Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Delayed Gratification

Well, it’s another busy start to the work week for me here in New York. Hope you had a lovely weekend. Mine was was quite low key, lower key than I would have liked if I am honest. I spent the day on Saturday cleaning my apartment and then met Nigel and Azniv at 7.30pm for dinner at Agave on 7th Avenue South. I haven't seen either of them in a while so I was looking forward to us catching up as usually we hang out for hours nattering away, so I was most disappointed when, with dinner over by 9.15pm, Nigel announced he was heading home!! Um....okay!! You're heading home at 9.15pm on a Saturday night???? 9.15pm!!!

Was it something I said??

He was just tired apparently, but I was quite disappointed that my Saturday evening was going to be cut short. Had I known he planned to leave so soon I would have suggested to Azniv in advance that she and I go on for coffee after dinner - she doesn't drink so she wasn't interested in going to a bar - but she'd literally just had one at the end of her meal when Nigel said he was heading home, so she and I headed home too. Thinking back on it I should have just gone to see a movie, I’m bursting to see that new French thriller Roman de Gare and this would have been an ideal opportunity, instead I watched Graham Norton on BBC America and then tumbled into bed.

Not to worry, I suppose it was a good thing I had an early night since I had to spend a good bit of Sunday in the office finishing up odds and ends that I wouldn't be able to get to on Monday, due to a last minute trip I had to make to see a client in Philadelphia. Things are so busy in work at the moment; it's almost all I can think about, [although Catweazle is staying top of mind due to frequent emails and texts ;-)]. We have an urgent project with a quick turnaround for Chief-Client-Bigwig-Top-Banana as a result of last Thursday's meeting with them in New York. On top of that I still have to complete my existing deliverables and prepare a presentation for the conference I'm going to in California next week. Don't feel too sorry for me though honey bunches, I have the lush fest with Emma and Debs to look forward to since we'll be living it up in wine country for a few days post conference - if anyone has good recommendations for Napa Valley vineyards I'm all ears - followed by an evening in San Francisco before flying back to New York the next morning. No uncivilised red eye flights for us ;-)

A few weeks after I get back from Napa I have a long weekend of fun and frolics in South Carolina planned with Catweazle - I know, I am a total slapper, date #6 and we're already at the stage of romantic mini-breaks ;-) I'm really looking forward to it - no, not just for THAT reason, honestly, minds in the gutter - it should be a fab trip, not just because I will get to spend time with Catweazle, that goes without saying, but because Charleston is a city I've wanted to visit for years following a brief trip to Savannah and Hilton Head in 2002. Our visit also coincides with the famous Spoleto Festival - I know, I'd never heard of it either - which is supposedly fab!! I couldn't visit and not check out the festival so today I bought us tickets to see "Monkey: Journey to the West" which the festival blurb describes as “an inspired marriage between the arts of ancient China and contemporary Western popular culture, Monkey: Journey to the West is a dazzling adaptation of a 400-year-old classic of Chinese literature. In Monkey, a cast of more than 60 Chinese opera performers, gravity-defying acrobats and martial arts performers animate the fabled peregrinations of the Monkey King in a heady mix of adventure, mystery and magic.

All well and good, but what really tipped the balance for me was that Damon Albarn - love Blur and Gorillaz - wrote the music, ‘an exhilarating mélange of east and west, pop and classical’ and his Gorillaz collaborator, Jamie Hewlett, is "responsible for the fantastical visual concept of the show which includes animation and literally hundreds of enchanting costumes."

I saw the Gorillaz perform at the Apollo Theater in Harlem a few years ago and they were superb, so I'm really thrilled to have tickets to see the Monkey thing. It's certainly something to look forward to as I keep my nose pressed to the grindstone this week.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Picture the scene....

...I'm sat in a small conference room at my client's office in downtown Manhattan. It's an important meeting, we are scheduled to review the work we've done for him with his senior management team. My boss is to my right, my client is to my left and we are anticipating the arrival of the Client Services Director in charge of the account, one of the agency's biggest. I'm hanging with the bigwigs!!

