Category: Sports

Love (and the Giants) Conquer All

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008 | All Things, Arts, Sports

At the SoHo Playhouse this afternoon for Piaf: Love Conquers All, LVR Productions‘ one-woman show on the life of Édith Piaf, which began its Off-Broadway run on December 8. The show had been set to play downtown through late January, but due to popular demand, its run was extended by three weeks through February 10. Check out a commercial for show here.

SoHo Playhouse

Naomi Emmerson stars in the title role (as well as also being responsible for the set and costume design and stage direction) with Carmela Sinco accompanying on the piano. Emmerson grew up one of three daughters of a Quebecois Anglophone family — the only one to speak French fluently. She first performed Piaf: Love Conquers All at The Limelight Supper Club in Toronto in 1993, re-creating the role for the 2005 Toronto Fringe Festival. The show had its American debut at last summer’s FringeNYC festival, where it won an Overall Excellence Award for Outstanding Musical. Thirteen of Piaf’s songs were interspersed among the biographical anecdotes whose plot points were familiar to me from La Vie En Rose — the Piaf biopic, which earned French actress Marion Cotillard her Oscar nomination and Golden Globe win (not that anyone noticed.)

As a revue of Piaf’s songs, the show worked well; we were admonished at the outset to resist the urge to join in singing the more familiar tunes, a temptation avoided by most in the audience. Most. I was less moved by the show as a story framed around the singer’s loves and heartbreaks. Act I (“Marcel”), set in 1949 with flashbacks, closes with the plane crash death of middleweight championship boxer Marcel Cerdan, the man generally perceived to be the love of Piaf’s life. The second, shorter half fast-forwards to 1961 and features a visibly diminished Piaf – wracked by rheumatism and addiction. Her post-Cerdan lovers for the most part don’t even warrant names — the pair of cyclists, “the artist,” “the actor” — and though this act is titled “Theo,” after Piaf’s second husband Théo Sarapo, a Greek hairdresser-turned-singer and actor two decades her junior, the man seems less a great love than the singer’s last ditch hope for love at last. As in the film, the show closes on Piaf’s defiant declaration: “Non, Je ne Regrette Rien.”

It was such a beautiful day that I decided to walk uptown. At Father Demo Square:

Father Demo Square

Sixth Avenue

As dusk approached, the sidewalks began emptying of people as everyone gathered around the communal televisions for Super Bowl XLII. By now, we all know how that turned out, no? And after our underdog Giants quarterback hit receiver Plaxico Burress for the winning touchdown with 35 seconds left in the game, following that incredible, fortune-changing Hail Manning… well, for an otherwise “miserable city,” there was an outpouring of joy in the streets.

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No sushi on Sundays

Sunday, January 13th, 2008 | All Things, Eats, Sports

We had narrowed down our choices for sushi dinner tonight to a handful of places that were new to both of us. Ushi Wakamaru on Houston Street seemed promising, but after reading that the place was newly reopened after renovations that coincided with being closed down by the Department of Health in September, well… we reconsidered. (Though in retrospect, perhaps we should have reasoned: when is a restaurant more meticulously clean than after getting shuttered?)

Inase on the Upper East Side does not open on Sundays, nor does midtown’s Sushi Yasuda, which left us with Shimizu in Hell’s Kitchen. Except not quite, as we discovered upon our arrival on 51st Street: that restaurant is closed on Sundays as well.

Clearly, we were not meant to dine on sushi tonight. Down the block at the House of Brews we reassessed our options, and briefly caught part of what would be the Giants’ victory over the Dallas Cowboys, 21-17, that would send the team to the frozen tundra of Green Bay for next Sunday’s NFC title game. (Thanks, “Jessica”!)

We ended up at Uncle Nick’s Greek Cuisine a block away, on Ninth Avenue.

Uncle Nick’s

I’ve read gripes that “Astoria is better,” but all in all, Uncle Nick’s is a solid choice for simple Greek fare, a casual and more reasonably priced alternative to the other mid-to-upscale Greek restaurants in the neighborhood (Estiatorio Milos, Molyvos).

My favorite part of the meal — aside from the company, of course — was the “Four Combo Dip” platter: scoops of tzatziki (yogurt, cucumber and garlic dip), scordalia (potato and garlic dip), melitzanosalata (eggplant dip) and tarama (a fluffy, tangy fish roe dip), served with wedges of warm, grilled pita. I’d come back just for this.

4 Combo Dips

Cretan Keftedakia (fried Cretan spiced meatballs):

Cretan Keftedakia

Pastitsio (oven-baked macaroni, spiced chopped sirloin, and whipped potatoes, layered with Béchamel sauce) — like a Greek lasagna, or Shepherd’s pie.

Pastitsio

And one of tonight’s specials: the Shrimp Santorini (large, white shrimp, smothered with fresh tomatoes garlic and feta). After seeing the waiter bring out my dish, a man at the adjacent table ordered the same.

Shrimp Santorini

Back at home after dinner, we took advantage of my free month of HBO, catching the umpteenth cable broadcast of The Devil Wears Prada, a film which until that night I’d not seen in its entirety. Fabulous outfits, and all around great fun.

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New York Islanders @ New York Rangers

Monday, November 19th, 2007 | All Things, Sports

Back at Madison Square Garden tonight for the Rangers-Islanders match-up, courtesy of SC and PJ. After a surf and turf dinner at Nick & Stef’s — rather: surf for the men, turf for the women — we headed next door and made our way into the best seats I’ve ever had inside the area.

Rangers ticket

So what does a $184 ticket get you? A club seat four rows from the glass (watch out for flying pucks!), with a prime view of every pass, check, hook, scuffle and skirmish. And personal waiter service, apparently. Rolled into each of our cup holders was a printed menu from which we could order a variety of food and drink. CG found the opportunity to order Peanut M&Ms just too extravagant to pass up; we put in our requests (no cotton candy this time, alas), and minutes later had the bright yellow bag delivered to us where we sat, along with a box of popcorn, a couple of Amstels and a Johnny Walker Black (hey, why not?)

New York Rangers

Islanders Rangers

Faceoff

Singer-actress Hilary Duff was in attendance that night – though we didn’t see her — cheering on her boyfriend Islanders forward Mike Comrie. In between periods, I tried — unsuccessfully — to get a text message posted up on the JumboTron scoreboard. Apparently my proposed missive deviated too far from the usual “Go Rangers!” “Islanders rule!” and “Dear Sharon, I Love You Forever!! Will You Marry Me? Streety Bird,” which aroused some suspicion among my companions. Were the MSG censors hard at work this night? Or was it just that the 18,200 fans inside the arena generated too many messages for all to be displayed? We’ll never know.

The Rangers’ only goal, which came in the second period. (They lost: 2-1 )

Rangers goal

Check out the rest of the game photos on flickr, though unlike at the Knicks game a couple of weeks ago, there was a notable lack of cheerleading support on the ice. Sorry, boys, the Rangers City Skaters disbanded after former captain, Courtney Prince, brought a 2004 sexual harassment lawsuit against the club. Is it something in the air at the Garden?

And what would a hockey game be without a brawl? This pile-on ensued after Isles’ goalie Rick DiPietro punched Rangers bad boy Sean Avery in the head. Tsk, tsk.

Islanders Rangers fight

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