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     By: Tanya
    "Fringe" Birthday / Bank Woes / R.I.P. Levi Stubbs Monday, 20 October 2008 18:41

    My birthday was two weeks ago and to celebrate, the Saturday before the actual day Philip and I went to dinner at Brasserie 8-1/2 www.rapatina.com , a very cool modern French restaurant in midtown on 57th street in that curvy building with the big orange "9" outside (being a perennial west-sider, I always thought it was an "e", approaching from that direction!).

    The ambiance was fantastic, I felt like I was in a dining room from the incredible Jacques Tati's "Playtime" www.imdb.com -- minus the post-meal destruction, natch. We started off with a celebratory glass of champagne, and shared a lovely French red wine with dinner. The food was wonderful, very modern and delicious. I started with a portobello & goat cheese tart appetizer, which had red and golden beets on the side -- I had never seen golden beets before, they were so tasty! Then for the entree I had the roasted maine halibut -- wow, I have a new favorite fish. This is the second time I've had a delightful halibut dish (the first was at my big favorite Water's Edge in Long Island City); it is *so* rich and flavorful, but not 'fishy fishy' tasting. There were so many flavors going on in this dish, mmmmmmm! My only complaint was they weren't serving a tasting menu, absolutely love those!

    For dessert we shared a frozen banana souffle, which was not actually a souffle, but it was a delicious and refreshing ending to the meal. It was a lovely night, and we decided to have a nightcap at Henry's in our neighborhood -- I of course opting for a port.

    On my actual birthday Philip was working, but I took the day off and (after a trip to the DMV to renew my license, ugh) went out to meet him on the set of "Fringe". I love this show, so I was *so* excited to visit! They were filming a scene in Walter's Lab, with Olivia (Anna Torv), Peter (Joshua Jackson), and my favorite character Walter (John Noble). The process of film making is fascinating to me, so much effort and care goes into it. I've visited a few of the sets of Philip's various jobs, and this one appeared to be the most collaborative -- it seemed that everyone contributed and was respected.

    My big thrill was meeting the wonderful John Noble, who brings Walter to life so brilliantly (and he was *amazing* as Denethor in LOTR!). He was just the sweetest and most gracious person, it was such an honor to meet him. I asked if he was relieved that a potentially embarrassing scene (for him) was written out of the script (I don't want to say what because I suppose they may yet use it in another episode!), and he said (paraphrasing) no, he was disappointed the scene was cut because it would have been one of those quintessential Walter moments people would remember. It was obvious that he not only has an incredible passion for his work, but he exudes such joy from it as well. I just can't say enough good things about him!

    I didn't have a chance to meet Anna or Joshua (I'm always so conscious on a film/tv set of how many hours and how hard everyone is working so I didn't want to impose), but they did seem very down to earth and they are incredibly talented (and Anna is so beautiful -- check out the new TV Guide cover! anna-torv-and-joshua-jackson-on-cover.html). The principals on this show are so well cast. I do wish I could have seen Lance Reddick (Broyles; and he was Lt. Daniels on The Wire! It's so cool that he's a Star Trek fan, he would be a *perfect* Starfleet Captain) and Jasika Nicole (Astrid) too...hopefully another time.

    But is was so wild to be on *that* set in the lab, and observe an actual scene being shot there. Philip took one quick photo of me when they were reversing the shot: tinyurl.com

    But my main birthday 'gift' was being with my sweetheart Philip, the man who gives me so much happiness

    On another subject, my...well, what *was* my current bank Washington Mutual failed almost a year to the day that my previous bank, NetBank failed tinyurl.com
    ...the last paragraph of that post is pretty sad in retrospect

    Philip joked that we should short-sell any bank that I do business with, lol!

    I am somewhat totally freaked about the current economic situation (I realize that may not make sense, but neither does the market)...my gut says it will get much worse before it gets better. But this is uncharted territory for me. Just hope we all make it through ok...

    Another note to say R.I.P. to the incredible Levi Stubbs of The Four Tops, that voice will never be duplicated. I wrote a bit about Levi in a previous post: 10387.html
    Thank you Levi for your enormous talent and spirit, and especially for the absolutely unsurpassable vocals on my favorite song, "Bernadette" Bernadette.mp3
    (I would be remiss if I didn't also mention the late great James Jamerson, what an unbeliveable bass line -- genius!).