August in the City. Supposed to be steamy and empty. The former too true. The latter not. Besides the throngs of flip-flopping tourists along Central Park West and up to Le Pain Quotidien, it’s been a stream of visiting family and friends. That’s good.
Still time to catch Sunday tv faves. Succession finale. Too soon. Want more! Campy soap with great cast. Brian Cox as media mogul Logan Roy. Jeremy Strong as snivelling Don Jr.-esque son and Kieran Culkin as the rollicking runt. Sarah Snook the only miss. Looking forward to next year. Sharp Objects remains a riveting dark mother-daughter dynamic. The Affair best-written since the first. And snuck in Cristina Alger’s inane beach book, The Banker’s Wife.
Man Booker Long List announced. Dystopia and Disruption themes. Signs of the times to be sure. But. I want to escape all that. Won’t be reading The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner. Clausty on steroids. Not sure about the others on the list. Seems a dark collection.
It’s clearly a good year for Canada’s Michael Ondaatje. His 1992 The English Patient won the Man Booker Golden Prize for the best novel in the past five decades. Just read his latest, Warlight which made this year’s list. A post-World War II story, which was good, but didn’t love it as much as one of my all time faves, The Cat’s Table.
Catapulting into summer from a cool wet spring. Ninety degrees today. It’s on. Curtis Strange gave great commentary of the U.S. Open at Shinnecock where the windy course vaulted many stars out of the weekend and made Phippy whippy. In the end, Koepka survived with a back-to-back trophy hoist. Strange enough. The last one to do that was Curtis.
The Affair is back. And. Another show features the Colletti Winery. If you find it, you’ll know. Jump to book-treks. Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton. Ghosting. Literally. A psychopath with social media savvy can get away with murder. Fooling narcissistic Manhattan millennials with Facebook tagging, photoshopping. Yup. Hiding homicide never easier.
The Spotted Pig, trendy mainstay of the West Village has been the fodder for recent #MeToo due to bad behavior by restaurateur duo Mario Batali and Ken Friedman. Friedman’s chef co-owner April Bloomfield has parted ways with him after pretending to be oblivious to the debauched behavior in the venue’s after-hours-upstairs. Drugging and raping staff. Allegedly.
News today that another woman is going to partner with Friedman to revive The Spotted Pig. Gabrielle Hamilton, author of Blood, Bones & Butter and decades-acclaimed chef owner of East Village gem Prune. A renegade rebel from lobster fiascos at upscale camps in the Berkshires, to line chef at Curtis & Schwartz in Northampton while at Hampshire College, as told in Table’s Edge. This is an interesting decision. But. Hey. Go Gabrielle! You are a true survivor.
Killing Eve. BBC America’s mesmerizingly unique love story. Assassin pursued by a British agent. Vice-versa. To dub this a feminist trope would be soul-less and silly at best. It’s an intimate sensuous cold look at raw characters. Sandra Oh. Jodie Comer. Acting, writing uncannily different. It has the spirit and wit of HBO’s Barry. Edgy ensemble, especially laugh-out-loud Russian trend-talky caricatures. Violent. Ironic. Startling. Jaundiced. Captivating. Must see.
Warlight. A new novel by the brilliant author Michael Ondaatdje. Not as good as one of my all-time favorites The Cat’s Table, 2011. His table metaphors continue, nonetheless. It is a melodic poetic post-WWII tale of a boy abandoned by his parents and left to the care of loving Dickensian rascals. His mother, Rose, worked with one of them on the roof of the Grosvenor House Hotel in London during the war, intercepting enemy communications.
Mansour Ghalibaf of the Hotel Northampton in Table’s Edge, happened to be partner with owners of the Grosvenor House consortium, descendants from those days. As an aside.
Memorial Day Weekend is traditionally the gateway to summer. Picnics, cookouts, barbecues. In search of a psychic picnic, Amazon’s mini-series The Picnic at Hanging Rock kept us up late and bleary-eyed. Based on a 50-year old book by Joan Lindsay, it’s set in a remote Australian mansion turned girls’ boarding school with a sociopath headmistress played by GOT’s Margery aka Natalie Dormer. On Valentine’s Day 1900 the girls go on a picnic to Hanging Rock. Clocks stop. Never sure why. Stray plot strands abound.
The picnic ends up with 2 girls and a teacher disappearing into thin air. Never found. Through a pink cloud? What this wasn’t was a rich story. More a titillating soft-porn Victorian lesbian-like but not thing. Need a real picnic in the fresh air to dispel this stale still-life.