The worst thing about not posting to your blog in an age is trying to come up with some excuse for your hiatus. Suffice it to say that my plate has been fuller than usual with work, two projects on the side--to be unveiled at a later date--and the attempt at a social life plus enjoying various goings on in New York City. The good news is the hard part is over, I'm already maybe a quarter into my first post in a while. So here are the highlights of what I've been into, what I highly recommend, and what I'm looking forward to:
First off, if you have not yet been to The Whitney to see Glenn Ligon's exhibit, get thee into a taxi pronto. His mid-lfe retrospective is one of the smartest, most vibrant, thought provoking and brilliant exhibitions I've seen in a while. Actually, not since the Basquiat exhibit that I saw in Paris in October have I been so thrilled to be in a museum. I'm looking forward to checking it out again before it leaves this June. It will be doubly exciting to go to the Whitney again because Danny Meyer's new restaurant, Untitled, is now open and apparently they serve among other things pie from the Brooklyn place called Blackbird. I've been meaning to try their famous pie so my next trip will combine two of my favorite things, pie and art.
What else? I went to the always fantastic Rendez-vous with French Cinema hosted by the Film Society of Lincoln Center. My favorite movie was What Love May Bring by Claude LeLouch. It's an epic film about one woman's love life and her many lovers, starting in the World War II era kind of going up to the present. It's really lush and pretty to look at. My favorite part of the screening though was after the film, when Claude LeLouch, legendary director of A Man and a Woman and so many more iconic films, walked past me and I told him "j'aime beaucoup votre film" and he smiled, said "merci" and patted me on the shoulder. He's great.
Speaking of film, I also went to see the premier of Desert Flower. The movie is based on Waris Darie's memoir about the path that led her from Somalia to London to become a model, it is also about the horrific act of female mutilation which she endured as a little girl. Liya Kebede, possibly the world's most stunning model, plays Waris and she does a fantastic job. The movie is beautifully filmed and as a bonus, for me at least, includes one of my favorite new actors--Anthony Mackie. It's such a powerful story and with so much redemption, I can't recommend it enough.
I've been in quite a filmgoing mood as of late. The other film that I was excited to see and am equally passionate about sharing is the must-see new movie by Julian Schabel, Miral. This movie is also based on an autobiographical novel written by Schnabel's now girlfriend, Rula Jebreal. In a nutshell, the story is about a Palestinian girl who is almost orphaned and grows up in a boarding school for girls during the first intifada, or Palestinian uprising. As Miral says in the movie, it means stand up straight. The movie does an amazing job of telling some of the history of that region from a Palestinian perspective--which is rare. It's gorgeously filmed and though it's been a while since I visited the region it looked like what I remember and captured so much of the beauty there. Frida Pinto and all the actors in the film are fantastic. This is a movie I'm going back to see again to support the director and the message, which ultimately is one of hope and peace.
Another movie related adventure was a master acting class with the magnificent Isaach de Bankole. The Museum of Arts and Design is hosting a film festival called An Unexpected Gentleman featuring several of de Bankole's films and the workshop was part of that. He's the man in the photo at the top of this post. Anyway, it was so much fun and so interesting to listen to him talk about acting and then do actual exercises with the audience. Such a treat. I recommend checking out the festival. Here are the details.
Food related, here are the goodies that made an impression over the past several weeks: the brussels sprouts pizza at Motorino is insane. It's that good. Just bonkers. I trekked over to Williamsburg and had this pizza of the Gods with a glass of the wine they recommend for all pizzas, Penisola Sorrentina "Gragnano" Monteleone. This wine was so good I did not know what to do. It's dark as night, if night skies were purple, red and bubbly, and it tastes fantastic with the pizza. Mostly dry and just perfect. Words fail.
The other stand out food adventure was to find this Greek bakery called Artopolis in Astoria, Queens. I got so many cookies here that I had to give some away so I would still fit into my clothes. The delicious baklava and sugar and honey cookies and cakes I got were yummy beyond belief and frighteningly addictive. I want more.
The third food destination I will mention is one I've waxed on and on about on this blog before, ABC Kitchen. I love that place. I just went for lentil soup and a chocolate mint cookie on a day off but it was such good soup and the cookie was also just the capital C of cookies, so moist on the inside and refreshing with mint but rich with chocolate and crunchy on the outside. This is what Plato would have had in mind for what a cookie should be in Plato's Republic. It's the one others strive to be. It's so good I went back the next day, or was it the next week, and had another afternoon bowl of lentil soup followed by that perfect cookie. I'd like to call it my friend.
And here's what I'm looking forward to: reading Tina Fey's Bossypants; cooking from Gwyneth Paltrow's new cookbook; and seeing the play Motherfucker with the Hat. I intend to report back with all the details.