Samantha Herman

The following are listings and reviews I have written that have been published on the Willamette Week website:

A Tuna Christmas
Actors Jeffrey Gilpin and Alan King are perfect for this two-man show set in the wee town of Tuna, Texas, where, In true small-town fashion, everyone knows each other’s dirty little secrets. The only question open for speculation is who has been wreaking havoc on Christmas decorations every year—a mischief-maker called “the Phantom.” Gilpin carries the show with characters like Vera Carp, who represents all that is haute with her silk pajamas, fur coat and silver high heels, and Didi Snavely of Didi’s Used Weapons, a chain smoker who spits out holiday tidings such as “I hope Santa craps down your chimney!” So come all ye despondent, and let A Tuna Christmas make you joyful. SAM HERMAN.Winningstad Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway., 224-4400. 7:30 pm Tuesdays-Fridays and Sundays, 2 and 7:30 pm Saturdays. Closes Jan. 4. $20-$42.50. Map

NOW TAKING RESERVATIONS: Carafe Foie Gras New Year's Eve
I know what you’re doing. You’re trying to figure out on which side of the foie gras blitzkrieg this listing will fall. But this time, impartiality will reign. One side loudly demands that no one knock the delicacy before trying it because the yum factor is undeniable (think scallops with foie gras sauce; leek-and-truffle soup with foie gras froth). The other side says that just taking one bite is like signing a contract with the same devil who clubs baby seals and shoots deer from helicopters. Be at Carafe on New Year’s Eve to either partake or protest. I trust you will make the right decision. Carafe, 200 SW Market St., 248-0004. 5:30, 7:30 or 9:30 pm. $49.Call for reservations. Map


I Can't Think Straight
I can’t decide whether I Can’t Think Straight is the quintessential love story, or a Web M.D. test for gayness posing as a movie. My therapist would say that I need to be more decisive. But I say that if the characters get ample time to decide whether or not to be gay, I should get just as much time to decide whether the movie was worth seeing. The movie’s sentiment takes shape as narcissism rather than love: The two Middle Eastern heroines, Tala (Lisa Ray) and Leyla (Sheetal Sheth), both have overbearing mothers who enjoy making disparaging remarks about other races and cultures. Both have incredibly supportive father figures.  Both are looking at a past filled with failed heterosexual relationships. And both are already in a heterosexual relationship when they hook up in London. Aside from the themes of absurdly strong gaydar and self-love, director Shamim Sarif’s work has a lot of redeeming qualities. Women from different cultures trying to make their relationship work with every possible obstacle in the way—I rather like it, in theory.  But in practice, I have to wonder if this is just white noise for a society that has already embraced the gay population. SAMANTHA HERMAN. Hollywood Theatre. Hollywood Theatre.

NOW TAKING RESERVATIONS: Simpatica New Year’s Eve Dinner
Warning: Vegetarians should steer clear of Simpatica’s New Year’s meal, as fare will include a seafood appetizer and a beef tenderloin and foie gras main course. However, if you dig copious amounts of meat and crustaceans, you're in for a treat. Plates like lobster and housemade pickle salad with lobster coral aioli and crêpes Suzette with housemade orange marmalade and Chantilly cream make for a menu worthy of a special occasion. Simpatica, 828 SE Ash St., 235-1600. 7:30 pm. $75, plus wine and gratuity. Call for reservations. Map 

Italian Wine and Antipasti Tasting
Anyone who has been to NYC knows that one of the few things missing from Portland is Li'l Italy.  We have a Chinatown (well, two Chinatowns if you count 82nd Avenue) and a smattering of authentic Jewish delis, but no real Italian neighborhood of which to speak. Foster & Dobbs is graciously stepping in to temporarily fill the void with a free Italian Wine & Antipasti Tasting on Saturday. A few olives here, a splash of wine there, top it off with some sausage and anchovies—badda bing, badda boom!—Italy right in your backyard. Foster & Dobbs, 2518 NE 15th Ave., 284-1157. Noon-2 pm. Free. Map