Friday, February 15, 2008

What's Up Doc? It's Valentine's Day

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day…it fell on a Thursday this year which meant: I was off from work.

The day started off quiet and slow. Which was perfect. Antuan and I got up and made breakfast…bacon, eggs, pancakes, etc. and then we headed down to Columbus Circle. At almost 1pm, Broadway powerhouse, Idina Menzel, signed copies of her new CD: I Stand. We waited in line for a little bit and I had the opportunity to meet her. It was a quick hello and autograph but I got to express my support and gratitude for her music.

Antuan was really just there for me. He snapped pictures. (I'll add them soon)

Afterwards we got back on the train and went down to the neighborhood of Chelsea (23rd street on the west side of the island of Manhattan). For Valentine’s Day they were showing the 1970’s screwball comedy, What’s Up Doc? on the big screen. We didn’t have major Valentine’s plans…so a movie from before either of us was even born fit the bill just fine.

We got tickets to the 7pm show and then carried on with our day.

That meant…Antuan’s Valentine’s gift to me…are you ready for it?


That says it all, right?

I’d …never…experienced the ‘magic’ that is Build-a-Bear. The world’s largest store resides right here in NYC just off 5th Avenue.

Antuan had been years ago and has a stuffed Koala named Kendall to prove it.

I’d browsed through the one in the Westchester Mall in White Plains and I have to admit, it’s a little creepy. Yep, it creeped me out. All these teddy bear skins laid out in bins.

Before I knew it…I was swept away and building my own bear.

There’s a whole ceremony as your bear is being…filled (again, a little creepy) with cotton stuffing. Antuan let the staff know that he wanted me to have the FULL experience. After the bear was stuffed, I got to choose a satin red heart that would go inside the bear before it was sewn shut. I had to rub the heart in my hands to “warm it” then rub it on my cheeks so it would be “cute like me”…rub the heart of my head so it would “always know that it was loved”…you get the picture.

I did it all.

45 minutes later I walked out with my bear (being denied the bear’s birth certificate because I couldn’t think of a name on the spot).

We headed back uptown to Antuan’s apartment, first making a stop at a local fish market. Seafood straight from the sea…literally. We were going to make dinner. We didn’t know what – but we were going to make it.

And we did.

We got shrimp and they steamed it on the premises and then we went home and sautéed it. We didn’t know exactly what we were doing but it was a delicious adventure.

After the dinner and a quick nap we were heading back downtown to see the movie. I know it line for line but it was still a lot of fun knowing that a funny line coming would crack Antuan up – and it usually did.

As we traveled to the movie I continued to kick around names for the bear…Chandler…Mark…whatever came to me.

As we came out of the subway I saw a sign for a restaurant named Porter’s. Porter was one of the names I’d picked out of the air just after we’d left Build-a-Bear earlier in the day.

As the movie began and Barbra Streisand sings You’re the Top over the film’s opening credits, I noticed that the song was written by Cole Porter.

Double confirmation.

The bear’s name is Porter.

And I love him.

Broadway diva turned recording artist, Idina Menzel, signing at the Borders in Columbus Circle...and the world's LARGEST Build-a-Bear workshop on 5th Avenue.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Back to Songwriting...

Elizabeth came over tonight

I was finally about to give her both her birthday (October ‘07) and Christmas (December ’07) presents.

We got up a bit and then started to the business at hand.


She started playing a new song (as yet still untitled) and I started arranging, writing and re-arranging lyrics.

It’s a lot of fun getting into a groove with her. She knows where she wants the song to go and I get to help her get there.

I always approach a song as a story. What happened before the first verse? What’s happening during the song? What will happen after the song is over?

I look for a through line…a story. Then we hang the lyrics on that.

For some people that makes no sense…for me, it’s one of the best ways to spend an evening.