The 1% of the One Percent: Snow, Lobster, and McMansions in Newport, RI

Last weekend Olivier and I celebrated our fifth anniversary (and my birthday, and his birthday, and Valentines Day…they’re ALL within a week of each other!) with a trip to Newport, Rhode Island — as I found out, it was founded in 1639 as a haven for Baptists fleeing religious prosecution. There we stayed at the Vanderbilt Grace:

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A Gilded Age hotel built by and once the home of Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, the residence was later transformed into a YMCA, then renovated into one of many historical Newport hotels for New England tourists who come to see the area’s beautifully preserved landmark buildings.

After nearly four hours first of train, then crawling 30mph on the highway through a snowstorm (with me, the Arizonan, as the driver, never having driven through snow in my life and nearly skidding out once on black ice) we were met at the hotel with two glasses of champagne and some sweet treats:

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We trekked through the snow (much more beautiful than the black ice and slush that quickly results from snow storms in New York):

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To get beer and lobster rolls at Brick Alley, a bar & restaurant right around the corner from our hotel. I have literally never eaten a roll with so much lobster…a generous cup full of meaty chunks, it must have been at least two lobsters’ worth…for less than $20 (in New York a roll half this size would cost $30):

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Completely stuffed, we called it a night. The next morning we woke and had a champagne brunch and headed out to the Vanderbilt Breakers mansion, now converted into a museum by the Preservation Society of Newport, who makes it their mission to care for the Gilded Age mansions:

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No photos alas were allowed inside the Breakers. But after we left, Olivier and I talked about what we saw. I make fun of Olivier for being a snobby Frenchman, so I was expecting him to be the one laughing at the silly Americans’ version of a “historical” site. But I was actually way less impressed than he was. For one, the architecture and design was a total ripoff: all of it was a mixture of Renaissance- style Italian palazzos mixed with 19th century French chateaux. Created by the son of the “Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt, who literally invented the American railroad, the house was intended to be a work of art. No doubt, it was beautiful…but it definitely wasn’t original, which to me is the opposite of art. The most original touches was in a sculpture fresco on the wall, where two cherubs had a railroad car running in the back in a nod to the family business).

70 rooms and 138,300 square feet, with walls covered in 18 to 24-carat gold leaf and…get this…platinum leaf (which was apparently just as expensive back in the day as it is today), it’s definitely an early McMansion. The one percent of the one percent. This was what really got me. When we reached the room of Gertrude Vanderbilt (who eventually became an artist and founded the Whitney Museum of Art in New York), we heard how she was devastated she was the day she realized she was a heiress (“no one would love me for who I am!”). Then later heard of how one Vanderbilt, who inherited $100 million in the mid-20th century and turned it into $200 million — an unheard-of fortune at the time — lamented what a “burden” it was for his kids to have so much money (“how could they possibly manage it all?!”). Then we learned how their fortunes quickly disappeared when the income tax was created in 1913, bringing the Gilded Age to an end and making families like the Vanderbilts much less wealthy.

While I know the family at some point gave to charity and created hospitals and art museums, clearly their giving was only a small portion of what they were earning given that simply creating a tax was enough to end their wealth. The hypocrisy was what really got me: we heard of “how religious” the family was, how they went to church every week and relied on their religion to get them through rough family tragedies — yet they clearly were keeping a whole lot of their wealth to themselves to build expensive Renaissance replicas. This is the problem with religion to me: it’s so easy to pick and choose what works for you and ignore what doesn’t.

Anyway, after a quick rant about the Vanderbilts, we took a walk outside, which Olivier and I agreed was our favorite part of the trip:

 

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That night, more delicious lobster and scallops at The Black Pearl (some of the best seafood I’ve ever had) and billiards at our hotel:

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Net-net: Definitely worth a long weekend. And maybe a re-visit for more fresh lobster and beach in the summer.

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My Favorite 30th Birthday Gift Didn’t Come in a Box

My 30th birthday has come and gone…and I am happy to report that I did not come out on the dark side with grey hair and a matching pantsuit from Talbots (while my mostly H&M-comprised wardrobe is nothing to brag about, seriously someone needs to slap me the day I buy my first geriatric sweater seat). In fact, my 30th birthday was like I took a time capsule off to a very near yet so distant time and place, where I was spoiled beyond my craziest teenage girl dreams.

