This past Friday, I had the exquisite experience of attending Paul Balmer’s artist reception for his new collection Cityscape to Landscape at the Campton Gallery at 451 West Broadway in New York City. Mr. Balmer hails from South Africa and his since been somewhat of an international citizen; with exhibitions over the past two decades in London, Chicago, Sydney Australia, Boston, and New York to name a few.
Mr. Balmer’s Cityscapes capture a unique essence of both New York City and the country in that he manages to express (in cityscapes) a viable and controlled chaos that is natural in the habitat of our concrete jungle. For this reason, I would beg to argue the collection’s metamodernistic influence simply by the adventure Mr. Balmer’s pieces take you on.
Then there are the Landscapes, a perfect juxtaposition to it’s Manhattan counterpart by way of serenity and the ability to transport you to any welcome and familiar place in the annals of your memory. I was both seventeen again in the Tuscan countryside and a child on a farm in central New Mexico. Paul Balmer possesses the gift of expressing to you, you’re own emotions through his art.
A special thank you to Miss Allison Harrell for the invitation.
Hudson Sutler is a purveyor of fine Made in America weekend and commuter bags- you know, those nifty little duffels that crowd the Long Island Railroad every Friday and Sunday. It seems that having the perfect weekend bag is something of a necessity in the East Coast (remember- I hale from the Southwest) and even Goldman Sachs has a line of such bags for their employees to display on their weekend vacations.
As Mr. Hewitt put it, a sutler is a civilian merchant who sold provisions to an army in the field, in camp, or in quarters. Primarily in business during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, sutlers were a significant part of shaping the America we know today.
As I stated in my event post for the Harriman Cup’s Alton Lane event, this company’s products are definitely on my wish list for the coming year.
The above photo’s were taken from Hudson Sutler’s Facebook Fan Page. Click Here to become a fan.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the Empire State Pride Agenda‘s “Hampton’s Tea Dance” in Bridgehampton, New York. Having never been out to any of The Hamptons, I was thrilled to find out that I would be in East Hampton for the duration of my stay.
I gladly boarded my train at Penn Station and found myself in East Hampton a couple of hours later. Though I’ve been in (and out of) New York for the past four years, I must be honest- I’ve never carried much interest in visiting The Hamptons. This was primarily to a misinformed idea that it was boring.
Well, I must say that I was terribly misinformed and now whole-heartedly believe that a little piece of heaven exists in the paradise that is Two Mile Hollow Beach. Within a couple hours of sunbathing and taking a swim in the Atlantic Ocean, I slowly began to meet my fellow beach goers who were all amazingly friendly. A while later at Almond Bridgehampton, I found myself in the middle of the friendliest restaurant and bar I have ever experienced.
Within seconds of walking in the door of Almond, I spotted about five people I had met earlier on the beach and was quickly ushered into a seat to join them at the bar. It is safe to say that never in my life have I had so many people come and introduce themselves to me, and yes, I know what you’re thinking “they probably thought you had a trust fund”- I honestly made some great connections that night and just didn’t want the evening to end. Not to mention, one of my beach friends ended up treating me to a delicious meal of a hamburger, ratatouille and sauteed Amagansett greens along with more gin than I usually care to stomach. Between the friendly atmosphere, a celebrity sighting (Nate Berkus was also dining on that particular Friday), and the drunken antics of a Bridgehampton brat named Samantha, I quite honestly had one of the best nights… ever!
The next day went somewhat similar. After a late morning and early afternoon on the beach I managed to see all the same people from my various weekend adventures at the ESPA Hamptons Tea Dance at the Sculpture Fields of Nova’s Ark . The event is held annually to raise money for the Empire State Pride Agenda- New York’s statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights and advocacy group. The ESPA has worked tirelessly at negotiating New York City’s comprehensive domestic partnership law, passing a statewide hate crimes law, and enacting local non-discrimination laws and policies in Buffalo, Ithaca, Nassau County, and Westchester County. To view their complete mission and public policy agenda, click here. Guests of the event enjoyed dancing to beats spun by DJ Lady Bunny as well as an open bar in a breathtaking surrounding.
