Monday, February 28

The Cabaret: Andrea Marcovicci

Andrea Marcovicci
The season opening gala for The Cabaret at The Columbia Club showcased well-known Queen of Cabaret Andrea Marcovicci with Shelly Markham on piano.

"Queen of Quips and Tips" might be her unofficial title as the songbird made her way about the Crystal Terrace, flirting and chatting with old friends, who flew in just for her performance, and new friends, alike. As glamorous as the Hollywood stars from her younger days, Marcovicci swept onto stage with style, grace and sass. A regular at The Oak Room, the actress and singer chided one naughty guest for wearing the unacceptable attire....blue jeans.
Shelly Markham and Andrea Marcovicci
After the laughter quieted, the belle of the ball danced and sang her way through the years of movie classics, including Moon River, Swingin' on a Star, Days of Wine and Roses and a combination of Barbra Streisand's The Way We Were and Bob Hope's theme, Thanks for the Memory. The staple of Manhattan's cabaret scene's biggest asset is her ability to make the audience open as a flower in a hot house. With every song, sprinkled like magic growth potion, guests blossomed into a back-up choir, joking with each other and the songstress, gaining confidence while reliving cherished memories. By the end of the evening, the floral guests were planted firmly in their potted seats, awaiting another dose of potion from the music maker.

As Time Goes By
As has become my custom, I reviewed the most recent CD of the artist. Marcovicci's As Time Goes By, is a compilation of her best and two new songs, including the delightful Lies of Handsome Men. Other songs, As Time Goes By, On Such a Night as This and Beyond Compare take the listener along an avenue of used-tobe with the singer. Marcovicci's 17 albums, movie, television and stage career are well-documented and this CD brings it full circle as she and her admirers enjoy life's journey.

Bottom Line: Andrea Marcovicci and Shelly Markham create a longing to dance lovingly into the night, wrapped in the music, memories and moonlight.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, music, restaurant and theater critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC and follow her on Twitter @ejmusgrave1 and Facebook.

Gotta Go is published in M magazine and the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, West Side Community News, New Palestine Reporter, West Indianapolis Community News, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.
Photos:  marcovicci.comgreatexposures.net

Sunday, February 27

Food Review: Seasons 52

Seasons 52
When you write a column and blog, you are offered numerous opportunities not given to just anyone. Case in point: I received an invitation to a private dinner to taste-test the offerings at about-to-open-in-Indy, Seasons 52 restaurant. Situated in front of the Fashion Mall at Keystone, the Darden restaurant, a Florida-based chain, takes mid-level dining to a new high.

Setting the standard up several notches, 52 proudly admits to having No. 152 from the short list of the world's Master Sommeliers choosing the wine cellar's selections. Award-winning George Miliotes, a charming encyclopedia of wine, matched perfectly five courses of culinary deliciousness. A difficult task, pairing wines to food for two dozen critics at one setting; but he pulled it off admirably. Not a surprise, considering the level of difficulty in acquiring the Master Sommelier status. Among other honors, Miliotes was named Wine Spectator’s 2009 Award of Excellence.
George Miliotes

The venue, an understated elegant approach, soothed the ears, as well as the eyes, with a seven-days-a-week pianist, live in the bar area. Listening to tinkling ivories truly enhances the overall dining experience, and this extra nugget adds to an already pleasurable ambiance.

Senior Culinary Director Cliff Pleau and Executive Chef Bill Erath presented the cuisine from the seasonally changing menu consisting of the freshest ingredients 52 weeks out of the year; hence the name-Seasons 52. Presented with such attention to detail it's difficult  to remember you're sitting in the 16th eatery of the same name. The chef's choices were made more significant by the stories relayed to us, explaining the inspiration behind each course. The meal was an expression of love from the kitchen to the diners, without regard to anything except the reaction of the recipient.

Amuse-Bouche
What we ate
Appetizers-Flatbreads: Artichoke and goat cheese with leaf spinach, balsamic onions and roasted peppers; chipotle shrimp with roasted poblanos, grilled pineapple and feta cheese. Wine: Chartogne-Toillet Cuvee Sainte Anne, Champagne MV

Amuse-Bouche: Lump crab and haas avocado. Wine: Aveleda Vinho Verde, Portugal 2009

Second course: Organic Salmon and lemongrass sea scallop roasted on a cedarplank. Wine: Mer Soleiel Chardonnay, Central Coast 2008

Third Course: Earthbound Farm organic green with oak-grilled mushrooms, toasted pistachios and truffle dressing. Wine: Sinskey Pinot Noir, Carneros 2007

Mini Indulgences

Fourth Course: Sonoma goat cheese ravioli with roasted garlic, basil and light tomato broth. Wine: Sierra Cantabria, Rioja 2006


Fifth Course: Mesquite-grilled lamb T-bone chop and Manchester Farms quail breast, mashed sweet potatoes and bourbon-chili glaze. Wine: Markham Petite Sirah, Napa 2004; De Toren Fusion V, Stellenbosch 2007

Desserts: Mini Indulgences of carrot cake, fresh fruit, rocky road, pecan pie, Key lime pie, chocolate peanut butter mousse. Note* desserts also change with the season.

