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 [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 [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 [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 Fisher Early last month, our very own Simcha (re)published a post entitled  “Hooray for the African Queen!,” in which she extolled [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 [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 [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 [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 [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 [Read More...]

SongExploder № 15: Brian Reitzell and “Watch Dogs”


Hrishikesh Hirways’ “SongExploder,” which I discovered through the crazy folks at, 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, [Read More...]