The Best of Anthony Bourdain


What to read, what to watch and what to listen to by and about the chef, TV host and author who died on Friday.

Anthony Bourdain in Hanoi, Vietnam, in May 2016.CreditWilliam Mebane

The chef, television host and author Anthony Bourdain died on Friday at 61. CNN, the network on which his TV show “Parts Unknown” aired, said that he killed himself in a hotel in France, where he was working on an episode. He has left his mark in restaurant kitchens and libraries — both fiction and nonfiction. And as The Times obituary said, “as an author and then a host,” he had redefined “the staid genres of food writing and food-tourism shows with an inquisitive but rebellious image that endeared him to fellow chefs, restaurant-goers and travelers.”

Here is what to read, what to watch and what to listen to by and about Anthony Bourdain.

In His Own Words

The New Yorker

In his famous 1999 New Yorker piece about what really goes on in restaurant kitchens, “Don’t Eat Before Reading This,” Bourdain warned readers, “If you are one of those people who cringe at the thought of strangers fondling your food, you shouldn’t go out to eat … By the time a three-star crew has finished carving and arranging your saddle of monkfish with dried cherries and wild-herb-infused nage into a Parthenon or a Space Needle, it’s had dozens of sweaty fingers all over it.”

Read “Don’t Eat Before Reading This”


The New York Times

Shortly after the publication of his 2000 memoir, “Kitchen Confidential,” The Times spent an evening in the kitchen with Bourdain at his restaurant, Les Halles. “People ask us to do some pretty ugly things to the food,” he admitted. “But I don’t throw plates any more. I don’t try to make people cry any more.”

Image
Anthony Bourdain during his time on the Travel Channel and the last season of “No Reservations.”CreditTravel Channel

‘Parts Unknown’

Bourdain’s travel and food show, currently in its 11th season on CNN, has been a cultural force since its inception, winning five Emmys and a Peabody Award so far. (Eight seasons are available right now on Netflix.) The series uses food as an entryway to nuanced conversations with people across the world about their politics, their daily lives, their hopes and fears, and there is seemingly nowhere “Parts” hasn’t explored — including Myanmar in the early 2010s, as well as countries and regions like Gaza and the West Bank and Iran, offering local perspectives rarely seen on Western TV. The show’s punk stylings, the obvious delight Bourdain takes in eating with Michelin star chefs and roadside food vendors alike, and the show’s diverse array of special guests (President Barack Obama, Iggy Pop and the director Darren Aronofsky are just a few) combine to make “Parts” a thoughtful and exciting world tour.


‘No Reservations’

“No Reservations” is where Bourdain’s TV career really took off. The show debuted on the Travel Channel in 2005, showcasing Bourdain’s signature curiosity, swagger and lyricism. As food- and travel-blogging exploded, “No Reservations” became the gold standard for thoughtful adventure — and because the Travel Channel felt awfully obscure, the show sometimes felt like a hip secret. That secret got out in 2006, when Bourdain and his crew got stuck in Beirut during an armed conflict; that episode is among the show’s most interesting because it’s the exact opposite of other lifestyle shows. “No Reservations” went on to 12 Emmy nominations (and two wins). The show is available for purchase on Amazon.


‘The Mind of a Chef’

Bourdain produced and narrated this brainier, more personal approach to the shameless pleasures of food porn. Still, he kept himself mostly out of the spotlight, training it instead on a rotating cast of Michelin-approved chefs and restaurateurs as they explained their relationships to specific foods or regions. In one installment, the Momofuku mastermind David Chang effuses about his lifelong passion for ramen; in another, the British virtuoso April Bloomfield gives a survey of bangers and mash. It’s a light and positive celebration of food and culture — a departure from the quick-cut chaos of such crowd-pleasers as “Iron Chef” or “Chopped” — with fresh insights from authoritative and camera-friendly personalities. The show ran for five seasons on BBC and PBS, which are all available on Netflix. (A sixth aired last year on Facebook Watch.)

