I had a post about my Saturday in the makes late last night when my firefox crashed, so I decided to go to bed. You will all receive tidings of my fun evening in Brooklyn later tonight. In the meantime, in honor of the TONY AWARDS, I present to you this video from a fan of [Title of Show]:
I will be semi-live-blogging the Tony Awards. I say semi because I will be watching the latter part of it on delay, as I am waiting for Phil to finish up his rehearsal for The Wasp Woman so he can join me uptown for our own personal Tony Awards viewing party complete with Thai food. The party we were supposed to attend was cancelled, so we improvised. I also say semi because I have not yet seen many of the shows that are nominated. This will be remedied as the summer progresses, though I can guess that Billy Elliot will win best new musical and those three boys will win best actor in a musical. Oh and Alice Ripley will win best actress in a musical for her role in Next to Normal, which I am seeing on Wednesday.
I have been in New York City precisely one week but, of course, it feels as though I have been here longer. And, shorter.
First, I need to advertise my friend Brad Bogner’s podcast, as he was kind enough to advertise my blog in this week’s episode. Brad is the most opinionated person ever. I mean this in the best way. Have a taste of his caustic yet glorious medicine here: The Brad Bogner Show. Alternate website here.
I can already see my work week routine. I get to the Whitney at 10:00. Diana gave me the key to the offices, so if she is not there I let myself and Theresa (it is Theresa with an “h,” I have been misspelling it). The documentation offices are actually in the museum proper, just off to the side of the lobby, by a Sol Lewitt mural. At least once or twice a day a lost visitor stumbles in, presumably looking for the bathroom. He or she then immediately gets an embarassed look on their face, stammers an apology, and disappears. Also, we have a looping 30-minute soundtrack from the Sadie Benning video art piece, “Play Pause,” which is currently playing in the small gallery off the side of the lobby. The soundtrack of my life, people.
After going into the office, which is our own little awesome space with a refrigerator and coffee maker which is nice because we don’t have to share them with the rest of the staff, I get settled at my deskspace, which is a computer on a large table with lots of open flat surface on either side where I can sprawl, which I like. I hit the files. I try to kill 10-15 a day. I enter data. If the data has problems I go to the library to find the correct data. The librarian, who has red cats-eye glasses, looks unhappy to see me. I sometimes find the correct data, sometimes not. I go back upstairs and resume the files. Sometimes Diana comes over and we talk about her life in the suburb and her two kids, or the best grocery stores on the Upper East Side, or the differences between the vampires of Twilight and the vampires from the Anne Rice novels. If I find something ridiculous regarding artist comments I show it to Diana and Theresa. Then I file some more. And at some point I take lunch. Around 5:00ish I leave, if I have no social plans I go to the gym, otherwise I go meet a friend for dinner or something similar. Thus far, I’m okay with this schedule.
I also walk between 2 avenue and my apartment a lot. In my immediate vicinity there are only beautiful old brownstones and expensive stores I cannot afford. Carolina Herrera is my neighbor. So I trek out to the 3rd avenue Duane Reade or 2nd avenue Gristedes or Citarella in order to run my errands. My gym is also on 2nd avenue. I am hoping all of this walking back and forth over 3rd and Lexington and Park and Madison will accomplish sometime in terms of trimming my waistline.
Not accomplishing the trimming of my waistline? The delicious crepe I had for dessert tonight. I decided I didn’t just want to sit at home on a Friday night post-gym, eating Lean Cuisine post gym and watching Sydney White on tv. I shunned the cliche and put myself together to go down to what has become one of my favorite areas during my viists to New York: St. Mark’s Place. St. Mark’s Place between 2nd and 3rd is this fabulous amalgamation of sunglass and hat vendors and Japanese restaurants and comic book shops and hookah bars and tattoo parlors and a karaoke bar where I once sang Meat Loaf’s “I Would do Anything For Love (But I Won’t do That) and Salt-n-Peppa’s “Push It” after drinking a giant magherita from Dallas BBQ. I love walking down that stretch of the city: the people are the best, for reals. Also, the Dessert Truck tends to hang out in that area. Win.
Tonight everyone was wielding umbrellas, as it was 58 degrees and raining. Um, June? I walked down St. Mark’s to The Crooked Tree, a crepe shop on St. Mark’s Place between 1st and avenue a. I met up with Phil post rehearsal for The Wasp Woman (playing on Sunday June 14 at the Algonquin Theatre on 24 between Park and Lexington!), and we both ate delicious nutella and strawberry crepes (look, sometimes you need dessert) and drank mango and passionfruit sangria and all was well. And then we were both hit by a wave of exhaustion/food coma and decided to go home, though we made a brief detour to Kim’s Video where they were playing The Kinks’ The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society which I need to own.
