Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Healthy Holiday Desserts

My gym, of all places, presented a dessert cooking class: pumpkin cheese cake with cranberry compote & spiced nuts; gingerbread with baked pears & whipped cream. I learned about "acid balance" & how to "plate" a fancy dessert. The chef made it look so easy.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Saw Capote at the Clay. Discomfiting account of Truman Capote writing In Cold Blood. How much of this is accurate? Philip Seymour Hoffman impersonates Capote convincingly & without caricature. Harper Lee is depicted exactly as I would imagine her: grounded, unassuming, circumspect.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Embarcadero Ice Skating Rink

I've been on ice skates maybe only 3 or 4 times since I was 12. But I just had to take advantage of the warm night, so I went skating right after work, & it made me very happy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Matthias Goerne

Recital of songs by Mahler, Berg & Wagner at Herbst. Goerne is young & severe-looking. Entertaining & theatrical, despite the serious program. More into sound & musicality than into words. Uses a lot of body English to shape the sound. Was he using a cheat-sheet for the words of the Wesendonck-Lieder? Accompanied by Wolfram Rieger, who has fast fingers & great dynamic control.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Borodin Quartet

Stuck around Berkeley to hear Borodin Quartet at First Congregational Church. Substantial all-Russian program. Quartet founded in 1945 & still has its original cellist, now 80! Muddy church accoustic. High technical level of playing. Especially strong 1st violinist. Decisive attacks & phrasing. No need to make concessions for the age of the cellist. In fact his playing is astonishingly efficient.

The venue needs more restrooms.

The Winter's Tale

Propeller at Zellerbach Playhouse. Actor driven: 12 actors, all men, play all the roles, do the set changes & provide the music. The female characters in the court are played without travesty or camp. The overbearing Paulina works especially well cast as a male. After the grim first half, pastoral scenes kick in a whole different level of energy. A flamboyant, Elton John-inspired Autolycus and country wenches who come across as even more bawdy being played by men who are not very convincingly feminine. Cutest performance: William Buckhurst, who goes from being the put-upon Antigonus in the first half to the hunky Prince Florizel in the second half.

Very physical production. We're shown the disgusting spectacle of a husband kicking his pregnant wife. The boy Mamillius is retained throughout. Is he imagining the story? Staging of the final moments denies the audience a reconciliation scene. It's powerful & devastating. A woman in the audience lost it & could be heard crying as the play ended.