Memorable Clips

Sharing a Beer With President Barack Obama

Bourdain was someone everyone wanted to eat with — knowing his enthusiasm could get them into restaurants, and to experience food, they otherwise never would. This was best shown in 2016, when the White House asked if President Barack Obama could eat with him during an official visit to Vietnam.


Cooking Hashish Sweets in Morocco

Bourdain was candid about past drug use, which included cocaine and heroin. He was also unafraid to discuss drugs in his TV show. In this clip from an episode of “Parts Unknown” in Morocco he learned Moroccans make hashish-containing sweets.

“Of course network standards and practices prohibit me from even tasting this delicious and reportedly mind-altering treat,” he said.


Evangelizing for the Waffle House

“An irony free zone where everything is beautiful and nothing hurts,” is how Mr. Bourdain describes Charleston, S.C. “Where everybody regardless of race, creed, color or degree of inebriation is welcome.”

Bourdain was so associated with globe-trotting it is easy to forget his love of the United States’ own cuisine, and it comes across fully in this ode to a waffle house. It is “a beacon of hope and salvation inviting the hungry, the lost, the seriously hammered, all across the South to come inside,” he added.


Giving Insights Into Iran

“Parts Unknown” often felt like a commentary on foreign policy. In this episode in Iran, for instance, Bourdain experiences the country’s hospitality in full force by eating in a family home.

Anthony Bourdain’s death prompted an outpouring of grief and tributes

‘Avengers,’ the Most Lucrative Movie Franchise Ever, Is Wrapping Up. Why?


Now Marvel says it wants to clear the table it has spent the last 10 years arranging and make way for something new.

“Telling a great story requires a great ending,” Kevin Feige, the Marvel Studios president, said. “When you dedicate yourself to that, it shifts the way you think.”

Audiences are about to find out what finality looks like for a motion-picture money-minting machine: Will the story actually come to a conclusion? Will characters die, and will actors leave the series?

Whatever the answers, they have already been reached with the help of the Russo brothers, two of Marvel’s most consistent and diligent — if not widely recognized — filmmakers.

When they finish their “Avengers” movies, which they shot back to back over 18 months, the Russos will complete their own improbable arc, from indie-cinema oddballs to TV comedy moguls to directors of possibly the biggest franchise in movie history.

The brothers — Anthony, 48, the bespectacled brainstormer, and Joe, 46, the square-jawed pragmatist — have contrasting but complementary energies. As Mr. Downey described them, Anthony is “a bit more reflective, a yin guy,” while Joe is the intense yang of the partnership: “Bitcoin was invented to keep Joe Russo from killing himself during the last 20 percent of the shoot,” Mr. Downey said.

When they’re together, Mr. Downey added, “It’s like the two of them make a third thing that’s better than any one person could be.”

The Russos grew up in Cleveland, where their father, Basil M. Russo, served as Democratic majority leader of the City Council. When the city went into an economic tailspin in the 1970s and ’80s, the brothers immersed themselves in movies and learned to appreciate their creative isolation.

As Anthony Russo explained it, “The virtue of growing up in the industrial Midwest is you have nothing to rub up against you and no one to tell you that you can’t do what you want to do, because nobody’s doing anything. You can just be a dreamer.”

Photo

The many Marvel characters in “Infinity War” include, from left in the foreground, Okoye (Danai Gurira), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).

Credit
Marvel/Disney

They spent three years and $30,000 writing and directing an independent feature, “Pieces,” about three brothers — also named the Russos — who dabble in crime. Despite some withering reviews — Variety called it an “unabashed vanity project” — “Pieces” caught the attention of Steven Soderbergh at the 1997 Slamdance Film Festival.

With his help, the Russos made their first studio movie, a comic crime caper called “Welcome to Collinwood,” with George Clooney, William H. Macy and Sam Rockwell. But it flopped at its release in 2002.

