Thursday, March 31, 2011

Times Square New Year's Eve Ball Ahead Of Its Time

Tourists in Times Square may have noticed that below the New Years Eve Ball, the numbers say 2012 already. This photo was taken on March 20, 2011. This is for a movie being filmed in the city called "New Year's Eve" under the helm of Gary Marshall. The new ensemble romantic comedy is the sequel to "Valentine's Day," and is about the lives of several couples and singles intertwining in the course of New Year's Eve in New York City. According to IMDb, the cast includes Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Biel, Ashton Kutcher, Robert De Niro, Zac Efron, Josh Duhamel, Lea Michele, Hilary Swank, Halle Berry, Michele Pfeiffer and many others.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Empire" By Eva Rothschild

The new public art installed at the Doris C. Freeman Plaza at 60th Street and Fifth Avenue in Central Park is called "Empire." Irish artist Eva Rothschild (b. Dublin, 1971) created a monumental, multidirectional archway. Responding to the site, a point of transition between city and park, Rothschild has taken inspiration from the naturally arching canopy formed by Central Park’s mature trees. The linear structure takes root at ten points on the plaza, touching down lightly as its branching form rises above us. Empire creates a physical tension between its imposing volume and its spidery, intersecting elements, which are further broken up by irregular bands of color. With its pulsing visual energy, the sculpture suggests multiple images — perhaps the tail of a broomstick or a bolt of lightning. We are free to make our own associations. Rothschild’s chosen title, Empire, resonates with the location of her new work: the heart of the “Empire State.” At the same time, we might consider the sculpture as a playful counterpoint to the architectural tradition of the monumental arch, a structure often used historically to represent the triumph of an imperial power. (information from the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation website).

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

85 Lamps Lighting Fixture By Rody Graumans

RODY GRAUMANS (Dutch, born 1968) designed this lighting fixture in 1992 out of 85 lightbulbs, cords and sockets. The lighting fixture is on display at the Museum of Modern Art (third floor). It is manufactured by Droog Design, the Netherlands.

Monday, March 28, 2011

"How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying" Starring DANIEL RADCLIFFE Opens on Broadway

HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING opened yesterday at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre (302 West 45th Street), starring Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette. A musical parody of 1960's corporate America, this musical revival traces the journey of ambitious mailroom clerk J. Pierrepont Finch (played by Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe), who rockets to the top of Worldwide Wickets through a combination of brown-nosing, dumb luck and advice from the guidebook of the title. 

Reviews (from broadwayworldcom):

Ben Brantley, The New York Times:That makes Mr. Radcliffe the only reason to see the show, and contrary to what the title suggests, this young actor really, really tries. (He even does a somersault and lets himself be passed through the air for a football fantasy sequence.) His effortful performance is sure to stir maternal instincts among women of all ages (and probably some men too) and comradely protectiveness among his fans. And - who knows? - perhaps with time this game, engaged performer will come up with a real character to play here. Meanwhile, when he leads the show's big finale, the satirical rouser "Brotherhood of Man," you can be forgiven for thinking it might better be titled "Brotherhood of Manikins."

Elysa Gardner, USA Today: Pink is the color favored by Finch's love interest, the sweetly feisty secretary Rosemary Pilkington, who via newcomer Rose Hemingway becomes this season's most adorable and vivacious ingénue. Tammy Blanchard also shines as Biggley's dimwitted mistress, bringing sassy swagger and comic panache to the bimbo role. John Larroquette's Biggley is less of an instant hit, showing even more of a tendency to rush through lines than Radcliffe does, though with less obvious character-based incentive. But Larroquette grows funnier and more lovable as the show progresses, and manages an endearing chemistry with the considerably younger (and shorter) leading man. In fact, Radcliffe ultimately succeeds not by overshadowing his fellow cast members, but by working in conscientious harmony with them - and having a blast in the process.

David Rooney, Reuters/Hollywood Reporter: While he doesn't quite pop as a musical-theater performer, the "Harry Potter" star does a capable job of singing and dancing in the revival, which also stars John Larroquette, Rose Hemingway, Tammy Blanchard and the voice of Anderson Cooper.

Mark Kennedy, Associated Press: Radcliffe has plenty of help onstage from a very funny and smooth John Larroquette as boss J. B. Biggley, a gifted Christopher J. Hanke as his scheming rival Bud Frump, and the delightful Rose Hemingway as his romantic interest Rosemary Pilkington. To be blunt, Radcliffe is not a Broadway singer. His voice is nice, but thin and he strains to fill the theater - "American Idol" judge Randy Jackson would call it "pitchy." Somehow it doesn't matter. He works so hard that we're on his side even if he, like his character, doesn't have the creds. Plus, there's so much here that works: songs by Frank Loesser; a delightfully cynical book about corporate behavior that resonates today; Derek McLane's sets made of massive interlocking cubes; and Catherine Zuber's wickedly clever costumes, not to mention Ashford's cheer-inducing choreography that even takes advantage of Radcliffe's small stature and Larroquette's tall one.

