art

Love and Hate in NYC

Constellations of Love and Hate

How awesome is this graphic? John Nelson, a UX and mapping manager (and clearly a super-cool guy), mapped out all the tweets that contained the words “love” and “hate” in the NYC-area over the course of a few weeks–which essentially created a pointillistic map of the city.

I love the clear outline of Manhattan, especially downtown, which, not surprisingly, seems to have the densest population of Twitterati. It’s intriguing to see how densely the tweets run along Broadway–you can easily spot the diagonal cutting across the island–and how there’s a gaping void right where Central Park is. Plus, I was amused that a bunch of negative tweets were in the LaGuardia airport area. (Who actually enjoys going through airline security!?)

But most of all, I appreciate there were almost 75% more “love” than “hate” tweets. Here’s to positivity in NYC!

(Photo via IDV User Experience; found via Travel and Leisure)

Video Love: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ “Man on Fire”

Yesterday, a friend sent me a link and said, “You might like this video.” That was a total understatement because I absolutely love, love, love it. I’m a big fan of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic ZerosВ and I’ve been listening to their new album, “Here.” But I didn’t know they’d created such a brilliant video to go along with their gorgeous song, “Man on Fire.”

The lyrics are about the desire to dance, and the video, filmed in NYC, celebrates movement in various forms: dance, stepping, cheerleading, tumbling. I love how they’re mostly everyday New Yorkers doing their thing in school gyms, small studios and local sports fields. And (spoiler alert) I really loved the end where a dressed down City Ballet dances in a vacant lot.

Check it out (and watch it over and over–I already have):

How Do You Pass the Time on Long Car/Bus Rides?

When it comes to physically getting from place to place, I don’t necessarily think the journey is just as important as the destination. I love spending weekends at my sister’s place. But since I don’t drive, it’s not easy to get there. I have to take a torturous six hour bus ride or five-hour train/bus trip.

I don’t mind the train. Amtrak is pretty comfy and I can work on my laptop when the WiFi is functioning. The bus is another story. I get carsick reading or typing, so the only thing I can do is plug into my iPhone. For six hours straight. I’ve found that listening to This American Life and audiobooks is the only thing that makes the trip doable.

I first started listening to This American Life when I needed to pass time in a similar fashion. A few years ago, I was working a freelance gig that involved lots of, um, mindless busy work. To motivate and entertain myself, I queued upВ TAL–and what a difference that made! I was flying through my assignments and TAL episodes. Within a week, I’d listened to a year’s worth.

TAL makes long trips go by just as quickly. I love how Ira Glass and his correspondents put a quirky spin on every topic they tackle. I’ve yet to come across an episode that isn’t fun, accessible and heartfelt. It’s reporting and storytelling at its best. Not everyone could make the Brazilian financial crisis so entertaining. (I loved that episode–and I usually glaze over/can’t understand anything that involves economics.) Or decide that in order to write the perfect break-up song, you’d have to get Phil Collins’ advice. Or make a story that you’d find in a small town paper (about a school maintenance man on a power trip, for example) way more compelling than any movie that’s been produced recently.

Audiobooks work just as well. Since I was one of the few people on earth who hadn’t read or watched The Help, I figured I might as well listen to it. The audiobook was very well done, with four women, including Octavia Spencer, narrating as the characters–and, at a 18 hours, it lasted several trips. Now, I’m finishing up The Lost City of Z, by David Grann, one of my favorite New Yorker writers. He attempts to retrace the footsteps of Percy Fawcett, a British explorer who went missing trying to find an ancient city in the Amazon.

How do you pass the time on long trips? Are you an audiobook or TAL fan, too?

(Photo via Swiss Miss)

The Tutu Project

Last week, I stumbled upon an amazing exhibit via Canadian Art Junkie. To celebrate its 60th anniversary, the National Ballet of Canada is presenting “The Tutu Project,” a display of 60 original tutus. Some are iconic costumes from renowned ballets; others are whimsical creations from artists, ballet fans and even the dancers, themselves. The exhibit is running from July 11 through September 2 at Toronto’s Design Exchange.

While I’d love to see it live, that’s probably not happening. But on the upside, the National Ballet has a very nice online gallery showcasing many of the tutus, as well as photos of ballerinas wearing them in action:

Kitri, Act III from Don Quixote. Designed by Desmond Heeley. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi.

Gizella Witkowsky in Don Quixote. Photo by Barry Gray.

Wilis from Giselle. Designed by Desmond Heeley. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi.

Artists of the Ballet in Giselle (2009). Photo by Bruce Zinger.

The Firebird. Designed by Santo Loquasto. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi.

Jennifer Fournier in The Firebird (2006). Photo by Dale Dong.

The tutus created for the exhibit are just as gorgeous as the ones designed for the stage. Two of my favorites:

Designed and built by Krane Design. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi.

Designed and built by Louise Yu. National Open-call for Artists selection. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi.

What’s your favorite ballet costume? Most recently, I was pretty dazzled by the new costumes City Ballet wore for “Symphony in C” this season.

(Photos via the National Ballet’s Tutu Project; and thanks to BoomerOntario for first posting about this at Canadian Art Junkie)

It’s NYC Dance Week (Take Classes for Free!)

ballet

I love that I work in a low-paying field but have a super-expensive hobby (at least from a writer/editor’s standpoint). Ballet is one of my biggest expenses–a good chunk of my take-home income goes toward classes. To compensate for that, I have to be extremely frugal in other areas of my life (like going clothing shopping once, maybe twice, a year). But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I get so much happiness from ballet that it’s 100% worth it.

So I’m thrilled whenever we dancers can score free classes. NYC Dance Week–which actually runs 10 days–starts today and goes through June 30. About 25 studios around the city are offering free classes, including the Ailey Extension, where I go. (In fact, my awesome teacher, Kat Wildish, is holding a free ballet class this Saturday.) And if ballet’s not your thing, there’s a free class for almost every style, from hip hop to tango to Pilates. I think it’s a great way to try a new style or get back into dance if you’ve been meaning to for years. (Believe me, I’ve been there!)

(Photo via Pinterest)

What Do You Read on the Subway?

The other day, I came across the awesome blog Underground New York Public Library, via Gothamist. Photographer Ourit Ben-Haim goes around NYC capturing subway riders who are deeply engrossed in their books. Her shots are gorgeous and really capture the individual little bubbles we all inhabit when we’re on the train. Plus, it’s cool to see what other New Yorkers are reading–and it’s inspiring me to add to my reading list.

Here are some of my favorite shots; see more here:

What do you read on the subway?В (I’m usually paging through the latest issue ofВ NY MagВ or listening to an audiobook. Though as of late, I’ve also been doing some reading about happiness/mindfulness during my morning commute, which, I’ve found, is a nice way to start the day.)

(All images via the Underground New York Public Library’s Facebook page)