Sunday Salon 3-31-13

Happy Easter, everyone, from rainy and overcast Reno! It’s a lazy day, and time for a little looking back at the week past.

On the book front, this morning I completed Donald Keene’s 5 Modern Japanese Novelists, which wasn’t an in-depth scholarly work but nonetheless a good critical introduction to the writers he treats — Tanizaki, Kawabata, Mishima, Abe, and Shiba. Keene’s personal anecdotes (he knew all five personally) enliven the commentary. I hope to have a fuller review of the book in the next few days.

Ongoing reading projects are Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and the exhibition catalog Out of Character: Decoding Chinese Calligraphy. I admit that I’ve been working on the latter for months, but I still intend to complete it! What my next reading project will be, however, I don’t really know. I have many great options, and am being pulled in multiple directions. Perhaps because I want to continue the Japan theme, and because the book is sitting here next to me, An Edo Anthology, a collection of eighteenth and nineteenth century writings and art from the city that later became Tokyo, is calling out to me, as is Donald Keene’s Anthology of Japanese Literature. There are other temptations, like the new biography Henry Cowell: A Man Made of Music by Joel Sachs, which looks quite excellent.

In the realm of movies, I’m continuing my slow pace, with only two films viewed this week: Anima Mundi, Godfrey Reggio’s short film on wildlife and their habitats, and, on TCM, I Love You Again, a lightweight but very enjoyable 1940 film with William Powell and Myrna Loy (how could any film with those two delightful stars be anything other than enjoyable?)

As for Easter Sunday, I fear I’m going to be spending much of it staring at the television. I would quite like to see the PBS presentation of Thomas Adès’s The Tempest — I don’t believe I’ve ever heard a note of Adès music, and I would hear quite a few notes by this much-praised British composer if I tune in for this opera. I had already tentatively planned to watch Bach’s St. Matthew Passion in honor of Easter, from a Blu-ray disc featuring the “ritualization” of Bach’s work by Peter Sellars that the Berlin Philharmonic presented a couple of years ago. Also, it’s time for another episode of “Sunday Nights with Ozu,” about which I recently wrote. I was considering the relatively short The Record of a Tenement Gentleman. But adding this 75 minute film to the six or more hours of Bach and Adès music makes for a rich day. We’ll see how it turns out.

Coming tomorrow, of course, is Opening Day, so I’ll leave you for this morning with a hearty “Go Giants!”

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