Friday, May 25, 2012

Subway Shots 3

It's been a while since I've shared more of my Subway Shots, but I couldn't resist sharing these, which I took  with my iPhone tonight while riding home on the F train. We're used to seeing crazy things on the NYC subway, but I can say for a fact that this is the first time I've ever seen a walking 8-ft. tree! (She also made me think about Doctor Who, was definitely onto something with the eventual evolution of trees, most notably in the memorable heroine Jabe from the Forest of Cheem.)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Barbra in Brooklyn

Please pardon bklynbiblio for a moment while I gush about some thrilling news: I've got tickets to see Barbra Streisand at her sold-out concert here in Brooklyn this coming October!! Persistence paid off. I was convinced the concert was sold out, but I kept trying, and I got through. This is truly a life-long dream come true for me, so I'm giddy with glee. My amigo AA is going with me. He's not as big a fan as I, but he's being a great sport in joining me, and I appreciate the company very much (muchas gracias!). Besides, during the concert I may swoon and will need him to catch me. Don't laugh! We'll be in the nosebleed section, so I very well could swoon from the high altitude. The concert will be at the Barclays Center, the new stadium they're still constructing not too far away from me. It has been a controversial building project in the Brooklyn community for a while now, and I can't help but think the P.R. machines believe having someone like Barbra headline a concert there soon after it opens will help assuage some of the discontent. We'll see about that. In the meantime, I'll continue to grin and think "Hello, Gorgeous!", per her role seen here as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl (1968). To read more about the concert and Barbra's return to her roots in Brooklyn, you can click here.

Friday, May 18, 2012

MWA III: Meera's Capriccio

On Tuesday, May 22, I'll be at the opening reception for my friend Meera Thompson, who has an exhibition of her work at Atlantic Gallery. The beautiful triptych above, Capriccio, is the focal point of the show, so I thought I would make that May's Monthly Work of Art. bklynbiblio readers will recall that I reviewed her last show in 2010, so go there to read my thoughts on her work. Stay tuned to this blog, however, as Meera and I have something in the works with another colleague that, if all goes according to plan, we will be announcing more about next month. In the meantime, here's Meera on the above painting:

"In music a capriccio is a piece that in performance is lively and free. And in the visual arts the term capriccio can be used to describe a picture that suggests an imaginary place. I call this group of paintings Capriccio because the word refers both to the way I paint and what I paint. I believe that when we scan the horizon we are searching for a sense of possibility. Our eyes play along lines that belong more to our desire to dream than to our ability to be objective. It is an experience that takes us beyond the boundaries of here and now. While the horizon might be tangible when it is framed in a picture, in essence it is the stuff of fantasy. When I paint I use the horizon as an avenue into abstraction."

If you're in NYC and free Tuesday evening, swing by the Atlantic Gallery (135 W. 29th St., Suite 601) from 5-8pm for the opening reception.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Prada Calling: The Costume Institute Gala

It's early May in NYC, and that means it's time for the Met's annual Costume Institute Ball, where celebrities can show off their latest fashions on the red carpet as they traipse up the steps of the museum, hob-nob with the artsy 1% in the Great Hall, and feed their faces by the Temple of Dendur (note: models needing to purge must do so in the ladies room). This year's annual gala was in honor of the latest Costume Institute exhibition opening this week, Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations, honoring two great Italian women fashion designers. Considering the tremendous success of last year's Alexander McQueen exhibition, there is pressure to make this year's show a great one as well. But rather than focus on the show, I'm following in my new fun tradition of fashion critic, as I have for the past two years, covering the highlights from last night's red carpet walk. (For more on the event and the runway fashions, including a full slideshow, see The New York Times and New York magazine.)

Anna Wintour, Vogue Editor-in-Chief, pictured here, was once again a success, this time in her Prada gown with gold lobster-motif embroidery. Her co-chairs for the event were Miuccia Prada herself and actress Carey Mulligan, who wore a metallic fish-beaded dress by Prada. Among the other great highlights of the evening were Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary from Downton Abbey) in an elegant strapless Ralph Lauren gown with matching black gloves, Scarlett Johansson in Dolce & Gabbana, and (surprisingly!) Rihanna in a black alligator leather-like dress from Tom Ford. Hilary Swank was the shapely lady in red wearing Michael Kors, and Amy Adams looked like a goddess in her classically inspired one-shoulder gown by Giambattista Valli Haute Couture. But my hands-down favorite fashion moment was Jessica ParĂ© (Megan from Mad Men), pictured above, looking exquisitely sexy and sophisticated in a gorgeous form-fitting L'Wren Scott gown.

