LWOS Life: The Milford Oyster Festival – A Harvest of Summer Flavors

Anyone who knows me knows that I love oysters more than just about anything consumable in the world. Put me on a deserted island with oysters and champagne and I’ll be as happy as a clam. In fact, just give me the champagne—I could probably hunt down some good shells out there myself! So when my good friend Mike texted to see if I was interested in trekking out to Connecticut for the Milford Oyster Festival, you can imagine I accepted his invitation with no hesitation. A good southern belle never turns down an opportunity for some fresh shellfish. I was sold.

This particular area of Connecticut was foreign to me. Catching up on some reading outside the train station, I had many questions. What would this little town have to offer, not so far from the concrete jungle of Manhattan?

Full Article HERE!

LWOS Life: Netflix and Chill–The Vintage Way

I remember the first time I stepped into my now boyfriend, Michael’s, apartment. He was having our friends and coworkers over to play cornhole on his roof. There was football on the flat screen in his living room. I wandered up to the T.V. to catch the score. That’s when I saw them—for the first time in almost ten years. The red and white envelopes on his entertainment unit stood out like pimples that have scarred and just won’t go away no matter how many times you try to pop them.

Full Article HERE!

LWOS: Preseason Week 2 Review: New York Giants at Detroit Lions

The New York Giants preseason victory over the Detroit Lions on Friday was the spectacle that fans needed to see that the second team is good enough to keep up with the troops that they’ll be supplementing once regular season hits. Eli Manning didn’t play. Odell Beckham Jr. didn’t play. Saquon Barkley didn’t play. And none of that proved to be a problem as Big Blue found victory at Ford Field. The game was “bad Lions.” But it was also very much “good Giants.”

Full Article HERE!

LWOS: What the New York Giants Proved in the Preseason Opener

As I watched the new New York Giants go through the motions for the first time in the first preseason game on their home field in East Rutherford, I couldn’t help but feel angry. What happened to all the hard work in OTAs and practice? And even before that, when coach Pat Shurmur jumped on board and began crafting the dream team? All the excellent moves made in the off-season, including free agency and the draft?

Of course, passing all of this work off as a waste is juvenile. Once I got over myself I was able to see what the G-Men walked onto the field to do this past Thursday. While a win against the long-broken Cleveland Browns would have been ideal, it wasn’t in the cards, because it wasn’t of interest.

Here are the biggest takeaways from Thursday night’s game.

Full Article HERE!

LWOS Life: Pride and Prejudice and Lipstick: How the Stigmas of Past Political Women Have Set the Stage for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become widely known in the last two weeks for three things: her victory in the New York congressional primary over ten-term veteran Joe Crowley, her doing so without any help from the mainstream media, and the fact that her signature red lipstick is currently sold out at Sephora. Provided her expected win this coming November, Ocasio-Cortez will be the youngest woman ever to be elected to Congress. She has no prior experience holding political office. She describes herself as a democratic socialist, the complete opposite of our currently dominant representation as a nation. And she’s from the Bronx.

Backlash surrounding Ocasio-Cortez and her platform has been minimal, probably due to her lack of presence in larger media outlets, which keeps her safely tucked away from the slander of the Right. But Ocasio-Cortez has clearly taken notes from those women who proceeded her in political roles, with the help of the mainstream media that she has mostly avoided. Her rookie status on the political scene can only help her, as we saw Hillary Clinton recently slaughtered by attention to her past. Her femininity has a similar benefit, as she garners the respect that was paid to former politically surrounded women like Jackie Kennedy. Her resilience commands accolade, like that of the slandered former governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. All of these qualities fall under the stigma of what Joseph Roach calls the “it” factor—the only stigma necessary to being a successful woman in office.

Full Article HERE!

LWOS Life: A Bartender’s Lament: Why I Left The Bar Business, And Then Ran Back Screaming‬

‪“What’s the cheapest thing here?”

Don’t do it, I plead with myself. Don’t say “you are.” He doesn’t know any better.

“I have Bud Light bottles for seven dollars.”

“SEVEN?!”

DO NOT DO IT. DO NOT REMIND HIM THAT HE IS IN AN UPSCALE MIDTOWN MANHATTAN BAR AND INFLATION IS TO BE EXPECTED.

