Finally up: a photo album of my trip!
Chris Ofili: Afro Muses 1990-2005 at the Studio Museum in Harlem (Related: Nichelle enjoyed mingling with the smart and stylish crowd at the show's opening, and Gothamist.com's recent interview with Thelma Golden made me even more awed by her visionary curatorial and cultural sensibilities).
Portraits of an Age: Photography in Germany and Austria, 1900-1938 at the Neue Galerie; Just a few blocks away, and home to my hangout, Cafe Sabarsky. I've been seeing signs on lampposts around town for this show, featuring a hauntingly beautiful photograph of a woman in a kimono-type ensemble that often lingers in my mind.
Basquiat at the Brooklyn Museum: Quite possibly worth a trek out there.
There are many things that encounters with often make me feel less intelligent: Star magazine, Diet Coke, shopping malls, and yes, darling, Los Angeles, can frequently be counted among them. But then again, New York ends up somewhere on that list half the time, especially when I'm getting my nails done (oops, another one). But not tonight.
I attended the benefit party for The Civilians, a brilliant and creative, politically-conscious theater company. There was at least one snappy number about Kant, and another satirical, and oddly cohesive, stab at recent current affairs involving birds of various sorts. I also enjoyed several very funny vignettes featuring company members, including a lively number performed in front of screened clips of their bit parts in Law and Order and a Wendy's commercial.
All Wear Bowlers and the Wau Wau Sisters were so, so stellar and -- without disparaging the other marvelous entertainment, I must admit -- my two favorite acts of the evening, which was a program of covers of songs written by composer Michael Friedman. Oh yes, and before I forget, I must go see Maude Maggart, who opened the show, perform her regular gig at the Oak Room at the Algonquin.
The music played by the DJ prior to the performance-oriented part of the evening was quite loud and sort of prevented me from chatting with people who were more than one or two inches away. I did get to say hello to Barry and James, two art collectors and bloggers whose work I very much enjoy and admire.
Bryan made an elegant companion in his dark suit and pink shirt with french cuffs and the new Paul Smith cufflinks he got at Fred Segal last time we were in Santa Monica. Ever myself, I planned all-manner of elegant ensembles only to scrap them all at the last minute for a brown low-cut dress over a black slip, paired with yellow chinoiserie sandals and and a stunning, recently acquired mother-of-pearl necklace from Hawaii. We also discussed meaningfully my recent revelation that I can only get my hair cut in Antwerp, where the mythical allure and importance of "the pony" is understood. He suggested we go for Thanksgiving then. This, dear readers, is why he is still my boyfriend after three years.
I also stopped by Daisy May's on the way for some sweet tea with fresh mint, looking as cool as one can taking half-hidden gulps from a Mason jar tucked inside my purse throughout the evening. Trashy perhaps, but not as gross as smoking cigarettes, which I haven't done in quite a while. Since Monday.
All in all, an exquisite night in support of a terrific artistic endeavor.
My younger sister, who is a college student, is exactly like I would be if I were far less jaded and much more pure of heart (not to mention blond, blue-eyed, liberally freckled across the bridge of my nose and very, very thin). She's an extraordinarily special person whose gift for compassion and devotion to community service amazes and inspires me every time I speak with her. Lately, GlamourGals has often come up in our conversations.
As she tells it:
I got involved in GlamourGals because the young woman who started it is a fellow Cornell student, and she came to speak to my sorority when she was graduating and wanted to expand the foundation by encouraging on-campus organizations to get involved with the program through their philanthropy efforts.
I enjoy it because I get to hear funny stories from the fabulous old ladies that we go to do makeovers for at a local nursing home every two weeks. I like it because it's a great way to become more involved with my community, and it's so wonderful to see how happy they are afterwards. We start with facials, and then apply make-up and do manicures and hand massages. They always say they feel like new people and they can't wait to show off to their friends and fellow residents. I can't wait to go back.
I think it's a great program because glamour is timeless, and GlamourGals helps to build a bridge between generations. Lots of ladies are already waiting downstairs for us when we get there every time. When we say, "How did you know we were coming?" They say, "It's Sunday!" and laugh and smile.
