Saturday, December 31, 2011

"Young Adult": The Problem Play Masquerade

      Young Adult, directed by Ivan Reitman and written by Diablo Cody, the same collaborators behind Juno, has been publicized like it’s a quirky, deadpan comedy.  Actually, it’s deeper than that.  It’s really a kitchen sink drama with a sly sense of humor and an almost cruel view of Generation X.  As with Cody’s other work (Juno and the TV series The United States of Tara), it’s all about a simple – almost high-concept – premise, a middle-class milieu, and a mordant tone.  

      I wasn’t a huge fan of Juno, though I’m about the only person I know who wasn’t.  The adult actors (J.K. Simmons, Allison Janney, Jason Bateman, Jennifer Garner) were spot on, especially in delineating the difference between

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy Christmas (War is Over): Where are the Fireworks?

      To paraphrase John Lennon, “so this is Christmas and what have we done?”  Hey, we’re out of Iraq.  Well, our troops are out of there.  Yeah, I know we’ll have some type of ‘presence’ there, whether diplomatic or military or a mix, but we’re officially out.  Getting into the Iraq ‘Mess O’ Potamia’ as Jon Stewart called it was the second biggest

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Enoteca Emilia: Neighborhood Italian Rocks The Near East Side

      Many of us fondly remember Château Pomije in O’Bryonville, which went from being a casual French bistro to a wine shop to kaput, but there’s finally a restaurant that already has better food and that’s Enoteca Emilia (EE).  For visitors to Cincinnati, the city is built on seven mounts and made up of about eighty-eight neighborhoods.  O’Bryonville, which I think of as a made up neighborhood, is a two block strip along Madison that is bounded by west Hyde Park, south Evanston, and East Walnut Hills. 

Enoteca Emilia Bar Area
Dining Room and Stairway

      According to Carole, an enoteca is a more rural wine bar that also serves snacks (ciccetti), salumi (cured cheeses), and formaggi (cheeses).  (Emilia refers to the Emilia Romagna region of Italy where many of the dishes originate).  That’s the central focus of Enoteca Emilia’s main seating area and the menu offers a variety in each of these selections.  Things, however, got a little more complicated for the restaurant when

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Ultimate Birth “Day” Gift

      Birthdays are more of a personal holiday at our house.  Parties are sometimes a part of the festivities, but in recent years the plans for Eric’s birthday have involved a day of cultural activities and dining out.  Starting in 2008, I gave him a celebration that started with lunch at Via Vite, a visit to the China Now exhibit at the Cincinnati Art Museum, the movie Happy Go Lucky at the Esquire Theatre, some lite bites at Aqua (now defunct) in Mt. Lookout, and dessert at Hugo in Oakley.  Eric knew he needed to clear the whole day but had no idea until that morning of the day’s agenda when I presented him with his customized card.

      This year we celebrated about a month after his birthday, so I announced the day before that we would be spending the following day out on the town.  We started with lunch at Iris Book Café on Main Street, moving up to Eden Park to the Cincinnati Art Museum where we were greeted with several small to medium sized exhibits.  Our main objective for that day was to see Art Deco: Fashion and Design in the Jazz Age before we missed it.  For a complete shift of pace, we zoomed up I-71 for a matinee of The Muppets at the Kenwood Theatre.  Then we stopped at home to visit Dexter and went on to an early dinner at Enoteca Emilia in O’Bryanville.  It’s not exactly “the gift that keeps on giving” but definitely packed with lasting memories for both of us.

      More on our day in separate reviews of Iris Book Café, the exhibits at the Cincinnati Art Museum (1/1/2012), and Enoteca Emilia (12/28/2011). 

Just as a reminder…my birthday is September 1st.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Thank You TV For Intriguing Recent Movies - Part II: “Weekend”

      Movies on Demand is an aesthetically critical savior for anyone not living in New York or L.A. that wants to stay au courant.  Weekend opened on it in September and it’s the best romantic drama of the year.  It was made with British government grant money (I know it’s too much to ask for such a handout in these grave economic times, but the difference between Europe and the U.S. is that one trumpets art and the other produces it – guess which we are) for about $200,000.  The plot is the “Brief Encounter” trope of two strangers casually connecting and realizing, in a short space of time, that their relationship is more profound than they’d initially anticipate and that they may not be able to immediately stay together.  