The next day, I left East Hampton both sad to leave, yet eager to return in the near future.
A special thank you to R. Chitel and Bob Norell for a fantastic weekend.
Last week I sat twiddling my thumbs with anxiety as my plans to run along the Hudson River were shattered by the timely arrival and accurately forecasted rainy day, which, I had all but ignored until it was time to go outside. I watched some Dr. Who with my gracious host until I started chatting with my friend David who I had originally planned on going running with.
“Where were you!?” David asked.
“Lame, it was awesome. You should have gone- it really was perfect running weather!”
I thought about my apparently fearless friend and then I thought about the pound or two of tortilla chips I was thinking about eating. I immediately dawned my Reebok Realflex running shoes, some running shorts and one of those moisture wicking shirts I’ve seemed to have acquired during my 40 lb weight loss. I walked nervously through the subtle sprinkle to the 181 Hudson Parkway entrance.
About two minutes in to my actual run, I noticed that my shirt was quickly becoming more and more damp, and therefore a heavy nuisance that interfered with my current physical activity. I took my shirt off the second I passed the little red lighthouse at the base of the George Washington Bridge.
I instantly had one of those amazingly perfect Eckhart Tolle moments where I was so pleasantly overwhelmed by the state I was in; I almost couldn’t contain my happiness. There I was, running along the Hudson River with the rain softly beating against my bare skin while my heart was beating fast to get blood and oxygen throughout my body all the while maintaining a steady breathe. I felt alive.
There was almost an acknowledged shared arrogance about the others who had taken it upon themselves to engage in physical activity along the parkway. It was sort of like we knew we were rebels, and were so much cooler than the 70 degree Lululemon crowd. I took myself down to 145th street to the gate of the Riverbank State Park and turned around.
I realized that the only element missing from my journey was fire. I ran against the earth; brushing against the occasional tree along my path as the rain cooled the heat of my body. I realized then, in that instant that I took the place of the missing element because I was on fire. I was, in that moment, truly alive.
My first Saturday back in New York City proved to be a very busy one. I woke up early on June 2nd to visit my friend, designer Smith Sinrod of bySMITH Collection as she prepped for a photo shoot of her upcoming fall line. Like I said, I had a very busy Saturday and had an engagement lunch to attend, so I was unable to stay for the actual photo shoot, so instead I decided to share some behind the scenes photos of Smith and her team.
VISIT THE FOLLOWING pages!
I found this during a Chinatown excursion with tenor Eric Bowden.
I took this picture in Harlem in early October
With an increasingly busy schedule which includes engagements and competitions in Pittsburgh, New York, Norway and Germany, Soprano Suzanne Vinnik is finding herself living out of a suitcase more often than her own apartment. The young diva shares some of her money saving tips for looking like a star without purging your clutch.
I feel like I am always on the go! I’ve converted several of my fellow opera singer friends to the joys of LUSH! I LOATHE paying money to check my suitcases at the airport!!! I know that I can save money by packing up my cute little Betsey Johnson duffle bag and put it in the overhead! On the road these are the products I bring to avoid costly luggage!!!! If you travel as much as I do, save your money and bring solids!!!! ☺
Godiva Shampoo Bar- (VEGAN) it is a great two-in-one shampoo and conditioner! It is made with cocoa and shea butters, which moisturize the hair follicles and make them feel soft! It has a sexy jasmine scent that will last all day long!!! It makes the entire bathroom smell incredible after I use it! I put it in my shampoo bar tin for safe storage! When they say it’s good for at least 50 washes… they are NOT kidding!!!! For $10.95 you can’t go wrong!!!!!
