So what are your travel plans for this summer? I’d love to hear from all of you!
One of my favorite things to do is to go to museums, and boy, does New York City have a great one! I’m talking about the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I’ve been there every trip to the Big Apple, including a trip solely to see the “Dangerous Liaisons” exhibit eight years ago. This time was no different. Since it was my husband’s first time New York, we made sure that we put aside lots of time to explore. We spent half a day wondering among the galleries, trying to see as much as humanly possible in one visit. And we never set foot in the Gift Shop!
Every time I go, there’s new experiences to discover. I love walking from room to room while traveling through time. Where else can you walk through an Egyptian tomb, see art from the South Pacific, and gaze upon Henry VIII’s armor all in one day?
This time, we saw the “Charles James” exhibit, who is one of my favorite 20th Century designers. He not only designed beautiful dresses but he engineered them! The exhibit, itself, was a model of technology. The dresses were presented with video media and drawings that showed the inner workings of each of James’ masterpieces. I can’t begin to tell you what a joy this is for two costume designers! Whenever I look at a garment, I want to know how it was patterned, and the Met showed me exactly that.
While this was a special exhibit, photography was not allowed. However, we did get pictures of as much stuff in the galleries where photography was allowed.
For the past year, I have been writing the first book in my “Dressing” costuming series. In order to finish the book, I have started a Booster campaign. Please show your support for my project, “Dressing: Germany” by buying one of these awesome T-shirts. Time is limited! So, visit the following link to get yours today:
Respect. Yes, in this day and age of casualness and informality, respect for the theatre seems to be falling by the wayside. Recently, while in New York, my husband and I attended two Broadway shows. One of these shows, “Cabaret”, featured my favorite actor, Alan Cumming. I waited fifteen years to see him as the Emcee in Roundabout Theatre’s production of Kander and Ebb’s classic romp through 1930’s Berlin. I scrimped and saved for nine months to make my dream a reality. So, if what happened last night at Studio 54 had happened a few weeks ago when we were there, my whole experience would have been tainted, and quite possibly ruined. I don’t care how famous you think you are or how many movies you’ve made, you still owe the performers up on that stage respect. By the way, I’ve made a couple of films but I’ve been involved with a lot more live theatre shows. Plus, my husband and I are theatrical costume designers, so we know and understand exactly what it takes to launch a theatrical production. We have also been in shows. Actors, designers, and crew spend months of hard work and long days to bring you a few hours of enjoyment. Yes, in the theatre, we work nine to five. Nine a.m. to five a.m. the next morning with barely enough time to shovel food in our mouths and maybe a ten-minute catnap to keep us going through the night. It’s not an easy life but we love it. We really do. Very few “theatre people” actually get rich working in the theatre. Many of us live paycheck to paycheck. But, still, we couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
So, when we attended two evening performances at esteemed Broadway houses, we were shocked to see our fellow attendees in T-shirts, cut-offs, and flip flops. Now, I’m not saying everybody who goes to a Broadway show has to design and build their own evening dress with matching purse in the time period of the show they are attending but at least put on your Sunday clothes. The actors deserve it. You’re not watching a movie where no matter how many you see it, you get the same performance. Up on that stage, the actors can see you. They work hard for you. Pay them the respect they deserve. After all, they got all gussied up for you.
In order for you to hear the words the actors are saying, many theatres use hidden mics. Nothing is worse than sitting in a house and hearing static coming through the speakers because someone can’t live without their electronic leash. Please, TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONES. Many actors will, and deservedly so, mock you. And the rest of the audience now has horrible, life-altering memories of your mistake. Do you really want to be remembered by a thousand strangers as the idiot who ruined a Tony award winning performance by leaving your phone on? And don’t try to fool everybody by simply turning the ringer to “silent.” We will still know when your screen flashes or lights up, in a dark house.
Now, some shows do encourage times of “audience participation.” Both my husband and I can now claim that we have sung in a Broadway show with Annie Potts. Of course, so can one thousand seven other people that night. My point is that unless one of the actors onstage directs you in the audience to make some sort of noise, DON’T. It’s rude to everybody else on and off stage. Wait till intermission or after the show to make a comment or ask a question. There will be plenty of time to tweet or Facebook your opinions later.
