Daily Archives: November 20, 2013

Dancing Barefoot

When I saw these books staring back at me in a bookstore in NYC, I almost felt tears.  These books have been the reason I researched my trip to NYC so thoroughly.  Not only was I romanced by the stories of Suze Rotolo, Patti Smith and Leonard Cohen during their respective histories in NYC but their stories were my refuge from the daily grind and also creatively stimulating.

It’s funny how things show up when you least expect them.  They were a beautiful reminder of my NYC dreams from long ago.  I was so grateful for making those dreams a reality.

The Hotel Chelsea

I went to the NY Library on 23rd street one morning as per my usual to check my email on their WIFI.  I arrived a bit early and was hanging around with the regular folk just keeping it real.  😉  I happened to look up and low and behold The Hotel Chelsea was staring right back at me.  This hotel has housed so many of my favourite artists.  I grabbed a picture to capture the moment.

The Hotel Chelsea — also called the Chelsea Hotel, or simply the Chelsea — is a historic New York City hotel and landmark, known primarily for the notability of its residents over the years. Located at 222 West 23rd Street, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, in the Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea, the 250-unit hotel has been the home of numerous writers, musicians, artists, and actors, including Bob Dylan, Virgil Thomson, Brigid Berlin, Charles Bukowski, Janis Joplin, Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Viva, Gaby Hoffmann, Jobriath, and Larry Rivers. Though the Chelsea no longer accepts new long-term residencies; the building is still home to many who lived there before the change in policy. As of August 1, 2011, the hotel is closed for renovations.

The building has been a designated New York City landmark since 1966 and on the National Register of Historic Places since 1977.

Central Park

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I really enjoyed my lil trek around Central Park one early morning before I checked out the Guggenheim Museum.  It was like nothing I have had ever experienced before.  Just walking around, taking photos, breathing in the lovely air and smiling at trees.  Wow, to live in NYC and experience Central Park on a daily basis would be true decadence.  I’m glad I got to see her in the Fall – my most favourite time of the year.  Now in the winter, that would be something too.

CityPASS New York: The Empire State Building

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I was excited to check out the Empire State Building mainly so I could hum ‘Empire State Of Mind’ as I went up in the elevator.  Then there was the whole reliving scenes from ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ and an ‘Affair to Remember’.  Come on, a girl only lives once.

I made an excellent choice of checking out the Empire State Building at 10 p.m. one night after a walking tour.   I was told it’s best to see the Empire State Building at night and Top Of the Rock during the day.  Crazy?  Nope – there were no lines.  I breezed in and out.  Try it with your CityPASS New York.  It’s a dream.

What’s so great about the Empire State Building?

Well it is the World’s Most Famous Office Building. A symbol of dreams and aspirations, the Empire State Building connects with people around the world. A beacon for international and domestic tourists alike, the Empire State Building is a New York City and a National Historic Landmark.

The world-famous 86th and 102nd floor Observatories offer unmatched views of New York City and on a clear day one can see to New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. 1,050 feet above the city’s bustling streets, the 86th floor Observatory offers panoramic views from within a glass-enclosed pavilion and from the surrounding open-air promenade. 200 feet higher, the 102nd floor Observatory is a private and serene perch in the middle of the greatest city in the world.

The Observatories have been a “must visit” for millions each year since it opened to the public in 1931. Each year approximately four million people are whisked to the 86th and 102nd floors, consistently one of New York City’s top tourist attractions. Visit the Observatories 365 days per year, day and night, rain or shine, for magnificent views of Manhattan and beyond. The building is open from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. The last elevators go up at 1:15 a.m.



The Best NYC Off-Broadway Show: FUERZA BRUTA NYC

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When I asked my friend Martin which show I must see whilst in NYC; he mentioned FUERZA BRUTA NYC.  He warned me, ‘Don’t look at any spoilers online’.  Of course I forgot and was completely gobsmacked when I checked some YouTube clips before I left Toronto.  FUERZA BRUTA NYC became a huge part of my NYC trip vision.

Now there is good news and bad news.  The good news is, is that you can see FUERZA BRUTA NYC – Now!  If you have time over the American Thanksgiving and are in NYC; buy a ticket fast!

Why?  What’s with the sense of urgency?  Well, FUERZA BRUTA NYC is concluding their Off-Broadway run in January 2014 (it has been running since October 24, 2007).  In the run up towards the holidays – time is ticking.  Grab a bunch of tickets for family, friends, and visitors and give them a brilliant pre-holiday treat.

