Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Tickets are now on sale for the new musical WOMEN ONE THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN which will begin preview performances on October 2 at the Belasco Theatre. Based on Pedro Almodóvar's internationally acclaimed 1988 film, WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN is set in late 20th-century Madrid and tells the story of the intertwining lives of a group of women (Sherie Rene Scott, de'Adre Aziza, Laura Benanti, Nikka Graff Lanzarone, Patti LuPone) whose relationships with men lead to a tumultuous 48 hours of love, confusion and passion. Also in the cast are Justin Guarini, Danny Burstein, Nikka Graff Lanzarone, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Mary Beth Peil. The musical is directed by Bartlett Sher, with a book by Jeffrey Lane, music and lyrics by David Yazbek. This world premiere production will open on Thursday, November 4 at 6:45pm on Broadway at the Belasco Theatre, located at 111 W. 44 Street.
WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN will also feature Julio Agustin, Alma Cuervo, John Carroll, Murphy Guyer, Rachel Bay Jones, Nina Lafarga, Yanira Marin, Sean McCort, Vivian Nixon, Luis Salgado, Jennifer Maria Sanchez, John Schiappa, Samantha Shafer, Phillip Spaeth and Charlie Sutton.
WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN will have choreography by Christopher Gattelli, musical direction by Jim Abbott, sets by Michael Yeargan, costumes by Catherine Zuber, lighting by Brian MacDevitt and sound by Scott Lehrer. (information from playbill.com and broadwayworld.com)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Subway Artwork: "Oculus," Mosaic Eyes By Kristin Jones and Andrew Ginzel

The centerpiece of the work is an elliptical glass and stone mosaic floor, with a magnificent micro mosaic eye at the center of an ultramarine vortex with the image of the City of New York woven into the picture.

Oculus or Eye (1998) is the title of the artwork installed all over the Chambers Street/World Trade Center subway station complex. Created by Kristin Jones and Andrew Ginzel, Oculus consists of 300 different mosaic eyes, all based upon actual human eyes taken from photographs. The project presents the eyes of three hundred individual New Yorkers translated from a photographic study conducted by Jones/Ginzel into stone mosaic by the classically trained Rinaldo Piras (information from nycsubway.org).

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Metropolitan Opera's Summer HD Festival Kicks Off With TOSCA At Lincoln Center Plaza

The Metropolitan Opera's popular Summer HD Festival, first presented last year, kicked off last night with the outdoor screening of Luc Bondy’s season-opening new production of Puccini’s TOSCA, starring Karita Mattila and Marcelo Álvarez. This year, 10 outstanding HD productions will be presented on consecutive nights at the Lincoln Center Plaza. The screenings are free with no tickets required; 2,800 seats will be available each night on a first-come, first-served basis. There are no rain dates. 
The Met Opera HD schedule is as follows:

Aug. 28 - “Tosca” at 8 p.m.

Aug. 29 - “The Magic Flute” at 8 p.m.

Aug. 30 - “Der Rosenkavalier” at 7:15 p.m.

Aug. 31 - “Doctor Atomic” at 7:45 p.m.

Sept. 1 - “Les Contes D’Hoffman” at 7:45 p.m.

Sept. 2 - “La Boheme” at 8 p.m.

Sept. 3 - “Hansel and Gretel” at 8 p.m.

Sept. 4 - “Turandot” at 8 p.m.

Sept. 5 - “Aida” at 8 p.m.

Sept. 6 - “Carmen” at 7:45 p.m.

Beneath The Earth Film Festival's New York City Labor Day Weekend SCAVENGER HUNT

Photo taken in July 2009 during the filming of "Step-Up 3D" at Grand Central Terminal. 
This photo is not related to the Scavenger Hunt.
Next weekend, Beneath the Earth Film Festival is taking New Yorkers on a weekend-long scavenger hunt where they’re challenged to recreate seven famous scenes from movies shot in New YorkHollywood’s had quite a romance with New York City with literally hundreds of films having been filmed here.  Walking around the City on any given day, it’s easy to find yourself taking a stroll down movie memory lane like passing by the New York Public Library on 5th Avenue where the Ghostbusters encountered their first ghost!

