Tag Archives: Manhattan


Where did I turn for my animated gif self-portrait…?

CAM gif MaybellineHouse Fashion Week Sept. 9 2018

#NYFASHIONWEEK and #MaybellineHouse of course!

On Sunday, Sept. 9, I had one of the most selfie-centric experiences known to civilization.

On the Lower East Side of Manhattan, during New York’s Fashion Week, I found myself in the imagined-yet-real, elusive-yet-tangible, mysterious, nomadic and fantasmagoric world of FashionistaLand. Though it changes in “look” and location (and then poof! vaporizes) twice per year (à la George Costanza’s “promised land” Meat District model-hangout-that-vanished Seinfeld episode) THIS go-round I rode the dragon straight in to “belly of the beast”, that being, a NY Fashion Week event fashioned for and tailored to (ALL puns intended) contemporary culture’s narcissistic selfie-obsession in a hashtagged, branded venue. Scary!

#maybellinehouse Neon Sign Sept 10, 2018

On a superficial level, this experience did not disappoint.

Thanks to the many props provided at the venue, ranging from the giant complexion-friendly pastel-colored blocks to frolic on, MANY lights and mirrors (though no smoke, darn) to a “diva fan” (yep!) and selfie gif station (uh-huh!) I came away with many images

Carolyn at MH FW Edit Sept 10 2018

AND a handy tote bag that I designed in collab with a hipster-for-hire from a selection of Maybelline slogans. I chose “UNSTOPPABLE” over “WILL WORK FOR LIPSTICK”. Hmmm… I wonder why in these #MeToo Time’s Up times?! Not to worry, there was “BOSS LADY” also, which my friend chose (and made me lol because she’s the sweetest woman in the world, but a strong boss lady, too.)

The most intriguing aspect of the tote swag to me, however, was neither it nor the merch to fill it with, though it’s quite fun and generous of any brand to give stuff away, but rather the Hand Jet EBS 260 printer that magically printed my unstoppable slogan amid an array of hearts on my bag. WOOHOOO!!! SWEET! I wish they’d been handing out one of THOSE to stash in my tote!

CAM MaybellineHouse Fashion Week Unstoppable Swag 2 Sept. 9 2018 (2)



CAM MaybellineHouse Fashion Week Sept. 9 2018

You wouldn’t necessarily perceive it from the above photos, BUT after a few hours (and a few hundred selfies later) my group and I were tired of focusing on ourselves. We were tired of hearing the black Maybelline t-shirt clad event staffers reminding us to “use the hashtag!” We were happy to think of heading uptown and sitting down to a long, late lunch/early dinner and our tickets to a Broadway show that same night (Sunday funday!)

Enough selfies, group selfies and selfie gifs.

That is, for now…

CAM gif MaybellineHouse Fashion Week Sept. 9 2018



The Art of Make-Up

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I’ve always considered make-up artistry to be a true art form.

I’ve also always considered make-up to be a living art form, because it evolves with the fashions, times and tastes of culture, and spawns its own trends, reflecting the culture back onto itself via a multi-billion dollar industry. Hence the current social media/viral popularity of make-up vloggers and YouTubers with millions of subscribers inking equally big sponsorship deals. But true make-up artistry transcends digital media fads.

This was confirmed to me recently twofold: upon meeting Alfie Boe sans Jean Valjean/LesMis make-up/wardrobe post-performance, as he so gloriously embodies and personifies Jean Valjean in voice and “in costume”, and by observing the great Joe Dulude create Wicked’s Elphaba for an attentive audience at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Artistic Producer, Evan Leslie, moderated a conversation with Joe as he transformed actress Eden Espinosa during this inspired and inspiring “Make Me Elphaba” event…

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Joe’s credits, creations and portfolio are as formidable as the characters he’s created. He has 1990’s MAC pedigree which made me like him all the more (Viva Glam lipstick forever, baby!) and he couldn’t have been more generous toward the topic at hand, sharing personal/professional anecdotes, taking questions from the audience (WHILE he applied!) and also with his time afterward chatting, allowing photos–and selfies!