Knowing the CSD is going to be a little late, I'd given her my phone number so she could call us when she arrived and find the conference room easily. I'm making a huge effort to look intelligent and professional in front of my client. My phone buzzes and I check to see if it's a message from the CSD...

"Hey sexy, what are you wearing?"

Cue me smirking and turning flame red while my boss looks at me quizzically.

"Um...it wasn't the CSD" I mutter

Timing Catweazle, timing!!

Fortunately the meeting actually went really well, despite my momentary lapse in concentration ;-)

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Generally speaking, Martin Scorsese movies don’t put me in the mood for romance

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks, what with visitors, work and what not. I apologise profusely for my lack of blog hopping. I’ve also been getting some stick from my pals for being a bad email friend too, but my new client’s been keeping me on my toes since I started working on his account about three weeks ago and then I’ve been trying to leave the office at a reasonable hour to hang out with visitors, Miles and B last week and, of course, to see Catweazle this week.

So yes, Catweazle is back in town from North Carolina and we had our second date on Saturday, only a mere 2months after our first outing, which you can refresh your memory of
here should that be your want.

I had fond memories of our first date and was looking forward to seeing him again, however I wasn't especially romanticising the prospect of our second date, because…well, even though we got on like a house on fire on our first date I wasn’t sure if that would still be the case 2months later, you never know right, so I was playing it cool and not getting my hopes too high, however for all my outward complacency about seeing him again I did spend some time ensuring all the appropriate bits were waxed, my legs shaved, my hair perfectly styled and my duvet coverings freshly changed. Yup, I don't mind admitting it kids; I was hoping to get lucky ;-)

We met on Saturday afternoon by a subway station on the Upper East Side – he’s staying with a friend who conveniently lives 9blocks from me - and headed downtown to check out the
New Museum. As the name would suggest it’s a new contemporary art museum which opened on the Bowery towards the end of last year, but which I hadn’t yet had a chance to stop by. Having met on a tour of contemporary art galleries it seemed like a good choice and I’d read in Time Out magazine that the Paul Chan exhibit, The 7 Lights, was worth a look.

The exhibit is certainly interesting, projecting digital silhouettes onto the walls and floor of the gallery. We didn’t stay too long pondering the pieces, to fully appreciate it we’d have had to stay a good while as according to the museum blurb each of the seven pieces – Lights - are “structured over the course of a day, each of the Lights begins peacefully, with the warm colors of dawn. Slowly the atmosphere changes: silhouettes of objects rise up through the air and are dismantled by obscure forces, while human shadows plummet towards the ground. Like a dream deteriorating into a nightmare, the sequence becomes increasingly horrific until it fades to dusk and peace returns, waiting for day to break again.” Below is a tiny still of the exhibit courtesy of the
Greene Naftali Gallery.

To be honest I was quite disappointed by the New Museum, since the space held over for exhibits was on the frugal side with just 2 of the 7 floors - 8 if you include the basement which I believe houses a theatre – fully used for exhibits, with one floor being closed and we were in and out in about an hour which included 10minutes enjoying the view from the 7th floor. I’ve previously balked at the $20 charged by MoMA – most museums in New York charge $12 which is the entry fee at the New Museum – but at least MoMA is chock full of art. Seriously if you were to measure a museum experience based on entry fee per piece exhibited I think the New Museum would be up there. I sound so cheap grumbling about $12, but it’s not as if I begrudge the cost - they do have a beautiful SANAA designed building to house the collection – but I was looking forward to spending a couple of hours browsing and I felt cheated out of that experience.

Fortunately we got over our museum disappointment by heading down to Orchard St and joining the line outside Il Laboratorio Del Gelato, which in my opinion serves the best gelato in the city. I had a small cup with half amaretto crunch, half espresso; Catweazle foolishly passed up the espresso flavour – which is to die for – in favour of a small cup of amaretto crunch and dark chocolate, which was good, but not a patch on the espresso, but I was in a good mood so I shared some with him ;-)

We spent the rest of the afternoon having a lovely time pottering around the Lower East Side, NoLIta and SoHo before heading back to the Lower East Side for early-ish drinks and tapas style snacks at
The Stanton Social, in the popular upstairs lounge where they serve divine potato and goat cheese pierogies and other delights. Afterwards we headed uptown to the cinema in Kips Bay to see the movie 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall'. An okay movie I thought, there were a few good laughs and Russell Brand is actually fairly decent in it, which I wasn’t expecting. I’ve tired of Mr. Brand of late finding him a touch over exposed, but he was a good fit for the film which I’d give 6/10, maybe 7 if I were in a generous frame of mind.

