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.

 

 

New York Mysteries Sept. 8— Sept. 15

Isn’t the Noble Order of the Knights of Labor a scary name?  It’s very nineteenth century. The organization was progressive, promoting eight hour work days as well as supporting the first Labor Day and a Labor Day parade. It means the official end of summer, doesn’t it? September in New York City whispers of autumn: the slanted light, the wind stirring up the fallen leaves.
What better way to prepare for the imminent fall and winter than to stuff yourself with barbecued hamburgers, hot dogs and assorted relishes washed down with beer or wine. And that’s exactly what I did in Brooklyn. An old friend, a wonderful gardener, gave the perfect farewell to summer.

 

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.

Labor Day 2017

Labor Day 2017

Labor Day Cook Laboring

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 Aug. 28— Sept. 2

Isn’t Mermaid Inn a charming name? The restaurant is on Second Avenue between Fifth and Sixth Streets. In Portland, Or. Happy Hour is a tradition. Between the hours of 5 and 7 food and drink are reasonably priced. The Mermaid Inn, NYC has its take on Happy Hour: Dollar oysters, $5 beers. It’s lively and fun. The wait staff is efficient and very pleasant. Sitting inside is cozy. Sitting outside is breezy. You choose.

On the way home I stopped in at the Community Garden between First Ave. and Ave. A. Why do semi-tamed urban gardens make me think of the nineteenth century? The gardening volunteer and her adorable dog allowed me to roam around.

Lower East Side Students’ Garden

The dog followed me. The volunteer thought her dog liked me. I explained that I had some of Russo’s sausage in my bag. So much for love.

 

 

 

 

Entering the Garden

Snack time in the Garden

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.