Quotable items from Elsewhere:
- John Heilpern in the New York Observer, on Simon Russell Beale stepping into the role of King Arthur in Monty Python's Spamalot:
He understands that redeeming British specialty and safety valve of stuffiness everywhere -- the supreme art of being silly.
[Link via George Hunka's Superfluities; read on for an appreciation of what makes British acting what it is -- no surprise, Cambridge is involved -- and to learn John Gielgud's secret unfulfilled ambition.]
- Peter Nicholson at 3quarksdaily, ostensibly writing on great sopranos Birgit Nilsson and Dame Joan Sutherland:
Nevertheless, there still remains the question of beauty, where it comes from. It will always remain a rhetorical question, since there can be no answers to it. Keats was wise: '"Beauty is truth, truth beauty," -- that is all/ Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.' However, ‘Ode On A Grecian Urn’ is not nearly good enough for our latter-day rationalists who think everything can be explained. Beauty is going to turn out an adaptive Darwinian mechanism for them. The human is a mutation of the gene pool in a dress, or suit. These people will tell me about vocal training, using the diaphragm correctly, scale practise, hard yakka as we Australians might call it. Necessary, but not an explanation. There are no explanations for Tristan, the statue of David or the taste of Australian shiraz. Don’t tell me about harmonic progression, quarrying marble in Carrara or the terroir of Western Australian soil. These are banal explanations for wonders, just as when we fall in love we realign the universe on inexplicable principles. And who would ever try to explain love? Only a very foolish person.
- The New Yorker's Dana Goodyear, in Sunday's Los Angeles Times Book Review, on the Collected Poems of Objectivist Charles Reznikoff and the New and Collected poems of Harvey Shapiro:
In a poem called 'For Charles Reznikoff' in his 1994 collection, 'A Day's Portion,' he [Shapiro] writes of '. . . putting words to the page,/ not as carefully as you placed them there —/ I haven't the patience or the art.' It is a show of humility that this reviewer isn't tempted to refute.