October 14, 2006
Irish Energy in New York
You forget just how many Irish live in New York until you end up watching a band you have never heard of but everyone around you knows their pulse. Irish-born Saw Doctors played at the Nokia Theater in Times Square and the place was jammed as thousands made their way through the venue doors, each of us opening our bags for the security guards to check, scan and approve or not.
They all seemed to know the drill, every word to every song and even matched the lead singer's gestures as he swayed to more melodramatic tunes, that blended a dash of Housemartins with Irish folky rock.
Then there's the infamous Connollys a couple of blocks away, where Black 47 plays weekly. They have appeared on Jay Leno and write touching but powerful songs, including references to growing up in the Bronx, home to some of the band members.
Upper East Side Plane Crash
I often stay in the lower east side, the village or Chelsea when I 'hang' in New York although lately I've been mixing it up. I usually start in mid-town and then it depends on my mood, which friend is in town and what I plan on doing. A few of these friends now live in the upper East Side, which is where the plane crashed into an apartment building this week.
I was in a meeting at the New York Times near Times Square when it happened, so our colleagues learned about it at the same time we did... those I spoke to didn't jump to conclusions as I had expected and were more likely to think it an accident, which limited aviation experience can easily lead to.....this week's crash sadly killed Yankee baseball pitcher Cory Lidle and his flight instructor. I have several friends with their pilot's license and often think about 'the chances.' The mayor who apparently also flies, is adding his own personal experience to the investigations.
October 12, 2006
Great Read in the Park
Panels will include authors such as Daniel Mendelsohn, Malika Oufkir, Abigail Thomas and Edmund White. On memoirs, they'll discuss whether the memoir autobiography is confessional or simply artful reminiscing? Do memoirs really tell the truth?
And then there's one of my favorite topics: Health, Wellness and the Politics of Food - how does what we eat not only affect our bodies, but also impact the world? This dynamic panel of food and nutrition experts debates the role that diet plays in both personal and global health, and presents a provocative look at food politics.
Panelists Carolyn Curiel, Frank Rich and Carla Robbins will talk about which voices on opinion pages are heard, why and which side to represent? This one is being moderated by Andrew Rosenthal, New York Times Deputy Editorial Page Editor.
I love this one!!! How much of an impact does the Book Review have on book sales? Would love to hear their insight versus the actual facts. There will also be a focus around latino writers: multicultural voices.
Unlike their predecessors who relied on translation to reach a wider audience, today’s Latina and Latino writers often produce their work in English, with the advantage of finding inspiration in two cultures.
Another great one. Religion: A Crisis of Faith. Panelists Bart D. Ehrman, Chris Hedges, Herbert Krosney, Suzanne Oliver, Ranya Idilby and Priscilla Warner will talk about the war on terror which has turned into a debate waged on religious terms.
RSS Vendor Speaks on Future of PR
Think it odd to have an enterprise RSS vendor speak on a PR panel? You shouldn't. It is an industry that could dramatically benefit from internal and external RSS.
October 11, 2006
New York's DigitalLife
I'm in New York for DigitalLife this week, an annual event that attracts consumers, media and entertainment enthusiasts and those looking for the latest and greatest in consumer technology trends and products. Client Sharpcast will be presenting in the DigitalLife Theater tomorrow, which is a round-up of interesting and new technologies for improving people's productivity and lives.
PC Magazine's Jim Louderback will be on stage talking about Web 2.0 'stuff.' Is this the coming of age of the long-predicted "social Internet" - or just another momentary blip? Which Web 2.0 companies have real staying power, and which will be gone with the next season? With the long-time barrier between consumers and creators blurring, even collapsing, what happens to traditional media?
More from the floor.
October 06, 2006
I met singer songwriter Gabrielle in New York a few years ago and continue to follow her. If and when you make it ot the East Coast, you should try to catch one of her shows, often in funky bars and venues throughout the city. She has a new song out called Stay, which you can listen to here.
Connecting with Vivian Gornick
Vivian Gornick wrips the rawness from you and makes you want to unveil it all, your truths, your skeletons, your loneliness, all that is real. It is not sudden however; she opens you up slowly, after several paragraphs, several pages.
We walk through every New York ‘street,’ with her....it is in the language and energy of those streets where we are also lost with her. Perhaps something only a New Yorker could understand, yet I found myself connecting with every character, every thought, every moment, every........Is it because I too, am alone living an urban world and have done so (alone and not) in several cities around the world?
In New York, there is more isolation perhaps than most urban centers, yet there are also so many rich communities, something I am reminded of everytime I set foot on its streets. While we are never left with the feeling that Gornick escapes loneliness, we experience a vibrancy on each connection to the 'street' and everything that the 'street' brings her. Perhaps it is just the promise of the street.
A smile, a quick kiosk exchange, a casual back and forth on the bus, the vibrant colors of woman's dress in mid-town, black and silver in the East Village, its richness and connection is all there for the taking. Loneliness remains prevalent and yet for those few precious moments or hours, it somehow feels like it left the conversation.
In Approaching Eye Level, we learn so much about loneliness, tributes, connection, and lacks more than haves. As I turn the pages, I think and say, yes yes yes, and probably would have at 20.
She writes, “marriage promises friendship, when it fails to deliver the bond is destroyed.”
“Community promises friendship; when it fails to deliver the enterprise is dissolved.”
“The life of the mind promises conversation; when it fails to deliver its disciples grow eccentric.”
