Posted & filed under General.

Find the Perfect Gift Painlessly

Finding the perfect gift for the person who has everything is one of the most frustrating parts of the holidays, or any gift giving situation. You scour through catalogs, pour through online shops, and walk endlessly from store window to store window hoping the perfect gift will jump out and shout “here I am.”  Well it doesn’t always have to be that difficult. If your gift receiver doesn’t already have a collection started, then start one for them. A huge advantage to doing this is that you can will now have the perfect gift to give for every occasion.

Then there is the person that has everything and regardless of what you give them, they don’t seem to really appreciate the gift. You think it will probably end up in a closet somewhere or wrapped up to re-gift. Luxury gifts almost eliminate both of those possibilities. Gifts like this are for display and owners are proud to show them off. Herenden figurines come to grow on that less enthralled person and he/she will look forward to growing their beautiful collection.

Herend Figurines as Collectible Gifts

Herend figurines are sought after collectibles and are beautiful accent pieces for any home. Like all great collectibles, the Herend pieces come with a story. The Herend Manufactory in Hungary was founded in 1826 but the porcelain figurines did not become popular worldwide until about 1858. Its popularity stemmed from a company artist who took a fish-scale design he had seen on a Chinese plate, and applied it to a rooster figurine to give it the look of feathers. This design became the signature design for Herend figurines. Since then this design has been applied to “hard-paste”444 porcelain animals such as cats, dogs, tigers, lions, roosters and several other barnyard type animals. The most popular color for this pattern today is blue, although it originated in black.

The novelty of these types of figurines range from animals to angles, and many variations of each. Each is enduring in its own way and they have personalities to suit everyone. That means that you most likely will not be buying something they already have.


Halcyon Days

Herend figurines aren’t the only option for the chance to give a unique gift. Warm sunny days and bicycle rides bring back some of the memorable days of youth when you spent afternoons playing baseball at the park and headed home just as the sun set. The halcyon days of another time when life was still simple.

The phrase Halcyon Days is rooted way back into ancient Greece. The legend is worth reading about, but in short, the present day meaning of Halcyon Days refers to a nostalgic, happy and successful period in the past.

Inspire those memories with Halcyon gifts like Halcyon bangles, collector’s boxes, trinket trays or tea sets. The Halcyon Days Collection contains a variety of personal,333 practical and luxury gifts that compliment any interior.

Occasions for Luxury Gift Giving

Trying to find a gift for the couple that has decided to get married after they have lived together for 5 years and have acquired everything they need is almost impossible. Again, go with collections, do they have any? If the answer is no, fine china is a practical and beautiful beginning. The couple can add to the collections themselves over the years, or receive pieces as gifts from friends and family.

Valentine’s Day, the day your sweetheart expects something extra special, is looming ahead. Sometimes candy and a teddy bear just don’t hold the same meaning, especially when it’s been your go to gift the last few years.  Flowers are nice, but it is hard to justify the cost when they will be wilted and dead in a week. You want something that says I love you, you’re special to me. Something that will show her she/he is one of a kind. luxury gifts especially with so many styles to choose from, are thoughtful and make perfect keepsakes.  Look through the collections and find something that expresses your love, or reflects their personality.

Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Religious occasions, and of course the obvious Christmas and birthdays, are all occasions that adding to a collection makes gift giving easy and meaningful. Young women especially love to collect almost anything, figurines and tea sets are popular choices and will grow with her over the years.

Finding the right gift for the person who has everything, the person who grunts they don’t need anything and the other special people in your life can be a painless, enjoyable experience. Select a collectible line, or a unique gift and you can’t go wrong. It will even come to grow on the person who doesn’t seem to like anything at all.


Posted & filed under General.

Central Park is not just your average neighborhood park. It is the nation’s first public park and is one of the greatest urban parks in the world. This giant rectangular park is about 843 acres of landscaped goodness in the middle of a bustling city. A visit to Central Park will make you one of the 35 million people who visit the Park annually. It is full of attractions but it also offers a peaceful place to get away and escape the sounds of the city. To take full advantage of everything the park has to offer try a bike ride off the beaten path or tour the gardens with a horse-drawn carriage.

Ways to See the Park

What’s the very best way to see all of it? A bicycle. If you want to go exploring alone and take in the beauty and ambience of the park, try renting a bicycle for a few hours and hit the hills or stop by the Conservatory Water or the Belvedere Castle that sits on top of the Vista Rock. If you happen by the Bow Bridge you will see why it is one of the locations that are most photographed in the park. The bridge was built in 1862 and the iron arch extends 6o feet over the lake. If you spend a moment and listen closely, you just might hear the whisper of the stories it has to tell.


