Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Annual Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Nativity Scene at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art presents its annual Christmas tree, a favorite of New Yorkers and visitors from around the world. A vivid 18th-century Neapolitan Nativity scene—embellished with small, lifelike attendant figures and hovering, silk-robed angels—adorn the candlelit spruce. Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gabriel Orozco's MOBILE MATRIX at the MOMA Atrium

Part of Mexican artist GABRIEL OROZCO's retrospective exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art is an installation called MOBILE MATRIX at the expansive six-story atrium. It is a whale skeleton excavated from the sands of Baja California, fitted onto a metal armature and intricately inscribed with graphite rings and circles by a team of 20 members who exhausted 6,000 mechanical pencil leads. Orozco  was considered the "leading conceptual and installation artist of his generation by The New Yorker Magazine in 2001. The exhibit runs through March 1, 2010.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Nostalgia Train: 1930's Vintage Subway Trains In Service for the Holidays

Subway cars from the 1930s are in service on the V line from 10 AM to 5 PM every Sunday through December 27. The V line runs between Second Avenue and Queens Plaza. These cars are from the collection of the NYC Transit Museum in downtown Brooklyn. The price to ride a vintage subway train is the same as any modern-day train - a $2.25 MetroCard swipe. I happened to see one of the classic trains while waiting for the F train yesterday.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

SANTAcon New York 2009: Scenes At Washington Square Park

SantaCon is a mass gathering of people dressed in Santa Claus costumes parading in public places like the streets, parks, train stations and in bars in cities around the world. The focus is on spontaneity and creativity, while having a good time and spreading cheer and goodwill. According to organizers, it is a "not-for-profit, non-political, non-religious and non-logical Santa Claus convention, attended for absolutely no reason." In New York City, the event started at 10:00 AM yesterday at different boroughs of the city, toured popular sites in Manhattan, and converged on Washington Square Park at around 3:00 PM. I captured these images mainly at Washington Square Park, a landmark public park in the Manhattan neighborhood of Greenwich Village surrounded by buildings belonging to New York University.
video posted by CauseTV1:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Magnificent TIFFANY Table Lamps at Christie's, Rockefeller Center

Two of TIFFANY TABLE LAMPS auctioned last week at Christie's were "Trumpet Creeper" (leaded glass and bronze, c. 1905), and "Dragonfly" (leaded glass and bronze, c. 1910). Both are from Tiffany Studios. 

Friday, December 11, 2009

UNICEF Crystal Snowflake at the Fifth Avenue and 57th Street Intersection

This is the UNICEF Snowflake, a dazzling, illuminated crystal street ornament that graces the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in New York City. Each holiday season, it is hung on the famous intersection as a symbol of hope, peace and compassion for vulnerable children around the world. The other snowflake is in Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California. 

Thursday, December 10, 2009


These are two of Filipino-American artist BREN BATACLAN's paintings now on exhibit at the Philippine Center on Fifth Avenue. In 2003, Bren began his street art installation called "The Smile Boston Project." The project involves the artist leaving his cartoon inspired paintings for people to take for free all over Boston. Attached to each painting is a note saying, "This painting is yours if you promise to smile at random people more often." Bren, often referred to as the "smile artist," has since gone worldwide to paint murals and exhibit paintings across the country. The images above are photos of the paintings on display at the Philippine Center which is located on Fifth Avenue between 45th and 46th Streets.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ballet Hispanico at the JOYCE Theater

Photo of the poster outside the Joyce Theatre featuring an image of Waldemar Quinones-Villanueva (photo by Eduardo Patino), one of the talented dancers that performed this evening.

It was an exciting and engaging evening at the Joyce Theater in Chelsea where I saw a performance of BALLET HISPANICO. It was my first time to see a dance performance at the Joyce Theater, and also my first time to see the performance of Ballet Hispanico, which is considered the preeminent Hispanic-American dance institution in the country. The program showed the dynamic range of the group's repertoire with both recorded and live music. Under the leadership of Eduardo Vilaro, the program tonight included Goodnight Paradise, where Waldemar Quinones-Villanueva stood out, in particular. Goodnight Paradise is a "mysterious" dance set to mournful Spanish ballads. This was followed by Triptico with live music. Locked Up Laura was performed by Min-Tzu Li and Jeffery Hover. The program concluded with Club Havana, a more vibrant set of dance numbers including Son, Mambo, Cha cha cha, and the company's performance of Bolero and Rhumba, Conga. 
“I’m thrilled to be presenting an incredible roster of works by some of the finest Latino choreographers,” said Vilaro.  “These artists reflect contemporary Latino cultures work – at times blatantly and at times subtly.  These new ‘voices’ in the repertory fuse classical, contemporary and traditional Hispanic forms and collectively showcase some of the best fusion of Latino dance.” 

Ballet Hispanico is scheduled to perform until December 13. The Joyce Theater is located at 175 Eighth Avenue between 18th and 19th Streets in Chelsea.

From wikipedia:
The Joyce Theater is a 472-seat dance performance venue located in the Chelsea area of the borough of Manhattan in New York City. The Joyce Theater Foundation, the organization founded in 1982 that operates the theater, also owns the Joyce SoHo dance center located in a former firehouse on Mercer Street between Houston and Prince Streets. The Foundation won a 1986 Drama Desk Special Award for its American Theatre Exchange program.
The Joyce is located in the former Elgin Theater, a 1941 revival movie house that was closed by the community after it became a porno theatre. The Elgin was completely renovated to create in the Joyce a venue suitable for dance, a process that took two years. The theater was conceived of and created by Eliot Feld and Cora Cahan as a home for the Feld Ballet, and continues to be owned by Ballet Tech Foundation Inc. The theatre attracts an audience of over 140,000 people annually.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tom Wesselmann's STILL LIFE #30 at the Museum of Modern Art

On view at the Museum of Modern Art is this piece by American artist Tom Wesseelmann (1931-2004) called "Still Life #30" (April 1963). It is made of oil, enamel and synthetic polymer paint on composition board with collage of printed advertisements, plastic flowers, refrigerator door, plastic replicas of 7-Up bottles, glazed and framed color reproduction, and stamped metal, 48 1/2 x 66 x 4" (122 x 167.5 x 10 cm). 