Coal face cleanser- this is a great cleansing bar made of ground up charcoal that absorb excess sebum and acts as a mild exfoliator. After wearing stage makeup this really gets my skin feeling CLEAN! $11.95 for 3.5 oz.
Full of Grace- this bar is great on the road because it makes my skin very moisturized after washing my face! I normally would use a moisturizer but this works great when I can’t bring liquids with me! When I am home, I put this on before using a face mask! $13.95
Alkmaar Soap- (VEGAN) Normally, I love to use my favorite soap THE FLYING FOX but on the road like I said I cannot bring my liquids! I bring this amazing bar of soap that looks like cheese!!!! It has a creamy sexy jasmine and honeysuckle scent with smokey vetivert undertones! $7.95 for 3.5 oz.
Karma Bubble Bar- sometimes I’m lucky enough to have a bathtub on the road. When I know that I’ll have one I bring this bubble bar along! I just break it into four sections and crumble it up underneath the faucet (I get 3-4 uses out of each bar)! It is one of my favorite scents from Lush and it just makes me feel relaxed! $8.45
Tuca Tuca Massage Bar- Instead of bringing a lotion with me I can bring this little massage bar with me!!! Again, I store it in a little tin which I get for free when I buy both my massage bar and solid shampoo bar!!! I love the way this stuff smells!!! $7.95
Tuca Tuca Solid Perfume- I will not leave the house without perfume! It’s part of being a diva! I want people to know when I am about to make my grand entrance! $8.95
Since her March 2010 appearance as a Gen Art “Fresh Faces in Fashion” designer in Miami Florida, as well as being featured on MTV’s hit reality show The City, Smith Sinrod’s line by SMITH has flown to new heights. Now available in about 75 stores in the US, as well as Canada, Japan and Indonesia, this fresh face in fashion draws inspiration from her surroundings, style icons of the past, and not to forget… family.
Jacob Paul: You’re spring and fall 2011 collections are inspired by streets, areas and landmarks in New York City, can you tell me what inspired you to go in this direction with your line?
Smith Sinrod: Well, I just moved to New York, so I thought that it would kind of be parallel with the changes in my life and I wanted to portray that inspiration. I always like to pick different cities to draw new ideas from.
JP: You took your fall 2010 London collection (which I loved) to the Gen Art “Miami Fresh Faces in Fashion” show last March which garnered you critical praise from the press, as well as national exposure on MTV’s “The City”. Can you tell me what it was like seeing your collection on television?
SS: It was surreal! I was so excited about the Gen Art show and being able to be involved in a real fashion week runway show, but to have MTV filming everything on top of that just made it even more crazy. It was definitely one of the best experiences I’ve gone through so far.
JP: What I loved about watching that particular episode is that while there seemed to be a ton of drama going on the side with other designers… (Smith laughs and agrees) you managed to not only stay out of the negative drama that was portrayed, but you really just let your collection speak for itself on the show.
SS: Well, it isn’t really like me to get involved in that type of situation, so it was actually a very real portrayal of me.
JP: How did you get invited to be a part of the Gen Art show?
SS: Well I was actually nominated by someone, so from there I was allowed to apply. To this day, I don’t even know who submitted my name. It could have been a professor, a buyer from the store… I don’t know, but somehow my name was thrown into the mix. After the whole application process, I was notified about two weeks prior that I had been selected for the Gen Art Fresh Faces in Fashion show.
JP: What did they tell you?
SS: They asked me if if I could get to Miami with enough shoes for models and put together a run of show in two weeks and… I had never done any that before! It was definitely exciting even with the pressure. It was awesome! And then we got the waver from MTV after we accepted.
JP: No! So you didn’t even know going into this you would be filmed?
SS: Not at first. It was really exciting though, but the waiting had me anxious to see how they portrayed me and my clothes. We filmed the show in March and I had to wait three months to see the edited result. Luckily, they were very nice to me.
JP: Good, because they weren’t so nice to Romina (Smith laughs).
