Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Broadway

My daughters outside of the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in Manhattan.

Looking for a show to see? Are you a Roald Dahl fan? Both?

“Unwrap a world of pure imagination.”

My youngest daughter loves Broadway shows, so what better way to celebrate her birthday than to surprise her with tickets to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The New Musical in Manhattan?  We appreciate Roald Dahl’s dark humor and twisted characters (We loved “Matilda the Musical.”), not to mention that Willy Wonka is played by Christian Borle who was excellent as Shakespeare in “Something Rotten.”

One of my favorite childhood movies was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I saw the newer version, and didn’t mind Johnny Depp playing a deeply disturbed Willy Wonka, but Gene Wilder’s Wonka stuck in my psyche.

The musical is wonderful! The set design is clever, interesting, colorful and illusional. The larger than life characters are modern, and each has his/her own “voice.” The humor is both timeless and relevant to the times, and, of course, of course, the story is evergreen. The messages that imagination is valuable, dream big, and work for your passion makes me–sniff-a little weepy.

Oh and, hon, the Oompa Loompas are hysterical!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The New Musical

I thought most people knew the story, but at the Broadway show the woman sitting behind us seemed genuinely surprised when Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregard, Mike Teavee, and Augustus Gloop met their sweet rewards, and when Charlie Bucket was the last child standing. The show’s website describes the story like this:

Willy Wonka, world famous inventor of the Everlasting Gobstopper, has just made an astonishing announcement. His marvelous—and mysterious—factory is opening its gates…to a lucky few. That includes young Charlie Bucket, whose life definitely needs sweetening. He and four other golden ticket winners will embark on a mesmerizing, life-changing journey through Wonka’s wondrous world. Get ready for chocolate waterfalls, exquisitely nutty squirrels and the great glass elevator, all to be revealed by Wonka’s army of curious Oompa-Loompas.

Birthday girl.

Have you seen a good show lately? I’m always interested in what else is on stage.




Live Event: Martha Graham, a Short Video

My daughters love to dance!

My youngest daughter (aka Plus One) takes ballet, jazz and modern. Combine a show by her dance company Dance Innovations, the Martha Graham studio in Manhattan, and a Digital Video Production class project, and you get a short video showing the girls’ trip into New York, warm-ups, parts of the show, and my daughter and friends relaxing afterward.

Click here to watch the 2-minute video titled “Live Event: Martha Graham.”

My daughter (left) and her friends.

Where it all started.

Short Video: “Live Event: Martha Graham.”


Roof Garden Art, Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout

Hedge Two-way Mirror Walkabout.

Hedge Two-way Mirror Walkabout.



When I visit the The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan, I try to visit the roof garden. Not only are installations interactive, the view of Central Park is beautiful.

I hope to get to The Met’s current roof garden Installation, The Theater of Disappearance by Adrián Villar Rojas, which in on display until October 29, 2017.

Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout, exhibited in 2014, was created by American artist Dan Graham and Swiss landscape architect Günther Vogt. “Comprising curves of steel and two-way mirrored glass between ivy hedgerows, Graham’s structure is part garden maze and part modernist skyscraper façade, set within a specially engineered terrain.” The glass was “both transparent and reflective, creating a changing and visually complex environment for visitors.”

“For decades, Dan Graham has created work that challenges viewers to think in new and thought-provoking ways about the streets and cities they traverse every day,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum.

For the artist, the mirrored cladding of a corporate headquarters symbolizes economic power and sleek efficiency; it also provides a certain camouflage, reflecting the world around it as it shields what happens inside from prying eyes.

With this signature material, Graham’s pavilions also transform observers of the work into performers within it, and, through the sight of their own reflections, make them acutely aware of their own viewership.

The evergreen plantings that edge the parapets also reminded Graham of the shrubbery that often demarcates private property lines in the New Jersey suburbs of his youth. Graham’s collaboration with Günther Vogt further illuminates the site’s multilayered references—historic gardens, public parks, contemporary corporate architecture, and the suburban lawn—as its pavilion engages the viewer in a historic and complex mirror-play.

Glass and steel "pavilion."

“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.” Emile Zola


Click here to link to The Met’s page with a cool video on how the art was installed.

Click Interesting interview with Dan Graham to learn more about Graham’s work.

Spring Sign

Robert Indiana’s $3 million, 13-foot tall, 3-ton pop art sculpture “Hope” is located on the corner of 7th Ave and 53rd St in Manhattan.

Happy Spring, hon!

“The sun just touched the morning;
The morning, happy thing,
Supposed that he had come to dwell,
And life would be all spring.”
― Emily Dickinson

“It was such a spring day as breathes into a man an ineffable yearning, a painful sweetness, a longing that makes him stand motionless, looking at the leaves or grass, and fling out his arms to embrace he knows not what.”
― John Galsworthy, The Forsyte Saga

Love In Art, Lovin’ Art

Spray paint cans.

