arts and culture

Tolkien & the Anglo-Saxon Heritage of Beowulf

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  Tolkien & the Anglo-Saxon Heritage of Beowulf by Pauline Park Much ink has been spilled about J.R.R. Tolkien’s interest in and debt to “Beowulf,” but of this one can be certain: the 20th century philologist’s reading of the great Anglo-Saxon poem had a profound influence on his literary imagination and output. In his authorized […]

arts and culture

Libya, Gaddafi & the London School of Economics

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Libya, Gaddafi & the London School of Economics Of the three universities I’ve attended, I have a special affection for the the London School of Economics, where I did my master’s degree in 1982-83. Needless to say, I was as shocked as the rest of LSE’s alumni to discover that the alma mater I hold dear […]

arts and culture

Drama Queen

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Links to some of my favorite dramas on television and film. Brideshead Revisited (ITV, 1983) Brideshead Revisited Episode 1 PART 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sD0nrC-vfaY Brideshead Revisited Episode 1 PART 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1S3LBDT3vk&feature=related Brideshead Revisited Episode 1 PART 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVSKlsIaoWY&feature=related Brideshead Revisited Episode 1 PART 4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YehY-9B_p2M&feature=related Brideshead Revisited Episode 1 PART 5 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8P6W7txlEtA&feature=related Brideshead Revisited Episode 1 PART […]

arts and culture

Moments Musicaux

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As Julie Andrews says in “The Sound of Music,” these are a few of my favorite things — music that I love to listen to. Renaissance & Baroque Fra Pietro da Hostia, Un Cavalier di Spagna (La Capella Reial de Catalunya – Hespérion XXI – Jordi Savall, director) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejWtsDJiYP0&feature=related Francesco Patavino, Un Cavalier di Spagna […]

arts and culture

Plotinus on the soul

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Plotinus, as depicted by Raphael in “The School of Athens” Plotinus on the soul: The souls of men, seeing their images in the mirror of Dionysus as it were, have entered into that realm in a leap downward from the Supreme: yet even they are not cut off from their origin, from the divine Intellect; it is not […]

arts and culture

Paul Klee on intuition in art

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Klee’s “Insula Dulcamara” (1938) Paul Klee on intuition in art According to Paul Klee, the technique of the brush stroke is a great deal, but the crucial factor in painting is intuition. “We construct and construct,” Klee wrote in a Bauhaus prospectus, “and yet intuition is still a good thing. A considerable amount can be […]

arts and culture

Opera, That Exotic & Irrational Entertainment

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In “The Queen’s Throat,” David Koestenbaum writes that opera queens are distinguished by their propensity to keep lists of operas that they’ve seen. So here’s my list of operas that I’ve seen and/or heard live or recorded: 1607 L’Orfeo (Claudio Monteverdi) 1640 Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria (Claudio Monteverdi) 1642 L’Incoronazione di Poppea (Claudio Monteverdi) […]

arts and culture

Judith Butler, faux anti-racist

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Judith Butler, self-appointed arbiter of race relations everywhere Judith Butler has an uncanny knack for self-aggrandizement, and casting herself as the voice of LGBT people of color in Germany is only the latest and most outrageous acts of ruthless self-promotion. Berlin’s biggest LGBT pride event is Christopher Street Day, and Butler was invited to speak […]

arts and culture

Reclaiming Our Spiritual Legacy as Transgendered People

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Saami shaman working (1674) Reclaiming Our Spiritual Legacy as Transgendered People By Pauline Park 18 June 2000 I was asked to speak on spirituality and the transgender community. It seems to me that the connection is an intimate one, far closer than we may realize. For we as transgendered and gender-variant people lie at the […]

arts and culture

From Brokeback Mountain to Walden Pond: Thoreau & the Authentic Life

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Henry David Thoreau might well have been thinking of Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist when he wrote that “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” While Thoreau’s “Walden” long predates Annie Proulx’s “Brokeback Mountain” short story and the Ang Lee film based on it, the transcendentalist philosopher’s magnum opus remains as relevant […]