Sunday, June 29, 2014

David Lawson Invites You to Tell a True Story at The Astoria Bookshop This Tuesday.

Do you have a true story to tell? WGINY just learned of this new open-mic style Storytelling Show at The Astoria Bookshop. Here's how it works: Every first Tuesday of the month, host David Lawson invites storytellers to visit the Bookshop and submit their names for the opportunity to be called up to tell a five-minute true story about something that happened to them. There's no special theme to stick to, so your story can be about anything, as long as it's true. Non-storytellers are welcome to join the audience as well, so that those who get called up have someone to tell their stories to! It's kind of like an open-mic Moth event, except instead of sending in a pitch and competing against thousands of other stories, you just have to get your name pulled from a bucket.

Need some inspiration? Check out Lawson delivering a five-minute true story at the Bookshop here. Lawson is a performer, storyteller, and playwright, known for several solo shows and plays that often take up unconventional topics.

The next Storytelling Show will take place at 7pm at The Astoria Bookshop, 31-29 31st Street, between 31st Ave & Broadway, in Astoria. Join the facebook invite here.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Find Free Events All Summer Long in NYC!

Looking for cool things to do during this long, hot summer in NYC? What could be more cool than free? WGINY suggests some fun, free events for your NYC summer.

Free Music and Performing Arts Shows:

Summerstage: Performances across all five boroughs, mostly in public parks, includes concerts, dance, comedy, and special programs for kids and families.

Celebrate Brooklyn!: Concerts and dance parties all summer long at the Prospect Park Bandshell.

Madison Square Park Oval Lawn Series: Free outdoor concert series on Wednesday evenings through August 6.

Seaport Music Festival: Free Friday night concerts at South Street Seaport.

4Knots Music Festival: Also at South Street Seaport, one-day-only, July 12, a free music festival sponsored by the Village Voice.

River Rocks: Hudson River Park free summer concert series.

Free Dancing:

Moon Dance: Sundays through August 10 at Hudson River Park Pier 84. Alternating salsa and swing. Lessons at 6:30pm; dancing at 7pm.

Midsummer Night Swing: At Lincoln Center through July 12. A different style is featured nearly nightly with lessons first followed by dancing to live music.

Free Film:

River Flicks: Featuring blockbuster movies at Hudson River Park.  "Big Hit" Wednesdays on Pier 63 beginning July 9; and "Family Fridays" on Pier 46 beginning July 11.

Intrepid Summer Movie Series: 6th Annual Movie Series featuring sea, air and space themed movies atop the Interpid Museum's flight deck. Space is limited so get there early. Thursdays from July 10 - August 20. Doors open at 7:30pm; films show at sunset. This summer's lineup includes Independence Day, Gravity, and Spaceballs among the list.

HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival: Mondays through August 18. Lawn opens at 5pm. Films show at sunset. Features classic films such as The Shining and The Karate Kid.

Central Park Film Festival: Annual free film festival in Central park. Runs for one week, from August 18-22. This year's theme is "Scenes from our City".

Find more free Summer movies in a NYC park near you at

Spend a Day on Governor's Island:
Ride a free ferry from Manhattan or Brooklyn before noon on weekends. One of WGINY's favorite local blog's, feedlivinghappy, describes a day on Governor's Island and why you won't want to miss a trip there this summer.

Stroll Through a Street Fair

For even more free ideas, check out this NY Daily News article: Ultimate Summer Guide: Free New York.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

JuicyBruce Invites You to Get Funky This Friday!

Get your funky juices flowing this Friday night, June 27, with the JuicyBruce Summer Party featuring the music of JuicyBruce and Sanah Kadoura Orchestra. The party will take place at "Zeb's," that cool loft/recording studio/performance space that houses the weekly Jazz Vocalist Series, 223 W. 28th Street, between 7th & 8th Avenues.  

