My New York City Weekend

I stayed in the city but I felt like I went to camp. I have been preoccupied with myself, winding down from my day job and gearing up for my small biz. So I got out of my writing head and into my artsy, theatrical side. I had such a restorative weekend in New York City, a ménage à moi.

There are so many creative, fun, and cheap things to do in the city. As a mother of three, I am always looking for fun and cheap activities for my kids, but I found fun and cheap stuff for myself.

On Friday night, I saw Shakespeare in the park — Riverside Park —  Hudson Warehouse’s Richard III. It was a magical, bloody, funny, professional production. (cost: free)

Richard III, the Hudson Warehouse production in Riverside Park

When you see theater outside, you are at the mercy of the elements. And there is room for serendipity, like the lamp posts flickering on at the magic moment. Or when a family looking for a picnic spot crosses in front of the stage with their stroller and grandmother. (That was very funny!) Also, you can’t go wrong with the backdrop of Riverside Park — breathtaking — at sunset.

On Saturday morning, I took my favorite collage art class with my favorite teacher Mariano Del Rosario. I learned that my life drawing teacher Anita Steckel had died. Sad, but she was getting up there.

There are so many brilliant men and women who teach at the Art Students League, many of them ancient. When you take art, it doesn’t matter how you look or what you wear or how you think. What matters is getting into the zone of creating and making something out of nothing. (cost: about $18)

Last night, I attended Sunday Night Improv with Tom Soter. I love improv. I believe in the, “Yes, and…” philosophy. Say yes and then move the story along. The one-hour class went quickly. (cost: $10)

After a scene in which I was making a ton of offers to my partner, Tom gave me a bit of advice, “You don’t have to work so hard.” Wow! He also advised the class not to try to be clever, but to “Say the simple thing.” Brilliant. I’m going back.

Check out:

Hudson Warehouse for Free Shakespeare

The Art Students League

and

Tom Soter’s Sunday Night Improv

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And no NYC weekend is perfect unless you have a slice. Mine was from T & R Pizza, my local joint. (cost with a soda: $3.50)
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Go for the truth or a laugh?

Hayden , my 13-year old, told me this morning that he wants to be a Yes Man!

“Yes! I like that! I want to be a Yes Woman!” I said. I want to say Yes to each and every day.

Even if I have to take my life in a totally different direction than what is offered, I want to accept every offer!  And say Yes!

Like most great life lessons, I learned this one doing improv comedy.

I was a part of the CBGB Gallery Improv company. Back in the early 90s, when CBGB existed, we performed improv every Wednesday night at the gallery next to the club. I met some of my best friends and comedy partners there.Our fearless leader –Karen Kristal  — would tell us, “Go for the truth. Don’t go for the Laff!” She would say laugh like that — like Laaaaffff, like an English person, although I’m pretty sure she was a New Yorker (New Yawka!).

We would say Yes, Yes, Yes to her. And then when the audience showed up and the lights went up, we’d go for the laugh.

That is the catch to being a Yes Person. You have to follow it up with some action.

I’ve learned this with my son, the Yes Man.

“Time for bed! Get off the computer!”

“Yes Mom!” And then, he doesn’t leave Facebook.

“Will you please help me clean this kitchen?”

“Yes Mom.” And then he never shows. Never turns off the XBox. At this point in the conversation, I would like to go for a laugh, but I have to go for the truth.

The truth is not as fun or as easy as the laugh. The truth, though, can lead to the laugh. (The laugh can lead to the truth.)

Either way, start by accepting the offer. Rule Number One in improv? Accept every offer. Say Yes!