From The Host: Week Ending October 26, 2017

Dear VDP Guest, We are pleased to invite you to this week’s Virtual Dinner Party. Today we are serving up 10 reviews and 2 comments to share with you for the week ending Thursday, October 26, 2017.   REVIEWS BOOKS …Read More

No Ordinary Time

This Pulitzer Prize winner, a fascinating addition to the existing Franklin Roosevelt biographies, is a page-turner, a fresh and intimate look into the private lives of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, one of history’s more complex and important partnerships. It combines …Read More

Works of Max Frisch

Works of Max Frisch (1911-1991), a Swiss avant-garde novelist whose works have been widely translated; reviewed here are “I’m not Stiller” (1954), “Homo Faber” (1957) and “Man in the Holocene” (1979). A fourth work called “A Wilderness of Mirrors” (1974) …Read More

Leonardo da Vinci

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Posted: 10/26/17 by | Category: Books | No Comments »

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One thing I really liked about Walter Isaacson’s “Leonardo da Vinci” is that Isaacson explains why there are not more finished paintings. There are only 15 works, fully or mainly attributed to Leonardo, comprising a smaller body of work than …Read More

Casa Lever

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Posted: 10/26/17 by | Category: Restaurants | No Comments »

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When we arrive at Casa Lever (the sister restaurant of Sant Ambroeus) we are usually greeted by Antonio, the tall, elegant, Armani-clad manager from Milan who escorts you to your table. We are at Casa Lever principally because I love …Read More

Majorelle

Ahhh, at last a restaurant has arrived on the upper east side that is so quiet you can actually understand your table mates without resorting to reading lips. Majorelle, in the Lowell Hotel at 28 East 63rd Street, is Charles …Read More

Brahms Requiem

Brahms Requiem — live performance by Berlin Philharmonic. 7 PM in Berlin, 12 noon in New Orleans, October 21. Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin (soon to succeed Jas. Levine at the Met); chorus the Rundfunkchor Berlin. First-rate job both musically and visually, …Read More

Art and China After 1989: Theater of The World

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Posted: 10/26/17 by | Category: Visual Arts | 2 Comments »

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  Why 1989? Tiananmen Square! This is art with a message – a political message. Experimental film, videos, paintings, and installations by Ai Weiwei and other Chinese artists of today. Hanging across the entire atrium is a contemporary take on …Read More

Les Contes d’Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffmann)

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Posted: 10/26/17 by | Category: Opera | 1 Comment »

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We attended Bart Sher’s production at the Met Opera last night. We’ve seen this version several times before, but we’d gladly return this evening. It’s that entertaining. The casts and conductors may change from year to year, but the gorgeous, …Read More

Letter From Paris

The trip was mostly a tribute to Monet because the destination was GIVERNY. We had also submitted the name and the work of an Italian artist we knew who lived in London and did lyrical, surreal floral paintings to their …Read More

Junk

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Posted: 10/26/17 by | Category: Theater | No Comments »

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When we first saw Ayad Akhtar’s play, “Disgraced,” we knew his was a voice to be reckoned with, and felt smart when he won a Pulitzer Prize. With “Junk” he has widened his take on ultra-orthodoxy to include the religion …Read More

From The Host: Week Ending October 19, 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 5 comments to share with you for the week ending Thursday, October 19, 2017. Please click on www.theVDP.com to …Read More

As You Like It

Last Saturday, I attended a Teen Takeover performance of “As You Like It” at Classic Stage Company. An earnest, willowy high schooler seated me with charming hesitation. The teen ushers brought a fresh energy into the theater that lasted through …Read More

The Honeymooners

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Posted: 10/20/17 by | Category: Theater | No Comments »

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Does 1950s black-and-white television situation comedy scale up to 2017 Broadway-bound live musical theater? Well, sorta. How you like “The Honeymooners” — in national premiere at the Papermill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey — depends sharply on the expectations you …Read More

Mary Jane

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Posted: 10/20/17 by | Category: Theater | No Comments »

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In the last week we’ve been on a roll. Once again, a full theater sat without moving for an hour and 40 minutes, while five women performed Amy Herzog’s play, “Mary Jane” flawlessly. Herzog’s writing is fabulous as she brings …Read More

Tiny Beautiful Things

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Posted: 10/20/17 by | Category: Theater | No Comments »

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Last week, we spent 80 minutes with 350 audience members at The Public Theater. In absolute silence, we watched Nia Vardalos and three others speak the questions and answers to some of life’s major and minor issues. The audience tilted to …Read More

The Divine Order

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Posted: 10/20/17 by | Category: Movies | No Comments »

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To the Swiss as late as 1970, the Divine Order meant the total domination of men over women in all matters: family, work, religion, law, even voting. When even Iraq and Afghanistan had women’s sufferage, Switzerland did not. For director …Read More

Blade Runner 2049

The new movie version starring Ryan Gosling and Robin Wright is a film shot through with unconnected threads. I had trouble following the plot, but I think goes like this: Ryan Gosling is a REPLICANT whose boss the LAPD police …Read More

