Posts Tagged ‘Europe

20
May
13

5.20.13 … I’d love to walk Paris …

Europe,  walks, Paris,  NYTimes.com: 

5. Paris Promenade

In the 2004 film “Before Sunset,” Jesse, an American (Ethan Hawke), and Celine, a Frenchwoman (Julie Delpy), spend an afternoon traversing Paris as they flirt with love. At one point they ascend a staircase to an elevated park called the Promenade Plantée.

The 2.8-mile-long parkway, inaugurated in 1993, follows the abandoned Vincennes railway line; it was the inspiration for New York City’s High Line. In the film, Mr. Hawke and Ms. Delpy use the staircase midway along the promenade. I prefer to start at the staircase entrance at the promenade’s western end, which rises from the Viaduc des Arts, the red-brick arches filled with boutiques and galleries.

Tunnels, embankments and trenches have been preserved. Benches and trellises have been installed. Wild moss, lichens and bamboo grow wild. Lime, quince, cherry and holly trees, climbing roses and honeysuckle are among the plantings.

Visitors can peek into windows and look down at narrow streets. On the left is the steeple of the St.-Antoine des Quinze-Vingts Church. On the right is a police headquarters decorated with a dozen reproductions of Michelangelo’s “Dying Slave.” (The original sculpture sits in the Louvre.)

For much of the way, the flâneur (stroller) reigns supreme. “The practice of jogging is tolerated to the degree that it does not annoy the walkers,” a sign tells visitors.

At the midway point, the promenade descends to the Jardin de Reuilly, an expanse of grass, trees and statues.

At the eastern end of the promenade it is a short walk to the National Center of the History of Immigration. Built in neo-Classical style for the 1931 international colonial exhibition, it is now celebrated as an Art Deco-era masterpiece. The interior, with its original marquetry, lighting fixtures, staircases and mosaics, has been frozen in time. Bas-reliefs on the facade by Alfred Janniot celebrate the success of the French empire. It is a brilliant work of propaganda: tropical plants, animals, colonial faces and agricultural and mineral riches extracted from the colonies. France, naturally, is an allegorical figure of abundance at the center. — ELAINE SCIOLINO

via Europe, in 9 Walks – NYTimes.com.

politics,  state governments, G.O.P., NYTimes.com:

Still, the news for Republicans has been reasonably good at the state level, where their candidates have been freer from the partisan dysfunction in Washington.

via In State Governments, Signs of a Healthier G.O.P. – NYTimes.com.

Constitutional rights, search and seizure, suburbia, DavidsonNews.net:

The citizens of Davidson are lucky to have a close and trusting relationship with our police officers. Our police department has earned its trusted status in our community. Unfortunately, such close relationships between the police and the public do not exist everywhere. Fourth Amendment rights should not depend on your zip code. It can be easy to overlook the loss of the Fourth Amendment freedoms, the simple right to be left alone, when you have never experienced police overreaching. Some citizens feel the sting of being randomly seized far more frequently than they should, not just on a lone day in March at Exit 30.

via Search and seizure in suburbia | DavidsonNews.net.

obituaries, The New York Times, statistics: 

Results: Male obituaries outnumbered female (813 vs. 186), and the mean age of death was higher for males than females (80.4 ± 0.4 vs. 78.8 ± 1.1 years). Younger ages of death were evident in sports players (77.4 years), performers (77.1) and creative workers (78.5), whereas older deaths were seen in military (84.7), business (83.3) and political (82.1) workers. Younger deaths were more often associated with accidents (66.2 years), infection (68.6) and organ-specified cancers (73.0). ‘Old age’ was more often the cited cause of death for philanthropists, academics and doctors, and less often for sportsmen, performers and creatives. Cancer deaths occurred most often in performers and creatives, with lung cancer commonest among performers and least common in professionals.

Conclusion: Fame and achievement in performance-related careers may be earned at the cost of a shorter life expectancy. In such careers, smoking and other risk behaviours may be either causes or effects of success and/or early death.

via Death in The New York Times: the price of fame is a faster flame.

08
Jul
11

‎7.8.2011 Godspeed, Atlantis! … and by the way, Apple TV is pretty cool …

Harry Potter:  Can’t wait … Live Video: Watch the ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2′ Premiere in London – TIME NewsFeed.

NASA, end of an era:

Human spaceflight is dangerous — and it’s about to get more so, according to former Johnson Space Center director Christopher Kraft, who says NASA is making a mistake by retiring the space shuttle.

