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Our City Tonight

By Jim Gordon and Leeta Liepins

Published 12:09 PDT, Fri April 12, 2024


The Good Read – American Wolf: From Nazi Refugee to American Spy by Audrey Birnbaum

Over the last few years, we have interviewed a number of authors whose books are the result of a late parent’s words. That is the case with Audrey Birnbaum’s American Wolf: From Nazi Refugee to American Spy. Years before, shortly after her father retired, he sat down and typed out the story of his life—and a fascinating one it was. 

Wolf “Jack” Schwersenz was a German citizen of Jewish descent growing up in the 1930’s during the dark days of Hitler’s rise to absolute power. He and his immediate family made it out of Germany—barely—only to struggle for years as new immigrants in America. But they had survived a fate which would eventually claim 6 million Jewish lives in the Holocaust. 

This book—which is about survival but also about starting again while coming of age—is beautifully written with a fine detail about everyday life while trying to stay alive in your homeland, then later, trying to navigate and transition to a new life in a far off country. As Birnbaum states about her father in the prologue of the book, “His Holocaust trauma was not only a source of pain and suffering; it was also a source of pride.” She goes on to write that her father would say, “I survived this terrible thing. I am both wounded and special.”

The Good Cocktail – Lo Speziato 

We continue our spring cocktail spotlight, this time seeking guidance from one of our “cocktail experts”, Sam Batt, who serves up creative and delicious cocktails at Italian Kitchen in Vancouver. Like all the cocktails we showcase, they can easily be made at home. 

“This is a perfect cocktail for spring and the transition to summer,” Sam tells us, “ it’s a fruity and spicy cocktail to put the winter gloom and grey behind you as we make our way forward to summer.” The Lo Speziato is part of Italian Kitchen’s new cocktail showcase which is available now. If you are planning to enjoy this wonderful cocktail at home, you’ll need:

1 oz White Rum

.5 oz Peach Schnapps

.75 oz clove and
cinnamon syrup

.75 oz lemon

1 oz pineapple juice

Shaken and double strained, then garnished with a rose bud and 3 drops of Cassis. 

The Home View – Sugar

The detective, or “private eye”, genre is almost as old as Hollywood itself. Classics like The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep and later, Chinatown, quickly come to mind and are still as enjoyable to watch as when they first appeared. 

If you are a fan, the new series, Sugar, which is a modern take on the detective story, not set in New York, but the equally intriguing landscape of Los Angeles, may be just what your viewing habits need. 

Colin Farrell (who also serves as executive producer), is private investigator John Sugar, known for doing one thing and one thing only: finding the missing. He is hired to look into the disappearance of a legendary Hollywood producer’s granddaughter. The cinematography is superb as is the supporting cast including Amy Ryan, James Cromwell, Anna Gunn, and Dennis Boutsikaris. Apple TV will air the first 2 episodes starting April 5.

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