Gustave Doré and “The Raven”

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Life’s a bit breakneck at the moment, but I’m pulling my head up out of the water just high enough to mention this: Gustave Doré, whose spectacular illustrations for Don Quixote would be the absolute pinnacle of an amazing artistic career if he hadn’t ALSO DONE DANTE, produced 26 engravings for Edgar Allan Poe’s “The [Read More...]

“With Gusto and Lust” — Johnny Cash on Suffering, Success, The Classics, and The Gospel

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Every time I begin to despair of the InterWebs and their ability to offer anything of legitimate value, they come along with something like this: Here, via the Blank on Blank folks, is an animated interview with the legendary Man in Black, Johnny Cash himself, from some time in 2006. Really, really great stuff. A man [Read More...]

Looking For a Marimba Concerto? I’ve Got You Covered.

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The Previously-Discussed Welsh composer Karl Jenkins has written a concerto based on the legendary La Folia. For the marimba. Your argument is invalid. I love contemporary composers who have a knowledge of and an appreciation for the past. Plus, anyone who names their album of strange concerti “Quirk” is worthy of more attention, in my book. Especially when he says [Read More...]

Summa Shorts: “The Cave: An Adaptation of Plato’s Allegory in Clay”

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I realize that today’s short this is a bit more philosophical than my usual fare, but not to worry. I don’t really understand Plato’s ubiquitous Cave allegory — whether I’m dealing with it in written or in animated form. So we’re good. Claymation has always been a bit tricky for me, honestly. I love the amount of patience [Read More...]

Streaming Suggestion: “Mud”

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One of my favorite films from last year is now available on both NETFLIX INSTANT and AMAZON PRIME. Mud, from Jeff Nichols. It’s a hard film for me to describe, really. Somehow, it retains a distinctive personality despite an abundance of obvious predecessors and influences. Imagine Huck Finn meets Flannery O’Connor, with a dash of Faulkner, a [Read More...]

Finding Solace through Music (and Violin Building)

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Here’s an inspiring story from the Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal. Leo Beaule lost his wife of 55 years to Parkinson’s disease in 2006.  Unsurprisingly, the transition to a life without her was a tough one. He  struggled with depression and loneliness, saying that “I didn’t know what to do with myself. …I didn’t go anywhere; I [Read More...]

This Year’s Nominated Documentaries Are ALL on Netflix

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I love documentaries. Always have. Yet one of the much/most-lamented facts of my early cinematic education was that it was astonishingly hard to get my hands on them. With the Streaming Revolution, that’s all changed. Yet the forced documentary frugality of those early years makes it hard for me to grasp that fact, even now. [Read More...]

J. S. Bach, Douglas Adams, and the Happy Genius

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Douglas Adams is an acquired taste. I say that with some sadness, but also with a great deal of personal certainty. Because despite my sincere and repeated efforts, I’ve never been able to acquire it. I know many, many tasteful folks who love him and his famous “Hitchiker’s Guide”, so I know it can be [Read More...]

Summa Shorts: “The Monk & The Monkey”

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This one’s short and straightforward, yes.  But also visually inventive — the tree and the time-lapse sequence actually made me catch my breath — and the story is charming despite its predictability: I was not familiar with the short’s directorial duo – Brendan Carroll and Francesco Giroldini — but a quick search turned up the fact that [Read More...]

Closer and Closer

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Just getting myself ready for tomorrow night with this “little” long-distance number from the occasionally-healthy Hanley Ramirez: OK, so that particular clip isn’t of something getting closer and closer. It’s of something getting really, really far away. Almost impossibly far. But baseball itself is getting closer and closer. For which I am deeply, almost frighteningly [Read More...]


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