To Become a Knight, Act Like a Knight
Miguel de Cervantes - Don Quixote Author - Born This Day
He arrived on the planet in Spain in 1547. Was captured by Algerians and enslaved for five years. Spent time in jail (twice) for "discrepancies" in his accounts while working as a tax collector. Filed for bankruptcy. Put words on paper. Some of them turned into the masterpiece, Don Quixote.
It's been over 400 years since that novel was published. And the hits just keep on coming. It's the basis of poetry, paintings, plays, movies, and a tone poem by Richard Strauss for cello, viola, and large orchestra. Here's Yo Yo Ma with the finale to that composer's Don Quixote, Opus 35, "Fantastic Variations on a Theme of Knightly Character."
In 1965, a musical version of Dale Wasserman's 1959 teleplay based on Quixote became a worldwide sensation known as Man of La Mancha. Here's a clip from the 1972 movie version of the play. Thank you Cervantes, and Happy Birthday!
The Girl with the Pearl Earring
It's not her birthday or Vermeer's, but must mention that this is the last day to see her if you're anywhere near Atlanta's High Museum of Art. Several Rembrandts are part of the exhibit, made possible because of construction underway at the paintings' permanent home at the Mauritshius, The Hague. Otherwise, it's doubtful these paintings would have ever left the Netherlands. It's a heart-stopping, mouth-watering exhibit. My only regret is that I didn't visit more often. May have to move to The Hague to be near her after this. When you see the painting, you realize how things work nowadays, whether you travel this route or not. It's backwards, but it's the way things work. First, people see the movie with Colin Firth and Scarlett Johannson; hungry for what the film left out, they read the novel by Tracy Chevalier; then they go to Ted Talks on the Internet and listen to the novelist discuss how the painting inspired her to imagine the story. Then, finally, if you're lucky, you get to see the real thing - the Dutch Mona Lisa, as she's called. It's like following ripples in a pond, hoping they'll lead you to the center, the place where the dropped stone caused them. It's a journey back to source. So who cares how you get there - as long as you do. Here's Ms. Chevalier's Ted Talk, followed by Firth and Johannson in the "color of clouds" scene from the film.
TAGS: Truth & Beauty, Writers & Writing, Muses & Music, Historical Figures & Events
I like big books, and I cannot lie. My background includes talk radio, newspapers and TV news. I've hosted a morning-drive classical music program on the California coast and published nationally in Reader's Digest, the Christian Science Monitor, and Playboy. I've won awards for my journalism and my fiction. One of my essays even made it into an anthology for college English courses. For real? Yes, for real.
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