The challenge: Our hunt’s going to test NYers’ movie knowledge and their photo taking chops. Participants are challenged with deciphering clues that lead them to the location of seven different iconic film scenes shot in NYC.  They’ll have to give their best reenactment of those iconic scenes through pictures, then submit those photos to our website! For all their effort, one lucky winner and their friend will walk away with an iPad complete with an iTunes gift certificate so they can fill it with their favorite flicks.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Swamp White Oak Trees: The First Tangible Sign Of Life Returning To Ground Zero (World Trade Center Site)

Sixteen swamp white oak trees arrived at Ground Zero (World Trade Center site) this morning, nine years after the terrorist attacks on the twin towers. These trees are the first of nearly 400 trees that will be planted at the cobblestone memorial plaza surrounding  two big pools built on the footprints of the twin towers. Designers of the memorial envisioned a verdant and quiet space that would bring solace to visitors. The white oak trees were cultivated for 4 years at a nursery in Millstone, New Jersey. White oaks were chosen for their beauty and their ability to withstand the severe weather in Manhattan. An elaborate subterranean irrigation system will water and fertilize the grove.

"Weather Beacon," Kinetic Sculpture That Transforms Weather Into Art

Erik Guzman's latest sculpture, "Weather Beacon" is an engaging piece that transforms atmospheric information into flashing lights and moving parts. It is currently on display at the Wold Financial Center Plaza until the end of the year. The kinetic sculpture translates weather data received via radio waves into visual representation of the elements of the environment of the four seasons.

“Part of our mission is to present art that prompts the casual passerby to stop for a closer look and leave a little bit more enlightened than before,” said Debra Simon, Artistic Director of Arts World Financial Center. “‘Weather Beacon’ takes an element of daily life that most people take for granted and transforms it into a gorgeous, thought-provoking sculpture that will mesmerize viewers of all ages.”

Friday, August 27, 2010

Central Park Conservancy Film Festival - "Iconic New York" Theme

Opening scene of "Saturday Night Fever" starring John Travolta
John Travolta in "Saturday Night Fever"
New York City's iconic skyline, bridges, buildings and neighborhoods are in the limelight at the Central Park Conservancy Film Festival, which brings free movies to Central Park for five consecutive nights, Aug. 24-28. This year's theme is "Iconic New York." Movies for this year feature New York's most famous locations and sights — from the Empire State Building in "King Kong" to the City's subway in "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3." Last night's feature was "Saturday Night Fever" starring John Travolta. The festival takes place in the landscape north of Sheep Meadow, behind Mineral Springs located mid-park at 69th Street. Admission is free. Rain or shine. Gates open to the public at 6:30 pm. with films starting at 8 p.m.
The 2010 Central Park Film Festival schedule:

Aug. 24 - “Fame” (1980) This classic ’80s musical flick follows students through their audition, training and graduation at the New York City High School for the Performing Arts. 134 min.

Aug. 25 - “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3” (2009) A remake of the 1974 crime thriller, armed men hijack a New York City subway train and hold passengers hostage in return for a ransom. Dispatcher Walter Graber (Denzel Washington) is left to face off with the crime’s mastermind (John Travolta). 106 min. 

Aug. 26 - “Saturday Night Fever” (1977) This disco classic follows Tony Manero (John Travolta), a Brooklyn youth who feels his only chance to make it in life is as king of the dance floor. 118 min.

Aug. 27 - “King Kong” (1933) In this cult classic stop-animation film, a giant gorilla called Kong attempts to possess a beautiful blond actress. 100 min.

Aug. 28 - (Viewers’ Choice “Manhattan” (1979) or “Serendipity” (2001) Update: “Manhattan” won. A romantic comedy about a twice-divorced writer (Woody Allen) who is dating a high school girl, and eventually finds love with his best friend’s mistress. (Diane Keaton). 96 min.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

KARA WALKER's Art Installation at MoMA - "Gone: An Historical Romance of a Civil War as it Occurred b'tween the Dusky Thighs of One Young Negress and Her Heart"

On view for the first time at the Museum of Modern Art is the wall installation of black cut-out silhouettes of caricatures and antebellum figures arranged on a white wall in uncanny, sexual and violent scenarios by artist, Kara Walker. The artwork (1994) critiques historical narratives of slavery and the ongoing perpetuation of ethnic stereotypes. In the elaborate title, "Gone" refers to Margaret Mitchell's 1936 novel "Gone with the Wind" set during the American Civil War. While Walker's narrative begins and ends with coupled figures, the chain of tragicomic, turbulent imagery refutes the promise of romance and confounds conventional attributions of power and oppression. "The history of America is built on inequality, this foundation of a racial inequality and social inequality," the artist has said. "And we buy into it. I mean, whiteness is just as artificial a construct as blackness is." (information from MoMA caption). This art installation is located at the second floor atrium. MoMA is located in midtown Manhattan, New York City, at 11 West Fifty-third Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Yoshitomo Nara + YNG Open Studio Works-In-Progress at Park Avenue Armory