Kraft has co-written a letter, endorsed by a number of Apollo-era NASA veterans and astronauts, contending that the international space station will become more hazardous for astronauts without the shuttle’s resources as an emergency backup.

Born out of a grand vision of space exploration after the Apollo moon missions, NASA’s manned space vehicle, Columbia, lifted off from Kennedy Space Center in 1981. The final flight of Atlantis will mark the end of the space shuttle era after 135 missions.

Space program’s final shuttle flight resonates in Cape Canaveral: The home of NASA stands to lose thousands of jobs after Atlantis goes on the last flight of the shuttle program.

“I think they’ve got their head in the sand,” said Kraft, who was NASA’s first flight director.

He said the shuttle’s robotic arm has no duplicate on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, which NASA will need to rely on for several years as the private sector develops new vehicles for getting astronauts into orbit. Nor can the Soyuz permit two astronauts to conduct spacewalks simultaneously, Kraft said. Such spacewalks might be necessary if the station lost power or underwent decompression.

via NASA endangering space station by retiring shuttle, say ex-flight director, others – The Washington Post.

Civil War, photography, ethics:

One of the most famous photographs from the Battle of Gettysburg is also the most controversial.The photographer moved the body for a better composition. In the Newseum’s Ethics Center we ask “Should he have moved the body?” What do you think?

via Newseum’s Photos | Facebook.

Great Recession Recovery, China, US, Europe:

China’s economic expansion into Europe is gathering pace, as we report in a briefing in our latest print edition. We also argue, in a leader, that America needs to worry about the contrast between its own attitude to China and Europe’s.

via China’s presence in Europe: The long march | The Economist.

technology, education:

Co-founders Michael Chasen and Matthew Pittinsky created Blackboard in 1997 with a handful of friends, growing it through the dot-com bust and into a global business that turned a $16.6 million profit last year.

The company has made a concerted effort in the last year or two to target emerging technologies, such as mobile and social media, that might have applications in the education arena.

“Through our conversations, Providence has expressed interest in our business model,” said Chasen, the company’s chief executive. “We are very much not only going to continue to develop and bring new products to market in those areas, but with Providence I think we can accelerate some of that.”

Indeed, Providence is no stranger to the education marketplace. Its portfolio includes Archipelago Learning, Ascend Learning, Catalpa, Edline, Education Management Corp. and Study Group, according to a statement.

via Blackboard agrees to $1.64 billion buyout by Providence Equity investor group – The Washington Post.

statistics:  So more free time … but is anyone happier?

Americans are gaining more free time, but are devoting most of it to leisure rather than learning new skills or working out, according to a new government survey.

On average, Americans aged 15 or older spent about three hours and 58 minutes working on weekdays, according to the 2010 American Time Use Survey released Wednesday by the Labor Department. That was a six-minute decrease from 2009, and down 26 minutes from 2007, before the recession hit.

In its annual Time Use Survey, the Labor Department says Americans are working less, sleeping more and watching a lot of television. Joseph Light explains why.

According to the survey, that time has been allocated largely to leisure activities and sleep. In 2010, for example, Americans spent an average two hours and 31 minutes watching television on weekdays, up 5.4 minutes from 2007. They caught eight hours and 23 minutes of shut-eye per day, up more than five minutes from 2007.

The Census Bureau conducted the survey by interviewing about 13,200 people, across a range of demographic categories, who were asked to keep a diary of how they spent their time on a given day. Between years, average changes in time spent on activities tend to be very small. That means that changes of a few minutes are considered significant.

via Leisure Tops Learning in Survey – WSJ.com.

12
Mar
11

‎3.12.2011 … Thinking of E and her happiest of days … Wondering if she stays up for the official changeover to Eleanor Daylight Time …

events, time change, DST, touché titles: “Cosmic courtesy” for you E!

The change is disconcerting. But more unsettling still is the mystery we’d rather not face: If clock time isn’t real, what is time, anyway? We don’t understand time, and we definitely don’t want to admit that our allotment is limited. We just want to get on with our day.

via Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? – NYTimes.com.

Then in 2005, Congress granted Americans a cosmic courtesy: a little extra sun.

In the Energy Policy Act of 2005, intended to strengthen the electricity grid and increase domestic fuel production, Congress inserted a section that moved the start of daylight saving time back to the second Sunday in March and the end to the first Sunday in November.

Before 2005, the last major amendment to the Uniform Time Act came in the mid-80s when the start of daylight time was moved back to the first Sunday in April.

