Tuesday, February 22

Scots Wha Hae!

Dear Jane,

This letter's for you because ya asked for the duurrrty details!

First I visited my aunts in NYC. Now this was a week long trip so everything kinda blurs together. They keep 2 dogs, 2 cats, 2 chickens and 2 (cross your fingers they survived winter) beehives right in downtown Brooklyn. My Aunt Bj is a professional singer and a wonderful cook. My Aunt Wende is a consultant for a media group and teaches too.

NYC was COVERED in snow! They have nowhere to put it. The streets were lined on both sides with huge mounds and somewhere in those mounds were cars.

Every morning I got up early with my Aunts and helped walk the dogs. A few times we picked up Lupa, a neighbor's miniature eskimo dog who Bj walks twice a week. A few times we went to Prospect Park to let the dogs off the leash and chase balls. Buddy, the golden retriver got into a scuffle or two at our Prospect Park adventures because he's a little protective about his ball. Though when Miss Tender Buttons is there, the two have fun and he shares. Ellie is such a focused dog, she could run and chase her ball all day. My Aunt connected this idea for me: squeak toys sound just like freaked out, dying squirrels. Ellie has a knack for killing squirrels.

Again, so much went on during this trip that it's real hard to remember exactly what I did which day. It was a real blast. The three of us had dinner at the Ale House, mmmm burgers and beer. Doesn't get much better than that!

The first full day, I helped Bj prepare the Robbie Burns day meal. She made Cullen Skink with Finnan Haddie which is a smoked fish chowder soup. Then the main course was a lamb pot pie with lemon zested kale and mashed potatoes with crunchy cabbage. There was supposed to be haggis, complete with bagpiper procession, but the haggis was not ready. Lucky the bag piper was there! He looked so perfect! Down to the braided beard. And he played the bagpipe so well.

Then the party got started. Robert Burns is a famous Scottish bard and poet. Alud Lang Syne is a Burns song we're all familiar with. This is a party thrown to celebrate his birthday. We had ten different single malt whiskies from the Islays (EYE-la)s of Scotland for tasting. Key word: tasting.
We started with lighter, tangier whisky to heavier, smokier whisky. BUT! people were having too much fun and drinking got heavy. We hostesses and a few other guests took it easy but at the end things got crazy. 3 people had to spend the night. I had to hide from an art collector/singer/couldabeen football player/francophone/actually a bartender dude who was hitting on me. The Bagpiper escorted the guy home with some resistance saying, Kim and I have a thing going on here! Nope, not gonna go home with ya.

Next morning, the thermostat broke. An upstairs tenant informed Wende that the house was cold. That meant Bj and I got to go to a fresh market by Prospect Park, the bank and then go to a Lowes --BY F'N SCOOTER! Man, seeing the city in the passenger seat of a scooter was so fun. We installed the new thermostat easily enough and then ate delicious leftover pizza and apple cider doughnuts, mmmmmm!

Same day? Next day? My Aunts went out to visit a friend who is very sick. They left me to wander the Museum Mile in Manhattan. I went to the Whitney Museum and saw some very cool work by artist Charles LeDray. I also went to the Guggenheim, but they were in the middle of some show installation so I could only tour two areas. I enjoyed the architecture more than the art on display.

Went to the BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) to see Alan Rickman in John Gabriel Borkman, a chilly wintery play. The three of us loved the dresses that the women wore, especially the patterns the dresses pushed in the snow as the women walked about the stage. It was a very long play but the time passed by just fine. The BAM theatre is very cool on the inside. It looks very old with the plaster and paint peeling off the walls but here's the theatre, PACKED with people! Wende got us great seats.

We later went to the movie theatre side of BAM and saw True Grit together. There's a scene near the end that involve snakes. Now in the theatre, some member of the audience was terrified of snakes and flipped the hell out during that scene. Oh it was so funny. They cried in terror again when the girl character gets bit. This is why I like going to movie theatres, hahahahaaa!
The next day, I went out to explore Manhattan on my own. Bj was going to meet me at a place called Porchetta for lunch. And lost I got! I thought I was heading north but in lower manhattan, below Houston I believe, the streets and avenues are not numbered. I ended up walking south through Chinatown almost to the trade towers when I figured out my internal compass. I could've hopped onto a subway train to get to Porchetta real quick but I wanted to walk, man!! So I walked 40 min in the correct direction and found the restaurant.

