage you all to go see the Radio City Spectacular. I have seen it every year for the past five years and this being the 75th Anniversary, was sincerely SPECTACULAR. There have been many changes to the show, including more of the famous Rockette dancers, more dance scenes, fireworks, 3-D displays and a major ode to New York. Being in Radio City Music Hall and watching the world famous, long limbed dancers, seeing Santa and watching hundreds of excited small children really takes the humbug out of even the biggest Scrooge.

17
Dec
07

mixing it up on the lower east side

It’s always good to have different types of friends, but things get complicated when one tries to combine all of their worlds into one night. Where to go and what to do to please everyone including a more high maintenance friend, a homosexual friend and an African American friend?  Although far, far away, the answer has to be the Lower East Side.

Although I virtually had to steal a cab from someone uptown to get all the way downtown on this particular blistery Saturday evening, it was worth the schlep. I was pleasantly surprised to not only find an incredible dinner venue but also to see how my friends from different walks of life all really enjoyed meeting each other and had a lot more in common than I ever thought.

I met my eclectic group of friends on the corner of Clinton and Rivington under an awning resembling any local storefront on the Lower East Side.  Inside, the aroma of classic home cooked, American food lingers in the air and a friendly staff member is waiting to seat you. Alias isn’t a new restaurant, but it’s a top notch homey venue that is better than Schiller’s, less expensive than Orchard and not quite as tumultuous as Allen and Delancy. 

The crowd is a mixed breed of trendy hipsters, Lower East Side bohemians and everything that falls smack in the middle. We couldn’t have fit in better!  Alias serves the classics such as Upstate Chicken, roasted Hanger Steak and handmade pasta which “Mama” couldn’t do better herself.  We were in no rush to leave the warm environment, especially when they serve Il Laboratorio ice cream sandwiches and apple pie a la mode.

So where to next with such a diverse cast of characters?  We would have to opt for THOR or The Hotel on Rivington where the crowd is usually a unique combination of “Euro trash,” swanky scenesters and Bridge and Tunnel. We started out at a really nice private party on the second floor where we had a friend’s holiday party, but ultimately made our way downstairs to where the real crazy scene was.

Eighties music blasts in the downstairs bar where the somewhat tacky crowd embraces their inner cheese, but it’s amazing to see how no matter what color, religion, race, sexuality or nationality someone is, everyone loves to sing and dance to Madonna’s “Holiday” and Toto’s “Africa!”

07
Dec
07

The Perfect First Date

Clearly, to each their own, however, I think there’s something to be said about a quality first date. What I mean by quality is not where you go, what you do, or how much money is spent, but it’s about respect, intelligent conversation, manners, and of course laughter and hopefully attraction. Clearly a date without any pressure!

This is a rare experience.  I often find set ups can be hyped by the person setting you up, online set ups are hard to gauge what is fact vs. fiction, bar situations are great, but then you  may question if your remember this person as accurately as you thought. Good old run of the mill spontaneity is often what works best.

Recently I was approached by a man who “thinks I was at the same New Year’s party” as he was last year.  In fact, this was not a pick up line, but a fact. I did remember him being flirtatious with me, but didn’t know if I was interested in pursuing it and left him to find someone else to share a New Year’s Kiss with.  He in fact did and she ended up being a “psycho.”

Almost a year later I’m not sure how he recognized me, but he did, asked me out, and I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised.  Unfortunately a lot of life is timing, and in this situation there was little time to waste due to a long vacation he is about to embark on.  Instead of keeping in touch via email for almost three weeks and pushing our meeting off till he got back, without hesitation he met me out on a weekend night in between two parties that I had.

Let’s just say I wish I never made it to those parties. He was smart, funny, charming, intelligent, and every other trite adjective one can use about someone they go out with once.

There was NO pressure and I feel like that made all the difference. We went for light tapas and wine, had a quick 1 ½ date, laughed and relaxed. That was all there was to it. Simple and easy! So easy in fact that we were able to find the time before his flight for one last drink the night before he left.

