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Five Ways Nicoletta Can Respond to Those Not-So-Hot Reviews

photo(304)Melvin Felix Nicoletta got handed lemons and is
making lemonade.

Michael White has yet to respond to the harsh reviews of Nicoletta that have been the talk of the food world (and the cat world) for the past 24 hours. The star chef was unavailable for comment when we tried him yesterday, though he has now retweeted a few messages from supporters, including this one: “@pete_wells A bitter note seeped into your review. Ambitious owners? Long lines? Well-designed tables? Thick crust? Fine by me.”  

It remains to be seen what, if anything, Mr. White will say for himself. But looking at how East Village restaurateurs have responded to criticism in the past, it’s clear he has some options.

1. Respond in the comments
In March, Tompkins Square Bagels owner Christopher Pugliese replied to a none-too-positive assessment of his “bagel burger” special by saying the joke was on the reviewer, Josh Ozersky: “I probably put more thought into what color chalk to use on the special board than to that burger,” he wrote in the comments. During the ensuing exchange with Mr. Ozersky, the bagelsmith conceded, “I should not have responded so strongly because this fellow Josh was just doing his job,” going on to explain, “I am very passionate about my bagels. To call them light, airy confections and poke fun at my clientele, got me riled up.” Read more…

Murder and the Cosmos at Theater for the New City

The Fourth State of MatterEva OstrowskaSamantha Glovin as a café waitress and Andrew W. Hsu as Liao Chen in “The Fourth State of Matter”

In “The Fourth State of Matter” by Joseph Vitale, directed by Robert Angelini, a brilliant Chinese astrophysics student studying at an American university has murdered his beloved academic mentor, an eminent cosmologist. Loosely based on shootings at the University of Iowa in 1991, the play explores the genesis of this tragedy, finding parallels in cosmology and its exploration of the universe and its origins.

Played by Andrew W. Hsu, Liao Chen is a stranger adrift in a foreign land, dealing with the effects of his mother’s mental illness and the threat of fierce competition from fellow students for academic honors. These particles making up Chen’s existence culminate in the murder around which the play is set — the cataclysmic Big Bang, so to speak. Read more…

At The Red Room, ‘Lines’ Tangles With Race, Religion, and Football

Emily Bennett, Jeff Sproul, Annelise Rains, & John Hardin Photo by KL ThomasK.L. ThomasEmily Bennett, Jeff Sproul, Annelise Rains and John Hardin in The Horse Trade Theatre Group’s “Lines”

When was the last time you went to a play where you were asked to sign a petition to release a political prisoner before getting to your seat? “The play deals with human rights, so it makes sense that we would be here,” the woman from Amnesty International explained to me. “The script is very powerful.” With these words and director Heidi Grumelot’s introduction emphasizing the play’s interest in social justice, “Lines” was framed: I was ready to have my mind blown by some political theater.

And yet, if I hadn’t been told the play was about human rights, I’m not sure I would have known.

“Lines” is set in an imaginary country where an actual line has been drawn, segregating blacks from whites. On one side of the line is white funeral director Doc; on the other is Bullet, a black football coach. Their lives get intertwined in scandal when a young black man, Keys, dies on the “white” side. Doc’s decision to bury Keys, which breaks the town’s segregation laws, leads to a series of mix-ups and subplots — some funny, some somber. Read more…