Author Archive

The Karpovsky Variations: A Brilliant, Engaging and Haunting Study in Family Relations

Playing through the end of the month, Adam Kraar’s is a study in family relations. The off-Broadway play makes its world premiere courtesy of Boomerang Theatre Company.

Courtesy Boomerang Theatre Company

Julia Karpovsky’s father Lawrence is brilliant and talented. Living away from his family, somewhere across the globe, with his daughter Julia and a very absent mother, he is always on a plane or smoking a pipe to seemingly hide from something, Laurence is struggling with his wife and also having difficulty establishing a relationship with Julia. His brothers, Barry and Harold, live in the US and have welcomed Julia into their complicated lives as she moves to the United States for school.

Photo by Isaiah Tanenbaum Theatrica

Growing up among her eccentric and disparate relatives, Julia navigates her way through a family with a missing piece and a father who has walked back from his musicality to a life of running from country to country as a journalist. She, herself, is trying to find herself as a musician, linking her clarinet play to elusive notes connected with Jewish melodies that she heard her father play when she was a child. We see her evolve from a child to an adolescent all in the opening scene, leading to her transformation as a “wandering Jew,” unsure of how she fits in.

Photo by Isaiah Tanenbaum Theatrica

The play runs for 120 minutes with a short 10-minute intermission and switches back and forth in time periods, not unlike many of our favorite television shows today such as This Is Us. The matriarch of the family, Great Momma Rose, appears both in real time and in after-death flashbacks as a symbol of what the Karpovsky family was and could be in different times. A fascinating glimpse into the search for connection with people and through music, the play traces the Karpovskys’ encounters at airport lounges over two decades as they improvise what it means to be a family, bringing kugel to share along with tales of disappointments and problems.

Playwright Adam Kraar creates stories about cross-cultural clashes and connections, including works about American families in Asia, the Civil Rights Movement, and quixotic rebels who challenge societal boundaries. Adam’s plays have been developed and/or produced at Primary Stages, The Public Theatre, Theater for the New City, Theatreworks U.S.A., The New Group, N.Y. Theatre Workshop, Cherry Lane, LaMama, Stella Adler Studio, Geva Theatre, and many others.

The talented ensemble includes:

Photo by Isaiah Tanenbaum Theatrica

Ezra Barnes as Lawrence Karpovsky has performed in many off-Broadway shows including Queen, Breakfast with Mugabe, Transparent Falsehood, To Kill a Mockingbird in White, America English Bride, The Miser and Richard II.

Photo by Isaiah Tanenbaum Theatrica

Like her character Julia Karpovsky, Rivka Borek is a third culture kid, growing up in Hong Kong and London before moving to America at 15. She has been seen in Off-Broadway in Love’s Labour’s Lost and in regional productions including Hamlet; Sense and Sensibility, Oh Gastronomy! , Shrew, and Romeo and Juliet.

Photo by Isaiah Tanenbaum Theatrica

Barbara Broughton, Great Momma Rose, is familiar to New York theater audiences from Sunday in The Park with George and Music Music on Broadway and off-Broadway in Grey Gardens and A Little Night Music.

Photo by Isaiah Tanenbaum Theatrica

J. Anthony Crane, Barry Karpovsky, has played in NYC on Broadway in The Country House, Sight Unseen, Butley and The Winslow Boy and is familiar from TV’s Succession.

Photo by Isaiah Tanenbaum Theatrica

Michelle Liu Coughlin, Maxine, is an actress, singer, and producer. Michelle toured with Lincoln Center’s Tony-winning revival of The King and I and has worked extensively in New York and regional theatre including City Center, Playwrights Horizons, and York Theatre.

Photo by Isaiah Tanenbaum Theatrica

Chris Thorn plays Harold Karpovsky and has been seen on Broadway in Bernhardt/Hamlet and Off-Broadway in Pride and Prejudice and Twelfth Night.

Tickets are available at Boomerang Theatre Company Presents: The Karpovsky Variations – Events ( with the last performance scheduled for Sunday, May 29 at The Jeffrey and Paula Gural Theatre at A.R.T./NY , 502 West 53rd Street, New York, New York.