Tom Cullen and Chris New
      Andrew Haigh wrote and directed it in a casual way that is vaguely similar to the festival circuit “mumblecore” group.  However, Weekend is committed politically as well as artistically and that’s a big difference.  Tom Cullen, as Russell, has a job, friends, flat, and life of his own.  Although he’s lonely, he’s always been on his own and is only really close to his best, straight friend who

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Europa Bistro & Café Elevates Its Cuisine

The Storefront Area of Europa

      We started visiting Angelina’s at Findlay Market about a year before it closed. After that, the owners began a new venture in Mainstrasse in the form of a breakfast and lunch café.  At first, it had some markings of Angelina’s…especially with the Panini offerings.  Then they started having European afternoon (or lunch) teas.  Angela took Neil there for his birthday one year and they partied all afternoon on the Russian theme.  They found it memorable!  About the same time, they started being open on select nights for dinner focusing at first on Italian dishes. 

      I’ve always liked the food at Europa, though I had an issue with their P.R. abilities.  I tried to take my staff for a tea last year and they canceled the reservation because of

Thursday, December 22, 2011

MAGIC! Stop Reading This Review And Go See The Movie "Hugo"

      Hugo, directed by Martin Scorsese and written by John Logan, is an artistic masterwork that should be a box office blockbuster.  We mistakenly thought it was a children’s movie so we skipped it at Thanksgiving and I didn’t connect to the fact that Scorsese had made it until the National Board of Review awarded it best film.  It is breathtaking from its first shots of Paris in the early 1930s that merge miniatures, sets, and actual exteriors that feel as timeless as an urban fairy tale and as current as 3-D technology will take the filmmaker and the audience.

Toy Store in Gare du Montparnasse
      The plot revolves around Hugo, an orphan who lives in the ceilings of a Paris railway station, and his developing relationship with the owner of the toy store in the mall of the station.  I thought the station was the Gare du Nord, but it’s actually supposed to be the Gare du Montparnasse.  Hugo assists his drunken lout of an uncle in maintaining the many clocks in the station behind walls and overhead, while looking to fix a broken automaton that is the only possession he has left of his father.  I’m not sure I want to say much else about the story because I don’t want

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Taste of Belgium: Belgian Bistro…A High Price for Authenticity

      Karen and I decided to spend the afternoon exploring the shops in the Gateway Quarter.  It’s usually not my style to recommend a restaurant before previously dining there, but I felt confident in my suggestion of Taste of Belgium: Belgian Bistro for our lunch.  It was fairly new on the scene yet mature enough to have worked out the kinks, and getting some raves from its patrons.  

      We arrived a little after noon and settled into one of the last remaining tables.  The aromas from the open kitchen were tempting…an inviting mix of sugar and savory.  I could tell our server would be attentive.  He quickly gave us the day’s menu offerings while we focused on the rather extensive list of features and sides, some of which may be a bit unfamiliar to the common Cincinnati diner.  My comment to Karen while perusing was that the prices mostly seemed a bit high with everything à la carte.  Our decisions, however, were made.  Karen would have the Tuna Baguette and I the ‘Nati Crêpe.  We decided to share a side of Stoemp, Belgian mashed potatoes with various additions. They change daily and the day’s ingredients were sage and tarragon.  I asked to see a dinner menu and many of the featured items from lunch were almost doubled in price for the evening and others were still a bit out of line to me for the market.  I was now a little concerned.  Have they priced their way out of the neighborhood and can they sustain longevity and build a repeat clientele?

Tuna Baguette
      Our selections arrived quickly. I did a double take on Karen’s sandwich.  It was embarrassingly petite!  Karen was more gracious.  She rated the tuna

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Thank You TV For Intriguing Recent Movies – Part I: "Tiny Furniture"

      Many smaller movies don’t make it to a secondary urban market like Cincinnati (The Esquire and its offspring have pretty much given up on being art houses) and others aren’t released at all.  If it weren’t for IFC or Sundance Channel, I wouldn’t get to see some obscure independents, though they were reviewed in The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly, and if it weren’t for Movies on Demand, I’d miss a couple of the best contemporary films around.

