Friday, February 21, 2014

Release Your Inhibitions at "Sex Tips For Straight Women From A Gay Man"

Sometime around 1997, two best friends, Dan Anderson and Maggie Berman decided to co-author a dating book of sorts, acknowledging that women hoping to learn how best to interact with the opposite sex should shoot straight for the source, and "Who better than an honest-to-goodness gay man? He knows things most straight guys don't even know about themselves." Since the first publication, their book has sold more than 250,000 copies and is now the subject of a new, hilarious Off-Broadway comedy, "Sex Tips For Straight Women From A Gay Man."

"Sex Tips For Straight Women From A Gay Man" Starring Lindsay Nicole Chambers and Jason Michael Snow
Photo Courtesy of Red Rising Marketing
"Sex Tips" opens on a stage set for a university English Department forum, "Rendezvous with Alternative Authors of the Modern Era," as a budding young professor-in-training unwittingly finds herself moderating a potentially scandalous group discussion. The guest author is none other than "Dan Anderson," played by Jason Michael Snow, a charismatic comedian always ready with one-liners and coquettish quips. Lindsay Nicole Chambers plays the nervous, loquacious senior teaching fellow, Robyn, who must lead a successful book discussion if she has any hope of being promoted to a full professorship. Rounding out the cast is actor Andrew Brewer, who plays the sexy, straight, seemingly simple Stefan, a wannabe astronaut stuck running sound and lighting for the forum, though with a potentially untapped talent as a male model.

As Dan and Robyn delve into the cheeky chapters of "Sex Tips For Straight Women From a Gay Man," the unabashed comedy that results is sure to titillate even the most austere audience member. This is not a show for those coy to audience participation, as anyone risks the chance of being called upon to answer questions or even help with demonstrations on stage. Jason Michael Snow has a special charm when talking to the audience and reacting to statements and suggestions like a master of stand up. Although WGINY only attended the show on one night, I imagine that every night brings a slightly different experience. The most surprising part of the play may be that, while you're certainly being entertained, you're also gaining important experience and advice about relationships.

As the title suggests, the audience consisted of mostly women and gay men (yes, we were polled by "Dan Anderson"), but there were also a significant number of couples whom I can only imagine went home eager to try out some of the tips they had learned at the show. Whether a group of singles, a bachelorette party or a couple out for date-night, "Sex Tips" is a juicy, seductive show that will have you clamoring for more and hankering to get your hands on the book on which it is based. (The book is currently for sale as a show souvenir or on amazon -- I could neither resist nor wait and purchased one immediately following the curtain call).

"Sex Tips For Straight Women From A Gay Man" is currently playing at The 777 Theatre, on 8th Avenue between 47th & 48th Streets. Tickets are available daily, except for Wednesdays. The show is appropriate for ages 18 and up. The theatre bar opens one hour prior to showtime, and if you check in to the show on social media, you may be eligible for a free drink.

[UPDATE: It's also NYC Off-Broadway Week so you may be able to find tickets for "Sex Tips" at half price for shows through March 2.]

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Pizza Loves Emily and You Will Too.

"The Colony" at EMILY: A pizza adventure.
With barely two weeks on the NYC pizza scene, the word has apparently already gotten out about newcomer EMILY in Clinton Hill, and this charming establishment was packed when I arrived for brunch this past Sunday. From the moment you peer through the window, peruse the enticing pizza options and the posters for workshops such as "Yoga and Pizza Making," you can tell this is a place with character and a story. Pancakes and pizza together for brunch? Yes please.

EMILY's story began with its namesake, Emily, and her now-husband, Matt, sharing a pizza twelve-and-a-half years ago. On their website, you can read about how their mutual affection for pizza helped their budding relationship grow, and eventually led to them opening EMILY together. This isn't just a pizza place, it's a human interest story.

Step into EMILY for dinner or weekend brunch, and you'll witness for yourself the pride Matt takes in making his pizzas, and taste firsthand the love in every bite. There's a wood burning oven in the back and Matt can often be found right next to it mixing dough and handcrafting mozzarella for the smoky thin-crust pies. Even the dollops of addicting sauce adorning the red pies are artisinal.

EMILY mixes it up with something for everyone. Pizza purists may like "The Classic" (sauce, mozzarella, basil) or "The Luca" (Classic + buffalo mozzarella). Those looking for a real pizza adventure might want to try "The Colony" (sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, pickled chilis, honey) or "Emily" (mozzarella, taleggio, pistachios, truffle sottocenere, honey). I polished off an entire 12-inch Colony pie on my own, relishing in the savory contrast of sweet and spicy.

There are several variations of red and white pies, and it only gets better as you move toward dessert. At dinnertime, try a "S'mores Calzone" made with marshmallow, chocolate, and graham cracker. At brunch, there's a "Deep Fried Elvis Calzone," made with peanut butter, banana and honey. Coolhaus Ice Cream Sandwiches are also always available. Any restaurant that pays homage to both pizza and Elvis in the same menu and also patronizes local businesses is already ahead of the game in my book. Matt and Emily plan to rotate the menu seasonally, and I can't wait to see what else they have cooking.

Brunch at EMILY: What could be better than fluffy, sweet pancakes AND pizza? 
Special thanks to designer, Justin Fuller, for introducing me to EMILY.