Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Libros para toda ocasión: la principal librería hispanohablante de E.E.U.U. exclusivamente en español es la principal librería hispanohablante de E.E.U.U. el la Web exclusivamente en español que especializa en los libros para adultos, aunque están disponible varios libros infantiles también.

Está un video de José Simian de New York 1 "Noticias" entrevistando a Teresa Mlawer, Presidenta de Lectorum Publications sobre el lanzamiento de este sitio. es un buen lugar para buscar los libros para regalar este Día de los tres magos. ¡Diviértanse!

Haz "clic" aquí

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Return of the "Wishing Tree"

So, it looks like the holidays are really shaping up to be…well, the holidays, especially with all the wintry weather happening all over the country. I never thought I’d be saying this, because no one really likes to be alone for Christmas, but I’m really grateful that I’m not traveling. Have you seen the footage of people waiting and waiting at airports across the U.S.? It’s pretty awful. My parents are holed up in the Pacific Northwest under 12 inches of snow and not leaving the house, so it’s even better that I’m not flying there this year.

In spite of all the seeming obstacles to having a good holiday season, it seems that people are really trying to overcome the “blahs” that usually are associated with a bad economy, times of war, job loss, the loss of anything intelligent or entertaining on television. There is much talk of families gravitating back to what is familiar, like the “good old days” of the past—playing board games and bringing quality family time back. Families are definitely not at the mall. Perhaps all this bonding will even have a permanent positive effect on people.

I’m hopeful that that is the case. People may be cutting back, but I’m really seeing slight signs that they want to express genuine cheer this year, rather than the usually gripes and frustration because they can’t find that “it” gift for their significant other, husband, wife, or child. While I don’t have to worry about shopping for the “fam” since we’re not exchanging gifts this year, I am seeing little signs in my life that everything is going to be okay…

When I first moved into my neighborhood in New York City, I fell in love with the house across the street. It was a yellow Colonial and had a two-story pine tree situated slightly in front and to the left of the house. My first holiday season here, I discovered that the owner always covered the tree in beautiful lights. When the snow would fall, it would cover the front lawn brightening the whole corner with the glow of the lights against the fluffy whiteness. I used to call it the “Wishing Tree” because it was seemed so perfect. It was a reminder to me of my dreams and what I wanted to achieve when I first arrived in the Big Apple. When its lights came into view as I walked down the block from the bus, the "Wishing Tree" would always give me the sense that everything would work out.

Since I moved back to my old attic apartment from the West Coast in 2005, I realized that the lights no longer lit the street with its cheeriness. I’m still not certain if the home changed hands or if it was a move towards being more green (an irony in itself!), but for the last few years, the house has exhibited no holiday spirit whatsoever. It was even painted an uninspired drab color, which makes its Colonial glory blend into the background…until this year. I was excited to see that while the tree remains lightless, the house's front dormer is adorned with a simple tasteful string of lights. Until the snowfall, the house and tree remained undefined in the cold December night, but finally, I’m once again inspired by the fact the lights glow against the fluffy whiteness of the snow. Now that’s Christmas!

We all know that Oprah, Martha and Rach all have their favorite things. I’m no domestic goddess, but check out my blog later this week for my own personal favorites of 2008. I'll be spending Christmas Eve with other wayward friends in Washington Heights eating great food and enjoying a variety of wines. I hope you, too, have a very happy holiday season!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Is 2008 the "Year of the Truth Coming Out"?

For the last ten years, I have been coming to terms with many things in my life. First of all, I came out of the closet. If a person can do this, they can most certainly do anything else that life can dish out! Also, September 11th really changed my life—for the good and for the bad, though, thanks to a marvelous life coach, I am, as Gloria Estefan would say, finally “comin’ out of the dark” and seeing the light. It took the last seven years, but things seem to matter to me now and I feel on track in my life...actually, it’s more than “on track.” I’m filled with more love and a stronger sense of responsibility to myself, to my friends, my community and the world. I’m not sure what happened with that, but it just happened and I’m happier than I have ever been before. Surely this is more than just maturity, right? It feels like this was all supposed to happen to get me from point A to point D. I'm still somewhere around B-and-a-half, but it's thrilling, nonetheless!

One of the major things that seems to be happening in our country and, from what I can gather, around the world is that more people are seeing themselves broke when they never in a million years thought it would happen to them. We all know the sources behind the demise of the current economy. I’m not sure the average person really planned for this. They took out loans, applied for a gazillion credit cards, had to have the Escalade parked in the driveway, had to have the 32-foot flat screen T.V. in their magazine perfect uninspired living rooms decorated courtesy the neighborhood Pottery Barn (Whatever happened to Pottery Barn? Uh hum…my sentiment exactly!)—just like their peers—all the while wondering how they were going to pay for it in a good economy, never mind the crisis that we are now in.

Now, hear me out, ye fearful, I’ve spent the last ten years cleaning up my messes, living like a college student in my 30s to make things better, and you know what? It wasn’t that bad! I’ll take ten years of the dollar store and getting in touch with who I am--building up my confidence rather than my shoe rack any day. The truth is we all have exactly what we’re supposed to have if we open our eyes and pay attention to the things that really matter around us.

I’m christening this ‘The Year of the Truth Coming Out,” because it is: The truth about O.J., the truth about greedy folks in the auto and financial industries, and the truth about ourselves. This week in my professional life, I accepted the truth that I do have many personal strengths. With much more impact, however, I, hesitantly and luckily, had to face (not just quietly admit to myself and do nothing at all to alleviate the problem) some of my shortcomings. These are the shortcomings that I have shelved all along because I was terrified of moving beyond them. It has been the kind of fear that sprouts from knowing that if I take a leap of faith, and cross the chalk line on the sidewalk, I might be successful and have everything that I’ve always thought I wanted. I’m pretty sure that I still want those things, but more often than not, my head has been so cluttered by the fear, doubt reigns there. It makes me accept less of myself, in turn causing me to force something on my very nature that does not allow me to be fully present in my life.

Though my professional intervention this week was stressful and difficult, it was also compassionate and filled with ideas to trigger a new way of thinking. The world, too, needs a new way of thinking, and there is much work that needs to be done by all of us to make that happen. I’m beginning to see signs of that, and much like the emotional damage that 9/11 seemed to leave me with, I am now “coming out of the dark” of the cynicism I’ve harbored for people for much of my life. It would seem that people, by virtue of their fear, are rethinking their lives.

