10 Dec 2013
Lisa Jensen’s new book, Alias Hook, currently available online in its English edition—and soon to be available (May 14) through St. Martin’s Press—is a delicious reimagining of the world of Peter Pan. (I’m telling you this so that you can order the book in time for Christmas giving.)
Many of us know the delightful fairytale world of Peter Pan, thanks to the James Barrie classic about a band of enchanted lost boys led by the eternal boy, Peter. We fondly recall lovely Wendy who became their surrogate mother, their fantasy Neverland home, Peter’s sprightly sidekick Tinker Bell, and of course the archetypal pirate Captain Hook who lost his pocketwatch — and his hand — to a hungry crocodile.
Jensen has reimagined the children’s tale as a more (much more) adult saga, in which Captain James Hook is a cultured, introspective 18th century protagonist trapped in the magical and malevolent world of a vengeful Pan. Turning the tables on the childhood classic, Jensen tells her story from Hook’s point of view.
“Children find the Neverland in their dreams, their longing bores through the barrier between their world and this one, and in they tumble. My men too, return this way. For ages I deluded myself it must be possible to dream a way out.” Under the influence of Pan’s enchantment, Hook can neither die nor leave Neverland.
Mere dreaming has left Hook a prisoner of Neverland for centuries—when suddenly the plot thickens and a grown woman named Stella Parrish, manages to dream her way onto the Island More…
10 Dec 2013
A recent meeting with colleagues over at the West End Tap & Kitchen gave us an excuse to sample the house cheese board along with some indigenous IPA.
We made quick work of this, and a few other libations. In the wildly popular Ingalls St. complex, next to a long line of great micro wineries.
05 Dec 2013
Mystery and Wonder fills the UCSC Recital Hall this coming Saturday as the Concert Choir performs a cappella motets from the Renaissance to the 21st century. Included in this program of mystically-inflected music are avant garde 20th century chants and antiphonies from Henryk Gorecki, John Tavener and Arvo Paert. Monteverdi’s Baroque classic Magnificat Secondo, the neo-Romantic O Magnum Mysterium by Morten Lauridsen, and its Renaissance counterpart by Tomas Luis de Victoria are also on the program of haunting harmonies and unusual chromatics.
Conducted by Nathaniel Berman, performed by the UCSC Concert Choir. 7:30pm Sat. Dec. 7, Music Center Recital Hall. For info and tix.
Also this weekend, the Cabrillo Symphonic Chorus directed by Cheryl Anderson, will perform Bach’s Magnificat and other gorgeous music of the season, Friday and Sat, 9pm, and Sunday Dec. 8 at 4pm. @ Holy Cross Church.
04 Dec 2013
Or not. But by any name the delicate, luscious Muscat Canelli from Birichino is an enlightened way to end a meal, holiday or any day.Think honeysuckle, clementines, and perhaps a hint of apricot. Mostly a captivating dessert wine that far exceeds that description.
Thirteen percent alcohol, eighteen dollars. Available at Soif, and other fine wine retailers.
11 Nov 2013
Third generation winemaker Andre Beauregard has hit his stride with a new 2012 bottling called Monarch. A blend of grenache, syrah, and cabernet sauvignon, the appealing medium-body red wine weighs in at an easy access 13.9% alcohol, and a very appealing $14.99 pricetag.
Perfectly made to partner with food, Monarch offers up an abundance of raspberry and spice, on a firm yet pliant backbone of light tannins. If you’re looking for holiday table wine, your search might just be over. Even better the second day—yes it IS true that letting wines breathe is key to unlocking fuller flavors and nuances—Monarch is the latest wine to bear the feisty red and gold West Cliff Wines label. Available at Shoppers, of course.
10 Nov 2013
How might it look and feel to have lost all personal freedom? To be completely at the mercy, and whim, of another human being? This question forms the cinematic subject of 12 Years a Slave. The answer is not pretty. It’s not even bearable. British art film director Steve McQueen takes it on nonetheless.
And to be sure the film succeeds in offering up horrific scenes of how it—slavery in the American south circa 1850— very likely was. Hollywood’s down-home stereotypes of the happy dark folk and the benevolent massah are blown to smithereens. The film fails however, despite its insistently right-minded efforts. The repeated scenes of brutality inflicted upon the helpless slaves ultimately deaden the very consciences they are intended to arouse (recall your response to the scenes of Christ at the hands of the Romans in Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ).
12 Years a Slave rests almost entirely on the sturdy shoulders and despairing face of Chiwetel Ejiofor, an actor of clear gifts and appealing presence who simply isn’t More…
30 Oct 2013
In the title role of Captain Phillips,Tom Hanks has one of his finest parts in many years. Intense and gripping, the film poses all the questions that matter about the imploding globalization of the 21st century.
In 2009 a cargo ship called the Maersk Alabama set out to deliver freight to Mombasa, a route that led the ship straight through waters frequented by Somali pirates. Directed by Bourne Identity action master Paul Greengrass, and written by Billy Ray from Richard Phillips’ memoir A Captain’s Duty, the film would be worth watching simply for its white-knuckle pacing, cinematography that veers between poetry and chaos, and its breathtaking build-up of tension. But Captain Phillips gradually, and relentlessly becomes something very different More…
29 Oct 2013
Designer/artist Louise Leong unveils her first show as part of the Printmakers at the Tannery group - in Tannery Studio 107, this Friday, Nov. 1 - reception 6-8:30pm.
23 Oct 2013
Perhaps this was the “there” that Gertrude Stein claimed was missing from the “other” city by the Bay. Haven is the sister Oakland dining room to Daniel Patterson’s celebrated Plum. Smart, vibrant and pulsing with exhibition kitchen vibes, Haven offers labor-intensive dishes that create genuine excitement for eye and palate. And most of the intriguing dishes I sampled last Sunday night worked brilliantly.
The kitchen is packed with guys in black engaged in some invisible choreography surrounding each plate. Attractive stoneware plates and platters add to the eye candy. The menus are tantalizing, and so is the bar menu of eccentric cocktails and designer liquors, including a very long list of top flight single malts. Let me put it this way, Haven makes its own house Cynar.
We started with shared plates of roasted cauliflower in brown butter with a thin pool of salty garum on the bottom. This house likes to use salt as a condiment I discovered—sometimes this was welcome. Sometimes it overwhelmed.
A second shared salad of shredded chicories (shown above) was flat out sensational. More…
14 Oct 2013
From Bantam comes this very satisfying creation in which fat chunks of crispy Fogline pork belly share the plate with roasted grapes and a luscious lentil and grape vinegar reduction. Intense flavor in every bite. This dish was the absolute star of my recent dinner at Bantam. Eleven bucks.
Okay, I’ll say it: this is a destination dish. Period.