2023 Feed

The Friday Blog: Celebrating 20 Years in New York City! #lifeinthebigcity

Good morning! Today, May 12th, I celebrate 20 years of living in New York City. It's a little strange since I am only 29, but hey, math was never my strong suit <wink>

Rick gilbert 2013On this date in 2003, I moved back to NYC from having lived in LA for five years. It was a choice that I made borne from wanting to move back to the city I had loved from 1994-1998. So, in total, I've lived in New York for 24 years.

As a kid growing up in a small town in Wisconsin, I would see the city on SNL or in the movies and think what a magical, amazing place this would be to live. I was not wrong. 
I first visited in September 1986 for two days as I passed through on my way to London for a study abroad program. The city was indeed magical, but after running around, I felt a little disappointed that the city seemed too unmanageable for me. I ended up loving London and spending much of the next couple years there. I came out and fell in love and made some wonderful friends.
In June 1991, I was invited to a relative's wedding in NJ. I never quite understood how I got invited since I wasn't close to this relative and none of the rest of the my family were invited. But sometimes things just happen. So I said yes and came out for a week. I instantly fell in love with the city. The city was so different then but then again so was I.
I then lived here from 1994 - 1998 until I met a wonderful guy in 1997 who lived in LA who convinced me to move out to the west coast to be with him. Although the five years I spent in LA (1998 - 2003) were among the most productive and successful of my entire life, I never really felt at home there. I couldn't quite get a handle on things although I had and have many MANY people that I truly genuinely loved who live/lived there.
In any event, in 2003, at 39 years old, I was looking ahead at where I saw myself in my 40s. And, I chose to come back to New York. It was not an easy first couple of years, but eventually things started working out and, well, I'm still here 20 years later. It sometimes feels as though it's been 20 minutes. 
There was a moment, in about 2015 where I was rushing across town on W. 40th to the Andaz Fifth Avenue to set up for an event I was managing the next day. It was Columbus Day and I had to make my way through the parade. I was in a grumpy mood as one is when one has to configure ones path to get around a large internationally viewed event until it hit me - I was having to cross the Columbus Day parade to set up an event at the Andaz Fifth Avenue. How many people do that? So, rather than be grumpy, I was grateful.
Sometimes I can't quite believe my life -  a kid from a small town in the middle of the midwest living a life in this city. It has hardly ever been easy, but it has always been rewarding.

One of the songs that got me through the pandemic was Todd Alsup's Manhattan - it's a love letter to the city that never sleeps and it more or less encapsulates my feelings about this burg. Enjoy! ;)

(Photo credit: Rick Gilbert. Skyhook Entertainment, May 2013 for Bank of Tokyo  http://skyhookphotography.photoshelter.com )



The Monday Journal: Worshipping at the Temple of Funny Girl #funnygirl, #leamichele, @leaBRCom, @jujamcyn,

Good morning and Happy Monday! Hope you had a great weekend! After last weekend's rain-o-palooza, this weekends clear skies and sunshine (and 70 degree temps) was definitely welcome!

We started off the weekend by seeing "Funny Girl" starring Lea Michele on Broadway. We all know the show has gotten rave reviews since Michele joined last autumn and I have to say, those raves are well deserved.

ProgramI haven't been to a Broadway show in years, not just because of the pandemic, but for some time before that - I mostly got tired of being annoyed over the glare of everyone using their cell phones as well as people arriving late, people talking during the show, and, in one case, a woman next to me eating soup out of her purse (on one hand I admired her ability to keep it all balanced, but on the other hand, must she slurp SO loud?? lol). 

Anyway, during Friday night's show, three people in front of us arrived during the first scene and promptly spent the entire show frantically texting; then a person behind us spent the show crinkling some plastic wrap (by the middle of the second act, the Mister could no longer stand it and turned around with a sharp look and a  "do you mind???").

There was also the incident a couple rows in front of us - a woman, who had been seated on the aisle, took it upon herself to re-assign her seat. We know this because when the two people whose seats those actually were showed up, the woman complained LOUDLY how inconvenient it was for her to move back to her actual seat. The two people insisted on sitting on their assigned seats, clearly confused why this is even an issue, and the woman harumphed her way back to her own seat and then we saw her COMPLAIN to her friends. That was some world class gaslighting going on there. 