Many countries around the world observe some form of “summer time,” but set their dates individually. — March 7, 2008

via Daylight Saving Time – News – Times Topics – The New York Times.

Japan Earthquake/tsunami, facts:  Wow … moved the main island of Japan by 8 feet and shifted the planet on its axis by nearly 4 inches.

The powerful earthquake that unleashed a devastating tsunami Friday appears to have moved the main island of Japan by 8 feet (2.4 meters) and shifted the Earth on its axis.

“At this point, we know that one GPS station moved (8 feet), and we have seen a map from GSI (Geospatial Information Authority) in Japan showing the pattern of shift over a large area is consistent with about that much shift of the land mass,” said Kenneth Hudnut, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Reports from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy estimated the 8.9-magnitude quake shifted the planet on its axis by nearly 4 inches (10 centimeters).

The temblor, which struck Friday afternoon near the east coast of Japan, killed hundreds of people, caused the formation of 30-foot walls of water that swept across rice fields, engulfed entire towns, dragged houses onto highways, and tossed cars and boats like toys. Some waves reached six miles (10 kilometers) inland in Miyagi Prefecture on Japan’s east coast.

via Quake moved Japan coast 8 feet; shifted Earth’s axis – CNN.com.

YouTube, lost and found, photography :  Loved the story … loved the video … But think about it  .. almost no one uses film anymore …

A young New York filmmaker, whose attempt to locate the owner of a canister of film he found in a Brooklyn park during the recent blizzard

turned into an Internet quest, has solved the mystery: She’s young, she’s French, she lives in Paris.

Todd Biebers’ original video, in which he showed the lovely photographs taken around New York City after the snowstorm, drew more than 1 million views, which prompted a second one as he began his quest for the mystery photographer.

Then comes the third, in which he documents his travels to Europe to reconnect with the owner of the film, who found out about his online search, and to meet some of the Europeans who had contacted him during the search.

via New Yorker’s online quest for owner of lost film roll ends in Paris –.

ultra marathons, kith/kin, good to know:  J was thinking about running this one again … Good to know that “An ambulance will not be stationed on the course. There are four major hospitals located within limping distance of the course, on the other side of Lake Shore Drive.”

Aid Stations will have water, Gatorade, Coke, cookies, pretzels, potato chips, candy, fruit, first aid supplies and all the goodies you expect from us. An ambulance will not be stationed on the course. There are four major hospitals located within limping distance of the course, on the other side of Lake Shore Drive . Aid station volunteers and others will be able to call 911 for help if necessary.

via Chicago Lakefront 50K George Cheung Memorial Race – Information.

YA/children’s literature, Curious George, museum exhibits, San Francisco: If I remember correctly, this exhibit first opened in Skokie.  Very interesting true story …

The Curious George stories were an international hit, allowing for a few cultural variations. In Britain his name is given as Zozo; the publishers thought it would be disrespectful to have a mischievous monkey named after the sitting king. Whatever the case, children around the world were taken with George’s unwitting mischief, and charmed by the cheerful, brightly coloured illustrations. But his story of travel, migration and cultural collision has a paradigmatically American dimension.

Against the backdrop of the Reys’ own dramatic travels, these children’s stories assume a poignant cast. The Reys became American citizens in 1946, and moved to Cambridge, Massachussetts in 1963*. They never talked much about their narrow escape, and even today the story is not widely known. This is perhaps because, despite the direct biographical parallels, the Curious George stories give so little indication of their dark historical backdrop. The outlook is resolutely cheerful. George explores his new world fearlessly, and his confidence is justified. Strangers are kind to him. Authority figures are corrective, not punitive. The inevitable misunderstandings are quickly sorted out and forgiven. He is just a fictional monkey. But those would be good standards to help any newcomer feel at home.

via THE CURIOUS JOURNEY OF CURIOUS GEORGE | More Intelligent Life.

architecture, Easter Island Statues, Miami:  Only in Miami?

CONCEIVED during the boom and taken over by its lenders after the bust, the Icon Brickell has become the most visible symbol of Miami’s property renaissance. The Philippe Starck-designed condominium complex is, depending on taste, either hugely sophisticated or utterly naff. The columns at the base of the building are shaped like Easter Island statues (see picture); tables and chairs sit voguishly in the water of an outdoor pool; the walls of an enormous spa are lined with books wrapped in white paper. It’s seductively ridiculous.

