Here Lies Love and Grill 21

Imelda and Ferdinand wait for nuptials to resume
She didn’t inspire loyalty, even among her close associates, and yet it seemed the world embraced the singing, butterfly-sleeved Imelda Marcos as a cultural icon. In Here Lies Love, a musical based on her life by David Byrne, with music and lyrics by Byrne, additional music by Fatboy Slim, Ruthie Ann Miles is a fantastic singer, dancer and actress, with sexy Jose Llana as Marcos. There are no seats – the audience is meant to dance and at times to follow synchronized dance steps. (Super choreography by Annie-B Parson.) During the marriage of Ferdinand and Imelda, everything came to a halt as an audience member was carried out, no doubt overcome by the smoke machines and throbbing disco music.

Here Lies Love is danceable, but too much time is spent making I.M. sympathetic or too stupid to know any better. Her shoe collection is left out, a debatable omission, but she is depicted as outraged when Ferdinand has an affair, while her own affair with actor George Hamilton isn’t mentioned. Still, we left the Public Theater humming the tunes.

Grill 21, on 21st St. near First Avenue is one of only two Filipino restaurants in the city that we know of and serves amazing adobo chicken, pork, or shrimp, is so much better than the adobo chickens at Gourmet Garage (apologies to non-New Yorkers unfamiliar with their adobo chicken), as well as grilled milkfish, a specialty. Filipino cuisine is also known for exotic purple ube (yam) desserts, which are bright purple without food coloring. At the bakery down the block you can get a purple ube cake made by pastry chef Violet.