R to L: Jenny Arrigo, Lauren Stockner, Mike Ved, Mike Lunoe, Alex Rubin
Photo by Tai-Hua Wu, courtesy of JuicyBruce.
JuicyBruce first burst onto the local music scene in May 2009, playing groovy rock tunes at bars across New York City. JuicyBruce has since performed for "squeezers" (squeezer = A JuicyBruce fan) at Sidewalk Cafe, The Bitter End, Bowery Poetry Club, Brooklyn Bowl, and a host of other favorite music haunts. Coming from a family that valued music, front man Alex Rubin could play music before he could talk, had always been in bands, and studied music in college, before coming up with the idea for JuicyBruce. Rubin cites as some of his influences The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Frank Zappa, and Simon & Garfunkel, and his respect for the rock genre is evident in his music.

JuicyBruce put out their first self-titled EP in 2010, featuring catchy yet expressive songs such as Peanut Butter Man and Envelope Me Penelope. The guitar and other instrumental solos are really intriguing and the vocal harmonies created by Rubin and female vocalist Jenny Arrigo are compelling.

Although Rubin has remained a constant in JuicyBruce, the band has been through several layers of change since that EP was released, and the JuicyBruce lineup continues to evolve. Friday's show will feature Alex Rubin on guitar and vocals; Jenny Arrigo on vocals; Lauren Stockner on guitar; Kyle Lalone on guitar; Mike Vedric on Bass; and Mike Lunoe on drums. Complementing JuicyBruce will be the music of the Sanah Kadoura Orchestra. Kadoura can often be found performing at local jazz clubs such as Fat Cat and Smalls. 

JuicyBruce is currently planning a new, full length LP, "Juicer Than Thou," which may include some live tracks from Friday night's performance. Doors open at 7:30p.m. and entrance for the evening is only $10. The event is sponsored by Long Trail Brewing Co. Join the facebook invite for updates and more info. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Who is Ingrid Vollset?

Who is Ingrid Vollset? Despite a growing list of local theater, film, and other "industry" credits, it's likely you haven't heard of her, yet. I have only now heard of her because I happened to become mesmerized by her singing in the subway station last night, on the N/Q/R platform at 59th & Lexington, and I wasn't the only one. Her acoustic-electric guitar case, open on the floor for donations, was full of bills, and in the time it took to catch one train, I saw more than a handful of people drop more. I later googled Vollset's name, and was surprised to find that she also boasts a solid professional background in acting, not to mention her skills as a singer-songwriter.

When I initially sauntered her way in the subway station, captivated by her contemplative lyrics and her folksy, wispy, indie rock style, I was sure that Vollset was something of a Regina Spektor meets Company of Thieves. According to this old facebook event post which I stumbled upon in my google search, Vollset actually cites a varied range of influences including not just folk and soul greats such as Susanne Vega, Bob Dylan, and Nina Simone, but also hip-hop and reggae artists such as Lauryn Hill and the Marley family.

If I were a person whose job it was to discover music, I would discover Ingrid Vollset.

Find her on soundcloud:

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Grace Period Blog Presents Performance as Activism: "The S.M. Cabaret: Slaves of Sallie Mae"

As summer comes into full swing and the newest wave of college graduates throw their caps high with blithe enthusiasm, for many there is an unspoken skeleton in the closet, ready to reveal itself in six months, whether or not anyone is prepared: that skeleton is Student Debt.

Co-Founder Sydney Arndt Shows Off Her Debt
Photo Property of The Grace Period Blog
While one now Off-Broadway musical asks, "What can you do with a BA in English?", one Off-Off-Broadway newcomer, "The S.M. Cabaret: Slaves of Sallie Mae," asks (proverbially, not via puppetry) "How can you ever pay off a BA or MA in [insert any creative arts or humanities area here] with short grace periods, ever-growing interest, and stagnant incomes?" The cabaret-style show is a vision of The Grace Period Blog, co-founded by NYU MA Performance Studies Alumni, Gabriela Moreno and Sydney Arndt. The Grace Period Blog first went live in September 2013, and was inspired by the founders' "personal experience with the student debt crisis in America." The Grace Period Blog has clear activist goals including: extending the student loan grace period beyond six months and encouraging deferment and income-based repayment plans for private loans. What's unique about this site is that each post is intended to inspire more performance, and the content is interwoven into performance ideas. The performance itself becomes the activism.

