I went into the show thinking I’d come out with an answer: which was better? But the truth is, you can’t compare Queen of the Night and Sleep No More. I love them both in different ways. While in Sleep No More, I am a ghost who haunts the story, powerless to help or harm, enchanted to watch, at Queen of the Night I was the Chloe I might be in a fairy tale. I was the Chloe who made eye contact and boldly put herself in situations that made her slightly uncomfortable. I was the Chloe who believed in true love and ran off, hand-in-hand with strange boys, to raid the kitchen and steal champagne. As to the question Jimmy asked me as he hovered above me, I still can’t say if it’s art. But I will say it’s spectacle and adventure, and just maybe you might leave a little bolder, a little more enchanted than when you arrived.
Posts Tagged With: new york
In college, we had to see a Shakespeare play and compare its take to the text. There was a glam rock production of Richard III in town that featured David Bowie and puppets. It was strange to say the least; after intermission, Richard entered the stage as king dressed in full Iggy Pop gear. It was the only time I’d seen a production of the play until last night. It was an interesting take, comparing Richard’s use of a persona to that of a rock star.
Mark Ryance’s production of Richard III may not have David Bowie, but it has to be one of the coolest theater production I’ve ever seen. In case you don’t know, this production is as authentically Elizabethan as possible- men play women, candles adorn the set, the actors dress on stage before the performance, there are no mics, and an Elizabethan style music troupe performs atop the set. It was a fun experience to watch the actors dress, and it was interesting to see it done as it might have been done back in the day (you know, WAY back in the day). And I won’t even mention the curtain call…the curtain call was perhaps my favorite part of the whole approach, and I don’t want to spoil it!
While I love the detail that went into this production, I think the authenticity was the least interesting of Rylance’s choices in the production–which is saying something! His Richard was not the dastardly mastermind but a mad and perhaps accidental genius. He would cackle mid-soliloquy, prance about like a fool, and molest poor Anne’s fingers in a rather horrific fashion. While I always read the play as a terrible man (but slightly sympathetic, he has, after all had a tough lot in life) who goes insane as the weight of his greedy deeds mounts, Rylance’s portrayal shows a man who is already slightly insane who goes off the deep end entirely once he gains power. Many of the scenes that are often chilling were actually funny in Rylance’s hands. He reminded me of Albert Finney in Scrooge. (I doubt anyone will get that reference, I think my mom and I are the only people in the world who have seen and adore that film, but it’s a fantastic performance.) He was funny, and because of that, you like him, even though he’s a homicidal maniac. I’m not sure it was my favorite interpretation, I’d have to see more actual productions (read: non glam rock themed), but it was really enjoyable, and I’m even more excited to see their production of Twelfe Night next week.
With my discussion of Shakespeare aside, it’s been busy as usual. Finals week is coming up, so things have been quiet as I’m too busy studying and preparing papers and trying not to run screaming through the streets to do anything interesting. It was nice to go home for Thanksgiving and see my family. I enjoyed taking a break from the busy city to eat a lot of food and check out the country craft fairs. I’m starting to get into the Christmas spirit; once I finish finals I think I will be in full holiday cheer mode!
There’s a tiny courtyard not far from where I work that perfectly describes life in New York. It’s a tiny little improvisation of the gap between an ancient church and a monstrosity of an office building. It’s such a surprising little slice of nature, with its carefully manicured gardens lining the edges and even a square of grass towards the back.
But then you go back to sit on the grass and you realize it’s plastic. And the suits around you seem a little too silent as they eat their lunch on the checkerboard cement tables. And you have a choice. You can look at the perfect gardens and the fake grass and the non-talking Wall Street suits taking up all the seats and you can be disappointed, even angry, that you’ve been misled, that it’s all a big plastic and nothing is truly real. And I think everyone goes through that phase, whether it’s when they discover the hidden courtyard or when they move to the big city. But you can also choose to sit on the low brick wall at the back and kick off your shoes in the plastic grass. You can eat your lunch at the cute little green table and revel in the cool shade cast from the nondescript office building and the peaceful silence of lunchtime and this alcove of the city.
