Sunday, March 16, 2008

Culture (and food) Saturday!

Lunch: Henrietta's Table in the Charles Hotel. The shabby-chic farmhouse furniture makes it feel a little like dining at Pottery Barn, but that can be forgiven. Especially when they do lovely cocktails (mine: champagne and raspberry purée; The Boy's: a feisty Bloody Mary):

The Boy ordered a quiche of roasted cauliflower, sweet onion and two blue cheeses. It didn't look particularly exciting on the plate, but it was insanely rich and creamy and delicious.

My pulled lamb-shank with sweet fingerling potatoes and feta cheese, quite apart from being fantastically tasty, won the prize for most photogenic.

Next stop: the A.R.T., to see Julius Caesar. Is there a better day to see this play than March 15?

We had good seats.

This production moved the action to the 1960s, and everything had a Kennedy-esque feel (the men in tuxedos, the ultra-hip furniture, the jazz trio, the Oldsmobile that, um, descended from the rafters). To give the story an extra twist, it had been re-imagined as the possible dream of Lucius, Brutus's deaf slave--a Shakespearean take on
Tommy Westphall, wearing Superman jammies. And at the end, the cast danced to a Nelly Furtado song.

It was powerful, and visually stunning (and three hours long), and we came out feeling a little dazed. We started walking up Mass Ave, and then remembered that the Alloy Orchestra was doing live accompaniment to Josef von Sternberg's silent-era Oscar-winner Underworld at the Somerville Theater that night.

When was that likely to happen again?

So we picked up tickets, and then went to
Diva for dinner, figuring a nice vegetarian Indian dinner would make up for our extravagantly rich lunch. More cauliflower, this time in a fresh aloo ghobi with potatoes and cilantro, plus dal makhni, plus a desserty naan with apricots and coconut.

And then off for more cultchah.

We'd seen the
Alloy Orchestra accompany Buster Keaton's The General at the ICA. But that's a film we know well; neither of us had seen Underworld, so we were interested to see how well the music would work against an unfamiliar setting.

This time, our seats were not as good.

Still, we had a mostly unobstructed view, and the only downside to the evening was that the two women behind me were intent on carrying on a conversation throughout, reading the title cards to each other and discussing the action. You know how much I love that.

I wanted to turn round and hiss, "It's a silent film! That means you two have to be silent!" But I didn't.

Aaaanyway, the film was great--an early example of the gangster movie, and obviously a template for many of the films that followed in the genre. It was gritty, and violent, and occasionally funny (at the end of a long, decadent party, exhausted guests wade through cartoonishly excessive piles of paper streamers that cover the floor, ankle-deep).

Neither of us paid as much attention to the music as we did for The General, partly because we were more focused on the film and partly because we were much further away from the musicians (the photo above shows how they were smooshed together in one corner), so not as easily distracted by business with mallets and accordions. But the score certainly flowed well, moving gracefully from gunfire-action to moments of tenderness to more shootouts, keeping pace with the drama.

And then we staggered home, wearily proclaiming that we really need to get more culture, and should try an opera or some modern classical music.

And then we got tickets to see Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, Live.

I wonder how they'll manage the squiggles?

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