New York Mysteries Nov. 12 – Nov. 18

Volez, Voguez, Voyagez ( Fly, Sail, Travel), The Louis Vuitton exhibition at 86 Trinity Place, is a knockout. To think it was assembled in a month is incredible. You walk from room to room, floor to floor, surrounded by French luxe ranging from 1854 when Vuitton opened his first store in Paris to the present day. He came from a humble background, leaving his village in the Jura Mountains on foot at the age of fourteen and arriving in Paris two years later. The exhibition is divided into four main themes: travel by rail, travel by car, travel by sailing and travel by flying. The entrance has a charming mock up of a Paris metro. You proceed to Trunks for Stars i.e. Greta Garbo, Julianne Moore, Exquisite Bottles, Sophisticated Dandies i. e. Douglas Fairbanks. On the main level a plane, circa 1930, is mounted from the ceiling. On its wings are various Vuitton luggage. In the Rise of Yachting there are examples of different kinds of luggage such as The Steamer Bag. The exhibition closes January 7, 2018. Lots of fun and highly recommended.

Poster at the Current Vuitton exhibit

Metro mockup, Vuitton Exhibit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luggage for 30 pairs of shoes, Vuitton Exhibit

Bushwick Street Art

Bushwick, anyone? You bet! What a delightful, artsy neighborhood. A friend and I went to Heather Christian’s Animal Wisdom at the Bushwick Starr. Lots of soul searching, jumping around, loud music, musings on death and ghosts done with a Southern accent. The Bushwick Starr is a cosy space with rudimentary plumbing and flickering light bulbs. I lucked out. My seat backed on some machine where I rested my head during a long blackout.

The best line of the evening was my friend’s Irish quote:

“You wouldn’t worry so much about what other people think about you if you knew how seldom they did!”

 

 

Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, 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: 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: Something’s eating at NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case? It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.

 

 

 

New York Mysteries Nov. 4 – Nov.10

Murillo’s portrait of Juan Arias de Saavedra

With the celebration of the Reformation – 500 hundred years ago – I was interested in what Catholic countries did to stem the inevitable tide. The Spanish had the Inquisition. A form of persuasion and persecution since the 12th Century, it took on added importance during the Reformation. A portrait of one of its enforcers is on view at the Frick Collection in the current exhibit, Murillo: The Self-Portraits. The portrait of Juan Arias de Saavedra was done in 1650. In addition to being a senior member of the Holy Inquisition, he was a connoisseur of painting. It’s a gorgeous portrait given a frisson of terror from knowing the sitter’s background. In Italy, to control the schism, the popes commissioned churches, statues, fountains, paintings that glorified holy rite. One of the most beautiful is Bernini’s statue, Ecstasy of Saint Teresa.

From the sublime to the ridiculous: the MTA. How many times this week have I stared out the subway windows as we flew past my stop. Construction is rife both underground and above ground. These murals are in the Prince Street station. Don’t these people look weary?

Prince Street Station Mural

Print Street Station Mural

 

Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, 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: 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? She tells Millie.

Graphic Lessons: Something’s eating at NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case? It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.

 

New York Mysteries Oct. 29- Nov. 4

I came to Ai Weiwei very late.I didn’t know he had been detained for eighty-one days because he was critical of the current Chinese Communist party. Nor did I know he helped design the “Bird’s Nest” stadium for the 2008 Olympics. In other words, I knew nothing. His public art exhibition, Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, made me curious about him. I kept passing the cage-like metallic structure that’s been installed in the middle of the Washington Square monument. A friend suggested, actually dragged me to Human Flow the last day of its showing at the Angelica. It’s a long, heart breaking documentary by Ai Weiwei about refugees. Hanan Ashrawi, a Palestinian diplomat, explained that being a refugee deprives an individual of respect. He or she is suspect, not trusted.

