Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Artist in Her Studio

Artist in Her Studio (1905):

by Charles Camoin, associated with Fauvism, who died on May 20, 1965. When this artist is ready for a break, she can take the bottle on the table in the photo above over to this table:

Still Life with the Window of the Workshop Open to the Port of Saint Tropez

There is a short biography online here. You can see more of his work here.

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Dinner

The Dinner is a 2009 book by Dutch author Herman Koch, translated into English and published in the U.S.A. in 2013. It's been adapted for film, but I haven't seen the movie. The book takes place in the summer. There are no likable characters here, from children to adults. They are ugly, self-centered, vile, and dangerous people. And that's during dinner at a fancy restaurant. I found it fascinating, a look at what people are willing to do to protect the lives they think they are living.

from the back of the book:
It's a summer's evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened.

Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act -an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children, and as civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple shows just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.

Skewering everything from parenting values to pretentious menus to political convictions, this novel reveals the dark side of genteel society and asks what each of us would do in the face of unimaginable tragedy.
The New York Times says, "The success of “The Dinner” depends, in part, on the carefully calibrated revelations of its unreliable and increasingly unsettling narrator, Paul Lohman. Whatever else he may be, likable he is not" and calls it "absorbing and highly readable". The Guardian says it's "a well-paced and entertaining novel". NPR concludes, "The best part about The Dinner was this tension taking place above the plates. As the meal wore on, I realized I couldn't get up from the table."

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Tarzan and the Golden Lion

Tarzan and the Golden Lion is the 1927 film adaptation of the 1922 Edgar Rice Burroughs novel with the same title. The film stars James Pierce as Tarzan and features Boris Karloff as a tribal villain.

via Youtube:

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Friday, May 18, 2018

Midshipman's Hope

Midshipman's Hope is the first book in the Seafort Saga by David Feintuch. I don't care for coming-of-age stories or books with adolescent protagonists, but that's exactly what this is and I like it fine.

from the back of the book:
A hideous accident kills the senior officers of the UNS Hibernia -leaving a terrified young officer to save three hundred colonists and crew aboard a damaged ship, on a seventeen-month gauntlet to reach the colony of Hope Nation. With no chance of rescue or reinforcement, Nicholas Seafort must overcome despair, exhaustion, guilt; he must conquer malfunctions, mutiny, and an alien horror beyond human understanding.

He must save lives. And he must take them, in the name of duty...

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Manitou

The Manitou is a 1978 horror film starring Tony Curtis, Michael Ansara, Susan Strasberg, Stella Stevens, Jon Cedar, Ann Sothern, and Burgess Meredith. This is the story of a woman who has a tumor in her neck that contains a human fetus that turns out to be old Native American shaman being reborn to seek vengeance. The cast sounds wonderful, doesn't it? The music is dreadful and dreadfully intrusive.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Moria gives it 3.5 stars and calls it this director's finest moment, saying, "The Manitou contains a particularly strong building atmosphere of eldritch eeriness. The film could almost be an H.P. Lovecraft story". Horror News thinks it's fun. Roger Ebert gives it 1 star and calls it "easily the least plausible thriller since, oh, “Infra-Man.”" Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 49%.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Jazz "Hot"

Jazz "Hot":

is a 1938 short film on jazz featuring Django Reinhardt, who died on this date in 1953 of a brain hemorrhage at the age of 43.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018



by Edward Hopper who died at the age of 84 on this date in 1967. The painting has inspired writers and musicians including Tom Waits' Nighthawks at the Diner (1975):

and has been used in culture and political memes:

"This place is packed!"

Pull up to the counter, and join me for a cuppa joe. I take mine black. You?

Monday, May 14, 2018

A View from a Hill

A View from a Hill is a 1925 ghost story by M.R. James. It begins,
How pleasant it can be, alone in a first-class railway carriage, on the first day of a holiday that is to be fairly long, to dawdle through a bit of English country that is unfamiliar, stopping at every station. You have a map open on your knee, and you pick out the villages that lie to right and left by their church towers. You marvel at the complete stillness that attends your stoppage at the stations, broken only by a footstep crunching the gravel. Yet perhaps that is best experienced after sundown, and the traveler I have in mind was making his leisurely progress on a sunny afternoon in the latter half of June.

