Arts Desk

Arts Roundup: Bravo Edition

If you're thinking about reading this, don't: It's really not that great.

If you're thinking about reading this, don't: It's really not that great.

Hiya, readers. Looks like the clouds have broken and it's shaping up to be a beautiful day. Get out on your lunch break and enjoy it.

In the finale of Top Chef Masters, Susur Lee, Marcus Samuelsson, and Rick Moonen did some of their finest cooking of the competition before a judging panel that included Tom Colicchio and last season's finalists Hubert Keller, Michael Chiarello, and winner Rick Bayless. Dark horse Samuelsson brought it home with two dishes that invoked his childhood in his adopted Sweden and a final, Africa-inspired dish that included flavors from his native Ethiopia. Lee, not my favorite personality throughout the competition, told the gut-wrenching story of how his first wife was in the 1983 Korean Air flight shot down by Soviets. Alright, Lee, you've melted my hardened heart.

Work of Art debuted on Bravo last night following Top Chef Masters, and it looks like painter Jaclyn Santos, a 2007 graduate of MICA in Baltimore, is the closest we've got to a local representative. Seeing as Bravo does reality competitions better than anyone else, I'm bummed I forgot to DVR it. Next week, readers, next week. (Next week also marks the debut of Top Chef DC. Two Bravo shows back-to-back? My Wednesday night dance card is going to be full up.)

In books, I just finished Jean Kwok's Girl in Translation, which has recently received positive notices in places like Vogue and Gothamist. I can't understand the comparisons to the 1943 classic A Tree Grows in Brooklyn–as far as I can tell the only similarities are that it takes place in Brooklyn and the protagonist is a girl. Girl has none of the subtlety and poignancy, and the writing is amateurish and condescending. Though she's unprivileged and scrappy, I have a hard time rooting for the protagonist, too–she just seems like a status-hungry climber to me.

Also in books, Politics and Prose is for sale. More details coming today. The irascible, tart-tongued Christopher Hitchens will speak there tonight.

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