April 28, 2011

The Latest Coffee Trend--The "Growler" To Go

A few years ago, I first saw my first "growler" at the beer market in Whole Foods on The Bowery.  You could buy a 64oz. dark jug (aka a growler) of home brewed beer.  It was cheap, cool and semi-Green because you could also bring the jug back for refills.

Now this trend has jumped over to the artisan brewed coffee world.  As reported by NY TIMES trend hound Florence Fabricant, there are two coffee joints that are now offering growlers of cold-brewed iced coffee.  How perfect for summer to have a big jug of perky cool coffee goodness in the fridge?  You can get one at the Nolita Mart or the uber-trendy Birch Coffee, across from the ACE Hotel, for only $13.99....that's a deal when you think that 4 grande iced coffees at Starbucks w/ice costing you about the same.  So get ready for summer and get your "growler" on!

April 27, 2011

FAST FIVE Written By....A Five Year Old

This is genius!  The folks over at ONN (Onion News Network, not Oprah) have put together a hilarious interview with the screenwriter of FAST FIVE, who happens to be a five year old.  I'm not sure who the real screenwriter is of the movie but, on a film like this, does it matter?  Anyway, this truly had me cracking up....especially when it's revealed that this is not the kid's first screenplay.  Classic.

Today Now! Interviews The 5-Year-Old Screenwriter Of "Fast Five"

April 26, 2011

NetPix: The Story Behind The Stonewall Riots

I was watching PBS last night and saw an intense documentary about the Stonewall Riots, which marked the beginning of the gay rights movement in the summer of 1969.  STONEWALL UPRISING was the most detailed recounting of events I had ever seen including interviews with patrons who were inside the bar, Village VOICE reporters (whose offices were across the street) and even the police officer who headed up the raid that started a revolution.

Seymour Pine, of the 6th Precinct, was the officer in charge of the six man raid on the bar which quickly spiraled out of control.  The police were so overwhelmed by the mob that crowded Christopher Street that they hid inside the bar, waiting for backup.  During those tense minutes, Pine took each officer aside and told them in no uncertain terms not to fire their guns unless he gave them the order to by name.  It was a chilling aspect of the Stonewall story I'd never heard.  Pine knew that the riot could have turned into a massacre in the flash of one officers' gun and prevented that from happening.

In the end, though, scores were injured when riot police arrived and the real fighting began. The melee, which started around 1am and went until 4am, left the bar in a shambles and the streets of the village littered with debris. But it was the beginning of the modern gay rights movement.  And this film tells the remarkable story of the night with incredible detail and emotion.  Well worth ordering on NetFlix or seeing the next time it airs.

April 25, 2011

The Importance Of Being From Jersey

One of the best shows in town right now is the hilarious revival of THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, starring Brian Bedford as Lady Bracknell.  Though his take on the role is amazing, the bulk of the play revolves around the two lovely cads of Algernon and John, played by two lovely actors Santino Fontana and David Furr.

As an unusual promo for the show, these guys have been reading transcripts from the MTV hit JERSEY SHORE in the style of Oscare Wilde.  Needless to say, it is a hoot....watch and enjoy.  And go see the show before it closes this summer.  As the characters themselves might say...."it's grand!"

April 22, 2011

The Final Countdown For Crowd-Sourcing On WTC VIEW

Today is the final day of our crowd-sourcing campaign on IndieGoGo to bring WTC VIEW to the stage this spring at 59E59 Theaters. The good news is that we have raised nearly 10K in the last 6 weeks.  The bad news is that we still need to raise another 10-12K to make the show happen.  But the good news is....time has not run out yet!  We still have until midnight Friday April 22....which is actually 3AM because IndieGoGo runs on PST (based on Seattle, of course).  So you can still donate!

Even better news is that, this morning, we got a matching fund challenge.  A generous donor has pledged 3K if we can raise 3K today.  That means we need to get to the 12K level in the final hours of our campaign.  And that's not so hard really if you break it down.  All we need are 150 donors giving $20 a piece.  Or 300 donors giving $10.   So much math right?!   It's all about the numbers...today at least.  But next week I'll have some very exciting news about our cast for the show, which will be officially announced on Monday.

In the meantime, check out our final video for the campaign on IndieGogo....my tour of the area around the new World Trade Center complex rising in lower Manhattan.  Thanks for your support! :)

WTC VIEW Playwright Brian Sloan's Walking Tour Of The New WTC from Brian Sloan on Vimeo.

April 21, 2011


In a discussion about 70's TV recently, this show came up and, since then, it's crazily-catchy theme song has been stuck in my head.  I remember watching this show in re-runs as a kid and I think my favorite part was the opening credits with all those fireworks and the soooo 70's song.

The real show was an anthology series in which three love stories, all unrelated, were told with "silent movie" breaks between each one.  LAS is famous for being a place where TV pilot scripts went to die.  However, in one very famous case, there was an episode that Garry Marshall wrote and directed called "Love In The Happy Days" about a model 1950s family and their lovestruck son, Ron Howard as Richie Cunningham.  That episode, which aired in the winter of 1972, had the good fortune to come out just before  "American Graffitti" (also starring Howard) became a big hit, kicking off a wave of 50's nostalgia.

Here's a clip of the opening of the "Happy Days" pilot that aired on "Love American Style".  It's interesting to note that Richie's mysterious older brother is a character in this show and his father is not Tom Bosley and his sister is much younger and not named Joanie.  The show's most popular character, "The Fonz" is only a gleam in Marshall's creative eye.

April 20, 2011

The Cast of GLEE Has Bested The Beatles

Fox's megahit show has broken an interesting record;  the cast of GLEE have topped the Beatles by having 90 songs in the Billboard Top 100.  And this week, they will surely be breaking some more with the release of the show's ninth album, a compilation of the acapella song-stylings of the all-male Warblers group featuring screamboat (and Billboard cover dude) Darren Criss.

Since Criss and Co. first appeared last fall doing a chart-topping cover of Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream", the Warblers have been arguably the best thing happening on the show's sophomore season.  So this album has been highly anticipated and is now out for your listening pleasure and downloadable on iTunes.

The secret to the Warblers success (besides Criss's good looks!) can be found at Tufts University.  That school's all-male acapella group The Beelzebubs has been doing arrangements and background vocals for the onscreen Warblers since last fall.  Interestingly enough, GLEE was originally conceived as a show focused on the acapella world which then expanded more into the show choir world.  So the producers knew of the 'Bubs long history and had listened to many of their 27 albums already.  Though they don't count the Warblers disc as their 28th, they are definitely key to its success.

April 19, 2011

A Walking Tour Of The World Trade Center Site

As part of our crowd-sourcing campaign on IndieGoGo, which wraps up on Friday, I did a little walking tour of the area around the World Trade Center site.  It's remarkable how much construction is going on there and how rapidly the memorial and museum are taking shape.

After years of debate and delay, there is no denying that things are really changing down there now.  The next big step is the opening of the memorial itself, on September 11th of this year, which will be the 10th anniversary of 9/11.  So check out my tour and please donate to our campaign to put my play WTC VIEW back on stage....only 4 days left!  Thanks :)

WTC VIEW Playwright Brian Sloan's Walking Tour Of The New WTC from Brian Sloan on Vimeo.

April 18, 2011

Red Tail Hawks Make Their Nest At NYU

There's a new bird in town.  Just a few blocks from my apartment, two red tail hawks have taken up residence on the 12th floor ledge of Bobst Library, just outside the offices of NYU President John Sexon.  Bobby (l) and Violet are pictured here (with Washington Square behind them) and there are more red tails to come with three eggs soon to hatch.  NYU has even set up a Hawk Cam so you watch all hot nesting action in real-time.

Christopher James, the PR rep for the school was even savvy enough to create a Twitter feed for the birds, which he has been semi-secretly writing.  Granted the nesting routine of the domestic red hawks is not nearly as dramatic as another recent celebrity animal feed, that sassy Bronx Zoo snake who took to Twitter and racked up nearly 30,000 followers in his week on the lam.  But it's still fun to check out as we wait patiently for those eggs to hatch....a lovely sign of spring in the heart of Greenwich Village.

April 15, 2011

My VILLAGE VOICE Ad & True Story Behind WTC VIEW

I was recently rummaging through some old files and found something remarkable; a copy of the apartment listing I placed in the VILLAGE VOICE on the night of September 10, 2001.  My previous roommate had moved out on August 15th and I had been lazy....spending time at the beach when I should have been finding a new roommate.  As the 15th approached, I decided that Monday I would try to get someone to move in later that week.  So I went online and placed the ad. It was the last thing I did that night before I went to bed.

The ad went live on the VOICE website in the early morning hours of 9/11 and, believe it or not, I actually got calls about my apartment on September 12th from people wanting to "come down and see the place".  Of course, unless they were in the National Guard, they could not get into my neighborhood as it was in the Frozen Zone south of 14th Street that was set up after the destruction of the World Trade Center. When the ad appeared in the print edition of the VOICE on 9/17 (pictured above), I got even more calls and thus began my longest search for a roommate, one which would not be resolved until November.

As a writer, people always wonder if my writing is autobiographical and, in the case of the play, I started with this strange but true story and went from there.  I thought it would be a good starting point for a play that takes a different look at 9/11 and how it affected New York City, specifically those living downtown.  This story of this ad is the true story behind my play WTC VIEW, which opens next month here in NYC.

The title of the play, however, does not come from my original ad.  It came from a conversation with my previous roommate, who remarked as he was moving out how I could put "WTC View" in the ad as a selling point.  He though the view was amazing.  However, even though I liked the view too, I told him that no one puts that in apartment ads....Empire State View means something but WTC View doesn't mean anything, real estate wise.  The Twin Towers were sort of taken for granted until, only a few weeks later, they were gone.

April 13, 2011

Broadway Is Such A "Drag" These Days

What is it about drag and Broadway these days?  In the current season there are three shows where the leading ladies are actually leading men and all of them have stolen their respective shows.  First, there was Douglas Hodge in the new revival of LA CAGE, for which he is likely to win the Tony Award.  The show is closing later this month, with the writer of the show Harvey Fierstein taking over the role (which I plan to catch before it closes). 

Then there was Bryan Bedford's brilliant turn as Lady Bracknell in the revival of THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST.  To say Bedford is in drag actually understates the sharpness and the simplicity of his commanding performance in this classic role.  It is truly a revelation and, after the generous applause on his opening entrance, you utterly forget there is a man underneath all that fine, Victorian cloth.  This show is still running with Bedford in the role until July.

Finally, the third queen that signals the trend is Tony Sheldon playing "Bernadette" in PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT.  I caught this show last night and Sheldon's take on the over the hill drag going for one last shot of glittery glory is spot-on.  He has a way with delivery which has the audience cracking up before he's even spoken a syllable.  All he needs to do is arch an eyebrow or shift his weight to one leg and that's it--scene over.  The show itself is not great, unlike LA CAGE or EARNEST, but Sheldon keeps you interested and keeps you laughing up until the crazy curtain call.  

April 12, 2011

Michelle Bachmann May Be Scarier Than Sarah Palin

Congresswoman Michele Bachman, a Republican from Minnesota, has been making the Iowa rounds lately, testing the waters for a possible Presidential run in 2012.  And from some of her recent statements, posted today on Towleroad, she might actually be scarier than Sarah Palin.

Railing against gay marriage, she went on a diatribe over state and federal judges referring to them as "black-robed masters".  And then there was this choice quote: "They are not put there to make decisions".   OK--I honestly don't care if you don't like the idea of gay marriage and think it's immoral and all that religious jazz.  But seriously, if you want to want to run for President, you should know that the judiciary branch plays a key role in our system of government, namely that of making DECISIONS.  To refer to them as sinister, mystical "masters" is not only bad rhetoric but it suggests a base ignorance of our constitutional form of government.

Rep. Bachman was a hit with the conservatives she aimed her remarks at. But she was also heckled a few times at a college event.  She can expect more heckling if she continues to spew not just hate but sheer ignorance of the government which she might aspire to run someday.

April 11, 2011

After 400 Years, Farming Returns To Lower Manhattan

One of the stranger sights I've seen in NYC is the wild turkey that lives in Battery Park, just across the street from the Staten Island Ferry terminal.  That turkey, nicknamed Zelda since first being spotted in 2003, will now have some actual farmland to roam this year as a 1-acre "urban farm" opens for business in the Battery.

There's an article in today's City Room Blog about the farm, which was the idea of students from the nearby Millenium School off of Wall Street.  Now more than 650 kids from 8 schools in the city have signed up to start planting seeds and hoeing rows for a planned first harvest this summer.  And in a nod to Zelda, the farm has been laid out in the shape of a turkey.

Of course this is not going to be your average farm.  First off, the soil itself had to be trucked in from Long Island.  But, weather and sunshine permitting, they hope to be selling cucumbers and eggplants in a few months at a small food kiosk.

April 8, 2011

A Trip Into The Tunnel For The 2nd Ave Subway

Benjamim Kabak over at Second Avenue Sagas got a special tour yesterday of the launch box and tunnels for the Second Avenue Subway. He has a great series of photos up on his site showing the deep cavern, nearly 60 feet under the avenue, as well as a peek inside the tunnel (seen above).

The west tunnel is now complete from 96th to 65th street and they just started boring the east tunnel.  Service on the line is still about 5 years away but this is a cool look at things to come.  Yes, Virginia, there will be a Second Avenue subway....here's the tunnel to prove it.

April 7, 2011

A Mile-High Skyscraper Planned For Saudi Arabia

It's only been about a year since the Burj Khalifa topped out as the tallest building in the world.  Now the Saudi's are ready to one up their bankrupt neighbors.  They announced today that a mile-high skyscraper has been given the greenlight for downtown Jeddah.  It's a city whose name sounds like something from STAR WARS and the building itself certainly looks like something George Lucas might have dreamed up. But actually, the notion of a mile-high skyscraper dates back to the 1950s.

Frank Lloyd Wright designed a building called The Illinois that would have been the first to hit the mile-high mark.  His tower looked like something from Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS and would have housed about 100,000 people, 20,000 more than the building the Saudi's are planning.  (Strangely enough, the design of the Burj was reportedly inspired by his Illnois sketches.)  But Wright's building was considered unfeasible because the majority of it's slim interior would have been taken up by elevators.

He would be happy to see that someone is pressing forward with his somewhat whimisical notion. Though I'm sure he'd rather it be happening somewhere in the United States. Of course, the cost of such buildings is prohibitive for commercial developers wanting to make money. The Saudis tower is estimated to cost over 30 billion US dollars.  The new World Trade Center building, by comparison, is considered outrageously expensive at 3 billion dollars...and that building will top out at a mere 1776 feet.

April 6, 2011

Tickets On Sale Today For WTC VIEW's Off-Bway Premiere

Tickets are on sale today for the return of WTC VIEW to the stage!  The show will open on May 19th at 59E59 Theaters as part of their 5th Annual Americas Festival.  This is a grouping of 7 plays that are original works by new American playwrights...like me! :)

WTC VIEW will be running from May 19-June 5 for a total of 16 performances. Tickets at $18 each and are available through 59E59's website.  You can also purchase seats at TicketCenter.  For more details on the show, please check out our Facebook page and LIKE it as well.  And, of course, we are still in the midst of our big fundraising drive for the show.

We have only 17 days left to raise about 20K....the key to crowd-sourcing is that everyone gives a little instead of a few fat cats giving a lot.  This is a non-profit production at a non-profit theatre and this is the only way we can make this show happen...other than winning the lottery. So please donate if you can and help us bring this show to audiences here in New York this spring.

April 4, 2011

Some Random Late 80's Nostalgia Courtesy Of Lita Ford

A friend from Brooklyn emailed me today with a line explaining his Saturday night; "I went to a bar and got in a fight, I didn't get laid, uh-huh, it ain't no big thing."  The song he is paraphrasing is Lita Ford's kickass late 80's rocker, "Kiss Me Deadly".  Suddenly the song was in my head on a loop so I had to look up the YouTube video.  OMG--I had forgotten what a crazy ass video this was!  Lita, who got her start shredding for The Runaways, basically makes love to her electric guitar on the floor of an industrial factory wearing some skintight spandex and hair that is blown out so much it looks like a tribal headdress.  Here's the clip below if you want to relieve your days of big hair and 80's dancing.

April 1, 2011

Florida's Newest Senator Is Kinda Cute

I had never heard about Senator Marco Rubio (R) and maybe neither have you.  He is only 39 years old and was elected in a surprise 3-way race for an open Senate seat in Florida.  He aligned himself with the Tea Party ideas without actually identifying himself as a card-carrying member.  (That means he's smart!) And since taking office less than 3 months ago, he has been keeping a very low profile....taking cues from the experience of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in their Senate terms.

However, suddenly Sen. Rubio is everywhere as he takes on Congress over his main issue; spending.  He appeared on the front page today of the NY TIMES in an article about his increasingly visibility as a promoter of fiscal responsibility and cuts as debate on the hill over the budget heats up. After some TV appearances and op-eds this week, there is some talk he may be angling for a VP slot in 2012. Though I cast my vote for him in the Kinda Cute column, he would be running as a Republican.  Since I haven't voted Republican since....well....ever, that rules that out.