Sunday, September 24, 2017

Search the Dark

Search the Dark is the third book in Charles Todd mystery series about a Scotland Yard detective suffering the results of having fought in World War 1. I began with the first book and am reading through the series. The detective is fascinating, and the author (author team, actually) is good at realizing fully-formed characters.

from the back of the book:
The introspective hero of Wings of Fire and A Test of Wills (Edgar award nominee) returns in a provocative new mystery. Inspector Ian Rutledge, haunted by memories of World War 1 and the harrowing presence of Hamish, a dead soldier, is "a superb characterization of a man whose wounds have made him a stranger in his own land" (The New York Times Book Review).

A dead woman and two missing children bring Inspector Rutledge to the lovely Dorset town of Singleton Magna, where the truth lies buried with the dead. A tormented veteran whose family died in an enemy bombing is the chief suspect. Dubious, Rutledge presses on to find the real killer. And when another body is found in the rich Dorset earth, his quest reaches into the secret lives of villagers and Londoners whose privileged positions and private passions give them every reason to thwart him. Someone is protecting a murderer. And two children are out there, somewhere, in the dark...
Kirkus Reviews concludes, "Best for those who like their mystery melodramas written the old-fashioned way." Publishers Weekly calls it a "fine period mystery".

I've also read these from the series:
  1. A Test of Wills
  2. Wings of Fire

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Dixon Gallery: Edward Giobbi: An Artist Comes to Memphis

The Dixon Gallery describes their Edward Giobbi: An Artist Comes to Memphis:
'Edward Giobbi: An Artist Comes to Memphis' explores Giobbi's lasting connection with the people he met during the year he spent in the city. It's such a vibrant and emotional exhibition, and it's on view now through September.
on their Facebook page. This photo also came from the Dixon FB page:

Edward Giobbi has a website here that has photos of some of his work. The I Love Memphis blog explains the Memphis connection:
In 1959, Edward Giobbi married Elinor “Ellie” Turner, a Memphis native then living in New York. ... When the Giobbi family returned to the United States in 1960, they settled in Memphis. The Turners were (and are) a well-known family in Memphis. Ellie’s brother ... was one of Mr. Dixon’s closest friends, and was one of the founding trustees of the Hugo Dixon Foundation (which formed the Dixon Gallery and Gardens). The Giobbi family only spent one year in Memphis, but it was long enough for Edward to attract an interested local audience.
I had three particular favorites from this exhibition: Times of Day, 1973; Study for a Religious Painting, 1971; and Up Yours Irene, 1955-2013. I can't find photos online but will add them here if I'm able.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Rebel Rousers

Rebel Rousers is a 1970 motorcycle gang starring Cameron Mitchell, Bruce Dern, Jack Nicholson, Harry Dean Stanton, and Diane Ladd. I've never been a fan of biker films, and this one certainly didn't convert me. The cast can't be beat though, and I'll follow them into whatever sub-genre they go.

via Youtube:

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Year of the Runaways

The Year of the Runaways is a novel by Sunjeev Sahota. You can read an excerpt here. I didn't much care for this. The book jacket copy wants me to be impressed with and surprised by the female character, but I was not. I didn't actually find any of it "surprising". There were so many named characters, the point of view changed too much for my taste, and then when it was done I was glad to be done with it. I was never tempted to quit reading, but I can't say I enjoyed the experience. The reviews I saw were universally positive, though, so what do I know....

from the dust jacket:
From one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists and Man Booker Prize nominee Sanjeev Sahota -a sweeping,
urgent contemporary epic, set against a vast geographical and historical canvas, astonishing for its richness and texture and scope, and for the utter immersiveness of its reading experience.

Three young men, and one unforgettable woman, come together in a journey from India to England, where they hope to begin something new -to support their families; to build their futures; to show their worth; to escape the past. They have almost no idea what awaits them.

In a dilapidated shared house in Sheffield, Tarlochan, a former rickshaw driver, will say nothing about his life in Bihar. Avtar and Randeep are middle-class boys whose families are slowly sinking into financial ruin, bound together by Avtar's secret. Randeep, in turn, has a visa wife across town, whose cupboards are full of her husband's clothes in case the immigration agents surprise her with a visit.

She is Narinder, and her story is the most surprising of them all.

The Year of the Runaways unfolds over the course of one shattering year in which the destinies of these four characters become irreversibly entwined, a year in which they are forced to rely on one another in ways they never could have foreseen, and in which their hopes of breaking free of the past are decimated by the punishing realities of immigrant life.

A novel of extraordinary ambition and authority, about what it means and what it costs to make a new life -about the capaciousness of the human spirit, and the resurrection of tenderness and humanity in the face of unspeakable suffering.
The New York Times calls it "deeply affecting". The NPR reviewer opens by saying, "Sunjeev Sahota has written what I suspect will be finest novel of the year." The Guardian calls it "a brilliant and beautiful novel" and says, "Sunjeev Sahota’s second novel makes a nonsense of common assumptions about what it means to write a political novel." The Telegraph says, "The main characters are superbly well drawn."

