Home @ 19 Aug 2013 06:10 pm by Christina Waters
Why am I not surprised that a man who has been in therapy for 50 years is committed to the past as destiny? And when that man is a master filmmaker, well the results are either nihilism, existentialism, or….a Woody Allen film. Blue Jasmine—powered by Cate Blanchett’s remarkable performnce—is one of the most sobering films of the past decade. A searing indictment of a life wasted, Blanchett’s character traces (backwards and forwards in time) the stages of one woman’s ruin, and ultimately offers us no hope that mistakes which detonate the lives of others can ever be atoned.
Former socialite and wife of fast-track investment svengali Hal (Alec Baldwin in a pitch perfect performance as a slick cad), Jasmine finds herself suddenly fallen into poverty and depending upon the kindness of her estranged sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins in a brilliant brilliant performance as a sweet good time girl).
We quickly get the picture. And yes, Streetcar Named Desire oozes (more…)
Home @ 13 Aug 2013 05:27 pm by Christina Waters
Channel your inner Zorba and come join the feasting, singing and dancing the weekend of Sept. 6-8. That’s when the Santa Cruz Greek Food & Cultural Festival fills the corner of Church & Center streets with the sound of bouzouki and the aromas of moussaka, spit-roasted lamb, baklava, and of course ouzo!
Easily one of the most enjoyable and authentic street festivals on everybody’s calendar, the Greek Fest offers food, drink, dancing by Greek dance groups from all over the Bay Area, traditional arts and crafts, splendid desserts —baklava, loukoumades, and even a raffle for a trip to Naxos!
Come dance, play, and eat like a Greek - Fri. 5-10, Sat. 11am-10pm, Sun. 12-8pm. You won’t believe how much fun this is!
Home @ 08 Aug 2013 04:10 pm by Christina Waters
Richard Diebenkorn: The Berkeley Years, 1953-1966.
Like all Bay Area fans of Diebenkorn’s über Californian abstract expressionism, I went to see the deYoung partial retrospective (the Ocean Park/LA period of the painter’s life is not included) with high hopes.
And indeed the large show gives us deep access to the painter’s early efforts, his inevitable deKooning experimentation and his evolution into the quintessential visionary of the vast, sweeping coastal vistas of the West. What we don’t find in all of these large-scale, oft shockingly dulled, yellowed, and cracked canvases is a central engine of insight.
We can see how his work evolved—lots of Matisse, Cezanne, and Bonnard influence, lots of pure California consciousness and Bay Area figure painting ambience. But somehow there is a missing center to it all. As if he could not find that elusive point of fullness, the essential “aha!” magic that deKooning had all day long.
The work is enormously appealing to painters who can literally watch the various phases unfold—drawing, gesture, painting, over-painting, and generous organization of huge acres of cobalt blue and terra verte green. A painter’s painter he was. But a quiet melancholy inflects the oeuvre and ultimately drains the joy that a single Matisse can provide in an instant.
My take-away is that painting large enables discoveries of color voodoo unavailable to small, careful works. Also that the deYoung cafe makes a terrific espresso. And the drive back down Highway One leads through a landscape of real world Diebenkorns.
The show @ the deYoung Museum runs through September 29
Home @ 22 Jul 2013 02:50 pm by Christina Waters
Basil panna cotta.
Fresh strawberry and plum garnish.
Topping of pistachios.
Sauce of nectarines.
Home @ 22 Jul 2013 02:47 pm by Christina Waters
A succession of beautiful dishes arrived at our table at Gabrilla Cafe last Friday night, and some of our favorites turned out to be as delicious as they were good-looking.
After a salad of mixed butter lettuces, melon and hazelnuts we turned our attention to a split plate of housemade nettle tagliatelle pasta. A sensuous sauce of shellfish and Poblano peppers bathed the pasta, as well as bits of fresh calamari, sea bass, mussels, orange cherry tomatoes and slender ribbons of smoky poblano chiles.
A knockout dish.
Wine; Home @ 22 Jul 2013 10:31 am by Christina Waters
We are loving the oak-free finish and intricate interior of Ryan Beauregard’s 2009 Chardonnay “Metallique” — aged in stainless steel so that the heady grass, citrus and jalapeño oil varietal qualities of chard can reach forward.
Vibrant and refreshing, it’s available at Shoppers for a rock bottom $14.99. This one opens beautifully and is even better the second day.
Home @ 09 Jul 2013 06:05 pm by Christina Waters
Now that I’ve been back for almost two weeks, the glow is beginning to fade. Milan’s architecture bears the legacy of northern European rulers, hence the faux Viennese appearance. Save for Leonardo’s justly famed Last Supper, (or il Cenacolo Vinciano) it hardly qualifies as a tourist destination. This means fewer tacky t-shirts and more resident Italians. Unless you’re continuing on up to Como and the enchanting lake district, you might never stumble across Milan.
Classy to the max, Milan was founded by Celts and made famous by Fendi, Ferrari, Armani and Zegna. Fashion rules here and designer eye candy is in full view 24/7. I was here to indulge in Wagner’s four-opera Ring cycle, performed at the elegant Teatro alla Scala in a seven day marathon. The Ring was performed at major opera houses all over the world this year in honor of the composer’s 200th birthday, but (more…)
Home @ 08 Jul 2013 04:01 pm by Christina Waters
Former Santa Cruzans Catherine and Brian Faris fell in love with southern Italy many years ago. Many of us have done the same. But few of us have followed through and actually pulled up stakes, moved to Puglia, purchased an olive orchard, and proceeded to create a line of organic olive oils that give new meaning to the phrase “extra virgin.”
Pascarosa is the brand name of the latest Faris adventure. Named for a small village adjacent to the estate olive orchard, the olive oils—two styles, one lighter and 100% certified organic, the other richer, more complex, and made from olives grown under organic conditions—they are irresistibly delicious.
A lively tasting party two weeks ago at Soif Wine Bar gave locals a chance to see Catherine and Brian after many years absence, and also to sample the new oils accompanied by a few choice Italian wines stocked by Soif. The results were many sales and lots of oleoginous gossip. The attractively packaged oils in 16 oz. cans come with ingenious fastenings and a $19 - $25 pricetag. Our house salads love Pascarosa—currently available at Soif.
Home; Art @ 08 Jul 2013 03:44 pm by Christina Waters
Not the enigmatic companion of first century evangelist Jesus, but the woeful new opera by Mark Adamo, commissioned in a moment of cerebral lassitude by the usually stalwart San Francisco Opera. Adamo had six years to work on this so there is absolutely no excuse for the clueless visual and musical mishmash I endured last weekend.
Having waited all season for this operatic version of one of my favorite ancient sagas, I was dumbfounded to discover that Adamo had neither narrative insight nor compositional vision to apply to this opera. A few good singers had to endure the embarrassment of singing excruciatingly clunky lyrics (written by the hapless Adamo), and a set that can only be described as a construction site.
Standing on top of the site, or milling around (more…)
Home @ 08 Jul 2013 03:17 pm by Christina Waters
Haven’t yet tried the Roman-style breakfast pizzas topped with fried eggs, but I plan to. Very soon. Pizzeria Avanti’s breakfast window of opportunity runs from Friday through Monday, and dinner of course happens nightly. Living on the Westside does have its perks.