Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Withers Collection Museum and Gallery



In my first real outing since my concussion, The Daughter and I chose one of the hottest days of the summer so far (95F with a heat index of 108) to go walking around downtown. We both like the heat, so that wasn't a problem, but we did get thirsty. Very thirsty.

The Withers Collection Museum and Gallery is run by the daughter of Ernest C. Withers, who was a local Civil Rights era icon. He was born in Memphis in 1922. Active for 60 years as a photographer, he chronicled important moments in music, sports, and civil rights. He died in Memphis in 2007 at the age of 85. The museum opened in 2011 on Beale Street and is definitely worth going through. The photographs are nicely displayed with informative descriptions, and they are an important part of Memphis history.

Here's a 3-minute introductory video:



You can see some of the photographs at the museum website.

Friday, June 29, 2018

The Golden Coach

The Golden Coach is a 1952 Jean Renoir film about an 18th century Italian commedia dell'arte troupe which has traveled under contract to Peru. Expecting a large city and proper theater they find a village with no theater at all and a tradition where the royalty are insulted by requests to pay, the poor can't afford to pay, and the middle class innkeeper thinks it rude to ask his friends to pay. A lighthearted movie and fun to watch.



The New York Times in a review from the film's release likes the film but faults the star. The Chicago Tribune calls it "magnificent".

Time Out calls it "one of the great colour films." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 100%.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Grimm's Fairy Tales


I love fairy tales and had been wanting to read this translation of the Grimms' stories for some time. The Ralph Manheim translation was published in 1977. My trouble with different translations is that I know how I want them to sound so prefer the translations from my childhood or from the childhood books of my children. This is a good, accurate, readable translation. No pictures, though šŸ˜‰

from the back of the book:
Here, for readers of all ages, is the first new translation in half a century of the two hundred and ten tales of the Bothers Grimm. Ralph Manheim, highly acclaimed, prize-winning translator of Celine, Gunter Grass, Bertolt Brecht, and others, has rediscovered in the original German editions of the Grimms' works the unadorned, direct rhythm of the oral form in which they were first recorded. He was retained their ageless magic and mythology and restored the extraordinary vitality and wit, the acute perceptions of human strength and frailty mirrored in the facets of these small gems.
Strange Horizons calls it the "more fluid and readable" of the two key 20th century translations.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Greaser's Palace

Greaser's Palace s a 1972 acid western based on the ministry of Jesus. It's written and directed by Robert Downey Sr. Robert Downey, Jr. has an uncredited role. Allan Arbus, better known as Dr. Sidney Freedman on the TV series MASH, plays the Jesus figure. Don't be misled by the subject material; some of the humor is quite crude.


The New York Times describes it:
"Greaser's Palace," which can be more accurately described as Downey's "The Greatest Story Ever Told." "Greaser's Palace" does to vulgar humor what the George Stevens film did to Christianity: it embraces it with awe and far too many technical resources.
366 Weird Movies has this description:
Set in a barren town in the old West, Greaser’s Palace is a series of bizarre sketches which run a gamut from arid comedy to hints of disturbing perversion. These absurd anecdotes hang off a storyline that loosely and enigmatically follows the outline of the New Testament.
DVD Talk says it "remains an engaging slice of independent underground/above ground absurdity." TCM has information. Rotten Tomatoes has an audience score of 61%.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Coffee and TV

Coffee and TV:



released 19 years ago this Thursday by Blur.

lyric excerpt:
So give me Coffee and TV
Easily
I've seen so much
I'm going blind
And I'm brain-dead virtually
Sociability
It's hard enough for me
Take me away from this big bad world
And agree to marry me
So we can start over again

Please share a drink-related post with us at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Gallowwalkers

Gallowwalkers is a 2012 horror western starring Wesley Snipes. Zombies of a sort. I found this one deadfully tedious. About 30 minutes into the movie, Snipes' character has an extended monologue during which he explains the characters' backgrounds and the plot or it wouldn't make any sense at all. I suggest watching the trailer and skipping the movie entirely.

trailer:



HorrorNews.net begins their review with this:
It’s difficult to know where to begin with writing a review of the film Gallowwalkers, mainly because there are so many problems with it. It would probably be easier for me to point out the parts which didn’t suck! Wait…there weren’t any.
Horrorpedia concludes a negative review by saying, "GallowWalkers remains considerably less than the sum of its influences."

Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Ghosts of Belfast



The Ghosts of Belfast is a 2009 award-winning novel by Stuart Neville, his debut novel. I picked this one up in my local bookstore because it was a new-to-me author and I've been a sucker for that "Passport to Crime" price point. What can I say.... I liked it. The main character and his "ghosts" are intriguing, and the situation he found himself in so difficult that I couldn't help but sympathize with him. You can read an excerpt here.

from the back of the book:
Northern Ireland's Troubles may be over, but peace has not erased the crimes of the past. Gerry Fegan, a former paramilitary contract killer, is haunted by the ghosts of the twelve people he slaughtered. Every night, at the point of losing his mind, he drowns their screams in drink. But it's not enough. In order to appease the ghosts, Fegan is going to have to kill the men who gave him orders.

From the greedy politicians to the corrupt security forces, the street thugs to the complacent bystanders who let it happen, all are called to account. But when Fegan's vendetta threatens to derail a hard-won truce and destabilize the government, old comrades and enemies alike want him dead.
The New York Times says it's "a first novel by Stuart Neville so bleak and despairing -“noir” in the genuine existential sense- it would rattle the composure of a saint." The Washington Post has a review. The New York Journal of Books concludes by saying, "Many readers will doubtless want to devour the entire Belfast series after experiencing the rich noir tale told in Ghosts."

Kirkus Reviews calls it "Harsh and unrelenting crime fiction, masterfully done." Publishers Weekly concludes, "This is not only an action-packed, visceral thriller but also an insightful insider’s glimpse into the complex political machinations and networks that maintain the uneasy truce in Northern Ireland."

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Favorite Record Albums

I've been seeing this on FB, but I honestly don't have many favorites record albums from the popular music of my youth. I do have some albums I fondly remember, though, and I thought I'd share them -in no particular order- here.

I bought a Gregorian Chant album in the mid-1970s that is no longer available. I can still picture it in my mind and hear it in my head, and it still brings me peace. I'd love to find that particular album, but in the absence of that I'll offer this from Spotify:



Tapestry:



Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano:



Amtrak Blues:



Deep Breakfast:



Teaser and the Firecat:



Breakaway:



Kind of Blue:



Pippin:



Laura Nyro, The First Songs





Have you heard of any of them?



Friday, June 22, 2018

Summer Solstice


We usually go downtown and watch the sun set over the Mississippi River to celebrate the Summer Solstice, but there were storms predicted so last night we observed the day on our patio.


Have a wonderful Summer!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Frugality


We live within our means, but those means will shrink next month as The Husband's financial package has been cut. These things go up and down and get rearranged in his line of work, so we try not to let a lower income get us down. It will, however, mean some changes. As we go through this first year of our decreased financial resources I'll post a few of the methods we've used and the resources we've been encouraged by in the past.

The first thing I did when we found out was to give up wine. Ever since wine was made available in grocery stores here I've been enjoying a glass with supper most nights. The cost of that mounts up, and it'll be easy enough to just not buy it any more.

The second thing we did was to drastically cut back on eating out. We love eating out and do it often, and by often I mean two or three times a week. We're going to aim at eating out once a month. That'll make our choices more meaningful, surely, and we've already decided where we'll go in June.

The third thing has been to look at other areas where there's room for cutting back. For example, I've discovered that our local library no longer requires a social security number to get or renew a library card. I will use the library's books instead of buying, and I'll ask for series books I like to own as birthday and Christmas presents.

It will be a challenge not to eat into the savings we've been building up, but I'm hopeful.