It’s the holiday season, and they make us all get gushy about what we have to be grateful for in our lives. The biggest blessing I have in my life is my voice (not my singing voice, though I have a good one of those, too!), but the one that has suddenly been able to help people around me get through some tough times. For years, I needed others guiding me through the forest of the proverbial “tigers and lions and bears,” but, oh my—how they’ve all lost much of their bark and the fear of their bites seem so remote to me. I’m grateful that I can now pay it forward and contribute to others becoming emotionally healthy and happy as well.

Today, I found a marvelous article on Fox News’ Web site by life coach Nancy Colasurdo on this very subject. It should truly be required reading for people who are enrolled in that “curriculum” they despairingly call “life.” I wasn’t sure where her story was going at first, but by the end, she had me in tears…and I mean the GOOD kind! (Note: Do not read without a box of tissues handy.) Thanks, Nancy!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild 9th Annual 5 x 7 Show "Most Popular Show in Woodstock"

This past Friday evening marked the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild's 9th Annual 5 x 7 Show. Over 200 artists participated, and it was the largest show at the Guild to date.

Check out highlights and hear what attendees had to say:

It was my first show as a participating artist, so I was very pleased that my friends Kate, Terry, and Susannah were all on hand to support me and the other artists.

Kate and I had the pleasure of staying at the Pike Lane Bed and Breakfast on the outskirts of town. The former home of watercolorist John Pike, the B & B was fantastic. Proprietors Adam and Laura Weiss really know how to show their guests hospitality with homemade chocolate chip cookies and a healthy and delicious continental breakfast that included warm fruit scones. Should you want to check it out for yourself, book early since they're always full!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Dessert on Canvas in Woodstock

Well, it’s that time of year again—time for the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild’s Annual 5 by 7 Show. If you can believe it, this is the Guild’s 9th year hosting this little benefit that has become one of the biggest events for artists in the Hudson Valley.

Sponsored by TD Banknorth, WBG’s holiday benefit exhibition kicks off with a preview party tomorrow night, December 5 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 p.m. This will be the third time I have had a chance to check-out the cool and unusual art at the Kleinert/James Arts Center and I’m even more excited to see what the show has in store this year. What I do know is that yours truly is fortunate enough to have a piece it in as well.

Apart from the art (that rhymes!), the cool thing about this very special evening is that the majority of the businesses in the village of Woodstock deck their halls making everything all holiday-ish. To top it off, they serve patrons wine, cheese and lots of cheer. Be sure to go to the Guild first because the line for the show always forms early. Once the doors open, you’ll be asked to pay a $10 admission fee. This, of course, benefits the programs sponsored by the WBG. Be sure to bring a pad and pen so that you can quickly, and I do mean QUICKLY write down the numbers of your favorite pieces so that you can make a mad dash to the front of the line to find out which artist--some famous, some not—you’ve bought! More than 200 prominent artists from the Hudson Valley and beyond participate, including Gregory Amenoff, Nancy Azara, Jake Berthot, Donald Elder, Heather Hutchison, Melissa Meyer, Portia Munson, Jenny Nelson, and Joan Snyder. Each piece is only $100. And for the reasonable price, you might just go home knowing you’ve garnered a little treasure and given to a fabulous cause. Be aware, though that all pieces remain at the gallery on display through the month of December.

If you you happen to be lucky enough to snag a room at one of the local B & Bs in Woodstock for the night(check out for lodging), check out the gorgeous new Byrdcliffe Gift Shop at the Guild on Saturday. There you can find even more artistic offerings from some of the best artisans in the Hudson Valley.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving the Gift of Nostalgia this Holiday Season

Black Friday is almost upon us. Many of us with children in our lives are thinking "What the heck am I gonna buy them this year?" Of course, tight purse strings, or in my case, "man purse" strings, are tight and electronics and the gadgety gifts are out. What to do?

There was a great new article this week in the Associated Press about how the downturn in the economy is making consumers rethink their holiday purchasing this year. Classic toys from Back to Basics Toys like Slinky and Colorforms or Lincoln Logs may just be the ticket, since they are all under fifty bucks and bring families back to a simpler time of open-ended, "no batteries required" play, while helping teach kids basic skills like shape recognition and spatial relationship awareness. And let's face it...they're just plain fun!

Here is an excerpt from the AP article:

"Ken Moe, general manager of, a Web site owned by Scholastic Corp. that offers classic toys such as Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Robots, Slinky and Colorforms, said sales so far this season indicate a rising interest in old favorites." (Read the complete article by Mae Anderson of the AP here.)

See more classic toys from Back to Basics Toys on Fox 5 DC from 2007. To enter to win a $100 shopping spree to, click here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Helping Food Banks Get to the Meat of the Matter for Thanksgiving

The state of the world has me thinking about what I am grateful for. I’m a little like “Dorothy Gale” in The Wizard of Oz—No matter who seems to want to make my life miserable or wishes the worst for me, I’m always lifted out of harm’s way. It’s just like the "Wicked Witch" says “someone’s always helping that girl!” The Universe is clearly on my side. Can I please get a “he bettuh go ‘head!”?

My dear friend Connie in Bellingham, Washington shared an experience with me that emphasized the importance of giving to others this Thanksgiving and throughout the holidays. After realizing that she wouldn’t be having Thanksgiving dinner at her house, she decided to donate her frozen turkey to one of the food banks in town. Upon delivering the turkey to the charity, which had a line around the corner, she was told that there was a turkey shortage this year. It seems that in the past, the bulk of turkeys have come from donations made by local car dealerships. This year,however,the dealerships were just unable to help out. So, it looks like Connie’s bird will be the only one on the wire today. She told them to make sure that a family with many kids received the turkey.

Apparently this scene is being played out all over the United States, where food banks are short of resources as they try to serve 30% more people in need this year. If you have an extra turkey or food you can donate to your local food bank, please do. Also, be sure to take some quiet time to verbalize what you are grateful for this year. That’s the way that we all are “set to receive more.”

Though my family is 3,000 miles away, and I am spending Thanksgiving alone this year with some Chinese food and a Bollywood film, I'm still grateful for a lot. Here’s my list (Mostly in this order!):

My family
My lovely boyfriend
My best friends (you know who you are)
My health
My job
Art--Ability to buy it and make it
A new presidential administration
Beautiful people—both inside and out
The lady at Macy’s who gave me a price adjustment on cashmere on the 11th day
True creativity
The dollar store
Bubble Tea
Pisco sours
Locally owned coffee shops
Premium denim from sample sales
Macy’s shoe sale rack

Monday, November 17, 2008

A 'Model' Evening for the Arts

Last Monday, November 10, I had the fortunate pleasure of attending a wonderful event, “A Fashionable Taste of New York,” at Cipriani on 23rd and 5th Avenue in Manhattan. It was a benefit presented by AYUDA for the Arts, which is an organization that helps urban kids of all racial backgrounds continue their artistic pursuits by awarding scholarships based on promise and merit. Patrons at the event were were treated to live music, a variety of casino table games, and the opportuity to win some cool packages in the silent auction.