Spray paint cans.

Spray It. Say It.

In a previous post, Steel Pop-Up Books by David Kracov, I visited the Eden Fine Art Gallery in Soho where colorful book sculptures drew me in. Walking further into the gallery, I discovered a room covered in work by Queens-born graffiti artist Hoacs. It was a blast of immersive, colorful collages, concepts and tags. Click here to read an interview with Hoacs where he dishes about No Days Off, his First Solo Exhibit.

Calling all writers! You know how “voice” is a magic word in Kidlit? Click here to hear Hoacs’ distinctive voice. On the website he says,” I started doing graffiti in the mid to late 90s. Back then NYC graffiti was on smash, from highways to track spots to street spots, all crushed.”  He’s got voice covered!

I’ve included pics of two more pieces displayed at the gallery. Love in Art.

How true.

Hoacs says he has no days off. Neither do writers.

Surprising work by graffiti artist Hoacs.

Surprising work by graffiti artist Hoacs.

Dorit Levenstein, hand painted aluminum.

Dorit Levenstein, hand painted aluminum.

IMG_9565 (1)

Steel Pop-Up Books by David Kracov

Book of Love

“Book of Love”

Concept + Steel + Paint = Amazing Books

One of the things I love about New York City is the abundance of art. There are world renowned museums to visit, outdoor art to experience, and galleries to explore. You never know what you’ll discover.

Hon, you know I love bright colors, so it’s no surprise that I was drawn into the Eden Fine Art Gallery in Soho where David Kracov’s steel sculptures are on display. Aren’t they super cool?

Eden Fine Art’s website sheds light on these one-of-a-kind book-lover’s books:

Kracov’s vibrant color palette shows up again in his unique steel wall sculptures. Each in a limited edition of only 55 works that begin with hundreds of small sketches that are then hand-cut from a single sheet of steel and then finished with detailed hand-painting in a high-grade, water-based, acrylic polymer paint. Each edition is finished individually so that no two are alike. The meticulous steel work along with his scrutinizing attention to detail allow these sculptures to take on a life of their own. These playful and creative works are each a testament to the genius of Kracov as well as his steady hand and wonderfully unique artistic ideas.

Book of Life

“Book of Life”



Eden Fine Art

Eden Fine Art’s window filled with angles and color.

Brooklyn Blooms (A Pop of Color)

IMG_8329I took these photographs while wandering through the Brooklyn Botanic Garden this past Fall. Dreary February could use an infusion of warmth and color.

Think Spring, Hon.




The Empty Sky After 9/11

Flags fly at Liberty State Park.

Flags fly at Liberty State Park.

One of my favorite places to bike is along the promenade in Liberty State Park in Jersey City. Across the Hudson River, bikers, walkers, fishermen and picnickers get an amazing view of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. I’d been there many times, but hadn’t seen the Empty Sky memorial, dedicated on September 10, 2011, until last weekend.

Each of the memorial’s walls is 210 feet long, the width of each side of the former World Trade Center Towers. Their height reflects the proportion of the former buildings as if they were lying on their sides. The names of the 749 victims from New Jersey are engraved into the twin walls.  “The walls channel visitors to the location in the Manhattan skyline where the former World Trade Center towers once stood.”

Inscribed on the twin walls are these words:

“On the morning of September 11th, 2001, with the skies so clear that the Twin Towers across the river appeared to be within reach, the very essence of what our country stands for – freedom, tolerance and the pursuit of happiness – was attacked. This memorial is dedicated to New Jersey’s 749 innocent loved ones who were violently and senselessly murdered that day at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in Shanksville, PA.

Let this memorial reflect the legacies of those whose lives were lost, that their unfulfilled dreams and hopes may result in a better future for society. Their unique qualities and characteristics enriched our lives immeasurably and through this memorial, their stories live on.”

Empty Air memorial bisected by a steel beam.

Empty Air memorial bisected by a steel beam.

Steel and concrete.

Bent steel and broken concrete.




Father and son.

Father and son.

The Freedom Tower.

The Freedom Tower.

Sun saturated hibiscus.

Sun saturated hibiscus facing Lower Manhattan.

Flags Fly on July 4th

Flower Box Flag, Hudson River Park

Flower Box Flag, Hudson River Park, New York City

Happy July 4th!

Did you ever wonder why the American flag is nicknamed Old Glory? Here’s the story behind it.

Sea Captain William Driver (March 17, 1803-March 3, 1886) named the American flag he flew on his ship Old Glory. His flag was sewn by his mother and a group of young, female admirers from his hometown of Salem, Massachusetts.