The day started off normal (snow in the morning, gym, 9 hours in front of a screen)…but when I came home from work I was greeted with a scavenger hunt in the apartment created by my fiance Olivier…who was conspicuously missing from our home:

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Using little numbered posts he hand wrote himself (I think this is the second time in my life I’ve seen something he’s written that’s not in typeface) and with pictures he printed out himself at Duane Reade (forgive me but I wasn’t sure he could even find the toilet bowl cleaner there, much less the photo department…bravo!), he led me through every inch of our 500-square-foot apartment. (Got to give him major props alone for that…finding 30 hiding spots in an apartment our size takes some major creativity). From the kitchen, with a glass of champagne (YES, the beer was already there…no comment):

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To my favorite author:

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To our closet (including, sigh…roses?!):

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To our (now deceased) wall clock:

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To the bedroom:

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Featuring photos of friends:

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And lots of photos of the two of us, from when we met:

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To when we moved in together:

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To when we got engaged:

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At the end he told me to meet him at the Dream Hotel:

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Where he had reserved a room (YES, that’s the Empire State! doesn’t get old even when you’ve been here six years):

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He made reservations at Bouley (excuse me!) for dinner…a nine-course party in my mouth, starting with this sea urchin (that’s some random dried FRUIT skin it’s served in):

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If this is 30, I’ll take it!

Disclaimer: I know life is never always champagne and chocolates. But as I told Olivier when we met at the Dream Hotel, moments like these are a rare time capsule that spontaneously arrives in the most random instant, in an appearance so vivid I can feel it —  maybe the next time I taste sea urchin (OK…not so often, but it happens) or the next time I’m feeling down (yep, that happens). And, because there is no way to say it without sounding cheesy: Unlike Cartier earrings or a Louis Vuitton bag, these memories are what makes it easier to slug through long days at the office, and afternoons at the DMV, and all those other times we’d rather be just about anywhere else.

Snopocalypse 2014: NYC’s First Winter Storm of the Year, in Photos

What a way to ring in the New Year for an Arizonan native: No sooner had I come back to NYC from 70-degree weather from my trip to visit my parents in Tucson, Arizona that we had freezing temps and our first snow storm of the year. And not just any snow storm, we were warned. This beast, which forecasters named Hercules — that one, the adrenaline-junkie Greek god known for his giant…um… biceps? – was predicted to unleash fury on the northeast. Well below-freezing temps (we’re talking in the 20s for the high…and 3 for the low), high winds, six to eight inches of snow; Olivier and I just called it The “snowpocalypse”:

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When Hurricane Sandy hit the previous October, we went for a week without power (definitely minor compared to what happened to some on the east coast). But for someone used to weather mostly actually helping (the sun serving as power for air conditioning and hair driers) and not harming (rain and snow cutting power lines), it was challenging. Since my office on Houston was closed for the week, I edited my baby and sex content from my fiance Olivier’s hedge fund office in midtown (going to say I got more than one muffled laugh as his coworkers peeked at me editing content about cervical mucus over my shoulder), showering at the gym nearby (where there was a line just to get into the bathroom and people huddled near the electrical outlets to power their laptops and cellphones). In any case, we weren’t very prepared that time around, so we decided it wouldn’t hurt to stockpile some goods just in case this storm was as Herculean as we heard it might be:

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OK, we’re still figuring out this stockpiling thing.

Then we huddled up in bed under two layers of down comforters as the steam heaters hissed and waited for morning.

And what a morning it was! I have to say, I can definitely do without the nose-numbing temperatures and mucky brown snow slush the days following a snow storm. But the city sure is all the more beautiful the day after a big snow storm. I took my camera with me on my way to work, only a few short subway stops away from our apartment. It was great! Apparently most of New York decided to take a snow day, so the platforms and trains were empty (and including my office, where only about 50 of 500 people showed up):

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Shoveling out snow from the subway steps

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My work station!

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The view of Jersey and the Hudson River from my office

There you have it! Snopocalypse #1 of 2014, in photos.

6 Lessons from Planning My Tulum, Mexico Destination Wedding

I spent this past weekend with my fiancé and parents in Tulum, Mexico, checking out venues for our November 2014 wedding.