Lena Dunham With Her Mother,
Laurie Simmons
      Tiny Furniture has been in rotation on Sundance.  Released last year, it was written, directed, and starred Lena Dunham and co-stars her sister Grace and her mother Laurie Simmons, a noted New York photographer.  It is seemingly autobiographical since

Friday, December 16, 2011

Classic Holiday TV Specials Are Still The Best

Hey, Neil likes the same Christmas specials that I do!

Rudolph Shows Off
a New Animation Form
      I remember watching Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer the first time it was broadcast on Friday, December 6, 1964.  There had not been that many TV Christmas specials up to that point.  They had consisted mostly of weekly variety shows like Red Skelton, Lawrence Welk, or Judy Garland that had their holiday themed family programs.  Not that they weren’t memorable or entertaining, but Rudolph opened up

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Two Films That Take A While To Warm Up But Deliver a Glow

      Alexander Payne’s much-anticipated The Descendants finds paradise after the proverbial down turn – in this case, a power boating accident that leaves the hero’s wife in a coma.  Some critics (The Village Voice for one) have argued that it’s not dark enough and that somehow Payne’s edge has been blunted.   I totally disagree.  George Clooney plays Matt King, a wealthy lawyer descended from Hawaiian royalty, who has to decide when

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mayberry Serves a RFD* Menu at a Downtown Address

      Mayberry has been open for a little over two years now and after hearing all of the accolades, I have been on Eric to go there for lunch for quite some time.  He went shortly after they opened and wasn’t totally pleased.  I kept pressing and he finally agreed to a second visit.   

The Vine Street Entrance
      The outside is inviting…sort of a turn-of-the-last century tearoom.  The inside is more like a small 1980’s Greyhound bus station lunchroom.  Pared down furnishings and communal seating are not my idea of cozy and welcoming and didn’t exactly complement what appeared to be an inspired menu with new takes on old favorites.  It wasn’t a place that I wanted to settle into for a comfortable, conversation-filled dining experience.  But that’s obviously not what they’re going for.  Instead, it’s more of a fast turn over lunch counter space for downtown workers.

       The menu was traditional fare with minor modifications for each offering (i.e. leek fondue and onion jam) that made them sound a little more interesting without being too

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Tomato Basil Soup That Serves Many Occasions

Tomato Basil Bisque
Eric concocted this spur of the moment recipe for a holiday party a few years ago.  The texture and consistency depends upon your taste.  It’s hearty, so you can serve it as the beginning or feature of a meal or at a party.

1 stick of butter or margarine
10 oz can of tomato paste
2-14 oz cans of broth
     (vegetable is best, but chicken or beef
     would work as well)
28 oz can of diced tomatoes
     (or whatever collection of smaller containers
     adds up to about the same)
8 oz can of tomato sauce
1 Tbsp of sugar
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of white pepper
1 Tbsp of oregano
1 – 2 Tbsp of basil
1 tsp of thyme (optional)
1 bay leaf (optional)

Check and adjust:
6 oz can of tomato paste
½ cup of cream or ¾ cup of half and half

Friday, December 9, 2011

Lady Gaga and Abigail Breslin Offer Their Talents

Dexter and Abigail About Town
      Two stars recently made their acting fantasies known on national TV.  Abigail Breslin, starring in New Year's Eve, appeared on Live with Kelly and announced that she is in awe of the entire cast of Glee and would love to have a role on the hit show.  Glee could certainly use her acting talents.  The finalists from The Glee Project have not made much of

British Soldier's Christmas Wish

Camping It Up Aboard the HMS Ocean

      The HMS Ocean is returning to port today, Dec. 9, carrying 400 soldiers from a seven month mission supporting NATO during the war in Libya.  To show their Christmas spirit, they created a video lip-syncing to Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas".  (We definitely prefer this version to the one shown last week with Justin Bieber at the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting.)

      The video is gaining viral status after being seen on Good Morning America. Carey, upon hearing of the YouTube posting, tweeted a message to the Royal Navy that said: “This is the best thing I've ever seen, you guys just made my day! Happy Happy Christmas!!! x0x0 to the troops.”

