NYMF Reviews: As We Lie Still; Der Gelbe Stern (The Yellow Star)

July 23rd, 2014 Joseph Pedro

The New York Musical Theatre Festival is in full swing. We caught two shows this week that capture varying degrees of success in the development of new work.

ShowArtworkAs We Lie Still is a musical fantasy that follows magician Avi Leiter (Travis Stuebing as Young Avi and Michael A. Robinson as Old Avi) and his rise to fame during the turn of the century. His one epic trick—the ability to bring his assistant Josephine (Olivia de Guzman Emile) is hampered when she is mesmerized by Azriel, gatekeeper to the afterlife (George Michael Ferrie, Jr.). The show flashes forward to show Hope (Erika Larsen), the daughter that Josephine gave up for adoption at the bedside of her coma-ridden husband, Michael (Clinton Greenspan). Will Old Avi be able to cast his spell one last time?

The production, staged by Broadway veteran Micahel Serrecchia (who appeared in the original A Chorus Line and has worked in the theater for 45 years) has great moment of theatricality, mostly because of the music and lyrics by Patrick Emile. “I set out to write a musical theater piece that explored the human experience in the style of magical realism,” Emile told the Broadway Blog.  “I have a great interest in stage magic and the vaudeville era, as well folklore, the supernatural, etc.  I had stumbled upon the term psychopomp (the culturally and historically ubiquitous being that transitions the dying into the next phase of existence), and the story began to click together like a puzzle. Once plotted, Olivia took it into the book writing stage.”

Keep reading all about it over at The Broadway Blog…

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Watch and Listen: Oxford Boys Show that their ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ for Charity

July 23rd, 2014 Joseph Pedro
Image via YouTube

Image via YouTube

Oxford Univerity’s all-male a capella group, Out of the Blue, show us that their hips really don’t lie as they sing and dance to Shakira hits—all for charity. Mixing “Hips Don’t Lie,” “Whenever Wherever,” and “Waka Waka,” the boys are hoping to raise money for an organization that helps terminally ill children, Helen and Douglas House. Now if this doesn’t inspire you to donate, we don’t know what will.

Check it out after the jump…

Read more…

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Passport Concierge: Yan Martinez, Qualia, Hamilton Island, Australia

July 23rd, 2014 Joseph Pedro
Image via Qualia

Image via Qualia

For the life of a concierge, particularly one with expertise in culinary offerings, there may not be a more idyllic locale than Australia’s Hamilton Island amid the Great Barrier Reef. Yan Martinez, executive concierge at qualia (qualia in Latin means a collection of deeper sensory experiences) would know. Born in Bordeaux, France, he has traveled extensively throughout Europe, the US and Asia. After working for a number of years for Air France/KLM, Martinez took on the challenge of opening his own business, a café in the Darlinghurst neighborhood of Sydney. He sold the successful operation in exchange for island life and now finds himself residing in one of the world’s most coveted destinations.

“Hamilton Island has gone through a dramatic change since the owners, the Oatley family, purchased the island just over ten years ago,” says Martinez. “It has become a reference among the Whitsunday Islands for its friendly and professional service, which you can experience from the time you land at our airport, as well as for its close proximity to the world-renowned Great Barrier Reef, which makes it the ideal place to holiday in Australia.”

The island offers a choice of accommodation options ranging from the family-friendly Reef View Hotel (12 Resort Dr. Tel: +61-7-4946-9999), to the five-star qualia resort (20 Whitsunday Blvd. Tel: 866-202-2590 toll-free). Martinez says that Hamilton Island and qualia are fast becoming a food lover’s paradise as the island continues to expand its gourmet food and wine offerings. In addition to the 16 diverse dining options on Island, the destination is renowned for its bespoke and unique epicure experiences.

Keep reading our Insider’s Guide to Hamilton Island over at Passport magazine online…

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The CW’s ‘The Flash’ Runs Straight into the 21st Century by Adding Gay Characters

July 23rd, 2014 Joseph Pedro
Image via CW

Image via CW

We still have another month before the CW’s much-anticipated The Flash premieres on October 7, but details are quickly emerging about the cast and the storyline—including the addition of a gay character. Show creator Greg Berlanti is keeping the details mum about who the character will be, but speculation in the gay geek community is pointing to Hartley Rathaway (Pied Piper) who became DC’s first openly gay character. The reformed villain hasn’t been confirmed yet by show creator. That’ not the only gay tidbit from the show. Openly gay scientist David Singh, who will be played by Patrick Sabongui, who works at Central City crime lab will be in the show. We smell a GLAAD Media Award racing by. [NNN]

 

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Culinary Travel: Food Souvenirs

July 22nd, 2014 Joseph Pedro
Image via Passport

Image via Passport

by Rich Rubin

love food. This is a well-known fact. So it will come as no great surprise to hear that when I travel, the majority of the souvenirs I buy are of the culinary variety. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of going into the kitchen to prepare a meal and finding my shelves jam-packed with spices, condiments, and other goodies I’ve bought while traveling. Nothing brings back the feeling of the trip quite like the taste of the place.

What I look for are the little things, the things that will fit easily in a suitcase (or better yet, a carry-on bag) and will immediately make me think of the place where I bought them. In fact, one of my favorite things to do while traveling is to stop in the local grocery store (this is more exotic when overseas), where I’ll often find the exact same products that are being sold in the souvenir shops at half the price. Besides, it’s a great way to discover all kinds of things about the local culture. I also love outdoor and covered markets, where I’ll often find an interesting spice or tea among the produce, meats, and cheeses. Sometimes, though, I’ll find my favorite culinary souvenir when I least expect it, or when I’m not even looking for it.

Keep reading over at Passport magazine online…

 

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Watch: You’ll Never Believe How this French Supermarket Reduced its Fruit and Vegetable Waste

July 22nd, 2014 Joseph Pedro
Screen Shot via YouTube.

Screen Shot via YouTube.

We’ve all passed up that “grotesque apple” or one of those funky-looking oranges, but one supermarket chain out of France is hoping to debunk our misconceptions about these less-than-perfect fruits and vegetables that often contribute to the millions of spoiled food thrown away each year. Intermarché, the third biggest grocer in the country, created a campaign called “les fruits et légumes moches,” (inglorious fruits and vegetables), in which they marked down the price of these special fruits by 30 percent and had shoppers clearing the shelves of these over-looked pieces of produce.

Check out a video after the jump to see just how they managed to get people to purchase these guys.

Read more…

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Enter to Win a Taste of Zurich: Five-Night Business-Class Trip to Zurich

July 22nd, 2014 Joseph Pedro

Swiss Zurich Contest Entry Page Cover Photo

Did our latest Culinary Issue get your mouth watering for a taste of Switzerland?  Well, now’s your chance to enter our contest to win:

1) Two business-class ticket on Swiss International Air Lines to the city of Zürich.

2) Three gourmet meals by three acclaimed Swiss chefs

3) Five nights at Marriott Zürich

And it’s as easy as filling out THIS form. 

Want to enter more than once? Refer your friends to enter, and we’ll increase your odds.

 

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Susan Sarandon Lends Her Voice to HRC’s Americans for Marriage Equality

July 22nd, 2014 Joseph Pedro
Screen Shot via YouTube.

Screen Shot via YouTube.

Today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, released a video ad featuring actress Susan Sarandon for HRC’s Americans for Marriage Equality campaign.  In the video, the Oscar winner states, “While marriage might not be my thing, if it’s your thing, you damn well ought to be able to have it equally and unequivocally.”  “Like most Americans, Susan Sarandon knows that all families deserve to be treated with respect, dignity, and equality under the law,” said HRC’s Charles Joughin. “We are incredibly grateful to Susan for speaking out in favor of marriage equality, and for lending her powerful voice to HRC’s fight for fairness nationwide.”

Read more…

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Department of Justice Demands Reform to HIV Criminalization to Align with Scientific Facts

July 22nd, 2014 Joseph Pedro
Image via Passport.

Image via Passport.

The Justice Department announced that it has released a Best Practices Guide to Reform HIV-Specific Criminal Laws to Align with Scientifically-Supported Factors . This guide provides technical assistance regarding state laws that criminalize engaging in certain behaviors without disclosing known HIV-positive status.  The guide will assist states to ensure that their policies reflect contemporary understanding of HIV transmission routes and associated benefits of treatment and do not place unnecessary burdens on individuals living with HIV/AIDS. This guide is a follow-up to the department’s March 15, 2014, article published with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Prevalence and Public Health Implications of State Laws that Criminalize Potential HIV Exposure in the United States, which examined HIV-specific criminal laws.  Generally, these laws do not account for scientifically supported level of risk by type of activities engaged in or risk reduction measures undertaken.  As a result, many of these state laws criminalize behaviors that the CDC regards as posing either no risk or negligible risk for HIV transmission even in the absence of risk reduction measures. “While initially well intentioned, these laws often run counter to current scientific evidence about routes of HIV transmission, and may run counter to our best public health practices for prevention and treatment of HIV,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division.  “The department is committed to using all of the tools available to address the stigma that acts as a barrier to effectively addressing this epidemic.”

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The US Army to Begin Gender Treatment for Chlelsea Manning

July 21st, 2014 Joseph Pedro
Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning

The Pentagon has agreed to begin providing Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning) with rudimentary gender treatment. The 26-year-old private, who was found guilty of declassifying military documents, announced that she identified as female after she was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

“Chelsea has been asking for medical treatment from the military for the past ten months. So far, the military has outright ignored her requests. The military absolutely needs to revisit its ‘policy’ on transgender medical care and adapt it to 21st century medical standards. It cannot continue to bury its head in the sand any longer,” Manning’s attorney David Coombs wrote.

During Manning’s trial, she was diagnosed with gender dysphoria and gender identity disorder, hopefully with hormone therapy, Manning will be able to live as herself.

 

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