Archive for December 30, 2009

Paris Dinner x 2

December 30, 2009 1 comment

Frisée salad, Thoumieux

[Courtesy of Lonely Planet]

I suggested in my long-delayed post on Rome earlier today that I was ready at last to move on from our European trip. And I am. But not before saying a few words about the two dinners we had in Paris on the eve of our return to the US. I promised to say something about our Paris meals in my post a month ago on our overnight train ride from Milan to Paris. In fact, I started that post anticipating that I would discuss the meals, but instead got sidetracked by the exciting tale of our late evening wait in Milano Centrale for the train and the complications the next morning of reaching the Hotel Lancaster because the Champs-Elysées was closed to traffic so that Sarkozy and Merkel could jointly commemorate the 1918 armistice. (It was November 11.)

Let’s move ahead.
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Categories: Family, Food, Restaurants, Travel

Farewell, David Levine

December 30, 2009 Leave a comment

[David Levine, from the NYT, courtesy of Forum Gallery, New York]

We have spent the year with David Levine, thanks to The New York Review of Books‘s David Levine 2009 Calendar. Some months have been better than others. Eleanor Roosevelt April — good. Edouard Manet May — better. George W. Bush November — well, at least we were in Italy, Paris, New York, and Chicago through the evening of the 16th.

Our time with David was due to end tomorrow. But with his death yesterday, we must sadly say a double farewell.

Be sure to review the slide show that accompanies his NYT obituary.

Mr. Levine was as distinct an artist and commentator as any of his well-known contemporaries. His work was not only witty but serious, not only biting but deeply informed, and artful in a painterly sense as well as a literate one; he was, in fact, beyond his pen and ink drawings, an accomplished painter. Those qualities led many to suggest that he was the heir of the 19th-century masters of the illustration, Honoré Daumier and Thomas Nast.

Especially in his political work, his portraits betrayed the mind of an artist concerned, worriedly concerned, about the world in which he lived. Among his most famous images were those of President Lyndon B. Johnson pulling up his shirt to reveal that the scar from his gallbladder operation was in the precise shape of the boundaries of Vietnam … .

And see too the very short note at the website of his long-time home, the New York Review. I join many in missing his commentary and his vision.

Categories: Art, Magazines

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

December 30, 2009 1 comment

I started this post weeks ago, and even then I started it by observing that I should stop writing about our time in Europe already. With that in mind, I have let it sit, but now I will finish it and post it. Then I can move on.

One reason to push forward with it is that I can’t resist making use of the title. How often can one write “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” and mean it literally? (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, of course, is the title of the great 1962 Broadway musical starring Zero Mostel, with book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim — the first musical for which Sondheim wrote both music and lyrics. My parents saw it, as they saw many Broadway shows of the time, and brought home the Playbill, which I looked at, as I would do whenever they saw a show. I couldn’t make much sense of the title at the time.)

Our version of “A Funny Thing … ” revolves around something we did that was really stupid. I could blame those crazy Romans for being disorganized, or insufficiently clear in the information they provide. And they didn’t exactly help. But I’ll take responsibility.
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Categories: Stupidity, Travel