Make me a Song!

December 19, 2007

“Make Me a Song” is a gorgeous kaleidoscope of about 20 individual songs and some musical vignettes from a number of William Finn’s most well known musicals and from a newer project yet to be produced.  It should prove to be an extremely exciting experience for those who are familiar with Finn’s work and a wonderful exposure for others.  Furthermore, my own knowledge of William Finn has been greatly enhanced by seeing this show.  It is filled with wonderful material about interpersonal relationships, often within families, and love relationships between women and men, and between men and men.  It also powerfully examines with the realities of illness, death and loss.  The songs in “Make Me a Song” express life experiences that are extremely sophisticated; sometimes surprising; often hilarious; sometimes tragic. Among the themes of the songs presented are: memories of family gatherings long since past along with somber remembrances of so many family members no longer living (“Passover”), one of the most powerfully moving pieces in this show called “Anytime (I Am There)” is a song in which a dying mother tells her children that no matter what they do or where they are, she will always be there with them.  While some of the themes may perhaps seem difficult or challenging to potential audience members, I feel that this aspect is what gives Finn’s music so much power.  There are some joyful songs too, especially the opening songs, “Make Me a Song,” and “Heart and Music,” which are very upbeat and heartfelt.  There are four performers, two men and two women, who are fine singers, and who can also act, which is extremely important for songs such as these, that express a myriad of human experiences and feelings. I do highly recommend it!

By Sae na Park (Korea)

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Queens: a diverse community!!

December 17, 2007

The county of Queens is one of the original counties in New York City. It was created on November 1st, 1683. Not many people know what to do or where to go in Queens because it’s a fairly huge borough. However, it was literally three times it’s present size and it extended all the way into Nassau and Suffolk. Originally governed by the Dutch, Queens became ultimately “English” when the British took over in 1664. Queens is known for its many neighborhoods, diverse communities and original foods. Some of the neighborhoods you can find are:

  • Astoria (good food and Hookah/Shisha)
  • Bay Terrace (visit the Bay Terrace Shopping Mall or go to the movies)
  • College Point (movies, shopping and more)
  • Douglaston (just a long stroll in a park might be good enough)
  • East Elmhurst (diverse foods and much more including the popular Queens Center Mall)
  • Flushing (good Asian food and home of the annual US Open, Flushing Meadows Corona Park)
  • Jamaica Estates (known for some of the nicest houses in Queens)
  • Jamaica Avenue (shopping and more shopping)
  • Roosevelt Avenue (food and one of the hugest Indian and Mexican communities along with tons of shopping.
  • …and much more

Here are some events you can attend in and around Queens:

Kwanzaa Crafts: Adults create African-American traditional crafts
Monday, December 17 at 6:00pm
Queens Library at Flushing
41-17 Main Street at Kissena Boulevard in Rooms A&B
718-661-1223

– A Christmas Carol Holiday Performance
December 21 – December 22
Flushing Town Hall
137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing
www.flushingtownhall.org

– Holiday Beaded Ornaments. A Crafts Workshop for Adults
Saturday, December 22 at 3:00pm
Queens Library
Whitestone Branch, 151-10 14 Road

718-767-8010

– Hands-on-History: Winter Holidays
Saturday, December 22 from 1:00pm- 3:00pm
New York City Department of Parks & Recreation
Rufus King Park, 150th Street & Jamaica Avenue
718-206-0545
www.nycgovparks.org

– FINAH MISA KULE: VOICE OF THE KING PRESENTED BY BANDENYA
December 28, 2007, 8pm
Badenya
Community United Methodist Church 81-10 35th Avenue, Jackson Heights
Reservations 888 286 5557
www.badenya.org

– College Roundtable
December 29 from 10-2

Epsilon Pi Omega, the Queens
Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority
144-04 Rockaway Blvd. South Ozone Park
718-479-0279

Along with some awesome things to do, you can also visit some awesome places. For example;

