Review

  • Water Work: Can we put the Gulf Coast oil spill into perspective? Paid Member

    A crisis that was already too large to comprehend just got bigger: the Gulf Coast spill might be 10 times worse than anybody thought. Thinking about the 5,000 barrels of oil gushing into ocean a few days ago made my heart sink… now it’s 70,000?! How can anybody possibly grasp the magnitude of this? Joseph McElroy wonders the same thing in his article “Water Work,” a review of both Stanley Crawford’s Mayordomo: Chronicle of an Acequia in Northern New Mexico and Peter Matthiessen’s Far Tortuga, in the most recent issue of Tricycle. His answer? So perhaps to refresh my thought, if not save the day, I find myself turning to small-scale comings and goings. More »
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    Buddha Swings? Paid Member

    Apparently, the story of the Buddha is now a musical—Big Band style. It's called Buddha Swings: Young Prince Sidd has it all: wealth, youth, fame and family. He's introduced to the tune of "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" and later "I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo," only he's a guy from Kapilivastu (tu-tu-tu-tu). And this: He tries various paths to spiritual enlightenment, and they all turn out to be another song and dance, literally. Possibly the best is the one about the quest for nirvana, to the tune of "Rum and Coca Cola." If anyone's in San Antonio, please see it and tell us what's going on out there. More »
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    Mistaken Child? Paid Member

    This weekend, New York City's Rubin Museum of Art hosted the premiere of Unmistaken Child (mentioned in an earlier post), a wonderful film about a young monk in search of the reincarnation of his recently deceased master. On the advice of senior lamas, the young monk travels by foot from village to village in hopes of finding a toddler who fits the bill. While the young monk's joy at discovering his master again is quite moving, it is somewhat disturbing—at least for a Western audience—to watch the child taken from his consenting but seemingly ambivalent parents. At the end of the film, several of the audience wondered aloud about the wisdom of removing the child from his home (upon his parents' leaving, the child wails, "Now I have no friends."). It remains unclear whether the parents consider their child's fate to be an honor or a loss—or both. More »
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    One Cold Buddha Paid Member

    The 10-member collective called Okamoto Studio has carved one of its signature ice sculptures for the biennial [Queens Museum of Art] International, this one a figure of the Buddha enclosed in a refrigerated altar. See it and read about it here. More »
  • Notable Documentary: The Sacred Sites of the Dalai Lamas Paid Member

    I recently had the chance to see the documentary movie The Sacred Sites of the Dalai Lamas: A Pilgrimage to the Oracle Lake. Directed by Michael Wiese, Sacred Sites follows a group of pilgrims on their journey to Lhamo Lhatso, the Tibetan lake of visions. The voyage is told from the point of view of Steve Dancz, a film score composer, who incidentally is also the narrator, cameraman, and music composer for the documentary. He is joined by his teacher and guide Glenn Mullin, and Bhutanese monk Khenpo Tashi. With Dancz providing the voice of the awe-inspired traveler, and Mullin and Khenpo Tashi offering insight, they make their way through Nepal and Tibet, visiting a variety of temples, stupas, monastaries, and caves along the way. More »
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    Philip Whalen and the Bhutanese Bob Dylans Paid Member

    Danny Fisher points us to the Nation's review of The Collected Poems of Philip Whalen. And from the Worst Horse: "a small platoon of Bhutanese Bob Dylans". Ok, sure. More »