Like living in the city, it’s easy to be annoyed and frustrated and disappointed. It’s what they don’t tell you about New York–The day to day of it all, at least at first, sucks quite a bit. But you try to deal with the suckiness and find the surprising little secrets. You unpack you lunch, open your book, and enjoy the corners where you find those secrets.
In businessy blog news, I’ve changed the title! KnowEdits doesn’t really work anymore as A. I’m still not editing and B. this blog has nothing to do with editing. So it can be about my knowing things, or my not knowing things. Hopefully I will find a better title, but for now this works.
It’s official. I have survived my first year in New York. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has been a lot of fun. I’ve made a ton of wonderful friends, gotten to see some fascinating new takes on theater, and gotten accepted into grad school. Busy year!
Two weeks ago, my friends Marilia, from Brazil, and Katie, from Chicago, came to town for the much-anticipated BEA. It was wonderful to see them, especially as June marked our one year anniversary. We discovered an interesting bar on the west side, which is actually an old boat on a barge. The drinks were pricey (though not too much more than average), and the views were gorgeous. We went to BEA, which was just as hectic and fun as last year. I didn’t get any business cards, but I did walk away with 25 books, 4 comics, a handful of tote bags, and a really awesome set of Rainbow Fish stickers.
That Tuesday, Marilia, Vivian, Tabitha and I went to see Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. The musical is based on a passage from Tolstoy’s War & Peace and includes a Russian dinner. It was a blast! The dinner was quite tasty, the theater was gorgeous (especially since the “theater” is actually a huge white tent…it was easy to forget that once inside), and the play itself was electric. There wasn’t a stage; instead the actors ran around through the audience, singing their stories. The whole thing was really fun and creative. I’ve decided I really like these new interactive forms of theater. I’m getting spoiled by all these avant-garde works in the city!
Sadly, Marilia and Katie went home, but the apartment was empty for long. My mom came for a visit last Friday. We had a really nice time. The city was rather wet, but we managed to keep busy. We visited our favorite pizza place in DUMBO, found some treasures at the Brooklyn flea, and introduced Mom to the wonder of soup dumpling. We also explored the depths of Brooklyn in search of a clothing store at Kings Plaza. Getting there was an adventure full of interesting bus rides, but the store was worth it. Monday was her last full day, and we tried to go to Union Square. It was so miserable even the crazy people weren’t out, though, so after lunch at the Tortaria and coffee around the corner, we headed home to pack and nap. We found a tasty spot in Little Italy for dinner.
I’m glad I’ll be going home for a week in July, I almost forgot how much I miss my family. After a year here, that’s still one of the harder parts. But, there’s no weird theater in Ohio, and most of all no publishing. So, I’m still here, and with grad school starting in the fall, it seems things are going to keep getting busier!
Hello old friend!
Well, so much for my New Year’s resolution to post more. I have, however, kept my resolution to DO more. The past 3 months have been full of doing. From advanced screenings of movies to finding new bars with friends to sitting on the Iron Throne of Westeros.
I think one of my favorite discoveries is Sleep No More, a theater experience in a converted warehouse space in Chelsea. The show is Macbeth meets Hitchcock meets a creepy adult playground. There are five floors to explore over the course of three hours, and the show loops three times, splitting up and running all over the 100 different rooms. The show itself is beautiful and wonderful and more than a little intoxicating. The closeness of the actors and the fact the whole point is to be brave and explore (“Fortune favors the bold”) makes for a unique and exhilarating experience. But it’s more than that. The very atmosphere is magical, full of mystery and possibility. Even The McKittrick’s other event spaces are wonderful. Last night, some friends and I went to a concert at the upstairs restaurant, and it was wonderful. It felt like what New York should be, sitting in a booth with my friends sipping overpriced but deliciously classy cocktails and listening to chill bluesy covers in a dimly lit plush bar.
In a city that is very often isolating, where we put on our headphones and turn up our music and try not to meet anyone’s eye, there’s something to be said about an experience that makes eye contact sensual and a simple hand hold exhilarating. At The McKittrick, whether you are there for the show or just there to relax and have a drink, it’s easy to feel like you’re part of something, something sophisticated and secret and wonderful.
“I need to write a blog about this. I need to write a blog. I NEED TO WRITE A BLOG.”
