Last week Josh K.’s first-and-only girlfriend, Brooke, flew to New York from Minneapolis for a whirlwind four-day visit.
On Thursday night the three of us had dinner in Hell’s Kitchen and then took a night tour of Times Square. On Friday Brooke went on a shopping extravaganza while the Joshes worked. That night we met up in Union Square for dinner at Coffee Shop (yum!) before walking to Viniero’s in the East Village for inappropriately good dessert and warm liquor-infused winter drink concoctions. Afterward we went to the theater in Union Square to catch one of the sold-out showings of Juno.
Juno is the story of a high schooler (the brilliant Ellen Page) who gets pregnant by her best friend (Michael Cera, Superbad) and plans to give her baby to a yuppy suburban couple (Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman), and is what Josh and I call an instant classic. It’s funny, quirky, and moving in a subtle way. Ellen Page’s performance is a can’t-miss event. Get thee to a theater this weekend to check it out.
On Saturday we headed down to the West Village for brunch on Bleecker Street and, by popular demand, did the obligatory pilgrimage to 66 Perry Street, Carrie Bradshaw’s stoop. We did a little shopping and gobbled the required Magnolia cupcake in the oft celebrity-laden park across from the dessert hotspot.
Later that night we went to see the new Broadway play August: Osage County. The show, set in one big, elaborate house set, follows the twists and turns of a very dysfunctional family (don’t they all?), and delivers quite a few surprises and great performances, especially in the second and third acts, one of which involves a dinner scene that outdoes anything you’ve seen on Springer (with words flying like daggers instead of the chicken wings and potatoes that usually soar through the air on Springer).
The New York Times called the play "flat-out, no asterisks and without qualifications, the most exciting new American play Broadway has seen in years."
Most people who visit New York want a good celebrity sighting, and that night we had three. First, while in line for the show, CSI’s Marg Helgenberger (Catherine Willows) stood in front of us and chatted with us. She looked great and was very low-key. Second, Jeff Perry, who plays Meredith’s dad, Thatcher Grey, on Grey’s Anatomy, was in the cast of August: Osage County (and was very good). Then, when the show let out, we were right next door to Cyrano de Bergerac, where Jennifer Garner was standing a few feet away from us signing Playbills and looking as dimply and fresh-faced as ever.
On Sunday we had brunch in Hell’s Kitchen and then braved the massive crowds on Fifth Avenue and did Bergdorf Goodman, Bendel’s, and the Rockefeller Christmas display, before settling in across the street at Dean & Deluca (right next to The Today Show) for hot chocolate and more dessert (because you can never have too much dessert, right?).
Josh and I love playing tour guide. After being here for a couple years it really is fun to see New York through the eyes of somebody who is newly in love with this city.
While at a birthday party in Hell’s Kitchen, at Xth Avenue Lounge, Josh and I spotted season four Project Runway contestant Jack Mackenroth. Apparently you can’t throw a stone in this city these days without hitting a PR contestant.
Also, Project Runway spoiler (close your eyes, close your eyes!): Jack leaves the show in tonight’s PR episode. See the dramatic health story unfold tonight on Bravo.
Last night I saw the Off-Broadway show Things We Want at the Acorn Theater. A friend recommended it, and I saw a good(ish) review in New York, so I bought tickets. Directed by Ethan Hawke (I should have known at that point), the play follows three brothers with a sad past trying to get through life in New York, and features a mysterious and troubled girl who lives in their building who changes the course of their lives.
Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine, L.I.E.) was pretty good, as was Josh Hamilton (Alive, Broken English), but the show made the mistake countless plays make: They think that lots of scenes with people getting really loud and angry makes for good theater. When they’re well crafted and deftly handled (see: August: Osage County) it can be fodder for good theatrical times, but when it’s just yelling for yelling’s sake it’s a disappointment.
I’m not upset I saw it, but I would say that Things We Want is something that, in the end, we don’t really want that much.
Something we do want, though, is Ingrid Michaelson and her fantastic album "Boys and Girls." A J&J reader tipped us off that we should give Ingrid a listen, and once we did we picked up the album and haven’t stopped listening to her since. Her music has been featured on Grey’s Anatomy, and I’d say the girl is on her way up. Also check out her songs "Overboard," "Breakable," and "Die Alone."
Below is a performance of her song “The Way I Am.”
P.S. Is anyone else loving the hilarious user comments on Amazon.com’s listing for milk? Priceless. (Thanks Eric!)