Bottom line: Presenting an entire dining experience, complete with seasonally fresh ingredients, "Wine, dine and relax" seems to be the motto for Indy's newest food choice.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, music, restaurant and theater critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC and follow her on Twitter @ejmusgrave1 and Facebook.
Photo Credit: EJMusgrave

Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, West Side Community News, New Palestine Reporter, West Indianapolis Community News, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

Thursday, February 24

DVD Review: You Again?

I know the majority of critics have pooh-poohed this movie.

Aaah...Critics...what are you going to do with us? We are each just one opinion. Find a critic, like me or another, with whom you agree more often than not and you'll have one who will guide you to flicks you have a good chance of enjoying.

For example, Disney's You Again? out on DVD now in a Blu-ray combo pack is getting several thumbs down from the "everything must be dramatic" critics. Nope, wrong. Some movies are created for just plain, good old-fashioned fun. I watched this DVD with two other females and one male. The male left the room, while the three chicks laughed throughout this flick.

Anytime Betty White (Golden Girls, The Proposal) is in a movie, you know it is likely to be fun and funny. Throw in Kristin Chenoweth (Glee, Wicked, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown), Jaime Lee Curtis (Freaky Friday, Trading Places), and Sigourney Weaver (Avatar, Ghostbusters), and you have the makings of an enjoyable film.

Not great, mind you. The light-hearted movie takes on the ages-old belief that we all had a bully in high school and that it bothers us throughout our lives. An easy plot, with plenty of humorous one-liners from Weaver, Curtis, Chenoweth and, of course, White, keep the laughs coming.

Marnie (Kristen Bell) is successful in business and returns home for the wedding of her brother, Will (James Wolk) to her high school tormentor, Joanna (Odette Yustman Annable). Operation Stop the Wedding commences. Mother (Curtis) attempts to deal with her own high school friend/enemy issues with Ramona (Weaver). The sometimes physical comedy is not asking to be taken seriously.

Bottom Line: Don't think too hard, just call the BFFs over for a girl's night and enjoy this movie, because it is a frolicking romp through teenage troubles and the lessons of growing up.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer and theater critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC and follow her on Twitter @ejmusgrave1 and Facebook.
Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

Wednesday, February 23

DVD Review: Alice in Wonderland

Disney's Alice in Wonderland is celebrating its 60th anniversary. Those who grew up on the story by Lewis Carroll about a fair-haired child falling down a hole and enjoying an adventure, will be happy at the news. But, is it appropriate for today's parenting style?



Alice In Wonderland 60th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Combo Pack
Maybe. And, then again, maybe not.

A disclaimer at the beginning of the film tells children in text that smoking is a bad idea. Problem is...preschoolers don't read big words. Children of an age to read probably already know Mom and Dad puff or know that it is bad...verrrry bad. Either way this disclaimer comes across as something inserted due to requirements by a government or watchdog group.

The film itself is exactly as remembered. Sweet, and silly, in a fun way. Alice follows a rabbit instead of sitting around being bored by her governess and ends up, literally, heads over heels in trouble and adventure. Taken at face value, this film still hits it out of the ballpark for animation, evolution of story and...that marvelous league of talent that, seemingly, only Walt himself could find and gather.
Sterling Holloway, also known for his portrayal of Kaa, the Indiana python, in The Jungle Book, provides the voice for the Cheshire Cat. Especially noteworthy is the comedic genius of Ed Wynn (1905-92) as the voice actor for the Mad Hatter.

Bottom Line: This Blu-ray included anniversary edition of Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland is a must-have for Disney film collectors and film lovers alike.


Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer and theater critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC and follow her on Twitter @ejmusgrave1 and Facebook.


Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

Tuesday, February 22

Food Review: Jockamo

When asked, I tell people I am a restaurant critic, not a food critic. The difference? My review covers more than food, by rating on the traditional 1-5 stars in six separate categories: Appearance, Menu, Service, Product, Style and Website.

Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza is well known in historic Irvington. Opening a second location was inevitable. Rather than following the well-worn path to Broad Ripple or Mass Ave, owners Mick McGrath, Nancy Duncan, and Bob and Laura Stark headed to 401 Market Place, Greenwood.

