Your Weekend: A Selective Guide

Movies: The year’s best picture arrives in limited release: “Call Me By Your Name.” “Coco” is Pixar’s latest — I recommend it highly for both kids and adults. Television/Streaming: New on Netflix: A seven-part Western from Steven Soderbergh called “Godless.” Sunday brings the 2017 Miss Universe pageant.Music: Bob Seger releases a deluxe edition of “I Knew You When.” Pentatonix Christmas albums are some of the few devoted to the festive-tree season that don’t make me want to fwow up. Books: Tina Brown’s “Diaries” about the 1980s aren’t mean enough; for that period I still prefer the deadpan of Andy Warhol. Have been re-acquainting myself with “The Complete Works of Isaac Babel” — what a life this Russian writer had! Sports: I like football, but over Thanksgiving weekend I extend my genuine sympathies to those who don’t. Finally: A President who supports pedophiles: can America go any lower? Happy holiday!

Dead: An Opera Divo, A Pop Star

No, it isn’t sacrilegious to place Dimitri Hvorostovsky and David Cassidy in the same story: they both gave pleasure to millions. The former was a handsome Russian baritone who thrilled in his Russian and Italian roles, the latter was thePartridge Family” frontman who in the early 1970s enlivened such throwaway ditties as “I Think I Love You.” I know which one meant more to be; which one meant more to you?

New “Crown” Season: An Early Review

From The Telegraph: ‘A year ago, journalists were rubbing their hands in anticipation of a right royal scandal. US streaming service Netflix was about to commit an outrageous act of lèse-majesté and Buckingham Palace would go into meltdown. Except that this didn’t happen – shots of a young Prince Philip’s (played by Matt Smith) backside notwithstanding, The Crown was a remarkable piece of quality drama which skillfully humanised the British Royal Family. This second series, which begins with the Suez Crisis in 1956 Read more »

Is Your “Nutcracker” Traditional?

My old pal Alastair Macaulay gives us 10 ways to know for sure: ‘The “Nutcracker” season is upon us — but what’s a “Nutcracker”? And why should anyone care? Before I ever saw it, the idea of “The Nutcracker” seemed to embody all that was trivial about ballet: overfamiliar hit tunes, dancing children, dancing toys, dancing sweets. Yet those standard numbers change when you hear them in context. And those children, toys and sweets become moving in a production that takes childhood seriously. The ballet, building brilliantly, is one of the great 19th-century children’s stories.

John Lennon’s Diaries Are Recovered

Berlin police have uncovered and seized as evidence a cache of personal effects that had belonged to John Lennon and were stolen from his widow, Yoko Ono, in New York in 2006. A 58-year-old man has been arrested in a raid in Berlin on suspicion of harbouring stolen goods. A second suspect lives in Turkey and could not be apprehended, the police say, and is believed to have delivered the items to a Berlin auction house, according to the Spiegel Online news service.

Losing The X Factor: Make It Stop!

News that James Franco will play Multiple Man in a new film is just the latest attempt to add layers to a cinematic world that’s struggling to take shape. The very existence of a Multiple Man movie also reminds us that the X-Men universe itself is exploding into myriad new forms like a mogwai in a shower who’s just been fed several Big Macs long after midnight. Next year’s big mutant movies are a mixed bunch: X-Men: Dark Phoenix will revisit the famous comic book storyline in which Jean Grey loses her powers, while Josh Boone’s The New Mutants will further push the envelope Read more »

Paris Musical: Fella With The Umbrella

Singin’ in the Rain is the most famous and beloved movie musical ever made,” Robert Carsen says. “And what you don’t want is an audience going into the theatre playing the movie in their head and wondering why the stage version isn’t as good as that.” Carsen is talking about his stage version, a huge hit when it first opened in March 2015 at Paris’ Théâtre du Châtelet. While Châtelet is closed for renovations, the show is being brought to life again November 28 through January 11 at Paris’ famed Grand Palais (presented by Châtelet in English with French surtitles).