Archive for the 'Night on the town' Category


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.


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!”