How Green is Broadway?

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 Guest Blogger

When lovers of the performing arts and the urban pulse of New York’s theater district think of Broadway, it’s hard not to imagine the bright lights of the marquees emblazoned across the playhouses. It’s also the first image that comes to mind when asking the question: How green is Broadway?

The short answer is: greener than it once was, although there is much to be done. Happily, all those marquee lights draining power from the overtaxed grid have been replaced with energy-efficient LED light bulbs, thanks to the efforts of the Broadway Green Alliance (BGA). This group began in 2008 as an offshoot of the Broadway League, the famed avenue’s established association.

Today, BGA continues the hard work of bringing sustainable practices to New York’s theatrical elite. One recent event was a successful eco-waste drive to collect usable and recyclable electronics from playhouses. The group also runs an ongoing Binder Project to ensure these oft-used script materials are either recycled or donated.

What about Broadway’s buildings? While you won’t witness carbon-neutrality any time soon, there are signs the Great White Way is interested in better energy efficiency. During renovations of The Henry Miller Theater, now The Stephen Sondheim Theater, operators earned a LEED green building certification by mandating locally sourced materials and recycling most demolition debris. They replaced half the foundation with low-emission blast furnace slag and installed a drainage system for groundwater recycling. The ongoing efficiency effort has provided an excellent role model for self-transforming Broadway.

What happens when Broadway goes on tour? Moving sets, transporting casts and maintaining hotel rooms for touring troupes incurs extraordinary energy costs. Can it be helped? Broadway is hoping to make up for the harm done through the purchase of compensatory carbon offsets.

These are beneficial first steps that have laid an important foundation for cooperation between the diverse private interests that dominate Broadway. BGA’s work shows it can be done. Nevertheless, there is much more to be accomplished.

Each year, from Minnesota to Oregon, regional educational conferences and local initiatives are pushing forward, part of a long-awaited response to the perils of climate change. Broadway has made piecemeal efforts to model positive changes for this budding movement, but there remains a divide between grassroots “Eco theater” and Broadway’s outlook. That is, there are a lot of theaters out there with lesser budgets and resources that are breaking new ground, with or without Broadway’s support.

Meanwhile, London’s theater scene is more seriously engaged in green initiatives that measure progress with science-based energy tracking. One of the next steps for Broadway will be to begin measuring total energy consumption like their UK counterparts. It will be an increasingly important tactic in the long-term effort to make the performing arts carbon-free. Truly sustainable theater is still a dream, for now. For now, residents can learn more about saving energy at http://www.shopnaturalgasratesnewyork.com.

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12/12/12 Concert for Sandy Relief Top Event for 2012

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December 12, 2012 was an auspicious occasion for myriad reasons.  One of them being the 12/12/12 Concert for Sandy Relief in Madison Square Garden and it ranks as the top event that occurred in NYC in 2012.  The enormities of Superstorm Sandy were catastrophic to say the least.  The beloved Jersey shore…Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island and its residents will feel the effects for years to come, but for one night the tri-state area stood defiant and proud, armed with the knowledge that not even Mother Nature could hold us down – we are too resilient.

The celebrities that donated their time for this event was mindboggling, between the legends that manned the phones and performed on stage The 12/12/12 Concert for Sandy Relief boasted more star power than those hovering in the Milky Way.  Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen showed the world just what it means to be “Jersey Strong”, Alycia Keys and Billy Joel represented The Big Apple with timeless musical gems and Adam Sandler represented us all with a big “Screw ya” to Sandy.  Pair that with the likes of The Who, Rolling Stones, Sir Paul McCartney, Chris Martin, Michael Stipe and Led Zepplin and you have one concert for the ages, The Garden has hosted many legendary nights, but 12/12/12 was an evening that  rocked the roof off the theater and will be a hard event to top.

Billions are needed to restore these neighborhoods to what they once were; the families affected by Superstorm Sandy still need our assistance.  To donate please visit, http://www.robinhood.org/rhsandy, http://www.redcross.org/hurricane-sandy .

Photo: AP Photo/Starpix, Dave Allocca

 

 

 

 

Alycia Keys Top Artist for 2012

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Ms. Keys (or should I say Mrs. Swizz Beatz) career has been sizzling ever since she dropped her first studio album, Songs in A Minor, in 2001.  Eleven years later, her blaze still smolders and now she is declaring that the girl is on fire, literally.  On November 27, 2012 Keys released her fifth studio album Girl on Fire.  The Hell’s Kitchen native is always in an “Empire State of Mind” and is NYC through and through.  Her songs are a source of inspiration for many.  There could’ve been no better choice to close the 12/12/12 concert at The Garden than Alycia Keys.  Philanthropist, mother, wife, actor, composer, musician, ravishing beauty…looks like her star will continue to burn bright in 2013.  Flame on!

