Wednesday was brisk, but I kept my promise to myself
and made room for a little art:
– I read two more Isaac Bashevis Singer stories, “The Gentleman from Cracow” and “The Wife Killer,” over lunch. As I mentioned the other day, I’m going to be writing an essay about Singer later this summer for Commentary, the magazine in which many of the stories reprinted in the Library of America’s forthcoming three-volume Singer set originally appeared. I love Singer, but I’ve never written anything about him, and I thought it might be both amusing and oddly appropriate for a small-town WASP to do so for the famously (though never exclusively) Jewish Commentary, in whose pages I normally hold forth on musical matters. I told Neal Kozodoy, the editor, that I wanted to call the piece “A Goy Looks at Singer.” Needless to say, we won’t, but the piece is already starting to take shape in my head, and I think it’s going to be good–and funny.
– I watched a self-edited version of Norman Jewison’s In the Heat of the Night on my trusty DVR, zooming through the dumb stuff (and there’s a lot of it) to concentrate on the scenes in which Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger appear together. Anybody who knows anything about the Deep South knows how absurdly implausible Steiger was in the role of a southern sheriff. Even so, he could be a hugely exciting actor in his overripe way, and between them, he and Poitier managed to muster up quite a bit of on-screen chemistry. My finger was never far from the fast-forward key, but I still enjoyed myself.
– Now playing on iTunes, naturally: Louis Armstrong’s “Weather Bird,” with Earl Hines in the hottest possible pursuit. Has there ever been a better record of anything? (It’s been reissued a hundred times, but if you don’t already have it in your CD collection, your best bet is to order a copy of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, 1923-1934, Sony’s wonderful Armstrong box set.)
I’m off to Washington as soon as I shower and pack. I’ll be back some time tomorrow, and I’ll try to work in a little pre-weekend blogging before I head out again to catch the first press preview of Bebe Neuwirth’s one-woman Kurt Weill show.