And then there were the horrific fashion mishaps... Amy Poehler wore a ridiculous black mermaid-tail dress that I swear she raided from a bad Saturday Night Live sketch. Solange Knowles was dressed in a ribbon of butter. And if she wasn't looking yellow enough for you, January Jones could have stung you with her breasts encased in their bumble bee-striped bustier. I'm convinced Claire Danes was wearing her terry-cloth bathrobe. Chloe Sevigny needs to leave her 45 r.p.m. record collection at home, not wear them on her body. And Sarah Jessica you think she realizes her Valentino floral print gown also doubles as a Laura Ashley tent? And can I just ask what is up with designers Vera Wang and Rachel Zoe? They're so thin and bony they disappear when they turn to the side! Marc Jacobs chose to wear a black lace tablecloth--very grateful he left his white boxer shorts on underneath. Fortunately, other men saved the night. Tim Tebow made this an interesting NYC debut sporting Ralph Lauren, and James Franco looked informally chic in Gucci. But truly the man of the night was my ex-fantasy boyfriend Matt Lauer, seen here. He asked me to go as his date, but I didn't think it was a good idea for us to be seen in public together again.

[Images: Jessica Paré by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images; Anna Wintour by Kevin Mazur/WireImage; Matt Lauer by Getty Images; all from New York magazine]

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Why-Phone

Over the past few weeks, I finally took a big step forward into the 21st century, technology-wise. First, I made the decision to stop resisting Facebook's insistence on using the Profile Timeline and switched over, inevitably discovering that the only way it works properly is that you have to spend the time actually dating your photos and such. Then, I made the next big step and installed WiFi in my apartment. I think my family and friends thought I had been replaced by an alien twin. And now, succumbing to the greatest pressure of all, I have an iPhone 4S. What do I think of it? Just look at the picture of me showing it off! I look like a giddy fool!

bklynbiblio readers may recall my ambivalence about the iPad when I got one last year. I still think it's rather sleek, and now having WiFi has made a tremendous difference in how I use it. I also have found it to be very convenient for traveling, when not carrying my laptop. My big problem then (and to some extent now) is that basically it's an entertainment device with really cool touch-screen technology. But when it came to its sister product, the iPhone, here's what I wrote back in July 2011: "OK, so if you're wondering why with this touch-screen action I'm acting like I've never heard of the iPhone before, it's simply because I don't own an iPhone and iDon'tWantOne. The screen on those things is just too small for me to appreciate what you're trying to look at, and first and foremost I just want my cell phone to make phone calls, not turn into a vocal GPS so Majel Barrett can tell me how to get to Starbucks (come you really want people to know you're lost while walking?)." Man, was I ever stupid.

People have been raving about this little gadget for a while, and I felt like they were blowing smoke out their asses just to show off. It's a phone with lots of gizmos, right? Big deal! I can now sheepishly admit that I was wrong. Seriously wrong. I've had mine now for 1 week, and I think I'm in love with it. I may even name her. Steve Jobs clearly was a modern-day Prometheus. Instead of giving us fire, he gave us the next best thing, a hand-held computer-slash-communication device that can think and talk back to you. How did humans ever exist without this thing? The camera takes great pictures, and you can seamlessly integrate them into messaging or emails or Facebook or Twitter or whatever. The iCloud technology means my iPad and iPhone are now synced in real-time. What also amazes me is that if I'm in a WiFi zone, all my data exchange is through the WiFi. When I'm not, it's automatically part of my telephone data plan. You're almost never disconnected. That's what was missing from the iPad: the integration of constant communication. Even the phone works great! Plus with the 4S system, I can even use my iPhone as a wireless router and connect my laptop to the Internet when I'm in a no-WiFi zone. Brilliant, I tell you! And don't even get me started on Siri, the talking personal servant/secretary, whom I admit I've barely begun to engage with because I'm terrified she knows the secrets to both world peace and the apocalypse.

While I have to admit that I still prefer the large screen of the iPad over that of the iPhone (these aging eyes just see things better on the larger screen), I'm willing to put up with that inconvenience with all of the other incredible things this iPhone can do. I do find myself also now feeling a little paranoid that someone's going to steal my phone, as technology muggings are on the rise here in NYC. Still, I must say, I'm thrilled with my decision to move forward and get this phone. I now have a glimpse of understanding about those wackos who wait for days on line to get the new iPhone when it's released. I'm not joining them, mind you (I have to draw my crazy line somewhere), but oddly enough I now seem to get it. I could keep going on, but I think I just got a "ding" that it's my turn playing Words with Friends!