Sunday, June 9, 2013

Back From NYC

Just moments ago I set foot back in Dallas after a brief trip to New York City to attend Live Design Magazine's Broadway Masterclass on Scenic Design.

Very, very cool.

You'll read all about it in my next few posts.  Today I'll just talk about the setting for this seminar: NYC, Manhattan's Lower East Side, and NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.

I've never spent much time in this part of the city before.  Really liked it.

The sidewalk population includes more students and artists and fewer Park Lane ladies or Fifth Ave. fashionistas.  The Lower East Side is more relaxed and Bohemian than mid-town Manhattan, though I understand that this area, which has always housed immigrants, has been much gentrified in the last couple decades.  Today it has the hustle-bustle of the city with an extra serving of trees and roof gardens.  Its buildings are heavily residential, a mix of high- and mid- and even low-rise, of new towers and old Victorian brownstones and office buildings.  There is even a beautiful neo-classical townhouse, a rich merchant's house unchanged from the 1830s, now a museum.  Among other historic sites/sights: McSorley's Old Ale House, which only went co-ed after a 1970 Supreme Court case.  (Lincoln once drank there - Mrs. Lincoln went thirsty.)   The Strand Bookstore is near Cooper Union and the Tisch School - a great bookstore!  It seems right that there is a big new Whole Foods (specializing in eco-groceries) just down the block from the famous Katz's Deli (great corned beef) and the last, famous Jewish knishery.

I was lucky in the weather: early summer cool (by Texas standards) with only one day of Downpour!  The next morning after that rain and wind, the streets were littered with the sad, fluttering, jutting-bones remains of dead umbrellas like run-over crows and the sidewalks with the remains of paper grocery bags that only made it part way home... only their heavy twine handles recognizable in sodden rectangular puddles of paper pulp.

The first night I watched the Broadway show Matilda.

Matilda - photo from the official site HERE, scenic design by Rob Howell, copyrighted design and photo, of course.  I believe this is Fair Use as this is a review, albeit a brief one.

Excellent!  A funny, touching, wonderfully warped-of-view musical from the book by Roald Dahl.  A wonderfully energetic show with an outstanding "headmistress."  (Nominated for a Tony.)  And with terrific scenery by Rob Howell.  Who was the first speaker the next morning.  More on that talk in the next post...

HERE's the schedule and list of speaker's for this seminar.  The Tony's are tonight; let's see if Matilda's scenery wins!

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