Keep an eye on Company XIV, an emerging media/dance/theater Brooklyn-based company with a Baroque/burlesque sensibility. Their show, The Judgement of Paris, based on the Greek myth, was a Pick of the Fringe at Edinburgh's Fringe Fest 2008. It will be performed at the Duo Theater, 62 E. 4th [2nd/Bowery] from January 8th to February 1st. Details. [Photo: Steven Schreiber]
Hear a gallery talk at the Hispanic Society of America on January 17th, 11am, about the unknown Spanish artist who created the memorable, large sculpture of Saint Rita of Cascia, now restored.
Using more closeups than any movie in recent memory, a camera that bobs and weaves through family gatherings, and scenes that feel improvised and documented rather than acted and filmed, The Secret of the Grain is an untidily resonant family saga. It's the story of Tunisian immigrants living in a French port city, in which the Sunday meal of fish couscous connects their hopes, jealousies, and disappointments. No American director would allow some of the scenes to go on as long as Abdel Kechiche does; if you give into it, though, the total effect is a burrowing into lives you won't soon forget.
And on the subject of couscous, we commend you to La Maison du Couscous, 484 77th St. [5th Ave.] 718.921.2400 Bklyn, where you'll find beautifully wrought tagines, bastillas, and those mini pearls of pasta.
Jazz critic Ira Gitler wrote of Roman-born, NY-based jazz pianist and composer Patrizia Scascitelli, "Patrizia's style is not complicated, but she is a marvelous melodist who presents her attractive lines with a distinct clarity and strong feeling. Listeners do not have to work hard to enjoy themselves." She'll be performing at the Italian Cultural Institute, 686 Park [68th/69th] on January 21st, 7pm.
Learn some Turkish? Why not? It will make your trip to Istanbul that much richer. Details.
It's the inaugural season for the Mimesis Ensemble, dedicated to performing classical music by living composers. Joining them is Halim El-Dabh, Egypt's highly esteemed composer.
The JCC's annual Israel Non-Stop Festival takes place this year beginning February 26th. It's the usual intriguing mix of movies, music, dance, and theater. Pictured here: Berry Sakharof, the Israeli rock star.
You can have a bottle of Chateau Musar 1993, the world-class wine from Lebanon, for $95 at Braeburn, 117 Perry [Greenwich St.] 212.255.0696. Read more about the winery here.
In the Country of Men, a novel by Hisham Matar, tells the deeply affecting story of life under the Qaddafi regime on a Tripoli family in the 1970s, as seen through the eyes of a young boy. It was short-listed for the Booker.
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While we're on the subject of the Mediterranean today, we note the publication last week of The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook by Nancy Harmon Jenkins, a revised and updated version of the original 1994 edition.
As healthy, delicious eating goes, Mediterranean cooking is hard to beat. While many of these recipes require time and effort, the results are worth it.