Review: French District Meet-and-Greet @ Bagatelle, 5/18

Bottom Line: Deep in the Meatpacking District, it was a welcome weeknight stop-over to grab a glass of wine and chat with some new faces.

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Don’t you dare say “Last call”!

Review:  Online Journal French District, like so many social groups in NYC such as French Morning, French Tuesdays and Eurocircle, constantly organizes meet-ups, where people can gather in some swanky locations.

Fancy an oyster?

Fancy an oyster? Oysters XO

The soirée at Bagatelle was no exception. Each guest who RSVPed got a free glass of rosé and savored the complimentary hor d’œuvres.

French District                                             Bring on the dancing girls!

For Francophiles and expats, this event was perfect. Whether American, French or from anywhere else, every one enjoyed the live entertainment or got a complimentary oyster from Oysters XO before attacking another glass of wine.

Where is zee bar?

Where is zee bar? Mingle and drinks

My only gripe was that it got a bit too crowded and noisy with another overlapping event of some Spanish-speakers and diners who were seated at the table.

A bit of France in New York

A bit of France in New York?

And instead of giving a complimentary ticket for one drink, I would have opted for a happy hour price because one glass of wine is never enough.

Vive la France!

Vive la France!

Check out French District for upcoming events.

 

 

 

Review: Empowering the Extraordinary Dakinis Reception @ Tibet House Fri 5/20

Bottom Line: Vibrant colors, flamboyant imagery and seriously off-the-wall girliness, Rima Fujita’s artistic, eclectic style also packs a serious punch of female power. Empowering the Extraordinary Dakinis was full of surprises.

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Review: The Tibet House like the German Consulate, Scandinavia House, and the Japan Society elsewhere in Manhattan has created its own art hub niche in Chelsea.

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All eyes on Fujita-san

Along with the Rubin Museum and Asia Society, the Tibet House frequently showcase quality art from some very intriguing photographers and painters. A small, easy-to-miss entrance coyly disguises the gallery upstairs, which occupies the entire floor.

Dolls with traditonal Tibetan costumes greet the visitors

Dolls with traditonal Tibetan costumes greet the visitors

The turnout was fantastic as the crowd gathered around the main gallery to see the girl, beautifully poised with two hands raised in either side of her face, she stood there in silence as if to say, “This is me”.

This is me - Rima Fujita posing in front of her painting

Rima Fujita strikes a pose in front of her painting.

Traditional Tibetan music

Traditional Tibetan music

Her impressive, pink silk gown only highlighted her flamboyant paintings that adored the wall, from very small studies to incredibly large fresque-like canvases that touched the ceilings.

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Like a dancing Shiva

Rima Fujita’s art might seem slightly cartoon-like, but its genius is that all of works tell a very personal story and contain so many influences:

What dreams are - this one brought me back to one of the Indian paintings of my childhood

What dreams are – this one brought me back to one of the Indian paintings of my childhood

Hindu folk art and Tibet paintings with a slight manga twang, perhaps a nod to her Japanese heritage.

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Portrait by Rima Fujita

Looking at her works, I could quickly pick out elements from the paintings of Krishna that once hung on my family walls. Very clever.

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All smiles and art

There was so much to see, and with each new work I saw, my mind burned with questions: What story does this tell? What part of her own life is she conveying? Or if it was all just a dream.

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Love is in the air

Ms. Fujita’s unique style is also matched by her generosity, donating the proceeds of her informative, childrens book to Tibetan refugee kids in India.

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It is an emotional story of an artist who is giving a modern spirit back to a people who have tragically lost so much.

The exhibits runs until Aug. 4.

Review: French Cheese Board Grand Reception Party, Soho, 5/19/16

The Bottom Line: The French Cheese Board is back with an even quirkier concept with its cheese sculptures, library of books and cheesy décor. The reception. although very enjoyable, was packed to the brim turning it into a traffic jam as people queued for free wine and savored hors d’œuvres.

Toy cows and delicious cheese

Toy cows and delicious cheese

Review: It was never going to be empty. The much publicized re-opening of the French Cheese Board at its new home in Soho sent a thousand tongues wagging. When we arrived just before 6:30pm, the place was already full.

Feeling bleu.

Feeling bleu.

Our first stop was to visit the map of France and pose holding the name of our favorite cheese.

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The French Cheese Embassy opens its doors

I couldn’t resist a picture with the Brillat Savirin plaque , not only because its delicious taste, but for the 19th century writer, a hero of mine, who inspired its name. I was suprised to see many gals choose smelly Epoisse as their favorite photo-op prop, but who can argue with a girl who likes stinky cheese.

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Ladies what’s on your cheese-dar? Posing in front of the cheese

The hors d’œuvres served on trays were absolutely delicious, but the crowd of hungry foodies meant you only had seconds before everything was snapped away.

Not for eating? Cheese sculptures adorned the back on the shop

Not for eating? Cheese sculptures adorned the back on the shop

Oddly, it seemed like most of the cheese samples disappeared, but happily, the servers brought more canapés and delightful nibbles that continued to satiate our appetites.

The usual suspects were in attendance

The usual suspects were in attendance

The selection of wine, particularly the champagne, worked well with the beautifully prepared cocktail bites. Our favorites included:

Seared tuna and cucumber

Seared tuna and cucumber

It is curious why the French Cheese Board had even left its south of Bryant Park location and settled deep in Soho.

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But is it art? Cheese gallery!

Not everything will change. The new concept store will still continue to host its  pop-up shop, give classes, art receptions and mingles, although its primary purpose as French cheese ambassador, or Le Grand Fromage, will remain unchanged.

Platters of goodies

Platters of goodies

What’s new however, is the addition of tableware and cutleries from the likes of Caroline Gomez and Christian Ghion.  The shop also now sells Hedene honey,  jams and other chutneys from l’Epicurean that the public can buy.

Now that's a knife!

Now that’s what I call a knife!

The décor of cheese maps and informative diagrams created by Ich&Kar is also a departure from the previous makeshift, minimaliste style of the Board’s former home.

This should be in everyone's textbook.

This should be in everyone’s textbook.

The new look is both homely and stylish. Imagine you’ve just walked into a posh study.

What's your cow sign?

What’s your cow sign?

As was explained to me, the concept store will serve as a conduit to help draw the public into its cheese culture, offering interactive cheese and pairing lessons. It is almost like a cheese lifestyle center, where people are invited to partake, a concept similar to the Barnyard Collective in Queens.

Don't miss the upcoming pop-up shop.

Don’t miss the upcoming pop-up shop.

The tremendous turn out also meant longer lines to get some wine and cramped spacing.  In the end, it was hard to find a corner and mingle.

If Jenga were like this, I’d play.

Nevertheless, people stayed and chatted over a glass of wine while marveling at the cheese sculptures in the back of the shop.

For more information on upcoming events. Check out the French Cheese Board .

 

Review: Asian Pacific Heritage Month Celebration 5/6/2016

  • The Bottom Line: A great way to spend a Friday evening with  complimentary tours of the Kamakura exhibit, sampling of free cakes, Korean-inspired food cart and cash bar.

 

Let them eat cake

Let them eat cake! Lady M dishes out slices of its signature mille-crêpe gâteau.

With so many things going on at the same time, sadly it didn’t all really come together. And you were left wondering what the event was about.

Despite the rain, turnout was good.

Despite the rain, turnout was good.

Review: It looked an absolute triumph of an event when we arrived. DJ, cash bar and Japanese bakery Lady M dishing out generous portions of its signature mille crêpes cake,

You lookin' at my crêpes?

You lookin’ at my crêpes? Lady M dishes out the cake.

Korean-inspired Korilla BBQ food truck and free tours of the Kamakura exhibit. The turnout was also incredible as people pourred in despite the rain.

I'd rather have gone for halal or momo, to be honest.

Korilla BBQ outside. I’d rather have gone for halal or momo to be honest.

The Kamakura Sculpture Exhibit was the highlight for me. Asia Society offered free tours of this amazing showcase of beautifully made statues from the Kamakura period.  Sadly the exhibit has already ended.

Feeling spiritual - one of the exquisite statues of the Kamakura exhibit

Feeling spiritual – one of the exquisite statues of the Kamakura exhibit

Although this period of Japanese art lasted  about 200 years, it was heavily influential on Japanese culture.

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Taking elements from Buddhist art from China and traditional Japanese technique, this realistic statues showed incredible craftmanship.

One of several free tours of the Kamakura exhibit that evening.

One of several free tours of the Kamakura exhibit that evening.

Interestingly the statue poses were less stylized then those found in India and other parts of South Asia.

I definitely need one of these.

I definitely need one of these.

In the end, however, things got a bit muddled. DJ Sakaki played in his house mixes on a Mac in a corner while no one danced.

Iconic classic designs on skateboards.

Iconic classic designs on skateboards.