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Although I worked at TheKnot.com few years ago writing up “real weddings”, I remember very little advice I could actually use to plan my own – especially since I’m planning a destination wedding (The Knot is terrible for those). So I figured it wouldn’t hurt to share a few tips I learned from the first stages of planning our destination wedding. My biggest takeaways after our first big scouting trip:

1) Use a Google spreadsheet. Yep, it feels a bit like work…but Excel is the best way to compare costs across hotels, and doing it in Google meant I could share the doc with your fiance and parents, who can all edit it at the same time. We asked each hotel we were considering for a proposal (specific line items like reception/ceremony setup, food, drinks, etc.), then used one doc to compare per-person and per-hour costs (for dinner, open bar, DJ, etc.). While we figured the hotels probably didn’t include everything in their estimates, we got a feel for how specific items compared at each venue – which gave us a much better idea of which spots were overcharging and for what.

2) Stay at your top hotel picks. This seems like a no-brainer if you’re planning a destination wedding, but one hotel planner told us some couples don’t even visit the hotel before putting a down payment on their wedding! We found that you just can’t know some things until you visit: our top hotel pick looked great online, but the first night we stayed there we realized that besides ugly cracked paint and weather-worn wood, the bath mat (which we hadn’t yet touched) was covered in blood spots. Ew!

3) Take a walk. We went for a jog along the beach the first morning we were in Tulum and saw a few hotels that looked nice but weren’t on our list, and we would have otherwise missed them just driving by. We had emailed one of these hotels before our trip but nixed it because the reservations department took over two weeks to respond (not a great sign when you know you have to depend on them to arrange everything for you long-distance). But when we saw this same spot from the beach we knew we had to give it a second shot: it had gorgeous private townhomes, pretty white cabanas on the beach, the best cocktails we tasted in Tulum – and all at a similar cost of the other hotels we were considering. When we met with the hotel manager, he acknowledged that reservationist was not on top of his game and personally helped push our requests through to get a prompt new (and discounted!) quote on the rooms. It’s now #1 on our list.

4) Try the food. Our favorite hotel on paper had bland and boring food – not a great sign for the wedding reception (even if they’re hiring outside vendors to cater the meal). A cute hotel we hadn’t found in our online searches but saw on our morning jog ended up having the best food of any of the venues we tried…delicious fresh fish and spicy margaritas. It’s now #2 on our list.

5) Set deadlines. A lot of destination venues in the Caribbean are on island time: A colleague who married last June in Jamaica said that though she loved her hotel the planner rarely responded to her requests – so she ended up doing most of the arranging with vendors herself via email from New York. Asking for quotes on deadline is a good way to get a feel for how responsive the venue and planers are going to be when you’re 2,000 miles away and really need them – because if they can’t meet deadlines when they’re trying to sell you the hotel (or at least give you a reasonable estimate for when they can get back to you), they definitely won’t be there to help once you’ve already handed over a wad of cash.

6) Negotiate. Most venues assume you’re going to negotiate…so if you don’t you WILL overpay. You and your guests are bringing the hotel lots of extra revenue, not only because you’re booking a bunch (if not all) of their rooms for a minimum of three nights and paying for a pricey wedding party, but also because your guests will buy plenty of food/beverages the other days they’re there. That means the hotel will definitely give you a deal on the rooms you book if it means the difference between getting your business (or not). One hotel dropped their prices by 10% from the prices on their site the first time we emailed for an estimate and another 15% on our second request; the hotel manager verbally dropped the prices another 15% when we met with him.

And here were our top picks for boutique hotels in Tulum; they all range from ~$200-$400/night per room before negotiations:

1) Ana y Jose: A high-end, family-run hotel with cozy apartment-style rooms featuring air conditioning and a private Jacuzzi or pool.

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The hotel’s restaurant is one of the oldest in the area (sand on the floor makes it feel casual); it serves yummy Mayan bread with every meal of seafood-based, local cuisine. The beach is covered in perfect soft white sand.

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2) The Beach Hotel: Minimalist and modern; spacious. The “deluxe” rooms have a swim-up pool, an outdoor bathtub on the roof and an indoor Jacuzzi.

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The adjoining restaurant/bar has the best food in Tulum (and an awesome Xmas tree made out of wine bottles when we visited!).

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3) Hip Hotel: Owned by Ana y Jose, this hotel has more of a casual palapa-style feel; the rooms cost about 1/3 less. A wide-open, plaza-style restaurant overlooks the ocean and serves yummy casual Mexican food.