A Place to Call Home

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Posted: 10/20/17 by | Category: Television | No Comments »

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In spite of having been weaned on British television series, we have become addicted to this unusual Australian TV period drama which is starting its fifth season. So far, we have seen more than 30 episodes, each ending with a …Read More

A Few Days in Paris

I got back from a few days in Paris and here are a few things I recommend. The Hôtel d’Aubusson is a charming five-star small hotel on the Left Bank. Truly wonderful. Service impeccable. They got us tickets and reservations …Read More

Ratfucked

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Posted: 10/20/17 by | Category: Books | No Comments »

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David Daley’s “Ratfucked” is a frightening review of how the GOP’s gerrymandering has redrawn the American political map. Gerrymandering has been around since the early 1800s when Elbridge Gerry, the governor of Massachusetts, redrew a state map, redistricting to favor …Read More

From The Host: Week Ending October 12, 2017

Dear VDP Guest, We are pleased to invite you to this week’s Virtual Dinner Party. Today we are serving up 10 reviews and 5 comments to share with you for the week ending Thursday, October 12, 2017. Please click on www.theVDP.com to …Read More

A Stranger in Spain

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Posted: 10/13/17 by | Category: Books | No Comments »

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H.V. Morton was described by The Times years ago as “One of the world’s great travel writers.” He has written “The stranger who wishes to approach Spain with sympathy and appreciation must do so through its history.” Following his pronouncement, …Read More

Democracy in Chains

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Posted: 10/13/17 by | Category: Books | 1 Comment »

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A few months ago, Donna suggested I read “Democracy in Chains” by Nancy MacLean, which turned out to be the best nonfiction I read all summer and a wonderful recommendation. It is an important and timely book to read especially …Read More

Magpie Murders

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Posted: 10/13/17 by | Category: Books | 1 Comment »

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If I were to suggest that you read this whodunit because it’s written by Anthony Horowitz, you’d probably say, “Never heard of him.” But if I were to tell you that the author is also the creator and writer of …Read More

Last Hope Island

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Posted: 10/13/17 by | Category: Books | No Comments »

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Fans of Lynne Olson books (“Citizens of London,” among others) will devour her latest, “Last Hope Island,” on how London became a refuge for the governments and armed forces of seven occupied nations that were overrun by the Nazi blitzkrieg …Read More

Origin

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Posted: 10/13/17 by | Category: Books | 1 Comment »

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Like Dan Brown’s past books, “Angels & Demons” and “The De Vinci Code”, “Origin” is a fast-paced thriller that sets science against religion, and uses codes and symbols to best advantage. Halfway through, I wrote a note to my son …Read More

78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene

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Posted: 10/13/17 by | Category: Movies | No Comments »

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An entire 90-minute documentary devoted to one scene from one movie? Sounds a bit obsessive, but we’re talking about the “shower scene” from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho.” It took Alfred Hitchcock 78 camera set-ups and 52 cuts for mad Mr. Bates …Read More

The Battle of The Sexes

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Posted: 10/13/17 by | Category: Movies | No Comments »

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Those of us who remember the landmark tennis match of the #1 woman’s player against a former top men’s player (and noted hustler) will have a ball being reminded of the suspense – and the high stakes for women in …Read More

Mother!

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Posted: 10/13/17 by | Category: Movies | No Comments »

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Darren Aronofsky’s new film, “Mother!” was nothing like I thought it would be. Sure, I was prepared by all the reports that one would “either love it or hate it” and I knew that the camera was on Jennifer Lawrence’s …Read More

Sushi Ishikawa

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Posted: 10/13/17 by | Category: Restaurants | No Comments »

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Once in a while, we find a restaurant so comfortable in its own skin that we just want to return to it again and again. Such is the case with Sushi Ishikawa, 419 East 74th Street, a small and beautiful 24-seat …Read More

Le Coucou

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Posted: 10/13/17 by | Category: Restaurants | 2 Comments »

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Steven Starr has done it again with Le Coucou, 138 Lafayette St, which is in the Howard Hotel just north of Canal Street. Their quenelles are as good as those at La Grenouille and their duck with foie gras is spectacular. The …Read More

From The Host: Week Ending October 6, 2017

Dear VDP Guest, Welcome back! We are pleased to invite you to this week’s Virtual Dinner Party. Today we are serving up 15 reviews to share with you for the week ending Thursday, October 6, 2017.   REVIEWS THEATER Follies …Read More

Follies

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Posted: 10/06/17 by | Category: Theater | 1 Comment »

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Eleanor and I were fortunate enough to have booked tickets for the new National Theater production of “Follies” before it went into previews. By the time we got to London two weeks ago, it had opened to rave reviews and …Read More

Prince of Broadway

Hubby and I almost decided not to go the day we had tickets, as the reviews were so lackluster. So glad we did, and we didn’t depart after the first act, as we figured we might. The song choices couldn’t …Read More