I'm so glad we're not in debt. Debt's a killer!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Gamera: The Giant Monster

Gamera: The Giant Monster is a 1965 Japanese monster movie. Either you like monster movies or you don't. I do. Besides, this one is a child-friendly turtle, and how can you not like that?

via Youtube:



The reviews of the original film aren't especially positive, but it did better than expected and spawned a number of sequels. It's got a lot of spoken infodump material, where some scientist explains all about this new method guaranteed to destroy the monster interspersed with segments showing that method failing. There is a subplot involving an adorable child who loves turtles, but those scenes are few.

In 1966 it was re-edited for an American audience as Gammera the Invincible:



with Brian Donlevy in new scenes. This one is dubbed in English.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Breakfast at Villerville

Breakfast at Villerville (1910):


by Edouard Vuillard, who died on June 21, 1940, at the age of 71. You can read more about him and see more of his work at these sites.

There's a 20-minute overview here:



I don't eat breakfast, but I do enjoy a cup of coffee on my patio in the morning:


Please share a beverage with us at the weekly blogger gathering hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Number 13

Number 13 is a 1904 ghost story by M.R. James. It begins,
Among the towns of Jutland, Viborg justly holds a high place. It is the seat of a bishopric; it has a handsome but almost entirely new cathedral, a charming garden, a lake of great beauty, and many storks. Near it is Hald, accounted one of the prettiest things in Denmark; and hard by is Finderup, where Marsk Stig murdered King Erik Glipping on St Cecilia's Day, in the year 1286. Fifty-six blows of square-headed iron maces were traced on Erik's skull when his tomb was opened in the seventeenth century. But I am not writing a guide-book. There are good hotels in Viborg - Preisler's and the Phoenix are all that can be desired. But my cousin, whose experiences I have to tell you now, went to the Golden Lion the first time that he visited Viborg. He has not been there since, and the following pages will perhaps explain the reason of his abstention.

The Golden Lion is one of the very few houses in the town that were not destroyed in the great fire of 1726, which practically demolished the cathedral, the Sognekirke, the Raadhuus, and so much else that was old and interesting. It is a great red-brick house - that is, the front is of brick, with corbie steps on the gables and a text over the door; but the courtyard into which the omnibus drives is of black and white 'cage-work' in wood and plaster.

The sun was declining in the heavens when my cousin walked up to the door, and the light smote full upon the imposing faƧade of the house. He was delighted with the old-fashioned aspect of the place, and promised himself a thoroughly satisfactory and amusing stay in an inn so typical of old Jutland.

It was not business in the ordinary sense of the word that had brought Mr Anderson to Viborg. He was engaged upon some researches into the Church history of Denmark, and it had come to his knowledge that in the Rigsarkiv of Viborg there were papers, saved from the fire, relating to the last days of Roman Catholicism in the country. He proposed, therefore, to spend a considerable time - perhaps as much as a fortnight or three weeks - in examining and copying these, and he hoped that the Golden Lion would be able to give him a room of sufficient size to serve alike as a bedroom and a study. His wishes were explained to the landlord, and, after a certain amount of thought, the latter suggested that perhaps it might be the best way for the gentleman to look at one or two of the larger rooms and pick one for himself. It seemed a good idea.

The top floor was soon rejected as entailing too much getting upstairs after the day's work; the second floor contained no room of exactly the dimensions required; but on the first floor there was a choice of two or three rooms which would, so far as size went, suit admirably. The landlord was strongly in favour of Number 17, but Mr Anderson pointed out that its windows commanded only the blank wall of the next house, and that it would be very dark in the afternoon. Either Number 12 or Number 14 would be better, for both of them looked on the street, and the bright evening light and the pretty view would more than compensate him for the additional amount of noise.
It can be read online here. It was adapted for television in 2006:



Sunday, June 17, 2018

Europa '51

Europa '51 is a 1952 film directed by Roberto Rossellini and starring Ingrid Bergman. From Imdb:
Irene Girard is an ambassador's wife and used to living in luxury. After the dramatic death of her son, she feels guilty of having neglected him and feels compelled to help people in need who cross her path.
The consequences of her charity are unexpected. It's hard to realize how hard life is for some people, both those without resources and those whom we think of as having it all.

