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1975 was just about the time when addressing sexuality in public became almost politically acceptable and no one did it more outrageously than Terrence McNally in his Broadway hit musical “The Ritz”. He set his stage in a gay bathhouse in Manhattan where mostly naked men strutted around in mini bath towels, touching one another and baring more than just their chests.

The concept at the time was daring because it wasn’t common that homosexuality was discussed openly and outwardly, let alone acted out, live and in our faces. In 1975 this was a new idea and must have received shocking reviews, but now the concept is kind of old and played out.

Nothing about gay, naked men is shocking on Broadway anymore, especially after “Take Me Out” won the TONY in 2003 and shows like Spring Awakening, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and History Boys put sex, nudity and sexual abuse, in our faces.

Back in the day, I’m sure “The Ritz” was an over the top comedy where the lead character needed to hide from his mobster Brother-in-Law, and ended up at the gay bathhouse. Here he found himself sexually assaulted by the men at bathhouse as well as the one woman who resides there as the entertainment.

In today’s version of “The Ritz,” the Latino female entertainer is Rosie Perez, and due to her high pitched vocal tone and her fast paced speaking, she was extremely difficult to understand. Both Latino women and homosexual men are completely clichéd in this production and due to the recurrent nature of the homosexual theme; the show was a bit dated.

I would have liked to have seen the original back in the day because I’m sure I would have been stunned out of my seat, but this week in 2007 I was a bit bored, thought I was hard of hearing due to the fast paced yelling, and door slamming and was hoping to get more laughs out of the played out antics.


Back To My Roots

I know I’m an adult and am supposed to act my age, but sometimes it’s refreshing to know I can still behave like the wild sorority girl I once was.

Rarely can I convince my friends to join me at more adolescent, “divey,” bars, for more spontaneous, random evenings, but this past Friday night I succeeded, and she came willingly!  Off to Brother Jimmy’s BBQ on the Upper East Side for cheap drinks, cheesy 80’s music and hopefully a little bit of trouble reminiscent of my university days. 

We may have been the oldest patrons by at least 5 years, but we were easily the lives of the party.  We got ourselves invited to our table neighbor’s birthday party and persuaded the young folks on our other side to buy a “garbage can” for all three tables to help celebrate.  Twenty of us were not able to finish this giant pretzel keg sized drink consisting of mostly 151.

We danced, we sang, we took shots and eventually we left when we decided it was time to check out another old stomping ground, Sutton Place.  The crowd was weak at Sutton Place, but maybe that was because it was late and it’s more of a “happy hour” bar.  We never should have left Brother Jimmy’s where the crowd was young, but for sure wild, entertaining, and adorable to boot.              

It wasn’t my intention of keeping a youthful theme going with my weekend, but Saturday night kept my formative years alive and kicking.  Thanks to a LONG but worthy wait in the lounge at Bond Street and being part of a party consisting of only two girls and a guy, again, I found myself invited to yet another 26 year old’s birthday party.

The catch here was that this one was open bar. Clearly a no brainer, we would head over to Marquis Lounge on Bowery and Great Jones after dinner. The place felt like a huge living room with Moroccan décor, had a small bar and played mediocre music. The young boys from Bond Street were thrilled we showed and were more than willing to open up their already open bar to strangers. 

Sure one of the boys “bought” me a few drinks, but none of these younger men I met this weekend were for me. They were cute and sweet, but not serious and not secure enough to talk to women until they were completely inebriated. 

That’s okay though because by the time Sunday morning came around I realized I’m way too old to drink this much and stay out this late too many nights in a row. One night of reliving my college years at a time is more than this mind, liver and body handle.


What Made van Gogh Crazy?

“Painted with Words, Vincent van Gogh’s Letters to Emile Bernard” is a small exhibit at The Morgan Library and Museum, but large enough to give creative insight into the life of the artist most famously known for cutting off his left ear during in an act of “craziness,” and the painting Starry Night.

The letters are written between 1887 and 1889 and reveal van Gogh’s thoughts on life, art and religion during that time and how he mentored Bernard during his early stages.  Interestingly, what was left out of these letters was the clear cut emotional turmoil van Gogh was feeling during these years.

What made VvG so insane? Obviously he was mentally ill and regardless whether this was caused because of neurological issues such as epilepsy or because he swallowed too much paint, I’d LOVE to know his deepest, darkest secrets during these two pivotal years. Remember, he was in an asylum during this time and ultimately shot himself, so clearly he didn’t work through his problems so successfully.

What made Vincent van Gogh such a lunatic? No money? Try working out of a studio in Tribeca that’s 350 Square Feet.  Too much air pollution from paint? Try inhaling bus fumes and asbestos from pipe explosions. Too much pressure to be famous? Try making it for one minute on Broadway, in Hollywood or in the artistic realm today.