After the movie Catweazle came back to my place and we snuggled on the sofa watching Taxi Driver. He’s quite the snuggler is Catweazle, although Taxi Driver wouldn’t be the first film I’d pick should someone ask me to name a snugglesome date movie, however it happened to be starting and I’m ashamed to say I’d never seen it before, which is just not on at all is it? I mean how can any person seriously lay claim to being a New Yorker if they’ve never seen the movie Taxi Driver? It's just not feasible. After the movie??? Well...I'm going to close the bedroom door on you there and leave the rest to your filthy imaginations ;-)

All in all it was an excellent date, so good in fact that it’s still kind of going on since Catweazle is in town until Wednesday morning. Our, second date morphed into more of an extended spring fling weekend and I shall in fact be seeing him tonight for date #5. He’s a nice guy and if he lived in NYC it would be a complete no-brainer, but unfortunately he doesn't, he lives in North Carolina and he has no plans to move from there any time in the immediate future since that's where he shares custody of a very cute 4year old Catweazle Junior with his ex-wife.

Dating eh!! It’s never straight forward, but whatever the outcome of my spring fling with Catweazle I've got some enjoyable memories ;-)

Friday, 18 April 2008

Keeping it brief!!

Well, the Pope’s in town and he’s brought the sunny weather with him, it’s a lovely 79F in NYC right now, however I’ve just turned down an invitation to go and sit outside with a drink in favour of a teetotal evening at home doing laundry and slumping on the couch. I haven’t done anywhere near enough couch slumping this week, it’s been a hectic one of dealing with client demands at work – I had a very rough client meeting on Wednesday which was not at all fun - and playing hostess at home to Miles and B. I’ve also done far far far too much drinking while hanging out with the boys having been out every night except Tuesday this week, so I’m all for a dry evening at home.

It’s been lovely having Miles and B in town, it’s hard to believe they were here for a week, the time flew by and right now they’re en route to the airport for their flight back to London. I shall miss them not being at the apartment when I get home tonight; however I’ve got my date with Catweazle to look forward to tomorrow. Fingers crossed it goes well. I’ll keep you posted ;-)

Monday, 14 April 2008

Monday Mumblings

Hope you had a nice weekend. Mine was very mellow, but all too brief. I spent much of Saturday cleaning my apartment in time for my impending visitors, Miles and B, who arrived at 10pm after a 90minute delay to their flight from Heathrow.

They were surprisingly refreshed looking considering they’d been travelling most of the day and it was after 3am UK time for them, so we stayed up a couple of hours chatting and quaffing champagne with strawberries in a slightly belated toast to Miles’ birthday, the day before.

Sunday morning I woke up feeling the effects of my Saturday morning yoga class, so I skipped my usual Pilates class in favour of a gentle walk in the park with the boys. My God my muscles ached, especially my thighs. I’d forgotten how tough that class was as I haven’t done it in months since New York Sports Club took it off the schedule the last time they switched things around. New York Sports are always doing things like this, they change the schedules every 3 or 4 months and you’ll suddenly find a class that you loved has been pulled from the schedule. We all voiced our discontent to the manager when this happened with the yoga class and now its back, which I’m so happy about, although I think it’s going to take me a while to get used to it, I was hobbling down steps like a woman of 90 yesterday.

