I start (re) training at the restaurant this afternoon, cleaning and setting up for our first official service. It came down from corporate that we’re opening this weekend, so I’ll be working lunch Saturday and dinner Sunday - that means I can still go to St Mary’s for mass Sunday morning and have brunch at my favorite rooftop Irish bar. We’re working on the run up to the Infrequent Seams Winter Streamfest for mid December - I’ll be live commenting on each broadcast Dec 17-20 on behalf of the label, so keep an eye out! Also, I’m doing the intro do the finale night, 6-8pm on Sunday the 20th! Join us!
photos of Jonah Rosenberg and me, courtesy of the artists.
I hostess at a Manhattan hotpot restaurant. We’re delaying opening due to COVID developments in the city. We trained for 3 days, and then the spot opened for takeout 2 days later. We’re not sure what post-Thanksgiving NYC will look like, so we’re on hold. The waitstaff is generally under 25, with a few notable exceptions. The hostesses are actors, opera singers, fierce women. We are 4, and we are mighty. I’m proud to join front of house, to be honest: the schedule is flexible, and I will be full time. I will be able to pay rent, pay my bills, thrive.
I am a cook. I’ve never taken cooking classes; my parents cooked every dinner of my childhood, with occasional visits to Indian, Vietnamese, and Chinese restaurants local to us. We fell in love with an Afghan chain, with amazing spiced, grilled lamb and fresh bread; had Indian lunch buffet as a treat; ate ramen and pho and grilled pork. My favorite dish when I was in kindergarten was spaghetti carbonara - most kids said pizza or ice cream. I went to Switzerland for the first month of school when I was 4; I turned 5 and had 4 parties: one in Zurich with family, one on the plane, one at school, and one at home with friends. I had a pin that said “I am 5” - I still have it in my childhood room.
Maybe one day I’ll go to culinary school and apprentice in a restaurant. I dream about Masterchef, judged by Gordon Ramsey and a few other stellar minds in food; I make curried lentils from scratch, without a recipe. I make ratatouille, remembering my southern French host mother, from Nimes; she baked me a flourless chocolate cake once a month or so, and we drank a glass or two of red wine with our dinner on weekday evenings. They left me quiche Lorraine when they went to their country house on holiday; I chowed down on it with my friend Perry, from London, and my then-love, Iván. I brurnched with my host family every Sunday: country pate followed by meat or fish, then salad. We took long walks with toddler Maéva, then 1 1/2; I would often babysit her on weekends, dancing around to Tété (a Senegalese subway musician, he got a record deal straight from the streets of Paris) in the living room.
Horatio & 8th Ave, just below 14th Street, is my new home 4 days a week. The neighborhood is still pretty quiet, chill, full of handsome models and actors and commonfolk with lots of money (hedgefunders, consultants, et alia). We've had some boys in the shop getting their manes shorn, so cute and shy and sweet. Polite, these kids! They're raised right.
My friend Ray lives a stone's throw away, near Stonewall, where we celebrated Pride this year. I've grown to love artbar (just across the street) and the slices on 14th, plus the Egyptian guy with a daughter who lives in Alaska who sells gyros, hot dogs, and falafel. It's super safe at night, and I take the A or the C home, which takes about 30 minutes, finished with a late night walk across Atlantic on Franklin.
Thank you, West Village, for all of your gems. I will continue to discover you over the next few months as we progress into coat weather.
I spent 2 years as a graduate student at Manhattan School of Music; the D train was my best friend. I wandered from 133rd and Convent to 96th & Broadway this morning, stopping for brunch at Community (brioche French toast with caramelized bananas and toasted pecans with a glass of orange juice). Symphony Space, a frequent haunt with Americas Society and Glass Farm over the last 6 years, was blocked by construction, its marquee darkened; Urban Outfitters is long gone, an empty shell. I miss Book Culture, zines, Korean food, going to concerts and masterclasses every night. I smoked hookah at the Moroccan restaurant by 125th on my birthday, frequently ate Indian food after rehearsals at the CMC with Ghost Ensemble, and frequented Miller Theatre and Columbia to see Zosh and Nina (both PhDs in composition there, Nina now splits her time between Austin and New York and Zosh is a tenured professor on faculty).
Will I return to West Harlem to live next year? Will Javi and I settle for a 1 or 2 bed, walk our dog in Riverside Park, hang out on our rooftop and sip wine while the sun sets? Christmas would be so romantic: Riverside Church, St John the Divine, Grotto Church of Notre Dame, Morningside Park, the lights at the entrance to the Columbia campus. Manhattan at the holidays is magical, like nowhere else (maybe other than Paris).
Adam and I have a favorite duo: Gulliver's Travels by Telemann for 2 violins. It's weird, in funny meters with weirdo rhythms - probably just to mess with the performers. It's super avant garde in that way (heyo, 17th century!), a character suite, and we're going to film each movement at a different favorite hang in the subway/park!
