Don’t See – Therese Raquin

Therese Raquin opened a month ago at Studio 54 and stars Keira Knightley in her disappointing Broadway debut. Keira spends the first act giving sullen, constipated looks to the audience at the end of many of the scenes. While the looks were meant to convey stifled passions swirling inside her they simply made her character seem unintelligent. She is also very often speechless when asked questions by the other characters. If this was the direction she was given she should have just said no.

By far one of the best parts of the production was the set and staging (an actual river on stage!). Kudos to Beowulf Boritt for the sets as well as to Jane Greenwood for costumers and Keith Parham for lighting.

Judith Light delivers a strong performance as Madame Raquin which stood out in sharp contrast to Keira’s. But the sets and Judith’s performance are not enough to earn a thumps up for Therese Raquin.

 

Silver Fast Superyacht by Burgess

For the “when I win the lottery” file. . . The Silver Fast Superyacht would be interesting for its design alone, which incorporates a helipad, a glass-fronted jacuzzi, an indoor/outdoor dining area with sliding glass panels, and a full-on spa in a sleek profile. But it didn’t get it’s name for those reasons — it also happens to be the largest, fastest aluminum motor yacht ever built with conventional propulsion, with a top speed of 27 knots and a cruising speed of 22. It’s also unusually shallow, letting it access waters many similarly-equipped yachts can’t reach, offers accommodations for up to 18 guests spread across eight cabins, and has two 25-foot custom tenders hidden in the front under gullwing doors.

Silver Fast Superyacht
Silver Fast Superyacht
Silver Fast Superyacht - Aft Deck
Silver Fast Superyacht – Aft Deck
Silver Fast Superyacht - Lounge
Silver Fast Superyacht – Lounge
Silver Fast Superyacht - Lounge
Silver Fast Superyacht – Lounge
Silver Fast Superyacht - Stateroom
Silver Fast Superyacht – Stateroom

November 27 – 29

Movies

Once the tryptophan wears off after your Thanksgiving feast the following look like some of the better bets for the weekend new releases.

The Danish Girl
The Danish Girl

The Danish Girl – This movie was inspired by the remarkable love story of artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. After standing in as a female model for a painting by his wife Gerda (Alicia Vikander), Danish artist Einar (Eddie Redmayne – already getting buzz about an Oscar nomination) becomes enamored with his feminine identity and begins living as a woman named Lili Elbe. Wegener stands by Lili as she explores her true self and eventually undergoes the world’s first gender reassignment surgery in the 1920s. Directed by Tom Hooper.

Victor Frankenstein
Victor Frankenstein

Victor Frankenstein – Told from Igor’s (Daniel Radcliffe) perspective, we see the troubled young assistant’s dark origins, his redemptive friendship with the young medical student Victor Von Frankenstein (James McAvoy), and become eyewitnesses to the emergence of how Frankenstein became the man – and the legend – we know today. After the monster puts the scientists and others in grave danger, it’s up to Igor to save Frankenstein from the monster, and for himself.

Legend
Legend

Legend – The film tells the story of the identical twin gangsters Reggie and Ronnie Kray (played by Tom Hardy), two of the most notorious criminals in British history, and their organized crime empire in the East End of London during the 1960s. The film is adapted from John Pearson’s nonfiction tome The Profession of Violence.

Museums

And should you live in New York City Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style recently opened at the Met’s Costume Institute.

Jacqueline de Ribes The Art of Style
Jacqueline de Ribes The Art of Style

The exhibition focuses on the internationally renowned style icon Countess Jacqueline de Ribes, whose originality and elegance established her as one of the most celebrated fashion personas of the twentieth century. The thematic show features about sixty ensembles of haute couture and ready-to-wear primarily from de Ribes’s personal archive, dating from 1962 to the present. Also included are her creations for fancy-dress balls, which she often made by cutting and cannibalizing her haute couture gowns to create nuanced expressions of her aesthetic. These, along with photographs, video, and ephemera, tell the story of how her interest in fashion developed over decades, from childhood “dress-up” to the epitome of international style.

 

Weekend Update: Nov. 20 – 22

Theater

Hamllton on Broadway
Hamllton on Broadway

Hamilton (opened August 6) – While technically not a newly-opened show I include in this post as I was able to see it only recently. I confess that when I first read about the show I had my doubts (a historical musical? Rap? Hip-hop?) but the Public Theater pedigree and rave reviews inspired me to buy a ticket (which I had to buy months in advance to get a decent seat). The show is original, fresh, energetic and the themes most definitely of-the-moment. A must see.