For the next several years, the Russos focused on directing television shows, including “Lucky,” a short-lived FX series, and “Arrested Development,” the rapid-fire satire that became a cult hit on Fox.

Despite critical acclaim, “Arrested Development” got notoriously low ratings. But the Russos said this lack of attention was a blessing in disguise, allowing them to experiment with narrative, tone and pacing, unencumbered by interfering network executives.

“They so didn’t get the show that they really didn’t care what you did,” Anthony Russo said, adding, “It was a huge creative upside.”

The Russos used NBC’s “Community,” another well-reviewed comedy with a meager viewership, to stage elaborate tributes to “Star Wars” and the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone. It was here that their work caught Marvel’s attention.

At the time, the studio was generating hits with its earliest superhero offerings, made by established filmmakers — “Iron Man,” directed by Jon Favreau; “Captain America: The First Avenger,” directed by Joe Johnston. But Marvel wanted to expand its portfolio rapidly and bring in TV directors.

Marvel also wanted to shift the tone of its “Captain America” movies, starting with the 2014 sequel, “The Winter Soldier.”

“The first one was a fairly patriotic, gung-ho World War II movie,” said Christopher Markus, who wrote the “Captain America” films with Stephen McFeely. “You can’t make a string of those before you get slightly nauseous.”

The goal of “The Winter Soldier,” Mr. Markus said, was to show Captain America “losing faith in all the institutions that had made him, giving you a way to see him as relevant in the modern era.”

The Russos envisioned “The Winter Soldier” as a modern-day upgrade of espionage thrillers like “Three Days of the Condor,” and the studio responded strongly. When the movie sold $714 million in tickets worldwide, Mr. Feige said the Russos “redefined the franchise — not just the Cap franchise but all the Marvel movies going forward.”

“They found a way to keep the wonder, keep the spectacle, but ground it even more in realism,” Mr. Feige said. “Which is a word I use lightly when it comes to our movies.”

The Russos succeeded again with “Captain America: Civil War,” an overstuffed 2016 sequel in which the Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and a new incarnation of Spider-Man (Tom Holland) were introduced, and the adventurers took sides in a conflict between Cap and Iron Man.

Even before “Civil War” became a $1.15 billion global smash, Marvel had already started putting the pieces in place for what Mr. Feige called “the big finale of the initial story line we were developing.”

The plan was ambitious: Mr. Markus and Mr. McFeely would write two “Avengers” movies, generated from a 60-page manifesto they started working on in 2015. All the major Marvel heroes had to be accommodated, and still more characters would be introduced. “Not every scene can be 25 people in a room,” Mr. McFeely said. “You’re going to have to make kickball teams and then have a tournament.”

With scripts in hand, the Russos would film these movies consecutively. In Mr. Feige’s mind, there were no other directors who could handle the task of doing “ three straight years of filmmaking.”

Mr. Feige said, “There are two of them, which helps. But their individual stamina is unmatched.”

The Russos moved from Los Angeles to Georgia for two years, where “Avengers: Infinity War” and its sequel were shot, principally at Pinewood Atlanta Studios. (They estimate that they took a break of about three weeks between filming the two movies.)

They said making the movies this way was an irresistible challenge — one that has been attempted by very few directors, including the Wachowskis (“The Matrix” series) and Peter Jackson (the “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” franchises) — and a test of their fortitude.

Photo

But wait there’s more: From left, Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Drax (Dave Bautista), Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) are also in the film.

Credit
Marvel/Disney

Describing the process, Anthony Russo said, “You’re a really good marathon runner and you know how to train for it. All of a sudden, you’re running a double marathon. You can’t really understand it until you do it.”

The Russos acknowledge that the films were made this way, in part, for economic reasons: it’s cheaper for Marvel to hire actors — dozens of them, some of whom are very costly — for months at a time, rather than make individual deals for each movie.