Or so I’ve been thinking to myself pretty regularly for the past 4 weeks. AND I’M FINALLY DOING IT. Apologies (as usual) for the delay in posting. I can’t even say I’ve been particularly busy. I mean, I have been busy, but I’ve had plenty of free time since the NYU program wrapped up July 13. I’ve had plenty of adventures, too. The New York philharmonic, job interviews, and more recently duck in Chinatown (complete with the head), “Into the Woods” at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, and The Curiosity Rover Landing.
And that’s what I’m going to talk about. When I saw that they would be broadcasting the landing in Times Square, I decided I had to go. I mean, I’m in New York, and this is a big deal, it would be like a big party right? Well, partially right. At first, the whole affair was a bit disappointing. It was on possibly the tiniest screen in Times Square, and to hear we had to hold our phones to our ears, and most of the people in the area were more interested in finding themselves on the big advertising screen over the McDonald’s. Maybe they didn’t know that we were about to attempt the MOST DIFFICULT MARS LANDING EVER, but it was frustrating. Didn’t anyone appreciate what we were about to do? Didn’t this deserve a slightly larger screen, a bigger deal? I’m not sure what I expected, I guess a packed square with trumpets blaring and mars confetti or something.
That said, it was really cool. The closer to 1:31 AM it got, the more people who actually cared gathered. There were some nice people from NASA handing out pins and stickers, several news crews, and some really awesome nerdy shirts (including a bedazzled R2D2 shirt). And as we listened to the NASA landing crew talk to each other, not really understanding what they were saying but hoping it was good, there was finally an air of excitement that felt appropriate. No, the square still wasn’t full, but there was something about being in such a big, shiny place, holding my breath with several hundred others as we watched the anxious faces on the screen. And then…success. It touched down. A cheer went up around the square; one guy behind us was yelling “We did it! We did it!”
Up on the screen, we could see the NASA scientists celebrating. They were hugging and yelling and high fiving. That must be the most amazing feeling, knowing that your hard work put something on another planet. I mean, sure, we’ve done it before, but Curiosity is going to allow us to get more knowledge than ever, and just the sheer difficulty of achieving a safe landing is something to marvel at, no matter how many times it’s been done before.
And then the first pictures came in. Sitting in Times Square, we were seeing pictures of another planet. It was astounding. Truly breathtaking, and definitely anything but disappointing.
Oh, hello! I haven’t forgotten about you, dear blog, I’ve just been (all together now) SO BUSY! So, a collection of Adventures:
We honored the 15th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by going to see Potted Potter, which was absolutely brilliant. Probably the funniest 70 minutes I’ve had in a while, Potted Potter felt like I was watching my friends make jokes (looking at you, Emmy). The jokes were largely things we’ve all laughed about before (“It’s like there’s two parts of the last book, they camp, and then everyone dies. They should make it into two movies, the first part with all the camping, the second part with all the dying.”), but on a bigger, more ridiculous scale. There was also a really epic game of Quidditch, played by the audience and some really violent 8-year-old seekers. It was AMAZING.
After the play, we went to Barcelona Bar, which serves a legendary Harry Potter shot. There was fire, wizards hats, and a lot of awesome. I really need to go back, there’s apparently a Game of Thrones shot (you drink or you die, I hear…). We ended the evening at Pizza Pub for a slice of pizza and a bar-wide sing along with “Don’t Stop Believing.”
One of my good friends in the program is from Brazil, and I was determined to give her a proper Fourth of July. With no grill and no place to go, we decided to have a cook IN. In true New York fashion, we squeezed about 15 people into a space that comfortably seats maybe 6 and with only a minor mishap with the broiler (it’s not Independence Day without some singed fingers, right?) we had a delicious meal of burgers, hot dogs, and various other American foods, including berries and homemade whipped cream!
After an excellent pot luck dinner, we headed out for the fireworks. There was some debate over where to go, and we ended up splitting up. Half the group went to Hoboken for the show. The rest of us, deciding they were crazy to go to New Jersey of all places decided to do what real Americans do and go west randomly. It worked for the pioneers, right? Somewhere around 59th St, we stumbled onto the viewing section on the highway, and I stumbled into some sneaky thorn bushes in the divide. But the scratches and sore feet were worth it; we were ready for what we were sure was going to be the best view of the fireworks in the city….except for the trees. Low and behold, when the big boom started, there were trees perfectly blocking our view!
