Monthly Archives: May 2011


(Community Matters) in Chicago

my good friend, Tony Martinez (the new mayor of Brownsville) and Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Home Sweet Home

(Community Matters) I love traveling and there’s nothing like a night in one’s own bed – slept like a baby. Now only if Steven had been here instead of San Francisco.

Rome more

(Community Matters)

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Rome – saw

(Community Matters) loved it.


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moving here in 2013?

Art & Architecture

(Community Matters) a Roman friend says 75% of the world’s art originates from Italy. I don’t know if this is correct, but from three days in Rome, I believe it could be true when including ancient Rome and the principalities which form modern day Italy.

Yesterday was action packed: a tour of the Church of San Gregorio (the first Pope Gregorio who successfully merged the Benedictine philosophy that the Christian church should serve the poor with the ambitions of political supremacy) including its frescos by Domenichino (a Bologna contemporary of Caravaggio), the Roman Museum and its collection of earliest Italian and Greek sculptures, the Casa Museo Giorgio de Chicico, a tour of the Rome Gagosiam Gallery’s *Made in Italy* retrospective of 60 years of Italian artists (celebrating Italy’s 150 years of Italian reunification), cocktails on a terrace on the Spanish steps, to lunch at the private club at the Broghese Palace, a private tour by Sandro Chia of his Rome studio, cocktails at the American Academy in Rome, and dinner & cocktails on what’s got to be the most exquisite terrace of a palace in Centro.

Our guide for the day equals my friend Ron Perry in Israel – Alessandro Celani brings a scholar’s knowledge of art, architecture, history and politics. His assistants were a graduate of Cambridge interning with Senator Kerry this summer and a Harvard junior of Venetian and Roman aristocracy, the latter who I inexplicably grew so fond of he’s a candidate for godson (not to mention a likely USA house guest).

This morning attended church (then lunch) with my friends Nicolo and Rita Compagni, Principe and Principessa Boncompagni Ludovisi. He went to St Ignacio, the cathedral built by his family, while Rita and I attended the English services next door at Caravita. After a tour of the Boncompagni Ludovisi Palace, lunch at La Scalla which just happened to be 2 blocks from my hotel (especially sweet after two bottles of wine).

All very heady. I love MM’s frame not to forget I’m B list just allowed to play in an A list world from time to time. Quite true and ever mindful how my friend Suzanne Deal Booth has introduced me to almost all my friends in Rome.

(I’ve also been working on plans to bring Steven here for at least 6 months in 2013. Rome is like Marfa for him – it inspires his creative energies and douses his commercial ambitions. This trip could only be better if he was with me.) Posted from my blackberry since I think the nuns are teaching me a lesson and denying me wifi access.

A Princess, a prince, a count . . .

(Community Matters) Suzanne Deal Booth gathers friends like Graham gathers notes. In the few short years we’ve been buddies (admittedly traveling a bit of the world together – hmm, wondering if David & Steven arrange this to gain a bit of rest) I’ve added several as my own. Last night at our table – a princess, a prince, a count, a travel writer & cook, an international architect, a writer & artist, an international art dealer and a lucky daughter – quite an evening honoring Italian artist, Luigi Ontani.

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Elizabeth Helman Minchilli

(Community Matters) One of the guests I enjoyed reconnecting with last night is Elizabeth Helman Minchilli. We met last year and were seated next to each other last night (imagine my delight to learn she’d requested this).  She’s lived in Europe on and off all her life and in Rome since college – married architect Domenico Minchilli (who’s designing the Four Seasons in Umbria) and raised her two college aged daughters in Rome & Umbria.

She’s got a blog and iPhone aps identifying the best restaurants in Rome & Florence and has written several books on the joys of Italian life.

off to meet her by the fountain in Piazza Madonna dei Monti for coffee this morning

Clare Jane Ulman

(Community Matters) Welcome to the world Clare Jane Ulman. Congrats proud parents, Amy Grace & Doug

American Academy in Rome

(Community Matters) in Rome for the American Academy in Rome’s annual McKim gala. First attended last year and Suzanne Deal Booth invited me to join her table again tonight. Embarrassed to admit I don’t know who is receiving the award tonight, last year it was Miuccia Prada who I met briefly (and apologies ahead of time: If she’s here tonight I’m begging for an invite to their Venice museum opening – see Vanity Fair)

The mission of the American Academy in Rome, founded in 1894, is to foster the pursuit of advanced research and independent study in the fine arts and humanities. It was created in 1913. It’s founders included William Kissam Venderbilt, Henry Clay Frick, John D. Rockefeller &  Andrew Carneige.

Susanne serves on their board; David was a board member previously. Highlights of the weekend include private tours of museums, homes, galleries, the Vatican and ,the capstone, an evening picnic and tour of residents’ work at the main academy mansion.

The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide

(Community Matters) Tony Kushner’s, The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures.

NYTimes photo

Second time to see the show – the first time was last month with my NY husband, Andy; last night with Steven. Not many nearly-four-hour productions merit a second visit. This is Tony Kushner; even Afghanistan merits a second – for the poetry of its monologue. Earlier in the year, Steven and I loved the Signature Theatre’s revival of his Angels in America.

Accustomed to Steven’s onions, with which even during a ninth viewing I discover new nuggets, the second viewing of  TIHGTCASWAKTTS isn’t the same, and I did grow closer to the characters. Mr. Kushner is a master character creator, if not the living master. And, dialogue . . . trying to think which other contemporary playwrights rise to Kushner’s level. I’m sure some do, I just can’t name another this morning while still hearing it in my mind. Of course, director Michael Grief deserves kudos for his dialogue choreography and staging. The actors are superb.

This NYTimes review better describes the plot and threads. I disagree with Brantley’s dismissiveness about the moral relevance of the play or its place among contemporary works. Comparing a play with the themes of faith, worker/capitalist strife and fidelity to one about our generation’s plague is a bit like comparing Guernica to the Chicago Picasso.

Obviously the struggles between workers and owners loom large. I’d like to better understand their intimacy in Mr. Kushner’s life. I met him once in Austin, even chatted a bit. Looking for mutual friends in New York – a long dinner seems appropriate.

Speaking of dance cards . . . disappointed not to have seen Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart (nominated for 5 Tony’s) this visit but will later this month. Having lunch today with my good friend and the play’s co-producer & patron, Paul Boskind.

Shiba Inu

(Community Matters) okay, I’m thinking maybe it’s time . . . or soon to be time

Charles Santos and I saw one in Chelsea last night, while late night dining outside. Steven and I attended a performance of Punchdrunk’s See No More – my second time; his first. He loved it and is eager to bring Hilary & Brent during our visit for the President’s LGBT dinner next month.

San Antonio

(Community Matters) What’s up with San Antonio?

Playbook: TOP STORY – N.Y. Times A1, at fold, “Big Crime Drop Over Recession Baffles Expert,” by Richard A. Oppel Jr.: “The number of violent crimes in the United States dropped significantly last year, to what appeared to be the lowest rate in nearly 40 years … The odds of being murdered or robbed are now less than half of what they were in the early 1990s, when violent crime peaked in the United States. Small towns, especially, are seeing far fewer murders … New York was the only city with more than a million people besides San Antonio with an increase in the total number of violent crimes … and the only one besides Philadelphia to see a rise in murders. … There were 2,245 murders in New York in 1990, but the total has been less than 600 for the past nine years.”