A View From the Bridge
A View From the Bridge

A View From the Bridge (opened November 12) – the play transferred with cast intact from its critically-acclaimed London run (Olivier awards for Best Actor, Best Director and Best Revival). I almost didn’t see this show having seen the revival several years ago with Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johanssen (with so many new shows to see why see one I have seen before?). I am glad I did – the awards and acclaim are well-founded and the differences between the productions are substantial. The staging is so spare that the powerful  performances and themes of the play are brought into stark relief to great effect.

Movies

The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2
The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2

The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 (November 20) – In the conclusion (finally!) of the film series, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) stakes her claim as the leader of District 13 and leads the revolution against the brutal dictatorship of President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and the Capitol.

Secret in Their Eyes
Secret in Their Eyes

Secret in Their Eyes (November 20) – Billy Ray directs this adaptation of Juan José Campanella’s 2010 Argentinian film.  Julia Roberts, Chiwetel Ejifor and Nicole Kidman star in this thriller about a close-knit team of investigators whose partnership is strained when their latest murder case involves the daughter of one of their own.

By the Sea starring the Pitts
By the Sea starring the Pitts

By the Sea (November 13) – Set in France during the mid-1970s, Vanessa (Angelina Jolie-Pitt), a former dancer, and her writer-husband Roland (Brad Pitt), an American writer, travel the country together in an attempt to rebuild their marriage. They settle in a small coastal town and bond with a few if its quirkier inhabitants. The film was written and directed by Angelina Jolie-Pitt. Reviews are mixed but when have they not been for a production with which Angelina is involved?

Love the Coopers
Love the Coopers

Love the Coopers (November 13) – Four generations of the Cooper family come together for their annual Christmas Eve celebration. As the evening unfolds, a series of unexpected visitors and unlikely events turn the night upside down, leading them all toward a surprising rediscovery of family bonds and the spirit of the holiday. Based on the reviews the strong cast (Diane Keaton, Marisa Tomei, Amanda Seyfried, John Goodman, Olivia Wilde) can do nothing to save this holiday stinker.

Museums

Jackson Pollock at the MoMA
Jackson Pollock at the MoMA

Jackson Pollock (MOMA opens November 22) – This exhibition offers a concise but detailed survey of the work of Jackson Pollock (American, 1912–1956). It tracks his artistic evolution from the 1930s and early 1940s, when he made loosely figurative images based on mythical or primeval themes, to the late 1940s and early 1950s, when he pioneered the radical abstractions for which he is best known by pouring and dripping paint onto canvas or paper.

Asserbo Summer House – Denmark

The site is located in the woodlands between the coastline and the lake of Arresø on the Nothern part of the island of Zealand. A clearing was created in the dense vegetation, leaving a few trees to provide shade and to create a sense of depth on the site. The summer cottage is, in essence a timber clad raft, supported by a number of wooden pillars. The cottage hovers just above the grass.

Asserbo House Exterior Front
Asserbo House Exterior Front

The raft folds up and around the internal space and the ceiling ends in a large cantilevered canopy which stretches out above the terrace. The fold creates a simple frame around the internal space and terrace which works as one space with large sliding doors which connects the inside with the outside. The facades are clad in black horizontal boards, while the underside of the cantilever is clad with slim, untreated timber louvers beneath translucent panels allowing fine strips of sunlight into the house.

Asserbo House Interior 2
Asserbo House Interior 2

A clean geometric shape and floor-to-ceiling windows help set the Asserbo House by Christensen & Co apart from your common summer cottage. The whole of the space is defined by a continuous timber surface that forms the enormous deck, back wall, roof, and canopy. To help support it, a series of wooden pillars goes around the front and sides and serve to break up all the glass without ruining the views of the surrounding vegetation of Zealand Island.

Asserbo House Side Exterior
Asserbo House Side Exterior

Fashion Favorite – Alden, the Best American Shoe-maker

Alden is arguably the best-made American shoe available to buy today. The company was founded in 1884 by Charles H. Alden in Middleborough, Massachusetts. Alden is the only original New England shoe-maker remaining from the dozens or hundreds that were in existence in the first half of the Twentieth Century. Alden survived by focusing on quality construction and continues to be family-owned.

The shoes are available in calf or shell cordovan.  The pair below is one of my favorites.  A cordovan wingtip with a heavy Goodyear-welted sole this shoe will last for years.  For those of you not familiar, shell cordovan is horsehide (and, coincidentally, usually from the horse’s ass . . .). The only company in the United States currently producing shell cordovan is the Horween Leather Company. Shell cordovan is expensive, rare and extremely durable.