The party, which hosted a who's who of New York Latino A-listers, was beautifully organized, fun, and featured loads of eclectic food from various area restaurants. My top favorites for the evening were tacos made with Alaskan King Crab on a bed of seaweed salad from Avenida in Greenwich, Connecticut. Executive Chef, Jorge Adriazola’s savoury snacks were the talk of the evening. No wonder, the corner was packed with people lingering by his table, mojitos in hand! The mango tres leches cakes from 809 Sangria Bar and Grill also had my tastebuds dancing salsa- merengue in my mouth.

The 10th was also my birthday, and what a thrill it was to have the opportunity to meet actress and Ford model, Patricia Velásquez, who hails from Venezuela. She was in attendance to be honored by AYUDA for the Arts for her philanthropy work as a UNESCO Artist for Peace. You may recognize her from her various roles in films like The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, but I was most impressed by the fact that she recently founded the Wayuu Taya Foundation, which is a nonprofit that helps to improve living conditions for indigenous cultures all over Latin America. With an energy and personality as beautiful as the woman herself, Velásquez is one of the most accessible celebrities I have ever met. The naturalness of her beauty took my breath away when she first walked into the room, which is why she is my new girl crush--especially after she called me beautiful and wished me a heartfelt “Feliz cumpleaños.”

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Grand Opera Gets 'Graphic' at Vancouver Opera

Everyone knows that I am a huge proponent of bringing the arts to new audiences. That’s why I love the marketing tactics that Vancouver Opera is utilizing to introduce young people—those who might be more apt to go to a rock concert or sit in front of their plasma screen playing the latest Wii game—to opera. Television soaps have been replacing stale storylines with ones that incorporate teen and twenty-something drama for the last two decades, so it’s fitting that the opera world should follow suit to bring this audience through its doors and into the lush and melodramatic world that is the opera—the ultimate Soap! We all can appreciate the Soaps, can’t we? So why not le opera?

Lucky for me, my grandmother was a Live from the Met fanatic (and an As the World Turns connoisseur, I might add). At age fifteen, it was thrilling to me when she took me to see a concert to benefit the Mexican Earthquake Relief Fund with Placido Domingo (I got to go back stage to his dressing room and speak with him in Spanish!). I was also part of the ‘Hunt’ (Brothers) for Excellence program, while in high school in the Dallas area, having the chance to see the late Tatiana Troyanos live in concert. In college, as a vocal performance major at SMU, we were afforded the opportunity to receive free tickets to the Dallas Opera and were treated to the best the opera world had to offer from Grace Bumbry as “Carmen” to Flicka (Frederica Von Stade) in the world premiere of Dominick Argento’s The Aspern Papers to a De Falla festival featuring Flamenco master Maria Benitez, as well as master classes with Jerome Hines and more. I wish I had appreciated it all then as much as I do now. It took being a substitute chorus member in the Portland Opera productions of Turandot, Der Rosenkavalier and the West Coast premiere of the Dallas Opera’s production of Janacek’s Jenufa, directed by Johnathon Pape (starring Vancouver Opera favourite Judith Forst), for me to realize the power of opera as an art form and how relevant it can actually be to contemporary society.

That’s why it’s cool that Vancouver Opera has chosen to be so “cool.” In browsing the company’s web site, I discovered that opera fans, and those who are curious to learn what opera is all about in the least intimidating way possible, can experience opera plots and characters through manga representations, by Vancouver illustrator Roy Husada, of the stories (think graphic novels) that have delighted audiences for more than a century. Vancouver Opera may just be the only opera company in the world to utilize this contemporary and colorful art form to reach a whole new generation of opera-goers. Visit to check it out for yourself.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Oh, D-E-Double Hockey Sticks...DELL (Computers that is)

When was the last time you had to contact Dell about your PC or laptop? Well, if it was recently, you may have experienced some bad customer service like I did in the last couple of weeks.

Barack Obama just prior to the election, spoke of the desire to bring jobs back to the U.S. Frankly, I couldn't agree more. I completely understand that if people want cheaper goods, it is practically unavoidable to go abroad to find workers who are willing and able to work for lower wages. After all, the United States has been relying on China to manufacture toys, electronics, and a myriad of for years, but is it really necessary to go abroad for customer service?

About a month ago, I participated in a webinar about word-of-mouth marketing, which featured a panel of high-level executives well-versed in the power of online in influencing brand loyalty. That panel included Bob Pearson, Vice President, Communities and Conversations for Dell. I was very impressed by his knowledge of the online realm and his enthusiasm for his work and Dell. I have been a Dell consumer for five years and have always been impressed by the way issues that have arisen have been handled by Dell's customer support unit.

About three-and-a-half years ago, I bought a Dell Inspiron 600m laptop. I was very satisfied with it, but noticed that it would become particularly warm from the outset. Since it was my first laptop, I assumed that the warmth that emanated from the bottom must have been normal, so I never addressed the issue with Dell. Over the course of the last couple of years, the unit has gotten progressively hotter, to the point now, where if it sits directly on my lap, it practically burns my leg. It was a couple of years ago that Dell was having some PR problems because there were batteries on the market in their laptops that were overheating and causing fires, but I still didn't think that there was any significant problem with my unit.

It was only in the last 6 months or so that the unit has gotten so hot that the casing that surrounds the palm rest of the laptop began to crack. It has now cracked in three places. Recently, a corner piece actually fell off. The unit has been out of warranty for a while, which is why I never called Dell, thinking that it was likely that there was nothing they could do about the problem, though it seemed like a product flaw to me. After all, shouldn't they be making laptops out of materials that are resistant to heat? And, I ask myself, can I, as a consumer spending my hard-earned money, expect this to happen every time I buy a Dell product?