Don’t get me wrong, the man more or less invented Impressionist art, but I want answers. The letters were beautifully written and the sketches that paralleled them were divine, but I need more depiction as to what was going on in the inside of his head. What caused the screws to come loose?

These 20 letters don’t tell us about the mental man, but show a different side of him. The letters depict a more emotional painter who was a caregiver and a mentor to his students, and avoids talking about his bipolar, sick individual persona.

Let the man be who he wanted to be at whatever point in time he’s painting. This is how Vincent van Gogh became such an individual in his works. 

I’m telling you after reading these letters and getting a better understanding of VvG’s life, you’re going to need a minute to sit and debrief. At what point in his life was he healthy and during that time what type of art was he focusing on? It gets confusing to keep it all straight.

Just enjoy Vincent van Gogh for being the most creative artist of his time and enjoy it over the extraordinary lobster salad at the Morgan Dining Room. Just make a reservation ahead of time.


Dinner and a Movie Date Recommendation

Michael Clayton is an intense thriller as opposed to a quirky love story, however, I still recommend it as a great movie date selection. It’s a thought provoking film that will stir great conversation for the rest of the evening.

Upon first reflection, I hated the movie, but after thinking about it, why did I hate it? I hated it because it made me stressed and intense. It rattled me and shook my nerves up so much that I was edgy for two hours straight and desperately needed a drink.

Granted, looking at George Clooney is always comforting, but if this movie didn’t star the most sought after actor in Hollywood, would Michael Clayton have any endearing qualities? Clearly, yes. Any movie that can elicit these types of emotions is apparently a movie worthy of a Hollywood buzz .

Obviously this was an extreme movie, and in the end it made me question a lot of the big business’ I’m familiar with and the people that defend them. Don’t these industries have morals to guide their ultimate decisions? Are “fixers” like Michael Clayton truly necessary to break up powerful companies that are harming our livelihood?

In this powerful thriller perhaps we did, but after thinking about it I realize if it wasn’t for big business we wouldn’t have the food we eat, the medicines that cure us, the people to defend and the education provided to us. I was able to calm my nerves and justify the world in my own head.

But now it’s time for less contemplation, justification and rationalization, and more thought on where to eat and what to drink!

Who else to turn to than Steve Hanson, the restaurateur responsible for the B.R. Guest franchise (Ruby Foo’s, Blue Water Grill, Fiama, Level V). I’m not a big carnivore but I have to say I loved Primehouse because of its twist on the typical steakhouse experience. It doesn’t try too hard to be a “female” steakhouse like STK, but is not overwhelmingly manly like Wolfgang’s.

Although it is an enormous venue, its friendly staff and not too eclectic architecture gives it a homey feel, filled with geometric design and an art deco aesthetic. The menu is a great combination of classic steakhouse offerings with a twist of the chef’s own personal touches.

So in the end Michael Clayton and Primehouse New York was a date combining the best of both worlds. Thought provoking, mindful, reflection and conversation, combined with indulgence, pleasure a slight buzz to lead to perhaps a second date????



The Weekend Scene

Scene One – Friday Night:

He makes eye contact, I smile shyly, turn back to my friends, but when I glace back to make sure he really was cute, he’s still checking me out.  Now I’m excited and my friends are just confirming him gape at me like a painter staring at a blank canvas not knowing where to begin. 

I laugh nervously hoping he’ll walk over and when he does coolly sit down next to me, greetings are exchanged. As the evening goes by he’s constantly gazing in my direction, smiling, looking to get my attention, and although I gave him a look of approval, he begins to gather his belongs and say goodbye to his friends.  

The girls want me give him my card before he leaves and although it’s apparent he’s interested, why would I want to give my number to a guy who’s too timid to come get it himself? Girls want to date men with chutzpah, not cowards who fear rejection.

Scene Two – Saturday Night:

He makes eye contact; I smile back politely and blatantly turn away. He then taps me, starts talking and doesn’t stop for the rest of the night. It wasn’t a coincidence that he had to go to the bathroom at the same time I did, nor needed a drink when I did. He won’t stop staring, and not in the way a tourist looks at the Mona Lisa, but the type of creepy, stalker like gaze that makes me feel totally uncomfortable.

He ends up talking his way in to making me give him your card and the second I said goodbye, he texts me. Reluctantly I answer the text which leads him to text back, ask me out and wish me “sweet dreams.” My response, “talk soon.”  What is with this psycho?

Scene Three – Sunday Morning

Lying in bed I wonder to myself, why is it that the cute guy in the crisp button down and True Religion jeans didn’t have the backbone to ask for my number (let alone text me good night), but the guy in the stoned washed jeans from the 80’s did?

