Monday, June 7, 2010

Manic Monday

An ideal pre-summer setting in the greatest city in da world on this wondrous manic Monday. It went something like this...
12:45 p.m. For once, the MTA delivered me on time. Brooklyn Heights to 34th Street, Penn Station...1 p.m. My destination: Ripley Grier Rehearsal Studios at Eighth Avenue and 36th Street, to view a reading of "Southern Rain," the new theatrical musical written by my beloved friend Lina Koutrakos and her longtime drummer and songwriting collaborator Dan Gross—based on her latest album of the same name (which I had the honor of scribing liner notes for).

I made the mistake of sitting in the front row—a strategic error since I pretty much wept through the entire two-hour production. Just beautiful in its story of a collection of high school friends that reunite some 30 years later, reflecting on integral moments that impacted the rest of their lives. The show cleverly offers a double cast—the adults and their youthful counterparts—who deliver the story with depth, sentimentality and universality. I have little doubt: With proper backing, I hear the call of Broadway, baby.3:15 p.m. After the show, I proceeded into midtown for my next glorious slice of life in the city...3:30 p.m. With time to kill, I stopped by Bryant Park east of Times Square on Sixth Avenue and I sat. And observed. And soaked up the green. And set my mind at total ease.I am particularly pleased with this pic below. The time of day was utterly ideal for capturing the reflection of a building on the other side of the park. Ten minutes later, this view had vanished. All about the moment.4:30 p.m. Still have a half hour before the next event, and here I am right by the historic New York Public Library, which I had never ventured inside of. My god, what a glorious display of architecture. Oh, and books, too.The place was packed... loved loved loved that.Remember these? They're called dictionaries... on paper and everything.5:00 p.m. Exit to Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street...5:15 p.m. Pera Mediterranean Brasserie on Madison Avenue for a launch reception for this summer's second-annual Istanbulive concert in Central Park. Last year, Sertab Erener and Demir were headliners, along with our pal Emre. This year, the central theme honors the great producer/record label honcho Arif Mardin. My longtime pal Paul Miraldi met me for the event, where we chatted with Arif's son Joe.6:45 p.m. Next stop: Back to Bryant Park to chill and catch up with Paulie, before navigating through a packed Times Square and sitting on the Duffy Steps, admiring the view.Hey, it's Johnny Dep! Or at least Madame Tussaud's version.8 p.m. The evening's other main event. Paulie invited me to see "39 Steps," the Tony-winning play that has moved off-Broadway. We sat through the first act, watching the highly stylized performance, forcing a chuckle every few minutes.... Fortunately, at intermission, we were both on the same page: "This is god-awful." And we took our exit. I worked back down to Times Square once more, admiring the lights at night, before heading home to Brooklyn. What a phenomenal day in the city.How do, tourists! Having fun?