Street Without End

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Directed by Mikio Naruse, Street Without End centers on Sugiko, a beautiful young waitress. All the customers are smitten with her and when she walks down the street a talent agent stops her to get her into the movies. Her best friend and roommate is a little put off, but when Sugiko gives up the idea of a film career, the friend gets hired by the studio.

One day, Sugiko gets hit by a car. The wealthy driver takes her to the hospital and gets smitten. She wasn’t hurt badly and the rich man soon starts courting her. His mother and sister disprove but soon the two are married.

After the wedding, Sugiko is sneered at and mocked by her mother-in-law and sister who connives to give Sugiko a hard time. Her husband defends her in a weak way but when the gets a job he starts going out drinking late and so he’s not at home to protect her from the mean mother-in-law and sister.

The silent film can be touching and it does show pre-WWII Japan, but compared to most people, who lack Sugiko’s luck, her life isn’t all that rough. So it was hard to get into this film, though I can appreciate some moments. Later Naruse made a mark for films about women who had major struggles.

So it’s not a must see.

How to Understand Isreal in 60 Days or Less

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In How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, Sarah Glidden shares her thoughts and experiences on a Birthright Tour she took to Isreal. Guarded and skeptical, Sarah agrees to go on a Birthright Tour with her friend Melissa. The title is deliberately tongue in cheek and Glidden certainly knows no country can be understood after a short bus tour.

The purpose of the tours is to educate Jews from other countries about the history of Israel. Growing up with little teaching about her faith or the history of Israel, Sarah was quite skeptical. She’s got a Muslim boyfriend who worries that she’ll return a Zionist.

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At every stop, Sarah expects to hear just a bunch of propaganda. She questions everyone and everything. She is surprised to learn the complexity of the issues inherent in Isreal’s politics and history. She also winds up admitting that her tour guide and other speakers are genuinely understanding of the other side or know much more about the problems than she does.

The narrative is sincere and authentic. I did feel the book is a truthful, considerate story of an American girl’s tour of Israel. The end isn’t pat. Sarah continues to struggle with what to think about Israel and its history. I appreciated how genuine the story was. The illustrations are realistic and fitting.

I Puritani

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Friday I got student tickets for the Lyric Opera Chicago’s production of I Puritani. Written by Vincente Bellini, I Peritani is the story of Elvira, a young girl in love with Arturo, but whose father promised a soldier named Riccardo that he could marry his daughter. Understandably, Elvira is beside herself.

However, she soon learns her father’s reconsidered and will permit her to marry Arturo. It all sounds grand, except to Riccardo, who’s now jealously plotting against his rival. Unaware of Riccardo’s response, Elvira is on Cloud 9 and preparing for her wedding.

The story takes place in the 17th century England when the Royalists are at war with the Puritans. The disposed queen, Enrichetta has been captured and brought to the castle where the opera takes place. She’s able to hang out wherever she likes for some reason. As she’s sitting in a courtyard, Elvira sees her and decides the best way to see how her veil looks is to put it on this other woman she doesn’t know. Queen Enrichetta dazzles in the veil. For some reason, Elvira leaves the queen forgetting the veil. What ensues is a case of mistaken identity when Arturo promises to help Queen Enrichetta escape. He’s seen by Riccardo, who plots to show Elvira her fiancé “cheating on her” with the queen.

The music and singing was heavenly. During the first intermission, college night attendees could attend a Q & A session with a woman who works with technical aspects of the production. This was informative, but I’d prefer it if they speaker prepared about 5 minutes of a talk and then opened the floor to questions. As I don’t know opera well, I am not able to think up questions.

Before Act II began, a man announced that the singer playing Elvira had taken ill and the understudy took over. She did a fine job, on par with the star, to my unsophisticated ear.

For the second intermission, the curtain was up and a stage manager narrated what the 50+ professionals were doing to transform the set. That was fascinating to see.

The opera lasts 3 hours and 35 minutes and since I either get the 10:35 pm train or I have to wait till 12:15 am, I wouldn’t get home till 1 am, which I wasn’t in the mood for such a late night so I left after the second intermission. I’ll have to find a DVD of this opera to see the ending. While the story is quite contrived, the singing, music, costumes and set made I Purtani excellent.

Sepia Saturday

Sepia Saturday Header : 406 17 February 2018

Down under it’s warm and people can swim outdoors. Here are some images from the past who show us swimming way back when. If you would like to see more responses to this prompt, visit the links on Sepia Saturday.

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Mrs. Whitehead’s Life Saving Team, 1906, Australia National Maritime Museum

Tea break at the Holborn Oasis - an outdoor swimming pool in London, 1955

Tea Time at the Pool, London, 1955

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Pier Club Mom, Surfers, 1932

Word of the Week

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esprit de l’escalier: wit of the staircase : repartee thought of only too late, on the way home

I learned this on Ash Wednesday during the prayer ceremony I attended. This French phrase is a pithy expression to capture that feeling of suddenly thinking of the perfect response after a conversation is finished and you’re probably back home ruminating on what transpired.

The priest used the phrase in terms of the story between Jesus and the rich, young man who followed all the commandments but turned away from Jesus because he didn’t want to give up all his belongings. In some ways that isn’t a perfect fit, but this phrase sure is useful.

This is the second, or bonus word of the week. I loved two discoveries and didn’t want to possibly forget this phrase. 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sweet

 

Even when I’m fasting, like today, my eyes love to indulge.

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1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Wednesday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.

3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great posts. Add Media photos from each month’s most popular challenge.

Just a few wonderful posts: