Thursday, June 28, 2007

my first mikvah

last night, as on of the pre-wedding rituals, i got to attend my cousin's mikvah. i had no idea what i was getting myself into. the way it was explained to me, all the girls in the family were going to go to the synagogue and watch my naked cousin be dipped in a pool. it sounded like it was going to be an adult baptism. it wasn't as interesting though. it turned out that it was just a bunch of us girls drinking hot coke out of a bottle and eating these georgian cheese pastries called chachapuri, sitting outside of a dirty looking spa section of a random synagogue. we finally got to go inside after the two orthodox women running the place (and their ill-fitting wigs) let us in to a hot "waiting room". while we waited, my cousin did her mikvah, which basically meant that she took a shower, then dipped into this mini pool of rain water where she said a prayer underwater. meanwhile, our multi-generational room of girls had moved on to a celebratory bottle of wine for the bride-to-be's successful purifying shower.

for those of you goys who bear no familiarity with the mikvah, read up on it on wikipedia. there you will learn that it is a ritual bath supposed to cleanse women of their menstrual and sexual sins. orthodox women do it once a month. my cousin had to do it or else the rabbi would refuse to marry her. my mother jokingly admitted that she did it twice, only to be embarrased for the rest of the night in front of the ill-wigged orthi-women.

Monday, June 25, 2007

i have not disappeared

i am on my way to israel today for my cousins' wedding. i will be back next sunday.

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don't cry too much.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

a new american portrait

tomorrow evening will bring the opening of the latest show at the jen bekman gallery entitled "a new american portrait". the show features the work of 9 contemporary photographers working in the field of modern American portraiture. the press release quotes the show's co-curator, jörg colberg, saying, “a portrait lives in the interaction between the photographer and the sitter, a relationship which banishes any notion of objectivity. The work included in this exhibition explores, and at times exposes, this fragile intriguing dynamic.” the show is co-curated by colberg and ms. bekman, and runs through august 3rd.

the following pictures are two examples from the show, the first is by alec soth and the second is by jennifer davis:

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check out what the artists have to say about their favorite portraits on the gallery blog.

jen bekman
6 spring st
between bowery and elizabeth
june 22 - august 3

opening reception:
tomorrow, june 22nd

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

the search for the american landscape

while at the jb gallery today, i got to look through a book of photographs by former hot shot winner ian baguskas. the photographs were from a series of his entitled "the search for a the american landscape".

this is the artist's preface:
the desire to travel and explore untouched terrain in order to view sensational vistas seems to be found in everyone, however, the possibility of seeing and experiencing these places in their natural form, may no longer truly exist. the accommodations that have been made for the people who visit these places does not only alter our experience in them, but has changed the landscape itself.

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there is one photo that i am dying to post here, it's my favorite one of his and was the cover for the book, however i can't find a copy of it online to post here. anyway, look for it on the website, it is under "the search for the american landscape" series and it is the first one under "moab". its the picture of the sitting buffalo. i love that one.

nyc street meat

i have never been much of a fan of street meat. the thought of cheap chicken or 20 cent hot dogs cooking inside a small, sweaty cart has never seemed really appealing to me. even in prague, when all the boys cherished their late-night jaunts to the sausage stands where they would satisfy their beer-full bellies with kielbasa and smazeny syr (that's fried cheese), i could never find much enjoyment in the endeavor. i was once persuaded to buy a street hot dog in old town square simply by watching an obnoxious tourist devour one next to me and ended up throwing it out after 2 1/2 or so bites. all that has changed overnight since i read new york magazine's 14-page spread on the wonders of new york's best street food.

according to the article, the best food cart in the city belongs to the arepa lady in jackson heights. suprisingly, i had actually heard of her by name before reading this article. her cart is located in jackson heights, on roosevelt avenue and 78th st., and she only works late nights on friday and saturday. her specialty: two kinds of columbian arepas. now, people reading this should know how i feel about arepas, particularly my neighborhood arepa place caracas, which serves unbelievable venezuelan-style arepas. all of a sudden, i'm dying to make a pilgrimage for some midnight arepas in jackson heights.

