Carl D’Aquino’s Summer Doings

Travels: We will be staying at the  lovely 17th century Château de Villiers-le-Mahieu in Northern Burgundy for part of August. If it looks like a Medieval fortress, that’s because although it was built in 1642, it incorporates the remains of a 13th century moated castle. It has a marvelous spa, formal gardens, and wonderful groves of fruit trees. The wildly successful painter Bernard Buffet called the Château home in the 1970s.

Château de Villiers-Le-Mahieu, Northern Burgundy
The 17th century Château de Villiers-le-Mahieu in Northern Burgundy.

In Town: Two summer musts are visits to the Noguchi Museum and the Morgan Library & Museum. At the Noguchi, the sculpture garden alone is always worth the trip out to Long Island City. In the atrium at the Morgan, there’s an amazing, soaring installation called The Living Word by the Chinese artist Xu Bing. It runs through September, so you’ve got time to check it out.

The Sculpture Garden at the Noguchi Museum in Long Island City
The sculpture garden at the Noguchi Museum in Long Island City.

Xu Bing installing The Living Word at the Morgan Library
Chinese artist Xu Bing installs his work The Living Word at the Morgan Library.

The Living Word by Xu Bing at the Morgan Library

The Living Word begins as written Chinese text (the dictionary definition of “bird”) on the floor that breaks away and ascends into the air . . .

The Living Word by Xu Bing at the Morgan Library

. . . where the characters morph into the ancient Chinese pictograph for “bird.”

Summer Reading: For long transatlantic flights, it’s always a classic Henry James novel like The Golden Bowl, plus a good sci-fi such as Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of  Electric Sheep?, the book that the movie Blade Runner was based on–Ridley Scott is slated to direct the sequel next year.

The Golden Bowl, by Henry James

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick

Stage & Screen: During the summer, I try to get to the theater every couple of weeks. The highlight so far has been Tyne Daley’s electrifying performance as Maria Callas in the revival of Terrence McNally’s diva drama, Master Class. I’m a big fan of art movie revival houses–Film Forum, the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center, and the Rose Cinemas at BAM–mostly for Italian movies from the 1960s and ’70s, but also for rarities like a recent screening of the great Japanese director Kon Ichikawa’s 1983 masterpiece, The Makioka Sisters.

Tyne Daly as Maria Callas in Terrence McNally's Master Class

Tyne Daly is mesmerizing as that prima donna assoluta, Maria Callas, in the current Broadway revival of Terrence McNally’s Master Class.

Francesco Rosi's political thriller Illustrious Corpses
The gifted Italian director Francesco Rosi’s stunning 1976 political thriller, Illustrious Corpses, was screened in a season of his movies at BAM this month.

Director Kon Ichikawa's The Makioka Sisters
A glowing new print of Kon Ichikawa’s ravishing 1983 masterpiece, The Makioka Sisters, was given a two-week run at Film Forum earlier this summer.

Sophia Loren in Marriage, Italian Style
Sophia Loren–the most luscious movie comedienne ever–in Vittorio De Sica’s  Marriage, Italian Style. The quick-witted 1964 social satire, which also stars Marcello Mastroianni, will be revived at Film Forum in September.