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Books, Plays, and Restaurants Update

Harley-Davidson Rolling Sculpture – A Pictorial Celebration Of The First 95 Years by Doug Mitchel. Nobody but a Harley rider would be interested in this book. It is a very nice chronology showing how the bikes have evolved. Great photography.

This weekend marked the twentieth year in a row that a group of longtime friends have gone to New York City to a broadway play and dinner. The play this year was Hairspray and it was really outstanding. Dinner followed at Chez Napoléon — yes, a French restaurant.

Hairspray is based upon a film written and directed by John Waters, with a book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan, music by Marc Shaiman, and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Hairspray is directed by Jack O’Brien and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell. Hairspray takes place in 1962 – the ’50s are out and change is in the air. Baltimore’s Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, has only one passion — dancing. She wins a spot on the local TV dance program, “The Corny Collins Show” and, overnight, is transformed from outsider to irrepressible teen celebrity. She goes on to dethrone the program’s reigning princess, win the heart of swooner Link Larkin, and integrate a television show — all without denting her ‘do’. This was one hilarious musical comedy. Hairspray stars Marissa Jaret Winokur as Tracy Turnblad, and Harvey Fierstein, as her irresistible stage mother, Edna were fantastic. The 60’s-style singing and dancing were non-stop, high energy, extraordinary performances.

The French have banned British beef and the British are urging shoppers not to buy Beaujolais Nouveau wine (see BBC story). Some in America are have stopped buying French products. Dinner reservations after Hairspray were at Chez Napoléon. One member of our group had made the reservation months ago. Some felt uncomfortable with the choice — until we settled in and interacted with the staff. Chez NapolĂ©on is a French family-run restaurant that has been in New York City’s Theater district for over 40 years. The restaurant is quite small — seating only 40 people — and had a very quiet, homelike atmosphere. The authentic French dining menu selections are cooked by the Bruno family’s 81 year-old matriarch,. familiarly known as ‘Grand-mere’ Marguerite. The people were very friendly and service oriented. It was unanimous among our group that it would be unfair to boycott these fine American citizens because they came from a country that has a political difference with our own. The generation of people who own and operate this restaurant certainly recall the war that took place in their country more than fifty years ago and the supportive role that Americans played in it. I suspect they do not agree with the position taken by the French government to not provide the support the Americans had hoped for in the current crisis. As we got up to leave after dinner we saw a sign on the wall that said, “We Did Not Forget — First Annual D-Day Celebration on June 6. The Coquille St. Jacques was awesome.