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Serially entertaining

Actors and screen-writers are busier these days than they have been in some time. There are “streaming” shows, 100s of cable outlets producing both series and movies, and of course Hollywood and the Indie scene all requiring their talents and services.

We are the beneficiaries of all this production. We will be enlightened, entertained and excited by the films they produce.

What better way to spend Valentine’s Day than binge watching Divorce?

Gifted, the movie with Chris Evans and Mckenna Grace, and not so incidentally Octavia Spencer, Jenny Slate, Lindsay Duncan, and Elizabeth Marvel, is touching without being maudlin. It is generally intelligent, with a sterling performance by young Ms. Grace, and until we saw it last night on HBO, I had not heard much about it.

The assignment for Black History Month can include the excellent Get Out, Jordan Peele’s genius defies and reinvents the “horror” genre. It should also feature a viewing of Birth of a Nation, perhaps both in its regressive D.W. Griffith 1915 version and Nate Parker’s 2016 “remake.” The contrast between a paen to the Ku Klux Klan and to Nat Turner’s slave rebellion may prove edifying. Add Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave (although not our personal favorite) to your list of films for 2018. (In the New Yorker, Vinson Cunningham expresses a different view, especially of Parker’s film.)

Art is meant to engender controversy, stimulate and even incense and enrage. We should not be passively diverted in its presence. It is here to help us ponder life’s (and history’s) biggest issues.

Thanks to films and serial dramas we have a lot to consider and enjoy. And we are treated to some terrific performances in the bargain.

Posted in African-American playwrights, dining, dinner, musical theater, Shakespeare, short play festival, theater

Dinner and a show OffBway Edition

Source: Dinner and a show:

With Off-Broadway Week 2-for-1 overlapping by a few days with Restaurant Week (the former starts Feb 1 and the latter ends Feb 2), you can take your sweetie out for an evening for around $100pp. Consider it nycgo.com‘s pre Valentine Day treat. We are making a few suggestions, not necessarily from the nycgo list.

Broadway and The Bard, produced by Amas Musical Theatre at The Lion on Theatre Row from January 28th through March 6th, unfortunately is not a 2-for-1 option this go round. This should not deter you from catching the wonderful stage and screen veteran Len Cariou anyway.  Combining his two great loves – Shakespeare and American Musical Comedy – into one rich and diverse tapestry; Cariou pairs classical soliloquies and sonnets with inventive musical numbers from the great repertoire of the Great White Way.

Two shows you will find in the 2-for list are Daddy Long Legs and Trip of Love. Both, like Broadway and the Bard, are conveniently located in the theater district where there are lots of $38pp dinner options– from Aureole’s Liberty Room to The View in the Marquis.

In midtown west, Maurice Hines’ Tappin’ Thru Life, at New World Stages has been added to the 2-fer list at nycgo. Grab a bite at 21 Club (Bar Room Pre-Theatre saves you $10 during Restaurant Week) and then head over toward 8th Avenue for the show.

Downtown, at the Kraine Theater there’s a The Fire This Time 10-Minute Play Festival directed by Nicole A. Watson that opened on January 18th and runs to February 6th. Like Broadway and the Bard, you won’t find this short play Festival on the 2-for-1 list. Go there and accompany your visit with a meal at say Root & Bone or Miss Lily’s 7A nearby.

The Festival, now in its 7th season, is a forum for emerging African-American playwrights whose talents and interests are represented in the short plays on the calendar. The program is diverse:

  • Pride by Tanya Everett explores how pride inhibits our relationships and ability to connect with another.
  • Keelay Gipson in Time in the Penn looks at how media affects mob mentality.
  • God Will Know The Difference by Jiréh Breon Holder looks at how identity, family and love can collide to shatter or unite.
  • In Hard Palate,  Roger Q. Mason wonders if the old stigmas about gays still apply in the age of dating apps and PrEP.
  • In Slavesperience by Stacey Rose, a progressive young white woman gets a better understanding of life in Black America from two professional slaves for her 30th birthday.
  • clarity by Korde Arrington Tuttle has a man questioning his impending marriage.
  • You Mine by Nia O. Witherspoon nightmarishly takes place in a senior-living facility in which an Alzheimer’s patient believes her caregiver is actually her slave.

The immersive theater event from the Third Rail Projects, The Grand Paradise is likely to have a long run if their earlier projects like Then She Fell is any indication. The Grand Paradise, previewing January 28th and selling tickets through the end of March in Bushwick,  takes you into a fountain of youth destined to quench all your desires.

Dine at some of the nearby Williamsburg establishments, like MP Taverna Brooklyn or Esh Restaurant and Bar as part of your evening.

The Foundry Theatre offers up an inspiring manifesto for transformative theatrical experiences. The Foundry Theatre’s O, Earth by Casey Llewellyn takes us back to Manhattan where it plays in the HERE space from January 23rd through February 20th.
O,Earth is an inclusively celebratory re-mix of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town as seen
through the lens of queer and trans culture and history.

In Soho, you’ll find the well-represented Dos Caminos chain offering Restaurant Week menus, as well as David Burke’s Kitchen, Mercer Kitchen and The Dutch, to name just a few, offer both lunch and dinner,  but most Restaurant Week participants exclude Saturday evenings.

 

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