Another thing that makes a theatrical performance enjoyable to everybody is starting the show on time. The actors you are about to see onstage didn’t just get to the theatre, saunter into their dressing room, and throw on some outfit without a second thought. They have what’s referred to in our profession as a “call time.” This is what time they are required to show up at the theatre and start getting ready. A call time can be as little as one hour before curtain, or when the show starts. An average call time is more like two hours. So for your 8:00 performance, the cast has been there since 6:00. Now, for make-up heavy shows, such as “Phantom of the Opera” or “Beauty & the Beast,” some of those actors may have call times five to six hours ahead of the start of the show. Imagine sitting in a make-up chair for four to five hours a day, six days a week, while someone meticulously applies a prosthetic to transform you into the Phantom or a talking mantel clock. Follow this with a two to three hour performance, showering, getting back into your civilian clothes, and signing autographs outside the stage door. This can make for a rather long day, albeit quite a rewarding one. You can help them out by arriving to the theatre by the appointed time printed on your ticket. What happens if too many people are late? The house holds the curtain. So now, your 8:00 performance starts at 8:20, much to the chagrin of everybody who did get there on time.
So, the next time you head to a Broadway show or even just your local high school production, remember that everyone on that stage and behind it, have put their heart and soul and blood, sweat, and many, many tears into giving you the performance of a lifetime. Support your troupes and give them the R*E*S*P*E*C*T that they deserve.
So, camped out on the couch recovering from the flu, I decided to randomly Google one of our earlier Food Pyramid designs, Polish Food Pyramid. I was truly amazed to discover how much love it gets online. I feel honored. Love like this deserves a GREAT BIG SHOUT-OUT! If you get a chance, please check out these sites and support our supporters. Thanks, guys!
What better way to spend a Sunday than in Central Park with a loved one? Well, this was definitely a treat. Central Park in the middle of Manhattan has never disappointed me on any of my trips to New York. It’s one of the things that is a must-do every time. This visit was especially wonderful because I got to share it with the love of my life.
Photos from our recent trip to New York City.
1930's, berlin, Cabaret, cheese, company, falafel, gazala's, germany, halabi, LaGuardia, landmark, mac and cheese, manhattan, new york city, rolls, roundabout, s'mac, spring, studio 54, tavern, theatre
One of the things I enjoy most about going to New York, besides the unlimited theatrical offerings, is definitely the food. In one Manhattan block, you’re likely to find the cuisines of several different countries or regions from around the world. Here in Texas, you’re lucky to find more than barbeque, fast food, or Tex-Mex in one corner of the Metroplex. If you want Italian or Chinese, you’re most likely to be limited to a major chain restaurant. Now, I’m not saying that Texas doesn’t have good food, it just doesn’t have the gastronomical variety of the Big Apple. My stomach enjoys dietary differences from meal to meal.
Of course, the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions New York City and food is pizza. Good old slice of thin crust pizza. Nothing is more New York than walking to any of the thousands of pizzerias in Manhattan and grabbing a slice of heavenly cheese pizza. And I adore a good slice of New York pizza. My husband, not so much. He prefers the thick-crusted Chicago variety. But even he was swayed to enjoy a slice of thin pepperoni. I’ve heard New Yorkers owe the magnificent flavor of their pizza to the local water. I don’t know if this is scientifically proven but whatever it is, I’ll have another.
But man cannot live on pizza alone, although my mother tried very hard during our first trip to New York fifteen years ago. My husband and I wandered across an Irish pub down the street from our hotel in Hell’s Kitchen. Built in 1868, the Landmark Tavern is a joy. This place might just convince my husband that a move to Manhattan is in our future. The staff is wonderful, the food delicious, and the ambiance historically breath-taking. Another thing you can’t get in Texas- hundreds year old buildings that aren’t museums. Wait, we can’t get hundreds year old buildings. Fort Worth alone only dates back to the 1840’s. Most buildings over fifty here get torn down so something newer can go up in its place. Okay, back to the Landmark. We went here for dinner two nights in a row. Being vegetarian, I am more limited in my choice of offerings when I go out to eat. So, I had the vegetarian spring rolls both times, and I would order them again. They were crispy, tasty sticks of pure deliciousness. Two sauces accompanied the rolls. The first was a salty soy sauce and the second was a spicy sweet Asian sauce. Combining the two led to a heavenly cacophony of flavor, one that I will dream about for the rest of my life. The first night my husband sampled the Shepherd’s Pie, which, generally, is already of his favorite dishes. This one might just be specifically one of his favorite shepherd pies. On our second visit, he varied it with the Bangers and Mash, which he also enjoyed.
