Tuesday, July 25, 2006

ah, the rainbow room

the rainbow room

what a fun, cool gig this was.

every friday and saturday night, the rainbow room in rockefeller center features a three course prix-fixe menu provided by cipriani's, along with live music and that incredible revolving dance floor. with such a high dress code, a perfectly sumptuous room and the most beautiful view of the city to accompany it, i was enthralled from the moment i entered the building. to be honest, this wasn't my first time at this particular rodeo. i've been singing there for private parties and galas and such for awhile now. i think i forgot what a glamorous slice of old new york city it truly is. i mean, come on. when you want to dress up and be truly elegant, and dance to a big band that plays standards until one in the morning, where else can you go?

there's a latin band that plays for 20 minutes and there's a big band that plays for 40 minutes, from 8pm - 1am. as the bands change places, the pianist and the bassist play a song or two. that's right. continuous music. on saturday night, i was the replacement girl singer for the big band. that means that i got to show up well-heeled and ready in a rather fetching silk diane von furstenburg dress, change into a beautiful gown eventually and nibble on tasty things like key lime pie and salmon and roasted asparagus all night long until they featured me for two or three standards for each set. whenever i was in doubt about an arrangement, the trumpet player would count me in. it was an audience that knew how to listen as well as dance. some of them come every weekend. that's so gratifying to a singer, to phrase something in a particular way in the middle of a song and have someone respond spontaneously with applause. i was so sad when the evening ended. then again, it made me a little sad to be up so high, anyway. i couldn't stop thinking about the world trade center's windows on the world. that place was such a jewel.

what does it take to make me happy? an adorable little old man in black pants, a crisp snow-white jacket and black bowtie tipping the door of the kitchen open into the makeshift backstage area and stage-whispering "la reina! tuna tartare!" over and over again until i slowly make my way into the kitchen towards a gigantic silver tray of loveliness. boy, i tell you -- it doesn't take much to make me happy.

my satisfaction, on the other hand, is a completely different story.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

it's following me

tonight i went to the bar to say hello to my friend before the burlesque show began. i'm sitting around learning all the girl songs for my gig tomorrow night at the rainbow room and i needed a distraction. the group of people that he works with are a lovely little family and the truth is, i'm a part of it. i used to sing there every week for a few years with jc hopkins, so whenever i go, it's always a warm moment.

while we were all standing around talking, a bouncer from the french place across the street came over to say hi to the regular weekend barback but he was out. lots of casual chit chat ensued, stuff like yeah it was slow last week, oh yeah we're always slow on fridays, it'll pick up soon. stuff like that. there were some honeywagons on allen street and we all wondered aloud as to who was shooting what and where. the bouncer said his goodbyes and left, only to reappear a few minutes later with a bit of strange news: the trailers were there for a disney movie called enchantment, starring jodie foster. (actually, imdb.com says susan sarandon but what do they know? that stuff is always subject to change.) the bouncer was dejected, like someone had popped his balloon. i threw back my head and laughed. welcome to the commodification of the lower east side, i said as i waved my hand in the air. everyone agreed.

it was only a matter of time until hollywood made downtown new york city into a palatable and safe place for middle white america. actually, they've been at it for quite a while. hollywood has to homogenize everything they touch and suck the individuality and uniqueness out of it until it becomes some stereotype that's easy to sell. and make fun of. what's funny to me is, when they do it, they think they're doing you a favor. they don't even realize what they're destroying. the rest of the world would say that's such an american thing to do. and they're right. cultural homogenization. soft power. global media domination. media-cultural imperialism. heck. imperialism, period.

it's like manifest destiny, except the deity in question is money. or media.

my friend said that disney (which epitomizes soft power if you ask me) making movies in this neighborhood is the beginning of the end, and he's right. it was one thing when mickey mouse took over times square -- that was already a tourist trap anyhow and nobody downtown cared. this is different. the lower east side already looks like it's the back end of a portal that begins somewhere in wisconsin. it's been this way for years. these people all look like they're trying to outhip each other and everyone is trying way to hard. they're all so well put together and somehow, they all end up looking exactly alike without ever reflecting any of their individual selves. it's like fashionista garanimals. and that has nothing to do with style, which can never be bought.

williamsburg is even worse.