Part 1:


Part 2:



The New York Times calls it a "dismal and dolorous account of the frustrations of a socially distinguished young matron in finding an outlet for her urge to do good." The New Yorker says, "the psychodramatic strands are woven harrowingly tight."

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Level 42

Level 42 is an English band named after Douglas Adams' novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, in which "42" is the answer to "the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything." Here they sing Lessons in Love:

Friday, June 15, 2018

Los Olvidados

Los Olvidados (The Young and the Damned) is a 1950 Mexican film directed by Luis BuƱuel. It's the story of young people struggling in poverty in Mexico City. A sad story of how poor kids don't stand a chance.

via Youtube:



"They should kill them all before they are born."

The New York Times calls it "brutal and unrelenting". Slant Magazine gives it 4 out of 4 stars.

The New Yorker opens with this:
Set in Mexico, Luis BuƱuel’s ruthless—almost surgical—examination of how the poor prey on one another is the most horrifying of all films about juvenile crime. The one masterwork on this subject, it stands apart from the genre by its pitilessness, its controlled passion.
FilmReference.com says, "Los olvidados was Luis BuƱuel's favorite film". Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 94%.



Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Second Confession


The Second Confession is a 1949 Nero Wolfe mystery novel by Rex Stout. This is a great series that has held up well, and I'm enjoying reading them. The characters are unique and engaging, and the plots are well-constructed. I'd highly recommend these if you like mysteries.

This book takes place in June.

from the back of the book:
A fanatic millionaire, a lawless politician, and a gangland boss all wanted Nero Wolfe to do things their way. Money was no object -neither was life or death...

An explosive adventure in murder and double-dealing featuring Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin.
I have also read these from the Nero Wolfe series:


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)

The Postman Always Rings Twice is a 1946 film noir starring Lana Turner, John Garfield, Cecil Kellaway, and Hume Cronyn. This is a not-to-missed film noir. Riveting.


The New York Times says, "It also comes off a tremendously tense and dramatic show, and it gives Lana Turner and John Garfield the best roles of their careers."

FilmSite.org says it's "one of the best film noirs of all time -and one of the earliest prototypes of today's 'erotic thrillers.'" Empire Online calls it "a triumph of plot-driven narrative and sparky dialogue." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 95%.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Black Coffee

Black Coffee:



sung by Ella Fitzgerald, fabled Jazz Singer, who died on June 15, 1998, at the age of 79, following many years of declining health due to heart and respiratory problems and complications from diabetes. Her last recording was made in 1991 and her last public performance was in 1993. A legend, she won many awards, including 13 Grammies.

The song itself -and what a song it is!- is from 1948, and the Ella Fitzgerald version is from 1960.

Also notable are versions by Sarah Vaughan from 1949:



Peggy Lee from 1953:


Bobby Darin (like Ella Fitzgerald in 1960):


Julie London, again from 1960:


Rosemary Clooney recorded it in 1964, Petula Clark did it in 1968, and the Pointer Sisters covered it in 1974. K.D. Lang has a version from 1988. Sinead O'Connor's cover is from 1992. Marianne Faithfull's cover from 2008 is interesting, but I prefer the earlier versions from 1960 and before.

Hat tip to Rita for pointing me to the 2003 Maria Muldaur version.

Please join the weekly blogger gathering hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth, where we share a drink-related post and visit with each other. You will receive a warm welcome.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Tetsuo: The Iron Man

Tetsuo: The Iron Man is a 1989 Japanese cyberpunk horror film. There's some body horror here and metal fetishism. I watched it, but I'm not a fan. It's just over an hour long, though, so it's a good choice if you want to dip your toe in the waters of this weirdness. The music is compelling and the images unforgettable. Rust is a prominent feature, but then so is rape.


