Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pharaoh at the Met

I made a detour into the Metropolitan Museum of Art this past Sunday, taking in the grand lobby and the bookshop, before making my way home to the West Side and brunch with Mr. Husband.

The lobby has an amazing - or I should say - colossal statue of an Egyptian Pharaoh. Weighing ten tons, he sits in the middle of the huge lobby commanding as much attention now as he did four thousand years ago. (See the NYTimes article here.)

Now defaced with a broken nose, the face itself perhaps altered to reflect a subsequent ruler, he dominates the space with an otherworldly, alien and godlike presence.

A touch of Alien and Stargate perhaps? You can see where screenwriters got their inspiration.

He's be at the Met for at least another ten years. Don't miss him if you are in town. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

It might as well be Spring

In fact it is; though it feels like summer here in Manhattan with the temperature rising well into the 70's. Reading through posts this morning, I came across a photo on Ivan Terestchenko's blog and thought: yes- that's how it feels. I want to take my shirt off and move! Move, I did, in the photo above. Taken at the Bethesda Terrace three years ago, I was going to yoga twice a week and got into terrific shape - the best of my life actually. My resting pulse was 50 (I was 50 and still can't believe that part) and my skin glowed (it's all that breathing). With new things stirring, I want to get back to class at least once a week. Vanity? But of course. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Walk to the Y

There I was snapping away with my Iphone using my Camerbag app and the magazine setting while on a walk to the Y for a swim (nothing better to keep one in shape).  I caught the steps for Trinity Lutheran on Central Park West, then the doors and something of the rose window, lining up the picture with the edge of the building.

Just a block south is the Prasada, a great building which is enshrouded for repairs. I was able to snap one of the columns however.

A block further south and I caught the railing outside the Society for Ethical culture.

And then the corner of the Society at Central Park West and 63rd Street. I rather fancy this picture. The contrast of the massive stonework and the 1930's building across the street is interesting.

Finally: the doorway of the Y which has beautiful tilework. I have heard from one source that the tiles are Spanish, while another has told me that they are from the Moravian Tile Works in Pennsylvania. Perhaps a little more digging will resolve the matter.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bethesda Terrace

Since it's not far from my apartment, I find myself snapping shots of the Bethesda Terrace which figures prominently in Angels in America, Tony Kushner's incredible play which I happened to see when it was first produced here in New York in 1993. But that's another story.

Bethesda Terrace's Italian-French-Gothic-Victorian mishmash is quite popular with wedding photographers: I can't tell you the number of times I have come across a wedding party having their pictures taken here.

Or course, my Camerabag setting (magazine) makes the place look funereal even though there was a touch of Spring in the air this past Sunday when I was snapping away. Perfect for an Adams Family Wedding, no? Black tie and noose required.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Star Quality: The World of Noël Coward

If you miss the exhibit on Noël Coward at the New York Public Library at Lincoln Center that just opened on March 12th and runs until August 18th, you are a fool. Do you hear me? A complete and utter fool.

I stopped in at the library at Lincoln Center to do some writing and was ambushed by Coward for more than an hour. I knew this exhibition was going to be mounted the last time I was there, but somehow forgot about it until I reentered the building. Writing be damned. I had to see it. So I did. It was an hour spent in theatre heaven. The kind of heaven where everyone is smartly dressed, engaging in witty conversation and singing lyrics that dazzle. That's the thing really: Coward was all about style and urbane glamour.

This exhibit has everything I love about a great show; ample information, wonderful visuals and music. Yes. Music. Coward's music is playing in the background the whole time, which made me feel that I should have a cigarette in one hand and a martini in another. I wanted to throw my head back and start singing but did manage to restrained myself. (I did hum along however.) 

The exhibit cannily divides Coward's life into ten rich yet digestible and delectable bites: The Boy Actor, The Revue-er, The Renaissance Man, The Blithe Celebrity, The Dear Friend, The Broadway Baby, The Movie Maker, The Rejected Icon, The Reinvented Star and The Master. 

