Monday, April 24, 2017

Oven-Baked Salmon


This is so easy, and yet I have trouble remembering and keeping up with a recipe. I'm putting it where where I can find it:

Ingredients:
Salmon fillets, as desired

Salt, pepper, lemon peel
Pre-heat oven to 425F.

Place fillets on a baking pan. You can use foil or oil the surface of the pan if you like.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Sprinkle lemon peel on top.

Bake 20 minutes in pre-heated oven.

You can garnish these, of course, with sliced almonds or parsley, but I tend to plate them just as they are.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Angels with Dirty Faces

Angels with Dirty Faces is a 1938 gangster movie directed by Michael Curtiz and starring James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sheridan, George Bancroft, William Tracy (best known as delivery boy Pepi Katona in The Shop Around the Corner), and The Dead End Kids.



FilmSite opens with this: "Angels With Dirty Faces (1938) is a classic example of a Warner Bros. gangster/crime melodrama of the 1930s - a slick, action-packed, hard-hitting studio film layered with a touch of social conscience." Slant Magazine has a positive review. Empire Online says, "Not pulling the melodrama punches in anyway but still a real Cagney gangster classic."

DVD Journal concludes,
The whole "crime doesn't pay" trope has never felt more quaint than it does today, but the way Angels With Dirty Faces balances hard-bitten gangster drama with warmly stage-managed religiosity gives us an entertaining period piece, one which shows that after more than sixty years you still can't go wrong with a Jimmy Cagney movie.
Rotten Tomatoes has a critics rating of 100%. This film is included in the book 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Mothering Sunday


Mothering Sunday is a 2016 novel by Graham Swift. I loved this book. The writing is wonderful, and the main character is someone you care about. I couldn't put it down, drawn further and further into her life.

from the book jacket:
A luminous, intensely moving tale that begins with a secret lovers' assignation in the spring of 1924, then unfolds to reveal the whole of a remarkable life.

Twenty-two-year-old Jane Fairchild has worked as a maid at an English country house since she was sixteen. For almost all of those years she has been the clandestine lover to Paul Sheringham, young heir of a neighboring house. The two now meet on an unseasonably warm March day -Mothering Sunday- a day that will change Jane's life forever.

As the narrative moves back and forth from 1924 to the end of the century, what we know and understand about Jane -about the way she loves, thinks, feels, sees, remembers- expands with every vividly captured moment. Her story is one of profound self-discovery, and through her, Graham Swift has created an emotionally soaring, deeply affecting work of fiction.
The Guardian calls it "a perfect small tragedy". The New York Times has a positive review and says, "it feels less self-consciously literary than Mr. Swift’s earlier novels, and while it has a haunting, ceremonious pace, it also possesses a new emotional intensity." The Washington Post calls it "an elegant reflection on the impulse to tell stories".

Kirkus Reviews closes by calling it "a novel where nothing is as simple or obvious as it seems at first." The Independent describes it as "a Conradian homage to a well-spring of inspiration".

This book is on the NPR Best Books list.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Lonnie Mack's Memphis

In memory of Lonnie Mack, who died one year ago today at the age of 74.

Memphis:

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Pulse (2006)

Pulse is a 2006 horror film, a remake of the 2001 Japanese film Kairo. In this one technology takes away your will to live. It's effective enough though there's not really much to it, but I'd recommend the original over this one.

via Youtube:



Slant Magazine gives it 2 1/2 out of 4 stars and says,
Pulse crafts an eerie vision of dawning techno-hell, one in which the communicative devices designed to bring people together have, instead, fostered nothing but loneliness and social alienation. It's a theme that lurks within many of J-horror's finest, and remains prevalent throughout Sorezno's supernatural thriller thanks to repeated scenes in which (consistently one-dimensional) characters either fail to successfully converse via phones or IM'ing, or falter in their endeavors to have meaningful face-to-face dialogues with those they care most about.
The New York Times pans it. DVD Talk calls it "uneven" and says, "you will see nothing but superficiality in the regressive retelling". Classic Horror likes it. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 10%.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Walking for Miles and Miles and Miles, Inside

Last month I posted 1-Mile walking videos I use. This post covers walking videos that take up to an hour. The first several of these are from Leslie Sansone. I have a number of her videos and have found her approach remarkably useful over the years.

