From The Host: Week Ending November 16, 2017

Dear Virtual Dinner Party guests, We’ve attempted to continue hosting the Party at the same time as we’re producing the somewhat more demanding KentPresents ideas festival. As it turns out, we find ourselves unable to do both. Too many tasks, …Read More

2017 National Book Awards for Fiction

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Posted: 11/17/17 by | Category: Books | No Comments »

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Here are the finalists for the NBA fiction: “Dark at the Crossing” by Elliot Ackerman, “The Leavers” by Lisa Ko, “Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee, “Her Body and Other Parties” by Carmen Maria Machado, and “Sing, Unburied, Sing” by Jesmyn …Read More

The Tribes of Palos Verdes

The Mason family moves from Michigan to sunny Southern California to restart their lives. Unfortunately, they bring their troubles with them. Wife Sandy (Jennifer Garner) is an ex-model sinking deeper into depression, foregoing a skimpy green tennis dress for a …Read More

Network

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Posted: 11/16/17 by | Category: Theater | No Comments »

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How well I remember the movie “Network” with William Holden and Faye Dunaway. Their sexy star qualities could have dominated the plot if it hadn’t been for the incredible Peter Finch’s take on mental deterioration and messianic fervor. During an …Read More

The Death of Stalin

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Posted: 11/13/17 by | Category: Movies | No Comments »

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Armando Iannucci’s incredibly droll “The Death of Stalin” is a wry but realistic take on the final demise of one of history’s great mass murderers. Despite many on the Left excusing his crimes and madness in the name of establishing …Read More

MoMA’s Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait

In my enthusiasm to respond to an invitation to visit MoMA’s new Louise Bourgeois show in early hours last month, I didn’t check the fine print. I expected to be admiring large sculptural spiders in solitude, but instead realized this …Read More

Torch Song

We didn’t see the original “Torch Song,” so I was tempted by 2nd Stage’s current production, especially with Michael Urie. This story seemed like a big part of NYC history and theater and, once we heard it is now quite …Read More

Franz Kafka (1883-1924)

Never read Kafka? my literary friends said. One who has read Proust, Joyce, Mann and Musil may think he has a handle on 20th century literature, but if he hasn’t read Kafka, he’s nowhere. Thus shamed, I acquired Kafka’s “Collected …Read More

Pride and Prejudice

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Posted: 11/13/17 by | Category: Theater | No Comments »

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We had seen and loved “Sense and Sensibility” in the little theater that doubles as a basketball court in the basement of the building across the street from NYU Law School, and we knew that Kate Hamill had written that. …Read More

Art in the Open – at the Museum of the City of New York

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Posted: 11/13/17 by | Category: Visual Arts | No Comments »

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Starting in the late ’60s, New York City became the site of hundreds of innovative installations of artworks and sculptures – in parks, on median strips on Park Avenue, in building plazas and on building walls, even in subways. Until …Read More

From The Host: Week Ending November 9, 2017

Dear VDP Guest, We are pleased to invite you to this week’s Virtual Dinner Party. Today we are serving up 15 reviews and 4 comments to share with you for the week ending Thursday, November 9, 2017. Please click on www.theVDP.com to …Read More

The Lady from the Sea

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Posted: 11/10/17 by | Category: Theater | No Comments »

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The Donmar Warehouse Theatre is always into political themes and “The Lady from the Sea,” a late Henrik Ibsen play is no exception. The action is moved from the icy fijords of Norway, to an unnamed Caribbean Island and the …Read More

Springsteen on Broadway

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Posted: 11/10/17 by | Category: Theater | No Comments »

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Don’t expect a rousing rock and roll evening if you’re able to spring for the outrageous prices that “Springsteen on Broadway” is charging (or Stubhub). But do expect an amazing evening of theater, a one man show (except for a …Read More

Springsteen on Broadway

After fortifying ourselves with pasta and red wine at Le Masseria next door, we threaded our way through the expectant crowd to our seats blessedly close enough to the stage to enjoy the proceedings. There was unalloyed enthusiasm in the …Read More

Meteor Shower

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Posted: 11/10/17 by | Category: Theater | No Comments »

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Steve Martin can do no wrong, and he does no wrong in so many ways – playwright, screen writer, novelist, actor, musician. Following his wonderfully warm blue-grass show “Bright Star,” his new show “Meteor Shower” takes dead aim at over-intellectualized …Read More

The Band’s Visit

This was a great night out and I encourage any theater aficionado to go. Katrina Lenk and Tony Shalhoub lead a stellar cast of musicians and actors that will warm your heart plus exercise your brain. The story is, as …Read More

Follies

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Posted: 11/10/17 by | Category: Theater | 1 Comment »

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Since its original 1971 production, “Follies” has been Stephen Sondheim’s most controversial masterwork, though over time it has gradually earned its status as just that: a masterwork. Its brilliant score combines pastiches based on the work of earlier Broadway and …Read More

Americana

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Posted: 11/10/17 by | Category: Books | No Comments »

