Monday, November 28, 2011


There’s nothing like a book to enchant the literary lions and this holiday does not disappoint. From ancient storytelling to children’s classics and a bit of a western fantasy it’s the Best of New York my friends, the very Best reading for holiday reading and gift giving. Here’s the scoop!!! STORYTELLING IN JAPANESE ART represents a long tradition of storytelling through paintings and illustrated books that trace the rich history of illustrated narratives that thrived in the medieval and early modern periods of Japan. The focus of this enchanting exhibit focuses on some 20 rare illustrated hand scrolls called emaki including the antics of animals in the roles of humans, the macabre escapes of ghosts and monsters and mischievous kitchen utensils that come out at night. Frolicking Animals, The Tale of the Drunken Dragon and Illustrated Legend of Kitano Shrine are among the magnificently illustrated scrolls that will delight adult and child. At The Sackler Wing Galleries for the Arts of Japan, 2nd floor. Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave. Through May, 2012.
50 YEARS OF ‘THE SNOWY DAY’ The golden anniversary of this classic children’s book by Ezra Jack Keats is a charming children’s story that even the most sophisticate of us would enjoy reading and giving as a gift. It coincides with an exhibition in his honor at the Jewish Museum. Keats’ life story is a metaphor of persistence and dedication. The book tells the story of a little Black boy named Peter exploring the new white world in his little red snowsuit whose senses come alive when he ventures alone into the snow. The book was controversial because it features a Black child and was released at the height of the civil rights movement in 1962. In writing ‘The Snowy Day” Keats transformed children’s literature forever. Book available at the Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave. Viking Children’s Books has published an oversize 50th anniversary edition of “The Snowy Day,” priced at $19.99. Visit
CRACKING ‘THE WHIP’ A quick-paced, wily tale is a fascinating blend of both fact and fiction by author, Karen Kondazian, who reveals the thirty years disguise of a noted stagecoach driver discovered to be a woman. The Whip is inspired by the true story of a woman, Charlotte “Charley” Parkhurst (1812-1879) who lived most of her extraordinary life as a man on the Wells Fargo Line. Tragedy drove her west to California, dressed as a man, to track the murderer of her husband and child but instead Charley became a renowned stagecoach driver. She killed a famous outlaw, had a secret love affair, and was the first woman to vote in America (as a man). Tuck that in your bonnet!!! Riveting…it’s sure to engage Western and historical fiction fans. Publisher .
STILL IN THE GAME, The Game of Kings: Medieval Ivory Chessmen from the Isle of Lewis. The Lewis Chessmen found in a sandbank in 1831 on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland’s chilly Outer Hebrides come out for viewing at the Cloister branch of the New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art where 34 of the 67 chessmen are on display. Made of walrus tusk or whale’s teeth, the chessmen are remarkable pieces, creamy white through traces of red remain in some places. Neil MacGregor the British Museum’s director selected them for his book which is available in the Cloister’s bookstore as well at the Metropolitan Museum’s book shops ($12.00 paperback).
Ta Ta darlings!!! I’m off to see “The Snow Day” again. It’s pure magic. Fan mail welcome: Or visit Polly’s Blogs go to and click in the right hand column direct link to several Blogs.

