Wednesday, July 06, 2016

FINE IMAGE AND EMOTION-RICH NOVEL

Every Boat Turns South
by J.P.White
ISBN: 9781579621889
A 2009 release from
Permanent Press
For a great many people the incalculable persistent rhythms of the seas that surround us, the tides, the fog, crashing surging waves, all serve to remind us of the vast unknown. Water has no permanent shape, it cannot drive a nail. It can form long-enduring shapes on the shores of our continents and drive islands into clusters we label archipelego but no island lasts forever. In the north, when winter comes and water in the ponds freezes into temporary hardness, something often urges us to look to warmer circumstances closer to the equator. We revel in the snow and crave the sun-baked climes of the tropical island.

There are a thousand stories of sailing voyages, likened to the human voyage of life and like life, those voyages are, in turn filled with storm and peace, ecstasy and sorrow. Here is one such filled with rich images, turbulent emotions, sadness, joy and death. After years separated from his family second son Matt returns to his home on a journey of expiation. The family torn apart by the death of the favored first-born, needs to heal, at least a little and Matt tries to make that happen. Of course he fails and in the process weaves a tale of life in the islands off our southern coast, repleate with passion, drugs, storms, smuggling, love and mixed results. For the sailor there's great and kindly detail, for the rest, the relentless drive of the author's poetical structure and language carries us alongside Matt to an uncertain conclusion.

At times the exaulted language and structure may bother some readers, just as other readers may find the quantity of technical detail confusing and off-putting. For those, I suggest trying to relax with the story, enjoy the scenery and the passion, but stay with Matt through his adventure in this fine poetical novel.

Friday, June 03, 2016

SONS OF THE PROPHET an INTENSE THEATRICAL EXPERIENCE

Park Square Theatre in Saint Paul staged the prize winner from Stephen Karam. Intense, fast and at times furious, the play is wonderfully staged on the main stage. The acting  is generally good, so the humor comes through even though the subject is difficult and for me, basing a major theatrical work on Kahil Gibran is  not a happy pairing. I like theatre too much. Even if we are not ever alone in our suffering, and always greater than we know, as the poet would have it. The set is a  marvelous creation that enhances the happy pace and the acting is of a high order. The play is not an easy experience and attendees will find some specific explanation of  they read the program before the play begins.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS--good movie

 A young woman suffering from Parkinson's befriends a drug rep working for Pfizer in 1990s Pittsburgh. Stars are Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway. A good supporting cast as well. Watched it last night. Funny, poignant, raunchy sexy comedy. Snappy dialogue appropriately delivered.  Based on a true memoir. Enjoyed it a lot.

Good production, fine acting, very funny in spots. Good sex scenes as well. What sets it apart, is the realization that the way the drug company reps interact with the medical community is all true to life, if a bit exaggerated. And of course, a problematic ending.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

MY LATEST DETECTIVE NOVEL FEATURING SEAN SEAN


Sunday, April 17, 2016

MUSIC IN THE PARK SCORES A WINNER

In the acoustically magnificent United Church of Christ, where Music In the Park has enjoyed over thirty years of musical excellence, Sunday, April 17, 2016, was another winner. Performing for a small but intense audience was the Chira String Quartet, Rebecca Fischer and Hyeyung Julie Yoon-violins, Jonha Sirota viola and Gregory Beaver, cello.

They performed a difficult program superbly. The program led off with Leyendas: An Andean Wlkkabout by Gabriela Leng Frank, Bela Bartok's difficult String Quartet No 4, sz 91 and the program concluded with the eminently listenable quartet No 2 in  A minor, Opus 51 by Johannes Brahms. All in all a most pleasant performance from an expressive, competent quartet.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA COFFEE CONCERT A MIXED WINNER

Feb. 25, morning concert by Minnesota Orchestra. Interesting mix. First a Concerto for seven winds, Tympani, percussion and strings. By Swiss composer, Frank Martin. Fascinating political connections with obstinate separations in the beginning and gradual compromises and final blending for the greater good.

Mozart piano concerto 21 in C Major was next, considered top of the charts, soloist Jon Kimura Parker. An excellent composition, very well performed.

J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto #5, in D Major, is a  lovely piece and was well-performed. The trouble is the piece works better in as much smaller hall.

Finally, the orchestra concluded the concert with Arthur Honegger's Symphony NUMBER 2. It's a dark and depressing  work, composed during the height of the Nazi occupation of Paris. It is complex and dark and reminds one of war, occupation and concentration camps.Besides, the hall was cold.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Sibelius Kullervo/Black or White

Minnesota Orchestra at full throttle and in great voice with this piece, plus Finlandia. Program opened with Migrations by Olli Kortekangas, for male chorus and orchestra. It was a powerful, well-imagined concert. The YL male voice choir from Finland was magnificent and Osmos outdid himself. A small morning audience received a great benefit.

BLACK OR WHITE
Based on a true case, attorney Elliot Anderson has to fight off an attempt by his bi-racial granddaughter's black grandmother to send Eloise to her father after Anderson's wife dies in an auto accident.  The film illuminates all sorts of social and racial cliches in a fairly predictable and obvious manner. The acting is pretty good throughout, as is the direction, but the plot plods along in obvious manner until the last courtroom scene. Still worth seeing.