What Would Erin Do #1

When I was beginning to think about leaving New York, a few friends commented on that I had “sucked the juice” out of New York City.  Meaning, I think, that I tried to take advantage of all the different things that NYC had to offer.  This was aided by being a student for my first three years in town – I didn’t have a ton of free time, but I could often do random things at random parts of the day.  But, I always have been someone who loved going on adventures.

Therefore, my friend Justin recommended I create a blog called WWED (What Would Erin Do), full of all the things I would attend (slash, drag him to) if I was still living in New York.  As I can barely regularly update this blog, I figured I should just make it a segment and not a separate entity.

So here we go – Week 1 of my picks for NYC today and in the coming week:

1) Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival (Sept 16-18)

I was actually a small kickstarter backer for the Festival, created by Mirman, a great standup and the voice of Gene on Bob’s Burgers.

If you have time tonight or this weekend, and can still get tickets, head out to the Bellhouse in Brooklyn and laugh your face off. (Also, the Bellhouse is a quality venue, one of my favorite places I heard live music in NYC).

If I was there, I would attend:

Saturday, September 17
The Talent Show Presents: The Drunk Show

The Bell House / 9PM / $20
Hosted by Kevin Townley and Elna Baker
Featuring John Hodgman, Ira Glass, Eugene Mirman, Jen Kirkman, Jessi Klein, Leo Allen, Ptolemy Slocum and more!

Sunday, September 18
A Special Food-Themed Comedy Show For You
The Bell House / 6PM / $20
Hosted by Eugene Mirman w/ Sarah Vowell, Larry Murphy, Ron Funches, delicious food, chefs and the world’s first caviar eating contest!

Pretty Good Friends
The Bell House / 9PM / $20
With Eugene Mirman, Michael Showalter, Marc Maron, Hannibal Buress and more!

2) de Kooning: A Retrospective at MOMA

September 18, 2011–January 9, 2012

This is the first major museum exhibition devoted to the full scope of the career of Willem de Kooning, widely considered to be among the most important and prolific artists of the 20th century.  Bringing together nearly 200 works from public and private collections, the exhibition will occupy the Museum’s entire sixth-floor gallery space, totaling approximately 17,000 square feet. 

I always recommend going to major exhibitions early in their runs, before they get crazy.  I had insane crowd experiences with both the Tim Burton and the McQueen exhibits.

I’m not very knowledgeable about de Kooning, but the retrospectives organized by MOMA are always great, informative, and a wonderful part of getting to live in NYC.

3) The Mountaintop by Katori Hall

Previews begin Thursday, September 22nd at the Jacobs theater.

Taking place on April 3, 1968, THE MOUNTAINTOP is a gripping reimagining of events the night before the assassination of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. After delivering one of his most memorable speeches, an exhausted Dr. King (Samuel L. Jackson) retires to his room at the Lorraine Motel while a storm rages outside. When a mysterious stranger (Angela Bassett) arrives with some surprising news, King is forced to confront his destiny and his legacy to his people.

I was very excited to see this play, and disappointed to be missing it.  A good friend of mine was involved in the West End production which one the 2010 Oliver for best play.  Plus, seeing Samuel L. Jackson on stage would be pretty neat!

Go see it and tell me all about it!

General Rec:

Also, if you want a great place to see basically everything happening in NYC, I recommend checking out NewYorkology: A New York Travel Guide.  I followed on twitter to see what was new and exciting each day, and the site’s calendar is very comprehensive. A great site to check out when a visitor or a local.

27 hours in California

My “Favorite Things from Four Years in NYC” series will continue, but for now, a quick reflection on the first 27 hours back in California:

– My luggage was impressive, I should have taken a picture.

– ROOM by Emma Donohue is amazing, and was excellent plane reading.
(X-Men First Class was an ok plane movie)

– My family rocks, as per usual.

-“Sleeping in” ended up meaning 7AM, BUT I got to drive Morgan to school, so it was worth it.

– I love having TV and DVR! I know from the majority of the last 7 years, I absolutely don’t need it, but dear god I love it! (Top Model and Free Agents were my companions today)

– California is so beautiful!

– I still love lettuce wraps from PF Chang (available on both coasts) but they are better while chatting with my Mom in person.  And, Mom and I still have the best convos while driving in the car.