Scott Brown, NY Magazine: What Radcliffe and Ashford pull off in this surprisingly succulent production is a fairly exhilarating demonstration of how a well-run musical, like a well-run company, adapts itself to the peculiar talents of its personnel, and not the other way around. With Ashford's flair, Radcliffe's dogged discipline and great good humor, and a deep bench of performing talent, How to Succeed-written as a poke at at the gray-flannel innards of a mid-century business behemoth-moves with the fleet feet and bright-eyed buoyancy of a startup. Its satiric DNA may be rooted in the Sterling Cooper era, but the energy here is present-tense, urgent and undeniable.

Jeremy Gerard, Bloomberg News: As for the appealing Radcliffe, he's eager to please but lacks a certain urgency that makes Finch dangerous and irresistible at the same time. He's no singer ("I Believe in You," the show's best-known song, barely makes an impression) and not much of a dancer. Still, he does both more than respectably in the rousing "Brotherhood of Man" finale, which sends us home in a forgiving mood.

Elisabeth Vincentelli, NY Post: Daniel Radcliffe is so ador able in his Broadway musical debut, you just want to pinch his cheeks. It's not just his youth -- the "Harry Potter" star is 21 -- but the endearing amount of dedication and enthusiasm he pours into steering the new revival of "How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."

Thom Geier, Entertainment Weekly: In fact, it's hard to unravel where Finch ends and Radcliffe begins, so thoroughly do the two seem to be entwined in this triumphant performance. On the surface, the British actor - with his squat, compact body and somewhat pasty complexion - seems an unlikely leading man. Though he has a stronger singing voice than Broderick and a limber, go-for-it approach to director Rob Ashford's exhaustingly acrobatic choreography, he's not a natural, effortless triple threat. But like Finch, he seems to be tapping into an almost bottomless reserve of willpower and determination to claim his place in the spotlight of a big-budget Broadway musical. Your eyes keep being drawn to him, even if he always lets you see him sweat.

Chris Jones, The Chicago Tribune: Ashford does a couple of very shrewd things. First and foremost, he pairs Radcliffe -- whose character races up a corporate ladder with the help of the titular self-help book (Anderson Cooper provides the famous recorded voice) -- with veteran sitcom star John Larroquette, who plays J.B. Biggley, the company president and the show's surrogate father. Larroquette, whose sardonic sense of comedic timing is flawless and whose pacing is relentless, tutors and draws Radcliffe through the book scenes, pulling more laughs than the work of book writers Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert usually now snags.

Steve Suskin, Variety: Radcliffe, the 21-year-old Brit who spent half his life as Harry Potter before starring in "Equus" at the West End and on Broadway, has undergone a crash course in singing, dancing and mugging. Turns out he is proficient at the first, surprisingly adept at the second and
especially good at the third.

Peter Marks, The Washington Post: The star's cause is not bolstered much by director-choreographer Rob Ashford. His concept for the early '60s satire of American business - the story of a smarmily engaging young man who lies his way to the top - is to stylistically turn up the volume, saturating the stage in candy colors and frantic dances. As a result, the musical's digs at corporate life, at the overgrown bureaucracy and ingrown elitism, lose the whiff of sophistication that Frank Loesser's score emits.

Richard Ouzounian, Toronto Star: Director-choreographer Ashford keeps everything moving with a sharpness that's a welcome change from the flat-footedness he showed in last season's Promises, Promises. And when he lets Radcliffe break loose with a series of exhilarating dance moves in the 11 o'clock number, "Brotherhood of Man," you know that all is right with the universe. The world is a happier place to live in now that Harry Potter has found that pot of gold at the end of the Broadway rainbow.

Linda Winer, Newsday: He sings. He dances. Yes, the British mega-star formerly known as young Harry Potter even shaves, proudly, while delivering that irresistibly all-American self-love ballad, "I Believe in You," to his mirror in the executive bathroom in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."

Erik Haagensen, Backstage: You start hoping for the best. Radcliffe's charm quotient is high, he showed significant stage chops two seasons ago in "Equus," and he grew up loving musical theater. In the opening number he displays a thin but true singing voice. But by the time he and a subdued Rob Bartlett get through Loesser's hilarious paean to yes men, "The Company Way," without generating a single laugh, it's clear we're in trouble. Once we get to Finch's Act 2 showstopper "I Believe in You," and Radcliffe merely stands there staring determinedly in the washroom mirror during the instrumental fills designed to give Morse room for sublime bits of comic business, well, the jig has long been up

Howard Shapiro, Philadelphia Inquirer: In fact, the show itself - arguably the peppiest, cheeriest, most charming Broadway revival since The Pajama Game five seasons back - never seems dated, remarkable when you consider that the world it portrays is so Populuxe you feel as though you should have arrived at Hirschfeld Theatre in an automobile with car fins and popped an orange-flavored Fizzie tablet into a glass of water during intermission.

