This summer has been one of changes and adjusting to new things. I graduated from college, moved away from home (and into a different time zone), moved in with my boyfriend, made a New York [back]stage debut, and prepared for my first year of graduate studies.
I graduated from UW-Milwaukee with a BA in Journalism, Advertising, and Media Studies with concentrations in Public Relations and Media Studies. Of course, I had to endure roughly 25 pages of research paper writing and an advertising portfolio review before this could be achieved – but I made it! Graduation was bittersweet because it marked the end of my time in Wisconsin and the beginning of my future in New York. I had already found out that I was accepted into my graduate program at NYU, so the next step was getting to New York…
June was crazy, to say the least. I began it by spending a week in New York apartment hunting with Gavin. We must have looked at over 20 apartments and walked over 70 blocks in the span of just a few hours. We fell in love with the last apartment we saw and threw in the towel! After signing some paperwork (AKA the largest lease agreement ever), we were renters! I flew back at the end of that week to start packing up my things.
Only two weeks later and I found myself back on a plane to NYC and ready to begin my new adventure. Gavin and I spent a very long day moving things out of his dorm and into our apartment and shopping for essentials at Bed Bath & Beyond (just a side note: always have a coupon). I could go on and on about our process of moving in and getting settled, but it’s not that thrilling. The only thing worthy of a story is when we found a dead cockroach amongst our piles of boxes (FUN!!!).
July was fun because Gavin and I were able to see so much live theater (mostly Off-Broadway) and feel more settled in at our cozy space. We live in a studio, so we’ve learned to respect each other’s space (for the most part!) and find out what’s actually essential to have (there’s absolutely no storage space). To kick off the month, we saw 2001: A Space Odyssey on the big screen, which made the film slightly better (I’m not the biggest fan of it).
In terms of theater, we saw this amazing new production called Here Lies Love at the Public Theater. There’s a chance that it’s going to be transferred to Broadway – so watch out for it and see it if you have the opportunity. It was an immersive performance, and I actually got to dance with one of the actors! We also saw two more immersive theater performances staged by Live IN Theater – The Ryan Case 1873 and The Lombardi Case 1975. Basically the performances were murder mysteries that the audience had to solve in teams. We ventured all over the Lower East Side and interviewed the “subjects” who helped us piece together the crime. It’s hard to pick out the coolest thing about this experience, but some of the highlights were interacting with the actors and learning about these real-life unsolved NYC crimes.
Gavin’s mom visited in July and we saw a few Broadway shows with her and were able to eat at some really great restaurants. We also saw a double feature of The Godfather and The Godfather Part II at BAM’s Harvey Theater. Talk about a long night! BAM’s Harvey Theater was really neat because it was previously a vaudeville theater turned movie palace that was abandoned for years before BAM decided to renovate it for their own use. The old facade that they kept is beautiful and really gives the space some character.
July also marked the month that I made my NYC [Back]Stage debut! I helped Gavin stage manage a dance piece by De Facto Dance performed to Sam Shepard’s Savage/Love. It was such a great experience and I truly can’t thank the company enough for inviting me to be involved with this superb production. Here is a link to a review of the show.
Also, I survived my first NYC heat wave.
August (birthday month!)
August started off with some birthday celebrations. Gavin got us tickets to see a dinner theater performance of Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812. It was technically brunch theater since we saw a matinee. The food was absolutely amazing and the show was terrific. The story is based off of a few storylines from the novel War and Peace and is transformed into an opera (no dialogue, just singing). It was just announced that there will be a cast recording – I highly recommend it!
I started my actual birthday with a ridiculously overpriced mani/pedi (at least it looked good!). Then Gavin and I went over to the David Burke Townhouse and ate a delicious lunch at a reduced price, courtesy of NYC Restaurant Week. I had my first legal drink (a sangria) and was ready for an afternoon nap. We then went down to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum and toured two actual apartments of early 20th century sweatshop workers. It was really interesting and I highly recommend a trip to this museum!
After that, we made our way over to the Landmark Sunshine Cinema to catch The Spectacular Now, starring Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley. I’m a sucker for teen-centric romance/comedy/drama movies, so this was right up my alley. It made me even happier to know that Gavin (a tough film critic) enjoyed it just as much as I did. After that, we went over to a movie theater in Chelsea to see the highly acclaimed Blue Jasmine. This movie lives up to all of the hype – GO SEE IT. I’m calling it right now – Cate Blanchett for Best Actress.
Since the day started so early, we decided to call it a night. We grabbed some burgers from Lucky’s and headed back home for the night. I was surprised when I got home to find that I had a birthday package waiting for me from my mom – thanks, Mom!
The next night, we saw Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. So many wonderful things! The show was great, the effects were magical, and Laura Osnes is a real-life princess. I could not have been happier seeing a show (except maybe South Pacific).
So all the above August details include just three days… So I’ll keep the rest brief! Gavin’s dad visited shortly after my birthday and we all went to see a live taping of America’s Got Talent. It was pretty cool because it was my first experience with a live TV taping. We saw the results show, so we didn’t get to see any of the actual talents. BUT we did get to see Jason Derulo perform, so I guess that’s pretty neat.
I went home to Wisconsin for about a week and half and it was super nice to get some time with my family and friends before classes begin. And of course I was able to spend time with my favorite pooch (duh). I also got to visit my brother in La Crosse, see where he lives, and meet his girlfriend. I also got to meet his furry new friend, Simba. He is TOO cute!! My mom and I were able to spend some time checking out some cute shops in La Crescent and Winona, which is always fun. And then my brother and his friend decided to buy me a few drinks (AKA they wanted to get me drunk) at their favorite bar, Top Shots. Luckily, there was no hangover for the drive home the next day.
And now, I’m back in NYC waiting for classes to begin. As I type this, I have a few more hours until my first meeting with my advisor. Graduate school feels more and more real everyday. There are some NYU Welcome Week activities I’m going to this week – hopefully I’ll have some updates to share about that. Until then, I hope you enjoyed reading about some of what I’ve been up to this summer!