– I bought tickets for Lys, Joe & I to see “An Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer” at the beginning of November and am way excited.

– Sigmund Stern is a brilliant dog park with lovely people.

– I don’t miss New York yet, but I think it still feels like vacation and not a permanent change.

– Sometimes walking around a mall with two of your favorite people in the world can be the best way to spend an evening.

– I really love listening to KNBR for Giants radio. Those guys are great. (And the Panda got a cycle, woo!)

– I still like cities more than the suburbs, but I think the next 4-6 months here will be restful and restorative.

– New job tomorrow… excited and terrified, but mostly excited.

NYC Bucket List Update

Time for a quick update on my NYC Bucket List.
I have 9 days left in New York and a ton to do.

In addition to the list below, I have been trying to spend a ton of time with friends. Which has been wonderful – lots of lunches, movies, Trivial Pursuit, Bananagrams and more – but I am sadly unable to see everyone before I go, which is a hard realization.

Also, Hurricane Irene kinda eliminated a weekend in which to accomplish things – instead I just sat around and watched movies at J & J’s.

What I have accomplished since August 19th….

Shows I’ve seen:

  • Sleep No More (And I’m actually going again… a little obsessed)

Sleep No More: Mask, necklace, candy and playing card after the 8/18 performance

  • The Moth, Story Slam: DRIVE
  • The Judgement of Paris
  • War Horse

Visit these Sites and/or take Photos:

  • Morgan Library – Went with Joe, and it was lovely!
  • Bryant Park
  • read a book in the Rose Room reading room at the NYPL – ended up only spending a brief moment in the Reading Room, BUT the NYPL Celebrating 100 Years Exhibit is phenomenal. Go see it!

Patience or Fortitude at the NYPL

  • WD50 – Dessert Tasting Menu

Blood orange curd, thyme, swiss chard, hibiscus

Museums

  • Cloisters – Kaitlin and I explored this past Saturday. Lovely as always.

Beautiful window decal at the Cloisters

  • Met Museum – Had a great time with Alex, who had, shockingly, never been there.

Alex admiring the Temple of Dendur

Met Museum - Propaganda Poster from WWI

Things that I know, now, are not happening:

  • Bellhouse Music
  • Bellhouse Comedy show (Eugene Mirman?)
  • Carnegie Hall
  • David Letterman or Jimmy Fallon or Daily Show
  • movie at the Paris Theater
  • rowboat on the Lake – Turns out the Boathouse and Boat Rentals are on strike, decided not to cross the picket line
  • Brooklyn Museum
  • United Nations
  • Woodlawn Cemetery

If you would like to see everything else I am going to try and do – and it is WAY too much –  click here.

Hey, its the Bowery Boys, hey!

As I move ever closer to my last day as a New Yorker (now only 13 days away), I have just passed my four-year anniversary in the City on August 22nd.  These four years have been pretty amazing, crazy, hard, wonderful… really, all sorts of adjectives.

As I think of all I didn’t yet do, I reflect on what made my four years here what they were.  Therefore, a short series on four years in New York shall commence.

On August 22, 2007, I arrived in New York, where I had previously visited for a handful of days in 2003 and for a 5-week internship in the summer of 2005.  That limited experience had given me a taste of the many possibilities New York contained, and when I was looking forward to New York from the safety and familiarity of California, I felt sure I could handle most NYC had to offer.  But after a night spent on Syche & Drew’s burnt orange couch, I was sitting alone in my new apartment on the only furniture I owned – a blue air mattress – feeling sad, worried, and adrift in this new City.

As, I began to explore my new surroundings, I stumbled upon a fantastic  guide to my new home – the Bowery Boys.

The Bowery Boys: New York City History is a brilliant podcast created by Tom Meyers and Greg Young.  Each episode the pair tells the story of a NYC landmark, person, or moment.  They do so with an incredible grasp of the facts, excellent storytelling, and a wonderful humor.

The podcast began in July 2007, just before I arrived, and was an excellent companion in those early weeks, and still to this day. (I actually finished listening to the most recent podcast #128 Hoaxes and Conspiracies of 1864 just this morning).

