Saturday, November 16, 2019

Quote of the Day (George S. Kaufman, Displaying His Sharp Wit)


“One day, a speculator tried to convince [playwright George S. Kaufman] and some other [Algonquin] Round Table members to buy shares in a gold mine somewhere out west. Trying a little too hard to impress the potential investors, he said, ‘The mine is so rich, you can actually pick up chunks of gold from off the ground.’ Adopting an air of incredulity, Kaufman said with a straight face, ‘You mean, I’d have to bend over?’” —Dr. Mardy Grothe, Viva la Repartee: Clever Comebacks and Witty Retorts from History's Great Wits and Wordsmiths (2005) 
 
One hundred thirty years ago today, George S.Kaufman—in turn, drama editor, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Tony-winning director, and throughout, inveterate wit—was born in Pittsburgh. Five years ago, I wrote a post discussing his life in some detail, but I could not resist writing about him again. 

Right now, it’s hard for me to think of another figure who so influenced the course of American comedy, whether through the plays he wrote, usually with others (16 collaborators in all, including Moss Hart on the Pulitzer Prize-winning You Can’t Take It With You) or through those he directed (the musical Guys and Dolls).  

The next time you watch an American comedy on stage or film, just remember: there’s an excellent chance that the architecture of the plot and jokes was influenced by Kaufman.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Photo of the Day: Street Musicians, Columbus Circle, NYC


I took this photo nearly two weeks ago, when, with a few minutes to spare before a movie, I walked around Central Park and, at its southwest corner, Columbus Circle in Manhattan.

Longtime readers of this blog know that this is not the first image that I’ve posted of street musicians. I’m not sure why they continue to attract my interest. Maybe it’s because, against all odds in a city that continually rises the ante and tries to monetize art at all costs, these musicians find every way possible to continue to practice their art.

Quote of the Day (Mindy Kaling, on Her Most Inspirational Beauty Icon)


“Who is the beauty icon that inspires you the most? Is it Sophia Loren? Audrey Hepburn? Mine is Nosferatu, because that vampire taught me my number-one and number-two favorite beauty tricks of all time: avoid the sun at all costs and always try to appear shrouded in shadows.”—Actress-writer Mindy Kaling, Why Not Me? (2015)

Well, different strokes for different folks, I suppose. But you must admit that this “fashion icon’s” nails are super high maintenance, don’t you think?

(The image accompanying this post is from the 1979 remake of Nosferatu the Vampyre, starring Klaus Kinski as the title character.)

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Quote of the Day (Simon Gray, on Capturing the Present in Photographs)


"The present never seems worth photographing, only the past, when it's too late." — English playwright, diarist and novelist Simon Gray (1936-2008), on why he never used a camera, in The Smoking Diaries, Volume 3: The Last Cigarette (2008)

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Quote of the Day (Bill Russell, on Kindness as ‘An Act of Strength’)

"Real kindness is an act of strength and a tremendous leadership asset. Two thoughts my grandfather left me with were to praise loudly and blame softly, and not to forget a throne is nothing more than a bench covered in velvet.”—NBA Hall of Fame player and coach Bill Russell and David Falkner, Russell Rules: 11 Lessons on Leadership from the Twentieth Century's Greatest Winner (2001)

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Quote of the Day (Walter Murch, on Youth, Surface and Depth on Film)


“The audience for films are generally in their teens, twenties, maybe thirties—a time of life when we are hungry for surface. They want to know: how do I talk to that girl? How long should the points of my collar be?...And so to a certain extent young people go to films for the surface, and they get the depth as a side dish. They are really there for the surface, and that's the one thing, as you get older, that you [as a filmmaker] become more and more impatient with.”Film editor, sound designer and director Walter Murch, in conversation with critic David Thomson, in “An Interview With Walter Murch,” Believer Magazine, Issue 79 (2011)