Yesterday, I received a small package from her that included chocolate she brought back from Cancun, a torn-out page from a law forum program with pink highlighter notations and hearts drawn around the bio of an apparently quite sexy and brilliant international relations professor, and a tube of the best lipgloss I've ever encountered, perfect for tonight's benefit party for The Civilians.
I called to thank her for the chocolate, gloss and thoughtful if unlikely romantic lead -- essentially the perfect pick-me-up any way you look at it, and she told me that a chic cosmetics firm had pledged to donate half of the proceeds from each sale of the lipgloss this spring to the GlamourGals Foundation. My sweet sister, who works as many hours at her part-time job as she can while balancing a rigorous academic schedule and a full social calendar, had paid money out of her own admittedly slim pockets to support what she believes is a very worthy cause.
She thought that the fundraiser was over, but while we were chatting on the telephone I checked out Maven Cosmetics and discovered that the special offer actually continues until May 31st. Each purchase for yourself or a glamourous friend of the delectable gloss that is my newfound addiction will send an astonishingly generous 50% of the proceeds directly to GlamourGals:
GlamourGals Foundation, Inc is a 501(c)(3) organization that seeks to bridge the generational gap between young adults and their elders through the joy of a shared experience - the application of makeup. Through GlamourGals facials and makeovers, young adults and older women are able to open their hearts and minds to share stories and life experiences with one another. Find out more at GlamourGals.org.
The gloss is mint-ily fetching and quite alluring, and the program's equally charming in its aims and achievements -- and both are v. glamourous, natch!
Goodbye from Cupcake:
We're sad to inform you that April was the final edition of Cupcake. In the nearly two years that the series existed, we were proud to have presented readings by some of New York's best women writers. The time has now come for each of us to move on to pursue other endeavors.
We thank you for having made Cupcake one of the many reasons that people look to downtown New York for cutting-edge arts and culture, and hope that you will continue to support talented women writers wherever you may find them.
Lauren Ashley Cerand's Aliases
|Your movie star name: Cashews Jackson|
|Your fashion designer name is Lauren Prague|
|Your socialite name is Lor-Lor Antwerp|
|Your fly girl / guy name is L Cer|
|Your detective name is French Bulldog Emerson|
|Your barfly name is Apple White Russian|
|Your soap opera name is Ashley Falls|
|Your rock star name is Raisinet Roadrunner|
|Your star wars name is Lauchl Cera s|
|Your punk rock band name is The Pensive Umbrella|
After meeting with a prospective client in midtown today, I met a friend who lives in the neighborhood for an impromptu BBQ lunch at Daisy May's. The sweet tea there is delicious. I always had a fresh jar of it in my bag last summer.
On the way back home, I stopped at the Salvation Army on 46th between 10th and 11th. Usually, I keep my favorite spots to myself (e.g. I've only ever taken one friend with me to the "Church of the Holy Thrift" where I picked up my tweed-lined Burberry trench coat, and mum's-still-the-word on the designer-decked charity shop that's only open a few hours once a week). However, since I no longer live in Hell's Kitchen, I don't get to the Salvay, as my friend Rafferty memorably called it, much anymore. Also, I've had great vintage karma lately -- I picked up a midnight blue and black velvet YSL dress from the 1970s for $15 last weekend in Maryland -- and so I'm happy to share a little.
So, here's the scoop: Ungaro, Escada, Louis Feraud and other vintage castoffs of fabulous ladies of leisure are in full effect at the Salvay HK. Today I got a long sweater coat that's the perfect shade of reedy tan with bamboo buttons, made for the long-departed department store B. Altman's private label back in the day, for less than ten dollars. Definitely worth a trip for the serious rag-picker, natch.
What's your secret to la dolce vita? I'd love to read it in the comments section!
My affection for bohemian tales is well-documented, so it's not really a surprise that I enjoyed Rene Steinke's new novel, Holy Skirts, which is a fictional exploration of the life of the very real Baroness Elsa Von Freytag-Loringhoven. What is surprising though, is how much I loved it (and Elsa's take-no-prisoners attitude). I haven't been able to stop thinking about the exquisite story, which packs quite a lot in even as each scene unfolds in an elegantly spare way on the page. It's very, very good and my pick for the moment.