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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Play Me, I'm Yours!

I was born in what was to become The MTV Generation I was a little late for the explosive freedom and liberation of revolutionary changes in the 60's and 70's where music was taken out into the streets uniting people for causes beyond the concert stadiums. I was a child of the 80's and listened to music made on synthesizers and very large computers. Madonna and Whitney Houston were my heros and banana clips were my friends. Somehow though, as I aged, it did not take me long to realize that the music I truly love is that of the 30's and 40's. Of course I can appreciate modern music but I am certain I was born in the wrong era. I long for the days when a party meant everyone gathering 'round the piano and singing some rousing tunes. I feel strange that I know how songs like THIS...


was once a pop hit!

So it should come as no surprise that when I heard about "Play Me, I'm Yours", an art installation of pianos randomly distributed throughout Manhattan and many outer boroughs for New Yorkers to see, play, and enjoy, I was anxious to find some!

I had little idea just how cool it would be when I found one. The first I encountered was at Columbus Circle just behind the huge statue this past Wednesday. I got so giddy! I sat down to wait for the friend I was meeting and listened to the man playing the piano.


Everyone watching him was smiling and enjoying this just as much as I! When I thought about finding one of these I was hoping someone might be playing a song I knew and I might feel inspired to hop up and sing along. Instead, I was stunned as a sort of scroungy older man in the audience (who could have passed for homeless) hopped up and ran over after the other man left and started ticklin' those ivories! The crowd sat full of smiles as we enjoyed his tune, when a woman with a stroller carrying two babies wheeled over next to me. She pushed her babies towards myself and an older woman beside me saying hurriedly, "Would you mind watching them for a moment while I play?" Of course we agreed and she ran over and sat down only to play the most brilliant and challenging song we had heard just yet! "Oh MY!!!" giggled the older woman next to me as she started a round of applause! I watched as one of her babies repeatedly attempted to pull himself out of his slumber. I wondered whether he recognized his mom's tune. On she went only to be replaced by a tourist with bag from the M&Ms store. I was really considering jumping in but the only thing I thought I might be able to play was the Oscar Meyer Wiener song, and decided against it. It was then that my friend met me and we had to proceed with our day. I still want to find myself at another one of these pianos and sing some old standards just to have that experience out on a street somewhere, but wow is this public art incredible! We move to this city to be near this type of energy yet so many of us wrap ourselves into our solitary cocoons with earbuds and our own agenda. We steer clear of the "touristy" areas that initially drew us to this city and grumble at the crowds. I love when someone places something like this in our way and I watch as we come back out of our shells, and smile, and laugh, and connect...the way we were born to do. So get out there and find yourself a piano!

“Play Me, I’m Yours” is an artwork by British artist Luke Jerram who has been touring the project globally since 2008.

From 9am-10pm each day, 60 pianos will be available to play across New York City. Presented by Sing for Hope they are located in public parks, streets and plazas the pianos will be available until 5th July for any member of the public to play and engage with.

Be sure to check out the "Play Me, I'm Yours" NYC site for more information, locations on the pianos (including Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island!) and to post pictures/stories/videos of piano sightings!

And to you fellow artists out there who are looking for ways to volunteer, I am excited to learn more about the folks presenting this art along with Luke Jerram, Sing for Hope. Go check out ways you can get involved as well!


*****Update*****I finally got to play my wiener song....poorly...in the middle of Times Square to a smattering of applause! (6/26/10)


Monday, June 21, 2010

"An Anorexic Vanilla Latte Please!"

I went out to meet a great friend at a Starbucks this evening and encountered, quite possibly, the most unhappy Starbucks employee I have ever had the pleasure of dealing with. I must say, on the whole, I have found Starbucks employees to be quite pleasant and joyous in demeanor. So it should go without saying (but it's too late now) that this grumpy barista sticks out like a sore thumb.

We'll call her "Grumpypants", and she didn't look entirely different than this photo of Jabba the Hut.



Now, unreasonably irritable and unfriendly customer service associates are something of the norm these days outside of Starbucks so I am pretty used to not taking it too personal. Now I have always had trouble ordering drinks at Starbucks. I have grave difficulty remembering all the correct words to describe what I'd like and even in all these years, I still don't fully have it down. Also, I have been a bit out of practice as of late and when I went to order, this is how it went.

Me: "Hello, can I please have a grande...er I'm sorry, I'd like a venti, non-fat, vanilla latte please.
GrumpyPants: "Iced or hot?"
Me: "Oh!, Iced please!! Thanks so much for asking! I have a problem remembering all these words, sorry."

Without much reaction she began preparing my drink. When I saw her pour Reduced Fat 2% milk in, I asked
Me: "Oh...do you guys use 2% instead of non-fat/skim?" (I don't know why this sounded right to me.)
Grumpypants: blank stare as if to say "Bitch, are you going to fucking make me start over?"
Me: "You call skim 'non-fat', right?"
Grumpypants: "You need to say 'slender'."
Me: "What? I though it was 'skinny'? or...'non-fat'".
Grumpypants: "You didn't ask for non-fat."
Me: (still unecessarily polite) "No, I know I said 'non-fat vanilla latte', I forgot to say "iced" which you helped me with, thank you."
Grumpypants: (evil glare as she dumps it out and begins again and...I can't be certain, but she may have just used the same jug of 2%, I couldn't really see...but it was the same damn color.)
Me: (continuing unnecessary politeness) Sorry...thank you!
Random Guy Behind Me in Line : "I heard you say 'non-fat'!"

When I shared this story with my friend I learned that Grumpypants is always this much of a "pleasure" and gives everyone a hard time. I also didn't really notice until I retold this story that she actually said I should have called my skim milk "slender". Now that's a new one. Please tell me she made that one up on the spot?!?! I really wouldn't be surprised if it's the newest ridiculous word in the Starbucks vernacular but geez, when will it end? My friends told me of some awesome twist on the Caramel Macchiato where you order it "upside down". They literally just include the same ingredients but make it in reverse. Evidently it tastes like an entirely new and delectable $5+ treat! F.Y.I. This is one Grumpypants REFUSES to make (at the Starbucks on 49th Street b/w 8th & 9th Ave). I still don't know who discovered/named this, it had to be one of the more pleasant Starbucks workers.

I want to start making up my own.

"I'll take a 'Fat-ass Vanilla Latte with Spanx and a Smile' please!"
"Please pick me up a 'Bow-legged/Big-Boned Caramel Macchiato!"
"Ooh, I'd love a 'Tall-n-Lanky Frappachino with Freckles' please."

In case you care....

Oh man, I really wish I could feel like I have something decent to blog about regularly. While I don't want to stress myself out about it, I realize that the things I love about the blogs I check up on are that they always have something new every time I visit them. I know a mom who just added twins to her 2 younginz and she is still keeping up with her blog every other damn day! Of course she has a highly successful blog with tons of readers who are waiting to hear what she has to say. I must say it is easy to blow this off when I feel like no one ever reads it. Not to offend you if you happen to be reading this and don't happen to be my brother (thank you Scott!). I'm just sayin'. It give me huge license to ignore it until something huge happens that really makes me giggle or think. Now it sounds like that is rare in my world, and that would be a lie. I giggle and think quite a bit daily. I swear I do! Sometimes I even do them simultaneously. But I don't suppose I look for something every other day that I should come here and tell you about. I try to wait until the mood hits. And unfortunately it hasn't really hit for a second. I was busy getting geared up to do my first solo NYC cabaret, which somehow went smashingly. But now I am back, and I am going to stay focused on finding something to tell you about every other day. Even if that doesn't occur, I imagine I will get here more often than I have been.

And I thank you for your support.