I had some extra time and hung out at Washington Sq. Park and Tompkins Sq. Park. Talked to a random stranger about my hat, people liked my hat, and the weather. I can see how people would think, in the above photo, that it looks like this snowman is climbing a tree, but I'm very content with my first thought of a snowman flying into a tree.

Went to Porchetta and talked to the dude behind the counter while I waited for Bj. I forgot what we talked about...prolly weather related. Told him I was visiting from Chicago, talked about the weather there. Some of the museums and galleries too. My Aunt and I shared a porchetta plate and some lasagna. Oh OH! The porchetta is sooo good. The meat is juicy, tender and flavorful and the crunchy skin is so rich!
My mouth is watering. Where can I get porchetta in Chicago??
The lasagna was so good, rich and cheesey. Bj was worried we couldn't finish the two plates of food, HAH.

After that, the two of us walked over to the Tenament Museum. We took the Getting By Tour. We toured two apartments, one from the 1870's and the other from the 1930's. Lucky us, we got a private tour!! It was so awesome. So the Tenament was built in the 1860's when NYC had a budding immigrant population. The tenanment back then didn't have electricity, water, gas or heat! There were outhouses behind the building with a faucet nearby. The story of the 1870's tenant was great, I'm not gonna give it away!
When we learned about the 1930's tenant, the building had water, electricity and gas for heat.
It was a great tour because our guide asked us questions about what the families did back then. We also discussed the cycle of problems (a big one being discrimination) and the gov't increasing role in immigration.

If you ever go to NYC you have to have to have to have to go to the Tenament Museum!
That evening, we met up with Wende to see the movie, The Illusionist. Same animator who did The Triplets of Belville. If you haven't seen Illusionist, it's real good. Kinda sad, but good! If you haven't seen Triplets, GO SEE IT NAO! both of 'em!

Um, what day is it? OH well! Went to Pratt to check out their printshop. I tried getting a guided tour but I didn't want to wait two hours, BLAH! Good thing I don't look like a Pedobear, I just walked right into the buildings and looked around. Their printshop is in a basement underneath some sciencey buildings. There's a dank basementy coolishness about this shop, but I must be spoiled by the high ceilings at NIU's shop.

Then took a trip to Manhattan to the International Center of Photography. They had a real cool show of the Mexican Suitcase. I loved this photo: Spanish soldiers discussing things and there's a bear near them checking things out, not bothering anybody. I spent a long time there, so much cool stuff to see.
I walked over to the Lower East Side Printshop which isn't actually in lower east manhattan. Used to be! Couldn't actually tour the place but I got to peak in to the windows and ask the secretary about residencies and internships. Tried to find some other printshops but ran out of time and had to head back home.

I believe this was the evening that I went to Bj's choir rehearsal. I forgot the name of the church we went to but they had yellow ribbons with names of the soldier who have died in the current wars attached and hanging from the bars of the fence surrounding the church. There are a lot of ribbons.
The choir rehearsal was very cool. I sat out of sight and listened, doodled. It was really nice, and it was also interesting to hear the conductor bring it all together.

The next day I did what I was looking forward to doing ALL WEEK! Touring the galleries of Chelsea, Manhattan.

Two pieces from the awesome show at IPCNY. A must in Chelsea for any printmaker.

This played the notes of a heartbeat.
This piece is one of many made with money. I thought of Curtis. I think I had to dash out of there and didn't grab info on the artist, boo.
I had good reason to dash because I had to get ready to see an opera! Wende, the culture vulture got us tickets to see Nixon in China. Wende had seen this opera many years ago, and this is the first time Nixon is played at the Metropolitan Opera. Good reminiscing for her. It's a very talky play and it had funny moments too! I especially liked the ballet dancing.
Good trip! As I said, I did so much I'm having a hard time getting every day and detail straight. It was a great, great time, and one thing is certain: I have to come back again!


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a ripping good time, cultural and delicious too. xxxooo Ma

flux biota. said...

damn, kim. busy as a snow bee in NY.

Its fun to think about cars buried under 18 feet of snow.

This makes me wanna hop to NY, hug a bagpiper, sing a song, and then watch a dog eat a squirrel.