May 7- May 13
Warning: This is devoted to food and drink. Last week I worked the birthday gig.
Now that we’re in Monsoon season… On Sunday, we had torrential rains for five and a half minutes and then a beautiful sky. A generous friend took me to Felidia, a restaurant that’s part of the Lidia Bastianich’s eatery empire. I battled the rain on Second Avenue and Fifty-eighth Street and arrived at Felicia. It’s like a cavern, narrow and dark. After some lovely prosecco we went into the crowded, small by NYC standards, dining room. The menu is needlessly complicated and fussy. You wade through field, garden and sea offerings in Italian and English. But the pappardelle was the best pasta dish I’ve devoured in a long time.
Last Saturday, a friend treated me to Jack’s 7 Subway walk. What a great idea. You hop on and off the 7 Subway and get a glimpse of what’s happening in Queens. The diversity of cultures is evident in the neighborhood restaurants and businesses.

An Asian grocery store in Queens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I met a friend at the Frick for the preview of the portrait medals exhibition, The Pursuit of Immortality. The Garden Court is the perfect place for people gawking. The Frick serves champagne, white wine and sparkling water. No red wine. Stains, you know. We then went around the block to Le Charlot. We sat outside, neither of us feeling much pain after the Frick.

Michael Bodycomb’s photo of medals depicting Josephine Bonaparte, Ferdinand III and Leonello d’Este for the Frick’s exhibit, The Pursuit of Immortality.

 

Rosemary on Greenwich has linguine made with preserved lemon (what’s that?), pickled chili and parmigiana. It’s divine and was a perfect ending to a lovely birthday week-long party.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old 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: 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?

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 City Blog — April 9 – April 15

Is this Washington Square human sculpture. an expression of our times? Go figure.

 

Washington Square Human Statue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking west on the High Line

 

We New Yorkers know that we can’t predict the weather and therefore often wear a coat in eighty degree weather and shiver in light clothing and no umbrella in a sudden storm. Last Monday was one of our very hot days. I wandered on the High Line, packed with natives, tourists and vendors. – Coney Island on the Hudson.

 

 

 

 

We escaped from the modern world by going to Violist Antoine Tamestit’s Frick concert. It was a lyrical late-afternoon recital. Mr. Tamestit expressed his admiration for Johann Sebastian Bach by playing pieces that had influenced and been influenced by Bach. He began the concert with Heinrich von Fiber’s seventeenth century Rosary Sonata then skipped to the twentieth century with György Ligeti’s Sonata for Viola.

I went to my childhood haunt, The Museum of Modern Art, MOMA, to see In Name Only. It’s a 1939 film with lovely Carole Lombard, lovely Cary Grant and lovely Kay Francis in her very lovely wardrobe.

Happy Passover and Happy Easter to one and all!

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 26 – April 1

Have you ever gone back to a neighborhood you haven’t been in for years and feel as if you’re in a foreign land? I went to West Broadway a few days ago. How dare they change the hood without my permission. It used to be industrial with hamburger joints on every corner. Now, it’s packed with sleek tearooms that favor kale, green tea and Italian words. I ducked into Sanctuary, how appropriate, and had a canoe like sandwich called smoked salmon crostino. Then on to Whitney Houston Biennial: Greatest Love of All, a vibrant women’s biennial – over 150 women strong.

2017 Whitney Houston Biennial: Greatest Love of All

Have you watched the HBO adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies? The book is set in Australia and the children attend a Catholic school. In the HBO version, it’s been moved to California and the school is non-sectarian. The book has a delicious familiar yet exotic quality. The HBO version is one hundred percent American and therefore predictable. Terrific cast. Reese Witherspoon brings to life perfectly the fiesty Madeline. She also uses the word, fuck, continuously. Fascinating to hear the inclusion of a word that was forbidden or used sparingly or used as an example of how not to express yourself. I’m sorry that fuck has lost its virginity.

To the Frick Collection for one of its intimate posh concerts. The baritone, Christopher Purves, was making his New York recital debut and he was accompanied by Simon Lepper. We were treated to selections from Handel’s operas: Agrippina, Acis and Galatea as well as Schubert and Mussorgsky. The Frick mails the tickets to each concert. No e-mail. No mass mailings. You keep an eye out for that small cream envelope that arrives religiously on time. The Frick includes a potted art appreciation paragraph about various museum objects that have a similar background as the music being presented. Since this concert included sections of pastoral opera, we were directed to the Fragonard Room’s pastoral scenes.
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 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 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 — 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 — Dec. 5 – Dec. 10.

I never thought I’d describe a musical evening at the Frick Collection as odd. I do after the debut performance of the pianist, Joseph Moog. The musical selections and arrangements suited the late José Iturbi’s very 1940’s movie music. If only the Frick had arranged to have skimpily clad girls rise on a floating fountain and Esther Williams diving off the ceiling. The (un)repentant Magdalena in the next room could have joined in. Afterwards, we had fun and delicious food at nearby Le Charlot.

Lucinda Childs Dance Company is at the Joyce. We went to a thrilling performance of DANCE, first performed in 1979. A film of the original production was flashed on the stage as the modern dancers, like champion race horses, galloped across the stage to Philip Glass’s throbbing music. We were practically part of the action since we were seated in the second row.

Once again down memory lane. This time it was with Merce Cunningham’s Beach Birds (1991). Eleven dancers recreated most of the piece in one of the City Center studios on 56th Street. John Cage’s liquid tone, barely audible, set a dreamy, quiet atmosphere. It was forty minutes of sustained pleasure. Among the superb dancers were Mac Twining and Monica Gonzalez.

