Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Three Weeks in NYC Hit List (plus a few Mondays off)

A completely biased list based on solely my opinion.

Best Quote:
"Maura, your phone is so vintage that it's cool."
Yep, everyone in NYC has a smart phone, it's like being in the future. Bob and I pride ourselves on our lack of need for them... but then again, we often seem to be lost.

Best Park:
The High Line, Chelsea. This park is New York City's newest park, made by converting miles of raised rail lines into grassy areas and benches. Perfect for a stroll, perusing the local artists who display their wares there, an impromptu knitting circle, or getting a lovely view of the Lady Liberty.

Best Salon:
Sam Brocato Salon, SOHO. Caroline Cooney recommended this salon to me. If you want NYC swanky salon treatment at a North Carolina price, make an appointment with a "New Talent" stylist at this Salon, (make sure they are "new talent," cause you can't afford the other people). I was very happy with the way my hair turned out and even purchased some of their line of leave-in actives. I felt pretty glam.

Best Rooftop Bar:
Birreria, the beautiful brew pub on top of Eataly, Madison Square Park. Clayton Fox took me to this new brew pub in Manhattan. Here you can drink delicious cask ales brewed in collaboration with Dogfish Head, Baladin and Del Borgo just 30 feet from where you sit. A lovely view of the skyline transported me above the busy city below to an Italian summer's day.

Best Pricey Seafood:
Ocean Grill, the Upper West Side. Matt and Rich took me to their favorite restaurant and it was amazing. First off, you've never had a better chopped salad than the one they make. I know, what can be so great about a chopped salad? I don't know. But this one is SO GREAT. For my entree, I had the Blackened Swordfish with Chorizo Whipped Potatoes, Broccolini and Chipotle Red Wine Sauce. The portions were perfect and the fish was cooked to perfection.

Best Thrifty Date Place:
Bianca, the East Village. You really can get your money's worth at this great tiny Italian place in the Village. The dining room opens onto charming Bleeker street. The vino is choice. I had the "Tagliolini Ai Frutti di Mare with clams, mussels, calamari and shrimps sauteed in garlic, extra -virgin olive oil and lite tomato sauce." All that for $11.50! This place is full of simple goodness and NYC romance.

Best Pricey Performance:
PUNCHDRUNK'S Sleep No More. This 3 hour sensory experience is a thrilling, film noir version of Shakespeare's Macbeth. The audience, behind the anonymity of their birdlike masks, is given free rein to wander through the McKittrick Hotel. You can rifle through Lady Macbeth's desk and read her private letters to the King, follow Macbeth through the graveyard as he is tormented by the three witches, or spend some time in a pre-war psychiatric ward. PUNCHDRUNK "has pioneered a game changing form of immersive theatre in which roaming audiences experience epic storytelling inside sensory theatrical worlds. Blending classic texts, physical performance, award-winning design installation and unexpected sites, the company's infectious format rejects the passive obedience usually expected of audiences." Plus Neil Patrick Harris was there the night Susanna and I went. Totally worth the week's wages I spent on it. (Don't fret, I don't make that much a week...)

Best Free Performance:
Asscat at the Upright Citizens Brigade. Sunday nights at 9:30 the Upright Citizens Brigade puts on a free Improv show. $3 PBR. The talent is fabulous: Horatio Sanz, Zach Woods, and Bobby Moynihan performed the night we went. Get there early, eat McDonalds in line, you'll make friends, you'll laugh, you may even give the most mocked suggestion of the night.
[Performer: "Give me a movie everyone has seen." Susanna: "The Notebook!"]

Best Place to NOT buy a vegetable quesadilla:
The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, Fulton Pier, Brooklyn. After the failed quest for Chicago's finest hot dogs, we settle for a quesadilla from the stand and have this interaction:

Man at stand, completely serious, in broken English: "We have two kinds of quesadillas, chicken and vegetable. But we are all out of vegetable, so which would you like? Chicken or vegetable?
Us: (look at each other, dumbstruck) "Chicken?"

Turned out to be quite good. But the vegetable quesadilla must be freakin amazing, as they are always out of it.

Monday, May 2, 2011

UM/Guthrie Theater BFA Training Program Class of 2011

Zero to Twenty: In honor of the graduating class of 2011
 My graduation speech, by the numbers...

0—the number of couples in our class that made it to graduation.
1—piece pants suit that Claire wore in London.
2—minutes, average length of a hug from Ben Gansky
3—This one belongs to the “rule of 3.” My boyfriend has a theory that if you have 3 or more BFAs in a room, all they can talk about is BFA-related topics. Thank you to him and the other non-BFA significant others (you know who you are) who have loved us and put up with us, despite our appalling lack of ability to vary our conversation topics.
4—the number of years we’ve been in college together.
5—The number of years my parents have paid for me to attend college. Thanks, Mom and Dad.
6—The number of other classes, before us and behind us, I’ve had the pleasure of watching. I hope that we sent a good example for those to come.
7—out of 20 of you have played my children in one of our projects or plays. I am honored to be your mother.
 8—We are the 8th graduating class of this training program, that means that we are actively creating the reputation that the Program has in the world. I hope we all make that reputation one of generous, committed artists.
9—The number of days I have left in Minneapolis before I leave for my first real acting job.
10—Is the number of beats in a line of Shakespeare in iambic pentameter.
11—Of course, is the Class of 2011.
12—The number of the floor that most of us lived on freshmen year in Middlebrook.
13—1300 miles is how far my parents and siblings travel one way every time they came to see my shows.
14—the number of letters in “Guthrie Theater”
15—Represents your 15 minutes of fame… I hope you get at least that.
16--On a scale of 1 to 10, 16 is how sick of you all I’ve been come winter break each year. On a scale of 1 to 10, 16 is also how much I’ll miss you after this is all over.
17—The number of matching glasses and cowboy boots that Judy Bartl has.
18—The number of outstanding teachers and directors I have had in this Program. You have taught me to breathe, dance, think, and live onstage. For that I humbly thank you.
19—The number of extraordinary people I’ve have the pleasure of being trapped in small windowless rooms for hours on end these past years.
20—20 people with bright futures ahead of them. 20 people who are empowered, not limited by their numbers.
I have one more number: infinite. My love, my hopes, my wishes for you… ARE INFINITE