Friday, Jan. 23, 2009

Tilson Thomas's Short List

Eight-time Grammy Award winner Tilson Thomas travels the world as music director of the San Francisco Symphony and principal guest conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. When he puts down his baton, you might catch him in his kitchen trying out recipes or blissing out with his eye mask.

Insights from the Coen brothers
A Serious Man, the Coen brothers' new film, is funny, dark and a profound insight into the essence of the Jewish spirit. Their exploration of the uncanny overlap between Jewish liturgical music and the music of Jefferson Airplane really got to me. The last scene will haunt you forever.

Spice odyssey
In My Bombay Kitchen, Niloufer Ichaporia King shares pungent memories and recipes from her mother's kitchen. Her book is beguilingly written, and even better, it reliably produces fresh and comforting flavors.

Iconic YouTube tunes
I am captivated by the treasure trove of the iconic and the absurd on YouTube. Recent favorite videos include Laura Nyro's "Save the Country," Eddie Jackson and Jimmy Durante performing Bill Bailey, Maria Callas' live performance of "Casta Diva" and the inspired keyboard antics of Elton Dog's (yes, he is a dog) "Morning Song."

Archival film treats
I continue to find jewels in the Criterion Collection's classic films on DVD. Digitally restored masterpieces presented in crisp new prints and clean sound are a reminder of how enduring the message of a film can be. What a joy to know that there are still stunning works of Bergman, Kurosawa, Tarkovsky, Hitchcock and others to discover.

Comforting shades
In a life of overstimulation and too many changes of scene, the Tempur-Pedic Eye Mask takes you instantly to a quieter and safer place. Aah, blessed recharge.