Friday, June 29, 2007

An evening full of jazz

In ‘Sex and the City’, one of the characters (I think it was Miranda) once mentions the thought of leaving Manhattan and compares it to the feeling of falling off the ends of the earth. I’ve lived here for a few months and till today never really ventured beyond Manhattan myself, except twice and those were to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and back, and take the ferry across to Staten Island and return without ever really stepping off it. When you think of it, New York is so much more than Manhattan. The boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island are very much a part of New York City as well. Manhattan is like the spoilt child compared to its ugly-duckling siblings, with all the tourist attractions - Broadway, the Empire State Building and so on and so forth.

The JVC Jazz Festival has been going on in the city over the last couple of weeks, and this evening it presented free to the members of the public the Ravi Coltrane Quartet, in the open air and verdure of Prospect Park, which is pretty much in a part of Brooklyn I’d never stepped into. I was dilly-dallying over whether I ought to drag myself out of the house in the cloudy weather to go all the way to ohmyGodBrooklynwhereI’veneverreallybeen, but I’m glad better sense prevailed. So I made what I thought would be a long journey but in reality was hardly much of a trip on the Subway, to Prospect Park.

Brooklyn’s lovely, it really is, at least that part of it that I saw today. Prospect Park is like the Central Park of Manhattan, and such a nice family-friendly, runner-friendly, nature-friendly (by default-it’s a park, DUH!!) place, but what I loved best about the area is that most buildings I saw there were brownstones. Brownstones are so much more appealing to the eye than the looming skyscrapers one is more accustomed to seeing in New York – OK, Manhattan. They are more welcoming structures, and though I knew absolutely no one there, welcomed is what I felt.

Anyway, Ravi Coltrane, son of the great jazz musician-couple John and Alice Coltrane, played some jazz music that was totally worth the visit. Ravi, named after India’s very own sitar guru Ravi Shankar, is a jazz saxophonist who has come into his own. One of the best compositions the group played was by Alice Coltrane herself, and the guy sitting next to me very wisely said he ought to play more of his mother’s music. Ravi acknowledged that growing up in a household where he came home after school everyday to listen to jazz melodies - his mother performing at the piano - was something very special, though he didn’t know it then. Also appreciable (at least to me) is Ravi’s team spirit. There were multiple solos woven into the group performance, more by the other members of the quartet than by Ravi himself, and that made the performance all the more interesting, because let’s face it – sometimes listening to one instrument for too long can bore a large audience.

Jazz is a genre of music I absolutely love listening to. I can listen to jazz for hours and not get bored. There’s something magically uplifting about the way the various instruments – saxophone, bass, drums, piano, even the native African drums incorporated by the Craig Harris Ensemble, the act that preceded the Ravi Coltrane Quartet – come together. Of course, improvisation is inherent in jazz, and that’s another reason it is really sweet music to my ears (pun intended!). The spontaneity is what makes you want to listen to more of the music, to see whether it ends in a crescendo or tapers off, or what other little tangos the instruments will come into in pairs or threes.

Brooklyn treated me well this evening. Maybe I’ll end my love affair with Manhattan for a while and start exploring the rest of this fascinating metropolis!

You complain and you will have to deal with me !

Apple is giving free iPhones to its employees.

According to this article, the 'bad' news is that they will have to wait till the end of July to get them, because Steve Jobs wants the first wave to go to customers.

My friends at Apple: if I was getting an iPhone within less than a month of its release date, I would hardly call it 'bad' news, kapish? Kapish. Just freakin' enjoy the phone, OK, and let us lesser mortals salivate in jealousy.


On a related note, I was outside the Fifth Avenue Apple store last evening, and people had already started queuing up, fully equipped with umbrellas, raincoats and folding chairs to keep their places in line!

Frank Sinatra and alcohol

This quote was displayed in one of our favourite pubs in New York for months. The first time I went there with the husband, he immediately directed my attention there.

"Alcohol may be man's worst enemy but the Bible says love thy enemy."

Of course, it was quoted by the wonderful Frank Sinatra, who by the way was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, just a few miles from where I live now. I ought to do the Sinatra tour one of these days.

Another gem from Sinatra: "I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day."

I've been hanging around way too many non-alcohol-drinking people lately, who as good-hearted as they are, are not much fun in the evenings when the sun goes down and you want to let your hair down. Drinking alcohol is fun, fun, fun. (Why did I think of Jack from Will & Grace when I just wrote that?!! I've been watching too much TV!!)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

New York Vignettes-2

1. Walking down Fifth Avenue alongside Central Park
2. The facade of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum - I love the myriad of colours!
3. Museum Mile Festival 2007 - Jazz players inside the National Academy Museum-Huntington Mansion
4. The Yankee Stadium from outside
5. 'Have Nice Day' trash bags on a bus from Boston to New York!

New York Vignettes-1

1. A New York Water Taxi on the East River
2. View of the Brooklyn Bridge
3. Target : on-target advertising in Times Square
4. No need for directions to this Subway station!
5. The New Jersey skyline from the West Side Highway

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Boss!!!

May I point the numerous Thalaivar fans that exist worldwide in the direction of The Boss' movie site. Shankar is certainly moving with the times - Yash Raj Films, you have competition from the South! I tried to do a bit of Googling and could not find anything to prove that Sivaji - The Boss is NOT the first Tamil movie to have a website, that too highly technologically advanced, with legal downloading of songs, trailers, cast, crew, story, etc etc. As The Boss himself would say, "Coooooooool!"

Random thought: As lavishly picturised as the very lyrical song 'Sahana saral thoo' is, did the angels have to be inserted here and there?!!!

And here, my friends, is a camera print of the song! Crazy fan who did that, thank you - hehe!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Ah, New York, New York!

Seen on a small street in Greenwich Village, New York.

What does a 'drinking consultant ' do, though? Tell one what to drink, how much, or when or why? Hmmmm.....