Layered Literary Canvas

The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, by Dominic Smith. A beautifully written history which brings the reader into the art guilds of the Netherlands in the 1600’s. New York’s gritty Brooklyn, isolated rich on the Upper East Side in the later 1950’s. Australia in 2000. The stories are built in layers as is the painting depicted. Sara De Vos’ last oeuvre brings a poignantly perfect masterpiece of an ending to all of the disparate lives affected by her work. Prose is gorgeous. Characters provocative and real. Learned a lot about oil on canvas. One of the best reads this year.

Déjà Jedi

The Forces of the ’80’s have returned. Russia and China expanding nuclear capabilities as Trump touts a renewed arms race. It’s déjà vu all over again. Where are Reagan & Gorbachev? Return of the Jedi. 1983. What’s in store for 2017? Haven’t seen Rogue One. But. It does seem that we are entering a time warp. In the wake of losses. Real and fictional warriors. From Prince to Ali. Today Carrie Fisher. We end the year a bit scared and sad.

Carrie Fisher wrote in one of her books: “What you’ll have of me after I journey to that great Death Star in the sky is an extremely accomplished daughter, a few books, and a picture of a stern-looking girl wearing some kind of metal bikini lounging on a giant drooling squid, behind a newscaster informing you of the passing of Princess Leia after a long battle with her head.” Pretty true. Billie Lourd is her accomplished daughter. That’s a lot.

Oh Da Joy

Don’t remember smiling as much as in the past couple of days. Papa Francesco. President Obama giddy in his presence. John Boehner stepped down in emotional tears of relief. In one day, U.S. Government turned on its head. Standing O and Mo Rocca at MSG Mass. Harlem school kids taking selfies as they chanted and sang. Multi-religious cultural core of Pope’s message.

Teacher, too. I’d never heard of Dorothy Day nor Thomas Merton. Until he included them with American icons Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King. Now I’ve learned who they are. Evoked the gaucho epic poem Martín Fierro at the U.N. Hadn’t read that since Spanish major in college. The quintessential forefather of Pampas Pastor Bergoglio. Inspirational interlude. Grazie Papa.

New American Divide

Peggy Noonan‘s piece in the Wall Street Journal analyzes the new voting “base”. From her New York neighborhood to the Trump-nomenon. Elites vs. non-elites with no particular party loyalty. Confounding pundits and reporters alike.

And then there’s the arcane paradigm pitting men against women. It’s beyond insulting to think that women vote in a mindless monolithic block. Hillary’s history-making inevitability. Really? Wondering why H-Rod and bff aide Huma Abedin stayed married to bimbo-eruptor Bill and sleaze dog Weiner. How does that recommend them to repudiate acts against. Wait for it. Women. Or girls.

Van Gogh Super Trek

Side Trek to Adams, Williamstown on the back roads. Saw a sign for Susan B. Anthony’s birthplace. Who knew? IMG_1484

Patriots beat the Seahawks in the SuperBowl. Remember that? Well, there was a museum bet. 6 days shy of Puget Sound on the Pacific Coast masterpiece by Albert Bierstadt returning to its home in Seattle Art Museum, caught it at The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown. A wall-sized stormy seascape worthy of a visit. That was just a bonus.DSC_0004-2

IMG_1473Van Gogh and Nature is a special exhibition at The Clark. Monday a great day to have the place to ourselves. Pretty much. Vincent spent time in France studying impressionists in their rural habitats. Pointillism at Auvers, Arles. Who knew? IMG_1466

The Clark’s newly expanded modern grounds, granite walls around a pool. Culture and cows in the Berkshires on a beautiful afternoon.

IMG_1475IMG_1481Lunch outside at Pera Bistro near Williams College campus. Only an hour from home on the scenic byways. IMG_1485

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Mid-Jan Musings

Sunday games. Old guys Peyton v. Tom. Millennials Russell v. Colin. Passing of the quarterbacks? Justin Bieber’s egg-pad is Strahan’s former L.A. house. Speaking of Stray-man, he predicts Broncos and Seahawks in NYC.

American Hustle topped Oscar list. American Idol seems geared toward geezers this year. Jimmy Fallon did a better Bruce than the Boss himself, as they sang ’bout Christie’s bridge-gate. Gates-gate sputtered out. Devil baby hilariously evil. Have to admit, I got Samantha Bee’s performance art piece spoofing The Five.

20 years ago. Northridge earthquake. Lillehammer Olympics. Harding-Kerrigan figure-skate knee-gate. OJ Bronco slow chase. Proust notwithstanding. Remembrances.