when i got here in the early 90's, the city was a dangerous place -- and you knew it. you'd get knifed on the street for the loose change that someone thought they heard in your pockets. you could smell the crack on the sidewalk. there were no bistros. there were no boites. there was the bodega on the corner and everybody knew that it was a front, that they were running hard drugs along with everybody else. it was a filthy nasty rat-infested stinkhole and there was nothing fun or cute about it. you didn't live in that neighborhood because you wanted to. you lived there because it was all you could afford -- and as soon as you could do better, you left.

and that's another thing. there were lots of black people, lots of puerto ricans, lots of mexicans, lots of everything except white people, unless they were a junkie or an artist or some other kind of freak-wierdo -- none of whom could be counted on to have any money, ever. i had a friend with a straight job who lived down there and for years, he would dress in jeans and a t-shirt and change into a suit when he got to work, because he knew that if he didn't, somebody would beat him down. if you were white and traipsing through that neighborhood back in the day, and if you looked like you had money, you got your ass kicked. period. that was then. nowadays, it's nothing but white people, practically. the neighborhood looks like some fraternity/sorority mixer just let out, and they're all drunken hopeless fashion victims, with trust funds and/or their parent's money to pay for their lifestyle, culled from everybody's favorite blueprint about this town, sex and the city. i glide past them and i think, is it really this much fun to be drunk in public?

the problem is, this is still new york city. it's still dangerous. the lifestyle and the look of things have lulled people into believing that it's safe. but it will never be completely safe. no big city ever is, especially a place like this. people get killed in this neighborhood for being drunk and thinking they're impervious to danger.

i've got to get out of this city, the bouncer said, shaking his head, to us and to no one in particular. my friend and i looked at each other and smiled knowingly. that's everyone's reigning cry right now. leave the homogenization behind. but then again, isn't that why most of us left the suburbs in the first place? won't it always follow you? isn't that what it does?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

knitting and sweating

To celebrate Kwaanza, you have to make the gifts you give. It’s quite a challenge for those of us who like to run through department stores and boutiques at the last minute, pointing and charging it all while someone else gift wraps it. I’m not that bad (I could never afford to be) but because what I make doesn’t ever last past dinner, I’ve always wanted to aim a little higher. Even though everyone loves what I bring, I still find myself watching someone knitting at a cafĂ© and wishing that I was craftsy enough to pull it off. I used to love to knit and crochet when I was little and I toyed with the idea of making things when I saw everyone fall into the trend a few years ago but I never did anything about it. Last year, for some strange reason, something in me snapped. I downloaded some instructions online, learned how to knit, joined a knitting circle or two and took a grand stab at a rolltop sweater for a toddler, which has come undone so many times since then, it’s laughable.

As usual, there was a method to my madness. I realize now that I used that sweater to figure out how to read patterns, how to make certain stitches, how to be patient enough to make it consistently pretty and of course, to meet other knitters who would help me whenever I got stuck. Knitting has turned out to be much more time-consuming and expensive than I thought but making beautiful things with my hands this time around will make it all worthwhile. There’s something soothing about sitting with a bunch of people and talking, and having tea and cake. It’s like a little getaway – an unexpected oasis of calm in the middle of the city.

There’s lots of places to go downtown, to sit and knit uninterrupted and have tea. And unbeknownst to me, Harlem has a knitting circle, too. Hm. I may have to crash that little gathering in the very near future.

We’re in the middle of a heat wave but I’m shopping for yarn. I’d like to finish that toddler’s sweater and make one for myself and my friend, who was curious enough to look over my shoulder the other day as I browsed the web for patterns. Thankfully, someone from a knitting collective online pointed me towards websites that sell yarn at wholesale prices. I’m hoping that a chance trip to Walmart this weekend might yield the just-right amount that I need.

In the meantime, I’ve found that if I take my knitting with me, I have plenty of time to make things: on the subway, waiting in line at the bank, riding the bus. I suppose that toting around a shoulder bag filled with woolen yarn is no picnic in this heat – admittedly, I get strange looks sometimes. Then again, someone is always looking at me funny for some reason or another, so I’m completely unfazed.