So now I am exhausted and winding down by blogging. I am looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow. Weekend plans include going to the gym, going to the Met to see the Model as Muse, a photography exhibit, and maybe the new American galleries–although I have all summer to go to the Met so I can take my time. Success. I would also like to take my book and read in Central Park, go to Bed Bath and Beyond and buy some hangers, and watch the Tony Awards. Should all this come to pass, the weekend will be a success. For now, I would like a successful night’s sleep.
I am sitting in my sublet (yes, mine, she is not here, and she has moved most of her stuff out, mine is such a lovely word) on a comfortable couch on my computer watching Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King on TNT. Legolas just toppled an Oliphant on his own. It is a good, if silly, thing.
Last night I moved to the UES (Upper East Side, for those of you who asked), and I am pleased to be in my own space. My landlord was still here last night, and she slept on the couch (I love beds, I forgot how much I love beds), but we talked a bit before we went to sleep. She teaches math at an all girl’s middle school near here, and basically her students are little Blair Waldorfs in training. She says that money is no object for these girls but that many of them are fairly screwed up because their parents (designers, bankers, generally self-important people with lots of money) don’t pay their kids much attention. This isn’t the case for all of the girls, but more than a few fall into this category. I actually saw my landlord and her students as I was walking to the museum this morning: lots of little middle school girls in plaid skirts that seemed to have gotten a little shorter, and most were wearing very Blair Waldorfesque headbands. This is a whole new world into which I have entered.
Anyhow, my landlord is fairly friendly, I’m glad we got a chance to talk before I moved into her apartment. I promised her numerous times that i would keep it clean and new and lovely. However, I wasted no time unpacking my suitcases. Last night my landlord was snoring rather loudly and despite my exhaustion I couldn’t sleep, so I went into her closet and unpacked my larger suitcase. I unpacked my other suitcases this morning before work, and am now more or less settled into the space. I am lacking hangers, however, so my clothes are folded on shelves rather than hanging–I’d like to remedy this as soon as possible, for the wrinkles my work dresses are no doubt accumulating are making me unhappy.
The apartment, however, makes me extremely happy: high ceilings, newly rennovated, new appliances, spacious lots of light. I just took a few pictures of the apartment and the inside of the building, so you can see for yourself. Here they are, click on the thumbnails for larger images:
I’m still working on the final bits of settling in: buying groceries, getting hangers, etc., but I hope to be more or less entirely settled by the end of the weekend. Hopefully I can start cooking a few things soon!
Today was also my first day of actual work. We had a bit of a rocky start due to our not being authorized to access our files on TMS (The Museum Service, just to remind you) and our not being connected to the printer. However, once the kinks were knocked out we were able to get cranking. The work is a little mundane: going through old documents in files and verifying that the information checks out in the file and on TMS. We’re also reorganizing the documents in the file andcleaning up some of the language in TMS. If we have trouble verifying information via the files in front of us we head down to the library to do some research. I’ll be popping down tomorrow to verify some publication information regarding the last file I looked at today. The files themselves are object files, each containing all the documents the museum has pertaining a specific object; for this project, all the objects are drawings. Occasionally the project gets interesting when I stumble upon amusing artist comments. Each artist is asked to fill out a sheet with questions regarding his or her work, and sometimes their answers are hilarious and/or sad. One artist, who I did not know, stated that his artistic goal was “to create a new paradigm in painting.” Another artist, when asked to describe the subject of work, scrawled a smiley face on the page and stamped “TOP SECRET” above the smiley face. When asked the same question about another of his works in the collection, the artist said: “It would be interesting if I filled this space with words but it would be more interesting if I left it blank.” Ah, artists.
Diana is also a fun supervisor. We spent the first fifteen minutes of the morning talking about New York as it was in 1983, when Diana moved here–as you can imagine, it was mostly about how the city had changed and been cleaned up. Around 1:00 Diana shouted at us to go to lunch, which I spent grabbing a quick ricotta tartine at Le Pain Quotidien and then running to the grocery store for round one of stocking my refrigerator. Around 4:30 Diana grabbed us and pulled us to the upstairs conference room, saying: “They’re giving away free gift bags! Let’s go get them!” We were able to snatch the last few bags and I am glad that we did: white Donna Karan tote bags with a large tube of scented moisturizer and some perfume. Win!