Though they must serve many corporate masters at Disney and Marvel, and Mr. Feige is known for having a strong hand in his films, the Russos say they were given the latitude to make the movies they want to make.

“It’s no different than making any kind of narrative in a medium where capitalism thrives,” Joe Russo said. “You have to have a Zen resilience about what it is that you want to do, and then do a really good job at it. And everybody stays out of your hair.”

Mr. Downey, who first worked with the Russos on “Civil War,” said they were well served by their TV training, which has taught them to be quick and collaborative.

At any given moment on these films, Mr. Downey said, “we’ve got 80 things that are going to blow up, collide — story points that are all about to happen at once.” When one of the Russos had a new idea, he said, they would approach him with a gentle query: “Let me pitch you this.”

“No one takes it personally, and then the idea emerges,” Mr. Downey said. “It ends up an amalgam of everything that didn’t hit the floor.”

The Russos aren’t revealing much about how, exactly, their “Avengers” movies will bring closure to this phase of the Marvel cinematic saga. (They wouldn’t even disclose the title of the movie that follows “Infinity War,” protesting that even this much information would be a spoiler.)

“Ultimately,” Joe Russo said, “what you’ll see by the end of the movies is, what does it cost to be a hero in a world where there are no easy answers? I think that’s the world we live in.”

Photo

Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Tony Stark (Mr. Downey), Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and Wong (Benedict Wong) share another scene.

Credit
Marvel/Disney

Death is a staple of comic books. Beloved characters are killed off all the time, sometimes replaced by successors who inherit their costumes and identities: Bucky becomes the new Captain America; Jane Foster the new Thor. There’s no reason to believe that their motion-picture counterparts aren’t similarly mortal and similarly interchangeable.

Mr. Evans has made no secret of his desire to move beyond the “Captain America” movies. Meanwhile, Mr. Downey — who introduced himself in a phone interview as “Robert Downey Jr., retired film actor” — is already working on his next prospective tentpole movie, “The Voyage of Dr. Dolittle.”

He talked about his time with Marvel in retrospective tones, and reflected on an encounter with Keanu Reeves, who at the time had just finished making the first “Matrix” movie.

“I was like, ‘Hey, dude, how’d it go?’” Mr. Downey recalled. “He said, ‘I’ve been on another planet.’ Right now, I’ve been on the planet Dolittle for a while. Being detached from it has given me a lot of warmth, affection and objectivity about this past decade.”

Of course, the Marvel engine will keep chugging away. “There will be more movies with some of these characters,” Mr. Feige said, “and with lots of new characters.”

Disney’s pending acquisition of Fox would add even more familiar heroes to Marvel’s toy chest, including the X-Men and Fantastic Four. But Mr. Feige said it was “way too soon” to make plans for these properties.

“We’d love to have all the characters back,” Mr. Feige said. “It’s a dream. But we’re plenty busy with the next five films.”

The Russos, too, are preparing for their post-“Avengers” lives. They have established their own production company, Agbo Films, whose executives include Mr. Markus and Mr. McFeely and which has already secured $250 million in private Chinese funding.

The brothers are elliptical about whether there are more Marvel movies in their future. “We wanted to maximize our options as storytellers and artists,” Anthony Russo said. “We’ve structured our business life in a way to support that. It can be, or it can’t be. We’ve kept all options open.”

Joe Russo said there are still some “very personal projects we want to make,” adding that he and Anthony want to nurture up-and-coming filmmakers just as Mr. Soderbergh did for them. “We owe a karmic debt to the universe because of what Steven did for us,” he said.

The reality, though, is that the Russos are not even finished with “Avengers.” Once “Infinity War” is released, there is still a whole additional movie for them to construct from untold hours of raw footage, a task that they estimate will take them at least until the end of the year. “There are months of work left on it,” Anthony Russo said. “It will be very cathartic for us to come out the other end. That’s when our brains can open up to what’s next.”