SS: I was surprised that they gave me so much airtime, because I wasn’t necessarily creating a lot of TV-worthy drama.
JP: You were definitely a media favorite though.
SS: It was a good response all around, and it definitely helped me get things rolling thanks to the press which helped me create brand awareness.
JP: What did the Gen Art show do for your career and your brand?
SS: Before Gen Art, I didn’t really have a lot of press and it definitely provided vital exposure. Being a part of the show also made me really feel like I’m a part of their community. I really hope to stay involved as an alumni of the organization. There are so many fantastic designers like Zac Posen and Michelle Smith of Milly who also started as Gen Art “Fresh Faces”, so it gives me hope that maybe I can make it to their level someday.
JP: When does your fourth collection come out in stores?
SS: This August.
JP: And where can curious shoppers find your line?
SS: In New York, Diana Warner New York on 21st and Park. The southeast remains to be my most saturated area carrying my line. (internationally bySMITH can be found at Moule in Vancouver and Winnipeg as well as Little NYC and Jun Co., Ltd in Tokyo, Japan).
JP: What’s it like when you turn on your TV and you’re watching say “Live with Regis and Kelly” and one of the winners of “The Amazing Race” is wearing your Tribeca dress. What goes through your mind?
SS: That was crazy because my sister’s friend was picked as one of the top teachers for top teacher week on Regis Kelly, and she wore my skirt on the show that Tuesday. As soon as I finished watching that, I received an e-mail from Amazing Race winner Jennifer Hoffman telling me she would also be wearing my design on the show the next day. So that was really exciting for me, and she looked amazing.
JP: When looking at some of the pieces you’ve designed such as the Chrysler or the Madison Ave dress, it’s easy to see that you draw inspiration from architecture as well. How is it that you draw inspiration so easily from your surroundings?
SS: I feel like that’s something that has always come really naturally for me. I love going through old pictures of places I’ve been to or even certain style icons like Jackie O. I always have pictures of her on my inspiration boards. Even my great-grandmother who was this great fashionista… I now have a lot of her clothing and costume jewelry from the 50‘s and 60‘s which also inspires me to create a combo of vintage while exploring something new with my shapes and designs.
JP: I really love the geometric designs you use.
SS: Thanks! For this collection I drew inspiration from certain places like the Brooklyn Bridge with it’s cables. I wanted something to reflect that and luckily I found this wonderful fabric (she shows shows me her Bryant Park and Madison Ave dresses) which was originally meant for upholstery but I felt it really captured the look I was going for in representing the city.
JP: Who in the fashion business do you currently look up to?
SS: I think Tory Burch is a dead giveaway. Not only is she a branding genius- you recognize her logo and line immediately, she’s managed to create something really classic that reaches out to a wide audience which is what I hope to do eventually. I feel that its important to make yourself accessible to different types of women- a mother and daughter could both definitely wear items from my line.
JP: When did you know that you wanted to do this as a career?
SS: Not to sound cliche, but when I was a little girl I had this journal that I created a clothing line in and in 6th grade I made all the costumes for my talent show group. It is really something that I have always wanted to do. I was also the tacky little hat girl! I had about 20 little hats that I would alternate wearing every day to school.
JP: What did your classmates think of this?
SS: Well I guess they were accepting! My mom would even just let me dress myself and explore my creativity through my clothing selections. I must say that really helped, being able to express my creativity in that way.
JP: Thank God for mom!
SS: Really! She embraced creativity from the start. From tacky hats to helping me pick out fabrics for my collections, she’s really been supportive the whole way (Smith giggles), she even helped me paint this studio.
Miss Sinrod is currently working on details for her Spring 2012 collection. Inspired by the Amalfi Coast, look for hints of style icon Jackie O in this future collection. You can check out Smith and her collections by visiting bysmithcollection.com.
