Thursday, October 26, 2006

Big Cities

Living in big cities offers unquestionably numerous opportunities for “doing stuff”. And “doing stuff” means: visiting galleries and museums someone else wouldn’t have the chance to see in a small town, eating Thai food at 2 am in the morning, getting vintage Chanel at relatively affordable prices, seeing Chicago for the fourth time, taking any evening class you have ever imagined, getting guest passes for popular television shows and possibly walk on the same street or going to the same gym with top-notch celebrities.

Both NY and London offer those numerous opportunities. And I am taking advantage. At least I did for the first three years of my London residency. From wine tasting to screen writing classes, to entrepreneurial networking events, designers exhibitions, car shows, famous market visits, Christies auctions and West End musicals – I did them all. This trend is reiterating in NYC. Today I was an audience member at the Martha Stewart show, I attended a car launch party on Tuesday night (cocktails included for free), I am going to another gallery opening reception and plan to visit Annie Leibovich's photo exhibition.

But I can’t help wondering. Are big cities tremendous diverse and useful or they are just super markets of events, happenings and unnecessary information? If you have SO many things to choose from, so many events to go to, so many shows to see and so many restaurants to eat, you are definitely not exclusive. Big cities, I believe, promote mass culture and therefore, are for the masses. If you are looking for exclusivity, you choose a smaller and distinct area to live in. Where there will only be two movie theatres, less restaurants and definitely not West End or Broadway musicals.

After having lived in London for seven years, and two months in NYC, I am inclined to say that big cities feel very often like going down the cereal aisle in the supermarket. Which box will you pick up today? You look and choose. Corn flakes or All Bran? The same thing you are going to do tonight before you go out in New York or London. Movies or ballet? Thai or Italian?

On this note, I am closing for tonight saying that sometimes less is more. And if you want to see Chicago again, a flight just away.

And before I forget, here are more events you can attend in both cities:

For Londoners

Asian Dreams is delighted to introduce a new series of exciting workshops.
Covering key topics essential to every designer and retailer, this is an
opportunity you cannot afford to miss! For detailed information email

The UK's largest coalition of environmental and development organizations is organizing the I Count event - the biggest ever climate change gathering in the UK with live music, film, inspirational speakers and celebrity guests.
Where: Trafalgar Square, LondonWhen: Saturday, 4 November, 1-3pm.
To find out more:

For New Yorkers

Do you want to meet Joan Collins? She will be signing her new book The Art of Living Well: Looking Good, Feeling Great at Borders, Time Warner building on Monday, October 30, at 7pm.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Fashion in New York and London

Since I left London in order to relocate in NYC, I had to seriously declutter my closet (or wardrobe I should say). I got rid of short-sleeved t-shirts, long-sleeved t-shirts, sweaters, skirts, gym clothes, shoes and many more I no longer remember. And now, in a new city that is approaching without any fear to winter, I realized that I need to replace all of the above. I need short short-sleeved t-shirts, long-sleeved t-shirts, sweaters, skirts, gym clothes, shoes and everything else that I no longer remember. So that was my project this week and it will continue to be for the new one. Where to buy them?

Once again, I can't help comparing. In London, you have different ranges of clothes stores that can satisfy all tastes and various bank accounts. Starting from Primark (the very cheap one that touches poverty level), moving to River Island and H & M, to Top Shop, Miss Selfridge, New Look, Jane Norman and Wallis and then moving sligthly to the next level, Next, Dorothy Perkins, Principles, Mango, Zara and Oasis passing through Gap and Benetton. That marks the end of affordability. Afterwards you move to the higher level of stores as French Connection, Whistles, Monsoon (for the hippy types), Hobbs, Ted and Baker, Reiss, L.K. Bennett and my very favorite Jigsaw. Maybe I forget a couple. If your wallet can take it, you can go even higher to Karen Millen and various department stores like House of Fraser and Fenwick where you can top up your credit cards.

In NYC, it seems that it's either very cheap or very expensive. Will it be Old Navy or Banana Republic? It's like going from H & M to Reiss? It's not acceptable. It's not fun. It does not involve a lot of window shopping. Of course there are the discount stores like Duffy's, Marshalls, Century 21 and T. J Maxx. Ok, I agree, you can get designers clothes very cheaply but you will have to spend a day to find your size. If it is your lucky day, otherwise, go back again in a few days or weeks.

