1) The new movie Fences is here, and those who catch it for a holiday treat will see history made on two counts. Fences is—somewhat incredibly—the first August Wilson play to be adapted for the big screen. (His play The Piano Lesson was made into a 1995 TV special.) And, as one of the entries in Wilson’s famous “Pittsburgh Cycle”—a cavalcade of fictional sagas spanning the entire 20th century— Fences depicts a slice of life from the history of the city. The action unfolds in the Hill District during the 1950s. Denzel Washington plays Troy Maxson, a former Negro Leagues baseball star who didn’t get a shot at the major leagues since his prime years came before the color line was broken. Maxson currently drives a garbage truck but remains the star of his own realm: a high-wired, dominating character who both fascinates and torments the people he loves. Viola Davis plays his wife Rose. Fences, like all Wilson stories, mixes outrageous humor with insidious personal drama. On stage it won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for Best Play. The movie comes to bat just in time for Oscar consideration. For screens and times check Fandango. (MV)
2) Sausalido, California is a charming enclave at the northern end of San Francisco Bay. It’s restaurants serve the freshest seafood and whatever is in season in the nearby farm fields. Sausalido Bistro in Bloomfield—Pittsburgh’s Little Italy neighborhood—reflects these same accents. Featuring seasonal menus, their current one is highlighted by starters: turkey meatballs and smoked gouda; entrees: braised chicken thighs, lump crab cakes, and roasted duck breast. And save room for their Nutella cheesecake for dessert. Sausalido is owned by Nick Mineo (whose father Domimic and aunt Sarah own the venerable Shadyside Market). Executive chef is Michael Simpson. Dinner only. Lunch for private parties and catering. 4621 Liberty Ave.