somahpersaud

Three Mo’ Tenors

November 29, 2007

Many seem to have their own opinions about music. Let’s face it, a person’s ipod says a lot about them as an individual and people are very protective when it comes to their choice of music. However, music brings this world together, brings people together and in an off- Broadway theater, brings together the Three Mo’ Tenors. A premeditated musical by the highly acclaimed Broadway genius, Marion J. Caffey; Three Mo’ Tenors will knock you off of your feet.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of watching them at the Little Shubert Theater and I was very impressed. They sang, danced, rocked, and jived. They moved seamlessly from opera to jazz to Broadway to soul, and they put on a very entertaining show. Three Mo’ Tenors is an astonishing staged concert that takes its audience on a passionate musical with three amazingly versatile classically trained African American tenors, who bring the house down with thrilling performances of Opera, Broadway, Jazz, Gospel, Soul, Spirituals, and the Blues. A performance started with opera, “La Donna E Mobile” from Verdi’s “Rigoletto” and “Recondita Armonia” from Puccini’s “Tosca”, visit Broadway with “Bring Him Home” from “Les Miserables” and “Make Them Hear You” from “Ragtime”, swing over to jazz with Cab Calloway’s “Minnie the Moocher”, sample soul with a medley of “Love Train”/”My Girl”/”Stop Look Listen”/”Midnight Train to Georgia”– with several other stops along the way.
The crowed cheered enthusiastically when James Berger took the stage in a hat, walking stick and coat with tails to sing Cab Calloway’s most famous song, “Minnie the Moocher.” “Hid-e Hid-e Hid-e Ho” the crowd sang in response to Berger’s musical call. They created beautiful harmonies when they performed together but were equally strong as soloists. The Three even added elements of comedy, donning turned-to-the-side baseball caps when they sang Usher’s “Yeah” the audience dancing in the aisles. It was a delight from start to finish.

For more information on this amazing show, please visit the website :

http://www.threemotenorsontour.com/ 

By Sae na Park (Korea)

Macy’s Day Parade 2007

November 14, 2007

November is a magical month in New York City! There is a brisk chill in the air as holiday decorations begin to come alive in the Manhattan landscape. This all in anticipation of one of the city’s most festive and colorful events – the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I have fond memories as a boy of this traditional parade. My father would carry a 12 ft ladder to the parade, set it up in the middle of the sidewalk, and let me climb to the top to get a bird’s eye view, high above the crowds below. I felt I was the luckiest kid around because the clowns, bands and even the balloon carriers would always wave to me and at times give me a thumb’s up from my special perch at the parade.

My expectations for the parade this year are high as Macy’s will mark its magnificent 81st anniversary by combining what has excited and awed us from the past, with blending in the new. The parade steps off at a prompt 9am with a new opening song, “Making Magic”, written by Michael Feinstein. The song was specially written for 600 children who will dance to the creative choreography of John Dietrich of Radio City Rockettes fame. The children were trained by Camp Broadway, which offers summer programs for youngsters taught by theater professionals. As always, we will look to the skies to marvel at Macy’s signature helium balloons. This year three new balloons will float over the Great White Way and the crowds below. The jolly green ogre, Shrek along with Hello Kitty, Supercute and Abby Cadabby will be added to the exciting ensemble. The balloons have come a long way since 1927 when Felix the Cat, a Dragon, Elephant and a Toy Solider made their debut.

As you are enjoying the parade, remember these interesting facts about Macy’s. The department store that hosts this event is the largest department store in the world, totaling 2.3 million square ft. of retail space. An astounding 5,000 people work in the store, (it seems that 4,000 work in the perfume section alone!…haha), with over 325 different departments to pick and choose from. Macy’s is named for R.H. Macy its founder who was a unique character in his own right. For many years Macy’s regularly advertised Its a “Whale” of a Sale at Macy’s, why ?- R.H. Macy was originally from Boston and was a whaler in his younger days. Another item to notice, the apostrophe in the Macy’s name is a star. The star was inspired by the several star tattoos that R.H. Macy sported on his arm that he got during his sailor days.

Important things to remember:

1. No tickets are sold for the parade
2. The night before the parade, the helium balloons are blown up on 77th street between Central Park West and Columbus Ave. This activity is open to public viewing from 3pm to 10pm.
3. Bleacher seating is available on Central Park West from 72nd street to 59th street. The best place to view the parade is either 61st to 72nd street on Central Park West or Times Square. (49th street to 42nd street on Broadway)
4. It’s good to show up early for the event, I recommend 6:30am to 7am.
5. Macy’s department store is closed all day, Thanksgiving day.
Have a Joyful, Memorable and Happy Thanksgiving!

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Written by: Steve Duer “The King of NYC” -Marvelous Manhattan Tours