After our walk we took a cab up town to 183rd street for a nosy at John’s new apartment in Hudson View Gardens – Miles and I used to work with John in London – followed by a late brunch at the New Leaf Café in gorgeous Fort Tryon Park with John, his partner Steve and Deesha who John and I used to work with. Afterwards Deesha and I dropped myself, Miles and B off by Chelsea Market and we walked around Chelsea, the Meat Packing District and the West Village, showing B around downtown – this is B’s first visit to NYC – followed by a cheeky beverage or two at Employees Only and here I am today back with my nose pressed firmly to the grindstone and feeling extremely envious of my house guests having the week off and being able to sleep in.

I’m posting the song below to remind myself of it. You need to do that once you get to my age ;-) It’s a tune that’s been used heavily in some ad over here, I forget which, but I heard it in full for the first time as I was replaying Jonathan Ross’s weekend Radio2 show. It’s by Ben’s Brother and it’s called “Stuttering (Kiss Me Again).” I’m guessing we’ll be hearing it a lot when the single is released at the end of April, in fact I'm sure I'm going to get a bit sick of it, but right now I like it ;-)

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Under pressure

Kind of a cheesy title given who featured in my dream last night, but oh so true. I'm tired, so very very tired. I started working on a new client last week - my 5th, can I possibly add value consulting on FIVE clients. Hmmm!!! - and my week has been full of back to back meetings, I only ever seem to have an hour free to actually spend on work between the hours of 9am and 6pm and as for lunch...forget it. I'm working late to get things done and then responding to my emails via Blackberry when I get home :-(

I think the pressure is getting to me, I had the weirdest dream last night. David Bowie was running our department. He was a shorter, fatter version of himself - not such a thin white duke - but it was definitely him. He wore the same outfit to work everyday, an off-white suit with a white v-neck t-shirt underneath, topped off with an off-white trilby. He also carried a bamboo cane. I'm not sure why, but Mr. Bowie was hired to rescue us (us being the company), I'm not sure what from, the looming/current recession perhaps??? We had about 20 layoffs yesterday, no-one I have ever come into contact with, but still I hate to hear about that and I feel for the people who received the bad news. My friend Ariel was also recently laid off from her job, so that's also been on my mind. It was a very vivid dream that was only broken by my alarm going off at 6.30am. I was so disoriented when I woke up that I had to think back to what I'd watched on TV last night to work out what day it was - embarrassingly I'd watched 'The Real Housewives of New York City' - I honestly don't have the brain power for anything more intelligent at the moment and I love to hate those vapid women - so I knew today must be Wednesday.

Anyway I'm going to leave you with a musical interlude. I just heard this song for the first time on Radio1 and I quite liked it. It's called "We Cry" by The Script. Cue cliched video of band members looking sensitive and moody in what appears to be Brooklyn.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

They’re cotton spools people, cotton spools!!!

I’m going to try and be quick with this post as I’m quite tired this evening, the week is probably catching up with me after a couple of late nights this week what with Wednesday’s date and then drinks with the Wino Wimmins Group at Lea Lounge on Thursday. Sometimes I have weeks where I seem to do all my socialising after work, so that by the time the weekend comes around all I am fit to do on Saturday night is drop onto my bed for a nice long snooze. This is one such weekend, however on the Saturdays I’m feeling somewhat antisocial I tend to make plans to see friends and so it was today that I met my friend Illana for a tour of the Chelsea galleries.

First stop was the
Lelong Gallery to see an exhibit called ‘Betrayed Witches” by a New York based Italian artist, Angelo Filomeno. Now although this is not work I could hang on my wall – I think it could give me quite a fright on a middle of the night trip to the bathroom – there was something very beautiful about the embroidered ‘paintings’ – made from black silk, sewn with silver thread and embellished with crystals - which made up the exhibit. Apparently Filomeno’s work often deals with themes of life and death and I think Rafael mentioned he’d lost both his parents at a young age. Apparently he’s been sewing since the age of seven and used to be an apprentice to a local tailor in his native Italy.

Unfortunately I could only find one image from the current exhibit and I don’t think it captures his work as well as it could, it looks grey and the silk is black with silver thread, so I’ve also included an image from a previous exhibit that I found on Flickr, posted by PapaPaolo!! Thank you PapaPaolo.