I’m not an idealist and do not think “THIS IS IT.” I just now see the difference between a relaxed, stress free date where no one is out to impress anyone, and a date where it’s all about the “one up.” The who, what, when, where, why and how is not what’s important, but being able to be yourself is what makes a perfect first date.

04
Dec
07

I’m Not There – Was Dylan Ever Anywhere?

After seeing the movie I’m Not There, the biographical film reflecting the life of the legend Bob Dylan, I realized that most of his life, Dylan was a lost soul.

The movie shows clear distinct phases in Dylan’s life portrayed through six different character actors ranging from young to old, black to white, male to female. Cate Blancett depicts the political, rebellious Dylan, Richard Gere, the “Billy The Kid” type recluse, Christian Bale, the preachy Pastor-like Dylan, Heath Ledger, the rock star dabbling in sex and drugs, Marcus Carl Franklin, representing his childhood, and Ben Whishaw, the analytical Dylan.

 Obviously all very different types of actors/actresses and all representing a different phase in life that Dylan went through.  If there is an Oscar buzz about any of these characters, it would be Blanchett, but wouldn’t it be interesting if she gets the Best Actress nod while another one of the male characters gets the nod for Best Actor.

It was an interesting movie from an artistic point of view. Watching a single man’s life unfold before us from six different perspectives certainly was a new way to tell a story and it was obvious how well the movie was directed and edited.

Some things to contemplate before you see this film.  First, are you a lover of Dylan?  His songs are on in the background the entire 2 ½ hours and although some songs are his classics, there are some more obscure songs that even the biggest Dylan fan may not know.  The answer is I don’t think you have to be a fan in order to appreciate the movie. Being familiar with his sound would only enhance the movie’s effect on the viewer, but I’m not a big Bob Dylan fan, sometimes find his music too preachy and whiney, yet thoroughly enjoyed the film.

Second, do you have to know a lot about the history of Dylan and growth of music from the 50’s to today?  To be honest, it would help, but I didn’t. I learned a lot from this movie about the development of “rock and roll” from folk music and how politics really helped to construct the music industry.

I highly recommend I’m Not There as a movie of the history on one man’s life viewed through a crystal, development of “rock and roll” and how one man could actually be so many different people in one lifetime.

And while you’re at the movies, if you’re in the moode for an outrageous story about a dysfunctional family, sex, murder, jealously and neglect, I recommend Before the Devil Knows Your Dead. This is a story of two brothers’ struggle to get by in the world at the expense of everyone else around them, including their own family. It’s a terribly sad movie, exceptionally humorless, and a bit depressing, but it’s also Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke at their best!

30
Nov
07

Rock The Boat In Midtown

Bar 44 and Brasserie 44, the trendy, new bar and restaurant just opened last week in the newly redesigned Royalton Hotel on 44th street between 5th and 6th Avenues.

Walking into the hotel you automatically get the feeling of a swanky boutique hotel in Miami. This shouldn’t cause any major shock value considering it is part of the same family as the Hudson, the Delano, the Mondrian and the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Vegas.

What is unlike these other Mecca’s is that the Royalton is not quite the “hot spot” yet, but this is all a matter of timing. Give it through the holidays, because where else can the Viacom family, the Conde Nast group or most of the major law firms in the city go for large corporate events in that area?

Nowhere, so this almost “club like” new bar and restaurant will book up fast and furiously.

Bar 44, furnished by the same designer that did Lure Fishbar and Lever House, has that same sleek vibe, but there are a few different sections that are kept “private.” Private is a relative term considering the fact there are no doors to close and it’s very easy to sneak in to a section with an open bar for a signature drink on the house.

Bar 44 is a great place to go on a date for a drink in midtown, but if it’s a night where there are a few parties, it definitely can get loud. This was fine for me on the night I went, because MTV’s private party drowned out the screeches the 1 ½ old year girl I was with made when her Elmo hit the floor! I do recommend grabbing a seat by the fire if you can, because it’s clearly the “hot spot” in the place!

