Slaughterhouse 58

February 14, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY |

We recall the bombing of Dresden on 13-15 February 1945 By then, the War had reached a point where cruelty and violence was indiscriminate, a mad point born of seemingly ceaseless battle. And Auschwitz had been ‘discovered’ shortly before. And Dresden did have some sorts of military value as a target.  And the German army were fighting a spirited rear-guard action. “And so it goes.” “It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed. Otherwise we shall…

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Kirk Douglas

February 6, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM, Ulalume |

(1916 – 2020) Born Issur Danielovitch Demsky, his new name suited him down to the ground: he was one of the post-war film types who looked like businessmen (like Burt Lancaster). He formed his own production company in the 1950s and was instrumental in bringing works and talents to the fore (he gambled in giving script work to blacklisted Dalton Trumbo; he saw the potential in Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and took it to Broadway in 1963). As an actor, he was a strong presence; at times, he was almost too intense.  That drive worked very well…

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The Irishman

February 3, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Martin Scorsese) (2019) We watched Marty’s film, “The Irishman,” We watched it long into the Morn, And all we can say, regrettably, Is that it was One Big Yawn. He takes lots of bits from other films, Some of which were made by him, Wedding, baptism from “The Godfather“, He much from “Goodfellas” doth limn. There’s some nonsense baked-in from “JFK“, (Dave Ferrie’s eyebrows are absurd), There’s a heap of expository dialogue But we now can’t remember a word. Production values are uneven, The aging just doesn’t ring true, It all seems to play by the numbers, The ladies…

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Who’s Running the Show?

January 24, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | POLITICS, Ulalume |

[In the case of Miller v The Prime Minister [2019] UKSC 41, the UK Supreme Court (created in 2009 despite recognition of the real risk of “judges arrogating to themselves greater power than they have at the moment”)  heard an Appeal by Ms Gina Miller (a Guyanese-British business owner and activist who was rather more worried about Brexit than the legalities of executive action) challenging advice (given by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to Her Majesty the Queen) to prorogue (shut down) the unruly and hopelessly conflicted UK Parliament that had: (a) defied the majority of citizens voting for Brexit; (b) sabotaged…

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David Sedaris

January 20, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Sedaris signing prior to curtain

(Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide 18 January 2020) The Varnished Culture initially knew David Sedaris as the brother of Amy Sedaris, the author of the most sublimely hilarious hospitality book of all time, I Like You. David has shot ahead of his precocious siblings through sheer output, and a rather endearing sensibility. Open one of his books at random – Calypso, say, or the funny-sad Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk (we’ll never try to be rude about Jazz again), and you can see a humour that is gentle and yet sharp, generous and yet angry.  (In Calypso, he recounts how his partner and he…

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