He was in the depths of the country. I need not particularise further than to say that if you divided the map of England into four quarters, he would have been found in the south-western of them.

He was a man of academic pursuits, and his term was just over. He was on his way to meet a new friend, older than himself. The two of them had met first on an official inquiry in town, had found that they had many tastes and habits in common, liked each other, and the result was an invitation from Squire Richards to Mr. Fanshawe which was now taking effect.

The journey ended about five o’clock. Fanshawe was told by a cheerful country porter that the car from the Hall had been up to the station and left a message that something had to be fetched from half a mile farther on, and would the gentleman please to wait a few minutes till it came back? ‘But I see,’ continued the porter, ‘as you’ve got your bystile, and very like you’d find it pleasanter to ride up to the ‘all yourself. Straight up the road ‘ere, and then first turn to the left — it ain’t above two mile — and I’ll see as your things is put in the car for
You’ll excuse me mentioning it, only I though it were a nice evening for a ride. Yes, sir, very seasonable weather for the haymakers: met me see, I have your bike ticket. Thank you, sir; much obliged: you can’t miss your road, etc., etc.’

The two miles to the Hall were just what was needed, after the day in the train, to dispel somnolence and impart a wish for tea. The Hall, when sighted, also promised just what was needed in the way of a quiet resting-place after days of sitting on committees and college-meetings. It was neither excitingly old nor depressingly new. Plastered walls, sash-windows, old trees, smooth lawns, were the features which Fanshawe noticed as he came up the drive. Squire Richards, a burly man of sixty odd, was awaiting him in the porch with evident pleasure ‘Tea first,’ he said, ‘or would you like a longer drink? No? All right, tea’s ready in the garden. Come along, they’ll put your machine away. I always have tea under the lime-tree by the stream on a day like this.’ Nor could you ask for a better place. Midsummer afternoon, shade and scent of a vast lime-tree, cool, swirling water within five yards. It was long before either of them suggested a move. But about six, Mr. Richards sat up, knocked out his pipe, and said: ‘Look here, it’s cool enough now to think of a stroll, if you’re inclined? All right: then what I suggest is that we walk up the park and get on to the hill-side, where we can look over the country. We’ll have a map, and I’ll show you where things are; and you can go off on your machine, or we can take the car, according as you want exercise or not. If you’re ready, we can start now and be back well before eight, taking it very easy.’

‘I’m ready. I should like my stick, though, and have you got any field-glasses? I lent mine to a man a week ago, and he’s gone off Lord knows where and taken them with him.’

Mr. Richards pondered. ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘I have, but they’re not things I use myself, and I don’t know whether the ones I have will suit you. They’re old-fashioned, and about twice as heavy as they make ‘em now. You’re welcome to have them, but I won’t carry them. By the way, what do you want to drink after dinner?’
You can read it online here. It was adapted for television in 2005:

Sunday, May 13, 2018

The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice

The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice is a 1952 Japanese film about the change in people's lives as post-war Japan becomes more westernized. It's directed by Yasujir┼Ź Ozu. I'm glad my marriage is a happy one, unlike the couple in this film. This couple comes to a better understanding in their middle years than they ever had as young people, though, and it's lovely to see them better realize the virtue of their marriage. This is a beautiful story.

via Youtube:

The New York Times says,
What we see of Japan in 1951 and 1952 defines the time in a fashion I am not sure I would have been as aware of had I seen the film in 1952. It is a world only seven years removed from Hiroshima. Nobody in an Ozu film, seems directly affected by the American occupation, but the American influence is everywhere, in second-hand clothes, in cigarettes, in the liberation of women.

The Chicago Reader says, "Ozu's delicate melodramas ... avoid any sense of cliche in their restrained, sometimes painfully subtle study of family relationships." Rotten Tomatoes has an audience score of 87%.