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, befriends a lying seventeen year old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

New York City Blog — Nov. 30 – Dec. 4.

We went to a delightful talk by Frick Curator, Xavier F. Salomon, about an almost forgotten seventeenth-century Italian painter, Guido Cagnacci. The main focus was on Cagnacci’s weird and wonderful “Repentant Magdalene”. It’s on loan from the Norton Simon museum. Travels with Cagnacci was the name of the lecture. By means of erudition, dry wit, a charming accent and video, Curator Salomon took us on a little trip around Emilia-Romagna to the birthplace of the eccentric and gifted Guido Cagnacci. Curator Salomon also gave an evocative picture of what it’s like to be in provincial Italy, away from the tourism of Venice, Rome and Bologna. After the talk, we walked four blocks north to the restaurant, Caravaggio. So appropriate, don’t you think?

On Thursday night I took my slightly schizophrenic self to a Green Party Meeting at the LGBTQ Building. There were about forty of us stuffed into an airless room. I recognized the regulars and listened to a new group who were joining the Greens under the banner Bernie Greens.The question of why Jill Stein had collected and spent seven million dollars to investigate voting fraud in three states was raised and quickly, too quickly, shelved. The same thing happened about the question of open primaries.

Friends and I went to “A Chanticleer Christmas” at  the church of St. Ignatius Loyola. It’s an exhilarating experience to sit in an enormous, cell free zone and listen to twelve men singing in their countertenor to bass voices a medley of carols, medieval and Renaissance music.
The Gospel according to Rex Stout: Black Orchid is an organization dedicated to mystery writer Rex Stout, the creator of Nero Wolfe, Archie Goodwin, Fritz etc. I attended their annual dinner at the Arno Restaurant on West 38th Street. The restaurant itself could have stepped out of the pages of a Stout mystery.
Was his Quaker upbringing responsible for his reasoned approach to life? Some memorable quotes are: If my garbage has been tampered with I don’t know if it’s the FBI or the raccoon. My subconscious and I are not on speaking terms.
In addition to dinner, we indulge in quizzes based on the books and Wolfean lore. Stout was a foodie so, of course, his culinary obsession fits in perfectly with our modern interest in food and drink.
From Too Many Cooks: Nero Wolfe says, “I do not soil myself cheaply; I charge high fees.”

New York City Blog — Nov. 19 – Nov. 26

After a scrumptious and CHEAP meal and lovely Tom Collins at Ginger’s, a friend and I walked nine blocks south to the National Opera Center at 28th Street and Seventh Avenue. Fabrizio Melano directed “An Evening With Us,“ a series of scenes and arias. “Au fond du temple saint,” the duet from Georges Bizet’s 1863 opera, Les pêcheurs de perles was, for me, the high point of the evening. Generally known as “The Pearl Fishers’ Duet”, it’s a golden oldie. The tenor, Has Son Kim, was wonderful. The last time I heard it was at a church recital in Santa Fe. Roberto De Blasio, the Italian tenor, sang the Nadir role. He was perfect – unlike the night before when he had been Don José in Stephen Lawless’s Carmen at the Santa Fe opera. The ghastly production was set in the 1960s. De Blasio stalked around the state in Elvis regalia being very manly.

Sunday late afternoons are often spent in the Frick Collection’s Music Room. On. November 20 the Atos Trio (violin, cello, piano) played primarily nineteenth century French composers. Their opening piece was Claude Debussy’s Trio in G Major. This season the Frick concert tickets include a brief historical note about an artist working at the same time as the featured composers. We leaned from the note that Claude Debussy was a friend of Edgar Degas. In the Frick’s North Hall is a Degas painting, “Rehearsal”. It portrays ballerinas rehearsing. They are accompanied by a very sad violinist whose forlorned expression rivets me. One of my favorite masochistic daydreams is the thought of dying in the poor house i. e. the women’s room in Penn Station. The violinist’s gnarled hands, his lined face and drooping baggy face are in sharp contrast to the ballerinas’ limber, young legs.

New York City Blog – May 7 – May 14

Lebhaft, frisch, sehe ranch – in other words, lively, fresh, very quickly. I’m quoting from the Frick Collection’s program for Imogen Cooper’s Schumann and Schubert recent recital. Ms. Cooper was splendid. She played Robert Schumann’s Davidsbündlertänze. After a short intermission she launched into Franz Schubert’s Sonata in B-Flat Major, D. 960.Thanks to Ms. Cooper and the subtle elegance of Frick’s Music Room we were whisked back to the glory of nineteenth century German music.

A friend and I love the Minetta Tavern’s buzz, its reimagined decor, its funky menu, its unassuming entrance, its traditional Tom Collins. Years ago people could dine there without cashing in their 401Ks. No more. Since Keith McNally dolled up Minetta Tavern, it’s pricy and worth it. Minetta Tavern reminds me of those glamorous restaurants like the Stork Club we hear about in movies and from long departed relatives.

 

Tom Collins for EveryoneJack Kleinsinger never tires of telling his audience that Highlights in Jazz is the longest running jazz concert series in NYC. 44 years young !!! Thursday’s program was very satisfying: Wycliffe Gordon on the trombone, Nicki Parrott on bass and Bria Skonberg on trumpet. In addition to being stellar musicians, they’re all great vocalists.

Mit gutem Humor…