• From The Host

  • Dear VDP Guest, We are pleased to invite you to this week’s Virtual Dinner Party. We are serving up 12 reviews and 3 comments to share with you for the week ending Thursday, December 1, 2016. Please click on www.theVDP.com to savor the repast.   …Read More


  • La Bohème

  • Yes, you’ll cry. Your senses and sentimentality will be torn asunder by this Met Opera production. But you will experience a reawakening of your humanity (even after dinner) that is seldom achieved in a theater seat. THIS “La Bohème” is …Read More


  • Manon Lescaut at the Royal Opera House

  • This is the story of a young impressionable girl who has a bit of a thing for riches and sex — a common theme in opera. From an early age she is attracted to wealth, power and male attention that …Read More

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  • Il Ritorno d’Ulisse

  • I saw “Il Ritorno d’Ulisse” last week, and found it absolutely extraordinary. It was part of Lincoln Center’s White Lights Festival, with music by Claudio Monteverdi, the libretto after Homer, and with William Kentridge as director. Also taking major parts: …Read More


  • Hillbilly Elegy

  • I picked up the book after reading Joan Williams’s excellent article, “What So Many People Don’t Get About the U.S. Working Class,” in the Harvard Business Review. J.D. Vance was born into a Scots Irish dysfunctional hillbilly family and spent …Read More


  • Thank You for Being Late

  • This is the usual amazingly astute but corny Friedmanesque analysis of the world right now. How can one man have such a brilliant, yet simultaneously annoying, penchant for putting his finger on the global pulse and simplifying complexity? The premise …Read More

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  • A Hero of France

  • Alan Furst has written suspenseful WWII spy novels. Sadly, this is not one of them. Mathieu, the hero of the title, a Parisian member of the French Resistance in 1941, has organized a small network of daring sympathizers who help …Read More

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  • The Clock

  • Christian Marclay’s “The Clock” grabbed the Golden Lion Award at the 2011 Venice Biennale, so I’m guessing some of the VDP clan have seen it. The Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans teamed with Prospect.4 (our local art event with …Read More


  • Art Basel Miami

  • I am predisposed to spending a few days at the Art Basel Miami fair, not only because some of the galleries bring museum quality works of art but because I run into people I don’t get to see at other …Read More

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  • Elle

  • French sangfroid defined is the best way to describe Paul Verhoeven’s new film, “Elle,” starring Isabelle Huppert. The production and script have Ms. Huppert run quite a grueling gauntlet including rape, adultery, voyeurism, masturbation, trolling, a car crash, a childhood …Read More


  • Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra

  • As is often the case, there are fine musical organizations that seek support from philanthropists in the United States. They come from Salzburg, Vienna, London, Israel, etc., and now Oxford University has joined “the chorus.” We happened to attend a …Read More


  • The Center for Civil and Human Rights

  • I visited The Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta. Its purpose is to educate visitors about the rich history of the civil rights movement across the US while helping them connect lessons of the past to the present-day …Read More


  • Paowalla

  • Formerly the chef at Danny Meyer’s Tabla, Floyd Cardoz is an Indian-American chef with restaurants both in India and here. Paowalla, a casual restaurant in Soho, is terrific. While tagged an “Indian restaurant,” we were delighted that it is more …Read More

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  • From The Host

  • Dear VDP Guest, We are pleased to invite you to this short week’s Virtual Dinner Party. We are serving up 6 reviews and 4 comments. The table has been set earlier than usual to accommodate gatherings around other tables later in the …Read More


  • KentPresents in 13 Minutes

  • With the holidays just ahead, you may find yourself craving intellectual and cultural stimulation to help offset the post-prandial sloth that afflicts many of us on Thanksgiving. If that’s the case, and you’d like to feel you’ve done something productive, …Read More


  • Nocturnal Animals

  • Tom Ford’s new multi-narrative film, “Nocturnal Animals,” features Amy Adams as Susan, a woman who is unhappy in her marriage and even less happy with the art she curates for her gallery. Susan needs something to change in her life, …Read More

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  • Finian’s Rainbow

  • Good advice from the medical and the musical theater worlds: Hippocrates: Do no harm Finian’s Rainbow: Ignore the book Originally opening on Broadway in 1947, the Burton Lane/E.Y. Harburg musical “Finian’s Rainbow” ran for two years despite a famously weak …Read More

