I went to see one movie at the Washington Jewish Film Festival - Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story. That was back on December 5th. The subject is, of course, one that is near and dear to my heart. I can't say there were actual surprises, but it was very enjoyable. It was a particular delight that they were able to interview Sandy Koufax, who is normally pretty reclusive.
Then I spent the better part of a week cleaning my house so Robert wouldn't see how I really live. He came in for the weekend of the 10th - and brought the best of British viruses along with him. We still had a fairly full weekend, including going out to Michel's (new restaurant by Michel Richard at the Ritz Carlton in Tyson's) on Friday night, where I ate tuna and creme brulee to the complete surprise of nobody who knows my tastes in food. On Saturday, I took him to see the crochet coral reef at the Smithsonian. We looked at other bits of the Museum of Natural History. Since he insisted on going through the human origins exhibit, I made him do the "see what you would look like as a Neanderthal" thing they had. I am pleased to say that Robert would have made a very handsome Neanderthal. We followed up the museum going with a late lunch / early dinner at Ray's Hellburger, so Robert could say he's been to a restaurant that President Obama has eaten at. (Twice, in fact.) And we went to a story swap. After that, we got home and I proceeded to spend the next 90 or so hour hours coughing. (I am still not completely over this annoying crud yet either, by the way. If he really wants to bring me something from London next time he is here, I recommend a box of tea.)
In between house cleaning, I had gone to hear Oliver Sacks speak at Sixth & I. Most of his talk was about prosopagnosia (face blindness) and his struggles with his inability to recognize faces. It was an interesting talk, though I have to say he is not, technically, a good speaker. He uses a lot of "ers" and "ums" and awkward pauses at odd places. Still, somebody talking passionately about a subject they feel passion for can overcome a lot of those problems and I found his speech witty and absorbing.
Other things I've done include going to the theatre, of course. I saw Candide at the Shakespeare Theatre Company. Leonard Bernstein's music remains triumphant, but the book has its weaknesses. In particular, the first act is too long. The production was an effective one despite that. I want to note the performances of Geoff Packard as a convincingly naive Candide and Jesse J. Perez who brought surprising life to the role of Cacambo.
I also saw Sunset Blvd at Signature Theatre. As a sign of having been out of things, I actually screwed up and went the wrong day, but they were kind enough to print me a new ticket and not point out my error. I've never seen the movie, so I found the story absorbing. But what a horribly bland score! I don't care for Andrew Lloyd Webber to begin with and this reminded me of why. In short, all of the characters sound the same. There is no attempt to use the music to elucidate character.
Amidst all of this, there were also a few assorted holiday parties. That's all over with and I can relax for a week or so before going on vacation.