With awards season in full swing, we’ve seen plenty of celebrities on the red carpet dressed in their best and looking absolutely fabulous. And while we always appreciate their stunning gowns from our side of the television screen, we now have an incredibly fun way to turn our favorite looks- either off the red carpet or of our own- into ready to Instagram ready professional sketches. Allow us to introduce Chic Sketch, your new favorite app for every event.
Winter seems to finally be here, and with the season comes cold weather. And, since the low temps were late this year, a lot of us are completely unprepared for the upcoming months. You’ve got your coat and scarf, the bare minimums for staying warm, but what about your hands? Many people forgo gloves so they can text or scroll through Instagram, putting your hands at risk for dry skin, stiffness, and even frost bite. But you don’t have to choose between using your hands and keeping them warm anymore.
HONNS gloves are stylish, warm, and have touch screen friendly index and thumb fingertips. Each pair is handcrafted, made of lambskin from English tanneries, and curved to mimic the natural shape of hands. They slide on and fit like a glove should, without getting in the way or taking away your fingers’ mobility. And unlike fleece gloves that are warm until they get wet, HONNS gloves are naturally water-resistant.
Consider the ongoing debate regards public access to bathrooms for gender non-conformists. We often hear of incidents where men who identify and appear as women are often shamed and chased from women’s bathrooms. There may be a solution, we could continue to segregate our public bathrooms, but in a different way. Rather than being gender focused, we could be age focused.
I was watching a very old episode of “Sex And The City” the other day, it might have been the pilot, where the discussion surrounded around women trying to have sex like men. In other words- no feelings, get in, get out, with no emotions. In the modern age we call that a friend with benefit or in layman’s terms, a fuck buddy. However, a growing trend I have seen in the gay world, especially in major metropolitan cities like New York, is the idea that men will edge and edge and edge their brains and nether regions into thinking that the next man (or scene) will finally be the one to make them finish looking (and coming), but some are never truly satisfied and will continue edging for their own personal (and sometimes) selfish reasons. So the question remains- why do men edge and never cum when it comes to actually committing yourself to another guy?
There is good reason why the stage versions of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and George Balanchine’s Nutcracker have endured: They are reliable classics that warm the heart and instill a feeling that, as the song goes, “our troubles will be miles away”. Still, they are not the only shows in town which will- figuratively speaking- add some glitter to your holiday balls. Below, you’ll find a variety of options throughout the city which will aid in making your theatrical yuletide merry:
Hamilton may have the hype, but it’s not the only show in town to leave you in astonishment. Who’s Your Baghdaddy? Or How I Started The Iraq War not only has a long-ass title. It has bad-ass style with a bad-ass cast that pulls off one of the most bad-ass musicals I’ve seen in a very long time.
With minimal staging at midtown’s Actor’s Temple, the intimate show takes us into the machinations, manipulations, and mishegas of the origins and ultimate execution of the Iraq War. It begins and ends as a twelve-step support group, where each of the members confess to starting the War. As I took my seat a few minutes before the performance, people invited me to coffee and doughnuts centered inside the seating circle. I was skeptical. Unless you’re in a legitimate support group, things like this do not happen in New York. Once the strains of composer Marshall Pailet and lyricist A.D. Penedo’s catchy songs began, my attitude shifted from apprehension to pure elation.
Pailet and his co-director Nora Ives, have assembled a top notch cast that is skillfully adept at the triple threat skills of singing, dancing, and acting. The eight person ensemble works so well together that picking out a favorite performer is like asking a parent to choose their favorite child. Particular mention should be made to choreographer Misha Shields, however, who obviously knows how to teach her cast to dance with chairs like nimble cheetahs.
Watching Who’s Your Baghdaddy? is both entertaining and enraging. Like any fine satire, it is smart and savvy and does a terrific job at reflecting our own inadequacies and failures. It is maddening, however, when we stop to think why this true to life theater piece had to be created. It is sobering to recall that 52,000 American lives and 500,000 Iraqi lives were lost at the cost of human error-scratch that- human deception. Where were the checks and balances? Furthermore, where was the American interest and outcry? Baghdaddy takes a smart jab at our own reality show/selfie obsessed nation with a news report covering the events of 9/11:
“This just in: everything is not cool here. And if you’re a terrorist, it’s about to be not cool where you are too. Because even though we may not know where Afghanistan is, our military probably does, so watch out!”
