New York City Blog — March 20 – March 25

At the Frick we went to Senior Curator Susan Galassi’s talk, Turner’s Modern and Ancient Ports: Passages through Time. It was given in the Frick Collection’s Oval Room. Henry Clay Frick had bought two oils, Turner’s Harbor of Dieppe and Cologne, the arrival of a Packet-Boat, over a century ago. For the exhibit, an unfinished painting of Brest’s harbor was place between them. Curator Galassi suggested the third painting was the unborn child of the first two paintings. The two Frick paintings teemed with life and a sense, real or imagined, of reality. The unfinished work glimmered with light and unfinished figures, reminding me of an x-ray. The other paintings in the Oval Room were fanciful images of an imagined Rome and Carthage. In the East Gallery there’s a wide selection of Turner’s watercolors, scenes in England, Germany and Holland. To quote Hans Hoffman, “In nature light creates color; in painting color creates light.” The exhibit runs through May 14.

Indochine has always had a glamorous reputation: the gay crowd, the fashion crowd. We dined at the unfashionable hour of six so we’d be on time for LATIN HISTORY FOR MORONS across the street at the Public. Indochine’s setting is wonderful and the wait staff wear the nifties clothes I’ve seen outside an Orry-Kelly film. Think Bette Davis in The Letter or Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca. Twenty years ago, the food was as exotic as the setting: mirrors, palm tree paintings, enormous flower displays. Now, both are part of the general culture. You don’t own a wok? You can’t eat with chop sticks? My friend is having his Florida condo bathroom wall-papered in palms.

Indochine

LATIN HISTORY FOR MORONS, John Leguizamo’s latest rant, goes on forever. I preferred Mambo Mouth and Spic-o-Rama. Leguizamo’s strong points are his sense of ridicule, his mimicry, and his burning anger. His weak point is that he thinks he’s a deep thinker which encourages him to behave like a preacher. Also, sentimentality ,sooner or later, creeps into his script. The audience consisted of fans who gave him the obligatory standing ovation.
R.I.P.
St. Charles County police responded to a medical emergency on Buckner Road at approximately 12:40 p.m. today (Saturday, March 18). Inside the home, first responders observed an unresponsive man and immediately administered lifesaving techniques. Unfortunately, the 90-year-old man could not be revived and was pronounced deceased at 1:26 p.m.
The St. Charles County Police Department sadly confirms the death of Charles Edward Anderson Berry Sr., better known as legendary musician Chuck Berry.

 

COMING SOON:

Graphic Lessons: Recent widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine year old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: something’s eating at him: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case?

Graphic Lessons: Nine year old Dana is the only witness who overhears three people 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?

New York City Blog — March 12 – March 18

Look what Clover Vail did to Judson’s Sunday bulletin:

 

State of the Union

 

 

 

 

 

 
The weather caused me to cancel a few engagements so I indulged in one of my favorite pastimes: concentrating on people’s good and bad points.
The firing of U. S. Attorney Preet Bharara: Of course, he’s an immigrant. What a bum, right? He has the nerve to prosecute people regardless of their political affiliations. If Attorney Bharara isn’t deported, there are rumors he might run for the office of N. Y. State governor. Imagine, N. Y. state with an honorable governor.

St. Patrick’s Day was low key. Nothing interesting. It’s become so inclusive. On youtube, Ireland’s Taoiseach Enda Kenny talked about immigration. As he explained, in his honeyed accent, how much it meant to the Irish and all other

St. Patrick’s Day

people, I couldn’t help noticing how constipated the guy with the cotton candy hairdo looked.

 

 

COMING SOON:

Graphic Lessons: Recent widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine year old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: something’s eating at him: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case?

Graphic Lessons: Nine year old Dana is the only witness who overhears three people 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?

New York City Blog — March 5 – March 11

The Frick Sunday concert featured Tempesta di Mare’s A Tale of Two Cities. The music represented the different traditions of Venice and Naples. Vivaldi and Castello represented Venice and Marchitelli and Mancini represented Naples. It was enchanting. The quartet is named after Vivaldi’s eighteenth century flute concerto. The instruments played were the recorder, violin, cello and a theorbo. A theorbo is a stringed instrument of the 17th century resembling a large lute but having an extra set of long bass strings.Thank you, Merriam-Webster. Getting it through customs must be a real treat. The Frick includes brief descriptions of related art works. Do you walk by the bronzes? I do. Therefore I was grateful for the Frick notes gently nudging us to pay as much attention to metal as we do to paint by describing Severo da Ravenna’s Neptune on a Sea-Monster. I went to the West Gallery and looked at it closely, marveling at the action and detail. Frick bought the sculpture from the J. Pierpont Morgan estate. After the concert, we stepped around the corner to Charlot, a charming French bistro on 69th Street.

On March 9th, I participated in a Jericho Walk near Foley Square. A Judson Memorial Church member had to appear before ICE. This person has been in the U. S. for twenty five years, has a family, works regularly and yet there’s a distinct chance that he will be deported to a country he hasn’t lived in for decades. We were instructed not to engage in angry exchanges. In other words, keep your BIG mouth shut. I shouted at a creep who was holding up posters telling immigrants to get out of his country. I was correctly shushed by my pals. A Jericho Walk is a prayer walk by a group. The purpose is to pray for or against something which indeed we did.