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To that point, Evan gave the audience a great, spontaneous moment of levity (in other words, a really funny moment of great comic timing) when he took his own phone out for a selfie with Joe after being made up by Joe improvisationally based upon audience prompts of a “bird-like, from-the-future, 50’s era” character. Voilà!

And Eden graciously posed with Acacia for a fun Elphaba selfie…

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As I listened to Joe speak and describe his process and his experiences, I was so grateful to hear him emphasize the value of research toward his art form, as I often champion the concept of research in art, especially with our collective references currently in great flux. I once had a Media Studies student tell me the Kardashians “invented the smoky eye” during a unit on Advertising, to which I replied, “Google Max Factor”.


Traveling to this event with 10 young performing artists ages 12-13 in tow, as a special event for my daughter and her friends, I fainted on the train when one of our group was inadvertently left behind at the train station due to a Special-and-Unknown-Train-Construction-Schedule. She made it to the event and so did I, thankfully. Today, I had the pleasure of seeing Evan Leslie in person again as I returned to the library to tour an exhibition for my photography research. I shared the missed train and fainting spell stories with him. He wittily assessed that “a little drama” attended to us as we attended “Make Me Elphaba”. For sure. And when I slumped into the only empty seat on the train, which was luckily below me, three very lovely, concerned women en route to ComicCon immediately responded, one of whom handed me her own water bottle and then offered me a literally “Life-Saving” mint. When I was revived, we started to chat and it turns out, she’s a fellow Vassar “sista”. Drama?! Yep! And no better person to Victorian swoon near! 

S3Oct19PicLabEditsHeadShots 024Carolyn NOT fainting as the driver helps everyone board a Sprinter for our Lincoln Center/Grand Central round trip—the heart peace-sign template is to obscure a fellow traveler looking back at me worried that I was about to again!

Photo Credits:

Eden Espinosa, Acacia & Joe Dulude photo by B. McDonough

Joe Dulude & Eden/Elphaba photo by A. McDonough

Joe Dulude & Evan Leslie photo by A. McDonough

Driver & Carolyn photo by B. McDonough

Il Papa!

PopePicture(2)BySophiaMorenoPaz Sophia Moreno-Paz had the great, random fortune of seeing Il Papa at 5th & 55th, and I just had a lovely chat with her as I procured her photo for CultureArtMedia which I print with her permission.

Sophia generously shared this photo and also her first-hand experience with me. I asked her what it felt like to have seen him waving toward her, and she said it gave her “goosebumps”. I asked her if time stood still or if it was a blur. She thoughtfully recounted the experience as having unfolded in “real time”. Neat!

Sophia hails from Argentina, as does Pope Francis, and her surname Paz translates from Spanish, the Pope’s mother tongue, to “peace” in English. We’ve all heard the Pontiff say paz and pray for it countless times since ascending to Pontiff, and throughout his inaugural stateside visit, as he models his namesake the beloved St. Francis of Assisi. Peace indeed.

In both her heritage and name, I can only believe that Sophia Moreno-Paz was truly meant to see Il Papa.

Millllllle grazie Sophia! And many thanks to Hub and Jim for connecting me with Sophia–PEACE OUT!


Photo Credit: Sophia Moreno-Paz, Sept. 24, 2015, printed with her permission

PLEASE DISPERSE: A Cautionary Tale, aka, grav3yard girl’s Meet & Greet (well, sort of)

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photo from the recent grav3yard girl Meet & Greet (well, sort of):
selfie from the train

Sometimes we’re dragged kicking and screaming through popular culture. Other times, we are happily and gently led to it. The latter is true in this case as I found myself at a Meet & Greet (well, sort of) with YouTuber grav3yard girl on a summery Friday evening in Manhattan. I was made aware of grav3yard girl by a pre-teen/tween who asked if I’d bring her to the event. I vetted grav3yard girl’s online content, particularly her “series” titled “Does This Thing Really Work?!” in which grav3yard girl “tests” seemingly miraculous products from “As Seen on TV” commercials and infomercials. After just one “review”, I was as hooked on grav3yard girl as her tween fan. So of course I said yes, I’d bring her, and off we went!