Weiwei filmed in 28 countries. The photography, much of it from drones, is wonderful. Ai Weiwei comes across as a gentle, simpatico person. He reminds me of another gentle, simpatico person, Dr. Willie Parker, who toils in the field of legal abortion in several southern states. Weiwei lives in Berlin. He longs to go back to China to see his mom. He is a refugee albeit a celebrated artist. In one scene he and a refugee in a camp playfully exchange passports. Weiwei gets the refugee’s tent and the refugee gets Weiwei’s Berlin apartment. In your dreams.

 

 

 

Installation Notice of Ai Weiwei’s Structure

Ai Weiwei’s Washington Square Arch Structure

 

 

 

Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, 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: 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? She tells Millie.

Graphic Lessons: Something’s eating at NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case? It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York Mysteries Oct. 22- Oct. 28

Sunday afternoon The Frick Music Room exploded with the music of Boris Andrianov and Dimitri Illarionov. The cellist, Mr. Andrianov, was making his second appearance at the Frick. The guitarist, Mr. Illarionov, was new to the Frick and left most of the talking to his comrade. They enchanted the packed room with various transcriptions from Manuel de Falla and Igor Stravinsky. We heard the world premiere of Nikita Koshkin’s Waltz for Cello and Guitar. It was a wonderful two hours.

 

Some Virtual Russian Champagne for Messieurs Andrianov and Illarionov

I stopped by the Guggenheim to see the new exhibit, Art and China After 1989 Theater of the World. It features experimental works by Chinese artists. Chinese history, modernism, and global political events are among the explored themes. I think the Guggenheim space is perfect for big, flashy pieces. Wandering up the ramp and looking across or up or down is a unique Guggenheim experience.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a new Guggenheim installation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A friend and I attended the Fine Art Print Fair at the Javits Center. Aside from the misery of getting there, it was a delightful evening. We wandered from booth to booth, looking at works as diverse as Francis Bacon and Louise Nevelson.

Matt Shlian’s prints at the Fine Art Paper Fair

Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, 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: 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? She tells Millie.

Graphic Lessons: Something’s eating at NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case? It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.

 

 

New York Mysteries Oct. 15 – Oct. 21

 

Ai Weiwei‘s public-art project about immigration and cultural exchange has been installed in the Washington Square Arch. Weiwei’s film, Human Flow, is at the Anglelica and an asteroid is named after him.

 

 

Installation Notice of Ai Weiwei’s Structure

Ai Weiwei’s Washington Square Arch Structure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had lunch at Serendipity, that 50s institution devoted to making you five pounds fatter. In the long awaited Graphic Lessons there’s a similar restaurant so, of course, I had to check it out. Lines of the young and their mothers gathered outside the restaurant. We were allowed to enter at 11 a.m. It’s filled with touristy items: mugs, t-shirts, fake Tiffany lamps. The menu is gigantic, even by NYC standards. I expected the service to be sluggish and the food to be tired. I was wrong. The service was excellent. The avocado and shrimp salad although a little heavy on the mayonnaise dressing was delicious. Like the menu, it was enormous and could have fed three other people. Serendipity has come up with a solution to bullying: the blue sundae.

 

Serendipity’s Bullying Cure

 

 

Serendipity

On October 15, I joined Judson Memorial Church. My induction ceremony was very Judson: warm-hearted and sincere. I spoke these thoughts during the ceremony:
Judson gives me a spiritual home and gives me hope. What I’ve received from the various religions I’ve been a part of: Catholicism: a sense of universality, an admiration for Italian and French church architecture, from the Episcopalians: prayers based on King James Bible, from the Society of Friends: examples of civic responsibility such as their early condemnation of slavery, the school they founded in Ramallah for Palestinian children and they do not say the Pledge of Allegiance. From the UCC/Judson: wonderful music and bearing witness plus Judson friends who have read the Oz Series, the Anne of Green Gables series and the works of Anthony Trollope.
I write police procedurals and volunteer at one of the NYC museums. I was born in NYC, lived in Rome for eight years and spend part of the summer in Portland, Oregon playing with the Judson west crowd.

