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The National Gallery of Art, Washington, will celebrate the art and cuisine of Spain this summer when it presents two exhibitions, Luis Meléndez: Master of the Spanish Still Life (May 17 – August 23, 2009), and The Art of Power: Royal Armor and Portraits from Imperial Spain (June 28 – November 27)

Award-winning Spanish Chef José Andrés, the host of PBS-TV's cooking series "Made in Spain," author of the companion cookbook, culinary director of the recently opened SLS Hotel and The Bazaar by José Andrés in Los Angeles, and chef /owner of THINKfoodGROUP, which operates the Washington restaurants Jaleo, Café Atlantico, Zaytinya, Oyamel and Minibar by José Andrés, will work in partnership with Restaurant Associates at the Gallery to transform the menu in the West Building Garden Cafe, which will become Garden Café España, May 4 – September 27, 2009. The offerings, which will include gazpacho, tortilla de patatas, Spanish cured meats and cheeses such as Jamón Serrano and Manchego, and Spanish olives and piquillo peppers, and much more, will be paired with wines. Recipe cards for some items are made available to Garden Café patrons with their meals.

Luis Meléndez: Master of the Spanish Still Life

The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art.

The exhibition is sponsored by The Exhibition Circle of the National Gallery of Art.

It is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

 The Art of Power: Royal Armor and Portraits from Imperial Spain

The exhibition has been organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, the State Corporation for Spanish Cultural Action Abroad (SEACEX), and the Patrimonio Nacional of Spain.

The exhibition has been organized in association with the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and the Ministry of Culture, with the assistance of the Embassy of Spain in Washington, DC.

It is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

For details, visit http://www.nga.gov/press/schedule/aes.shtm#power 


Happy Birthday Rome!
There are lots of things to do in Italy in April - numerous 'sagras' organized to celebrate the first fresh produce, and remember also that Rome's birthday is celebrated on April 21st, so if you are near the capital city on or about that date, be sure to keep an eye open for special cultural events. And then of course, the 25th April is an Italian public holiday, Liberation Day, in commemoration of the liberation of Italy by Allied troops in the Second World War. The same day is also St. Mark's Day, and as you might imagine, this means much celebration in the city of Venice, whose citizens commemorate their patron saint with various events and a tradition dictating that on this day, men give a red rose to the women they love. From Italian Cook-Vacations Newsletter April.


Interior designer Vicente Wolf is famous for a modern and elegant style, an approach guided

by integrity and simplicity. He is also a photographer of note, with work published widely. 


But Vicente’s abiding passion is travel.


In his book, Crossing Boundaries, Vicente addresses the five elements of design that his travels inspire:

Composition • Scale • Color • Contrast • Light 


For the first time ever, Vicente is sharing this experience with ten people.


Contact us to join Vicente on his travels and  immerse yourself in the daily life,

culture and markets of  Thailand’s Bangkok and Chiang Mai.  




-- Unique retrospectives explore the Russian revolution of dance and the art treasures of the Tsars –

One hundred years after bursting onto the world’s stage and forever changing the face of dance, the Principality will salute the magic, vision, dynamism and pioneering spirit of Serge Diaghilev and his Ballets Russes in original tribute programs and events throughout 2009 and into 2010.

Inspired by his bold imagination and farsighted vision, 100 Years of Diaghilev will bring together world-renowned artists from a variety of cultures in a comprehensive series of dance and musical performances, exhibitions, films, an academic conference, as well as assorted artistic activities showcasing  the origins, development and long term influence since debuting in 1909. The focus will be on the revolutionary enterprise known collectively as the Ballets Russes, through which Diaghilev combined dance, music and the visual arts in an unprecedented and astonishing way to transform popular culture.

Diaghilev’s extraordinary company survived a twenty-year rollercoaster ride of phenomenal successes and crippling problems - and quite simply, revolutionized ballet. A larger-than-life personality himself, he discovered (and nurtured) talented luminaries such as George Balanchine - and his genius for gathering together the most avant-garde composers of the day, Stravinsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Ravel, Debussy and Prokofiev, and designers such as Bakst and Matisse - helped shape the Modernist movement.

An endlessly fascinating impresario, he introduced the Ballets Russes to their new home in Monaco with such dancers as Nijinsky and Pavlova and for two decades ingeniously assembled the era’s most brilliant creative minds like Cocteau and Picasso, Coco Chanel, Robert Delaunay and Natalia Goncharova and inspired them to produce some of their best work. His productions are still just as relevant today, almost 70 years after his death and his commissions, ranging from the remarkable to the bizarre, are continually being recalled on stages around the world.

To coincide with the Principality's celebrations to mark the centenary – and as the ideal introductory backdrop to it - this year’s featured summer exhibition at the Grimaldi Forum is Moscow: Splendours of the Romanovs. From July 11 through September 13, filling more than 4,000 square meters, the focus will be on Mother Russia during the Romanov era, in particular the reign of the last dynasty of Tsars, the Romanovs, who ruled Russia for three centuries.

