This weekend's auction of a flea-market find that turned out to be a work by French Impressionist master Pierre-Auguste Renoir has been put on hold, after evidence turned up the painting had been pilfered from a Baltimore museum decades ago.
The dairy Eric Neill and his wife operate in Freeman, Mo., nearly went under this summer, crushed by high feed prices from drought-scarce grains. The farm was saved by restorative rains brought by Hurricane Isaac.
After one of the driest summers on record, recent rains have helped in some parts of the country. But overall, the drought has still intensified. The latest tracking classifies more than a fifth of the contiguous United States in "extreme or exceptional" drought, the worst ratings.
In some parts of the Lower Midwest, water-starved crops have collapsed, but the farmers have not. Farmers across the country are surviving, and many are even thriving. This year, despite the dismal season, farmers stand to make exceptionally good money, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 3:35 pm
Brooklyn-based electronic-music producer Jonathan Dagan, a.k.a. J.Viewz, writes songs that whirl and clatter like tiny Rube Goldberg devices. So it's only reasonable that his videos might function the same way. Witness "About the Sea," in which small green squares reveal a series of patterns before giving way to gorgeous animated nature scenes.
Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 11:12 am
Ever wish you could travel back in time to New York's 52nd Street — circa 1950, during the heyday of bebop — and whisper into Charlie Parker, or Dizzy Gillespie, or Thelonious Monk's ear, and ask them: Who was their favorite pianist to listen to? They would all give the same answer: Bud Powell.
The main problem with time-travel movies is the many black holes that the plot can stumble into; for a certain kind of viewer, they can be more than a little distracting. While the story presses forward, we're stuck wondering, for instance, how a character can safely hang out with his future self in the same time period — an anomaly that, despite Spock's shenanigans in the 2009 Star Trek reboot, aficionados of Doctor Who know is a Very Bad Thing.
When it's done right, there's nothing so miraculous as the sound of human voices blending into a creamy swirl of color, with neither the help nor the distraction of musical accompaniment. Pitch Perfect banks on that magic — the purely human wizardry of a cappella singing — though it also attempts to be several other things: a mild gross-out comedy, a paean to the awkward early stages of new love, a Mean Girls-style riff on campus hierarchies. That may be too much for one modest comedy to carry, but one thing's for sure: Pitch Perfect doesn't skimp on the singing.
Some men, it's said, think about only one thing. Hong Kong movie producer To Wai-Cheung, for example, is absolutely obsessive about film. Yet when he discusses it, he always seems to be talking about something else that's often on men's minds.
To (Chapman To) is the protagonist of Vulgaria, a Hong Kong movie-biz satire and sex comedy. Directed by Pang Ho-Cheung, the film boasts the spontaneity of a French New Wave romp, while including raunchy gags worthy of The Hangover and Clerks II.
Published mainly in the pulp magazine Weird Tales — also the preferred outlet for his most famous creation, Conan the Barbarian — the serial adventures of Robert E. Howard's Solomon Kane character provided an early model for the "sword and sorcery" subgenre, that crude yet irresistible fusion of the superpowerful and the supernatural.
Murray the Mummy (Cee-Lo Green), The Invisible Man (David Spade), Frankenstein (Kevin James), Eunice (Fran Drescher), Dracula (Adam Sandler), Wayne (Steve Buscemi) and Wanda (Molly Shannon) are only a few of the ghoulish guests in Hotel Transylvania.
One of the better jokes in Hotel Transylvania comes when Dracula (Adam Sandler) happens to see a clip of one of the Twilight movies. As Edward sparkles in the sunlight, Drac is even more offended at this bastardized representation of his kind than he is by the people constantly imitating his Transylvanian accent by appending the nonsense words "Bluh, bluh bluh!" to the end of any sentence.
Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 12:07 pm
Twenty-five years ago, no one — and I mean no one — would have predicted that a little budget label out of Hong Kong would totally upend the classical music industry. But after doing everything pretty much counter to received wisdom, the Naxos catalog includes more than 7,000 recordings, and they've sold more than 115 million CDs worldwide. A very popular streaming service, the Naxos Music Library, contains nearly a million tracks.