Next up was the Japanese artist, Tabaimo, at James Cohan gallery. This was a 6minute animation which the artist put together by computer after hand drawing over 700 scenes. The animation is set in a Ladies public bathroom in Japan and is apparently meant as an analogy to our relationship with the internet in that public restrooms are places where we take care of private matters in public – so to speak – and on the internet people are increasingly putting their public lives online. Ahem, whatever could she mean ;-)

Unfortunately you have to see the animation to fully appreciate it, but here’s a still from the gallery website which gives you a feel of her artwork. The animation is seamless, requiring 5 projectors, two for each side and one in the centre. If you buy this piece you receive a CD of the animation, you have to buy your own projectors :-)

Next up was a retrospective of the sculptor George Rickey (1907 to 2002) at the Marlborough Gallery. George Rickey, an artist who originally trained as an engineer. I was ignorant of Mr Rickey before today, but he made very serene – and often very large - kinetic sculptures which move slightly in response to air currents. I liked this exhibit lot. As a mathematician by training I find people often make sweeping generalisations that we more scientific types possess not an ounce of artistic ability. I love that Mr Rickey proves them all wrong. Unfortunately it’s work that doesn’t translate well into a photo, but below the photo taken in the gallery – courtesy of Hraqvartanian on Flickr – is a photo of a piece in situ at The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu.

The next exhibit was fun; it was by the Korean artist Hyungkoo Lee whose work is exhibited at the Arario Gallery. The artist creates skeletal forms based on well known cartoon characters. Below is a piece based on….can you guess….it’s a large animal form chasing a much much smaller animal form??? Yup, it’s Tom & Jerry!! Below the main photo is a close up of Tom...or is that Jerry, I forget, which one is the mouse??? Photos courtesy of Dalbera and AndyToad @ Flickr.

I like the way these pieces are lit so you see their shadows reflected on the platform below. Other cartoon inspiration in the exhibit included Wylie Coyote chasing Roadrunner and Bugs Bunny. The skeletons are made from resin, not actual bones, in case you were wondering.

Rafael prefaced our walk over to the fifth stop by telling the paintings on display were probably not things we would want to hang on our wall. I was slightly worried about what to expect – I’ve seen some, shall we say, interesting paintings on Rafael’s tours before, such as this piece by Carroll Dunham. Hhmmm, however the work by Alexander Ross at the Marianne Boesky Gallery was pretty tame by comparison, if a little green.

Sixth stop on the tour was to see the work of Ai Weiwei, a Beijing based artist showing at the Mary Boone Gallery. These pieces were very interesting. You walked into the gallery, turned a corner and whoa….a great big bloody chandelier. It was pretty cool.

The piece is called Descending Light and is made of glass crystals, stainless steel and electric lights and measures 156" by 180" by 268". It’s a whopper. It was made by the artist in China and transported to New York. Apparently it was a real pain to install in the gallery. Unfortunately I couldn’t find anything online about how long it took to make, but I’m sure it was a while. The website Chelseaartgalleries.com had this to say about it.

“An adaptation of his iconic chandelier form that here appears to have buckled by the violent impact of its fall. Lying askew on the ground, the fixture’s colossal structural rings remain festooned with strands of red crystals illuminated from within. With its brilliant red, emblematic of China, the work at once conveys the toppling of established order and the burning promise of the future.”

Filling almost the entire smaller back room was another piece, Traveling Light. Personally I preferred this piece to Descending Light, as, even though it's less dramatic, the colour and the use of wood made it feel much warmer. Plus it reminded me of a lamp I have at home from Pottery Barn ;-) Illana said it was the only piece she saw on the gallery tour that she had to resist touching.

Next up was Mirror Universe by Devorah Sperber, showing at the Caren Golden Gallery. Not being much of a Trekkie I couldn’t fully appreciate the subject matter used for these pieces, but I was amazed at the ingenuity of the materials used…

…such as these beaded curtains depicting the crew of the Starship Enterprise as they are transporting/beaming up/whatever it is they do.

...spools of thread arranged in, what seems to be a meaningless pattern when you see them up close, but which make perfect sense when the image is viewed either at a distance of through a convex mirror, such as this one of 9600 spools of cotton which make up an image of those whooshy doors on the Starship Enterprise, or the one below showing Spock.

