New Yorker Festival

Our initiation to The New Yorker Festival, an annual event with performances, screenings and talks bringing together personalities from the worlds of art, culture, literature, politics and, to quote the organisers, everything in-between.

A modest but very interesting start with just two of the events.

Louis C.K. talks with Emily Nussbaum came first. I remember the shock in seeing the dreaded ”sold out” mark next to the ”buy tickets” button. Ever the optimist, after scrolling down for more talks, I thought I’d give it another try. And, lo and behold, two tickets available – must have been the very last ones.

Hot topics like the then upcoming elections and Presidential candidate Trump were covered, but also those more personal like family and work. And money spending, when it came to Mr. C.K.’s latest work Horace and Pete, a production entirely self-funded and web-streamed on his website, yet still managing to loose money even without involvement of middle-men.

We were even treated to a news flash, when Mr. C.K. announced that it would soon become available on Hulu. Two months later the news became official. I had watched Horace and Pete with mixed feelings of disbelief and admiration upto the final moments of grief; for I just couldn’t stand the last episode, torturous from beginning to Horace’s tragic knife-stabbing end. The untimely appearance of his his long-lost son didn’t help either.

The following evening was the turn of a gentleman whose class, charisma, acting mastery and a certain British charm can be summed up in two words: Jeremy Irons.

In ”Jeremy Irons talks with Rebecca Mead” the discussion flowed freely like between two friends having a good time. A journey that started in the Isle of Wight, touched upon Mr. Irons’ childhood years and went on about education, racism, economy. ”Unregulated capitalism is like unregulated water: It will drown you” said Mr. Irons, a phrase that stuck with me since.

His motorbike, Broadway stints and other important steps in his career (Brideshead Revisited – yes, of course) were also mentioned, as was his newest film ”The Man who knew Infinity” which I have yet to watch.

A lively conversation, spoken in Mr. Irons’ distinctive voice, excellent diction and that very charming British humour, enhanced by his expressive gestures – and when these were not enough to contain him in his seat – his walking about the stage in a kind of improvised performance.

Dressed in a steampunkish outfit, matching scarf and biker boots Mr. Irons was the personification of an English gentleman with a touch of ”frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” flare, audiences around the world find so irresistible.

The series is held in different venues in New York City, in October.

October 7th & 8th, 2016

Time.Travel.Dream.

Ten past nine. Time doesn’t matter. What matters is I lost you. You hugged me and drifted away in the shadows. You said it’s ok. You said you’d be back by nine. I tried to call you but I couldn’t remember your number. Your number. The one I called thousands – countless times year upon year upon year. I pushed the memory button but that didn’t work either. Anxiety turning to desperation. I start to panic but I try to focus. I start again, digit after digit after digit. Together they look familiar, perhaps I’m getting somewhere. Yet somehow I find it impossible to dial your number to the end. Either I loose track or the screen gets blurry – finally the battery goes dead. Best I can do is wait under the clock. Or wake up.

A recurrent dream.

October 7th, 2016

Of Music and Glorious Kings

October had arrived cool bringing a hint of autumn, fiery colours, pumpkins – and Sigur Ros to Brooklyn. Tickets booked many months in advance, long before the flight tickets that would bring us to New York. This performance was added ”due to popular demand”, after their first night at Radio City was sold out in a matter of minutes. My initial frustration in missing a performance at the legendary venue quickly evaporated, replaced by awe the moment I stepped in the exquisite, historic landmark that is the Kings Theatre.

Unused since 1977, damaged by time and pilferage, painstakingly restored from scratch to its former glory, its interior inspired by the French Renaissance Revival style of the Palace of Versailles and the Paris Opera House, with brand new state-of-the-are staging facilities Kings Theatre is a prime example of what determination, good planning, respect to the original architecture and an investment of $95 million can do to the benefit of the community.

And I have Sigur Ros to thank for my initiation into the world of New York’s historic theatres, in such grand style.

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Takk Sigur Ros, see you again soon!

Kings Theatre
1027 Flatbush Avenue
Brooklyn

More reading here and here.

October 6th, 2016

Sears Roebuck & Co.

With rows of red brick family houses and small apartment buildings, modest and slightly rundown, this part of Beverly Road is not particularly pretty.

But, then, one comes across this marvelous Artdeco tower on the edge of a seemingly triangular structure. Later, I found out that it is a department store, opened in 1932 with Eleanor Roosevelt being the guest of honour, keynote speaker and first customer in what was to be Ms. Roosevelt’s last public appearance before her husband became President.

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Beverly Road, Flatbush, Brooklyn

More reading about Sears here.

October 6th, 2016

Overlooking Columbus

The Time Warner Center overlooking Columbus overlooking the traffic circling around Central Park. Headquarters of Time Warner and the studios of CNN. A world of its own with luxury condos, a five-star hotel, a concert hall, a shopping mall, a fitness center, I don’t know how many restaurants and a Whole Foods supermarket.

Some residents don’t ever have to leave the premises, I would imagine.

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Columbus Circle in Blue

October 4th, 2016