Life is filled with downtime. I may as well be productive.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

yah-hoo!! i've still got it!

chicken fried steak night!
Originally uploaded by queenesther.
when my friend and i went to acme bar and grill a few weeks ago and had what i considered to be sub-par southern cuisine, he thought it would be fun to make chicken fried steak one night. on sunday, i rose to the challenge -- booting him out of the kitchen, of course and whipping it up from memory inside of an hour. all i could think was, i've still got it.

i'm touchy about chicken fried steak. for years, my friend carlton used to take me to a restaurant on 6th street in austin (long gone, now) called beans for 2 for 1 chicken fried steak night every tuesday. later, i had to make chicken fried steak for a living for what felt like an eternity, at another restaurant further down 6th street called headliner's east. God knows i can make that cream gravy blindfolded, from scratch. God knows i can.

well. they say that nothing learned is ever wasted -- and they were right. all that time spent over that greasy stove making tex-mex specialties wasn't lost at all. i remember everything. there's a file in my head and every recipie i love is in it. ultimately, it's nice to know that i'm the one my texas buddies turn to, when it's time to really eat at home.

...and yes, this particular meal was as delicious as it looks!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

anatomy of an audition

I was seen for the role of Caroline in the London company of Caroline, or Change for The Roundabout Theater on Monday. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the production on Broadway but the music sounds like a soulful operetta (almost all of it is sung), very rangy, with lots of jazz moments that reminded me of Porgy and Bess. So lush, so beautiful. I picked up the audition material on Friday and got lost in it, in spite of the fact that I had to gig all weekend. I went into the audition knowing that I had done all that I could but wishing that I had done more. The music was too layered and dense for a finished performance in the audition. It made sense to give them the arc of what they wanted.

When I showed up, it was empty except for the accompanist, who was sitting in the waiting room. I’m 15 minutes late. I change my shoes and sprint to the toilet while I have the chance – oddly enough, you have to walk through the audition room to get to it. When I came out, they were ready for me – they being Jim Carnahan, who sat behind a long table and spoke to me warmly before I sang “Lot’s Wife.” When I finished, he stood up abruptly, saying, I’ll be right back, and left the room. The accompanist and I looked at each other. I rhetorically asked, what was that about? He smiled, shrugged his shoulders and said, I don’t know but you were fantastic. We introduced ourselves and began to chat. Suddenly, Jim burst into the room, dismissed the accompanist, nodded in my direction and said, come with me. We went down a flight of stairs and through a door that opened directly onto another audition room, identical to the last. This time, I sang for the MD, a sweet-faced woman whose voice I recognized immediately from the CD I was given to learn the music. We shook hands like fast friends. After I sing “Lot’s Wife” she looks at me as if she’s seeing me for the first time and says, your voice is amazing. She gives me notes, has me sing it again. We review the other material. All of a sudden, I’m done, I’m dismissed, I’m thanking them for their time, they’re thanking me for mine and Stephen is following me to the elevator as I make a hasty exit. I remember Stephen from the audition for “At Least It’s Pink!” from a few weeks ago. As I’m standing by the elevator thinking, I’m not sure if that’s ever happened to me, an audition and a callback in the same day, Stephen asks if I’m doing anything later that afternoon. I’m like, no, I’m free. He says, can you come in to sing for Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori at 4:30pm. I say, sure. I make sure I say it in this really polite way. And I make sure that I’m a little flat about it, like I’m slightly preoccupied because I’m so freaked out. I think I casually asked if George was going to be there. And then I left.

Rarely ever does anything move fast enough for me, ever. In one afternoon, I’ve had an audition and two callbacks. What in the ABC Wide World of Sports is going on?!

I can’t think about it too much. I change my shoes in the elevator, from high heels to flip flops -- i don't know why, but when i wear the "right heels," i sound better. i go to Jeniette Salon because they have a really great deal on Mondays for a manicure/pedicure (only $27!) and I’m thinking that having someone rub my hands and feet will take the edge off. It doesn’t. My friend takes me out for dim sum in Chinatown. It’s fantastic. Afterwards, we get Chinese ice cream and sit in the park with the old men playing their strange Chinese checkers betting game while I dream out loud. He’s happy for me, for the good job that I’ve done. And he means it. He even says that no matter what happens, we’ll work it out. My going away for a long time doesn’t mean that everything has to fall apart. I look at him like I’m seeing him for the first time and I begin to wonder just how dumb my luck really is.