The first content-driven performance of The Grace Period Blog took place in Washington Square Park on November 21, 2013, the very date on which the founders' student loan grace period ended. Since then, the founders have continued to work to turn their show into a movement, and most recently their efforts have evolved into "The S.M. Cabaret: Slaves of Sallie Mae," which WGINY had the pleasure of catching last week at Greenwich Village's IRT Theater.

3 of the "Great Lakes" from "Hey My Servant!"
R to L: Sarah Lucie; Sydney Arndt; Laura Mooney
Photo Property of The Grace Period Blog
As soon as I walked into the theater, instead of a playbill, I was handed a syllabus. Instead of skits there were lectures, and instead of actors there were professors. A "key term" to remember at the top of my syllabus was: "Sallie Mae: A publicly traded corporation that originates, services, and collects on student loans." For a moment I was filled with a first-day-of-school dread, and that was before the emcee, co-founder Gabriela Moreno, announced that 50% of all student debt is held by families in the bottom 25% of household incomes.

Introducing the first act, Moreno referenced a popular student loan provider, Great Lakes, and as she explained that these "legal loan sharks" could be sultry but dangerous, the opening number, "Hey My Servant!" began with five female performers wearing next-to-nothing, except for large posters representing New York's own famous five Great Lakes. A creative parody on Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields' "Big Spender" from "Sweet Charity," "Hey My Servant!" tackled loan crisis issues, explaining how and why students often chain themselves to loans. Other numbers similarly addressed problems with loan deferral, refinancing, interest accrual, and the like, with a particular focus on the effects of America's economic crisis on artists, and the difficulty of earning a sustainable income on creative art alone. Writers and performers may enter school thinking that they will immediately become the next Carey Bradshaw or Sarah Jessica Parker (see what I did there?), but upon graduation they are forced to face the harsh reality that if they want to survive financially, it may be at the expense of their artistic passion. And yet, the message of the show is not to give up those dreams, but to forage on and follow your passions, even if that means working as a nanny for three families, and a research assistant, and an after school program theater specialist, as performer Jenna Tanimi does. Co-founder Sydney Arndt's penultimate burlesque lecture/skit, "Are you an actress?" addressed just this, as she craftily captured the caricature of the omnipresent actress/waitress in New York City, of which she admittedly is one, as well as an event caterer, theater critic, and restaurant reviewer.

Sarah Lucie in "Screw Loose"
Photo Property of The Grace Period Blog
One of my favorite numbers, "Screw Loose," came right after the emcee reminded the audience that, in July 2013, the federal student loan interest rate doubled from 3.4 to 6.8%. "Screw Loose" featured the vocal stylings of Sarah Lucie as a character who has literally been driven mad by her inability to pay her student loans. Her soulful solo was unexpected and she sent gasps through the audience as she belted out her woes.

Although the ideas of The S.M. Cabaret are presented in a light and humorous way, and may even cause you to snort on more than one occasion, the student debt crisis is nothing to laugh at. Though the show had a burlesque theme and a definite sex appeal, the real meat was not the girls on the stage, but the awareness they were raising.

This may not be a show for the 1% (although we certainly hope they get the message), but for the rest of you, keep up with for more info. You can also like them on facebook and follow them on twitter.

You've got a grace period of a little over a month to get to this show, as the next planned run will be July 31-August 2, location TBD. There are also plans to take the show on tour to local colleges where the Blog can also focus on workshopping with arts students.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Da Marcella Mediterranean Taverna in Midtown Offers Italian and Spanish "Comfort Food".

