Archive | Music Matters

An Earl and a Countess

Larry Rivers, “Formal Marriage Portrait Of Earl And Camilla McGrath.”

I’ve been reading a ton about Earl McGrath, the ultimate mid-20th-century arts-world mover and shaker– the only thorn who ever truly pierced Eve Babitz‘s side. Besties with Mick Jagger and Andy Warhol, the godfather of Harrison Ford’s kids, pals with Jasper Johns and Aretha Franklin and Babs and you name it, Jesus (probably Jesus too), he presided over everyone’s parlor, curating the best be-ins and the slyest jokes. Continue Reading →

‘Cold War’ Beauty

What follows is a review adapted from a lecture I gave to the delightful Westchester and Huntington cinema clubs. It’s been a joy to share films with these groups all year.

I think this is the most beautiful film of the year. As soon as I saw it, I called [curator] David [Schwartz] and begged him to let me to show it you. And what’s most special is this beauty feels like a hard-earned decision to not just see the darkness but the lightness in a world full of oppression and corruption and hard, hard times–both then and now.

About a 15-year relationship between two musicians in Cold War-era Poland, it is directed by Pawel Pawlikowski, who in addition to directing My Summer of Love and The Woman in the Fifth, directed 2013’s Ida–so good!–which is also set in his native country of Poland. This one is based on his parents, who both died in 1989 after chasing each other for 40 years on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Like this film’s central characters, they were named Victor and Zula, and were blond and dark respectively. Continue Reading →

December’s Bittersweet Magic

This time of year is always bittersweet for me. When I was a girl, unspoken battles raged between my Episcopalian mother and Jewish father over how much Christmas was going to make it into our house. Since then, I’ve felt guilty if I’ve leaned too far into the pageantry, deprived of magic if I haven’t.

It got more complicated as the years passed and I grew more devoutly alone–do you really get a tree just for yourself? Drag out the ornaments you’ve quietly collected over the years? Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy