W42ST Issue 52 - The Body Issue

Page 1





Big ones, small ones, hairy ones, funny ones ... we're working through our issues!


IMAGINATION IMAGINATION TAKES TAKES FLIGHT FLIGHT Visit Visitthe theIntrepid IntrepidSea, Sea,Air Air&&Space SpaceMuseum Museumthis thisspring springtotodiscover discoverhistory history and andscience sciencethrough throughour ourexhibits exhibitsand andfamily-friendly family-friendlyprograms. programs.

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FREE FRIDAYS Beginning April 26 from 5:00pm–9:00pm, the Intrepid Museum will open its doors on seven Friday nights for FREE! Explore the Museum and enjoy a variety of after-hours programming including lively conversations, exciting performances, telescopes for viewing the night sky and movie nights on the flight deck! SAVE THE DATE FOR FREE FRIDAYS: April 26, May 31, June 21, July 19, August 16, September 27, October 25 There’s something for everyone during Free Fridays, however please refer to INTREPIDMUSEUM.ORG/FREE-FRIDAYS for age ranges and registration requirements. Last entry is 8:30pm. Admission is free on Free Fridays but additional fees for other activities may apply. During Free Fridays, some areas of the Museum may be closed and there will be no access to the submarine Growler or Concorde.


INNOVATORS Life on Earth: Brought to You by Satellite April 26, 7:00pm—Part of Free Fridays

Take on the roles of the flight deck crew in this interactive tour that follows aircraft from the hangar deck to the air and back again. Children ages 5–12. Free with Museum admission. Register in advance.

Robert Bell of Space & Satellite Professionals International will discuss the many ways satellites drive our world—from TVs and computers, to weather forecasts and maps. Free. Ages 21+. Register in advance. Beer and wine available for purchase with valid ID.

INTREPID ADVENTURES: DIVING INTO DENSITY April 27 & 28, Noon Tour our massive aircraft carrier and explore our interactive submarine exhibit, Submerged. Then, get hands-on with a Cartesian diver and a design-your-own aluminum foil boat. Children ages 5–12. Free with Museum admission. Register in advance.


SAVE THE DATE! May 22-27 Join us for a special lineup of programs and performances, including hands-on activities on the pier and a free screening of Top Gun on the flight deck.


Bodies. Simple sacks of flesh that carry around our bones and blood and organs. Yet they come under more scrutiny, and are subject to more critical assessment than possibly any other aspect of ourselves. More than our creative output. More than our intelligence – emotional or otherwise. Certainly more than our compassion. And often the harshest judge can be ourselves. So I’m here to celebrate our bodies in all their diversity. To strip away traditional standards of what



April Edition

is “ideal.” Let’s go get naked!

Ruth Walker Editor, W42ST Sign up to my weekly newsletter at w42st.com







phil@w42st.com (646) 535-4407


ruth@w42st.com (646) 847-9645





drew@w42st.com (646) 896-9562

Birth doula Laura Max is dedicated to making stretch marks sexy.

underarm hair still have the power to shock – and should we care?



Susan Sarandon comes to town.

Body dysmorphia is an epidemic in the LGBTQ community – Nick Demos goes in search of why.





The mysterious disappearance of the lady garden ... Kristen Jongen is on the case.

The odyssey towards self love is long, with lots of bumps along the way ...




All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be used without written permission of the publisher ©2019. Please note: Every effort has been made to avoid errors, misspellings, and omissions in this publication. However, if you spot one please accept our sincere apologies.

The human body IS art, says Eric Lee Bowman – that’s all there is.


Nicole Goodwin makes a bold statement about body shaming and blackness.


Why does the sight of a woman with

How Lili Stiefel stopped feeling fat.


Saggy breasts, ageing bodies, sex, ... getting older is kind of hilarious.


Hashtag your Instagram photographs #W42ST to get involved.


Their commitment keeps W42ST free for everyone else to enjoy. Please support them with your love and your business 34th St Partnership

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We all complain about NYC!




Cheap tickets, parties – how Broadway (and Off-Broadway) is wooing the young.


Working up the nerve to be naked.


How do performers fill their limited time?



Tips to make it go smoothly – including a failsafe recipe for reluctant cooks.


A designer and an actor on their go-to places to eat, drink, and play in the hood.



The historic Times Square Theatre




undergoes a $100m facelift – literally! They’re going to lift that thing!

53 HEY NEIGHBOR! COVER This month’s cover is called Body Knot

#272 by Howard Schatz from his book, Body Knots. Howard writes a


weekly blog called On Seeing, about his photography, his subjects, and his photographic process. You can see all previous issues on his site,

Meet a new arrival to the hood.


Sexy gorgeousness to make your home life lovely.



Sophia goes to class and finds out where all the single guys have been hiding.


Dating has moved on from Bumble, friends – and slid into your feed.


and subscribe

The things Claudia has done!

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email address to contact@ howardschatz.com.


Hell’s Kitchen’s most handsome pets. Email waggingtales@w42st.com.






Stretch marks are sexy! Birth doula Laura Max is redefining what it means to be desirable Photograph Phil O’Brien My HK story

I’m from Manhattan, born and raised. Then, when my daughter was two, I got accepted for the affordable housing lottery at Silver Towers. We’ve been here nine years and really been able to see the neighborhood grow and change in big ways. My daughter went to PS 51, and graduated last year.

I was already looking for a different career option

So I shared the story with someone who said: “You should look into being a doula.”

Everything is so exciting. When we first moved here, even the building we live in was pretty empty. I remember walking from the train station at night and seeing just a couple of lights on. There was nobody there! But I love that I can take any train and get home. I love the restaurants on 9th Ave. I love that it feels really safe. I love that, when my daughter was ready to start walking to school, I didn’t bat an eye. And you don’t feel that everywhere in New York. So a great place to raise a family.

When my daughter was born, things got complicated

Initially, it’s just about information

I was 21, and my parents weren’t thrilled about my pregnancy, so I was pretty unsupported.

Fast forward nine years

A friend had just had a baby and she was going on vacation for her birthday so asked me to house sit for her. I knew there were things that needed to be done for her to feel good in her space, but having the new baby and just returning to work, it wasn’t really an option for her. So I did a lot of the things I knew she wanted to have done. When she came home she actually called me and she was crying. She’d just came back from Florida and said that getting back home was the best part of her birthday.

Then the support during the actual labor might look like massage, it might look like getting something to eat, keeping the laboring woman moving and hydrated and just feeling very secure and strong in whatever path they’ve decided to take. Afterwards, it can look like helping a woman throughout breastfeeding, which can be challenging. Or helping out around the house or watching the baby so the mother can sleep.

When I first got into the field, I felt I had to be superwoman

I had to know everything and know all the right positions and know when something’s an emergency. I’m now accepting that sometimes just being there and knowing


what I know and bringing what I have to the table is enough. It feels like a service to other women at a really vulnerable time.

MY IG is full of stretch marks!

OK, what’s that?

That’s what I said! I looked into it and got really excited about the work. Doula is a Greek word – it means to serve. So a birth doula is a trained professional who provides emotional, physical, and informational support to pregnant families. We’ve always had this role historically. It used to be in the form of mothers and grandmothers and aunties and sisters who had experienced childbirth and were able to support one another during that time. But as families have become more separated, we’re trying to figure out different ways to provide that same support that used to come in the form of family.

What keeps me here

Opposite: Laura has a new view of the neighborhood now she’s started running.

BIO Laura Max has lived in Hell’s Kitchen for nine years, and is a qualified birth doula. @laura.max_/ LAURA’S HK Tom Otterness Playground, W42nd St 11th/12th Ave Pier 84, W44th St - 12th Ave Claudio’s, 10th Ave - 43rd/44th St Green Fig @ Yotel, 10th Ave - 42nd/43rd St West Bank Cafe, W42nd St - 9th/10th Ave Little Pie Company, W43rd St 9th/10th Ave

I love to feature photos of postpartum bodies, stretch marks, and breastfeeding because I hope to normalize these images in a way that makes them enticing, attractive – even sexy, not as an object of desire of men but for the women who carry these scars and marks. Once I started posting them, I received such great feedback from women, some with children and some without, who were hungry for more body positive images. I’m now excited for my next pregnancy and am looking forward to leaky boobs and tiger stripes because that’s the new sexy for me. I want to help celebrate all women, especially those who feel undesirable after bringing new life into the world.

Where we hang in HK

Our favorite spot is just right downstairs from our apartment – the Tom Otterness play park. My daughter has a summer birthday, so we always have birthday parties down there. My family and I have dubbed Claudio’s the best pizza in Manhattan, hands down, no competition. I also love brunch at Green Fig at Yotel and the crab cakes at West Bank Cafe (I have a thing for crab cakes). To satisfy our sweet teeth, we love The Little Pie Company – the sour cream apple walnut pie to be most specific.

My HK happy place

That would have to be Pier 84 – I love watching the sunset. And I just started running, so now I have a new perspective of our neighborhood from a runner’s view.



TROUBLEMAKERS SPOTTED AT 52ND & 10TH. Now at home in Hell’s Kitchen. (Your new neighbor.)

Scan for your FREE TIX & PERKS Sign up on our website to WIN a pair of TIX to see a show and get a behind-the-scenes tour. Our neighbors also have access to $30 RUSH TIX 2 hours before every performance!*

T IX AT MCCTHEATER .ORG / (646) 506 - 9393 * Some limitations may apply. the cast of ALICE BY HEART / photo by DEEN VAN MEER

What’s On Ink


MAD April 9-13 The design museum’s annual exhibition and sale of contemporary jewelry by more than 50 emerging and internationally acclaimed artists. madmuseum.org

All My Sons

American Airlines Theatre Opens April 4 Arthur Miller’s classic play about a family with a secret – set in the aftermath of World War II – stars Annette Bening and Tracy Letts. roundabouttheatre.org

Melissa Etheridge

The Town Hall April 10 The Grammy and Oscar-winning singer of songs including ‘Ain’t it Heavy’ and ‘Come to my Window’ tours with her new album, The Medicine Show. thetownhall.org

Soundtrack of America

The Shed April 5-14 Steve McQueen and Quincy Jones’s celebration of African American music, and the impact it’s had on contemporary culture, opens the exciting new arts space in Hudson Yards. theshed.org


MCC Theatre Opens April 20 A play about three twentysomethings living in New York, hunting for intimacy and purpose in a city that doesn’t seem to care. They drink a lot. They smoke a lot. They try to have sex. A lot. mcctheater.org

Reel abilities


April 2019 with W42ST to provide free afterhours access to the museum and its vast range of programing. intrepidmuseum.org

Samuel J Friedman Theatre Previews begin April 2 Johnny Lee Miller and Bertie Carvel star in a story about Rupert Murdoch’s purchase of a struggling London newspaper in the 1960s, and the editorial staff who would stop at nothing to destroy the competition. manhattantheatreclub.com

Intrepid Museum April 7 Screening of a movie telling the story of Kevin Hines, who attempted to commit suicide by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge 17 years ago. He survived, and continues to suffer from many of the symptoms that prompted the attempt. Part of the largest film festival dedicated to promoting awareness of the lives and artistic expressions of people with different abilities. Plus, Free Fridays starts April 26 – a monthly program in collaboration


Jason Kravits Happy Talk

Signature Theatre Opens April 30 Susan Sarandon stars in Jesse Eisenberg’s new play about a woman who’s already a saint of the suburbs – saving her dying mother, miserable husband, and estranged daughter. Then she takes on the task of finding a husband for her mother’s Serbian home aide … thenewgroup.org


Birdland April 28-29 You’ve seen him on Kimmy Schmidt. You’ve seen him on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Now see him in the scariest thing he’s ever done – improvizing an entire cabaret from scratch, all from suggestions by the audience. birdlandjazz.com







Hair down there

Have we groomed ourselves out of reality? Kristen Jongen wonders where it all went wrong in the lady garden of Eden



hen I first got sober, I felt so overwhelmed with gratitude that I celebrated by procuring two tattoos. One of them is text visible on the side of my right hand. An older man recently inquired about it. “What’s that say?” he asked, pointing at my hand. “It says, ‘I’m free,’” I said blankly. I was standing in line at Home Depot and in no mood for sass. To my surprise, he lit up and howled. He literally slapped his knee, laughing. “Honey,” he said, “you should at least charge a little something.” Welcome, friends, to the Body Issue of W42ST. What a loaded topic, eh? Exactly when and where did the miraculous flesh bags that regenerate every seven years and effortlessly lug our souls around become the subject of such intense scrutiny? Was it right after Eve bit into her first apple? At the moment the sweet juice touched the tip of her tongue, did she think: “I wonder how many calories are in this thing?” From tattoos to exercising obsessively, to plucking hairs with hot wax; to plugging said hairs into our

Below: Did Eve bite into her first apple, muses Kristen, and think to herself: “I wonder how many calories are in this thing?”

balding scalps, where did it all go wrong? Has the Garden of Eden become a mad laboratory? In our quest for the fountain of youth and beauty, have we groomed ourselves out of reality? A friend of a friend recently dated a male millennial for a few weeks. She is middle aged, like me. Younger men are relentlessly pursuing her, and she simply didn’t have the strength to fight it any longer. He was sexy. She went for it. Before their first date, she wondered aloud about her graying nether region. “Should I dye it?” She inquired. I was appalled. A trimmed landing strip is perfectly acceptable in any color! A few weeks later, my friend of a friend reported that, while getting cozy, Mr 30 had stopped and stared at her lady area. “Wow!” he said aloud. She thought about the hair dye. Alas, that was not the issue. It turned out he was not alarmed by the fact that her bush was gray, but the fact that she had hair at all. Mr Hot Stuff had NEVER SEEN PUBIC HAIR ON A VAGINA. Ever.

He was baffled that there was a rug to match the curtains. He had heard of a bird in the hand but never a vajayjay in a bush. He was confused and excited. She was shocked and amused. Together, my gals and I wonder if this is what it has come to? Is every woman under 35 hairless? Will there be generations of men and women who think little girls and grown women look the same down there? Guys and gals of Hell’s Kitchen, I beg of you to revolt. Throw us Gen-Xers a hairy bone, kay? We cannot help that we are still wildly sexy and a curious feat for your inquisition. However, we are wiser and have different values. You will have to up your game if you want to roll with the grown-ups. Curiously, my second tattoo says: “To thine own self be true.” Soberly yours,

“He was baffled that there was a rug to match the curtains. He had heard of a bird in the hand but never a vajayjay in a bush.”



An internationally recognized author, artist, and motivational speaker, Kristen has written and published two books and is the voice behind Soul Soup books, prints, and greeting cards. Listen to her weekly Sober in the City podcast. If you’re having a hard time with drugs and alcohol, find support meetings at nyintergroup.org








A bad breakup, a brutal winter, a bunch of old magazines – and Eric Lee Bowman sees the human body in a new light Interview Ruth Walker



lashback. It’s Snowmagadden 2016 and Eric Lee Bowman is holed up in his Hell’s Kitchen apartment with a new girlfriend. They’re both artists and, with nothing to do and nowhere special to go, they embark on a frenzied three months of creativity. “Neither of us was working at the time, so we spent three months basically without leaving the apartment except to walk the dogs. We ordered delivery, watched a bunch of Truffaut and Wes Anderson movies, and we sat at the table and made collages. The whole apartment was scattered with ripped-up magazines. That winter I probably made about 150 collages. “It started with Life magazines, and Look – vintage ones from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Then I found some porn magazines that were from the 60s and 70s – titty magazines, not really pornographic …” The resulting pieces are sometimes even more X-rated versions of the original source material – “they’re totally non-sexual,” says Eric, “but they’re certainly gruesome in a pornographic way. Or pornographic in a gruesome way.”

“It’s all about the body. From the earliest Greek and Egyptian sculptures, that’s what art is.”


Above: Eric, with the 150-year-old camera on which he shot the fractured portraits. Opposite: Wet plate collodion portrait of Melanie Gaydos (Melanie 1) by Eric Lee Bowman.

He didn’t realize it at the time, but he says now that he was dealing with the fall out from a bad breakup, and believes he was processing much of that subconsciously through the work. And anyway, he adds, the human body is “the only thing to make art from. That’s it. It’s all about the body. From the earliest Greek and Egyptian sculptures, that’s what art is – it’s making a representation of a human.”




That manipulation of the human body, the distortion of reality, is not a million miles from his series of “fractured” photographs, created using photographic trickery on a 150-year-old camera, that made an impact at Spring/Break art show last year. “I was looking to create a new body of work and there was a number of factors that coalesced at the same time. One was that there was a fantastic show at


“They’re totally non-sexual, but they’re certainly gruesome in a pornographic way. Or pornographic in a gruesome way.” The Met in the summer of 2012 called Faking It, and that was inspirational for me, because I saw what artists were doing with chemical photography, before there was the digital technology to do these manipulations. Then I remembered my grandfather had taught me this technique for how to make fake photos. So I came up with the idea to start doing the fractured portraits.” He put an ad on Craigslist for a nude model, and the second person to contact him was Melanie Gaydos, whose nonconventional looks were already getting her noticed in the fashion and music industries (the first was a guy who, the following week, was shipped off to the military. “I think he just wanted to get naked and make art.”) Melanie has a rare genetic disorder called ectodermal dysplasia, which has affected the development of her teeth, pores, nails, cartilage, and bones. She’s shot for i-D and Love magazines, been in music videos for Die Antwoord and


Opposite: Vintage porn collage by Eric Lee Bowman.

Rammstein, and now flies all over the world for work. But at the time, she was living in Brooklyn, and could easily make it to Eric’s studio. “She just wanted to make art, so it was great to meet her and work with her. She has such a unique look. It just seems to really work well in this format. Her look, her skin, her eyes, her lips, her nose – it’s the whole, everything just looks so good on the wet plate collodion process.” They’re still some of his favorite things he’s done. He’s now taking a break from photography. “I’m in a metamorphosis right now – a transition period. But there was a time in my life when I was heavily interested in business and investing and I was able to set myself up so that I could pursue art for five years without needing to make money. “I bought the copyright on the music of Bobby Short. He was a jazz piano man, and he used to sing at the Carlyle Hotel – now Woody Allen has his slot. Bobby Short was in a bunch of Woody Allen movies, his music was in it and he had a cameo in Hannah and her Sisters. So every time his CDs sell, they send me a few pennies. Every time the Woody Allen movies are on reruns, they send me a few bucks. He was in an episode of I Love Lucy a long time ago, he was in an episode of Seventh Heaven, and he was in an episode of Frasier. “I actually collect more royalties from Screen Actors Guild than a lot of my friends who went to school to be actors. “So I look at my life in phases like that, and the next project of life may not look like a period of five or six years of art work; it may not look like a period of seven years of business and investing. The next period may look like getting married and raising a kid. “So I don’t know where I’m going next, but there is certainly that artist tilt always in me, and I think if I were to get a country house beyond the apartment in Hell’s Kitchen, I would make sure it has a studio in it, or a place where I could build a studio.” ericleebowman.com


THE FAMILY TREE “I come from a family of artists. My mom, Sarah Bowman, is a painter, an illustrator, and also makes these amazing dolls. “My dad, Michael Bowman, is a photographer – he did catalogs and a lot of studio photography. He shot ads that were billboards in Times Square, he had ad campaigns that were on the subway and on the buses and that kind of thing. “My mother’s father was Roy Pinney. At the height of his career, he was doing all the Mad Men photography in the 1950s and 1960s. “He loved snakes – he had about 40. And when I was a little kid, he’d bring snakes to my birthday party. When he came over to babysit, he’d bring a duffle bag full of snakes and a little tin can with holes poked in the top, like a coffee can. Inside the can there would be mice. So me and my sister would feed mice to the snakes. “He’d never bring any of the venomous ones over, although he did keep an illegal venomous snake in his apartment for many years. He’s a Jew from the Lower East Side, so he named his bad-tempered rattlesnake Hitler. “One time, a snake actually got out of the apartment and was discovered on the pillow of a neighbor across the hall.”


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WOMAN Performing naked was once a way to promote body positivity. Now Nicole Goodwin sees it differently


hy would an overweight black woman stand topless, with the words “Ain’t I a Woman” inscribed all over her body? Nudity is not new. Many artists have used their bodies to expose a subject – and whether that topic be personal, political, or experimental, the avant-garde scene has just about seen it all. And yet I am still compelled to push the status quo by exposing my body in the full, because we live in circular times, where the threat of censorship and fat-phobia dominate the internet, and is enforced on the streets of New York City – even though it is not illegal for a woman to appear topless in public. My nudity in Ain’t I a Woman (?/!)

performances pushes those boundaries, exposing blackness in newer, fantastic ways. The first time I performed the piece, there were moments when I was completely in my body and moments where I was completely gone – lost in the ritual of stretching and posing, then repositioning again. I could see people surrounding me, phones out ready to take pictures even though there was a “no photos” policy. I felt ashamed. I hated how afraid I was. I found myself looking at the crowd. I cried a little. In time, faces began to blur. Only voices remained. Voices and sounds. Flashes of light. I’ve been performing Ain’t I a Woman (?/!) for almost two years now – and every time has removed more than layers of clothing; it has removed the layers that have distorted my self-image


“I felt ashamed. I hated how afraid I was. I found myself looking at the crowd. I cried a little.”




Nicole Goodwin is a veteran, author, performance artist, and awardwinning poet. Her book Warcries is a collection of poems inspired by her experiences in combat theater. She is a 20132014 Queer Art Mentorship Literary Fellow, and the winner of The Fresh Fruit Festival’s 2013 Award for Performance Poetry.

and identity. Ideas based on guilt and shame that are still directed towards my large, black body. I’m also testing the borders of my own emotions. When I started, I wanted it to be about body positivity. I wanted my body to be added to the social norm of beauty standards in the United States. Now I see it as more of a vehicle of self-expression, instead of a petition for social acceptance. My performance is the antithesis of what the Western heteromale gaze has deemed acceptable, beautiful, and alluring. I removed the concept of eroticism from the piece in honor of women such as Venus Hottentot, who was imprisoned due to her blackness and body stature in comparison to white women. By controlling the way my body is displayed, I control the narrative that follows it. Whether my body is viewed as beautiful or not is irrelevant; the fact that it is viewed first and foremost is the importance of the work. The nudity is what allows my work to speak to anti-blackness now, which is a serious evolution in my own thought process. This new iteration is what makes the work astounding to me.







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Abby Feldman examines her own love affair with her bushy armpits


just shaved my underarms for the first time in over three months. I’m going to a friend’s wedding and even though I’m comfortable with my hairy pits, I decided I didn’t want to do anything to distract from her big day. And unfortunately it feels like sporting tufts of dark hair under my arms might prove too provocative for a black tie wedding – let alone a black tie Mexican wedding. Maybe it’s a self-imposed notion. Or maybe it’s because I haven’t seen any other women with underarm hair since we arrived in Mexico three days ago. Or could it be the fact that I slept over at a man’s apartment in Brooklyn the other night and when he saw I had hairy armpits he whined: “Why do you do that? Shave them please!” In BROOKLYN! The body hair capital of the world! Don’t worry, this didn’t stop him from proceeding to grind his boner into the side of my butt throughout the night and morning despite me having told him before we got into bed that we wouldn’t be having sex. Honestly, I was shocked he even noticed. This is 2019. He’s a musician who doesn’t have a bedroom door. He was the first man besides my dad to ever express anything but amusement at my armpit hair. The last person I was sleeping with would kiss me under my arms and practically floss his teeth with my pit hair. As we lay in bed he

would twist and twirl it like an old-timey mustache. My ex commented on a recent picture of me on the beach that showcased my armpit hair saying: “Unfortunately I still find you sexy.” Whatever the f*ck that means. And while on vacation, my friend’s boyfriend was obsessed with taking pictures featuring my underarm hair any chance he got, gleefully announcing: “I love your pubes!” I love them, too. Or rather, I loved them. Now my shaven pits look bare and desolate. I miss my friendly armpit bushes. The contrast of smooth, soft body and breasts with accents of dark curly hair reminds me of mascarastreaked lashes framing a beautiful eye. Why did I feel the need to remove this natural part of my body to fit in at my friend’s wedding? They requested women

“The last person I was sleeping with would kiss me under my arms and practically floss his teeth with my pit hair.”


wear long dresses – why not match with long armpit hair? But more importantly, who cares? How is it possible that I’m wasting precious minutes or even seconds of my life thinking about this insignificant matter? And that’s the real issue – time, and how I choose to spend mine. Imagine how much more time I’d have for my art, for family, for spiritual growth, or just sitting around twirling my armpit pubes like an oldtimey mustache if I stopped tending to my body hair. It takes me about 10 minutes to shave my armpits, legs and bikini line – which is way less than most women spend on their depilation. Ten minutes, three times per week, is half an hour every week or two hours each month, 24 hours per year. One full day out of a year may not sound like a ton of time, but that’s one day I could spend lying on a beach or writing my novel or enjoying mind-blowing, soulfilling, hairy-bodied sex. So maybe I didn’t need to shave my pits for my friend’s wedding. But doing so made me realize that I didn’t need to do it. So I guess I did need to do it to learn my lesson. What’s that saying? “If you love something, let it go. If it grows back, it is yours. If it doesn’t, it never was.” As I sit here writing, still in Mexico City, home of iconic hairy woman Frida Kahlo, I can see fresh stubble sprouting up under my arm. And it is mine ... At least I hope it is. How creepy would that be if someone else’s hair was growing out of my armpit?

About ABBY

Abby Feldman is a comedian, writer, and actress recently named one of Just For Laughs New Faces 2018. Abby wrote for Netflix’s The

Fix, starring Jimmy Carr, and co-wrote and costarred in Netflix’s

Gringolandia. She was a correspondent on the comedy news TV show

Redacted Tonight and is an alum of the Upright Citizens Brigade and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School. She’s also a Fulbright Scholar. Abby performs stand up nightly in New York City, around the US, and internationally in both English and Spanish. @abbyfeldman









Is anyone immune from body image issues? Nick Demos explores a universal insecurity from a very personal point of view

t is the eve of my 45th birthday. I stand in front of a full-length mirror readying myself for the party. I dissect my body: the lines on my face, my sagging jowl, the pecs and arms that are too small, the dreaded bit of extra weight around my waist, the legs I actually like, and even my odd-shaped feet. I’ve done this thousands of times. Being a meditation, yoga, and creativity teacher, I know this body is the shell for my soul, but my mind still plays tricks on me. At eight years old, my mother began calling me Nicky Picky because I was “skinny as a tooth pick.” As a young, gay child, this was humiliating and I feared it to be unmanly. In my teens I worried incessantly that I was too skinny; it seemed wimpy. When I reached college, a gay professor poked my belly and told me I needed to stop eating. He didn’t want to see the “freshman fifteen” on me. Then I moved

to New York City and began the illusive search for perfection. I needed to be trim and muscular. I tried protein shakes and steroids, was gym crazed, and attempted crash diets. Here on my birthday, I’m still at it. At middle age I have very few role models outside the heteronormative culture. As the first large, out generation of gay men in history, who do we have to show us how to age gracefully? What is enough? Why does our youth-glorified, selfie-obsessed society still have a hold on me after all these years? Can I finally be free and fully comfortable in my own skin? These questions sent me on a journey I decided to document. Over NYC’s gay Pride weekend in arguably the heart of the LGBTQ community, Hell’s Kitchen, I began shooting a documentary film titled The Body Electric with the intention of evoking conversation and just maybe offering myself a bit of personal healing.

“What is enough? Why does our youthglorified, selfieobsessed society still have a hold on me after all these years? Can I finally be free and fully comfortable in my own skin?”


Opposite: As a child, Nick always felt too skinny. Next page: A still from The Body Electric.

Starting with who and what I know, I reached out to gay men. I was certain I wasn’t the only one who felt like this. As a sub-culture, we love to joke and harass each other about our weight and looks. We bully with subtle and even outright aggressive comments and shaming. We all know that it is a pervasive problem but we don’t discuss it maturely. Roughly 5% of the male population is gay, yet we represent 42% of male eating disorders, according to research conducted by Dr William Howard at the John Hopkins University School. Gay men have become the face of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) and muscle dysmorphia disorder (MDD), which is a type of body dysmorphia marked by feeling insufficiently muscular or lean (when that is not the case). According to the Body Dysmorphia Disorder Foundation, among MDD’s characterizations are “excessive time and over-exertion in weightlifting to increase muscle mass,” “preoccupation over workout if unable to attend,” “disordered eating, using special diets, or excessive protein supplements,” “steroid abuse and often other substance misuse,” “compulsive comparing and checking of one’s physique” and “significant distress or mood swings.” Gay man after gay man expressed this behavior and the pressures of queer culture, the media, and specifically social media with apps like Grindr and Scruff where there is little place for anyone who isn’t white, cisgendered, trim, and muscular.






Digging deeper, they each proclaimed some sort of trauma, family issue, and/or a combination of triggers that were aggravated by being a gay man. No matter what the age, race, or socio-economic background, they all experienced something traumatic. Ryan hid he was biracial because he was ridiculed by both white and black people. Additionally, his alcoholic mother bullied him about his weight. After reaching 337 pounds, he began taking drastic measures. When he did, he liked the attention he received from men. This led to a cycle that has included two abdominoplasties, botox, and injectables. Once married, Del has children. He weighs himself every day because he “doesn’t know if he’s gotten heavier or not.” He considers himself an exercise bulimic; adding up his calories every day and then taking them off on the stair master or through spinning class.

He became emotional telling me of the damage done to his children who now struggle with their own eating disorders. These discoveries led me beyond the gay male perspective. I began to include other members of the LGBTQ community. I flew to the heart of the Bible Belt and to Hollywood. I met extreme cases and those who felt the struggle was a small part of their everyday life. I consulted medical doctors and therapists. Dr Ryan Turner, a New York City dermatologist and plastic surgeon, told me that 25% of his clients were gay men who seek botox and fillers, and many of his other patients are trans. Within the transgender community he sees “a lot of black market injectables; anything from silicone to mineral oils to caulking substances that you can find at your hardware store.” This can cause terrible disfigurement. People are so desperate to change, they inject caulk that typically goes

“Roughly 5% of the male population is gay, yet we represent 42% of male eating disorders.”

About NICK

Nick Demos has been teaching yoga, pranayama, meditation, and creativity for over a decade. A Tony Awardwinning producer (Memphis), award-winning filmmaker (Policy

of Truth) and writer, his current projects include documentaries on the chronic pain syndrome, fibromyalgia (Invisible); a book about living in creative flow; and a musical adaptation of the classic spiritual novel, Siddhartha, He co-produced

Come From Away, and is the executive director of One Company, a non-profit organization dedicated to the wellness and wholeness of artists. To download a free creativity-inspired meditation MP3 and more


information on Nick visit thenickdemos. com, on IG, Facebook @thenickdemos

around a bathtub in their face? This shocked me. What other perspectives could I receive from my trans friends? Seun is an African American trans woman in Tulsa, Oklahoma, who after a few years of counseling is still grappling with her gender dysphoria. Deeply affected by her father’s lack of understanding and being raised as a boy in the South, she now sees herself as human before color or gender. Another trans woman, Shakina, said: “I put myself in a lot of unhealthy situations because, fundamentally, I didn’t have a lot of respect for who I was.” Nadav Antebi-Gruszka, a therapist who specializes in LGBTQ mental health, stresses that more clinical research needs to be done, adding: “We see a high prevalence of body dysmorphia and eating disorders among gay, bisexual, and queer men but we don’t necessarily see it among lesbian, bi, and queer women.” Knowing that my heterosexual female friends struggle with this, that took me by surprise. So I met with a group of queer femme-identified millennials who expressed a great affinity for the body positivity movement, yet still confessed to some form of body image issues. Is this a gay issue or simply magnified by this community? It is, after all, universal. If we are all spiritual beings having a human experience, it is through the body that we can understand, express, and be ourselves. The largest recurring theme from everyone I interviewed was the longing for connection with the self and with others. That innate desire to be seen and heard manifests itself in both the most beautiful and unhealthiest of ways. This journey looking outward took me further inward, to reflection beyond the mirror. And while I certainly don’t have the answers to all the questions, I do have a greater sense of the community, the body, and my higher self. And that in itself is healing. The Body Electric is currently in post production, relying on donations and individual investment for completion. For more information and to donate visit oneconyc.com/projects-1



Shaping New York’s Future Together. Wells Fargo wishes to extend a big congratulations to Hudson Yards. In a city like New York, it is not easy to become the most talked about development in town, but thanks to a truly visionary design that seamlessly integrates a walkable art installation, a public square and gardens right alongside the best in retail and restaurants, you guys have done it! We are thrilled to call ourselves the preferred bank of Hudson Yards. For anyone walking around the Vessel, or any of the other spaces, this means you will never be far from one of our conveniently located ATMs, or our branch. It’s been an incredible journey together, and we are excited to serve this community in the years to come.

Preferred Bank of Hudson Yards Š 2019 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC.



You are


Alden Gagnon’s odyssey from a body-shamed 13-year-old, through an eating disorder, to self love and deadlifts



lden Gagnon found an old photograph recently. In it, she’s 10, and rocking an American Girl dress and Merrell shoes, riding a pink bike and wearing a blue helmet. “I was sweaty, and my little 10-year-old tummy was hanging out, and I was living my best life,” she says. She remembers the precise moment that changed. She was 13, and at a music camp. Some of the girls would wake up early to run, and she asked if she could join them. “They laughed at me, and were like, ‘No, you can’t run like us.’ I was an athletic girl, but I was always a little chubbier. So that’s when I started to realize I’m different, I have a bigger body type.” She describes the years since as an odyssey – a long journey towards acceptance and self love. “Throughout high school I did an hour of kick boxing a day,” she says. “I lost a lot of weight, and was only eating 1,200 calories a day. I definitely had an eating disorder. I looked good by societal standards, but I hated myself. That lasted for eight or nine years. “Then I was in acting conservatory and I had this realization that if someone talked to me the way I talked to myself, I wouldn’t let it slide. But I was allowing this horrible internal monologue of ‘You’re not enough,’ ‘You’re ugly,’ ‘You’re fat,’ ‘You’re never going to be worthy of anything.’ “That was about three years ago, and that was when I really started grounding daily in self love.” She signed up for

Interview Ruth Walker

Above: Before she knew what body positivity was all about. Opposite: Celebrating self love and a super cute swimsuit.

something called A Course in the Ritual of Self Care. “It was about looking at yourself in the mirror and saying, ‘You’re beautiful, you’re worthy. I love you’ – really accepting your body for what it is.” Yes, she admits, it felt SUPER cheesy to start with. “I was like, ‘This is so dumb.’ There were moments where I was doing it and thinking, ‘How is this working?!’ It’s all about rewiring negative brain patterns” It’s especially hard, she says, working in the acting industry, where she can be “a solid six sizes bigger than most of the other girls in the room.” “You really shouldn’t have a headshot like this – it makes you look skinnier than you actually are and we don’t want to be disappointed when you come in the room.” “People who are … curvy … like you shouldn’t wear form fitting dresses.”



Alden Gagnon is an actress, singer, and crystal healer, who posts on IG as @selfloveandeadlifts and @aldengagnon

These are actual sentences people have said out loud. To her face. “Even yesterday, I was taking a yoga class,” she says, “and I was the only one who was over a size 8 in the class. I’m an average US size – a size 14 – but I know there are women who are my size and larger who don’t go to yoga class because they feel uncomfortable, and because they feel society will reinforce the way they feel about themselves. It’s heartbreaking. “That’s


why I started posting on Instagram. I really was called to post about body positivity, because it’s a fight I fight every day. I realized that everyone was going through the exact same thing. There’s an epidemic of negative self-talk in our society.” But the odyssey is far from over. “It’s important to acknowledge that life comes in waves, and sometimes you’re at the top of the crest, and other times you feel like you’re being swallowed up by the falling of the crest. Both are totally valid and OK.”


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Daughter, sister, dancer, entrepreneur, student, lover … Lili Stiefel is a woman who is finally at peace with her body


oday is one of the first days in my life when I haven’t felt fat.” While it comes as a shock to hear it out loud, Lili Stiefel’s raw self-criticism will be familiar to many. A graduate student at The New School, an actor, director, producer, and entrepreneur (she describes herself as an artivist and an artrepreneur), she’s a child of an interracial marriage, Air Force brat, and A-student, speaks fluent English, German, and French, and has lived in Germany, Singapore, and New Mexico.

“If I can do a handstand against a wall and do 20 push ups, I can show up at a meeting and be fine.” But she’s struggled with body shaming and a confused identity her whole life. “The first time I decided I was fat, I was probably 12 or 13,” she says. “My dad’s African American from New Orleans, my mom’s German Irish, and both my parents are overweight. In Germany, it’s so blond and blue-eyed, I’m seen as almost black there. The width of my hips, the largeness of my breasts – I was exotic at drama school, and they didn’t know how to cast me. I felt fat and unworkable.” She arrived in New York five years ago feeling confused, overwhelmed, and

“head-on facing an anxiety disorder that I didn’t want to have in my life anymore. I felt crazy and I felt like I was probably the only person in the world who felt this. My therapist helped me understand that’s not quite true – everyone feels this.” So she set about establishing The Mixed Space, a production company and meeting place that would say to others with the same sense of identity crisis: you’re not alone. “I wanted to find other women who want to have this conversation. I’ve often


Above: Lili Stiefel is embracing all the facets of herself.

felt the spaces I inhabit aren’t built for all my identities other than the one I’m there for. You go to school and you’re only supposed to be the student. But I’m also the big sister and a dancer and all these other things. Those identities aren’t welcome in that space. I felt cut off. “The Mixed Space is the opposite of that. It’s round. It’s large. And it holds space for our fluid, ever-changing approaches to how we show up in the world, how we identify racially, ethnically, culturally … understanding that as we grow and learn, these change.” And as she’s started to feel more comfortable with her place in the world, she’s started to feel more at home in her own body. Working daily with aerialist, acrobat, and contortionist Alexandra Peter, doing yoga, meditation, mantras … and often crying, she says: “It gives me an opportunity to address the areas of my body that need healing, so that I can show up and hold space and I can lead and be emotionally present because I’ve taken care of myself first. “I started consciously building a team that was positive and based around healing rather than making me skinny. When I look at myself naked in the mirror now, I see the healing that I’ve gone through, I’ve seen the choices I’ve made because I love and respect myself.” She’s also discovered gyrotonic, an exercise system that increases movement, and says: “It doesn’t matter how much fat is on my stomach because I’m free in my body. It’s the same with yoga: if I can put myself in these weird positions and still breathe; if I can do a handstand against a wall and do 20 push ups, I can show up at a meeting and be fine. lilistiefel.com



– Time Out

“New York Times Critics’ Pick”

The LOUNGE at 777 Theater 777 8th Ave, 2nd Floor (near 47th St)

A hidden library with over 15,000 books and craft cocktails served during the show





Carole Montgomery sees the funny side of aging

agging breasts and failing bodily functions aren’t the only things women comics of a certain age find funny. But it’s certainly a rich seam of gloriously bawdy material. “Everyone says I look really good,” riffs Carole Montgomery, “but my insides are gone; there’s nothing. Outside, great. Inside, it looks like the end of Avengers: Infinity War.” There’s more. “When you have a child, you’re supposed to do kegel exercises. When you don’t do them and you turn 60, things start to fall out of you. Things just fall out of your vagina. I found a watch and an old map of LA.” And: “Every time I sneeze I pee. It’s the only time I get wet. So when my husband wants to get me in the mood, he throws pepper in my face.” The creator of Funny Women of a Certain Age came up with the idea for the show about a year and a half ago. “I was on a podcast with three other female comics and we just had so much fun.,” she says. “Because there’s something about women in comedy that’s different from the energy with men. You know, we would actually stop and listen and not try to top the joke.” So she got some fabulously funny females together and kicked off with a performance at the Cinder Block Festival in Williamsburg. Which turned into a monthly residency on

the Lower East Side. Which turned into a *excited squeal* premiere on Showtime that aired last month. “At the end of the show, we take a Q and A and talk about what it’s like to be a woman in the business,” says Carole. “I’ve been doing standup for 40 years, and there’s a lot of shit that went down. This is a boys club. When I started, there were 20 women maybe. You where on your own.” The other women on the show include Fran Drescher, whose life choices include marrying a gay man; Vanessa Hollingshead … “my favorite line of hers is when she says she lives in Chelsea, which is the safest place in the world for a

“I could be laying outside naked and drunk and some guy would go, ‘Oh my God, honey, we gotta get you dressed. And you need to do crunches!’”


Above: Funny Women of a Certain Age: Carole, Luenell, Lynne Koplitz, Fran Drescher, Vanessa Hollingshead, and Kerri Louise. Funny Women of a Certain Age has a monthly residency at the Kraine, on the Lower East Side (funnywomen ofacertainage.com)

woman. She says, ‘I could be laying outside naked and drunk and some guy would go, ‘Oh my God, honey, we gotta get you dressed. And you need to do crunches!’” Then there’s Lynne Koplitz, “the older aunt who’s very bawdy”; and Luenelle, whose set is “all about blowjobs.” “I want to do more of these shows,” says Carole. “I’d love this to be a documentary. Then I’d go after my heroes – I’d love to talk to Lily Tomlin and find out what it was like for her in the 1960s. It was basically Lily, Joan Rivers, Phyllis Diller ... maybe five women and all those men.” Which brings us to Mrs Maisel. and her marvelously charmed life. “I wish I had that type of money!” laughs Carole. “You’re in a smoke-filled room and you’re wearing a Chanel dress? Who takes care of the Chanel dress after she brings it home and it smells of smoke and beer? And who’s looking after the children? I took my kids everywhere!” “It’s a wonderful show,” she adds, “but it’s not really about stand-up. Maisel did it once and now she’s making it big. It took me 40 years, and I finally got the special on TV!”





OUT Cheap tickets. Free booze. Parties with the stars. Plus, you’re contributing to New York’s cultural heritage. Who wouldn’t want to be a young patron? Where: Lincoln Center Theater

You’ll see shows like this: My Fair Lady, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Nantucket Sleigh Ride, a play that plunges a New York playwright-turned-venture capitalist into a whirlpool that includes a giant lobster, Roman Polanski, a pornography ring, Walt Disney, and a murder. But you’ll have to be this age: Between 21 and 35. What’ll it cost me?: It’s free to join LincTix. The benefits: You’ll get early access to $32 tickets, and invitations to free post-show parties. Wah! I’m older than 35 – what about me?: Relax, friends. We’ve got you. There’s a bunch of other programs, including the LCT Angels, which embraces 21 to 44-year-olds, with an entry point of $250. That gets you two complimentary tickets to two different productions, behind-the-scenes/meet the artist events, and a listing in Playbill. Got more cash to spend? Become a patron from $2,500. You’ll get comp tickets, invitations to patron dinners and cocktail parties, and comp drinks at intermission. You fancy!

But you’ll have to be this age: 35 or younger. What’ll it cost me?: Nothing to join the 30 Under 35 program. Young patrons (age 1839) can donate from $250-$3,000. The benefits: All 30 Under 35 members can buy two tickets to any performance (except opening night) for just $30, while stocks last. Your guest can be any age but the youngster has to be the one to pick them up. There are also parties, events, and exclusive giveaways for members. For patrons, they throw in comp seats and, for higher levels, an invitation to opening night cast parties. Boo! I’m older than 35 – what about me?: Donate from $3,000 and you get comp seats, plus the opportunity to rub shoulders with the artistic guests at pre-show dinners, receptions, and cocktail parties.

“You’ll get comp tickets, invitations to patron dinners and fancy cocktail parties, and comp drinks at intermission. You fancy!”

Where: Manhattan Theatre Club

You’ll see shows like this: The Cake, starring This is Us’s Debra Jo Rupp, about a legendary North Carolina baker asked to create a cake for a lesbian wedding. Coming up next season are shows including Ink, starring Jonny Lee Miller, and The Height of the Storm, starring Jonathan Pryce and Eileen Atkins.

Where: Playwrights Horizons

You’ll see shows like this: The Pain of my Belligerence, a comedy set around how we perpetuate our roles in a patriarchal society; and A Strange Loop, about a young, black, gay writer. But you’ll have to be this age: 35 and under. What’ll it cost me?: Young Membership costs nada. Nothing. You just have to register. The benefits: Young Members get tickets to any show for $25 (or $15 if you have a valid student ID). Plus, you’ll be able to get together with other youngsters for


Opposite: Annette Bening stars in Roundabout’s upcoming production of All My Sons; The Cake at Manhattan Theatre Club; The Town Hall’s YPC tote.

exclusive performances, with free food and drink. *Wails* I’m older than 35 – what about me?: They’ve got you covered. Membership costs from just $45, which gets you access to $25 preview tickets and exclusive discounts. Patron packages cost from $1,800, which includes two house seats to each production, priority booking, and a cocktail party with artists and staff.

Where: Roundabout

You’ll see shows like this: The brilliant True West with Ethan Hawke has just closed. But there’s more good stuff where that came from, like Kiss Me Kate with Kelli O’Hara and Will Chase; Arthur Miller’s All My Sons with Annette Bening; and Toni Stone, starring Orange is the New Black’s Uzo Aduba in a story about the first woman to go pro in Negro League Baseball. But you’ll have to be this age: Between 18 and 35. What’ll it cost me?: From $100. The benefits: As a Hiptix Gold member, you get exclusive access to insideronly events and $25 orchestra seats to Roundabout productions. There’s no restriction on the age of your guest. One Hiptix couple just got married at a members’ event so, hey, you never know … *Stamps foot* I’m older than 35 – what about me?: Memberships start at $100 and include early access to tickets, plus invitations to readings, rehearsals, or panel discussions.

Where: Second Stage

You’ll see shows like this: Torch Song played here before its move to Broadway. So did Dear Evan Hansen. Coming up next month is Dying City, set in a Manhattan apartment, where a young widow receives an unexpected visit from the twin brother of her dead husband. But you’ll have to be this age: Under 30.



A Thousand Thoughts


A Live Documentary by Sam Green and Kronos Quartet


Django A GoGo 2019




Upcoming projects by our members Mary Stuart by Friedrich Schiller

The Access Theater, 380 Broadway April 11-20 Mary, Queen of Scots, and Elizabeth I, Queen of England both have a claim to the throne. What happens when they clash?

If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka

Playwrights Horizons Extended to April 5 Tori Sampson’s explosive new play is brimming with live music and dance as frenemies jockey for their rank in a culture built on ideals forever out of reach.

Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night

Alchemical Studios, 104 W14th St April 4-21 A shipwreck. A love-sick duke. Separated twins. A beautiful countess. Exploding with energy and originality, this tale of love and loss shimmers to life.

Femme Fatale with Janelle Lawrence

Triad Theater, 158 W72nd St April 6 Janelle is ringing in her 26th birthday celebrating her curves like Ella, her depths like Sarah Vaughan, and her heart like Josephine Baker.

Stephane Wrembel Presents a Celebration of Guitar Through the Music of Django Reinhardt


Baaba Mal


with the Town Hall Ensemble







Anoushka Shankar Tod Browning’s The Unholy Three With live accompaniment + original music by Stephin Merrit (of the Magnetic Fields)


Broadway by the Year®


The Broadway Musicals of 1965 & 1978


Burnt Sugar Arkestra Presents Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss

20 30


Redux, Remix & Requiem MON

Broadway by the Year®


The Broadway Musicals of 1987 & 2015













John Cameron Mitchell & Stephen Trask The Origin Of Love The Songs and Stories of Hedwig




Broadway Rising Stars

Danny and the Deep Blue Sea

The Access Theater, 380 Broadway April 2-14 In a seedy Bronx dive, Danny and Roberta lead each other, stumblingly, to the truth of love: it’s not what you get, it’s what you give.

Miracle In Rwanda

Theatre Row, 410 W42nd St April 4-21 An inspirational true story of hope, forgiveness, survival, and finally finding peace, set during the Rwandan genocide 25 years ago.


Valentina by Ballet Nepantla

14th Street Y April 10-14 The New York debut of a collection of stories that speak to the strength and resiliency of women in revolutionary Mexico.






TAC Spring HAPPENING: The event is intended to bring together art patrons young and old to meet the artists making things happen around New York City. The evening will consist of local food vendors paired with 6 performances by members ranging from dance, video, music and more!

ROMANTICCENTURY.ORG T HE ARTIS T C O -O P C R EA TES A TH R I V I N G EN V I R O N M E N T T O NU RT U RE T H E I N N A TE M UL TI D I S C I PL I N A R Y N A T U R E O F T H E A R TI S T C O M M UN I TY .” ww w .t h ea r t i s t c o -o p.c o m

OUT What’ll it cost me?: Nothing. You don’t even have to register. Just use a special discount code online, on the phone, or at the box office. The benefits: You can buy up to two tickets for any performance at the Tony Kiser Theater for $30 each. But both you and your theater-going chum must be under 30. And there will be complimentary 30 Under 30 parties for each production. *Huffs* I’m older than 35 – what about me?: You could join the Champions Circle. From $2,500, benefits include two VIP seats to every production, comp drinks, and invitations to special members-only events. The lower-level Friends program includes the Fellow membership for $750, which buys you two flexible tickets for any performance.

Where: The Town Hall

You’ll see shows like this: The wide variety of programing could include anything from Drag Race Live to music performances, to podcasts, to the spoken word. In the next couple of months, that looks like an evening with David Sedaris, Broadway by the Year, and comedy with Chelsea Handler. But you’ll have to be this age: 21-45. What’ll it cost me?: From $180. The benefits: Advanced sales, events and cocktail receptions, free tickets, plus a tote bag. *Weeps* I’m older than 45 – what about me?: Spend $100 and you get advance ticket access and discounts. Spend more and there are comp tickets up for grabs, along with invitations to special events and artist meet-and-greets.

None of that


Ars Nova Become a Supernova for $500 and get two tickets to all shows, exclusive access to sold-out performances, and comp drinks. And $325 of that is tax deductible. Woot!

A.R.T. New York A $400 ART Hero will receive invitations to receptions, special events, and a behind-thescenes tour of the W53rd St space. A $1,500 Superhero gets all of that, plus a private lunch with executive director Ginny Louloudes.

Film at Lincoln Center From a fully tax-deductible $25, members get subscription to a digital movie magazine, and their 11th ticket is free. Spend $85 and they’ll throw in some free screenings and early

COUNT ME IN! Name: Mark Andrew Garner Age: 28 Profession: Musical theater and film actor. Young patron of: The Town Hall. Why: I love being a part of the history of Town Hall. As soon as you step into the space, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time to when the Suffragette movement happened

access to tickets and festivals. New Wave membership is open to anyone in their 20s and 30s and, for $300, benefits include special screenings, parties, and happy hours.

Jazz at Lincoln Center Starting at a fully tax-deductible $75, members get VIP pre-sale access to tickets, half-price day-of tickets, pre-concert discussions, and curated playlists.

and artists like Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, and Bob Dylan

MCC Theater

graced the stage. It has an understated ambience that

Subscriptions start at $165, and members get

doesn’t scream a commercial performing space, but rather

tickets for $50 per show. If you spend $1,500,

a communal gathering ground for artistry. Initially, I joined

patrons get two comp premium seats at each

because I wanted tickets to the Andrew Lloyd Webber book release interview and saw that I could get free tickets with my yearly membership, which was only $30 a month. And then the opportunity to be a part of the NYC

production, and a party with other patrons.

theatrical community as a board member was just a way to give back and honor the performing stage, which is a

The Met

second home for me. The tote bag was cute too.

Young Associates between 21 and 45 can

The things I’ve seen! My first show was the cute little one-night revival/reading of 25th Annual Putnam County

join from $600 and enjoy pre-performance

Spelling Bee. I was amazed at the space: it’s hard to find a bad seat (and I was way up in the rafters my first time).

receptions, access to dress rehearsals,

Since then, I’ve seen a James Comey interview and book signing, Broadway Unplugged, Broadway’s Rising Stars,

reserved seating at Summer Stage events,

and Seth Rudetsky and Jeremy Jordan. (I’m obviously a sucker for supporting the Broadway-related programming.

and backstage tours. General membership

Can you tell?) Next week, I’m looking forward to getting a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the making of the podcast,

goes from $85 to $2,000, and includes ticket

Serial, with Sarah Koenig and Julie Synder.

priority, and access to the members’ lounge.

YPCs out there, it’s great to get access to advance ticket sales, free tickets every so often, and invitations to the

Signature Theatre

cocktail receptions. And it feels great to be a part of an organization that puts their Arts in Education outreach as

Become a Friend for $500, or a Resident for

their pride and priority. (Check out the work of their teaching artists with NYC schools, Woodstock Senior Center,

$1,800 – which includes a chance to see

and Riker’s Island.) I’m not only investing in maintaining the rich history and tradition of the past, but cultivating our

every show, with cocktail receptions thrown in

community of artists for our future.

for good measure. Larger donations include

Sell it to us! Why should we join? Not only is it a reasonable membership rate in comparison to a lot of

dress rehearsals and opening night parties.







Let’s get


How does a performer become comfortable with stripping off on stage? Becca Travis says it’s all in the mind I probably feel more comfortable being nude in front of people than doing a heavy acting role. For me, that’s a lot more rattling. But it wasn’t always that way. I did a lot of ballet growing up, and there’s a lot of pressure to have the ballerina body. But I just don’t have that body type. So when I got into high school, I took a break – it just wasn’t comfortable any more. Then in college a photographer friend said he’d love to shoot me. Nude. I was horrified. “Someone’s going to see my whole human form and I’m not going to be in control of what I look like!” That was really scary. But I trusted Pablo, and figured it could be fun. I remember our first shoot. We started off just doing some straight portraits – “let’s get comfortable, talk to me, then let’s take an item off, then another item, you can stop whenever you want.” Looking at the photos afterward, you could see the moment where it flips over from me feeling “Oh my God, you’re looking at my body!” to “I’m just going to have fun.” There’s this huge shift. And I started to realize this was an incredibly healing way to start looking at my body. So I did more. Not just photography, but painting


Opposite: A birthday shoot in the desert at dawn, at Joshua Tree National Park.

and sculpture too – mediums where people were interpreting me but it wasn’t exact. That was really cool, seeing what it is about my energy that translates to someone else. And learning to live in my skin and be comfortable with someone else’s interpretation of me. In my more unhealthy brain I have this going on … “I can’t eat anything for the whole week and must go to the gym 67 times and I’m only drinking water.” Then the healthier part of my brain kicks in and goes, if that’s the way I feel, the only preparation I can do is mental. You just have to be present in the moment. My parents are wildly supportive. But my dad is a little more: “I don’t love the work but I love you.” And this is what I’ve learned … That any issues I have with my body have nothing to do with what my body looks like. It’s all how I think about myself. The most beautiful I look is when I feel the most beautiful.


Becca is a designer, artist, bee keeper who is taking part in Scorch The Pot, a series of play readings depicting the diversity of queer and trans experiences. bit.ly/ScorchThePot




Stuck in the


A two-show day is a true test of stamina. Elizabeth Durand Streisand asks: what do performers do with those few precious hours in between?


hat could be harder than singing and dancing in front of a live audience for two-and-a-half hours straight? How about doing it twice in one day? Twoshow days are no joke and the time in between the performances is not to be squandered. We caught up with some of the brightest stars on Broadway (and Off-Broadway) to find out how they spend those precious afternoon hours in midtown.


Evan Todd Gerry Goffin in Beautiful

I need to preface this story by saying I NEVER do this, BUT, we have quite a big break between shows on Saturdays and my good friend was having a goingaway party and moving to Amsterdam. So I ran down and bought a round of drinks to celebrate thinking: “It’s cool, I’ve got two and a half hours before the show.” Then, he bought a round of drinks, etc. etc. Inner voice: “It’s cool, you’ve got an hour; you and Chilina [who plays Carole King] have done the show a million times, you’re good.” Cut to me checking my phone and seeing a slew of messages from the stage manager: “Chilina is sick! Julia is going on! Can you get here to run some things before half hour?” Side note: Julia had joined the Broadway cast that week. We had met



OUT ONCE in passing and never been on stage together. Inner voice: “NOT cool, things are NOT cool!” Let’s just say that I’ve never sobered up so fast. I jumped in a cab, rehearsed with Julia for a whole five minutes, and did the show: which was ... incredible! I was sober. Repeat. I was sober (I don’t want a phone call from Equity). Julia was a pro and it was such an awesome exercise in listening and staying present: two actors who both know the words so well but have never rehearsed. You don’t know what’s going to happen next and it’s exhilarating. So lesson learned: no celebrating going-away parties between shows; and, strive to be as present in every show as I was that night.

Erika Henningsen

for any show, let alone a zany murder mystery where the stage falls apart. I love the soup dumpling place Little Steamed Buns – they make a really awesome scallion pancake sandwich with sliced beef. But I have transitioned to bringing my own food from home more often than not since it is not only healthier but also cheaper. I mean, this is NYC, after all!

Manu Narayan Charley in Merrily

We Roll Along Merrily We Roll Along is very taxing vocally because there are only six cast members and I’m singing the whole time. I try to get a good, healthy meal (often from Whole Foods) and sit and drink some tea and maybe read a little book and just relax. I’m currently reading My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard. There’s just something about the culture in Norway that interests me. I don’t know if I’ll make it through all six books in the series, but I’m going to try.

“Lesson learned: no going-away parties between shows; and, strive to be as present in every show as I was that night.”

Cady Heron in Mean Girls We have a pretty exhausting schedule on the weekends since we do a two-show day on Saturday and Sunday, so my time between shows has been an experiment of trial and error in finding out what I can do, and what I need to do, to make it to the Sunday evening show. I eat as soon as I can, so I have time to digest before I’m on stage again. On Saturdays, I go home and sleep. Then it’s back to the August Wilson for show two. If I need a kick of caffeine, I’ll stop at Ground Central Espresso, but usually listening to the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse movie soundtrack on the walk over wakes me up enough. After show two on Sunday, what I most look forward to is my post-show glass (or two … or three?) of wine – haha!

Ryan Vincent Anderson Trevor in The Play That Goes Wrong In between shows I have to eat something, but not too much, or I’ll feel bloated or tired – which is not good

Danny Miller Kong’s Facial

Expressions in King Kong I share a room with the guy who is the voice of Kong, Jon Hoche. We’re both avid toy collectors so our dressing room looks like the creepy doll room from that movie Labyrinth. In between shows we often go to Book-Off and hang out in the figurine sections, but sometimes we sneak off to the movies. It’s a nice way to break up the day. I also eat in between shows. Some of my favorites are Ikinari for steak, Nippori for healthy Japanese, and Taco Bell for, well, for Taco Bell.

Astrid van Wieren Beulah in Come From Away Usually, I’ll grab a bite to eat. Some


Opposite: Check out our map to stalk your favorite Broadway star. (Only joking! Please don’t stalk them!)

of my go-to spots are Daniela’s and Kodama Sushi. Once in a while I mix it up and go to The Lamb’s Club. I love the art deco styling and the food there is delicious. A while back, the casts of The Band’s Visit and Come From Away used to go to hot yoga together at Bodhi. It was great because you’d get a sweat on then take a bracing cold shower and head back to the theater feeling like the day was just starting again, but when the weather got nice, people kind of stopped showing up.

Christopher Sieber Trent Oliver in

The Prom In between shows I often go to Mark Fisher Fitness. It’s perfect because the classes are only an hour and you can really sweat your butt off there. Plus, it’s so much fun! Besides that, I’m often at Island Burger. It’s this little hole-in-thewall that’s been there for 24 years and they have the best chicken sandwiches and burgers. Their sandwiches are like crack. So, either I’m working out, or eating burgers.

Jelani Remy Swing for Ain’t Too

Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations Usually I love nothing more than enjoying something delicious and quick from a Hell’s Kitchen restaurant – whether it’s a bowl from Red Poke, a combo from Pio Pio, or something from the classic Juniors. Immediately after, you better believe I’ll be finding an Equity cot for a good ole nap. Back when I was in The Lion King we used to have an annual chili cook-off in between shows. One year there were 13 submissions and I had seconds. Needless to say, having to jump around in a corset after that was a mission – but I won the cook off that year, so it was totally worth it.


Elizabeth Durand Streisand is CEO at Broadway Roulette






Diary of a



Don’t be freaked out! It’s a lot easier than you think, says Nikkole Mojica

ike a lot of my life decisions, the one to increase my awareness of food and waste reduction came from a need to maximize time and save money, without compromising the quality of my experience. I wanted to improve my relationship with food, and the only way I knew how was to learn more about where it comes from, how it interacts with my body, and how my consumption could be tailored to help the world around me. It was a daunting thought, considering all that can be done, but I quickly found that, starting small, the transition was easier than anticipated. I’ve always been a conscious eater. Growing up, meals were cooked at home, and my mother would buy meat and produce from local vendors and farmers markets. I grew up cooking and learning about Dominican cuisine, how its dishes maximize the potential of vegetables, and organically embracing a “no part goes to waste” model. I looked at food through a romantic lens, and appreciated all it could do. Now I’m dependent on myself for food, I still shop local. I feel healthier, smarter, accountable, and, of course, being a mid-20s NYC resident with an insatiable need for culture and art in a pricey city,

it feels great to save money. I also feel empowered watching those around me become more aware, and curious! I’m the compost police at home. As a house of three frequent cookers, we’ve been able to extend the use of trash bags no longer filled with rotting food. And by dropping off food scraps, we give back to our community’s compost sites that transform them into fertile soil to be used in local urban farming. I’ve even devised a system of cutting the carton of my 12 pack of seltzer in half, and using these for food scrap storage in the freezer. In the last two years, I’ve cooked almost every weeknight, using ingredients I’ve purchased during bi-weekly grocery trips. I’ve used my local farmers market to dictate those ingredients and challenge my creativity, which has been fun as well as scary. It wasn’t until recently, however, that I dedicated myself to meal prepping. I started to notice that my pre and postwork engagements were getting in the way of a consistent nutrient intake, and I was resorting to easy-to-eat fruit, protein bars, and soups. At home, my meals were heavily plant based, and mostly raw foods, due to time constraints. Although not an entirely poor diet, my hunger fluctuated,

“It’s such a relief when I come home late and don’t need to worry about what I’ll eat that night.”


Opposite: Wash your veg as soon as you get it home, so it’s ready for chopping.

I wasn’t fully satisfying my taste buds, and I was tired of bookmarking the NYT’s What to Cook Right Now emails, and never actually cooking the meals. So meal prep became my solution. A challenge at first glance, it was crucial to ensuring I was eating the right amount of the right things, and limiting opportunities to make poor food choices. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. For me, it started with packaging. I researched products that were being sustainably designed and produced by companies that were working towards waste elimination. That’s when I landed on U-Konserve. They make non-toxic, highquality products for food storage/packing, and even offer starter kits at a discounted rate. These are the things that took precedent for me. It started to become a mutually beneficial endeavor, where I was improving my eating practices, health, and minimizing waste. It also didn’t hurt that one of my roommates is an excellent and experimental chef in his free time, so we have a ridiculous amount of mason jars on hand, as he’s fond of fermenting and pickling. I got to save on container purchases, and learn tips and tricks for prolonging the life of food, and, most interestingly, transforming it. Picking a time and figuring out how much food you want to prep is a great first step, and it doesn’t necessarily need to be one prep day a week. My designated food shopping day is a Saturday, when I stop by the farmers market to drop off food scraps. I usually decide if I


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EAT want to make it a soup-themed week, or experiment with salads and other raw meals. And I visit local butcher shops for bones (for stock) and any meat I want to cook that week. Sundays are prep days. I lay everything out on the kitchen island, and start by prepping two different salads for lunch that week (I dress them in the morning before leaving for work). I then move on to what I call “bases.” This usually means quinoa, lentils, or chickpeas, which I’ll add meat to, or cooked greens like kale, chard, or spinach. One of my go-to’s for a lazy prep day is a sauté of eggplant, red and green peppers, onions, garlic, and spinach. I always have fruit and nuts on hand, to snack on throughout the day, as well as the awkward post-lunch/pre-workout evenings. It’s such a relief when I come home late and don’t need to worry about what I’ll eat that night. One of my most valued lessons, or rather reinforcements, has been that everything is connected: mind, body, and soul. In order to give your body what it needs, you have to first know it. I tried following meal plans, shopping lists, and regimens online, but what has worked for me, and not gotten tedious, is listening to my own needs, and adjusting things based on my schedule and preferences. My advice? Think about what you

Below: Nikkole was lucky – her roommate is a pickling fiend, so had a ton of mason jars for food storage.

want to eat and how you want to feel not as separate, but inherently connected. Learning to use food for nutrients and power eliminates the need to use it for comfort, and instead use it for its value.


• Washing produce immediately after you’ve bought it means it’s clean and stored in the fridge ready when you need it. • Use foods that go bad quickly first. • If visiting a grocery store, make a shopping list to avoid any impulse buys. • Try to use all the food you buy before going back to the market. This will also encourage you to get creative. • Some parts of produce may not be useful in your meal, but you can still get their nutritional benefits. Throw kale stems in a smoothie, or use carrot tops for a stock. • Make your own stock. Sauté vegetable scraps with olive oil, add water, and boil. Or add bones and carcasses from dinner or prep, with your preferred herbs, and never buy stock again. • Is this a “hack”? Sometimes for soup ideas, I type in the ingredients I have on hand into my search bar, and a recipe usually comes up. I run with it, making small alterations along the way to suit my taste/mood.

Teriyaki turkey vegetable stir fry 1 cup jasmine rice 2 tbsp olive oil 2 tsp chopped garlic ½ onion, chopped 2 cups brussels sprouts, halved 1 cup broccoli florets 2 cups kale, chopped 1 cup carrots, chopped 1-2lb ground turkey meat 1.5 cups OrganicVille Sesame Teriyaki (or your preferred choice) half cup of peanuts (optional)

1 2

Cook rice according to package directions. (Optional) Add peanuts and 1 tbsp of teriyaki to food processor and grind.

If you don’t have a food processor, put the peanuts and sauce into a zip lock back and hit the nuts with a rolling pin till crushed.


Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté

garlic and onion for two to three minutes until browned.


Add brussels, broccoli, kale, and carrots to the pan, and sauté for five

minutes until tender. Halfway through, add in about a quarter cup of teriyaki sauce to start flavoring dish. A dash of coriander or Baharat spice will really liven this up.

5 6 7

Add in ground turkey and saute till cooked through (eight to 10 mins). Stir in cooked rice and more teriyaki sauce (to your preference). (Optional) After serving, top with a portion of teriyaki peanuts to add a

tasty crunch. (Created with a little help from Kevin Thornton.)



Blend blue and red, you get purple. Blend Matisse and Picasso, who knows?

The Matasso collection now on redbubble.com Website: bit.ly/Matasso Original art on canvas at pablomatisse.com | #pablo_matisse

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Playlist The Artist Co-Op

W52nd St - 10th Ave I am so grateful for this home for multi-hyphenate artists. As a founding member of this co-working space for creatives, I can enjoy the luxury of printing audition materials, booking rehearsal space to self-tape, free coffee and/or tea for those infamous coffee dates with potential collaborators, and more, all in the same space where other artists are flexing their creative muscles.

52nd Street Project

10th Ave - 52nd/53rd St After returning to NYC after nine months in Louisville, I became a volunteer for this amazing organization serving the kids and teens of Hell’s Kitchen, and they made the transition back so much easier. All of the programming is free, so stop in for some really inspired, no-holds-barred fun with professional theatre makers and some of the smartest, creative kids I have had the honor to create with.


W44th St - 8th/9th Ave This is my little secret that I only share with a few folks – my favorite happy hour in the city. The Japanese BBQ spot is perfect for big groups (you can cook/grill your own veggies and meat) and/or for friends to get a few preshow drinks. I’ve been known to stop by for a late-night drink after seeing a show. It’s affordable and the food is also very satisfactory. Garlic fried rice FTW!

ViVi Bubble Tea

9th Ave - 43rd/44th St This is my go-to spot for a boba (also called bubble) tea fix. From fruit teas to a classic like Thai milk tea, this is the perfect place to not only stop in and get your delectable tapioca-filled drink of choice, but their popcorn chicken and French fries are great to nom on as well.

Pio Pio

10th Ave - 43rd/44th St For a fancier night out on the town, this beautiful Peruvian restaurant is perfect for family-style eating. Their dishes are filling and you can order a whole chicken for the table. Seems excessive; but after doing a show with a cast of eight, it’s the perfect spot to replenish. And the pitchers of sangria aren’t bad either.



Thursday - Jess Glynne Feat. H. E. R. Shadow Man - Noname, Phoelix, Smino, Saba Django Jane - Janelle Monae All Night - Big Boi Velvet Rope - Rita Ora Mirirai Sithole is an actor, mentor, and public speaker who is currently starring in If Pretty Hurts, Ugly Must be a Muhfucka at Playwrights Horizons (playwrightshorizons.org)



with Elizabeth Saunders 330 7th Avenue - 28th/29th Street and Online 1st Vice-President: New York Singing Teachers Association Member: AEA, AGMA, NATS Gender non-conforming clients welcome F2M & M2F Voice Training Call direct on (860) 874-7184

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Daylist 8am

Bibble and Sip, W51st St - 8th Ave My kind of pre-workout? A double espresso with a black sesame cream puff from Bibble & Sip please! Their cream puffs are to die for. Definitely a place for a cute date as their desserts are sharing size.


Tim Ho Wan, 9th Ave - 43rd/44th St I love dim sum and am glad I found Tim Ho Wan in HK. Now there’s no need to go all the way down to Chinatown. The sticky rice in lotus leaf is delicious and well garnished with meat. I’d usually have lunch there with friends as their plates are perfect for sharing.


Rustic Table, W42nd St - 10th/11th Ave Time for a business meeting over coffee. I’m a chocolate cake lover and Rustic Table has an amazing chocolate brownie, which is perfect to pair with a cappuccino. The atmosphere is very intimate and not too crowded.


Ajisai, 9th Ave - 43rd/44th St The menu here has a great variety of Asian fusion cuisines. Some of my favorites are the Smile Pork Buns, Spider Man Roll, and the Tonkatsu Ramen. It’s a quiet place for preshow dinner and the staff are super-friendly.


Therapy, W52nd St - 8th/9th Ave I’m usually in bed by this time, watching TV and catching up on emails. But if I’m out with friends, you’ll probably see me at Therapy. It is a nice bar to gather at while sipping some drinks and watching some shows. The drag queens are truly fun, engaging, and polished. And the food’s pretty tasty too. Jeff Wan is a fashion designer whose work straddles the colors of his home in Mauritius and the style of his adopted Hell’s Kitchen home. He studied industrial design at Pratt and, after graduating in 2014, he joined Coach, where he developed watchbands for the Apple Watch, and helped transform accessory lines like Rexy the Coach Dino. His line of leather goods and handbags are made in NYC and include cute designs inspired by Asian food cartons and juice boxes.







Inside the abandoned Times Square Theater – and the story of its $100m rebirth Words Ruth Walker

Photographs Phil O’Brien





t doesn’t look like much right now. The theater seats were ripped out long ago. The moldings are chipped, the grand ceiling dome hidden by scaffolding, dirt and dust covers every surface, and the once elegant staircase has started to rust. There are signs of decay everywhere. But the constant barrage of construction noise is a sign of new life for the nearly century-old Times Square Theater. Vacant since the early 1990s, it once hosted the likes of Noel Coward and Tallulah Bankhead on its stage, and titles including Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and The Front Page appeared on its marquee. The Eugene De Rosa-designed space – whose majestic columns are still visible on the south side of W42nd St 7th/8th Ave – has remained abandoned and unloved for 30 years while its neighbors have been revived by the New 42nd Street, the organization tasked with the preservation of the historic block. The Apollo and Lyric Theatres have been merged into the Lyric, home to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The Empire Theatre became the AMC Empire 25 (a development that included rolling the entire building 170 feet down the street). The Republic Theatre is now the New Victory Theater, whose vibrant programming is aimed at children and families. And the Selwyn Theatre has been transformed into The Duke on 42nd Street theater and New 42nd Street Studios rehearsal space. Only the Times Square remained boarded up. Long past its glory days, it had latterly become a budget movie house, showing mainly third-run movies, slasher, and action films. And the lack of



September 30, 1920 The 1,057-seat

1926 Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, another

theater opens with The Mirage, starring

play that will inspire a hit film, opens.