Today, while random chunks of the population were preparing to disappear off the face of the earth, a lot more of us decided to get out and enjoy ourselves. What would make a better Rapture celebration than a beer and burger outing? Exactly… So I went this afternoon with my roommates to one of my favorite Upper West Side Restaurants. Since Chef Andy D’amico opened Nice Matin in 2003 (you can read about it below), the restaurant’s most popular dish was- you got it, the 5 Napkin Burger. Given the dish’s obvious successs, Chef Andy and Simon Oren gave the burger it’s own chance, spawning into five different locations in New York, Boston and Miami. Stop by the 9th Ave. and 45th street location, or the one at 84th and Broadway if you live in Manhattan. My favorite dish? You got it, The Five Napkin Burger. At 14.95, this decadent classic features 10oz. of custom ground beef, caramelized onions, gruyere cheese and rosemary aioli on a soft white roll. Pair the burger with your favorite beer for the perfect Saturday evening treat.
- Oh Rapture! Oh Holy 5 Napkin Burger! (jacoboheme.wordpress.com)
- Best Burger in NYC? (jstoddardfinalblog.wordpress.com)
- Rapture Fizzles After Sponsor Viagra Pulls Out (prbreakfastclub.com)
- Make This: Moist and Healthy Herb Chicken-Tofu Burgers (fitsugar.com)
- The Rapture Defy End of World, Return to DFA With New Album This Fall (spinner.com)
Last Thursday brought us the Season 4 premiere of The Real Housewives of New York and, well… what can I say, Alex McCord is still every bit as annoying as she was before.
The horse-jawed Brooklyn housewife is now pursuing a modeling career which, let’s be honest, never would have come about had she not been of Real Housewives fame. Her latest venture has given her and her husband Simon yet another thing to brag about, again without merit.
Almost as annoying was at the start of the episode, Jill and Alex all faced each other at the same event. Now, many of you are aware with Jill and Alex’s history, so I’ll spare the details, but it seems that Alex feels public events hosted by “friends” are the correct place to air out her dirty laundry, and God forbid if you don’t feel the same way. She was so upset that Jill Zarin didn’t entertain her in sorting out their differences at the event and followed Jill around resembling Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. In my humble opinion, if you have issues with someone you would like to resolve so that you, the wannabe high society snob can comfortably enjoy your next free glass of Perrier Jouet (I know, your dinner ticket/ charity donation probably cost you a pretty penny), call that person up in your own time and resolve your problems in private. No one feels sorry for you that you waited to be surrounded by dozens of other people to state your tired cause.
OK- So the title has absolutely nothing to do with this post. Why!? To get your attention! I haven’t written a real post in quite some time, and now that I have this handy dandy new Macbook, I intend to use it. So here we go.
I posted a short blurb yesterday that pretty much summed up my summer. What happened exactly? Quite a bit actually, and also… A LOT of nothing!
I died my hair platinum blonde two days before my 23rd birthday this past June, kept it a month and shaved my head a couple of weeks before school started so no one was the wiser. Unless of course you happen to be one of the 1,063 “friends” of mine on Facebook who can actually view the 5-10 pictures taken of me during this time. In that case you probably already approached me (that is if we are on speaking terms) about whether or not it was a wig. It wasn’t, it hurt like hell, and while I enjoyed a record 13 dates, and 5 salmon dinners I was taken on during my month of solving the age old question “do blondes have more fun?” I’ve definitely had my share.