      We think you'll enjoy this fun holiday greeting!  Let us know if you have other favorites.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Some Heroes Return

      Joseph-Beth Booksellers, which expanded then compressed in number of stores over the past decade, has opened a new branch in the recently shuttered Borders at Crestview Hills Mall.  (The Borders/Joseph-Beth connection is very interesting in itself since it involves two generations of family members, marriage and divorce, but enough until later).  
      Joseph-Beth has stepped things up lately with some big name talent dropping by the Rookwood Pavilion store.  Gregory Maguire, renowned fantasy author, recently read, signed books, and acted as the emcee for the stars of the Broadway Series tour of Wicked.  Their singing was excellent, but the sound system was intermittently disastrous.  If only they’d put down the microphones and just sung since both the Elphaba and Galinda had strong voices.

Costumes from Wicked
Out of Oz is the fourth in the The Wicked Years tetralogy that chronicles Oz before and after the events of The Wizard of Oz.  So far, it’s running at the level

Monday, December 5, 2011

Movie Wish List

The Descendants Cast

      Right now, there are three movies we really want to see.  The first is Alexander Payne’s The Descendants.  Yep, he’s been compared to just about every serious and seriously funny director in American film history and some comparisons (Owen Gleiberman’s shout out to Preston Sturges, especially) make sense.  Actually, Payne’s intelligence and sense of ambiguity remind me of Paul Mazursky’s work because both of them find the humanity in all of their characters even as they might behave appallingly.  Mazurksy had a great run of films from Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice through Down and Out in Beverly Hills.  He tripped artistically and then commercially and he hasn’t directed a

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas in Rockefeller Center With A Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber Duet

      NBC’s annual salute to a big tree, a tall tower, and itself was its usual mixed bag.  Neil Diamond (never my favorite, though beloved by others) was in great voice, moved well, and struck the right contrast between traditional holiday pop singing and a more contemporary, jazzed rhythm.  Tony Bennett, who seems to be everywhere this season to sell his album, delivered the goods.  Carole King, a great songwriter, is past her prime vocally and was off-key.  I also don’t understand how Jewish performers can’t at least add “Happy Hanukkah” after getting all tearful and joyful over Christmas.  

Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber
The spectacular point had to be Justin Bieber singing a duet with his mother – I mean, Mariah Carey.  Yes, she has a hot body and she had to pay

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Black Friday: A Homegrown Cincinnati Holiday

Dexter Determines His Shopping Strategy
      I grew up in a retail family and recall my Mom having to work the day after Thanksgiving at Lazarus Department Store.  (At that time it was never referred to as Black Friday.)  It wasn’t until years later that I came to realize the history behind the biggest shopping day of the year.

Fred Lazarus Jr.
      Fred Lazarus Jr. was the son of one of the brothers that started F. & R. Lazarus in Columbus, OH.  Working in the family business, he grew the retailer substantially and right before the stock market crash of 1929 they joined with Bloomingdale's of New York,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Zip’s Café Serves a Tasty Timeless Burger

Entrance to Zip's Café

      What can be said about a Cincinnati institution that has been serving burgers since before they were in vogue (again)?  Zip’s Café has consistently offered one of the best American hamburgers for 85 years, flame broiled and constructed on a honey egg bun with all of the ingredients from local suppliers.  Combine a pub style atmosphere that promotes communal dining with a friendly staff that welcomes everyone, including kids, and you have the secret to its success. 

The Pub Atmosphere with Model Train
Wall Sign Stating
"Mind Your Children
 or They Will Be
Given an Espresso
and a Free Puppy"
      Jan and I were out for the afternoon so we dropped by for lunch last week.  Jan lived in Mt. Lookout for several years so this was one of her regular hangouts.  Nothing much had changed except for a few new wall decorations. She didn’t even look at the menu.  I had only been there once before so I needed a little extra time. I took my cue from Jan and decided on

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Krohn Conservatory 2011 Holiday Show Adds City Sights

The Brent Spence Bridge Over the Entrance to the Display House
      Open through January 1st, the revamped Holiday Show “Trains, Trestles, and Traditions” included more city structures than ever before.  New for this year were Union Terminal, the painted ladies in Columbia-Tuscalum, the Brent Spence Bridge, and the Eiffel Tower at King’s Island that were all added to the familiar buildings of Mt. Adams.  Passing under the bridge, we entered the world of miniatures all made from

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mae Ploy Thai Cuisine and Sushi Bar, Alias Chinatown

      Driving down Alexandria Pike in Highland Heights, KY one would never find Mae Ploy, an unassuming freestanding restaurant with the sign blazing “Chinatown”.  That was left over from a previous owner, but what you’ll find inside has no comparison.  Although it’s not high on atmosphere, the surroundings are pleasant and casual with a few quirks.  The first oddity you’ll likely notice is the “office” at the entrance.  Yes, the chef is set up in the see through space for everyone to wonder what he’s up to.  From there, you’ll find the sushi bar with comfortable stools and a dining room with formica® booths.  

