Jean-Georges Vongerichten is one of the premiere chefs/restaraunteurs in New York, and JoJo was his first restaurant. Don't think, though, that he's let his attention wander away from this gem. Suzanne, Chris and I had a fabulous meal that featured butternut squash soup, peeky toe crab, rack of lamb, and an incredible Passionfruit Pavlova. When you cracked open the meringue, you discovered passionfruit sorbet--it was kind of like a ship in a bottle thing! As wonderful as the food was, the company of these longtime friends was even better. Physically and emotionally sated, I headed back to Wendi and Lee's to rest up for Sunday's activities. (As an aside, Wendi and Lee were off at a truffle dinner at the James Beard House that sounded incredibly decadent. They even came away with a truffle-themed goodie bag that included truffle oil and a truffle lotion--watch out for those pigs when you wear that!)
Our theater selection was The Submission. The premise was quite interesting: a gay white man had written a play about a single alcoholic African-American mother struggling to raise her kids and had submitted it under a nom de plume that suggested that the author was someone who might have had some firsthand experience with the subject. When his play is selected to be put on at a theater festival, he hires an actress to play the role of the playwright. Not surprisingly, things become complicated as the actual playwright struggles to stay involved behind the scenes and the actress begins to feel a deep connection to the play and to enjoy the spotlight as the "author" of the work.
The play made us consider how the identity of the creator of a creative work (be it literature, music or art) informs the viewer's reaction to that work. Wendi pointed out that adopting a pen name is a well-established tradition--take, for instance, the English author Mary Ann Evans who published her 19th century works under the name of George Eliot in order to ensure that they would be taken seriously. In The Submission, layering on the issue of race makes this subterfuge politically charged. The playwright argues that, as a gay man, he has experienced discimination similar to that of the female character in his play and is thus able to understand this aspect of her plight. The actress who has assumed the identity of playwright begs to differ with this assertion in very strong terms. Obviously, there's no answer--easy or otherwise--to this dispute but it did make for an interesting afternoon of theater.
|Wendi with new friend on |
the streets of NY
As I rode in my Dial Car back to La Guardia the next morning, it reminded me of my lawyer days when a car service took me home after a late night at work. The friends I saw over the week-end are from that era of my life, and it's always wonderful to spend time in the City with them. I'm looking forward to introducing them to my life in Punta Gorda (which keeps me almost as busy as I was during my week-end in New York!) Changes in latitudes and attitudes--yes, but changes in my friendships--never.