2-Mile Fat Burning:



3-Mile Fat Burning:



3-Mile Walk Strong:



5K:



She has videos with longer walks, and I'd recommend those DVDs.

Leslie Sansone is not the only one who does the walk-at-home concept at longer distances and times. Here's a 5-mile run and walk:



And this is a 1-hour healthy heart walk:

Monday, April 17, 2017

Hot Cross Buns


Baking Hot Cross Buns is a Good Friday tradition. This is the current incarnation of my recipe, though I often leave out the fruit due to picky eaters who literally pick it out. There are countless recipes, many of which call for an egg wash brushed over the tops of the rolls before baking and also icing in a cross shape after the rolls have cooled. I don't do either of these.

Hot Cross Buns
10 cups all purpose flour
4 pkg active dry yeast
3/4 cup sugar + 2 Tbs
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp dried ground orange peel
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup butter
4 eggs beaten
optional: 1 cup raisins or other chopped dried fruit
Combine 8 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt, spices, and dried fruit in large mixing bowl.

In cooking pot, heat milk, butter, and 2 Tbsp sugar to 110F. Add yeast. Let sit until foaming.

Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients. Add eggs. Mix well, adding flour as necessary, until smooth and elastic.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead, adding more flour as needed.

Place in greased bowl, turn once to grease top, cover, let rise in warm place until doubled (about 1 hour). Punch dough down, let rise again. Shape into balls, 1 1/2 to 2-inches or larger as desired. Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet. Cut a cross on top of each roll using a sharp knife. Cover and let rise until doubled in size (about 30 minutes). If the crosses need it, cut them again along the lines you used earlier.

Bake at 375F for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Supreme 42


I believe that this seat was stolen from Obama by Republican obstructionism. If the Republicans were willing to postpone hearings until after a new president took office (almost a year) and were even saying they would leave the seat open for her entire presidency if Clinton were to be elected because she was -after all- under investigation by the FBI.... Well, the current president is under investigation by the FBI. The Republicans obviously don't think there's any rush to fill that seat, so I ask this: "What's the rush now?" Let's let the investigation conclude before we allow this president to make a lifetime judicial appointment.

But....

during the recent hearings, this exchange took place between Cruz and Gorsuch:

Cruz: What is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything?


Gorsuch: 42.

I can't help but appreciate the interchange even though I despise Cruz and resent Gorsuch.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Linesman


Linesman is the first book in a trilogy by S. K. Dunstall. I enjoyed this book. The concept of the "lines" was different and fascinating, and the plot moved along nicely. What I didn't care for was the writing style -which struck me as a bit choppy- and the sketchy way I thought the politics was handled. I used to stubbornly forge ahead with series novels, giving the rest of them a chance, but those days are gone for me. I'm glad I read this one for the sake of the linesman concept, but I won't seek out the rest.

from the back of the book:
The lines. No ship can traverse the void without them. Only linesmen can work with them. But only Ean Lambert hears their song. And everyone thinks he's crazy...

Most slum kids never go far, certainly not becoming a level-ten linesman like Ean. Even though he's part of a small -and unethical- cartel and the other linesmen disdain his self-taught methods, he's certified and working.

Then a mysterious alien ship is discovered at the edges of the galaxy. Each of the major galactic powers is desperate to be the first to uncover the ship's secrets, but all they've learned is that it has the familiar lines of energy -and a defense system that, once triggered, annihilates everything in a two-hundred-kilometer radius.

The vessel threatens any linesman who dares to approach it, except Ean. His unique talents may be the key to understanding this alarming new force -and reconfiguring the relationship between humans and the ships that serve them, forever.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Out of the Inkwell

Out of the Inkwell is a Fleischer silent short animated film series that ran from 1918-1929. It was reactivated in the 1950s. Here's one (The Cartoon Factory) from 1924:



and one (Koko's Earth Control) from 1928:

Thursday, April 13, 2017

A Question of Belief


A Question of Belief (2010) is the 19th book in the Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery series by Donna Leon. I'm reading these books as I come across them in no particular order.

from the dust jacket:
Donna Leon's prize-winning series starring the Venetian Commissario Guido Brunetti has been lauded by critics and cherished by fans around the world. Her shrewd, principled detective, who knows that justice and apprehension of a criminal aren't always the same thing, has led countless readers into a hidden Venice, a world unseen by the throngs of tourists who visit La Serenissima each year.