Vegetarian Spring Rolls
Thanks to my obsession with the Travel Channel and travel shows in general, one of the places that was planned ahead of time with the help of a great deal from Amazon Local, was S’Mac, short for Sarita’s Mac N Cheese. We visited their Lexington and 33rd location. Getting there right after opening, we beat the lunch crowd and started our meal with the restaurant to ourselves. With our deal, we each got the Major Munch portion of our choice of Sarita’s Recommendations and a drink. As a self-proclaimed Macaroni and Cheese connoisseur, I went with the Pariesenne. My skillet held a creamy marriage of shitake mushrooms, brie, rosemary, and figs. It was so incredibly filling that though I try as I might, I could only down half of this splendidly cheesy dish. The crust that tops each skillet itself is a marvel to behold. When your fork breaks through and the steam escapes, you know you’re in for a real culinary treat. My husband went with the Cheeseburger skillet. He, too, though delighted with his choice, simply could not finish his meal. Even without our Amazon deal, this meal would have been one yummy bargain and will remain on our must-eat list for our next trip to Manhattan.
After working off our skillets with a lengthy walk back to our hotel, the husband and I rested up before starting the thirty street journey to Columbus and 78th for our next stop around the world in eight meals. This time, thanks to Groupon, we discovered a fabulous Middle Eastern restaurant by the name of Gazala’s, which the features the cuisine of the Israeli Druze heritage. Our meal started with our choice of a hot or cold meze, or starter. While my husband chose the Meat Cigar, I went with the Hummus with Mushrooms. The paper-thin pita served with it could barely support all the flavors provided by the creamy hummus. The mix of seasonings was perfect with the mushrooms and pita. Although I would have like to have tried the Artichokes, it wasn’t available with our deal. No big deal, we’ll try it next time because like S’Mac and the Landmark, we will be returning to Gazala’s. Feeling adventurous, my husband tasted the Halabi, a meat dish which he described as “very authentic and very well spiced.” He loved the tastiness of it. I partook of the Falafel Plate, served with a savory red cabbage side dish and Tahini. These were the best falafel I’ve ever had, and I’ve eaten lots of falafel. They were crispy and savory and paired well with the creamy hummus of the appetizer. For dessert, we split the Date Cookies, which the menu describes as “semolina dough stuffed with chopped dates and walnuts.” They were also topped with airy confectioner’s sugar. After the sugar overload, we were thankful for the thirty block walk back to Hell’s Kitchen. Overall, our meal was fantastic and the waitstaff extremely courteous and helpful. Our waitress was able to answer any of my questions as to what on the menu would be suitable to my vegetarian diet. Also, the menu left plenty of delicious-sounding options for us to try next time.
Hummus with Mushrooms
Our last major foray into the world of food was at Studio 54. Yes, that Studio 54. And after continuing the history of the location by “shooting up” in the leopard-print carpeted upstairs bathroom (okay, it was insulin. My love of food and the genetic lottery has led to me being a diabetic,) we headed downstairs to the theatre. Roundabout Theatre Company has turned the main room of the famous, and infamous, 1970’s Disco club into a 1930’s Weimar-era Berlin cabaret for their production of…”Cabaret.” Since this was the main event and reason for our trip to Manhattan, I splurged and reserved us seats at one of the tables in the Orchestra section. Along with the fabulous view of the stage comes table service. In between the waiters running over to compliment our clothes, we ate…well. While the husband ate the German Meat Plate, I munched on the Farmstead Cheese Plate. It featured a selection of German cheeses, crackers, a yummy fig jam, grapes, strawberries, and sticky sweet candied walnuts. Each and every one, delicious. I passed on the Peppermint Schnapps but only because I didn’t want to dull my senses for the show. Sorry, no pictures of the food that night. Along with the knitting, the book, and the broom, we also put away the cell phones. Somehow, they just don’t seem apropos for the 1930’s surroundings.
And so, besides the complimentary breakfast at the hotel and lunch at LaGuardia airport, that was our last meal in Manhattan this time around. We had a fantastic and memorable time in the city that never sleeps but always eats well.