The area around Rockefeller Center, while rich in notable attractions, is somewhat devoid of notable, non-chain restaurants. Restaurateur Manuel Moreno and his Executive Chef Francesco Mueses are trying to change that with Da Marcella Mediterranean Taverna. Having opened in November 2013, at 11 W. 51st Street, Da Marcella Mediterranean Taverna is already building a name for itself, and was completely packed with patrons when I went for a press dinner on a recent Thursday evening. This may be because some are already familiar with Da Marcella's acclaimed West Village location, but more likely it's because locals and tourists alike are finding that the rustic, homestyle Italian and Spanish fare offered is of the highest quality and quite delectable.

Meatballs Da Marcella
Photo by WGINY
Nestled between 5th Avenue and Rockefeller Plaza, Da Marcella Mediterranean Taverna has an unassuming entrance that you could almost miss, so look out for the eponymous awning. Once you step inside, descend a staircase lined with inspiring culinary quotes, and you will see that the atmosphere is incredibly warm and inviting, and understand why owner Moreno calls his taverna "a neighborhood restaurant that just wants to feed people in the same generous manner that [his] mother fed half of the neighborhood in which [he] grew up 60 years ago in Madrid." In fact, many of the menu items, such as the signature pasta dish, Tagliatelle alla Bologenese, are made from original family recipes. Da Marcella's expansive dinner menu offers eight different pasta dishes, six of which are only $16. For those who work in the neighborhood or are visiting on a weekday afternoon, the price of the lunch portions is nearly half that, at only $9 for a filling pasta entree. Organic whole wheat and gluten free pasta are also available for an additional $1.

Tagliatelle alla Bolognese,Topped with Fresh, Grated Parmesan Cheese
Photo by WGINY
Speaking of that Tagliatelle, it may just become your favorite go-to comfort dish, made with al dente pasta, and a Bolognese Ragu that is cooked for eight hours and combines 18 different ingredients, creating a flavorful, but not overpowering sauce, which allows you to focus on the sweet finish of the meat. Ask for fresh Parmesan cheese to top the Tagliatelle, and try pairing with a glass of Sada Integolo Toscana IGT, a Cabernet-Montepulciano blend that combines both a full-bodied and light taste, much like the Tagliatelle.

Another stand-out comfort-food item is the Meatballs Da Marcella (pictured above), Chef Francesco's specialty veal and pork meatballs made with San Marzano tomato sauce. There's no beef in these meatballs, yet one taste reveals that these supple morsels are truly from the upper cut. Other notable appetizers included the smooth and savory Burrata Cheese, San Daniele Prosciutto, with Truffle Sauce over "Crostone," which paired nicely with a well-rounded Melini Chianti by Borghi d'Elsa, and the Pulpo Marinado a la Catalana, made with freshly grilled Spanish octopus that is so tender and simple, you'll forget you're eating shellfish. The latter dish was complimented by a glass of crisp, Spanish white wine made from the most recognized grape in the region, an Albariño wine from Rias Baixas.

Burrata Cheese, San Daniele Prosciutto, Truffle Sauce over "Crostone"
Picture from Da Marcella website, used with permission

Pulpo Marinado a la Catalana
Photo by WGINY
As for that notable Spanish flair of Da Marcella's (mostly Italian) Mediterranean Taverna, it is exceptionally prevalent in the recently introduced Paella "Da Marcella," made in the traditional Valencia style, with Bomba rice, clams, mussels, chicken, azafran, mixed vegetables, and azarfrán. Although this item does not currently appear on the regular menu, it is often offered as a house specialty, and is definitely made to share.

Paella "Da Marcella"
Photo by WGINY
Before you leave, don't forget to partake in at least one of the rich desserts, the perfect way to round out the evening and head home happy and fulfilled. WGINY recommends the velvety Ricotta Cheese Cake, or the creamy, fruity Panna Cotta. All desserts are made in-house and are only $8.