In Leon's latest novel, A Question of Belief, Venice is baking under a glaring sun, and Brunetti would like to escape the tourists. The hardworking Commissario's greatest wish is to go to the mountains with his family, where he can sleep under a down comforter and catch up on his reading of history. But before he can go on vacation, a folder containing court records lands on his desk, brought by an old friend. It appears that certain cases at the local court -hardly known as a model of efficiency- are being delayed to the benefit of one of the parties. This could be a creative new trick for corrupting the system, but if it is, what can Brunetti do about it?

Brunetti is also doing a favor for his colleague Inspector Lorenzo Vianello. The inspector's aunt has taken a strong interest in astrology and has been regularly withdrawing large amounts of cash from the bank. But she won't listen to her family, and Vianello doesn't know what to do.

And just when it looks like Brunetti will be able to get away for his well-earned rest, a shocking, violent crime forces him to shake off the heat and get down to work. A stellar addition to Leon's celebrated series, A Question of Belief is lush and atmospheric, packed with excellent characters, and builds to an explosive, unforgettable ending.
The book begins with this:
When Ispettore Vianello came into his office, Brunetti had all but exhausted the powers of will keeping him at his desk. He had read a report about gun trafficking in the Vaneto, a report that had made no mention of Venice; he had read another one suggesting the transfer of two new recruits to the Squadra Mobile before realizing his name was not on the list of people who should read it; and now he had read half of a ministerial announcement about changes in the regulations concerning early retirement. That is, he had read half, if that verb could be applied to the level of attention Brunetti had devoted to the reading of the entire document. The paper lay on his desk as he stared out his window, hoping someone would come in and pour a bucket of cold water on his head or that it would rain or that he would experience the Rapture and thus escape the trapped heat of his office and the general misery of August in Venice.
Euro Crime opens with this: "This latest in Donna Leon's much-admired series about Venetian Comissario Brunetti is well up to scratch." Italian-Mysteries.com has links to articles and interviews. The Independent concludes, "On the surface, this is another entry in a reliable series. But it also obliquely addresses the issues of legal gerrymandering, faith and corruption that bedevil Leon's adopted country."

This counts towards my TBR book challenge.

I've also read the following from this series:
#1 Death at La Fenice (1992)
#2 Death in a Strange Country (1993)
#3 Dressed for Death (1994)
#4 Death and Judgment (1995)
#18 About Face (2009)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Last Wave

The Last Wave is a 1977 film directed by Peter Weir (who directed the wonderful Picnic at Hanging Rock). It stars Richard Chamberlain. This film is hard to categorize. It's a mystery but also an eerie fantasy of sorts. I loved this one. It has a mystical air, a mixing of dream and reality, that appeals to me. Wikipedia describes it this way: "It is about a white solicitor in Sydney whose seemingly normal life is disrupted after he takes on a murder case and discovers that he shares a strange, mystical connection with the small group of local Australian Aborigines accused of the crime."

via Youtube:


Senses of Cinema says,
The Last Wave is significant as a major film of the 1970s Australian film renaissance, a critically well-received film from a leading director of that period, and also, a marker film in the career of David Gulpilil. At 24, he had been acting in Australian film and television for six years since his debut in Nicholas Roeg’s Walkabout (1971 UK/Australia). The Last Wave was a key film in a journey that was to become both his life’s work, and his most important contribution to Australian cinema: to engage in a dialogue with Australian auteurs, audiences and Indigenous people to communicate Aboriginal identity, culture, values and history.
The New York Times has a mixed review, calling it "a movingly moody shock-film, composed entirely of the kind of variations on mundane behavior and events that are most scary and disorienting because they so closely parallel the normal." The Guardian says it "has an unsettling surreal energy that seems to exist entirely in that moment, where something as ordinary as the weather becomes an instrument of terror and suspense." Tabula Rasa writes, "There is dreamlike quality to this film, and as said, the viewer has to do some work. It may not be to everyone's taste. But for me this is one of the best demonstrations that Australia can be haunted and haunting."




Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Black Coffee in Bed

Black Coffee in Bed:



released 35 years ago this past Sunday by Squeeze.

The song begins with this:
There's a stain on my notebook
Where your coffee cup was

Monday, April 10, 2017

First Love


First Love (1860) is a short novel by Ivan Turgenev. The story tells of a 16 year old boy whose love for a 21 year old woman finally ends when he discovers that she is the mistress of his father. It is available online in English translation here and here. It's a tragic story of loss and disappointment.

It begins with this:
The party had long ago broken up. The clock struck half-past twelve. There was left in the room only the master of the house and Sergei Nikolaevitch and Vladimir Petrovitch.

The master of the house rang and ordered the remains of the supper to be cleared away. ‘And so it’s settled,’ he observed, sitting back farther in his easy-chair and lighting a cigar; ‘each of us is to tell the story of his first love. It’s your turn, Sergei Nikolaevitch.’

Sergei Nikolaevitch, a round little man with a plump, light-complexioned face, gazed first at the master of the house, then raised his eyes to the ceiling. ‘I had no first love,’ he said at last; ‘I began with the second.’

‘How was that?’

‘It’s very simple. I was eighteen when I had my first flirtation with a charming young lady, but I courted her just as though it were nothing new to me; just as I courted others later on. To speak accurately, the first and last time I was in love was with my nurse when I was six years old; but that’s in the remote past. The details of our relations have slipped out of my memory, and even if I remembered them, whom could they interest?’

‘Then how’s it to be?’ began the master of the house. ‘There was nothing much of interest about my first love either; I never fell in love with any one till I met Anna Nikolaevna, now my wife — and everything went as smoothly as possible with us; our parents arranged the match, we were very soon in love with each other, and got married without loss of time. My story can be told in a couple of words. I must confess, gentlemen, in bringing up the subject of first love, I reckoned upon you, I won’t say old, but no longer young, bachelors. Can’t you enliven us with something, Vladimir Petrovitch?’

‘My first love, certainly, was not quite an ordinary one,’ responded, with some reluctance, Vladimir Petrovitch, a man of forty, with black hair turning grey.

‘Ah!’ said the master of the house and Sergei Nikolaevitch with one voice: ‘So much the better. . . . Tell us about it.’

‘If you wish it . . . or no; I won’t tell the story; I’m no hand at telling a story; I make it dry and brief, or spun out and affected. If you’ll allow me, I’ll write out all I remember and read it you.’

His friends at first would not agree, but Vladimir Petrovitch insisted on his own way. A fortnight later they were together again, and Vladimir Petrovitch kept his word.

His manuscript contained the following story:—
This counts toward my Russia book challenge.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

The Life of Emile Zola

The Life of Emile Zola is a 1937 film directed by William Dieterle and starring Paul Muni in the title role. It's the second biographical film to win the Oscar for Best Picture.



From the New York Times:
Paul Muni's portrayal of Zola is, without doubt, the best thing he has done. Fiery, bitter, compassionate as the young novelist; settled, complacent, content to rest from the wars in his later years; then forced into the struggle again, although he resisted it, when the Dreyfus cause whispered to his conscience—Mr. Muni has given us a human and well-rounded portrait.
Empire Online concludes, "Perhaps not a completely reliable historical document this is however a moving evocation of an era and a heroic deed." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 75%. It's listed in the book 1.001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Slow Art Day

There's no formal, sponsored site for Slow Art Day here in Memphis this year. That's a shame, but it won't stop me from participating on my own. The steps are these:
  1. Find a local event
    Show up on Saturday, April 8, 2017 at your venue, pay the admission fee (if there is one) and then look slowly –five to ten minutes– at each piece of pre-assigned art.
  2. Attend and look at 5 pieces of art slowly
  3. Have lunch to discuss your experience

Ordinarily I'd go over to the Dixon, which is close to me, but they'll be packed with people attending their plant sale. Maybe I'll go to the Brooks. You can see their collection online. I tend to spend most of my time in front of favorite works, but today I'll choose ones I'm less familiar with. Here I'll post ones on view at the Brooks that I've spent a long time with through the years. It's not like seeing them in person, but I hope you enjoy them.