“Driver was deeply attached to the flag, writing:  ‘”It has ever been my staunch companion and protection. Savages and heathens, lowly and oppressed, hailed and welcomed it at the far end of the wide world. Then, why should it not be called Old Glory?”‘*

Driver retired from seafaring in 1837, bringing his flag with him to Nashville, Tennessee.  When the Confederates tried to seize the flag during the Civil War, Driver saved Old Glory by sewing it into a coverlet.  It remained in hiding until 1862, when Nashville fell to Union troops.

Driver’s original flag and another one he owned were fought over by his daughter and niece.  In 1922, both became part of the collection at the Smithsonian Institution.

Hot Air Balloon Festival, NJ

Hot Air Balloon Festival, NJ

Flags along Fifth Avenue, New York City.

Flags along Fifth Avenue, New York City.








Uncle Sam in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Uncle Sam in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Statue of Liberty in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Statue of Liberty in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.










American Flag Cow Statue.

Do you know which state this flag represents?  Answer at bottom of post.

Do you know which state this flag represents? 











Do you know which state flag is pictured above?  Hint: the answer lies in the name of this blog.  Okay, I’ll tell you.  The yellow/black and red/white flag is the Maryland flag.

Hon, what are your plans today? I hope they include fireworks!

*Source:  Wikipedia



Delicious Fish Dish (and Tartar Sauce)

Baked Cod with Steamed Green Beans.

Baked Cod with Steamed Green Beans.

We recently had dinner at Chez Oskar in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. I ordered fluke baked with rice and veggies in parchment paper. The dish was so delicious, I tried to replicate it at home. Hon, this is a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants recipe, which means there aren’t exact measurements. The good news:  you don’t need exact quantities to make this healthy Delicious Fish Dish.

Happy cooking!

Step 1.  Wash fish and pat dry.

1. Wash fish and pat dry.

2.  Gather ingredients:  rice, sauteed veggies, spices, parchment paper.

2. Gather ingredients: rice, sauteed veggies, spices, parchment paper.







3. Line glass baking dish with large pieced of parchment paper. Spread rice and veggies on top.

3. Line glass baking dish with large piece of parchment paper. Spread rice and veggies on top.

4. Lay fish on top of rice and veggies.

4. Lay fish on top of rice and veggies.







5. Add a bit of butter, a few capfuls of lemon juice, maybe some white wine and parsley.

5. Add a bit of butter, a few capfuls of lemon juice, maybe some white wine and parsley.

6. Wrap fish in parchment paper.  Bake

6. Wrap fish in parchment paper. Bake.

7. Carefully open parchment, allowing steam to escape.

7. Carefully open parchment paper, allowing steam to escape.

Serve fish directly from parchment paper.

8. Serve fish directly from parchment paper.

Delicious Fish Dish


Fish Fillet–I used a little under 2 pounds of cod in the dish above.  I might try this with tilapia and sea bass, but I’m not sure about flounder or sole which are much thinner.

Rice and Veggies–Cooked rice and steamed or sauteed vegetables. (any rice and whatever veggies you think will go with the fish)

Spices–salt, pepper, ground Sage, Herbs de Provence, parsley or spices you like.

Lemon Juice, Butter and White Wine–I didn’t use white wine in the dish above, but next time I will.

Parchment Paper–enough to wrap fish in


Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.  (Start at 400 degrees if fish is thick, like cod, tilapia or sea bass, lowering to 350 after about 15 minutes. If fish is thin, bake at 350 degrees F the whole time.)

1.  Pre-cook rice, and steam or saute vegetables.

2.  Wash fish fillet and pat dry.

3.  Line a glass baking pan with parchment paper, making sure the piece you use is big enough to fold over the fish.

4.  Spread rice and veggies on top of parchment paper, sprinkling with desired spices.

5.  Lay fish over rice and veggies.  Sprinkle remaining spices, small scoops of butter (about 1-2 teaspoons a scoop), a few capfuls of lemon juice, and white wine (maybe 1/4 to 1/2 cup) on top of fish.

6.  Fold parchment paper up and over fish lengthwise, then fold ends.

7.  Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes.  Lower oven to 350 degrees F and bake for about another 20 to 25 minutes.  Check fish for done-ness and bake longer if necessary.

8.  When done baking, open parchment paper carefully to let steam escape.  Fish will be very hot. Serve directly from parchment paper.

Note:  I started cod at 400 degrees because it’s thick. If you use a thinner fish, then I recommend baking it at 350 degrees F the whole time.)

Tartar Sauce

Here’s how I make quick and easy Tartar Sauce:

Combine approximately 4 Tablespoons of mayonnaise with  2-3 Tablespoons relish, Sprinkle paprika.  Mix and serve.  (Yield–about 2)