In the early days of the Covid 19 lockdown, most of us — not just here in Manhattan but around the globe — were spending close to 24 hours a day in our homes. It was during this time that photos began appearing on the Internet and Instagram depicting places like Times Square and other generally heavily-populated ‘tourist destinations’ in states of complete abandonment. It was as if civilization as we know it had ceased to exist, and our cities been left to the elements. The world was looking more apocalyptic by the day. The only thing missing were the zombies.
I thought of these images immediately when I got an email from Hashimoto Contemporary Gallery about their latest exhibition, Quarantine by artist Scott Listfield — who is known for his paintings featuring a lone exploratory astronaut lost in a landscape cluttered with pop culture icons, corporate logos and tongue-in-cheek science fiction references.
The gallery is walking distance from my home, so I made an appointment to see these enigmatic and compelling paintings in person. I was the only person in the gallery at the time of my visit, which made the experience even more powerful. To say that Scott Listfield’s work encourages imaginative extrapolation is an understatement.
Do you dig comfort foods like loaded potato skins or loaded baked potatoes? If so, then you might be intrigued to know that the Loaded Potato Pancake is a thing that exists. I discovered this decadent fried delight when I visited Junior’s Restaurant in Times Square with my friend Jamie last week for a post-theater snack, and I was blown away by its extreme tastiness. Seriously; I am going to be talking about it for the rest of my life.
If you are not fortunate enough to live near a Junior’s, and you would like to try and emulate the Loaded Potato Pancake at home, here is what I believe you must do. First, make a huge potato pancake with shredded potato and onions, and fry it until it is golden and crisp. For your potato pancake to taste as insanely delish as Junior’s, the onions will need to get very crispy, so that they add a sweet crunch when you bit into it. Next, top the pancake with a generous portion of cheddar cheese (guideline: there is no such thing as too much cheese), and, if needed, melt the cheese with a brief pass under a broiler. After that, you can sprinkle the cheesey goodness with crispy bacon, and top with a dollop sour cream and fresh chives. Et Voilà! Enjoy!
If you look back over the Video Clip of The Week entries that have graced this space so far in 2019, you could almost make a case for arguing that The Rock is making some kind of a low-focus comeback. I’m not one to get my hopes up or anything, but let’s assume that this is officially the case with the band featured in this weeks’ clip: Welsh grunge-revivalists (and — I’m just guessing here — Sex Pistols fans), Pretty Vicious. The tune is “These Four Walls,” and I’m just going to lay all of my cards on the table right now and say that this song is arguably one of the most contagious anthems of youthful rebellion since the original band called Alice Cooper announced that, “Schools Out Forever, Bitches” — or something like that.
There are those who will claim that knowing how to actually sing and play your instruments is overrated, and not a requirement for making good music, but those people are idiots. Pretty Vicious are not ashamed to have chops up the ass, starting with singer Brad Griffiths’ robust snarl that recalls Billy Joe Armstrong as channeled through 999’s Nick Cash — old school! Is it likely that Griffithseven knows who Nick Cash is? Hell no, but the you’re feelin’ it, who gives a shit? Wait for the bridge, where guitarist Tom McCarthy pulls out Slash-worthy leads that are just insane. Driving the engine is drummer Elliot Jones, whose adrenalized, machine gun cadence is so fucking punchy and precise, it will knock you right on your ass. And then there’s “I Am A Fucking Rock Star” bassist Jarvis Morgan (he’s the adorable, pouty blond seen in the photo below), who reminds me fondly of my immortal teenage punk rock crush, which, considering that individual went on to become one of most legendary figures in American punk rock history, can only be seen as a good thing. Because I know how to call them.
Visually, “These Four Walls” is a fast paced, performance-heavy clip, effectively capturing the kinetic live energy of Pretty Vicious on stage, while also peppering the action with documentary-style footage of the band cavorting in NYC’s Times Square. Rock action, urban sleaze, decadence, youth — OMG what a great band!
With appearances at huge UK-based summer rock festivals (ReadingandLeeds) already under their not-quite-21-year-old belts, Pretty Vicious are certainly poised to give Greta Van Fleet a run for the money! “These Four Walls” will be available on the band’s highly anticipated debut album due out on Big Machine/John Varvatos Records later this year. Enjoy!
If you’ve spent time living in New York City, you’ve likely had more than one night out (and by ‘night’ I mean all night) that will make this week’s Video Clip feel very familiar. The tune is “Might Not Make It Home” — an anthemic, nightlife battlecry as delivered by LPX (aka Lizzy Plapinger). Some may recognize Plapinger as one-half of the enigmatic pop duo MS MR (pronounced Miz Mister), which is currently on hiatus while the singer/songwriter explores this new project. To me, it certainly seems like she has found her groove.