I don't know. Not yet. I haven't located my favorite store in NYC. Maybe because I haven't explored everything. I haven't tried the expensive ones either. Who knows, maybe tomorrow might be my lucky day and will get a Prada coat for peanuts.

For New Yorkers (or all Americans)
If you are a creative, in publishing/writing areas visit to sign on for jobs, news, feeds and events in your industry. For higher lever memberships, you have to pay.

KFMK Gallery, opening reception: Thursday, October 26th 6pm-9pm, 515 West 29th street, NY, NY, 10001.

For Londoners
If you fancy watching films before they are released go and visit See Film First web site

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Football and Film Festivals - London and NYC

I admit it. I miss football since I came in New York City. And I really mean football, I stubbornly refuse to use the word soccer. Football is football and this is the word I am using to describe the sport. I am not going to change it because I become a New Yorker all of a sudden. But since I came here and I miss it, I located many sports bars that regularly broadcast UEFA Champions League and Cup games, Euro 2008 qualifying games and European National League games. Am I speaking Chinese to you? That's the magic of football. I was amazed with the number of sports bars I actually found. Last week I wanted to see the England vs Croatia qualifying game for the Euro 2008 so I visited the bar I had in mind. They asked me $20 at the door because, they said, it was shown on a pay-per-view channel. I rushed to make comments or rather to judge. You would never pay $20 to watch a football match in Europe. It's free. You only buy the drink. Anyway, I afterwards found out that this is actually the policy. If it is pay per view, you have to pay too! Today I saw the Chelsea vs Barcelona and I cheered at Chelsea's win. I supported them all the way.

From a very athletic topic, let's jump to the Film Festivals. Nothing in common, I know. It opened yesterday, the British Film Festival, sponsored by the British Film Institute and the Times. This year, again, it will be proud presenting World premiers and special screenings that many will talk about. The Last King of Scotland (the film follows the story of a Scottish doctor arriving in Africa during Idi Amin’s tyrannical rule) will open the festival and Babel will be shown at the closing Gala ( Set in Morocco, Tunisia, Mexico and Japan, Babel is concerned with the consequences of random acts and fate, Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett will shine). And as every year, the festival will show European and World films, French cinematography and will "promote" new upcoming British directors. I used to go every year to see at least one film. I liked the fun atmosphere, the buzz and the glamour. The National Film Festival's venue too, it was just by the river. Well organized, well presented, and well publicised, the BFF attracts thousands.

I wouldn't say the same about the New York Film Festival supported by the Film Society of Lincoln Center that just ended. To be frank upfront, I didn't go. I had a look at the program but I didn't find any of the films particularly interesting. Not that the Festival's centerpiece this year was Almodóvar’s supernatural tale of murder, adultery and family happiness, Volver that I already have seen. And the Queen was playing in local movie theatres during the festival. The list was not so impressive or at least this is what I thought. Reality or European arrogance, I wonder. And surprisingly enough, the NY Film Festival wasn't that much advertised despite the prestigious sponsors that included Air France, HSBC and HBO Films. It was in major print media like the NY Times (one of the sponsors) and local entertainment magazines. But that was all. I went up and down Manhattan so many times, I didn't see a single program or guide in a central NY outlet. What a pity!

Did you know?

For Londoners
Are you an accessory or jewellery designer that has stock to sell? Contact contact Alison Lewy on +44 (0)7940 704 725 or at for more information or to book a stall in an upcoming exciting event.

If you want to start networking, visit and sign on to become a member. Then you can join plenty of groups and you participate in numerous events. Only for UK residents. For now.

For New Yorkers
Visit to join and attend plenty of events. There are different types of memberships so read the small letters!

Monday, October 16, 2006

NYC, London, parties and invitations

It is amazing. I came to NYC just six weeks ago and I am receiving already so many party, exhibition, gallery openings and event invitations that would make a native born New Yorker really angry. Is that because I am an information junkie myself and I spend more time reading Time Out and the Village Voice, checking websites, subscribing to various e-mailing lists, talking to people, jotting down names and addresses than jobhunting (which I should do because I still don't have one of these things...) or because I am just a socialite?

Probably because I am both. It was exactly the same in London. I was getting so many invites to networking groups, events and launches that made my friends wondering: What do you actually do to get all those?

