Tatiana Serafin

Table Talk – what I’ve been reading

Great piece in April 4, 2010 New York Times Magazine about photographer Roman Vishniac who chronicled prewar Eastern European Jewish life. The piece points out some of his images were manufactured and brings up again the question of what is truth, and what does personal perception bring to historical memory. The pictures in particular were amazing and make me want to see more of his archive.

I finished Lady Chatterly’s Lover this week. Connie’s thoughts on Venice – “Too many people in the piazza, too many limbs and trunks of humanity on the Lido, to many gondolas…too many pigeons…too many languages rattling…too much sun…” – written by D.H. Lawrence circa 1928 are still so true,  even despite the ban on pigeon feeding in St. Mark’s Square. To see heaving masses swarming on the canals, it’s no wonder Venice is sinking!

Speaking of Italy, Sunday’s NYT Travel cover, “Mangia, Mangia!” on eating family style in Italy was wonderful. The best food I’ve had in Italy is at large gatherings of friends and family where everyone participates in the feast making. There are also small family style restaurants tucked here and there that give the same experience. The key is in the ingredients – local and fresh; I never gain weight there. (and I can’t say the same here even though I try to be a locavore!)

Started Mrs. Adams in Winter by Michael O’Brien; it’s a bit dense on the historical detail which the New York Times Book Review did point out. But I love the descriptions of Russian court life and how America’s earliest diplomats fared.

Speaking of Russia, Maly Drama Theater’s performance of Uncle Vanya at BAM is amazing. It helps to understand Russian because much was lost in the translation they had running on the top of the stage. Chekhov is amazing. And a Hollywood bonus, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard were at Friday’s performance.

And I completely disagree with Ben Brantley’s review of The Addams Family with Bebe Neuwirth and Nathan Lane. It might not be intellectually stimulating but it is fun – when we went the other week to celebrate my dad’s birthday we were rolling in the aisles – and that is worth the price of the ticket.

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