Boston Bound

As much as I have been using this blog to creatively to vent and hash out ideas and thoughts; I also want to write about my adventures. After all, it is called Ari’s Adventures In The Big Apple. So I finally had one! Now every day can be an adventure in New York but for once, I actually left the city for the weekend and it was so refreshing. Taking time out of your daily routine and environment are vital for relaxation and your spirits. New York is a tough city, it can weigh you down sometimes so this break was well needed.

Boston is perfect for a weekend away. It’s a cleaner, friendlier and smaller version than New York so I felt right at home and of course there’s the Irish connection. Boston is full of Irish expats and Irish Americans and there’s never a shortage of good pubs to drink in. Unfortunately the trip to Boston was extremely unpleasant…cue the Megabus. Now, the Megabus is (as Conor would say) ‘the Ryanair of buses’ and that’s a pretty accurate description. It’s cheap, gets you from A to B in one piece and has just enough leg room/ personal space to recline back in peace and sleep for the 5 hour journey however we were caught in extremely bad traffic and arrived in Boston at 3:30pm on Friday. We were meant to be there at 2pm. We also did not have time to grab any breakfast or snacks for the long journey so that made it even worse. Imagine being on a bus, no water, no snacks, the wi-fi is not working, there’s a child kicking your seat and you’re stuck in traffic. Worse bus ride ever but at least it was cheap.

Things looked up when we finally arrived in Boston and the sun was shining and the day was still young. First thing first was to get food so we scoffed our faces with sandwiches in South Station and then headed to our Airbnb in Medford. Thankfully Boston is a bit cheaper than New York so we decided to treat ourselves and get an Uber. Our Airbnb host was unfortunately out but thankfully she gave me the door code to get in and it was like entering a home away from home. There were selves lined with books, DVDs and board games. 100 board games to be precise. We were also treated to a breakfast and coffee bar; she even had her own bar in the living room. We were being spoiled in this very cute B&B style apartment. There was even a tray or mints and chocolates beside an information and tourist folder but the best part of the Airbnb was Snuggles the cat who greeted us with welcoming meows and belly rubs. 20424547_10155058599671919_1826285037_o

Just look at that cute little face! Snuggles showed us around and helped us get comfortable in our room by showing us how to knead the pillow to get extra comfy and rolled around on the bed. After freshening up, we were ready to hit the town and one short Uber ride later, we were enjoying a drink overlooking Faneuil Hall Marketplace at Anthem Kitchen and Bar. I had a ‘Far from the tree nova hopped cider’ and at 8% a bottle, I was getting in the holiday mood and buzzed. We thankfully had a lovely waitress who accepted my Irish drivers licence and 2 other forms of I.D because apparently under Massachusetts law, they don’t accept foreign drivers licences as official I.D, only passports. I was lucky because I had left my passport back in New York.

After we had our drinks, we wandered around the marketplace taking in the sights and people watching before heading to North 26 Restaurant & Bar for dinner and if you’re ever in Boston, I highly recommended going there and getting the Lobster deal for $20 because it was so much food and it was SOOOO good. 1 1/4 lobster, clam chowder, corn on the cob, potatoes and dinner rolls. It was a feast and the server there, Cathy, was enough to show me how to properly open the shell.

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I struggled to finish it and could barely move after dinner but it was worth it. We then took a stroll down to the waterfront. It was beautifully lit with fairy lights wrapped around the archway through Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park. We watched the boats in the dock area bob in the water and people walking around the area. It was so peaceful compared to the hustle and bustle of New York. We then continued onto The Tap Trailhouse for one final drink before heading back to the Airbnb and getting some much-needed sleep. Although the trip started out rough, I was highly impressed by my first night in Boston.

We woke up early on saturday morning, had breakfast and filled our bags with water and snacks (Shout out to Shalene, our lovely Airbnb host) and headed out to see Harvard University. As soon as we pulled up outside the red bricked walls and black ironed gates, I could feel my brain turning to mush. I will never be as smart as the students at Harvard and that’s a fact. Our first stop was the Harvard Book Store and it is a book worm’s paradise, I enjoyed exploring all the aisles however they had nothing on my reading list in stock so I left emptied handed but still impressed. We crossed into the campus, through the iron gates and wandered into Harvard Yard. The green trees and plush square surrounded by red brick buildings is a sight to see, regardless of swarms of tourists around. Nevertheless, we admired the buildings and snuck onto the tail end of a tour group to get some background and historical facts.

Our tired but happy faces outside the Widener Library.

I don’t think the tour leader even noticed we tagged on but we did and followed her around the yard for nearly 30 minutes until we jumped ship and entered the Harvard Art Museum. By cheekily using our expired student I.D’s, we got student admission for only $10! A Bargain and what I miss most about being a student- the discounts that come with a student card.

The museum had a wonderful mix of Contemporary art, Asian art, pottery, sculpture and Renaissance art so I happily wandered around the rooms for ages, getting lost in the different rooms and exhibitions. My stomach growling was the only thing to bring me back to reality and with that we said goodbye to Harvard and hello to lunch. We hopped on the shuttle headed for Boston Common and grabbed some lunch in Silverstone Bar and Grill. The next thing on our list was a shopping trip to Primark because I have been deprived of  cheap but reliable clothing and located downtown is a huge 5 story Primark, so that already beats the 2 hour trek to get to the Primark on Staten Island. After spending 2 hours wandering around and hitting the changing rooms; I left the shop with a big bag and a big smile on my face (I was smiling to hide the pain of the pending transaction that was coming.)  I was parched and by parched I mean I was dying for a drink as I was on holidays so it was wine time. We wandered through downtown until we dropped into Scholars American Bistro and Cocktail Lounge and I indulged in a glass of prosecco because that’s what I do on holidays. I soaked up the atmosphere while enjoying my glass and guessing which bartender/waitress was on the J1 summer visa. The answer was at least one as I heard a Wexford accent behind the bar.  We downed our glasses and headed onto our next location as the night was young yet. We got the shuttle to Assembly Square and as soon as we passed Mike’s Pastry, my mouth watered and I had to get a treat. I couldn’t decide over all the cakes, pastries and cannolis so I finally ended up getting a Boston cream pie and it was delicious and so filling.