I'm blessed to have a regular gig at Fellow Barber on Horatio in the West Village. It's right by artbar and a lot of other cool spots, right up the street from my fav West Village resto, Caffe Danté. I went there with Ray and his crew for Pride this year. We had a late dinner - I split a burger and had a beer (an Italian one, if memory serves - the only one they had on tap) - and blissed out with my gay boy group of friends. The waiter was adorable, Italian, and sexually ambiguous...the best kind of waiter, because you never know if he's flirting or not!
I'm here Wed-Fri closing shift (2:30-10:30pm) and all day Saturday. Come through for a sharp cut!
I've been playing in a duo with violinist Adam Von Housen since August. We jammed on Baroque tunes at Jay Street for our first busking gig, and continued to Atlantic Ave, Broadway/Lafayette, Madison Square Park, West 4th, and more. We take time off for gigs and work shifts, but mainly we're on Wednesday at 11am (rush hour, more or less). We make enough for a cup of Dunkin coffee or a subway ride, and people take photos and videos of us. It's incredible for my sightreading and intonation (Adam has perfect pitch), and good practice with the iPad.
We met back in 2013 in Whitney George's project Curiosity Cabinet, and didn't see eachother for a few years (Adam lives more in the classical/opera world, I live in the solo/ensemble contemporary sphere). I reconnected with him on Instagram, and the rest is history!
#duopower #truelove #instagay #queer #friendlies
I worked in the bookstore-café of an acupuncture school, then known as Tai Sophia Institute, near my hometown of Columbia, MD. It was the summer after my sophomore year, and I needed a job. My manager David was a former bassonist and was obsessed with Mahler - when we were closed he would put his complete collection of symphonies on, I can’t remember the orchestra. He also loved Harry Potter - he got me a pre-release copy the Friday before it came out, and I opened the paper to look at the cover that night. I read it in one sitting on Saturday, the official release date - I didn’t want to cheat.
I learned POS, how to open boxes with a box cutter (quickly and carefully), enter inventory, and stock shelves. I cleaned the café area before closing, straightened the shop, watered the bamboo. It was a beautiful community, for those two summers (I returned the next); a good hourly job, a 15-20 minute drive from my house. I haven’t worked retail since. At least I could sit at the register at that store - often part-timers, particularly post-COVID, are expected to work overtime until late at night, without a dinner break. It’s exhausting! Particularly floor work in a clothing or shoe store, where you never get off your feet and take stairs and carry heavy boxes frequently. Register isn’t as bad, because you’re customer facing, but often the staff floats. Target looks like a half-decent place, as does Starbucks - decent benefits, flexible hours, good for freelancers and those with another career.
I now seek office jobs, where I answer phones and schedule appointments/meetings. Something local, Brooklyn or Manhattan, where I can work from home (by that I mean outside, on my iPad with my wireless keyboard, as I’m doing now from the steps of the Brooklyn Museum), or remote. Ideally I can make my own hours, still play with Duo Phoenix on Wednesday mornings in the subway, do therapy on Thursday afternoons. It’s important to maintain these things. Maintenance - a key word in our post (post?) COVID world.
I moved to New York City just after my 25th birthday. I found an apartment share in South Slope near Greenwood Cemetery; I worked full time as a receptionist (ish) for a boutique tutoring company. The CEO was my mentor for that short year; she would meet with me once a month or so to see where I was headed. She remained a close friend until I transitioned into my full-time arts admin role at Americas Society in 2014. I have been front of house in several respects over the last 10 years or so: coat check at Rebecca’s Restaurant, at the tutoring company, at BUILT NY in Soho, and at Lance Lappin Salon in TriBeCa. I’m a friendly face, a warm voice on the phone, an open smile. As a kid, I answered the phone “Hello, Cargo residence.” I still do it, as a reflex, when I visit my childhood home. Friends and family always know it’s me. As a marketer and networker, I am the introducer, the first look, that first email. It’s important in the arts, particularly because people hire you based on your personality - and I have a strong one. I take good photos, good design instincts, and a good brand in my own right (took 10 years to build it, I should note!). I have a brilliant community of creators that jump at the chance to barter, have a long phone call, or have coffee on a slow NYC afternoon. Such is the life that I lead now, and I cherish it.
Indeed. LinkedIn. Monster. All of these sites are so easy to use; they have apps, resume storage, and endless possibilities. I was once cold called on one site to be the tastemaker for the president of Carnegie Hall; I thought it was fake, turned out it was real! Then he resigned.
I’m cultured. It’s my parents’ fault. I was raised on the Smithsonian, the Hirschorn, the Freer and the Sackler. I lived in Cheltenham, England for a summer. I toured Europe with a children’s chorus. I went to musical theater camp for 6 years. I sang “La bohème” with Baltimore Opera at the Lyric. I went to the Baltimore Symphony in school field trips. I learned French.
And, at 22, I studied in Paris at the Sorbonne. I traveled to Stockholm in winter, Barcelona, Granada, Seville, Fez in spring. I fell in love, went to concerts, saw Bobby McFerrin live. Josh Bell and Jeremy Denk at Chatelet. Bluebeard’s Castle at the Bastille. Boulez Sonatine with Pierre Laurent Aimard and Cathérine Cantin at the opera (my then teacher). Took lessons at the artists studios at the Bastille. What was this young life?
At 25, I moved to New York. The rest, as they say, is history.