Rocketman

July 15, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

"What do you have to do to get a drink around here?" (Elton at Rehab)

(Directed by Dexter Fletcher) (2019) *** & 1/2 This H[B]ollywood-style biopic (with a dash of Across the Universe, in its random song-and-dance numbers performed by the cast) neither persuades nor informs: instead, it scopes back from a stagey Rehab group – showing Elton John at an even lower ebb than when he released the notoriously awful record Victim of Love – and traces his life up to the 1980s, when he roared back with Too Low for Zero and staged a faux wedding to a woman. Boxes are ticked: there’s the early austere home life with two egocentric parents (very much not in love…

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It’s a Date

July 5, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, HISTORY, LIFE |

History and the Everlasting Present History is infinite, Culture diffuse. To aid our sense of perspective, however, to use the past to process the everlasting present, we have to start somewhere; a sketch, in linear fashion, with what we think are key (often approximate) dates, including taking ‘B.C.’ (sorry, we still prefer ‘BC’ and ‘AD’) as modern year zero, rather than 4 years before. Needless to say, this is a work in progress. Too long ago to tell – Fire. The first cave art. Harvest of wheat and grains. The Wheel.     7000 years ago Egypt develops its line of…

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Die Walküre at the Met

July 3, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | FILM, MUSIC, Opera, OPERA, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, WAGNER |

[Film of production directed by Gary Halvorson, screened in Adelaide June/July 2019] **** stars Wagner’s most human work in the Ring cycle, the hub of the wheel, a pivotal moment when the increasingly out-of-kilter world of gods gives way to the chaos of man. We have described The Valkyries in more detail elsewhere, so we turn without further ado to this excellent film of the performance at the Met in NYC in March 2019, based on the original 2011 production. ‘The Machine’ is back: a spidery bundle of rectangular rods, like giant railway sleepers, that spin and flutter to address…

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Fake or Fortune: Artists’ Techniques

June 30, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, HISTORY |

A talk by Andrew Durham, The David Roche Foundation, Adelaide, 20 June 2019 In a wide-ranging and rather disordered lecture, Art Conservator Andrew Durham (from Artlab) covered topics as diverse as art forgery, preservation, techniques and use of materials, as well as the problems posed to conservation and preservation by the anarchic and chaotic predilections of artists. Durham moved at speed from one vignette to another, but the Big Theme was the overarching and critical need for care: in use of materials, in execution, and in knowing when to down tools. In the Good Old Days, of course, the first 2…

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Fall, or Dodge in Hell (by Neal Stephenson)

Apparently a psychopath feels negative emotions such as fear or disappointment only slightly, but experiences the highs of (say) skinning people so very much that he or she continues to take risks which neuro-normals wouldn’t countenance. Clearly, having learned so little from the decidedly negative emotions I suffered upon reading Seveneves and The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O., and being so ridiculously hopeful that the latest Neal Stephenson novel will be another Snow Crash,  I must be a psychopath. Again: Great idea – Drab execution. Richard Forthrast, billionaire (previously met in Reamde) has instructed that, upon death, his remains are…

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