Trio of Desserts. R to L: Panna Cotta, Tiramisu, Ricotta Cheese Cake

Da Marcella Mediterranean Taverna's midtown location is open Monday to Thursday from 11:30am-10:30pm, Friday from 11:30am-11pm, Saturday from 4pm-11pm, and Sunday from 4pm-10pm. Reservations are recommended and can be made online or by calling 917-639-3911. There is a full bar (whereas West Village location offers only beer and wine), currently offering a wide variety of 18 wines by the glass, and with rotating happy hour specials.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Opening Reception Tonight at Blue Mountain Gallery Highlights Five Emerging Artists in an Exhibition Running Through July 5

Andrew Dylan Campbell's The Motive for Metaphor, 72" x 44", Acrylic on Canvas, 2014
The Chelsea neighborhood of New York is notorious for, among other things, streets lined with art galleries beckoning passersby to come in, browse, and, hopefully, buy. Tonight, I'm particularly excited to attend the opening reception for an exhibition at one such gallery, Blue Mountain Gallery. Blue Mountain welcomes five emerging artists, who all have in common that they have recently completed an MFA program at Western Connecticut State University, but the versatility among these artists is anything but common. The "Thesis Exhibition," which represents the culmination of two years of intensive work for each of the artists, will run through July 5. Gallery hours are usually Tuesdays through Sundays from 11am-6pm, but tonight's opening reception will go from 5pm-8pm. View the exhibition catalog for more information. Highlighted pieces include paintings, sculpture and illustrations, across mixed media.

Several of the artists seem to draw inspiration from their surroundings and their life experiences. For example, the exhibited works of Andrew Dylan Campbell,* an American painter and the only one of the artists to also hold an MA in Visual Arts, reflect at first glance the beach as a familiar setting, as Campbell grew up on Long Island. However, Campbell holds that "the true content of his paintings is revealed slowly through the destruction and rebuilding of the figural and gestural elements involved, based on intuition and memories." 

Come down, peruse the pieces, and if you see something you like, let the artists know. 

*Campbell happens to be a personal friend, but don't let that overshadow his immense talent and passion for his work as a painter. See for yourself. Come to the exhibition. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Spotlight on Two Indie Productions You Should Check Out This Weekend.

Fulfill all of your indie theatre kicks this weekend at TADA Theater. Interested in crime, mystery and the feeling of film noir? Funny...Sheesh Productions' Doubles Crossed: The Ballad of Rodrigo has what you're looking for. How about sexuality, personal relationships, and a story about breaking away from the conventional? Ivy Theatre Company's The Feminism of Soft Merlot, or (How the Donkey Got Punched) will whet your appetite. In a press release, these companies describe how they are currently working together "in a space sharing partnership to promote artistic union and collaboration within the New York City Independent theatre scene." Read about both shows and choose the one for you or, if you go this Saturday or Sunday, make it a double feature!

Funny…Sheesh Productions Presents Doubles Crossed: The Ballad of Rodrigo.
 By Tami Shaloum

The sequel to Jason S. Grossman’s 2012 play, Doubles Crossed, and the second in his trilogy, The Ballad of Rodrigo is a thriller in the vein of 40s and 50s film noir. Even the backdrop is a screen that displays images of fake news headlines that refer to the play’s plot. While there are references to the first play, there is no need to have seen it to understand what is going on. A summary in the program, and the aforementioned headlines, brings the audience up to speed.

The plot follows Freddie Tower aka Freddie the Finisher (Gregory James Cohan), former criminal with the Dead Street mob, now assuming his dead twin brother’s identity as FBI agent Irving Tower. Tower’s back in town to get to the bottom of a mysterious death involving the deceased crime boss’ driver Rodrigo. Along the way, he gets entangled with an enigmatic woman named Trina (played magnetically by Alison Parks), who always seems to show up at the same greasy spoon each day at the same time as Tower. Said greasy spoon, owned by Sally (cheerfully portrayed by Cindy Keiter) and her son Flapjack (James Holden)—police detective at the local precinct and the only one who knows Tower’s true identity—becomes the setting for most of the action. Will Flapjack turn Tower in? What is the mystery woman doing in that coffee shop every day? What is Tower really up to? While the story has plenty of twists and turns, the ending becomes especially convoluted. The underlying message is don’t trust anyone because you never know who can turn on you.

