More Massive Attack

A few days back, I posted a video of Norwegian singer Aurora’s cover version of Massive Attack’s “Teardrop”. It was probably inevitable that I’d follow it down the rabbit hole, which led me to another video.

Kaleidoscopic, not to mention psychedelic. You’ll want to dim the lights and go full screen on this one,

Here’s an audio-only of “Paradise Circus”, one of my favourite Massive Attack songs.


“Every Wes Anderson Movie”

I’m immune to the whimsical charms of director Wes Anderson. His movies make me itchy, and I’ve never seen one without wishing I’d spent the time on something more productive and entertaining, like defrosting the freezer or finding out what Ivanka Trump is up to these days.

Anticipating this weekend’s release of Isle of Dogs, Anderson’s latest voyage to the Land of Twee, the people behind the Screen Junkies YouTube channel have posted one of their “Honest Trailers” videos.  Instead of simply promoting the new feature, this trailer covers the entire Anderson oeuvre.

Look on his Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

The Norm — Lunch on 14 March 2018

Photography wasn’t allowed inside the Brooklyn Museum’s brilliant David Bowie is exhibition, but I do have one takeaway from the show. After spending a couple of hours immersed in the life and works of The Man Who Fell to Earth, my niece and I had lunch at the museum’s restaurant, The Norm.

No, I don’t know why it’s called that, and my online search for an answer came up empty.

Post-Bowie, the name of one of the menu offerings was irresistible.

Museums are not generally noted for the quality of the food they offer, but the Brooklyn Museum is an exception. Chef here is Michelin-starred Saul Bolton, who has developed a small but intriguing menu.

My Diamond Dogfish and Chips were excellent, and I say that as a connoisseur of fish & chips.

The Norm's Diamond Dogfish and Chips, with Mushy Peas on the Side

The Norm’s Diamond Dogfish and Chips, with Mushy Peas on the Side

The Breathtaking Brilliance of David Bowie is at the Brooklyn Museum

David Bowie is at the Brooklyn Museum is the most exciting, dynamic, and fascinating show you’ll see this year.

Here are some of the things you can see or hear at the exhibition:

“Highlights of the exhibition include more than 60 custom-made performance costumes…85 handwritten lyric sheets, including those from “Fame” and “Fashion”… drawings, including a sketch for the Young Americans album cover; and oil paintings, including two of musician Iggy Pop, all by Bowie…more than 40 pioneering music videos, television clips, and filmed roles as well as a multimedia presentation of international tour footage…custom audio mix made up of snippets of Bowie’s songs…”

—from the exhibition’s web page


The show originated at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, in 2013. Since then, it has been on a tour that took it to 10 cities on five continents. David Bowie is has been seen by more people than any other show in the V&A’s 166-year history.

These reviews, from Vogue (“Go. Just go.”) and Rolling Stone (“Stunning”), describe parts of the show, and explain why it’s the Must See exhibition of 2018.

It runs through 15 July 2018. This is the last stop of the tour, so once it’s gone, it’s gone.


Even if you can’t get to the exhibition itself, you can buy the David Bowie cotton tote bag ($10) or the lavishly illustrated David Bowie is exhibition catalogue ($45 softcover, $55 hardcover). All available at the Brooklyn Museum’s shop.

(Photography wasn’t allowed, so all these pictures are from the museum’s website.)

Return to Haversham Manor

“She’s Having One of Her Episodes.”

What better way to complement an afternoon at Downton Abbey than by spending an evening at another British stately home? I headed to the Lyceum Theatre on 45th Street, where the Cornley University Drama Society was presenting the classic thriller, The Murder at Haversham Manor.

Well, not really. What I actually saw was The Play That Goes Wrong, a British farce about the disaster-plagued production of a ridiculous murder mystery by a hopelessly inept cast and crew. The title says it all.

It won Best New Comedy at the 2015 Laurence Olivier Awards, and has since become the longest-running play currently on Broadway. Both the London and New York productions are still going strong, with no end in sight. In addition, The Play etc. has been licensed for production in more than 20 countries. A US tour will kick off with a five-week stop in Los Angeles later this year.

What I’m hinting at, in my subtle, understated way, is that this sweet show is a huge hit. It’s also very, very funny.

If you’d like to get a glimpse of the mayhem, here’s a link to the 10-minute excerpt from The Play That Goes Wrong that convulsed the audience at the Royal Variety Show a few years back.

All photos are from the play’s website, except for the picture of that beautiful, trendy baseball cap. That’s one’s mine.

Brideshead Downton Abbey ReVisited

After years of relentlessly mocking the looniness of Downton Abbey while never missing an episode of the series, there was no way that I could pass up a chance to spend an afternoon at “Downton Abbey: The Touring Exhibition” while I was in New York.

It was a treat.

Throughout the New York show, you’re greeted by some of the principal Downton actors, in costume and in character, via HD video. The exhibition covers three floors and contains hundreds—or, more likely, thousands—of props, costumes, and furnishings from the TV series. Snippets of dialog from the series play at related parts of the exhibition.  The use of technology to enrich the experience is flawless.

The first floor of the exhibition focuses on the servants and the “Downstairs” portion of the house, starting with the kitchen.

The informative signage that explained the roles and duties of the various members of the household was particularly good.

The servants’ dining table.

Mr. Carson and Mrs Hughes in Mr. Carson’s Office.

Mr. Carson’s Desk shows an attention to detail that’s typical of the exhibition.

If you looked closely at the pictures, you might have noticed something peculiar about the representation of the servants. I think that it must allude to a particularly dark episode in the Crowley family history. During the 1926 General Strike, Lady Violet was left in charge of the Abbey while the Crowley men went off to shoot some random strikers. As the hours wore on and her consumption of sherry grew apace, she became increasingly unhinged, until, fearing a violent revolution was about to bring down the Abbey and all it symbolized, she had the entire Downton underclass decapitated and stuffed.

The next morning, in the cold light of day—cold, because she’d offed the servant responsible for seeing that the rooms were warmed before the family awoke—she expressed extreme regret for her impetuous actions, once she realized there was no one left to prepare her morning tea.

Churchill helped the family cover up the incident, and the TV series tactfully ignored it.

Leaving behind the Morlocks who labour below the earth, we ascend to the golden, carefree world of the Eloi….

Oh, wait.  Wrong story,

The second floor is all about The Family and everything here—the clothes, the furniture, the people—is brighter, richer, and more colourful.

The Dining Room was a show-stopper.

Lady Violet has a little display area entirely to herself, where the audio features some of her better-known witticisms, including the one that has always seemed to me to be an excellent example of the series getting things hopelessly, unforgivably wrong.

Viewing a well-set dining table like the one in the picture above, she says, “Nothing succeeds like excess”, at which point I’ve been known to shout “No. No. No!” at the TV screen. A tacky sentiment like that would never come from Old Money. It’s something a Trump would say.

The third floor has a small display of miscellaneous costumes. After the richness of the rest of the show, it’s a bit anticlimactic.

Wedding Gowns.

So that was my afternoon at Downton. The show is beautifully put together, and I had a delightful time.

Just Passing Through

I took a short trip to New York last week for the fantastic David Bowie is exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, and had a couple of nice experiences while I was there. I’ll be posting details over the next few days.

I’m back in DC for now, but I’ll be leaving again for this year’s big Spring Break excursion next Tuesday, so postings will be limited for a while.