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Seen and Heard in New York: Alan Gilbert, Alain Ducasse, Mimi Sheraton, Jane Campion, Gloria Steinem

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The New York Philharmonic earlier this year began a new series of post-concert suppers with star chefs, hosted by food writer Mimi Sheraton. The first supper featured the cuisine of Alain Ducasse, the Paris-based chef whose global empire includes the restaurants Adour and Benoit in Manhattan, plus a new cooking school for amateur chefs in Paris.

Alan Gilbert, music director of the Philharmonic, speaking at the supper prepared by Ducasse:

I may be more of a prodigious eater than a discerning eater. I've always loved food. And I've always been interested in the fact that the word for chef in French is 'chef,' and the word for conductor in French is also 'chef.' I wouldn't presume to put myself in the same constellation as Mr. Ducasse, but the fact is we do deal with flavors and perfumes, and I think part of my job is to find the right balance of elements in a symphony, which may be somewhat analogous to a dish or a dessert.

Zarin (Mehta, executive director of the Philharmonic) and I have been talking from the beginning about different things we could do to do to liven up the place, to make new kinds of connections with our audience.

When I'm traveling and when I'm alone on the road, one of the ways that keeps life bearable and interesting is to try to find good food.

With my wife, we cook together all the time. When I'm at home, I cook basically every day. To me, it's therapeutic, I cook for my kids, dinner. There's something soothing and calming--I have such a hectic schedule-- if I can take an hour or two to be with the children, prepare the food. I like to experiment. I love to steam, it's a way of cooking and really preserving the quality of the ingredients. When we lived in Stockholm, I regularly made my own stocks, we make a mean osso buco.

Mimi Sheraton, discussing her visit to Hanoi last fall with the Philharmonic on its Asian tour. She accompanied Gilbert and other orchestra members while they hunted for street food, an experience she describes in a em>Smithsonian magazine article:

I was very impressed with the entrepreneurial spirit in Hanoi and the fashion work. There were several shops of artisans with beautifully sophisticated silk clothes for women, very advanced. What was interesting was at the concert, the shoes that the women wore were just like the shoes we see, the tremendous heels, the gladiator laces. I looked at the row across from me in the concert hall, every woman on the aisle had her shoes off.

The next post-concert supper for which tickets are available will take place on May 28, following a performance of Le Grand Opera, an opera by Gyorgy Ligeti. It will be cooked by Kurt Gutenbrunner, the Austrian- born chef and proprietor of Manhattan restaurants Wallse, Café Sabarsky and Blaue Gans.

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Jane Campion, writer and director of Bright Star, discussing the film's costumes--nominated for an Academy Award for costume design--at a screening of the film in New York held by the Museum of the Moving Image:

"Because of Fanny's (Brawne, fiancee of Romantic poet John Keats) obsession with fashion, the costumes were important to us and they were hand-sewn. Fanny Brawne's uncle was Beau Brummel, the famous Regency fop. I wanted to include it in the story, but in 1818 (when Bright Star begins) he had already been exiled to France. I used the truth of who was around, what the timing was, to just minimize the fantasy."

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Feminist Gloria Steinem, speaking to alumnae of Smith College, at the Asia Society in New York:

I was trying to sell advertising for Ms. magazine for 15 years, and resented every day. It was so hard. The way the magazine world runs, you don't get ads unless you write nicely about (the advertisers') products. We didn't do that, so it was an endless struggle. One thing I regret was wasting that time. Time is all there is.


I had no working relationship with Betty Friedan (another Smith alumna and feminist). If we saw each other five times in our lives I would be surprised. She was a loner. She is crucial to the woman's movement. But it was hard for her to get along with other women. She didn't like Bella (Abzug). She was not able in my experience to make those kinds of friendships and bonds.

I try to eat healthy, became a pescatarian for health reasons 20 years ago. I'm totally hooked on sugar, I struggle with it. I try to exercise. I joined two gyms, paid for both, never went to either.