The Parrish Art Museum Welcomes Summer with a Host of Events and New Exhibits

If you missed the Parrish Art Museum’s exclusive Spring Fling event this month, don’t fret, there’s much more to come from Southampton’s beautiful art museum.

Two Forks & a Cork Courtesy Parrish Art Museum

Resuming with the May 14, Two Forks & a Cork event, patrons can enjoy tastings of dishes from some of The East End’s best food purveyors and restaurants along with wines and spirits from seven North Fork and Hamptons vineyards. Participating restaurants include Lunch, Golden Pear and The Cheese Shoppe. Vineyards showing off their new releases along with their classics include RG l NY, Macari, Channing Daughters, Kontakosta, Paumanok and Palmer. Twin Sills Moonshine will provide a spicy note to the evening with live jazz music by a live jazz for this favorite, convivial event, happily back in person this season. More information is available at

Two new exhibits are planned for the summer:

Art of Changes: Jasper Johns Prints, 1960–2018 © Gary Mamay

Through July 11, Art of Changes: Jasper Johns Prints, 1960–2018 shows some 90 works by the renowned American painter and graphic artist over six decades of printmaking. The exhibit highlights the artist’s experiments with familiar, abstract and personal imagery and honors the artist’s 91st birthday. Structured in four thematic sections, this survey features pieces in intaglio, lithography, woodcut, linoleum cut, screen printing, and lead relief. The exhibition shows the artist’s revision and recycling of key motifs familiar in his oeuvres: the American flag, numerals and the alphabet.

The museum is also showing a film with a talk about Jasper Johns on June 17.

Leilah Babirye Nakatiiti from the Kuchu Grasshopper Clan - Courtesy Parrish Art Museum

Opening May 22 and showing through July 24, Set It Off brings together six artists whose works engage the monumental, the site-specific, or the immersive. The exhibit is curated by Racquel Chevremont and Mickalene Thomas, know together as Deux Femmes Noires. The exhibit brings together work by Leilah Babirye, Torkwase Dyson, February James, Karyn Olivier, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, and Kennedy Yanko. The works shown often combine multiple elements of paintings, sculpture, installation, sound, and language.

Other events:

On June 11 and 21, the museum will feature a garden design symposium, Landscape Pleasures, with exclusive tours of Hamptons Gardens.

Detail of Jennifer Bartlett, At Sands Point #16, 1985-1986 Courtesy Parrish Art Museum

If you join the museum, you’re always guaranteed free admission with priority status for previews and tours of exhibits.

Ways to Honor New York City’s Asian-American Community During Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

This month honors the achievements of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States and recognizes the struggles from the pandemic and the overt demonstrations of hatred and anti-Asian sentiment that have plagued the AAPI community.

You can start by showing your support by frequenting the Asian and Pacific communities in New York City and helping their businesses stay alive: Chinatown in Manhattan, Chinatown in Sunset Park in Brooklyn, Chinatown in Flushing in Queens, and Koreatown in Manhattan, for example. That’s a very good beginning – these neighborhoods have a high concentration of AAPI businesses with a myriad of restaurants, shops and more, all ready to give you an immersive Asian experience with authenticity.

Chinatown © Lee Snider

Outside of these areas, there are many options in other parts of the city where you can also partake in the AAPI experience. Show your support of NYC’s rich “melting pot” by patronizing local businesses and cultural events and volunteering to help those in need.

Let’s recognize the history, culture and achievements of this community and make a statement that shows our unity.

Support the Arts

Courtesy New York Public Library

The New York Public Library is celebrating the month with storytelling, movies, origami classes, online book discussions and age-appropriate curated reading lists.

Eva Chen at 92Y © Michael Priest Photography

The 92nd Street Y shares a selection of archived free talks and new online and in-person events featuring luminaries from the worlds of culture, politics, activism and literature. Notable on the schedule are online programs from Helen Kim and Noah Leavitt, authors of Jewasian about America’s newest Jews; and a both online and in-person conversation with Eric Kim about what it means to be Korean-American.

Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company © Andy Chiang

Blending Chinese traditional and American modern dance, New Jersey-based Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company was founded by late Taiwanese choreographer Nai-Ni. Tickets for the May 21 performance celebrating the legacy of Nai-Ni Chen and “The Year of the Water Tiger” at New Jersey Performing Arts Center are available at Ticketmaster for the Victoria Theater Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Stage.

NuWorks Courtesy Pan Asian Repertory Theatre

Currently completing performances of “Citizen Wong,” a new play inspired by the life and times of U.S. Gilded Age social rights activities Wong Chin Foo, the 45-year-old Pan Asian Repertory Theatre is a member of the National Asian Artists Project which promotes access for Asian American artists. Starting in June, the company’s “NuWorks” is an experimental series of self-created works from innovative artists, exploring an eclectic range of genres and techniques using poetry, text, dance and music.

Support the Businesses that Reflect and Help the Communities

Courtesy Ginseng Museum Café

Part museum, part shop and part café, the newly opened Ginseng Museum Café in Koreatown introduces guests to the thousand-year history and efficacy of South Korean ginseng through immersive digital animations. For refreshment, the café menu includes Korean red ginseng products by CheongKwanJang with reenergizing draft 24-hour fresh-brewed pure ginseng extract, honey ginseng tea, pure extract latte and ginseng ginger tea.

Chinatown Night Market Courtesy

Think! Chinatown, a community-based organization that supports and amplifies the voices of Asians in New York City, provides information about events like the Chinatown Night Market on May 20 and more.

Courtesy Hotel Kitano

The only Japanese-owned boutique hotel in NYC, Hotel Kitano is a beautiful if understated example of Asian style.

Courtesy Mansa Tea

Mansa Tea, offering brews from both China and South Korea, has increased awareness of tea culture at many of the city’s fine dining establishments including Per Se and the Baccarat Hotel and now through virtual tea workshops and tea sales.

Eat Out for a Good Cause

Support the restaurants and food providers that contribute so much to the fabric of NYC’s culinary landscape. From Chinatown to Uptown, small to large, casual to fine dining, every meal that you buy is a sign of support.

Mifune © Meryl Pearlstein

Make your Sunday night Chinese dinner a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday event as well, dining outdoors or indoors at Chinatown’s 102-year-old Nom Wah Tea Parlor; or enjoy dinner with a group or in a private dining room at Michelin-starred Jungsik (modern Korean) in Tribeca and Mifune (Japanese Washoku cuisine) in Midtown.

NR (‘N Roll) © Zenith Richards

Not-so-hidden Upper East Side speakeasy-restaurant, NR (‘N Roll), is the brainchild of owner and bar director Shigefumi Kabashima from Kyushu, Japan. NR offers a contemporary twist on the restaurants found in traditional Japanese port towns during the Meiji Period, serving ramen, oysters and light bites with fantastical cocktails. For an uptown Asian experience, Shige also runs ROKC (Ramen Oysters Kitchen and Cocktails) in Hamilton Heights.

Courtesy Mochidoki

After years of having their mochi ice cream creations displayed on dessert menus at Tao, Nobu and other top Asian restaurants, Mochidoki now has two brick-and-mortar locations, one in SoHo and a second on the Upper East Side. Also in SoHo with a second location in Chelsea, Japanese-owned Harbs mesmerizes with tea, coffee, and original cakes that qualify as works of art.

Courtesy Chai

Opened during the pandemic in September 2021, Chai serves authentic Beijing cuisine, inheriting cooking techniques of the court cuisine of the Qing Dynasty including Peking roast duck, Zha Jiang noodles, Aiwowo and more.

Courtesy Four Four South Village

Taiwanese specialist Four Four South Village added a fourth location in Manhattan during the pandemic as well, with original sites in Flushing, Queens and the East Village. Four Four is named after Taiwan’s first military dependent’s village and serves signature Taiwanese beef noodles, a delicacy that originated from these villages, along with a full menu.

Courtesy Natsumi

Woman-owned, popular Times Square Natsumi features a Japanese-Italian fusion menu with sushi, infused sakes and modern Japanese fare in a sleek venue well-located for pre-theater dining.

