Seeking the Magic of One’s Youth

I stumbled across this quote while flipping through the latest edition of The New Atlantis a few weeks ago, and instantly loved it. (Also, it frightens me. I'm afraid of some day realizing that I've succumbed to that "blindness of spirit" without even realizing it. I don't just want childlike wonder; I need it. We all do.)...you that sought for magic in your youth but desire it not in your age, know that there is a blindness of spirit which comes from age, more black than the blindness of ey … [Read More...]


Bacall, Baseball, and an Extraordinary Bit of Detective Work

When the legendary Lauren Bacall passed away last week at the age of 89, a gratifying number of the obituaries and personal recollections that sprang up in the wake of her death referenced a single, star-making moment -- "You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve?" from her first film, To Have and Have Not.This scene:It's not easy to tear one's eyes away from Bacall, is it? So I understand completely if you missed the baseball Easter Egg. Don't be ashamed; I'd never noticed it, eit … [Read More...]


Summa Shorts: “Second Wind”

A wonderfully-crafted little short that reminds me (visually and melodically, at least) of my beloved Secret of Kells: This spiritual journey of two friends becomes a story about life and death whose refreshing aesthetic consists of paper/pencil cell animation.I'm not sure I grasp the details of the story -- the alien windmill threw me off a bit -- but I like the suggestion that selfishness damages (even kills) what we love most, and that the cat will need to be profoundly and forever … [Read More...]


Streaming Suggestion: “The African Queen”

...it’s not a metaphor about a relationship — it’s just a great portrait of one.  It understands exactly what movies are for:  to show us things we already know, but in a new way.  With crocodiles! Simcha FisherEarly last month, our very own Simcha (re)published a post entitled  "Hooray for the African Queen!," in which she extolled the virtues of John Huston's 1951 classic, The African Queen. (Yes, I realize the title should have tipped me off. No, I'm not the quickest horse out of the startin … [Read More...]


Sean Bean and the Meta-Meme

TNT's newest show, "Legends," stars Sean Bean. Otherwise known as the One-Man Meme Machine. Based on the award-winning book by master spy novelist Robert Littell, Legends stars Sean Bean (Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings) as Martin Odum, a FBI agent with the ability to transform himself into a different person for each job.The premiere aired last night, and early reviews suggest that it's fun, but not a whole lot else. I plan to catch up with it shortly myself, but I'm already … [Read More...]


Chaos Without Energy

"I wanted chaos without energy."That's the challenge director Tarsem Singh set himself when crafting the opening titles of his 2006 film, The Fall. And it's one that he gloriously, unforgetably overcame.I wrote about the film a number of years ago -- Short Version: It's fantastic and weird and shockingly violent and wonderfully childlike, all at the same time -- and I've definitely mentioned the title sequence in the past. It's the sort of thing that sticks in one's mind, especially v … [Read More...]


“Classical Music-Minded Pieces” from The New Yorker

Via NPR's "Deceptive Cadence" blog, a veritable treasure trove of "delicious classical music-minded" long-form writing from The New Yorker: Last month, The New Yorker announced that it was teasing a new "freemium" version of its website (which launches this fall) with an alluring proposition. All of its most recent pieces, plus the full archives back to 2007 and some even older selections, are free for the rest of the summer.So we took this opportunity to dig up some delicious classical mus … [Read More...]


Summa Shorts: “Fishing at Lethe”

Today's short, Derek Fong's Fishing at Lethe, reminds me a great deal of Barbara Bakos' Lady with Long Hair, which I mentioned a few months back. And not just because they both focus on fishing and/or elderly ladies coming to terms with their pasts. It's the whole "recalling lost memories" bit that really gets to me, though the reasons behind our protagonist's memory loss in this short is a bit more like those featured in Undone. And as a result, the whole things a bit sadder than Bakos' offeri … [Read More...]


Streaming Suggestion: “The Battered Bastards of Baseball”

Bing Russell was a largely-unsung character actor. Someone whose face you recognize immediately, but whose name lags far behind -- often to the point of anonymity. He appeared in a host of Westerns, most famously as Deputy Clem Foster in 50+ episodes/13 years of "Bonanza," but his greatest claim to fame is probably the fact that his son, Kurt Russell, achieved that which eluded Bing for his entire thespian career: a prominent place in the cinematic firmament.Oh, and for five glorious and in … [Read More...]


SongExploder № 15: Brian Reitzell and “Watch Dogs”

Hrishikesh Hirways' "SongExploder," which I discovered through the crazy folks at MaximumFun.org, is one of my regular podcast stops. Described as "a podcast where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made," it tends to focus on electronic music -- which is a) unsurprising, given its stated interest in pulling apart/putting together, and b) no my genre of choice. However, it's exactly the sort of "Man Behind the Curtain" thing that I love. So I lis … [Read More...]