NYMysteries Feb. 16

We’re sitting in tiny $100 seats in the Minetta Lane Theatre on Minetta Lane waiting for Colin Quinn’s show, Red State Blue State to begin. But wait. A vagrant in a hand-me-down shirt, Salvation Army jeans, and a batch of new whiskers moseys onto the set.  Should we call Security? No. It’s Colin Quinn, everyman’s everyman. Quinn dives into the state of the nation. He has a pleasant edge. If you were arguing with him, bar stool to bar stool, he would make you listen even though he’s pro-guns and pro-death penalty . He’s also pro-choice and pro-marriage equality. In other words, he’s a mix. Colin Quinn for vice president on the Howard Schultz ticket! 

Red State Blue State is a one man show with a cast of thousands. Well, a crew of nineteen including Quinn. Edward T. Morris’s set is great. It’s a  back wall of wooden planks with splotches of U. S. states. Quinn has a great riff describing the various qualities of all fifty.  Red State Blue State is 75 minutes of manufactured simplicity and honesty and it works.

 

 

Edward T. Morris’s Red State Blue State set

 

 

 

 

An annual event I dearly love is our Chinese New Year’s dinner at Evergreen. I have all the fun. A wonderful friend from hiking days does all the work. We were twenty four old friends who spun with gusto the gigantic lazy Susan laden with Shanghai-influenced dumplings, noodles, pork buns and more.

 

 

Graphic Lessons: What do a thirty-four-year old, a nine-year-old and an eighteen-year-old have in common? Murder. 

Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a  dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned the murder case at the prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner being stabbed ?  His hated boss, Captain Dick Holbrook, being a trustee of the Windsor School?  Losing his girlfriend to Holbrook? 

NYMysteries Feb. 9

 

 The February 3 Frick Sunday concert was given by Calefax, a woodwinds ensemble from the Netherlands. The five musicians played the oboe, the clarinet, the saxophone, the bass clarinet and the bassoon. As if this weren’t enough, they switched to other instruments throughout the evening. It was  marvelous fun. The reed quintet enjoyed itself and so did the audience. The pieces ranged from César Franck to George Gershwin. 

 

Calefax at the Frick

 

CALEFAX

 

 

 

 

 

 I saw Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War. What’s all the fuss about? I liked the black and white photography and the period quality of post World War ll. The story of two people madly in love didn’t work for me because the woman was a retread of troubled, talented singers. Remember Judy Garland? The man in love meant it. He returned from Paris (de rigueur fifties jazz) and landed in a Polish prison under Soviet rule so he could be close to the love of his life. 

 

 

 

 

Graphic Lessons: What do a thirty-four-year old, a nine-year-old and san eighteen-year-old have in common? Murder. 

Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a  dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned the murder case at the prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner being stabbed ?  His hated boss, Captain Dick Holbrook, being a trustee of the Windsor School?  Losing his girlfriend to Holbrook? 

NYMysteries – Feb. 2, 2019

It was at a book launching that Georgia Clark, writer, performer, storyteller and engaged person, asked me to perform at Caveat as part of Generation Women: wit and wisdom from ladies of all ages. Since then I’v been invited to occasional parties at her apartment very near the Williamsburg Bridge. Georgia is an Australian dynamo whose third book will be published by Emily Bestler Books/Simon & Schuster. Not bad, eh? Last Sunday evening a small group gathered in the cozy apartment with the amazing view of the East River.  Georgia and her partner, the gorgeous Lindsay, gazed lovingly at our drinks. They are indulging in a weird ritual called Dry January. 

Georgia and Lindsey

 

 

 

 

 

The remains of dessert: Assorted cookies and Affogato

 

 

A dear friend’s birthday was a perfect excuse for going to Maialino, a restaurant that shares a corner of the Gramercy Park Hotel. Drinking cherry colored Aperol, I parked myself in the hotel’s elegant lounge to wait for my friend. No tipping is the Maialino mantra. It’s a restaurant with a bustling Friday night bar. The service and food were great. When I called for reservations I was asked if it were a special occasion. Nightmare visions of waiters gathering around and singing Happy Birthday filled my troubled brain. I said we didn’t go in for celebrations.  The crafty staff overheard me toasting my pal. When her dessert arrived there was one discreet candle and, as I discovered in the photo, Happy Birthday scrawled in chocolate. 