Coward in the Twenties. I love his outfit: high waisted pants (can we bring those back please), wide belt, tapered cotton pants, white bucks and full shirt.

Coward with Gertrude Lawrence.

With Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne for whom he wrote the provocative play Design for Living

Not lost on me in this photo of the set is the Chinoiserie chest used as side table amidst the deco-ish interior. (Apologies for refection on the glass which was difficult to work around.) 

The movie version, which, according to Coward, used all of three lines from the play. 

Coward's London living room. Notice the raised platform with two pianos. 

Graham Payne, Coward's longtime partner. Coward was never publicly open about his sexuality during his lifetime. This exhibit, however, presents Coward's relationships with men without apology, three being highlighted. (Thank you curator Brad Rosenstein.)

Coward with the indomitable Mae West and Cary Grant. He was friends with everyone, included the Queen Mother and Lawrence of Arabia. The exhibit fairly gushes with photos and includes Coward's piano, original music and and an array of interesting items, none the least of which is Oscar.

Dame Maggie Smith, who appeared in Coward's play Hay Fever. The autographed photo credits Coward with teaching Smith how to play comedy.

Coward's polyester and silk chocolate brown tuxedo. Yes. Polyester, which rather surprised me. But then, it was a new fabric with a subtle shine, perfect for a sartorially inclined gentleman.

Called 'The Master' for most of his life, Coward sang, acted, directed and composed with consummate skill, giving life to his deamon on the stage when he was eleven. We should all grow our own wings and fly. 

See the NYPL's promo here and don't miss the show! 

Friday, March 16, 2012

antique pull

You already know that I love old stuff from the Antiques Garage Flea Market, right? Well. Remember the 60's gilt frame I found on Sunday? I found this old pull the same day from the same vendor (his name is Alan and he has lots of great old stuff). It's going to go on the new cabinet door in the kitchen alcove and cost all of 4 bucks. I like the way it reflects the light, which it will certainly do on the new cabinet that will be painted black. The cabinet top will be walnut-stained butcher block, have a deep undermounted black enamel cast iron Kohler sink and shelter a new under-the-counter black paneled refrigerator. Masculine. Concert black. The black lacquer piano harmonizing with the kitchen alcove, the emerald green backsplash above it all singing a descant. Installation is the last day of March.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Doors of Spoleto

I had the exquisite pleasure of singing in Spoleto, Italy, last summer with the Umbrian Serenades and am happy to report that I will be returning again this summer. (If you'd like to go, you need to apply ASAP.) What a magical experience! While there, I found myself snapping pictures of doorways. After I got home, a friend remembered seeing a book on the doors of Umbria. "Really?" I said. "Great minds think alike!" There are an infinite number of doorways, each one different than the other, no two being exactly alike. I can't wait to find new ones.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Getting to the Steins

Mr. Husband and I recently walked across Central Park to the Metropolitan Museum to see the truly wonderful show The Steins Collect. We always enter via an entrance on the ground floor, which is located south of the main staircase on 5th Avenue.

It's hardly ever crowded there, but our recent visit was the exception to the rule: many patrons were waiting in line, perhaps emboldened to venture out since it was very warm for a winter day at nearly 70 degrees.

A short walk up a flight of stairs leads one right into the Roman and Greek galleries, which I can't get enough of.

With me snapping away, we made way to the main Rotunda, the grand stairs and the 19th century wing where the exhibit was located. 

Of course, there were no pictures allowed in the exhibit itself, so you will simply have to see it for yourself, especially if you are at all interested in Picasso and his close connection to the Stein family. The famous family member is, of course, Gertrude, who's relationship with Alice is either taken for granted or somewhat glossed over since the word 'companion' is used in lie of 'girlfriend' or 'lover' in the exhibit's public information ('companion' is like saying 'bachelor' - which obcures more than it reveals). That aside, it is a great show. One of the highlights for me is Gertrude's brother Leo, who comes across as a real character, his observations being quite hilarious. Gertrude herself? She becomes a Buddha.

You have until June 3rd to revel in early 20th century Paris.