It was after that this webinar with Mr. Bob Pearson, that I was actually inspired to call Dell to see if there was anything they could do about the problem. In the past, when I had printer problems, out of warranty or not, they went ahead and replaced them with refurbished units, and so, I thought, they might be able to do the same with this laptop, especially since it was a significantly more expensive piece of machinery. I guess I was wrong, because when I finally got through to a Dell representative in India, there was nothing he could do at all, nor could he even tell me what had caused the problem. He also went on to tell me that I shouldn't have my "laptop" on my lap because they had proved to be dangerous, which is why Dell is no longer referring to them as "laptops." that why I was able to go and search for a new computer on their site under the section "laptops" because they are no longer calling them laptops? That is the most absurb thing I have ever heard! When I asked him why the web site referred to them as "laptops" he couldn't really answer me. I'm fairly certain that this poor Indian chap didn't think I was going to take him so far "off script" for my issue.

After transferring me to his supervisor, his boss finally sent my case number to Dell's escalation department and said that it would take 48 hours to hear back from someone. It actually took 4 days for me to finally get a cell phone message from a chap, who spoke so monotone in the message, I could barely understand him. I tried calling back but got his voice mail. In frustration, after multiple tries during the day to reach him, I decided to press 3 "para espanol." I speak Spanish, so thought that if I couldn't get an English-speaking representative on the line, perhaps I could get someone on the Spanish-language line since queues are usually shorter. Indeed, it was. The person on the other end of the phone said (in Spanish) "Thanks for calling Dell. My name is Jose. How can I help you?" I responded in English "Hi Jose. Do you speak English?" mostly because I was tired and didn't feel like going through the explanation process in Spanish. In his best Hindi dialect, Jose said to me "Yes, I speak English." I explained my issue with him and that I was trying to reach my case manager, but all he could do was transfer me to the case manager's voice mail, where I had already left two messages that day.

I decided to let sleeping dogs lie and gave up on reaching him for the day. The next day, I tried calling Spanish-language customer service again after getting the case manager's voice mail, yet again. (In Spanish) "Thank you for calling Dell. My name is Fatima. How can I help you?" "Hi Fatima. Do you speak English?" (In best Hindi dialect) "Yes, I speak English." Clearly, I was going nowhere with this except to the land of baldness, since I was starting to rip my hair out.

In my message to the case manager, I explained that he needed to call me on my work extension and not my cell phone because I get lousy reception in the office. He completely disregarded that and called me, yet again, on my cell phone. When I tried to ring him back, of course, he wasn't there. I went out of town for the next few days and heard nothing. While on vacation, I received an email from him saying that he had tried to reach me several times, and, since he had not heard from me was closing my case. I replied to his email and told him that that was not acceptable because I had yet to get a decent response about what had happened to the unit and about what could be done to rectify the situation. He called me back the Tuesday that I was back in the office, only to give me the run around about how my machine was out of warranty for almost three years and that nothing could be done.

So, now I'm left with a "laptop" that is a fire hazard (it's a good thing I'm gay and will not likely need my sperm for procreating), a load of frustration and worry for the possibility of such fire, the sense that nothing is as it seems since apparently, Indians that work for Dell lie and say they are Latino, but most of all, the worst impression of Dell ever. I guess I'll be buying a Mac when my "laptop" burns down my house and I'm in the market for a new computer. Just like in the White House this year, change is good!

Finding the Fair-est Gifts This Holiday Season

Did Halloween really just pass? It’s hard to believe that Christmas is little more than a month away. Not that it really matters to me, since I will likely be stuck in Queens having Chinese food and watching the latest Bollywood flicks for every holiday until the New Year. That’s okay, though, especially since I hate to travel during the holidays--too many people; too many flat roller suitcases; too many short fuses. Also, the entitlement of people on planes never seems to amaze me, and that’s just plain annoying, so why put myself through that, right? I’m no glutton for punishment!

Speaking of entitlement, the holiday season is the perfect time to indulge in buying art. Recession? Fuh-geh-uh-bah-it! There’s nothing like something beautiful to brighten up up a dreary day (or year…or 4 years!), so go ahead and buy some art--whether it’s for you or your loved ones. Besides, shouldn’t you be freaking out that there are only 35 shopping days until Christmas and you haven’t done your shopping yet? Lucky for all of us, there are some great art shows going on around the country, just in time for the holidays, where lovers of art, jewelry and crafts can find just the perfect gift.

Top-notch artists like Ariela Boronat of Santa Fe, is just one of the cool, creative types who’ll be hangin’ up their wares at some fabulous upcoming shows in the Southwestern United States. Ariela, who works primarily in printmaking, is as colorful as her beautiful works of art. If you are in the New Mexico and Arizona areas, stop by to meet my “Cubana favorita” and check out her art at:

The Placitas Holiday Fine Arts & Crafts Sale--November 22-23; Placitas, New Mexico (

The Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festival--November 28-30; Expo New Mexico Fairgrounds, Albuquerque, New Mexico (

The Tempe Festival of the Arts—December 5-7; Tempe, Arizona (

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Ellen Bradshaw: Making an Artistic Journey Upstate By Way of Chelsea

For most adults, taking a mental step backwards to revisit childhood memories can often seem like a luxury, especially in these busy and trying times. Thank God for art! Art affords, both its creator and its admirers the opportunity to reflect upon a lifetime of experiences. In my opinion, everyone should allow themselves the time to delve into the past to spend some precious moments there. Nothing is more rejuvenating than to honor the places that we have known--the ones that we remember with great fondness. Products of our own specific environments, the “where” impacts us the most and make us who we are. It is the thing that makes each of us special, and, in many cases, helps us find common ground with one another.

Who hasn’t been touched by the facades and the innocent perfection of a “Main Street” somewhere? My mind’s eye frequently flashes to memories of lonely, winding, foliage-lined roads that lead out of town. Artist Ellen Bradshaw’s latest show, Heading Home, Keuka Lake, at Pleiades Gallery in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, takes the spectator on a journey through just such places.

Known mostly for her distinctive cityscapes inspired by the Ashcan School, Bradshaw, a Rochester native, departs from the urban jungle and heads Upstate to the openness of New York’s Finger Lakes region and all the beauty of Keuka Lake and the villages of Hammondsport, Penn Yan and Branchport. Artistically, this was a logical progression for Bradshaw, since these are the places where she has spent so much time getting to know the land, its sweeping vineyards, and the moodiness of the lake itself.

In Heading Home, Keuka Lake, Bradshaw has compiled a wonderful mix of works that easily transition from the varying blended greens and azures of brilliant summer scenes, to stark, solitary brown, cobalt blue and gray depictions of fall landscapes, to peaceful winter holiday scenes that are shaded with melancholy.