The complex had been largely pre-sold, but when the bottom fell out of the market buyers refused to pay up. Units are now being marketed at heavily reduced prices. Sales, at around 60 units a month, are running at twice the expected level, says one agent. The main source of demand is cash-rich international buyers, most of them from Latin America. Local agents say Venezuelans are the most active buyers, followed by Brazilians.

via A special report on property: A world apart | The Economist.

country v. city, free market, competition: All I know is most town centers die when Wal-Mart moves … what is the long-term effect?

But after reading an anti-Wal-Mart missive from another small business owner, I’ve been wondering: what message do these guys think they’re sending?

I mean, can you imagine a television station running ads asking you to complain to your government about the existence of other channels? Or if every brand of peanut butter on the shelf carried a sticker demanding that other brands of peanut butter be removed?

As a customer at the hardware store, I have to say I was a little insulted. The message couldn’t be more clear—as a business we’re concerned that your decision to seek a better selection of goods at lower prices will force us to close. Actually, I suppose it’s worse than that—we think you, enlightened customer, appreciate the benefits of an uncompetitive business enough to deny others the option to buy from a store with more attractive goods and prices than our own. Honestly, what sort of patron is moved to action by the call to kill off the competition?

via Business: The confidence to compete | The Economist.

travel, Europe, hotels, lists: Let’s go …

In addition to being a discriminating where-to-stay resource, National Geographic Traveler’s 2010 Stay List is an in-a-nutshell look at the geography, history, and architectural styles of five countries whose total acreage is less than California’s. Selections from England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales range from humble farmsteads to over-the-top castles.

via Best Hotels in Britain and Ireland — National Geographic Traveler.

photography, history, Statue of Liberty, NYC :

A group of immigrants traveling aboard a ship celebrate as they catch their first glimpse of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York Harbor.

via American Classic: Lady Liberty – Photo Gallery – LIFE.

college basketball, Duke, Seth Curry, kudos:  I thought I could cheer for Duke because of Seth … but I find I can only cheer for Seth.  Kudos, Seth!

On Friday night, Smith’s teammates finished in spectacular fashion while he watched from the bench. Within a span of 46 seconds, Seth Curry drove for a three-point play, made two free throws and passed to Miles Plumlee for a layup as Duke scored seven straight points to stretch its lead to 72-60.

“I was comfortable out there, and I didn’t feel any pressure at all,” Curry said.

via Seth Curry eases Duke’s pain after Nolan Smith injured – CharlotteObserver.com.

Middle East Uprising/Awakening, China, Jasmine Revolution:  China next?

Since late December, Chinese pro-democracy and human-rights activists have watched, cheered and agonized over the events unfolding in the Arab world. There has been a surge of online traffic, with Chinese activists sharing links to blog posts, photos and YouTube videos in order to show solidarity with protesters in the Middle East. When Hosni Mubarak stepped down, one Chinese Twitter feed declared, “Today, we’re all Egyptians!”

Online calls for a “Jasmine Revolution” in China first appeared on Twitter shortly thereafter and were followed by details about the proposed protests on the overseas Chinese Web portal Boxun.com. The calls drew small crowds of onlookers and foreign journalists on Feb. 20 and 27 in designated locations in Beijing and Shanghai, but those who gathered were outnumbered by the police, who dispersed them quickly. Many activists had been warned to stay away; others were forced to go on “sightseeing” trips, put under surveillance or house arrest, or detained.

Still, the events in Tunisia and Egypt were immensely encouraging. As one activist explained to me, “The Middle Eastern protests soundly rejected the claims that countries with Islamic traditions cannot embrace democracy and that people in developing countries only desire material subsistence.” For activists in China, the revolution in the Arab world has rendered obsolete the familiar argument that democracy is unsuited to certain cultures.

The Chinese, especially young people, are no less wired than their Tunisian and Egyptian counterparts, and they are deft at climbing over the “Great Firewall” erected by government censors. Twitter, YouTube and Facebook are banned in China, but activists find ways to use them. More important and popular are domestic social-media services like QQ and Sina.com.

via In China, Activists Watch and Cheer the Middle East’s Democracy Wave – WSJ.com.

travel, lists:  I think I am stuck with Calgon … take me away.

FORGOT to plan for a spring break? Haven’t gone skiing yet this year? It’s March, people!

Which means two things: You’re overdue for a break, and it’s not too late to plan one. Even if you just slip away for a weekend.