We headed down the sunlight path through Assembly Row to get to Muse Paintbar for an evening of sip and painting. The deal is $30 for a an hour painting class and they have all the materials provided so you follow the instructor on stage step by step. There is a fully stocked bar as well but thankfully they had to close the kitchen so to compensate; they gave everyone a free drink! My favourite surprise. I settled into my work station, mixing my paints and sipping my wine while the instructor began the class. It was a lovely way to get back into art without having to rearrange my whole bedroom to do it. They also had a party playlist going on in the background which was just the best addition to the activity as I jammed to classic Spice Girls and Britney Spears while painting. Another lovely surprise was that they ordered pizza for us as a second apology for the lack of Kitchen. I already loved the free drink but of course I was taking free pizza. I was in heaven; painting, prosecco and pizza, what more could a girl ask for! When we  had finished our paintings, we cleaned our brushes and everyone rushed to pose with their canvases on the stage and naturally so did we.

(We’re like two natural Bob Ross style painters).

Unfortunately we could not bring our paintings with us as we were going back into the city and then eventually back to New York so we parted ways but at least we’ll always have the memories. We left feeling tipsy and on a high note so we went back to the North end for dinner and drinks. I had fallen in love with the food scene in Boston and was hungry for more seafood so I ordered a hot lobster roll at the Bostonia Public House. It was perfection- the roll was soft and warm and the lobster was dripping in butter and the prosecco was cold and crisp. I nearly entered a second food coma. We sat there finishing our wine and people watching as it was a saturday night and the bar was packed with characters. It was entertaining to watch them all mingling until a crowd of loud and drunken Bros crashed upon our table and we knew it was time to leave and that the was a cute cat and a private bar waiting for us back in Medford.

Waking up on Sunday was bitter-sweet because I did not want to leave the comfort of our nice, comfy and clean Airbnb. I want to call work and tell them that I was never coming back; I live in Boston now but alas, reality beckoned and we had tickets for the Megabus that evening. We got dressed and packed, said goodbye to Snuggles with tears in our eyes and headed out for our final day in Boston.

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A holiday away for me wouldn’t be complete without Sunday Brunch. I used to brunch a lot but unfortunately because I work most weekends I never have time for Brunch or I’m too broke for brunch in New York.  We headed to The Beehive for a farewell brunch and it was just delicious. The best waffles I’ve had in ages;  I had to ask especially as they had taken them off the menu but the waitress nicely put in the order. We enjoyed our brunch outside in the sun while lots of dogs strolled past us. Boston is also a great dog city.

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(The picture doesn’t do it justice.)

After brunch, we strolled to the Boston Public Gardens and soaked up the sun as we watched the row boats and swans paddling in the water. It was a hot summer day and the gardens were full of people enjoying a lazy sunday out. We stop to take some pictures on the lake but unfortunately they’re Polaroid so excuse them for not being in the blog post. We lazily strolled through into Boston Common and walked all the way down common wealth avenue to get books in Barnes and Noble and snacks in Trader Joes for the journey back to New York because I want to be prepared this time for the Megabus.

We dragged ourselves to South Train Station and grabbed bottled water and a sandwich for the bus. It felt strange that only 48 hours previously we were in the same station and now we were about to leave again. As we boarded the bus back and settled in for the long journey ahead, I was sad to say goodbye to such a great city and grateful for a much-needed break away.

If you’re ever in Boston, you should seriously check out these attractions.

Much Love,

Ari

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Having an Artistental crisis

Have you ever wondered what you were doing with your art?

Have you ever wondered if you should change medium or craft?

Or have you ever wondered whether or not you should give up on art completely?

Don’t worry because I’ve been in the exact same boat for a little while but I think the black clouds are lifting.

For as long as I can remember; I’ve always had a fascination with art in general, mostly due to not understanding many of the other subjects in school but also because it was exciting and fun to explore different types from craft, design, theatre, dance, music and film. I’ve always called myself an ‘artist’ and see myself as a creative yet I’ve feel like I don’t create much art; am I a fraud or am I still finding my niche? I think the answer is yes to both but that could be the negativity setting in. Worst own critic syndrome. That and the anxiety of failing hits me pretty now and again

 

What if I’m not good enough? What if people hate it? What if it doesn’t work out? Etc. etc. etc. You can get pretty exhausted just even thinking about it

 

I also don’t know what I want to pursue anymore- it feels like theater and film are slowly going nowhere and I’m scared that I’m too far gone to start again in a new art venture and even if I did; what would I do and most importantly where would I start? I think that’s another thing; have I actually learned anything in terms of creating/producing work? I honestly don’t know so how to start again. I apologize for all rhetorical questions also. I just in a mess right trying to figure it all out and sure that’s what this year abroad is about I suppose. Maybe I will go home and want a brand new career or vocation or maybe I’ll want to try something new.

 

I suppose I need to ask myself: What type of artist do I want to be?

What type of art do I want to create and

Can I realistically make a living from it?

So many fun questions to answer and I am trying to give myself time to find it out but I’m scared I will miss opportunities and chances if I don’t make a decision now! Stuck in between a rock and a hard place yet that’s probably how most people go through in their twenties. Sometimes I enjoy getting lost and staying lost but most of the time I just wonder: am I on the right path or making any progress at all?

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Crisis…fading, stay tuned.

Ari

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‘Bedroom’

Below is a poem/ dramatic monologue I wrote after experiencing Enda Walsh’s Rooms installation. There are three rooms: ‘Hotel room 503’, ‘Kitchen’ and ‘Girl’s Bedroom’ and you enter each room and explore all the nooks and crannies as you listen to a character’s monologue about their experience in the room.

I was inspired to write my own monologue entitled Bedroom

 

‘I feel trapped, yet I can leave my apartment and my bedroom whenever I want. I can go outside, I can go to the park, walk along the river, take the train and yet I feel the gravital pull back to the darkness. The darkness being enclosed in that dusty, grimey dark apartment in Queens.

 I feel trapped there.