Bradshaw’s paintings could easily persuade one to quietly slip out from underneath the pretense of the city and head for the uncomplicated, single-layered lifestyle of small town America, where “overscheduled” refers to long, spontaneous walks in the woods (leaving the timepiece on the bureau) or lazy afternoons with a pole and awaiting fish, not to mention fall country drives in the shadow of trees bedecked with orange, red and brown leaves.

While the works in this exhibition evoke intense emotions for the spectator, even if they’ve never had the opportunity to know the subjects that inspired them firsthand, Heading Home, Keuka Lake is clearly a communion with the past for Bradshaw. Her artist statement says that the development of this series was tantamount to reclaiming part of her soul. Keuka, known as the “Lady of Lakes” because of its exquisite beauty, has always beckoned Bradshaw lakeside. What is most special about this show at the Pleiades is that the artist openly and lovingly shares her artistic journey, and gallery goers will be equally drawn to the landscapes that she knows so intimately.

Heading Home, Keuka Lake runs through November 22 at the Pleiades Gallery located at 530 West 25th Street, 4th Floor in Manhattan. Visit for gallery hours and more information.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Out With the Old...

Taking care to simplify life is a good thing. That includes trimming the fat—deep housecleaning, giving away old clothes or household items. I ascribe to the one-year rule. If I haven’t touched or seen it in a year, it’s likely that I don’t need it, so out it goes! Mental housecleaning is good, too.

This post IS going somewhere, so please bear with me while I shift gears for a second. I left New York for the first time in 2003. Suddenly, I began to experience a tremendous amount of post-traumatic stress from 9/11. For me, it manifested itself in unexpected, endless crying fits and a sense of hopelessness like I had never experienced. I was home during the attacks and watched the second plane hit and the towers collapse live on TV. I live near La Guardia, and like most people in New York, I was uncertain of what was happening. Needless to say, everyone was freaked out, and that feeling of uncertainty will live with me forever. Living in the aftermath was also difficult for most New Yorkers. Just breathing was a constant reminder of the death in the air. The only solace was the friendliness and sense of comraderie that had taken hold over the city's inhabitants.

In the two years following the attacks, my life had started to spin out of control—I had been unemployed on and off between temp jobs and, were it not for the fact that I awoke in time, one early winter morning, I may just have died from smoke inhalation in an oil fire in the basement of the house where I was renting an attic apartment. After that, my sense of security, much like the one that families had felt prior to the current economic downturn, was completely upset. With no job prospects, my nerves shaken, and no money, I took my parents up on an offer to move in with them for a while on the West Coast in order to regroup.

This weekend, as I rooted through some old paperwork, I came across a poem that I wrote several months after I had moved back home. It was written at the height of my misery, but in looking at it now, it is a symbol to me of how quickly things can change—how we can change, permanently and for the better. Things in my life are pretty good now, and back then, when I really believed in my mind that I was going home to die near my family, I never could have imagined that I would be where I am today. As a matter of fact, I am able to write this blog post without getting emotional, which is why I think I am finally ready to share this poem with the world.

II Years Later

No matter what I do, I feel like I am
Sitting on the edge of the world
Waiting to die.

Since the Towers came tumbling down,
I’m still on the train in my mind
Feeling a bomb uncontrollably separate the metal
Between the wheels—the scattering of
My spirit to the wind.

I’m passing an arterial in my car when the oblivious
On cell phones come out of nowhere
Putting me out of my unintentional

I’m sitting on a pier gazing out to sea,
3,000 miles from that place where my heart
Was pulverized by unpunctual fear—the
Fear that forced me from my rightful place and path.
Now, it’s been washed out by self-imposed extraction from the one
Experience that has always made sense to me.

And as I look seawards on westerly shores,
This harbor no more balances me or my sensibilities.
In fact, it reminds me that I bide my time
On shaky ground. I’m certain the world
Will fall out from underneath me
Leaving me alone, yet again, to float, to find
To understand why time has a way of confusing us and putting us
In its vengeful path—the one much like mine.
But, it was never supposed to be like this.
Yet, my wounds are temporarily cloaked by momentary
Happiness, sitcom feelings (that all is better), and
Vacuous showtunes. Thank God that truth
Never arrives until the offbeat.

My spirit longs for the day
When things will seem like they were, for at least a moment—
Stronger than those sitcom feelings that tease me,
Where I may feel that sweet, innocent peace
That I seem to remember.

(Copyright PDN, 2003)

Isn't it a blessing that we, indeed, can move on from the past? For me, many things do "seem like they were" now, but I am also able to gracefully leave the past where it belongs. What a wonderful gift. Enjoy your challenges and triumphs, for those add to the essence of life!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Putting the Class in Glass

Recently a friend from Vancouver, who had been living in Calgary, introduced me to Axis Contemporary Art, via its Web site (Unfortunately, I have yet to visit Calgary, though it’s on my list of places to see before I die.) The gallery represents professional Canadian and international artists working in a variety of media including painting, sculpture, printmaking, drawing and photography. If I weren’t here in NYC, I’d definitely, pardon the grossly obvious pun (though I can’t resist), make a “bee” line to Axis—especially to its latest show Bee Kingdom Collective: New Works in Hot Glass that will open tomorrow and run through November 3. I’m sure that it will prove to be a (hold on…another bad pun!) “window” to contemporary glass art and the future of the medium.

Bee Kingdom Collective, a group of three artists-- Ryan Marsh Fairweather, Phillip Bandura and Tim Belliveau—who live, breath and work side by side, fuel their works’ themes through collaboration and the fusion of styles resulting from the individual solo work that they also do.

Upon completing their studies in the glass program at Alberta College of Art and Design, the three artists embarked on an artistic lifestyle\career by building a hot-glass studio in their backyard garage in at the home they share together in northwest Calgary. It is this “kingdom” of sorts that has helped give the trio its collective name. They have also attributed their name to the industrious pace at which they work as well as the honey like flow that characterizes hot glass.

Bee Kingdom Collectives’ show at Axis features distinct creations, largely inspired by natural phenomena, ranging from figure 8s to polka dots, all incorporating the artists’ use of vivid color and eye for form. Each brings his own strengths to the overall design.

With a stylistically recognizable body of work, Bee Kingdom Collective's work runs the gamut from the select designs they call the “studio series,” to custom sculpture/installation and fine art. Their ingenuity has caused the international glass art world to sit up and take notice of their work, while they, as steadily as the flow of hot glass, continue to carve out a very special niche for themselves. They contend that their work is changing into a form that is “unique, something that isn't born from the traditional Venetian style of blowing..." but rather something hugely influenced by the studio glass movement.

