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Gerry D

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Four Quartets [Nov. 14th, 2012|05:58 am]
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Yesterday at the Avon Cinema in Providence I caught A Late Quartet with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Christopher Walken. It's a bit flawed, but of great interest to me because of the musical topic. Beethoven's Opus 131 figures heavily in the story, as played on the soundtrack by the Brentano String Quartet.

I tried to remember other films that deal with string quartets. An obvious one is the 1983 Italian movie Basileus Quartet by Fabio Carpi, which is pretty good. Another is the 1989 documentary High Fidelity: the Adventures of the Guarneri Quartet. There also seems to be a Russian documentary on the Guarneri Quartet, but I have never seen it...so it's a quartet of quartet films that I could find.
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I left my heart in... [Oct. 30th, 2012|07:26 pm]
San Francisco!
I returned last week from a happy nine-day trip to visit and revisit film-friends, wallow in culture at the San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony and more. I ate large amounts of my favorite SF seafoods: petrale sole, sand dabs, cioppino, Dungeness crab, oysters and prawns of the region. I went to museums, touristy sites, non-touristy sites, took a myriad of cable cars and vintage trolleys, MUNI Metro cars, buses, walked extensively, climbed steps up to Telegraph Hill and Coit Tower, scouted "Vertigo" locales, popped down to Palo Alto, over to Berkeley, out to Sausalito, trudged the sand to a bleak Ocean Beach before it was time to fly home on the red-eye, in sadness.
388 pics:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/italiangerry/sets/72157631873650247/
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Libera me [Jul. 23rd, 2012|02:57 pm]
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[Current Music |Britten: War Requiem]

Yesterday I went to Tanglewood for an all-Mozart program with the BSO. I like to go there at least once each summer, and have missed only one summer in fifty years!

While I was there I went to their gift and souvenir shop. I found a newly-released DVD of the long-unseen television broadcast of Benjamin Britten's War Requiem. It was of the American premiere at Tanglewood on July 27, 1963, conducted by Erich Leinsdorf. Now, I actually had gone to that performance with my late friend Ted, after dinner at the Yankee Pedlar Inn in Holyoke. It was an unforgettable concert. I did not know it had been recorded for TV. So I watched it this morning and besides revisiting the great performance under Erich Leinsdorf, I kept looking to see if I could spot myself and my friend in that audience of nearly fifty years ago. We were both 21! But I could not. I didn't expect to.

That is still such a great work, alternating the text of the Latin mass for the dead with the disquieting war poetry of Wilfred Owen. The "Libera me" climax still sends a chill through me, while the quieter moments are tender and beautiful.
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(no subject) [Mar. 26th, 2012|08:50 am]
Jessica Ahlquist, brava!!!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1xSWlq9g4c
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Caffè [Jan. 8th, 2012|12:17 pm]
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Today, a momentous affirmation. I can say without doubt that Lavazza espresso is superior to Medaglia d'Oro.
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16mm projector [Apr. 24th, 2011|12:25 pm]
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[Current Mood |Nostalgic]



Yesterday I took out my old Bell & Howell 2585 16mm film projector. After twelve years in storage, it still works fine, though it sounds like a sewing machine. Now I am back to the days when films were actually on film. I still own a pile of reels and I plan to supplement my DVD viewing with the real (reel?) thing. Films on 16mm are bulky, heavy, cumbersome, but they have some indispensable nostalgia for me.
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Raiders and Fassbinder [Apr. 4th, 2011|10:14 pm]
A film-exhibition-history researcher contacted me today asking where I might have seen Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981. I e-mailed him back:

"I first saw Raiders of the Lost Ark on June 18, 1981 at the Lincoln Mall Cinemas in Lincoln, RI. I saw it again a month later on August 26 at the Imperial Theatre in Montreal. I noted that it was shown there in 70mm and Dolby sound. I was in Montreal for the World Film Festival and squeezed that in as well, primarily to take advantage of the high-quality presentation.

"Now this next bit is not useful to your research, but at the Festival, that evening of August 26 around midnight, I caught a special showing in its North American premiere of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's film Lola. The director was on hand to introduce it. He had brought his newly-finished film in his luggage.

"The print of this German-language movie had no subtitles. The festival staff distributed headphones for simultaneous translation in French or English. It was a privileged event. Less than a year later, the following June, Fassbinder would die from heart failure brought on by heavy use of sleeping pills and cocaine."
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The deer in the yard. [Feb. 11th, 2011|07:33 am]
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[Current Music |The Sound of Music]

For more than a month a deer has been living in my large back yard and that of my sister next door. It forages among the twigs, fir branches, dried foliage, as it quietly tracks through the long-standing snow. It is a female deer or doe. (♫ Doe, a deer, a female deer. Re, a drop of golden sun! ♫) She really is so beautiful and so magical, that I stare out the window, in a trance, and just look at her. One morning this week, as I was washing the dishes at my basement sink, I looked up and she was right there outside, foraging, eating, unfazed by my suds. She can almost always be spotted. I don't know where she spends the night, perhaps amid some bushes. I have no intention of interfering with her. She needs no help. She is perfectly capable of surviving without any assistance. Heck, she doesn't have to spend tons of money at the supermarket, buy expensive heating oil, pay income taxes, need health insurance. My dear deer, my magical doe, you have the life! I do hope no gun-toting neighbor decides to pick you off for sport. That would be a cruelty I would never recover from. I want you here, rent-free, as long as you care to stay.
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"Pasca', o' mare" [Oct. 21st, 2010|12:26 pm]
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In the electrifying final minutes of Vittorio De Sica's 1948 Italian film masterpiece Sciuscià (Shoe Shine), the Neapolitan Raffaele and the other boys trapped in the Roman reformatory are watching a newsreel of the war in the Pacific. Raffaele (Aniello Mele) looks up at the screen with glowing eyes. He sees not the war scenes but the sea of his beloved Naples. "Pasca', o' mare!" he says in demi-ecstasy to a friend. "Pasquale, the sea!" Within minutes Raffaele shall have died, victim of his TB amid a crush of frenzied kids attempting escape.

"Pasca', o' mare!"
"Pasquale, the sea!"
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Macadamosis [Jun. 10th, 2010|12:23 pm]
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[Current Mood |Crunchy]
[Current Music |Tchaikowsky: The Nutcracker]

Macadamia nuts. Love them. But perhaps in excess. They have become more than an obsession. A psychosis, really. Unrelenting. Overwhelming. I chomp. I crunch them. They are crunching me.
Macadamia,
macadamia,
che infamia,
che infamia!
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