Bar Goto © Daniel Krieger

Kenta Goto invites you to two casual bar-restaurants that bear his name, Bar Goto on the Lower East Side and Bar Goto Niban in Brooklyn. Born and raised in Tokyo, Goto is an acclaimed cocktail master, showcasing his talent for creating unusual drinks in these two izakayas. Bar Goto is one of the first Japanese-American crossover bars – melding precise Japanese execution and Asian ingredients with American bartending techniques.

Shop and Support

You can support the AAPI community and at-risk workers by patronizing their various businesses that add to the cultural fabric of the city.

Courtesy Sunrise Mart

Two notable markets in New York and New Jersey will improve your awareness of the Asian community. Sunrise Mart sells all things Asian from skincare to fruit and seafood at Japan Village in Industry City, Brooklyn, and in various locations in Manhattan. The enormous Mitsuwa Marketplace market in Edgewater, NJ is a mix of Japanese grocery store, food court and pharmacy.

Courtesy Emmelle Boutique

Uniqlo, the go-to for reasonably priced outerwear, has its roots in Japan and a flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. If you’d prefer something more bespoke, Emmelle Boutique on Madison Avenue has been a standout among women’s shops since 1982. Founded by Korean-American fashion designer Mi Jong Lee, the store features the Emmelle and Mi Jong Lee collections as well as select lines from both established and emerging designers. Designing out of a tiny studio in New York, Japanese-American Trisha Okubo creates the popular selection of earrings known as the Ear Bar for Maison Miru. Beautiful eveningwear from fashion designer Tadashi Shoji from Sendai, Japan is available online and at Anthropologie.

Learning Is Understanding

Even more important today, AAPI organizations offer online and in-person learning that fosters cooperation and understanding among countries.

Courtesy Japan Society

Robust scheduling from Asia Society includes discussions, performances and family programming with a multi-cultural emphasis. Japan Society offers year-round events dedicated to Japanese art, theater, film, language and culture. Zoom classes in Mandarin language and Chinese culture are offered by China Institute.

Volunteer to Make a Difference

In additional to national organizations like Stop AAPI Hate, there are numerous NYC-centric ones with a mission of supporting AAPI-owned businesses and protecting Asian Americans.

Courtesy Protect Chinatown

Sign up for the newsletter from Welcome to Chinatown for news and a resource guide to help preserve NYC’s Chinatowns. Think! Chinatown welcomes all volunteers to assist with projects helping the Asian community. Show your conviction at Protect Chinatown where you can volunteer to help those suffering from both the pandemic and hatred against the community. Through Heart of Dinner, you can deliver care packages or meals to Asian elders in need, while also supporting local food providers.

Jeff Leatham’s Kaleidoscope and Orchid Nights Burst With Color at The New York Botanical Garden’ Annual Orchid Show

After a nearly two-year hiatus and a pause of one of the most beautiful orchid shows ever, Jeff Leatham returns to The  New York Botanical Garden with his lavish Kaleidoscope show. Running through May 1, The Orchid Show: Jeff Leatham’s Kaleidoscope decorates the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory with orchids from above and below with species and color as vibrant as the decorator himself.

Pink exotics ©Meryl Pearlstein

Perfectly timed to complement the blooming cherry blossoms and daffodils outdoors, the orchid show attracts visitors from all over the world with both its artistic and educational bent.

Orchids and Cherry Blossoms ©Meryl Pearlstein

Jeff Leatham’s original orchid extravaganza at the NYBG was cut short in 2020. But even if you caught part of that experience, Leatham promises that this year’s version is quite different. Reflecting his many years of experience as artistic director of the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris and floral designer to the stars (think Oprah and the Dalai Lama),“Kaleidoscope” evinces Leatham’s evolving view of colors that twist and turn. Establishing the theme at the beginning of the exhibit, orchids reflect off a multi-dimensional mirrored sculpture creating a kaleidoscopic effect as you move around it.

The Mirror ©Meryl Pearlstein

Look up and down as you walk through the halls of orchids and the psychedelic tunnel – your journey is a non-stop burst of color.