But, the night was not a loss! With some more wandering we managed to find a better view of the show, and following the sea of people through the streets afterwards, we ended up in Times Square. Remember last time when I was talking about the throb of the city? There is no better place to feel excited and alive than Time Square at night, especially after a day of celebrating and firework-watching with your friends.
Friday was field trip day! We got to go to NYU Bookstore and watch the Espresso On Demand Book machine, which was pretty cool. Then we got some delicious Mexican food in Union Square before heading to Books of Wonder to meet the wonderfully enthusiastic Peter Glassman. One of the things I love best about this program is meeting all the people who are as unabashedly passionate about books as I am, and Mr. Glassman might be one the most passionate people I’ve met. We sat on the floor for an hour listening to him talk about his favorite books and tell us stories about the industry and basking in the glow of his enthusiasm. It was a wonderful afternoon.
I think that’s about it for the big stuff. We went on several field trip in the past few weeks, including a trip to Macmillan in the Flatiron Building which was really neat. We got to see the CEO’s office, which has a balcony overlooking Madison Square Park. It’s one of the prettiest views of the city I’ve seen! I also went to the MOMA on Friday and reaffirmed that I don’t really understand modern art. I prefer paintings. I loved seeing Van Gogh’s Starry Night and Monet’s Reflections of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond. I couldn’t believe how big the water lilies painting was! I always imagined them to be about the poster size that was in one of my high school teacher had on his wall, but the canvas was almost the size of the wall! It was gorgeous.
That brings us up to date! My adventures in the city since last time. Now, this blog post is already too long, which means I need to post more often. But for now, I’ll sign off here!
Another very busy week, and a possibly even busier weekend.
First, I need to say congratulations to my friends Marie and Scottie, who got married on Saturday. I can’t imagine a couple more perfect for each other, and I’m so happy for them!
It was weird, though, being unable to celebrate with them. This is the odd thing about being in New York: it’s so far from everything I’ve ever known. I had to leave behind my friends, my family, and even some of my habits. I mean, I love the subway, but I really miss being able to get in my car and drive to a huge grocery store than has everything I could want in an affordable off-brand. I miss Kroger Brand EVERYTHING. Somehow, when dreaming of starting a career in publishing, it never occurred to me that it would mean starting over completely. While literature and movies like to romanticize starting over, they forget to tell you that it’s terrifying. And a tiny bit lonely. I have made some fantastic new friends here, and I already do know people in the city. But that doesn’t stop me from missing my friends back home when I see them posting on Facebook about their adventures together, and especially when two of them start their lives together and I can’t be there to wish them well.
So there’s home…and then there’s the city. I do like hopping on a subway to get where I’m going (though I enjoy it more when it’s not 100 degrees outside). I like walking to dinner when I want to go out, and I like buying a bagel on the street in the morning when I’m running late. I like that there is something to do all the time. I like that people are unabashedly themselves. And most of all, I just like feeling a part of it, another cog in the New York machine.
Take this weekend, for example. This weekend was a very New York weekend. I had Photoshop and InDesign class yesterday, and I did a lot of wandering. I went to Times Square and got tickets for a play and went to the new Disney Store with a friend I haven’t seen in two years. I found the greatest fish tacos, and on the way to see Brave with my roommates, we saw a commercial being filmed, and we saw the Empire State Building lit up for Pride. And speaking of Pride, I went to the parade today, which was so much fun. There’s something about any parade that just makes you cheerful, and at this one in particular, there’s something infectious about so many people celebrating the ability to be themselves.
These are all little things, tiny adventures in the city, but they’re things I don’t do at home (I go to the movies at home, sure, but you don’t usually have an adventure on the way). I like the wandering and the seeing that you can do here.
So yeah, I have to walk nine baby blocks with my Trader Joe’s groceries, and I’m missing out on playing Black Jack at the parish festivals with my dad. But there’s an excitement in the city, it’s growing and changing all the time, and there’s a good chance that I’ll see something on my way to class tomorrow that I didn’t see any other day. The city is alive, and living here, you become part of that throb of life and growth and change. And it’s scary sometimes, but so is every adventure, and in the end, it’s so worth it.