I feel trapped however I also felt trapped back home in Ireland. Trapped in a void, a mindless, endless routine and yet I feel trapped again as if I have switched one cage out for another. Both in which I have no power or rights. In one, I have no body autonomy and in the other, I am a female immigrant… the enemy in the other’s eyes. Why did I leave the cage in the first place? I should have stayed in my room in Dublin and just stayed there amongst the dread and predictability. It’s know as ‘comfort’ in some eyes, I saw it was an entrapment and somehow I long to go back there to the place I called home.

I never felt at home in this new room, this apartment, in this city. I am a stranger, a foreigner, an alien far removed from the politics and the culture here. I tried to plant my feet in the soil and grown again. To plant new seeds and root myself in a new life but all I found were dead leaves and behind them, dried earth and steel bars.

There is nothing natural or organic about this land anymore. My body aches and my feet are sore. This cage gets smaller everyday, the light gets brighter but it hurts my eyes so I retreat further into the darkness. Further back into the room that I’ve grown to both hate and find ‘comfort’ in. I find peace twisted into the solitude.

I’ve spent many hours and days in this room, looking out at the brick walls that surround me and steal my view from any trees, flowers, of any natural colours. The dull colours of grey, maroon and eggshell haunt my nightmares.

I need to escape, back to my first room, back to Dublin, back to ‘home’.

I feel the pull of the Motherland. I feel may be trudging dead earth in a foreign land but my thoughts and spirits are with her, dragging my ‘home’.

I feel trapped, yet I can leave my apartment and my bedroom whenever I want. I can go outside, I can go to the park, walk along the river, take the train and yet I feel the gravital pull back to the darkness. The darkness being enclosed in that dusty, grimey dark apartment in Queens.

I feel trapped there.

I feel trapped however I also felt trapped back home in Ireland. Trapped in a void, a mindless, endless routine and yet I feel trapped again as if I have switched one cage out for another. Both in which I have no power or rights. In one, I have no body autonomy and in the other, I am a female immigrant… the enemy in the other’s eyes. Why did I leave the cage in the first place? I should have stayed in my room in Dublin and just stayed there amongst the dread and predictability. It’s know as ‘comfort’ in some eyes, I saw it was an entrapment and somehow I long to go back there to the place I called home.

I never felt at home in this new room, this apartment, in this city. I am a stranger, a foreigner, an alien far removed from the politics and the culture here. I tried to plant my feet in the soil and grown again. To plant new seeds and root myself in a new life but all I found were dead leaves and behind them, dried earth and steel bars.

There is nothing natural or organic about this land anymore. My body aches and my feet are sore. This cage gets smaller everyday, the light gets brighter but it hurts my eyes so I retreat further into the darkness. Further back into the room that I’ve grown to both hate and find ‘comfort’ in. I find peace twisted into the solitude.

I’ve spent many hours and days in this room, looking out at the brick walls that surround me and steal my view from any trees, flowers, of any natural colours. The dull colours of grey, maroon and eggshell haunt my nightmares.

I need to escape, back to my first room, back to Dublin, back to ‘home’.

I feel the pull of the Motherland. I feel may be trudging dead earth in a foreign land but my thoughts and spirits are with her, pulling my ‘home’.’

‘I Am Not Your Alien’

I’ve been writing away this year  and scribble stuff down in my journal and recently I’ve been feeling more and more removed from my American experience. I’m not sure why maybe it’s due to Being homesick or lost in the millennial/ graduate crisis. Basically I feel like an alien.

I’ve been feeling like this hard this week so I decided to try my hand at poetry to express myself.

‘I am not your Alien,

I am not your Immigrant,

I am not your subordinate,

but I am different.

My voice, my accent, my speech, my clothes, my gestures and my body language might be different but they are not strange.

I am different from you, I may be foreign but I am not your alien.

You may look at me funny,

You may not understand what I say or my logic but we are more similar than you think.

Yes, I am awkward but I am no alien, I am just different.

I came to this place in search of a home. Others have come to make this place a home so why not me, why am I not accepted. I am ‘welcomed’ but never feeling welcomed.

Eyes stare at me from all corners.

A mix of confusion and judgement spread across their faces and I feel alienated but I am no alien.

The looks never stop.

The repetition, the re-pronunciation, the rephrasing of speech never stops.

The loneliness never stops.

I just want to feel like I belong, like I am apart of something, a community, a collective, just something bigger than myself.

I do not want to feel like an alien. That is not who I am but I feel like it’s now a part of my identity. This new identity. I am frustrated by this new identity. Expression is questioned with doubt.

Do I stay or do I go back to my home planet?

I miss being understood. I miss being greeted. I miss sharing experiences with family and friends, not strangers. Not others who treat me like an alien.

But it is me who is the other,

It is me who is the stranger to them.

I am not their equal yet we are made of the same components. The same parts just different paint.

But they don’t understand, the stares continue. I feel like I have alienated myself as well, not wanting to engage with foreign culture anymore in fear of further judgement. I am also tired of being a spectacle, a fool, a commodity for the others.

And I hope this feeling won’t last for long.

I am a human being.

I am not your alien.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Night At The 71st Annual Tony Awards

I still can’t believe it happened.

I’m still pinching myself that on Sunday the 11th of June, I was at the Tony Awards. It was the most surreal night, I felt like Cinderella but I probably looked like one of her ugly step sisters as it was 33 degrees and I’m pretty sure all my make up melted off by the time I reached the theater but I didn’t care because I was going to the Tony’s…as a seat filler, the highest honor next to being nominated.

While I am writing this, I’m also listening to the Spotify Playlist of the ‘Tony Awards 2017’ and I highly recommend it as it has some great songs from this year’s nominated musicals and If you very want to get into the spirit of musical theatre, I highly recommend listening to ‘As If We Never Said Goodbye’ from Sunset Boulevard as it’s just beautiful and Glenn Close’s voice is so soothing. I even passed by the Queen herself on Sunday night and she was looking radiant but I’m getting ahead of myself so I’ll start from the beginning: How I did I become a seat filler. Now that’s a good question and the answer is that I am part of the Intern Theater Network (TIN) here in New York and TIN is part of the American Theater Wing which they and Broadway League host the Tony Awards every year. As part of TIN, I go to bi monthly seminars  given by theatre professionals as well as free tickets to shows so naturally when I received an email from TIN to fill out a survey about my internship for a chance to be a seat filler at this year’s Tony Awards I jumped at the chance, not thinking anything would come from it and yet, lo and behold I was accepted and I WAS GOING TO THE TONY’S!!!!!!!!!!!!

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(This email was my version of Charlie Bucket’s Golden Ticket)

I received this email on the 2nd of June so thankfully I had more than a week to prepare and also stress about getting ready on a budget. New York is an expensive town and I had to get ready for the ball and not a fairy godmother in sight so thankfully it was H&M to rescue for the dress and bag and I spent a whole afternoon running around Manhattan looking for a pair of shoes. The heat has also not been kind this week  but none the less, all I had to do was getting ready and go.

I didn’t sleep much the night before due to the heat and nerves such as ‘what if I trip and fall and everyone looks at me’ so I toss and turn anxiously awaiting Awards day. I arise from my bed at 10:30am and jump out of bed, running around and trying to get things done. I have everything, now I need was my hair and make up done. Thankfully living in Jackson Heights means there are loads of cheap salons around me but unfortunately my hairdresser didn’t speak any english so that was an obstacle we both had to overcome but thankfully she made me look pretty except by the time I got back to my apartment, I had to put a can’s worth of hairspray in my hair to hold my curls and waves in place. Next was make up and this is where I struggle the most, I am no MUA but I tried my best as I contoured, baked and painted my face within 15 minutes as I was racing against the clock. While climbing into my dress and shoes, it was slowly becoming a reality that I was going to Theatre’s most prestigious night out. I looked in the mirror and I was ready go.

Look at my glowing face in after I re-applied all my make up in the ladies room.

Question: How many of you have ever gotten the Subway into Manhattan in an evening gown and heels? And how many of you ever done it in 33 degree heat? I know I keep going on about the heat but I want to emphasise just how bad it was. By the time I walked the 3 blocks from my apartment to the train I was all hot and bothered, trying to fan myself. Thank god for the subway’s air conditioning. It was like leaving the oven and entering into a fridge and thankfully I was able to get a seat and practice for the night ahead! I felt awkward being on my own, all dressed up and being surrounded my people in summer clothes but I knew I was not the only one who was feeling like this today. I’m sure other people were also using the subway to get to Radio City Music Hall.

As I got out at 42nd St/Times Square, the hot air hit me in the face and so did the rush of people heading for the train, trying to dodge that in new high heels is not an easy task but I managed and as I climbed the stairs and reached the street,  my excitement was rising with every step. Walking through Times Square and seeing all the tourists amongst the Broadway theatres was an odd but pleasant sight to witness.

I was so close I could feel and so could my shoes as my feet were being pinched and tightened with every step but I just hold myself to keep breathing and focusing on ‘Heel, Toe, Heel, Toe’. As I turned the corner and approached Radio City Music Hall, I was bowed over the red carpet already set up outside and of course the NYPD and barriers all over the place. I was here, now all I had to do was get inside which was surprisingly easy after they let me through the barrier. I entered the Golden doors (after throughout 3 security check points) and gazed at the beautiful theater inside before being led to my ‘seat’ to await instructions and be brief on the duties ahead of the evening. Everyone looked gorgeous in their dresses as I looked around the room to see if I could spot any familiar faces from TIN. The organisers were extremely friendly and welcoming as they described our job as ‘a big game of musical chairs’ and that’s basically what seat filling mostly is. I could hardly pay attention as I watched the stage get set up and ready for the show ahead.

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After we were briefed, we were allowed one final bathroom/water break before the guest arrived and we had to be in the seats. I spent most of that time taking selfies in the ladies room and drinking enough water so that I would not pass out with the heat. As I returned to our seats behind the camera and monitors, I got chatting to a lovely group of girls from California. They asked me where I was from and after I replied with ‘Ireland’- I was met with gasps and declarations of love for Dublin and Galway and this made me homesick for Dublin AND Berkeley. It’s nice to know that you can make friends easily with an Irish accent.

Our conversation was disrupted by the parade of guests coming in and taking their seats and I was in prime ‘celeb spotting’ mode before being brought up to seat fill in the front for the creative arts awards. These are technical awards being presented and practitioners such as teachers being awarded for their hard work with a Tony Award and grants from Citi Bank because “Theater inspires” which it does but so does funding. These awards were also being presented before the show went to live broadcast so plenty of guests and nominees were still arriving and getting settled. I saw John Legend and Chrissey Teigen being brought to their seats as well as David Hyde Pierce chatting with some other guests as well as Christine Ebersole sitting across from me. After these awards were presented, the camera crew and organisers were in a frenzy to get ready for the live broadcast as well as more people kept arriving and mingling in the aisles. I kept looking around me to eagerly and to be alert in case I had to move when in the row in front of me was an older gentleman and his wife sitting down. Now hold onto your hats because…. it was only former vice president Joe Biden and his wife Jill, yes that’s right JOE BIDEN. As I was moved out of my seat, the coordinators were scrambling trying to get people into their seats for the start of the show and it so nearly happened that I was gonna sit with the Bidens.  They stood up to let me in and just as I was about to step into the aisle…Another guest tapped me on the shoulder to inform me that was his seat. Damn! I awkwardly stand there confused trying to find another seat before Joe Biden looks behind him and sees me and another girl standing there- I swear this was our interaction:

Joe: ‘Hey girls, what’s going on? Do you not want to sit with us?’

Me: ‘Umm…umm…We would love to Joe but unfortunately we can’t…I love your work!’

And then I ran away. So that’s how I met the 44th Vice President of the United States. I was then relocated in a row further back for the opening number but I still had a great view of the stage and Kevin Spacey nailed the opening number with help from Stephen Colbert and Whoopi Goldberg. I was enjoying the start of the show but unfortunately between awards or straight after a Broadway’s performance, I had to act like a ninja and quickly move from seat to seat. whenever I was put and sometimes that meant running all full speed down the aisle in heels while trying to weave through guests and dodge the cameras. I prayed I wouldn’t trip and fall and thankfully I did neither; I did however accidentally step on a few people’s toes and grab a woman’s hair while I was trying to get into the middle of a row but sure look, it was bound to happen anyways.

I was happily enjoying the show for the first half until once more I was kicked out of a seat and there was no where for the coordinators to put me so I was ushered to the back of the auditorium to sit behind the monitor screens and wait. This felt like an eternity waiting to move again, unfortunately I had to weave my head through the screens and people standing to get a tunnel vision of the stage and it’s performances. I did not mind missing Come From Away’s performance or Miss Saigon’s but I was gutted when Ben Platt came onto the stage to perform ‘Waving Through A Window’  from Dear Evan Hansen. If you’ve been living under a rock; I suggest you put it on Spotify right now while you read this. I got to see him perform the song through a shiver of the black curtain and my head weaved through other people standing in my way because I WAS NOT MISSING THIS SONG! I was singing along with him and as he and the cast finished and took their bow; I shot up from my seat and gave a standing ovation with the rest of the audience and I wiped away a tear; mainly because I knew my chances of getting a ticket to the show was slim to none because *Spoiler Alert* He won the tony for best actor in a musical and the show also won from best musical but at least I got to see ‘Waving Through A Window’ even if it was from way in the back.

I was getting antsy and wanted to get back up to where the action was so myself and another seat filler Mark thought about running down the aisle to the coordinators to be sat next but thankfully we didn’t or our asses would have been out on the street. A few more minutes passed and I was luckily sent back to the middle where I was sitting right behind Tim Minchin, the creator of Matilda and Groundhog Day the musicals and It took a lot of willpower to not tap him on the shoulder and say how much I loved his work but unfortunately I wasn’t allowed speak to the guests unless they started a conversation with me hence Joe Biden talked to me first so that was fine and also who would pass up an opportunity to talk to Joe Biden. I am getting side tracked, I apologise.

Soon after I was moved further up to the front and I actually passed by Ben Platt and Sara Bareilles who had that hit song ‘Love Song’ in 2008, remember? Well now she’s on Broadway starring in Waitress and also wrote the music and lyrics for the show too so she was in the aisles talking to other musical people while also trying to do a sketch about flogging pies to sell Waitress to the masses. I loved it and definitely wanted to grab a dessert from her but sadly the production crew wheeled it away before I could blink. It was getting towards the end of the show as most of the musicals had performed and the top awards were being given out however Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 came on stage to perform their ‘Balaga’ number and because I was sitting on the aisle, I got a rattle shaker from the performers as they danced in the aisles and as soon the spectacular number was finished; I had to awkwardly run up back to the monitors with a basket containing rattles and dumped it down before being grabbed and told to run back towards the front as they need people to fill the middle. I was getting a great workout I have to say. I honestly was catching my breath by the time it came to the end of the show and thankfully I had an unreal middle view of the stage and got to witness Lin Manuel Miranda’s exchange with Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright Penn as their House of Cards characters, Frank and Claire Underwood in person and it was the greatest awards presenting of the night. And of course, me and the whole auditorium burst of into laughter when Bette Midler had the longest speech and went over the music to thank everyone involved in Hello Dolly! as well as erupting into applause and cheering when Dear Evan Hansen won for best musical. It was the best ending to the night.

After that and as Kevin Spacey and Patti LePone sang to close the show, everyone was mingling and taking pictures on the stage and I was free to go. I said ‘thank you’ to the organisers and the coordinators and I grabbed a playbill as a memento before trying to get a selfie with the stage.

 

There was much excitement as people were leaving the theater but I lingered on to be a fly on the wall and watch celebrity and the guest interact like the creep that I am, I also wanted to get an extra rattle from The Great Comet so I was hunting in the aisles for one when Christian Borle from Falsettos and NBC’s Smash and his entourage passed me in the aisle and I also took Gavin Creel’s photo with an eager fan as he smiled and cradled his tony award. I didn’t want to leave as I moved closer to the stage while people were still around and ignore the FOH staff to exit the building and I couldn’t believe my eyes when Glenn Close walked right passed me and looked like the Queen she is in a gorgeous grey gown. I ushered towards the exiting doors and was caught in a crowd surrounding Leslie Odom jr as he took pictures and autographs for fans before being escorted out by security.

The main lobby of Radio City Hall was a mess as everyone was scrambling to get out at the same time meanwhile I was trying to get downstairs to the ladies room and more importantly the water fountain; it was 11:30pm, still roasting and I was still dehydrated. I left the theater with another TIN member Caroline as we exited and took more photos outside the building, not wanting the magical night to end before we parted ways for our after parties. There were many buses and coaches waiting to take guests to the main Tony’s afterparty at the Rockefeller centre but unfortunately I did not have a golden ticket for that part of the night sadly. Instead I walked in the hot night air to the TIN after party at O’Lunney’s Irish bar in Times Square to join the other seat fillers and exchange stories of who they saw/sat beside. I was exhausted and my feet were sore and blistered- it was time to call it a night, I said goodbye to the new friends I made and limped with my swollen sore feet to get the subway home. As I waited for the train to arrive I was still in shock of everything that had happened over the past few hours and I as boarded the subway to take me home to Queens, my Cinderella fantasy was over and I turned back into a Pumpkin.

Apologies for the extremely long blog entry but it’s been my greatest adventure yet.

Until Next time,

Much Love,

Ari X

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Weekend Odyssey

 

I’m gonna start of this blog post with the disclaimer that the picture above was not what happened to me on a previous Saturday, this a random picture I took from Creative Commons, but this is what I wanted to happen to me. Alas the rain was pouring and the party was far away.

I live in Queens and the party was also in Queens yet a 30 minute journey turned into a 3 and half hours odyssey. Let me set the scene and while I’m doing that, you might as well settle in, pour yourself a glass of wine/ crack open a can and put on Scissors Sister’s Let’s Have A Kiki because it perfectly describe our odyssey.

‘Oooh, she’s been a bitch tonight.
And by bitch I mean this rain; no cab, nowhere.
So I had to put on the wig, and the heels
And the lashes, and take the train, to the club
And you know the MTA should stand for:
Mother-fuckers Touching My Ass
So then I get to the club
Looking like a drowned, harassed rat
And I’m greeted, not by Miss Rose at the door
But our friend, Johnny Five-O
Yes honey, the NYPD shut down the party
No ? for me, I don’t even know what’s the tea
So I hope you’re up girl
Because we are all coming over
Lock the doors, lower the blinds
Fire up the smoke machine and put on your heels
Cause I know exactly what we need’

 

So we wake up on Saturday morning and it’s cold and pouring rain outside. I instantly felt at home, all I needed was a cup of green tea and some furbabies at the end of bed but I was not at home, I was in New York and I had a Eurovision viewing party to get too. After getting up and getting ready, we grabbed our umbrellas, headed outside and instantly got drenched. I’m really emphasising the rain for pathetic fallacy. It barely rains in New York but of course on all days when I actually have somewhere social to be, the heavens open and my chances for getting to this party were closing fast.

After trudging to get a bagel and coffee, we headed back into the rain and waiting relentlessly for the bus. If you’ve ever waited for a bus in Queens, you’ll know it’s worse than Dublin Bus. 30 minutes later and I could feel the puddles in my shoes, my calves were not bone dry and everything was not coming up Milhouse. Me and Conor looked at each other and we sighed. We were already 20 minutes late for the party so we sucked it up and took out our phones and try to uber/lyft and both apps were not working. I felt like this was a sign from the universe that it didn’t want me to go and be social. The universe was also quick to under-estimate that I was on a mission. A mission to day drink. No rain was gonna stop me.

Now if you have common sense, you would have gone back to your apartment that is 3 blocks away, change your socks and dry off, wait for uber/lyft to work and start all over again. We did not have any common sense, instead we tried to get wi-fi in McDonald’s and then Duane Reade’s like the basic bitches we are and no luck. We then decided to try the subway even though many stations had shut down due to flooding. Making it down to the Roosevelt Avenue/74th Street Subway station against the wind and water in my face, I couldn’t stop hearing Let’s Have A Kiki in my head. After waiting 20 minutes on the platform for a train to arrive, we saw the light at the end of the tunnel. The light of the R train slowly pulling into the station, I never thought I’d be happy to see the R train so much in my life. We hopped on and sighed, finally our Saturday was back on track.

And then the MTA made on announcement over the speaker…’Attention Ladies and Gentlemen, due to train delays and obstructions, we will not making stops at these stations’. Foiled again, we got off the subway but I was still determined to get there. We dried off in the station while waiting for uber (lyft was taking too long) to redownload and work. 40 minutes later and our knight in dull white armour pulled up to the station. An Uber to the rescue but we were already uber late….pun intended.

We arrived at the party at 5:15pm, it started at 2pm. We were super uber late but thankfully so were other people so we threw down our jackets and umbrella and cracked open some beers. Thankfully, we hadn’t missed that much of the Eurovision as we settled in to dry off and watch the rest of the show.

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A blurry instagram photo of the atmosphere, It’s blurry because there’s was probably water in my photo. Oh, how I miss the camera on my Iphone.

Portugal won all too soon, much to the room’s despair but I was 3 beers in so I was happily merry. I would also like to disclaim that I am not a diehard Eurovision fan but I enjoy going to viewing parties like this and soaking up the super fans’ energy and passion. We all then began chatting after the show had ended, I also did not want to go back out into the rain but to stay inside and keep the party going. Alas, the party hosts were trying to clean up and we left for June bar around the corner for more drinks. This is a typical hipster bar with mismatch furniture and craft beers but they have great grilled cheeses and tunes are unreal. They had Donna Summer’s I Feel Love playing in the background. We stayed there for a few hours before following our friend Caroline into the city, I had relishing having a Saturday off and I was not about to have it end. We once again headed out into the storm. It was about 9:30pm and the rain had not stopped all day. Not once.

So we solider on as the drowned, harassed rats we were, as you can see from below.

We continued our journey into the night and into Alphabet City. We were to meet Caroline’s friends at a local bar in the area but before we did anything, we needed food as a bagel and handful of crisps vs. a few drinks is not going to end well, cue pizza. Solo Pizza to the rescue and their garlic knots were like little puffs of heaven. If you’re in a New York pizza place, invest in the garlic knots as garlic bread is not existent here and it was 3 for a dollar! Standard price but they’re were so good or maybe it was the alcohol and impending pneumonia talking. As we scoffed our pizza and freshen up, Caroline’s friends said to meet them at Zum Schneider, a kitschy, hipster version of a beer hall complete with traditional German ales and cider and even a mouse! No I’m not kidding, there was a small mouse just running around the whole bar all night long and my entertainment was watching it run circles around a woman’s feet as she sipped her beer without ever realising. Ignorance really is bliss.

Conor can vouch that the beer was amazing, whereas I drink ‘beers’ such as Twisted Teas which is basically alcoholic lemon ice tea so I opted for Hard Cider: Wölffer No.139, Long Island NY and it was deliciously dry and crisp but not delicious enough for it to be $10. Yeah $10, so I sipped and nursed it all night long, making it turn into 2 drinks instead of one.

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(But at least it was 6.9% and the bottle was pretty.)

The atmosphere of the bar was lovely as it was quiet enough to hear each other talk and have a conversation but lively enough with music as a couple were randomly dancing in the middle of the bar, even as we were packing up to leave and the barmen were putting up stools and closing up shop but hey, each to their own.

We parted ways and left the bar at 2am as after our odyssey, me and my purse were stretched thin and so was Conor, we had been on the go for basically 12 hours and it was time to call it a night, as the others headed off to another bar, we headed home to sleep via our second knight in dull white armour. Yes, you guessed it, another uber.

As we got into our front door, I was relieved to finally be home (even if it is in Queens) and peel off my damp clothes and sopping wet shoes to get into dry, warm pyjamas and get some rest as the rain provide a nice lullaby to sleep to instead of the usual traffic and loud side gate outside our window.

It may have been an odyssey but at least it turned into a fun adventure.

Ari

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My Ode to Dublin

 

I’ve been homesick recently.

It’s been bubbling and rising for a while now and as much as I love New York, I miss Dublin and all it’s attributes. I miss the winding and bustling streets that carry you from one side of the city to the other. I miss the culture and art seeping from every corner, every street and every open space. I miss friendly faces and the chance encounter of seeing an old companion in town.

I just miss it all.

I suppose I didn’t realise how much until surprise, surprise, I was drinking in a bar on Saturday night. I swung the bathroom door open and accidentally hit the bartender and after apologizing profusely, she looked at me and gawked ‘OMG, are you Irish?’.  Cue a drunken American girl’s monologue about how much she loves Ireland and she’s always wanted to travel there. How much she has always wanted to drink in the pubs and that her two friends are currently in Dublin and she is extremely jealous.

With that proclamation, she took me to the bar to get in a shot of Irish Whiskey and I was all on board, while at the bar, I met her friends and was introduced as ‘her new Irish friend’. I taught her how to toast ‘Sláinte’ and we downed our shots. She asked me for suggestions and I drunkenly scribbled them on receipt paper so here are my top 3 things I love to do in Dublin.

  1. Climbing and hiking Howth Head followed by strolling through Howth village and enjoying a pizza and pint in The Dog House Blue’s Tea Room.

2. Having a drink and shopping in the Sunday flea markets in The Generator Hostel as well as a film in The LightHouse Cinema in Smithfield.

3. Soaking in the sun in the Iveagh Gardens before strolling down the canal and towards The Bernard Shaw for a drink and a good night out whether it be in the smoking area or the Big Blue Bus.

She thanked me as I smiled and returned to my friends. I hope she enjoys Dublin as much as I miss it. I can;t wait to return but I also can’t to experience New York in the summertime.

What are your top 3 things to do in Dublin?

And as always,

Much love,

Ari

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Is the Grass always Greener?

 

First off, let me apologize by sounding like a Carrie Bradshaw thought from mid series Sex And The City but that is the question I am asking myself recently.

I’ve been in a weird mood this week, It’s been a rough week and as much as I trying to appreciate everything I have right now in NYC; I’ve been bitten by the homesickness bug and I can’t wait to be home, in my own bed with a cup of green tea (let’s be honest, a glass of  prosecco) and cuddling with my cats. While I’ve been indulging in these memories, I couldn’t help but wonder (I had to, couldn’t resist as I’m embodying Carrie now), wasn’t it just last year when I was at home that I couldn’t wait for NYC and everything that it would bring? Classic Carrie question and classic grass is always greener scenario.

I’m now even asking myself that question for when I return home; Will I be happier when I go home than I was in New York? Don’t get me wrong- New York is a phenomenal city and I love it here but carrying on from my previous blog entry; it can get a bit much. The concrete jungle can chew you up and spit you out quicker than taking a subway from one end of Manhattan to the other. I’ve been feeling like this pretty much every week and it’s got me thinking that hasn’t this been the case since I graduated college. Always ‘I will happier when I’m doing this’, ‘I’ll be happier when I’m there’, ‘I wish I was there instead of here, then everything would be perfect’, again it’s the grass is always greener on the other side. Sometimes I wish I could just go back to the safety net of college and be back in UCD circa 2014 but we can’t go back, only forwards and even if I was to go back to 2014, I would still in hunting for the greener grass.

Is this a self-defeating quality I have? Maybe, we all do it from time to time. It’s probably a millennial thing but I feel as I’ve delving into this question, other friends I know feel the same; ‘I wish I got into this course’, ‘I wish I moved here’ or ‘I wish I pursued this or that career/goal’. It’s negative thinking and yet we do it all the time. I’m sorry, I’m rambling I know, ‘I just have a lot of feelings’ *Insert Damian from Mean Girls screaming at me*. Just as I’m writing this blog post a friend Facebook messages me and reminds me “No looking back, only look forward” and that is easier said than done but he’s absolutely right. As much as I want to run back and hide in the glorious university days, unfortunately that time has gone and passed but what still lies ahead in the future is an adventure because anything could happen. There are so many wonderful opportunities and experiences that are waiting for us and they could miss us if we don’t pay attention.

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.’- John Lennon

I know I’m putting a lot of quotes and pop culture references in here but they’re helping me sort out this mental thought jumble I’ve been having for the last week down in writing.

Something else crazy that happened to me was today I looked at Facebook Memories as I do every day and I thought nothing of it until I saw a posted from 6 years ago today that I got accepted to study Drama at Trinity College Dublin and I’ve been back and forth thinking about this since. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if I had gone there for my undergraduate degree? Would the grass have been greener? Would all my hopes and dreams could true? I don’t know. It’s most likely not that much would have changed from where I am today but again, I taunted myself with that question.

There is one way however to get around this negative thinking though is to look at all you’ve achieved so far and just to keep going. Learn to work hard, breathe and keep going but you are getting there and you are enough.

And on that note, I will you with a quote below that pretty much sums up this blog post.

It’s funny how you plan your life and it never goes as you’ve envisioned it. No, instead, it goes as you never imagined it would go. For example,  you want to go left, but you end up going right. You want to be different, but you end up being the same. You want happiness but all you get is pain. 

Nothing ever goes as planned, and I think that’s how it is for everyone. Everyone is mostly content with who they become and never question why they never became more.’-R. M Drake

Much love,

Ari

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New York I love you but you’re confusing me

 

New York is a great and wonderous place, don’t get me wrong about that but sometimes it can just drain your soul and spirit until there’s nothing left. You can play LCD Soundsystem’s New York I love you, but you’re bringing me down while reading this if you want. The song kinda inspired this blog post. I know I shouldn’t be complaining as I live in NYC but it really does get too much sometimes.

So here’s my 10 top things I hate about New York.