All influences aside, Bee Kingdom Collective's own impact on the community is definitely showing, considering that they were recently selected as the winning designers, from a constituency of artists who submitted from around the world, in the annual Pilchuck School’s centerpiece competition. Pilchuck was co-founded in 1971 by internationally renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly and patrons Anne Gould Hauberg and John H. Hauberg. Their centerpiece will be produced and be displayed at Pilchuck’s annual benefit auction held in Seattle at the end of October. For more information on attending this benefit, visit

Monday, October 20, 2008

Walkin' in Chelsea

There's nothing like New York City on a crisp, cool fall day, and I was fortunate to be able to meet up with my lovely friend Lisa, an advertising account manager, for a walk through the city's Chelsea neighborhood this past Saturday. As we made our way through the streets that have gone from warehouse to wonderful in the last few years, we kept asking each other why we weren't the people who decided that Chelsea should be THE place for fabulous art in New York City. Not to say that you won't find great art on New York's East Side or elsewhere, but Chelsea showcases all types of art from Warhol to Picasso, as well as contemporary Chinese and Korean Art.

While strolling through the neighborhood, we came upon a couple of intriguing art installations that, just maybe, could be our favorites for the day. Take a look for yourself. GOTCHA! Pretty funny, huh? They did appear to have been strategically placed though, so I insisted that they pose for pictures.

The afternoon started with a visit to Jim Kempner Fine Art on 23rd Street. It has been my desire for years now to check out this gallery. Architectually, the building is so cool. In addition to the Keith Haring in the sculpture garden in the front courtyard, the gallery is home to one of the most amazing and lifelike pieces of modern art that I have ever seen. Carole A. Feuerman gets the Uncle Paulie Award for new favorite artist this month for her 1981 sculpture entitled "The Shower" made of oil on resin.

Later on, we hit Chinese Contemporary Gallery, which never fails to please with exceptional art by top Chinese contemporary artists like these whimsical and slightly disturbing pieces by Zhang Shuang. They are part of the gallery's Cartoon II show that runs through November 20. I like Chinese Contemporary because every piece in this small space is food for thought and a feast for the eyes.

I especially enjoyed the larger works by Wang Ke. The combination of colorful and social commentary of asian pop art always intrigues me.

Time's running out to check out Composed Cities, the phenomenal work of Simon Nicholas at Gallery Henoch. His paintings depict crowded environments that seem to hint at the overpopulation that one feels in a city like New York. Nicholas's paintings filled me with exhiliaration because of their unnatural vastness. They also caused me to relive the social phobia I feel everytime I'm in similar situations--VERY exciting work. This piece reminded me of my high school graduation from Plano Senior High School in Texas. My graduating class was comprised of 1,432 students and the scene actually looked like this! Composed Cities is on exhibition through November 1.

Our evening gallery walk ended with a visit to the Max Lang Gallery, which features a wonderful menagerie of Asian contemporary art upstairs. Upon entering the upper gallery, we suddenly heard what we thought was the air conditioner starting up. The noise turned out to be Pink Pink (1985) by Choi Jeong Hwa. This is a remarkable three-dimensional flowerlike sculpture that inflates and deflates at various intervals. It is one of those things that makes me happy just looking at it.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Onegin’s Off Again and Running at Vancouver Opera

For a night of soul-searing romance, a deadly dual, glittering ballroom opulence and gorgeous music married to beautiful poetry, be sure not to miss Vancouver Opera’s new production of the Tchaikovsky classic Eugene Onegin. After all, it’s been 23 years since it last hit the boards (for the very first time!) at the 49 year-old opera company.

Based on Russian literary great Aleksandr Pushkin’s famed serial work, published in its entirety in 1833, Eugene Onegin (pronounced ‘oh-NYAY-ghin’) tells the painful, yet beautiful story of the 19th Century version of “shoulda, coulda, woulda” involving a rich, bored charismatic Russian man who rejects the love of a young woman (If I had nickel for every time that happened to me…!).

The cast list is a who’s who of Canadian and international singers, including baritone Brett Polegato in the title role, soprano Rhoslyn Jones as “Tatyana,” and tenor John Tessier as “Lensky.” Also in the cast are tenor James McLennan as “Monsieur Triquet,” and bass Chad Louwerse as “Zaretski” and “Captain Petrovich.” Vancouver Opera Music Director, Jonathan Darlington will conduct the Vancouver Opera Orchestra.

Eugene Onegin opens on Saturday, November 22, 2008 and continues with subsequent performances Tuesday, November 25, Thursday, November 27, and Saturday November 29, 2008. All performances take place at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Georgia and Hamilton Streets, Vancouver B.C. and curtain is promptly at 7:30 p.m.

So, head out to Vancouver Opera to get some culture. Tickets (which can be had by visiting the Vancouver Opera Ticket Centre at or by calling 604-683-0222) start at only an ecomomic downturn-busting $29 bucks!

Be sure to bring your spyglasses and specs--Eugene Onegin is presented in Russian with English translations projected above the stage. Otherwise, you’ll be squintin’ with the oldies!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Neo-Classical Painting by Canadian Artist James Manning on Auction Block in Calgary

Today, I received information from a colleague of mine in Vancouver, British Columbia, who is selling a work by deceased Canadian artist James Manning. The oil on wood board painting of a draped figure is being offered for sale by Levis Auction House in Calgary, Alberta. The painting, listed as Lot 315, is untitled.

Manning's unframed piece is 48.25 x 49.75 in. / 123 x 126 cm and is unsigned, though it does have a letter of authenticity attached on the verso. It is expected to catch a minimum of $4000(CAD).

The fall 2008 semi-annual auction schedule at The Nickle Arts Museum is:

November 14, Friday, Preview 2 pm - 8 pm
November 15, Saturday, Preview 10 am - 5 pm
November 16, Sunday, Preview 10 am - 1 pm
November 16, Sunday, AUCTION at 1 pm

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Watch, Work and Find a Hobby!

The recent suicide of a former financial planner in the San Fernando Valley after he murdered his family over the state of his economic affairs got me thinking about how the current economic slowdown (Let’s call a spade a spade and call it a “depression" because that's what it is.) has people thinking crazy, responding and acting crazily. It’s gotten to the point that people’s collective negative energy is just plain bringin’ me down--just when all the therapy I paid for in the last two years started working for me!