Upon entering Jockamo's, I was welcomed with a sweeping view of the warm, inviting decor. Hostesses handled well the wait list; a good sign. Once seated, the official inspection of the menu began — I admit to being a menu junkie.
Hummus
Appetizers include standard breadsticks with dips, as well as the interesting choice of hummus, a pureed chickpea dip. It’s accompanied by pita and toppings of onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, olive oil and Kalamata olives.

Sammies are represented by six choices, including the California roll with lump crab meat and the Healthwich. A variety of salads are offered, including Greek, spinach and house.

Caliente and S-Five
The bar area is set off by a half-wall from the spacious dining area, which has tables set far from each other, eliminating the jostling which occurs at so many eateries.

The beer and wine menu is nicely suited for the fare, while the entree menu is extensive, giving apt descriptions. Opting to halve two pies in order to taste four flavors seemed prudent. The recommended Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon stood up well to the pizza.

The ‘zas arrived piping hot with a not-too-thick crust and a balance of cheese and toppings. The Caliente was exactly that, hot, and covered with peppers. The Slaughterhouse Five is a generously portioned all-meat variety, while the Cheese Louise is a five-cheese treat.

The Philly Jack is a good version of the famous sandwich. Noteworthy is the quantity of choices available of traditional, original gourmet and custom styles. Sauces marry well with toppings and the crust is worth eating by itself.
The Philly and Cheese Louise

The service projects a small-town, favorite hangout feeling with greetings between guests and staff, who likely know each other from local activities. Friendliness, however, should never replace efficiency. These two key ingredients blend well at this tucked-away gem.

The website, found at jockamopizza.com, is easy to maneuver, but doesn’t encourage interaction from visitors. Also, when clicking on page four for the wine list, the kid's menu and soft drink list pops up instead. Listing local products used earns points as this topic becomes less of a trend and more of a decision-maker for diners.

Bottom Line: Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza knows what it wants to be and achieves it with quiet confidence. Nothing showy… just true to itself.

                                  Stars earned out of 5 
                                          ~ 4 ~

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, music, restaurant and theater critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC and follow her on Twitter @ejmusgrave1 and Facebook.


Photos: EJMusgrave, Jocakamo

Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, West Side Community News, New Palestine Reporter, West Indianapolis Community News, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

Sunday, February 13

True Brew by Rita Kohn

"I drink wine," I said politely, tilting my stemmed glass toward her, in response to her query as to why I don't write about beer in my column.


"You just haven't found the right beer," Rita Kohn rebutted.

"I don't like beer," I replied, hoping that would clarify the obvious to her. "Wine drinkers don't drink beer and vice-verse. Nothing personal you understand..."

If you've never met her ~ well, you should. I would not say she is one of those human dynamos you hear about. No, no ... Kohn is a quiet navigator, slightly adjusting whatever is necessary until you realize she's got you exactly where she intended all along. My agreeing to check out beer, in this case.

Kohn is well known in the world of hops and barley. She is the columnist of Beer Buzz, which is found in NUVO, an Indianapolis free weekly. True Brew, Kohn's latest book, not only highlights Indiana microbreweries, it gives insight to the origin of the beer movement in the Hoosier state.

From the transcript of the initial Indiana Craft Beer Round table meeting you are able to glean the prominent home brewers, judges and people of the microbreweries/brewpubs. Kohn's choice to use meetings and first-person interviews draws you into the relationship as if you were sitting and listening to them discuss things over a stout at Broad Ripple Brew Pub.

It covers all the breweries, sectioned into five geographical regions, with Indianapolis as the dominating region and Evansville home to just one. As the festivals, competitions and classes continue to grow, so will the locations and availability of this, not-just-a-trend, American staple.

True Brew covers the interconnected group including John Hill, the owner of the first Indiana brewpub, Joan Easley of Easley Winery who knows as much as, or more than, most of these guys, and Anita Johnson, owner of Great Fermentations, a beer-maker's dream store. The owners, the brewers, the judges and the suppliers all work together to create a stronger foundation for non-mass produced beer. Their goals are to educate the unaware, be involved in the community and provide top-quality brew.

So, do I like beer now? I understand that beer is like wine; that there are those who are passionate about it, those who are snobs regarding it, and that not liking one does not necessarily mean you won't like the other. Which means I will try bacon beer, stouts and every other type, until I find, as Kohn said, "the right beer."

Bottom Line: True Brew is the perfect book whether you are looking to learn about Hoosier craft beers, someone already in the business wanting to hear about the good ole days, or a novice beer drinker or brewer looking for advice and tips. Rita Kohn's True Brew wraps up the history, stories and facts in an enjoyable read.

Websites:
iupress.indiana,edu
indianabeer.com
BrewersofIndianaguild.com

Photo Credit: Kris Arnold

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer and theater critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC and follow her on Twitter @gottago and Facebook. Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, West Side Community News, New Palestine Reporter, West Indianapolis Community News, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

Monday, February 7

Beef and Boards: Hairspray

Seaweeed teaches Tracy to dance
Stepping back in time to the 1960s, Beef and Boards' production of Hairspray addresses prejudices against socially outcast overweight people through the main character, Tracy Turnblad, who in turn fights against racial prejudices, including segregation.