The Washington Post calls it "essentially “The Grapes of Wrath” for the 21st century" and says,
By following a handful of young men, Sahota has captured the plight of millions of desperate people struggling to find work, to eke out some semblance of a decent life in a world increasingly closed-fisted and mean. If you’re willing to have your vague impressions of the dispossessed brought into scarifying focus, read this novel.
The Times of India concludes, "as a depiction of the stark realities that unlucky, unqualified immigrants face, it is unlikely to be bettered." The Atlantic says, "Only portraits like Sahota’s can describe the experience of being a migrant." Kirkus Reviews has a positive review.

I read this as part of my book challenge this year. It is on the NPR list of Best Books of 2016.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Descent

The Descent is a 2005 horror film. A cave-exploring expedition goes terribly, terribly wrong. This one is worth watching.


Moria has a positive review. Rolling Stone says it's one of the "20 Scariest Horror Movies You've Never Seen". Empire Online says it's "Brutal, bloody, terrifying, astonishing... And so tense it'll leave you aching."

Roger Ebert says, "Finally, a scary movie with teeth, not just blood and entrails -- a savage and gripping piece of work that jangles your nerves without leaving your brain hanging" and describes it this way: "The titular drop refers to a cave-diving expedition undertaken by six women, but it's also a breathless plummet into the abyss where nightmares are realized, a descent into primal chaos and madness."

DVD Talk says, "this movie works" and calls it "a damned fine flick". Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 85%.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Drinking with Alan Lowndes

Bog's Cat (1951):

by Alan Lowndes was a British painter born in 1921, who died on September 22 in 1978.

I offer this for T Stands for Tuesday, and you are welcome to the beverages in that picture. I'll stick with my black coffee this morning. Or perhaps I'll join the Child at the Table (1958) for tea:

Tea would be nice. Perhaps later I'd let The Barmaid set me up at that cozy bar:

but I might be like The Solitary Drinker and find a table away from the bar:

You can see more of his work online here and here.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Dixon Gallery: Power & Piety: Spanish Colonial Art

Power and Piety: Spanish Colonial Art is described on the Dixon website:
The exhibition is drawn from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection and is co-organized by the Museum of Biblical Art, New York, and Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia.

Power & Piety is filled with works of fine and decorative art created for the many churches that populated Latin America, religious works of art created for the home, and objects intended for private devotional use. Ranging from paintings of saints to furniture used in devotional practices, these works illuminate how both piety and social ambition fueled the production and conspicuous consumption of religious art in these culturally rich societies.
One of my favorites from this exhibit is their featured piece:

Juan Pedro López, Our Lady of Solitude, 18th Century

Photography was not permitted, but I found photos online of some of the pieces that struck me, such as:

Tabernacle, School of Caracas, Late 18th Century

but I never found a picture of the 17th century Sacrarium Door with the Image of Christ that had early on been re-purposed for private devotional use. I found this exhibit inspiring.

It was a pretty day, so I spent some time in the cutting garden:

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Exorcist

I never used to watch any horror films except for the old monster movies until The Elder Son decided I needed to broaden my film horizons. I started watching ones he suggested and looking at top-10 and best-of lists, and I've liked much of what I've seen. I'm still don't like torture porn and slasher movies, but now I have experience to back my opinion. Somehow, though, I never got around to seeing The Exorcist. Seeing it this long after its release takes the edge off of the effect, I'm sure, but I'm still glad I've seen it.

The movie stars Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Lee J. Cobb, Jack MacGowran, and Linda Blair.


Deep Focus Review has a lengthy article which includes this: "The film opened to largely positive reviews, many declaring it a benchmark of horror filmmaking. Its detractors voiced their negative assessments even louder, however, as the potent subject matter seemed to enrage certain sensibilities" and concludes,
How else but through the film’s profound spirituality—achieved via the combination of shocking visuals, the dismissal of other explanations (i.e. medical or psychiatric), and the terrifying reality of the horrors of evil—does one explain such extreme responses over the years? The Exorcist continues to affect audiences, transcending what it means to be “a horror film” through its unparalleled construction, and the balance of visceral imagery designating the resonant emotional and spiritual questions therein. Other filmmakers have attempted to out-do Friedkin’s work, but the horror genre almost never allows for the degree of insight or good intentions that is accomplished through such graphic content. The Exorcist realizes a unique stability between image and substance that audiences cannot disregard, and which has established the picture as an indisputable classic of its genre.
Rolling Stone gives it 4 out of 4 stars. Empire Online concludes, "Fans should see it again, first-timers should believe the hype. Non-believers should suffer eternal damnation." Roger Ebert gives it 4 stars. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 86%.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Friday, September 15, 2017

Ride in the Whirlwind

Ride in the Whirlwind is a 1966 western starring Jack Nicholson, Millie Perkins, Cameron Mitchell, and Harry Dean Stanton. This is a traditional western with a solid plot and good acting -all in all a very nice film. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

via Youtube:

Slant Magazine says, "Ride in the Whirlwind is unquestionably a great movie, with its direct performances, gorgeous imagery, literate, densely jargoned dialogue, and inventively bifurcated duel-siege structure." Criterion calls it "moody and tense". DVD Talk compares it to The Shooting which was jointly released with it by Criterion and says, "their unique charms and timeless appeal still make these unconventional Westerns accessible almost half a century later."

Roger Ebert calls it a must-see. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 100%.