The Casual Dining Area and Sushi Bar
      Hopefully, you’ve not discarded this hot spot by now.  The food is what you’re there for and it was special!  The menu was lengthy so we started out with a Thai Iced Tea and Coffee.  Those are our favorite accompaniments to a Thai meal and these did not disappoint. My coffee was loaded with sweet cream and Eric found the tea to be

Monday, November 14, 2011

Brij Mohan Brings Exciting Flavor Combinations to Indian Fare

      I’m continuing my quest to better understand Indian cuisine with Anisha coming to my aid.  One of her favorite restaurants is Brij Mohan because of its consistent preparation, sweets, and flavors of Southern Indian fare.  Eric and Lisa had tried it out when I was out of town, so we were happy to suggest it to Marty and Michael when we decided to meet for dinner.

      It’s a storefront restaurant that’s spacious inside with orders placed at the counter.  I never know what to order so having the chance to sit, contemplate the descriptions, and go with what sounded best was all we could do.  Where was Anisha when we needed her?  Eric couldn’t remember what he and Lisa had for an appetizer (which they found to be their favorite) so we started with

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Two Views of “Melancholia”: The Sick Soul of Europe Has Morphed Into The Apocalypse

Eric’s View of Melancholia

      There were a number of European movies – practically a subgenre – released in the 1960s (La Dolce Vita, L’Avventura, Last Year at Marienbad) that presented the upper crust dealing with ennui and lost dreams, but also having a glamorous, decadent time of it too.  Pauline Kael referred to them as ‘the sick soul of Europe parties.’  Lars von Trier’s Melancholia is the latest in this line and it ups the ante by first showing another, newly discovered planet (Melancholia) crashing into Earth before merging

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bricco: Solid Entrées Leaves One Wishing For More

Bricco's Cheery Interior

      Continuing our day outing in Akron, Cindy, Georgene, Lee, and I headed to Bricco near Canal Park.  Lee’s daughter had recommended it so we were putting her to the test.  It was late…after 2:00…so the lunch crowd had died down.  The look was industrial with white tablecloths, several private booths, bright accent colors, and a friendly staff to warm things up. 

      The menu looked a tad adventurous.  I asked for recommendations from our server to which she immediately offered up their Chicken Salad, Pumpkin Ravioli, and Pizzas.  None of those were grabbing us, but Georgene and Lee took her suggestion of the Spinach and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Akron Art Museum: A Work of Art

Steel, Glass, and Italian Renaissance

      Ohio is fortunate to have so many second tier cities that house prominent public art collections.  Dayton and Toledo come to mind, along with Akron that emerged with the opening of the Knight Building in 2007.  The contemporary wing is somewhat like a glass and stainless steel prop plane that has landed and taken the original 1899 Italian Renaissance revival style building under its wing…literally.  The result has received reactions from “huh?” to “wow!”  I feel it totally works and connects the two structures in a way that is symbolic of a city that has reinvented itself.

Akron Art Museum
      I was visiting Cindy in Medina when we decided to take a day to visit Akron for the temporary exhibit Landscapes from the Age of Impressionism.  Her painting friends, Georgene and Lee joined us there.  The three of them are plein air artists, a genre that was

Monday, November 7, 2011

World Cuisine comes to the West Side at Vitor’s

Dexter Checks Out the Entrance to Vitor's
      A few years ago, we went to Vitor’s with Lisa for brunch.  It was in a small building with H & R Block.  We had some remarkable French toast and were impressed that they had a coffee bar.  Since then, Vitor’s moved to a larger location on Harrison Avenue and some of our friends have eaten there and said they thought it was excellent.  We had a coupon and thought we’d go there for lunch.  It’s a charming building – actually, two connected structures – with several international flags on the street side façade and a patio in the back.

