5:30 minute read – without linking to any embedded resources.

There’s good TV, and bad TV. When I’m feeling less that inspired to write, research, grade student work, prep lectures, practice, make reeds, or cook, I have been known to waste away my life in front of the boob tube. My therapist and I have had many conversations about my TV addiction.

Aside from TV binging for distractions of things or feelings I don’t want to deal with, there is still some good stuff. Knowing when I need to turn it off, and actually doing that has gotten easier for me since I’ve battled my final (knock wood) winter illness. Seriously, the viruses this season were hard and wicked! But not to digress on my woes, here’s a few items I discovered this week. For each item, I’ve provided a video trailer and did a little homework linking to reviews or other material that may be of interest to readers.

Netflix documentary series, Abstract, the Art of Design

Brief description/review with possible clues to connecting to the inspiration behind Apple design. Here’s another article by Wired. Full Netflix series description here. I’ve only seen two episodes so far; episode 1 with illustrator Christoph Neimann and episode 3 with stage designer Es Devlin. I want to linger in this series for a while. I’ll probably end of watching a couple of the episodes more than once. Bonus – it’s just season 1. That means after these 8 episodes, there will be more to inspire and blow my mind. It’s really that good.

The Dressmaker with Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth

I streamed this from Amazon Prime. Movie Description: The Dressmaker tells the story of the beautiful and talented Tilly Dunnage. After years working as a dressmaker in exclusive Parisian fashion houses, Tilly returns home to a tiny town in the Australian outback to reconcile with her eccentric mother Molly. She also falls in love with the pure-hearted Teddy, and armed with her sewing machine and haute couture style, Tilly transforms the women of the town, exacting sweet revenge on those who did her wrong. (I adapted the description from a number of sites.)

Reference links if you’d like to read more about the movie: Here’s the link to IMDb information. Reviews aren’t great. 55% on Rotten Tomatoes, a “meh” from The New York Times, and a “sew-sew” from New York Daily News. (Not my pun, I swear).

HBO Documentary – The Music of Strangers: Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble

Silk Road Project website here. (Note, the main website page image. See the guy in the blue shirt sitting on the percussion box cajon? That’s Shane Shanahan. I went to school with him at Eastman. Yeah, I just did that name dropping.) There are two clips later in the film that show a bit of Yo Yo Ma performing Saint Saens’ The Swan with L’il Buck jookin. Here’s a video of that. I swelled a little, because I was at that performance with five of my students. It was in 2013 at the Kennedy Center Nancy Hanks lecture of National Arts Advocacy Day. The students were completely blown away by it.

If you clicked on the video link to watch L’il Buck, consider watching the entire video produced by the Americans for the Arts. You’ll see more performances with Yo Yo Ma demonstrating his “edge effect” – with U.S. veterans from the MusiCorps program, associated with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and Cristina Pato (an incredible bagpiper and pianist from Galacia). But more importantly, you’ll hear Yo Yo Ma’s speech about the importance of art and in support of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Here’s a link to an NPR story on the 2013 speech/performance. In this item, NPR provides a link to the transcript of the speech. It’s great material for anyone considering writing a letter to their elected officials to save the NEA, NEH and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Critical Reviews on the Documentary: The Guardian and The New York Times. And if you care about Rotten Tomatoes scores, it got an 84%.

Season 2 of Leftovers on HBO
When I cued up the Silk Road documentary, I saw a promo ad for the third season of The Leftovers. Having watched the first season a while ago, and not being too invested, I thought I’d do a little catch up on season 2. Two episodes in, I fell asleep and left it there.

That’s my round up of what I watched this week. In future posts, I’ll only do the homework for shows that got my full attention. I’ll probably dig a little deeper into the Design series, and maybe another streamed movie. It won’t be a long as this introductory topic post. Thanks for reading.

2 of 100. This is the second post for the 100 in 100 days challenge. Read more about the challenge here. If you’d like to join in on your own challenge, email me. We’ll chat.


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