Wednesday, November 5, 2014

10 FOR 10: Trip #2
New York City

"So come let me love you ..."
-Damien Rice, "Colour Me In," 
My Favourite Faded Fantasy


Our second trip on the 10 FOR 10 was one for just AC and I, and came about rather quickly.  We are so lucky that, because of his work travels, we are able to utilize points for both airfare and hotels and can take advantage of things coming up like this one did.  

One of our favorite musicians is the Irish artist Damian Rice, and he has not published anything new, nor really toured (other than a few festivals) since 2007.  I was lucky enough to see him locally for my birthday that year, and the show was incredible.  Ever since, AC and I have kept tabs on him, and he has been on our "no matter what" list to see in concert whenever the next time was.  We even looked to see if he was doing something small locally when I was to be in Dublin last year.  Then, Rice's social media pages exploded in early September with both an album release date and a small tour schedule.  Unfortunately, he wasn't going to be coming to Texas, but NYC had a weekend date that was doable.  AC bought the concert tickets while we were at Walt Disney World, and we started to plan what else we might want to do while there for two days.  

We started the trip with a late brunch at this rooftop club called 230 Fifth.  AC had been there in the past for a work event and said the views were amazing.  As you can see from the picture, it was a beautiful Saturday.

After walking around through Central Park, attempting to get a picture of the Alice statue without other people's kids and failing, and a little shopping because I forgot to grab my coat and the temperature was to plummet overnight, we headed to the concert.

To say that seeing Damien Rice (and doing only that on this trip) would have been worth it would be a huge understatement.  We saw him at a crazy little club called The Box, and there were less than 300 people total.  I wish I had the exact numbers, because even 300 seems a bit high.  It was a very intimate concert, and almost everyone there was a fan of his, not just there for any show.  I was pleased and delighted that other than a few people calling out requests for their favorite songs, more people were shouting things like "just play."  The audience was starving to hear him, us included.

He played and sang beautifully, with a good mix of his older songs and some from the new album.  The most powerful part, to me, at least, was before singing "Trusty and True," he explained that the song "is about a million things," and specifically having some thing against someone else.  He talked about growing up in Ireland, and how the kids learn to hate the other religious groups just by the way their elders and those in authority act toward those who were not like them.  He shared as a child seeing an expensive car in the village, and he and his friends wanting to scratch it because "they must be Protestants...because Catholics didn't have money."  He said "you kind of grow up with ... this notion that you're supposed to hate that thing, and you think it's right, and ... it's totally innocent and it's not even yours; like, none of these thoughts really are any of ours, really if you look at them.  You think you are yourself, but you're not."  The song itself, when he played it, was beautiful and compelling.  He sang the lyrics "if all that you are is not all you desire, then come."  Then, he told the audience to sing along, repeating the words "come let yourself be wrong/ come, it's already begun" and I was hugely affected by it all.  I don't know if I would have felt the same had I not traveled to Ireland recently, seen where the horrors of the Irish fight for independence had happened within the last century, but I deeply understood the bridge he is trying to build with this song.  Here is a link to a video someone took of this song, plus the one before it.  All in all, it is in my top 3 of concert experiences.

Sunday morning we slept in, and then wandered through the street food near Harold Square, sampling from a variety of little shops.  We had afternoon tickets to see the show This is Our Youth, starring Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin.  It was be the first non-musical we had seen, and it was incredible.  I was amazed to learn that it was written in the 80s, because, based on my own experiences, the life of the "typical" slightly-affluent (read: middle to upper middle class) high school and early college student has changed very little.  And what was depicted in the play was not a good, happy life.  It was sad, comedically depressing, and unfocused on anything but the now.  Michael Cera did an excellent job playing the awkward kid he is always cast to play, but Kieran Culkin's performance of the minutely older, "wiser" 20-something was phenomenal.  The entire play takes place over the course of two days in Culkin's character's apartment (see picture below), and the only other character is Tavi Gevinson, who plays the attempted love-interest of Cera.  I was hesitant at seeing something that seemed so much smaller than the musicals we had seen in the past, but I shouldn't have been.  AC and I both walked away thinking, and appreciative of the job done on stage.

We finished up our short weekend dining at the Michelin-starred Indian restaurant Tamarind.  It was delicious.  I indulged on wheat naan that was the best I had ever had (and worth the allergic reaction afterward) and enjoyed a simple tikka masala that was splendid, anything but basic.  AC got something spicy, and we relaxed and enjoyed each other.  It was the perfect ending to our short trip.

In case you missed the first post ...
Next July, AC and I will celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary, and as such have been discussing what sort of big trip to take.  However, it occurred to me that we typically take some pretty big trips every year, sometimes as a tag-along when AC works, and sometimes just using all the points and miles he has amassed from his work travels.  I couldn't help but wonder if another trip would really be that special and different.  So, I came up with the idea that instead of just one more trip, we should take ten trips to celebrate our years together.  I told AC, and told him that it didn't have to be just him and me (because SC is also part of our lives, obviously), but that I wanted to take ten purposeful trips, that are focused on celebrating us (and our family) as much as we can.  I told him that they didn't all have to be long or complicated trips, though we had already talked about a few places that will be, and we can start now (in our tenth year) and run through the end of 2015 so that we didn't take too much time away from work.  So, hopefully, these ten trips will make this a celebratory year, one that will stand out for us as we look back (in another ten years).

TRIP #1: Universal Studios Florida & Walt Disney World
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