Alden Cordovan Wingtips
Alden Cordovan Wingtips

Other features of Alden shoes: hand-stained and polished leathers, leather insoles, full leather lining, a layer of cork under the insole for additional comfort and a tempered steel shank.  The shoes are expensive – Alden’s nearest competitor is probably Allen Edmonds and Alden is more expensive – but if quality is important to you these are the best.

Alden are not widely distributed but not terribly difficult to find.  The company’s website (which is not e-commerce enabled)  has a store finderJ. Crew has had a partnership for the past few years. There is also a retailer with stores in New York and Brooklyn – Epaulet (whose owners have a great eye and taste level) that has a relationship with Alden and produces the occasional exclusive via special order.

In Honor of Spectre and all Things Bond

The latest and twenty-fourth move in the Bond franchise opens this weekend. In honor of the opening – and the last of the Daniel Craig movies – below are some highlights from Spectre as well as the first twenty-three.

Everyone knows there are lots of expensive items in every Bond film (how does he support that lifestyle? And how many Tom Ford suits does he ruin in the field?) The article here explains every expensive thing in Spectre.

Everyone has their favorites Bond movie (and favorite Bond – mine is still Sean Connery followed closely by Daniel Craig). Fansided ranks all of the movies in the series. And for a data-driven approach to the series Marketwatch captures the Bond legacy with six charts.

The Cars

Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger
Aston Martin DB5

While many different marques have made appearances in Bond films, Aston Martin has long had a special relationship with Bond. The DB5 above made its first (but not last) appearance in Goldfinger. The DB10 in Spectre was built specifically for the movie (and only 10 were produced). Here is a full list of Bond cars from the past fifty years.

The Gadgets

Nothing defines a Bond movie better than the gadgets. This story highlights the best Bond gadgets. And if the best aren’t enough the sixteen minute clip below highlights “every James Bond gadget ever.” My personal favorite? The Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger (about 1:20 minutes into the clip).

The Destinations

One of the key features of the Bond films are the exotic locations. Bond travels the world and does it in style – he dresses perfectly whether he is in the Swiss Alps or on a beach in Jamaica. And yet never seems to have to carry luggage. . . Esri UK compiled a very cool interactive map that shows every Bond destination over the past 50 years.

The Martini

James Bond's Vesper Martini
James Bond’s Vesper Martini

The Bond Vesper martini is unusual in that the recipe calls for both vodka and gin and made its first appearance in Casino Royale:

“Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?”

Watches

Rolex Submariner Ref 6538
Rolex Submariner Ref 6538

Rolex famously declined to sponsor Albert Broccoli’s first Bond film so Albert gave his personal Rolex to Sean Connery to wear in the film. Hypebeast has compiled a list of every watch Bond ever wore.

The Girls

And last but not least . . . every Bond girl from every film.

The Weekend Report: November 6 – 8

Movies

Spotlight with Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo and Liev Schreiber
Spotlight with Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo and Liev Schreiber

Spotlight (opens November 6) – Under the direction of new editor Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber), the Boston Globe delves into decades worth of child abuse claims against the Catholic Church. Led by Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton) the journalists begin to uncover a massive network of sexual abuse and willful ignorance perpetrated by the Church within the city of Boston. Facing political opposition and resistance from the far-reaching influence of the Church, the reporters undertake an explosive exposé on the corrupt system. Directed by Tom McCarthy and based on the true events of the 2002 investigation by the Globe, the star-studded Spotlight also features Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, John Slattery and Stanley Tucci.

Trumbo with Bryan Cranston and Elle Fanning
Trumbo with Bryan Cranston and Elle Fanning

Trumbo (opens November 6) – A tense yet inspiring biopic of blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston), who earned the wrath of anti-Communist forces when he refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Spectre with Daniel Craig
Spectre with Daniel Craig

Spectre (opens November 6) – A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind Spectre.


Museums

Picasso Sculpture at the MoMA
Picasso Sculpture at the MoMA

Picasso Sculpture at the MoMA through February 7. A retrospective exploring what is probably the least familiar aspect of Pablo Picasso’s work. Occupying the Museum’s entire fourth floor, the exhibition features more than 150 sculptures organized chronologically. It aims to advance the understanding of what sculpture was for Picasso, and of how he revolutionized its history through a lifelong commitment to constant reinvention.

