Wednesday, June 27, 2007

It's My Birthday: NYC -Day 2

We didn't have many plans to abide by, so we decided to hang out in the Upper East Side.

For many years, I've loved the work of MacKenzie-Childs, an American artist whose roots are in the UK. There are several photos in their Web site, but I did manage to snag a couple of their elevators! Yes! They've adorned their elevators with tiles, wallpaper, fabric, tassles and more! I met one of the on-site display artists (I was curious about a certain McLaughlin piece) and we talked for quite a while. She wants to move to Raleigh, we want to move to NYC -we may just trade houses.

We got a bite to eat and then decided to hit the Natural History Museum. We had just watched "Night at the Museum" with Ben Stiller and Robin Williams (the dialog for most of the movie was painful -stupid really- and the last 1/2 hour was good) and decided to return after a few years. Also, the Natural History Museum had an intriguing show on Mythic Creatures. It was a neat exhibit but because I was tired, I thought that by just grazing the exhibits of imagery and tales, that I would be greeted with a book produced by the museum for this special program so that I could enjoy it at my leisure. Not! However... While I was looking for links and such to provide with this entry, I discovered that the Mythic Creatures program is ALL ONLINE!!

Before we departed for our flight, we had sushi at Okinawa (near NYU) and what used to be, one of our favorite spots. I think we'll find another restaurant that's not so pushy (we were the only customers -I guess that's saying something!) and remembers to give us everything we ordered.

It's My Birthday: Boom

A few years ago, we discovered Boom in SOHO one late afternoon before our flight out. Yum! Mediterranean/Italian fare that never disappoints!

We try to snag a table on the threshold of the street -you can see two gents sitting on a bench down in front on the sidewalk- so that we can enjoy the city nightlife and people watch. It was a perfect night. The weather both days were nice.

After years of being on their mailing list, I finally got the chance to use their birthday special (2 for 1)! Yee-haw! So, I picked up the Halibut with mango salsa and Andrew chose the Ahi Tuna (the plate was not photogenic) with the best mashed potatoes! I kept snagging them they were so darn delish!

Later, they brought out a complimentary dessert -warm molten chocolate lava cake with vanilla gelato -you can see that it was almost devoured before we took its cameo. Man! It was fabulous!!

Licensing Show

We gave ourselves 2 hours to walk the Fine Art section of the Licensing Show to determine if this was a right fit for our work. We noticed that most of the conglomerates were the same as Surtex, but pulled out character driven illustrations to license -something we don't have... yet.

The Branding section was interesting, much like wild Las Vegas in only 10,000 sqfeet. I would akin an experience walking this show to getting into an amusement park and not being able to enjoy any of the rides or entertainment. All the big guys (WB, Mattell, Seasame Street, American Greetings) had gated areas where their clients came to eat, drink, and be entertained by celebrity music. Someone had a Bad Emily bag and it was on my list to go see, but we forgot because we were getting hungry and Andrew was waiting for Claire's call. Plus, we generally can't get anything from those booths -can't even take photos to show you what is going to hit the market this next year. Drat.

It's My Birthday: At The Hudson

So, we get a call from Andrew's former colleague, Claire, who now resides in London and has so for the past 5 years. She's got 4 days in the city and we met her at The Hudson. It's the cool boutique hotel we used to stay at and has great lounges thru-out. Dark halls with funky wood panelling in each elevator and alien lighting dimly lights each car.

Because Claire was residing at the Hudson during her stay, she chose the area where I've always wanted to hang: the terrace. Personally, I think you need a crowd to enjoy the ambiance -on beds!! It's hilarious, but true. One can cop-a-squat on a corner of a bed and chat for hours. There were a few couples on our bed and there were several beds thru-out the terrace. I did have to smooze with the waitstaff (they call themselves 'the design team'- stuuuupid!) to get Andrew a chair -had to explain the little incident with the doctor, the knife, and his spine. Ostensibly, we're not allowed to move furniture around while we're spending $$$ at their bar!!! She (dressed in a bikini & indian tunic -no kidding!) finally acquiesced and brought an extra chair over.

Anyhow, we talked about everything from her impending wedding in September (to a fiance whose passport looks like a... well, let's say that he's getting his Ph.D in War Studies and the stamps thru-out his pages are from questionable countries) to enjoying Christmas Eve/Day celebrations in London with she and her new husband! How fun will that be?

Looks like London for Christmas!

The Waldorf: Because it's my birthday!

Majestic and impressive...
The Waldorf didn't fail to exceed in opulence. It's a great place to stay if you're keen to remain composed and upright. For those of us who are draggin' our arses, sweaty, and not sporting a Louis Vuitton Bag, well... it was nice. Obviously out of my element, or an afficiando of fine craftsmanship as I like to think, I didn't really care if I appeared as an obvious tourist.

Photo 1 is a clock tower in the center lobby. Just above it, on the ceiling, there are squares of gold-leafed imagery set in through-out.

Photo 2 is a massive image set in mosaic on the floor -just gorgeous.

On to the good stuff: The Suite! We paid only $13 bucks for the night (that was for high-speed internet connection to check biz email) since Andrew opted to eat several thousand Hilton points to get us in. Thanks, Darlin! Several times at fine hotels, the clerk will ask if we need a second keycard for the room. When we answer yes, they ask if they can have a name -my name. I look at Andrew and say to him aloud, "Mrs. Hayden, right? Don't tell your wife!" "But you are my wife!" "No I'm not! You left that bat at home!"

The clerk just laughs and replies, "My lips are sealed!"

We arrive to a double door entrance that leads to our suite.

Two huge rooms filled with sofas, armoires, and lots of right angles (tough to photo those!) and mirrors behind every door. I'm guessing there were 7 doors (+ an escape route back out to the hall! Kinda cool).

Upon entering the receving room, there was a tray with goodies and formal note written to Andrew, but we won't tell you what it said... his wife might read it!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Why? Because It's My Birthday!

Most of my birthday's have gone on to be pretty mundane, nothing more than normal "Business As Usual" (BAUs) days.

Today... it was different. Andrew decided to treat me to one night at the Waldorf. Why? Because it's my birthday!

Our flight was smooth and uneventful and we arrived at the Waldorf only to be told that they upgraded us to a suite. Sweet! Yes, I tried to control my widening eyes as I listened carefully to the clerk reviewing our itinerary, not sure I heard correctly. The room was not ready yet, so we decided to head out for some lunch.

A Celebrity Siting... My Own?
I had been dreaming about The Cupping Room Cafe in Soho for days now and that wonderful warm La Paysan sandwich (smoked turkey with brie & apple chutney) just beakoned me. The gents at the backdoor told us to sit anywhere and being 1:30, we had almost any table choice -including the coveted corner table for 2 tucked behind the old wood stove. I thought to myself how wonderful it would be to have someone take a quiet little photo of us so that we could tuck it into our travel logs... Minutes later, a team of photographers sat up their medium format camera on tripod and went to work taking meter readings of light in our corner!! We monitored the women as they took polaroids of settings to get preliminary shots before wasting their good film. We learned that they were taking scene shots for the cafe to post near their entrances (very enticing) for years to come.

It was funny, because as I enjoyed my smoked turkey & apple, I thought of other notable artisans and their local hangouts; folks like Hemingway or Picasso being documented in some way... It's funny because I feel like I've been documented in a similar fashion. Even if I never hear from the photographer who took the medium format shots (I asked to purchase one of us together) and even if those photos never get posted within the cafe, I still have this neat vintage-like polaroid.

Upcoming Shorts:
The Waldorf
Walking the Licensing Show
We Meet w/a Londoner & get invited to Christmas Dinner
Birthday Dinner at Boom

Nightly Flyer

Our Flying Squirrel made her cameo appearance as she does nightly.
Tonight, she tolerated us as we enjoyed the bug-free deck and our wine. She hung out for about 10 minutes, not moving an inch, allowing Andrew to make noise and take a few photos.

Man, can they make a racket when you add more food to the feeders!

Studio Report: Strokes of Genius!!

Weeks prior to it's original release date, Strokes of Genius: The Best of Drawing is now on bookshelves!!

Last year at Surtex, the publisher came by my booth and we talked for some time about the initial submission process. Evidently, there were over 3000 submissions world wide and only ~100 artists got admitted. Most of them got 1 or 2 at best. Nine out of my eleven submissions were accepted!! Holy smokes! Nine!!

I still can't believe it.

Tonight, I received an email from the publisher asking me to write a book or two on my work. I'll probably wait a few years before I consider such an endeavor -need to make some money first!! Who said authors were rich, anyway?

Meanwhile, I'm searching out ways to purchase books at bulk so that I can pass the savings on to friends and family.

Who wants an autograph?

Woo-hoo! Nine!