Want to be on the beach by midafternoon? There are new flights to Destin, Fla., and the Turks and Caicos that are ready to make that happen. Feeling the urge to hit the mountain before the snow melts? Heavy snowfall and spring rates as low as $99 a night are making resorts like Breckenridge, Colo., and Snowbird, Utah, good bargains. Or are poolside cocktails more your style? There are plenty of options in Palm Springs, Calif., where newly renovated hotels are showing off freshened digs.

So, here you go. Whether you want high desert landscapes, powdery slopes or pristine blue water, we’ve done all the heavy lifting for you. Here are 14 top-notch escapes that require fewer than four hours in either a car or a plane from more than a dozen major cities. Wherever you live, we’ve got you covered.

via 14 Easy Weekend Getaways – NYTimes.com.

faith and spirituality, death and dying, bookshelf, nonfiction:  Sounds interesting …

Just two months shy of his fourth birthday, Colton Burpo, the son of an evangelical pastor in Imperial, Neb., was rushed into emergency surgery with a burst appendix.

Colton Burpo and his father Todd Burpo sign copies of “Heaven Is for Real” in their Imperial, Neb., home.

He woke up with an astonishing story: He had died and gone to heaven, where he met his great-grandfather; the biblical figure Samson; John the Baptist; and Jesus, who had eyes that “were just sort of a sea-blue and they seemed to sparkle,” Colton, now 11 years old, recalled.

Colton’s father, Todd, has turned the boy’s experience into a 163-page book, “Heaven Is for Real,” which has become a sleeper paperback hit of the winter, dominating best-seller lists and selling hundreds of thousands of copies.

via ‘Heaven Is for Real,’ Boy’s Tale, Is Publishing Phenomenon – NYTimes.com.

music, Billy Joel:  Enjoy!  We Didn’t Start The Fire.

faith and spirituality, labyrinths, Charlotte:  I think I would like to do a labyrinth tour of Charlotte.  Anybody interested?

Almetto Howey Alexander was a woman with a dAream.And as she approached artist Tom Schulz that November day in 2007, she knew he was the one who could help her make it come true.The two had never met, but both had come to the center courtyard at Charlotte’s Presbyterian Hospital for the public unveiling of Schulz’s latest labyrinth – a geometric flat surface with a circuitous path that leads to a center and often brings spiritual peace, even transformation, to those who walk it.”I want one of these,” Alexander told Schulz.”One of what?” he asked.”A labyrinth.”Before that first conversation was over, Schulz had said “yes ma’am” to this elderly black woman and to her dream to have a labyrinth – a place of prayer in motion – for her community in northwest Charlotte.Today at 1 p.m., the McCrorey Family YMCA on Beatties Ford Road will unveil the Almetto Howey Alexander Labyrinth. Schulz’s latest concrete creation is an inspirational outside space that measures 40 by 55 feet and combines ancient African symbols with elements from Alexander’s life and philosophy as a teacher, church member and civil rights activist.It’s believed to be the only Afro-centric labyrinth in the United States and, according to officials at the McCrorey Y, the only labyrinth at a YMCA anywhere in the world.

via Her gift to us: A path to peace – CharlotteObserver.com.

 

10
Oct
10

10.10.10 .. I had to leave out the “20” .. Date looks pretty cool … ‎/>/>/>/>/>/>/>/>/> … :(

Charlotte, travel:  NASCAR … I hate that …

I know that Nascar is awesome in the same way I know that cricket and Tolstoy novels and contemporary dance are awesome. I personally can’t see the appeal, but enough reasonable people disagree with me that I believe in their awesomeness.

The pit simulator at the Nascar Hall of Fame.Jeff Aldrich The pit simulator at the Nascar Hall of Fame.

Still, I had my doubts about Nascar after shelling out $20 to visit its hall of fame during my recent three-day visit to Charlotte, N.C. Then I saw the pit simulator. As I lay on the ground, panting, after pretending to jack up a car, replace its tire and fill its gas tank within 26.79 seconds, I thought, This is – what’s the word? — awesome.

via Frugal Traveler Visits Charlotte – NYTimes.com.

blogs/series:  I like this one …

I love signs — not so much the “yield” or “tax not included” or “no vacancy” varieties — but unique, local signs that surprise me with humor or cultural insight, intentionally or not.

So I thought I’d start an occasional series: Signs I come across in my travels that tickle me for one reason or another. This is far from an original idea, but there are plenty of signs to go around.

via Mixed Messages – NYTimes.com.