Some reasons for loving Judson:

Guess Who

Celebrating a Birthday

Dr. Willie Parker spoke about a moral argument for CHOICE

 

New York Mysteries Oct. 8- Oct. 14

The first Frick concert was held this past Sunday, Oct. 8. Paavali Jumppanen, the Finnish pianist, treated us to two hours of Debussy (1862-1918) Duckworth (1943-2012) and Beethoven (1770 -1827). Mr. Jumppanen did something tricky for Duckworth’s The Time Curve Preludes, credited with being one of the first post minimalist musical works. He altered the Steinway to give the piece an authentic sound. Like so many modern pieces, it reminds me of eating a vegetable you don’t like, such as brussel sprouts, to find out if your tastes have changed. Mine haven’t. The piece was more interesting than I had expected but that’s that. The Debussy and Beethoven thundered throughout the Frick Music Room.

A few days later a friend and I met at the Scandinavian House restaurant for an early and delicious Swedish supper. We then trotted around the corner to The Morgan Library & Museum to hear Drawn to Song, a collaboration between the Morgan and The Glimmerglass Festival. The Glimmerglass singers sang early and modern music, from John Dowland (1563-1626) to Jake Heggie (b. 1961). It was absolutely delightful. After the concert we took the glass elevator to Morgan’s extraordinary library. We wandered around the beautiful bound books and studied the ones on display.

 

 

The Morgan Library

A Noel Coward playbill and his flask shaped like a book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next evening I visited an old haunt, the Oyster Bar Saloon. It hasn’t changed. The red checkered tablecloths are the same ones I partied on many years ago. An oyster loving friend and I had east coast oysters, large and succulent, followed by Howard Johnson fried oysters, fries and creamed spinach. Lots of lovely booze and giddy conversation.

 

 

 

Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, 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: 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? She tells Millie.

Graphic Lessons: Something’s eating at NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case? It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.

 

 

 

 

New York Mysteries Oct. 2 – Oct. 7

We went to a new restaurant in midtown, Oscar Wilde. I wonder what Wilde would have thought about this vast, dark series of bars and small rooms packed with Victorian props. We were escorted to a small room where dinner was served. It’s typical bar food: fried calamari, lamb sliders. Salty enough to keep you drinking. The service -surprise, surprise- was excellent.

Oscar Wilde, Midtown

Oscar Wilde, Midtown

 

 

A friend and I got to Guggenheim’s Mystical Symbolism the day before it closed. The museum was installing a huge Chinese exhibit. Much of it was off limits including the ramps. After a two minute sulk about not being able to wander up to the top floor and then wander down, we used the oddly (but artistic!) elevators. Mystical Symbolism is deep, dark, religious. Rosicrucian symbols abounded.

 

Ferdinand Hodler: The Disappointed Souls

 

Juilliard gave a splendid concert, The Genius of Monteverdi. William Christie conducted the young, talented cast in a mostly Monteverdi evening. The packed audience in the Peter Jay Sharp Theater seemed mesmerized by the event’s gravitas. In these troubled times it’s restorative to spend an evening savoring a superb musical event.

Peter Jay Sharp Theater setting up for The Genius of Monteverdi

Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, 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: 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? She tells Millie.

Graphic Lessons: Something’s eating at NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case? It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.

 

New York Mysteries Sept. 24— Sept. 30

Dancing Chicken, Crying Tiger, Swimming Duck. I bet you thought I’d spent the day at the Bronx Zoo. Instead, I spent an air conditioned hour in Topaz, a Thai restaurant, across 56th St. from City Center’s Studio 5. The first session of Studio 5 concentrated on ABT – Coaching Principal Roles. It was moderated by Kevin McKenzie, the artistic director of American Ballet Theatre. He coached Alban Lendorf and Devon Teuscher in roles they’ll be performing for the first time. McKenzie concentrated on Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet.  Watching a master teaching new dancers is a thrilling, backstage experience and one of the reasons Studio 5 sells out quickly.