Gertrude Lawrence star in Coward’s Private

Florence Reed. It runs for six months.

1928 The original New York production


1924 The curtain goes up on Battling

of The Front Page opens at the theater.

1933 The last play to be performed on

Butler, the play that will precede the Buster

1930 A run of George and Ira Gershwin’s

the Times Square stage is Forsaking All

Keaton movie of the same name.

Strike Up The Band.

Others, starring Tallulah Bankhead.


1931 Noël Coward, Laurence Olivier, and



Opposite: Renderings of the new building. Above: What it once looked like back in the days of The Deuce.

any entrance not directly on W42nd St meant its usefulness as a traditional theater was at an end. It was the last remaining relic of The Deuce, when 42nd St was full of go-go bars, sex shops, and sleazy cinemas. Plans for its future since have included a “4D” film presentation on the history of Broadway. But nothing stuck. Enter the dream team of Stillman Development International, Daishin Securities, and architecture firm Beyer Blinder Belle – who were responsible for the restoration work on The Frick and Grand Central Terminal, and whose painstaking efforts nudged The Empire 170 feet west. Their proposed $100m renovation is now go. The landmark building is set to become a 52,000 square feet “immersive” retail space, complete

“Probably most ambitious will be the work to separate the entire front facade, made from Indiana limestone, from the rest of the building, before hydraulically raising it five feet off the ground.”

with 23-foot cantilevered glass box perched over 42nd St, and a rooftop terrace. The heavily decorated proscenium arch, four seating boxes, sail vaults, cartouches, and the substantial dome will all be carefully removed and restored, before being brought back on site and reused in the new context. Probably most ambitious, however, will be the work to separate the entire front facade, made from Indiana limestone, from the rest of the building, before hydraulically raising it five feet off the ground. The interior will then be demolished to make way for a purposebuilt, high-tech space that could be home to a big brand like Amazon or CocaCola, or a more experiential concept like the nearby NFL Experience. The whole process is expected to take two years, finally bringing the entire block into the 21st century.

1934 The theater is converted to a

1990 The Times Square Theater finally

four-story store. In 2009, those plans are

plans are cancelled.


closes its doors, and the City and State


2018 The latest $100m project is

1980 The final scene of the film Times

of New York takes possession of the

2011 A proposal to open a Las Vegas-

announced, turning the theater into a

Square is filmed at the theater, with Robin


style multimedia show called Broadway

retail “experiential” space, complete with

Johnson’s character performing a

2004 Clothing brand Ecko announce

4D is announced, with an opening date

rooftop terrace.

midnight concert on top of the marquee.

they’ll convert the old theater into a

pencilled in for June 2014. Again, those

2022 Proposed completion date.





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neighbor! The hood is growing every day, but where the hell do all these people come from and why? This month, Aleks Cat got lucky with a bargain one bedroom Profession: I’m a program administrator, PSC CUNY.

On my tick list: Location was most important. Second to that was living alone. Also, it was important to me that I had separated rooms. I knew I wanted to be able to host friends at my apartment, but I didn’t want that to be at the price of my privacy. So having my bedroom separate from my living room and kitchen has afforded me that flexibility.

Moving from: North Bergen, New Jersey, where I lived for a year. Prior to that, my home town is Phoenix, Arizona. Moving to: 9th Ave - 40th St. Why: Since I was a child I was in awe of the beauty and history of New York. The idea that this could be a place I called home was unfathomable to me until I moved into my apartment. Even now, when I’m walking through the city with the buildings lit up and streets filled with cars, I’m overcome by a feeling of gratitude that I can call such an iconic place my home. Why Hell’s Kitchen: It’s the best location. There are multiple trains to get around. It’s walking distance from Port Authority and Penn Station. And 9th Ave is an absolute gem. It houses some of the best locally owned restaurants and fun bars. There are always people around, so I’ve never felt unsafe walking to my apartment or being out in my area at night. I’m aware Hell’s Kitchen has undergone a rapid gentrification, and I do fear that if it doesn’t slow down this area could lose its identity, but I feel that’s true for most neighborhoods in the city these days. My budget: $1,750. I was hoping to find a one bedroom at that price (you can laugh now), but quickly found out that one bedrooms in the city are more realistically

What sealed the deal: I walked into a gorgeous, newly renovated, legitimate one bedroom in Hell’s Kitchen with French doors and exposed brick – it was more than I could have hoped to find. Also, compared to a studio in the area area, it ended up being a difference of $150, which was worth the additional space.

Above: Aleks knew she wanted to live alone, and wanted a separate bedroom and living area ... but only had a budget of $1,750.

$1,900 to $2,300. Even finding a studio at $1,750 was near impossible. Needless to say, I pay over what I had budgeted and I moved during the winter when prices are “lower.” Along the way: I looked at anywhere south of 65th St on the west and east side. Living in Manhattan was non-negotiable, and I was pretty set on living alone. This omitted a lot of more affordable options and at times made my move feel impossible. I had to make sacrifices in certain areas – I was open to living in a prewar walk-up building if it meant more space, better affordability, and stayed in close proximity to my area of choice.


The best thing about living in Hell’s Kitchen: I love the liveliness of this area. There are always people around and new restaurants or bars to try. Also, I live within walking distance of the Hudson and run along it during the summer for a great workout with pretty scenery. @alekscatz

VITAL STATS Where 9th Ave - 40th St # stories Five # units 16 Built? 1920 Amenities? None Pet friendly? Small pets with prior approval.




BEAUTIFUL Curvy, quirky, beautifully designed objects make the home a happy place

Body beautiful

What’s kraken?

A new scarf brand, hot out of Hell’s Kitchen, Laetly’s range of bold, fun, unisex designs are made from super soft 100% merino wool, so you’ll stay cosy when that wild wind blows off the Hudson. Our favorite design this month? The navy and gray octopus print. It’s got legs. $54, laetly.com

The Chemex beaker-like coffee-making vessel changed the way America thinks about coffee. Invented by chemist Peter Schlumbohm, the shapely design and nonabsorbent glass ensure a chemically perfect brew every time. $45, williams-sonoma. com

Chain gang

A candle holder with attitude, this flower-covered chainsaw by Seletti is reminiscent of something grandma might have placed delicately on the window ledge … but it has an edge! $374, lightology.com



The best of both worlds

It’s one of the great questions of the modern age: how the hell do you eat ramen? With a new style spork, that’s how! The prongs pick up the noodles, the spoon shape picks up the broth. Easy! $16, store.moma.org

LIVING We’re eating French tonight!

Pierre Jars began his business in the south of France in 1857, and those 150 years of heritage show in the beautifully simple ceramics that are gorgeous enough to grace the tables of more than 50 percent of France’s Michelin star restaurants. They combine beautiful colors with a touch of vintage charm. Delicious! From $88, food52.com

Hot stuff

Small NY apartments were not made for cooking. Especially when your oven is being used to store shoes and your microwave houses all your leftover deli dishes. So the Zavor Induction Pro is big news, friends. It’s a rock star in the kitchen, covering all bases from warm and simmer, to boil, rapid boil, sauté, brown, sear, and stir-fry. And because of the induction technology, it cools down quickly and is slim enough to store away when you don’t need it. $129.95, homedepot.com

Sealife saver

Home spun

Thomas Heatherwick’s The Vessel opened at Hudson Yards last month, and there’s already a waiting list to climb the honeycomb structure. It’s free, of course, and this Spun chair, designed by Heatherwick, is certainly not. But give it a spin and you’ll be hooked. $760.75, store.hermanmiller.com

Still using plastic straws? Consider this a public shaming. The world is turning on to reusable straws to protect the environment, and these flexible ones caught our eye. Made from recyclable stainless steel and silicone, they come with a bendable silicone section, a reusable cleaning brush, and a handy carrying pouch. Plus 10 percent of profits goes to the Worldwide Wildlife Fund. Go turtles! $9.99, asobubottle.com

Jump to it

If you’ve come over all Marie Kondo recently, Vacavaliente’s origami kangaroo could be your new dream companion. Handmade from recycled leather, the bright colors can’t help but be joyful. And that little pouch was just made for organizing. There, don’t you feel better? $42, thestore.madmuseum.org

Shine a light

For every Born candle sold, $5 goes to provide a vaccination for a child in need. It’s a simple premise, with beautiful candles named Courage – inspired by the trees of Central Park – and Hope – whose vanilla, musk, and white flower scent evokes the floral gardens Upstate. $55, borncandles.com




#W42ST Hashtag your Instagram pics and they could star in the mag!

We had snow. Then we had rain. Then the sun came out and it felt like spring. Weather! Around to capture it all – and the weird quirks and cool happenings in this neighborhood we call home – was our Instagram family. Remember, anyone can be on these pages. Just tag your images #W42ST and you could be the one whose photograph ends up in the next issue.







“CUT TO: Third date with Mr (swiped) Right. You’re in a salsa class, you’re wearing Lululemon, you’re both giggling, you’re accidentally bumping into each other, you’re working up a sweat …”





DANCE! Where are all New York’s single men? They’re making a move on Sophia Strawser RIGHT NOW at dance class


emember the first half of Footloose? Where dancing isn’t allowed and no one does it? That’s where I live. I don’t want to dance with somebody and my hips do, in fact, lie. That being said, this month someone hit fast forward on my movie and I found myself at the warehouse dance party aka Ailey Dance Extension. With more than 90 weekly classes, I was quite overwhelmed with my choices. I started with salsa. I’ve always thought it was a hoax that singles go to salsa or ballroom classes to meet people. Now, I still can’t speak for ballroom, but salsa is precisely where all the single men are at, New York. I had three handshakes, one business card, and four smiles waiting for me as I exited that class and I spent most of the time accidentally tripping people up. Just imagine if I’d actually been good. (Suddenly my left ring finger feels quite a bit heavier). A week later, I headed into Horton. If you’re not familiar with the Horton Technique, you’ve probably seen it without knowing. It’s exclusive to Alvin Ailey and is incorporated into the majority of his choreography. I’m writing this article the morning after the class, with sore abs, and thighs that feel like I went on a 50-mile bike ride. It was a beginner class, which was great for me because each step

was very well explained. There were a few people who had been taking the class for weeks and were able to add in modifications as needed. This allowed them to grow as dancers before they elevate to the advanced beginner level. Terri Wright was my instructor, and if a giddy smile – ya know the kind you get when you see a perfectly shaped scoop of ice cream on top of a homemade cone – was a person, that’d be Terri. I found the routine we learned rather challenging, but if you’re the type of person who takes Zumba and you do one really good pop, or maybe drop, or maybe a good lock (remember I live in the Footloose town so what are the kids doing these days?) and you think to yourself: “I should have been a dancer,” take this class. Even my poorly executed Horton moves made me feel like a dancer. I went home and signed up for a slot on So You Think You Can Dance? (I did later cancel it, but is that temporary confidence not rewarding in itself?) I got a chance to chat with Ailey Extension’s director and former dancer Lisa Johnson-Willingham. Here’s what she had to say. If you could recommend one class to try, which one would it be? A personal favorite is DanceFIT with Karen Arceneaux. It’s an upbeat and challenging mix of cardio and dance


Opposite: One minute, you’re the guy that can’t move in Footloose; next, you’re signing up for So You Think You Can Dance?

choreography that gives students a total body workout. What are your thoughts on the connection of dance and overall health? Dance benefits the body, mind, and spirit. Not only does it offer physical benefits – including coordination, strength, flexibility, endurance, and agility – but it also enhances your mental capability because the process of learning new moves and repeating what you see develops your memory skills. Participating in dance classes is a great opportunity to interact with others and work off stress and fatigue, while increasing energy and mood. Do you support dancing on the subway? If so, what would actually make you give a dollar after the show? I absolutely support dancing on the subway. I support dancing anywhere! It energizes the human spirit and brings joy not only to the performer but to onlookers as well. I’d give a dollar to any style that makes me smile! With classes working out at less than the cost of the average NYC workout, it’s the perfect addition to the weekly schedule. Talk about a cute second or third date idea. CUT TO: Third date with Mr (swiped) Right. You’re in a salsa class, you’re wearing Lululemon, you’re both giggling, you’re accidentally bumping into each other, you’re working up a sweat, and all before you grab some late-night Thai food around the corner. You don’t know how to use chopsticks. He does. You have a Ghost movie poetry moment but with chopsticks. You practice your new dance moves on your doorstep before a kiss goodnight. The End. I want full rights on that script idea. (I’m looking at you, Hallmark).