Let me tell you why.

When I met up with my friends Ham’s the night of the performance I was so excited. I’ve never been a girl who likes to sit down and watch a musical per se of a traditional Broadway box show. FUERZA BRUTA NYC fit my bill perfectly.

A description online, describes FUERZA BRUTA NYC as a ‘non-stop collision of dynamic music, visceral emotion, and kinetic aerial imagery’.   I would liken it to Cirque de Soleil on crack meets goodie two shoes La La La Human Steps personally.

After Ham’s and I dropped our coats off we went up to the main staging area.  Shortly after our arrival mist filled the room.  People I sensed were excited and felt a bit anxious too.  Soon an African American man started walking on a treadmill harnessed to a crane along to a bumping soundtrack as the audience stood around wondering what was happening.  A performance piece?  A pre-dance warm up?   It seemed like my fellow audience members were familiar with this segment online but were transfixed about how close we were.  We were not in ‘Kansas’ anymore.

The man started to run and a loud gunshot was heard and he fell.  It was alarming and upsetting.  He got up again and thus started the same process.  After a while a massive screen of paper and boxes was flung into him and he began to run.  Again – anxiety but at the same time I was feeling invigorated and very sweaty.  The audience was milling about as the stage technicians moved the treadmill, grabbed paper and asked the audience to either move closer or farther away depending on the performance sequencing.  It was incredible to watch and nothing I have ever seen before.  FUERZA BRUTA was definitely flooding my senses. This was indeed a 360° heart-pounding theatrical experience!

As we progressed throughout the show – the man now started to run full throttle through a series of moving walls and women frolicked in a watery world suspended just inches above the audience.  We were tasked to dwell upon the characters, the staging, the mist, the rain, the pool of water that lay above us, spewing paper, dancing minions in a moving crated box, questioning if we should dance along with the characters or stand and watch like uptight participants, ducking unfolding cardboard boxes and observing audience members shaking rusty tail feathers.  At times I felt like I was in a rave and other times I felt like I was in a living art exhibit.

Throughout the production I observed the themes of heaven and hell, primal roars versus civilised etiquette, water fairies versus all business mortals, the rat race versus nature and simple lifestyles versus debauchery.  One can interpret this production in so many ways.  The production unfolded almost within total darkness but at the same time held so much optimism in its musical score, the actor’s enthusiasm and the participatory nature of the actors with the audience.  Layers of happiness, left over hurt, confusion, calm, screams, tears and sweat were peeling off of me in the space.  Who needs a spa when you can go to FUERZA BRUTA NYC to get rejuvenated?

My favourite segment (if I had to name one) was of the pool of water with the dancers frolicking as a clear screen lowered over our heads.  I won’t reveal too much here only to save you the intensity of this segment.  But be prepared it was tangible, hot, sweaty and extremely sexy to experience with a few hundred people with the threat of being flooded with water an inch above your head.

I would take my 68 year old mom to see this, my sisters, my best friend and my co-workers.  FUERZA BRUTA NYC was my jam that night and a perfect souvenir to my NYC trip.  It should be yours too if you are in NYC over the holidays.

FUERZA BRUTA was created by Argentinean artistic director, Diqui James with the goal of forming a theatrical company in which creativity and experimentation are priorities.  Since its debut in 2007, the production has played more than 2,000 performances for nearly one million audience members.

Voila are the show time available from now until the end of the run in January 2014.

Tuesday – 7PM

Wednesday – Friday at 8PM

Friday at 10:30PM

Saturday at 7PM & 10PM

Sunday at 7PM

*FUERZA BRUTA is dark for the following holiday dates: November 28, December 24-25, December 31, and January 1.

Tickets for FUERZA BRUTA are now on sale for $89 and may be purchased online at http://www.Telecharge.com, by calling 212-239-6200 or at the box-office of the Daryl Roth Theatre.  Group tickets may be purchased by calling 1-855-9-FUERZA or contacting groups@fuerzabrutanyc.com.  For all performances, 30 rush tickets will be made available for $30 each at the box-office two hours before show (CASH ONLY).  For more information, please visit www.fuerzabrutanyc.com.

P.S.  Don’t watch the film clips online prior to the show!  😉