Rafael Colon was showcasing his hokusai inspired skateboard designs at the Asia Society bookshop;

Don't do any rail slides with this deck, pal! Rafael Colon makes his mark.

Don’t do any rail slides with this deck, pal! Rafael Colon makes his mark.

Lady M dished out the mille-crêpe cakes and the Korilla BBQ truck was selling their kimchi-spiced tidbits outside.

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Cash bar and mingle

Unfortunately, it felt like a slight hodge podge of too many little things going. Keep it simple next time.

Review: One Step Beyond w/ ARTHUR BAKER, JOEY CARVELLO, and DJ MISBEHAVIOUR @ The Natural History Museum. 5/6/16

The Bottom Line: One Step Beyond wows us again with awesome classic tracks and 3 amazing DJs hitting up the turntables!

©AMNH/R. Mickens

©AMNH/R. Mickens

Review:

One Step Beyond at the Hayden Planetarium is an awesome party everyone must experience if they are into the Cosmos and great music.

I'm kinda feeling like a third wheel here. ©AMNH/R. Mickens

I’m kinda feeling like a third wheel here. ©AMNH/R. Mickens

In addition there’s a great video on The Big Bang guests can watch upstairs, and afterward they can walk down and see the time-line of the Universe from the Big Bang to the modern era.

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Raise your hands! ©AMNH/R. Mickens

With 3 DJs on the turn tables, the night was full of awesome hits. DJ Misbehaviour, Joey Carvello, and Arthur Baker really bought the house down and the night felt like an old school New York City club experience.

©AMNH/R. Mickens

©AMNH/R. Mickens

At one point a huge break dancing circle developed and everyone was busting out out their best moves.

©AMNH/R. Mickens

100% vinyl! ©AMNH/R. Mickens

The fact that only records were used was great and made the night unique, setting it apart from other parties that rely heavily on laptops and software.

You lookin' at my hat? ©AMNH/R. Mickens

You lookin’ at my hat? ©AMNH/R. Mickens

This One Step Beyond party was a little less crowded than the past ones, but that made the experience more enjoyable in some ways. The lines for drinks were shorter, and there was more room to dance and have a great time.

Check out the Next Party on June 10th with DJ sets by DâM-FunK, Waajeed, and Shawn Dub.

Review: Another North Landscape Reimagined Opening Reception @ Scandinavia House Fri 5/6/2016

Event: Another North Landcape Reimagined Opening Reception at the Scandinavia House, featuring photography and artwork inspired by the Artic north.

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The Bottom Line:  The exhibit itself was fantastic, with a lot of breathtaking images, beautifully presented and well worth the journey. The reception, however, was a bit of a let down.

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Pentti Sammallahti from Finland was one of my favorites.

Review: I often think that although I can look at art, I can’t always see it. The more modern it is, the more distant I feel when confronted with it.

Another North Landscape really moved me with impressive images of bleak landscapes or frozen coasts. Some photos were digitally altered, while others were simply black and white.

Many of them seemed eerily empty. Perhaps I found my inner hermit, but I couldn’t help but gaze at the photos.

Susanna Majuri "Gravity"

Susanna Majuri “Gravity”

Ole Brodersen’s empty but pittoresque landscapes really drew me in.

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Something about them reminded me of the Tibetan landscape from the Looking Back photo exhibit at the Tibet House.

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This was a clever bit from Eija-Liisa Ahtila who presented a large pine tree, layered with moving images.

Among my favorites, included simple black and white picture of a cat crossing an empty street. Many of the works by this photographer featured a singular animal wandering about an open space.

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Susanna Majuri, “Dress”, which is the feature photo of this post, has a very haunting element of a drowning beauty in a red dress.

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Mingling and art. Turn out was good, yet still not too crowded.

Although the space was rather small, the œuvres were not cluttered nor did I feel cramped. In spite of people roaming between the rooms, it still felt open.

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The meet-and-greet portion on the second of the event was a let down. It looked bleak and empty in a bad way, almost dirty.  It was odd because the ground floor couldn’t have been more different. It had really nice with a posh looking restaurant, but the reception on the second floor was the polar opposite. It wasn’t cheerful. It looked like the aftermath of a wedding full of regret, at some empty banquet hall. If you want to entice people to stay, maybe spruce it up a bit. Pass around some hors d’œuvres and maybe a little live music.

In the end, we decided to skip that bit,  and instead, headed uptown to another art event at Asia Society.

Another North at Scandinavia House runs through Sat 8/6/2016
For more information visit: Scandinavia House Events