Let me explain. All started the day that I had to attend a women's professional (and very posh) networking event in London, paid by my employer. Nobody else would like to go so I was actually forced to go. At that time (early 2000s), I didn't even know what a networking group or event was. But I went. Lavish corporate headquarters of a major accounting firm which was the major sponsor, tons of champagne, extremely professional women promoting their businesses, their employer or themselves, successful speakers and more champagne and canapes...I made up my mind: networking events are like Christmas for adults... What else do you need?

That day was the beginning of my relationship with networks, networking events, champagne, and overwhelming information. Many more events followed, so did party and private club invitations, shows, exhibitions, seminars and many more.

And the trend follows me in New York City.

Maybe, instead of looking for a job, should become a gossip columnist? I will have plenty of things to say.

Did you know?
This is fragrance week in NYC. For information on events check the website at:

For book lovers:
James Ellroy will present his book Brack Dahlia. Location: Borders Bookstore, Time and Warner Building, October 16, 2006 7:00 PM

For art lovers:
A Space Gallery Presents "Intrinsic Form" featuring works by Luca LAZAR, Jon PETRO and Michael VAN PATTEN. Opening reception Sat Oct 21, 1-5pm, 1138 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11221

For Londoners
Germanic London organize their annual party this coming Saturday October 21st. Register at their website

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Arts, artists, New York and London

When I first came in NY, I was staying in a guest house in Queens. It was small and cosy and I met very many interesting, weird and fun people. From Swedish travellers on "a year-around-the-world plane ticket" to the Japanese artist Yuko who was exhibiting in a Chelsea gallery and who invited me to go and, in reality, initiated my very early relationship with the NYC creative world.

New York is a creative place. There are numerous lofts turned creative studios, exhibition rooms, galleries and even more creative festivals, events, openings and launches. But so is London. The difference between the two is that, well, to my knowledge creative professionals have far more support in London by local or government agencies than New Yorkers.

But I don't want to be political or to lookout for the reasons. During my six weeks in New York City I noticed that despite the number of creative people and activities, the NYC department of arts/cultural affairs is almost absent. I went to a few Chelsea gallery openings - all private, artists seem to be independent, with an agent or with a corporate sponsor. I visited the excellent (and wine friendly) DUMBO's First Thursday event in Brooklyn. This event was sponsored by Two Trees Management Co. and the New York Magazine. Today's buzzy DUMBO Art under the bridge festival in Brooklyn was funded, in part, by public funds from the NYC department of cultural affairs and the NY State Council on the Arts Film and Media Program. Numerous were the corporate sponsors though. The Village Voice, RR Frames and Rice to name just a few.

Should arts be funded by governments or by private/corporate sponsors? That will always be a hot topic. I don't really have the answer. All I know is that creative professionals need help. If this support will come from the government, the local authorities or corporate sponsors is probably the subject of an article, a book or another blog that will follow soon!

Did you know...?

Gallery opening in Blooklyn, NYC: Friday, 10/20, @AG Gallery103 N.3rd Street, Ground Fl., Brooklyn, NY11211

This week in Blooklyn, NYC: Bushwick Open Studios - Saturday 10/21, from 1pm to 8pm: Visit their website at

For Information junkies: First Thursday features area galleries and artists' studios open from 5.30 pm to 8.30 pm, on the first Thursday of each month.

Friday, October 13, 2006

NYLON: The title stands for New York - London. Since I moved to New York City five weeks ago from London where I was based for seven years, I can't help comparing these two. The subway and the tube, people on the streets, delis and cafes, art exhibitions, clothes, rent prices, even the weather. My first thought was to write a column for a London-based local magazine or newspaper with the same title. But the process of pitching for a column might take weeks or months so I quickly changed my mind. A blog is quicker, trendier and probably more influential. So NYLONBLOG was born!

Being a subletter from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY (yes, it is in New York City Manhattanites) with no job at this stage, I will offer fair and unfair comparisons of both cities, tasty tips, colorful trends, whisperings, the latest on events and networks, football games results, off the record news and much more!

If you want to learn more about London or just add to my comparisons or information, this is the blog to participate. I welcome your comments. Actually, I want them!

Event of the day, NY: Godiva's free chocolate tasting, Time and Warner Building, Lounge, Second Floor. At 5pm.