some of the other carts that sound amazing:
- tony "the dragon" dragonas on 62nd st. near madison ave, specializing in char-grilled chicken with rice
- the esquites man on fifth ave near 53rd st. in sunset park, toasted corn in a cup, sauteed in butter and topped with cojita cheese, cayenne, and lime juice
- dogmatic dogs at bleecker street park on bleecker and hudson, specializing in gourmet sausages inserted into baguettes with special condiments
-calexico on wooster and prince, making socal style mexican food like carne asada soft tacos

check out new york magazine's top twenty list.

savior adore

this past saturday, after a long day spent seating obnoxious people for brunch, i tagged along with my boyfriend and our friend to lit on 2nd avenue to see a band play called savoir adore.

some of their songs remind me of the mellow epicdom of broken social scene, while others reminded me of the fun, electro-pop sounds of the postal service. the band is comprised of a cute boy-and-girl duo, with a few talented friends backing them on an assortment of instruments.

one of their songs was used by a friend to accompany his animation projected, which is located secretly as a work in progress at the head of the fat man on followmenyc.

you can hear their music on their myspace page.

Monday, June 18, 2007

candy photographs

according to his bio on coolhunting, photographer craig kanarick likes to wear purple suits.

that's all i can remember about him before i was led to his website rockmade. there i found a bunch of colorful pictures of candy that would drive my sweet-toothed friend, ally ruddy, crazy.

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i stumbled around further on his website, unable to find any beneficial information about kanarick himself. what i did find, however, when i clicked on the "bookshelf" section, was the cover picture of a book i recognized from my pre-teen days called 'deal with it! a whole new approach to your body, brain, and life as gURL'. i'm pretty certain that i remember my mom buying it for me at barnes & noble during my advance into womanhood. how embarrassing. weirder still, what did mr. kanarick have to do with this book about growing boobs and girly emotions?

déjà vu

so, an MIT researcher has pinpointed the cause of déjà vu. i'm still trying to wrap my head around this.

Researchers believe that a set of neurons called place cells fire to provide a sort of blueprint for any new space we encounter. The next time we see the space, those same neurons fire. Thus we know when we've been somewhere before and don't have to relearn our way around familiar turf.

But if we enter a space very similar to one we have seen before, a new but overlapping set of neurons creates the blueprint. When there is enough overlap between the two sets, we experience an eerie feeling of déjà vu--a French phrase that literally means, "already seen."

read more about it.

last time: the end of the sopranos

hopefully this will be the last time i bring up the culmination of the sopranos on the fifth day of may. hopefully.

i just read a very intricate examination of the last episode published on gawker which theorizes that tony "is blown away at the end of the episode." and its not just a two paragraph explanation by some deranged fan. its more like a seriously deep analysis of the end by a deranged fan.

read it.

sonic youth at starbucks

according to pitchfork media, sonic youth is set to compile an album to be sold at alongside venti non-fat lattes and elton john christmas albums at starbucks. the album is to be comprised of songs favored by celebrities like marc jacobs and jeff tweedy, plus one newly recorded song.

i don't really know what to think of this. i love sonic youth, ever since i saw them play at the el rey--a small venue on wilshire blvd, while stoned out of my mind. however, my feelings about starbucks are not so warm.

read pitchfork's interview with thurston moore here.

there will be blood

november 21st brings p.t. anderson's first film in 5 years, 'there will be blood', based on an upton sinclair novel "oil!" and starring the admirable daniel day-lewis.

just now i stumbled upon this here little teaser trailer:

Sunday, June 17, 2007

black chicken

its sounds like the name of a southern blues group or maybe even a 1950s sock-hop dance move, but i assure you that's not what black chicken is. actually, i recently found out that black chicken is a chinese version of chicken, with white feathers, but black skin, bones, and meat. supposedly, the bird has been used in chinese medicine for thousands of years since its meat has a high level of antioxidants that can possibly reduce the effects of aging, autism, and diabetes. however, i've seen pictures circulating the internet of a black chicken carcass and it does not look so good.

i first heard of this rare bird while watching the new top chef miami, season 3, wherein the chefs were required to create a dish using two types of protein from a bar of exotic, wild game for a panel of judges that included my man, anthony bourdain. the bar contained an array of meat, ranging from buffalo rib eyes and ostrich fillets, to rattlesnakes and kangaroo. of course, there was also this mysterious meat called the black chicken, which ended up being one of the top two contenders. also, has anyone heard of geoduck (pronounced on the show like gooey-duck)? they cooked that on the show, too. geoduck is actually not even related to the duck family as its name suggests, but is instead a phallic-shaped saltwater clam that looks remarkably unappetizing.

anyway, i don't know where i'm going with this post. other than a conclusion that i'm watching too much food-related television, between bravo's top chef and the food network's search for the next food network television star chef.

why your screen went blank

this if my favorite explanation yet for the painful last seconds of blank television in last week's conclusion of the sopranos, given by david letterman:

"by the way, this just in: Al Qaeda is claiming credit for the vague ending of 'the sopranos'."

Friday, June 15, 2007

the whore of mensa

according to vulture, woody allen's newest book of short stories is to be released this coming weekend, called 'mere anarchy'. in honor of the release, vulture posted a link to one of allen's older short stories that won an award. so, i'm going to post a link to a story of his that i found very memorable called, "the whore of mensa", about the intellectual's whorehouse.

it will take you no more than 10 minutes to read. check it out.

usa vs. sweden

i got a lovely email last night regarding a 30%-60% off sale that began at chi-chi boutique opening ceremony, this morning. i was there at 11am with a few other stealthy shoppers. i left, however, purchase-less, since the one pair of shoes i had my eye on were lacking the benefits of sale prices. there is a bunch of good stuff available, however, if you're looking at items that have been marked down from their original $600 price tags.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

start wearing purple

my dad sent me this music video on youtube. he loves gogol bordello. or mainly its frontman, eugene hutz, who used to dj weekly at the bulgarian bar mehanata, but i don't think its around anymore. or maybe its changed locations. anyway, this song is on the "everything is illuminated" soundtrack, which was directed by hutz's fellow ukrainian, liev schreiber. its a funny song, plus i adore his accent.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

gypsy caravan

i just saw this preview for a musical documentary called gypsy caravan that tells the story of several international Roma musicians, following their musicial careers combined with glimpses into the personal lives in macedonia, romania, india, etc...

i've always been a fan of gypsy music--my dad listens to a lot of it. its unbelievably lively and requires a lot of energy and talent. the roma are a very mystical and interesting people. their presence is significant all over europe, particularly in the east. i was at a flea market in vienna that was like a roma camp, full of children and old women pandering what seemed to be stolen goods. in prague, i often saw young roma boys with their fathers getting bad looks from old women on the tram. its a strange concept that in the west, their culture is often mystified, yet in reality they live in poverty on the outskirts of society in their respective countries.

this is a picture i took of musicians performing on the s-bahn in berlin.
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the film opens this friday at the angelika film center.


last night i ate the most de.lic.ious dinner at one of the best restaurants below houston. hidden secretly on an alley off of rivington, freeman's is like a country hideaway in the lower east side. taxidermied heads adorn the walls and unfinished wooden tables crowd the floor of the restaurant, which is subdivided into a bunch of small rooms. there are two bars serving up a list of complex and intricate cocktails, like the brown derby i got, which was bourbon, grapefruit juice, and honey. the eclectic menu changes seasonally and always has a good amount of wild game on it. besides for the amazing bibb lettuce salad with bleu cheese i had to start, i ordered the most unbelievable roast chicken that came in a lemon-hazelnut brown butter sauce with green beans. it was de.lic.ious.