“Sorry, love. I don’t have any control over the prices here.”

“Fine. I’ll just take one.”

He puts down $7 exactly. The last dollar is in quarters.

Now, before I continue, this is not just another “bartender pet peeves” piece. I’ll try not to bore you with my minuscule gripes against the generally ignorant middle-aged white guys of the finance and business spheres. When I left the bar business, I was in the midst of an angst-filled rampage, and I’ve been over all of my industry qualms already with my boyfriend, my other industry friends, and my coworkers from the toxic job I walked out of mid-shift in January.

I try not to quit things, and I had never before left a position before without giving a proper two weeks notice or on negative terms. This behavior was new to me. I dramatically bid farewell to the industry that had provided me a primary source of income over the course of ten years after a last-straw altercation and only after locking down a minimum wage-paying internship; a nine-to-five, a “real” job.

Full Article HERE!

Work With "The Ugly Kids"

I've been working with some fellow Fordham alums to expand their PR for the new musical "The Ugly Kids," which premiered this week at the Fresh Fruit Festival.

"The 2018 Fresh Fruit Festival 16th Season at The Wild Project, 195 East 3rd Street presents the premiere of a new musical, The Ugly Kids, by Anna Michael and Tony Macht.

It's beautiful being friends with the ugly kids. College student Chris wants to embrace that ugliness, and to let in her weird new poetry club friends. But her need for control (and her struggle with an eating disorder) make it hard to let go-or to see her roommate, Alice, as a person instead of a savior. Jazzy piano and interspersed spoken word underscore this truthful yet joyful story about learning to save your own life."

Full press release HERE.

Editorial feature HERE.

Fresh Fruits and Pretty Ugly Youths

There are certain topics that are hard to address in musicals without sounding either preachy and elementary on one hand, or triggering and tantalizing on the other. A “good” musical uses song to amplify images and emotions beyond what is expressible by mere dialogue on a stage. But what happens if the music becomes too cliché to take seriously the incredibly common and stigmatized issues faced by so many?

On paper, The Ugly Kids is a poetic fable. In performance, it is the perfect coffeehouse blend of spoken word and jazzy love song. The actors treat the thesis and antithesis of the language as bards, keeping the integrity of the message while simplifying it for those of us who are unversed in the craft of slam.

As the actors violently handle the rehearsal furniture in their playing space, I can see the dorm room materializing where Alice and Chris conquer their contrasting perspectives on how to live with their love in the light of Chris’s eating disorder.

The misfits at the unnamed university where Chris’s story takes place all have a vested interest in improving our heroine’s college experience. The artists who bring them to life encountered similar challenges with one another in their shared time at Fordham University, where rehearsals are taking place. They are all very accustomed to creating new work together, especially work that tackles difficult social and psychological issues.

Most of director JT Friedman’s notes are on the distribution and placement of energy, which bounces off the walls, ceiling and floors of the rehearsal space.

While a music rehearsal occurs around the piano, Friedman wanders around the set, banging a dead microphone prop into the palm of his left hand. He sits on the rehearsal bed and closes his eyes, his imagination at work. Playwright and lyricist Anna Michael pulls him from his dream to ask what’s wrong. He simply smiles at her until her attention is averted.

Friedman lounges on his side on the bed, still pensive, but eyes in a distant gaze, masking his deep thought. When he is finished, he sits up, and begins a seated dance to the song being rehearsed.

“Okay, now that we’ve fixed the music, we’re gonna try to fix your acting.”

“Fuck OFF,” groans a rambunctious Patrick Swailles Caldwell.

The playful exchange is reflective of the content of the show, which tackles themes of identity, addiction, and idolization.

“We create the Gods we need,” Jay, played by Caldwell, theorizes in the opening scene. And he has statistical evidence to prove it. Chris herself is one of those statistics, in naming her roommate Alice her “savior.” Her crew has their cures. They are whisky and poetry. Chris thinks every moment of her existence in poetic cadence. It is ingrained, and therefore hardly a cure. Since she won’t allow herself the indulgence of booze, she turns to her savior. “If there’s a God, your face is Alice.”