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4) El Pez: In Turtle Cove, a protected, quiet and private beach area surrounded by rocky cliffs, a casual Mexican-style hotel with a small pool and a big grassy lawn by the ocean.

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Lots of rocks in the beach (not great for swimming) and the paint is a bit worse for wear – but prices are totally reasonable so we’re figuring it’s a good overflow for guests who want to pay less.

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And our top pick outside of Tulum?

Le Reve hotel in Playa del Carmen:

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It has a beautiful, big, clean pool, a spacious outdoor restaurant with the best haut Mexican food (think really really yummy quesedillas, shrimp tacos, guac) we ate anywhere in Mexico.

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The only drawbacks were the location (it’s not within walking distance of any other places where guests could go out) and the beach (a bit more rocky than sandy). But it’s still high up on our list of hotels depending on what the other spaces can offer (we’re still working on learning to negotiation in Tulum…).

A Very Un-American Thanksgiving, New York-Style

Yesterday was one of the first times I haven’t eaten Thanksgiving dinner with my parents (the other being the year I spent teaching English in Paris, celebrating among other American teachers with a plate of spaghetti with canned red sauce and a glass of wine). This year instead of making the trip from New York all the way to Arizona (a brain-zapping 7-hours, with no direct flights), my fiancé Olivier and I decided to stick it out in New York and host our own – and first – Thanksgiving dinner together.

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My friends already had plans with their own families, but because Olivier is from Paris and he met most of his New York buddies as an international student at Columbia, we had our picking of “homeless” non-Americans who were stranded with a day off but nowhere to go…and no pumpkin pie to eat. So we decided to have our own version of a newcomer pilgrims’ feast: five Frenchies, one Indian, one Italian, one Chilean, one Moroccan, and one Arizonan (that would be me).

Like most things in New York, our kitchen is “cozy” (to use a common euphemism) – if you raise your arms you reach the walls elbow-to-elbow in width and arm-to-arm in depth. Features include: no dishwasher, 12 square inches of countertop, a four-burner gas stove that’s about 50 degrees off, and a microwave lightning machine that rattles when it gets to hot and literally lights up inside with fiery white bolts of energy (yeah, we should get that checked out).

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Given the conditions and my limited experience cooking Thanksgiving dinner, I decided to do what any good New Yorker does in times of culinary crisis: have someone else do the cooking. We ordered a “pre-cooked” bird online from Whole Foods and picked it up Thanksgiving eve, along with cheese (didn’t want to chance a riot by depriving the Frenchies of a meal without their national food) and ingredients to make homemade cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.

When we got home that night I got to making the latter two. Turns out cranberry sauce is harder than I thought – even though it only requires boiling the berries with water and sugar, I bought two different sizes of cranberry packages but followed the instructions for just one of them, so the result was a bit overly sweet and watery (I got lucky – cranberries aren’t really grown outside of the US, so no one at our dinner table knew any better). The pies, on the other hand, turned out perfect – gooey and with just the right amount of spice and sweet, even though I had to improvise with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves in place of pumpkin pie spice (I got lucky, improvising usually doesn’t work out too well when you’re baking).

My biggest fear was our Thanksgiving turkey, which needed to be oven-heated for two hours before it would be ready to eat. At 12 pounds it was going to be a tough fit in our pint-sized oven: its foil pan only fit in one direction…and then only when we folded up the sides. But in the end, it fit!

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I have to admit I was proud we started preparations for our feast the night before, because we avoided my usual last-minute panic to prepare (the last time I hosted a “formal” event at our apartment – book club for a few girlfriends over the summer – I decided the apartment needed a scrub-down after I got home at 6:30 but before the guests came over at 8, which resulted in answering the door with fat sweat stains down my back and the first guest setting out most of the food for me while I scrambled to finish wiping down the bathroom sink).

