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A Call to Spy

For many decades after World War II ended, almost nobody knew that one of the first American spies to fight the Nazis was a Baltimore debutante named Virginia Hall. Hall was sent by British intelligence to France in 1941 to organize resistance networks, posing as a New York Post reporter. She helped deploy hundreds of agents despite a wooden leg (the result of a shooting accident), which she cheekily named “Cuthbert.” A Call to Spy, a new movie from IFC that is available on demand, tells her story and also sheds light on other intrepid female spies, much the way The Bletchley Circle belatedly credited Britain’s women code-breakers. The Germans were the enemy, but here, too, upper-class British men weren’t always friendly. Hall was an American, and an outsider, and so were her real-life comrades in the secret service, Vera Atkins, born a Romanian Jew, and Noor Inayat Khan, a Muslim. A Call to Spy is a suspenseful W.W. II espionage drama, but very much suited to these times. ( —Alessandra Stanley


The Green Vase

Decorating one’s home with fresh flowers is a pricey, but worthwhile, enterprise. You’re welcome to do the math on keeping your pad blooming on an annual basis, but an appealing alternative has finally arrived, thanks to these hand-dyed-paper arrangements from the Green Vase. Made by Livia Cetti, the bouquets of wisteria, hydrangeas, geraniums, and delphiniums are just as good-looking as the real thing. Consider them a constant, much-needed pick-me-up in these troubled times. ($1,300; —Ashley Baker


I’d Rather Lead a Band

Listening to Loudon Wainwright III’s I’d Rather Lead a Band, you might wonder: Wainwright? Wasn’t he that American who opened for Al Bowlly at that joint in Jermyn Street back in ’31? With his pleasing tenor and evident feel for the material, Wainwright slips right into that earlier era, abetted by others who also know the terrain: Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks are the band he’d rather lead, and the project is overseen by AIR MAIL’s own Randall Poster. You get standards such as “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” but also “I’m Going to Give It to Mary with Love,” a cover of a 1936 recording by Ukulele Ike that is, in fact, about precisely what you suspect it’s about. (Album available beginning October 9, —George Kalogerakis


Tahoe Square Firetable

It is cruelly fitting that our first glimpses of the outside world come on the cusp of fall’s chill, with winter tailing not far behind. You can bundle up in your best ski jacket as you face the frost for extended hours outdoors, though that may simply stick you with a cold that will have you holed up for weeks over fears of corona contraction. Instead, pick up a Tahoe Square LP Firetable from Terra Outdoor Living, a propane-powered firepit that is as useful as it is stylish, transforming your outdoor space with the flip of a switch. ($2,898; —Alex Oliveira

Issue No. 64
October 3, 2020
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Issue No. 64
October 3, 2020