mixed media: march

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Happy Saturday! We have a decent spread this month’s Mixed Media, and we’re hoping some conversations might begin. We found more than a single gem, which we hope you will enjoy as well. And don’t miss the final note to honor St. Patrick’s Day!


I finally had the opportunity to read the international bestseller The Awakening of Miss Prim…and I found the narrative forced, clumsy and inconsistent. If you’re looking for a wholesome, easy to read novel, this would be it. Lots of people love it. The book was originally published in Spanish, and subsequently translated and published in the UK before it came to the States… While reading, I couldn’t help but wonder how many of its failures are due to the translation, because several of my criticisms stem from language and word-choice. If you have the chance to read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts! - Sarah


I watched Yori Norstein’s Tale of Tales after reading this review by Anthony Lane in the New Yorker. Since the review said it was available on YouTube and under half an hour, I couldn’t resist. Besides, the review’s description of it intrigued me. The film does not disappoint, unsurprisingly as it is widely considered one of the, if not the best, animated film. (I had no idea prior to reading the review, fyi.) Knowing a little bit of context and history helps going in, but isn’t absolutely necessary. The sensation it imparts is similar to how Flannery O’Connor stories mesmerize you and hold your attention, yet elude being pinpointed and neatly packed away. There is too much for me to write on it doing any justice, especially since it speaks best by itself. One aspect that struck me most and left me puzzling, however, was the shifts in style throughout the film — pencil sketching, fairytale watercolor, and ultra-realism. Something to savor, to ponder. I think I’m hooked and may be diving into this book shortly. - Sophie

We watched the original True Grit (1969) on Amazon Prime. It’s a bit sentimental; John Wayne is pretty pathetic; and the leading actress, Kim Darby, is hard to get used to. She’s certainly an unconventional female lead. Overall, I found the movie a disappointment and resolved to see if the Coen brothers’ 2010 version did a better job. Their version is decidedly unsentimental, a good deal darker—both in cinematography and in the handling of material—but also disjointed. Although I preferred Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross, the female lead, the 2010 film’s ending (which is true to the novel it is based on) is far less satisfying than the 1969 ending. The Coen brothers’ film is cast as a flashback; it cuts off towards the end at a seeming climax and concludes abruptly with a grown-up Mattie you’ve never seen before (and have no attachment to) summing up the events that followed. However sentimental it first seemed, the 1969 version continues the narrative through the climax and offers real resolution at the end. -Sarah

Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts are brilliant, and they are available on YouTube. We watched one during the “bomb cyclone” snowstorm in Colorado this past week. Even my 3yo was riveted. - Sarah

Is it necessary for biopics to be 100% accurate? I tend to think no. Maudie is fairly true to real life, as far as I know. It tells the story of folk artist Maud Lewis, a woman suffering from arthritis, living in Nova Scotia, her marriage and love for her husband, and her painting. How she paints her house and views the world is child-like and beautiful. But what stayed with me the most and steadily strengthened as I watched the film was the desire to grow older alongside my husband. - Sophie


Vampire Weekend’s long-awaited fourth album is being promoted before its May 2019 release by a series of song drops from the album. “Sunflower” is just so much fun. “Big Blue” is a clear nod to the Beatles/George Harrison. “2021” is brief but powerful, while the politically-charged “Harmony Hall” has left me puzzling over where this album is headed.  - Sarah

With a nod to St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, Ni Na La by Solas is probably the No. 1 played track in our house. It’s hard to keep your feet still once it starts playing. - Sophie