Archive for March, 2012

March Madness with Grace

March 19, 2012 - 8:48 pm 1 Comment

Grace came to visit me this past weekend – what a time we had together! On Thursday evening, Jin Akanishi – one of her favorite J-pop artists – happened to be on tour in New York City, and I managed to procure highly rare VIP tickets to the concert (only ~25 available). Not only did we watch the performance from a mere ~15 feet from the stage (we could see all of Jin’s expressions), but the meet and greet allowed Grace to meet her idol in person, receive a personalized signed poster, take a photo, and carry out a full conversation! Afterward, Grace was on cloud nine for the whole weekend, and I felt very proud as a big sister. [I on the other hand was able to arbitrage the meet and greet component of my VIP package for a ~100% return on capital – alas, if only my day job were so easy!]

The next evening, I took Grace out to see a true NYC spectacle – a dinner and performance at Lucky Cheng’s. Alas, I didn’t know what to expect – after watching Priscilla Queen of the Desert, I suspected it would be fun, but I was so unprepared for the actual content of the show! Nevertheless, I had a blast laughing and chatting with my dear sister, and the night ended raucously in true New York fashion.

The next morning, we headed uptown to visit some of our favorite midtown haunts – we never anticipated that we would be blockaded by drunken revelers eager to cheer on the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on 5th avenue! We crawled our way through the teeming masses to visit Book Off, Kino Books, and Uniqlo (all Japanese themed, I realized), which admittedly, was no easy feat. Regardless, despite the travails, we got a nice snapshot of one of the craziest days in New York.

One of my New York friends had arranged a dinner/opera get-together, so Grace and I headed off for some tasty Mexican food followed by an elaborate performance of Don Giovanni at the Met. Having extensively studied “el burlador de sevilla y convidado de piedra” in my Spanish literature class, I really relished the chance to see this Mozart opera in particular given my familiarity with the plot. Unlike Nabucco which I saw earlier this year, teeming with heavy themes and choral accompaniments, this opera was funny and featured more simply melodies. Grace seemed to enjoy the opera a lot too (in fact, she helped keep me awake when my exhaustion over the last few days threatened my attention in the last 20 minutes of this 3.5 hour production).

On Sunday, after taking a healthy brunch at Whole Foods, we walked around in Soho. Since my sister is my best friend, even if we’re lounging around and doing nothing, I always have a blast.

On a different note, over the last few weeks, I’ve tried to take advantage of my weekends by doing something new. Some highlights include:

  • Annual Huntsman Reunion at the Penn Club: even though I just landed from a business trip in Las Vegas, I had a blast catching up with old friends and seeing our program director again at the annual huntsman reunion.
  • Meeting PennSem club members on their Spring Break Social Enterprise Trip: it’s always a pleasure to share experiences about social enterprises and to help encourage students to start their own ventures! Even though it’s been more than four years since I graduated from Penn, I still feel very connected to the community.
  • Dueling Pianos at Times Square: I took Dave to see Dueling Pianos, especially after enjoying the show greatly with my family during their visit over New Years. Alas, they didn’t have my favorite performer from the last show, but I still had a really fun time listening to drunken song requests and improvised singing/theatrics.
  •  Ted Greenberg Comedy Show: I bought tickets to a comedy show featuring Letterman Emmy-award winner Ted Greenberg (and his mascot)! He performed hilarious slapstick sketches, which delighted both Dave and me. As a grand finale to the show, Ted took a lottery drawing and selected an audience member to drive home in his cab (he has a taxi license). Against all odds and my expectations, Dave won! What an odd conclusion to the night – we were driven home by a comedian (and his mascot) and certainly gave the next taxi-seeking customer a big shock!