Monday, November 21, 2011


A delightful array of holiday treats from window shopping to musical events and virtual fashion dominate priceless holiday moments worth savoring. It’s the Best of New York, my friends. The very Best that celebrates the spirit of the season. Here’s the Scoop!!!
GAGALAND AT BARNEYS NEW YORK Yes, It’s ‘Beginning to Look like Gaga.” Gaga’s Workshop opens tonight at 11:59 p.m., offering more than 100 Gaga-inspired products throughout the store’s various installations. Shoppers entering Barneys on the 60th Street entrance will be greeted by a show-stopping entry, pictured left, by installation artist Eli Sudbrack: a giant neon Gaga monster framing the doors. The ’12 days of Gaga,’ will debut a product a day with the extravaganza closing on Jan 2. The fifth floor is transformed into eight stations that include the chocolate skull from Gaga’s candy shop, the boudoir a giant wig hosts all the makeup, fake nails and lipsticks; the spider installation where the jewelry is displayed a giant pop-up book. Gaga, the performance artist, does not disappoint with many other incredible venues, a ‘must-see’ event.
THE ARTIST, Polly’s Movie Pick of the Week opens this Friday. This light, comical and touching black-and-white silent French film set in Hollywood in 1927 will charm its way into your heart as it did mine when I saw a preview last week at the French institute Alliance Francaise. The hero, the happy-to-lucky movie star George Valentin, played by the dashing French actor Jean Dujardin, resists speaking at the dawn of talkies and therein is the plot of an almost speechless production. The film explores the relationship between the dashing Valentin, whose career is fading and a very sparkling young actress, a la flapper, Berenice Bejo whose star is on the rise. This homage to 1920s era Hollywood is a dazzling cinematic experience and there is an amazing little dog, a terrier with an important role named Uggie, that is quite frankly show stealer.
CHRISTMAS IN ITALY Award-winning international sing star CHRISTINA FONTANELLI takes you on a vocal journey through Italy’s most loved songs and arias, Neapolitan and Christmas classics with piano, mandolin, guitar and accordion accompaniment, plus a delightful addition the student choir. At the Danny Kaye Playhouse, 695 Park Ave. (Between Park and Lexington Avenues), Sunday, November 27 at 3 p.m. Senior/Student tickets $42, Regular $48, Premium $70. Box Office: 212.772.4448.
GIRARD-PERREGAUX EXHIBIT Created in honor of the firm’s 220th anniversary, the Girard-Perregaux traveling exhibition makes its final stop at the brand’s Madison Avenue boutique through Saturday, November 26th. The exhibit showcases the most important stages of Gerard-Perregaux’s history with emphasis on the technical and design aspects of watches and trends like Art Nouveau and Art Deco. This marks the first time that many of the company’s masterpieces, dating back to the late 18th and 19th centuries (it was founded in 1791) will ever be seen by the U.S. public. A rare opportunity, not to be missed!!!
Ta Ta darlings!!! I’ll see you at Gagaland tonight! Won’t miss it if I were you! Fan mail welcome Visit Polly’s Blogs, just click in the right-hand column on Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving with “Thanksgiving Reverence” poem, just click here

Monday, November 14, 2011


The Czech composer, Antonin Dvorak was perhaps the most successful nationalist of the 19th century and composed a series of works, Bohemian in style with explicit influence of folk music. Dvorak also spent some time in America, where his ideas on national music had a profound impact on his oeuvre. In a fitting tribute the St. George’s Choral Society pays homage to Dvorak’s great works this Sunday, November 20th at 3 p.m. at the landmark Church of the Incarnation. Under the baton of Dr. Matthew Lewis, Artistic Director, the choral society will sing Stabat Mater, Te Deum and Songs of Nature with full orchestra. Tami Petty, soprano and Stephen Bryant, Bass-Baritone are the featured soloists. It’s the best of New York, my friends, the very best concert to start this musical holiday season. Here’s the scoop!!!

Church of the Incarnation, 209 Madison Ave. @ 35th Street. Tickets $25 at the door. Tickets purchased in advance are $20 at

STABAT MATER is based on a Medieval Latin poem depicting Mary’s grief at Christ’s crucifixion. The mammoth work was begun in 1876 after the death of Dvorak’s daughter Josefa. With such grief at hand he then laid the work aside, but was moved to complete it several years later after the death of two more daughters. However, despite these loses Dvorak, a deeply religious man and ruralist at heart, was never happier than in the countryside of his native Bohemia. Dvorak’s rustic reserve no doubt influenced his “Songs of Nature,” that extol the beauty of nature replete with flies, moths and beetles and will be performed by the St. George’s chamber choir.
DVORAK AMERICAN SOJOURN Jeannette Meyer Thurber, one of America’s most influential music patrons shares a unique place in the history of American music. In 1885, she was founder of one of the most influential music schools in the United States, the National Conservatory of Music of America. Under her leadership she brought the great Bohemian composer Antonin Dvorak to New York and in 1891 he was invited to become the director of bespoke music organization, a role that he undertook with great gusto. During Dvorak’s sojourn in New York he composed a series of works that clearly have undercurrent that reflect his passion for American folk music.
DVORAK AND HARRY THACKER BURLEIGH The great Czech composer Dvorak lived in a modest house near Gramercy Park and had close ties with the parish of St. George’s Episcopal Church, where he was music director. The connection between AntoninDvorak and Harry ThackerBurleigh was an epic collaboration. Burleigh auditioned and won a scholarship from the National Conservatory of Music and took a job at St. George’s where Dvorak became Burleigh’s biggest influence as a composer. In 1894, Burleigh, auditioned for the post of soloist at St. George’s and through his talent and dedication he held the position for over fifty years. In his lifetime Burleigh became nationally and internationally known as an eminent American baritone, composer and arranger and for his Negro spirituals, many of them still popular today. His grandfather, Hamilton Waters, a former slave, had passed along old songs by singing them to his grandson Harry, including “Deep River” and “Sometimes I feel like a Motherless Child.” During Dvorak’s stay in New York the two artists collaborated on musical compositions. Burleigh’s unforgettable arrangement of “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” clearly resonates inspiration in Dvorak’s “Symphony No. 9, Op. 95, From the New World.”