Like all women, I want to be pursued and although it’s the 21st century, there are some situations where old fashioned behavior, such as courting, is polite and appropriate. Granted I could have been the aggressor in this situation, but I often notice men get intimated by women who are the instigators.

Men, I know approaching a woman is scary and rejection is not ideal, but whatever happened to that “good old college try?” You’re a man, so take some initiative and start acting like one.  You’re never going to know if you’ll be rejected until you try, and trust me, women like a man who isn’t shy, is willing to make the first move, and will follow through without acting like the psycho stalker from Saturday night.


A Vacation from Manhattan Conveniently In Manhattan

Take a loved one, take a friend, take a pet or just take yourself, but no matter what, just GO to the Cloisters.

What exactly are the Cloisters? Where are the Cloisters? Why do I keep hearing about them and why would I want to go? Isn’t it such a schlep to get up there? NO!

Hop on the A Train, the M4 or drive up the West Side Highway to 190th St Fort Tryon Park and enjoy a long walk on the Cloisters 4 acres of greenery looking over the Hudson River.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s extension is devoted to the art and architecture of Medieval Europe. There are beautiful gardens to roam, tapestries to observe and glowing stained-glass windows to be entranced by. The actual museum is small and doesn’t take much time to stake out, but it’s worth a small donation to help with the upkeep of the gardens and horticulture.

I would recommend making a day out of it and enjoy a Sunday brunch or dinner one evening at the New Leaf Café. This charming, American café is set in a stone building in the park and although the service is a bit inattentive and slow, sitting outside, under umbrellas, on a patio in the middle of Manhattan is reason enough to take the trek.

Compared to Central Park, the Cloisters may be further away from the center of the city geographically; however, they also mentally take you that much further away than any park below 189th Street.


Not the Typical Dinner Date


How can a dinner date be more romantic than a beautiful restaurant, upstairs in an old brownstone, looking over the park, with candle light? Basically, it can’t.

Well I had a date to remember that may top that.

It was one of those disheveled days when my head was in the clouds and the day just fully escaped from me. Rush, rush rush! Exactly what New Yorkers do best, right?

So I go to work, think I’m being good and hit the gym (even though I was more tired than a hibernating bear in winter time) and by the time 8 O’Clock PM came along I was ready for dinner, a shower and my bed!

I decide to be the anti-lazy Manhattanite and instead of ordering in Chinese or from the dinner, I actually get up, walk downtown and East to Todaro, that yummy gourmet market across from the Kips Bay movie theater.

Well as I go to take out my wallet, I realized that in all of my pandemonium earlier I inconveniently forgot my wallet in my other bag.  Like on the show Millionaire, I decide to “phone a friend” and get a credit card number. Well unlike Millionaire, my friend wasn’t home and as I go to dial another, my chaotic night took a turn.

The nicest man in the world leaned over, handed me 12 single dollar bills and said, “Here’s dinner on me!” I mean, whoever said New Yorkers aren’t nice, never met my dinner companion this evening. He wouldn’t allow me to repay him and NO, he wasn’t hitting on me either.

Clearly this wasn’t the most romantic date filled with rose petals and wine, but it was one of the most endearing and thoughtful dates I’ve ever been on.


Dating In The Workplace

Do you act the same at home and in the office? Do you dress the same, behave the same, and speak the same? I mean, if you were the same person in your personal environment and in the work milieu, wouldn’t life get a little mundane?

Well, combine this idea with dating someone from your office and you may come across a complete stranger in your bed. I mean the person you met at work has a completely different social security number than the person you brought home and woke up with.

So let me give you a brief explanation. I met a guy at a meeting, thought he was adorable and we had “so much in common!” Clearly we share the same everyday interests being we were in the same industry and although we didn’t know each other that long, we seemed to have many of the same outside interests as well. Bonus points being he was a total cutie!

Undoubtedly I was smitten, until I realized my charming coworker is NUTS. Not nuts in the fun, “party like” way, but neurotic, irrational, obsessed and crazy like a lunatic. Like medications are necessary to calm him down and make him sensible.

Outside the office, he was completely stream of consciousness, couldn’t stay on one topic for more than two sentences, constantly talking about himself and saving the world due to his involvement in his local community’s politics.  As a member of the Young Republicans Club, I’ve never met a more “important” person in my life, or so he kept telling me. Yes, he could help his friend get out of a local parking ticket, but could he behave at dinner the way he could around a conference table? Could he be quiet and serene at any other point in time besides at a conference? Unfortunately, he couldn’t.

Needless to say after our last date when he drank himself silly and then took an Ambien to fall asleep, I couldn’t help but think this boy was bipolar. What happened to the person in the suit and tie, who seemed so appropriate and even keeled at 9AM? By the time the clock hit 5 PM his tranquility turned to uproar.  He lost all of his composure and let his inner, neurotic Ego out.