Pailet and Penedo handle the subject of 9/11 quite carefully, for although it remains a delicate topic, it would be impossible to tell the story without it. However, they rightfully skewer our Government and our “trusted officials” by exposing blatant disregard for protocol,abuses of power, and ego-driven decisions by dunces.
Pailet and Penedo appear to be relative newcomers to the New York musical theater scene, but for the sake of quality , let’s hope they keep creating work of this caliber.
Who’s Your Baghdaddy? is slated to run through November 22nd, so while we’re hoping for continued brilliant creations from the writers, let’s also add a wish for an extension or a revival soon. It’s an easier (and cheaper) ticket to score than Hamilton and worth every penny.
For tickets and information to Who’s Your Baghdaddy? Or How I Started the Iraq War, click here. It runs through November 22nd at The Actor’s Temple (West 47th between 8th and 9th)
Frances Hill, the Artistic director of Urban Stages admittedly was nervous. At a recent performance of playwright Oren Safdie’s Unseamly , she expressed concern in her curtain speech about how how subscribers and audiences might react to this edgy roman a clef play about sexual harassment. Her fears weren’t completely unwarranted; Unseamly isn’t exactly the kind of play you want to bring home to mother. It is however, a furious, filthy, and fascinating look into media manipulation, the process of spin, and the consequence of salacious action.
Ripped straight from the headlines, Unseamly is an unraveling of sorts about the CEO and founder of a major apparel store that is um..American. For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, it is the recently bankrupt American Apparel. You see what I did there? (Ahem) Anyway…
The 90 minute drama opens with Malina (Gizel Jimenez), an aspiring model who is seeking legal justice from her lawyer, Adam (Tommy Schrider). Malina’s hopes of legitimate modeling are soon dashed when her loathsome boss Ira Slatsky (Jonathan Silver) begins demanding more from her sexually. Early on, she is presented with a sex toy from him and one has to inquire why it didn’t end there. Still, she continues playing for far too long. Once accusations fly, an arrogant Slatsky feels as though he can get can escape them unscathed. Eventually, his rocky roller coaster of seduction comes to a screeching halt. Adam debates whether or not to pursue the case since it turns into a matter of Malina’s word against Slatsky’s word.
Safdie’s approach to this emotion-filled topic is smart, engaging, and thoughtful. It would be easy to vilify Slatsky, and while his tactics are by no means upstanding, Safdie does not pin the blame solely on him. A slight degree of culpability also rests with Malina, who is well aware of what straight men like and is happy to deliver the goods. Still, one must be mindful of a seventeen year old brain and the naivete, regardless of gender, that is can possess. Safdie has also painted his lawyer with a grey brush, suggesting that he is also not a figure of virtue.
Sarah Carlsen’s direction is sound and all three of her actors are very fine. What could easily slip into a syrupy lesson on sexual harassment is instead a well made, tightly knit tapestry. Kudos to Frances Hill and Urban Stages, who now know that risks like this can often create a riveting night of theater.
Unseamly runs now through November 8th at Urban Stages, 259 West 30th street between 7th and 8th. For tickets and information http://urbanstages.org/
Love and long held beliefs are never cut and dried matters of the heart. French philosopher Michel De Montaigne once observed, “Obstinacy and heat in sticking to one’s opinions is the surest proof of stupidity.” While stupidity might be too pejorative , there is certainly shortsightedness in holding so tightly to a long held belief that it alienates those around you. Two current off Broadway offerings are wrestling with these themes, but only one of them is painting with a brush of realism.
