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While this probably isn’t that ‘new’ a thing, it was something that I never even knew existed until a co-worker casually mentioned her past experience at FAO Schwarz when everyone was discussing the fact that Toys ‘R’ Us bought them out.  (And since the previously mentioned acquisition, Disney’s bought up Marvel for $4 billion and Kraft went after Cadbury, but failed despite a $16 billion bid – doorcrasher sales on various international brands in the wake of an economic downturn… but that’s off topic).

So it turns out, FAO Schwarz in New York has a whole section of the sales floor that’s devoted to making your very own Muppet!  The Whatnot Workshop has all kinds of different stations that allow people to mix and match different eyes, ears, noses – right down to accessories – to create a mixmatched customized Muppet that looks, works and feels like the real thing, as if Jim Henson himself had created a new character.

There used to be both an online and in-store Whatnot experience but since the May 2009 acquisition, the online platform has been scrapped and is in redevelopment.  So, for now the only way to get your own Muppet is to boot down to NYC as it’s an exclusive feature that thankfully Toys ‘R’ Us has no intentions of dropping.  The store will remain an FAO Schwarz as well, good considering its icon status for children everywhere and the fact that it’s been immortalized in films ‘o plenty.

In total there’s choice between three body types, 12 eyes, 12 noses, 13 hairstyles and 14 costumes (including The Statue of Liberty and a baseball uniform resembling that of the New York Yankees).  Check out the photos below to see the real deal!

With Pride celebrations popping up as per usual throughout the summer months across the world, New York City was of course no different.  On the heals of the official ‘week’ the Shakespeare in the Park continues to celebrate as it inches closer to the fall theatre season.  Part of this year’s programme line up includes The Twelfth Night (June 10 – July 12) staring Private Practice’s Audra McDonald and big screen starlet Anne Hathaway as Olivia and Viola, respectively.  Hathaway celebrates many firsts within the casting, not only is it her debut in public theatre, it’s also the first time she’s ever kissed a woman!

McDonald & Hathaway in The Twelfth Night

McDonald & Hathaway in The Twelfth Night

Unfamiliar with The Twelfth Night? Shakespeare in the Park describes it as a beguiling comedy which follows the romantic adventures of Viola and her identical twin Sebastian, both shipwrecked in the enchanted dukedom of Illyria. At the helm of this time-honored story of cross-dressing and mistaken identity, all in the name of love, is Tony Award winning Director Daniel Sullivan.

For a little outdoor Shakespeare action a little closer to home for readers in Newfoundland, there is the reliable Shakespeare by the Sea troop who’ve worked hard to put together a brilliant summer season.  This year’s line up includes the classic Romeo & Juliet (July 5 – Aug. 10) and The Tempest (July 17 – Aug. 15) along with a Fairy Tale Mix Up (July 11 – Aug. 16) written and directed by Newfoundland’s own Krista Hann.  Also for the kids, Classics by Candlelight (July 4 – Aug. 16) returns this year and Tunes ‘n Tales (July 6 – Aug. 10) is an addition following Romeo & Juliet performances which celebrates authentic Newfoundland music and yarns.

originally published November 2008

Bang 10 Poster

Bang 10 Poster

Almost 9 months to the day Current ran a piece about Liquid Ice closing its door’s for the last time. Those doors did reopen and while there was no name change, there were new owners. Stacy Coish and the original team said they weren’t going anywhere and true to their word, Liquid Ice Promotions has made good on that promise. Already the group has successfully put off 2 events and the third Liquid Ice Promotions presentation happens in just one week!

The scene for djing and electronic music has exponentially grown in St. John’s over the last few years especially. It’s a community that was really always there but the culture has grown and more people understand the artistic merit behind it. Coish has recognized and understood the different sounds and sub-genres for years along with the partners and resident dj’s he’s worked with, past and present. He’s responsible for not only exposing the St. John’s scene to some of the world’s most incredible djing talents, he’s also fostered a lot of the local talent by providing them with truly creative venues to play in.

After turning away from the weekly business, the promotions company can just focus on putting off concentrated events that pack a punch. The first two were hosted by The Abbey, a gourmet restaurant tucked away in The Spa at the Monastery. Guests were treated to a fine meal with an intimate dance party afterwards. The first, in June, featured the talents of Toronto’s Sydney Blu and the second, 2 months later, brought back former cornerstone Liquid Ice resident Kevin Penny.

Passionate patrons of the former Liquid Ice will also remember the place was famous for monthly events. Liquid Love for Valentines Day and Scared for Halloween, which was sorely missed last week. But, there’s no need to fret! One of those monthly events – BANG! – which is the longest running dj event and anniversary of the first party ever thrown is not even close to retirement yet. For its third event, Liquid Ice Promotions is holding on to BANG for the 10th year and it couldn’t be bigger.

Bang 10 will feature the talents of DJ Exacta, a resident dj from New York City whose accomplishments continue to grow and include the world’s finest nightclubs. Exacta took up residency at Pacha in 2005 when the NYC location was opened and he’s played at the original Ibiza location as well as Amnesia, Godskitchen in the UK, Space in Miami and Guvernment in Toronto. He’s played alongside tastemakers and trendsetters like Pete Tong, Oakenfold and Tiesto as well as David Guetta and Armand Van Helden. On November 15th he’ll play alongside the local talents of m0xY, Sina, Mike Taylor and Leo Van Ulden at The Stellar Club on Henry Street.

Exacta’s sound has been described as sexy and unique and is genuinely rooted in a soul education from listening to records in his basement in Queens as a child. He picked up the drums and joined his highschool jazz band but turned them in for turntables eventually becoming a dj in New York City hip hop clubs. His evolutionary sound brought him to house and he’s produced over a dozen of his own tracks as well as mixes for Suzanne Palmer, Paris Hilton and Nelly Furtado.

There’s more information about Exacta’s incredible talents and sounds available on his website at www.djexacta.com. The night promises to be the most explosive Liquid Ice Promotion to date and for an incredibly reasonable advance price of $20 a ticket, which are available at Icons (115 Duckworth Street). What’s amazing is that it would be impossible to see him perform for anything less then that in any of the other world venue’s that you might catch him in. The best part – you don’t even have to leave your backyard and the best St. John’s has to offer will welcome him here in style

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makin’ sense of it all

keepin’ track of it all

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