hey, hot shot!

i was at the jen bekman gallery all day yesterday working on the hey, hot shot! installation, which opens tonight at the jen bekman gallery. hey, hot shot is a quarterly competition for emerging photographers run by ms. bekman. the winners get featured in a hey, hot shot showcase at the gallery and are represented by ms. bekman in case any rich buyer wants to make a little purchase. despite a few glitches, the install went pretty well. there is a lot of work packed into the walls. on the hey, hot shot website you can see the names of the winners whose work will be presented tonight at the gallery. the following images are some examples of whats in the show, the first is by kelly shimoda and the second is by mark marchesi:

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come to hey, hot shot! the show opens tonight, wednesday june 13th, from 6-8 pm, and runs through sunday, june 17th.
the jen bekman gallery is at 6 spring street between bowery and elizabeth.

Monday, June 11, 2007

death is her

marina tsvetaeva is one of the poets i grew closest to while i was in prague. she had a torrential life--she left russia before the revolution for prague, where she worked and had an illicit affair with a friend of her husband's, which she later wrote about in her best poems, "poem of the end" and "poem of a mountain". she then moved to paris where she tried to work and held a epistilary romance with the poet boris pasternak and rainer maria rilke. she later returned to russia, where she was sought after by the government, and ended her life by hanging out of terror for her soldier son's future. she was boyishly beautiful and had quite a temper that comes out in her writing. while in prague, my poetry teacher couldn't say her name without looking at me--said i made him think of her.

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i couldn't choose one entire poem to put up here, so i'm putting up a section from my favorite poem, "poem of the end".

in wandering tribes of
fisherman brothers
drink without crying

dance without crying
their blood is hot, they
pay without crying

pearls in a glass
melt, as they run their
world without crying

so tribes of nomads
die without crying
burn without crying

so tribes of fisherman
in ash and song can
hide their dead man.

there was nothing wrong with your tv

i'm glad that other people thought something was wrong with their tv at approximately 10:03 last night when the most anticipated moment of the sopranos series finale turned into a blank black screen. at first, i thought that meadow was shot as soon as she ran through the door after her frustrating parking dilemma (what was up with that?) however, i was left unsatisfiedly satisfied like the rest of east coast sopranos fans.

this is the new york times' cover picture (of the arts section, of course)--an homage to the final, quiet moments of the sopranos.
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last night i thought i was more disappointed than i actually was. everyone was talking about how horrible the ending was and how absolutely nothing happened, but i didn't actually feel disappointed. i bet i would be more disappointed if someone in the family actually did get shot and we were left with a final, unfinished moment of bloodshed. the new york times' critic, alessandra stanley explains, "there was no good ending, so 'the sopranos' left off without one." and she's right. any ending would have been a letdown--the letdown essentially is that the show is over and it had to end somehow. ok, now i will stop analyzing my feelings about the end of the show. its too bad its over, but it was a "perfectly imperfect finish" as stanley writes.

i wonder how many people called time warner cable, though, asking why their cable went out.

the coast of utopia

my biggest regret about leaving new york for the month of january through may of this past year is the fact that it forced me to miss the massive production of tom stoppard's trilogy the coast of utopia at lincoln center.

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the play focuses on the philosophical debates in pre-revolutionary Russia during the mid 19th century. the play was directed by jack o'brien, who won a tony last night for his work on the production, and featured an amazing cast of actors, uncluding brian o'byrne, jennifer ehle (who won a tony last night), billy crudup (who also won a tony last night), ethan hawke, and martha plimpton. images of the production, like the one below, look incredible.