The Tunnel ©Meryl Pearlstein

The arches and rooms in the Conservatory are decorated with thousands of orchids, some dangling overhead, some forming dramatic towers, and others lined politely along the garden edges. Micro orchids, rare orchids, slipper orchids and species of all colors fill the glass building, with cherry blossoms visible outside.

Orchids Above and Below ©Meryl Pearlstein

Returning this year as well, the NYBG’s after-dark program “Orchid Evenings” adds a special dimension to the delicate blooms indoors. Cocktails, stage performances by Princess Lockerooo and Harold O’Neal, and refreshments from the Bronx Night Market create a festive party from 7pm-10pm on April 22 and 23. You must be 21 to attend the evening showings and a reservation to enter the Conservatory is required.

Purple Exotics ©Meryl Pearlstein

Plan your timing so you can explore the gardens outdoors by day, enjoy the orchids in their indoor setting as dusk falls, and then indulge in the outdoor fun that will have you smiling until late. You can also reserve an early-evening table at the Hudson Garden Grill on Saturdays (last reservation is at 5:30pm).

Slipper Orchids ©Meryl Pearlstein

Tickets can be purchased online for all orchid programs and for day entry to the garden.

The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory ©Meryl Pearlstein

The NYBG’s gift shop continues the experience with books, gardening information, and a wide range of orchids for sale from “beginner” easy-to-grow varieties to more demanding “diva” types. (For non-flower items, you can also order online). If you miss the show or wish to learn more about orchids, the Botanical Garden is offering an online class on May 11 that will teach you all about orchids. Register here.

It’s the Year of Electric Cars and Micro Mobility Vehicles at the 2022 New York International Auto Show

After two years of virtual car exhibits, the New York International Auto Show is back. Even with the shortage of computer chips for new and existing cars, electric cars, SUVs, bikes and scooters are the stars of the show.Spokespeople  will tell you that EV vehicles are here to stay: charging stations are becoming more commonplace throughout the country and in more urban centers than ever as people recognize the cost savings versus skyrocketing gas prices. We can only hope.

Lamborghini ©Meryl Pearlstein

This show is all about innovation and adaptation. And some fun, too.

With cars, SUVs and EV driving tracks set up on the first floor, and test areas for micro mobility vehicles (e-scooters and e-bikes) and multiple EV driving areas on the lower level plus the ever-popular outdoor Camp Jeep off-roading course, you’ll have a lot of exploring ahead of you. Electric cars, concept cars, hybrids and exotic vehicles steal the show this year. From now through April 24, this show is a must for any car lover. Show hours are daily from 10am-10pm and Sunday from 10am-7pm.

Jeep Rubicon on Off-Roading Track ©Meryl Pearlstein

Among the trends at the Auto Show this year:

Electric vehicles are big news. Big ones, small ones, crossovers. Everyone seems to have a variety of versions in popular colors like “flat grey” and white. Among them are the new VinFast from Vietnam and new INDI from California; the exciting EV versions of Volvo’s luxurious SUV, the XC 40 Recharge; and the expanded line of Infiniti and Lexus EVs.

VinFast ©Meryl Pearlstein

Check out the fabulous Mustangs (including the electric Mustang Mach-E), Camaros, Chargers and Corvettes as well. The style options seem more exciting than ever.

Mach 1 ©Meryl Pearlstein

Perhaps it’s because we haven’t attended this car show in two years, or maybe it’s because the designers have put more time into introducing these stunning vehicles.

Corvette ©Meryl Pearlstein

In the exotics area, there’s a neon green Lamborghini on display and a white Bentley SUV for those of you interested in that sort of thing. But I’d prefer the sexy navy Bentley Continental GT convertible displayed next to it or Elvis Presley’s white 1956 Lincoln Continental, brought to the show from its home in Memphis.

Elvis Presley's 1956 Lincoln Continental ©Meryl Pearlstein

In striking contrast to Volkswagen’s playful electric take on their beloved VW Van, the ID.Buzz, the Rolls Royce SUV sits very proper and austere.