In Would You Still Love Me If…., A lesbian couple, Addison (Rebecca Brooksher) and Danya (Sofia Jean Gomez) are just about to adopt a baby. That, in itself, is breaking news to Danya, a lawyer with her own secret to share. The secret? She would like to be become a man. All of her life she has struggled to find comfort within her own body and as much as she adores Addison, she can no longer live with herself by lying to others. Danya consults Dr. Gerard (Roya Shanks), a prickly expert in the field of gender reassignment. Meanwhile, Danya’s mother, Victoria (Kathleen Turner) meddles in the proceedings. Thank heavens for Turner, who also jumped in as a last minute director for the piece. She’s really the only one bringing grounded, dramatic weight to the role, even though her character seems to
John S. Anastasi’s play is well intended, but there is so much drama packed in at every turn that it just seems implausible. In addition, it often drifts into soap opera territory and, as much as we wish to emphasize and connect with the players, they all appear like characters from a telenovela. It does force an introspective question though: How much compassion and understanding are we willing to give under the extreme circumstances of our own personal relationships? The curiosity that is sparked, though, doesn’t seem worthy of the 90 minute commitment,
As theater becomes more and more of a fertile ground for progressive themes, it’s encouraging to see a work that isn’t afraid to dive head first into this difficult topic . It’s just a shame that there isn’t more depth in the water.
Further down the street, playwright Motti Lerner is grappling with faith with much clearer accuracy in his two-hander, Hard Love. Director Scott Alan Evans helms this play about Hannah (Victoria Mack) and Zvi (Ian Kahn) a once married couple who resided an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Jersusalem. Twenty years later, personal circumstances reunite them and both are forced to admit romantic feelings and discuss their religious differences between one another.
Lerner’s play often paints Zvi, who has now denounced his belief in Judaism, as a bit unlikable. His adamancy for having Hannah join him on anti-religion mission makes him look like more of a jerk. Hannah’s every action is guided by her own unbending Dogma. Still, we see a portrait of two well meaning lovers who are coming to terms with themselves and their worldviews. It’s not unlike Playwrights Horizons’ marvelous, recent production of Lucas Hnath’s The Christians which proves that doctrine can either be a life-saving rope or a noose or destruction. Both plays give us reason to deeply question the purpose of our spirituality-either the presence or absence-and how that affects our daily interactions. For that, I say, “Amen!”
Would You Still Love Me If…. plays at New World Stages (West 50th between 8th and 9th aves. For tickets and more info, visit http://www.wouldyoustilllovemeiftheplay.com
Hard Love plays at Theater Row (West 42nd between 9th and 10th). For tickets and more info, visit: Hard Love Play
The farm to table phenomenon that made its way to the east coast a few years ago is still thriving in New York City and thankfully, a new restaurant in that theme has arrived in Hell’s Kitchen. On 42nd street, where also-ran chain restaurants have long cornered the market, Rustic Table is the refreshing “new kid on the block.”
This cozy café, located between 10th and 11th avenue offers an ample amount of all day selections without overwhelming its patrons. Breakfast selections include a homemade honey date granola, a farmers’ omelette with shredded mozzarella, mushroom, and ricotta, or a fisherman’s breakfast with smoked salmon, red onion, and sour cream. In addition, coffee beverages are also served, but owner Jordan Hadani is mindful about the restaurant’s food and beverage preparation. “When you come to our restaurant, you won’t find an extra-large sized cappuccino,” he said. “The reason is that, we feel that specific amounts contribute to the taste and quality of our food, so we don’t encourage substitutions or changes.”
Judging from the quality of the food, Hadani and his business partner, Guy Weizmann, know exactly what they’re doing in the kitchen-as proven by a recent dinner visit. The meal began with three iced tea selections, which is impressive for such a small scale operation. I chose the green tea. It was difficult to determine the quality, as one would have to be a complete idiot to mess up green tea, but nonetheless, it was refreshing and I appreciated the variety. Next, Hadani and his friendly staff brought the chef’s choice salad, a combination of roasted red peppers, chick peas, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, mint leaves, and baby arugala. Usually, I find feta to be a dry, salt mine of brackishness, but the quality was exceptionally velvety and there was a lot of it. As a general lover of cheese, I had no complaints. The market salad was lightly dressed with a simple, but perfect lemon and extra virgin olive oil. Too often, restaurants drown their greens in a pool of dressing, leaving the ingredients to figuratively yell for rescue. Here, it was a flavorful coat, allowing room to taste each of the carefully crafted components. A homey bread basket with a Kalamata olive infused butter accompanied the vegetarian friendly offering.
Next came a warm, slow cooked brisket sandwich with charred tomatoes and arugula, topped with a hint of lemon aioli. Served on homemade Italian country bread, the sandwich was fresh, hearty, and incredibly tasteful. It was also paired with a small salad. One thing is certain: With all of the greens offered at Rustic Table, diners will be left with fresh oxygen pumping through their veins.