You don’t need me to tell you much about this clip, other than that it takes you on a celebratory nocturnal journey as LPW rocks out all around Manhattan, via subway and limo, from the heart of Times Square, to Harlem, Chinatown and even the Brooklyn Bridge. The highest praise I can give to “Might Not Make It Home” is that it feels like an emotional companion piece to Joe Walsh’s sublime “In The City,” as heard in the classic urban adventure film The Warriors. If you haven’t seen that film yet, you need to. Recommended if you like Swedish superstar Robyn, Florence and The Machine, and Madonna. Enjoy!
Ceramic sculptor Toby Buonagurio, the studio coordinator and sculpture director of Stony Brook’s Department of Art, is known for her colorful ceramic sculptures and innovative designs. The New York New Year’s Eve tile above is part of Times Square Times: 35 Times, a permanent public artwork commissioned from Buonagurio by the MTA Arts for Transit. It is permanently installed in illuminated presentation windows embedded in the shiny new glass block station walls throughout the Times Square – 42nd Street Subway Station in the heart of New York City. The artworks are owned by the MTA New York City Transit.
Times Square Times: 35 Times is comprised of 35 unique, one of a kind sculptural ceramic reliefs created by the artist over five years. The work may be viewed in the Times Square – 42nd Street Subway Station along the 7th Avenue Passage, the 41st Street Corridor, the Broadway Mezzanine and the Subway Entrance at 42nd Street. The station is open to the public twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Times Square Times: 35 Times is routinely viewed by more than half a million subway riders daily.
Buonagurio’s project was conceived around three characteristic, conceptual themes emblematic of the energetic vibrancy of Times Square: Performing Arts, Fashion and Street Life – the people, the places, the things – readily recognizable to the average, everyday visitor, not matter where they are from.
Happy New Year, Everyone! Let’s Make 2018 the Best Year Ever!
A Holiday Celebration of Times Square (All Photos By Gail )
This year, ICC’s Annual Gingerbread Village is located in the midst of all the holiday hustle and bustle, in the Times Square Urbanspace Market. This edible showpiece made entirely of gingerbread, icing, and sugar celebrates two distinct eras of Times Square: the classic Christmas traditions of the 1980s and the excitement of today’s New Year’s Eve celebrations.
You can find many iconic NYC structures in this Winter Wonderland, including:
The Westin Hotel
NYE Ball Drop
Military Recruitment Center
The Gingerbread Village was designed by the Professional Pastry Arts students and Chef-Instructors of the International Culinary Center will be on display 7 days a week from through December 23r, 2017 between the hours of 11 am and 9 pm (ET).
After seeing a play on Saturday evening, Geoffrey and I walked by this Asian take-out place in the Times Square Adjacent / Theater District and I just had to stop and take a picture of their window ads, featuring a cartoon version of Psy, singer of the worldwide, viral hit “Gangam Style” from a few years back. Psy is pimping what looks like a pretty serious soup dumpling.
I couldn’t tell you if these dumplings are any good, as we did not stop to sample them. If you’re intrigued enough to try and find it, the restaurant is on the west side of 8th Avenue in the vicinity of 45th and 46th Streets. Sadly, I did not catch its name.
If you are like me, you do whatever you can to avoid ever having to be in Times Square, but sometimes, it is an unavoidable displeasure. Imagine my surprise then, when I was just trying to get to the subway as quickly as possible after leaving a Food Show at the Marriott Marquis, and I saw this awesome sculpture; a circle of conjoined, golden mirrored hearts, that seems to reflect all that is lovely and wondrous about the most miserable place in the city.
The sculpture, created by Collective–LOK and called Heart of Hearts, will be on display in Times Square, near the TKTS Booth between 46th and 47th Streets, until March 6th, 2016. Read more about the sculpture at This Link!
All Photos By Gail Except Where Noted (Click on Any Image to Enlarge for Detail)
Hey what’s up? Today we are having our first official snowfall here in NYC, and it is lovely, but mostly it makes you start pondering how are we going to get through the winter months, and still have fun, without leaving the house. If you are looking for ideas of fun outings you can take in the borough of Manhattan that involve indoor activities, and which are all pretty close to public transportation (i.e. limiting required outside time) then you should plan to head over to the Discovery Center in Times Square for the Star Wars and the Power of the Costume Exhibition, which is just outstanding.
Each Section of the Exhibit Leads With a Poster Like This, Which Indicates the Theme of the Costumes You Are About to See
Perhaps you are thinking that you have not seen all of the Star Wars films, and won’t have fun because you don’t know all of the specific minutia of the backstory for each character that wore a particular costume, so I am here to tell you that it does not matter. All you need is a loose grasp of the franchise and the names of a few main characters and you’ll be good to go, because there is such clear and compelling narrative that follows each display. I learned so much and was so intrigued that it made me want go back and see the films I haven’t seen yet. Even the ones everyone whines about.
Let’s get to the costumes!
Jedi Robe of Anikan Skywalker and Gown of Queen Padme Amidala from Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (Photo Credit: Geoffrey Dicker)
The exhibit galleries are scattered with quotes like the one above, from Director George Lucas, and others who worked on the costumes, which add a new dimension of understanding to what “The Power of the Costume” means.
