|Cooper Union / 41 Cooper Square|
|St. Mark's Place|
|Two Dancers in Black|
The work by Gil Harush - White Wash - proved excessively lengthy, relatively abstract in conception, and, in outcome, somewhat dry, cold & bloodless. Prospect Minds - choreographed by Dana Katz, who also performed in the program featuring two female dancers and a male - was the more interesting, entertaining & original of the two live performances; the piece was filled with tightly circumscribed movements and creatively geometric male-female & female-female interactions.
|Dance - "Prospect Minds"|
|Tapas Plate & Wine - Interior Table, The Barrel|
Needless to say (well, in this case, at least), the wines were unique & interesting, generous in quantity (by the glass), very fairly priced (again, by the glass); and the food, well, equally interesting as reflected by the various (and variously sized) tapas-style plates we selected.
|Hanger Steak - Tapas Plate|
For my main I ordered the Duck Confit Spaghetti, comprising pulled duck confit spaghetti with garlic, shallots, extra virgin olive oil & truffles ($12.), a simple & masterful concoction that certainly needs to be sampled again, in the very near future. My wife ordered a mixture of three small items on sliced baguette rounds (3 for $9.) from the "Pintxos" (in Basque, snacks, typically eaten in bars) section of the menu, including: shrimp scampi, in a "fresh" tomato-garlic sauce; mixed mushrooms, sautéed with herbs, shallots, white wine & butter; and prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, with black olive paste & a cherry tomato. We supplemented all of the above with an eminently sharable (rather substantial) tapas size portion of eggplant lasagna, a grilled "eggplant ricotta," fresh mozzarella & a marinara sauce ($8.).
|Dessert Tart w/Chocolatey Sauce|
For dessert, we each managed a coffee - de-cafe & regular, both black, strong & robust. And we topped off this flavorful pan-Mediterranean meal with a large salty-caramel tart with an invitingly rich chocolatey sauce (coffees & dessert also at "mild" happy hour pricing). I should note, too, that daily "specials" (e.g., duck, beef, pork & vegetarian) are available and all items are priced moderately.
* * *
While the recent Academy Award for outstanding documentary feature film was given to Searching for Sugar Man - a Swedish-British effort directed by Malik Bendjelloul - about the "lost" and reclusive Detroit-based folk-rocker, Rodriguez (see my October 15th post on this subject), resulting in a fine, entrancing film which proved well worth seeing, another Oscar nominee, in the same category and of equal or greater significance, if one can assign distinctions of this sort relative to a documentary's worth & value, is Dror Moreh's The Gatekeepers.
The Gatekeepers is, in many areas throughout, a strident and forceful compilation of interviews with all surviving former heads of Shin Bet, the Israeli security agency whose activities and membership are (perhaps now, to an extent, were) closely guarded state secrets. In addition to the finely etched interview sessions, with the 6 talking heads (however dynamic they are), the director provides relevant historical footage in appropriate contexts which helps the viewer to recall and examine various "truths," political positions, governmental mandates, military actions & security necessities, as well as the Israeli politicians, generals & security staff involved during the period since the start of the 1967 war and the creation of the Palestinian "occupation."
Initially, Moreh was able to draft one former Shin Bet director (Ami Ayalon) to collaborate with him on the film project and Mr. Ayalon, the first of the six to be "recruited" by Moreh, was able to help him secure the consent of the additional five Shin Bet participants. Ultimately, the former Shin Bet heads all agreed to appear on camera while answering Moreh's questions without any preconditions.
|Dror Moreh - Filmmaker|
|Ami Ayalon - Former Head Shin Bet|
* * *
Pub food of all kinds prevails, including traditional Irish fare (chicken pot pies, with vegetables, cream sauce, in a golden puff pastry; "bangers" & mash, with grilled Irish sausage, mashed potatoes & onion gravy); incredible giant lamb burgers with chipotle jack cheese & sweet curry sauce, garnished with large portions of thickly cut French fries; large & deep salads of all sorts & "classic" chicken parmesan pasta in tomato basil sauce; ginger grilled tuna, with spicy scallion mayo, tomatoes & greens on a ciabatta roll; New Orleans & Cajun food, from chicken & shrimp etoufee to sausage & crawfish gumbo, lobster corn chowder, oyster po-boys & Connolly's crab cake, with applewood smoked bacon, white cheddar, spicy mayo ... all situated on a more than ample brioche bun!
|C. J. Chenier|