At Home

Let me up front: I write about the performing arts, specifically music and a bit about theatre, or what little there is of both of those these dog days of Covid19 in the realm of live performance. Of dozens of posts on this blog over the past year, 95% of them have been reviews of recordings. My take on those is that if you like and believe what I say and you are inclined to buy a particular CD I have done my job.

But I have done zero coverage of on-line performances since mid-March, doubting the usefulness of a review of something as ephemeral as a concert or a play on line. True I have sung the praises of a few websites that regularly feature free streaming of concerts and operas, knowing that most of their offerings are up for just a few days, if that long. But no more.

Given that there is little available these days worthwhile enough to substitute curling up on your favorite chair with a good book, I have decided to share with our readers a few likes of mine including recent reads and favorite TV shows that one can still access on reruns or view on scheduled times on one’s favorite platform.

Consider this not a Holiday-themed gift but an end-of-year list of ways to stay sane during the iffy months ahead.


Quichotte – Salman Rushdie – A dizzying, wickedly funny journey through an America on the verge of moral collapse, Rushdie’s most recent yarn is a contemporary take on Cervantes’ classic tale of a knight errant in search of an impossible dream.

The Indispensable Composers – Anthony Tommasini – A loving, learned visit with thirteen composers, chosen by America’s foremost music critic not by their greatness but by their significant contributions large and small to the field of classical music.


Law & Order: Special Victims Unit – TV’s longest-running primetime drama now in its 25th season on NBC stars Mariska Hargitay as Lt. Olivia Benson. The award-winning show is the highlight of our Thursday evenings of guilty pleasure, thanks to intelligent writing, top-notch acting, and the unpredictable twists and turns of its plots.

FBI – Also on NBC and also on Thursday evenings, this show’s ensemble cast and sober tone makes TV watching a pleasure.

The Crown – If you thought you had had it with long-running made-in-England series think again. This one is gigantic, but each episode of the forty we binge-watched over the past few weeks glued us to the screen thanks to its cast of nearly forty of England’s best and brightest acting talent and the titillating plots – some close to reality,  some outlandish but oh so much fun. Up ahead: seasons five and six. Can’t wait…

Rafael de Acha