BUT you know what? Michele (and the rest of the cast) is SO GOOD that none of that really mattered. Lea Michelle is frikkin BRILLIANT as Fanny Brice - her rendition of "Don't Rain on My Parade" was so magical that it elicited applause BEFORE SHE HAD FINISHED and the excitement generated in the audience at the end elicited the type of reaction reserved for a sporting event - I felt like a straight guy watching Monday Night Football! ;) What a treat!

And what an honor to have been in this room watching her performance - Michele is clearly having the time of her life and she generously shares her joy with the audience. I am so grateful. Days later, just thinking of that number, well, I get chills!

And, Lea, if you are reading this (I know you're not, but, my friends, humor me, please! lol) - pitch someone a sketch/music variety show ala Carol Burnett - your comic timing is amazing and the Mister and I both agreed that very few people could pull off a revival of the genre - and you are at the top of the list!

Also: we are looking forward to the day when you are at a point in your life when you can play Mama Rose and/or Dolly. I know those days are a bit far in the future :) 

As mentioned above, the rest of the cast, the costumes, the staging, the set - all brilliant as well.  Thanks to all involved for a fabulous theater experience! 

On a semi related note, if you know of Fanny Brice, you also know that she created the character of Baby Snooks. We looked Fanny up on You Tube and, wouldn't you know it? Someone posted a Baby Snooks radio program from 1951 - it's hilarious and 100% holds up

Michele's run in "Funny Girl" ends on September 3, 2023 - if you have the chance it's 100% worth your time and $!


The Friday Journal - Practicing Gratitude! @brigittezeitlinrd, #overthinkersanonymous, #coaching, #career

Good morning and Happy Friday! A million years ago (OK only 30, but it feels like a million), a business acquaintance suggested that, rather than saying "how lucky I am", to say, instead, "how grateful I am".

I've practiced that for nearly 30 years and I think it's made a difference in my perspective. The energy goes out to other person when one expresses gratitude when, from my perspective, expressing 'luck' points the energy back at yourself. I will grant you that it probably seems like a slight bit of semantics but I think the shift is actually significant.

This morning I stumbled across this article about expressing gratitude and one of the two contributors is my new friend, Brigitte Zeitlin, MPH, RD, CDN. I brought Brigitte in to my work to engage our staff in a conversation about nutrition as part of last week's "Staff Appreciation Week". What's especially thrilling for me is that not only was there an incredible turnout, but that the conversation has continued into this week (and Brigitte is delightful!) Check out her website here.

So, a public thanks to Brigitte, I am grateful that you shared your energy and knowledge with us!

On this subject  - since the beginning of the year, my partner Matthew and I have been aiming to write down one good thing that happened that day and/or one thing we're grateful for and depositing it in a vase just before bed. I got this idea from a NY Times article at the end of 2022 and, my apologies, I cannot now find the source so I don't know who to credit... but while I can't say that I actually do it every night, I do contribute to the collection on a fairly regular basis. The thought is that at the end of the calendar year, we'll pull all the papers out and have a record of all the highlights. I highly recommend this. It's a way to end the day on a positive note rather than ruminating on whatever 'bad' things happened that day.

On a related note, the fabulous Andrew Sewell ICF ACC has created a newsletter for us overthinkers - check out his website and get on his list. (More on a recent conversation I had with Andrew in a future post)

Finally, I am grateful to live near New York's Riverside Park - as someone who grew up with a pine tree forest and the Wisconsin River in his backyard, I love being so close to nature in the city that never sleeps. This is a photo I took the other day while on a walk on W. 120th Street. Enjoy! :)

May 2023

The Thursday Journal: Love Again - @starwars, @loveagainmovie, @sonypictures, @thekarpelgroup, @celinedion, @yuhuhamasaki @mademanbarber

Good morning and Happy Thursday, May the Fourth Be With You!  

The other night I attended an advance screening of the new movie, "Love Again" from Sony Pictures. It's a romantic comedy featuring Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Sam Heughan as a couple who meet cute via text. Celine Dion also plays a major role veering between giving sage advice to the characters, issuing comic quips with precision timing, and acting as her own PR team for her upcoming tour.

