We opted to slip away to New York City for my birthday and it's been a wonderful day. Started out at the New-York Historical Society seeing the sampling of objects from Sam Roberts' A History of New York in 101 Objects, which was both compelling and enjoyable, even if they should have done all 101 of them. Then we took in The Two Faces of January, a new film based on a Patricia Highsmith novel hitherto not known to me and here I thought I'd read all of her deliciously weird tales. Viggo Mortenson and Kirsten Dunst were the leads along with Oscar Craig and the locations--all the real ones--in Athens, the Greek islands, and Turkey were well utilized too. These are mostly antiheros of the Tom Ripley ilk and the picture holds your attention.
High point came with The Country House, a Donald Margolis play put on by Manhattan Theater Club and previewing on Broadway before it opens next week. Margolis has lots of great lines, much like his Dinner With Friends some years ago. Blythe Danner leads a fine cast of six. The play has much fun with throwaway lines enjoyed by anyone who recalls a tad of theatrical history and the underlying plot holds up through three acts and one intermission. A first for me was four members of the cast coming out on stage after the show to participate in a feedback session run by an assistant director.
We grabbed dinner at Eataly, a sprawling combination of dining spots, grocery store, and bookstore at 23rd and Fifth, that has you choose to dine in a dining area devoted to fish, vegetables, meat, pasta, or pizza. The idea is good and the place is packed although you can get seated if you arrive early. The fish, which we chose, was good but not great, even if cooked to order.
Then on to the Village where I again returned to hope for a home run from Neil LaBute, who, alas, has come up short ever since reasons to be pretty a few years back, which sadly just missed taking a Tony during its run at the Lyceum. This outing is entitled The Money Shot, about two fading Hollywood stars and their mates as they embark on a foray to get back in the hit column and never really get to discussing whether they will do an all-out sex scene. LaBute seems to have lost his direction because despite a few decent lines, the characters were rarely believable.
Couldn't quite make it to the Museum of Modern Art for a show of posters and prints by Toulouse-Lautrec, always an enticement for me. Then I happily recalled that I doubtless saw the same show a while back when it was at the Baltimore Museum of Art. It's likely been travelling the country ever since then.
Had we had a few more seconds to stop for breath, might have walked in Central Park when we left the Historical Society, but we made up for that by walking from 23rd and Fifth--well, actually we started at 28th & Broadway but that's another story--to the Lucille Lortel on Christopher Street. One thing I noticed was that New York still has plenty of non-Starbucks coffee joints and their coffee is just about as good which means it's all right.
It was just a gorgeous day to be in Manhattan and I think we made more than the most of it.