Let’s start off with two. I spotted the above sign in Speightstown, Barbados, and was immediately struck by the disparate services Phil offers. Imagine the convenience if you needed to redesign your home the same day you were heading to the airport.

via Mixed Messages – NYTimes.com.

Europe, travel: Good suggestions …

So aside from the landmarks, the inimitable cuisine, and the charming cobblestone streets — none of which are going anywhere — is there a reason to go right now?

In a word, yes. The most refreshing part of any visit to Europe is the living, breathing culture of its cities: the rotating exhibitions, the night spots known mostly to locals, the film series and music festivals. And because these sorts of cultural attractions are fleeting, finding them requires a bit more effort than cracking open a guidebook (or even a guidebook’s Web site). Even the most comprehensive guide to Hamburg, for example, would not necessarily have led you to the English-subtitled screening of the film “Oldboys” there last week.

Finding culture in Europe can be as time-consuming as wading through travel alerts and surfing for a plane ticket that doesn’t exceed the cost of your rent. Below is a list of shortcuts that will help you find the cultural events in Europe that make the case for visiting, and soon.

via The Europe Issue – Practical Traveler – How to Find Cultural Events in Europe – NYTimes.com.

Rome, travel:  I wish I could write these … 36 Hours in Rome – NYTimes.com.

Thomasville GA, places:  One of my favorite places …if only I had $42 million …

THOMASVILLE, Ga. — Longpine Plantation, owned for many years by the family of auto pioneer Henry Ford, has been placed on the market with an asking price of $42 million.

The Tallahassee Democrat reports that Ford’s granddaughter, Josephine Ford, ran the 6,000-acre south Georgia for nearly 40 years until her death in 2005. It features a main residence of 4,500 square feet, a kennel, stables and staff residences. It’s famous as a hunting preserve and is particularly popular among quail hunters.

In addition to a 7-acre pond near the main residence, there is a 15-acre floodable duck pond, the 80-100 acre Rigdon Pond and 43-acre Lake Josephine.

Jon Kohler, whose plantation brokerage firm represents the Ford family trust, which owns the property, said Thursday it’s the first time Longpine has been on the market since 1888.

via Ga. plantation put up for sale at $42 million – Florida AP – MiamiHerald.com.

romantic comedies, movies:  … I often need a little laughter …

If you ever go to the hair salon, you will have hilariously mis-dyed hair and a flamboyant hair dresser who wears a black turtleneck. You will leave wearing a very comical hat or bandanna. Going to the hair salon is scary! Or maybe it’s just scary HOW FUNNY IT CAN BE.

via The Frenemy: 14 Things We Learned From Romantic Comedies.

random, music, Chruchill, people:

PHIL COLLINS’S COLLECTION OF MOTOWN CLASSICS wasn’t the only nostalgia act on the pop charts last week in Britain, The Guardian reports. A legend of a different sort — Winston Churchill — claimed the No. 4 spot with “Reach for the Skies,” an album that sets recordings of two of the wartime prime minister’s most famous speeches to music by the Central Band of the Royal Air Force. Who’s buying all those albums? Members of Churchill’s original fan club are now in their dotage, so gems like “The Finest Hour” and “The Few” must be inspiring a younger generation.

via Grist – Not Exactly Rock ’n’ Roll… – NYTimes.com.

movies, themes:

All of these mythic twists and turns in “Das Rheingold” at the Metropolitan Opera in New York were a revelation to me. I’d never seen the Ring cycle. I didn’t even know what it was about. I loved everything about Peter Gelb’s $16 million production: the shape-shifting, high-tech stage, the mermaid sopranos dangling from wires, the magnetic Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel, who plays Wotan, the weak ruler of the gods who tries to renege after bartering his gorgeous sister-in-law for construction of a gorgeous castle. (The moral of the story: Never mess with your contractor, the contractor always wins.)

But as I watched the opera, my mind kept flashing to the “The Social Network,” another dazzling drama about quarrels over riches, social hierarchy, envy, theft and the consequences of deceit. A Sony executive called “The Social Network,” the David Fincher-Aaron Sorkin movie about Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and his circle of ex-friends and partners, “the first really modern movie.” Yet the strikingly similar themes in Wagner’s feudal “Das Rheingold” — the Ring cycle is based on the medieval German epic poem “Das Nibelungenlied,” which some experts say helped inspire J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” — underscore how little human drama changes through the ages.

via Op-Ed Columnist – Lord of the Internet Rings – NYTimes.com.

 

 




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