Category Archives: Music

So Much More Entertaining Than Your Average Contemporary Political Power Struggle

Anthony Harvey’s multi-Oscar-winning second feature, “The Lion in Winter” (1968), soars with two great pros ferociously verbally duking it out about matters of love and royal succession. It’s Christmastime, 1183, and King Henry II (Peter O’Toole), is home for the … Continue reading

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“Another Frontier Wit” & “Little Lady”

Director Robert Altman’s incomparable, (oft-labeled) revisionist western, “McCabe & Mrs. Miller” (1971), begins with a lone horseman arriving at a muddy  frontier town, Presbyterian Church, in a cold rain. A bearded (and very handsome) John McCabe (Warren Beatty), seemingly wrapped in … Continue reading

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Turkeys, Literal and Metaphorical

The professional turkey, black with a scarlet head, relaxing in his crate, was rolled into my studio on a small wooden dolly. Across the loft, behind a closed door, Willie (our first beloved yellow Labrador), barked relentlessly (“let me at him, let me at … Continue reading

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A Naked Person’s 40+ Years of Gestation

Unreleased for more than 40 years, the great documentary filmmaker Les Blank’s wonderful, raucous “A Poem Is a Naked Person” has finally emerged. In 1972, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Leon Russell invited Blank to make a film about him and his … Continue reading

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Winter Kills But False (Hellebores) Prove True (Stillwater Diary)

While the ravages of this cruel winter on some of the evergreens–white pines and rhododendron–are preferable to damage done by borers, fungi or the wooly adelgid, in that they timed out with the arrival of spring (neither Susan nor the forester had heard of current, non-weather related problems with either … Continue reading

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A Song to Drown Out the Bad News From Israel

The five-column headline on the front page of today’s New York Times (yes, I still look at print), “Netanyahu Soundly Defeats Chief Rival,” trumpeted the Israeli prime minister’s win, his fourth term. The victory, after what had appeared to be  a … Continue reading

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Using Love and Beauty to Defy Extremism

“Timbuktu,” director and co-writer Abderrahmane Sissako’s exquisite new feature, is an angry and mournful account of the people of the Malian city and its surrounding dessert resisting the 2012 occupation of heavily armed, foreign jihadist buffoons, with defiance and disdain. There are also moments … Continue reading

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