After work I went home to unpack the groceries, then headed down to St. Mark’s Place to meet Trisha Baga for dinner. Trisha is an artist who studied at Cooper Union and is now in the Video and Media Arts MFA program at Bard. I went to Pine View with her, and have always been a fan of her work. She’s headed to Bard on Saturday (the MFA program only has classes during the summer), so we decided to meet up before she left the city for the summer. We went to this amazing restaurant called The Hummus Place (website says they’re going to have an Upper East Side location soon! Yes please!) where we ate lots of hummus and pita. We talked about art and Pine View and our current lives and later her friend Philip joined us and we talked about art and stuff some more. We also drank the most delicious mojitos. They tasted the way they looked: green and fresh and swimming with mint. Also, they were slushy, and slushy is always positive. I’m not a huge mojito fan but these were delicious.
I think St. Mark’s Place is adorable and fun and full of great people watching and I want to try every restaurant there. Especially between 3rd and 2nd avenues, totally a bizarre, New York place.
After dinner I headed back uptown, grocery shopped part two, and came back to my apartment around 9:30 to shower, collapse, and write this blog. I have to admit I feel a little guilty when I tell people I am staying on the UES: It is so swank, kind of Disney-ish in an odd way, very much not where I thought I’d be living when I found out I’d be here this summer. It is a different part of New York than where I go to socialize, but I have to admit, the proximity to work is awesome. I’m sure after living here for a bit or so I will find the restaurants and cozy parts of the neighborhood, and make it my own. And the LES (Lower East Side) is a mere fifteen minute subway ride away when I want it!
Exhausted, time for bed. Not sure what I am doing tomorrow night, but the rest of the weekend will be filled with a park day in Brooklyn on Saturday and a Tony Awards watching party on Sunday. Speaking of which, I leave you with this affirmation of both mine and my sister’s existence, which is displayed right across the street from my apartment:
Firstly, thanks to those of you who comment! I really enjoy getting comments on the blog, it instills in me a sense of ridiculous importance and feeds the inner narcissistic beast. Keep it up, I will love you forever!
I am posting early today because I am finally MOVING INTO MY SUBLET (yay!) I’m not sure if I’ll get to post tonight as the woman from whom I am leasing will be there tonight, and I want the few hours before sleep to go smoothly. However, she will be gone tomorrow, and I will finally be able to settle in and starting living here. Ee!
Anyhow, today was the first full day, more or less. We still oriented ourselves, but this time it was restricted to the interns in the Registration department. Diana (my supervisor) went over, in detail, the project for the summer. I will be working with the object files for approximately 360 drawings from 1970-1979. I’ll be looking through the documents in the files, everything from acquisition sheets to correspondence to artist statements, and making sure that the correct information is entered into TMS. If I find any major discrepancies I head down to the library and do some research, but only if discrepancies exist regarding dates, titles, provenance, exhibition history etc. Hopefully I can figure out a way to expediate the process (I am a fan of efficiency) and not get too bogged down in the mundanity of data entry. I had the option of choosing from several time periods: pre-war, immediately post-war, and the 70s, and figured I’d hop on the 1970s because it is closest to my area of personal interest and because artists in the 1970s were feisty. I hope to read juicy, angsty artists statements in the object files. I didn’t actually start work today, just lots of orientation, save for lunch (once again in the park with Teresa. I’ve been getting delicious salads from this UES grocery store called Butterfield Market. Old-school New York cute. ) and a weird rambling 45-minute conversation about Martha Stewart sightings, Dr. Ruth, the Turkish-Greek conflict, and the island of Cyprus. The tangential conversation began when we were discussing the Whitney’s off-site storage area which is located down in Chelsea by a fashion photography studio and, I believe, Martha Stewart’s old company headquarters.
I also discovered that I had connections with one of the other employees in the Registration Department. While we were orienting ourselves I kept eyeing the girl across the table from me, whose name is Krista, because she looked incredibly familiar. Right after lunch she said the same thing to me–that I looked familiar. We both figured out that we were at the Harn in Gainesville around the same time; she was working in the library while I was an intern. Still, it gets weirder. Here is the conversation that happened as i was leaving:
Me: See you tomorrow Krista!
Krista: Actually I’m going out of town.
Me: Where are you going?
Krista: To Florida to see my family. My sister just had a baby, the first in the family!
Me: Aw, yay. Where in Florida are you from?
