Dean Spanley

September 5, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Comedy Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Toa Fraser) (2009) Lord Dunsany (Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany; 24 July 1878 – 25 October 1957) wrote a book in 1936 called “Conversations with Dean Spanley,” a whimsical piece about reincarnation (as well as re-living).  The whimsy continues in this film curio, based on the book. Middle-aged London gadabout Fisk (Jeremy Northam) visits his crabby father (Peter O’Toole) every Thursday.  Old Mr. Fisk might inhabit Edwardian times but his heart and soul are rooted in the early Victorian – a sense of duty, plain common sense and a robust attitude to loss.  (Men die…

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Nabokov’s Conundrum

September 1, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Fiction, PETER'S WRITING |

You are doubtless familiar with Poe’s Law: “Satirical expressions of extremism online are hard to distinguish from genuine ones without indicating intent.”*  As inventor Nathan Poe put it, in relation to fundamentalist religious belief: “Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is utterly impossible to parody a creationist in such a way that someone won’t mistake it for the genuine article.”** But, as usual, the master of English as a second language formulated something even better.  Writing about the announcement of Facebook from the terrace of the Montreux Palace in the Spring of 1977, Vladimir Nabokov formulated his…

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Danielle De Nardis

August 26, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART |

'Frank' from "Donnie Darko"?

From the slow-flowing religious texts of stained windows, to the functional elegance of cut-glass vessels, to the glass beads used by callow schoolboys and high aesthetes, glass has fascinated for millennia. Glassblowing is fascinating. It combines creativity with industrial techniques to render the amorphous solid into dazzling shapes, sometimes functional, sometimes merely beautiful. The use of small furnaces in individual artists’ studios revolutionised the genre in and from the middle part of the 20th century, and for those artistes prepared to risk the respiratory diseases that can come of the process (without due care), there is an increasing interest and demand…

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

August 19, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Quentin Tarantino) (2019) *** In the late 1960s, late in his career, Ezra Pound discussed his monumental work, The Cantos, calling it a ‘botch.’ When asked, “‘You mean it didn’t come off?’ the poet replied: ‘Of course it didn’t. That’s what I mean when I say I botched it.’ He then went on to describe a shop window full of various objects: ‘I picked out this and that thing that interested me, and then jumbled them into a bag. But that’s not the way’, he said, ‘to make’ – and here he paused – ‘a work of art.’”* Hollywood…

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Sir Vidia on El Dorado

August 15, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, Non-Fiction, WRITING & LITERATURE |

V.S. Naipaul (17 August 1932 – 11 August 2018) was fairly down on colonialisation, perhaps because he correctly divined its attendant psychology.  Here he is on Columbus, Robinson Crusoe and the quest for El Dorado: “The facts about Columbus have always been known. In his own writings and in all his actions his egoism is like an exposed deformity; he condemns himself. But the heroic gloss, which is not even his own, has come down through the centuries…In this adventure, as in today’s adventures in space, the romance is something we ourselves have to apply…But the black legend of Spain…

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