Moria gives it a full 5 stars, calls it "one of the most extraordinary pieces of underground filmmaking to have emerged in the 1980s," and says,
The underlying theme of much of Shinya Tsukamoto’s work is similar to that in the films of David Cronenberg – flesh has become a mutable battleground where the age-old Manichean debate has finally found its warring ground. In Tetsuo – The Iron Man, flesh represents the downbeaten self, which is engaged in a war with machinery. Tsukamoto sexually fetishizes machinery – pistons, oil, the gleam of chromium, jagged edges, tangled wires – and equates it with wildly repressed desires – it is constantly trying to burst from inside human skin, run rampant and absorb everything into its mass. What more potent an image can such a regimented society as Japan have produced than that of a white-collar worker engaged in a battle of wills to stop his flesh being taken over by machinery that insists on erupting from within?
1000 Misspent Hours calls it "a mindfuck par excellence". 366 Weird Movies begins their review with this: "Attempts to describe Tetsuo: The Iron Man to the uninitiated run up against a problem of missing touchstones—what other irrational gore movies about men transforming into machines from the inside out can you compare it to?" HorrorNews.net has screen shots and calls it "a brilliant piece of filmmaking that combines nightmare imagery with modern industrial sensibilities."

Rotten Tomatoes has a 77% critics score.


Sunday, June 10, 2018

A Face for a Clue


A Face for a Clue (1931) by Georges Simenon is the second Maigret novel in the volume of two pictured above. Maigret is a detective I enjoy reading about. He is a fascinating character. There's a list of the novels here. This particular book has been adapted for film and television, including as The Yellow Dog in 1932, but I haven't seen any of them.

from Wikipedia:
M. Mostaguen, the wine dealer at Concarneau, is wounded by a gunshot when returning home drunk from the local Admiral Hotel and Maigret, who is organizing the mobile squad in Rennes, is called in by the Mayor to solve the crime. Maigret settles down at the hotel and discovers a set of curious characters...
The New York Times says, "After reading one book by Simenon you'll always want to read more."

Saturday, June 09, 2018

McCabe & Mrs. Miller

McCabe & Mrs. Miller is a 1971 western directed by Robert Altman and starring Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, RenƩ Auberjonois, Shelley Duvall, and Keith Carradine. Most people seem to love this movie, but I'm just not a fan. I think my main objection is that there's so much chatter. And it's one of the saddest, most hopeless movies I've ever seen.

trailer:



The New York Times has a negative review. The Guardian says, "this beautiful, oddly affecting film is one of the three best Altman movies."

Slant Magazine gives it 4 out of 4 stars and says, "If not the greatest western ever made, McCabe & Mrs. Miller could be the most authentic representation of wilderness life ever put on screen." Empire Online gives it 5 out of 5 stars and concludes, "They say that great actors are never knowingly caught acting; Altman's best movies are similarly effortless - experiences to be lived in, rather than simply watched."

Roger Ebert has it on his list of "great movies". Rotten Tomatoes has a critics rating of 89%.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

A Battle of Nerves


A Battle of Nerves (1931) by Georges Simenon is the first of two novels in the volume pictured above. I read a few of the Maigret books in high school and then forgot about them until I came across the several television adaptations. The Younger Son gave me this lovely book for Mother's Day, and I am glad I've rediscovered them. This book has been adapted for film and television several times, including The Man on the Eiffel Tower with Charles Laughton and as Maigret and the Head of a Man with Bruce Cremer.

from Wikipedia:
Maigret had been investigating the murder of Mme. Henderson, a rich American woman, and her maid, at her house in Saint-Cloud. Despite the evidence against the main suspect, Joseph Heurtin, which earned him the death sentence, Maigret feels sure Heurtin is not the guilty party. Convinced Heurtin knows the real killer, he contrives to let the man escape...