This time the timing was just right. As our friends arrived we drank wine, munched on crackers, cheese, mixed nuts, and olives, and talked. Guests commented on our artwork and instruments (all Olivier…though he works in finance he’s always singing or painting or coding on the weekends). We laughed about how Frenchies ruin Thanksgiving for Americans living abroad. You can’t buy cranberries or stuffing in Paris. A friend accidentally ordered a GIANT 12-kilo (that’s ~30 pounds!) turkey when she meant to order 12 pounds, and when she couldn’t even fit it in the oven the typically French grocer refused to let her return it. Another friend asked the butcher to stuff her turkey and ended up with one filled with foie gras that set her back several hundred Euros. Then in a couple of hours we sat down to dinner:Image

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Yep, that’s a piano bench and two fold-out chairs. But despite our inept space and the roaring steam heaters drowning out parts of the conversation, we still popped champagne and stuffed our faces with turkey, potatoes, and pie. And even though I did miss my family, it will probably remain one of my most vivid memories of Thanksgiving for life.

The Atlantic & Slate Ask: Are Women Changing Men? Yes We Are!

The Atlantic magazine’s December 2013 issue is causing a sh**storm in media land for an article on “how women change men.” According to a number of recent studies, having women around changes how men behave and perceive the world. Slate XX cites this article and goes on to question and lament the fact that there aren’t studies on the reverse, how men change women. Jezebel takes this even further, saying: “It’s troubling that this happens: it reveals the way in which we construct our understanding of reality around maleness as a neutral value. The scientific discourse of “men change around women!” both reflects and reinforces this value system.”

Whoa there — Slate and Jezebel are awesome, but sometimes it feels like their writers get caught up being defensive. I personally don’t think that men in general are “programmed” to hold women down, and I don’t think it’s worth freaking out that maleness is the “neutral value”. It might be the reality, but it is changing — and not because we’re all screaming about it. Instead, break down a few points in the Atlantic article and what they might mean:

1) Male CEOs with first-born daughters are more likely to give employees (especially women) raises, and men with daughters are more likely to become less attached to typical gender roles: Maybe by having an invested role in shaping your child’s wellbeing, you start to become more aware of factors that oppress and challenge their path to success. So either consciously or subconsciously, you make an effort to change what you can in the environment you can control — in this case, roles for other females in the company you run.

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2) Men with stay-at home wives are more likely to believe in typical gender roles: Um, duh? It’s chicken and egg — many guys with stay-at-home wives probably decided long ago that’s what they wanted, and they sought out a gal who also wanted to fulfill traditional roles at home. In many ways we just mimic what we grew up with…and if we were raised in a traditional home we’re likely to follow that path in our lives. Education and exposure to other ways of living is the one big factor that can change these values.

3) Men who switch from a male-dominated to female-dominated career are more likely to be egalitarian at home: Yes! Exactly my point above. If you’re a man (or for that matter a woman) who grew up in a home where your mom wasn’t working and catered to your father’s needs, that’s all you know and expect. But by being around working women who are smart, motivated, determined and successful only opens up your mind and maybe changes your perceptions about what women are capable of doing.

4) Women who out-earn their husbands actually do a larger share of housework than their partners: Maybe these ladies are just more motivated to begin with, and their partners are lazy…that’s why they out-earn their men in the first place? I kid (well, sort of)! Other studies have found that in couples where both the man and the woman work, the woman still ends up taking on a greater portion of the childcare and housework. Honestly I can think of a few reasons besides the fact that men are lazy or stuck in 1950s-style traditional roles in the home. Maybe their moms did most of the childcare/housework. That was their model, and they just copy it because that’s what they know. What’s more, so many of us women have such high expectations and are so hard on ourselves that we don’t want to ask our partners to take a greater share in the housework. I’m guilty too: my fiance is still getting used to the idea of sharing dish duty and grocery shopping with me (his mom did ALL the housework, my parents roughly split it). But we’re working on it. So more of us women need to toss aside the sponge and talk to our partners. They might be more willing to help than we ever gave them credit for.

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5) Why are there so many studies on how women change men and not the reverse? One big possibility: Way fewer women are studying and working in science than men. So if way more guys are designing these studies in the first place, no wonder they’re always from a male perspective!

I think this goes back to my thoughts in a blog on women in science careers: Society is built on traditions, and we learn how to behave and understand the world by what we experience in our daily lives. So the more of us women who go out into the world and kick ass at our jobs, the more of us who expect that our partners respect us and take on equal roles in the home, the more of us who choose to go into science-based careers (and study how men change women!), the more women who demand raises and recognition for good work at our jobs, the more change we’ll see. Gender roles, after all, are similar to race — and the effects of exposure their have been studied at length: In the first six months of life, babies learn to build a preference for and an ability to understand the features of a specific race and not others because they’re exposed to it all the time — but at the same time, young kids who are exposed to multiple races are more capable of understanding more races. I believe that the same kind of thinking goes for any type of exposure… so being around more strong women can only evolve things.

