Friday, November 30, 2007

Josh Ritter

Ah, almost forgot...November 9th Josh Ritter completed the U.S. leg of his tour at Webster Hall. This was a sold-out show, and it was packed. PACKED.

Anyway, the show was good...I know my friends who were new to him loved it...I just didn't love it. And I really wanted to. I know I'm spoiled having seen him in the most intimate of concert venues over the past 6+ years, but I'll own up to that. So, although Josh is one of my favorite singer/songwriters, and I'm so proud and happy for him, I think from now on I'll stick to the smaller, more intimate venues in which I hope he'll continue to perform, or go visit my sister in North Carolina and catch him there.


If you're in the NYC-area, I can recommend one play on Broadway that is one of the best plays I've seen in a long, long time. "August: Osage County" is amazing, and now that Broadway is back from the strike, you too can catch this incredible Chicago-based cast in Tracy Lett's newest foray into a fucked-up family that each audience member can empathize with (that's right, I cussed, and so will you after you see it!).

So, I hope some of you can make it, and let me know if you do!

UPDATE: Charles Isherwood just gave "August" a stellar review in the New York Times.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Concerts Galore

True to form, culturaLOVERload has been too crazy busy to post. However, I've found a few minutes, so let's catch up, shall we?

First, Halloween: while I love Halloween candy (it's a good thing candy corn is out only once a year!), I've decided that going to a concert on Halloween is a great alternative to fighting the crowds in NYC to catch a glimpse of the costumes in the parade--if you're 5'3" like me, it's near impossible to see anything! So, Ben and I headed up to Washington Height's new venue, United Palace to see the Black Crowes. First, the venue is rockin'--wonderfully restored architecture/interior, and the acoustics were great. Add in the friendly staff and it's made my short list of favorite venues in Manhattan. Patti Smith opened for the Crowes, and did a good set, highlighted by a wonderful cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit"--as usual, Nirvana's lyrics never cease to hit home, and Patti delivered them well. The Crowes were fun as always...a bit slow in parts, but overall a truly entertaining show; along with the crowd full of funny costumes and the subversive pot smoking, it was a great Halloween.

Then off to see Josh Rouse on Friday at the Blender Theater/Grammercy Theatre on East 23rd. I hadn't been to that spot since MoMA was using it to showcase their film collection while their new home was being built, and, I have to say, this theatre rocks. First of all, they left half of the seats, the "balcony" if you will, and made the bottom floor (still slanted from the movie seats) a free-for-all area with two bars. Brilliant. This show was probably close to sold out, but it was not overly crowded on the floor because of the people sitting in the seats above...I know I'm going on a lot about this, but you have to understand how much of a difference a sloped floor, seats, and a lack of people standing in front of you when you're 5'3" can make! As for the show, if I didn't already have plans the next night, I would have come back to see Josh again...really fun, relaxing, quality show. After, I said good-by to Gregg, and it was off to Nolita to meet up with my friends Julie and Ben for drinks celebrating Ben's birthday.

And to complete a wonderful week of music, Julie and I went to see Sufjan Stevens perform his much-talked-about show at BAM, the BQE. Part of the BAM's Next Wave Festival, the organization commissioned Sufjan to write a symphony. I really enjoyed the BQE...if listening to the music alone, I'm not sure it would have been as good, but the true genius of it was that Sufjan incorporated film of the BQE and hula-hoopers into the performance. Then, to top it off, the second act was Sufjan performing his songs with the backing of the orchestra-truly a rare opportunity.

Greg Sandow had a review of the performance that I think hits home as to a new future of classical music and my (and younger) generation(s).

Sorry for the delay, and I promise to keep up in the future! This Sunday, off to the Signature Theatre for the second play of the season!

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Went to Beantown over Columbus Day weekend (gotta love the random holidays that they give us). Visited friends, a new baby boy, and my aunt & uncle...and some of my favorite restaurants! The great East Coast Grill is still in fine form, and I continue to stand by Christina's ice cream as the best in town. We went to a new place, the Beehive, which was fun...the food is hit-or-miss but the atmosphere is great--underground jazz-club feel. A pretty low-key weekend overall (but a great weekend for the Patriots & Red Sox!) but came back into the city refreshed (which is saying something after a 6-hour bus ride that should have been 4.5). The only bummer was that my bus ride up took waaay too long and I missed the Josh Ritter concert at the Somerville Theatre. So I was sad about that, but he's coming to NYC next month, so get your tickets while you still can!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Mime + naughty subjects = good night out

Saturday I went to see Billy the Mime perform his show America LoveSexDeath at one of my favorite spaces, The Flea Theater. My friend Sherri works there, so I generally try to make it to every show (plus, only $15-20 makes the prices right). Usually I see shows in their intimate space downstairs, but this time the performance was in the larger space upstairs (I like this space, but the former has more character to it and you feel almost like you are truly a part of the play, it's so small).

