"I guess darkness serves a purpose: to show us that there is redemption through chaos. I believe in that. I think that's the basis for Greek mythology," says actor Brendan Fraser.
•Well, as... a lot of you... some of you... a few of us -- watched the premiere of Lindsay on Oprah's OWN Network, what were we left with, after episode one?
First off, it's a "reality" show, which means it's not real. Situations are set up and probably more or less rehearsed, whether you are a Kardashian or an actual person, like Miss Lohan. So, we were treated to Lindsay speaking into the camera explaining herself, accompanied by little, edited vignettes of drama: Lindsay done wrong by a friend and fleeing a photo shoot... Lindsay fretting over finding an apartment... Lindsay supposedly happy at a fashion show featuring her younger sister, Ali (whose face we never see; she wears a veil.) And Lindsay's counselor, the guy who's trying to keep her on the straight and sober has his own moments, all which appear to be uncertain.
What does Lohan convey to us in this by now time-worn TV genre? She looks good, for the most part -- although her smoking is shocking. (Her delicate skin will suffer!) She seems alternately sincere and entitled, regretful and rebellious, utterly false and totally true. No space now exists between Lindsay and her morphed image. At 26, she can never even pretend to be the appealing child and teenage star she once was, so beautiful and full of promise. She can't re-cork that bottle.
But that's okay. Lindsay 2014 is a tough, tough cookie and that has its own appeal. Although it would be better served in a film, a good film, rather than this mish-mash of playtime and real-time.
Maybe the show will help, just the fact of it. Watching Lindsay in her various moods and modes, I see half a dozen roles for her in features. Perhaps that's what this is all about -- a long audition tape. Given that I still find Lohan a talented young woman, I have to hope for the best, while still sighing and rolling my eyes.
•Perhaps Roma Downey and her husband Mark Burnett should have had a chat with Mel Gibson before releasing their Son of God movie? The Downey/Burnett version of the life of Christ is a condensed/expanded version of their popular mini-series The Bible.
But TV success did not translate for them. The movie was beaten in its first weekend by Liam Neeson's Non-Stop and it plunged 60 percent in its second week. This, despite the fact that church groups were organized to attend en masse. By comparison, Gibson's Passion of the Christ, which also rounded up church-goers, was an absolute smash. Whatever one thinks about Mel Gibson -- the excessive bloodletting, torture and perhaps anti-Semitism in his tale of Christ's final days -- it was brilliant movie-making.
Perhaps the couple made it too obvious they were conservative and very anti-Obama. (Remember in the mini-series, their Satan looked a hell of a lot like the president!) And some of their statements have bordered on "let's have a theocracy."
Also, people haven't forgotten that Mark Burnett was the man at the helm of one of the most loathsome of the reality shows -- Survivor. The behavior encouraged by the participants of that endeavor surely wouldn't have passed muster with Jesus.
Or, maybe Son of God is just a not-so-inspiring version of The Greatest Story Ever Told.
•Now, a word about "eating out" the old-fashioned way: I was looking through the estimable Paris Review #207.
which is still listed as "Winter 2013" -- and what should I see but my favorite French bistro, Le Veau d'Or, listed right up front along with this bit of editorializing: "Veau d'Or -- these are the safe words of all Paris Review readers and perhaps keys to their hearts." (I assume this was written by one John Train, a Paris Review founder along with the late George Plimpton.)
This set me to thinking. Le Veau is one of my favorites for informal dining out. It is on 60th Street between Lexington and Park Avenues and is run by its owner, the beautiful and charming Cathy Treboux, whose word is law when it comes to restaurant keeping. She is open every day except Sunday. She has been known to simply lock the front door early some nights, unless she has lots of important men and women in there, gossiping and drinking her wine. (This bistro boasts my favorite little lamb chops and pommes frites. It won the James Beard award as one of the three best French restaurants in the U.S. and was listed along with the grand and epic La Grenouille.)
And speaking of La Grenouille, on 52 street off Fifth Avenue, I was just in there with Hollywood's R.J. Wagner and his wife, Jill St. John. The owner, Charles, treated us to something I'd never seen before on a menu -- parsnip and pear soup!
Over on the West Side in the theater district one despairs of finding much fine food with the exception of a few places. One of these is Barbetta, the oldest single-family-owned restaurant in NYC. It has reopened after a small kitchen fire with its exceptional old world glamour and verve. And pretty soon, maybe if spring ever comes, we can go to its beautiful outdoor garden.
Plus this, one of the best steak houses ever to grace Manhattan, is the completely renovated Gallagher's on 52nd street near the Neil Simon Theater. Once again, Gallagher's windows are full of "the art" of beautiful hanging steaks, chops and sirloins and it has many of its same cast of knowing waiters ,joined by a few new young and handsome ones. The bar is booming every night before, after and during theater and it doesn't take a map to find the easily accessible ladies room.
When one finds French onion soup on the Gallagher's menu, be sure to ask about something listed as The Other Soup and see if you can tell historically what this means. (The waiter will laughingly tell you.)
Another favorite is the informal Swifty's at Lex and 72 where they still offer the delicacy -- thinly sliced tuna Carpaccio. Also, on Sundays one can get a boiled lobster with all the trimmings and dessert plus a bottle of wine for $100. That's a bargain these days.
If you get a member of Doubles in the Sherry Netherland Hotel to take you in to lunch or dinner (it's a club) order the famous chicken hash. Everybody does!