A couple of weeks before my hairventure, I was in what I like to refer to as a guerilla theatre production of “Into The Woods” as Rapunzel’s Prince. Now you may be wondering “Guerilla theatre…What could that possibly be?” Well let’s just say we didn’t have the rights to the production, but still had the guts to open for a weekend at Shetler Studios… right next door to Sondheim on Sondheim (on Broadway). For reasons I don’t necessarily want to discuss, our production was mentioned in the New York Post as an off-off Broadway production- go figure. The production was headed by my good friend Matt Anchel; an amazing bass baritone who is now spending the next two years as a member of the prestigious Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program at the Los Angeles Opera. Matt has been known to show off his skillful falsetto from time to time not just on the karaoke stage or while entertaining his guests at the piano, but in actual productions such as Sweeney Todd where he played Mrs. Lovett. In our production of Into the Woods, he played a uniquely powerful yet fantastic Witch. We opened a week after school let out to sold out performances (of 40+ people
While the production marked the end of another school year and the beginning of my first New York summer. It also allowed me to spend more time with some of my closest friends, and make some new ones. I was more than thrilled to share the stage with Molly Spooner who played an effervescent Little Red, and stole nearly every scene she was in. Likewise, I became a huge fan of Whitney Hughes and her incredible comedic timing as Jack’s mother… not to mention her AMAZING homemade chicken soup.
Into the Woods may be nearly every fairy tale we grew up loving, but it deals with some very heavy subject matter, including loss. About a month and a half ago, we almost lost one of our beloved cast members. I won’t say who or how, just that luckily, this person is still with us, and if there is one lesson that I learned from being in this show, it is that NO ONE IS ALONE. I’m so lucky to have those beautiful people I mentioned above in my life, because they remind me every day of the fact that when the going gets tough, we will always have each other, and no problem or secret is too big to share. So I leave you with 2 videos, one from our production, and another by Bernadette Peters. Love to you all.
- Bernadette Peters here ‘to go on a wonderful song adventure’ (pbpulse.com)
- Why Broadway Hates Stephen Sondheim (time.com)
I first met my friend Katya directly after a sex education assembly at the Manhattan School of Music in which she had to role play a sex scene on stage with another student. I had until this point thought Katya was from a foreign country like the Czech Republic.
The interesting thing about the sex education for us was the enthusiasm given over sex. In my welcome packet for the school, I found a Time Out New York college edition which explained “you’re only young once; have as much sex as possible before your fab turns to flab and try different things with your partners, such as dildos, feathers, feathery dildos and the occasion blow-up doll”. To this day I have yet to try a feathery anything. In the same assembly, it was explained that we all had declining meal cards and learned that due to the extremely inflated prices at our cafeteria, we would run out of meal points very quickly. When we addressed this issue with the meal provider, we were simply told “if you can’t afford the food, then why are you going to school in Manhattan?”
About three weeks later, Katya and I were invited to a party thrown by our friend Amanda at her boyfriend’s apartment. By apartment, we didn’t realize that she meant extravagant high-rise penthouse. The elevator opened up directly into a penthouse foyer and when we arrived, we were immediately greeted by what seemed to be a short Christmas elf in Armani Exchange.
“Hey I’m Sean, you’re cute, let’s fuck.” said the overly processed man who barely reached Katya’s nipples.
“Umm… hello, nice to meet you too.” replied Katya with a stern look of confusion.“But seriously you’re cute, what’s your name?” asked Sean
“Catch-uh?” asked Sean
“Oh cool, well nice to meet you” he replied.
“Yeah, likewise” said Katya with a concentrated look of impatience.
As the evening went on, Amanda poured us mixed drinks and we discussed various school events and played Guitar Hero. Eventually, Sean decided to try his luck again with Katya.
“Hey Tatiana, do you want another drink” asked Sean
To which I replied “Her name is Katya, asshole!”
“Yo dipshit, I wasn’t asking you.” said Sean looking rather peeved.
Already that evening, Sean had taken his penis out to show another party guest a mysterious “birth mark,” and left the bathroom door open for all to observe while he peed.
“Oh don’t pay any attention to him” said Amanda’s boyfriend Brad “He’s just an annoying fuck face.”
“Oh is that his name?” I asked, I then turned to Sean and said “Well hello Fuck Face, it is truly a pleasure to meet you; unfortunately, due to your continued lack of courtesy, you have been labeled ‘douchebag’ and there for blacklisted from our yes list… so please leave us alone.”
Sean then complained to various party guests that “How dare that fag come and make a fool out of me.”
