Craveable - The Culture Craver Blog
Seeing "As You Like It" in the middle of Central Park made me feel lucky to be a New Yorker. I loved everything about it — the setting (in the park), the sets (that blended seamlessly into the surrounding park), the acting (amazing!), the music (original bluegrass songs by Steve Martin), the company (my wonderful dad)...
I saw the play on Day 25 of my June Culture Binge. It was my third production of "As You Like It" in the last few years and it was definitely the most creative and enjoyable. You MUST got see it if you can!
“Win Win” got a custom score of 98 for me (of 100), so I was eager to make this part of my June Culture Binge. I saw it on Day 24. It did not disappoint. A struggling, small town lawyer (and high school wrestling coach) takes responsibility for an elderly man, hoping to make some extra money. Drama and comedy follow when the old man’s bleach blond grandson (who happens to be a star wrestler) shows up from Ohio. It gets a big Culture Craver STAR from me. See it!
This movie was in honor of Day 23 of my June Culture Binge. It gets a Culture Craver BOMB from me. Each of the characters was despicable in his or her own, unique way. The only upside was that we checked it out of the public library, so we didn't waste money...
“Every thing is done differently in New York from anywhere else—but in eating the difference is more striking than in any other branch of human economy.”
—George Foster, New York in Slices, 1849
For Day 21 of my June Culture Binge, I visited the New York Public Library, where I checked out two exhibits: Lunch Hour NYC and Shelley’s Ghost: The Afterlife of a Poet. Both were beautifully constructed and seriously informative.
In the Lunch exhibit I learned about the history of lunchtime — from oysters and automats to power lunches and diet lunches. I repeatedly thought “Who knew?” as I wandered through. For example, “Who knew how important New York City was in defining ‘lunch’ as we know it today?” … ”Who knew that peanut butter started out as a delicacy for fancy parties?” … “Who knew someone wrote a little ditty about lunchtime?” This exhibit is definitely worth exploring.
The Shelley exhibit is also a must see. It features diaries, manuscripts, books, and pictures to tell the (somewhat shocking) story of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and his second wife, Mary Shelley, who wrote Frankenstein when still in her early 20s. This exhibit made me leave wishing I had time to write (and read) more.
For Day 20 of my June Culture Binge, I checked out an exhibit I noticed on Time Out called Instagram NYC. My main hope was to take an Instagram-Inspired Instagram, which I did (see above). The exhibit was at the W in Times Square, in the bar/lounge area.
The pictures, which were inspired by New York City, were perfectly nice and the bar was lovely.
The whole thing made me wonder, however, if this show deserved a full listing — and a "critics' pick" red check — as if it were on par with the Richard Avedon show at the Gagosian or the Egyptian art exhibit at the Met (other events that are currently critics' picks). In other words:
* Did this wall art in a bar deserve a listing?
* Did it deserve a recommendation?
* Would the answer be different if the recommender were providing a custom — rather than a one-size-fits-all — recommendation?
In honor of Day 19 of my Culture Binge, I went to a bunch of Chelsea galleries with my friend Tara (pictured above left). It was SUCH a treat.
Here are just a few of the exhibits we toured (in my opinion, they all deserve Culture Craver STARS):
- Good for You Son at the Mike Weiss Gallery
- Catch My Drift at Haunch of Venison
- Claes Oldenburg at the Pace Gallery
- Requiem for the Sun: The Art of Mono-Ha at the Gladstone Gallery
- Painting in Space at the Luhring Augustine Gallery
- Constructs, Abrasions, Melos and Cucumbers at the Bortolami Gallery
In honor of Day 18 of my June Culture Binge, I made my first visit to the National Academy Museum. I can't believe that I've been living in New York City for 10 years and I have never been to this beautiful museum. Lesson learned!
For anyone else who, like me, somehow missed the memo: the National Academy was founded in 1825 as an association of artists and architects dedicated to preserving American art. Today, it's a school and a museum (the museum is housed in a beautiful old mansion on 5th Ave. and 89th Street. It was recently renovated.
On our visit, we saw some of the permanent collection — which reminded me of the Barnes Foundation because of the way paintings were stacked from floor to ceiling — and a few of the exhibits, including:
* Colleen Browning: Urban Dweller, Exotic Traveler (I loved the pieces depicting NYC street art)
* May Stevens: The Big Daddy Series (a big, witty political statement)
* White: The Anatomy of Color (my favorite of the 3 - a loose but beautiful interpretation of white on white; there was one piece with folded/painted white paper that was amazing)
We also saw wonderful exhibits by faculty and students' final projects. There was a beautiful watercolor piece by one of the faculty members and I loved some of the student work. I didn't have time for the Mary Cassatt show, but I must go back before Aug. 26 and check it out.
I have fallen a little behind on my June Culture Binge, but I plan to more than make it up. (I promise!)
In honor of Day 17, I attended Caribbean: Crossroads of the World at El Museo del Barrio with one of Culture Craver's new summer associates, Felice Feit. The exhibit was created in conjunction with the Queens Museum of Art and the Studio Museum of Harlem.
The exhibit starts about 200 years ago and goes to the present, but is not organized chronologically. It covers the history and cultures of the Caribbean — both from the Caribbean perspective and from the perspective of people traveling there from Europe and elsewhere over the years.
This show was well worth a visit, but it would have been smart to read the booklet beforehand, rather than after the fact. Not knowing anything about Caribbean art, I was drawn to certain paintings or video displays because of the colors, shapes, or sounds, but I would have liked more comprehensive explanations. Felice gets serious extra credit for being able to correctly tell me that the seemingly incongruous portrait of Alexander Hamilton was there because he was born on the British Island of Nevins and raised on the Danish island of St. Croix. But, I really felt that some "Extras" could have enhanced the experience.
Ari and I saw "Foonote" in Hunter, NY (where the Orchard Project is still going strong) for Day 16 of my June Culture Binge. It's a disturbing, but really captivating story of a father and son who are both Talmudic scholars in Israel. The father has worked for his entire career studying obscure texts in the dark recesses of the library stacks. The son, by comparison, is a pop star.
The story has multiple morals:
* Fathers should be nice to their sons (and vice versa).
* It's best for fathers and sons not to work in the same exact narrow field.
* There are some disadvantages to slaving away forever on the same thing and there are also some disadvantages to the opposite — reaching conclusions before thoroughly understanding what you are saying.
It gets a Culture Craver STAR from me, but I caution that if you are in the mood for something light and fluffy, it's not the right movie for you.