Photo: Michelangelo Di Battista

¡WEPA! Top Party for 2012

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¡WEPA! just celebrated its anniversary – a testament to how great this gathering is.  If dance were my religion, I would subscribe to the movement of house, scouring to find underground temples the way Coptic Christians climb mountains to worship.  Thanks to Joann Jimenez and Antonio Ocasio I know that the last Friday of every month will end in good vibrations, even better than anything The Beach Boys were singing about.  ¡WEPA! preserves the best of what is glorious about the New York underground dance scene.  Someone pass the baby powder!

To read more about the ¡WEPA! experience, click https://famenycmagazine.com/2012/02/10/friday-night-in-el-barrio/.

Photos courtesy of Joann Jimenez and Antonio Ocasio

Michael Kors Top Designer for 2012

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I have always been an avid follower of this New York born designer, however I must admit that my friend’s influence compelled me choose this fashion powerhouse.  Her obsession with Michael Kors’ accessories made me realize how many “Kors Whores” there are out in the world.

Born Karl Anderson, Jr. on August 9, 1959 on Long Island, Michael Kors manifested his name and his destiny becoming one of the most recognizable faces in fashion today.  The Michael Kors brand is an ingenious amalgamation of Calvin Klein in the late1970s and Coach in the 1980s.  He has manufactured the definitive American womens sportswear house with must- have accessories and a menswear line that kicks ass too. You can’t turn your head without seeing a woman touting something Michael Kors (whether it’s bootleg or not is another post).    

Before Kors came into the homes of the nation courtesy of Project Runway, the most famous Long Islander was probably Billy Joel.  Now the “Piano Man” has to move over because that title definitely belongs to MK.   When you have every woman from The First Lady to Jane Doe sporting your duds, you know you are the man.              

 To view Michael Kor’s Spring 2013 show, click https://famenycmagazine.com/2012/09/14/michael-kors-spring-2013/.

Photo:  Life.com

Video: michaelkors.com

A Rolling Stone Top Art Show for 2012

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This year Jessica Porter and the artists of Porter Contemporary had moves like Jagger, which they boldly displayed during A Rolling Stone exhibit.  Just as sexy and unique as the dancing of good ole’ Mick, A Rolling Stone offered a stunning visual homage to the bad boys of rock ‘n roll.

To view F.A.M.E NYC Editor’s review of A Rolling Stone, click https://famenycmagazine.com/2012/04/08/i-know-its-only-the-rolling-stonesbut-i-like-it/.

Photos courtesy of Porter Contemporary

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Top Performers for 2012

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I leap at any opportunity to see these uber talented dancers combine beauty and strength on a Manhattan stage.  For some dance is a religion.  AAADT is Mecca.  I can’t wait to make my yearly pilgrimage to the City Center so these artisans can rock my soul again.

To view F.A.M.E NYC Editor’s review of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, click https://famenycmagazine.com/2012/12/10/alvin-ailey-american-dance-theater-ambassadors-of-time/.

Photo:  Paul Kolnik

Golden Boy Top Revival for 2012

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Good theater is like fine wine, it just gets better with age. I venture to say that good theater is better than a fine wine.  Wine usually peaks after 20 years, good theater is timeless.  All that glitters ain’t gold, but after 75 years Golden Boy shines like a California nugget into the sun. 

To view F.A.M.E NYC Editor’s review of Golden Boy, click https://famenycmagazine.com/2012/12/04/golden-boy-dazzles-with-sweet-science/.

Photo:  Paul Kolnik

 

Nice Work If You Can Get It Top Musical for 2012

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Matthew Broderick’s star rose into the stratosphere after staring in the title role of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  He played a devil-may-care playboy that could do no wrong.  Decades later, that character still fits him like a long leather glove on Carrie Bradshaw’s arm, and when you add the absolutely scrumptious music and lyrics of Gershwin you have achieve Broadway Gold.  Nice Work If You Can Get It is a musical done the right way.  It personified the phrase, “If it ain’t broke…don’t fix it.”

To view F.A.M.E NYC Editor’s review of Nice Work If You Can Get It, click https://famenycmagazine.com/2012/04/30/gershwinbroderickwho-could-ask-for-anything-more/.

Old Jews Telling Jokes Top Off-Broadway Production for 2012

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Laughter is the best medicine, so the famous theys say.  I would agree; laughing is my favorite activity.  And if Old Jews Telling Jokes was a gym, they would be Equinox.  Old Jews Telling Jokes works your funny bone, side bone and abs in the most hilarious way.  Laugh lines be warned: Off-Broadway has never been funnier.

To view F.A.M.E NYC Editor’s review of Old Jews Telling Jokes, click https://famenycmagazine.com/2012/05/13/make-em-laugh/.

Photo courtesy of Serino/Coyne