November 13, 2007

rts.jpgDo you long for weird science? If you are a fan of the bizarre, here is where you will find lots of oddities. New York can be an odd city in many ways, so don’t be surprised to find a really odd museum in the heart of the city. I’m not talking about the famous MOMA, Metropolitan and Guggenheim – the pride of New York for what concerns the arts – but about the Ripley’s Believe It or Not odditorium, which takes place on W 42nd street, near Times Square. Ripley’s Times Square Odditorium will house the greatest collection of unbelievable odd and unusual items ever assembled under one roof, from this world and beyond!
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When you enter Ripley’s odditorium – welcomed by the smoking dragon’s mouth – just forget the world outside and be prepared to enjoy one of the most interesting experience of your life. Ripley’s Times Square will appeal to man’s basic curiosity and desire to know more about this world and New York City. Inside the museum you will find tons of strange objects, stories and collections, like locks of hair that belonged to Elvis Presley, John Fitzgerald Kennedy and George Washington, Ripley’s collection of Olympic torches, and animal oddities including a two-headed calf, a six-legged cow, an albino giraffe, the funny black hole (don’ t miss it), and some really, really odd x-rays.
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Make sure to bring a camera with you so that you can take photos of your family, friends and yourself being tortured (cut in half, starved to death, head chopped, etc), sitting next to the freakiest mannequins. Ripley’s Believe It or Not offers fun for all ages. During viewing, I could see a lot of family visitors. Also, I could laugh one moment and gasp the next. My friend and I were amazed and wondered why. “Is it real or is it a fake?” As if I have joined for a journey from the past to the present or is it the future? Upon exiting, I thought, “seeing is believing.”

By Sae Na Park (Korea)

Here is another Review: 

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Today, I will introduce a museum which is on 42th St. between 7th & 8th Ave. in NYC. It contains over 500 uncommon artifacts, and all they were collected by the famous Robert Ripley.
One rainy day, my boss gave me two tickets and said he wanted me to go to this museum and let him know how it is. I was very excited about my first assignment as an intern. However, I soon noticed that the museum contained bizarre and unusual things, and it gave me the creeps.
When I got there, lip-sinking dolls welcomed me first. It was very funny and interesting because they kept up with the rhythm of the music even though they looked like they were moving too slow. (When you have a chance to see the dolls, you shouldn’t miss it, and you can only notice that they are funny when you look at them at least for 5 minutes!)
There was also a stuffed giraffe which was one of the first three albino giraffes in the world. I didn’t even know that a giraffe can also be an albino. Ironically, it was very beautiful and seemed like the queen of snow, but in Africa!  There was also some optical illusions next to the giraffe, and the museuum allowed me to take photos with them.  For example, there was a box, and my legs disappeared when I got into the box! It was horrible but cute.
There were many video clips playing repeatedly which were all about Robert Ripley and his travels around the world. It was very enjoyable because I could see many different cultures through them. For example, there was a real African tribe in one of the video clips who had a visitor –Robert.  He was having a party with them, doing their traditional dance and ceremonies. I have never seen anything like that before I went to the museum.
I also visited one of the most popular parts in the museum which has many shrunken heads from a tribe in South Africa. Their story is about them in a war a long time ago.  They used to cut off the enemy’s head, have them shrunken and their mouth sewn shut to prevent the victim’s curse upon them. It was gruesome but interesting because all the heads are real, and they explained how to make them; very kindly! I was excited about the fact that I got more knowledge about what people didn’t know or even get to see normally.
There aren’t only horrible things but also many bequests of rare tribes in a hidden world and truths which people are misunderstanding, but it is really something magical. They are fancy and hilarious all together.
At the end of the visit, I could accept all the bizarre collection as educational because it is a collection of natural science and history,  revealing what people hardly see in this world; but exists. Before I went the museum, I thought children would be horrified and would need parental guidance to see this exhibit. However, now I think it’s very instructional and good for increasing tolerance, especially if they haven’t seen it before.
My only question: Why did Robert Ripley begin to collect all that stuff in the first place?  However, it really doesn’t matter, because it’s all in good fun.

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-By Hyo Ryeong Kim from South Korea

Stranded as Broadway Strikes?

November 12, 2007


As the holiday season quickly approaches and the one thing that is dampening the NY holiday sprit is the strike that is currently happening on Broadway. Until negotiations are set and an agreement has been made, many tourists from all over the world are left wondering what to do on their trip to NYC. Good thing NYC has so much to offer and it will definitely keep you busy and your mind off the strike. Yes, it’s disappointing that you had your heart set on seeing Wicked, The Grinch, Chicago, etc…but as a native New Yorker who has spent most of my life not seeing theater shows all the time, here are some old and new tips to do while visiting NYC.

1) If you really wanted to see a show, and not your show in particular but any show, there are shows still happening and going on. Only 8 Broadway shows are still playing which are: Young Frankenstein, Mary Poppins, Xanadu, Mauritius, Pygmalion, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Ritz and Cymbeline. Also, all Off-Broadway shows are continuing their normal schedule. You can check with the TKTS booth located right inside the Marriott Marquis hotel.