Joe Dziemianwoicz, NY Daily News: Making his first foray into musical comedy and stepping into a part made famous by Robert Morse, Radcliffe is a likable but very boyish presence. He shows off a pleasant singing voice as corporate climber J. Pierrepont Finch, but he's waxen and not animated enough to make Finch soar. His take on his character's personal pep talk, "I Believe in You," emerges dispiriting. Still, director-choreographer Rob Ashford's production is bright, cheerful and energetic, that's for sure. But at times its supersized mentality and occasionally garish qualities compete with the sleek and sophisticated brilliance of the material.

2011 Macy's Flower Show: "Towers of Flowers"

Bouquet of the Day by Jorge Cazzorla
Tower with a Twist by Catherine Latson
Chocolate tree (cacao) with fruit pods in different stages of ripening

Yesterday, the Annual Macy's Flower Show kicked off in midtown Manhattan's Herald Square. This year, the flower show takes on a "Towers of Flowers" theme, featuring vertical gardening inside the popular department store. At the main floor, there are featured gardens (antebellum, Japanese, tropical, hydrangea and desert). Outside the store, the opening day was also celebrated with a dog (and a pig) fashion show and face painting for children. There are also complimentary guided tours every half hour between 11 AM and 4 PM at Macy's 35th and Broadway entrance. The show runs through April 10.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Infinite Variety Of Red And White American Quilts At The Park Avenue Armory

The American Folk Art Museum is presenting a special satellite exhibition of 650 quilts called "Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts" that opened yesterday at the Park Avenue Armory. The historic 55,000-square-foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall of the armory houses the dramatic installation of red and white American quilts, all of which are on loan from the collection of Joanna S. Rose. It is the largest exhibition of quilts ever held in the city. This event is free to the public, and will run through Wednesday, March 30. A café and a book and gift shop will be open during show hours (11 AM - 5 PM on March 27 and March 30; 11 AM - 7 PM on March 28 and 29). The Park Avenue Armory is located at 643 Park Avenue between 66th and 67th Streets.

Friday, March 25, 2011

"The Monologue of Ice" - Melting Ice Buddha And Cycle Of Renewal By Atta Kim At The Rubin Museum Of Art

Visitors are encouraged to touch the ice
Atta Kim touching his sculpture

As the ice sculpture melts, a pool of non-potable water accumulates at the bottom. Visitors are welcome to take away some of the water placed in small glass vials to be used for watering a plant to continue the cycle of renewal.
Korean artist ATTA KIM has a new dramatic art installation at the Rubin Museum of Art that was unveiled earlier this evening—a 5 1/2 feet tall, 1,300 pound ice sculpture of a seated buddha. The ice sculpture will remain on view until completely melted, a process that will take several days. The museum will open overnight through the early hours of Saturday morning and into regular museum hours, closing at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday. The sculpture will then remain on view during normal museum hours until Monday at 5:00 p.m. or it has completely melted. As the work melts, museum visitors are encouraged to touch the ice and take home non-potable water from the pool of water at the bottom of the sculpture, using small glass containers that will be provided. It is the artist's intention that the collected water be used to continue the cycle of renewal by watering a plant. This presentation is an extension of Grain of Emptiness: Buddhism-Inspired Contemporary Art, on view through April 11. Atta Kim is known for his long exposure photographs and for the concept of interconnectedness, change and transience in his body of work. The display is open to the public for free. The Rubin Museum of Art is located at 150 West 17th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues in Chelsea.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Milton Glaser's "I ♥ NY" Logo - Its Humble Beginnings

Concept sketch of the logo (1976), ink and tape on paper envelope, 2 7/8 x 3 5/8"
Concept sketch (top), concept layout (bottom left), and two presentation boards (bottom middle and right)
The humble beginnings of the iconic "INY" logo by American artist MILTON GLASER (born 1929) are currently on display at the Museum of Modern Art (third floor). In 1977, New York State needed a new ad campaign. Crime was rampant, the city's coffers were empty, businesses were leaving the city in droves, and tourism was down. The New York State Department commissioned the advertising agency Wells Rich Greene to develop a positive campaign about  New York, and Glaser, a well known designer, to capture it. The logo was designed pro bono. Mr. Glaser compared this rudimentary rebus to a declaration of love carved into a tree trunk. Expecting it only to 'be a three-month campaign', Glaser donated his back of a taxi doodle for free; 'it was like one of those things you bang out because it didn't seem to merit any more attention'. Many years later, the INY logo remains one of the most recognizable and frequently imitated designs in the world. Still cited on licensed and unlicensed merchandise across the city and internationally, it's has taken on a life of its own. The design was copyrighted after about 10 years of open use. (information derived in part from the gallery caption).