Park Avenue Armory is currently providing a temporary studio for Japanese Neo Pop artist, Yoshitomo Nara and designer Hideki Toyoshima’s collaborative team, YNG, who are creating new drawings and other works that will be included in Asia Society Museum’s exhibition YOSHITOMO NARA: NOBODY’S FOOL. The studio is open to the public for viewing from August 23-27 (4:00pm–7:00pm). Born in 1959 in Japan, where he presently lives and works, Nara is internationally recognized for his work, which has inspired an enormous cult following among youth in Japan and throughout Asia.Yoshitomo Nara: Nobody’s Fool will emphasize the relationship between Nara’s art and rock and punk music which have been an ongoing source of inspiration and prevailing reference point in his work.The YNG team is known to repurpose their past works by modifying their sizes, recycling their materials, and/or incorporating additional found materials, objects, and often new works by Nara, which gives them a new life in new locations.

Park Avenue Armory is a newly launched organization whose mission is to revitalize one of America's historic treasures as a dynamic alternative arts space unlike any other in New York. Part palace, part industrial shed, the Armory is dedicated to the development and presentation of work in the performing and visual arts best realized in a non-traditional setting. It is located at 643 Park Avenue, between 66th and 67th Streets on the Upper Eastside of Manhattan.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Construction Site Art: "Walking Men 99" by Maya Barkai

The fence around a construction site in Lower Manhattan served as canvas for artist, Maya Barkai in her work called "Walking Men 99." The site-specific public art installation surrounds the upcoming Four Seasons Hotel, which is currently under construction at Church Street near the World Trade Center site. "Walking Men 99" is a photographic collage of 99 pedestrian traffic light icons collected from around the world. Barkai's project began in 2004, when Mayor Bloomberg initiated replacing the standard traffic light signs with "more pedestrian friendly" symbols. Barkai noticed New York City's pedestrian character, and gradually began photographing different representations of similar icons around the world. The ‘walking man’ is an international celebrity and one of our most recognizable figures, says Maya Barkai “Standardized yet diverse, they commonly show us the safe way of travel". The installation, 500 feet long, features 99 “walking men” printed in life-size scale and stretched along three street façades, starting at 99 Church Street, and continuing on Park Place and Barclay Street. The installation will be on display until January 2011. Born in Jerusalem, Israel, Maya Barkai graduated from the School of Visual Arts. She is now based in New York City.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Water Taxi Beach South Street Seaport - Manhattan's "Beach" With The Best View Of The Brooklyn Bridge

Water Taxi Beach & Beer Garden South Street Seaport is an 18,000-square-foot "beach" with pillowy sand, colorful faux palm trees, ping-pong, and nautically-themed miniature golf. Located along the water’s edge on the north side of Pier 17 at South Street Seaport, this Beach offers the most spectacular views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the East River, seafood and a full roster of drinks. After sunset, Water Taxi Beach South Street Seaport becomes a playground for the 21+ crowd with rotating legendary NYC DJs all week and parties all weekend long. Water Taxi Beach South Street Seaport is a perfect venue for private parties and corporate events.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Painted Apple Sculptures By Romero Britto And Billy On Display At 590 Madison Avenue

"New York Future" by Romero Britto

"A Day In The Big Apple" by Billy
These are the two painted apple sculptures on display at the sculpture garden at 590 Madison Avenue.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Planned Mosque and Islamic Cultural Center Near the World Trade Center Site Spurs Controversy

This is the site of the proposed $100 million mosque and Muslim Community Center in downtown Manhattan, and the subject of intense debate and thoughtful dialogue recently. The building, which used to be a Burlington Coat Factory store, was heavily damaged during the Septemer 11, 2001 attacks. There was a strong police presence in front of the building when the photos were taken earlier this evening. It is located two blocks from the site of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks. The terrorists responsible for the September 11 attacks were all Muslims. While some argue that a mosque near Ground Zero is "offensive" and "insensitive," others believe that denying anyone their religious freedoms would be a dangerous step in the wrong direction and "antithetical to what we claim to believe as Americans."

The day after the above photos were taken, hundreds of critics and supporters of the proposed center converged to passionately express their views near the planned mosque site and the World Trade Center site. The signs say it all.
A protester and her sign with the construction cranes at the World Trade Center site in the background