|Picasso - Jacqueline seated, w/cat, 1964|
Despite all the snow we've experienced this winter,
essentially occluding my normal peregrinations around & about the Metro area, still, there has been much to write about (the two Picasso gallery shows that surfaced in Chelsea, for example) ... But, all the while, under a winter funk, I've resisted taking to the keyboard and generating a blog post or two or more.
First up , there's a dining spot I've been meaning to mention for quite a while, out in Livingston, due west a couple of miles on Rt. 10 from West Orange in the New Jersey "burbs": Eppes Essen (@ 105 E. Mount Pleasant Ave., Livingson, NJ; tel. 973/994-1120).
mushroom slices & surrounded by chunks of tender bits of
egg barley, all artfully submerged in a "thick & creamy"
|Stuffed derma, w/kasha|
Then, in mid-March, chancing a new burst of snow - and absolutely no relation to pastrami sandwiches, nor even to Dr. Brown - we were able to see a wonderful solo production of a newly created theater piece, entitled Churchill: The Play, at the New World Stages, 340 West 50th St. (between 8th & 9th Avenues), a "must-see" (!) one-man piece transported from "a sold-out, critically acclaimed" Chicago run. Adapted and performed by Ronald Keaton and based on the life and words of Winston Churchill, the play proves a triumph, a perfect melding ... of a fine actor; a simple, functional & workmanlike set; and the exquisite words (many direct & memorable quotations each of us recalls indelibly etched in our psyches) of the heroic and extraordinarily articulate British Prime Minister, before, during & following the war.
|Ronald Keating as Winston Churchill|
of the dozens uttered and integrated into the show, from, arguably, the most quoted man of the 20th century should suffice to demonstrate (with both irony & arrogance) the depth & keenness of Churchill's wit: "I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter...."
The ostensible (historical) "genesis" for the play - in which Churchill reminisces, presents & conducts (shadow) arguments, explores his thoughts out loud in his "own" voice and at his own pace - is the immediate post-war period when President Harry Truman has invited Churchill to Fulton, Missouri where he will deliver his famous "iron curtain" speech ... to America and to the world. It is now March,1946 and Churchill has lost an election, been forced to retire; but, Truman has provided Churchill a public forum - the platform - from which we can all play witness to a riveting production and the indomitable Churchill, again, in his own gem-like words, phrases, historical "parsings," monologues, and, even, re-constructed dialog (from Churchill's point of view, that is).
|New World Stages - 50th St. West|
And yes, indeed the man has been thoroughly revealed by the end of the play - as statesman, writer, wordsmith, painter, charismatic leader & wartime strategist, cigar-smoking drinker, raconteur, orator & speech-maker, wit. But the words, in all, and in all their anecdotal contexts - uttered, memorably, by Mr. Churchill - are what flesh out the man and, coupled with associated political activity, leadership strength & military influence, create & sustain an overriding impression of greatness.
|Ippudo - inside view (partial)|
|Ramen bowl w/pork slices|
"The basic broth ... derived from the essence of pork, chicken, beef, or seafood, and seasoned with soy sauce, salt, miso, and other important ingredients. It's totally up to each individual chef to decide which ingredients [to include] and how much [of each] to use. Flour, eggs, kansui (an alkaline water) and other ingredients are used to make noodles. The chefs do not simply mix these ingredients together. Their own particular originality is infused into the thickness, length, form, and texture of noodles. Toppings such as yakibuta (roast pork) and ni-tamago (soy sauce flavored boiled egg) are also selectively used according to the tastes ... [& individual] preference[s] of the chef. Soup, noodles, and topping – the trinity brings forth the cosmos. [italics mine] Ramen is quite a creative dish with infinite potential for expansion and diversity."
|Pork belly buns|
|Suzuki Hakusai - Seabass|
The establishment is comfortable and very friendly, albeit crowded and relatively noisy with lots of native Japanese partaking in what seems to be all the various accoutrements of home fare, comfort food ... indeed, Japan's "soul food."
Finally, just a brief tribute, a "catch-up" literary note, really, for John Williams and his 1965 novel, Stoner, which belatedly & unbeknownst to me (and, I'm certain, to many other readers & admirers of the novel) won the 2013 Waterstones Book of the Year for fiction. Apparently, the novel is making a name for itself in the UK and France and has had a greater impact on readers in those two countries than even here in the USA where it was brought out in 2003 as a part of the New York Review of Books "Classics" imprint (a reprint) series.
I just today came upon the announcement of the Waterstones selection of Stoner for Book of the Year, 2013, noted in a online article posted on the mid-April (2013) finebooksmagazine.com's monthly blog. Don't know if I saw this announcement for the prize before or, more likely, this "discovery" was just a fortuitous result of my quirky reading of the content on the current blog post ... involving a click into the "You might also like" link.
In either case, according to FineBooksMagazine.com ...
|Stoner - in Hebrew|
A truly wonderful & deeply felt novel that is reaching, now, an ever-widening audience of contemprorary readers, even readers in farflung cultures as those in book-saturated Israel!