Visit to DC: Part II-Smithsonian and Newseum

The Natural History Museum got really crowded in the late afternoon, so we

then walked to the Air and Space Museum. I actually remember the museum from my 7th grade Government class trip, but Kevin wanted to check it out, so I saw it again. He especially liked the AirCraft: Jet as Art exhibit.

“”This collection of 33 photographic archival-pigment prints by photographer, graphic designer, and architect Jeffery Milstein reveal the power and elegance of aircraft in flight and transform aviation technology into fine art.””

On Sunday after brunch, Kevin and I went to the Newseum, and I'm SO happy we went. Normally, I never do this, but since we knew we had limited time before we had to get back on the road to Manhattan, we joined an hour long guided tour. It was actually a very wise decision because our guide was not only able to guide us throughout the Newseum to check out all of the different exhibits available that we might not have gotten to had we wandered about ourselves, the guide was also very knowledgeable about each exhibit within Newseum. Being in media myself, I found the Newseum especially interesting.

My favorite exhibit at Newseum is the Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery. The photographs are so moving and evoke so many different emotions, and it's amazing that a single still image can tell a story. There is also a film called””A Glimpse of Life: The Pulitzer Photographs”” that plays in the exhibit that is equally enjoyable. The film shows some of the Pulitzer Prize winning photographs with commentary from the photographers about those important moments. One of my favorite quotes in the film from John White: “”You look at Pulitzer Prize pictures and they're

not front page stories, they're stories about…people.””

We had such a blast in DC, and I'm looking forward to going back again. I definitely recommend checking out the Smithsonian and Newseum to anyone visiting DC.


Book Review: The Hunger Games Trilogy

I heard great things about Suzanne Collins'The Hunger

Games and I had noticed all three of the books on the best sellers list for a while, so I asked for the trilogy this past Christmas from my parents. When I finally got them, I flew through them because they are addicting and pull you into the story. You quickly start picking and rooting for your favorite characters. While I did thoroughly enjoy the books, they do remind me a lot of the Twilight series. First of all, they're the same reading level (like second grade)–they're quick, easy reads. Secondly, Twilight is a love story with action and drama entwined, and in The Hunger Games, the emphasis is more on action with anintertwinedlove story. In Twilight Bella must choose between Edward and Jacob, and in The Hunger Games, Katniss must choose between Peeta and Gale. There is even a hybrid wolf thing that appears in The Hunger Games, similar to the wolves in Twilight.

So while I appreciate that The Hunger Games isn't super mushy because there is enough action to keep me entertained, I still feel equally annoyed with Katniss as I did with Bella. They both have similar

personalities–they're kind of like loners, they are overall liked by people, but they are reserved and keep their distance, and you wouldn't consider them leaders although people tend to follow them.

Therefore, while I do really like The Hunger Games trilogy, I don't think I like it quite as much as others because it reminds me so much of Twilight. Additionally, I wasn't a big fan of the last book, Mockingjay. I thought certain parts were drawn out too long and then Collins wrapped up the series suddenly. I am curious to see how the movie is though. It's coming to theaters in a few weeks (March 23 to be exact), so I'm looking forward to seeing if the film even compares to the book. At least with the Twilight movies, I could hardly sit through them because I thought they were so bad in comparison with the books. The trailer for The Hunger Games does make me excited though, so we'll see. Either way, I do recommend The Hunger Games trilogy for all ages and both sexes. I think The Hunger Games success is partly due to appealing to both males and females. The majority of Twilight fans are female, but since The Hunger Games is centered around fighting to the death, the series can be “”cool”” for guys too. Read and shall the odds me ever in your favour.


Million Dollar Quartet

Last week I saw anoff-Broadway musical, Million Dollar Quartet. It’s about Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins who on December 4, 1956 for the first and only time play together in the same Sun Records recording studio (hence, “”the million dollar quartet””). The show was at New World Theater in NYC (though Million Dollar Quartet is showing in Chicago and touring the rest of the U.S). It was my first time at New World Theater and I really liked it because the theater seemed more intimate, and it didn’t matter where your seat was since it only allows for a relatively small audience anyway. It was also the perfect stage to hold the eight or so performers who shared the stage for the duration of the show. Because it was a small cast, each actor holds importance and contributes to the dynamic of the group which in turn also allows the audience to really take notice of their individual roles.