Continue reading the main story

‘Avengers,’ the Most Lucrative Movie Franchise Ever, Is Wrapping Up. Why?


Now Marvel says it wants to clear the table it has spent the last 10 years arranging and make way for something new.

“Telling a great story requires a great ending,” Kevin Feige, the Marvel Studios president, said. “When you dedicate yourself to that, it shifts the way you think.”

Audiences are about to find out what finality looks like for a motion-picture money-minting machine: Will the story actually come to a conclusion? Will characters die, and will actors leave the series?

Whatever the answers, they have already been reached with the help of the Russo brothers, two of Marvel’s most consistent and diligent — if not widely recognized — filmmakers.

When they finish their “Avengers” movies, which they shot back to back over 18 months, the Russos will complete their own improbable arc, from indie-cinema oddballs to TV comedy moguls to directors of possibly the biggest franchise in movie history.

The brothers — Anthony, 48, the bespectacled brainstormer, and Joe, 46, the square-jawed pragmatist — have contrasting but complementary energies. As Mr. Downey described them, Anthony is “a bit more reflective, a yin guy,” while Joe is the intense yang of the partnership: “Bitcoin was invented to keep Joe Russo from killing himself during the last 20 percent of the shoot,” Mr. Downey said.

When they’re together, Mr. Downey added, “It’s like the two of them make a third thing that’s better than any one person could be.”

The Russos grew up in Cleveland, where their father, Basil M. Russo, served as Democratic majority leader of the City Council. When the city went into an economic tailspin in the 1970s and ’80s, the brothers immersed themselves in movies and learned to appreciate their creative isolation.

As Anthony Russo explained it, “The virtue of growing up in the industrial Midwest is you have nothing to rub up against you and no one to tell you that you can’t do what you want to do, because nobody’s doing anything. You can just be a dreamer.”

Photo

The many Marvel characters in “Infinity War” include, from left in the foreground, Okoye (Danai Gurira), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).

Credit
Marvel/Disney

They spent three years and $30,000 writing and directing an independent feature, “Pieces,” about three brothers — also named the Russos — who dabble in crime. Despite some withering reviews — Variety called it an “unabashed vanity project” — “Pieces” caught the attention of Steven Soderbergh at the 1997 Slamdance Film Festival.

With his help, the Russos made their first studio movie, a comic crime caper called “Welcome to Collinwood,” with George Clooney, William H. Macy and Sam Rockwell. But it flopped at its release in 2002.

For the next several years, the Russos focused on directing television shows, including “Lucky,” a short-lived FX series, and “Arrested Development,” the rapid-fire satire that became a cult hit on Fox.

Despite critical acclaim, “Arrested Development” got notoriously low ratings. But the Russos said this lack of attention was a blessing in disguise, allowing them to experiment with narrative, tone and pacing, unencumbered by interfering network executives.

“They so didn’t get the show that they really didn’t care what you did,” Anthony Russo said, adding, “It was a huge creative upside.”

The Russos used NBC’s “Community,” another well-reviewed comedy with a meager viewership, to stage elaborate tributes to “Star Wars” and the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone. It was here that their work caught Marvel’s attention.

At the time, the studio was generating hits with its earliest superhero offerings, made by established filmmakers — “Iron Man,” directed by Jon Favreau; “Captain America: The First Avenger,” directed by Joe Johnston. But Marvel wanted to expand its portfolio rapidly and bring in TV directors.

Marvel also wanted to shift the tone of its “Captain America” movies, starting with the 2014 sequel, “The Winter Soldier.”

“The first one was a fairly patriotic, gung-ho World War II movie,” said Christopher Markus, who wrote the “Captain America” films with Stephen McFeely. “You can’t make a string of those before you get slightly nauseous.”

The goal of “The Winter Soldier,” Mr. Markus said, was to show Captain America “losing faith in all the institutions that had made him, giving you a way to see him as relevant in the modern era.”

