Cities as Living Things

I saw this video from Mindrelic (via Cameron) and I just fell in love with it.

Last week, Alli and I saw Woody Allen’s latest film, Midnight in Paris, and I adored it. It was one of those movies that just makes you smile the whole time. During the movie, there is a conversation between two of the characters where they talk about the life of a city that is independent of its inhabitants — that a city lives and breathes like an organism does.

Now, I’m no fan of Woody Allen’s, but this idea was something that I really remembered from the movie. I thoroughly enjoyed the film (by far my favorite of Allen’s 586 films he’s made) and if I took anything away from it, it was this idea that we much like the blood cells of the living organism that is the place that we inhabit…we have a structure and life all our own, but we contribute to the life of something larger.

Fun Side Project: KC Type

1025 Main

One of the reasons that I’m excited about working downtown is that I feel like I will have more opportunity to walk around the city and take photographs. A few weeks back, I stumbled upon New Type York, a typographic photoblog curated by James Patrick Gibson. I instantly fell in love with the site for three reasons:

  1. I’m a total typography nerd.
  2. I love photography.
  3. New York is a pretty cool city.

Obviously, my interest was piqued. But then, as I started walking around downtown Kansas City, I began to realize that I could do a similar project from our fair Midwestern town. With the handy tools of Tumblr and Twitter, I was able to quickly setup KC Type – a Kansas City typography photoblog. I’m going to try and post at least one photo per day there. If you’d like, you can grab the RSS feed or follow @KCType on Twitter.

Eventually, I think I might allow submissions and I’ve got some other ideas as well (KC Type on vacation…visits to other cities, etc.). But for now, I’ll just be posting one photo every day of signage, embellishment, decoration, embossing, or any random selection of Kansas City type that I find.

Scenes from the Big Apple

One of my favorite things to do when I visit big metropolitan areas is to go on photo walks around the city. I was in New York for the Web 2.0 Expo last week and each day I walked about 14 blocks to the convention center for the conference. I tried to carry my camera with me as much as I could.

Here are some of the pictures I took:

Complexions Ballet

Complexions Contemporary Ballet

Alli and I were fortunate enough to see the premiere performance of Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson’s new Complexions Contemporary ballet while in New York. Alli had identified it as something that she really wanted to see and since it was opening while we were in the big city, we took the opportunity.

Amazingly, I found tickets for opening night at the Joyce Theater in Chelsea, a small modern dance theater. Even more amazing than that was that they were affordable.

Complexions Contemporary Ballet

The audience was treated to two brand new ballets from Rhoden and Richardson, Dirty Wire and Mercy (2 movements). The first ballet was set to an interesting ambient noise-like music and is described as:

In this complex world of communication, Dirty Wire looks at the advantages and disadvantages of being able to connect instantly; how those instant connections affect our relationships, what they do to intimacy and how negotiating distance becomes a new element in our bonds.

The entire first act consists of Dirty Wire…45 minutes of beautiful and innovative dance performed by phenomenal artists. It’s a powerful piece, but I felt myself more drawn to the second act, Mercy:

…an epic work with abstractions depicting passion and kindly forbearance with a yearn for grace and permanence in the sacred and spiritual deliverance of mankind. It poses the question: to what degree does humanity have to go in order for there to be some kind of relief? Mercy looks at the desire to advance without violence but shows the inevitable challenges in doing so. Although abstract in its format, Mercy hopes to provide a context for real images of pleading, forgiveness, indignation, grace and pity.

Complexions Contemporary Ballet

The description provided in the playbill is so apropos to this ballet and is somewhat unnecessary. Much of this is very obviously communicated in the dance, particularly when co-Artistic Director Desmond Richardson emerges and dances with the company. It’s powerful stuff.

After the limited engagement at the Joyce Theater in New York, the company will head out on tour in January, focusing on Southern states initially, then heading overseas to Australia (February 2010), Spain/France (March 2010), Germany (May/June 2010) and Israel (July 2010). There are periodic U.S. dates sprinkled in and performances in Pittsburgh, Portland and New Bedford, MA (April 2010).

If you are a fan of dance, particularly of ballet — and even more specifically, Alvin Ailey-esque ballet and Complexions comes to your town, I implore you to go see it. There are a couple different programs. We saw the one with the new ballets, but the others look just as compelling (particularly Rise, which includes the music of U2).

Unfortunately, the ballet is not coming to Kansas City, but if it’s coming near your city, go see it.

This post could not be possible without the help of the Complexions Ballet, who provided me with the high-quality pictures and information about the tour.

Dinner at Perilla

I’m currently in New York City for the Web 2.0 Expo and Alli joined me so she could see some of the city with Rachel and we could hang out at night.

Tonight was our big date night in the city. We had tickets to see Complexions Modern Ballet at the Joyce Theater (which was amazing), but before the performance, we had one of the greatest meals I have ever eaten.

I was a fan of Harold Dieterle’s as soon as I saw him on Season One of Top Chef [proof 1 2 3]. In fact, I even put “eat at Harold’s restaurant Perilla” on a bucket list I made in May of this year.

Tonight, I actually got to check that off tonight.

Perilla NYC Meal

What you’re seeing in this picture is the tasting of Colorado lamb, my entree at Perilla.

I started with the Crispy Calimary & Watercress salad. It had mint and pecans and a chili-lime vinaigrette. Alli started with the Baby Red Romaine salad, which had bartlett pears, stilton cheese and spicy pecan vinaigrette. I tried both. They were so balanced and amazing (you’ll see a theme begin to develop).

For the main course, I had the lamb trio — grilled rack, crispy braised belly, homemade cheese & parsley sausage. Alli had their Red Kuri Squash Agnolotti with chanterelles, grilled halloumi & brown butter-hazelnut sauce. We also got the Farro Risotto on the side to share. We followed it up with a piece of the pumpkin pecan pie with caramel sauce and pumpkin ice cream.

Perilla NYC Meal

Perilla NYC Meal

I don’t think that we could have made a bad decision. Frankly, I’m fairly certain that everything on the menu is phenomenal because everything that we had far exceeded my high expectations. Our service was exceptional. The decor is appropriate. The music…well, I don’t know who makes their playlists, but it might as well have been me.

One more thing: at the end of our meal, I told our server to please give our compliments to the chef and that I was a huge fan of everything. She said, “Well, he’s here, would you like to say hello?”

Um…YES PLEASE.

I thought that she was going to bring Harold out to the table…no, she came back and waved to us, signaling us to come with her and we followed her back into the kitchen where I got to shake Harold’s hand and thank him personally for the meal. I admit that I was a bit starstruck, but who cares? It was awesome.

I can’t state this too strongly: our meal was legendary. It’s been 4 hours since it ended and I’m still thinking about it. Thank you so much to Harold and the entire Perilla staff for making our dinner very special. It far exceeded my experience at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill. Oh, I didn’t tell you about that?

Mesa Grill

All in due time…