The next thing I know, I’m back on that couch, waiting to be seen. I’m 15 minutes early. There are two ahead of me. I lose myself in my book – Marshall Chapman’s southern fried bio Goodbye Little Rock and Roller -- and in short order, I’m back in that room. The first thing out of Jeanine Tesori’s mouth as she shakes my hand is, I’m a huge fan. She saw Harlem Song and she loved my opening monologue. It was trippy, watching her move her arms through the air, affecting my poses as i strolled. Wow. Tony Kushner is adorable. He says his partner thinks we may have gone to high school together -- but no, no such luck. Jeanine mentioned that before I came in, George Wolfe called and I ended up blurting out that I had a crush on him while we were working together. For a minute there, we were all very chatty. It was the just right environment to open up and sing and be vulnerable. I told them the entire process was like trying to eat a turkey in one bite, which made everyone in the room laugh in agreement. And then just like that, it was over. I was walking in the sun with a feeling of confidence welling up in me and all I could think was, I did the best I could.

Like I told my manager on Friday when he was telling me otherwise on my cell while I was at the Starbucks watching Matt Dillon fend off those two unwashed masses – doing my best doesn’t mean that I’ll get the part. Doing my best doesn’t mean that I’ll get anything at all. There are so many variables involved when it comes to getting cast in anything that how much talent you have sometimes comes in dead last. and theater ain't like film or commercials. you can be in a film and not know how to act. case in point? matt dillon got his first movie because he cut school and a casting agent saw him and thought he looked right for a role. or what about robert downey, jr? after years of working steadily in hollywood, he found an acting coach and asked him to teach him how to act when he was cast in chaplin. with plays and musicals, you have to not only know what you're doing, you really have to have presence to pull it off. you have to be five times better than anyone, especially if you're black, because there are so many actors and even fewer parts. white actors loooooove to complain about how little work there is but it's actually not true. not from where i'm sitting, anyway. and no matter how they slice it, there's way less work for actors of color. way less.

ah, but it felt so good, to leave that room knowing that I did a great job. That's why there's no need to second-guess myself or wonder through the moments, reliving each one and wondering "what if" -- oh, no. I won't even be sitting around waiting for the phone to ring. It's out of my hands. The end.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

7 foods to never eat!

i don't really eat the stuff on this list anymore. every once in awhile, i'll have a doughnut. but eating this way most of the time was never a part of my life. besides, i think it's easy to eat well in nyc because a healthy option is almost always within reach: fresh fruit stands are everywhere and strangely, so is wheatgrass.

the problem with this list is that these are the things most people in this country like to eat. it's a fast food nation out there. healthy eating is inconvenient, expensive and usually it's not as tasty as the alternative. but the alternative to my way of thinking is heart disease and an untimely death. and how inconvienient would that be?
  1. doughnuts -- Doughnuts are fried, chock-full of sugar and white flour and loads of trans fat.
  2. cheeseburger with fries -- The saturated fat found in cheese burgers has been linked to heart attacks, strokes and some types of cancer.
  3. fried chicken and chicken nuggets -- Foods cooked in highly heated oils (most notably partially hydrogenated oil) have been known to cause cancer, weight gain and other serious health risks if ingested regularly. So it' s not about giving up fried chicken, it's about giving up fried everything.
  4. Oscar Meyer's Lunchables -- Lunchables get two-thirds of their calories from fat and sugar. And they provide lopsided nutrition since they contain no fruits or vegetables.
  5. Sugary cereal -- not surprisingly, there is no fruit in Fruit Loops.
  6. Processed meats -- you know what these are: hot dogs, sausages, bacon, lunchmeat, jerky. Enough said.
  7. canned soup -- Just one serving (which is roughly one cup) can have almost 1,000 milligrams of salt.
if i had a chef to make my every meal, i'd do a diet of strictly raw foods, like demi moore. or i'd go macrobiotic, like gwyneth paltrow. but for the moment in my world, opting for a shot of wheatgrass everyday and fresh fruits and vegetables instead of fast food and the junk on this list is as good as it gets.

Friday, July 07, 2006

a slice of my life

this is what a day in my new york city life is like.

I had an interview at 10am and then I had to see my doctor at 1:30pm and then there was another interview at 3pm. Somewhere in there, aside from a trip to the post office and the bank, and that good hard sweat that awaits me every morning at the gym, I had to pick up sheet music and sides from the roundabout theater company for an important audition on Monday that my manager sprung on me yesterday evening. I’ll spend my entire weekend absorbing this material and running it over and over, so I’ll be able to give some kind of a performance when the time comes. It will wring me out.

