Category Archives: New York City

Pride Book Review

For over 200 years, the unexpected courtship and hate turned to love relationship between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice has thrilled readers.

Ibi Zoboi is one of the newest writers to update Pride and Prejudice to the modern era. This year, she published Pride, set in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick.

Zuri Benitez has lived in Bushwick her entire life. The second of five daughters of Afro-Caribbean parents, Zuri is proud of her neighborhood, her family and her heritage. But her neighborhood is changing. The Darcys have just moved across the street from Zuri and her family.  They have purchased and renovated what was a rundown building and have two teenage sons. Zuri’s elder sister, Janae starts dating Ainsley Darcy, but Zuri develops an immediate dislike for Darius Darcy. Will they ever get along and find common ground or are they destined to hate each other?

I really and truly enjoyed this book. It still felt like Pride and Prejudice, but felt modern at the same time. Though the book is set in modern-day Bushwick, I could still hear Jane’s voice as a writer. When adapting Pride and Prejudice or any other classic novel for the modern era, some writers are unable to keep of the voice of the original writer while adapting the story and the characters. Ms. Zoboi is able to balance the world of her characters with the narratives and characters that Jane Austen fans know and love.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Jane Austen, New York City, Pride and Prejudice

Will & Grace Character Review: Vince D’Angelo

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Will & Grace. Read at your own risk if you have not watched either the previous series or the new series. For the purpose of this post, I am only referring the narratives in the original series, not the reboot.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Will & Grace to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

When it comes to love, fate often sends us the right person when we are not looking for them. In Will & Grace, the right person for Will Truman (Eric McCormack) is Vince D’Angelo (Bobby Cannavale). They meet when Will is giving Karen Walker (Megan Mullally) driving lessons and Vince, who is a cop, pulls them over for speeding. When Will notices that the ticket was not signed, he goes to court to have it thrown out. Vince is also in the courtroom and after exchanging names, both realize friends have been trying to set them up for a while. While Will has had other boyfriends since his breakup with Michael at the beginning of the first series, Vince is the first guy Will seriously went out with.

Despite the initial impression of the macho Italian-American New York City cop, Vince is really a softie. He is a romantic, enjoys crafting in his free time and is conscious about about making sure that his hair and skin are flawless. Though Will and Vince had their ups and downs, they eventually settled down into a happy marriage.

To sum it up: Love comes for Will Truman when he least expects it. While Vince has his imperfections like the rest of us, he is the right person for Will. When creating a love story, sometimes the writer has to let fate guide their character to their other half. It may take some time, but hopefully, the character will be able to see that this is the person they are meant to be with.

This ends my character review for Will & Grace. The new group of characters I will be reviewing is….you will have to come back next week.

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Will & Grace Character Review: Leo Markus

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Will & Grace. Read at your own risk if you have not watched either the previous series or the new series. For the purpose of this post, I am only referring the narratives in the original series, not the reboot.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Will & Grace to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

It’s not easy dating, especially when you live in a city that millions call home. But then fate rears its head and that special someone enters your life. In Will & Grace, that special someone for Grace (Debra Messing) is Leo Markus (Harry Connick Jr.). After years of so-so dates and boyfriends that were not the greatest, Leo is the perfect guy for Grace.

Leo is a Jewish Doctor (aka every Jewish mother’s ideal mate for their child). He is handsome, funny, charming and is willing to put up with Grace’s craziness. But Leo, like anyone of us, imperfect. He cheated on Grace with a colleague, effectively ending their marriage. After a brief time apart (and a short visit to the mile high club), Leo and Grace got back together and found their own happily ever after.

To sum it up: A good romance contains barriers to the potential couple’s happily ever after. Whether that is a physical barrier or an emotional barrier, something has to keep them apart. Though Leo is the romantic lead, he has a humanity to him, which not only makes him endearing to Grace, but to the audience.

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We Are Going to Be Lucky A World War II Love Story in Letters Book Review

If we are lucky, we find the person whom not only makes us happy, but whom we will hopefully spend the rest of our lives with.

In the new book, We Are Going to Be Lucky A World War II Love Story in Letters, Lenny and Diana Miller were both first generation Jewish Americans who met and married just as World War II was starting to heat up. The book is a series of letters compiled by their daughter, Elizabeth L. Fox. Both born in New York City, both Lenny and Diana’s parents were Eastern European Jews who immigrated to America at the turn of the 20th century.

After they married, Lenny, like many young men of his generation, joined the Armed Forces.  While Lenny was in the army, he and Diana communicated through letters. While Lenny wrote about his life in the military, Diana kept her husband abreast from news at home, especially the news regarding the birth of their daughter. After returning from the war, Lenny and Diana had a son and remained married until he died in 1990.

This book is absolutely fascinating. It illuminates the daily life of an ordinary couple who kept their love alive with the war going on, knowing that at any moment, Lenny might have given his life for his country.

I recommend it.

 

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New Amsterdam Review

Anyone who has ever been in a management position can attest that a good part of their daily workload includes putting out figurative fires.

In the new NBC show, New Amsterdam, Dr. Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold) is the new medical director of the fictional New Amsterdam hospital in New York City. New Amsterdam hospital is one of the oldest public hospitals in the country. He believes that treatment of patients comes before billing, which might not sit well with upper management. While he is juggling his new job, Max is dealing with his own health issues and the upcoming birth of his first child.