Yes, I could have been mature and have had a conversation with him,  but isn’t it easier just to ignore it, stop returning phone calls and make the next meeting all that much more awkward?  Of course it was more stressful, but only on the first hellos. Then it’s forgotten about, at least on my end until I see him staring at me across the room, in mirror reflections and having him sit at my tables.

All I can do is simply laugh at the person in the workplace knowing by day he’s Clark Kent and by night, instead of Superman, he turns in to more of the “Joker.” A little loud, neurotic, devil who thinks everyone’s out to get him.

Again I think we all have independent personas in our personal lives vs. our work lives, but not completely different. I’m not me by day and Paris by night or me by day and working the back rooms at Scores at night. There has to be a happy medium.

A more thorough screening process for the boy or girl you meet at work must be implemented before going straight out with them one on one. Try the group date and see how they behave differently amongst your peers than how they are in the cubicles. Maybe he or she is just as shy outside of work as they are inside or maybe they let out so much of their inner Ego out there just isn’t enough room for him and anyone else in the room.

No matter what, you just stay true to yourself and don’t try to compete with or live up to anyone else’s behavior. They will come around and realize that their bizarre behavior isn’t being welcomed and will take it down a notch or two or simply just disregard everyone else’s aloofness and believe he will go on saving the world.  Like all bipolar folks, let them be whom ever they want to be, whenever they want to be them, but don’t get involved so deeply that you must become a person with two different identities.

It can be confusing to those who knew you first!


Across The Universe

You don’t have to be a Beatles fanatic or a bra burning, anti war activist to appreciate Julie Taymor’s breathtaking movie, Across the Universe.  Although the movie is more like a musical because it’s all set to Beatles songs, it has a plot and dialogue to keep it flowing in sequence.

Unlike any other movie, it has its flaws; however, if you let yourself delve in, you will be swept away by Taymor’s creativity, imagination, and almost “trippy” staging and sets.  Her previous works include the very popular Lion King on Broadway, Frida, The Magic Flute at the Met and now this miraculous work of art.

Set in the 60’s at a time of unrest, we learn, that music is what we can depend on; it’s stable and reliable, unlike society which at times can be turbulent.  Before you shun the idea of another movie about Vietnam, this movie isn’t all war and peace rallies.  The way the Beatles formed a group, a group of friends was born, love was discovered, friendships jeopardized and hearts were broken. Although perhaps obvious at times what famous song was going to be sung, it’s amazing how a view or meaning of a song can change when a person of a different gender, color or race is singing.

Jon, Paul, George nor Ringo could never have imagined how significant and impactful their own words were and how without meaning to, they told a story of love and peace during a time of rebellion and war. Their music was intentional, in terms of individual songs about love, war or changing the world, but Julie Taymor was able to bring those independent musical miracles, into choreographed genius. Every step the actors took was intended and the beauty of the movie goes beyond the music. It’s the dance, the colors, the sets, originality and the inventiveness.

What was the take home message of Across the Universe?  It may be trite, but it’s unarguably true, “ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE.”


A Night At the Met

Recently I was taken on a very lovely date. Completely appropriate, very much my style, and at the same time, unexpected, almost shocking.

Dinner and the opera! And not just any opera, La Boheme! Unless you want Romeo and Juliet, you can’t have higher expectations for romance on a second date or a more idealistic look at love. Man meets woman, woman falls for idealistic man, man woos her until the day she dies.

Not many single, 30 year old men think of dinner and the opera as an appropriate date, and, often, the men that do, can seem rather stuffy and pretentious. In this case, not only was he not flashy, or affected, he isn’t ostentatious at all. The problem on this particular date lied within me. I wasn’t so sure I even wanted to go on a second date, but he was sweet enough to invite me and I do enjoy his company. I enjoy his company, but not in the way Romeo enjoyed Juliet’s, but more like the way Oprah likes to travel with Gayle and Matt likes to play with Ben.

Was I wrong to accept an invitation to such a lavish evening, knowing I wasn’t attracted to the man? What is the exact rule for date number two? Is it wrong to agree to a date for your own personal pleasure, knowing the relationship won’t go beyond that evening?

I did have a great time, but the thought of my date reaching over and taking my hand, stressed me out to the point where I didn’t enjoy the show as much as I would have if I was with someone else. The lack of oxygen I felt at times throughout the evening was comparable to being stuck between an overweight passenger and the bathroom on a full flight with many more hours to go.

So in the end was it worth it? I already knew the story of La Boheme and although a night at the opera is a special treat, sometimes a night at home, peaceful and comfortable is more important than romance.