The leads have a genuine chemistry and although there are a few bits and pieces that don't quite work, the overall ride is very enjoyable: I laughed, I cried, and I found myself wanting to buy tickets to Celine's show (and this is coming from someone who only very rarely likes going to big concerts of that sort).

There are genuine flashes of genius hidden in the story, such as a book agent who finds a clever way to motivate Chopra's children's book illustrator character, and a funny cameo by Chopra's real life husband Nick Jonas. And, of course, for those Outlander fans who like such things, we do get to see Heughan shirtless a few times. Just saying. :)

The screening was hosted by performer Yuhua Hamasaki who dressed as Celine to greet attendees - fans of drag will remember that Yuhua appeared on Season 10 of RuPaul's Drag Race. Click here to read the Entertainment Weekly article about Yuhua! And, because performing is what our queens do, we were treated to a lip sync to "It's All Coming Back to Me Now". It should be noted that Yuhua was in the dark as the theater didn't have any kind of follow spot (they really need a theater person on staff to plan/manage these events! lol).

On a personal note, I used to work in LA and New York LGBT nightlife (1997 - 2016) and planned/produced fundraising events that featured tons of drag queens from all around the country - I never met one that wasn't 100% willing to jump in and give of themselves for a good cause. I do miss it!

On a further personal note, I knew I'd been needing a haircut for some time but seeing this photo really drove it home for me and the next morning I stopped into Made Man Barbers in mid-town and got one of the best cuts of my life. I now look less like an old man and more like an old man trying to look young. No, wait. That's not right. <wink> Seriously, it's a great cut and I'll be going back. 

"Love Again" opens this Friday, May 5th! 

Love again


General Hospital Celebrates 60 Years

If you have ever loved General Hospital "now" is a good time to jump back on and have a little fun - they're revisiting the classic Ice Princess storyline with a mix of characters from the original run, some introduced in the intervening 40 years and two relative newcomers to the show. 

To recap - 40+ years ago the evil Cassadines created a weather machine powered by an equally evil diamond called The Ice Princess and were defeated by super couple Luke and Laura (whose 1981 wedding drew in something crazy like 30 million viewers!). 

Now, another Cassadine, Victor (played by Charles O'Shaughnessy - yes, that one...from The Nanny), has figured that the world is too crowded and is using coordinates embeded in the Ice to find a super secret bunker where a toxin has been stored for 40 years to use on thinning the world's population. Shades of Thanos! But don't try to make too much sense of the plot, it's merely a vehicle to showcase a new super couple - Trina and Spencer, and also, to give Laura (who is now Mayor) and a gallery of fan favorites a great heroic adventure!

Among Victor's many crimes over the past couple years, he supposedly killed the legendary Luke Spencer off camera. Given all the feelings that fans (and Spencer's portrayer, Anthony Geary) have about Laura's rape at the Campus Disco by Luke, it would seem unlikely that there would be a return in this "Me Too" era as such a return would be heralded with perhaps too much controversy. Still, it's a fun fantasy to imagine an alive Luke riding to the rescue at the very last minute giving fans a big anniversary surprise. 

You can catch General Hospital on HULU every night after about 8pmET. The timing is a little inconsistent but I find that I like to watch the shows in bulk rather than one at a time anyway. The new shows stay up for about 2 weeks. 

Below: a screen shot from an episode last summer when Victor found out that his nephew Nicholas had slept with his son's girlfriend, Esme. To be fair, this was exactly the expression that I was making a year ago when the show was showing Nicholas doing the deed. Apparently we are all Victor. :)


Spring 2023

This year I have had the opportunity to spend a lot more time enjoying Spring than I did last year - and thank God I'm getting to enjoy the whole springing of Spring! :) 

Below is a shot I took in Riverside Park this morning - I'd been trying to photograph the emerging buds but they were just high enough that the pics were not turning out right....so, today, yes, I schlepped a step stool to Riverside Park and conducted a fairly extensive photo shoot with my iphone setting and re-setting the step stool. The best part about it is that I was on a fairly heavily traveled walkway and no one said anything about it at all. This IS one of the perks of living in a big city. :)

I got several shots that I was pretty happy with but sharing just the one for now. 

Spring 3 26 23