I was afraid to go home and take a nap after my last appointment because I hadn’t gotten a lot of sleep the night before and I figured I probably wouldn’t wake up. Later around 9pm there would be a gig with the swing band and another the next night. If I was lucky, I’d probably get home by 2am. Maybe. Oh, and Ron Sunshine was leaving a cd for me with the bartender. Mustn't forget to pick it up as soon as I get to the club. All that in black kitten-heel pumps.

And my parents don’t think I’m doing anything in New York City. No. Scratch that. Anything worthwhile.

Of course, my cell was ringing here and there with work and whatnot. Somewhere in there, my manager gave me a pep talk which ended with him roaring into the phone, “This is within your reach! Stop being negative and go into that audition and GET THAT PART!” Hilarious. But honestly, I wasn't being negative. I was being realistic. Me doing my absolute best doesn't mean that I'll get the part. Doing my absolute best doesn't guarantee that i'll get anything at all, no matter what i'm doing for a living. it's a good thing no one told me that when i was in grade school. i would have been an underachieving wierdo. instead, i was an overachieving wierdo. more on that later. Thinking positive is important but I don't get why he's talking to me like i can pull some jedi mind trick that'll make them love me and hand me a contract on a silver platter. He doesn't get it.

I was in Starbucks taking a breather when he went off on this particular tangent. I figured killing time there was better than sitting my doctor’s waiting room but not by much. My friend called me when he woke up the way he usually does and after we chatted for a few minutes, I looked up from my perch along the wall and saw this blonde chunky-faced white girl and this dark haired guy with shades on, at the condiment counter that faced me. She looked a little too happy to be there. She was asking him for an autograph and he really didn’t want to give her one but she was insistent and sugary sweet about it which was especially annoying for some reason. I mean, she was talking to him and it was annoying me. And with a sugary sweet voice, no less. Clearly, she wasn’t going to desist until she got what she wanted. He was more than annoyed. He was pissed. When he asked her, that was you across the street, wasn’t it, she smiled broadly with her mouth closed and nodded with mock bashfulness, like she’d actually accomplished something by following him in there. Eeeew.

By the way that she was gushing, I could tell that he was supposed to be somebody but then I heard his voice and realized it was Matt Dillon.

I’ll say it now and I’ll say it plain: he’s only moderately attractive and he’s not that tall.

His vibe was one of artificial magnanimousness, the kind of fake generousity that can only come from dealing with people you’d rather not know – but there you are, ducking into Starbucks for a sandwich and an iced coffee, and there she is, chubby and blonde and smiling like there’s something wrong with her. it was disturbing. I almost laughed out loud when he angrily signed her napkin and then her pasty bearded emo-looking companion (who would be stupid enough to have a beard during the summer?) walked up out of nowhere and loudly identifies him by greeting him like he’s known him all his life, when obviously they’d never met. “Heh, heh,” Matt Dillon said deftly with the same air of familiarity and a slew of contempt, and just the right amount of dismissiveness to keep them and anyone else away from him, “you guys take care, now.” And they left. I thought to myself, well done, Matt. And that’s where I thought the story would end.

Instead of leaving, though, he turned directly towards me, saw the empty table next to me, hesitated, quickly looked for another option, saw none, and then began to walk with some trepidation directly towards me. This all happened in a matter of seconds. I had hung up from talking with my friend by now (I think I said something like, remind me to tell you a story later.) Matt Dillon hesitated at first but when he saw that I was reading a book, his steps became more purposeful. I remember thinking, please God, don’t let him sit next to me. So he did.

Jack Sprat says that if you ever find yourself in a room with a famous person and you want their attention, ignore them. He’s right, of course. I got lost in my unauthorized Sheryl Crow biography and skimmed through my audition material. There were moments when, as he munched on his sandwich and read the paper, I could feel him glancing at me. Or maybe he was waiting for me to say something. I don’t know. There was some irony in there somewhere -- that Matt Dillon, who just played that racist cop in the movie Crash, would scurry to sit next to the only black girl in a Starbucks on the upper west side (‘cause you know I don’t want your autograph and I could care less about who you are) so he could have lunch in peace and starstruck white people would leave him alone.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

the long weekend

douglas poolside

my friend and i went upstate to hang out with taro (the dj) and lynn (the burlesque dancer otherwise known as lukki) at their dreamy kitschy house in beacon. they were the consummate hosts, so generous with their lovely place. and really, it's such a relief to leave the city for a little while and be surrounded by so much greenery and sky and fresh air -- and not be in a park. the backyard was a semi-pastoral scene of blooming flowers and trees, with an expansive patio and a grill that would not quit, and a huge swimming pool that had all of us lounging and listening to music well into the night. there was foodfoodfood all over the place. everytime i turned around, there was something else to barbeque. excellent guacamole. i couldn't stop eating. shame on me.

