Laughing Out Loud (LOL)

Last night my buddy Elizabeth Kerri Mahon of Scandalous Women blog fame and I turned out for the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s reception for uber actor, Benicio Del Toro.  The event was held at The Apartment on the 24th floor of the swank Hudson Hotel.  The hors d’oeuvres were fab, the white wine perfectly chilled, and the crowd styling.  But where oh where was the guest of honor?
From left to write, Hope, Stacey, Liz, Leanna, Elizabeth and Marianne celebrate Hope's birthday in style.
From left to um...write, Hope, Stacey, Liz, Leanna, Elizabeth and Marianne celebrate Hope's birthday in style.

Fortunately Elizabeth is a great date.  We noshed and chatted each up for a full two hours.  All the while I kept vigilant Famous Person watch on the room’s only entrance.

At least I thought I was vigilant.  Coming up on 10:00 PM and still no Benicio, it was pretty clear he must be sequestered in some VIP suite.  Or maybe he’d decided to take his entourage out for a night on the town?  Oh well, c’est la vie.  Give me an unlimited supply of mini crab cakes and yes, a second glass of wine, and well, after a while, I’m just happy to be there.

Elizabeth and I were deep into our current topic of conversation when the young woman standing next to us interrupted to ask, “Did you see Benicio? ” Her tone implied they were best buds, possibly even related.

“He was here!”  My eyes darted like a pinball machine gone beserk.  So much for playing it cool.

“Oh, yes.”  She nodded with lazy-lidded self-assurance, her smile so satisfied it was positively post-coital.  “Earlier, for a half hour.  He’s gone now.”

So I ask you, how does a person, say me, manage to stand in the same (modest-size) room with Benicio Del Toro for a full thirty minutes and manage to miss him entirely ?!?

But then Mercury is in Retrograde.  It’s the only explanation, or at least the only one I’m willing to entertain.  (The alternate one being that I am a complete idiot)!  You see, Mercury isn’t just in any ole Retrograde but  retrograde in my Sun Sign of Libra.   Allow me to take this opportunity to express my advance thanks for your support.  Seriously.  Last week my laptop hard drive crashed.  The other day I ordered, or tried to order, replacement bags for my vaccuum cleaner.  First online, then via the 800 number.  It didn’t go well.  Suffice it to say I’m looking into weaving them by hand.

Watcha gonna do?  Mercury goes into Retrograde just three times a year though when you’re in it, it certainly feels longer.  October 14th, the end of this quarter’s phase, isn’t that far away though personally I’m holding off on signing any contracts and purchasing electronics like say, that laptop I now need until October 20th.  I believe in giving Mercury Retrograde a broad berth.

In the meantime, I’m practicing self-therapy in the form of LOL–laughing out loud.  How many of us include “LOL” in our emails, not to mention all those smiley face emoticons, and yet rarely practice either?  Maybe we can’t literally laugh our problems away but for sure a good chuckle can go a long way in cushioning the blow.

I was walking along Central Park the other day when one of the carriage drivers called out to an apparently insufficiently cheery passerby, “What’s up wich you, boss?  Did you suck lemons for breakfast or what?  Give that puss a rest and smile, why dontcha?”

Hope mugs for the camera with Mr. Wall Street, a very ghoulish guy.
Hope mugs for the camera with Mr. Wall Street, a very ghoulish guy.
Good advice when you think of it.  To whit, see the picture of me mugging for the camera with Mr. Wall Street.  Last Friday my friend Dee and I were strolling the West Village, killing time before a dinner reservation came due, when we ran into this ghoulishly funny fellow stationed outside a local restaurant.  As for the group shot of my birthday bash at the Brandy Library last Thursday, well, I’m really not priming to punch someone out, promise!

Few things in life are free.  Fortunately laughter is still one of them.  So go ahead live it up, kick back, and have a laugh on me.


Weekend Update

Zabar's Gourmet Food Emporium

It’s fall in New York, I’m telling you. The temperatures may not be appreciably cooler than they were pre-Labor Day, but autumn has landed in the Big Apple in a big way. At precisely 9:00 AM on Tuesday, September 2nd, an invisible switch was flipped back to “on,” putting the sleepy summer to bed and powering the city to life again. The line outside the West Village’s Magnolia Bakery is once again winding up 11th Street, clothing boutiques are thronged with Manhattanites jonesing to wear uber cool winter clothes and boots even though it’s still in the 80’s, and the vibe on the streets is once more high on flow, low on ebb.

Earlier in the week, I checked out The Brandy Library with fellow author–and intrepid social ethnographer–Liz Maverick and our friend, Bonni. If I had to settle on one word to sum up the Brandy Library it would be “civilized.” Unlike so many Manhattan watering holes, here you can claim a seat at the back lit bar or one of the banquette style tables, order your aperitif, and savor it for hours. Located in the heart of Tribeca, The Brandy Library boasts an impressive array of not only brandies but classic cocktails, cognacs and single-malt scotches. If you’re bored, you can even quiz the bartender, Jason, on the origins of your libation. If he doesn’t know the answer, he’ll look it up–really, he will.

Last night I attended a shared Virgo birthday party at Slate Plus, a sleek after hours club in Manhattan’s West Village. The music was a mix of 80’s, 90’s and contemporary Top 40, rap and hip hop; the ambiance spartanly elegant; and the clientele…styling.

I rounded out the weekend with a maiden shopping expedition to Zabar’s in search of some gourmet grub. The iconoclastic Manhattan food emporium has occupied its Upper West Side location at Broadway & 80th for seventy years–and counting. I went at peak on a Sunday because a) I was in the hood having lunch with a friend and b) after seven months in the city, I was getting tired of moving the Zabar’s gift certificate, a housewarming gift from friends Mike and Lisa, every time I dusted my dresser.

Going to Zabar’s for the first time on a Sunday constitutes a maverick move, somewhere between boldness and stupidity. To say it was a little bit crowded would be like saying super model Heidi Klume is a little bit pretty. The narrow aisles were stuffed to the point of thrumming. More than once I found myself manuevering around shoppers who’d suddenly slammed on the brakes mid-step to sample the free noshes. I couldn’t blame them.

Trekking $100 bucks worth of perishables back downtown wasn’t exactly a cheesecake and marble rye walk, but strappy soul that I am, I managed. My usually empty singleton refrigerator is now stocked with gourmet meals-to-go: Black Angus flank steak, poached salmon in dill, baked macaroni and cheese, and spinach souffle. For a person used to scrounging for scraps come week’s end, one who’s been known to make a meal of a jar of olives or a microwaveable bag of Orville’s best–hey, it’s all about the pairings–all this bounty is well…a little overwhelming.

But I’ll deal.

Coming attractions…

September 5th was the kick-off to Fashion Week AKA Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, a semi-annual event held in New York City with events staged in Bryant Park and other areas throughout the city. The collections being shown are the Spring 2009 lines, of course. In the rag biz, fall is, strictly speaking, a done deal, then again they don’t call it “fashion forward” for nothing. 😉 I’ll be calling in my reports from the catwalk…right after I finish this piece of Zabar’s cheesecake.