  1. It’s Expensive AF 

Nothing’s face value or free in this city. There’s always a catch whether it’s tax on clothes or a tip on the meal; New York can deplete your funds pretty quickly and it’ll never apologise for doing so- you should know better. Some Delis will charge $9 for a poorly made small sandwich that’s been sitting out in the display case all day…

2. The Subway

The Subway will take you wherever you need to go whether it’s A to B or C to Z however it is always packed to the brim with commuters or it never really works so you’re always playing a guessing game with some train lines. ‘Will the 7 show up in 5 minutes or 30 minutes today?’ I ask myself every morning as I climb the subway stairs and hence ended up being 5-10 minutes late for work nearly every second day but at least I have an excuse. It’s also so disgusting can’t wait for the summer.

3. It’s Always Noisey 

This city literally never sleeps. There always sirens, car honking, people screaming, subway noise and even people going through the trash and slamming the side gate beside my bedroom window will drive anyone cracked. I honestly can’t wait to return to the silence suburbs.

4. People Everywhere

Goodbye personal space and hello stranger’s crotch in my face as I try to read my book on the subway. There is never any space to have to yourself and the ironic thing is that I feel completely alone even in the biggest crowds.

5. Sense of broken communication

I feel as if New Yorkers don’t understand my accent, speech, general being and this can be extremely frustrating at times. No one can understand each other at the best of times but it can be especially hard if you have a weird accent.

6. Cut off from Nature

Central park is a joy to work beside but I miss having a garden and being surrounded by greenery and trees everywhere. I am getting tired of being stuck in a concrete jungle.

7. City Rush

The pace of this city and it’s people can weigh you down so much. It’s constantly all GO GO GO and never gives me one moment to breathe as there is no time ever to just be still and present here.

8. Personal space invasion

Hello again to the random person’s crotch in my face on the subway

9. FOMO 

I get it bad but it’s challenging to do things when you’re forever broke and constantly working. I know I was never gonna lead the Gossip Girl lifestyle but just once it would be nice to be able to go to a party or a show and not have a care in the world but alas, I gotta keep working hard to make my dreams a reality.

10. Time goes by so fast 

New York works on its own schedule and no one else’s. It a never-ending parade of things and days going by faster and faster and I’m scared my time will be up before I even get a true grip on it all.

But for all this I have 10 top things I love about New York:

  1. The sense of excitement

It gets me everyday once I step outside my door. I get this rush for endorphins every time I am in the city and just wandering around looking at new and interesting things.

2. The expansive theatre and art scene

It’s pretty cool yet hard to keep up with sometimes because I am saturated with so many options but if you research your stuff then you can find discounts or deals for most things.

3. Being Irish in NYC 

This is a real plus to have in the city because (this gonna sounds narcissistic) everyone loves to hear an Irish accent and become completely engrossed and friendly with everything you have to say.

4. Interesting people

Some of the most eccentric people live in New York and I love chatting to them and hearing crazy stories about their lives.

5. The Cat Cafes

It wouldn’t be a post by me if I didn’t mention cats somewhere but yeah, the cat cafes are amazing because they’re all affordable and fun with cute rescue kitties up for fostering and adoption and as I have said before please ADOPT, DON’T SHOP. Manhattan might have the monopoly but the best one is the Brooklyn Cat Cafe on Atlantic Avenue.

6. The Dogs

New York is full of great doggos and cute puppers at walking around with their cute little coats and stylish groomed fur; it’s hard not to walk past one and your heart turns to mush. I have a few times been a creep and just watch them in dog parks because I need something cute to be in my day. Please don’t call the NYPD on me.

7. The Weather

It hardly rains here and that’s alright with me however it can also be very bipolar just like Dublin.

8. The sense of home whenever I hear a fellow Irish accent

Thankfully there are many Ex pats and Irish watering hole dotted around the five boroughs so that I can feel that I never on another planet, some of them I know and some it’s nice to meet for the first time.

9. Anything can happen

Exhibit A: I met Kim Cattrall the other night while I was working, just out of no where she pops up and I usher her to seat; I didn’t expect that to happen.

10. It’s a strange and turbulent time to be an immigrant in the U.S 

I am getting the best political and civics education I could ever possibly ask for and it’s odd experiencing the Trump administration first hand but at least it’s given my life experience and plently of historic moments I can say I was apart of.

And as always, thanks for reading.

Much love,

Ari

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Thinking (creatively) outside the (money) box…

In this post, I will stray from my anecdotes and recommendations for more of an opinion piece. This topic has been on my mind for the last few weeks while I have been trying to write and edit a play. I have thought about this before but only now that I am closer to actually making my art a reality and not just a hobby when I can find the time, it dawns on me: where will I get money to fund this?

5858030702_91d59088f1_o (1)This literally my bank account right now. A sad state of affairs all together.

It’s a question all artists, no matter what medium ask themselves. Sure, there’s grants and arts council funds, online funding campaigns and even ‘begging’ the family and friends and again, when you’re starting out; where do you go from there? As a writer, I am always to have the idea of a budget in my head so I can realistically make and produce it, whether it be for the stage or screen. Now I am not going to attempt to make the next Star Wars or Avatar but yet I am still terrified of writing something as simple as a set change because again, where I am going to get the money to even buy the set pieces. It can get a bit daunting to think about making art this way but I’ve recently had another brain wave about this conundrum: challenge myself to make more out of less.

Some questions that arose from this were:

  • Do I limit myself creatively if I only think about budget?
  • Will my work not be as good due to budget?
  • What challenges will my art face because of this?
  • Am I not letting my imagination go full force because of budget?

OR

By changing the perspective; how can I make theatre out of nothing?

This is what I am trying to positively channel when I write and yet easier said than done. Also should there be another way of funding I should be investigating? Now I am still at the early stages in my writing but advice is always welcome from whose have been there before so please leave me a comment. I often find myself wondering how do other people do it? I know we are creatures of habit and curious creatures at that yet I feel like I know the answer already ‘They just worked really hard!’ but what did they do during that work is what I want to know.  I find myself running around in circles trying to answer these questions and yet perhaps I will only find out by experimenting and trying to get my work out there- again if anyone know anywhere a new playwright should be applying/talking to, let a starving artist know.

Much Love,

Ari

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