A Display of Awards and the Dining Room
The interior features include a tile floor that resembles slate, burgundy walls with white chair rails and large, framed posters of Parisian landmarks.  There are a number of dining rooms and the coffee bar, which is set off to one side.  The reason for enumerating these details is because it feels like

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Queen of Cincinnati Theater Receives National Honor

     Ensemble Theatre’s own D. Lynn Meyers was recently chosen as one of four  finalists for the Zelda Fichandler Award. The award, given by the Society of Directors and Choreographers Foundation (SDCF), recognizes an extraordinary director or choreographer who has made and continues to make a substantial contribution to the national arts landscape through theatre work.  The third annual national award was presented to Blanca Zizka, Director of the Wilma Theatre in Philadelphia, on October 24th at a ceremony at the Arena Stage in Washington, DC that Ms. Fichandler founded 61 years ago.

      Congratulations to Lynn for an honor well deserved for her unending commitment to local artists and the transformation of Over-the Rhine and the Gateway Quarter into a vibrant downtown neighborhood through the enrichment of the arts.  It wouldn’t be happening without her!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Queen City Cookies...Eat. Smile. Repeat.

      Findlay Market is known for showcasing local food artisans and their specialties.  We chanced upon Queen City Cookies a few weeks ago while showing off the area to some relatives.  The shop has the feel of one located in a resort area or a European town.  Peggy Shannon is the pastry artist who formed the idea from her passion for baking and the fine arts.  All of that love shows in the store décor, visual presentation, packaging, and of course...the cookies.  

Customized Cookies

      Customized cookies are the feature.  The highest quality buttery shortbreads are iced with dark chocolate, white chocolate (ivory colored), or fairy dust (glistening porcelain white) highlighted with white or chocolate piping.  There are over 460 antique molds from Peggy's collection to customize your order for every occasion.  Frida Kahlo was the inspiration for Frieda's Creations (they use the European spelling) with assorted colorful images

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Brontë Bistro: Something So Inconsistent Stays Miraculously Afloat

      Brontë Bistro was originally a café that focused on lunch and lattés at Joseph-Beth Booksellers.  It’s always had an interesting menu and, over a decade ago, it expanded its space, its hours, and its offerings.  It’s always been a pretty space centered on blond woods, charming bar area, and bright annex space.  However, its Achilles heel has been the service.  For a couple of years, there was the Chris Rock look-a-like who possessed neither Rock’s intelligence nor wit.  At various times, there has been a dreary female server – different faces, but same attitude – who acted like she’d rather be anywhere but working – really?  How about quitting so that a smart, enthusiastic unemployed person could work.  Fortunately, this has eventually happened, though the best servers have distinguished themselves quickly and usually moved on – to other restaurants with greater tips, or to positions in their professional discipline, or college/graduate studies?  Right now, the service is good, though I wish the servers (and this is practically true everywhere except top flight restaurants) would clear everyone’s plates at the same time, rather than piece meal, because the diner still eating is made to feel like he or she is somehow slow or inconvenient.  I realize servers are trying to be efficient, but it’s rude.

      The first strange element this past Friday was that there were open tables in both the original space and many in the larger annex, but there was a twenty minute wait.  We didn’t have a problem with the wait, but other potential patrons did and it made no sense that they couldn’t be immediately seated since Joseph-Beth is not the hopping place it was a decade ago on Friday nights, though it improved about three years ago.  The other off-kilter element was the food.

Salmon Burger
      Brontë Bistro has made it a practice to present some specials from a featured cookbook.  It’s created synergy between the restaurant and the bookstore.  For savvy cooks, it’s also been a preview of potential purchases.  There weren’t such specials on our last visit so

Sunday, October 30, 2011

“Ides of March”: Marisa Tomei, Ryan Gosling, Cincinnati, etc.

Marisa Tomei
as the news reporter
      Marisa Tomei is America’s best film character actress right now and that opinion is backed up by the range she’s demonstrated in The Wrestler as a conflicted, but compassionate, 40-something stripper, in Crazy, Stupid Love as a wild, intelligent 30-something middle school teacher, and now in Ides of March as a 50-something whip smart, New York Jewish newspaper reporter covering a Democratic presidential primary in Ohio.  Without much make up, she transforms her body, accent, manner, and social class.  She’s the type of performer that I long to see once I know she’s in something – it’s akin to Eve Arden in her film roles, though she didn’t have a range, but rather had a bottomless comic attitude, or