REVIEW: “Albert Nobbs” and the mystery of identity

Unlike The Crying Game, where the sex of a character is a major twist about halfway through, the genders of the characters in Albert Nobbs is not much in doubt: Glenn Close is a big star with above-the-title billing — her butched-up face is the ad campaign. And yet there is just as much mystery here, albeit of a different kind. This is a story of identity that’s almost impenetrable.

Albert (Close) is a gentlemanly servant at a high-end boutique hotel in Ireland. Everyone admires Albert: The women appreciate his respectful demeanor, his male co-workers his work ethic, the boss, Mrs. Baker (Pauline Collins), his reliability. But no one really knows Albert, who lives in a small room in the attic and squirrels away his money and dreams of something else.

But really, Albert doesn’t even know himself. He has been living as a man for decades — who knows how long? — and cannot even remember a time when he (or she) was not Albert. He has become so repressed, he almost doesn’t have a personality anymore.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Dan Ramos to resign Thursday morning?

Dan Ramos

The mainstream media is finally starting to pick up on the story of Dan Ramos, the chairman of the Bexar County Democratic Party who thinks gays are like very sinister Nazi termites with polio legs who are not natural but can’t be swept under the rug — so you might as well seek their endorsement! (This whole thing just goes to show that mental illness is totally nonpartisan.) The ABC affiliate in San Antonio reports tonight that Ramos will hold a press conference at his office Thursday morning, but it’s unclear what for. We’re sure Democrats all over the state — and maybe even some Republicans — are hoping Ramos will come to his senses and heed the many calls for his resignation, but don’t bet the farm on it. A spokesman for the Bexar County Democratic Party’s steering committee said of Ramos, “He’s been in the trenches for a long time and he’s not going to go without a fight.”

 

—  John Wright

Opaque shows if love truly is blind

If a glass of wine falls over in the dark, does it leave a stain? It’s an existential question only the laundry knows the answer to for sure — and we suspect they get a lot of practice after a night at Opaque, a dining-in-the-dark culinary experience having its first go-round in North Texas.

The concept seems like the antithesis of the classic foodie meal: Where’s the opportunity to savor the presentation, to drink in with the eyes as much as the palate? And how romantic is it to sit across from your sweetheart making goo-goo eyes and suggestive leers when the chocolate comes if he can’t even see you do it?

Still, there’s legitimate intrigue and curiosity attendant to this concept, which has made inroads into culinary culture for a few years now, with defenders saying the loss of sight actually stimulates the other senses.

You can sample the experience Friday through Monday, with seatings every half-hour each of the four nights. It could take the term “blind date” in an entirely new direction.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

Aloft Hotel, 1033 Young St. Feb. 11–14. Seatings starting at 5:30 p.m. $99 per person (tax, tip and drinks extra). DarkDining.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Feb. 11, 2011.

—  John Wright