Lions:


At the Foot of the Cliff:


The Family:


Light of the Incarnation:


Seasons:

Spring
Summer
Fall

Find some art near you and spend some time looking deeply into it. It's revelatory.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Me and My Gal

Me and My Gal is a 1932 Raoul Walsh comedy film starring Spencer Tracy and Joan Bennett. Please don't confuse this film with "For Me and My Gal," a 1942 Busby Berkeley movie.

Here's a scene from the film:



The New York Times calls it "a racy combination of comedy and melodrama which lives up to what one might expect from the title." DVD Talk opens by saying, "Director Raoul Walsh and an expert cast give us eighty minutes of fun and excitement down on the New York docks, where the men are 57 varieties of goofy and the dames look a guy straight in the eye." It's included in the book 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Wee Free Men


The Wee Free Men is one of the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett, but is readale as a stand-alone novel. It's appropriate for children but also enjoyable for adults, not a common feature in books in my experience.

from the back of the book:
There's trouble on the Aching farm: monsters in the river, headless horsemen in the lane -and Tiffany Aching's little brother has been stolen by the Queen of Fairies. Getting him back will require all of Tiffany's strength and determination (as well as a sturdy skillet) and the help of the rowdy clan of fightin', stealin', tiny blue-skinned pictsies known as the Wee Free Men!
favorite quote:
Them as can do has to do for them as can't. And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices.
*******

This picture -The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke- figures in the plot:


The New York Times says it "is good solid storytelling done in a style that reads like Celtic mythology fused with the girl power of ''Buffy the Vampire Slayer'' with dialogue by Robert Burns." Kirkus Reviews says, "The Carnegie Medal–winner’s fans will not be disappointed."

SF Site concludes with this:
The Wee Free Men is a funny, funny book. It brims with memorable visuals. It's full of all the elements of a life well-lived -a sense of right and wrong (even when reinterpreted by the Wee Free Men), imagination, courage, love, the ability to dream and the ability to know when it's time to stop dreaming and open one's eyes (and then open one's eyes again -once more, read the book and you'll understand). Wholeheartedly recommended for readers of all ages.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is an award-winning 1931 film, yet another based on the 1886 story The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. You can read the book online at numerous sites.

This film stars Fredric March.



The NYT review from 1932 is positive. The Guardian calls it "A classic, not to be missed." Moria and 1,000 Misspent Hours have positive reviews.

FilmReference.com opens by saying this film
is perhaps the most stylish and technically innovative of any of the several versions of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic novel, for Mamoulian integrated both the new and established film technologies into his individual filmmaking style. Dissolves, superimpositions, camera movements, and expressionistic lighting are synthesized into his vision of the struggle within man, which is the heart of Stevenson's tale.
HorrorNews.net says this is "usually considered the best version". DVD Journal says it "has aged quite well". Horrorpedia notes that "March’s performance has been much lauded, and earned him his first Academy Award".

Classic-Horror.com says,
One of the most sophisticated and frightening films in 1930s cinema, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde explicitly explores sexuality and repression in ways that most films of the era merely hinted at or disguised in allegory. Using the characters of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to graphically express these themes, Mamoulian creates a very frightening and complex film for its day.

Rotten Tomatoes has a 93% critics score.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Cup of Tea Song

Cup of Tea Song:



by Judie Tzuke, who was born on April 3 in 1956, and so had a birthday yesterday.

Lyrics excerpt:
.....
I feel like life has poured a cold cup of tea on my head
Why can’t I wake up when I was eighteen again?
When I was eighteen
Wish I was eighteen

I really don’t want to know
It’s taken a while to face up to who I’ve become
How did I fall so deep?
How can I not see that my world was fast asleep

Whatever way I turn
I can’t get across the bridges I burned
And seems there’s no going back
All those dreams that I had were shattered

....
I have to tell you this: I thoroughly enjoyed being 18, but even if I could I wouldn't go back. It's true that I'd change some things if I could; but if I was 18 again and didn't know what I know now what good is that, and if I did know -well, how painful would that be? I'll just try to move forward from here.

This is the 1st song on her 15th studio album, which was released in 2007.

I'm participating in Bleubeard and Elizabeth's T Stands for Tuesday blog gathering where we share a drink-related post. Come join us!

