Author: Walda Besthoff

Germany: Memories of a Nation

Were I to tell you that this 600 page book about Germany, a history of the country since Roman times, including the country’s geography, art, architecture, literature, economy, psychology, heroes and villains is easy reading, you might be dubious. The …Read More


Last night, I saw a well publicized new show on TV, “Billions,” which stars Damian Lewis, whom I’ve fucking adored since he debuted in the “The Forsyte Saga.” Lewis portrays a self-made hedge fund manager, brilliant and macho. His nemesis …Read More

Christmas Greeting for the VDP

  Good friends rejoice. The Season’s here For Christmas, lest it disappear Before the atheists swoop down To halt this day on which they frown. Let’s toast the VDP with cheer For wisdom gained throughout the year. Composing, as the …Read More

Veyerier du Lac

  Two stars have risen in the East, of France, and we ought to have brought frankincense and myrrh with us. These were the two Michelin stars that were awarded to the very young chef, Yoann Conte, who replaced the …Read More

I Am Pilgrim

A must read is “I Am Pilgrim” by Terry Hayes, a spy novel set in today’s world. It is full of information about the problems coming our way out of the Middle East. It holds the reader in a gripping plot. …Read More

Coppélia at the ABT

In Memoriam. ABT’s production of “Coppélia” seen last week was adequate, but not great. I know the ballet well because of my long and deep friendship with Ivan Nagy, “danseur noble” who defected from Hungary in 1965 and died unexpectedly …Read More

James Turrell at LACMA

So little cause for carolings Of such ecstatic sound … “The Darkling Thrush,” by Thomas Hardy James Turrell is acclaimed by critical art scholars, and endorsed by museums and collectors for his creation of a vast body of work exploring …Read More

Roger Angell: This Old Man

Roger Angell, longtime writer and editor for The New Yorker, just wrote an essay in the Feb. 17 & 24 issue entitled, “This Old Man.” Read it there, and you also can online, unless you are extremely young.The author, age …Read More

Downton Abbey

Season Four of Downton Abbey is making me anxious. Formerly, completely tasteful and balanced, each character and situation seemed to be a perfect jewel in a wonderful setting. Season Four reveals a glimpse of contemporary melodrama. The question is not …Read More

The Tempest

I have been champing at the bit to see the work of Alexei Ratmansky, the current “enfant terrible” of the ballet world. For the past few years since he left Russia as Director of the Bolshoi, he has worked for …Read More


Three different people have reviewed Harold Pinter’s excellent revival of “Betrayal” for the VDP, and there are three very different takes on this juicy evening of theatre. No wonder. I first saw the play in London in the late ’70s. …Read More

The Son

“The Son,” a novel By Philipp Meyer, scans 200 years of Texas history, featuring three major members of the same family. Eli McCullough, taken by marauding Commanches at the age of thirteen, is the most colorful, and that is saying a …Read More

Letter from the Loire Valley

And what is so rare as a day in June in the Loire valley? This most perfect “Garden of France” offers the highest level of civilized touring. The countryside itself puts you in dream mode. Although France is short on …Read More

Frieze Art Fair

Comparisons are invidious, but it is difficult to avoid the differences between Frieze 2013 and Frieze 2012. Imported from London last year for the first New York showing, this contemporary Art Fair was well vetted and beautifully presented. Dealers must …Read More

Picasso Black and White

This show is currently packing them in at the Guggenheim. Take away the color, and what are left are line, shape and volume.  And the doors of perception swing wide open, once again revealing Picasso’s millennial genius. The works, mostly …Read More


On 67th St between 2nd and 3rd. If you are having a love affair and want to tell your best friend about it in detail and don’t want to be overheard; if you have knowledge of an IPO which is about to happen …Read More


Tom Wolfe never met the adjective he didn’t like.  His style is poetic, as well as down and dirty.  Since William Faulkner, no one does dialects like Tom Wolfe, and his are a lot more fun and easy to understand.  Although …Read More