For the past several weeks I have been playing around with a short story, and it seems to be finally in a condition satisfactory enough to me for it to be posted on my blog. Feel free to read it: won't cost you a thing.
“A Hidden Life,” the latest Terrence Malick movie, arrived in the mail this morning. I spent the afternoon watching all 2 hours and 54 minutes of it. It is a movie that could have been made by no one other than Malick. I see reflections and reminders of every one of his previous movies in this one.
The story is simple. A young farmer with a wife and 3 little girls and an aged mother cannot bring himself to swear allegiance to a man whom he believes to be an evil dictator who has taken his country into an unjust war and who is killing innocent people.
I recently saw that the idea of using New York City parks for temporary mass burial of victims of COVID-19 was being floated. My first reaction: why temporary? My reaction upon deeper consideration: why temporary?
I am enjoying the new series in the New York Times in which you invite the public to watch movies with you during a weekend and then provide your own and your viewers’ thoughts about the movie the next week. Already you have persuaded me to take another look at “Top Gun” Lacking an email address to which I might send you condolence for the dearth of new movies to review during this time of plague as well as my own advice on what else you might do during this hiatus, I’ll try to get your attention this way. Too, this might contain suggestions helpful to some of your Constant Readers.
You may recall Ogden Nash’s young belle from old Natchez whose garments were always in patchez. When comments arose on the state of her clothes, she replied, "When Ah itchez, Ah scratchez.”
I’ve been thinking of that young belle recently and wondering if she might be a version of Gaia writ small, or perchance Gaia is that young lady writ large.
Former NYCB soloist and later dance instructor Richard Rapp died at his home in Deerfield Beach, Florida, on the morning of Monday January 13, 2020, at the age of 87. His older brother called me from Wisconsin that afternoon with the news. It did not come as a surprise. I had called his cell phone twice that morning with no answer, and usually if he was not able to pick us, his hospice attendant would do so.
Richard was a member of the New York City Ballet from 1956 to 1972. He said that when Balanchine did not ask him to be part of his new ballet “PAMTGG” he took that as a signal. I suggested that perhaps it was Balanchine doing him a kindness not to put him in that rare disaster. I had become aware of Richard as a dancer during the company’s first season at the New York State Theater. Other dancers were more spectacular, but something about the cleanness and the elegance of his performance style appealed to me. It seemed that for him the created work was central and his job was to be the best instrument possible to show that work, an approach the direct opposite of another dancer of the time, Rudolf Nureyev.
If you’d like to see Richard in performance, take a look at “Four Temperaments” from the New York City Ballet in Montreal” collection, this filmed in 1964. Richard appears about 7 minutes and 25 seconds in, dancing the “Melancholic” movement (but watch the whole wonderful ballet): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tnj95tNGJ6c&t=822s
It is a revelation to see both “The Deer Hunter” and “Heaven’s Gate” in the same week.