If you prefer a Central Park bike tour knowledgeable tour guides show you the points of interest, the history of the Park, celebrity homes, and movie locations, or other attractions you may be interested in. The two-hour tour includes a ride out to Cherry Hill fountain on the west side of the park and then onto Strawberry Fields and the Imagine Mosaic. You will see the skyline of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir and breathe in the scent of the flowers at the Shakespeare Garden. Each stop offers a new opportunity for that perfect photo and a chance to revel in the quiet beauty of the Park.

Bike tours are not the only way to see the famous park. Central park offers bike rentals and carriage rides to give you the full experience. As fantastic as the bike tour is, the carriage rides are a novelty in themselves. If you’re a bit nostalgic, or maybe more hopeless romantic, the 50-minute carriage ride through this famous park will become a cherished memory. You will be entranced by the gentle clip-clopping of the horses’ shoes on the pavement as you ride past the Park statues and over to Sheep Meadow. The driver’s knowledgeable and experienced oration of the sights take you back in time for just a moment. You will learn about the various statues, see the movie locations and learn how the Park is important to everyday life.

What You’d Miss if You Miss Central Park

A visit to Central Park will give you a day full of activity whether you pedal around the lake, take that romantic ride in the horse-drawn carriage, or stroll on foot through the Conservatory Water garden. This garden offers the experience of a European garden without the cost of airfare.

It is six-acres and offers a plethora of flowers in three styles, French, English, and Italian. Take the time to visit each one. The walk ways are perfectly manicured and the fountains trickle relaxation into your day. It is a complete experience for your senses.


If you want a time out, or just a bit of peace and quiet tour Strawberry Fields. It is located across the street from the home of John and Yoko at the Dakota. Strawberry Field got its name after Lennon was murdered in front of the building and remains a place of quiet contemplation to this day, except when a musician plays his songs in remembrance.

A tour through the Central Park Zoo will delight animal lovers and children will love the experience of the Tisch Children’s Zoo where the babies and cute little animals wait for little hands to pet them. The Zoo also feeds the sea lions and penguins on a daily basis which delights both young and old visitors.

The perfect beginning to the start of your day or the highlight at the end of it, either way you can’t go wrong touring this gorgeous National Park. End your visit with a stop at Bethesda Fountain which was designed in 1868. It is now one of the most famous fountains in the world.

Central Park is a magical place to leave your troubles behind. At least for a while.


Posted & filed under General.

You should believe in Superman, he’s real and found in the soul of Danny Paradise. Able to stretch legs and arms around the planet, hold it near his heart and heal what we have weakened over time. Danny, a musicial prodigy, healer, leader, planetary Shaman and sage, yoga chief, he’s got it all and gives it to mankind for the good of all.

Special thanks to:
Juillet Hanlon

What inspired you to become a musician and composer?

When I was growing up in the ’60’s it was a time of amazing music with artists like The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Muddy Waters, Cat Stevens, James Taylor, Simon and Garfunkle, Joni Mitchell etc and I was drawn to learn to play guitar. I had a brilliant music teacher for a couple of years who taught me the basics. He also taught me how to listen to a music recording and figure out the chords and musical style. That interest that began when I was 12 years old has never stopped. Later in my life I began performing in clubs and bars in Hawaii and gradually started composing my own songs. I also started recording around the world in Nepal, Cairo, London, Los Angeles, New York, Bali…Wherever I was at the time that I would come across musicians to jam and recording studios. I’ve also been traveling the world teaching Yoga since 1979.

What do you love about children?

They live completely in the moment. They’re spontaneous and free. They don’t have the neurotic anxiety, fear and worry that we tend to create as adults…However they can quickly learn to imitate us as they grow older…

How did you come to work with Children of the Forest and Ceu D’Ellia?

In 1991 I went to the Brazilian Amazon near the Peruvian Border with a few friends from around the world. We had been invited to participate in Shamanic ceremonies with new friends in Cruzeiro Do Sul – a town and region in the furthest western edge of Brazil very close to the Peruvian border…

Over that time we went on a boat journey for 7 days into the Upper Amazon. Our Brazilian hosts were not used to a group of Yogi vegetarians. They were a little concerned about what food they could find us up the rivers. They called one of their friends in Sao Paulo and asked him to come meet us and bring some health food from the city. That friend was Céu D’Ellia. He was a wild Brazilian and he had been participating in Shamanic ceremonies for many years. During that journey up the Upper Amazon with us, he was always drawing and doing caricatures of everyone on the trip. We learned he was an animator and later I found out he was animation director for Steven Spielberg and Walt Disney feature films.

Céu did some drawings for me for my first DVD that I included in the booklet for the film. That DVD was a visual and musical journey including Yoga demonstrations in remote natural settings as well as in (and on)Temples in Burma, Nepal, Indonesia, Thailand, Canada and Hawaii.

When I was working on my 2nd music CD, Céu kindly offered to do original drawings and graphic design for a booklet with lyrics, photos and stories…

Around 1994/95 I was teaching Yoga in Bali and Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead came to do Yoga with me. I had been introduced to Bob by Inshirah Mahal, the wife of the great musician Taj Mahal. Inshirah studied Yoga with me on Kauai, Hawaii. Sometimes I did classes at Inshirah and Taj’s house.

After Bali, Bob was on his way to Thailand. I was going there as well so we met up in Bangkok to carry on doing Yoga and traveling. We journeyed south to Krabi Province and Bob told me his old friend Matthew Kelly was coming to meet us. Matthew is a brilliant musician, singer, harmonica player, guitarist and song writer. He had played quite often with The Grateful Dead as well as in bands with Bob Weir and in well known bands of his own. We did some performances together…in a cave in Railei Bay in Krabi Province and in a funky bar on the beach. Of course when people heard that Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead was performing they all came.

Matthew and his lovely wife Mary lived in Thailand. Since I return to SE Asia every year to do Yoga retreats and workshops I would often see them. Unbeknownst to me, Matthew and Mary had a philanthropic organization called The Amicus Foundation – ( and sometime around 2004 they began supporting Children of the Forest in the North West part of Thailand near the Burmese border.

They told me about the project and others that they were involved in when I would pass through Thailand and in 2013 they invited me to go to Children of the Forest: ( and teach Yoga as well as play music for the kids. I was very impressed with the whole place, the work that they were doing to protect, educate, house, feed and help the children heal from their traumas and experiences. Some were from broken homes or from no home at all…Some of the kids had escaped from traffickers. They were impoverished, border children from Mon and Karen Tribes. They were stateless and had no identity papers even though they were born in Thailand. Children of the Forest was also trying to help each child receive their identity cards so they would be free to travel and eventually work in Thailand without fear of being arrested by police or kidnapped by traffickers who would exploit the fact that they were stateless and therefore have no rights.

They live in the forest in a beautiful bamboo village of children and a few adults and older kids helping out. It’s a remarkable place. I thought when I first arrived – Hey, I could live here!

Since I am a songwriter and visual artist I had an idea to go back to Children of the Forest and film a music video to a song I had written.

The following year we came up with the idea to do a documentary on the Children of the Forest as well as the dangers that the children face in the region from networks of Traffickers and criminal gangs. Matthew and Mary decided to finance a week long investigation and filming with a Director named Cathy Pearson who was a Yoga friend of mine as well as two Cinematographers. One was Diego Barraza who was based in the UK. I knew Diego and liked a film on Yoga that he had put together called “Part and Parcel”. Also Cathy brought a brilliant Cinematographer that she worked with named Andrei Jewell who lived in Thailand.

Financed by Matthew and Mary Kelly and Amicus Foundation, we all went to Pattaya in Feb 2015 to interview and film the life work of an amazing man named Khun Jaa who had been fighting traffickers in that area for 25 years. He had been involved in thousands of investigations and had personally rescued many children. He had also been shot 3 times and was under constant threat from organized criminal gangs of traffickers. Khun Jaa has a compound outside of Pattaya where he takes care of 40 children he has personally rescued. He houses and feeds them as well as makes sure they are educated and protected. We interviewed Khun Jaa and heard endless stories of the dangers that these children face from sexual predators (mostly European and North American) and local criminal gangs wishing to kidnap them for forced labor or prostitution in Thailand. Khun Jaa’s place is called the ‘Anti Human-Trafficking and Child Abuse Center’ (ATCC).

After 3 days with Khun Jaa filming his work and stories we went off to Children of the Forest to film there as well. I had written a song a few months before about the situation as I understood it from my visit the year before. I had begun recording it and Matthew and Mary heard it and really liked the lyrics and music.

Shortly afterwords Matthew and the founder of Children of the Forest – Daniel Hopson – were invited to give a presentation at the United Nations in New York about ‘Children’s Rights World Wide’. Matthew decided that we could do a film with my new song (Love Will Rescue You) as part of the presentation at the UN.

I had the idea that the beginning of the film should be animated because of the horrific things that children face through these networks of Traffickers – images that are too difficult or graphic to show with live film… I suggested to Matthew and Mary that we invite my old friend the artist Céu D’Ellia from Brazil to do a script and see if we could somehow link an animated section of the film with live footage from Children of the Forest.

After speaking with Céu and presenting the idea to him as well as some suggestions for animation sequences, Céu came up with a powerful script for the film. I also had been in touch with the great Human Rights Activist ‘Jack Healey’ ( and Jack gave me a few visual ideas for use in the animation as well which I suggested to Céu. Jack ran Amnesty International for decades. Matthew and Mary and The Amicus Foundation decided to fund Céu’s work and the project was begun. They used some of the live footage we had already taken and went back to Children of the Forest and filmed the kids as we see them in the film at the end…

So these connections from the Amazon and Thailand led to the animated film ‘Love Will Rescue You’. My music producer is a brilliant musician named Bobby Parrs who also coincidentally lives in Thailand. On a remote Yoga retreat on a jungle lake with floating bungalows in Thailand, Bobby recorded two of Norway’s most renowned musicians who were on the retreat with us. They are Torbjørn Okland on guitar and Rita Eriksen on harmony vocals. Matthew Kelly played harmonica and Mike Finnigan played Hammond B3 organ.

If a genie could grant you three wishes right now, what would they be?

A world where everyone is cared for, protected, educated, given free Health Care, housed and fed.
A world where there is no more war, where everyone is free, Free of Borders, Free of countries…
A world where Nature is completely protected, restored, renewed, and studied for all the magical medicines that the forests, flora and fauna contain.

What goals do you have for your life and the world?

The same as above! I wish to be able to carry on what I’m doing as well…

Where do you think creativity comes from?

I think everyone has a creative urge that comes from deep within themselves…Perhaps it’s the soul wishing to express itself in endless ways. Perhaps it’s the Universe wishing to express and experience itself…Some people follow their creative urges and inspirations to express themselves through some art form. Other people seem to ignore their creative impulses and not follow the artistic calling of their soul.

The art forms of music and yoga have obviously been very impactful in your life. Do you feel that the practice of these two forms of expression have influenced your approach to either or both of them?

Both of these arts have influenced each other in my life…I have been playing music since I was 12 years old and I started
Yoga when I was 23. I had already traveled the world when I was 19 years old. I knew I would continue traveling. With the practices of Yoga that I learned from the first Western Adepts; David Williams and Nancy Gilgoff, as well as music as my expression of my dreams and ideas I began traveling the world again when I was 28. This was in 1979 and I haven’t stopped traveling since. I have taught Yoga and played music throughout the world. My intention with teaching Yoga is to only go to where I am invited. That has taken me on endless journeys around the world since 1979 – 36 years on the move.

I use to play music in clubs in London on my way from India back to North America. In a Greek restaurant on Fulham Road in London around 1983/84 I met the British musician Dominic Miller. He liked one of my songs that I had written called ‘Freedom Fighters’ and suggested I come over to his house and record it with him. We became friends and started recording together…Dominic came to Cairo with me for a month around 1987 and we recorded with local players for 4 weeks. That was a wild experience. Just being in the amazing Arab world was powerful… It was a time before the rise of fundamentalism and the country was a beautiful, peaceful place of acceptance. The local people were lovely. (In Cairo we also recorded ‘Freedom Fighters’ and that appears on my first CD ‘River of the Soul’.)

I recognized Dominic as an amazing talent and wanted to record with him whenever possible. He was also discovered shortly after by Sting who was introduced to Dominic by his music engineer and producer Hugh Padgam. Hugh had worked with the Police and on Sting’s solo records. Hugh also worked with Dominic on his first major league recording session with Phil Collins. Dominic contributed melody parts to Phil Collins’ song ‘Another Day In Paradise’. Hugh Padgam also saw Dominic’s genius. He recommended to Sting that he audition Dominic as he was looking for a new guitarist. Dominic has been with Sting ever since! Sting calls Dominic ‘My right hand…’

Shortly after Dominic’s induction in Sting’s new band I was passing through London in 1990 and met up with Dominic. Dominic had done Yoga with me when we were in Egypt and he recommended to Sting that he meet me. These were early days for Yoga in England. Very few people had practiced Ashtanga Yoga except in workshops that I had been giving for a number of years. So Sting had thought that

Yoga was for little old ladies in leotards…’ I gave Dominic a few of my photos in advanced Yoga positions to show Sting a little more about the practice. Then he wanted to meet me and shortly after I introduced Sting to the practices of Ashtanga Yoga.

That was how I began teaching Sting and his wife Trudie Styler. The following year I was on a tour with Sting and his band in Europe teaching Sting, his band and road crew. Sting introduced me to Paul Simon when they were doing shows together at a festival in Belgium. A few months later Paul contacted me and I began teaching him and his wife Edie Brickell. A little while later I met Madonna through Sting and his wife and that was the beginning of her journey into Yoga. I also taught many people in Sting’s network of friends and associates. Through teaching Sting’s road tour accountant Mike Mcguinley I was introduced to Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam around 1992. Mike handled the biggest bands in the world for tours. He recognized the beauty and healing force of Yoga and felt that it would be great for Eddie Vedder and his band to check out especially because they were about to be under a lot of pressure. They had just sold 10 million copies of their first album and had gone from playing clubs to stadiums…Nirvana had just burned out and Mike and his music network wanted to make sure Eddie and the band remained strong and focused for their success…

So it was music that connected me to Dominic Miller and through that musical connection I began teaching Sting and Trudie, Paul Simon and Edie Brickell, Eddie Vedder and Jeff Ament in Pearl Jam, Lyle Lovett, Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) and many others in the music and entertainment world.

I also was introduced to Andrea Griminelli via Sting. He’s one of the world’s greatest flutists. Andrea would do classes with me at Sting’s residence. Later Andrea introduced me to Luciano Pavarotti and his girlfriend Nicoletta and I began teaching them as well.

Through Paul Simon I met the brilliant jazz trumpet player Chris Botti and I have taught Chris over the years. Chris also played on the animated film and song ‘Love Will Rescue You’ as well as other recordings I have done over the years. John McEnroe and his wife – rock singer – Patty Smyth practiced Yoga with me through Sting. Other film directors, artists, designers (like Donna Karan – DKNY) have studied with me over the years. The links between music, the arts, sports and Yoga have been very clear for me.

For everyone, Yoga leads to vitality, clarity, deeper insight, increased perception and intuition…The practices dramatically increase strength and endurance as well as balance and flexibility..These are perfect combinations for working in the arts, music, composing, performing and especially touring. Yoga is cross-cultural. Everyone gains the same results. Through the explorations in the practices of Yoga combined with deep slow, breath, health, vitality and the immune system are dramatically boosted. Anxiety and stress are reduced or eliminated. People come deeply into the present as well as create tranquility and peace in their lives through the deep breath and movement. There are unquestionable, very fast results learning classical practices in Yoga.

Yoga is an ancient evolutionary science designed to create health, equanimity, balance, peace, strength, flexibility and evolutionary consciousness. One purpose of Yoga is ‘Fulfilling personal Destiny’ and the creation and nurturing of happiness, joy and peace.

It’s also a major tool for learning how to age and face transition with energy, tranquility, acceptance, clarity and grace.

Yoga is the ultimate gift to the human race from Nature and our Ancestors.

That’s the story for now!

Aloha and best wishes,
Danny Paradise

Photograph by Thomas Kelly


Posted & filed under Entertainment, Stand Up Comedy in NYC.

AANY had the opportunity recently to sit down with Andy Engel, founder and owner of the Manhattan Comedy School and Director of New Talent for Gotham Comedy Club. For the past 20 years, Engel has been responsible for a good deal of the comedy talent coming out of New York City in one way or another. With over 400 new students each year at the Manhattan Comedy School and his thriving New Talent Showcase, it does not look like that streak will end any time soon.

Read below to see the results of our chat with Engel.

What are the benefits of attending the Manhattan Comedy School?

Aside from the quality of instruction, the class provides all a comedian needs to enter the stand-up circuit. Namely, the opportunity to get on stage through the New Talent showcase as well as a DVD of their act that they can use to get future jobs.

Basically, there are three ways someone can get into stand-up comedy. They can bark at Times Square, do open mics or go to a school. The first two are tough on the comedian and rarely lead to better things. At Manhattan Comedy School we provide the opportunity to get started the right way and skip the needless struggle that open mics and the like bring.

What sort of people do you hire to teach? Are they all working comedians?

Yes. All of Manhattan Comedy School’s teachers are working comedians with strong credentials. These are not 15-year-old credentials either. A lot of teachers out there have impressive resumes but many of them haven’t had success for 10 years or more, our teachers are relevant, working comedians whose credits are current.

You’ve heard the old adage, ‘Those who can not do, teach.’ For your school, that is not the case?

No, it is not. The staff at MCS are not teaching because they are struggling professionally, they are teaching because they live in the city and have free time during the week. That is why our classes are always during the week and not the weekends. Our teachers are often working over the weekends.

Our teaching staff includes, among others, Cory Kahaney, whose done HBO, Comedy Central and David Letterman, Jim David, whose done The View, VH1 and Comedy Central, and Brian Kiley whose done Jay Leno, David Letterman and is a staff writer for Conan O’Brien.

Are the classes private or group sessions?

The classes are held in groups of 20. This is a major component of our instruction as having a room full of your peers helps to prepare you for performing on stage. It is the first live audience that many of the students will encounter.

Who are some of the successful students who have come through the Manhattan Comedy School?

There are quite a few, to list a couple there is Carmen Lynch, featured on David Letterman, Chloe Hilliard featured on Last Comic Standing, Emma Willmann featured on Live at Gotham AXS TV, Jimmy Failla who Hosts Radio Show “Off the meter”, Ryan Riess one of Seth Myers’ monologue writers and Colin Kane a National Headliner.

With the credentials, experience and obvious results that the Manhattan Comedy School boasts, it seems to be the choice for comedians looking to get into stand-up or even just sharpen their skills. If you are interested in learning more about MCS, visit their website at


Posted & filed under Entertainment, General, New Yorker of the Moment.

AANY’s New Yorker of the Moment for November is Lucia Kaiser. Kaiser’s list of accomplishments is interminable. To start she is a two-time Emmy Award-Winning Producer who got her start as publicist & talent coordinator for the Johnny Carson Show. She also has a wonderful reputation for opening doors previously closed to women

Kaiser was the first female President of Studio Film Exchange, President of the first women-only advertising agency in NYC, first woman President of Bruce Lee’s production company and the first female General Manager of KGU radio in Hawaii to list a few.

She is also known for her philanthropic ventures and has been honored and awarded for them numerous times including being personally commemorated by President George W. Bush.

Currently she is focused on her efforts as a movie producer. Included in these efforts are the ongoing projects Midnight Love, a feature film about the life of Marvin Gaye and the film Framed.

Without further ado we present our quick session with Lucia Kaiser below:

How long have you lived in NYC?

I was born on a boat in the middle of the ocean while my parents were immigrating from Messina, Sicily. I was raised in New York then moved to Honolulu at 15 years old to become a professional surfer/model, etc. I’ve lived all over the world, Hong Kong for two years, Europe, South America, Australia. I even ended up back in Hawaii for 23 years before moving back to the NYC for good in 1998.

What is your favorite thing about the city?

After living all over the world, I couldn’t live anywhere else. I love the theatre, concerts, nightlife, and all the great restaurants…especially since I don’t
cook; delivery in NYC has everything you would want. And I love New Yorkers!

What is your least favorite thing about NYC?

The winter/cold

Where would you be if you weren’t here?

I would say if my husband had not passed away tragically I’d still be back in Honolulu and Maui. Though now that I am in the film industry the only other places might be Italy or France.

What are you doing right now that you are passionate about?

I am one of the Producers of a major feature film Framed based on, my partner and dear friend, Tod Volpe’s life. He was the art dealer to the stars. The script was written by the great Terrence Winter (The Wolf of Wallstreet, Boardwalk Empire, The Soprano’s). The film has a budget of $20 to $25 million and features the great and famous Bonnie Timmerman (68 films under her belt) casting A list Actors and Director. This is very very exciting to me–I’m hoping this will be my Academy Award.

As we could not possibly cover Lucia’s entire list of accomplishments in this venue, please check out her profile and get the full story here.


Posted & filed under Entertainment, General.

Love Letters continues its run at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre with Alan Alda taking over for Brian Dennehy in the role of Andrew Makepeace Lad III and Candice Bergen following up Carol Burnett as Melissa Gardner. Under the direction of Gregory Mosher the two will continue these roles until December 18th. A star filled lineup follows including Stacy Keach & Diana Rigg as well as Martin Sheen & Anjelica Huston.