With a particular emphasis on Russian art from the second half of the 18th century to the early 20th century, the most important exhibits illustrating the reigns of Paul I to Nicholas II will be on loan from Moscow's Historical Museum. They will highlight the magnificence of the court during that era and the international influence of Saint Petersburg, which hosted several All-Russian exhibitions (including in 1882), before the future capital became a hub of modern art and Constructivism in the early years of the 20th century. Curator is Brigitte de Montclos, curator-in-chief of heritage who also curated the Grimaldi Forum's 2004 exhibition Imperial Saint Petersburg, from Peter the Great to Catherine II, which was seen by more than 65,000 people. (www.grimaldiforum.com)

 Additional cultural highlights planned for the Principality’s unique retrospective include:

·         From July 9 through August 30 at Monaco’s Sporting d’Hiver venue will be an exhibition called Etonnez Moi! (Surprise Me!). Featuring opera and theater stage designs, decorations and costumes, important (handwritten) music and documents from the Diaghilev years (1909-1929), including many great works from European, Russian and North American collections. This exhibition is being staged in collaboration with the National Museum of Monaco and the Ekaterina Foundation of Moscow.

·         Exposition Danzes! At the Villa Sauber from July 9 through September 20 and at the Sporting Monte-Carlo from July 9 through September 3, Monaco’s National Museum presents these tributes dedicated to Serge Diaghilev and his ballet company. (www.nmnm.mc)


·         Monaco Dance Forum: From December 9 – 20 a series of ateliers (workshops and symposiums) and shows (including documentary presentations by Monaco’s Archives Audiovisuelles) are planned to pay homage to dancers, artists and performers, culminating on December 20 with the Cérémonie des Nijinsky (Nijinsky Awards), a tribute to the legendary Russian choreographer and dancer at the Grimaldi Forum. (www.monacodanceforum.com)


·         The Monte-Carlo Opera and Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo will join forces in December to perform Les Noces (The Wedding), Stravinsky’s ballet with vocals which the Ballets Russes premiered in 1923 with choreography by Bronislava Nijinska. This joint collaboration will continue as part of the 2010 Spring Arts Festival (April 5-18) with performances of Le Sacre du Printemps and Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé (commissioned by Diaghilev in 1909, Nijinsky danced the part of Daphnis at its 1912 Paris debut where Bakst designed the original sets.) (www.opera.mc)

 ·         At the Grimaldi Forum Monaco on December 13-14, the Hamburg Ballet, under the direction of John Neumeier, will join with the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Artistic Director, Maestro Yakov Kreizberg, for a special tribute, Nijinsky. (www.opmc.mc)

 ·         Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo: From December 23, 2009 through January 4, 2010, director and choreographer Jean-Christophe Maillot presents new adaptations and recreations of the répertoire of the Ballets Russes - Shéhérazade, Les Noces, Le Spectre de la Rose, Le Sacre du Printemps. (www.balletsdemontecarlo.com)

For more information, please contact the Monaco Government Tourist Office (MGTO) at 565 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10017; telephone (800) 753-9696 or (212) 286-3330; or e-mail info@VisitMonaco.com. Information and links are available via the Monaco Government Tourist Office web site at www.VisitMonaco.com.

Theatrically speaking, by Laurence Vittes


It's been hard to take the cold weather down here in L.A. "Worse than Moscow," muttered my wife on a cold night in March. However, I am pleased to announce that, with the arrival of April, there are definite signs of Spring.


I'll be reviewing three openings for The Hollywood Reporter in April.


I'm looking forward to the new play in Pasadena, called Mauritius. It's about two confidence women in a foreign land who try to steal the world's most valuable postage stamp. Who knows what it will really turn out to be? The Pasadena Playhouse does strange and wonderful things with their productions, and they are never predictable.


A very different proposition is opening at the Taper this month. It is Octavio Solis's tragedy about life on the Ciudad Juarez-El Paso border. Because of the love story it tells  and the gritty political issues it addresses, this is a play that everyone will be talking about.


Later in the month, when Conor McPherson's The Seafarer opens, it could be a hell of a night! It's got a cast full of Connolly, Irwin, O'Connor, Roth and, for good measure, his honor John Mahoney.


The Geffen's press release is a masterpiece itself:


"When old friends gather for their traditional whiskey-laden card game, a sly stranger joins the mix [raise highbrows]. As the booze flows and the banter intensifies, the game escalates to damningly high stakes [palms sweat]. After all, what fun is poker if your soul isn’t in it?" [Damn right!]


My advice: Go online, and get tickets for whichever play or plays appeal to you. Get all your friends to do the same. Then throw a big party.

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