Author: Barbara Motley

New Orleans’ First Concorso d’Eleganza

I always admire artistic leaders who understand outreach. Sometimes, this means crossing lines and original thinking. While contemporary art museums are the most adept at this, and their patrons are the most forgiving (or some might say open minded), I …Read More

Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World

The first attempt to connect over the worldwide network was supposed to be “Log On.” The connection could only be maintained for two strokes: “Lo.” Thus, the title. The storyline of this documentary is “Werner Herzog’s exploration of the Internet …Read More

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

The Illusion

In 1636, subversive French playwright Pierre Corneille first mounted the play “L’illusion.” In 1988, Louisiana playwright Tony Kushner adapted this work for a staged reading at the New York Theatre Workshop. Last night, Biff and I saw this performed as …Read More

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 Thunder and the Hurricane

Many literate people can deploy a clever metaphor from time to time. It takes a true writer to uncover true-to-life metaphors – where life has been stranger than fiction. Our fellow VDPer, Pia Z. Ehrhardt offers up a very personal …Read More

Regina Carter

Perusing the program at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans before curtain, I read: “Violin virtuoso Regina Carter is considered the foremost jazz violinist of her generation.” Bold bona fide to be sure. But this winner of a coveted …Read More

Wimberly, Texas’ Boot Whisperer

I think the thing city lovers really look for in small towns is the small piece of the place that reminds them of a city….that one good gallery, or artisan jeweler with a flare, or the exposed wood-decor, farm to …Read More

The Hateful Eight

I can’t decide whether Quentin Tarantino is an artistic genuis, or a parlor trick. His eighth film (a fact noted in the opening credits) is “The Hateful Eight.” The advance promotion focused primarily on the fact that it was filmed …Read More

Understanding Paris: All the Light We Do Not See & The Nightingale

I was glad we flew home a day before the attacks on Paris. I was also very glad to have read two books before and during our stay there. Both these novels place the reader in France during the cultural-crushing …Read More

Ex-Machina and The Age Of Adaline.

I was not familiar with the work of Alex Garland, who wrote and directed the new sci-fi movie, “Ex-Machina.” This is not a blockbuster movie, as so many of the category are these days. It is a quiet, quirky, disturbing …Read More

Fun Home

For those who did not see this Off-Broadway, it is now out of previews and opened at the Circle in the Square as a Broadway show. Much has already been posted by other VDPers, so suffice it to say, Michael …Read More

The Polo Bar

Ralph Lauren’s The Polo Bar opened in September at corner of W.55th St (entry) and 5th Ave; it is behind yet another RL retail store, and has received great buzz in publications outside New York, which is probably due a …Read More

Tana French Books

  Why do we love our “…paths”? I’m coming out of the re-runs closet: I am strangely attracted to re-runs of “Criminal Minds” on CBS. There is something about a psychopathic character that is just mesmerizing to some of us. …Read More

“Lady Day…” at HBO Filming in New Orleans

  Whether or not you caught Audra McDonald in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” while it played NYC at Circle on the Square, here is a heads up: HBO filmed a live performance in New Orleans for airing …Read More


One to miss…… The pre-opening hype about “Interstallar,” the sci-fi blockbuster by Christopher Nolan (Batman and Superman comic-to-celluloid fame) was mostly about how realistic the impressive set was — no green screen faux environments for this one. Now that we’ve …Read More

An Iliad

“An Iliad,” written by Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson, was developed as a one-man show as part of the New York Theatre Workshop’s Usual Suspects Program, and premiered Off-Broadway in 2012. The first full production was by the Seattle Rep …Read More

The Normal Heart

The Academy fell hard for “Dallas Buyers Club” last year, as did many of us. The raw edges that Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leo telegraphed from the big screen made me rather shrink into my cushy theater seat. However, after …Read More

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Biff and I have a house in the Rumbling Bald Resort on the northern border of Lake Lure in the Smoky mountains of North Carolina. There are two spectacular golf courses, …beat… and dozens of families with small children everywhere. …Read More