Highlights in Jazz was on Thursday evening. After a delicious dinner at Gigino’s we made our way to BMCC. That’s Borough of Manhattan Community College auditorium. Paquito D’Rivera was his usual charming self. The evening was shadowed by the news of Barbara Carroll’s death.

Foley Square Jericho Walk

New York City Blog — February 27 – March 4

Circle in the Square has a long history which you’re reminded of while waiting in the ladies room line. Black and white photos of George C. Scott, Joanne Woodword and Vanessa Redgrave, among others, deck the walls. The Circle in the Square has moved from the original Sheridan Square site, then to Bleecker Street and now west 50th Street. The present theatre resembles a conference hall. The musical, in transit, is very American: the plot’s paper thin and predictable, lots of energy, wonderful voices and the obligatory standing ovation. The clever set is a subway station. The cast scoots in and out on stage subway cars, making use of the annoyances of NYC daily life to stir a responding reaction in the audience.

in transit at Circle in the Square

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m a member of a three women Wendy Whalen fan club. We come from as far away as New Jersey and as close as east 14th Street. A perfect NYC evening is meeting at Haru on Eighth Avenue, savoring the fresh Japanese food and then crossing the street to the Joyce. Is there a bad seat in the house? Back to Wendy Whalen. Currently, she and Brian Brooks are dancing in a modern work, Some of a Thousand Words. Whalen dominates the stage. Surprise, surprise but it’s not the glow of narcissism. Rather, it’s the sense of witnessing someone who is dedicated and devoted to dance. When Whalen dances you are living in the moment. She spent much of her professional life at the New York City Ballet dancing the works of Wheeldon, Ratmansky, Forsythe. Having retired from the NYCB, she now works with Brian Brooks. Their chemistry plus the Brooklyn Rider’s music made for a memorable evening.

I found this ladies room sign very funny:

What a difference a word makes.

COMING SOON:

Graphic Lessons: Recent widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine year old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: something’s eating at him: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case?

Graphic Lessons: Nine year old Dana is the only witness who overhears three people 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?

New York City Blog — February 19 – February 25

What a busy week.
It began with John Houston’s Beat the Devil. Made in the 50’s, it’s still a hoot. Humphrey Bogart, Robert Morley, Gina Lollabrigida, Peter Lorre, Jennifer Jones – what a mix.They are very evil and very funny crooks heading for African uranium mines on a leaky Italian boat with a drunk captain.
Sunday was a Frick concert by Cuarteto Casals, a Spanish quartet that romped through Mozart, Bartok, Brahms. It was a rousing two hours.
Studio 5 presents programs that explore different aspects of the dance. On Monday, Tyler Angle moderated a program about how each dancer reacts differently to the same music. Angle, Sara Means, Unity Phelan, Indiana Woodward and Daniel Applebaum demonstrated their interpretations of different Balanchine, Peck and Ratmansky’s pieces. Yummy.
We finally, finally, made it to the Barnes in Philadelphia. Not the original site, alas, but the new building. It’s a handsome structure in the northwest part of Philadelphia. The museum has been recreated almost exactly like the original building. Lots of hardware, lots of Renoirs, 180 to be exact. The Barnes has the largest Renoir collection in the world. We took a tour which was a great idea because the docent explained the Barnsian way. Each wall is an ensemble based on light, color, line and space.
We had lunch in the Reading Terminal Market, a bustling world with 800 hundred vendors, many more customers and, best of all, Bassett’s butterscotch ice cream. Dinner was at the Oyster House. The Barnes might have a lock on Renoirs but the Oyster House has, according to the Guiness World Record, the largest collection of oyster dishes in the world. It also has wonderful food. Shad is in season – and a friendly, efficient atmosphere.

Reading Terminal Market

It’s Philadelphia not Florence, folks.
Reading Terminal Market

A Barnes ensemble

Oyster House

Photos

New York City Blog — February 12 – February 18

 

I saw I Am Not Your Negro, the civil rights documentary. The director, Raoul Peck, uses James Baldwin’s writings to illustrate what it’s like to be Black. It’s uncomfortable and enlightening. Baldwin takes on a Professor Weiss on the Dick Cavett show. The Professor says that Baldwin talks too much about being a Negro. How eloquently Baldwin runs through all the reasons he is made aware of his color. It made me reflect on how ignorant I am of the daily pain most Blacks experience. In my apartment building the black father of a big, black teenager would always precede his son into the elevator. The father greeted the people in the elevator and pasted a pleasant expression on his face. I think he was protecting his son from the looks of horror, fear flashing from Whites’ eyes.

I Am Not Your Negro poster

A black, gay friend of mine said that when you are born Black, you have a permanent cloud over you. Thanks to this documentary and to the patience of Blacks I’m beginning to be dimly aware of how lucky I am and how stressful black lives can be. I’m sorry.

COMING SOON:

Graphic Lessons: Recent widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine year old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: something’s eating at him: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case?