The Jedi Vs Sith Gallery has interactive features and also the best lighting of any gallery, which is helpful, because flash photography is not allowed.
Darth Maul, what badass.
Robe worn by adult Luke Skywalker next to child costume of the young Anakin Skywalker, the future Darth Vader. Heavy.
The Droids have one small gallery.
Early Sketch for C-3P0, Which was Modeled on the Robot in Fritz Lang’s Silent Film, Metropolis
C-3PO, BB-8 and R2-D2
Princess Leia Robe, and Padme Amidala Pre-Senate Robe, Which was Modeled After the Japanese Kimono
The Phantom Menace costumes were inspired by the art of the Pre-Raphaelites — 19th Century English painters – who had particular visions of heroines and female beauty. The use of rich color influenced the fashions of Padme’s handmaidens and the citizens of Naboo.
The Yellow Throne Room Costume (above) included a hood, constructed to extend out and create deep shadows, used to hide the faces of the handmaidens and give them a sense of mystery. This also enabled Padme to travel in disguise as one of the group.
The elaborate costumes of the first three episodes generally serve to emphasize the point that, once The Empire falls to The Dark Side, fashion goes out the window.
Imperial Navy Uniform
Few costume designs in the history of film are as iconic as the Imperial Stormtroopers. This “Spooky White Space Armour” was inspired by designer Ralph McQuarrie’s knowledge of medieval armor.
This is a mirrored room filled with suspended Stormtrooper Helmets. Very cool and super hard to photograph!
Assorted Light Sabers
Senator Amidala, Chancellor’s Office Gown
Robe of Emperor Palpatine
There is a deeply fascinating backstory on the de-volution of Senator/Emperor Palpatine that accompanies several of the costumes worn by actor Ian McDiarmid.
Costumes of Jango and Boba Fett
Tusken Raider Female and Male Costumes
Princess Leia Boushh Bounty Hunter and Slave Bikini
Truth: the famous Leia Slave Bikini looks very jenky up-close. I can’t even imagine how uncomfortable it was to wear (look out for Carrie Fisher’s hilarious quotes to that effect, somewhere in the display narrative).
Chewbacca the Wookie, and Han Solo
There is no argument that actress Natalie Portman got to wear the best costumes of any character. Padme Amidala’s clothes are simply stunning.
Padme Tatooine Homestead Dress
Padme Meadow Picnic Dress
Padme Twilight Nightgown
This the costume Padme is wearing when the audience first sees that she is pregnant with Luke and Leia.
Padme Lake Retreat Arrival Dress
Padme Geonosis Arena Costume, and Naboo Starfighter Pilot Costume
Anakin and Padme Wedding Scene
Padme’s Funeral Gown
There is no question that Padme Amidala stole Darth Vader’s thunder in the costume department, but as we all know, he got the last laugh.
Darth Vader Costume
Geoffrey and I visited the exhibition at 6 PM on a Saturday, when attendance was sparse (read: it’s a good time to go, as the exhibit is open on Saturdays until 9:00 PM). A highlight of our time there was when we overheard one of the exhibit attendants excitedly tell another attendant that a guest was “on her knees, fully worshiping the Darth Vader Costume.” Hilarious.
Darth Shadows– HAHA!
The final gallery of the exhibition is dedicated the latest episode in the franchise, The Force Awakens, which I saw over the Christmas holidays, and just loved.
First Order Stormtrooper, First Order Tie Fighter Pilot, First Order Snowtrooper Costumes
Costumes Worn By Finn, Ray and Poe
After having all kinds of crazy fun, it was time to Exit Through the Gift Shop and ogle the vast bounty of Star Wars swag available for purchase!
A Little Boba Time T Shirt
“I Woke Up Like This” Darth Vader T Shirt
If only this shirt had come with long sleeves, they would have made an easy sale.
Backpacks and Lunch Sacks For The Kids!
Darth Vader Bobble Head
And for the truly lonely, Actual-Size Cardboard Character Stand Ups!
Get More Information on Star Wars and The Power of the Costume Exhibition and the Discovery Center Times Square, Including Address and Directions, Hours, and Purchase Tickets Blah Blah Blah, at This Link!
The thing about being an Art Lover in NYC is that you don’t even have to go to a museum or gallery to see art, because art is literally everywhere. Geoffrey and I were walking East on West 50th Street on our way to MOMA and we passed this crazy Red Horse Head. We just had to stop and admire it, because it was part of an even larger, street-exposed display of sculptures and plants and very interesting things that you see below.
Yes, this collection of lovely and curious things was just off the sidewalk — not behind a door or window – exposed to anyone who happened to walk by. It turns out that this display is part of the CitizenM Hotel.
Also, you can see these little guys!
CitizenM Hotel is located at 218 West 50th Street Near Times Square in New York City. It looks like a cool and reasonably priced (for NYC) place to stay. Visit them on the web at This Link!