The Russos envisioned “The Winter Soldier” as a modern-day upgrade of espionage thrillers like “Three Days of the Condor,” and the studio responded strongly. When the movie sold $714 million in tickets worldwide, Mr. Feige said the Russos “redefined the franchise — not just the Cap franchise but all the Marvel movies going forward.”

“They found a way to keep the wonder, keep the spectacle, but ground it even more in realism,” Mr. Feige said. “Which is a word I use lightly when it comes to our movies.”

The Russos succeeded again with “Captain America: Civil War,” an overstuffed 2016 sequel in which the Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and a new incarnation of Spider-Man (Tom Holland) were introduced, and the adventurers took sides in a conflict between Cap and Iron Man.

Even before “Civil War” became a $1.15 billion global smash, Marvel had already started putting the pieces in place for what Mr. Feige called “the big finale of the initial story line we were developing.”

The plan was ambitious: Mr. Markus and Mr. McFeely would write two “Avengers” movies, generated from a 60-page manifesto they started working on in 2015. All the major Marvel heroes had to be accommodated, and still more characters would be introduced. “Not every scene can be 25 people in a room,” Mr. McFeely said. “You’re going to have to make kickball teams and then have a tournament.”

With scripts in hand, the Russos would film these movies consecutively. In Mr. Feige’s mind, there were no other directors who could handle the task of doing “ three straight years of filmmaking.”

Mr. Feige said, “There are two of them, which helps. But their individual stamina is unmatched.”

The Russos moved from Los Angeles to Georgia for two years, where “Avengers: Infinity War” and its sequel were shot, principally at Pinewood Atlanta Studios. (They estimate that they took a break of about three weeks between filming the two movies.)

They said making the movies this way was an irresistible challenge — one that has been attempted by very few directors, including the Wachowskis (“The Matrix” series) and Peter Jackson (the “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” franchises) — and a test of their fortitude.

Photo

But wait there’s more: From left, Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Drax (Dave Bautista), Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) are also in the film.

Credit
Marvel/Disney

Describing the process, Anthony Russo said, “You’re a really good marathon runner and you know how to train for it. All of a sudden, you’re running a double marathon. You can’t really understand it until you do it.”

The Russos acknowledge that the films were made this way, in part, for economic reasons: it’s cheaper for Marvel to hire actors — dozens of them, some of whom are very costly — for months at a time, rather than make individual deals for each movie.

Though they must serve many corporate masters at Disney and Marvel, and Mr. Feige is known for having a strong hand in his films, the Russos say they were given the latitude to make the movies they want to make.

“It’s no different than making any kind of narrative in a medium where capitalism thrives,” Joe Russo said. “You have to have a Zen resilience about what it is that you want to do, and then do a really good job at it. And everybody stays out of your hair.”

Mr. Downey, who first worked with the Russos on “Civil War,” said they were well served by their TV training, which has taught them to be quick and collaborative.

At any given moment on these films, Mr. Downey said, “we’ve got 80 things that are going to blow up, collide — story points that are all about to happen at once.” When one of the Russos had a new idea, he said, they would approach him with a gentle query: “Let me pitch you this.”

“No one takes it personally, and then the idea emerges,” Mr. Downey said. “It ends up an amalgam of everything that didn’t hit the floor.”

The Russos aren’t revealing much about how, exactly, their “Avengers” movies will bring closure to this phase of the Marvel cinematic saga. (They wouldn’t even disclose the title of the movie that follows “Infinity War,” protesting that even this much information would be a spoiler.)

“Ultimately,” Joe Russo said, “what you’ll see by the end of the movies is, what does it cost to be a hero in a world where there are no easy answers? I think that’s the world we live in.”

Photo

Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Tony Stark (Mr. Downey), Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and Wong (Benedict Wong) share another scene.