Kevin McKenzie coaching Devon Teuscher and Alban Lendorf

 

Kevin McKenzie and Daniel Waite

 

 

 

 

 

 

Russian champagne was served at my hairdresser’s to celebrate a birthday. It’s near Coney Island and run by Russians. There’s a small, noisy Italian contingent. Great fun slurping Russian champagne and trying not to eat cheese cake on the first day of fall weather.

Russian Champagne

Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, 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: 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? She tells Millie.

Graphic Lessons: Something’s eating at NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case? It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.

 

New York Mysteries Sept. 15— Sept. 23

 

On my way to Judson Memorial Church, I passed a performing artist circling the Washington Square Monument.

 

Washington Square Performing Artist

 

John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson are intelligent, articulate and charming in Columbus, Director Kogonada’s debut film set in Columbus. Indiana. The visually stunning city is packed with architectural gems designed by Kevin Roche, John Dinkeloo and Eero Saarinen.
Troubles with parents and a love of architecture draw the two main characters together. Imagine, no guns, no violence.

Originally it was called a retreat but now it’s referred to as the Judson Weekend. It’s at least forty years old. I know this because a gay couple who met at the retreat/weekend forty years ago celebrated their years together this past weekend. No one could tell me how long it’s been in existence. The Episcopal Camp and Conference Center is well run and in a woodsy location with a lake near Ivoryton, Connecticut. At one time, more than forty years ago, Ivoryton had a thriving summer playhouse. Ever hear of Katherine Hepburn? She lived in nearby Fenwich Point and got her start at the playhouse. Ever hear of Marlon Brando? Shortly after completing the movie, Julius Caesar, he starred in Shaw’s Arms and the Man. Wally Cox, TV’s Mr. Peepers, was also in the production. I was trying to impress some Mellennials at the Weekend by dropping famous names from the Ivoryton Playhouse past: Talullah Bankhead, Ethel Waters, Jim Hutton, Marlon Brando, Steve Cochran, Mary Astor. the only one they’d ever heard of was M. B.

Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, 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: 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? She tells Millie.

Graphic Lessons: Something’s eating at NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case? It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.

New York Mysteries Sept. 9— Sept. 15

Judson Memorial Church sponsored an evening with Valeria Luiselli and Nate Weida. The evening began with Weida’s thigh slapping banjo music, followed by Luiselli’s talk. She was accompanied by Juan Carlos Ruiz. Luiselli read from Tell Me How it Ends, discussed the plight of many refugees and then had a Q & A.
Why did you come here? is a theme that runs through Tell Me How it Ends. The 119 page essay discusses children’s immigration journey to the U. S. The prize is permanent citizenship. The opposite is deportation. Luiselli demonstrates how words stigmatize. Which do you prefer being labelled: illegal immigrant or undocumented refugee? Listening to this articulate woman under the cloud of DACA being ended gave the evening an added urgency.

 

Valeria Luiselli, author of Tell Me How It Ends

Tell Me How It Ends

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nate Weida

Since Netflix will not carry Agatha Christie’s Poirot, the English series after Sept. 30, I’ve been binge watching. It’s been a parade of the U. K.’s finest actors: Ronald Pickup, Eileen Atkins, Anna Massey, Geoffrey Palmer. The list is endless. I think Agatha Christie’s mysteries are intricate puzzles. Her plotting, as all writers know, is superb. When she drifts into thriller territory she’s less successful. But what a body of work: Halloween Story, Murder on the Orient Express, The Clocks. David Suchet fits into the eccentric Poirot part perfectly.

 

 

Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, 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: 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? She tells Millie.

Graphic Lessons: Something’s eating at NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case? It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.