2) So you are stuck in Times Square. You come all the way to Broadway to find out your show is not playing. There are many attractions within that area you can visit. A) Madame Tussauds Wax Museum is worth the trip. You’ll be up close and personal with the stars as oppose to watching them from the nose bleed section. B) Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Will have the very strange and bizarre that will make the stage hands on strike not so much an oddity anymore. C) Toy R Us at Times Square will cheer any kid up who cried because they couldn’t see the Grinch on stage. D) Dave & Busters will not only keep you sheltered from the cold, but if your kids get bored, they can roam around to play the many video games that are there. E) The Pond at Bryant Park now in it’s 3rd successful year as a new place to skate with a gorgeous view of the Empire State Building. The adrenaline of this will be sure to burn off the coldness of the strike. Sure the grief of No Broadway show can’t be spared but the day can be salvaged with much more to see in Times Square. Other places to visit: The Yankees Store, Hello Kitty Store, Virgin Megastore not to mention dozens and dozens of places to eat within the area.

3) Can’t handle the crowd? Need to get out of the now overcrowded Times Square area? There’s much more to see beyond Times Square. Downtown: A) Head down just a few blocks to 34th Street. Visit the Empire State Building, Manhattan Mall and Macy’s at Herald Square and other stores to shop at such as Old Navy and H&M. B) Visit Union Square where they have the Farmers Market, Artists displaying their work for sale, and other places to shop such as Virgin Megastore, Forever 21, and Barnes & Nobles Bookstore. Also note that there are theaters in this area as well. This area is the location of where the show Jump and the new show Fuerzabruta from the creators of De La Guarda. Uptown: A) Columbus Circle has been newly renovated within the last two years now that we have the Time Warner Building. Inside the Time Warner Building you will have luxurious stores to shop at, Borders Bookstore and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Club overlooking Central Park is located in this building. Check their website for schedules of show times and ticket availability. B) Lincoln Center is not suffering from the strike and has everything happening from Ballet to Opera and much more. You also might want to check out their schedule to see which of the many shows are playing now at this crucial time. C) 5th Avenue has much to see for tourists ranging from Rockefeller Center to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. If you walk or take a subway ride or a cab a little further beyond you will come across Central Park, Central Park Zoo along with many top museums such as The Guggenheim, Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Jewish Museum, National Academy, Cooper Hewitt and much more to be seen. D) You can also travel a little further uptown into the Bronx and visit the New York Botanical Garden or The Bronx Zoo.

4) Whether you are here for a short stay or an elongated stay in NYC, you can always rely on the many tours available throughout the city. We have many Grayline or CitySight bus tours that takes you into different neighborhoods, scavenger hunt tours from Watson Adventures, Big Apple Bike Tours, On Location movie tours, The Sweet Walks chocolate tasting tours and Foods of NY tasting tours and not to mention the Circle Line Tours that take you to the statue of Liberty and Ellis island.

So while you are waiting for that refund from Telecharge (Expect refund in 2 business days), Ticketmaster (Expect the refund to appear in 7-10 business days), or the Box Offices (refunded through the mail or hold onto tickets until the strike is over), you still have options as far as entertainment during your stay in NYC. If you plan on coming back to NYC very soon and want to past date your tickets or hold on to your tickets until the strike is over, then keep checking I Love NY Theatre or Live Broadway for updates on how to redeem tickets lost during the strike and to find out what’s happening with the strike while you are here. Worse case scenario, dial 311 if you still have questions on what to do. We hope that all this information has been very helpful to you and that you enjoy your stay in NYC.

By: Jasmine Bermudez

Another Xanadu Review!

November 12, 2007

Xanadu? Yes, Xanadu (pronounced Zan-ah-do) as in the old Olivia-Newton John roller-disco movie that is now on Broadway. Yes, it’s very 80’s and skates are still essential, but after youtubing some old clips of Xanadu with Olivia, I think the Broadway production of Xanadu was much more livelier and visually more attractive than the movie. xanadu_l.jpg

Let’s face it. In this decade, hair is much more tame and the costumes actually copy Greek sparkling robes as supposed fringed poofy white dresses bought at a nearby popular vintage shop. Although the stage might be a bit small for skating, it still works with beautiful lighting and audience participation. The singing was absolutely wonderful making me enjoy the classic 80’s song all over again. What made me love this production the most was that they took the cheesy 80’s element of the original movie and gave it a facelift with jokes semi-bashing the movie, fake Australian accents and updated it with the slang languages of today.
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All of the actors played their parts well from the love struck to the divas and let me not forget the best two evil cackling sisters I have seen by far. From the song “Evil Woman” to the most cunning of lines, they really were the best of the show. Every spoof was worth every laugh (example: centaur and medusa) and yet, I still didn’t catch on to some of the other jokes since I did not see the entire original movie. Regardless of the lack of knowledge of the original Xanadu, I think you are better off not knowing it at all and gearing up your skates, leg warmers and disco balls for the newly fresh revival of the 80’s era that makes you truly miss that time. Well, we can all do without the bright colorful wardrobe and bandanas, but the music and even the songs of Xanadu will definitely stay with you for all time.

By: Jasmine Bermudez 

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