From The Host

img_4382It’s the last day of September, and the Virtual Dinner Party is back. We missed you over the summer, and  hope you missed us.

The Dinner’s wonderful Sous-chef of the past year, Shannon Thomas, has moved on to the next step in her career, but will continue to stay involved with the VDP as a contributor. Succeeding her is the also wonderful Julia Benedict, who begins her Souf-chef role today.

We look forward to receiving your reviews and opinions — movies, theater, music, art, books, travel, restaurants, television, anything cultural…whatever helps define the zeitgeist. They can be short or long — your call. To contribute a review is easy. Just email it to me, and then Julia and I will format, edit, add any appropriate media, and post it on We’ll post them as we receive them. Then, every Friday, we’ll send you an email with a list of the postings of the past week.

In a system we started  last year, you’re encouraged (but not required) to rate your review on a star system — 1 star (least favorable) to 5 stars (most favorable). Just tell us in the email with your review.

You can write a comment on any posted review yourself online — just go to the end of the review, log on and enter your comment. If you or your computer has forgotten your user name or password, worry not. Julia will send it to you.

And now, on the the Party.

Host, The Virtual Dinner Party

Sous-chef (


The Cherry Orchard
The Front Page
Small Mouth Sounds
Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812
The Illusion

15 East
Le Coq Rico
Avra Madison

The Sympathizer
In a Different Key: The Story of Autism
The Hidden Life of Trees

Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future

Stranger Things (2)

Letter from Iceland

Abstract Expressionism at the Royal Academy

New York City Ballet

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

One Response to “From The Host”

  1. MOVIES: We give a 5-star review to “The Queen of Katwe,” the real-life story of a girl who soars out of muddy Ugandan streets through, of all things, chess. Applause to Disney for producing it, Mair Nair for making it and ro David Oyelowo {Dr. King in “Selma”] and Lupita Wyong’o for superb performances. It transcends just another underdog triumph story by giving such a profound picture of how millions of people live.

    A 4-star review also to “Snowden,” an unusually positive reaction for us to an Oliver Stone film. We’d probably give it 5 stars except that Laura Poitras made such an outstanding documentary, “Citizenfour,” that won an Oscar last year. We very much admire Snowden and thus applaud Stone’s positive take. But the movie is well worth seeing even for those who react to Snowden so negatively because it will provoke such heated discussion.

    “The Sympathizer” reads long but is doubly rewarding. First because it reports on aa world we barely understood — the Vietnamese who fled to this country when South Vietnam fell. Anyone familiar with the trials of European refugees to this country will b e struck by the similarities, and contrasts. Rewarding secondly because the author writes in English that’s not only perfectly idiomatic but wise, reflecting his wholly American upbringing.

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