Month: January, 2007

Poor Little It Girl

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007 | All Things, Eats, Film, Friends

Dinner and a movie in TriBeCa 10013, which this past spring, Forbes magazine named as the most expensive zip code in Manhattan — the twelfth most expensive in the nation — far eclipsing the Upper East Side’s 10021, which for generations was home to old money New York. As recently as 1990, before the dot-com and telecom booms, George and Weezy’s nabe was the wealthiest zip code in the country; by 2006, the national rank had dropped to number 255.

Tribeca Statue

Bubby’s opened in TriBeCa in 1990 as a pie company. The menu has since expanded to cover casual homestyle breakfasts, lunches and dinners; on weekends, Bubby’s serves brunch to crowds of trendy families (and the occasional celebrity.) Even at this after-work dinner hour, M and I felt out of place without a stroller in tow.


We forewent the famous pie to make our way to the Tribeca Grand for tonight’s preview screening of Factory Girl.

Tribeca Grand

The film chronicles the rise and fall of heiress, fashion icon and Andy Warhol muse Edie Sedgwick (Sienna Miller). The story of Sedgwick’s tragic life — she died in 1971 of a painkiller overdose at the age of 28, a year after leaving rehab — has taken on the proportions of a cult myth, as do most true tales of brief, intense lives. This most recent rendering of Sedgwick’s story does better as a slice of pop-culture history than as a biopic; probably the best that can be said about the film is that the costumes are fabulous and Miller is very pretty.

Screenwriter Captain Mauzner (a.k.a. Josh Klausner — I wonder how he got his friends to start addressing him as “Cap’n”?) was at the event to discuss making the movie. Mauzner’s first movie, a ten-minute short titled Atomic Tabasco, received an honorable mention at Sundance in 1999; in 2003, he was an associate producer and screenwriter for Wonderland, about porn star John Holmes’ involvement in the 1981 Laurel Canyon murders. Mauzner offered some insights into the journey from concept to finished film. Factory Girl was a three year process, which involved extensive revisions — over a dozen by Mauzner’s count. It was interesting to hear how casting considerations shaped the screenplay; the role of Warhol (an unnerving Guy Pearce) had to be expanded significantly so it would appeal to a higher profile actor, since Miller alone was not considered a big enough box office draw. Mauzner did not mention — nor did anyone dare ask — about the other rewrites prompted by rumored threats of litigation.

Factory Girl

During the Q&A, one audience member used the word “biopic” to describe the film… except that she pronounced it “bi-AH-pik” (rhyming with myopic) instead of what I thought was the standard “BI-oh-pik.” I’ve actually now heard the former pronunciation from several different sources (including television), so when I got home that night, I did some research to find out whether that was an alternate, but correct, pronunciation of the word. It isn’t.

Franklin Street Station

There are 2 comments

Cav & Pag at the Met

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007 | All Things, Arts, Friends

A newly LASIK-ed SK joined us at the Pound & Pence after work to toast KG’s recent success. I slipped out after the first congratulatory round to make the early curtain at the Met. Tonight: the double-bill of Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana (Rustic Chivalry) and Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci (Clowns), a combo commonly referred to as “Cav and Pag.”

This tragic pair of Italian one-acts are more often than not grouped together in performance, due to their similarities in time-frame, style and themes (infidelity, betrayal, bloody retribution.) The premiere of Cavalleria  in Milan in 1890 was a formidable debut for the 26 year old Mascagni — a staggering success he was unable to replicate for the rest of his career (though Mascagni did go on to compose 15 operas, an operetta, and several orchestral, piano and vocal works.) Fascinated and inspired by the success of his contemporary’s short, realistic opera, Leoncavallo set out to compose his own. Pagliacci  triumphantly premiered two years later in 1892, launching Leoncavallo into instant celebrity. And as in Mascagni’s case, the opera was to serve as the high point of his career; today it is the only work by Leoncavallo in the standard operatic repertory.

Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci  are quintessentially of the Italian verismo  or naturalist style: dramatic, poignant, lyrical and swirling with emotion. Together they made a powerful combination of tragic opera.

As on the night of The New York Times  review, tenor Salvatore Licitra, who had been scheduled to sing Canio in Pagliacci, while Frank Porretta sang Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana, ended up covering the roles in both operas after Porretta was unable to appear due to illness — a feat The Times  likened to pitching 18 innings in one night. The audience at this performance was similarly impressed, brought to their feet by the opera double-header’s end.

Lincoln Center Fountain

Met Chandelier

Cav and Pag have remained firmly ensconced in the public imagination for over a century, in no small part due to two of the most recognizable musical themes in opera. Tenor Enrico Caruso‘s 1902 recording of Leoncallo’s “Vesti la giubba” was the world’s first gramophone record to sell a million copies (though it wasn’t until 1942 that the first record was formally certified as a million seller: Glen Miller‘s “Chattanooga Choo Choo.”) The aria was also included in The Untouchables  film, and a Seinfeld  episode, featuring one Crazy Joe Divola.

Mascagni’s “Intermezzo” is familiar to even non-opera buffs who will recognize the lush, lyrical instrumental theme from both Raging Bull and The Godfather: Part III  films and an endless stream of pasta commercials — ranking high in red sauce recognition along with such ad classics as Verdi’s “La donna è mobile.”

There are 3 comments

Design in Grand Central

Monday, January 29th, 2007 | All Things, Events

The New York Transit Museum operates a gallery annex and store at Grand Central Terminal, just off the Main Concourse, in the Shuttle Passage next to the Station Master’s Office. Tonight, I was there for the opening reception of the new exhibit, Re:Design — New Visions for the Transit Museum Store at Grand Central.  On display through February 19 are eleven proposals to revitalize the Transit Museum’s store developed by graduate students in the Exhibition Design department of the Fashion Institute of Technology. The exhibit features the students’ visions, including new floor plans, models, revamped fixtures, storage concepts, displays, redesigned sales associate uniforms and new graphics identities. The proposals all had to work within the current footprint of the store, with a limited budget, and with little, or minimal alteration to the existing store’s ceiling and floor plans. The winning proposal, or selected aspects of various proposals, will be used by the Museum to refurbish the store.

New York Transit Museum

Transit Museum ReDesign

The store, which remained open for the reception, is chock full of items emblazoned with MTA logos, for proudly displaying your subway line or station pride. Also for sale are memorabilia and collectibles, such as old tokens, vintage enamel signs, and even parts of decommissioned trains, like the hinged, teardrop-shaped grab holds from the recently retired “Redbird” subway car fleet; the cars themselves are now serving as artificial ocean reefs in Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, Delaware and New Jersey.

I vividly remember how excited I was the first time I was able to curl my fingers around those cold steel grab holds, toes barely touching the detritus-strewn floor, gazing out on the Midtown skyline through the grimy windows of the 7 Local. I’m almost tempted to buy a couple for myself — $20.00 apiece seems a small price to pay for a tangible piece of my childhood… though what ever would I do with them?

Transit Museum Mugs

Elsewhere in the station, Bravo’s latest reality show Top Design had taken over, installing several interior vignettes on Grand Central’s Shuttle platform — designed by and featuring lead judge Jonathan Adler‘s line of products.

I’ll probably watch, assuming that Frank Bruni won’t be covering this series, ruining the finale for me, as he did with Top Chef, less than ten hours after the show aired. Gah!

Top Design in Grand Central

Top Design Stairs

There are no comments just yet