September 10, 2013

Only in NYC

Saturday I was sent by WWD to shoot backstage beauty at the Monique Lhuillier fashion show from 6:00pm to 7:00pm at Lincoln Center. Knowing they always start the models makeup earlier than they say, I showed up at 5:15. I had vaguely remembered the usual rigmarole of checking in the front, being sent around to the back, finding the backstage entrance, being checked in by  security and then finally getting into the hair and makeup area. Quite the ordeal. Once inside, it was a tad cramped to say the least. 

Pampered would be an understatement.

This model had come from another show and was half an hour late and was the last to be prepped. The "team" descended on her like a triage unit in a busy downtown ER. Three people on hair, one doing manicure, one doing pedicure, one doing her eyes, another did foundation. Within 15 minutes she was ready to go. Amazing to watch. Like a Nascar pit crew.

I left 30 minutes late from that show and rushed to The Standard Hotel where a few people were waiting on me to shoot some very high end shoes ($1K a pop). The presentation had ended at 7:30 and I arrived at 8:00. They were not happy. Wasn't my fault. We set up a impromptu "studio" of white seamless and I quickly got the shots needed...lit all nice and pretty.

Starving to death after the shows, I called a friend to meet me for a bite. Only 10:00pm, we decided to slip over to Arthur's Tavern to see who was playing.  The house band was doing everything from Steely Dan to Michael Jackson (but funkier) tunes and we stayed for a few drinks. Great musicians, very fun.

 Stew Cutler--a great blues, jazz guitar player. 

As we were leaving a bit after midnight, we were outside and my friend mentioned that she had never been to the bar Marie's Crisis right next door. Being a piano bar that specializes in show tunes one can only assume the clientele is mostly gay men. I had only been there twice before with an ex-girlfriend while showing visitors around the Village. Being secure in my heterosexuality, I suggested we go in so she could satisfy her curiosity. At the same time, two British couples asked us if it was a fun place and we all went in together. Going down into the basement bar you feel like you're stepping back in time, walking in to some old pub in the in the Theater District in the 1940s. The place is painted red with tiny Christmas lights strewn across the ceiling. It's obviously filled mostly with regulars and a few tourists.  Lots of theater people with big voices and personalities. It's slightly cramped, having only about ten chairs.

The noisy crown suddenly becomes quiet as the piano player taps his hands on the top of the piano. The regulars saying, "shh...shhh...." until the room is nearly silent. After a pause, he hits the first few notes and seconds later a hundred voices are singing "Somewhere" at the top of their lungs. Almost ear-piercing, this is not a shy bunch. Whether you favor that kind of music or not, it's quite impressive to witness. Like the rest of the crowd, my friend knew nearly every song from her many years in various choirs and choral groups and couldn't stop singing and smiling. She later said it was the best night she'd spent in all the years she lived in New York. I didn't have quite the same experience but I did have a surprisingly good time. Occasionally I'd glance across the room and our British friends would give us a very cheery "eight thumbs up".  Leaving two hours later I got home just before 4:00am. A very long but fun night.

The barmaid sang a very sad song of unrequited love. She realized she would never completely have the man she adored but was willing to take the 50% he offered... You could hear a pin drop.

The tip jar at Marie's Crisis beat out Arthur's jar by a long shot...I saw some $20s.

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