Admittedly, being a history dork (and at that time with a spanking new BA in History), this podcast was made more for me then most people. But any podcast that can convey serious, valid information and still turn Peter Stuyvesant and Robert Moses into running jokes, is in my good book!

The podcast helped me to learn about the world I was living in (#47 covered my neighbor in Grant’s Tomb, #54/55 covered Central Park – every New Yorkers retreat, & #90 covered Columbia itself) and others encouraged me to explore parts of New York I otherwise might have missed (African Burial Ground, Gracie Mansion.)

I recommend checking the podcast out, whether you live here or not, as it is a great glimpse of a great American city.  Here are some of my favorites (images taken, without permission, from the great Bowery Boys blog):

David Belasco and some of his lady friends

#18 Ghost Stories of New York City

Every Halloween, the pair puts together a set of scary stories from New York’s past.  I’ve loved each of them, but still think the first is the best.

Two of the tales teach us why ghost lights are so important – David Belasco still haunts his 44th street theater and Olive Thomas, a Ziegfeld Follies chorus girl, who haunts the New Amsterdam theater can still be glimpsed walking the long destroyed catwalks.

A Richard Serra piece from MOMA

#32 Museum of Modern Art

I love MOMA, both its permanent collection and special exhibits (seeing Marina Abramovic there will be its own blog post). And this podcast was a great tutorial on how a Modern museum could be birthed in the City, and a great story of a strong, important woman – Abby Aldrich Rockefeller – who battled enforced bed rest to create a cultural institution.

Henry Ward Beecher sits in Columbus Park in front of Brooklyn Borough Hall

#37 Henry Ward Beecher and Plymouth Church

Possibly my very favorite of all their episodes, and their descriptions sums it up best:

We’ve never done such a saucy show — full of sex, lies, and petticoats. Meet Henry Ward Beecher, Brooklyn Heights’ most notorious resident, and find out about the fascinating and provocative history of the church that turned him into a national celebrity.

I have listened at least a half a dozen times, and I still very much want to read Beecher’s biography The Most Famous Man in America by Debby Applegate.

There are so many other great episodes – the story of the Bronx Zoo, Robert Moses, himself, movie making in New York. And each summer they have done a series of podcasts on theme – last summer the transit system that makes life possible in NYC, and this summer New York and the Civil War.

I highly, highly recommend a listen to this superb podcast.  And to the Bowery Boys – thank you for being an excellent companion on my four years in New York.  I will still listen long after I leave.

It couldn’t have happened anywhere but in little old New York.

Ok, so after four (great, crazy, stressful, long, wonderful) years, I am leaving New York and moving back to the Bay Area.

I have a little bit under 4 weeks to do everything I ever intended to do in the City (sure, I will visit, but that will be primarily to see friends and shows).

So, here is my bucket list (full of way more than I can accomplish, but it will be fun to try). If any of my NYC friends would like to join in on any of these adventures, let me know!

Before September 14th I would like to:

See these Shows:

  • Sleep No More (8/17)
  • Book of Mormon (9/11)
  • Assscat 3000
  • Bellhouse Music
  • Bellhouse Comedy show (Eugene Mirman?)
  • The Moth (8/29)
  • Carnegie Hall
  • David Letterman or Jimmy Fallon or Daily Show
  • movie at the Paris Theater

Visit these Sites and/or take Photos:

  • Morgan Library
  • United Nations
  • Morris Jummel
  • Grand Central – Whisper Gallery
  • High Line – new section, roller skating
  • Fraunces Tavern
  • Chelsea Hotel
  • White Horse Tavern
  • Algonquin Hotel – Round Table
  • East River Ferry
  • Bobby Wagner Walkway/Carl Schwarz (84th-90th)
  • Manhattan Bridge
  • Roosevelt Island
  • Governor’s Island
  • Little Red Lighthouse
  • Alan Ginsberg’s Stoop
  • African Burial Grounds
  • 520 Madison – Berlin Wall
  • Chrysler Lobby
  • Earth Room
  • rowboat on the Lake
  • Woodlawn Cemetery
  • read a book in the Rose Room reading room at the New York Public Library main branch
  • Housing Works Bookstore

Museums

  • 5 Pointz (Graffiti museum in Queens)
  • Cloisters
  • NY Panorama/Queens Museum
  • Brooklyn Museum
  • Transit Museum
  • Met Museum – (Scavenger Hunt?)
  • Frick
  • New Museum
  • Museum of the City of New York or New York Historical Society
  • Socrates Sculpture Park

Food

  • One if By Land
  • WD50
  • Rare View (bar)
  • A Salt and Battery
  • Indian with KC

On a quest, for a great outfit

I am not much of fashion-person. Meaning…. I’m not very fashionable.