Monday, April 03, 2017

Rogue Male


Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household is a 1939 thriller, a classic in the field. This is a quick read, a real page-turner. It has been adapted for film twice, and a new adaptation starring Benedict Cumberbatch is in the works.

from the back of the book:
Rogue Male is one of the classic thrillers of the 20th century. An Englishman plans to assassinate the dictator of a European country. But he is foiled at the last minute and falls into the hands of ruthless and inventive torturers. They devise for him an ingenious and diplomatic death but, for once, they bungle the job and he escapes. But England provides no safety from his pursuers -and the Rogue Male must strip away all the trappings of status and civilization as the hunter becomes a hunted animal.
The NYRB says, "the book is no less remarkable as an exploration of the lure of violence, the psychology of survivalism, and the call of the wild." The Independent says, "This 1939 novel, a clear precursor of Fleming and Forsyth, is much more than a first-class thriller. As Robert Macfarlane's preface argues, it is a "stone-cold classic"." Kirkus Reviews calls it "Exciting reading".

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Beauty and the Beast (1987)

Beauty and the Beast is a 1987 US/Israeli (filmed in Israel) musical adaptation of the classic fairy tale. It stars John Savage and Rebecca De Mornay and is part of the Cannon Movie Tales series. This one is fairly faithful, and I find it delightful as a child's introduction to fairy tale videos. I despise Disney's fairy tale efforts.

You can read the story online.




"The classic fairy tale about seeing with your heart"


Saturday, April 01, 2017

State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now


State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now is an exhibition at the Dixon Gallery, described by them:
Organized by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas

Over the course of one year, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art’s curatorial team logged more than 100,000 miles, traversing the United States to visit nearly 1,000 artists. Traveling to communities large and small, the museum found artists whose work engages broad audiences, demonstrates a high level of skill, and sparks conversation about important issues of our times. This one-of-a-kind exhibition, drawing from nearly every region, offers an unusually diverse and nuanced look at contemporary American art. State of the Art brings together works in a variety of mediums, including painting, photography, fiber, sculpture, video, ceramics, installation, and more. The exhibition examines how today’s artists are informed by the past, innovate with materials old and engage deeply with issues relevant to our community.
I enjoyed the opportunity to see current works by living artists. I had several favorites.

Plastic Lila, 2013, by Sheila Gallagher; Melted plastic on armature:


Seeing it in person you can better see the color and texture. I wanted to take it home with me to have it on my wall. Honestly, this is a piece you'd never tire of living with. The artist discusses the work here:



This mosaic is made from lottery tickets with UV coating on panel:


It's called End of the Spectrum and is from 2011 by Ghost of a Dream (Adam Eckstrom and Lauren Was).

This is Anthropocene I (Supernature), 2012, oil, enamel, acrylic, varnish, plastic and patinas on copper over wood:


and it's by Pam Longobardi.

The Dixon has a wonderful permanent collection, but their changing exhibitions and gardens are also a reason to check them out frequently. There's always something you haven't seen before.



Friday, March 31, 2017

Good Morning, Miss Dove

Good Morning, Miss Dove is a 1955 sentimental film about a school teacher's life of service and the positive effect she has on an entire community. Schmaltz, but nicely done shmaltz if that's to your taste. It stars Jennifer Jones as Miss Dove. Robert Stack and Chuck Connors are also in this movie.

via Youtube:


The New York Times opens its review with this: "Since it is unashamedly sentimental without being excessively maudlin about its heroine, "Good Morning, Miss Dove" deserves credit for being honest and entertaining." DVD Talk concludes, "... fans of the hale and hearty Inspirational Teacher genre will be touches by this lovingly crafted story."

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Nocturnes


Nocturnes is a 2009 fiction collection -I can't quite call them short stories, as they seem longer than that, by Kazuo Ishiguro. This book of 221 pages contains 5 pieces which all have a connection to music. They aren't so much focused on linear plot development as they are pictures of situations, episodes in the characters' lives. I enjoy the way this author writes, but this wasn't as much to my taste as other books I've read by him. It may be that my general prejudice against short fiction is responsible for that.

description from Wikipedia:
As the subtitle suggests, each story focuses on music and musicians, and the close of day. All of the stories have unfulfilled potential as a linking theme, tinged with elements of regret. The second and fourth stories have comic undertones. The first and final stories feature cafe musicians, and the first and fourth stories feature the same character. All five stories have unreliable male narrators and are written in the first person
The NYT says, "... these five too-easy pieces are neither absorbingly serious nor engagingly frivolous". The Telegraph concludes, "... his prose is notable for what, in music, would be described as upper partials – intervals that resonate after a note is struck. One turns away, thinking the narratives one-note. Yet they resonate long after the book is set aside". The Independent says, "Ultimately this is a lovely, clever book about the passage of time and the soaring notes that make its journey worthwhile".

