Tag Archives: New York City Ballet

NY Mysteries Oct. 4, 2019

Friends and I went to see Midnight Traveler at Film Forum. Aside from us three, there were four other people at the screening. In 2016 the Taliban put a bounty on Afghan director Hassan Fazili’s head after he made Peace in Afghanistan. He and his wife and their two young daughters fled Kabul. They first went to Tajikistan for an agonizing 14 months of filling in futile applications before being sent back to Afghanistan. Both filmmakers, Fazili and his wife, started recording their life on three cell phones. The documentary records their journey with two small daughters across Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria and Serbia. The courage and fortitude of the family is extraordinary as they endure refugee camps, escape from gangs and hide in forests in winter. 

Girls have to have fun, right? That’s why two of my other pals and I went to the Met. We went to the Roof Garden. It was an autumnal sky surrounding Alicja Kwade’s ParaPivot I and II. The massive spheres appear weightless. We then went to the Dutch Masterpieces at the Met. 17th Century Dutch Art was collected at the Met soon after the museum opened in 1870. The current exhibit is luscious: buxom ladies at prayer, equally buxom servants

Alicja Kwade’s ParaPivot I and II

preparing a meal, comic painting, pastoral scenes, flowers, fruits, pealed lemons. It’s delightful.

The Met Roof








I went to the New York City Ballet Tuesday night and was bored to death. I’ve been a fan of the NYCB for many years and was dismayed at the mechanical presentation of Valse-Fantaisie and Kammermusik No. 2. Recently, I’ve been going to the Joyce where the theater is alive with excitement both on the stage and in the audience. 

Have you seen Judy? And why not? Everything positive people say about Renée Zellweger is true. She’s caught Judy Garland’s nervous walk and talk. She’s also caught what a difficult person Judy Garland was to be around plus her heartbreaking vulnerability. Rupert Goold, the director, flashes back very effectively to Garland’s gruesome upbringing in glamorous old Hollywood. 






Graphic Lessons: What do a thirty-four-year old, a nine-year-old and an eighteen-year-old have in common? Murder. 

Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a  dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man.

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: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned the murder case at the prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner being stabbed ? His hated boss, Captain Dick Holbrook, being a trustee of the Windsor School?  Losing his girlfriend to Holbrook? 

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.


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 Feb. 21 – Feb. 27

Nicholas Alstaedt, the cellist, made his NY recital debut in the Frick Music Room on February 21. He and Alexander Lonquich, the pianist, have impeccable credentials. Their choice of music was perfect. I had never appreciated Nadia Boulanger until I heard her Three Pieces for Cello and Piano. The recital included works by Debussy, Britten, Beethoven and Webern.

Wonderful Saturday afternoon with an outstanding Symphony in C, music by Bizet and choreography by Balanchine. The dancers are like race horses, aren’t they? Powerful, agile animals with very strong legs. Dancing in close proximity, they could maim each other. The conductor, Clotilde Otranto, gave us a wonderful afternoon. She came on stage and was dwarfed by the tall dancers.

Blue polka dots are at the eastern end of the NYCB's vestibule
Blue polka dots are at the eastern end of the NYCB’s vestibule



A very Happy Year of the Monkey. Old friends celebrate the New Year annually, thanks to the hard work of one of our members. We’ve met at the Evergreen for years.

Begin the week with the Frick. End the week with the New York City Ballet. Only in NYC, folks.

Steve Kulchek and one of the members of his team, King, ate in ‘wichcraft. Both had one of the breakfast all day items on the menu.

New York City Blog February 7 – February 13

What could be better than an afternoon of Balanchine at NYCB with music by Verdi, Hindemith and Tschaikovsky, dancing by Tiler Peck, et al. Have you seen the recent additions to the promenade, the rectangular area which overlooks the Lincoln Center fountain? I’ve never appreciated the fat white sculpted figures, two at each end of the promenade. Now, they’re festooned in polka dots. Behind them are gigantic videos that reflect polka dots. Is this a plea to youth? Who knows. In the middle of the promenade are puppet like figures revolving on a circle. These swayed gently and bobbed up and down. Somehow, they’re charming.


Polka dotted figures in the NYCB Promenade
Polka dotted figures in the NYCB Promenade
Sandu Darie's concrete painting at the Zwirner Gallery
Sandu Darie’s concrete painting at the Zwirner Gallery

On an icy cold day a friend and I went to Zwirner Galeries wonderful hot exhibit, Concrete Cuba. The works are by a short lived group that existed from 1959 to 1961. Sandu Darie, one of the artists in the exhibit, had said, “This is concrete painting because each painting is a new reality.” This statement reinforces what I’ve always thought: artists should express themselves through their work.

New York City Blog January 26 – Feb. 1

Was it only last week that Mayor DeBlasio and Governor Cuomo were duking it out as patres familias of New York State? Their squishy football was the blizzard of the century. I think DeBlasio won in the clothing category. He channelled his Italian DNA and slipped into various uniforms throughout the day. The most stylish one was the DSNY’s jacket. Cuomo inherited his late father’s inability to share responsibilities with underlings. He neglected to inform DeBlasio that he, the gov, was closing down the NYC subways. Loads of money were spent to keep us mere citizens locked in our caves. At least no one was killed except from laughing. An example: food delivery guys couldn’t be considered emergencies.

Blizzard equipment
Blizzard equipment

I paid a visit to the Frick’s Portico Gallery to gaze at Jean-Antoine Houdon’s Diana the Huntress. She stands stark nude, on one foot, surrounded by the snowy Fifth Avenue lawn.

A discrete if lousy photo of Diana the Huntress
A discrete if lousy photo of Diana the Huntress

Isn’t cold weather a perfect excuse to eat traditional French food? If you agree, take thee to 26 Seats on Avenue B. French snails are an excuse to gobble butter and garlic, non? The 26 Seats version is delicious if awkward. Most of the lovely flaky pastry lands on your front not in your mouth.

Garlicy snails under a roof of pastry
Garlicy snails under a roof of pastry

Friends and I attended the New York City Ballet’s production of Serenade, Agon and Symphony in C. The Balanchine afternoon was conducted by the world’s smallest conductor, Clotiilde Otranto. Afterwards, we joined several million others at Rosa Mexicana.

One of many divers on Rosa Mexicana's water wall
One of many divers on Rosa Mexicana’s water wall