He then left and I was treated as the hero of the evening.“Seriously” said Brad “We’ve been trying to put him in his place for over 2 years, and you’re the first person who ever did successfully.”
Personally, I didn’t realize it would become such a big deal; especially since I had encountered much worse growing up. I found out later that evening Sean was an actor on Guiding Light and usually gets his way with everything. I also learned that he felt inadequate being constantly surrounded by Brad’s marketing and finance colleagues, as well as Amanda’s classical musician friends. Not a surprise when the most riveting thing you have to discuss in an evening is a strange mark on your penis.
We later relocated down the street to Jake’s Saloon where we all had a drink and said goodbye to Amanda and Brad. They were “tired” from a long day and went back to the penthouse by themselves, leaving us with several NYU marketing and finance students.
We stood at Jake’s Saloon trying to figure out what else we were going to do. After all… it was only 12:30.
“Let’s go Meatpacking!” said one of the partygoers in a thick Punjabi accent.
He was referring to New York City’s Meatpacking District, or as it was formerly known, the Gansevoort Market. In 1900, the Meatpacking District was home to over 250 slaughter houses and meatpacking plants, and by 1980 was home to a slew of shady gay bars where illicit sex acts were all too common. Currently, however, the area is undergoing a major renaissance. The district is now home to many upscale apartments, bars, boutiques and hotels. Katya and I were only too eager to experience the up and coming area for ourselves.
“Where are going?” asked Katya.
“We go Brass Monkey! Woohoo!” replied the Punjabi academic “I pay cab fee!”
We couldn’t beat that; the Meatpacking District was definitely out of our way, but we were excited to explore more areas of Manhattan. When we arrived at Brass Monkey, we found ourselves overcrowded and embarrassed. Our new hosts weren’t exactly as cool as Amanda and Brad, and by that I mean they wouldn’t shut up… literally.
“Wahoo! We at Brass Monkey! We so cool! Yay Meatpacking! So fun!” yelled our host.
He continued this behavior all evening. We were also accompanied by two other less exuberant men, but one was hitting on a girl outside, and his friend was complaining to someone on the phone that the Casanova was engaged and needed to stop his behavior.
When the Punjabi took a restroom break, we went upstairs to find ourselves even less entertained and tried to dance until we heard it again… “Yay Brass Monkey!”
Katya and I looked at each other, and as if by ESP, we came up with an excuse and a plan.
“Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t realize how late it was, we have an audition in the morning, and since I already sound like a man, I have got to get some sleep.” said Katya.
People almost always seem to understand when you have to “pace for la voce” (peace out for the voice). The ecstatic bar hopper gave us hugs and walked us out the door.
“I still want to dance” said Katya “we have not successfully danced tonight and we cannot stop until we do!”
I agreed with her as we left the industrial drab of Brass Monkey and meandered our way towards the more upscale and modern Ninth Avenue. We both noticed a line coming out of a posh looking building with a sign that read “Gansevoort”.
The Hotel Gansevoort is sort of the Botox that gave way to the drastic and much needed facelift of the Meatpacking District. At the time, neither of us had any idea that the hotel was so popular (as seen on The Real Housewives of NYC) we just wanted to dance. So we stood at the very end of a very long line.
“Oh, I need to tell you something” said Katya. I looked over to her with an inquisitive look and she continued “don’t let me drink anymore tonight, I had way too much of that 99 Bananas at Brad’s, and the last two bars did not help me any.”
“OK, so don’t drink” I said.
“I won’t, but I do owe you a cocktail for paying my cab fee to the apartment… so what do you want if we get in?”
“Just a Cosmo” I replied. Just then, the bouncer announced that the rooftop bar Plunge was only taking couples. The crowd sighed heavily and parted like the Red Sea all the way down to where Katya and I stood. Before we made our way down the line, she looked seriously at me and said “act straight” to which I replied “act sober”. She did, and strutted down the cat walk of people on my arm looking like a Russian supermodel wearing a pair of deadly stilettos.