And I never have been.

I think the proudest of an outfit I ever was was when I was 8 or 9, and my Aunt Sandra (who was, and still is, the “hip and cool” aunt) decked me out in a dark flowery dress with doc martins. That was when I first learned the term “grunge,” though, looking back,  I’m not sure if it actually applied to said outfit.  (I promise to try and find a picture when home this June).

Beyond that, I have never been super into fashion.  I don’t have an immediate eye for it.  And often, any time I have liked something, and thought it looked good (super clunky/square heels freshman year of high school, weirdly washed out jeans in college), I later learned from my dear friends (or, honestly, photos) that it was something of a disaster.

So with no inate talent plus my body type of the last 7 years, I haven’t tried anything too exciting. Lately, I have been happy with simple looks, learning about silouttes, and wearing A LOT of dresses because I like how they fit more than pants and they are easy to wear.

Since my interest in blogs and photography has increased, I have started to follow a lot more fashion blogs, and do love what is out there in the world.  And I greatly admire my friends who are able to create amazing looks and hit the town. I have a few who seem to be able to look stunning 5 nights a week, and I do not understand how this is possible. But I admire, and I would like to try…

Which is good, because this June, I need to put together two outfits. The first is for a “Country Estate” Party at MaxFunCon and the second is a steampunk costume look for my dad’s CombatCon in Vegas.

From the MaxFunCon website:

The dress code for our Saturday evening party at MaxFunCon is “Country Estate.” Please dress as you would for drinks at your country home. Plus fours are not suggested, however tweed is generally strongly encouraged.

Everyone says that everyone at MFC is super nice and great, so I’m sure as long as I put some effort out, it won’t be hassled. But as I will be attending an event thrown by someone who runs a fashion blog (Put This On) and with my dear friend Kate, who always looks amazing and interesting AND has a degree in costume design, I would like to be able to hold my own.

So what am I to do? Who has advice on fashion and looking good and not awkward?

The answer, I believe, is going to have to come from thrifting. If, for no other reason, then I cannot spend a fortune on an outfit I will wear but once.  Fortunately, my friend Annie is a bit of thrifting expert, and she is going to take me under her wing.  I hope to come back with a pleated tweed skirt and some sort of blouse and vest/blazer combo, that makes my silhouette nicer, and not squished/lumpy.

For the steampunk event, I am working towards something with a corset and my brown boots, and two layer skirt with tool. Plus googles and gears, of course.

The above is from Hark! A Vagrant, one of my fave webcomics.

Once I go on my outfit quests, I will post some updates here. Til then, any and all help is appreciated.

Tell the ones that need to know, we are headed north

Ok, so I am in hour three of waiting for a giant file upload. As soon as it finishes, I can leave for the weekend.

So, I shall use this time to blog briefly about things making me happy this week:

– Super excited to have the (atheist) best friend from DC up to hang out for this Easter weekend. I’m looking towards medieval castles, giant bonnets, eggs, a magic show and chocolate.

– book club makes me happy every time it happens! Especially when a trained chef makes super delicious steak to accompany discussion of steam punk, zombies, and class issues.

– playing  a”Finish throwing game” in Astoria Park on a sunny day may be the best thing ever.  Add a friend’s parents and it is just crazy awesome

– Being reminded how fucking funny Christopher Walken’s SNL sketch, The Census Taker, is.

– Jesus, I love my camera. And learning all sorts of new things to do with it is pretty amazing.

–  “Who is John Galt?” graffiti at the bottom of the steps at my subway stop, causing me to text Joe and Robert immediately, even though it was 1am on Thursday morning.

– Claire Hummel’s project to costume Disney Princesses in historically accurate dresses

– Summer plans in general, and booking my July trip to Milwaukee in particular

– working on my first (web) TV project

– tax returns

I and Love and You