This gorgeous Red Grand Piano can be found in the lobby lounge at the NYLO Hotel NYC, Located at 2178 Broadway (entrance on 77th Street), on the Upper West Side.
A couple of weeks ago, I attended an intimate press screening and party for the upcoming theatrical release of the award-winning documentary, We Are X, which explores the amazing history of Japanese rock band X (known as X Japan in the US), focusing on the group’s charismatic drummer and founder, Yoshiki Hayashi. The documentary is just fantastic, and you can read my review on this site closer to the film’s release date in late October!
Yoshiki was present at the screening, and sat with director Stephen Kijak (Scott Walker: 30 Century Man) for a Q and A about the film before treating press and fans in attendance to a brief piano performance, featuring both original compositions and some of his favorite classical pieces.
In the above video, Yoshiki is concluding one of his own compositions before segueing into a passage from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Please Enjoy!
Yoshiki will be playing two nights with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in January 2017. Visit This Link for tickets and more information!
It was a very hot and sunny day in late December when my sister and I visited the Queen Mary, docked at Long Beach, California. Formerly a luxury cruise liner specializing in North Atlantic crossings (between US and England) for the Cunard Line, the ship has been retired since 1967 and now has a permanent home at the Port of Long Beach, where it does a brisk business as a luxury hotel, special exhibit venue, event space (get Married on the Queen Mary!) and one of Southern California’s most popular tourist attractions.
Having been on several cruises myself, it was especially fun for me to explore the ship and appreciate how all of the interiors and finishes have been preserved in the ship’s original Art Deco design. While some people might say that these finishes and interiors should be modernized, on the contrary, I think it would be a shame to obliterate so many visual remnants of this ship’s rich history.
I have a background in architecture and interior design, so I found myself drawn to photographing a lot of interior details that some people might miss, but I think these photos will give you a good feel for the historic atmosphere on board the ship. It is no secret that the ship is haunted and, in fact, you can choose to purchase several different self-guided or guided tours which will clue you in on the history of the various ghosts and hauntings that figure into the Queen Mary’s personal story.
What I was reminded of most is the Overlook Hotel, made famous by Stephen King’s The Shining. I can only imagine how eerie it would be to roam the ship at night. This might be reason enough to investigate staying the night as hotel guest if that works with your plans.
Located around the ship are tons of display cases that hold items for the ships history, such as serving dishes, china, bar ware, furnishings and souvenirs from the time when the Queen Mary regularly transported passengers across the Atlantic.
Each case has a write up on the background and history of each item.
The Pendent light above can be found inside this very cool shop, Royal Gifts and Fashions, which sells dresses and other clothing and accessories, as well as jewelry and fun items similar to what you might find in a cross between a vintage clothing boutique and a Hot Topic. Very Fun!
The Dragon Shoppe is an tiny import store that sells all kids of imported chotskies, collectibles and souvenirs.
This is the door that leads to to the ship’s indoor swimming pool. Although it is not accessible to the general public, I believe there could be a guided tour you could purchase that would take you through that area.
The ship’s original Ticket Office has been preserved with its original furniture, brochures and old fashioned office equipment. When the ship was functional, this is the place that passengers could go to book land transportation, trains or whatever they needed once the ship docked in the UK.
The Queen’s Salon is still used for banquet and wedding functions.
These elevators are no longer in use.
A few of the public rooms have been preserved or recreated to show them as they looked more than fifty years ago. One of those rooms is the Children’s Play Room. I imagine that children did have a nice time playing in this room, but to me it seemed rather sterile and reminded me more of a Pediatrician’s waiting room from the sixties.
I bet there are some ghosts in here.
This is the Grand Salon, which is massive, and where the famous Sunday Champagne Brunch is served. You can find out more about Sunday Champagne Brunch aboard the Queen Mary at This Link.
If you can’t afford $50 for brunch, the ship has many excellent restaurants, including the Promenade, where we enjoyed a fantastic BBQ Pulled Chicken Flatbred Pizza and an awesome Club Sandwich!
I had a great time exploing The Queen Mary and recommend you check it out when you are in Southern California. Find out more about all of the different tours and attractions that the Queen Mary has to offer and plan your trip by visiting This Link!
The coolest thing about living close to the NYC contemporary art scene is that you just never know what kind of unique event will pop up on your agenda. Last evening, literary journal The American Reader and the Robert Miller Gallery hosted a presentation of Robert Coover’s short story The Goldilocks Variations, which was read between musical selections from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations. It was as interesting as you can imagine.
Coover’s reimagined narrative expands on the most potentially menacing aspect of the Goldilocks and The Three Bears legend. While in most versions of the story, Goldilocks escapes to freedom once discovered by The Three Bears, Coover’s narrative focuses keenly on the creative ways in which The Bears delight in physically torturing their delicate prey prior to devouring her – perhaps a bit grim(m), but highly engaging nevertheless! Bach’s gorgeous music (originally intended for the harpsichord) was performed on Yayoi Kusama’s 1971 Painted Player Piano and Piano Bench, painted bright red and emblazoned with hearts and Kusama’s ubiquitous polka-dotted motif. Art!
My reputation as the Rock Critic at Large is based pretty much on my passion for and impressive knowledge of Classic Rock, Prog Rock excess and first wave British Punk Rock. When it comes to reviewing music, I like to stick to what I know best, but when it comes to knowing what sounds good, anybody who really gets me is hip to the fact that I go crazy for a wild saxophone, and my love of the classical piano is a deep love, indeed. I recently had a CD of Modern Classical music drop into my lap that ingeniously manages to fit comfortably into the realm of melodic jazz, while also appealing to the “maturing” rock fan dwelling in more of us than you would imagine. Surprisingly, the artist’s name on the disc is that of one of my favorite modern painters!
While he is primarily known as a major talent in the world of contemporary art, Mark Kostabi is also an accomplished musician and a pianist of some serious repute. For his latest CD of original compositions, entitled The Spectre of Modernism, Mark has put together a fantastic band of well-known musicians that includes the legendary Ornette Coleman on saxophone, Richard Hammond on bass, the great Tony Levin on the Chapman Stick, drummers/percussionists Jerry Marotta and Aaron Comess, and Kostabi’s brother Paul – a prominent musician here in NYC – featured on guitar. Mark Kostabi’s mastery of the Steinway piano is featured as a lead instrument on all tracks and he is just a fantastic, creative and versatile player. The CD has been expertly recorded, produced and mixed by Grammy nominated studio whiz Roman Klun, who plays drums in Kostabi’s live band, so you know it all sounds excellent.
What stands out most about this CD is how each song maintains a distinct, individual identity as opposed to featuring eleven tracks that all sound interchangeably similar. While the disc kicks off with the soothing, vibrant “Silence of Spoleto,” the jaunty “West Side Stroll” throws in enough random dissonance (unexpected time changes, etc.) to keep you on your toes as a listener. “Raining in Rome” sneaks in a compelling sci-fi keyboard riff that indicates how much Kostabi really knows about arranging an intriguing piece of music, and “Freedom Tower” just flat out rocks. Spectre of Modernism succeeds with a multi-genre crossover appeal that should resonate with both jazz and classical music fans, while also potentially becoming a cherished “Sunday Morning” favorite for those of us who think it just does not get any better than Led Zeppelin.
You can purchase The Spectre of Modernism as an MP3 download for just $8.99 (what a bargain!) from Amazon.com at This Link.
Mark Kostabi at his Piano