VW ID.Buzz ©Meryl Pearlstein

If you’re not in the market for a new car, or if you have kids in tow, there are plenty of fun activities as well. Try out the Hyundai racing challenge stimulator or let the kids stand on one of the smaller e-scooters. Subaru has partnered with the National Park Service to create a video landscape showing scenes from parks around the country.

Hyundai Racing Course ©Meryl Pearlstein

Hungry? Nearby Hudson Yards has lots of choices from casual to formal.

Courtesy Little Spain

Little Spain is a food hall with Spanish specialty stands hawking patatas bravas, churros, jamón ibérico and more. There’s also a bar, an all-day Spanish Diner, a sit-down grill restaurant (Leña) and the newly re-opened Mar. Conceptualized by superstar chefs Jose Garces and Ferran Adrià, El Mercado is a colorful place for refreshment after the car show

E-bikes and e-scooters ©Meryl Pearlstein

You can find more information for the New York International Auto Show at Tickets are $17 for adults and $7 for children under 12, and can be purchased online or at the show.

Just Opened! RiseNY: A Museum and Themed Ride Rolled into One

A new “thrilling” attraction has just opened near Times Square in New York City. Different from other entertainment-oriented exhibits, the new RiseNY journey has an educational and historical trajectory as well as a soaring ride to show off the “greatest city in the world.”

Fashion © Meryl Pearlstein

Designed and produced by Running Subway, the folks behind Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, the Dead Sea Scrolls: The Exhibit and Pompeii: The Exhibit, RiseNY is a love letter to New York. Starting with a short film by documentarian Ric Burns, your experience takes off from a re-creation of Manhattan’s original subway station. From there, you’ll meander through seven galleries labelled Finance, Skyline, TV/Radio, Fashion, Music, Broadway and Film before making your way to another train of sorts, an aerial 4D ride complete with the sights, smells and feels of the city.

Finance © Meryl Pearlstein

All ages will appreciate the vastness and importance of the city with the exhibits. Each room combines artifacts of importance with “Tipping Points,” milestone moments in the development of New York City.  The galleries were curated with the aid of many important institutions and VIPs including the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Museum of American Finance, the Museum of Broadcast Communications & Radio Hall of Fame, Museum at FIT, Skyscraper Museum, TriBeCa Film Festival and David Bushman of the Paley Center.

TV/Radio © Meryl Pearlstein

My particular favorites are Ringo Starr’s drum set in the Beatles exhibit with Ed Sullivan announcing the band’s appearance on his Sunday night TV show to the sounds of millions of screaming fans, the costumes worn by NYC icons The Village People, and a guitar from Bob Dylan.

Music © Meryl Pearlstein

Movie fans have a delight waiting for them in the cinema area. On a continuous loop, giant screens play NYC-set movies through the ages. Home Alone, Midnight Cowboy, Elf, and more will keep you entertained for a solid half hour.

Broadway © Meryl Pearlstein

Next door, scenes and costumes from four of Broadway’s longest-playing musicals, Phantom of the Opera, Aladdin, Hamilton and Chicago are also on continuous showing.

Music © Meryl Pearlstein

Photo stops are frequent. You can pose in front of Cardi B’s costume, Biggy’s oversized shirt, posters from CBGB, in front of the set of The Honeymooners and the by the bell of the NY Stock Exchange.

Flying over the Empire State Building © Meryl Pearlstein

Plan to spend a couple of hours perusing the exhibits before you reach your final destination: New Year’s Eve in New York City. To celebrate, you’re invited into a special room for a soaring flight-simulation ride through the Bronx, Manhattan and Brooklyn where you’ll take in the glorious sights and sounds from a birds eye view. Be sure to look all around you as the video was shot in real-time and it immerses you in the feeling and activity of the city. But, don’t be concerned if you’re afraid to fly. You’re buckled into seats inside a 180-degree, 40-foot dome that projects 8k aerial footage that creates a sensation of flight. As with any good theme-park ride, the seats lift up into the air and tilt and you’ll sit with your feet dangling as you “fly.”

Planning a trip to NYC?