How about a little Weekend Fun Ticket Stub?
* On Saturday, Kim & I stopped for lunch on our way to the movies (see below) at the locally renowned El Pelon Taqueria, in the Fenway. Mmmmm, giant burritos -- she had bean, I splurged on carne asada, both with guac. They are the kind that can sit up vertically on the plate without assistance, muy grande. Totally hit the spot (and then some), and made us extra glad we didn't pop in to Burger King around the corner for the "Meat-Normous Omelette Sandwich" advertised in the window. :-0
* Something New -- After the filling burrito lunch, we trundled over to the AMC Fenway for a matinee, unfortunately too early to miss the blaring pre-show music and commercials, grrrrrr. I don't meant the trailers, I mean that annoying fake radio station they play in the auditorium, featuring forgettable recording artists' latest releases (like Tony Orlando & Dawn singing "Christmas in New York," how timely). Aaaaanyway, the movie was just what we hoped for: a solid romance with a sprinkle of social commentary, just a sprinkle. This is no "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" -- for one thing, it's about class (especially perceived class) almost as much as it is about race, which is refreshing, and the quick-footed romance plot is comfortingly familiar, without being too dull. Sanaa Lathan plays uptight accountant Kenya with a touch of Monica Geller neurosis, not to mention some palpable loneliness, mixed into her high-achieving black professional attitude. Then she meets Brian, the sunbleached hippie landscape architect (and amazingly Simon Baker manages to give this idealized role some grit), and starts loosening up, bit by bit. It's a classic Pygmalion story, really. I could've done with someone other than dino-stud Blair Underwood as the "other man," but the rest of the cast acquit themselves well, without sliding too far into cliched territory. A juicy color palette and attentive editing keep it moving through the Cinderella finale. Extra points for Alfre Woodard, who continues to play against type here as the surprisingly shallow matriarch. (B+)
* On Sunday, Nat & I attended the SuperBowl of young opera singers. No, really. His parents and their friends (and apparently an entire auditorium full of other groupies) attend the New England Regional Finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions every year, to check out budding new talent and try to guess the judges picks. We were seated right in the front, so we saw and heard each intake of breath, and there were a lot of those. 9 women and 2 men (an unusally high number of sopranos) sang two selections each, one that they chose and one the judges picked from their repertoire at random. The stage was bare except for a grand piano and a large vase of flowers, and the women wore these amazing formal gowns, somewhere between a bridesmaid's dress and a costume. They ranged in age from 21 (!) to 28, and in vocal ability from "well-trained" straight on to "mindboggling" -- the 21-year-old was a guy who sings countertenor, what sounds like a soprano (or castrato?) except with great booming power behind it, and he took home the "Encouragement Award," as he probably has a long career ahead with his unusual range. I managed to pick only one of the 3 winners, but the gift of all that music was exciting enough. Who knew there was a opera of The Rake's Progress, let alone of Little Women? (A+)
* One last gustatory note, we had dinner at Brasserie Jo after the opera concert, treat after treat! If the little frisee garnish on the appetizer plates is better than most full-sized salads you get at most restaurants, you know your entree's going to be good. And then there was dessert....Just a few points off for slightly bumpy service, and a strange lack of everything Nat's dad wanted to order to drink, but hey, it was SuperBowl Sunday and the place was empty. I'll remember that next year... (A-)