Place: At my computer, where else?
Eating: Lemon yogurt!
Reading: Much to my surprise, I’m actually ahead of last year’s pace in completing books. That the ones I’ve read have mostly been short isn’t going to get in the way of my count. Inspired by the films I watched this week (see below), I’ve started Eddie Muller’s book Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir. The exhibition catalog Out of Character: Decoding Chinese Calligraphy is still in progress.
Watching: I have to confess to having watched Blazing Saddles again, for perhaps the tenth time – it still makes me laugh, and occasionally makes me cringe, after all these years! Otherwise my viewing was limited to a couple of Turner Classic Movies films on Friday night, both introduced by Eddie Muller (see above). The first film version of The Maltese Falcon, from 1931, was fair to good. The basic outlines of Dashiell Hammett’s story were there in much the same form as the much more famous 1941 film. Being pre-Code, this earlier rendition had a little more suggestiveness. But Ricardo Cortez, while having his own sort of charisma, isn’t quite Humphrey Bogart (a difficult standard to live up to, I know). Following that was City Streets, another early (also 1931) crime drama. It was actually quite good, due to some creative directorial touches by Rouben Mamoulian, and the always-provocative presence of Sylvia Sidney. I may have to write something about her soon. As a dedicated WKRP in Cincinnati fan in years past, I knew of Sidney as one of the actresses that played the owner of the station and mom to station manager Arthur Carlson, the “Big Guy.” But at that point, thirty years ago, I had no idea that she was one of the most distinctive actresses of the 1930s. More to come.
Listening: Once again, aside from a few short odds and ends, not much music in my life just now. That will change someday, I’m sure.
Blogging: A while back I had come across a photo of China expert Paul Pelliot examining manuscripts by candlelight in the so-called Library Cave at Dunhuang, the site of some of the most amazing paintings in the world. At first I was just going to post the photo without comment, but then decided to give some of its background. That was my major blog post for this week, along with a couple of photos of Dunhuang paintings (here and here).
Promoting: My recommendation for the day goes to one of the best blogs I know of, Messy Nessy Chic, where you’ll find all sorts of fascinating and wonderful things. Their features “13 Things I Found on the Internet Today” and “Preserved Moments of Historical Sass” are the best!
Hating: That Nelson Mandela is ill and back in the hospital.
Appreciating: I would greatly appreciate some advice from you, gentle readers. As I look at the stuff I blog about, which can range from historical anecdotes to Buddhism to 1930s films to book reviews to paintings to modern classical music, I can’t help but wonder if I should break these disparate subjects up into different blogs, or at least different pages within the one blog? My interests are a little idiosyncratic, I admit – I usually write about whatever I happen to find interesting at any particular moment – and I fear that some folks who would be interested in, say, my historical vignettes, might not want to read about film noir or Buddhist symbolism or Giotto. In general, when you read blogs, do you prefer they stick to one subject or area of interest, or do you mind if they range far afield?
Wanting: More sleep!
Anticipating: San Francisco awaits in a few weeks, and along with the art exhibitions I mentioned last week, I might take in some of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. And I may even turn tourist for a while and wander around Chinatown (which might not seem that interesting, but in all the times I’ve been to San Francisco, I’ve only visited Chinatown once).
“Mongo not know. Mongo only pawn in game of life.” (Blazing Saddles)