The language of The Ballad of Rodrigo is especially interesting. It has its own neo-noir lingo and although definitions are handily listed in the program, it’s pretty easy to catch on. The characters also speak with old-timey inflection, as though they were performing a radio play in the 1940s. Directed by Amber Gallery, they never sound hackneyed, though there are some archetypes: the nosy trench coat-clad reporter just itching for a story (the fast-talking Allen Warnock); the unhinged, neglected son of a crime boss out for revenge (dastardly portrayed by Matthew J. Nichols); the jaded, alcoholic cop who’s lost everything (Ridley Parson). There’s also a slight anachronistic quality to the setting that’s somewhat confusing but ultimately charming. The characters use cell phones, while also having rotary phones on their desks. Some characters dress in period costume and some dress more modern.

Doubles Crossed has the feel of a movie with the presence of a play and will leave you wanting more. Good thing it’s a trilogy.

Doubles Crossed: The Ballad of Rodrigo
is playing at the TADA Theater Friday through Sunday. For tickets, go to

Ivy Theatre Company presents The Feminism of Soft Merlot, or (How the Donkey Got Punched).
 By Heather K. 

The Feminism of Soft Merlot, or (How the Donkey Got Punched), much like some of the characters presented, should not be judged by its initial appearance. The show focuses on a seemingly stable yipster couple, Kareena (Diana Oh) and Teddy (Patrick Daniel Smith), and Kareena's sweet, prude friend, Sam (Lauren Dortch-Crozier). Kareena and Teddy have got it made - great jobs, great apartment, and above all, a great relationship. The over-confident Kareena feels obliged to impart her relationship wisdom onto her friend, resulting in witty banter between Kareena and Sam, which often hinges on the actresses' decisive comedic timing. You may recall actress Diana Oh from Mac Rogers' "Frankenstein Upstairs." Her adeptness with deadpan humor is hard to forget. 

Hoping to help Sam explore the dating world, and perhaps help her friend delve deeper into her own sexuality, Kareena sets Sam up with Kyle (Justin Anselmi), a former beau she herself had met online, before Teddy came into her life. Kareena assures Sam that she and Kyle never had relations, and she encourages Sam to meet him in person, despite Sam's coyness upon learning that Kyle works as a pornography filmmaker. The opening scenes are riddled with subtext and foreshadowing, and we soon see an unexpected transformation in Sam. Intriguingly, just as Sam seems to be finding herself, Kareena begins to lose herself, and a shocking event shakes her relationship with Teddy to its core. The result is compelling. 

The Feminism of Soft Merlot examines human relationships at their best and worst, and tackles some tough issues. What is feminism, really? Is it fighting for the right to vote or fighting for the right to dance on a pole? Can it be both? Can society ever accept that women may desire sex as much as men? What makes a woman independent? What is acceptable when it comes to expressing your sexuality? Morales and mores are tested in this unexpectedly poignant play that you'll find yourself still talking about days later. 

The Feminism of Soft Merlot, or (How the Donkey Got Punched) is playing at the TADA Theatre Thursday through Sunday. For tickets, go to

Sunday, June 8, 2014

City Parks Foundation Kicks Off SummerStage Season with Night of Dinner, Dancing and The Beatles!

By Tami Shaloum
Photos by Heather-Ann Schaeffner* 

R to L: Willie Nile; Philip Bailey; David Broza; Paula Cole; John Batiste
Ever wonder where the money for the maintenance and programming of the over 750 New York City parks comes from? Tuesday’s CityParks Foundation (CPF) Gala answered that question with a fundraiser that yielded over one million dollars. Honoring CPF Board Member Andrew Tisch with the 2014 People and Parks Award, the gala coincided with the start of a rich and varied SummerStage season. Featuring over 100 free music, dance, comedy and theatre events spread throughout all five boroughs, SummerStage is one of New York City’s most highly anticipated performing arts festivals. The gala did not disappoint, as it lived up to the high standards of previous seasons with an evening featuring the music of The Beatles.