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  • Arrival

  • What’s best about “Arrival” is that it’s playing at Cinemas 1 + 2, so you can buy a very comfortable reserved seat and eliminate the stress of when to arrive. A friend sat in front of us and when we …Read More

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  • Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened

  • In 1981, the Stephen Sondheim/Hal Prince musical, “Merrily We Roll Along,” opened on Broadway to great anticipation. Just two years earlier the pair’s “Sweeney Todd” had won eight Tony awards, including Best Musical. Surprisingly, “Merrily” closed after 16 performances. How …Read More

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  • Flora Bar

  • I tend to stay away from the upper east side, but there is a fine new edition that is worth the trip ( for us “south half of Manhattan” types): Flora Bar, located in the lower courtyard level of the …Read More

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  • From The Host

  • Dear VDP Guest, We are pleased to invite you to this week’s Virtual Dinner Party. We are serving up 14 reviews and 2 comments to share with you for the week ending Thursday, November 17, 2016. Please click on www.theVDP.com to savor the repast.   …Read More


  • The Collector

  • Based on the 1963 novel by John Fowles and the 1965 film with Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar, “The Collector” is a sinister and unnerving tale. It was adapted for the stage by Mark Healy in 1998. “The Collector” here …Read More

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  • Heisenberg

  • On two successive nights we had the enormous pleasure to see two women in roles that dominate the stage, and made for two terrific evenings. On Tuesday we went to “Heisenberg” (MTC Friedman Theater) — a two-person 80-minute play by …Read More


  • Sweet Charity

  • On Wednesday we went to see “Sweet Charity” (The New Group – Pershing Square) at the end of its preview run. In this case it is Sutton Foster’s (Charity) show. This was yet another revival of this Neil Simon/Cy Coleman …Read More


  • The Band’s Visit

  • Set in Israel, in 1996, a group of musicians from Egypt were invited to perform in the city of Petah Tikva. They get to the wrong place — the tiny desert town of Bet Hatikva. As the last bus of …Read More

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  • Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

  • Based on Ben Fountain’s award-winning novel of four years ago, “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” has been turned into a movie as exceptionally engrossing as is the book. Ang Lee has directed an appealing and accomplished ensemble of mostly unknowns …Read More

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  • The Eagle Huntress

  • Donald and I respond unfailingly to the world of natural beauty, historic adventure and/or a combination of both. The magnificent story of a 13-year-old girl and her very supportive father in Mongolia touched us completely for its bravery, charm, stalwart …Read More


  • Lion

  • The Weinstein name in the opening credits hint that what is about to unspool might be special. Knowing that Nicole Kidman all but demanded her role provides another hint. Knowing that Dev Patel, the runaway star of “Slumdog Millionaire,” auditioned …Read More

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  • The Association of Small Bombs

  • This novel dissects a 1996 terrorist attack at a market in Delhi– from the disappointment in the blast by the terrorist, to his mild-mannered friend who is arrested for the crime; to the devastation and grief of the parents of …Read More

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  • The Rise and Fall of American Growth

  • The adoption of the smartphone since 2003 has been extremely rapid, and same for the tablet since 2010. The spread of the television was even faster, and fastest of any device (or appliance) in history. When WWII ended there were …Read More

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  • Agern

  • For the last few months, when I’ve been early for a train and wandering through Grand Central Station, I’ve found myself in the new food court across the hall from the escalators to the Pan Am Building (sometimes I have …Read More

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  • Milos

  • We have been vowing to visit the London version of Milos (fish restaurant) and last night was the night. It is a newer, glitzier, somehow less “spontaneous,” more-designed version of our New York favorite. The room is vast, white, has …Read More


  • Tenth Avenue Cookshop

  •   Cookshop is a big, bustling space that exudes “comfortable and warm.” Sort of the feel of a casual restaurant in a ski town in Colorado. We found ourselves there as a group of six, having early dinner before walking …Read More

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  • Connolly

  • The name Joseph still resonates in London, despite his untimely demise ten years ago. Joseph Ettedgui started his retailing career on the King’s Road in the early 70s. He stealthily entered the London style consciousness over the next thirty years. …Read More


  • Les Contes d’Hoffmann

  • The big question presented in “Les Contes d’Hoffmann” is: What is the deepest wish of the poet, the artist? Is it to have it both ways: success in the material world with all its public demands, and/or emotional fulfillment, i.e., …Read More