 

 

 

 

 

Graphic Lessons: What do a thirty-four-year old, a nine-year-old and an eighteen-year-old have in common? Murder. 

Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a  dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned the murder case at the prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner being stabbed ?  His hated boss, Captain Dick Holbrook, being a trustee of the Windsor School?  Losing his girlfriend to Holbrook? 

NYMysteries Jan. 26

January 19th was the best afternoon of my life. A friend took me to the Joyce to see the Irene Rodriguez Company. It’s a small Cuban company: six dancers, six musicians and Irene Rodriguez the director and principal dancer and choreographer. The first dance was a teaser. The curtain was raised only to the dancers’ knees. We watched twelve very agile feet glide, twist, dance. No way of distinguishing female or male. Eight dances followed. Have you ever seen a dancer dancing in a gown with a train? Rodriguez and the other women turned their trains into part of the dance. Every  dance was a delight visually and choreographically.

The next afternoon I went to a Frick concert, Trio Karénine. It was the ensemble’s New York debut. The musicians, a violinist, cellist and pianist treated us to a somber rendering of Shostakovish, Ravel and Schubert. Afterwards, we went to Via Quadronno where I had one of my favorite desserts: affocato al caffe (vanilla ice cream with espresso).

Speaking of food, a few friends came to Friday night supper. For dessert I served plumbing supplies made of chocolate. United Chocolate Works makes these eye catching treats. 

 

 

United Chocolate Works chocolate tools

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

United Chocolate Works Chocolate scissors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Confession: I am a Draino junkie. As friends or partners provide opiates to their loved ones, I douse my Harry Pottery toilet, it’s magical, with Draino. Since Nov. I’ve put up with weekly overflows. Plumbers have come and gone, each stating that the toilet was fixed.

Graphic Lessons: What do a thirty-four-year old, a nine-year-old and an eighteen-year-old have in common? Murder. 

Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a  dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned the murder case at the prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner being stabbed ?  His hated boss, Captain Dick Holbrook, being a trustee of the Windsor School?  Losing his girlfriend to Holbrook? 

NY Mysteries Jan. 19, 2019

 

I have friends on the west coast who are dedicated film buffs.  They go to Sundance every year. They see every nominated film and watch The Golden Globes and the Oscars . I decided that I’d emulate them, sort of. I saw The Favorite, not a favorite. Next was Bohemian Rhapsody. Has too much been written about Rami Malek’s prosthetic teeth? Even so, you can’t take your eyes off them. They are far more interesting than most of the other parts of the movie. Queen is lauded for its music. Maybe so but the actors who played the band were dead in the water. Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury tried hard. His grappling with being gay was forced. His wandering in and out of his marriage was  unrealistic and boring. His wife, played by Lucy Boynton, smile sweetly through it all. 

 

 

 

 

The Sisters in Crime had an Open Mike at The Mysterious Bookshop. The shop is a beauty, wall-to-wall books. About ten of us read from our stories. We had five minutes which was long enough. Such fun hearing what others were writing.  Afterwards, everyone was invited to an Indian dinner. A lovely evening. 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mysterious Bookshop

 

 

 

 

 

 

A thought:  is the iPhone going the way of the digital camera, the calculator, the pager, Sony’s Walkman and the Palm Pilot? 

 

 

Graphic Lessons: What do a thirty-four-year old, a nine-year-old and an eighteen-year-old have in common? Murder. 

Graphic Lessons: Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a  dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned the murder case at the prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner being stabbed ?  His hated boss, Captain Dick Holbrook, being a trustee of the Windsor School?  Losing his girlfriend to Holbrook? 

NYMysteries 1/11/19

 

Last Wednesday The Mystery Writers of America New York Chapter had its first 2019 meeting. It was lively. No one has ever accused mystery writers of being shy. MWA was founded in 1945. It presents a bust of Edgar Allen Poe to mystery or crime writers every year. Throughout the year there are readings by members at various venues, mentoring programs and scholarship programs. The Communication Committee announced that the club’s newsletter, The Noose, was having its name changed. The associations with the word noose concern some members and so we are changing it to….who knows? A friend suggested Arsenic and Old Lace.  

