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When Tara Met Blog
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Red Light Winter
I was invited to a "Blogger Night" showing of the off-Broadway play Red Light Winter followed by a Q&A and happy hour. Of course my invite also said that I would be under no obligation to post anything on my blog but any coverage would be appreciated. I agreed to go, free tickets and all, but inwardly knew I'd feel guilty if I didn't write anything about the show. Luckily I didn't have to worry about that because the show was really enjoyable. In fact, it's plays like Red Light Winter and the musical Altar Boyz that remind me that there are some great off-Broadway shows out there too...amidst the crap.

The play is both dramatic and comedic and starts like a dysfunctional buddy buddy film, almost like Sideways but with a younger cast and set in Amsterdam instead of the Napa Valley. Then it delves into topics like depression, competition and unrequited love when the two buddies spend an evening in the Red Light District with a young prostitute, creating an incestuous love triangle. The second act takes place in the East Village a year later and shows how the characters have and haven't changed since that night last winter.

I thought the acting was really strong and captivating, especially by the two main guys (Gary Wilmes and Christopher Denham) as was the dialog, although the monologues in the second half were too lengthy and started to loose me. Overall the show made me laugh out loud a few times and then made me feel depressed while pondering the idea "why do people fall in love with the wrong people?" which was clearly a theme in this play. Oh and there was both male and female nudity on stage but not gratuitously.

The production originally sold-out in the Steppenwolf Theater production in Chicago and reunites the leading male actors and director & playwright, Adam Rapp who recently wrote the screenplay for the Will Farrell, Ed Harris film Winter Passing. Red Light Winter is now on 27 Barrow Street in the West Village right near Sushi Samba and 7th Avenue.

The Q&A after the show was a bit painful not because it went into too much detail but because there wasn't much enthusiasm or discussion at all. I even asked the first question after the prolonged silence once the actors and writer were on stage and looking at the audience to start firing. I can't stand awkward silence so I felt like I had to ask something to get things moving and it worked...somewhat. Then there was the after party at Pizza Bar (part new age pizza parlor, part bar and lounge) in the Meat Packing District was pretty chill. The writer and one of the actors came along too, but since I was having fun talking with my friend and watching the weird psychedelic cartoons that were playing on the walls and sipping my drink, I didn't socialize much or meet any other bloggers. Ah well.

Posted by Tara at 10:05 AM PDT
Updated: Thursday, April 20, 2006 9:33 AM PDT
Monday, April 17, 2006
On the Moxie with some twists
So yesterday was definitely an eventful and strange night. It started when I got home and I heard a man in a very high pitched voice yell "Fire, Fire!" in my back courtyard area, followed by a lot of parking and then a smoke alarm beeping. Smoke was emitting out the back door two doors down from me. Soon there were fire trucks being heard in the distance. My friend Stef had just arrived so we closed the window and went outside in time to see all the trucks and firemen arrive and go into action. They even extended the latter to the roof, not sure why, when the fire was on the ground floor, must be a precaution. When I got back that night all was well, my building still standing etc, just a very burnt mattress lying on the street outside. hmmm

Then Stef and I decided to try out the sports bar Woody Mchales, which I pass all the time on 14th Street. I had shared a cab with one of the bar's investors when coming back from the airport after my trip to Nassau a few weeks ago. As luck would have it, he was there that night too. And odder still, it turns out he's Stef's neighbor out in Mahwah, Jersey but they never met before. While there in the cozy ski cabin like bar I managed to consume two very awesome Key Lime martini's in an hour and some creamy mac and cheese. I recommend highly, it's very casual and fun, i'd like to watch a game there some time.

We then headed to our main purpose that night...wait for it... a Bedroom Confidence/Sex Workshop for women only, sponsored by Moxie In the City, a singles network. Although I don't think we needed the confidence part, but we did learn a few um tricks and techniques. We had heard about Moxie in a listserv and figured, what the heck? I'm always up for learning something new after all and thankfully it wasn't skeevy at all or too detailed. Instead the "class" was very mature, professional and provided a fun night out in the downstairs of Redemption Lounge. Although the discussion wasn't earth shattering or anything, it still proved interesting.

I especially liked the easy manor of the instructor, Christan Marashio, who is also the owner & creator of Moxie which formed last year. She shared her experiences and research comically and honestly. (See Christan, and you thought I was going to bash the event on my blog ;) Oh another coincidence is that when we were talking after the workshop I mentioned that a friend of mine had done their Singles Intro to Italian mixer a few months ago and she remembered him once I said his first name. Moxie also has a dating-related blog, check it out at Sex & Moxie.

Some giggles later, on our way back on the E the train, the train suddenly stopped at 42nd. According to the announcement a sick passenger was on the platform and was too close to the track for us to proceed. 15 mins later, behind closed doors, passengers complained that we couldn't get out to catch the train across the tracks and Stef was starting to get claustrophobic. After 10 cops quickly passed by and two firemen, the doors finally opened and everyone fled to the express train waiting for us, but onlookers still had enough time to see a collapsed man that no one was touching and whose head seemed way too close to an open subway door. I'm not sure if he got hit or just fell when the doors open, I'll check the news later on. Either way it was very unsettling. So that was another twist on the night.

Link: Check out my commentary on the recent score of horror movies, which according to critics verges on being "torture porn," at Horror Takes Another Stab

Posted by Tara at 9:01 PM PDT
Updated: Monday, June 26, 2006 8:01 AM PDT
Little Darlings
It's that time of year, end of quarter bonuses are being given out, sweet. I also got two new blog sponsors for my sidebar, and the poll that's being displayed (only for one week though). So what did I do with my new found wealth? Spent it of course. Well not all of it, I'm putting half into my ING Orange savings account to gain some interest like a good little girl. The rest went towards a dress and other clothing items. Let me explain.

Every day on my way to work I pass this cute little dress store called Darling, where a Marilyn Monroe like silk dress is on display. The owner, Ann French Emonts, a former costume designer for Broadway and off Broadway set up shop three years ago, the same time I moved near by. Fate? I think so ;) Yet, up until now I haven't bought anything there, just admired from afar.

The quaint boutique looks like Magnolia Bakery but instead of scrumptious cupcakes on display it's dresses and very girly tops and accessories. There's a Parisian / early 50s look to the overall setup.

I went in with every intention of buying the silk dress that runs for $235 in either red or gold but was captured by another halter like dress sill in gold by Bari Jay($165). Instead of silk it's lacy but has a silk sash that cuts just under the bust, straps tie behind the neck revealing my back. One of my freshman year roommates is getting married in July, so I can wear it then.

Ann the owner came downstairs to the dressing room ara to show me a little trick to zipping up the back of the dress by placing my hands on the sides of my ribcage in order to bend my posture into an easier position for sliding up the zipper. It worked. She says she's always showing people that trick.

The dressing rooms separated by cloth sheets comes equipped with high heels to use when trying on their dresses in order to see the complete look with a little extra height. If the Cinderella like shoes that I used were in my size I might have bought them too. Confession: I'm a pretty impulsive buyer, which is why I don't allow myself to go into stores like these unless I'm prepared to buy.

After paying for the dress I was then captured by a collection of custom jewelry old fashioned rings with bright fake gems. It looked like a Queen's treasure chest or going through a rich grandmother's jewelry collection. I wouldn't know about that though, but it did make me feel like I had one. I picked out a very glamorous antique looking red gem in a circle shape with diamonds along the circumference. All the fashion rings are $10. Mine's a little big but that's usually the case due to my smaller hands, but I'll just put it on my pointer finger and make due.

Last but unfortunately not least I made another impulse buy and bought a dainty umbrella, the long Singing in the Rain kind with a wooden handle and powerful bright purple and magenta colors that should be fun to carry in the rain some time. Cost $38. Finally buying something at Darling and feeling elated from my purchases? Priceless darling, priceless.

PS: I hope everyone had a lovely Easter and/or Passover. I spent the weekend in Connecticut spending time with my mom, Nanny and Stepdad's family.

News update: Phew! Molly the cat rescued from New York building after 14 days

Posted by Tara at 9:26 AM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 18, 2006 11:16 AM PDT
Friday, April 14, 2006
Cat's Delicatessen
For the last three days, only two blocks from where I live, I've been passing several news vans with their antennas extended up in the air on Hudson Street, plus police cars and an animal control van and a crowd of people. I had no idea what is was all for or what they were looking at since they appeared to be just standing in front of a deli and a cigar lounge. I thought maybe a robbery took place but then was confused by animal control being there and the press still being there the next day. Being busy and a sad excuse for a reporter as of late, I kept missing the nightly news. Today on my way to work, day 3, when I saw the commotion still going on, I finally did some digging.

Turns out at Meyers of Kenswick, this little deli that specializes in selling British goods and where I buy the occasional Cadbury bar, apparently has a 11-month old cat named Molly stuck behind the wall in their basement. I have no idea how Molly got there, but she has been trapped for 13 days now. Apparently they can hear her meowing but can not get to her. One animal control worker brought in his 3-week-old kitten in a fruitless attempt to lure Molly from the wall. Poor Molly she must be scared due to all the commotion.

Besides news vans and the media, Molly has been attracting a wall of on lookers, which is why I couldn't see what they were all looking at to begin with. I had originally asked someone in the crowd but he had no idea either, yet he still looked on as if he did. The story has been picked up in the Chicago Tribune and in many papers outside of the New York too.

Trapped Cat Enters Day 13 of Captivity

From Faint Meows, a Frenzy Grows

Posted by Tara at 7:27 AM PDT
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Pitching lifestyle magazines and Marie Claire denial
I attended a Bulldog Reporter Media Relations 2006 class called "How to get featured in leading lifestyle magazines" on Tuesday afternoon. Held at the Marriott Marquee in Times Square the Q&A panel with lifestyle editors from Shape, Fitness, Essence and Marie Claire were on hand to provide insight. I was hoping the class would be useful for getting my two new female orientated and consumer driven clients covered by major lifestyle publications. Unfortunately it was unhelpful.

It wasn't that the editors weren't trying to be helpful to us "PR flacks" but I didn't learn anything that I didn't already know from pitching my own stories to editors during graduate school. They also didn't have a grasp on what public relations really is and what we do. The rest of their advice was common sense too since each editor said that PR people should check their outdated, unimaginative and unhelpful editorial calendars online and that we should pitch something "new"--no shit. Something "new," hmm why did I not think a reporter would want to cover something new before?

The panel did highlight that they are more likely to respond to pitches that are specific and that they are not interested in general briefings but rather are interested in hearing something in particular--something new. Plus they recommended using clear subject lines in emails and not jokes or "cute" or vague titles like "Not an average press release."

The editors also mentioned that they are more responsive to freshly presented information in new ways. Thus sending nicknack's or a sample of your actual product can help keep you at the top of their minds since they will see the items in their office. However, that doesn't help for my clients who have websites and not a physical product outside of their sites. Unless we whip up some chatski with their URL on it. Such bribery, *sigh*. It does work though, I fell for it often enough when I was assigning/covering stories.

A helpful but another obvious tip that they recommended is to think seasonally and about the trends that occur during the months, IE they typically cover weight loss in June and July since it's swim suit time as well as in January after the holiday feasting. However, although it's only April now most of them are already thinking about their Fall issues and back to school. Thus, planning ahead for long leads is important.

Away from pitching, Marie Claire's Senior Editor Julia Savacool, who was on the panel, kept telling the audience that her publication's readers are activists and that she's only interested in receiving information regarding "hard-hitting" global, social issues important to women, non profit organizations, diseases in Africa and so on. Activists? I was soo tempted to raise my hand and say, "I'm sorry but are we reading the same magazine?" I didn't want to be rude though. I'm holding May's issue of Marie Claire right now, which is dubbed "The Hair Issue" and highlights (no pun intended) include "20 Best Cuts for Your Face Shape," "Your Best Body By Summer," "Celeb Gossip: Why You Need More! More! More!" and a bonus pull-out haircut guide. Hmm very hard hitting, trumps illegal immigration any day.

Don't get me wrong I'm a subscriber, you can't beat thier subscription offer of $1 an issue, but when I think Marie Claire I think of it as a pretty fashion/female magazine and turn to my copies of Newsweek, New York Magazine, Vanity Fair or even Redbook before MC for more hard hitting articles. I'm not saying it's Shop magazine, but when I think of female activists I do not picture them carrying around an issue of Marie Claire in their recyclable made back packs.

Posted by Tara at 10:04 AM PDT
Updated: Friday, April 14, 2006 4:19 PM PDT

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