Peter & the Wolf at the Guggenheim is highbrow children’s theater at its best. Photo: Works & Process at the Guggenheim
Part of living in NYC means navigating the holidays precariously toeing the line between time honored traditions and tourist traps. You won’t find many true New Yorkers braving the cold and the crowds at the tree lighting at Rockefeller Center. March up Fifth Avenue on a weekend looking for New Yorkers, and you will never find one. (They know to wait for the out-of-towners to go to sleep before they make the pilgrimage.) Any New Yorkers lining up for The Christmas Spectacular? Nope. Tea with Eloise at the Plaza? No way. Where are they all? Over the weekend, my 7-year-old son and I found them…they’re watching Peter & the Wolf at the Guggenheim.
Isaac Mizrahi is a national treasure. Photo: Works & Process at the Guggenheim
For the past 10 years, Isaac Mizrahi, fashion designer, TV presenter, Project Runway judge, author and a master of quips has been narrating and (since 2013) directing, a production of the beloved fable. The Peter B. Lewis Theater at the Guggenheim is an intimate setting of light and ivory, like being encased in an oyster shell. Instead of the polished pearl of a show you might expect on Broadway, this has a bit more edge. The musicians stroll in slowly, and start warming up their instruments seemingly haphazardly while the audience finds their seats. We sat next to the string section behind the conductor. As new instruments started playing, my son and I swerved our heads around the room for an aural version of “I Spy.” On stage, a giant garbage can, chainlink fence, enormous tree and NYC skyline represented Central Park. An actress playing the bird perched in the tree, and then the wolf took a seat on the park bench to read the newspaper before the show started. (more…)
It’s not just the holiday season in New York, with all those lights, elaborate window displays and ill-advised third (or fourth or fifth) servings of mulled wine, it’s also something of a peak to the cultural season. Lots of plays and art exhibits open in early fall, with runs that last through early January, while Hollywood hoards all non-summer blockbuster films until November and December, so a slew of movies for Oscar consideration come out this time of year. The end result being that there’s suddenly a glut of great stuff watch, see and do, with the added pressure that many of these shows will soon close. Here’s how to treat yourself to a cultural holiday in New York City over the next few weeks, with a few especially-for-the-season picks thrown in. And, for an extensive selection of live concerts, check out our year-end live music round-up. (more…)
Installation view of Christopher Wool at the Guggenheim Museum. Photo: Kristopher McKay
One of our least frequented museums is definitely the Guggenheim. Although the massive Frank Lloyd Wright spiral rotunda invites mania in adults and children who want to inexplicably run the length of the ramp, it is prohibitively expensive at $22 a ticket. But occasionally there is a show that is just too good to miss, and just too perfectly housed in such a breathtaking space. This year’s show is the retrospective of Christopher Wool which is only on view until January 22nd, but is well worth the energy and the money.
During the holidays, we made a family affair out of the day. My husband, his father, and our preschool age son all fought the torrential rain and the impenetrable wall of tourists to push our ways inside. Don’t forget to pick up the great activity packs for kids at an information desk. We brought the stroller to hold our coats (and avoid standing in yet another long line) and we took the elevator to the top and worked our way backwards to avoid the masses. Because the Guggenheim is a bona fide tourist attraction, it was filled with families and many small children and babies. There’s no need to worry about noise control as the space has phenomenal acoustics which all but drowned out the jet-lagged crying babies in papooses. (more…)