This counts towards my TBR book challenge.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Target Earth

Target Earth is a 1954 alien invasion movie in which we gradually get to know the few people who missed the mass evacuation. Robots from Venus aren't the only danger, though, as the group members turn on each other and the military doesn't know there's anybody left in the target area.



1000 Misspent Hours says, "it accomplishes much more through subtlety than its budget would ever have allowed had its creators aimed for spectacle instead." Moria says, "The film has a great opening. ... Alas, once we see the robots -about 30 minutes into the film– Target Earth takes a nosedive."

Weird Wild Realm likes the robot and says,
And even though the robot appears to have been constructed from large biscuit-tins; flexi-ducts then spray-painted silver, it's even so a wonderful piece of art deco minimalism, inspiring many a child of the 1950s to build their own robot costume from cardboard boxes. ... Well acted, cool robots, with a more than adequate array of B-actors headed up by Richard Denning, & told with poker-faced conviction. Truly worthwhile.
TCM has information. Rotten Tomatoes has an audience score of 27%.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Noel Coward Quote


I think we can all agree with him on this. And the British have made tea into a major part of their culture.

Noel Coward died on the 26th of March in 1973 of heart failure at the age of 73.

Please join the T Tuesday blogger gathering at Bluebeard and Elizabeth.

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Bad Sleep Well

The Bad Sleep Well is a 1960 Akira Kurosawa film starring Toshiro Mifune. Both the director and this actor are favorites of mine, so I watch everything I come across involving either of them. They never let me down.

I watched it at Hulu. Hulu doesn't offer any free viewing now, so we're out of luck with them. Here's a trailer:



The New York Times' 1963 review said,
If all the future imports in this theater are as forceful and engrossing as this one from the director of a long list of Japanese champions, beginning with "Rashomon", local film fans are due for a lot of excitement and the popularity of the project should be assured.

"The Bad Sleep Well" is an aggressive and chilling drama of modern-day Japan, exposing a fringe of "big business" in the forthright manner of an American gangster film.
Kurosawa in Review concludes with this: Like so many of the Kurosawa films before it, The Bad Sleep Well is a call to action. Kurosawa lays it all out there for the audience to see. While at the time he was making a film that commented on the society that he lived in, the themes live on today.
Shakespeare would be proud." TCM has an article that quotes the director: "... A film made only to make money did not appeal to me one should not take advantage of an audience. Instead, I wanted to make a movie of some social significance."

Slant Magazine says, "Grim and astringent, Akira Kurosawa's searing condemnation of post-WWII corporate corruption takes direct aim at his prior work's humanistic hopefulness". DVD Talk closes with this: "Any serious student of Japanese cinema should rush out and see The Bad Sleep Well, one of the very best films from one of the art's great masters."

Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 100%.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Hello Holland: 230,000 Tulips at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens


The Dixon Gallery and Gardens has an annual tulip display that just takes my breath away. This is the walk up to the entry to the gardens:


Tulips aren't my favorite flower (I'm more a sunflower and daisy gal), but WOW!





There are plenty of chairs and benches placed throughout the gardens.


There are tulips planted in every area of the gardens during this season.





There is a new piece of art displayed near the entrance to the main gallery building:


Isn't that delightful? It is Smooth Egg with Bow (Magenta/Violet) by Jeff Koons. Wikipedia says, "His Balloon Dog (Red) sculpture was one of the artworks brought to life in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian." The Memphis Flyer says, "He currently holds the word record auction price for a living artist. Balloon Dog (Orange) sold at Christie’s Auction house in New York City in 2013 for $58.4 million." I can't think of a more suitable work to display here. It brightened up my day to see it, and I saw it after I'd already seen those gorgeous tulips!