Never a comfortable subject, the eight-time Tony winning show uses a Baltimore dance show for teens and  popular music as the catalyst. Tracy (Jill Sullivan) wins a spot on the show using dance moves learned from her detention buddies who are only allowed to dance on "Negro Day" at school. Her closest ally, Seaweed, shows her the latest steps.
Edna and Motormouth

Newcomers to the B&B stage lit fire to the show with their performances. Angela Birchett as Motormouth Maybelle and Dan Dowling, Jr. as Tracy's mom, Edna Turnblad, stepped strongly into the Gotta Go spotlight this week. Birchett who has performed the same character on a national tour, captured the audience's
attention, particularly with I Know Where I've Been.
Edna and Tracy Turnblad

Dowling's take on the woman who is beaten down by years of nearly forgotten dreams shines as brightly as the red sequined dress he dons, complete with full-length red gloves.

The man who steps into the female role, portrayed by a male traditionally, was more than convincing as a woman, whether dressed dowdily or vamped up and stepping out of a giant hairspray can.


Edna and Wilbur Turnblad
Most notable is Dowling's duet and dance number with Tracy's father, Wilbur, portrayed by B&B favorite, John Vessels. The pair danced, sang and lovey-doveyed it up in the stand-out performance Timeless to Me.
Other note-worthy performances were turned in by Lindsay Porter as Little Inez, a little girl with big ambitions and the talent, energy and confidence to back it up; Sam Weber as teen heartthrob Link Larkin and Manning as Tracy's segregated friend Seaweed who has all the right dance moves.

Special note: With adult-themed comments and actions, this show may not be considered appropriate for the little ones.

Bottom Line: Beef and Boards' Hairspray shows, in a musical fashion, how the rules of segregation were changed one battle at a time.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer and theater critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC and follow her on Twitter @ejmusgrave1 and Facebook.
Photo credit: Julie Curry Photography
Website: BeefandBoards.com

Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, West Side Community News, New Palestine Reporter, West Indianapolis Community News, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

Thursday, February 3

Paul McCartney Really is Dead

Fans of conspiracies or The Beatles will find it interesting that somehow a mysterious cassette has surfaced with numerous claims. The subject? Once again, or perhaps still...Paul McCartney’s death.

Claims of McCartney’s secret burial, underhanded dealings, fear and clues are revealed in the DVD, Paul McCartney Really is Dead. Director Joel Gilbert of Highway 61 Entertainment describes the unusual occurrence:
“In the summer of 2005, a package arrived at the Hollywood offices of Highway 61 Entertainment from London with no return address. Inside were two mini-cassette audio tapes dated December 30, 1999 and labeled THE LAST TESTAMENT OF GEORGE HARRISON. A voice identical to Harrison tells a shocking story: Paul McCartney was killed in a car crash in November of 1966 and replaced with a double!”

Events are told in chronological order via the supposed voice of a scared George Harrison. The so-called Quiet Beatle was in the hospital recovering from a violent attack from a deranged fan. The story unfolds with interjected displays of reenacted scenes and actual interview and documentary footage.

Various clues are claimed to be on numerous album covers including: Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, “Yesterday”...and Today (The Butcher Cover), The Beatles (The White Album), Magical Mystery Tour,Yellow Submarine, Abbey Road and Let it Be.
Examples of album clues note McCartney: facing backward on Sgt. Pepper’s, appearing barefoot on Abbey Road, smoking “coffin nails” (cigarettes) on Rubber Soul and sitting inside a coffin (trunk) on the final cover of “Yesterday”...and Today.

Reasons are given for numerous song titles and lyrics, why the Beatle married Linda Eastman and, later, Heather Mills, even why he grew a beard and mustache.
Although the rumors of McCartney’s demise following a November 9, 1966 auto accident have been denied repeatedly by all involved, they still persist among the conspiracy theorists.

Taking in account the unlikelihood of the claim, this DVD is still a great addition for collectors of Beatles' memorabilia, conspiracy lovers and music historians. Bonus material includes a clip covering Bob Dylan’s relationship with the Fab Four and how he introduced them to marijuana.

Bottom Line: This new take, Paul McCartney Really is Dead, on the oldest rock music rumor is meticulous in its approach. Not many stones were left unturned...even the rolling ones.

Website: seeofsound.com
Photo: Submitted
Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer and theater critic. Catch her at gottago.us, as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC and follow her on Twitter @ejmusgrave1 and Facebook.
Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, West Side Community News, New Palestine Reporter, West Indianapolis Community News, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.