Sneak Preview: King Charles III

I attended a preview of King Charles III yesterday – just in advance of its opening tonight (November 1) on Broadway. I wasn’t sure what to expect of the play transferring from an acclaimed run in London’s West End. I knew it won the Olivier award in London for best play which was enough to inspire me to buy a ticket (full price I might add – which I rarely do). I certainly did not expect a Shakespearian-style tragedy written in blank verse (yes, yes a quick Google search would have helped to manage my expectations).

King Charles III envisions a future in which Queen Elizabeth has died and Charles ascends the throne. His first act as monarch (even before the official coronation) is to refuse to grant the Royal Assent to a privacy law passed by Parliament. The clash between the monarch and Parliament leads to a constitutional crisis and civil unrest.

King Charles III lands on Broadway with a stellar cast intact from its run in London. Tim Pigott-Smith was nominated for the Olivier aware for Best Actor for his performance as King Charles. Mr. Pigott-Smith’s performance is exceptional – emotional, introspective, athletic – his stamina in the role is incredible to watch. Further cast members making the jump to Broadway are Oliver Chris as William, Richard Goulding as Harry, Margot Leicester as Camilla and Lydia Wilson as Kate. Rupert Goold also continues as director.

Based on the preview my guess is that the Broadway run will also receive strong reviews. If you are interested in seeing the play best bet is to buy tickets today before the reviews are out.

The Weekend Report: October 30 – November 1

Theater

Gin Game opened October 14
Gin Game opened October 14

The Gin Game – Two-time Tony Award winner James Earl Jones squares off with three-time Emmy and Tony Award winner Cicely Tyson in D.L. Coburn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Gin Game. I saw the play recently. I am glad I had the opportunity to see these two masters work. James Earl Jones is 84 and Cicely Tyson is 90 so there won’t be many more opportunities. The play is directed by Leonard Foglia (Master Class) in this brand-new Broadway production.

King Charles III opening night November 1
King Charles III opening night November 1

King Charles III – Winner of the 2015 Olivier award for best new play which opens on Broadway on November 1 after a successful West End run.  This drama of political intrigue was written by Mike Bartlett and directed by Rupert Goold. King Charles III has been deemed “the most insightful and engrossing new history play in decades” by Ben Brantley of The New York Times. This production explores the people underneath the crowns, the unwritten rules of Britain’s democracy and the conscience of its most famous family.

China Doll opening November 19
China Doll opening November 19

China Doll (opening night November 1) –  Oscar, Emmy and Tony Award winner Al Pacino and Tony and Pulitzer Prize winner David Mamet join forces in a riveting story of a man of means, ready to walk away from it all to start a new life with his young fiancée. Directed by Tony Award winner Pam MacKinnon (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Clybourne Park).

Fashion

The James Perse sample sale is back from October 27 to November 1 at 260 Fifth Avenue in New York City. Find signature knits at savings of up to 75% off retail prices. For more information: James Perse Sample Sale

Movies

Rock the Kasbah opens October 23
Rock the Kasbah opens October 23

Rock the Kasbah – Barry Levinson directs Bill Murray in this comedy-drama about a down-and-out music manager who follows a USO tour to Afghanistan to visit his one remaining client, in the process discovering a talented young singer who he sneaks into Kabul to compete on the country’s popular reality talent show “The Afghan Star.”

Suffragette opens October 23
Suffragette opens October 23

Suffragette – In this galvanizing feminist drama, a working-class laundress (Carey Mulligan) in 19th century London becomes radicalized when she meets a brave cadre of women organizing to obtain the vote. Also stars Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep.

Our Brand is in Crisis opens October 30
Our Brand is in Crisis opens October 30

Our Brand is Crisis – This satirical comedy gives viewers an inside look at the high-stakes, win at all costs world of politics. Sandra Bullock plays”Calamity” Jane Bodine who is hired to work on the campaign of a Bolivian presidential candidate that has fallen behind in the polls. She faces off against her rival Pat Candy (Billy Bob Thornton) who is working on the opponent’s campaign and is looking for every opportunity to antagonize Jane. Produced by Oscar-winning producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov.

TV

Angel from Hell starring Jane Lynch
Angel from Hell starring Jane Lynch

Angel from Hell (premiers November 5, 9:30PM CBS) – stars Jane Lynch as Amy, a colorful, brassy woman claiming to be a guardian angel to Allison, an organized seemingly perfect young woman. Did I mention it stars Jane Lynch?