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i'm in the midst of reading part one, "voyage", which you can buy on amazon here.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

prazske quadriennale

the prague quadrennial is supposedly the most important international theater event--i was reminded of this over and over again by my theater teacher while i was in prague. unfortunately, i left the czech republic a month too soon. starting this week, from june 14th through the 24th, theater artists, designers, and scenographers will flood the city to exhibit some of the innovative concepts they have been working on. there will be lots of performances throughout the city streets--anne bogart and the siti company will be performing at the archa theater. blahblahblah i'm not in prague anymore, however if you're interested in theater you should check out the program and look into some of the design competitions.

this photo appeared in the new york times article about the quadrennial. the photo below appeared in the article. it is of an austrian set design for "west side story" that is being presented at the quadrennial.

the final whack

boo hoo. the sopranos finally ends tonight. ny magazine's vulture has tons of articles with predictions on whats going to happen. in all honesty, i don't think tony is going to get killed...that would be too much of a depressing note to end television's most incredible dramatic series on.

anyway, i'm psyched. not too psyched though, because ever since chris got killed off a few episodes ago, my love for the show died a litle. i'm way too attached to this show, i can't believe i'm this excited for the finale. i even bought a bottle of chianti for the evening. i still have to finish 1 1/2 more episodes before 9pm. i've been attached to this show for about a year and a half now, since the first season was put on hbo on demand and i was doing research for a monologue i was doing from "goodfellas". i was also an extra last summer, you can see me and my boyfriend up close and personal sitting behind to soprano family in the episode "stage 5" at the cleaver premiere.

check out this article from the new york times about the final whack. and watch the finale at 9m tonight!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

bad ass

however unlikely it is of me, i am in love with amy winehouse.

i just found this link on vulture to download an old song of hers, "there is no greater love".

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i think she is bad ass.

ketchup part two

here is the second commercial in the heinz series that i posted below. this one is called "my eyes hurt":

vote for it here!

Friday, June 8, 2007

free fader

did you know that you can download fader magazine for free through itunes? i didn't! anyway, you can download it through itunes by clicking here and it comes up as a podcast, then opens up as a pdf.

ketchup time

my boyfriend made a series of heinz ketchup commercials that are in a voter-based competition on youtube. here is one of them. watch it, laugh, and then make it win by voting for it on youtube.

click here and vote for it! or rate it! or do whatever it takes to make him win.

seth rogan gets kicked

just read this hilarious letter on gawker written by new yorker writer ben greenman addressing the new it-man, seth rogan. read it!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

romanian peasants

ioana crăciunescu is a fairly young romanian poet who lives in paris and is better known as an actress. i learned about her while i was living in prague. it is practically impossible to find any information about her online because her poetry was rarely taken seriously and instead more attention was paid to her prized beauty. this is a poem of hers:

i was in a field of potatoes
peasants with hoes were tearing up
the sail of my ship

those constantly buzzing flies
were creating for me a world
of bones and skin...

i was in a field of potatoes
peasants were raking and gathering
into stacks the ropes and helm,
poop and prow of my ship,
i smelt of potatoes,
the shipwreck seemed
an error of always navigating by the stars...

red ants were running through my hair
taking and carrying ot their ant hills
the wind and the frost, the taste and the scent,
the air, the salt of the sea...

i was in a field of potatoes
the peasants were mowing down the fixed masts.

some of her poems can be found in an anthology published by my poetry teacher from prague entitled "child of europe" and compiled by michael march.

freak scene

dinosaur jr. are back again. the awesome trio are in town to promote their first record in over 15 years and are playing tonight at irving plaza at 9pm for a mere $25!

pink moon

last night while at the apartment of the gallery owner i intern for, ms jen bekman, i saw two amazing photographs on her wall by an artist she represents named benjamin donaldson. out of all the artwork smattered about her apartment walls, these two stuck out to me the most. i love the combinations of subtle pinks and blues in these pictures.

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donaldson's work will be included in the "a new american portrait" exhibit opening friday june 22th from 6-8 at the jen bekman gallery.