The play, written by A.R. Gurney, features just two characters sitting next two one another at a desk, telling the story of their lives through letters, cards and invitations exchanged over 50 years. The staging leaves a heavy burden on the director and the two actors involved. In this production, they carry that burden masterfully.

Bergen understands and expertly portrays the energy, struggle, brilliance and depression that fill her complex character. This makes her able to convey what would normally be sorrowful thoughts in a way that induces laughter.

Photo courtesy of Carol Rosegg

Photo Courtesy of Carol Rosegg

Alda fits the straight-laced Ladd perfectly. More impressively, he adeptly displays the empathetic, artistic man behind the WASP. This is absolutely vital to the success of the play as the connection between these two characters would wither and become unrealistic without.

The real beauty of the play lies in the silences; credit to director Gregory Mosher. In a work that is composed entirely of a pseudo-dialogue between two characters, the quiet points are abrupt, anticipation driving, emotionally intense, expressions that words could never achieve. The last speechless moment both exemplifies the importance of these silences and contrasts all those that precede it for everyone knows exactly what that final silence means.

It is an often told story only because it is so often true. That two people who seem to fit together perfectly, who connect as friends though both with a romantic ideal in mind, end up losing a battle with timing; never being in the right place for the other at the right time.

This is certainly a show worth seeing, find the full schedule below:
Nederlander’s Brooks Atkinson Theatre
256 West 47th Street

Alan Alda & Candice Bergen
November 9 – December 18

Stacy Keach & Diana Rigg
December 19 – January 9

Anjelica Huston & Martin Sheen
January 10 – February 15


Posted & filed under Art, General, New Yorker of the Moment.

Our latest New Yorker of the Moment is Grimanesa Amoros who recently connected with us here at AANY for a short interview. The Peruvian-born interdisciplinary artist is known for her other-wordly art installations, often focused on personal identity and the interplay between humans and their environments.

Eternally prolific, she was just in Rio de Janeiro for a TEDGlobal conference in which she was a featured speaker. She also debuted her latest spectacular light installation, “Big Brother”, while she was there. The piece will now become a traveling exhibit moving between Brazil, Rome and Argentina over the next 8 months.

Amoros’s previous public art installations have been featured everywhere from Tribeca to Harlem and even Times Square making her an integral part of the city’s canvas. So we at AANY were thrilled to be able to ask her a few questions and it is with pride that we present that short exchange below.

How long have you lived in NYC?Uros_House_2_full

30 years.

What is your favorite thing about the city?

It is forever changing.

What is your least favorite thing about NYC?


Where would you be if you weren’t here?

Eating gelatos, in the south of Italy.

What are you doing right now that you are passionate about?

Researching and developing new work.

To learn more about Grimanesa Amoros and see her portfolio, visit her website


Posted & filed under BREAKING NEWS, Business, Dining & Nightlife, Nostalgia.

In the past few years a litany of small businesses have closed in Manhattan. From music venues like CBGBs and the Roseland Ballroom to stalwart restaurants like Union Square Cafe, NYC landmarks are disappearing at an alarming rate. Normally this would be a sign of a struggling economy but here it means quite the opposite. These businesses are not closing due to a lack of success but rather from increases in rent. The result is more office space and less culture in the City’s central borough.

The irony of this situation is that it is self-inflicted. Many of these businesses opened in rough neighborhoods, such as Hell’s Kitchen, years ago. The existence of such cultural institutions made those neighborhoods more attractive. As more people moved in, rents inevitably went up. So when the leases for these businesses expired, their rents increased to impossible levels. This left these hip spots no choice but to pack it in and a vacancy too expensive to fill by anything but corporations.

The resulting gentrification has made most of Manhattan a less worrisome place to explore at night but it has also sucked the life from it; anything worth doing in life is at least a little bit scary. Streets have become filled with suits and devoid of artists, riddled with the innocuous and missing the unique, their once vibrant colors painted over with beige.

A positive effect of this has been the resurgence of Brooklyn. Brooklyn has quickly become the cultural hub of the City with restaurants and venues sprouting up throughout the borough. However, with a landscape very similar to that of Manhattan past, it breeds fear that Brooklyn will fall into the same cycle as Manhattan and gentrify itself into corporate oblivion, a process which has already begun.


Posted & filed under BREAKING NEWS, Dining & Nightlife, Entertainment.

Friday night The Replacements took over Forest Hills with a long-awaited concert at the historic Forest Hills Stadium. Though the band’s current tour began in 2013 this show marked the first time in over 20 years that the band played in New York. That time away seems to have improved the group’s live act taking a notoriously unpredictable band and transforming them into a dynamic, energetic, tight group who held the audience expertly for nearly two hours.

Upon exiting the subway in Forest Hills it was obvious that a concert was happening. The streets were crowded with punk-rockers of all sorts. So it seemed odd that during the opening acts the venue felt a bit large for the event. The floor, still a tennis court, was scantly populated and the seats above were nearly empty. Eventually the crowd made their way in and by the time The Replacements got going the place was packed.

From start to finish they had the crowd singing along and dancing, as much as people can really dance to indie music, skillfully ripping through a number of their well known originals while sporadically including some unexpected covers. Aside from slipping into a little Jimi Hendrix riffing between originals the band covered the Jackson 5’s “I want you back” and Chuck Berry’s “Maybellene” in full. They also did an excellent job of engaging the audience personally, exemplified by Stinson’s telling a story about falling and smashing his face on the way to the show.

The music was familiar but the indie-punk band did have a few replacements of their own. The original singer, Paul Westerberg and bassist, Tommy Stinson, still lead the band but are now joined by lead guitarist Dave Minehan and drummer John Freese. Minehan took the spot of Bob Stinson who passed away in 1995 with Freese filling in for Chris Mars who decided not to rejoin the group.

The first acts Deer Tick and the Hold Steady were both obviously influenced by the band for whom they opened. However, they lacked the stage presence of their musical predecessors and though they sounded good they did not entertain. This just further reinforced the rock-star status of The Replacements who have only gotten better with age.


Posted & filed under Art.

Wednesday night at an unexpected location came an unexpected art show. Artist Peter Yip and Toy maker Berto Ray Barreto cultivated a Pop Up Toy Show at the Bao Shoppe on Steinway in Astoria. The show featured both seasoned and new toy designers, who brought to the show an amazing array of wholly one-of-a-kind toys.

Upon walking into the Asian fusion sandwich shop it looked like any of the small restaurants that make up Astoria. A look deeper into the spot revealed a long corridor beyond the seating and custom painted counter that seemed tailor made for the event. The white, narrow, high-ceilinged space felt just like a room in a museum aside from the delicious aromas that filled the air.


Once reaching this almost secret back room one was immediately greeted by Julissa Lopez’s Mini Moi Toys. Lopez is one of the artists featured whose normal focus is toy design and it shows. Her creations were expertly crafted caricatures of famous musicians like Bob Marley and Rhianna in miniature toy form. The toys felt like cartoon characters that might at any moment escape their plexiglass constraints and mingle among the crowd.

Next was Chris Xydas’s other-worldly, moss-ridden figures. Xyda represents the other group of artists in the show, those who created toys for the first time, specifically for this event. He typically works on intricate drawings that depict scenes of shapes, patterns and figures that are better suited for viewing than describing. Yip asked Xyda to take part in the show after meeting him on mass transportation. Yip had noticed the detailed work that Xyda was somehow able to create on a moving subway car and was driven to know more about the man. A friendship ensued and when the toy show idea came up Yip reached out to the creative Xyda to see if he was up for a new medium. Xyda dove right in to the project and created three magnificent creatures, two of which were sold before the opening night ended.

From there was an excellent mix of toys. Ranging from boxed toys that looked as if you’d find them in some sort of twisted Toys R Us to the graffiti covered piece from street writer Joshua Elias. Untitled-2 Each one seemed to represent a piece of it’s artist’s personality. The amount of time and skill that was put into each and every piece made it easy for anyone to appreciate whether familiar with the world of custom toy design or not; a fitting outcome given the nature of the show and the artists involved.

The show was an obvious success with several pieces selling and a regular crowd of people passing through from the moment it opened until about a half an hour after it was supposed to close. The work will remain at The Bao Shoppe, located at 30-66 Steinway, for the next month so if you’ve got a chance make your way there. The opportunity to see such intricate and unique work while enjoying a meal is not likely to come up again soon.

Slider Images Provided By Angie Vasquez

Below is a list of all the artist’s featured:
Berto Ray Barreto
Chris Xydas
Danielle Draik
Frank W.
Hector Calicdan
Joeru Sama
Jose De Olio
Joshua Hernandez
John Carl Martin
Julissa Lopez
Mari San
Moth De La Cruz
Peter W. Yip