Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Down with the Downtown Alliance

After work yesterday, A. and I walked from the World Financial Center to Wall Street to check out a networking event from the Downtown Alliance at at Haru Sushi. Nice place. Nice people. Met a hairdresser from KK Salon, a director from Trinity Church and a director of sales for the Ritz-Carlton. When our drink tickets ran out we realized we'd not eaten, so we left and wandered up through Tribeca to drink a little more. We ended up at the bar at Cercle Rouge, a favorite restaurant in the lovely little triangle just south of the Renaissance revival American Thread Company building on West Broadway near Beach St.

On another note, my mother found a family of mice living in the engine of her Saab, discovered when the car caught on fire. Mother and mice are reportedly unhurt, though Mom now drives a Subaru.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

New All-time Favorite Film

This weekend ended so nicely, with a last-minute mad dash to see "Man on Wire" (a Tribeca Film Festival offering) in the East Village. I had a voucher (8 actually, thanks to a kind colleague) but still had to wait in the "Rush Tickets" line (what an odd name, since all it means is, like, "stand by," and... wait -- after getting there 45 minutes early).

I knew the film was a relatively short feature documentary about Philippe Petit, the high wire artist, who I knew of mainly because I once met a woman whom I remember to have been a girlfriend of his, through my lost-lost friend Janine. (And you can't call me a name-dropper since I don't remember her name, though it might have been Sabine. I can't help it; I just love the serendipitous if meaningless magic of those six degrees...) So anyway, I felt I had a tenuous connection -- but more than that, this film is about Philippe walking -- in mid-air -- between the two World Trade Center towers, in 1974.

I waited in line listening to Charles Aznavour and Edith Piaf on my iPod, with plenty of time, I feared, to start feeling sorry for myself again. But then a man behind me asked if he was in the right line. He was interesting-looking, if a tad affectless. After a few more questions and answers a friend of his arrived, a striking young Indian (possibly) fellow. We chatted about movies and the nutty TFF rules, regulations and experiences, as well museums. A really nice diversion. So I gave each of them a voucher (I couldn't possibly use them all).
We had to enter separately, as they counted off in tens and I was number 10.

But the film! I laughed, I cried and was moved beyond my expectations. I think the filmmaker, James Marsh, did an amazing job of seamlessly melding old footage, interviews, and recreated moments of pure exhilaration. The TFF's quirky characterizations for its movies this go-round were actually spot on here: "Elegant." "Iconic." "Inspirational." "Irreverent." "Playful." "Transgressive." Visceral." Check, check, check, check, check.

Just imagine, looking up from the street and seeing a person, clad in black, outlined in miniature against the sky, seeming to walking on thin air. Incredible.

As I was one of the last ones in, I had to sit in the very front row, in the middle. While that made the movie pretty off-kilter (and made these wonderful French people look short and squat) when the lights came up the MC introduced the British director (wow) and... Philippe Petit! About eight feet from me!

The audience rose as one when Philippe appeared and the standing ovation lasted forever. Philippe, as funny and smart and real as in the film, answering a few pretty good audience questions, looks just like my brother, except with a French twist.

Philippe Petit will make another appearance, next week in Washington Square Park. He doesn't know how long he'll be performing, since, as he said with a grin, the police usually arrest him before he does anything really crazy. I think you know where I'll be next Saturday... hoping (and expect) to see my two new friends there, as well.

Oh, and can I just say how much I love the Web, which connects me when I feel so unconnected. Can't even remember how I came upon Michael Sporn Animation. Oh, right, Wikipedia) and this page on his blog in which he talks about his own (animated) "The Man Who Walked Between the Towers ." And my connection to this extraordinarily talented fellow is that nearly every day I walk past his basement-level studio on Bedford Street and note his hand-scripted sign and always read it as "Michael's Porn Animation." Sorry, dude. Much of his artistic works are renditions of beloved children's stories, including "The Little Engine That Could" and "Jabberwocky."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Spring in Maine

Maine in early Spring is always a challenge... a test of faith in nature. (see vid below). I had such a great time this go-around, easy flight, then working outside the Portland, Maine International Jetport (PWM) in crazy 65 degree sunshine waiting for J. to pick me up. I listened to the other waiting people who made such easy conversation... "How ya doin? Where'd ya come in from? Live nearby?"

I just sort of encloaked myself in work paraphenalia and marveled in the hot sun, alone.

Highlights of the trip this time included bonding with Sascha (parent's dog) and actually not feeling afraid; observing an all-day cooking affair (mom trying duck a l'orange for the first time -- with 2 ducks! Crazy! And one duck had its head and feet on! Oops. It also outweighed the other duck by a good 2 lbs., so... much discussion about that particular math/cooking problem.

So good to see P. and J. Happy couples make me equally happy and sad, generally, but they (as well as Mop and Pop) just make me happy.

A few more pictures here.

Some random thoughts: Finally ordered from Gobo (W. Village veggie place). Really yummy.

Finally got tickets (only 2!!!) to Tribeca Film Fest. One must be super dooper fast (and an Amex cardmember) to have any hope. So.. no Baby Mama and Tina Fey (rats), but The Secret of the Grain. Details to follow.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

It's 68% Better In the Bahamas

Definitely time to upgrade publishing mechanism. I'd written a more thoughtful and detailed account of my and J.'s and my recent trip to the Bahamas. But something went wrong with blogger and even though it'd been saved.. it disappeared... Whatever.

I'm way too tired to detail AGAIN so will just post my boring pictures and thank my sis for coming with me for some much needed down-time. Highlights included the sad, scrubbly but still interesting Aradastra Zoo; the freakishly white-bread hell that is Paradise Island; the cab fare to BOTH Poop Deck restaurants -- neither of which turned out to be the one I had gone to with C. (on the water, wooden picnic tables, great ambience); the sad "Bible Boat," (we'd been told it was a "floating bookstore," conjuring up images of wonderful used books on an historic yacht or barge. Alas, no. It was an un-air-conditiouned mini-cruise ship full of crappy remainders and way too many Christian tracts...).

High marks for the British Colonial Hilton, with its rich history and just slight shabbiness. The private beach was just perfect and we swam until our arms were sore.

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