I also like that Million Dollar Quartet is only an hour and forty minutes long without an intermission. Sometimes I get a little antsy sitting in longer shows. In addition, there wasn’t a fancy stage or wardrobe changes–the entire show took place on a static stage. But what came from the stage was anything but static. The performers were really great musicians. Going into Million Dollar Quartet, I didn’t have high expectations–I didn’t really have any

expectations–so I was pleasantly surprised that the show was

so good. I thought Eric Stang who plays Jerry Lee Lewis was particularly talented. He could rock out playing the piano with his hands behind his back all while laying on the hood of the piano.

The live music played during Million Dollar Quartet is great and the impersonations are good. You didn’t have to grow up listening to Elvis, Johnny Cash, et al. to enjoy the show even though you are bound to have heard at least a

few of the hit songs played. In a short period of time the audience is brought up to speed on the careers of the rock ‘n’ roll legends.

I’m so glad I got the opportunity to see Million Dollar Quartet and I highly recommend it to everyone. I was really surprised I could be so entertained with a play based on the events that took place in a single night and that didn’t have set changes or elaborate costumes. I also liked how at the end of Million Dollar Quartet they show the original picture ofElvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins at the studio. It makes the whole show feel more authentic and special as if capturing an incredible moment in time. If you’re looking for a more affordable but equally as fun show, I recommend seeing Million Dollar Quartet off-Broadway. I brought along two friends with varying tastes, and they surprisingly both really liked the musical too, so I think it’s safe to say almost anyone will enjoy Million Dollar Quartet.


One Man, Two Guvnors

I recently saw One Man, Two Guvnors on Broadway. I heard that it was critically acclaimed in London, but I didn’t know much about the show going into it besides the fact that it is a comedy. And comedic it was. One Man, Two Guvnors is a hoot. I laughed throughout the entire show. I like how each character has very distinct personalities and the play allows for character development for the several main cast members. Francis Henshall, played by James Cordon, the protagonist of One Man, Two Guvnors is particularly funny. He makes the show really. He is such a loveable character and he plays the part brilliantly.

One Man, Two Guvnors is about Henshall who is broke and becomes employed by two “”guvnors.”” For those of us who aren‰غھt Brits, guvnor is British slang for governor, which is essentially a boss. Henshall tries balancing working for both without

either guvnor finding out while constantly being distracted by his indelible hunger. Meanwhile, there is another plot that plays out between the two guvnors and other casemates involving marriage, deceit, and other scheming. It’s all woven together masterfully.

Besides being hilarious, One Man, Two Guvnors is also entertaining in its incorporation of audience participation in the show (or are they actually paid actors pretending to be members of the audience? 😉 ). I won’t give too much away, but the play is full of fun surprises. What is also amusing in One Man, Two Guvnors is that a band comes out and sings between every act, and each member of the cast alternates doing their own little solo piece at that time.

I was entertained throughout the entire show. One Man, Two Guvnors is actually one show that I would definitely like to see again. Watching James Cordon play Henshallnever gets old. I think I’d enjoy seeing him perform in any show, though his part in One Man, Two Guvnors seems a perfect fit.

As all the promotional ads are saying online, hurry and get your tickets to One Man, Two Guvnors now before ticket prices sky rocket like they did for Book of Mormon.


Priscilla Queen of the Desert

On Easter Sunday I saw Priscilla Queen of the Desert. I saw two other shows within the same week (Million Dollar Quartet and One Man, Two Guvnors) and Priscilla was the show I was least excited to see. I ended up being pleasantly surprised though, and I really enjoyed the musical. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this hit musical (which was adapted from the namesake film), Priscilla Queen of the Desert is about three drag queens who take a road trip together in a big RV (Priscilla) across the desert to see Mitzi’s young son.

The music in Priscilla consists of a

dozen or so recognizable hit songs that are easy to sing along to (though don’t worry, I didn’t). Thewoman sitting next to me was so into the musical that she was bouncing along in her seat, clapping her hands, and hooting at the actors. It was great to see the audience enjoying it so much.

I dragged my boyfriend along to the show with me and I was nervous he was going to be bored and uncomfortable, but surprisingly,he enjoyed it as well. It’s hard not to like a show that is uplifting, full of well-known, hit songs, and has fun, outrageous costumes. Additionally,Mitzi, played by Will Swenson, Bernadette, played by Tony Sheldon, and Felicia, played by Nick Adams, have great chemistry on stage. Their playful banter is amusing, and I laughed quite a bit.

Priscilla Queen here is a good site of the Desert is a very flamboyant musical that is lighthearted and fun. Although I wouldn’t say it’s my favoritemusical of all time, it is worth seeing.


