1) Our annual team trip to the San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy was in September. This year, we had a outing to see the Broadway Ain't Too Proud to Beg, about the R&B group The Temptations. It was a fantastic show! If you've ever seen The Jersey Boys, you must see Ain't Too Proud To Beg. There's so much about the evolution of the Temptations that I didn't know. Members came and went, drug abuse, dissension in the ranks about the direction of the group, it's all here. You'll know most of songs (and want to sing them, but please don't do that during the show) and the choreography is phenomenal. It was a thumbs-up from all seven of us. You can get more information and tickets here.
2) We had another guest visit us and we took the tour of Old St. Patrick's Cathedral in Little Italy. It was so interesting, our tour guide Mike was great. We got to go upstairs and see behind the massive pipe organ that has over 2600 pipes. It is massive! The highlight of the tour is going into the catacombs where several bishops and wealthy patrons are buried. The tomb that caught my eye was for Countess Annie Leary, a wealthy heiress who, when she died in 1919, donated a great deal of her money to the Archdiocese of New York, including $200,000 to build the sacristy at the new St. Patrick's Cathedral on Fifth Ave. She was supposed to be buried in a vault there, but for some reason it didn't happen. She had fabulous parties at her Fifth Avenue townhouse and was reported to be a hoarder. There is a story in the New York Times about her here, I'm going to try to find a book about her. Tickets for the tour can be found here.
|The view of Old St. Patrick's from the choir balcony
3) We took our visitor to Sant Ambroeus to get some gelato after dinner and when we came out of the restaurant, I spied Billy Joel sitting on a bench outside. If I had know he was there, we would have bought him a gelato too.
4) Singer/actress/dynamo Kristin Chenoweth visited the Barnes & Noble Upper East Side to promote her new CD For The Girls. She was interviewed by Frank Dilello from NY1, and then signed copies of the CD. She talked about choosing the songs for the CD (so many had to be cut), the time when seven-year-old Ariana Grande came backstage when Kristin was in Wicked on Broadway (and now Ariana does a fabulous duet of Lesley Gore's You Don't Own Me on the CD), and how her father told her she forgot to wear pants on the cover of the CD. I play For The Girls constantly, I love all the songs on it.
5) I've been reading a great deal since we got back from Italy, and one of the best books I read is J. Ryan Stradal's The Lager Queen of Minnesota, about a young woman raised by her grandmother who, when she is at odds with her life, ends up working in a small craft brewery and becomes, yes, The Lager Queen of Minnesota. It's got great characters, (sisters who have a lifelong falling out), a terrific Midwest setting, and Stradal is a fabulous writer. Read this book, I'll post a review soon.