Monday, June 4, 2007

the theater post

for those of you who don't know, there is an unbelievable international theater company based out of britain called cheek by jowl. instead of on artistic director, a director-designer team led by declan donnellan and nick ormerod. i saw an all-male production of "twelfth night" that they did at BAM last year with a cast of polish/russian actors that blew my mind.

anyway, i just read the introduction to donnellan's book on acting and theater called the actor and the target, which is now in it's second edition. here is a part from it that i really liked:

"acting is a mystery, and so is theatre. we assemble in a space and divide into two parts, one of which enacts stories for the remainder. we know of no society where these rituals never happen, and in many cultures these events are at the very center of that society. there is a persistent need to witness acted-out representations, from television soap opera to greek tragedy.

a theatre is not only a literal space, but also a place where we dream together; not merely a building, but a space that is both imaginative and collective. theatre provides a safe frame within which we can explore dangerous extremities in the comfort of fantasy and the reassurance of a group. if every auditorium were razed to the ground, theatre would still survive, because the hunger in each of us to act, and to be acted to, is inbred. we direct, perform and witness performances to communicated with ourselves as we sleep; theatre cannot die before the last dream has been dreamt."

the midwest on broadway

walked into nyu's tisch building today and strolled past the gallery show towards the rear of the 1st floor where a series of color photographs by alumna samantha contis are on display. the photos are mainly of spare agrarian landscapes and remind me of a sweet, rural melancholy that exists somewhere far away from the urban mayhem of new york.

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The exhibit will be up through July 2nd.
Samantha Contis at Tisch

canadian collaboration

just found out that one of my favorite singer/songwriters, leonard cohen, is collaborated with the avant-garde composer philip glass on a 90-minute piece that sets poems from cohen's most recent book, the book of longing, to new glass compositions. performances run for three nights only beginning tonight and are in fucking toronto. lame.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

david byrne = blogger

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his blog
= awesome

or, excuse me, his "journal".

dad's briefcase

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this book looks good.

Mitch Epstein: Work

latest banksy street art

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"a new mural of a cash machine with a robotic arm snatching a little girl that recently turned up at exmouth market in finsbury, london..."

i found it on this website called towleroad and was wondering why the side advertisements were of mainly naked men wearing undies too small to cover their junk. then i looked up and the page title was "banksy targets banks with new mural -- towleroad for modern gay men".

girls at the pool

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i love this photo. its a production still from a 2006 film called "the rape of the sabine women" by eve sussman that showed at the ifc center last year.

i found it on the cover of this week's artkrush.

sad summer songs

the a.v. club just put up a list of 12 truly sad summer songs. the kinks are up there with stevie wonder and the awesome 80s girl group, bananarama.

Friday, June 1, 2007

crazy love today

"love is blind, and so too is linda pugach, one of the loony-tuners in the somewhat sickening, mildly gonzo documentary 'crazy love'."

so begins manohla dargis's review published today in the new york times. i've been waiting to see this movie for awhile, which looks pretty entertaining due to its crazy story. the documentary tells the strange story of the relationship between linda riss and burton pugach, who began dating in the '50s when riss was in her early 20s. pugach apparently grew sickly obsessed with her and when she started seeing other people, he hired a few thugs to punish her by throwing lye in her face and consequently blinding her. the story was supposedly a tabloid hit back then, along with the closely-followed sensationalized trial. anyway, pugach was finally convicted and still, fifteen years later, the two were married.

with such an insane plot, the documentary has got to be somehwat of an entertaining rollercoaster ride. however, the times review puts a damper on all this shallow fun by focusing on the tragic side of the story, categorizing the film as a "freak family" story along the lines of the long island family pedophile story chronicled in 'capturing the friedmans', another highly entertaining tragic documentary. so basically, its going to be an emotional journey. now i want to see it even more.

crazy love opens in manhattan today. i think its playing at the landmark sunshine.