I haven't seen it, but you can watch the Charles Laughton version (directed by Burgess Meredith) here:



I'm working my way through the entire Bruce Cremer Maigret series, as I can get the DVDs, but they don't come cheap.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Swing Time

Swing Time is a 1936 film starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Delightful and fun to watch. This is generally acknowledged as a classic, one of the greats. Great music.

Warning: there's a scene in which Astaire dances in black face about an hour and fifteen minutes in. It lasts about 5 minutes.



The New York Times has a positive review. Slant Magazine gives it 4 out of 4 stars and calls it "the best of the Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movies".

FilmSite.org has background information. Roger Ebert considers it a Great Movie. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 100%.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Kermit the Frog and Tea

Kermit has a hard life:



but finds comfort in a cuppa tea:


Please join the regular weekly blogger gathering hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth, and share a beverage with us. I feel so happy to be back!

Monday, June 04, 2018

Early Summer Patio

I'm recovering well and am almost back to whatever counts as normal for me -you know how that is, I'm sure- after my concussion. I had 8 stitches in my forehead and now have steri-strips that will come off by themselves. All of the scabs on my knees and the heels of my hands are gone. I've been cleared to drive as long as I stay off the interstate and don't go far. I have a re-check scheduled with the doctor at the end of July. I can't tell you how grateful I am not to have broken anything (I have osteoporosis), dislocated anything, or sprained anything. I've been active on Facebook but have found blogging more difficult. I've got a lot of catching up to do!

Thank you all so much for your well-wishes!

And on a more pleasant subject, here are some photos of my patio so far this season.

April:


May:



strawberry geranium and rue:


yarrow:


June:

bee balm and cone flower:


lavender:


day lilies:


These photos were taken this past Saturday, looking to the left, center, and right as I stand at my back door:


We added a couple of trees early this spring, and they're doing well so far. There's a pink dogwood on the left side:


and an emerald green arborvitae on the right:


I do enjoy my patio. It's big enough for me to have a good space for plants without being too big for me to manage.

note:
If you're on Blogger, I'm sure you've noticed that the comment notification is broken. I'm seeing comments and responding, because I check at the site each day for comments that have been published. I've searched the various help pages, and they know about the problem and are working on a fix. We'll hope that comes soon.

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Apocalypto

Apocalypto is an award-winning 2006 Mel Gibson film about the decline of the Mayas. The film is another of those that is beautiful to watch but tells a tragic and graphically violent story. 

trailer:


The New York Times says, "viewers who share this director’s apparently limitless appetite for gore will not be disappointed". The Guardian gives it 4 out of 5 stars and says, "Mel Gibson's Apocalypto is pathologically brilliant. It is bizarre, stomach-turningly violent and frequently inspired." Slate has a mixed review.

Empire Online calls it "A strange but entertaining mix of action, bloodletting, chin-rubbing and arthouse trimmings". Roger Ebert's site faults the historical inaccuracies and the violence but calls it "a beautiful looking, emotional and incredibly exciting film". Rotten Tomatoes has an audience rating of 79%.


Saturday, June 02, 2018

The Stone Sky


The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin is the 2017 third book in the Broken Sky trilogy. Each of the earlier books won a Hugo Award, and this one has been nominated. I can recommend this entire series. I tend to prefer science fiction and this is more Fantasy than I usually read, but the series is impressive -deep with character development and immersive world-building.

from the back of the book:
THE FINAL SEASON FALLS

Essun has mastered the Obelisk Gate. But halfway across the Stillness a pretender rises: Nassun. As the icy white eye of the Moon opens above the world, ancient battle lines are redrawn between mother and daughter, stone eater and orogene, slave and rebel. The destruction of humankind -or something worse- looms nigh.
The New York Times has a positive review, as does NPR, The Verge, Kirkus Reviews, and Publishers Weekly.

I have also read the first two:
  1. The Fifth Season
  2. The Obelisk Gate

Friday, June 01, 2018

Omega

Omega is a 2012 post-apocalyptic science fiction short (20 minutes) film. They have a website here. The mechanical creatures are interesting to watch.



via SF Signal.