Shakespeare — Stage and Television

  Sometimes immersion just works. Many of us VDPers have admitted to watching entire seasons of “House of Cards,” both Yank and Brit versions, on Netflix at one sitting. For me, it worked with Shakespeare in June. Our respectable, and …Read More

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

If I could choose my gene pool, it would come connected to French actress Stéphane Audran, who as character Alice Senechal is the essence of Franco-femme style in the 1972 Oscar-winning foreign language comedy/farce, “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie,” …Read More

(Culinary) Letter from New Orleans

Five new restaurants frequently reviewed and discussed as “worthy”: Doris Metropolitan 620 Chartres in the heart of the French Quarter. Opened in 2014 in a renovated restaurant space. Other sister restaurants from owners Itai Ben Eli and Doris Reba Chia are …Read More

All the Way

Tony-winning play “All the Way” with Tony-winning actor Bryan Cranston closed June 29. However, as the only VDPer who grew up around authentic Texas cattle and oil men of a certain age and ilk, I feel a bit entitled to …Read More

Particle Fever

  If you can imagine that the respected profession you have dedicated your life to may be rendered altogether irrelevant in one moment, and that the entire world is poised to observe this moment, you’ll understand the delicious tension in …Read More

Julian Sands: A Celebration of Harold Pinter

In “Julian Sands: A Celebration of Harold Pinter,” Sands not only delivers the expertise of a stage actor who can handle Pinter’s dark, dense prose and poetry, he also demonstrates an obvious love and devotion for the writer and his …Read More


One of the questions theologians of faith have long pondered is this: if creationism is true, crafted by an omnipotent being, why is random fate allowed to come into play? Bad things happen to good people; good things happen to …Read More

Seven Days in the Art World

Not a new book, “Seven Days in the Art World” (Sarah Thornton, 2008) is new to me. It was a gift from someone I rather despise, who obviously felt I needed a 101 primer in visual art… likely true, but …Read More


Walda Besthoff passed along to me her copy of “Submergence” by J.M. Ledgard, and I thank her heartily for this gesture. This was a page turner. “Submergence” is a love story between Franco-Australian Danielle Flinders, a biomathematician (pause here for …Read More

My Five Must-See Films Noir

Having inspired with the various VDP ‘top five’ comments, here are five more noirs for consideration. Thanks to Jack Viertel (and Linda) for inspiring this memory walk down the dark side of film. 1) “Strangers On A Train,” 1951 and …Read More

Sarah Michelson’s 4

At the Whitney Museum of American Art. Contemporary dance, like so much contemporary art these days, rather defies definition. The one comment I can make about choreographer Sarah Michelson is that she embraces collaboration with a vengeance. The unusual piece …Read More

The Monuments Men & The Rape of Europa

We saw “The Monuments Men” today, and while it is not a great film, it had the elements of a good old-fashioned great movie. The stars were heroes with a commitment to their duty, but without having to adopt super …Read More

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

Oh to have watched this new musical without years of personal presenting and underwriting angst! I would have loved the evening without once over-thinking the production. “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” has much that is good, some that is excellent, …Read More

Movie Roundup

Well, the temperatures have plunged below forty degrees in New Orleans, and so the Mayor has declared a state of emergency and closed the city….sigh. Being warm-weather people who feel it is our right to get outside, Polar Vortex cabin …Read More

Kronos Quartet and Well-Strung

Kronos Quartet  In November, the Contemporary Arts Center welcomed back the still excellent, entertaining, and relevant string quartet, Kronos. This group, started forty years ago, includes the original group of male musicians on violins (David Harrington and John Sherba) and …Read More

Saving Mr. Banks

I have decided not to read what reviewers have to say about “Saving Mr. Banks.” This charming movie (it is definitely not a Film) follows the long and winding road traveled by the writer of the Mary Poppins childrens’ books, …Read More