I really enjoyed the first episode. The writing, acting and pacing of the episode was just right. The show, for me, at least also highlighted that the medical industry has partially lost its way.  Patients come second, billing comes first.

I recommend it.

New Amsterdam airs 10pm on Tuesday night on NBC.

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Thoughts On The 20th Season Of Law & Order: SVU

On September 20th, 1999, a new crime drama was added to the NBC lineup. It’s name was Law & Order SVU.

It was an offshoot of Law & Order. But instead of focusing on crime in general, the focus of the show are victims of sexual crimes.

On Thursday, SVU will start off its 20th season, making it the longest running drama in television history.

I’ve been a fan of SVU from nearly the beginning of the run of the show. Most shows, if they are lucky, run out of steam perhaps five or six years after their premiere. The fact that SVU is still going strong 19 years later says something. Not only is the writing and acting absolutely still fantastic after all of these years, but it still speaks to audiences. The show has broken barriers, created conversations and allowed us as a culture to talk about topics that must be discussed, but are often avoided.

After all of these years, nothing gives me a high like the opening theme song.

Here is the 20th season and many more seasons to come.

The new season of Law & Order: SVU premieres this Thursday, September 27th and 9PM. 

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Thoughts On The 20th Anniversary Of Will & Grace

20 years ago today, an auspicious television series made it’s debut.

Will & Grace is the story of two best friends sharing a New York City apartment. Will Truman (Eric McCormack) is a gay lawyer. Grace Adler (Debra Messing) is a straight interior designer. Joined at the hip since college, Will and Grace are each other’s other half. Joined by Will’s wacky constantly out of work actor friend, Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes) and Grace’s always buzzed assistant/socialite Karen Walker (Megan Mullally), this foursome has become an icon of modern television.

What the audience did not know is while they were laughing, they were also being educated about the LGBTQ community. Before Will & Grace, gay characters were often stereotypes or side characters who were not given the opportunity to shine. Will & Grace opened hearts, minds and helped to lead the way for many of gains that the LGBTQ community has made over the last two decades.

I have been a fan of Will & Grace from nearly the beginning. It has made me laugh, it has made me cry and most of all, it has made me think.

Happy 20th anniversary, Will & Grace!

 

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Will & Grace Character Review: Rosario Salazar

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Will & Grace. Read at your own risk if you have not watched either the previous series or the new series.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Will & Grace to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Many times, when a maid or a servant (especially a maid or a servant of color) is portrayed, they are subservient and quietly going along with the instructions of their employer. They also sometimes portrayed as unintelligent or too close to the stereotype. But Rosario Salazar (Shelly Morrison) is different. She is Karen Walker’s (Megan Mullally) maid and Jack McFarland’s (Sean Hayes) ex-wife. The best thing about Rosario is that whatever Karen dishes out, she can give it back ten fold.

But, the relationship between Karen and Rosario is completely adversarial. There is an underlying symbiotic relationship/friendship that balances out the moments when Karen and Rosario are in each other’s faces. When Rosario died in the first season of the reboot, it was a heartbreaking loss that was palpable to anyone who was watching.

To sum it up: When a writer takes a stereotype and knocks it on the head, it’s a challenge. It’s a challenge not just for the writer to go beyond the stereotype, but the reader or the audience member to shift their expectations of the character. In a sense, Rosario was the typical maid of color who works for a Caucasian woman. But, she was not subservient, could give it as much as she took and it, and in the end had a deep emotional connection with her employer. That is why Rosario Salazar is beloved by the fans of Will & Grace.

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Will & Grace Character Review: Karen Walker

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Will & Grace. Read at your own risk if you have not watched either the previous series or the new series.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Will & Grace to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

For every main character, there is a supporting character. Sometimes, this character is the zany and not all there sometimes, but they are just as important to the narrative as the main character. In the world of Will & Grace, this character is Karen Walker (Megan Mullally). Karen is Grace Adler’s (Debra Messing) “assistant”. Though truth be told, Grace uses Karen more for her contacts among New York City’s elite rather than her abilities in assisting Grace in the running of her business. Karen is more interested in shopping and her extensive collection of alcohol and pills rather than getting work done. Her often spoken of obese and mega-wealthy husband, Stan is heard, but never fully seen.

Karen takes great pleasure in mocking Grace for whatever she sees as an easy target. She also has a very interesting relationship with Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes) that is often symbiotic and mocks Will (Eric McCormack) as much as she mocks Grace. But underneath all that, Karen is there for her friends, through thick and thin.

To sum it up: While the supporting character is not given as much of the spotlight as the main character, it is important for the writer to give him or her their due. Karen works as a supporting character because not only is she the yin to Grace’s yang, but she also has enough of a back story to be a fully fleshed out character. Without that due and that fleshing out by the writers, Karen Walker would be just another flat supporting character that is neither seen or appreciated by the audience or reader.

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Today Is 9/12

Today is 9/12. In New York City, it was foggy, wet and a perfect Netflix and chill day, if it was a weekend.

Yesterday was 9/11. For a short time, many of us stopped and remembered the nearly 3000 innocent souls whose lives were taken so unnecessarily.

As I walked around lower Manhattan this morning, I kept thinking that it felt like an ordinary day. People were going to work, to school and just going about their daily business.

And yet it wasn’t. 9/11 still surrounds the area. It’s akin to a somber blanket that both comforting and mournful at the same time.

The city, like her residents are not known for staying down for long. No matter what happens, we find a way to slog through, no matter how difficult it is.

9/12 is a reminder of that. Today is 9/12.

 

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