Me: I’m from Sarasota! Where’d you go to school?
Krista: Pine View.
Me: Uh. Me too. That’s so weird!
As you can tell I am incredibly articulate. Anyhow. Krista graduated 1998, with Santosh’s sister (that was the only name she knew that I also knew, i told her I was staying with Santosh). ALL OF PINE VIEW LIVES IN NEW YORK CITY. I know I shouldn’t be surprised, but still, small world.
Oh, also, during lunch I was able to check out a bit of the Claes Oldenberg show. I only had time to really look at two rooms–the room with the fantastic Ice-Bag C that expands and retracts as though it is breathing, and a small room with objects and signs from Oldenberg’s The Store. I love Oldenberg, so of course I was pleased to see some of his work, and I am looking forward to having more time to see the show later. The ice bag piece was especially fun. Part of the charm of Oldenberg’s works, especially his soft sculptures, is their anthropomorphic quality–they sort of look like people, in an odd way. Therefore, to me at least, it made perfect sense that one of those sculptures such expand and twist and collapse, almost as though it were inhaling and exhaling deeply. More on the rest of the exhibition when I get a chance to see it.
Anyhow, after leaving the museum I lingered a bit on the UES to check out some grocery stores, then hopped on the 6 to head home. I really dislike the 6 in the afternoons because it is the only train on the UES and it is OBSCENELY CROWDED. Today the trains were off schedule and the car was packed to the brim. I was uncomfortably close to a man who smelled like old gym socks and cigarettes. When I had a chance to move away from him, I did so, only to end up next to a crotchety old woman who kept bitching about people bumping into her. As though we had any choice? If you don’t want to be jostled, don’t get on the subway when it is crowded! Anyhow, the subways were so off schedule that the train actually skipped my stop, so I ended up walking about ten blocks back to Santosh’s. In the rain. Ah well, these things do happen.
So that’s my day. I’m going to grab some dinner, make sure my stuff is all organized, and then head up to my sublet around 8:30-9:00 (I am subleasing from an incredibly busy woman). I’ll be happy to be there, but even happier when she is gone, and I have the space and the large bed to myself. Yay good night’s sleep!
Not too much to say about the day itself: more orientation regarding the library and software the museum uses to manage members/donors and the collection. Teresa and I took our lunches to the park, where we were asked the directions to the Boat House and the Castle by various tourists. Once again today was a short day. I was at the gym by 1:45, and back at Santosh’s by 3:30.
I put myself back together and headed up to Times Square in order to take in some theatre. I tried to rush Next to Normal which was the Impossible Dream. I ended up getting some mezzanine tickets for a performance next Wednesday, when Alice Ripley, who is fierce, will hopefully be the newest holder of the Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. I decided to student rush my next choice: The Norman Conquests.
The Norman Conquests is a trilogy of plays written in the 1973 by the British playwright Alan Ayckbourn. They all deal with the same people in the same house on the same weekend in July. Each play is set in a different room in the house: Table Manners is set in the dining room, Living Together is set in the living room, and Round and Round the Garden is set in the garden (obviously). The plays form an interlocking narrative, though each stands alone and you do not need to see the other shows for full comprehension. However, the more shows one sees, the more one learns about what happens at other times and other places in the house and the more one learns about the ridiculous people who inhabit the house. It is my goal to see all of the trilogy this summer, and my Quest to Conquer The Norman Conquests began tonight with Round and Round the Garden.
The plays are, basically, a sex farce revolving around the antics of Norman, who was played by an actor who kind of looked like a shaggy dog, Wayne Coyne and, oddly, Eric Atria, the bassist of Morningbell. Norman likes sex, and drinking, and freedom, and just wants people to like him. He is very tall, and gangly, and wears a beanie constantly. Norman will make out with anything, and anyone, to disastrous and hilarious effect. The current revival is from the Old Vic Theatre in London (Kevin Spacey is the artistic director), and the original cast is pitch-perfect and hysterical. I was screaming at certain points. I really don’t want to give too much away, but there is a lot of physical and verbal comedy and the Norman had incredibly expressive eyebrows. An extremely fun night at the theatre and I am really looking forward to seeing what happens in the living room and the dining room.
I am also looking forward to moving into my apartment tomorrow night! I’ll be sharing space with the owner for one night but on Thursday I will be happily flying solo! While I have enjoyed the hospitality of Santosh and his roommate, I am ready to get settled into my own place. Additionally, first full day of work tomorrow! As always, will report.