Taking and Making: February 20

Today, I took in:

several chapters in The Underground Railroad 

the last few episodes in Season 3 of Person of Interest — those Nolan brothers sure know how to craft suspense


I made:

not much outside of work projects


Taking and Making: February 19

Today, I took in:

The first two chapters of The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

three episodes of Person of Interest


I made:

the rest of a post on Hidden Figures for Black History Month (really enjoyed writing that one)

good progress on learning some tricky parts of Verdi’s “Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves” in choir


Black History Month: Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures does its job well, telling the uplifting story of three trailblazing black women at NASA in the ’60s by showing some Obviously Racist Policies that the main characters Resist With Dignity until Good-at-Heart White People learn some Valuable Lessons and Civil Rights Are Won and Racism Defeated, all in Tasteful Period Costumes. Well, that’s a little bit how the movie works, and it’s no surprise that it does; if you’re going to get a major studio picture made about race in America, and pick up those Oscar nominations, you have to take the prestige approach. But what I liked best about this movie was that it doesn’t just stick to the template. There are wonderfully powerful and subversive moments throughout Hidden Figures.


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Black History Month: Black Panther

Some movies have such a build-up, and so many people’s expectations riding on them, that the chance of the actual movie living up to all that is slim. I remember when Bridesmaids came out, there was this huge push for people to go see it, because it was being used as a litmus test for whether big-budget woman-led comedies were viable (as you know, women aren’t funny, or at least, not as universally funny as men). And then the film itself was funny and fun, but maybe not the most mindblowing comedy you’ve ever seen. Still, after that we got Bad Moms and Girls Trip and some other big-budget women-led comedies, so maybe Hollywood decided it was worth all the fuss. If that’s the case, then they’d better listen up good to what everyone’s saying (in print and with their money) about the new Marvel movie, Black Panther: enough with all-white casts and the secondary black characters, give us more of this. Because it lives up to the hype. As my friend said after watching it, THE SHEER JOY.


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