…and lastly chenille stems, which are used to create this image of….well, I’m sure you all know what it is :-)

Apparently the artist had a previous exhibit where she recreated the works of old masters using cotton bobbins. I do like this photo from the Brooklyn Museum Photos on Flickr showing the artist putting together a cotton spool piece depicting DaVinci’s Last Supper.

Last but by no means least was an installation piece, Galaxies Forming Along Filaments, by the Argentinean artist Tomas Saraceno exhibited at the
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery.

According to the gallery press release “Saraceno takes the spider’s web as a starting point. Investigating how the gossamer thin filaments of these intricate webs are able to suspend life by way of intricate geometry, Saraceno suggests at a conceptual architectural proposal that relies on this most delicate and prehistoric system of life to take us into our future. Of particular interest is the application of this phenomenon throughout the history of time. A keystone to Saraceno’s fascination with these web constructions was the recent discovery that suggests the early universe was a sponge-like form, with galaxies forming along filaments, like droplets on a spider's web.”

So there you go. Have a lovely Sunday; I’m off to hit the hay now.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Nothing for ages and then two come along at once

Don’t you hate it when you have a first date with someone and it serves to make you miss an ex even more than before?

That sort of happened to me last night, I had a date with a guy that gave me pangs for Tel Aviv*, so much for ‘the only way to get over one man is to get under a new one.’

Well…not that I got under him. No no no, the date didn’t go THAT far. We just had a couple of drinks.

Now, before you get all excited, this date had nothing whatsoever to do with either of the sex-pots I came across on the day of Ash’s wedding: the hot Pain Quotidien guy and Cute Wedding Photographer Bloke. Nope, this was a random bloke that I met in a bar in January. I believe I was busy drowning my sorrows over my break up with Tel Aviv at the time and I exchanged business cards with him. However I didn’t hear a peep until this past Sunday; that would be Sunday March 30th, almost 3months since we met.

Obviously he was chomping at the bit to go on a date with me ;-)

He sent me an ‘up for a drink sometime?’ email on Sunday and I thought, why not, nothing ventured, nothing gained and all that, so we arranged to meet last night for a drink at the King Cole bar at the St Regis hotel. I had a nice enough time, although I have to say I found him a bit too conservative for my tastes, I really can’t see him getting down with his bad self at the Warm Up parties I like to frequent at PS1 during the summer, especially not as he gets up at 5am every morning. The haircut would also have to go, oh yes, the bonce would most definitely have to be chopped. His hair was in the same style as the haircut the Chris O'Donnell character had in ‘Scent of a woman’, a haircut that particularly hindered any appreciation I may have had for that movie (although I wasn't exactly patient with Al Pacino whoop-ah-ing his way through that film either). All I could think about when Chris O’Donnell’s character was on screen was how much I wanted to take scissors to his hair.

I hate to be shallow, but well…look at it.......the whole feathered flickiness of it.

Shudder!! Doesn't that hair style just have you itching for a pair of scissors??? It’s not a good look is it? It’s certainly not as good as the look below which Chris ‘did you know I have 5 children’ O’Donnell sports very well I think.

Heaps better right?
Also, you know it's not a good sign when you are looking at your date and pondering which of your female friends you can set him up with.
Ah well.
Next ;-)

Actually I have the next one all lined up, I got a note from Catweazle on Monday. He is in town 18-23rd April, so we are going out on Sat 19th. If he makes a good impression I may see him the morning of Sun 20th ha ha, yeah yeah I'm a big floosy. Hey leave me alone, Spring is in the air ;-)

Miles was disappointed that he and B won't be in town to ‘double date’ with us as they fly back to London on the 18th. Erm...yes Miles, that's exactly what I need on my second date with Catweazle, two gay chaperones. Honestly.

*I seem to be experiencing some sort of mild delayed grieving for my break-up with Tel Aviv at the moment. It must have been passing his apartment building on the way to Ash's wedding reception on Friday night that did it.