Willie Nile Gets the Audience Dancing
As the rainfall turned into a trickle, a rainbow smiled on the start of the concert at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park. With G.E. Smith and his All-Star Band at the helm, a rotating roster of accomplished musicians paid tribute to the Fab Four with songs such as “Eight Days A Week,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” “And Your Bird Can Sing” and “She Said She Said.” Willie Nile got the audience dancing with his rousing version of “Revolution.” Israeli singer/songwriter David Broza then chilled out with a Spanish guitar inflected “In My Life” and a Paul Simon-esque “Twist and Shout.” Paula Cole enchanted the audience with a solo piano rendition of “She’s Leaving Home,” then got the audience up on its feet again with the band-backed “Get Back.”

John Batiste Plays a Different Kind of Keyboard
New Orleans native Jon Batiste really put his own spin on “Blackbird,” using the piano to evoke both jazz and classical styles. His “Paperback Writer” was similarly interesting, pulling in funky rhythms to the familiar tune. Southside Johnny (of the Asbury Jukes) pulled off an expectedly rocking “Helter Skelter” and “Drive My Car.” But it was Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind & Fire and his brass section that really brought the house down with a funky, soulful R&B performance of “Got to Get You into My Life.”

Although the gala and concert were not for the general public, the result of it certainly is. The money raised will go toward supporting the City Parks Foundation’s free arts, education, and sports programs all year round. If anything was raining down on Central Park the other night, it was the community spirit and celebration of the arts that the City Parks Foundation and its supporters showered on the city.

The full calendar of all the SummerStage 2014 events can be found at

More Photo Highlights from the CPF Gala:

G.E. Smith Gets Down with Paula Cole
John Batiste Tickles the Ivories

Southside Johnny Sings Out
Willie Nile Plays the Tambourine

Andrew Tisch and CPF President Alison Tocci 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Governor's Ball 2014 Tips for Festival-Goers

The Governor's Ball Music Festival 2014 has descended upon New York City, attracting over 13,000 music fans. Despite the name, the festival is actually held on Manhattan's Randall's Island. After rain and mud made a mess of Randall's last year, this year's weekend forecast is full of sunshine.

Save money by traveling to the Island by biking or walking over the RFK bridge from Queens, Manhattan or the Bronx, or by walking over the E. 103rd Street footbridge in Manhattan. See all travel options here.

Must haves to optimize your Governor's Ball experience: a blanket to rest on, sunscreen, good shoes, a refillable water bottle, hand sanitizer, the Gov Ball 2014 App on your smartphone, and some cash (although some vendors accept credit cards and Pay Pal).

Janelle Monae at the Gov Ball Stage 6/6/14
Performance highlights from Friday included Phoenix's Thomas Mars crowd-surfing out into the audience as he ended his set (he does this at most shows, yet it is always exhilarating to see); Jenny Lewis playing keyboard in a groovy pants suit; Janelle Monae lighting up the stage as an "Electric Lady"; and headliner Outkast pulling audience members up on stage during their hit song, "Hey Ya".

WGINY's personal selections for your Saturday and Sunday schedule: Fitz and the Tantrums, Broken Bells, The Naked & Famous, The Strokes, Childish Gambino, Spoon, Sleigh Bells, Jack White, The Head and the Heart, Foster the People, Interpol,  and Vampire Weekend.

Food tips: It would be nearly impossible to try all 50+ food, drink and dessert vendors in just three days. Yesterday, WGINY got to sample some crispy Belgian fries from the Pommes Frites stand, and some rich, creamy mac & cheese from Beecher's Handmade Cheese. I recommend both, and suggest adding some of the condiment hot sauce to the mac for a spicy surprise.

One last tip: Please adhere to the signs and bins for trash/landfill, composting and recycling. Governor's Ball and Clean Vibes are working hard to keep Randall's Island litter free, yet the amount of trash (mostly beer cans...) I saw on the grass yesterday was absolutely appalling, and I did not envy the staff who will have to clean up after the festival-goers. We can do better.

Forget your sunscreen? Don't worry. There's an "app" for that.