St. George’s Choral Society is one of—of not the—oldest choral societies in Manhattan. It was founded in 1817 and continues to present concerts twice a year. Rehearsals take place on Wednesday evening in St. George’s Neo-Romanesque Chapel on Rutherford Place facing Stuyvesant Square Park.

Ta darlings!!! I’m not only singing in the chorus this Sunday, but I am sharing this Polly Talk column with you so that you will have greater reason to attend the performance. Fan mail welcome at Visit Polly at and click on one of her Blogs.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Extraordinary, wunderbar, stupendous works of art draw enthusiasts to the wonder of creativity that blankets the city with rare exhibitions. Only in New York my friends, its the very best of culture that proves that New York is the Center of the Art World. Here’s the scoop!!!
MAURIZIO CATTELAN ITALIAN ART PRANKSTER in an amazing ‘not to be missed,’ site-specific installation at the Guggenheim, Maurizio Cattelan suspends his entire body of work on a disorientating, seemingly haphazard mass in the center of the building’s Frank Lloyd Wright-designed rotunda. The unorthodox presentation, which is visible from the ground floor and from each ascending ramp, brings together every work the artist has created since 1989 in a wild array of some 120 sculptures, paintings, photographs, works on paper, taxidermied horses, dogs and shrouded Carrara marble forms in a sculptural environment that functions as a unified artwork in its own right. I preferred to take the elevator to the top floor and to descend the ramps which devoid of any mounted art work provide a stark canvas for this extraordinary show, which in itself is an engineering feat. Multiple tiers in a huge mobile though suspended in motionless animation seem to have some mysterious movement like a wild, wonderful merry-go-round. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Ave. at 89th St. through Jan. 22, 2011. For behind the scenes footage of the installation a multimedia app is available for download at
MECHANICAL WONDERS: ANTIQUE AUTOMATONS and CONTEMPORARY WATCHMAKING, The Sandoz Collection, is another extraordinary show, a Russian tour de force at La Vieille Russie, the venerable store-like museum located on the corner of 59th Street and Fifth Ave. Faberge’s Golden Peacock Egg along with many other treasures from the Maurice Sandoz’s collection are being seen for the first time by New York’s admiring public. Parmigiani Fleurier restored the collection which in addition to Fabrege’s Miniature Piano, the Youssoupoff clock and the Imperial Swan Egg includes timepieces, gold, pearl and enamel perfume spray gun and snuff boxes. Don’t miss the automation animals which include the gold, diamond, pearl enamel and turquoise frog, snake, mouse and a caterpillar. Other marvels include varicolored gold snuff box which opens to reveal a magician answering questions such as “What gives an illusion of happiness?” (money) and a bronze, enamel and glass cage with singing birds are on loan from a Swiss watch museum.
ERTE, THE FATHER OF ART DECO is synonymous with gorgeous illustrations and Harper’s Bazaar covers featuring his fantastical, chic but imaginary women. Born Romain de Tirtoff, Erte began his career working for the flamboyant French fashion designer Paul Poiret, who freed women from the restraints of corsets with his famous harem pant silhouette and waistless dresses. ERTE who continues to captivate and to weave a spell of magic in his illustrations gets his due at New York’s Martin Lawrence Galleries located at 457 West Broadway in a new retrospective that is a feast to the eyes. Opens Thursday, November 10 and lasts for a mere four days then travels on to other cities. 212.995.8865.
BOULUD SOU, NEXT DOOR BAR BOULUD AND EPICERIE BOULUD are Polly’s Restaurant pick of the week. Bouloud Sud, 20 W. 64 Street 212.595.1313 in a pristine sunlit setting serves Mediterranee style, while Bar Boulud, 212.595.0303, around the corner at 1900 Broadway satisfies the Lincoln Center rush crowd and adjacent Epicerie Boulud, 212.595.9605 offers quick lunch and take away delicacies including those famous macaroons.
Ta Ta darlings, I’ve already been to Erte and La Vieille Russie so I’m off to the Milk Gallery for the two-day, Nov. 10 to 12 exhibition of never before seen photos of Marilyn Monroe. Fan mail welcome: Visit Polly’s Blogs at