july 3 in beacon

i've never really explored new york state, so i find any day trip opportunity to glimpse into someone else's upstate lifestyle there to be fascinating. it's quite a conundrum, to vaccilate between the north and the south -- though for many, there's never been a reason to hesitate. i know that living in manhattan has urbanized me somewhat but i can never fully relenquish the wide open spaces inside me for any concrete jungle because it's just not who i am. the only thing that an upstate option offers as far as i can tell is easy access to manhattan -- a place that is becoming less alluring with every passing day. pretty soon, this place will be one gigantic strip mall, filled with way WASPy fashion victims living the "sex and the city" lifestyle they've always wanted and patently unaffordable. everything that made this place so cool will be gone like a puff of smoke. people will talk about their creative moments that spawned critically acclaimed work in the 90's like it was the good ol' days of yesteryear. and whoever hasn't run off to live upstate or in jersey will probably be in new york city's other borough that's growing like crazy: philadelphia.

i'm fairly convinced that my southern upbringing has made it possible for me to endure the worst of what the city has thrown at me because i knew that i don't belong here, that this place doesn't belong to me and cannot ever truly claim me, and that eventually i would leave. frankly, this is everything i grew up with in atlanta -- we have a large house, a big swimming pool in the backyard, and we're surrounded by so much trees and grass, you can't really see the house from the street -- but that's atlanta. with a decent job and good credit, you can own a nice house there. where can you do that in new york city? that's why i'm happy for any homeowner near the city. especially if they're artists.

taro and texas tom

lynn a.k.a. lucky

it's pretty amazing, the way she can turn it on out of nowhere, like flipping a switch. i wish i could do that.

it's so inspiring, to be around people like lynn and taro that are happy and married and young and enjoying each other and their lives together. it's beautiful to see. they're both from california, so of course they'd have a backyard that blooms and a pool to swim in. sweet. (just for the record: although i loved the backyard quite a bit, it was the sewing room that really got me...)

later, when the sun went down and the night was filled with the preliminary popping sounds of domesticated fireworks and bottle rockets, we strung lights along the patio's edge and played a game called "celebrity" that had everyone jumping around and acting things out individually, and shouting out answers. afterwards, my friend and i watched burlesque dvds while everyone else went skinny dipping. it was a letter-perfect night.

we ended up having so much fun, we didn't get back to the city until the next day -- just in time to have a little dim sum, take a nap and make kari's 4th of july festivities at her place on 14th & 3rd. she had a kfc spread, along with homemade red white and blue cupcakes, crudite and those infamous ft. worth finger sausages that she makes out of chilis and grape jelly. at the appointed time, everyone went to the roof to watch macy's light up the sky. "everyone" turned out to be everyone in the building, some of whom had spread out blankets and had a bit of a night time picnic going on. bread. wine. cheese. fruit. where are we, the lower east side or the french countryside? is nyc really that european? (probably...)

we could actually see the fireworks at both 34th street and 14th street. very exciting. someone tuned the radio to the simulcast so we could all hear stuff like "stars and stripes forever" and "the star-spangled banner" and that aaron copeland song that my friend kept calling the "beef -- it's what's for dinner" ditty. i vaguely recall that there was some david hasselhoff knockoff in there somewhere. oh, wait a minute -- that was probably nick lashay. well. clearly all of that fanfare was for middle america. i think they should have had some special audio for new yorkers. a little opera, maybe. the black national anthem, for crying out loud. a punk rock version of new york, new york. personally, i kept hearing jimi hendrix's version of the national anthem in my head. something unconventional and cool along those lines. hm. maybe what i need is my own iPod, preprogrammed and completely in sync.

of course in the rush to get upstairs, i forgot my camera and didn't get any images. *sigh* but somewhere in the midst of all the bombs bursting in air (and on the radio via hasselhoff and/or lashay), my friend turned to me with his arm outstretched dramatically towards the sky and declared that he'd planned the whole thing for our six month anniversary.

what a guy.