I don’t know about you, but for me, I’m tired of people walking around like somnambulants, looking to the sky, hoping to find some answer and explanation as to why their lives are in the current state that they are. I wish they would just open their eyes, face forward, judge a reasonable distance in front of them and move. We don’t have to know where we’re going, do we? Isn’t that the beauty of life? Have we gotten so bogged down and obsessed with wealth and acquiring things that we have lost perspective about what the human journey is supposed to be? Pay attention to the signs in your life, people, and maybe things will go your way! Lately, I have been trying to pay attention to the signs I am being given and they are leading me to so many interesting portals--portals that seem scary to open, but ones that I know I must try to move forward with my life.

I work in SoHo, and I am amazed by all the people walking aimlessly, with seemingly closed eyes and all, as they run into each other—ab-fab agenda after ab-fab agenda bumping and grinding along Broadway--annoying the crap out of everyone. We’re a nation of shoppers, since that is what we have been taught to be. We have resolved ourselves to the lobby that to be “someone,” we must look the part, use our credit cards, disguise our pain, and get completely into debt above our eyeballs. Has anyone noticed that the problem partially started a few years back when retailers realized that college students with no sources of income suddenly felt entitled to buy luxury goods, too? It was then that every brand felt the need to join the “luxury” market to get their piece of the pie. Now it’s out of control (You know when Bath and Body Works decides that they need to re-brand to be more of a luxury brand, the word “luxury” has lost its meaning!)and these kids have nothing to show for it except bills they can't afford to pay. We wanted luxury cheap, though, and that's what we've gotten. A system that has driven down wages and the quality of nearly everything, in my opinion.

So, too, Americans have lost a sense of meaning in their lives, but that’s because it was built on false foundations to begin with. That’s why the economy is faltering—because a glorified few were living it up while the general public thought all was well in their world. After all, they had their cute little house, and all the makeover shows were telling people how to achieve a decorating aesthetic that was tantamount to the American Dream. Isn’t that what is most important in life—having an awesome cooking island with just the right amount of storage and a mini state-of-the-art concert hall in your child’s bedroom? What about growing and becoming a better person?

So here are the facts—not watered down—just in-your-face truth. The economy sucks. That’s just the way it is right now and there’s nothing we can do about. Hopefully, a new regime in the White House will be able to get things back on track. In the meantime, think outside the box, for Heaven’s sake! Business people have no problem using that phrase in the workplace like people throw around the word “love,” and yet they can’t even consider living up to it in their own lives. Maybe people should take some time to focus on what actually makes them happy. You can still do that even if you have a family or an over-entitled lifestyle to support. Try art. Try biking. Try stopping by the sense of humor store and picking one up!

David Friedman wrote some of the most amazing lyrics that have always helped me when I’m in an emotional or financial bind:

Don’t give up the ship
Even when you feel it’s sinking,
And you don’t know what to do.
Don’t give up your dream,
Even though you may be thinking
It never will come true.
Life has its own idea of
how things come about
And if you just hang in there
Life is gonna work it out.

Help is on the way
From places you don’t know about today
From friends you may not have met yet
Believe me when I say, I know,
Help is on the way.

As sappy as these words may seem to many, they ring true even more today, while more and more people find themselves jobless and struggling to meet their obligations. I live by the credo that I can “only do what I can when I can do it.” Of course, I want to do my best, but that can change depending on the day and what I seem to be wrestling with. The key is to not be so hard on yourself. And, by God, don’t shoot yourself and your entire family. This whole economy thing is all on the periphery of the world. It’s just the Universe saying we need to change our way of doing things. This is simply not working anymore. It’s like the way we treat the environment. If you abuse it, it won’t be there tomorrow. But, we have to change how we do things. That’s what progress is, after all. If we don’t change, things will change for us. It is the nature of life--tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that. The good news is that there is nothing that we, as resourceful, intelligent human beings, don’t have the tools to abide. All we have to do is open our eyes to what is real in the world around us. Think outside the box, find new portals to open and the world won’t seem so crappy.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Things that Make You Happy/Things that Make You Sad

Imagine my surprise this morning when I woke up to a squirrel sitting in the tree outside my window sending out its “chrring” call just two branches below the one where a pair of doves sat quietly. I’m not saying that I’m Dr. Doolittle or anything, but the squirrel was so loud I asked him to please stop so that I could snooze just a little longer. He cocked his head, positioned his body to the side and promptly shut his piehole. That made me happy. I’ve also been told that you’re supposed to talk to doves when they park themselves outside your window, so I did. They just ignored me, but that’s okay. They still made me happy. Apparently, squirrels think I am more dynamic!
Recently, I had to meet a couple of friends on the Lower East Side, and as I walked down Houston Street towards 2nd Avenue, I was taken aback by the fact that there is now a highrise luxury apartment building next to the world-famous landmark Katz Deli. It was so weird to see the home of the best keilbassa and jojo potatoes in the world dwarfed by this symbol of the demise of the Lower East Side as we have always known it. I think they have also built another luxury building next door to the Tenement Museum, another one of my favorite places. That makes me sad. I did, however, see this colorful, old building that made me smile. I love the contrast of the color against the overcast New York Sky.

The economy sucks, and Sarah Palin, indeed is scary, but nothing cheers me up like good sushi. My friend Kate came over last night to make art with me. (I made this funky, new mask called “Rainbow Cyclops.”)
The sushi was delicious at my local Korean-owned Flushing sushi establishment. The tempura chicken and spicy salmon rolls are DELICIOUS! The atmosphere was so relaxed, and in spite of the fact that there was a gross bar of white soap in the restroom (much to my dismay), I was still in sushi bliss. Imagine how much more joy it gave me to discover that my wasabi was in the shape of a jack-o-lantern! Apparently, the chef there makes something different with the wasabi every time. How could THAT not make you happy?

Monday, September 29, 2008

"Sometimes I Wonder..." Where the Heck Creativity Has Gone?

Okay...NOW I know that the world is really ending--at least the creative world as we've known it! Earlier today, I had the misfortune of seeing a copy of the press kit for the new FAME movie. Have you heard about this? Are they serious? A remake of FAME? How is that possible? I don't even want to hear that Irene Cara is appearing in the new movie. I want to remember her how she was. What else could they possibly tell us about these characters? I want to continue to fantasize about the paths they took without having someone shove contrived crap down my throat, and I DON'T want to see the whole "next generation" of fame performers because that type of thing has been run into the ground. Shhh! Did you hear that? It's the sound of "dull" and "uninteresting" coming out to do a tapdance! How can a filmmaker be so bold as to think that he or she could recreate any of the characters, storylines or the New York City that many of us remember--the gritty New York. It was the Pre-Disney New York, when you could see a prostitute pee in a cup in Times Square (True story! Me, my classmates and the Milford Plaza. The year was 1986 and I was 16 and living in Texas. I had NEVER seen such a thing in my life.).

