This past weekend, I succeeded in checking three major activities off my New York City To-Do list. To be completely honest, I only did one thing that had been on my list. I did the other two things sporadically and subsequently added them to my list and crossed them off. Sometimes I question the purpose of lists. Anyway, it was a great Fall Break and I thought I’d give you the run-down:
>> Modern Art at the Whitney Museum
The Whitney Museum is located just up the street from my dorm room on the southeast corner of 75th and Madison. I’ve noticed the granite façade of the Marcel Breuer building a couple times before but never managed to step inside and pay the $12 dollar student fee. On Friday, however, I mustered the energy to check it out—just in time to catch the end of the Dan Graham exhibition “Beyond.” The temporary shows, permanent collection, and building itself were substantially cooler than I had expected, and—whereas most museums systematically put me to sleep—I left the Whitney feeling good about life and art and Modernism and expensive New York museums.
I especially enjoyed seeing/experiencing Dan Graham’s reflective glass structures in the temporary show “Beyond”. That has unfortunately already come to an end, but there are two other exhibitions worth checking out that will be up through the end of the year: Georgia O’Keeffe: Abstraction and A few Frames: Photography and the Contact Sheet. The works in the later exhibition explore issues of time and space through multiplicity and sequencing—very cool for the architecturally or cinematically minded visitor.
>> Still Life at the MCC Theater
On Saturday night, a few friends and I went downtown to see the Off-Broadway play “Still Life” currently showing at the MCC Theater. The lights dimmed before I could read the Playbill, leaving me unprepared for the tragic plot that would quickly unfold on stage. Still Life recounts the uneventful but emotionally charged story of Generation X, the generation that was promised the world but couldn’t decide what to do with it. The play addresses fear and death and insecurities — typical fodder for playwrights but well crafted and relevant.
To keep this story short, the play got under my skin. I bought into the actors and fell for them harder than I have for anyone on the silver screen; there emotion was as tangible as that of a friend or family member. It was good theater. If you’re exhausted by the song and dance of Broadway but still interested in quality acting, I recommend checking this play out before it ends on November 1st.
>> The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
On Tuesday, I met my friend in line to see a taping of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Feeling lucky to have pinned down two free tickets for the show, we waited eagerly alongside families that had booked their tickets six months in advance.
After a long wait and some coaching from interns and security personnel, we entered the studios and took our seats in front of the radiating blue and orange stage set that has become synonymous with quality news casting. A comedian came out to greet us, explain the routine, and crack a few of his own jokes. Jon Stewart arrived shortly thereafter and fielded a few questions from the crowd. His comedic chops were equally impressive on and off script.
Within minutes of Jon Stewart’s arrival, overhead screens lit up, crewmembers swarmed, lights flared, and cameras started flying. The show progressed at the same pace that it does on television with only brief pauses for commercial breaks and a special correspondent segment with John Oliver. After 30 minutes, everyone promptly dispersed and we shuffled back out into the daylight. A highly anticipated, extremely amusing, and surprisingly abrupt afternoon spent in New York.