Edgar Allen Poe

 

 

 

 

 

I watched Eight and a Half, Federico Fellini’s 1963 fantasy with Nino Rota’s haunting music. It’s glamorous and mysterious as we wander through the past and present with a film director played by Marcello Mastroianni.  Eight and a half refers to the eight and a half movies Fellini had directed before Eight and a Half. The black and white images by cinematographer Gianni Di Venanzo are stunning. There are parades of course, a Fellini hallmark. It won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Time has weight it down with immense respectability. Even the Vatican considers it one of the best films made before 1995. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graphic Lessons: What do a thirty-four-year old, a nine-year-old and an eighteen-year-old have in common? Murder. 

Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a  dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned the murder case at the prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner being stabbed ?  His hated boss, Captain Dick Holbrook, being a trustee of the Windsor School?  Losing his girlfriend to Holbrook? 

NYMysteries  – January 5

 

The Favorite movie is not my favorite.  I know it’s garnered lots of praise: Olivia Colman as Queen Anne is up for an Oscar for gaining a thousand pounds and having an on screen orgasm, courtesy of Rachel Weisz (Lady Sarah). Emma Stone (Abigail, the favorite) rolls her eyes to indicate she’s going to betray Lady Sarah by replacing her in Queen Anne’s bed. Daring, eh? Throw in lots of profanity, 2019 jargon, lovely food and furniture and you’ve got a script. When are we Americans going to get over our fascination with the past and present English royal family ?

So far, Maria by Callas has been the best movie I’ve seen in a long time.

 

When our government goes back to work…..

 Did you know that…

 

Children of Congress members do not have to pay back their college student loans.

 

Staffers of Congress family members are also exempt from having to pay back student loans.

 

Members of Congress can retire at full pay after only one term.

 

Members of Congress are exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment.

Don’t just sit there. Run for Congress.

 

 

 

Graphic Lessons: What do a thirty-four-year old, a nine-year-old and an eighteen-year-old have in common? Murder. 

Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a  dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned the murder case at the prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner being stabbed ?  His hated boss, Captain Dick Holbrook, being a trustee of the Windsor School?  Losing his girlfriend to Holbrook? 

NYMysteries  Dec. 29

A Perfect Outing

A friend and I had an early and quiet lunch in the Via Quadronno restaurant on 73rd Street. I had what I always have: steamed and chilled asparagus in a vinaigrette sauce. In English the dish doesn’t have the hypnotic spell it has in Italian: Asparagi Verdi Freschi in Salsina Vinaigrette. My friend tucked into one of the delicious paninis. 

After lunch we walked down Fifth to 70th Street to see two Frick Collection exhibits: The Charterhouse of Bruges and Splendor in Eighteenth-Century Rome: Luigi Valadier. 

A charterhouse is a Carthusian monastery. The Bruges Charterhouse prior in 1441 was Jan Vos. He commissioned Jan van Eyck to paint The Virgin and Child with St. Barbara, St. Elizabeth and himself. The Virgin holds the baby Jesus.  She stands on an ornate pedestal in a luxurious room far above the city of Bruges. Out one window we see the tower in which St. Barbara’s father had imprisoned her. Jan Vos kneels in front of St. Barbara. St. Elizabeth stands to the right and is dressed as a nun. It is a saintly painting. What’s surprised me was that the painting is filled with military illusions: Prior Vos had been a Teutonic Knight and St. Barbara was the patron saint of artillerymen. This exhibit is in the Cabinet, a small space that allows you to get close to the van Eyck painting as well as the works of Petrus Christus. .

Jan van Eyck: The Virgin and Child with St. Barbara, St. Elizabeth and Jan Vos. The Frick Collection

 

 

 

Splendor in Eighteenth-Century Rome: Luigi Valadier is a breathtaking exhibit of the art of Luigi Valadier.  He was an extraordinary designer.  In addition to works such as The Triumph of Bacchus, he was celebrated for his elaborate table settings. Imagine miniature Roman temples, arches and obelisks sprawled across the dining room table. Valadier produced these works of unique art for the popes and the Roman noble families who often did not pay him. Burdened with debt, he committed suicide. His son was the architect of Piazza del Popolo

Valadier: The Triumph of Bacchus
Louvre Museum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graphic Lessons: What do a thirty-four-year old, a nine-year-old and an eighteen-year-old have in common? Murder. 

Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a  dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned the murder case at the prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner being stabbed ? Escaping an attempted car bombing?  His hated boss, Captain Dick Holbrook, being a trustee of the Windsor School?  Losing his girlfriend to Holbrook? 

New York Mysteries December 22

A contingent from the Judson Memorial Church went to MOMA to see Judson Dance Theater: The Work Is Never Done. In addition to the exhibit, videos of various artists who had performed at Judson were shown on the enormous multiscreen. On Dec. 15 there was a live performance by the Stephen Petronio Company. We sat in the front row feeling pretty chuffed since one of the dancers, Mac Twining, is a Judsonite.

 

Steve Paxton
MOMA: Judson Dance Theater: The Work is Never Done

 

 

The MOMA Judson Dance Theater: The Work Is Never Done video presentation

 

 

 

Afterwards I had a delicious bowl of soup and a strong cocktail, both suggested by some very friendly people at the MOMA bar. A mere $41! I then went to see the great Ugo Tognazzi in a dated, dopey, endearing Italian movie, The Climax. 

Dec. 18: We went on a tour of the Frick Art Reference Library. Although I volunteer there and have been in the library a zillion times I never tire of hearing about its founder, the indomitable Ms. Frick, the Frick daughter who founded the Library.  Stephen Bury, the Chief Librarian, conducted the tour. He told us in learned and witty language about the joys and vicissitudes associated with FARL. 

A friend and I went to an open rehearsal of Les Ballets Trocadero de Monte Carlo at the Joyce Theater. It was two hours of great fun. Founded in 1974, the Trocks attracted attention and audiences because of their ability to dance en pointe, be comic and be serious about dance. In the present company there are 14 members from all parts of the world.

Ever since I spent a few enchanting hours in Banksy’s The Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem I’ve followed the mischievous fellow’s various stunts. Lately, he has decorated  a Welsh town with a mural that references the town’s air pollution.

Artwork by street artist Banksy, Thursday Dec. 20, 2018, which appeared on a garage wall in Taibach, Port Talbot, south Wales.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graphic Lessons: What do a thirty-four-year old, a nine-year-old and an eighteen-year-old have in common? Murder. 

Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a  dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned the murder case at the  prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner being stabbed while Kulchek was buying cigarettes? Escaping an attempted car bombing?  His hated boss, Captain Dick Holbrook, being a trustee of the Windsor School?  Losing his girlfriend to Holbrook? 

NYMysteries  Dec. 14

 

On Dec. 15, The Frick concert series featured Ensemble Correspondances, 10 singers and instrumentalists who specialize in the music created during the reign of Louis XIV.  Just the music for a France beset with financial problems. I don’t think this elegant group will be the poster children for the yellow jackets. In addition to a program, we were each given pages of translations of the various pieces. I’ve never been interested in following the librettos. Around me, the audience was studiously following the text of Constantin’s La Ballet Royal de la Nuit or of the Venetian Francesco Cavalli’s Ercole Amante. Instead, I enjoy the sounds and like to study the different musicians: the extremely elegant director and harpsichordist, the extremely stern viola da gamba player, the extremely handsome countertenor. You get the message. As these musicians perform seventeenth century music and as they tour Japan, China and the U. S. A. are they wondering about their futures?  

The Garden and Forest Book Club meets at the Arsenal about once a month nine times of the year. I joined it because I know nothing about gardens and forests. It’s been quite an education. Those gardeners and landscape pros aren’t afraid of hefty volumes. We’ve just finished discussing Victoria Johnson’s American Eden. Ms. Johnson’s main figure is David Hosack (1769-1835). Dr. Hosack was a physician and a botanist. His goal, finally achieved, was to build the first botanical garden in the Republic, the Elgin Botanic Garden. It was later abandoned and became the site of Rockefeller Center. Hosack was the friend of Burr and Hamilton and was Hamilton’s doctor at the infamous duel. Later, Burr fled the Republic with money given him by Hosack.  

Elgin Painting at Ny Botanical Garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graphic Lessons: What do a thirty-four-year old, a nine-year-old and an eighteen-year-old have in common? Murder. 

Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a  dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned the murder case at the  prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner being stabbed while Kulchek was buying cigarettes? Escaping an attempted car bombing?  His hated boss, Captain Dick Holbrook, being a trustee of the Windsor School?  Losing his girlfriend to Holbrook?