18 November 2013

Fall Roundup

The fall so far has been filled with events of all sorts and as a result I haven’t had time to post about everything. So I thought I’d share some brief recaps of a few of them here.

A modern actress who I love is Juliette Binoche. She always imbues a rawness in her performances that results in more realistic characters. Her latest film is Bruno Dumont's Camille Claudel 1915, which tells the story of the first year of the great artist’s incarceration by her family in a mental institution where she stayed, even though doctors encouraged the family to bring her home, for the last 30 years of her life. Filmed on site at a real institution with actual patients, it was emotionally draining to watch. Yet Binoche was mesmerizing as usual and her portrayal stayed with me long after I left the cinema.

To celebrate the release of the Criterion Collection’s new Rossellini/Bergman box set, Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò at NYU hosted a special screening of the one of the films—Journey to Italy (1954)—along with a panel discussion with some scholars, and Isabella and Ingrid Rossellini. Isabella had to cancel at the last moment (she broke her hand that morning) but Ingrid was there, telling stories about when they were children including the time their father, a big animal lover, brought home a kangaroo. The film about a troubled marriage was strong and gave an up close look at life in post-war Italy.

One of the best concerts I’ve seen in a long time was a performance by Mariza, the Portuguese Fado singer, at Carnegie Hall last weekend. She was, in a word, amazing. For two hours she poured her heart out, singing traditional Fado songs as well as some new ones. Dressed in a long gown, the striking 6-foot tall singer spoke with the audience between songs, explaining the origin of the music and thanking her talented band. The audience was enthralled and was up on their feet by the end, cheering her on. She announced that she’s coming back to New York next year, and I for one can’t wait.

Under the Table: A Dorothy Parker Cocktail Guide is a new book by Kevin C. Fitzpatrick, the president of the Dorothy Parker Society, which tells the story of Mrs. Parker and her circle and the cocktails that they enjoyed. The book is great fun, and I'm looking forward to trying out some of the recipes. At the launch party for the release at the Algonquin Hotel, my friend and I sampled one of the drinks from the book, an Algonquin Cocktail (rye, vermouth, and pineapple juice), before turning to my classic go-to, the Manhattan. I think Mrs. Parker would approve.

And speaking of books, Elliott Erwitt’s Kolor is the latest from the incomparable photographer, gathering together his colour work for the first time. The International Center for Photography (ICP) held a book signing for the new publication, and I was thrilled to get to meet a man whose work I so admire. I wanted to tell him how much I loved his work and how one of the most popular posts on this blog was the one about his ICP exhibit from a few years ago but I thought that would be silly and just thanked him instead while I grinned like an idiot.

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