Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: NYC

New York Diary – Top Gun on a War Ship

Day 2 was me thrown into the deep end, extreme walking jet lag off, a visit to the Biennale at The Whitney, a trip back up to the Upper East Side, then back down to almost where I was before, to wait in a queue, watching the sailors in their white on the beginning of Memorial Day Weekend, while we waited for the ‘gate’ to open. Then it was the trek up to the top deck of The Intrepid, an actual airplane carrier, with planes on it (and a museum below) for the yearly outdoor screening of Top Gun. I will never be able to accurately explain what it was like. Mad, strange, hilarious, nostalgic, cute, mad, funny and bizarre. Google it. Beyond.

Today.

Today was a trip to Jersey City to have our first of 2 Lost Property rehearsals in the venue. Joy of joys. I cannot explain how happy we were.

Then – absolute luck of the lucky. The day before I had said how I would love to get Mexican vegan food while I am here. Boom. We stumbled upon the most awesome vegan friendly Mexican restaurant Hotel Toruga. It was spectacular.

And then! We saw Walk off The Earth live in an intimate and amazing concert. These guys put on the most delicious, funny, positive, charming, musical, slick and delightful show and I loved every minute. Loved.

My feet are aching but my heart is soaring.

 

New York Diary by a dramatic vegan

Day 1

It wasn’t a great flight. No, the flight itself was fine and mostly uneventful, it was just that I was surrounded by some real weirdos. The guy behind me had a total meltdown and grabbed the air hostess to scream his frustration that the little TV screen wasn’t playing what he wanted it to. Then he kicked out this frustration on my seat for 15 hours. And he would not stop farting. It was pretty toxic. People moved out of the way. The very middle-aged woman across the aisle from me, in a cheeky velveteen dungaree onesie, decided to stand on her chair to sort out the stuff in the overhead locker and then projectile fell through the air, landing on her back next to me. My reflexes were good, I didn’t pack up laughing (like I usually do when someone falls), and I helped her to her feet. She spent the rest of the flight either glaring at me or ignoring me. I think she blamed me. When we were getting ready to disembark, she took a deliberately long time, and farter behind me got irritated, launching me into her to get us moving.

But, we arrived at JFK fresh and early in the morning, waited forever for our baggage which got stuck on an erratic conveyor belt, and then hit the traffic into Manhattan.

After a quick shower I walked to Central Park – really close to where I am so lucky to be staying. I have a best friend who lives in NYC. In the Upper East Side. A dream really.

And then in the evening, after an afternoon rain that left the city glistening, we went to Candle 79, a well-established, double story, incredible vegan restaurant for a mind-blowingly delicious diner. What a taste sensation.

A meandering walk through the park and the most vivid and exquisite sunset brought the jet lag to my face and body and I collapsed in a heap at 9.21pm local time, which was like 4am back home.

How exciting that I am here for my own work. We rehearse this weekend at the theatre in Jersey City. Life is good.

Reflections post New York

It’s been a crazy time since arriving home on Wednesday, mainly because I leave again this coming Wednesday for Australia for a month, and I have a ton of work to complete before I go. I sit in front of my lappie, trying to write write write up New York. And I am surprised by how much I am missing the city that I got to know, and fell in love with in just 9 days. Facebook and twitter are my distractions, and I am so saddened by local news of the Limpopo education crisis, the brutal rape and murder of children here at home, and other stories that remind me so shockingly of how we live. Granted, while I was in New York I didn’t have half a moment to scan the internet for news, and there might have been a ton of stuff there that I missed, but it felt like Maria Carey and Sarah Jessica Parker entertaining Obama on one night that we were there was the big news (and Justin Bieber on the Today show).

My sadness is the realisation of how much I carry here, on my shoulders and in my heart, when I am home. I am so drearily sad of being white. Yes, yes, I know what it means, and where it comes from, and how privileged I am and how 90% of South Africans are worse off than me and they are black. It’s not incorrect, just heavy. When the Spear issue exploded in South Africa I found myself in the truly awkward position of having such strong opinions about it (I identify with the artist, and demand the right to freedom of expression) and the overwhelming reality that my opinions were somehow unimportant in the context of where I am. I realised that my struggle history is not visible and will never be counted. I am identified in a certain way regardless.

Back home I am white. Back home I am Jewish in an anti-Zionist way. Back home I have been called “a struggling artist”.  Back home I am “of a certain age”. Back home I feel like I am stuck to the pin board of classification and definition.

Something liberating happened to me in New York, the melting pot of diversity, money and poverty, immigrants, art, commerce, power, old, new, fast food and health food, dogs more spoilt than children, and hot subways where intimate conversations about everything under the sun can be heard. I was, for the most part, just me; made up of all sorts of bits and pieces, background, quirks, ethnicity, nationality, gender, class. And all of it was true and ok and unquestioned. I was me. And, overwhelmingly, I felt huge pangs of jealousy that I was not born there, or had moved there to live years ago.

Don’t get me wrong. I have no doubt that NYC can be depressingly lonely, and hard, and cold in winter, and scary if you have no job and money. It’s not that. It’s that you aren’t being pre-judged, pre-decided on. It’s ok to admit that you are obsessed by money, or are passionate about theatre or want to study for the rest of your life. It’s ok to be a waiter, or a tour guide, or an actor-in-waiting who is a waiter or tour guide.

In NYC everybody except the biggest celeb is anonymous. Everybody is getting on with it. Everybody is doing stuff. I’m not suggesting for one moment that there isn’t injustice, or crime, or ugliness, or corruption, or racial profiling, it’s just that I’m not walking around overwhelmed by it all. And the truth is, at home I am.

Travels and NYC

I am not a great tourist. I think I get caught in the idea that is ridiculous to spend so much money looking at where other people live. Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling far and wide, but I love having a mission while I’m there. This is why my trip to NYC (my first time there ever) is so amazing. I am going for work, and it is work that will keep me right on the streets, soaking up the place, in quite a touristy way. It is without a doubt the best of both worlds.

My new, shiny suitcase is filled with all my summer clothes; vests, cotton Tai-chi pants, sleeveless dresses. I have sunscreen in my toiletry bag. I am armed with an enormous list of must dos. I am going with one of my long time besties. My Kindle is charged and I have two new books loaded. I have good music on my iPod. Midtown Manhattan will have a brand new visitor.

I will also get to visit my Tante B in Stamford. Watch out Tante B. We’ll see you on the other side of this!

Making way for the big, beautiful stuff

When I realised what was going down with my application for Grahamstown this year I was really angry, hurt and frustrated. To be honest, I didn’t know what to do. I felt like I was in a bad dream and I kept hoping (inwardly) that I had got it wrong and that it would turn out right in the end. And that is exactly what has happened for me.

It turns out I am going to NYC in June for work; I have been working on a very amazing business for the last six or so years called Great Guide and I am going to NYC to do research for the City Sightseeing Bus there. It gets better. One of my besties and most favourite travel partner Jaci de Villiers is coming with because we will be designing, planning and writing the content together. I wake up in the middle of the night with a ball of excitement in my gut.

As if that wasn’t enough, Tandi Buchan, Candice D’Arcy and I are representing SA improv and will be travelling to Canberra Oz to participate in a massive improv festival for the first week of July, at the exact time of the Grahamstown festival. I will be spending the rest of the month in Oz, checking out the improv and theatre scene, hanging with friends and family, and hooking up with another bestie Robyn at her house in the hills of Oz. Can you believe it? I am beyond myself with excitement.

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