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Manhattan Street Grid Bicentennial

73rd Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues (photo taken on January 18, 2009)
First Avenue, viewed from Roosevelt Island Tram (photo taken on May 23, 2009)
The streets of Manhattan are for the most part arranged in a simple grid. The street grid system turned 200 the other day. On March 22, 1811, the city's street commissioners certified the grid plan, defining the way Manhattan has evolved.  In commemoration of the birthday of the Commissioner's Plan of 1811, the New York Times put together an interactive map where you can overlay the original plan with a modern map and see just how much of the original plan was carried out. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tiffany's Fifth Avenue Window Art Showcases Jewelry Locks

The current window displays at the world-renowned Tiffany & Co. flagship store feature a big green apple, clouds, blue sky, tree with roots, doors, and dramatic lighting to showcase Tiffany's jewelry locks. The store is located at the corner of 57th Street and Fifth Avenue. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Rockefeller Center's Atlas

Atlas is the two-ton statue at Rockefeller Center, directly across the street from St. Patrick's Cathedral. It is the largest sculpture at Rockefeller Center located at 630 Fifth Avenue. The sculpture depicts the story of Atlas from Greek mythology in which Atlas carries the heavens upon his shoulders as punishment for defying Zeus. Designed and cast in 1936 by Lee Lawrie and Rene Chambellan, the statue's exaggerated musculature and stylized body are characteristic of the Art Deco style. This photo was captured with the St. Patrick's Cathedral's geometric style of Gothic architecture as backdrop on March 20, 2011.  

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Macaron Day NYC 2011

Window display at Macaron Cafe at 59th Street
FC Chocolate Bar at The Plaza
Happy customers enjoying free macarons from Macaron Cafe at 59th Street

Today is not only the first day of spring, but also the second annual Macaron Day NYC. Participating bake shops in Manhattan provide free macarons to customers coinciding annually with the Jour du Macaron in Paris. This tradition was started last year by François Payard, chef and owner of François Chocolate Bar and François Payard Bakery in New York who organized the first annual Macaron Day in NYC to basically introduce the French macarons to New Yorkers. Being promoted as the "new cupcake," the macaron is a delicate round pastry with a crisp and crunchy outside and soft and moist  inside, made with ground almonds, sugar and egg whites. Found in a wide variety of springy colors and different flavors, the crunchy outside is sandwiched together with a soft creamy interior. They are flourless and gluten-free. Part of today's macaron sales will be donated to City Harvest, New York's food rescue organization dedicated to feeding the city's hungry men, women and children.
Video from the Macaron Day website.

Olek's "Knitting Is For Pussies" At The Christopher Henry Gallery

Christopher Henry Gallery
Crocheted bicycle near the gallery
Crochet artist AGATA OLEKSIAK (Olek) is currently exhibiting her crocheted pad installation called "Knitting is for Pussies" at the Christopher Henry Gallery. The Polish-born artist showcases an entire crocheted pad including crocheted toilet, art frames, flatiron, television set, bathtub, dildo, etc. on the second floor of the gallery. The "well-knit" exhibit has been extended through May. The Christopher Henry Gallery, a renovated church, is located at 127 Elizabeth Street. 

Olek's other famous work was the crocheted "Charging Bull" on Wall Street. Here's a video of Olek in action.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Chair And Stool Designs At The Museum Of Modern Art

"One shot.MGX Stool" by Patrick Jouin (French, born 1967)
Laser -sintered nylon. Jouin used a type of rapid manufacturing called selective laser sintering to produce the entire seating surface, legs and articulations in just one shot.
"Butterfly Stool" 1956 by Sori Yanagi (Japanese, born 1915)
Molded plywood and metal
"Table Chair" by Richard Hutten (Dutch, born 1967)
Maple and medium density fiberboard
More chair designs featured in the exhibit called "Plywood: Material, Process, Form"
"Stop Thief! Bentwood Chair Clone" 2000 (left) and "Stop Thief! Ply Chair" 2000 (right) by Jackie Piper (American, born UK 1968), Marcus Willcocks (British, born 1977), Lorraine Gamman (British, born 1957)
These are some of the beautiful and interesting chair and stool designs currently on exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). These wonderful pieces are showcased at the Architecture and Design Galleries on the third floor of MoMA, which is located in midtown Manhattan at 11 West 53rd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues.