Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Joshua Beamish/ MOVETHECOMPANY Debuts "The Masque of the Red Death" at The Joyce Theatre Ballet Festival

 Last month, the Joyce Theatre hosted its annual Ballet Festival, which showcased performances by various dance companies, including internationally known, Joshua Beamish/ MOVETHECOMPANY.  The New York based, contemporary company made its return to the Joyce stage, this time with the world premiere of Beamish's new full length work "The Masque of the Red Death", inspired by the Edgar Allan Poe short story.  The piece explored the different color palette, moods, and social context presented in Poe's Gothic tale. 

The work embodied the fantasy essence that is Poe's Red Death story.  Through a mixture of spoken and recorded texts from opera signer Jessye Norman, "The Secret Lives of Color" by Kassia St. Clair, and "Chromophobia" by David Batchelor, the audience was transported into a realm of darkness.  The piece was full of award worthy theatrics.

 The costumes and lighting played heavily into the ambiance.  While dark in tone, vibrant colors also shone throughout.  The dancers created abstract shapes and images against bright blues, greens, orange and a blinding white towards the end.  Sections with the spoken text sounded muffled at times, and I couldn't help but wonder if it was intentional.  It added a distinct, underlying menacing element to the performance that fit the narrative eerily well.

 I have been moved by performances in the past, but this was different.  Watching Beamish's "The Masque of the Red Death" felt uneasy and unsettling, in a great way.  The unexpected trepidation, and anticipation of what would come next was a new and exhilarating experience. 

Photos courtesy of PR


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Bindner Spencer Partners Host Discussion About Design of Schools


 Last month, Matt Bindner and Jack Spencer of the design firm Bindner Spencer Partners (BSP), hosted a conversation alongside Publicolor with the Department of Education on "the design of schools".  Publicolor is a nonprofit that works to fight poverty by addressing the alarming dropout rate and low levels of educational attainment and youth employment in New York City.
The panel included BSP's founder Matt Bindner, Publicolor's Founder + President Ruth Lande Shuman, Executive Superintendent for Renewal Schools Aimee Horowitz, and Dattner's Daniel Heuberger. The four panelists examined their take on designing spaces. The event was held in AYR SoHo's flagship at 199 Lafayette Street, which BSP designed.
Ruth Lande Shuman also explained Publicolor's Summer Design Studio (SDS), a 7-week program in which students will re-design educational spaces such as classrooms, libraries and cafeterias. Shuman told the audience "This summer, Publicolor will be challenging students to redesign spaces in their school – notably classrooms, cafeterias and hallways. By engaging students in critical thinking and creative problem solving, it encourages collaboration and positive attitudes. This is an example of how we immerse our students for seven weeks in the summer in literacy and math through product design. Thereby resulting in a highly effective antidote to summer learning loss, which is the greatest contributor to the education gap between high and low-income students." 
 Matt Bindner concluded the panel discussion.  "Our youth are filled with creativity." he said "so it's important for them to understand their agency to change their environment through design. By teaching the children of today a way to see the world through the lens of design, we will have a more exciting world tomorrow".  Afterwards, guests mingled over wine donated by Conorníu Raventós and shopped the AYR clothing collection. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Free Beauty Events July Giveaway


FreeBeautyEvents.com is back this month with another amazing giveaway.  For anyone not familiar with FBE, the site is a great tool for all beauty addicts.  It helps you stay up to date on the latest beauty happenings in your area and serves as an awesome way to snag killer free samples. Each month the site gives away a bundle chalk full of the industry's best must haves, and this month's bundle totals a whopping $125 value!  Let's check them out..

This month's basket includes industry favorites from Love Beauty and Planet, Maybelline, Yes to, Coppertone and more!  The contest runs from now through 7/31//18, winners will be chosen on 8/10/18 and notified by 8/15/18.  Entering is simple!  Visit FreeBeautyEvents on Facebook (don't forget to like them!) or enter directly on their website.

Besides the monthly giveaways, the site also offers great beauty advice and product reviews on their blog.  Like any of the products you read about?  Keep your eyes open for your chance to stock up!  Easy as 1-2-3, just enter your zip code into the site's search bar to find out which locations in your area might be handing out samples.  It's a helpful way to keep up to date with the beauty events happening in your town.  

Get more FBE info here

Have you attended a past event listed on the site? 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Review: e.l.f. Recharging Magnetic Mask Kit

Retail: $24.00
Magnetic face masks have been popping up all over the internet, and I've been dying to try one.  If you haven't seen one in action, you should definitely check out the videos on YouTube.  They perform look like magic, and the reviews seem to be positive.

The ones circulating have been mostly high end, luxury brands that are out of my price range.  So when I was browsing through e.l.f. and saw they carried one for $24.00, I snatched it up. 

When asked, the store rep explained to me that this is different then a charcoal mask, which actually draws out dirt and impurities to help improve the skin's overall condition.  The purpose of e.l.f.'s mask is basically to brighten and soften the skin.
 e.l.f.'s Recharging Magnetic Mask Kit includes the mask, a dual sided magnetic tool, and 20 magnetic covers (to slip over the magnetic tool).  It contains antioxidants like Carrot Seed Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Argan Oil, which help to revitalize and soften skin, as well as protect it from environmental stressors like dust and smoke.   

The mask is packaged in a hard plastic jar, and you're supposed to scoop it out using the handle of the magnetic tool.  I used this method on the lower half of my face, but finished off my nose and forehead with my finger.

The mask looks like charcoal with a citrus scent.  It has a fluffy, airy texture, which made for a new application experience.  It applied easily and distributed evenly, but felt different then a cream or gel.  The residue on my fingers wasn't wet or tacky, it felt almost dry and flaky.  Tip; apply sparingly.  Usually we're told to apply masks "generously", but not in this case.  It doesn't come with an overwhelming amount of product, and therefore I assumed a thin layer should suffice.    

I applied a light layer with my finger and left it on for the recommended 10 minutes.  At first, it felt cool but after a few minutes, I felt a slight burning sensation.  It was a little uncomfortable, but not intolerable. 

 When my timer beeped, I noticed the formula never hardened or got stiff.  The texture stayed the same.   I slipped one of the plastic covers over the magnetic tool, and held it about 1/4 inch from my skin.  As I ran it along my jawline, particles started coming off and collecting in the center of the wand.  It was pretty cool!  Below is the mask after I removed it:  

The mask left behind a slight residue.  The directions advised this is the hydrating oils, which you're supposed to massage into the skin (not rinse off with water).   To me, the residue felt sort of chalky, not oily or greasy.  Initially, I was worried it would sit on my skin and make it look dull, but it didn't.  After a minute or two my dry skin drank it right up.  By the end, my skin felt soft and smooth, and appeared less red.  I applied the mask before bed, but it could also be a good makeup prep.   Like a primer, it fills in the lines and creates a smooth canvas for you to work with.   

Overall, I liked how it made my skin feel, but I don't know if I will repurchase.  The directions advise using 1-2 times a week, and I feel like one jar will only last me about a month.  Plus, I think my skin craves a deeper cleanse.  Even though it softens skin, it is not designed to penetrate and remove blackheads or build up.  Instead, it lifts dirt on the surface of skin. 

If you're new to the world of magnetic skincare and want to test the waters, e.l.f. is a good starting point.  It's less intense then the high end masks.  This one gently preps skin for day to day activities, and gives it a swift reboot.  It's user friendly, super affordable and gets the job done.         

Have you tried any of the magnetic masks?  What did you think? 

Joseph Cicio Celebrates the Release of First Book "FRIENDS* *Bearing Gifts"

Joseph Cicio
Last month, Josie Natori hosted a cocktail party to celebrate the release of Joseph Cicio's first book "FRIENDS* *Bearing Gifts" at the Club Room in The Lowell Hotel. 

Nancy Kissinger and Josie Natori

  The book emphasizes the importance of relationships, and is a reflection on a life filled with warmth, beauty, and ultimately exceptional memories. Lauren Bacall, Prince Charles, Audrey Hepburn, and Joan Rivers are just a few of the cherished relationships chronicled in this new memoir published by Pointed Leaf Press. Unique essays on each friend are told through the beautiful objects they gifted the author and feature stunning photography of his Connecticut home. 

  Throughout the room were elegant flower arrangements, the signature of restaurateur Charles Masson, which included masses of peonies, a favorite of Nancy Kissinger, who wrote the book’s elegant forward, and a central collage motif on the book's cover designed by Ernesto Artillo. Spring buds were definitely on the minds of Cicio and Kissinger as they cozied up to discuss the lilacs now blooming at both their Connecticut gardens. Following cocktails the festive mood continued with an intimate dinner at Majorelle with Dawn Mello and the book's publisher Suzy Slesin

Fashion notables Jeffrey BanksRose Marie Bravo, Cece Cord, Cathy Hardwick, Art & Fran ReinerCarolyne RoehmBenny Tabatabai and Adrienne Vittadini were on hand to congratulate Cicio. Media personalities Jeanette Chang, Andrew ChurchillPamela Fiori, Sharon Hoge, Shirley LordChristopher Mason and William O’Shaughnessy all showed their support. Gentlemen of style including Geoffrey Bradfield, Richard Keith Langham, Alex Papachristidis and Ralph Pucci also came to cheer on Cicio. Other guests included Jerry & Joan AdlerYana Avis, Edgar BatistaMaria Elena Christiansen, Carmen D'AlessioSusan GutfreundRoz Jacobs, Veronica KellyThe Amazing Kreskin, Jeanne Lawrence, Iris Love, and Dr. Luca Parolari.

The book is available for purchase here

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

I Spent Two Days as a Tourist and it Rocked

Do I love NY?  Sure.  Do I own my own iconic "I <3 NY" t-shirt?  No.. but I thought maybe it was time to throw one on, and spend a day as a full on New York City tourist.  So when TopView, one of the city's popular tour bus companies offered me two complimentary days of sightseeing with friends, I happily accepted. 

Being that this was my first NYC bus tour, I wasn't sure what to expect, or even how it worked.  Each ticket was good for any tour, at anytime of day, and for two days.  

My friends and I planned to do the Downtown Tour, and Liberty Cruise tour on day one, and then the Uptown & Harlem Tour for day two.  The Liberty Cruise was the only tour we needed to book in advance because the boat requires a head count for capacity reasons.

Day One:
We boarded the bus at the pick up location in Times Square.  Finding the exact spot turned out to be surprisingly easy because there were TopView guides positioned throughout the area, directing ticket holders where to go.  My friends and I made our way to the roof of the bus, and settled in with our ear phones (make sure you grab a pair when you board!).  The bus was full, but not crowded, and everyone that wanted a seat upstairs got one.  We plugged in our ear phones and were instantly serenaded by Old Blue Eyes himself and a pretty hip cover of T- Swizzle's "Welcome to New York".  Not a bad way to get in the mood!

Soon after the bus began moving, the music stopped and a recorded voice came through providing brief histories of the buildings/sites/ architecture as we drove along.  The Downtown tour route took us past Rockefeller Center, Macy's, the Empire State Building, the Flatiron Building, SoHo, Canal Street, and City Hall among others.  Since this was the first tour, my friends and I rode it almost all the way through, snapping dozens of pictures along the way, and eventually getting off at Chambers Street.   

From there, we grabbed lunch by the water, and transitioned to the Liberty Cruise, leaving from the near by harbor.  The cruise used a live tour guide to provide information as we coasted past Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, the Colgate Clock, and Governor's Island.  I enjoyed the cruise a lot.  The tour guide was funny, entertaining, and super knowledgeable.  As I sit writing this, I'm still in awe at some of the info I picked up.  Because I had booked the last cruise of the day, there was no option to hop off and see the sites.  I'd recommend this option for day two of your passes after you've visited your preferred sites, and want to relax and take in the scenery.  

Downtown Tour:


Liberty Cruise:

Day Two:
My friends and I boarded the bus in the Theater District on 8th Ave. for the Uptown and Harlem Tour.  This went by Columbus Circle, to the American Museum of Natural History, Apollo Theater, the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, ending at Carnage Hall.  
 We hopped off in Morningside Heights and spent some time at Grant's Tomb.  This made me realize why the passes are good for two days; there is sooo much to do and see, you couldn't possibly cover it all in one day.  We were at the tomb for at least an hour.  We walked back to the same spot we had gotten off, and within about 10 minutes, another bus showed up to take us on our way.

Overall, it was an awesome two days, and definitely a convenient way to explore the city.  It is clean, comfortable, and reliable transportation that takes you straight to the doorstep of the city's most precious highlights.  I'll take this over the obnoxious subway any day.  Tickets range in price from $29-$55, depending on the tour.  I recommend every New Yorker take at least one bus tour in their lifetime.  New York City contains a lot of history and it should be appreciated.  We get so busy and when we live in the middle of it, sometimes we forget to slow down and experience it. 

Uptown & Harlem Tour:


- Bring sunscreen or a hat if you plan to sit on the roof.  This is still NYC and could easily get stuck in traffic, smack under the burning sun.
- Bring snacks and water!  You will get hungry and at times, may end up in areas with few food options.  (We learned the hard way).
- I advise trying to decide ahead of time which stops are most important for you to hop off at.  It's easy to lose track of time and you want to ensure you leave enough time to visit all your favorites.    

Have you tried a TopView tour?  Are you interested?

Get more info here



Free Beauty Events June Giveaway

FreeBeautyEvents.com is back this month with another amazing giveaway.  For anyone not familiar with FBE, the site is a great tool for all beauty addicts.  It helps you stay up to date on the latest beauty happenings in your area and serves as an awesome way to snag killer free samples. Each month the site gives away a bundle chalk full of the industry's best must haves, and this month's bundle totals a whopping $130 value!  Let's check them out..


This month's basket includes industry favorites from Dove, Olay, Ban Coppertone, Milani, KISS, Sally Hansen and more!  The contest runs from now through 6/30/18, winners will be chosen on 7/10/18 and notified by 7/15/18.  Entering is simple!  Visit FreeBeautyEvents on Facebook (don't forget to like them!) or enter directly on their website.

Besides the monthly giveaways, the site also offers great beauty advice and product reviews on their blog.  Like any of the products you read about?  Keep your eyes open for your chance to stock up!  Easy as 1-2-3, just enter your zip code into the site's search bar to find out which locations in your area might be handing out samples.  It's a helpful way to keep up to date with the beauty events happening in your town.  

Get more FBE info here

Have you attended a past event listed on the site? 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

New Launch: The Mermaid Handbook


 Last week I attended the launch of the long awaited The Mermaid Handbook by Carolyn Turgeon, and Faerie Magazine's upcoming Mermaid Issue.  The mermaid themed evening featured mermaid poetry readings, mermaid inspired ensembles, and a mermaid burlesque performance by the popular entertainer, Veronica Varlow.  

The Mermaid Handbook is Turgeon's follow up to the popular The Faerie Handbook.  The festive, aqua blue hardcover with elegant copper edging is a collection of mermaid inspired fashions, beauty secrets, DIY, cocktails, and even tells you where to find a real life mermaid. 

 Mermaid legends have long been an alluring and influential part of history, particularly in the arts. The sea sirens have inspired beloved movies like Disney's "The Little Mermaid" and "Splash", and even mermaid style wedding gowns.  I felt nostalgic flipping though the book because it reminded me when my friends and I would play mermaids at the town pool, back when we were kids.  
In the midst of all the festivities, guests also enjoyed specialty cocktails from Big Gin and New York Catskill Provision.  Each drink was a tangy, citrus mixture and had a fun, colorful presentation to match the night's under water theme. 

Veronica Varlow

The Mermaid Handbook is available Barnesandnoble.com

Saturday, May 26, 2018

RIOULT Dance NY Kicks Off 2018 New York Season

Photo by Sofia Negron

Next Wednesday May 30th, kicks off the much anticipated 2018 New York season of RIOULT Dance at the Joyce Theater, which will run through June 3rd. 

RIOULT is an internationally known New York City based American modern dance company, that was created in 1994 by Pascal Rioult, a former principal dancer with the Martha Graham Company.  

This season, Rioult celebrates the historic connection between choreographers and composers in a program titled Written for Dance.  The program is inspired by the music of Russian composers and will take its audience on a journey through three musical periods – the romantic, the neo-classic, and the contemporary.  It will also include the company's premiere of Nostalghiawhich will be performed to live music.  Nostalghia is a collaboration between company choreographer Pascal Rioult, and Russian composer Polina Nazaykinskaya.  

Nazaykinskaya is a Teaching Artist at the New York Philharmonic Composers Bridge Program, and her music has been performed by the Russian National Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.

Together they examine the unique relationships individuals have with their cultural history and reflect on how this history persists in the face of the growing influence of western pop culture. Inspired by Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Nostalghia, RIOULT incorporates cinematic elements into the choreography. Long-time RIOULT collaborator Brian Beasley will design a projected visual “score” enhancing the theatrical experience. With costumes by Naomi Luppescu and lighting design by the Company’s resident lighting designer Jim French, RIOULT will capture the nostalgic and evocative atmosphere defined in Tarkovsky’s films.

Guests were invited to an open rehearsal for a preview of snippets from the upcoming performance.  A breakdown of Nostalghia showed just have intricately woven the movement is with the music.  The dancers' ability to effortlessly sail through each layer, and communicate each underlying note with such clarity, pulls you in like a magnet.    
Each time I watch RIOULT perform, it feels like the first time.  The  choreography is such that I always find something new to appreciate in every movement, and dub it a must see for anyone, especially those with an adoration for the arts. 

Tickets are available at www.joyce.org or by phone at 212-242-0800


Last night I attended day two of Rioult's 2018 New York season at The Joyce Theater in New York City.  The show opened with Dream Suite, a lively, whimsical piece full of color.  The dancers executed the movement with soft, balletic undertones and captivating fluidity, which I loved.      

 The middle of the program included Les Noces, a company classic from 2005.  This erotic piece showed the deconstruction of the marriage ritual, and the union of two individuals into one.  Eight dancers were coupled off, and began in their underwear, slowly adding on layers by the end.  The remarkable silhouettes, and imagery in this piece are such genius that I doubt they will ever be duplicated.  Pascal is his own fiercest competitor when trying to match this breathtaking work of art.    


The program closed with the world premiere of Nostalghia.  The attention to musicality and detail were so meticulous that your entrancement is inevitable.  The score contains hidden elements that are highlighted by the choreography, and soon become so obvious that you wonder how you didn't hear them before.  The dancers demonstrate incredible strength and athleticism with countless lifts and the building of a pyramid. 

Rioult continues to be a source of innovation and influence within the dance world.  Rioult's season ends June 3rd, and I would recommend experiencing them before it's over. 

 Photos by Emma Kazaryan, Eric Bandiero and Nina Wurtzel

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Halston Residence Fetes Charles James

 The release of Charles James: Portrait of Unreasonable Man: Fame, Fashion, Art, the new, definitive biography by Michèle Gerber Klein, was celebrated at Halston’s former townhouse designed by the great mid-century architect Paul Rudolf.

The relationship between Charles James and Halston was long, complicated and fascinating.  The two designers met in 1958 through Page Zwecker, fashion editor of the Chicago Daily News.  James, at the height of his career, became a mentor to Halston, whose career had just begun.  Halston soon moved to New York to design hats for Lilly Dache, after meeting her through James.  
"Halston learned a great deal from Charles about designing and the world of style and probably other things too"- Dache recalled.

In 1970, after James' career had declined, Halston hired him as a "fashion consultant engineer" for the Halston collections.  Despite the collaboration receiving a glowing review from critics like Bernadine Morris of the The NY Times, Halston decided to part ways with James.  

In the ensuing years of Halston's rise to fortune and vast fame, James obsessively made of lists of designs Halston had stolen from him, and described Halston to Couri Hay in tapes filmed by Anton Perish as “a middle of the road man who would be better as a buyer in a store or a stylist. He knows how to select good things, but his passion has been to put his name on it - the word plagiarism is correct.” 
 The evening was a sincere eye opening experience into the deep realms of the fashion world.  

The impressive guest list included names like Harold Koda who wrote the book’s forward, as well as James Andrew, Paula Antonelli, Susan Lowrey, Steven M.L. Aronson, and Evelyn Lorentzen Bell to name a few.  

 Guests reminisced about past experiences in the house from years before.  Everyone marveled at the Paul Rudolph's famous staircases and the fire place into which Elas Peretti famously, (in a fit of pique) flung the fur coat Halston gave her.  The house was decorated with elegant white orchids, a Halston trade mark he assumed from Charles James.

Charles James: Portrait of Unreasonable Man: Fame, Fashion, Art is available at: Barnesandnoble.com

Photos courtesy of PR

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Publicolor Holds its Annual Stir Splatter + Roll Gala 2018


 Publicolor is a long running New York City youth organization that recently celebrated its 22nd Anniversary at their annual Stir Splatter + Roll gala. 

Founded by award-winning industrial designer, Ruth Lande Shuman, Publicolor
fights poverty by addressing the alarming dropout rate and low levels of educational attainment and youth employment in New York City.  It focuses on low income students and implements art and design based programs in schools and the community, to help them achieve academic success and gain the confidence to succeed throughout life.

This year's gala was held at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City, and the room was bursting with energy.  
Upon arrival, guests were invited to participate in an interactive painting experience lead by several of the city's finest artists, designers, and architects.  Alongside them were Pubicolor's own students to contribute and collectively create customized works of art. 

 Before sitting down to dinner, guests enjoyed cocktails while bidding in a silent auction full of luxury pieces from the Albers Foundation, Rainey Day Erwin, Gensler, Philip Glass, Michael Kors, LIVE with Kelly and Ryan, and Takaaki Matsumoto to name a few. 

   The night included a devastatingly beautiful performance by world famous composer Philip Glass.  But the most inspirational moment of the night was the heart warming speech given by a Publicolor student, about to graduate high school and attend college.   

“It's always a joy to celebrate our students who are succeeding despite the enormous challenges...  They are realizing their potential... and giving back to their communities...They inspire us every day!” said Ruth Lande Shuman, President of Publicolor.

 Publicolor motivates students and shows them they have the ability to succeed in life, no matter what their background is.  

 To learn more or get involved, visit Publicolor

Photos by: Annie Watt

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