As for the restaurant, the food was very good. Have you been to Oceana or Daniel? Well that is where the chef was trained and he brought all of his skills with him to midtown. I do think for the portion size, the prices were a bit on the high end, but remember, this is also a place for corporate expense accounts and business lunches.

The restaurant portion of the lobby has a bit of a boat like feel to it. Like Lure Fishbar, there are large leather banquettes to relax in; rope arches over many of them, and teak wood throughout the restaurant. The staff is young and accommodating and helped the MTV party get drinks, helped the diners pick the best bets from the menu, and even read our little guest part of a story book.

25
Nov
07

Where To Eat?

Most of the restaurants east of Irving Place, below 14th Street and above Houston have been played out already.

Sure Frank is great, but we’ve been, and is it really worth waiting hours to be cramped into a cubby room? Hearth is a bit pricey for what it offers, Cacio e Pepe is “fine,” and the Mermaid Inn is delicious, but let’s venture out to the Upper West Side now and check out the new outlet.

Sure the NYU area is not ideal to dine in due to the amount of young students, frat-like bars and more “fast food” type restaurants, but now that Uno Chicago Pizzeria on 3d Avenue has closed its doors and THE SMITH has opened, there is a better option when you find yourself in the East Village.

The Smith is an American Brasserie that is casual but sleek. It is decorated in a vintage- like way with subway tile floors and a cool East Village neighborhood feel. Go for a drink to the long, spacious bar that serves no wine over $9 dollars and pick from a decent list of beers and creative mixed drinks. The menu serves everything from salads to full entrees, but it seems their signature dishes are “almost burnt” mac ‘n’ cheese and chips with cheese. I suggest you leave room for one of the large array of ice cream desserts available as well!

Granted, the place just opened, so be patient with the service and order an appetizer because the entrees definitely took a while to come out.

The Smith is just a standard American neighborhood joint with a great vibe, yet, a relaxed atmosphere. Don’t go expecting the food and service of Gramercy Tavern, but you won’t be disappointed. It’s enjoyable, straightforward and laid-back.

Also, be careful not to confuse The Smith with Smith’s that just opened on MacDougal. It seems 411 is a bit confused so don’t let them steer you toward the more expensive, more formal venue with almost the same name!

21
Nov
07

The Great Escape

Sorry for being out of touch for a while my loyal fans, but I’ve been away for two weeks! I’m back though and ready to get back to work here at Bachelorsguide.com.

Let me just tell you though, vacations, like oxygen and H2O, are one of life’s essentials. They are an escape from the workplace, computers, phones and the everyday repetition of reality!

 

I just spent the last week in Costa Rica and if I could recommend a one week vacation that combines a little something for everyone, CR is it!  It’s like camp, but out of the country, where the activities are longer, a bit more provocative, and instead of counselors who may not speak fluent English, there are guides that force you to conjugate those verbs you learned in high school Spanish class.

All you need is a passport and you can fly in less than 5 hours (no Ambien necessary) directly to San Jose. From there it’s just a short flight to the beaches or a nice ride through the mountains to the active volcanoes and animal packed rainforests.

Zip-lining, white water rafting, hiking active volcanoes, swimming in hot springs and being lazy on the beaches are just a few things you can do on your visit, but I must say learning the language of the Howler Monkey in the rainforests is a highlight for the animal lover.  Not in any zoo would you be able to get this close to monkeys, ant eaters, sloths, toucans and crocodiles.

There’s nothing luxurious about the hotels there (unless you can arrange to go the time of year that the Four Seasons has good weather), it’s not a high maintenance trip, but it’s nature at it’s finest, makes you feel happy and healthy, all the while leaving your hairdryer, make up and designer clothes in the city.

Put it this way, if Marbella Spain is like the Hamptons, then Costa Rica is Fire Island.  Fire Island with better food, more culture, less deer, more monkeys, cheaper drinks and an earlier wakeup call and bedtime! Bring a few books, soak in some Latin American sun and enjoy all the journeys and natural beauty an unaffected country like Costa Rica has to offer.




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