When we arrived, we found the line wrapped around a city block. With only 1 hour left to the event, I realized we would not get to actually Meet & Greet our beloved grav3yard girl. Within minutes, we became friendly with another fan who had cued up behind us, as the line continued to grow. We had fun chatting with this fellow fan who works for a publisher and had a great idea to pitch to grav3yard girl. Plus, she was very complimentary toward my tween charge and also interested in my blog–worth the trip already!

photo by A. McDonough

While we chatted, a hapless “security” guard in a shopworn suit with dandruff and many missing teeth, apologetically asked us if we would “PLEASE DISPERSE” informing us the line was being cut off. Something about “Mr. Disperse” as I’ve come to call him fondly, got my funny bone. I’ve never been asked to “disperse” by anyone, or from anywhere in my life, so I began giggling, as the term seemed a bit over-reaching for this situation. I mean, it was a FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC “Meet & Greet” which didn’t seem to warrant the connotation of “disperse” usually reserved for riots, demonstrations, and the like. Now the trip was even more worth it! My tween and I agreed to give up waiting on line and go have a nice dinner instead. After dinner, while waiting on another line (this one for gelato) I nearly tackled two unsuspecting women who were carrying Wubble Bubbles (a product grav3yard girl tested!) With my journalist training in action, assuming their WB’s were “swag” from the “M&G”, I said to them: “So, you got in to grav3yard girl?” Startled, they said, “No, we were at a conference…got in to see who?” they inquired. I explained briefly and said, “Well, great for you, for getting the ‘hottest’ toy out there.” (Personally, as a New Yorker, I would’ve hidden the Wubble Bubbles in a shopping bag, for fear of getting mugged for them.)

The next day I did some “day-after” online research on grav3yard girl. My publisher friend and I had exchanged email addresses, and we had a fun back-and-forth about what actually went down. Turns out, the crowd was given the “Elvis has left the building” line by security–not at all true–while simultaneously, the many still waiting, i.e., NOT dispersing, fans were allowed to gather in front of the Meet & Greet (well, sort of) venue, at and upon which, grav3yard girl magically appeared and waved from the balcony. It seems that someone really under OR over-estimated the reality of conducting a six-hour (!) Meet & Greet (well, sort of–ok I’ll stop now) at a cosmetics store in the Big Cit-ay. For even more reportage on this event, go to: http://www.businessinsider.com/teens-wait-in-line-to-meet-bunny-from-youtube-2014-7?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+typepad%2Falleyinsider%2Fsilicon_alley_insider+%28Silicon+Alley+Insider%29
[Digression note to above article publisher: we’re not supposed to say “Silicon Alley” anymore, I heard, because NYC TECH is SO much MORE than just an ALLEY–can you stand it?]

As I continued to read about the event’s aftermath online, many suburban parents were “outraged” that their precious ones didn’t actually get to Meet & Greet grav3yard girl after waiting in line since 8:00am, nearly causing a riot in the process. Ah ha! A glimmer of accuracy to “PLEASE DISPERSE”–hey, maybe those security guys were really ONTO something! Seriously, people, HOW can you waste anger on not “getting in” to a public event, aka, a free-for- all?! It’s not like ya bought tickets or got scalped!

These and other absurd behaviors started to gel in my mind as I read another article on grav3yard girl’s primary online competitor, whose name I shall not mention, because at the moment, she’s getting her teenage ass sued–(finally!) Check it out: http://mobile.theverge.com/2014/7/21/5924405/youtube-star-michelle-phan-sued-copyright-infringement?.tsrc=lgwn

The $ these two are raking in is staggering. Good for them! I guess…?

The bottom line: Thank you grav3yard girl & EATALY for a fab dinner!