Credit
Marvel/Disney

Death is a staple of comic books. Beloved characters are killed off all the time, sometimes replaced by successors who inherit their costumes and identities: Bucky becomes the new Captain America; Jane Foster the new Thor. There’s no reason to believe that their motion-picture counterparts aren’t similarly mortal and similarly interchangeable.

Mr. Evans has made no secret of his desire to move beyond the “Captain America” movies. Meanwhile, Mr. Downey — who introduced himself in a phone interview as “Robert Downey Jr., retired film actor” — is already working on his next prospective tentpole movie, “The Voyage of Dr. Dolittle.”

He talked about his time with Marvel in retrospective tones, and reflected on an encounter with Keanu Reeves, who at the time had just finished making the first “Matrix” movie.

“I was like, ‘Hey, dude, how’d it go?’” Mr. Downey recalled. “He said, ‘I’ve been on another planet.’ Right now, I’ve been on the planet Dolittle for a while. Being detached from it has given me a lot of warmth, affection and objectivity about this past decade.”

Of course, the Marvel engine will keep chugging away. “There will be more movies with some of these characters,” Mr. Feige said, “and with lots of new characters.”

Disney’s pending acquisition of Fox would add even more familiar heroes to Marvel’s toy chest, including the X-Men and Fantastic Four. But Mr. Feige said it was “way too soon” to make plans for these properties.

“We’d love to have all the characters back,” Mr. Feige said. “It’s a dream. But we’re plenty busy with the next five films.”

The Russos, too, are preparing for their post-“Avengers” lives. They have established their own production company, Agbo Films, whose executives include Mr. Markus and Mr. McFeely and which has already secured $250 million in private Chinese funding.

The brothers are elliptical about whether there are more Marvel movies in their future. “We wanted to maximize our options as storytellers and artists,” Anthony Russo said. “We’ve structured our business life in a way to support that. It can be, or it can’t be. We’ve kept all options open.”

Joe Russo said there are still some “very personal projects we want to make,” adding that he and Anthony want to nurture up-and-coming filmmakers just as Mr. Soderbergh did for them. “We owe a karmic debt to the universe because of what Steven did for us,” he said.

The reality, though, is that the Russos are not even finished with “Avengers.” Once “Infinity War” is released, there is still a whole additional movie for them to construct from untold hours of raw footage, a task that they estimate will take them at least until the end of the year. “There are months of work left on it,” Anthony Russo said. “It will be very cathartic for us to come out the other end. That’s when our brains can open up to what’s next.”

Continue reading the main story

Pacino as Paterno, and Who Is That Producer? Anthony Scaramucci


At the “Paterno” premiere on Monday, boldface names like Allison Janney and Jeffrey Wright joined a wolfish-looking Mr. Pacino for a reception at Porter House in Manhattan, where the three-course dinner featured filet mignon and a football-size slice of coconut cake.

Absent from the festivities was Mr. Scaramucci. HBO, the home of liberal darlings like Bill Maher and John Oliver, did not confirm whether or not the Mooch had been asked to attend.

Photo

“I just gave them the dough,” Mr. Scaramucci said this week.

Credit
Ariel Schalit/Associated Press

“Anthony Scaramucci has a co-executive producer credit on ‘Paterno’ based on early financing he brought to the project prior to HBO’s involvement,” a network spokesman wrote by email.

Mr. Scaramucci said Mr. Pressman had invited him to the premiere, but “unfortunately, I had a prior engagement in L.A.”

“Paterno” is not the first entry on Mr. Scaramucci’s cinematic resume.

He was the executive producer of “Big Words,” a 2013 film about a group of failed rappers in Brooklyn set on the eve of Barack Obama’s election. He co-produced “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete,” also from 2013 and also about a group of African-American friends in Brooklyn.

He met Mr. Pressman during the filming of “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” Oliver Stone’s 2010 sequel to his 1987 film. The sequel included a walk-on role for Mr. Scaramucci, who spent his pre-political life as a financier.

