Fringe 2013 Reviews 1-4

Central Park CarriageHorse Play the musical..fun show ! War Horse(s) and Hair it isn't. It borrows shamelessly from several musicals. Some voices better than others. Could be cut a bit. But what a NYC story. Amish carriage driver meets Jewish Animal rights activist...who could ask for anything more..


Double Heart tells the story of Beatrice and Benedick before Much Ado about Nothing. It is brilliantly written in Iambic Pentameter, well acted and short. Kudos to the author and cast. It would make a great family friendly matinee for any company producing Much Ado in the evening. En route home we tried Mancora, a Peruvian Restaurant I would point out from the HOHO buses near the Indian Restaurants on East 6th Street. Great food and atmosphere. I would return.

Hat told the back story of the author/star who performed in A Chorus Line for over 2000 different performances. I was hoping to hear more of that but since she couldn't get the rights to use the music or lines it focused more on her parents' lives.  Interesting.

Today I did my first volunteer stint. I  signed up because it was a good time for me. I didn't know what was playing until I arrived. Turns out, it was a show I wanted to see called Occupy Olympics and because it wasn't totally sold out, I was able to see it. Fun modern take on a Greek Play with Music by Elizabeth Swados. Wonder what my niece the classics grad student would think about it. She always sees relevance in the classics today.

Occupy Olympus: based on 'Plutus, god of Wealth'
Magis Theatre Company
Writer: Aristophanes, adapted by the Ensemble, Music by Elizabeth Swados
Director: George Drance
Blind gods beggin'. Blues music wailin'. Fiscal cliffs loomin'. And Joan Rivers…Aristophanes style. Join the movement, as we re-finance a 2500 year-old crisis and take on Zeus and the Olympian 1%. "Imaginative…delightful…daring" – NewYork Times
1h 30m   Local   New York, NY   
Comedy   FringeHIGH   
Discover: Literature   
www.occupyolympus.com   PlutusGod   

Enroute back from the theatre I passed a  Tom Otterness sculpture, a wonderful rooftop house and a branch of Joe's Pizza near Trader Joe's.

IMG_0584 IMG_0586IMG_0585 

Metropolitan Museum of Art and Kids

Over 20 years ago, when youngest niece was still in pre-school, I bought her (and some other friends' children) a book of songs published by the Met and illustrated by the collection called In and Out the Window. I wanted to show her the pictures in the book on the walls of the museum. I wrote to the then head of the Met,  Philippe de Montebello, and was told that I would have to ask the department curators individually. 


Now many of the holdings of the Met can be researched on line. If the items are on view, gallery numbers are usually noted. (I expect to find more of them once the new Asian galleries re open). So, I decided to plan a first look at the Met for my 6 and 8 year old GREAT nephew and niece using a couple of beautiful books that they have outgrown from a reading point of view: The Met ABC and 123 Books. You can shop on line at the Met Museum website or visit the gift shops or add them to an Amazon shopping spree.

A Guide Named Sue (that's me) is slowly going public (real website to come). My tours will be customized for individuals and small groups. One of the first tours I am offering is a family (or families) friendly tour of the Met. You can get more information and sign up at the AnyRoad website. During our inaugural tour, we stopped to look at lots of other interesting things in the Met including the original front of the building which is also visible in my vintage postcard above.

I am not the only one who thinks children's books are a great way to introduce kids to museums. While I was planning the first run through of my Met tour my nephew (in-law) sent me this great article on the subject from Mommy Poppins.

Here is my GREAT nephew's review of the tour from my niece "Charlie said it was the best trip to a museum ever! Auntie Mame did an awesome job organizing and planning for the scavenger hunt!"

Here are a few pictures:

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2013 Summer Barbra Fest at Museum of the Jewish Heritage

IMG_0480For those of you who missed the Barbra Streisand live concert at the Barclay Center, this summer there is a Barbra Streisand film festival at the Museum of the Jewish Heritage on Wednesdays starting with Funny Girl on June 25th.

While Ellis Island is closed, you can contemplate the bureacracy and red tape Americans went through trying to get papers for immigration for relatives and friends in Germany in a special exhibit called Against All Odds on the Third Floor.

The cafe has a delightful view of the Harbor and the Permanent Exhibit needs to be seen by all.


IMG_0481The pictures are from the Exhibit. The first is NOT an origami display. The second is an expensive ancient form of Twitter known as a telegraph.

Don't forget to visit the Skyscraper Museum and the Museum of the American Indian when you are in the neighborhood.

For another non-fiction perspective of the time period of the exhibit, you might want to read In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson .

"Last Night I Had the strangest dream..."

I dreamed that many of the folk singing heros of my teen years and beyond were on the same stage singing songs I hadn't sung in years and I got to sing along.

IMG_0509The picture is a little fuzzy because it was a dream wasn't it? No wait - the lighting was un helpful. I was in the peanut gallery for a benefit sponsored by the Museum of the City of NewYork to raise money for an exhibit about the Folk Revival in this City in the 50's 60's and beyond that will be on view Fall 2014.

I had hoped to make it to the Clearwater Festival for the first time but work got in the way on both days so when cheap seats opened up for the benefit, I bought mine and got to see Pete Seeger and Oscar Brand and Josh White Jr and Peter Yarrow and a host of others on stage.

I was unable to get to the benefit write up on the website to share it with you but..... here is the list of upcoming programs for summer 2013 (hopefully this link will always go to upcoming programs). Come uptown and enjoy!


Manahatta - Inside the Post Office - June 2013

PostofficefrontI have always been a fan of site specific performances in non-theatre places or in this case, live theatre in  non-theatre space. Thanks to an email from Myra of Noshwalks on Friday, I bought a ticket and attended the second preview of Manna-Hata at the James A Farley Post Office. The entrance for the performance is on the 31st Street side. (On the left in this vintage postcard).

The show is an extraordinarily interesting attempt to place the audience into a live theatrical history of New York City. It is a reminder that a live creative theater experience, in this case great, not great and all points in between, will always be special in ways that are different from film and video.

PostofficebackManna-Hata also provided an opportunity so see many of the very utilitarian (euphemism here) spaces that were used by the workers of this grand post office - once the largest in the country. Now I know why some workers go "postal".

IMG_0487No time was spent in the grand public space during the performance. The history of New York provides a great pool of material. I loved some of the choices, wondered about others and of course had my share of...why didn't they include X or connect all the bits about tobacco to Bloomberg's New York. They did a nice job of connecting the "tuition free" Cooper Union to now.

There was no connection to the site in the show. To me this post office will always be connected to my favorite NYC movie Miracle on 34th Street and to standing in line to request an application to run the NYC Marathon in the early days.

It is only running for the next two weekends - Thurs - Sunday. See it if you love interesting theatre, NYC history and want to explore the back spaces of a great New York City building. The middle is much better than either the beginning or the end but I think there is a reason for this. The earlier you go back in NYC history, the murkier the documentation for the stories. And, how does one end a story like this when the future is still unfolding.

You will be divided into groups in order to travel during the production. I thought my group leader Jane Jacobs was great! Enjoy if you go!

Beware, you will stand a lot and climb stairs during the performance and the dust upstairs may be uncomfortable for those who are very allergic. And, to my FB friends at Forgotten Musicals, some of the weakest links are the attempts at music and dance so see it now! There won't be a DVD.

Feb 21, 2013 International Tourist Guide Day (1)

This is the 2nd year that I (and the NYC Guides Association) will be participating in International Tourist Guide Day. This year, tours will start in different places. All tours are free. I will be giving 2 tours.

TimesSqareDayMy first tour will be geared to early risers and people looking to get their bearings before heading to work, a conference or more heavy duty sightseeing.

Times Square - My Time of Day - The tour will meet at 7:00 AM near the steps in front of the TKTS Booth in Times Square. This early stroll will look at the neighborhood behind the glitter. The tour will end by 8:30. We will see some surprising places, learn how to use a MetroCard, understand ticket and transportation options, check out eating places - who knows! I'll also talk about the tours going on for the rest of the day.

One of my earliest posts on this blog was about Times Square. Back then, I was still working on Double Decker buses. These days I enjoy sharing my New York with visitors, on foot, public bus or in subways.

 Here is the post about Tour Guide Day 2012. I will update this post with a complete listing of tours when the listing is put on line.

If you wish to join me on this tour, send an email or comment to my blog or contact me at ztaks@me.com or send a note through www.aguidenamedsue.com.

Here is the link for my North End of Central Park tour at 11 AM.

Happy February!

Feb 21, 2013 International Tourist Guide Day 2

StJohnStLukeAt 11:00 AM, meet me inside the doors of St John the Divine, the largest Cathedral in the World. If you want to tour the Cathedral, arrive early, make a donation and have a look around or arrange for a tour there later in the week. (Hint - If you take the 1 train Uptown, you can see Tom's Restaurant of Seinfeld fame on the way over to the Cathedral.)

NEGatesWe will check out the North End of Central Park (without The Gates). We will see the skating rink, the Blockhouse (from afar), the Dana Discovery Center and the Conservatory Gardens.



