August 23, 2009

Now entertain...

Hello everyone! New York has officially opened it's arms to us: it was not but three hours ago that we had to call paramedics to aid the passed-out drunken man lying on our stoop with a paper bagged can of beer. Other such adventures include the zoo, and a fun party in the East Village with a breathtaking view of the New York City skyline, which because I was not equipped to capture in photography, you'll have to picture in your mind's eye. It has since cooled down slightly here, thanks to Hurricane Bill, who is causing localized T-storms, sudden downpours and riptides so vicious that swimming is currently banned in the city of New York -- Surfing, however, is fine.
Shakespeare seems to be our current focus in school. Between reading "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" (a play which I would not recommend to anyone, ever) and memorizing the Act IV prologue from Henry V (I play I would recommend to everyone, always), we're fully saturated. It seems that the majority of my book budget was spent purchasing Shakespeare glossaries, his collected works, and the first folio. This is not a complaint. I love the Bard. It is slightly irritating, however, to deal with things which you learned in high school literature class. I imagine my boredom in the class will quickly dissipate as it always does. Mostly I'm complaining about a world in which people can graduate from high school without knowing the difference between alliteration and assonance.

Well, I must be getting back to some homework, so I'll leave you with a picture of Giordana, if she were the Hungriest Caterpillar. A scary thought indeed.


August 15, 2009

We're in!

Ladies and Gentiles: we made it. We are currently residing in East Harlem, on 123rd St. First thing we noticed: Our apartment is amazing. Second thing we noticed: It is way too hot and muggy here. Why, New York? Why must you be so uncomfortable? Giordana and I quickly filmed a short walk around the pad. As you probably gather from the grotesque grovelling noises I make in it, I love the kitchen. It's big and happy, and allows me to do wonderful things.
The neighbourhood is interesting, to say the least. Today, while going to Radioshack, I had a french fry thrown at me by a large woman who I did not hear attempt to attract my attention. Culture shock? I think so. That is not to say it's more dangerous than our old place. I would argue that the fact that the streets are constantly crowded provides a less 'sketchy' environment in which to travel.
Our local grocery store is a two minute walk away, and is an actual, for real, grocery store. It is open 24 hours a day, and filled with everything I could possibly need. It is perfect. Well, it's no Costco, but it gets the job done.
Our first of two roommates has moved in, which makes the apartment seem a lot more friendly, as opposed to a gaping white canvas. There is still an empty room, which is kind of sad. Giordana and I are anxious to have that filled. Hurry up John, and don't forget your N64 controllers.

August 12, 2009

Gate B11

So here we are, sitting in the Seattle international airport, leeching wi-fi off the executive lounge separated from us by a big steel door. Too bad they never configured a security key. Aw yeah. Our flight from Victoria was relatively painless -- Giordana attributes it to the breakfast with family, I attribute it to the fact that we're not flying Air Canada. Both claims are correct.

I'll be making an attempt to maintain this blog again this year. I know it's sort of a blogger cliche to claim that, but hey, I'll stand by it. We'll be arriving at our apartment around midnight Eastern time, probably without any real connection to the Internet. So Moms, Dads, don't expect a shout out from us until I can make my way to Madison Square park for the free wi-fi the next morning.

We cleared customs lickety-split, with the exception being of course that we needed to fill out another I-94. Of course! How could we have forgotten? So many people told us! I find often that I need to reinforce sarcasm on the Internet with a disclaimer: "That bit about the I-94 was sarcastic. No-one told us a damned thing." I don't think either of us are very much looking forward to the six hour long flight, with a very low-possibility of having those cool movie-touch screen things. Giordana has made it very clear that she will be infuriated if they try to make her pay for a movie again, but she may even make the sacrifice.

I feel much more secure this trip. I've lived in New York before, I've actually seen my future apartment, and I know a handful of people sprawled around the city. It was hard to wave goodbye, but it was comforting to know that this school year is split much more evenly, and Christmas is only a few months away. Who knows what the school year will bring? I am already beginning to prepare my Psyche for a voice and speech evaluation on the first day of classes. Just a heads up for anyone who wants to write to us: send me an email! The immediate family will be receiving an email once we get our cellphone numbers and all that jazz, but we really don't need to be related to you to love your care packages.

Sorry I have no pictures to really show you. We have pictures of our summer, but I figure that's a little counter productive.

Looking forward,

P.S. Al and Nancy: Thanks for the help! Oh, Giordana already finished the book. The Tavern was the St. Fraunces Tavern, where we had our Thanksgiving dinner. It's a really cool place with more history than most places in the city. Also, the dish towels are always, ALWAYS welcome. We generally avoid paper towels for environmental and, let's face it, economical reasons, so the washcloths pick up the slack. Hurrah for frugality.

April 12, 2009

Some Enchanted Evening.

On Friday, Giordana and I received two packages from home. One was a care package from Al and Nancy, containing a much missed piece of Canadian paraphernalia, and the always loved dishcloths. I cannot express my love for these sincerely enough. I had no idea how bloody expensive scrubbies are, and those knitted towels are the most useful kitchen utensil ever made. The second "package" was actually a visitor, one Miss Judy Hale, who has until just now spent the last three days with us, partaking in a very exciting New York weekend. Our itinerary was as follows:

Friday, April 10th 2009. After an early wake up, Judy followed us to Manhattan on our way to classes. This, I should say, is quite early, so props to Judy for the quick wake up after such a wicked flight. While we were learning how to present ourselves in 18th century comedy, she took Macy's by storm, acquiring an entire new wardrobe of which I am sure she would be happy to share with your eyes. Especially the coat. After class we met her for lunch at our favourite burger joint, then went hunting for some tickets to a play. It seemed we all agreed on Lincoln Center's revival of the classic "South Pacific" but alas, no tickets for that night were available. Instead we banked on three tickets for the Saturday Matinee. This gave us some time to kill, so we headed up to the top of 30 Rockefeller plaza. All 69 floors. I, of course, was the only one to experience vertigo, and had to hold all my wits about me to prevent myself from going insane.

Saturday, April 11th 2009. We woke up to find the clouds had opened up and let down a torrential downpour. In any other situation this would be shitty, but because we were seeing a matinee, it worked out perfectly. We jumped over to LC's theatre and were treated to a show of a calibre of which I have very rarely seen rivaled. I was particularly moved by the leading male's voice: he was making his Broadway debut, but had impressive operatic experience with the Metropolitan and New York City Opera. To this second I still have his songs reverberating in my skull. After the show, We went (for the second night in a row mind you) out for dinner at Les Halles, which has become our favourite take-the-guest-out-for-dinner-spot. Judy and I continued on the the South Ferry and got an amazing view of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, while Giordana, being exhausted, went home to relax.

Sunday, April 12th 2009. After an Easter egg hunt we went to Central park and found a tasty little bistro in which to have tasty brunch, on the way. We tooled around the park until two, and returned home to see AJ on her way. Overall, a blast.

March 25, 2009

Visit from the 'rents!

Over the last few days, Giordano and Marilyn have visited us at our humble abode. We toured them around the city, taking them to our favourite hot spots and discovering more along the way. Plenty of pictures in this one.

I'll give a chromatic breakdown of their visit in this very post!

Wednesday, March 18th 2009: Dano and Marilyn touched down a little later than originally scheduled, due to being run around by Air Canada. We received a phone call as we were about to leave for LaGuardia for a pickup, in which Marilyn told us that the flight from Toronto to New York had been delayed due to weather conditions. This myth, however, was quickly dissipated by us with a simple glance out the window at crystal blue skies, and negligible winds. Regardless, Marilyn and Giordano arrived and we sped them back our pad where we fed them tasty quesadillas and doughnuts from the Doughnut Plant (a "terrible" place filled with things which should not exist for the very reason that they are too tasty to possibly be eaten without serious spiritual ramifications -- this is especially in regards to the peanut butter and jelly doughnut), and then walked them back to their hotel, a mere five subway stops away. Dano particularly enjoyed the Subway system's intricacies, but did not enjoy the rat pee which dripped on his head.

Thursday, March 19th, 2009: Rain. Ugh. Daunting clouds loomed overhead as we made our trip down to the Village, and sadly they opened up their mouths as we ducked into our favourite coffee shop. After some tasty lattes, we found the famous Washington Square arch, and began to look for a place to eat. We found a tasty Risotteria in the Village just as it really began to pour. Luckily for us, we had a backup plan: we headed to the Metropolitan museum of Art, one of the many apexes of culture in New York City. While the Met gave Giordana, Giordano, and Marilyn reprieve from the rain, as well as cultural distinction, I hopped on a subway and stood in line for a play at the TKTS booth in Times Square. A fun little hint for those of you who decide to visit NYC and want to catch a play (not a musical), the TKTS booth uses a "'plays only' line" system which is always much shorter and allows for the cheap(er) purchase of any non-musical plays, which in my opinion are the good ones. Giordana might not appreciate that remark, as she loves musicals more than life. Anyway, I bought us some wicked seats at wicked discounts to "August: Osage County," the winner for Best Play at the 2008 Tony's, and the 2008 Pulitzer prize for best new play. We watched the play following a tasty New Orleans style dinner at The Delta Grill, which was filled with yam fries, pulled pork, and mayonnaise. Anyway, the play lived up to its merits, as it was absolutely fantastic. Enjoyed by all!

Friday, March 20th, 2009: Would you believe me if I said it snowed this very morning? You wouldn't, but it did. We trekked up to Central Park to explore, and stopped for a vendor hot dog lunch. We continued south to the Central Park Zoo where we saw Gus, the famous polar bear, swimming -- separated from us by a mere half inch of glass. We ate that evening at Les Halles. For the foodies out there, that was the restaurant of which Bourdain used to be the executive chef. Needless to say: best steak I have ever had. Period. End of discussion. Seriously, you have not had a better steak. Stop trying to convince me otherwise. The Hispanic force behind every kitchen in New York is a justified one: they can cook freaking good food.

Saturday, March 21st, 2009: The day began with a hike across the Brooklyn bridge, and a walking tour (led by us, of course) of Brooklyn Heights. The Heights is sort of the Village of Brooklyn, with about twice as many hipsters. Not cool. Regardless, we love it there, so we grabbed lunch at the New York food chain of choice, Chipotle, where a giant burrito filled with organic spicy shredded pork, roasted peppers, onions beans and guacamole only dings you eight bucks. Hell yes. From here, Giordana, Giordano, and I all continued on to the Museum of Natural History where we saw... DINOSAUR BONES! RAAAAAGGHH! The four year old in all of us erupted forth as we were staring into the jaws of the only completed Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton on display in North America. John Hammond was surely nearby (congratulations to those of you who picked up on my witty movie reference). We also saw the giant lifesize blue whale replica. I will never go swimming again, just so everyone knows. We then met up with Marilyn, after her nap, and found a quaint little Italian eatery in the village. Food was good, but it was difficult to eat anchovies after seeing what they evolved from. It seemed almost too ironic. After dinner, we caught the Staten Island Ferry for a scenic late-night voyage.

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009: Today we tripped to ground zero (World Trade Center site) and the financial district. We grabbed the best Turkish food ever while down there, then continued on to our favourite cupcake place in order to combat the somber post 9/11 mentality which we picked up while paying our respects to the men and women who died needlessly. After cupcakes we grabbed a subway to the east village where we ate at the only traditional pizzeria in NYC. It was, like the doughnuts, too good to be allowed.

Monday, March 22nd, 2009: After a day of school, Gio and I met Giordano and Marilyn for lunch at our favourite burger joint, then decided to explore Central Park once more before they jetted off. On the way, we dropped by the Lincoln Center Plaza, the center for all great arts in North America. In the park we met some fellow Italians, some crazy pigeons, and found a beautiful view. After one final round of the park, we had dinner in Hell's Kitchen at another Italian eatery. A sad final farewell was made and the folks flew off in the morning, which thus concluded our whirlwind tour of the great apple!

March 17, 2009

Welcome to Cobble Hill, Population 6,589. Wait, What?

You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension. A dimension of sound. A dimension of sight. A dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into...The Twilight Zone.

Giordana and I stumbled into this Brooklyn neighborhood in search for pie on Pie Day (March 14th), and were quite disturbed by its similarities to our quaint little village back home: friendly people, mom and pop shoppes and trees. The hunt for pie was worth it not just for the reasons of experiencing such a bizarre juxtaposition of places, but also because the pie was damn fine.

School has been wrapping up it's third half term. Soon we'll be packing up everything we've learned and applying it to our first play. It's sort of funny to acknowledge that in all my time here at the school, I have yet to be involved in any semblance of a complete work. Movement got scary fast: our instructor has recently taken the class to a place which is incredibly difficult for me. I am just not capable of working at this level unless I am in the zone.
Acting is nuts, scene work has almost begun, and a large series of reports are due soon.

Gio and I are expecting her folks tomorrow, so you can all be jealous during the next blog entry of all the photographs with them with us in NY and you at home on your computer. Bet you wish you got here while you could!

March 02, 2009

Snow. Again. Sonova-

So, I doubt that everybody follows the weather patterns in New York city but we got another foot of snow. March has thrown its ugly head in the air as it spits frigid icicles down on our heads. I am sick and bloody-well-tired of these God damned east coast weather pattern.

Gio and I are recovering over an illness of epic proportion. The only thing that's really keeping us alive is the care packages pouring in.
Shout outs:

Judy - Casserole was great, fed us for four days (kid you not)
Grandma - Dishcloths are like gold over here. Poetry booklet contains some happy reminders of the Literature twelve course.

February 15, 2009

Welcome to.... The Island

There's something emotional about Coney Island's skeleton that I cannot understand. It's like walking through the set of Casablanca, long after Bogart and Bergman are dead. Perfect lighting, an abandoned boardwalk lined with splitting planks, the shrieks of seagulls, and the buzz of mumbled Russian all made the experience somewhat nostalgic even though I had never been there before. It was nice to be within walking distance of an ocean, even though it was the Atlantic, which, if you're a Pacific Ocean oriented person, you know just isn't the same: It's colder, younger, less forgiving. The pacific just seems like a party ocean; if you ever invited them both to a kegger, Atlantic would be alone staring into the fire while Pacific would be hollering alongside the Alice Cooper, but still reminding those really drunk partygoers (probably the Mediterranean sea) that they should probably slow down, drink some water and eat some food. Pacific is just such a chill guy.

School has kicked off the second term with a bang. I've been lucky enough to now be working under an acting instructor who has worked with all the old Group actors (Meisner, Strasberg, etc.) which was very obvious as we began to work with Meisner's method. It was nice to actually have something explained and to have it actually work in the class room. Not to say I'm not thankful for my first teacher's instruction during the first term, it's just that my current instructor is, honestly, a million times better.

As of the last couple weeks, around six of you have booked a "stay" at our modest little Brooklyn apartment. Chances are you only have till June to visit before my first stay in NY comes to a close, so if you have not made an effort to room with us and want to visit the City, now is your last chance -- HOWEVER! if you wish to stay with us, please PLEASE check with us first! We barely have room for one guest, we're not going to be able to double book.

January 31, 2009

"This Chart Doesn't Even Go Up to 1956!"

Theatre. History. Head. Full. Study. Too Hard. Like that scene in Scanners. GAAAH.

Yeah. We have a big final on Tuesday, so Gio and I are cramming. It would be an understatement to say that I've got a little bit to relearn.

The term is wrapping up, which is a little bit sad. Our scenes, which we have been growing with since November, have been shelved, our songs have been performed for a last time, and on Monday our final dance project is due. As sad as it may be, I am very excited to pick up some new courses, and work with new instructors. I'm keeping today's post at a minimum -- typing is difficult.

Enjoy squirrel picture.

January 18, 2009

"Twinkle Twinkle Little Bat"

It seems that Central Park is what it's cracked up to be. A surprisingly fun day was spent kicking across the park, width wise, twice. We hit up the particularly scary Alice in Wonderland statue which at left is scaring the hell out of Gio. We visited the statue on our way from the west side of the park, on our way to Strawberry Fields. While we strolled through the park and snapped photos, we came across a particularly steep slope filled with sledding children and their parents, who were more concerned with their coffee than the safety of their children. Now, don't go getting the wrong impression: if any of those parents were to actually watch the death defying stunts their precious little upper west side tikes were in the process of completing, those kids wouldn't have half the fun they would have had. The only downside is that it often ends in tragedy -- or in this case, your sled bursting through the retaining fence at the bottom of the slope, and smashing into a concrete park bench. I was laughing just a little too hard to be a friendly passerby as I snapped the photo to the right. In fact, I may have appeared to be a little acidic. Whatever -- New York will do that to you! Haha.

January 15, 2009

Don't Pay Any Attention to What is In My Hand in the First Photo

Well, it's been two weeks since we returned to the big city after the Air Canada fiasco. School has kicked it up a notch: Scene work has started getting hot and heavy (it's been particularly troubling for me, but I think I've figured that one out), and the term is beginning to wrap up. Movement has turned into a choreography challenge which is both difficult, and freaking' fun. Let me tell you, if you ever find yourself in a position where you can't dance, yet have to put together some Choreography, simply put together a hip-hop dance and don your character the name of "megacomputernerd". That way you look good, by looking bad. The perfect plan, I know. Now if only I could find some way of infiltrating So You Think You Can Dance...

Having returned home to a mostly empty fridge and freezer, Gio and I spent six hours trudging through the snow to Costco and our local food market where we blew a great deal of money. Of course I couldn't even fit everything into our fridge, which led to me having to resist opening any jars or ketchup bottles and keeping them in the pantry, until we ate the vast bulk of vegetables we bought.

Speaking of snow, the cold snap here is freaking ludicrous. As I'm writing this, there's a fine dusting of snow on the ground, and my computer's weather network temperature reading for central park is 17°F -- of course, for those of us who use real measurements, that's about -8°C. Tomorrow, the windchill is supposed to get down to -17°C. That scares me in ways I never thought that the weather ever should.

We've recently caught wind of an especially exciting production: Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard has been redone with a new translation/edit by Tom Stoppard (of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead fame) starring Ethan Hawke, and directed by Sam Mendes. Best part? Student rush tickets are ten bucks. Second best part? It's at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, so for once we're not the one's borough hopping when the lot of us go and see it. Take that Mid-Towner's.

In other news: just today a plane had to put down in the Hudson river between Manhattan and New Jersey. The plane was debilitated by a Flock of Seagulls (of I Ran fame.. Wait... What?) and the pilot decided that instead of turning his un-engined aircraft into a flaming ball of skyscraper cleaving death, he'd put her down in the water. EDIT: Now they are saying it was geese -- not as funny at all. Well, turns out he did the right thing: no casualties have been recorded, and only three people went to the hospital for mild hypothermia. The captain had time to walk the aisle twice in order to make sure he left no-one on board. That's right, the Captain was prepared to go down with his ship. Oh, and they evacuated women and children first. Kinda warms your heart doesn't it? I watched until the local news channel started talking about how much of a good thing it was that it was only a flock of seagulls in two engines which caused the plane to crash, instead of a terrorist. Yeah.

January 04, 2009

"I don't know what in God's name is happening either"

Wow. Really, I cannot believe the ineptitude of one corporation. As you can see, Gio and I are both stuck in the Vancouver Travelodge, only after we refused to take a certain Air Canada employee's crap.

Now, don't get me wrong, not every air Canada employee is useless - in fact, most of the lower-down-the-rung employees are great - but the management is terrible. A certain manager tried to tell me that it was not Air Canada's responsibility to find me a hotel, when our flight was canceled. Only after a friendly fellow traveling Aussie let me in on the truth did I manage to get accommodations. It turns out that bitchy management lady just assumed that all of us were from Vancouver and not in the middle of a connecting flight. Gio seems to think she had more vicious motives. Whether she was in fact cheating people out of their entitled lodgings or just stupid, she was still a big heaping pile of mean poo.

Even after getting a hotel, Air Canada does not allow its agents to rebook your flight for you. Instead, they are instructed to give you a little card with a telephone number on it, and you have to rebook the flight yourself. So this went to prove my theory that the higher up the ladder you go in Air Canada, the more shitty you become. Giordana is now on the phone with Marilyn about flights and things aren't sounding too good at all. I hate Air Canada.

Dear AC:

You are a dirty little hooker.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Hi, there. This is Giordana, and I edit all of Garry's blog posts. I just censored this entry, as Garry got a little carried away in his fury. Note that this is not the original. Imagine it a lot worse.

After a Brief Hiatus

I took a bit of a break from posting on the NY blog during which I was at home (Canada home, a.k.a. home 1.0, a.k.a.  The Island, a.k.a. "Oh God I hate Duncan so much") visiting with relatives and generally having an awesome holiday season filled with snow, presents, and booze.  More so the first two than the final;  I am such an old man.     

Our initial return to the Island was, to say the very very least, an immeasurable hell filled with the screaming souls of the damned, who all sound very similar to inbred sugar buzzed redneck mullet sporting children caged within the ball pit at McDonalds.   I am sure some of you may be very aware of the big snow coloured dump the clouds took on the Vancouver area around the twenty-first of December -- Air Canada sure was, but let's not go there.

Christmas was a blast: I saw a lot of family -- both my own and Gio's.  She spoiled me for Christmas, I spoiled her, blah blah blah.  

New years eve was taken slowly: Giordana and I, without car, opted to stay home, drink wine, and watch movies.  Each of us has made our New Years resolution quite simple:  Hers is to take more photos, and my own personal resolution is to write more (possibly in this blog, possibly a play?)  Who knows?

At the moment we're both sitting in Vancouver International Airport.  Our original flight through Calgary was cancelled, so we had to take a flight to Vancouver instead (four hours later). Now, the new flight from YVR to JFK has been delayed by two whole friggin' hours.  This means we won't be getting home, a.k.a. Brooklyn, a.k.a. The Big Apple, a.k.a. My bed, until around two o'clock a.m. NY time.  Ouch.

Well, you can expect more pictures and more writing very soon.  I have a feeling we'll be able to keep those resolutions up (yeah, right).