Hoping that the meal would end on an upbeat note, we were given a blackberry tartlet. The berries were ripe and sweet, the custard filling cool and creamy, but the crust was a bit on the dry side-suggesting that it had been sitting for a good portion of the day. Oh well. It can’t always be Tiffany diamonds.
Other offerings on the menu include bite size options of their quiche of the day, salmon bites, various small cheese plates, and their Nutella Classic, comprised of peanut butter and banana. Additional market salads and sandwiches are available as well.
Like any New York institution, space is a precious commodity and Rustic Table is by no means a cavernous dining establishment. With only one large table as a main resource, it is better suited to delivery. But they do have plans to add more tables and bar seats, especially with the prospect of a wine and beer menu which Hadani hopes to secure within the next month or two. In the meantime, it still provides a warm and inviting atmosphere to sit, unwind, and briefly grab a healthful bite before scurrying out to the weary world.
Hadani and Weizmann are no strangers to the restaurant world. “Both of us have worked in the New York City service industry for over a decade,” Hadani said. “The idea for Rustic Table came from a place of wanting to emulate the style and culture of food we have back home (Israel), but to do so without looking pretentious.” He continued, “The farm to table concept seemed the most suited as it emphasizes the idea of fresh produce and products. That is something to which we really adhere.”
The restaurant has been opened since May 2015. Thanks to the help of great yelp reviews and neighborhood support, it is doing quite well. Are more restaurants in the future? The friendly proprietor seems to think so. “More restaurants are definitely in our future,” said Hadani, “But we must focus on this idea and perfect it first.” At this rate, they are close to that goal.
Rustic Table is located at 504 West 42nd Street between 10th and 11th Avenue. They are open Monday-Friday from 7 AM-7PM, Saturday&Sunday from 8AM-7PM. Delivery is also available. Call (212) 244-0744
It’s hard not to admire masters in their field who continue to mold and meld their craft. Lyricist Sheldon Harnick, 91, and Book writer Sherman Yellen, 83, are two such individuals who are keeping the proverbial coal in the fire. But (You had to know it was coming)…
York Theatre Company is currently staging a revised, scaled down version of their Broadway musical, The Rothschilds. The 1971 tuner took in a slew of Tony nominations and employed a sprawling cast of 40. The new version, Rothschild and Sons, is a much smaller version with only 11 in the mix. The story follows Mayer Rothschild (Robert Cuccioli) , a real life rags to riches mensch who shrewdly and wisely fights for social justice against the 1800s German government. His ultimate goal is to strip away with the Jewish ghettos. Rothschild and his five sons eventually create what would arguably become the world’s largest private fortune by means of banking.
Some stories naturally sing and if we were to look at Harnick’s other works, (She Loves Me, Fiorello!, and Fiddler on the Roof) which he composed with Jerry Bock, we would undeniably reach the conclusion that the songs are well placed, superbly written, and do an excellent job at moving their stories forward. Rothschilds and Sons, however, feels forced and as well intended as it is, it doesn’t ever seem to get off the ground. Mayer’s passion for passing the torch onto his children is noble and, like any family, there are a few squabbles. His wife, Gutele (Glory Crampton), sings of wanting little more than a single room and a simple life, Mayer provides some musical insight about the virtues of sons, and his offspring perform a song and dance routine about London. Aside from them, the only stand-out here is the beautiful and heartfelt song, “In My Own Lifetime”, performed near the end by Mayer. The lyrics are a plea to end oppression and world dischord. Even now, the song remains fresh, ageless and relevant.
There’s also a distinct lack of comic relief here too and while one wouldn’t imagine a show about the Jewish struggle to be filled with the yuks of a Carol Burnett comedy sketch, there should be a bit of levity in this two hour intermission less drama.
Some projects are worthy of revival but this piece will only appeal to true musical enthusiasts seeking a glimpse of theatre history. Harnick and Bock’s finer shows, She Loves Me and Fiddler On the Roof are coming back to the Great White way soon. Both are likely to provide a better return on investment.
Rothschilds and Sons is playing now through November 8th at the York Theatre company (619 Lexington Avenue at 53rd street). For tickets and information, visit: York Theatre Company