The interior of Plunge wasn’t enclosed; it was more like a really lavish veranda with a DJ, and opened up to a magnificent balcony giving stellar views of the Hudson River. We witnessed many of Manhattan’s elite trying to court one another with unnecessarily loud conversations concerning vacations and business trips to Europe, while pouring themselves their own drinks from a selection of juices and spirits ordered by bottle service. When Katya returned from the bar with my Cosmo, she had a tall glass in her other hand.
“What’s that?” I asked pointing to her beverage.
“Long Island Iced Tea” replied Katya “there was a minimum charge and I figured I’d get more bank for my buck if I got this!”
“But you told me not to let you drink” I said with an enthused yet worried look on my face.
“I’ll be fine” she said “I’ve never actually hit my limit… I’ll be fine!”
We were finally able to dance at the Gansevoort, though there was no real designated dance space; everyone else was doing it too. When Katya wasn’t looking, I placed her half empty glass on a table that had about forty other drinks on it. When she asked me “What happened to my drink?” I told her “I have no idea what you did with it!”
When Katya went for a potty break, I sat outside with two French men I had encountered earlier. Luckily, they were opera fans, and we had a ton to talk about. They were even more thrilled when Katya joined us because I had already explained that she was a contralto, and though the two men frequently went to the opera, they had never heard a contralto live, nor had they met one. Unfortunately, our conversation was cut short when the bar began to close. A massive amount of people headed for the exit and Katya and I stood in line to leave. I thought we would never get out, but luckily we were shoved into a very crowded elevator at the last minute. We stood closely together, on the outside corner and I positioned myself facing inward.
“Those men were really nice, weren’t they?” Katya nodded with a stern look of concern on her face.
” Are you ok?” I asked.
Katya pursed her lips together tightly and gave me a very concentrated nod.
“Are you going to be sick?”
She looked even more intense when I asked this question. In fact, it was very similar to how I’d imagine a priest to look when performing an exorcism.
“If you’re going to vomit” I said “turn towards the wall.”
Katya looked at me and nodded. She then turned away from the wall and towards the man next to her; she vomited all over him. The noisy elevator suddenly became very quiet, and instead of reacting with a look of disgust, the man simply said “not again!” and tried to move closer to the door. This is when the three women beside him realized that they too had the Katya special all over their Dolce and Gabbana boots as well. The elevator stopped at the 8th floor, and everyone got off to join an exclusive party without us.
“I am so embarrassed” said Katya as she stumbled out into the main lobby knocking down a velvet rope stanchion.
“Its ok sweetie” I said trying to hold her up “Just be lucky that no one from school is here… you’ll be fine”
Just as I said this, I recognized a big group of second year graduate students from the voice program at MSM chatting a few yards in front of us.“Fuck!” said Katya trying to conceal herself as we walked around towards the back of hotel. “There’s Devon Estes and his little posse! This is so fucking embarrassing. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. Oh my God, I’m sorry” she repeated.
“Its fine… you’ll be fine, we just need to wait a while and get you some carbs before we try heading back, ok?” I tried to reassure her as she began stripping her vomit drenched top off to reveal a sleek black slip and a hint of a lacy black bra.
“I must look like shit” cried Katya trying to detect if she had anything on her face that wasn’t there when we had arrived.
“You look fine” I said. In reality, she looked better than fine. At this moment, Katya reminded me of one of those Heroine chic models from the early 90’s fashion magazines, but healthy.
When we finally got a cab, I warned Katya that she needed to roll her window down.
“I’ll be fine, I promise” she said.
“Oh hell no! You are not vomiting on me too” I snapped.
As we rode home, the cool breeze came in gently through the window as other taxis passed us. They were filled with passengers pointing and laughing at Katya, as she vomited what seemed like liters of alcohol all over the pavement of the West End Highway.