Not only did seeing the prostitute pee in that cup change my life, but so did FAME. I've never been so moved by a film in my life. I didn't know it at the time, but I was able to see elements of my future self up there on the screen. I saw myself in so many of those characters. Back then, my closeted homo-ness in my suburban Texas world, filled with my OCD need to have the latest Broadway cast album and sing show tunes all the time, as well as my insistence that I, too, would "live forever," would all be validated by this film. What kid with talent didn't want to be up on top of one of those cabs hoofing away to the beat? I didn't even like to dance for Heaven's sake!

When I was in high school, I went so far as to to write a letter to Anne Meara (Ben Stiller's mother, for those of you who are too young to remember) to let her know how much her performance of Sherwood meant to me. I still have the autographed picture that she sent me along with a sweet note. Imagine the irony, when at age 32, I ended up in the same benefit concert with her and her husband, Jerry Stiller of Seinfeld fame, at NYC's Off-Broadway John Houseman Theatre. Stuff like that in the Universe is cyclical and beautiful. FAME remakes are not!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Somewhere Over at The Rainbow Room

Anyone interested in seeing how New York used to be can take a visit to Rockefeller Center’s The Rainbow Room, which is now owned by Harry Cipriani. Although I have been to the event space at The Top of the Rock, where I was involved in “A Tribute to Nelson Mandela,” I have never been to The Rainbow Room. I have always wanted to go, especially since it is basically the setting for one of my favorite gay monologues from John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation—one of my favorite plays that I had the fortune to see during the 1990-1991 Broadway season at Lincoln Center in 1991 with Stockard Channing, Courtney B.Vance and Anthony Rapp. There is a whole description of two men dancing together at The Rainbow Room and then getting thrown out for it. For a 20 year-old in the closet, it was scintillating!

This past evening, I had the pleasure of attending the launch party for the new, spectacular Manhattan magazine from the folks that brought you Angeleno and others. This new publication features the best in art, design, fashion, and culture that NYC has to offer. To my elation, my friend invited me to attend with her, and the venue lived up to all of my expectations—from the vast dance floor, to the old world charm, to the fantastic finger foods and never-ending Bellinis, and of course the almost 360 degree stellar view. The view overwhelms you even when you’re in the bathroom. Now that’s luxury!

Speaking of stellar, we decided to hang around until 8:15 to see who the special musical guest was. It turned out to be Robin Thicke, who entertained the crowd with some great tunes. I’m not really a fan, mostly due to not being familiar with his music. I did, however, meet his dad Alan years ago, back in my hometown in Texas. He had been there for a hospital ribbon cutting ceremony. Anyway, I always thought Alan was good looking, but Robin is so ridiculously delicious, that you could spread him on a cracker. The only thing that confuses me is that he is the son of a Canadian, so why does he sound like he just took the train down from way Uptown?

So, yea for me, since I’m no longer a Rainbow Room virgin. In spite of the grumpy bartender who had a chip on his shoulder and the over-abundance of people, including some really “interesting” fashion plates, the kickoff for Manhattan magazine’s premiere issue was one swell party!

Still Time to Read for the Love of Harry Potter in SoHo

If you were in SoHo, New York anytime in the last week or so, you might have noticed the giant throne and the Harry Potter setup in the window at Scholastic’s Global Headquarters at 557 Broadway. No, the throne isn’t awaiting an appearance by J.K. Rowling, but it is the throne she read from at Carnegie Hall to celebrate the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series. Today, however, the throne awaits the public as part of Harry Potter “Cover to Cover Day,” for which Scholastic is inviting Harry fans of all ages to stop by Scholastic’s lobby to take a stab at reading a passage from the 10th Anniversary Edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the first book in the phenomenally bestselling series by J.K. Rowling. Fans and celebrities will be reading the book from cover to cover until the last page is read. The event is expected to last until 6 p.m. EST this evening. It is also being streamed live at Participants will receive a small parting gift.

Harry Potter Cover to Cover Day commemorates 10 years of keeping the magic alive. The special anniversary edition, published by Scholastic, will feature exclusive bonus material from J.K. Rowling as well as new cover art and a four-color frontispiece by Mary GrandPré that depicts 11-year-old Harry looking into the Mirror of Erised, which Harry comes across in his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and learns that the mirror shows you what you most desire.

What are you waiting for? Celebrate Harry’s 10th birthday by taking the R train to Prince Street. Scholastic’s Global Headquarters is located at 557 Broadway (Between Prince and Spring).

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What's Up With the Brotherly Love, Dude?

What's up "Bro's?"

This morning was a gorgeous start to a gorgeous day as I woke up at the Courtyard Marriott in Philadelphia, the “City of Brotherly Love.” It’s hard to believe that a city that is filled with so many friendly people could actually have a high murder rate. I feel super-safe there, at least in Center City.

Last November, I made my first visit to Philly to do a live segment on classic toys on Fox 29. I totally fell in love with the city, at least the parts that I got to experience. In February, I made another overnight trip there, and this weekend, I decided to drag my friend Kate along to experience my favorite Philly things, including food, discount shopping and art.

Here’s the rundown for anyone visiting Philadelphia:

Fabulous Food:

New Harmony vegetarian Chinese restaurant—My new faves--the vegetarian sesame chicken and vegetable wonton soup. So good and lunch special is only $6.95!

Valanni—Check out the herb crusted rack of lamb with creamy potato and asparagus “risotto” and wild mushroom jus. Fantastic! One of my new Philly favorites.

Mixto—The tostones Bruschetta and crab empanadas...Increíbles! Melissa the bartendress made some kickass drinks like the Tamarindo margarita. The food is always good there and if you like Colombian and Cuban food, you'll be in Heaven.

Marthon Grill--Whole wheat apple cinnamon pancakes and turkey sausage. The service was slow but food is delicious.


Ross, Burlington Coat Factory, antique stores on South Street, and dollar stores in Chinatown.

Cool Places:

The National Constitution Center

South Street—Awesome $1 per 1 minute massage here (glutes and legs too!).

We stumbled upon this George Segal (My favorite sculptor) sculpture, "Woman Looking Through a Window," in in the entrance to an office building (southside of Chestnut Street between 6th and 7th.)

This is a very cool cemetery in Society Hill. Look how the camera picked up the sunlight casting a very eery but calming hue on the whole scene.

This display window creeped me out, so had to take a picture. It reminded me of Seattle in the 1990s.