Afterwards, get a snack and/or visit El Museo del Barrio and/or the Museum of the City of New York. Then walk or bus your way back to midtown or head North to Harlem. Or, head to your next Tourist Guide Day tour.



If you are interested in joining this tour, leave a comment or email me on the blog or at ztaks@me.com.

Stay warm.

Thanksgiving Day 80's - 2011

My brother and I felt that NYC got great press two days a year: Marathon Day and Thanksgiving. We thought it would be great to march in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and got the opportunity to volunteer in the mid 80's (85) when my cousin's new husband was head of the special events construction crew at Macy's. We (and 30 others) held down the Nestle's Quik bunny balloon on its first fly down Broadway. In those days the balloons were larger and not anchored to motorized vehicles. It was all arm strength. My arms ached for a week but it was a once in a life time experience that I will never forget. 

Thanksgiving 86 was spent in Rio with friends who worked for the Foreign Service. At 3AM we listened to Trini Lopez singing Lemon Tree at a Samba show. By 98, my parents had moved to Arizona and my brother was elsewhere so a friend came in and I finally went to see the balloons being blown up in the evening. The next day, we watched the parade from a little hill in Central Park near the Dakota building.  I gave my friend a copy of Time and Again by Jack Finney and he insisted we were standing by a tree in one of the pictures. (I wonder if the tree is still standing after Hurricane Sandy storm damage in Central Park).

For most of the last 8 years I worked Wednesday and/or Thanksgiving on Double Decker buses and sat in lots of traffic near the balloon area on Wednesday afternoons and early evening. I made it to relatives in the tristate area or dropped in on friends for dessert a few times and sometimes, I had a quiet dinner at my local coffee shop after a very long day.

Last year, my niece from Arizona brought her family in to visit the 911 memorial (my niece worked with many people from AON who lost their lives on Sept 11),  to see a rehearsal of their cousins who were marching in the parade, to watch the balloon inflation, to have dinner at Patsy's and to watch the parade from a very special vantage point before heading to Jersey for dinner at another niece's home. It was a whirlwind two days. I rushed off the bus to meet them at the WTC site and my Arizona great niece and nephew took 11 subway rides and a train ride before arriving for dinner in New Jersey on Thanksgiving.

In December of last year, I visited my parents in Arizona. We spent some quality time together watching Miracle on 34th Street. We actually watched it twice because my mother's short term memory was gone. She did not remember seeing it the first time.

Thanksgiving Season 2012

2012 has been an interesting year. I left the double deckers after major changes were proposed for the way tour guides would be doing their job in 2012. My mother passed away after being ill for several years. I broke my right wrist (I'm a lefty), etc, etc. Despite all the not so good things happening to me, I always new I was better off than most of the other 99 percent. When Hurricane Sandy hit and I had lights and power I knew that I was lucky. And, on a positive note, after years of being a "wandering Jew" in New York where there is a house of worship for everyone, I found the one that fits for me: Or Zarua. That's perhaps why the Thanksgiving Day scene in the play JB came to mind in my Turkey Day post. JB is loosely based on The Book of Job. My high school put on the play a very long time ago and now I must read the original.

I woke up several days ago and realized that this might be the perfect year to play Auntie Mame (as in the roller skate scene in Macys) for real. I sat down at this computer and applied for a temporary job at Macy's. I and lots of other people were invited back for short interviews earlier in the week. If anything comes of it I will tell the longer version when/if I get the opportunity to invite you to find me at the store. If not, there is always next year.

 IMG_0316I walked across the Park before noon on Balloon Wednesday and discovered that the balloons were set out and ready to be inflated.





An hour and a half later, the first balloon was already inflated.



IMG_0318In between, I visited the NY Historical Society to try to see the new train exhibit and rediscovered the Luce Center which is really the great old attic of New York City. When you visit, make sure you stop on the fourth floor where you will find so many treasures.

I thought there was a typo for the death date of artist Theresa Bernstein then I googled her. You should too. If you find this picture you will find a wall of pictures I want in my livingroom in my next life.

Later Wednesday night, I went with a group from my synagogue to "glean" food from an upscale market and deliver it to food banks in need. I like playing Robin Hood and will probably do it again on Christmas Eve (after caroling). Thanksgiving morning I went to services and got home in time to see the TV time of the Oak Ridge High School band. I had taken some of them on Central Park and downtown tour on Tuesday.

How did I spend the rest of Thanksgiving? I stayed at home nursing a cold and communicated with several friends on line and off and I wrote these posts: remembrance of Thanksgivings past. Now back to the future.