Venus in Fur

Venus in Fur is…HOT! I had seen previews of the show on TV and I heard that it received great reviews, but it’s not until you see it live that youknow just howgood it is.

When the show first started I

was a little nervous because Vanda, played by Nina Arianda, is really annoying. Her voice is high pitched and whiny, and she’s a ditz, but once she starts the audition for a part in Thomas’ play (played by Hugh Dancy), Venus in Fur only gets better and better. The play

description says it best, “”Vanda’s emotionally charged audition for the gifted but demanding playwright/director becomes an electrifying game of cat and mouse that blurs the lines between fantasy and reality, seduction and power, love and sex”” (Venus in Fur).

Arianda and Dancy perform amazingly well together on stage. They’re both attractive and sexually charged. It was the first show I wished would go on longer. I also left the theater trying to dissect what went on onstage. Who has the power in the end? Vanda or Thomas? I now have a desire to read the book.

Venus in Fur is the perfect mix ofdesire, kinkery andpsychological play with a dash of humor. It has even been compared to the hit S&M trilogy, Fifty Shades of Grey. I highly recommend seeing Venus in Fur. As I said before, you’ll continue to think about the show even after it’s over.


Vegan Shop-Up

Last Sunday I went to a really cool vegan pop-up market in Brooklyn called Vegan Shop-Up. It had everything imaginable–tables with vegan chocolate, brownies, cupcakes, chocolate sauce,pretzels,

hummus, different flavored vegan cheeses, salsa. There was even jewelry nail polish, and handmade catnip mice toys. It’s markets like Vegan Shop-Up that make me love New York so much.

My newest obsession was also there–The Cinnamon Snail. The Cinnamon Snail is a vegan food truck that has a variety of sandwiches, raw pizza, beverages and delicious desserts. I have tried the Chipotle seitan burrito, Smoked portabello mushroom Carpaccio, maple mustard tempeh sandwich, Creole grilled tofu sub, and

the cinnamon snail pastry. My favorite sandwich of the ones I’ve tried is the Creole grilled tofu sub though you really can’t go wrong with any decision. Although I haven’t tried many of their desserts or pastries, the Cinnamon Snail pastry is to die for. It’s soft and sugary, and it kind of tastes like an elephant ear. Part of the fun of eating Cinnamon Snail is that you can only find their location for the day on Twitter or Facebook, and they usually don’t tell you where they’re going to be parked until the morning of.

The Vegan Shop-Up was also hosted at a really cool vegan friendly bar, Pine Box Rock Shop. I didn’t have anything to drink, but I did take a look at their menu and saw some good cocktails. I think

I’ll have to go back again for drinks.

Again, what makes living in the city so exciting besides the Broadway shows, fashion, and fine dining are things like the Brooklyn flea market, Vegan Shop-Up, and delicious food trucks. Thank you New York for never allowing me to be bored and for making it easy to be a vegetarian in the city!



Last week I saw Godspell on Broadway. I didn’t know what it was about going into it, and though I should have had an idea with the title “”Godspell,”” I obliviously did not think it would be all religious….but it was, and I am notvery religious. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it, but it was just a lot of religion. I agreed with my friendwho went with me that the musical is kind of preachy. When I tuned out the fact that it was all about religion and focused on the having good morals and life

advice messages the musical conveys, it

was okay. It helps that they incorporate some humor and make good use of props too.

The structure of the musical is that of a series of parables, based on the Gospel of Matthew (though three of the parables featured are recorded only in the Gospel of Luke). These are then interspersed with a variety of modern music set primarily to lyrics from traditional hymns, with the passion of Christ treated briefly near the end of the performance (Wikipedia).

The show I went to also happened to be the first Godspell performance with Corbin Bleu, who apparently is a Disney star, playing Jesus. Corbin Bleu is in Disney’s High School Musical and Jump In! I’m too old for Disney so I actually did not know who Bleu was, but the other audience members sure did. The squealing girls behind me were excited to see him perform. He is a pretty good looking guy, especially now with his hair cut.

I also liked the theater Godspell is at, Circle in the Square. The circular stage is cool. With the circular stage, there really isn’t a bad seat in the theater, and it provides a sort of intimacy. Godspell isn’t the first musical I’d recommend, but if you can snag cheap tickets, it’s worth seeing.



Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala 2012

This past Friday I attended the second annual Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala at the New York Public Library. I had a blast with my boyfriend at last year’s MCC gala, so we had been anticipating the next one and pounced on ordering tickets as soon as they became available. And good thing we did, because tickets to the opening night gala sold out in a matter of three days I heard.

