Viewing: I gave in to the overwhelming temptation and signed up yesterday for FilmStruck, the new streaming service from Turner Classic Movies and the Criterion Collection. An initial impression of the offerings, which in short look really good, will be following here in a few days. Last night, for my inaugural, I chose relatively at random two films I hadn’t previously seen. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, the last American film directed by Fritz Lang before he returned to Germany, was not bad but didn’t overwhelm. Madhumati, a 1958 black-and-white Bollywood film directed by Bimal Roy, was fabulous in every way. It is one of nine Bollywood films currently featured at FilmStruck, and I feel a Bollywood binge coming on.
Listening: As I wrote last week, my major project for the next couple of weeks is the writing of program notes for the 2016 Nevada Chamber Music Festival presented by the Reno Chamber Orchestra. My music listening will likely be confined to pieces played at the Festival, which isn’t such a bad thing.
Reading: Having finished Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend, I have just started a translation-retelling by Linda Egenes and Kumuda Reddy of The Ramayana, in anticipation of the exhibition on the epic at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum that I will soon be seeing. Thupten Jinpa’s A Fearless Heart and Julia Cameron’s The Right to Write are ongoing.
Blogging: It was, sadly, another slow week on the blogging front…
Pondering: (1) When I left home this morning at 6:15 to go to the gym, the clouds were such that a golden glow suffused everything as the sun was rising, even setting the distant mountains off in relief in a vivid, uncharacteristic way. The quality of light was remarkable. By the time I left the gym at 8:00, a dull gray had set in – attractive in its own gloomy way, I suppose, but I think it was worth getting up early on a Sunday for the golden glow. (2) The life I lead now is such that if I chose to disappear tomorrow, no one would know that I was gone, at least not for several weeks. The freedom that comes with that has some appeal, I have to admit. But it would still be nice if someone noticed my absence. (3) If I never again see a political commercial, I could live with the loss.
Anticipating: In a few hours I will be heading to the Nevada Museum of Art to check out the latest exhibitions. Two weeks or so away is a trip to San Francisco to check out the museum offerings there. Some marvelous visual art is in store for me.
Gratuitous Bollywood Songs: Someone was kind enough to put some of the songs from Madhumati, the Bollywood film I watched last night, on YouTube. So I thought I would share two of them, highly enjoyable even without translations of the lyrics. The first, “Zulmi Sang Aankh Ladi,” comes early in the film, just before our hero and heroine speak to one another for the first time. The subject of the second, “Chadh Gayo Papi Bichua,” is a scorpion bite. The lead singer and dancer in both songs, Vyjayanthimala, was one of the biggest Bollywood stars in the 1950s and 1960s (and later served in India’s Parliament). She is among the highlights of Madhumati, for reasons that become clear below.