Catch me next month when I still don’t know how to move my hips but I’ll most certainly be introducing myself as a “dancer” to all new acquaintances. @SophiaStrawser




Tinder is over. Bumble is out. The Millennials are sliding, discovers Mary Geneva. And it kind of freaks her out




ave you ever had someone slide into your IG? Sounds kind of kinky. I’ve had it happen many times: guys appear in my Instagram direct messages multiple times with proposals of meeting or hooking up. “Slide” is the term millennials use when an admirer sends a direct message, and a recent New York Post article claims this is how those aged between 18 are 34 are finding love in the social media age. Call me old fashioned (I’m in my mid-30s) but I think it’s a horrible idea. Is nothing sacred anymore? You see, despite that fact that I’m on the cusp of being a millennial, I am much more in tune with Generation X. My high school days were filled with the sounds of Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins, I spent my time hanging out at the local mall, and waiting for my beeper to go off with codes such as 07734 (hello), and 436 (hugs and kisses). Ah, the beeper. Long gone are the days when your crush would send “143” (I love you) to your pager and you’d have to borrow a quarter from your bestie and run to the nearest payphone to call him back. This was before nine-year-olds were given cell phones. Hell, I didn’t even own a Razr flip phone (hot pink, may I add!) until I was a freshman in college. It was only when I got divorced, at the ripe old age of 26, that I discovered the world of online dating. Except for that one guy I met when I was 17 in an AOL chat room, but more on that later. My guess is that people have turned to Instagram to meet their match because they believe their profiles are a more accurate representation of who they are compared with the traditional online

dating routes of filling in the blanks on a mundane questionnaire. But what questions can you ask someone you’ve met through IG if you already have instaaccess to their world? If their profile consists of endless pics of what they ate that day, vacations, and happy hour and gym selfies? It leaves nothing to discover about the person sitting across from you on the date. There’s nothing new to share if you already know everything about the person. Especially when they’ve slid the DP into your DM. I’ve received my fair share of dick pics the old-fashioned way – via email or text. But it’s taken on a whole new means of transportation with DM. Guys, it’s gross. Stop creeping on my ‘gram. There’s a guy in my hood who was constantly sliding into my DMs. He’d usually contact me when he was out drinking and ask to meet. I’d decline. I got a twinge in my belly that just didn’t feel right. Other guys send me messages that are the same ones I receive on dating apps. You know the kind. “You’re hot” and “Hi.” I call this spraying. Kind of like a cat marking his territory. In the digital world, if you send out enough two-word messages, I suppose someone will eventually respond.

Opposite: No more DPs in the DM, guys. It’s just not cool.

“I’ve received my fair share of dick pics the old-fashioned way – via email or text. But it’s taken on a whole new means of transportation with DM. Guys, it’s gross. Stop creeping on my ‘gram.”

I wanted to find out why a whole generation of people are insta-sliding to meet their next date, so sat down with 26-year-old Mark over whiskey to pick his brain. “IG is the place to find culture,” he says. “And its the first app we use in the bathroom.” (I hope he washes his hands!) Millennials are disillusioned with Tinder and Bumble, he added, so have turned to IG as a way to find a date. For guys, it’s an easy way to find stocks of good-looking girls. *eye roll* “A follow request is a low-barrier way to start a conversation. It’s an easy way to talk to someone. It’s easier to ask for someone’s IG handle when you’re out at the bar than it is a phone number.” According to Mark, the key to building rapport with someone you want to ask out on IG is as follows: 1: You follow them. 2: You like a picture. 3: They like one of your pics back and you’re like, OK, cool! 4: You send a message and hopefully a chat will ensue, eventually leading up to a real, live date. “It takes work to get a date on IG,” he says, “but when you do, it’s usually a quality date.” Side note: Mark always takes his first dates out to dinner because he feels food is sexual. The conversation had me reminiscing about the first guy I ever met through technology. I was 17. We were both in an AOL dial-up chat room. Oh Anthony! We ended up dating for a year – he was my first love. I sometimes wonder whatever happened to him. Dating sure has come a long way.

These IGers took Insta-sliding off screen

trolling her Insta stories. “It was my

through an account they both followed,

“It was fun and casual,” she said, adding

and it led to quite the adventures...

version of playing Harriett the Spy,”

then requested to follow her. The

that she’d never meet anyone through

n Dan from Hell’s Kitchen had a

she said.

flirting back and forth ensued and

Instagram again.

whirlwind date with a woman he met on

n Amanda from Queens found

they exchanged numbers and

n Yume from Portland said: “Tinder-

IG and it turned into a $2,000 night.

herself hooking up with a Nicaraguan

pictures. He lived in California, so whenever

matching with people you’ve followed for

n Jennifer from Chelsea hooked

coffee importer that led to a 12-month,

someone was on the right coast they

a long time on Instagram is probably a

up with someone after they started

cross-country affair. He replied to her

would connect for dates, dinner, and sex.

less sketchy, more productive experience.”



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The egg diet. The cream cheese diet. The cookie diet. The heartbreak diet … Claudia Chung’s tried them all

’ve done all kinds of kooky things to be skinny. Not thin – skinny. I always wanted to be one of those women who can “accidentally” give you a peek-a-poo of their toned, flat tummy. Oh, I’m just putting on my coat and I seriously need to lift up both my arms so my sweater rises up to my bra. Meanwhile, suck on this! And when I say “kooky,” I mean crazy. Skinny is a big goal. It takes hard work and iron-clad dedication. To win this battle against my body, I’ve eaten only eggs for a week. I didn’t lose a pound. I ate cream cheese for a week. I lost three pounds. I tried Snookie’s cookie diet. Yes, from Jersey Shore. And not the current “I’m a great mom” Snookie. I’m talkin’ Snookie when she was wasted and smushing Vinnie at the Shore. And yes, you eat cookies for a week. I gained two pounds. I’ve also tried the “mentally unstable” diets. Drink so much alcohol you either puke up all your food or you’re too inebriated to eat. Another favorite was the “I’m so in love and need to be skinny for sex” diet. But with that comes the “I’m too much in pain” after the break-up diet. You gain everything back once you are mentally stable again. Then there was the one hit wonder of blow, the magic white stuff. At first it seems like a dieter’s dream. But then you realize it was handed to you by Slender



Claudia Chung is a writer who moonlights as a school teacher. She is currently working on a book of essays and stories on the trials, tribulations, and the funny in being a young widow.

Man and he wanted you to die. Death is not worth it for skinny. But the very worst, the most disgraceful and comically dangerous thing I’ve done in my endeavor to be skinny was getting my mouth wired shut. I was 18, stole money from my college fund, and paid a sketchy, semi-obese dental assistant a few hundred bucks to do it. How’d that happen, you ask? It started on the sofa, mostly likely while I was shoveling potato chips into my body, with an old episode of The Real World: Los Angeles on TV. Aside from the usual bickering and random sexual intercourse, a very pretty gal named Tami got her jaw wired shut in order to lose weight. She spent multiple episodes trying to communicate through a clenched jaw. In the end, she looked amazing. It was an a-ha moment. The thought

of not shoveling potato chips into my mouth never occurred to me. I went in search for someone in the dental industry who had the moral compass of a street rat to shut my mouth. For the next three weeks, I drank just orange soda, beef broth, and diluted yogurt. I lost 25 pounds. I was skinny. During this time, my 26-yearold furniture salesman boyfriend dumped me because I proved unsatisfying in the making out department (duh, I was tongue-less). And I was basically a mute. All this to be skinny for a short six months. When I entered college, I gained 50 pounds almost immediately. While I look at these attempts to crazy-my-way into the skinny with bemusement, pity, and a dollop of humor, there is one thread that is still relevant today. Desperation. When I think of my younger self, I realize that her desperation for “perfection” is still in me. But now, it’s desperately seeking something else – the perfect romance, job, home, cake. Am I older and wiser? Sometimes. Do I wish I were skinny? Sometimes. Do I love this imperfect body? Sometimes. In the end, I am kinder, gentler, and much more forgiving towards my body and myself.

“I was 18, stole money from my college fund, and paid a sketchy, semi-obese dental assistant a few hundred bucks to wire my mouth shut.”




Wagging Wolfie

Human’s name: Jane. Age: Two and a half years old. I was adopted at eight weeks. Breed: I’m a Yorkie and who knows what else. What makes me bark: I love playing ball. Three words that describe me best: I am sweet, athletic, and loyal. Confession: I don’t like cats, especially on my TV, or the Trip Adviser owl, Geico gecko, or any animal on my TV for that matter.


Hamilton Human’s name: Beth. Age: I was four last month. Breed: Lhasa Apso. What makes me bark: Motorcycles and skateboarders. Three words that describe me best: Mischievous, loving, playful. Confession: I steal my mom’s socks and won’t give them back until she gives me a carrot or some other yummy treat. Instadog: @figpea


Ella Human’s Name: Kathleen. Age: Five years old. Breed: Beagle and everything else. What makes me bark: When I want attention. Three words that describe me best: Sassy, opinionated soul. Confession: I like to make my mom walk me at 1am. Instadog: @Intrepid_Ella



These camera-happy canines took a time out from the morning stroll for a quick Q&A with W42ST

Ozzie Hasuga Human’s name: Maxime. Age: I’m one. Breed: French bulldog. What makes me bark: Sometimes I bark at the unknown and the mysterious. I cry/yodel when I’m frustrated or can’t get what I want. But most of all, I bark to antagonize anything and/or anyone to play with me. Confession: I spitefully steal fluffies from the rug. I know I’m not supposed to do it, but it forces my pawrents to chase me so that I won’t swallow them. Instadog: @Ozzie_thefrenchbulldog

Stella Humans’ names: Maureen, Paul, Sydney, and Jordan. Age: Seven. Breed: Goldendoodle. What makes me bark: “Intruders.” Three words that describe me best: Loving, loyal, adorable. Confession: I like to chew underwear.


Dog day care


Be featured in Wagging Tales – and get a FREE week of dog day care at AKC Canine Retreat.* Your dog will experience a new level of care tailored to their individual needs and temperament. AKC Canine Retreat welcomes dogs of all backgrounds, shapes, and sizes, and offers a full range of services including day care, overnight care, grooming, training, walking, and jogging. Our professional staff are trained in the most up-to-date methods recognized by the American Kennel Club, and each location features a range of play and rest spaces. Come visit our locations at W72nd St, W42nd St, SKY, Chelsea, and Tribeca – we’ve got the West Side covered! Email the pictures of your dog to waggingtales@w42st.com with the answers to our questions, and one lucky dog will get a FREE week of care.* Your name: Pet’s name: How old? Breed: What makes your pet bark? Three words that describe them best: Naughty confession: Are you an Instadog? *Dog must pass interview to enter day care



“New York is baffling, in that it’s a city that prides itself on being an absolute shithole. It’s like — there’s nothing good here, people are proud of that, they’re happy, ‘Oh, it’s overpriced, and it’s overpopulated, and it stinks like piss.’ And comics! Comics film specials here! They all open with a joke about, ‘Yeah, you spend $8,000 a month for nine square feet!’ Why do people stay here?’ This is where comedy works — where people are the most miserable.”

Doug Stanhope, No Refunds 66


FREE museum entry wasn’t enough).


A marvelous, m agical cabaret for the whole family! (FOR EVERYONE 6 AND UP)

April 12 – 28 Added matinees for Spring Break

Tickets start at $17



New York’s Theater for Kids and Families


209 W 42nd Street just west of Broadway