“It’s easier actually to be alone, than to be in the presence of that which arouses the need, but fails to address it. For then, we are in the presence of the absence and that, somehow, is not to be borne. The absence reminds us, in the worst way, that we are indeed alone: it suppresses fantasy, chokes off hope.
The liveliness we start out with is stifled. We become demoralized and grow inert. The inertness is a kind of silence. The silence becomes an emptiness. One cannot really live with emptiness. The pressure is terrible; unendurable, in fact; not to be borne. Either one breaks out, or one becomes inured.”
Vivian, your rawness and authenticity is so there. So on. Thank you.
October 05, 2006
The Future of PR
In New York on Wednesday, October 11, there will be an all-afternoon set of discussions on the future of PR. It will be held at the Microsoft Executive Briefing Center, 1290 Avenue of the Americas (between 51st and 52nd Street). Registration here.
The shifts include changes in communications, such as more transparent dialogues with customers, and the ability to monitor efforts aided by the internet and its many tools. Of course it wouldn't be a Web 2.0 discussion without more (yes, even more) discussion about YouTube, MySpace, FaceBook and other viral social media sites that may increase PR exposure as well as real time interaction with the consumer.
On the agenda includes: John Bell from Oglivy, Todd Defren from SHIFT, Michelle Horowitz from PR Newswire, Ronn Torossian at 5W PR, Chas Edwards from Federated Media, Bart Feder of the FeedRoom, Earthlink's VP of Corporate Communications Dan Greenfield, and Beet.TV's Andy Plesser to name a few.
October 01, 2006
Breathtaking Connections & Mismatched Ones……
I had one of those evenings at a party recently that Vivian Gornick describes so well in her stints teaching in university towns, where it is so obvious that you are not connecting with the room, the energy, the furniture or even the food on the table.
You’re there craving intense, fast flowing, intellectual conversation, the kind that rolls off the tongue of each person you encounter, where you know you’ll learn something and go home smarter and more enriched in at least one small way. Not always so, is it?
As more of a New Yorker than not, I suppose I crave rich, diverse conversations with people who push my mind beyond my own limits, and those with dancing energizing eyes that draw you in and say, “c’mon in, get to know me, find out who I am, open me up, tear things apart, make me hunger for things I’ve not yet explored…..”
As a publicist and daughter of two natural connectors, I’ve never had a problem with chatter talk, the kind that is just there, takes up air and space, but doesn’t really give back to the universe in any significant way. They, like our largely tactical business exchanges, make up the majority of our daily encounters.
I smiled knowingly as I read this Gornick dialogue recount, one that drained rather than enriched. You know the temporarily mismatched hour or evening or day I’m taking about, where you “remain a collection of expatriates, isolated from one another, each of you hanging there in solitary southern space.”
“What a relief it must be to away,” he says.
“Not really,” she says.
“It’s great here, they leave you alone,” he says.
“I hate being left alone,” she says.
“How can you write with the literary Mafia breathing down your neck?” he says.
“I live below Fourteenth Street, the Mafia doesn’t leave mid-town,” she says.
“You see the establishment shit getting published all the time, it’s demoralizing,” he says.
“Everything gets published nowadays, not just establishment writing,” she says.
“You can’t possibly get a decent reading in a mainstream house,” he says.
“Are you kidding? Never before in the history of the world has so much writing gone to print, good and bad alike,” she says.
She writes of two categories of friendship, perhaps you can relate? “those in which people are enlivened by each other and those in which people must be enlivened to be with each other. In the first category, one clears the decks to be together. In the second, one looks for an empty space in the schedule.
July 22, 2006
Healthy in SF & NYC
I've been spending a lot of time at San Francisco's Gratitude Cafe on Harrison and 20th. Even if you're in a hurry, they can whip up a cucumber and green shake in a few minutes to go. It's vegan, non-dairy and they serve organic wheat grass shots that tastes purer than anywhere else I've found in the Bay Area.
The artwork is fabulous, people are genuinely helpful and serve you with a smile on their face regardless of the kind of day they've had and there are gratitude cards on every table. You can either read to someone at a neighboring table or play a game. OR, you can sit at the bar and enjoy a glass of organic wine and talk to the staff behind the counter, who are endlessly amusing and 'kind.'
I was lucky to discover this place on the heals of a juice fast, since I've been trying to keep things greener than normal. Although the fast is over, my fridge remains mostly green with the occasional red tomato or blueberry to break up the 'forest.'
Now on a pledge to stay as green as possible through the middle of August, I decided to have a few business meetings here.
Five out of six appeared to go 'okay.' One was a venture capitalist from Boston who commented that the place alone made him want to order a fresh shake rather than a beer, which they did in fact have on the menu. Another (partner of a client) ordered a wheat grass shot, while another shared a raw veggie plate with me and exchanged a couple of gratitude phrases before the meeting ended.
The one that didn't go so well was 'sort of an interview,' i.e., someone who could potentially do some contract work for me in the Fall. He said more than twice, "there isn't anything on this menu I can eat." So much for flexibility. He did end up with a chocolate milkshake, which was obviously not made with dairy but you wouldn't know it - their shakes are amazing, especially the 'almond one.'
Everything is live, so you often feel 'lighter and younger' after eating there for a few days. I met an interesting couple at the bar earlier this week who were visiting from Toronto. She had the 'list,' he said to me. "The list?" I asked. "Do tell."
Out came her research on more fabulous places like Gratitude in the city and while it was out, she shared New York with me also since I travel there on business. For those interested, she sent me to Alive Café on 1972 Lombard, Parawdise on Post Street & Taylor and Greens in Fort Mason Center, which I had heard about but haven't managed to try yet.