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“Americana” by Bhu Srinivasan is a fun and thorough review of capitalism in America. Who knew the Mayflower was backed by English financiers? I thought the Puritans were fleeing religious prosecution and had no idea they were borrowing from their …Read More

The Whitney Women

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Posted: 11/10/17 by | Category: Books | No Comments »

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I had the pleasure of reading “The Whitney Women” by Flora Miller Biddle a few weeks ago. It is a marvelous story of her family’s commitment to American art. Her grandmother, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, came up with the novel idea …Read More

Sebald – On the Natural History of Destruction (1999)

Very likely most or even all of the VDP constituency are acquainted with the works of W. G. Sebald (1944-2001), author of “Austerlitz,” “Vertigo,” “The Rings of Saturn,” and other books celebrated for their unique style. The literary critic James …Read More

Murder on the Orient Express

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Posted: 11/10/17 by | Category: Movies | 1 Comment »

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The biggest star in a cast of well versed actors, including Kenneth Branagh, Michelle Pfeiffer, still lovely with her little girl Southern California voice, Derek Jacobi, and the somewhat wizened Johnny Depp, was Mr. Branagh’s moustache! What can have possessed …Read More

Thor: Ragnarok

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Posted: 11/10/17 by | Category: Movies | No Comments »

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I don’t usually post reviews of pictures most of us think of for our grandchildren, but “Thor: Ragnarok” was so good that I felt compelled to share. It has a great cast, including Tony Hopkins as Odin, all the usual …Read More

Alma

Her last name is Deutscher, but this British 12-year-old has already reached the pinnacle of show business: one-name status. Alma. She is, and always will be, Alma. She’s clearly sent from heaven, this epitome of both joy and talent. Since …Read More

Aster Restaurant

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Posted: 11/10/17 by | Category: Restaurants | 1 Comment »

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For those of you for whom a visit to London comprises, theater, restaurants, hotel comforts and musical events, the newest part of London is the recently and almost completed redevelopment of Victoria. This huge project which has taken years is …Read More

The Exterminating Angel

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Posted: 11/10/17 by | Category: Opera | No Comments »

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It’s not that I’m anti-modern opera. It’s just that so much of it forces me to sacrifice the many musical pleasures that I normally receive from, shall I say, more traditional works. As to contemporary opera, one of my all-time …Read More

From The Host: Week Ending November 2, 2017

Dear VDP Guest, We are pleased to invite you to this week’s Virtual Dinner Party. Today we are serving up 9 reviews and 4 comments to share with you for the week ending Thursday, November 2, 2017. Please click on www.theVDP.com to …Read More

The Ballad of Lefty Brown

It’s 1889. Montana Territory is on the brink of statehood. But it’s still the Wild West, where a bud guy shoots an innocent for a $2 poker debt and then gets hanged sans trial in the next scene by a …Read More

Frank Serpico

The 1973 production of “Serpico” told the story of one man’s crusade against the corruption then rampant in the NYPD to light. The flick became one of Hollywood’s iconic neo-noir classics and propelled Al Pacino to superstardom. Fourty-four years later, …Read More

Jane

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Posted: 11/03/17 by | Category: Movies | No Comments »

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I’ll be surprised if this doesn’t win awards as Best Documentary. The story of 26-year-old Jane Goodall leaving England to study chimpanzees in Tanzania is given fresh dimension by 50-year-old glorious footage by photographer Hugo van Lawick, who became her …Read More

Works of Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)

My belletrist wife (Sheila Bosworth, author of two published novels) was working on a paper for her literary club on the subject of The Lost Generation, which involved a good deal of Hemingway and his coterie; I had never read …Read More

The Golden House

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Posted: 11/03/17 by | Category: Books | No Comments »

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Perhaps it takes the US becoming as dysfunctional, confusing, chaotic and in crisis as India or Pakistan to inspire Rushdie do deliver his best. Although I am a huge Rushdie fan, and adored “Satanic Verses,” “Midnight’s Children” and “The Moor’s …Read More

People, Places & Things

An outstanding production is currently at St. Ann’s Warehouse — “People, Places & Things,” from the National Theatre in London, with a stellar cast headed by the amazing Denise Gough. She turns in a remarkable performance and heads a gifted …Read More

Time and the Conways

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Posted: 11/03/17 by | Category: Theater | No Comments »

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We first became a fan of playwright J.B. Priestley some years ago when we saw “Dangerous Corner” in London, which we enjoyed even more than his most famous play, “An Inspector Calls.” Last night, we saw Priestley’s “Time and the …Read More

Ton Koopman conducts Bach – B Minor Mass

Bach – B Minor Mass, live stream Oct. 28 by Berlin Philharmonic, chorus Rundfunkchor Berlin, conductor Ton Koopman. A superlative performance, with a relatively small chorus (less than 40) for this work (although I have a recording with no chorus …Read More

P.J. Clarke’s

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Posted: 11/03/17 by | Category: Restaurants | 2 Comments »

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I’ve been going to P.J. Clarke’s since 1959 when a group of upperclassmen brought a group of “newbies” there in an effort to convince us that we wanted to join their fraternity. I had a rare cheeseburger and a cup …Read More