Happy New Year everyone. 2011 was a year of great change for me, not the least of which was my move to New York City. Here is a list of some of my favorite things from the past year; the restaurants, plays, and exhibitions pulled solely from my time in NYC.
What a great restaurant. I ate here several times in 2011. The first was in May with my Dad, read about it here, but every meal I experienced at Felidia this year was special and delicious. http://www.felidia-nyc.com/
2. Gramercy Tavern
I have so much fun every time I go here and I always get caught up for hours. This year I ate at Il Pesce, Le Verdere, La Pizza & La Pasta, La Piazza and, of course, the Gelateria. http://eatalyny.com/
4. Del Posto
I went to this wine and cheese and small plates bar several times in 2011. A recommendation from my college academic advisor, Casellula is intimate and filled with delicious goodies. It’s a great place to go with friends. http://www.casellula.com/
6. Beauty & Essex
This was the last (but not least) NYC restaurant of my 2011. From the delicious small plates to the complementary pink champagne in the bathroom, Beauty & Essex is decadent, playful, and elegant. http://www.beautyandessex.com/
1. Midnight in Paris: I love the 20s, I love Paris, I love Woody Allen. Clever script, poignant story, great acting, beautiful cinematography, amazing music; it’s perfect.
2. Tree of Life: Terrence Malick somehow captures both the monumental and the minute moments of life in one beautiful sweeping film. Just let the images wash over you and you will be truly moved. I was captivated by Jessica Chastain.
3. Bridesmaids: Absolutely hilarious. Kristen Wiig is such a comic genius and Melissa McCarthy steals the show. Whoever said that women can’t be funny hasn’t seen this movie.
4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: An epic and touching end to a series that I grew up with. One that will always bring me back to my childhood.
5. Melancholia: While Tree of Life interprets creation, Melancholia imagines Earth’s destruction. Kirsten Dunst gives a captivating portrayal of an utterly unlikable character, but I believe the true heart of this movie lies in Charlotte Gainsbourg’s performance as Dunst’s sister Claire. It is beautiful and haunting to watch.
6. Super 8: The young protagonists in this SciFi mystery are so deftly developed that you are fully invested in their story mere moments after the opening credits. A fun, thrilling mystery driven by real, relatable characters.
1. Venus in Fur: Nina Arianda is electrifying in David Ives’ play about sexuality, gender roles and power . Playing an actress auditioning for a role in a broadway show based on the erotic novel Venus in Fur, Arianda is at once sexy, goofy, childish, wise, funny, frightening and poetic. This is the definition of a star making performance. Performances resume at the Lyceum Theater on February 7th.
2. Seminar: Theresa Rebeck lets us peek in on a selective writing seminar taught by Alan Rickman’s Leonard. Rickman is wonderful as the foul mouthed, border-line abusive, writer, editor and teacher. This was a fabulously funny play with some serious (and depressing) observations on what it means to be a successful writer in America. Tickets on sale through March 2012.
3. Sons of the Prophet: Touching and funny. Themes of pain, loss, religion and family are explored with subtlety. An exploration of these subjects could have resulted in a cliche, depressingly heavy drama, but writer Stephen Karam’s light touch and ability to see beauty and comedy in moments of darkness make it fresh and ultimately uplifting.
Favorite Art Exhibitions:
1. Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at The Metropolitan Museum of Art: I waited in line for 5 hours to see this show on the last day and, amazingly enough, it was worth the wait. It made me totally re-think the role of fashion as art and I was amazed at how the Met transformed the gallery space. The exhibition design, music and use of video made me feel like I had entered McQueen’s imagination.
2. de Kooning: a retrospective at MoMA: I love de Kooning, so to see such a huge breadth of work in one show was a real treat. It really allowed me to see the evolution of his style across the many decades of his artistic life. See it through January 9th.
3. Rembrandt and His School at The Frick: The five paintings from the permanent collection (especially the self portrait) are, of course, magnificent but I was particularly moved by the etchings and sketches. In the intimate lower galleries these delicate works of art were displayed at perfect eye level, just right for the close inspection that they deserve. How wonderful to see each tiny mark made by the hand of such a phenomenal artist.
(Though I haven’t made it to see Maurizio Cattelan: All at the Guggenheim quite yet, I have heard raves and plan to see it this first weekend in January)
These were simply my favorite things this year. I hope you all enjoyed your favorite movies, restaurants, plays and art shows just as much as I enjoyed mine.