The two men pursued a few projects — at one point negotiating with Jackie Robinson’s widow about a biopic of the baseball star — and eventually zeroed in on Joe Posnanski’s 2012 biography, “Paterno.” (The book was used as source material for the HBO film; the journalist Sara Ganim, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her coverage of the Penn State scandal, was a consultant on the project.)

“He liked the experience of ‘Wall Street,’ and he liked the business as a sideline,” Mr. Pressman said.

The Trump administration no longer employs Mr. Scaramucci, but it retains at least one aspiring movie mogul: Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, who was an executive producer of “Mad Max: Fury Road” and other major pictures and is married to Louise Linton, a producer and occasional actress.

Mr. Scaramucci, who has also invested in a Manhattan restaurant, the Hunt & Fish Club, and the New York Mets, indicated on the phone that Hollywood was unlikely to be his sole focus. Still, he mustered up a bit of the showbiz hard sell.

“What’d you think of the movie?” he asked. “It was great.”

Continue reading the main story

What’s Cooking in That Egg Spoon? A Bite-Size Culture War


Kat Kinsman, the senior food and drinks editor of the website Extra Crispy, devoted a column to what she saw as the inherent sexism in the egg-spoon attacks. If Francis Mallmann, the subject of a recent Esquire profile titled “Is Francis Mallmann the Most Interesting Chef in the World?,” had cooked an egg with a spoon instead of roasting a lamb on a wooden cross near blazing wood, he’d be a hero, she wrote. (Ms. Waters, incidentally, has given Mr. Mallmann one of her own beloved egg spoons.)

The new round of criticism also struck a nerve with Samin Nosrat, a cookbook author and New York Times Magazine columnist. Cooking an egg in an iron spoon over open fire is really no more precious and probably a lot less elitist than cooking an egg in $300 sous-vide machine, she said in a recent interview — except that women tend to do the former and men the latter.

“Is it any more practical to sous-vide an egg? No,” she said. “But it’s this amazing thing because a man is using it.” Consider the chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, N.Y. When he celebrates these same ideals, she said, “he gets a hagiographic ‘Chef’s Table’ episode. It pisses me off.”

And now, the latest salvo: In Slow Food’s version of an in-your-face move, Alice Waters’s daughter, Fanny Singer, has introduced an egg spoon for sale through her website Permanent Collection.

The 16-inch iron spoon is hand-forged to Ms. Waters specifications by Shawn Lovell, whom Ms. Singer described in an email as “an incredible female blacksmith in Alameda, CA.”

The spoon costs $250. Five percent of each sale will go to the Edible Schoolyard Project, which began after Ms. Waters made gardening and cooking in schools her life’s work.

Photo

The famous Alice Waters egg spoon, now on sale for $250.

Credit
Alex Welsh for The New York Times

Ms. Waters has never marketed frying pans or signed her name to stoves. But this time the stakes were high enough, Ms. Singer said: “This is attitudinal and atmospheric.”

Still, $250 for a spoon? Doesn’t that just play into the hands of the haters?

“The price of the spoon is beside the point,” Ms. Singer said. “What’s ridiculous is that we treat men and women differently. I have never heard the word ‘precious’ used with a man who has promoted some little specialized gadget.”

For her part, Ms. Waters is as much a supportive parent as she is the figurehead of the spoon wing of the #MeToo movement. “It is hilarious,” she said, “but in another way, I want young boys to hold that spoon, too. I want them to feel the sense of the fire and the closeness to the simplicity of it. It helps you become sensitive. We are hoping men become sensitive and we find each other in that place.”

And what of Mr. Bourdain, the original egg-spoon skeptic? He concedes that there is a bit of sexism baked into the egg-spoon wars, but for him, the issue isn’t gender equity. It’s stupidity.

“I am quite sure male chefs have committed far, far worse crimes in the cause of pretentious and pomposity,” he said. “There is plenty of silliness out there to make fun of on both sides.”

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