Starting with St. Patrick’s Day and ending with the Morgan Library & Museum’s Now and Forever: the Art of Medieval Time where I learned that St. Patrick’s Day like Christmas harkens back to the middle ages when fixing a holiday on a specific date was done to keep track of time.
A memorial in New Jersey was followed by a birthday dance at the Joyce. The Stephen Petronio Company celebrates choreographers of the past. Tuesday was Merce Cunningham night. Petronio scored. Reverence for the past did not rob his pieces of their freshness and sexiness. The Butcher’s Daughter on Hudson is vegan, in spite of the name. I dote on their breakfast menu, especially soft boiled eggs and soldiers. Don’t tell me you don’t know what soldiers are.
A friend and I drifted across the Morgan corridor from the medieval to the modern. We went to the Peter Hujar: Speed of Life. Hujar was one of the many AIDS victims who died in the eighties. For me there’s a sadness that hangs over the exhibit of a very young, very talented photographer.
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.
I’ve been doing my share of eating and drinking this week. Tavern on Jane is a congenial pub on the ultra hot Jane Street and a perfect meeting place for celebrating the season. Another place for celebrating is Morandi. Its signature dish is Carciofi alla Guidea. These deep fried artichokes are crunchy and delicious. I first had them at Giggetto’s in Rome, a restaurant that featured Roman Jewish cooking. It’s on a busy Roman street near Piazza Mattei and the charming turtle fountain.
Christmas in Rome: Piazza Navona is filled with shepards down from the mountains playing their sour-sweet melodies while the merchants beseech you to buy trinkets. These days they are usually made in China.
I’m indulging in a Christmas tradition of listening to Prokfiev’s “Peter and the Wolf”.
A very Merry Holiday!
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, befriends a lying seventeen 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?
Christmas was wonderful and bizarre. A dear friend who has given Christmas dinner for years had to fly to the west coast. She kindly and generously put one of the other members of our gang in charge of hosting the dinner. He did a fine job. It was such a special dinner that one of the cats clung to a door frame gazing at the goodies out of his reach.
Earlier in the week, I got out of a taxi on west 46 Street and thought I’d arrived at a terrorist invasion. Not at all. The terrorists were merely tourists who had decided to dine at Becco which is part of the Lidia Matticchio Bastianich restaurant empire. People overflowed the always crowded sidewalk. Inside, Becco reminded me of the C Train at rush hour. I found my pal tucked in a corner under bottles of preserved foods that looked like illustrations from Gray’s Anatomy. The food was fine and the $29 bottle of wine was great. Eating at Becco’s is like eating in a mall.
We got to Ruby Rims & Friends do the Can Can just in time. The performances were to benefit Rauschenbusch Food Pantry and Judson Memorial Church. John McMahon directs this holiday extravaganza featuring lots of performers from the Broadway and Cabaret world.
On Christmas eve we went to Pesce and Pasta on Bleecker. Complete chaos. Just as you’ve resorted to pray for a table, the chaos clears, and you – yes, you – are given a table. It’s a taste of Italy and I hope you survive.
My friend polished off his cheesecake in record time and we scooted around the corner to IMC. The IMC movie house (né the Waverly) features left wing documentaries and dramas. Even its feature films, such as 45 Years, star old lefties. Tom Courtney and Charlotte Rampling plod gently through a mini drama about his long ago lover.
The Metropolitan Opera’s Orchestra performs at Carnegie Hall throughout the year. The Sunday concerts I attend begin at 3 p.m. and end around 5:30. It’s a perfect afternoon, followed by early supper in one of the nearby restaurants. Peter Mattei, the great baritone, sang Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen. This was followed by Mahler’s Symphony No. 7. Long, isn’t it? I was struck by how so many movie musical scores are indebted to this piece.
Christmas is like the Mahler symphony: long with bits of lovely melody. I had a delightful morning, sitting in bed and reading
Martha Gellhorn on Cuba, eating Pat’s delicious lemon bread and half listening to the BBC’s Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.
Later, off to K & M’s for the annual Christmas party. It was especially mellow and loving this year. The large Christmas tree in the front parlor shines down on the Brooklyn street. Long may it do so.
Bad movie #2 in two weeks: The Invisible Woman. It was utterly predictable. Did all the actors phone in their parts? Dickens’s wife suffered but not as much as I did.