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Talented Mr. JUDE LAW's Final Broadway Performance in HAMLET

The Donmar Warehous production of HAMLET on Broadway played its final performance yesterday at the Broadhurst Theatre. I finally saw Hamlet for the first time with the Oscar nominated actor (The Talented Mr. Ripley), JUDE LAW in the title role. I made some pictures of Mr. Law as he greeted his fans and signed autographs at the stagedoor of the Broadhurst after the performance. reports that HAMLET grossed over $1 million in its final week on Broadway. The production recouped its $2.5 million investment after seven weeks, making it an "official" hit play. Michael Grandage directed a cast that featured Ross Armstrong (Cornelius), Harry Attwell (Guildenstern), Ron Cook (Polonius, 1st Gravedigger), Ian Drysdale (Osric), Peter Eyre (Ghost of Hamlet's Father, Player King), Jenny Funnell (Player Queen), Michael Hadley (Barnardo, Priest, Captain), Colin Haigh (Member of the Court), Sean Jackson (Reynaldo), Geraldine James (Gertrude), Jude Law (Hamlet), Gwilym Lee (Laertes), James Le Feuvre (Member of the Court), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Ophelia), John MacMillan (Rosencrantz), Kevin R. McNally (Claudius), Henry Pettigrew (Marcellus, 3rd Player, 2nd Gravedigger,), Matt Ryan (Horatio), Alan Turkington (Francisco, Fortinbras, 4th Player) and Faye Winter (Member of the Court).
Here is a roundup of the reviews of the play:
Associated Press - “He rants. He rails. He seizes Shakespeare’s most famous play by its well-known soliloquies and doesn’t let go. The actor’s turbocharged performance as the anguished Danish prince is not particularly subtle, but it’s well-spoken and clear. And eminently watchable.”

New York Times - “Mr. Law, a rakish leading man of film, doesn’t disappear onstage the way some screen stars do. Though small-boned and delicately featured, he fills the theater to the saturation point. But the finer shades of feeling that a movie camera has been known to extract from his face — most notably in his Oscar-nominated performance in ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’ (1999) — are rarely in evidence here.”

Variety - ” However, the cohesiveness of the production’s mostly monochromatic visual scheme is not matched by similar consistency of concept or emotional depth. It’s an accessible presentation, but rarely exciting and even less often moving.”

Post - “Imported from London’s Donmar company, this is the epitome of British-style quality: swift, well- acted, easy on the eyes and a breeze to follow. It’s not an unforgettable “Hamlet,” but it’s a chic, well-executed one — perfect gateway Shakespeare.”

Daily News - “Grandage’s ‘Hamlet’ is lean, focused and electrifying, like his last Broadway outing, the potent political drama ‘Frost/Nixon.’ There’s no artificiality or fussy frills, and the bard’s characters and their relationships seem vivid and real.” Bloomberg - ” To all Jude Law fans, the Broadway revival of ‘Hamlet’ starring him and courtesy of London’s Donmar Warehouse is genially recommended. Others it will surely disappoint. Were it a car, it would most likely be recalled as a defective model.”

Hollywood Reporter - “This is an uncommonly coherent production, free of gimmicks and transmitting the play’s themes with true clarity. Grandage has not weighed down the proceedings with any overarching “concept” but rather simply presents the work in all its thrilling emotional complexity.”

Newsday - “Indeed, if your father were murdered by his brother, who stole his kingdom and married your mother, you’d definitely want Law to avenge the crime.”

USA Today - “This earthy eloquence is especially striking in Law’s performance. His Hamlet is no brooding philosopher/prince; he’s an angry young man, a bundle of nerves forever threatening to explode. But Law also captures the more tender feelings and contradictions that make this tortured hero at once elusive and essentially human — particularly in his soliloquies, which are both muscular and exquisitely lyrical.”

Los Angeles Times - “Jude Law may not be the most emotionally piercing or philosophically profound Hamlet, but he brings an admirable balance to this most challenging of Shakespearean roles. “

Time Out - “Law starts out too overwrought, moaning and gnawing through the great soliloquies as if they were causing him intestinal distress. Yet we listen closely to him, and he holds court at the center of his scenes with an intensity, intelligence and awestruck wonder that puts most Hamlets I’ve seen to shame.”

Back Stage - “Unfortunately, it’s also a metaphor for Michael Grandage’s unbalanced staging: a brilliant star surrounded by bleak nothingness. While Law gives a muscular, intelligent performance in the most challenging role in world literature, the supporting cast and the director’s concept barely register.”

Financial Times - “His reading does not cut deep, until a fairly devastating recitation of the ‘fall of a sparrow’ speech.”

New York Observer - “He’s an energetic, kinetic, athletic Hamlet for an energetic, kinetic, amped-up Hamlet. Its energy—and our interest—flag only in its second half, when Hamlet is absent, sent off to England. Beyond that, though, what is there to say? Hamlet is Hamlet, and either you’re going to see it or you’re not.”