Saturday, February 6, 2010

February 7

My cat Claire, always wanting me to be on the look-out for feline themes, was delighted when I spotted word of a new, part-animated biopic about the Russian poet Joseph Brodsky -- and cats! It's called A Room and a Half, and it sounds imaginative and fun:

NPR's "50 Great Voices" series will be swinging along for the rest of 2010. Their opening choices -- Iggy Pop and the "Afghan Elvis," Ahmad Zahir," are pleasingly unconventional:

Anthony Tommasini at the New York Times is very enthusiastic about the revival of a rare but "seemingly flawless" opera, Gluck's Armide:

OK, this following item is really not funny, except that it really is. Karaoke killings? Who knew? Choice line: "A Thai man killed eight of his neighbors in a rage after they sang John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” I would think this is an Onion piece, except that it appears in the New York Times!

I was fascinated to learn of the existence of a nasty 1931 roman a clef about T.S. Eliot and his wife, "so brutal and so personal that I’m amazed it got past Chatto and Windus’s lawyers":

Fiction in a somewhat gentler vein -- but only somewhat, since the book features the Black Death! -- is presented by Sylvia Townsend Warner's novel about a medieval convent, The Corner that Held Them, which gets a thoughtful rediscovery at Vulpes Libris:

Siva Vaidhyanathan at the Chronicle of Higher Education ponders whether the fact that nothing ever really disappears from cyberspace is a good thing -- probably not!

Among notables born on this date are novelists Charles Dickens, Sinclair Lewis, and Paul Nizan (France), children's author Laura Ingalls Wilder, journalist Gay Talese, Oxford English Dictionary editor James Murray, philosopher Thomas More, ragtime composer Eubie Blake, psychologist Alfred Adler, country singer Garth Brooks, folksinger Oscar Brand, bluesman Dock Boggs, Australian painter Russell Drysdale, comedians Chris Rock and Emo Philips, baseball player/humorist Dan Quisenberry, film director Hector Babenco, astronaut Al Worden, and actors Eddie Bracken, Eddie Izzard, Miguel Ferrer, Pete Postlethwaite, James Spader, and Ashton Kutcher. Quoth Quisenberry: "I have seen the future, and it is much like the present, only longer."