Alice (Kendall Cafaro) is a wonderous presence. Her tenderness towards her roommate-turned-friend-turned-lover is unending, and her consistent gestures in the interest of improving Chris’s college experience and assisting in her recovery do, in fact, inspire Chris to be better.

Alice begins a “Honey Whisky Drinking Song” with the warmth and gravitas of rich honey, before descending into the playful chaos that too much whisky can tend to bring. It seduces Chris the same way calories do. “A shot of whisky plus a dollop of honey / Is the honey even real?” Chris protests to her love.

Chris, Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey is said to be made with real honey. But it is a sensible question, since you refuse to drink your calories.

Unless, of course, the question that Chris is really asking is about Alice’s intentions in her alluring hymn. Alice, after all, has much to gain from winning this battle (sex, identity, the satisfaction of knowing she was the catalyst in Chris’s fun). But Alice is not Chris’s only temptress in the scene. Chris regards the full shot glass as a recovering alcoholic might. But it is not the booze that she grapples with. It’s that “dollop of honey.”

The old Benjamin Franklin axiom that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is the wall that crumbles on top of Chris’s tongue as she succumbs. There is a spasm in actress Moira McCauliffe’s neck. Her vice—that sweet caloric dose—now brings to her the opposite of the satisfaction she once felt when indulging in her dangerous lust.

Tony Macht plays with his compositions, sometimes disregarding his sheet music as he reconstructs majors into minors in spontaneous reaction to the scene. His co-writer, Anna, plays with pieces of tape behind the table, ripping them off the dispenser and folding them until they are tiny, thick rolls.

College can take a toll. For some of us, it’s a more taxing experience than for others. A creative environment can often help to soothe anxieties and offer an outlet for the sharing of experiences; the sharing of humanity. It is clear that within this creative process these same rules apply, and the sharing of this story is nothing short of landmark. These kids are pretty ugly, but that’s what makes their story so beautiful.

 

The Ugly Kids By Anna Michael (words) & Tony Macht (composition)

Presented by the Fresh Fruit Festival

  • Tuesday 7/17 7:00 p.m.
  • Friday 7/20 6:00 p.m.
  • Saturday 7/21 2:00 p.m. (talk-back following performance)

 

  • Directed by JT Friedman
  • Produced by Leigh Honigman
  • Associate Produced by Emma Hasselbach
  • With Moira McAuliffe, Patrick Swailes Caldwell, Joey Nasta, Kendall Cafaro and Alicia Moeller
  • Costumes: Danica Martino
  • Set: Sarina Rivera
  • Lights: Elizabeth McManamon

Tickets can be purchased HERE!

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LWOS: Placing the New York Giants Projected Starters on a Field With Fewer Lines

I’ve never had much interest in soccer. My ex-boyfriend tried to get me into it years ago, when “his team” was considered a contender for the World Cup. I genuinely couldn’t even say what year or what team.

This year is different. This year, my own motherland is a contender for the first time since 1998. Croatia had only recently gained independence from Yugoslavia. The nation wasn’t even admitted into FIFA until 1992. Yet six years later, they made it all the way to the World Cup semifinals.

As I was watching the Croatian match against Russia on Saturday with baited breath—the teams going into penalties, mine with an injured goalkeeper, I began thinking about the complications that face this classy, aptly-named sport, in conversation with our “football.” If we put 11 New York Giants players on a soccer pitch, who might they be?

Full Article HERE!

LWOS: New York Giants All-Franchise Team

As the New York Giants revamp this off-season, preparing for championship contention after last season’s catastrophe, I’ve been thinking a lot about what this young team can take from its rich history and apply to a fresh start. The Giants’ legacy was built on greatness, both on and off the field, and there are clear attempts being made to revisit the times when the team was at its best.

In my most recent column, I explored how a change in morale is bringing the team together in ways that the organization hasn’t seen in recent years. The future of this team will be presumably a bright one, but there is much that can be learned from the Giants of the past.

When compiling this All-Franchise team, a few factors were kept in mind when considering each player in this club’s vibrant history, and how they might contribute to a modern Giants franchise. As the Coach Herb Brooks (played by Kurt Russell) says to Craig Patrick in the 2004 film Miracle, “I’m not looking for the best players, Craig. I’m looking for the right ones.”

Full Article HERE!