Back to the original question: are women changing men? Hell yes we are, and it’s something to be proud of! Between 1970 and 2011, the number of women in the workforce has tripled, and women’s salaries rose from 62% to 82% of men’s, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s something to celebrate — and keep working to improve.

James Franco’s #1 Fans @ “The Reflektors” Concert

Arcade Fire was in town Saturday night playing a “surprise” off-the-tour concert in Bushwick. Tickets went on sale earlier in the week for $45 and sold out minutes later, only to be resold on StubHub for $200 up to, rumor has it, $5,000 (as lead singer Win Butler later said at the show, if you had $5K to spend on tickets he has a nonprofit for Haiti, if anyone wanted to donate…). While I can’t say that I’ve never spent money on stupid stuff that make me happy ($500 for a bag I just HAVE to have even though the $$ comes out of my nonexistent New York “savings”? no problem!), I’m not particularly game for paying $200 for 1.5 hours of live music…especially since $150+ of that was going to scalpers. Or that’s what I told Olivier when he pinged me on GChat at 3pm Friday, definitley looking for someone to talk him off the concert cliff. But in the end, he took the plunge and bought the tickets, and we began our preparations Saturday afternoon to go to what the site advertised as a “dress-up/costumed” concert by “The Reflektors“. Did someone say costumes? Sorry, I love Arcade Fire…but this $200-a-ticket concert just got a WHOLE lot better:

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Yup that’s us, Halloween circa 2009.

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And 2011, as Little Red and the Big Bad Wolf.

So how could we possibly do a “Reflektors” “costume concert” justice? We discussed 20s-style suit/tie/dress with masks, like the band wore in their latest promotional video. Not really “us.” Then, joking about how James Franco *might* be there (I’m kind of in love even if he just *might* be interested in men and not women…and he showed up in their 22-minute long tongue-in-cheek Reflektors SNL skit), it came to us. We’d both wear these (depending on which way he swings if he didn’t pick one of us, he’d for SURE pick the other):

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Costumes? Check.

After downing a stiff Jack and Coke, we decided to take the subway from Chelsea to Bushwick. Olivier insisted we wear our costumes (signs and all) on the walk down 6th avenue to the L stop. While I’m all for dressing up with friends, it’s another thing to wear full-on costumes on the street on a random night. My inner introvert almost convinced me leaving the signs at home…but I sucked it up and we walked out the door.

I should have known. It’s a sign you’re in New York when people don’t look twice (or, rather, pretend not to look) at your giant Alpaca-fur hats and neon pink-and-orange xoxoxoxoxs #JamesFrancoIsHot fan posters. Is it totally un-PC to say I felt — just for a moment — what it must be like to be a mentally-unstable street person? When we got to Bushwick, we stopped for food.  More out-of-the-corner-of-my-eye (but I’m too cool to stare at you) looks.

Just eatin my pizza.

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At the warehouse, the line wound around the street with banana suits, ballgowns, suits & ties. But I think the level of craziness of our “costumes” stole the show (yes, pre-concert Arcade Fire, the show is all about the costumes). But what more appropriate for a Grammy award-winning band that goes by a code name for a concert in a dumpy Brooklyn warehouse, dresses in bunny suits, and buddies up with Michael Cera and Zach Galifianakis?  The couples behind and in front of us went to a nearby liquor store and bought us all beers. When we finally popped the bottles and were drinking from our paper bags (do you sense a theme to this post?) quietly on the side of the dark street, three cops popped from behind a car and grabbed the group in front of us, confiscating their brews and walking them to their patrol cars (how Olivier and I were not their drunk tank targets amazes me). For what. To protect the kiddos who shouldn’t be out at 10pm anyway from seeing a couple of adults with beers? In France, where Olivier is from, drinking outside is TOTALLY LEGAL. The rationale behind this puritan American law reminds me of one of my parents’ favorite reasonings for telling me “no”: “Because we said so.” In any case,  tossed our 40-ouncers and piled into the 90+ degrees humid concert hall, shook our maracas (oh yes, we both had a pair of those too) and DANCED. And not caring if anyone was looking felt…GREAT:

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