Graphic Lessons: Nine year old Dana is the only witness who overhears three people 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?

New York City Blog — February 4 – February 11

Monday, we celebrated Chinese New Year at Evergreen Restaurant. It’s an annual event for eating delicious food, wondering if I should buy a lazy susan and greeting dear friends.

Jazz at Tribeca was cancelled because of the snow storm. I leaned out the window and gazed at the Empire State Building in bridal white, much my favorite color for the stately building. This is my cousin’s photo.

Michal Heron’s photo of the Empire State Building

 

Alex Guarnaschelli’s Butter Restaurant is in the basement of a midtown hotel. You go down the stairs into a dark, enormous space. Uh-oh, the first thing you see is a Sports Bar TV. Not to worry. Our reservation, during Restaurant Week, was for 5:15. A late lunch, you say? Once in our comfortable, spacious booth every dish was excellent and the service couldn’t have been better. Florida shrimp, oysters, stuffed cherry tomatoes, bread baked on the premises, tomahawk steak, grits. I could go on but am too embarrassed. Holy Basil is a gin cocktail packed with basil and delicious. I think you get the message.

 

COMING SOON:

Graphic Lessons: Recent widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine year old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: something’s eating at him: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case?

Graphic Lessons: Nine year old Dana is the only witness who overhears three people 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?

New York City Blog — January 29 – February 3

 

A few friends and I gather early Sunday mornings for gossip and coffee. Our favorite place is Caffe Reggio. It’s dark and crowded with heavy furniture. It opened in 1927 when Italy was still a monarchy. There’s an air of having stumbled into the attic of a dilapidated Italian palazzo. Cappuccino was brought to the U. S. by the owner and it’s still delicious.

Scarpetta is an NYC restaurant with the NYC buzz. Very Wall Street: Young buccaneers having a wonderful and noisy time in a crowded restaurant. We were slammed against a wall that separated us, barely, from the waiters going to and fro. It was like dining on the L. I. E. The signature spaghetti (oops sorry, pasta) dish looked appetizing but needed salt and the panna cotta dessert was predictable. The food is Italianate and the atmosphere is definitely Manhattan.

 

 

MTA Mural at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street

I attend The Garden & Forest Book Club held in Central Park’s Arsenal. Why, you ask. Because I know very little about gardens and forests and am now surrounded by people who work in those areas. They are devoted to all aspects of their world. Our required reading has included treatises, histories, memoirs. The latest book is Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees. We had a lively, mostly positive, discussion about this anthropomorphic approach to explaining the similar nature of trees and people. Peter Wohlleben is on YouTube.

M. T. A. Mural at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street

MTA Mural at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street

COMING SOON:

Graphic Lessons: Recent widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine year old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: something’s eating at him: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case?

Graphic Lessons: Nine year old Dana is the only witness who overhears three people 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?

New York City Blog — January 22 – January 28

The Lunar New Year, the Year of the Rooster, begins today, January 28. The U. S. Postal Service has issued a very stylish stamp.

U. S. Postal Services’ the Year of the Rooster

Bella Figura…La Dolce Vita: Luchino Visconti’s 1963 The Leopard, played to a full house at MOMA. Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s book evoked Garibaldi’s 1860 revolution. Visconti portrays this moment of Italian history perfectly. Bert Lancaster is magisterial and dignified. No tights, no high wires. Instead, he is the elderly, grand, dignified head of a distinguished and ancient family. The 45 minute ballroom scene at the end of the movie is stunning. God help any woman and most men in nineteenth century Sicily if she or he wasn’t good looking and didn’t dress well.  In addition to the changing order, Visconti captures the important place of looks and fashion in both 1850 and 1963.

Here’s a link to the various marches the day after the Inauguration:

https://www.womensmarch.com/sisters

I went to La La Land to escape the political climate. It was gentle, charming, forgettable. No surprises and programmed humor.

Off to the Sunday afternoon Frick Collection concert given by the four viol group, Phantasm. Sitting very quietly in the 1930’s Music Room and listening to superb musicians is one of the reasons I live in NYC. The music (Byrd, Gibbons, Purcell, Mozart) was austere, somber and a few of the audience took a snooze, including me. I was awakened by a neck jerk and glanced around to see if anyone had noticed.

COMING SOON:

Graphic Lessons: Recent widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine year old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: something’s eating at him: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case?

Graphic Lessons: Nine year old Dana is the only witness who overhears three people 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?

New York City Blog — January 15 – January 21

Roman Food? Lead the way. A friend and I met at Rock Center Cafe to enjoy an evening of Roman specialties. Sorry, Chef. Even better than the food is the view of the ice skating rink.

The Rockefeller Center Ice Skating Rink

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We walked a few blocks from Judson Memorial Church to see a recent installation of a group show by abstract artists. Clover Vail has her work on display in a street-level window of a New York University building.

Clover Vail’s Abstract Art

 

What did you do on Inauguration Day? We escaped to Brooklyn and had a late lunch at Peter Lugars.

 

 

COMING SOON:

Graphic Lessons: Recent widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine year old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: something’s eating at him: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case?

Graphic Lessons: Nine year old Dana is the only witness who overhears three people 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?