Broadway, Buses, and Hugh Jackman’s Singlet

10.39pm, 45th & Madison Avenue, Midtown, in a very soggy Big Apple tonight, NY, USA
I’m back – but it’s been a busy couple of days and nights in between. I’ve just got in from one of the major treats of my job: being in exactly the right place at the right time.

But first – the business. I had an in-store tasting with Sussex Wines (over on the East Side at 42nd Street and 2nd Avenue) this afternoon and evening, where we opened the Y Series Riesling, Unwooded Chardonnay, Shiraz Viognier and Merlot – and basically went through them all with almost everyone who came in to the store. This is the way you get to win folks over one at a time and answer all those questions on wine that everyone’s always wanted to ask. Lovely folks to work with, and a great day’s investment of time.

After work, I ducked across to 8th Avenue and up to 45th – right in the middle of the theatre district. Yep, we’re on Broadway! By the way, I love the weekly unlimited Met pass that the New York transit system has – it’s an access-all-areas pass for the whole 5 boroughs, and once you work out the crosstown and up & down town buses – it’s easy peasy, the city is mine!

One of my favourite things is the theatre, and occasionally I get to be in a city when someone special is on the boards – and this week is one of those times. I had a ticket to tonight’s performance of “A Steady Rain” with Hugh Jackman & Daniel Craig in a two-man, 90 minute, no intermission “discourse”. I won’t give too much away, as you’d want to see it if you get a chance. Basically you’ve got two Chicago policemen telling two sides of the same relationship – professional and personal – and unravelling a sequence of events that starts almost as black comedy, but pretty swiftly gets pretty close to the bone and “squeeze your eyes closed” nasty. Enough said that you can see why it’s 90 minutes straight through! The two boys are pretty convincing with their broad Chicago accents, and when they have a chat on stage after the show, you have to give yourself a quick shake at the prim English from Craig and definite Australian twang from Jackman.

This is what the story is. There’s a drive on to raise money for the Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS charity, and Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig lit up the theatre after their curtain call, explained the charity’s work, and said they would auction off their singlets from the performance, with the successful bidders being able to go backstage and collect them, meet the boys, take photos – the whole up close and personal experience. The result? $5000 for each, with both boys signing the two sweaty undershirts! It was spirited bidding – but why wouldn’t it be – literally live on stage, you’ve got James Bond and Wolverine up there on stage stripping down to their singlets. The rest of us who missed out … didn’t really miss out! Great night, great show, and great Broadway debut for Daniel Craig.

Now I did have good intentions when I started this, I was going to finish the Wisconsin story, as I want to tell you about another neat corner of the world where we’re in very good hands – Gennessee Depot is the hamlet, The Union House is the restaurant. And I wanted to talk about Thursday and Friday’s events at the Wine Spectator New York Wine Experience – 2009 being our first invitation to be part of the whole thing. But trust me, it will all keep for tomorrow as suddenly, the bottom is rapidly falling out of my bucket – and I’m just going to fall into bed before midnight. No plans for tomorrow – it’s my day off, so I’ll catch it all up then.

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