I was looking forward to attending the Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala because not only are thousands of bespoke cocktails crafted, but it’s also a chance for me to get all dressed up. In fact, I was anticipating this year’s Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala many months in advance. At last year’s Gala I saw a gentleman wearing a really cool tie–a cravat–so I bought Kevin one for Christmas to wear to this year’s Gala. And for my outfit, I actually wore the dress I wore eight years earlier for my high school Winterfest dance. I was surprised I still fit in it and I was glad to get another wear out of it. I topped it off with bright red lipstick and a little black fascinator top hat. We were a dashing couple if I do say so myself.

As for the rest of the night, it was ehh. Perhaps because I had so much fun last year I was expecting it to be even more fun this year, but I was a little disappointed. The event was from 10pm-1am and Kevin and I got there about 10:30. Luckily this year there wasn’t a long line outside to get in, but there were many lines inside to get drinks. I remember it being as crowded last year but I don’t remember waiting as long to get drinks. There were some rooms I didn’t even get to check out because there were too many people and I was especially bummed that I couldn’t find the photo booth.

Apparently I’m not the only one who felt that way. Daniel Edward Rosen at Velvet Roper wrote,

“”Our pictures from the photo booth were gone, as was our complimentary CD from Mr. Arenella. The rooms were now filled with a swell of partygoers (the headcount jumped from 1,000 people to 3,500 people in just under an hour, we were later told).

There were lines for drinks, even for popsicles. The Gala was no longer a party of abundant drinks and endless whimsy. It was like any other event in New York: it was packed and impossible to get a beverage.””

He even had early entrance into the Gala as a journalist, so he was lucky to have at least an hour before the real madness began.

One thing MCC did do right this year was stepping up its game on the digital side by offering NFC bracelets that digitally recorded the cocktails that were tried and connects the user to his/her social media platforms (Facebook and Twitter) for instant upload, and it even had a partnership going with the mobile app, OnTheBar. Although OnTheBar had a map laying out where the bartenders were stationed throughout the library, it unfortunately did not show where the photo booth or any other goodies were located.

Despite being somewhat disappointed with the actual Gala this year, it still was a fun experience. Half of my excitement was getting ready for the Gala anyway. Additionally, to make the night extra special, Kevin got us a room at The Strand Hotel which is conveniently only a few streets away from the New York Public Library. After standing on my feet wearing heels all night, I was very thankful for the short walk, but even more-so for the amazing view from our 20th floor suite at The Strand Hotel. I had my “”I kind of feel like a princess moment”” getting dressed in a gown to go to a gala and spending

the night in a nice hotel.

This year’s upset won’t deter me from attending next year’s Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala at the New York Public Library, but I will try to be more strategic about getting to all the cocktails I want to try, and I definitely want to make sure Kevin and I attend with another couple.


E-Reader Vs. Hard Copy Books

I had refused to buy an e-reader when they first came out because I felt too attached to hard copies. When I was a student, the text seemed to became more of my own the more I underlined words, circled passages, and wrote in the margins. But when my go-to bookstore, Borders, shut down, and I was sick of waiting a few days for a

book to be shipped after ordering it online, I decided to suck it up and give the e-reader a try.

After having a Kindle for a few months now and reading several books on it, I feel like I can give it fair judgement. Below are the pros of the Kindle versus the pros of hard copies:

Kindle Pros

  • Convenience/mobility – much easier to transport than a thick novel
  • Speed –

    faster to download book rather than going to the closest bookstore or having it shipped

  • Durable – don’t have to worry about water damaged pages, faded ink, torn pages, or broken spines
  • Access to new material that may not be available in hard copy/easier to get published (may be a con depending on the book)
  • Earth friendly – saves trees
  • Hard Copy Pros

  • Convenience – easier to flip through pages to find the passage you’re looking for
  • Easier to write notes in the margins
  • Sensory experience – enjoying the cover of the book, feeling the individual pages and the smell of paper and ink
  • Sustainable/durable – never runs out of batteries and not worried about getting it a little wet or leaving it in the sun
  • Aesthetics – can be put on display on a bookshelf or used for home decorating purposes

    While I have come to like my Kindle, I’ve concluded that hard copies are not

    dead for me, and I don’t think they ever will be. There are certain books I want a hard copy to display on a book shelf as a sort of trophy or memory of my enjoyment of the story. For convenience, books that I need immediately, are too big to be totting all over the city or that I’m not sure if I’ll like, I will download to my Kindle. Whichever medium you prefer, at least you can count on the story being the same!