Archive for July, 2012

Quote of the day: BROKEN

July 18, 2012


The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.

— Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

Good stuff online: Benj Zeitlin, director of BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, and Postville, Iowa

July 18, 2012

When I got home from seeing Beasts of the Southern Wild, of course I immediately wanted to go online and find out how this film was made. Happily, I found this excellent interview by Maris James with director Benh Zeitlin that answered a lot of my questions. Among other things, he says that they originally had cast a Julliard-trained actor to play the father, but it wasn’t feeling intuitively right, and they ended up hiring the guy who ran the bakery where they bought their doughnuts every day. And when he picked the then-six-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis to play the lead, he sat down with her at the computer and went through Lucy Alibar’s script line by line, taking out anything that didn’t sound like something she would say.

And then there’s Maggie Jones’s fascinating story in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine about Postville, Iowa, which represents its own peculiar microcosm of the American economy and job market today. In the midst of the heartland, meatpacking plants depend on workers who will tolerate pretty horrible conditions for rock-bottom wages, which means a succession of legal, illegal and semi-legal immigrants and refugees from Russia, the Ukraine, Mexico, Guatemala, Somalia, and Palau. This is not Mayberry, RFD.



Photo diary: the week ending Friday the 13th

July 13, 2012

I think I can definitively say this is the seediest fucking watermelon I’ve seen in my life. It’s like the karmic watermelon, containing all the seeds that were genetically removed from other melons I’ve eaten in recent years. I undertook the task of painstakingly de-seeding half of a small spherical melon as a meditative task. I can report that it is an exceedingly tedious job I will never do again, and performing it ran the risk of turning me off from watermelon forever. Just saying.

It also made this the single most labor-intensive salad I’ve ever made (45 minutes). Luckily, I had the Dirty Projectors’ new CD, SWING LO MAGELLAN, to keep me company. Quite good company!

new glasses — bought them in Bologna last fall and just had lenses made

my new favorite non-alcoholic beverage, still on sale at Whole Foods through July 31 — two six-packs for $8!

Watching Lotte Lenya in Jose Quintero’s mediocre film of Tennessee Williams’ THE ROMAN SPRING OF MRS. STONE, I couldn’t help seeing Everett Quinton playing her in a remake/parody/hommage.

The DVD extras go to some length to talk about how sad Vivien Leigh was during the shooting, having just been dumped by Laurence Olivier. Her hairstyles are hideous up until Warren Beatty fucks her brains out, then suddenly she turns pretty. Sex can do that. Doesn’t she look a bit like Ann Magnuson here? Key line: “I won’t know you love me until you hurt me.”

Quote of the day: BEAUTY

July 11, 2012


People who are very beautiful make their own laws.

— Tennessee Williams, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone


Photo diary: Rubin Museum

July 10, 2012

The Rubin Museum of Himalayan Art on West 17th Street in Chelsea is one of New York’s hidden treasures. Walking in there any day of the week (except for Tuesday, when it’s closed) guarantees a big dose of serenity mixed with aesthetic ecstasy. The shows are exquisitely mounted, lit, and notated. Currently on display is a fantastic show of modernist Indian painting. On the first floor, the show called “Gateway to Himalayan Art” includes an extraordinary Tibetan Shrine Room.

When I visited yesterday, I found myself most mesmerized by the “Masterworks” show, specifically a room of fantastic, intricate, Bosch-like murals, which the Rubin’s website describes thusly: “Life-size facsimiles of an entire sequence of murals from the Lukhang, the Dalai Lamas’ Secret Temple near the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, provide an exceptional opportunity for viewing Himalayan art at its most lavish. The original eighteenth-century wall paintings–inaccessible to the public until the late twentieth century–uniquely depict the most esoteric of meditation and yoga practices in vivid color and detail. Created with new photographic methods by Thomas Laird and Clint Clemens, this display of large-format, high resolution pigment prints allows for even better access to the paintings than is possible in the temple itself. Their presentation at the Rubin marks the first showing in the world of prints created using this technology and also provides the first-ever opportunity outside Tibet to view full-size Tibetan murals in their relationship to portable art from the region.” Typical for Tibetan art, they are full of strong images of death, skulls, and wrathful deities. You can study these panoramas for an hour at a time. I loved spying the nonchalant disembowelling of a human by animals (above) or the coquettish glance of love shared by a weaver and a shepherd (below).

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