Ok, I know seeing a mime might not be some people's idea of a good time, but this was really great. He delved into subjects ranging from the 60's in the USA to pre-AIDS San Fran to a "typical" night at Monticello with Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings (his slave, with whom he fathered children, for those forgetting their history). Some scenes were definitely uncomfortable--for me it was the "Night with Jeffery Dahmer" that made me squirm the most...basically, I'm not going to be able to listen to that 90's "classic" "Everybody Dance Now" for a good while. Not that I think I'll want to listen to it anyway, but you get my point.

Sadly, I caught the last show, so I can't recommend rushing out to catch this performance, but I can recommend the upcoming season at The Flea--check it out.

For anyone in the NYC area, my friends The Janitors are releasing their first album at the Baggot Inn this Thursday (10/4) at 8:00p.m.--cover is only $5 and they put on a good show. Come join in the fun!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Theatre & Fun

Last weekend a friend and I went to the Signature Theatre for the first show of the season: Iphigenia 2.0 by Charles Mee. I loved it--I know the New York Times didn't like it at all, but in my opinion he missed the point. Anyway, it was my first time at the Signature, which I have been wanting to go to since I moved to New York, but prices always kept me away. Now, they have reduced their tickets to $20, so I bought a season subscription.

On Saturday we had an awesome housewarming party at our new(ish) apartment in Chelsea--we were hoping for cool weather, but it seems that summer has returned. It was a great party--no idea how many people came, and thank goodness for our private roofdeck! And now we have a full bar for our future parties...thanks to everyone who came!

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Welcome to my blog...a little late to jump on the bandwagon, yes, but better late than never, right? This is basically a rumination of the cultural side of my life in NYC, which is one of the main reasons I moved here in the first place.

Ok, let's get things started...

Kicking off with my weekend of music September 7-10. Accompanying me to all concerts this weekend was my good friend Gregg. First off, Friday night: Damien Rice at the WaMu Theater at MSG. Let's discuss this venue: first impression was very nice--they lobby was spacious, the bathrooms were numerous, and we didn't have to wait in long, tedious lines to enter either MSG or the theater. Then, then theater itself: did this place use to be a roller skate rink? The lights illuminating the ceiling were 70's-tastic, and coupled with the glowing ornaments put in everyone's liquor-based drinks made me wonder when, exactly, couples skate started. Once Damien entered (no opener), the ceiling lights were turned off and thankfully the drink lights weren't too strong. I'm just going to preface this reaction to Damien's show with the note that I saw him live in a smaller theater in Madison, WI a few years ago (the Barrymore, for those who are interested). At this show, Damien blew away all expectations any couples attending had for a cozy acoustic performance and make-out session. He literally assaulted the audience with an electric jam-band mentality, essentially challenging everyone who came to hear "Cannonball" to stay in their seats. Personally, I was pleasantly surprised--a much more challenging, interesting show than I expected; however, I was pretty exhausted by the time it was done. Going to the show at MSG, I was already tired before he even came on stage (long week); add to that not only a harder sound (expected) but a light show that challenged the audience to look at him directly, and Gregg and I were ready to leave when he left the stage, pre-encore.

The following evening took us to Webster Hall--not my favorite venue, but one that I'm apparently going to be spending a lot of time at this fall season judging by their line-up. We went to see Midlake, a recommendation of our friends Jess and Dave. Due to a Modest Mouse show, the venue was pretty empty, which was actually nice--easy to meander up to the stage and no fear that if you go to the bar your place will be lost forever. The band was good--count me in amongst the new fans (and they're cute to boot!). Looking forward to their upcoming album; everything they played that was new was great.

Sunday we took the night off but come Monday night we were back at Webster for a sold-out Frames show. This is one of my favorite live bands--and word has steadily been growing (helped, no doubt, by Glen's terrific performance in the movie "Once"). I've been seeing them live since 2002, and they were as good as ever. Gregg was new to the band and their performances, and he's a convert now! For the encore, Glen brought his "Once" co-star Marketa Irglova on stage and they sang some of the songs from the movie soundtrack, which was great. I like Marketa's voice, but sometimes I wish she had a bit more strength behind it--it works for the movie, but I think it only works sometimes live . Anyway, apparently they are touring this fall--they will be in NYC November 19th, according to a flyer Gregg found at Webster.

So that brings us to the end of post #1. I'll be posting about movies, theatre, etc...really, anything about my life in NYC that I want because, hey, it's my blog.