• From the Host…

  • Dear Virtual Dinner Party Member, With this posting of 14 new reviews, the 2015-16 season of the Virtual Dinner Party comes to an end. Summer arrives in eight days, and our annual ideas festival, KentPresents, will consume us for the …Read More


  • Letter from Paris

  • If summer travels take your Paris, at the top of your list should be the new 2,400-seat Philharmonie de Paris building in the Parc de la Villette (19th arrondissement), opened earlier this year (architect’s rendering, below). The park was designed …Read More


  • The Cecil

  • We ventured up to 118th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue for an exotic dinner in Harlem, and found the neighborhood improved and Cecil a lovely, wide-open restaurant run by engaging people. It’s busy and it’s noisy. The menu is “interesting” and …Read More


  • The Effect

  • Finally, we agree. Dale and I both loved “The Effect” and had pretty much the same read on it. Lucy Prebble’s writing is smart, accessible, flawless. David Cromer’s direction is absolutely on the mark. Stage sets are beautifully architected, spare …Read More

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  • Presidential Podcast

  • The 2016 Presidential Election is…well who knows what it is, but it’s something. For some, looking forward to our next president is a good time to look back and to reflect upon the presidents of the past. That is exactly …Read More


  • Nabucco

  • Plácido Domingo is one of the world’s greatest musicians, singers (whether baritone now, or tenor then) and humanists. Having followed his career trajectory for decades it is safe to say that last night’s performance in “Nabucco” in the lead role …Read More


  • Fred’s at Barney’s

  • Whenever I walk into Fred’s, either for lunch or for dinner, I find myself singing “Ladies Who Lunch.” Surely, not because this is where “those ladies” would lunch. Fact is, Fred’s is a very good solution to lunch or dinner …Read More

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  • The Romanovs

  • Simon Sebag Montefiore’s “The Romanovs:1613-1918” is very fun look at three centuries of dynastic power. I can do no better summarizing this book than Montefiore does himself in the prologue: ”…the Romanovs were actually the most spectacularly successful empire-builders since …Read More

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  • The Back Door

  • I was invited to a VIP Preview of “The Back Door” at the Park Avenue Armory and oh dear…the Emperor’s clothes are now definitely ready for the dry cleaners! This hodge-podge of useless “artistic expressions” – piles of boxes, lights …Read More


  • Atlantic Grill

  • Every time we go to the Atlantic Grill with our friends, Deane and Howie Zimmerman, we say the same things. “What a terrific restaurant, we always forget to come here,” or “Every time I come here, I think of Jim …Read More

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  • Second Suns

  • At our friend Donald’s 95th birthday dinner, his daughter Carol told the story of a phone conversation they’d had a few years ago. Carol has lived outside of Nepal for 15 years and needed cataract surgery. She told her father …Read More

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  • Grantchester

  • I have fallen in love with an Anglican priest named Sidney Chambers, played by the captivating red-haired James Norton. Sadly, the second season has ended, but a third is promised, and you can watch it on DVD. Chambers, the vicar …Read More


  • Happy Valley

  • Another appealing series from the UK is “Happy Valley.” Set in an amazingly remote area of west Yorkshire nestled between the densely populated areas of Leeds-Bradford and Manchester, in the towns and villages of Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd and Heptonstall, places …Read More


  • Unfinished at Met Breuer

  • Saturday I took a trip to the newish Met Breuer to see what all the hoopla was about. Highlights from the visit included an installation piece from Tatsuo Miyajima, galleries much less crowded than the MoMA, and the main exhibition, …Read More


  • From the Host…

  • Dear Virtual Dinner Party Member, For the week ending Thursday, June 2, we posted 7 new reviews on the VDP: RESTAURANTS Come Prime Lincoln Quality Eats BOOKS Neapolitan Quartet The Sport of Kings MUSIC NY Philharmonic – Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” …Read More


  • Neapolitan Quartet

  • Who is Elena Ferrante – male, female, other? She could be the publisher (according to the NY Review of Books) of what is now known as the Neapolitan Quartet. And perhaps not. The four books follow the lives of two …Read More


  • New York Philharmonic: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons

  • Going to this concert I knew a few things for certain: Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” would be performed masterfully, I would very much enjoy it and by the end of the night my hands would sting a bit from all the …Read More


  • The Sport of Kings

  • “The Sport of Kings” by C. E. Morgan is both a wonderful and a deeply flawed novel. It’s set in Kentucky and is about horse racing, but delves deeply into human bloodlines, and thus is about race and racism as …Read More


  • Indian Summer

  • We generally like going to Playwright’s Horizons as we hear new voices and the theater is particularly comfortable. Last night was no exception, as Gregory S. Moss’s two-act, two-hour 15-minute tale of 16-year-old Daniel, left with his grandfather in a …Read More

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  • Come Prima

  • We were introduced to this wonderful neighborhood restaurant by friends with who we went with last night, Nancy Olnick & Georgio Spanu, who live both in New York and Rome…and it was wonderful. I had asparagus and then salmon. Dale …Read More

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  • Lincoln

  • We tried Lincoln when it first opened. We were taken by the architecture, but then found it a hassle getting reservations so we took it off our list. A few nights ago, friends told us that they liked it so …Read More

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  • Quality Eats

  • We went to Quality Eats last night as it is part of the Smith & Wolensky/Quality Meats consortium and we figured that at least the steak would be great…which it was. Quality Eats is a quirky take on a New …Read More

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  • From the Host…

  • Dear Virtual Dinner Party Member, For the week ending Thursday, May 16, we posted 13 new reviews on the VDP: THEATER A Doll’s House (2 reviews) The Father Fully Committed Indecent (2 reviews) VISUAL ARTS Harry Bertoia’s Atmosphere for Enjoyment …Read More


  • Fair Weather Bushwick

  • If Brooklyn does one thing well it is the coffee shop. The borough is rife with them. If Brooklyn is learning to do one thing well, it’s fine dining. As flocks of young professionals move out in droves, its seems …Read More

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  • The Republic of Spin

  • In “The Republic of Spin,” David Greenberg starts with McKinley and chronicles the following 100 plus years of publicity behind presidential elections. This is a must read for anyone interested in presidential history, political machinations and election strategy. Who knew …Read More

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  • My Momentum and My Muse

  • Momentum #7 There is a prideful pleasure attached to writing about accomplishments of fellow VDP’ers…only boosted when the artist is also a friend. Biff and I were captivated and impressed by Aimée Farnet Siegel’s recent show in the uber cool, …Read More


  • The Father

  • Strindberg’s “The Father” produced by Theatre for a New Audience is riveting, powerful, and amazingly relevant! Deftly directed by Arin Arbus, it features a brilliant performance by John Douglas Thompson, abetted by excellent Maggie Lacey and a fine cast. It …Read More

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  • Studio Job: MAD HOUSE

  • “Studio Job: MAD HOUSE” at the Museum of Arts and Design This review has been updated and has replaced its original post on March 28, 2016.  The meeting, melding and tearing apart of the two designers, Job Smeets and Nynke …Read More


  • Harry Bertoia’s Atmosphere for Enjoyment

  • Enter the world of Harry Bertoia and you’re in a playground for all ages. There are the sculptures that attempt to reproduce his “Sonambient Stone Barn” in Pennsylvania. These are carefully mounted on a platform and are an immediate hit. …Read More


  • A Doll’s House

  • “A Doll’s House,” produced by Theater for a New Audience, is well directed. The excellent cast is topped by John Douglas Thompson giving his usual excellent performance, and a particularly fine Nora played by Maggie Lacey. The play is still …Read More

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