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new york

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reflections on our quickie trip to new york

there’s never enough time when visiting new york. but we always try to pack as much as we can in. the main reason for our quickie trip was to see the opening of kingsglaive: final fantasy XV, a movie that sean worked on.  we were lucky that we got to see and do a lot of other really cool things too like: sleep no more at the mckittrick hotel, the ghostbusters experience, the starfleet academy experience at the intrepid museum, and the manus x machina exhibit at the met.

but even without any amazing cultural things being offered, just being in new york is inspiring. there’s free public art to admire, architecture that would leave you awestruck, and ideas that stokes your creative juices. walking around the city at any given time is one of my most favourite things to do in new york.

41 cooper
bryant park
rockefeller centre
welcome parade
looking up
park avenue
new york, we heart you. looking forward to our next trip. for more pictures on our trip, press play on the slideshow or click here for my flickr.

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manus x machina: fashion in the age of technology at the met

dior mcqueen
it’s complete happenstance when you find out that due to popular demand, the met’s manus x machina: fashion in the age of technology got extended until september 15 (from the original closing date of august 14). sean and i found that out when we got to the met. needless to say, i was happy and excited.

manus x machina explores how today’s designers are reconciling the handmade and the machine-made in the creation of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear fashions. It addresses the distinction between the hand (manus) and the machine (machina) in the creative process, and questions the changing delineation between haute couture and ready-to-wear.

the exhibit showcased traditional lace-making, featherwork, leatherwork to cutting-edge digital technologies such as 3D printing.

some pictures of my favourites:

givenchy mcqueen
L: house of givenchy – 1963, haute couture. hand sewn red-orange cotton mechlin-type lace hand-embroidered with red-orange glass beads, tinsel, and pieces of coral. R: alexander mcqueen spring/summer 2012, pret-a-porter. hand and machine sewn nude silk organdy and net, hand-embroidered with red-orange glass beads, freshwater pearls, pieces of coral, and dyed shells.

gres van herpen
L: madame gres – 1950-55, haute couture. machine-sewn white silk jersey with hand-gathered and stitched pleats. R: iris van herpen – spring/summer 2010, haute couture. 3D printed (selective laser sintering) white polyamide by materialise, machine-sewn white goat leather, hand-cut acrylic fringe.

noa raviv
noa raviv – 2014, pret-a-porter. black and white 3D printed (polyjet) polymer by stratasys, hand-sewn white synthetic tulle with adhesive applique of laser-cut black polyester twill weave.

house of givenchy – autumn/winter 2010-11, haute couture. machine-sewn nude silk tulle, hand-appliqued with machine-made lace and hand-braided ivory silk georgette lace.

threeasfour schouler
L: threeasfour, spring/summer 2016, pret-a-porter. machine-sewn white neoprene and nude nylon mesh, hand-applique of 3D printed (selective laser sintering) ivory resin and nylon by materialise. R: proenza schouler, autumn/winter 2013-14, pret-a-porter. machine-sewn white nylon mesh, pieced with white ceramic “stone” custom lace, bonded with white ultrasonic-wielded satin viscose crepe “embroidery”.

threeasfour, spring/summer 2014, pret-a-porter. machine-sewn white nylon power mesh, hand embroidered with 3D printed (selective laser sintering) ivory resin and nylon by materialise.

van herpen
iris van herpen, autumn 2012, haute couture. 3D printed (stereolithogrpahy) dark orange epoxy by materialise, hand-sanded and hand-sprayed with a technical transparent resin.

valentino – spring/summer 2014, haute couture. machine and hand-sewn black silk organdy, hand embroidered with black leather and silk artificial flowers and feathers.

house of dior – autumn/winter 2013-14, pret-a-porter. machine-sewn black silk taffeta with overlay of black cotton-synthetic mesh, hand-embroiderd with leather artificial flowers and black beads.

what a beautiful collection. i’m sure glad that it was extended and that we were in new york to see it. happenstance! for more manus x machina pics, press play on the slideshow or click here for my flickr.

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starfleet academy experience at the intrepid museum

starfleet experience
continuing our geek-tastic vacation, we went to the star trek starfleet academy experience at the intrepid sea, air and space museum to immerse ourselves in the world of star trek.

the 12,000 square feet, interactive exhibition was broken up into nine zones: language, medical, navigation, engineering, command and science. as a starfleet cadet in this cosmic career day, you had to complete all the areas. you filled out a profile profile and were given an RFID wristband to track your progress and see which career field you would be more suited for: medical officers, science officers, communications specialists, even commanders.

medical klingon
starfleet experience
starfleet experience
interactive technology was used in the exhibition, including leap motion voice recognition to communicate with a klingon, a medical tricorder with RFID sensors to scan a sick klingon patient, planet projection mapping to navigate through an area filled with obstacles, holograms, firing a phaser at moving targets on a screen and more.

startrek bridge
startrek bridge
startrek bridge
not only that, there were costumes on display, a walk through star trek history, a recreation of the enterprise-D bridge where you can sit in the captain’s chair or test your command prowess by taking the kobayashi maru exam.

when it was all done, i was given my final results. according to the starfleet acadamy experience, i was best suited for command (!), with an secondary specialist in communications. ha. looks like my aggression level was pretty high, while my phaser skills were pretty crap. as for the impossible, no-win kobayashi maru test, i rescued 110 crew members.

startrek certificate
startrek certificate 2
for trekkies, the starfleet academy experience is not to be missed activity. whether you’re into original star trek, the next generation, deep space nine, voyager, enterprise, the original movies, the next gen movies or jj abrams reboot (which i’m all here for), there’s something for everyone, for in the world of star trek, it’s all about being inclusive and living long and prosperous.

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kingsglaive: final fantasy XV premiere in new york

final fantasy
the main reason for our trip to new york was to see the north american premiere of kingsglaive: final fantasy XV and celebrate the fact that sean had directed a part of the movie. woot!

we took a leap of faith to jet to new york and had hoped that tickets wouldn’t be sold out since the theatre would not sell advance tickets. we didn’t know what to expect, i mean it is new york and there must have tons of final fantasy fans there. plus the movie was in extremely limited release.

luckily, we got to the AMC movie theatres in times square right when they opened and secured our tickets for the 735 pm showing. having done that, we were able to enjoy the rest of the afternoon by going to check out the void’s ghostbusters dimensions at madame tussaud’s.

yes – an absolute tourist trap, but madame tussaud’s the only place where one can check out the void’s first public VR installation, outside of utah. as a tie-in to the ghostbusters reboot film, visitors can participate as ghostbusters, going on a ghost-hunting mission on a physical set.

verdict? it was pretty cool, much better than the game of thrones VR experience we went to at the PNE. plus it didn’t make me dizzy or give me vertigo. sean thought it was so cool and loved it.

we also checked out the ghostbusters experience exhibit and the marvel 4D cinema. cuz we’re nerds like that. the ghostbusters experience features authentic props and sets.

ghostbusters holtzmann
ghostbusters props
ghostbusters subway
and to all the naysayers, we both enjoyed the new ghostbusters movie. i personally thought chris hemsworth was a riot. plus i want to be as cool as kate mckinnon’s character, jillian holtzmann.

after a quick dinner, we hustled back to the theatre and was first in line for kingsglaive: final fantasy XV. the excitement was palpable among the movie-goers. sean even got up in front of everyone to amp them up even more.

final fantasy xv
we were so excited to finally see the finished product. sean had directed the 12 minute action sequence that kicks off all action sequences. the movie looked great. impressive photo-realism, save for the female characters, who still look like japanese manga girls. the action sequences were thrilling and it was great to see sean’s sequence on the big screen. months and months of work paying off. we were so glad to see that the fans seemed to love it too.

and then we all spilled out into the bright lights, big city that is times square – the purr-fect way to watch a world premiere of the movie you tirelessly worked on. congratulations, babe! great job!

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sleep no more immersive experience

sleep no more
the one thing that sean wanted to get out of this trip was the be at the kingsglaive: final fantasy XV world premiere. as for me, i really wanted to participate in the sleep no more immersive theatre experience at the mckittrick hotel. anything else was gravy for both of us.

we made our way over to the chelsea area for our 7pm check in. we climbed a flight of stairs in the dark, walk through a darkened maze and were greeted by 1930s host, welcoming us to the manderley lounge. we were all given venetian beak masks to wear,  all the better to become anonymous and shameless voyeurs a la eyes wide shut. we were told we could not take off our masks, nor could we speak (outside the lounge). and then up we go into a pitch black freight elevator which deposited us onto various floors, setting us loose to explore in silence.

sleep no more voyeur
a film noir ‘macbeth’ in a jazz age hotel – or rather, a 5 story, 100,000 square feet venue that presents itself as various movie sets: lounge, insane asylum, children’s ward, ballroom, candy store, chapel and cemetery (to name a few). participants are free to move around in the absolute cavernous space, being a part of whatever wordless storyline(s) they want. and that means sometimes sprinting from room to room to follow the characters.

fun fact: there are more than 100 rooms to explore!

and there are many non-linear macbeth stories being acted out – so many that one could not possibly see all of them in one visit, especially as some are taking place simultaneously, albeit on different floors or corners.

if being a spectator is not your jam, you can go off and explore the meticulously detailed rooms, rifling through drawers, typing messages on the typewriters, peeking behind curtains or headstones, perusing notebooks. sean and i were amazed by the level of detail and amount of props. no expense was spared! but with the 3 hour maximum window allotted to you, my advice is not to get too wrapped up exploring on your own.

sleep no more card game
the funnest part of sleep no more is running around a la choose your own adventure, trying to find scenes and hoping the actors will interact with you. actors are allowed to make contact with you, (even extract you from your friends and push you into hidden doorways and passages – not nearly as scary as it sounds), while participants are not allowed to make the first move.

and the music! the jazz songs and film noir score that would be played in the different rooms or sections of the mckittrick hotel, just added to the surreal atmosphere.

you would hear songs by glenn miller, the ink spots (i don’t want to set the world on fire, when the swallows come back to capistrano), jack buchanan (weep no more my baby), ted lewis and his band (on the sunny side of the street), al bowlly (close your eyes), and peggy lee (hallelujah, i love him so, is that all there is?)

sleep no more
also amazing is the cast who are truly committed, as well as, athletic. so much movement and passion in their dancing, miming and physical acting. i enjoyed all the incredible dance sequences!

at $105 USD plus $7.50 USD convenience charge per person, it’s not cheap. however, sleep no more will not disappoint. it is better than most other live entertainment. this avant-garde, fully immersive experience is worth every penny and i would not hesitate to go back again.

if your jam is hitchcock, kubrick, lynch, film noir, or the jazz age, this “haunted house” for grown ups is an absolute must. it’ll be the best thing you do in new york. bravo punchdrunk for the exhilirating and bewitching production.


photo credit: mckittrick hotel

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wes anderson-esque at the jane hotel

new york bound
ok, so i just came back from a trip to london and berlin, but a quick trip to new york was very much in order. sean had worked on the kingsglaive: final fantasy XV movie and it was having its world premiere on august 19. since we missed the premiere in tokyo due to it not being announced, we chose to be in new york for the limited theatrical release. there were only a handful of other US screenings (no vancouver), and for sentimental reasons plus the fact that we love new york, sean wanted to walk out into the big lights, bright city that is times square after the screening.

what we didn’t love was the red-eye flight from vancouver to new york, which was not long enough to nap out on. by the time we landed, it was sleep o’clock body time.

check-in at the W hotel wasn’t until 3pm, but we needed a place to crash – stat. unfortunately, there are no pod hotels which can be booked for minimum 4 hour stays, like yotelair at london’s gatwick airport. and accommodations in new york are super pricey.

jane check in
good thing i found the jane hotel, located in the west village’s meatpacking district. the cozy double bunk bed room served us well, as we only needed a few hours rest. and since we were checking out at 2pm before the next guests checked in, we were given the favourable rate of $109 USD plus tax. worth the money!

not only could we shower and sleep, but the jane hotel is wonderfully charming, with tons of character. if you’re a fan of wes anderson movies, you will LOVE this boutique hotel. the decor, the colours, decor accents, even the bellhops in uniform, would not be out of place in grand budapest hotel, the darjeeling limited, and the royal tenenbaums.

jane hotel
jane hotel
jane weather
jane coaster
the jane hotel offers three room types: captain’s cabin with ensuite bath, standard cabin and the bunk bed cabin,  which to be honest, is absolutely lilliputian. modeled on ships’ cabins, it has everything one needs for crashing for a few hours, including tvs for each bunk, WIFI and A/C.

jane cabin
speaking of crashing, fun fact: the jane used to be a sailor’s hostels, YMCA and flophouse, before its current incarnation. the bathrooms may be communal, but they were super clean and hygenic – very important for this germaphobe.

after some much needed zzzzzs, we grabbed lunch at the cafe gitane downstairs. like the jane hotel, the french-morrocan cafe was full of whimsy and very wes-anderson-esque.

cafe gitane
because of the jane hotel, we were a lot more refreshed for the day than we were the last time we were in new york. until new york offer pod hotels, i totally recommend booking with the affordable jane hotel as a stay or a crash pad.

for more photos of our stay at the jane hotel, press play for the slideshow or click here for my flickr.

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eat new york

the last vestiges from my most memorable trip. piecing out and savouring my delicious dean & deluca chocolates. sipping on cups of tea (with scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam!) and thinking of the next time we visit new york.

Lost in the music, Travel the world

listen to clint mansell

oh yes, they did!

the live audio webcast of clint mansell’s performance at st paul the apostle is online! so for everyone who wasn’t able to attend this magnificent performance, have a listen and understand why were were blown away.
and in our case, with this webcast, we get the pleasure to relive the concert again. and again.

not only that, having clint mansell retweet my tweet the day after, will also add to me remembering this experience fondly.

i love that mansell feels strongly about fans putting away cell phones during concerts. i joined in the conversation and was super thrilled to get a reply.
ahhh, that’s why i love twitter. the ability to connect with someone whose work you’ve long admired. and if you’re really lucky and they are as responsive to fans as mansell is, you might even get a reply.
don’t you just love what the wildhearts encourage their fans to do at their concerts? i don’t know who they are, but i love them already. and i think it’s awesome that the yeah, yeah, yeahs have started this policy at their shows. hopefully, other bands will follow suit. nothing is more annoying as an audience member than to see a sea of blue pointed at the stage, obstructing everyone’s view.
as if a vertically challenged person like myself, doesn’t have enough problems at a concert.
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the inside track

culture vulture like us? thrifty too?

as a first timer to new york, one might not know that admission prices in museums may be of a suggested nature and that on some days, there is no entrance fee.

i remember when i first got there and someone told me this “insider tip”, it was like a revelation. armed with this fact, i was able to go to the museums on a frequent basis. and not just museums, but also to gardens and zoos.

here are some of my faves and when to take advantage:

metropolitan museum of art – pay what you can afford (recommended $25)

american museum of natural history – pay what you can afford / free 445pm-545pm (suggested $19)

MoMA – target sponsors free admission fridays 4pm – 8pm (suggested $19)

guggenheim museum – pay what you wish saturday 545pm – 745pm (otherwise $22 admission)

whitney museum – pay what you wish friday night 6pm – 9pm (otherwise $20 admission)

museum of art & design – pay what you wish thursday night 6pm-9pm (otherwise $16 admission)

the cloisters museum & gardens – pay what you can afford (recommended $25)
new york botanical garden – free all day wednesday / free saturday 10am-noon (otherwise $20)
the museums may not be free, as they are in london, but they can offer that option at specific times.
days when museums are closed varies, so check before you go. for a full list of all new york museums and their admissions and schedules, click here.
oh and if you’re a movie buff like sean and i are, find your favourite locations that have appeared in memorable movies at on the set of new york or worldwide guide to movie locations. that’s how we tracked down the headquarters in ghostbusters.and now you know!