Art Whirl

The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro published (2112) by Algonquin Books Of Chapel Hill is an engaging and quite believable fictional narrative told from the perspective of a contemporary artist living and working in Boston.

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The protagonist manages to support herself copying famous artworks while struggling to overcome obstacles preventing her from being recognized as an outstanding, talented painter in her own right. She receives an incredible offer from the owner of a prominent gallery that will change her life.

Shapiro delves into many complicated issues involving money and art in present day society. The roles of museums and galleries as arbiters of taste. The quixotic nature of public opinion fueled by media reports and gossip. The illusive definition of creative achievement and its relation to financial success.

The novel begins with a newspaper article about the theft of artwork from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, a crime still unsolved after more than two decades, and goes on to speculate about a possible romantic liaison between its founder and French impressionist artist Edgar Degas a century ago.

copyright © 2014 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

http://www.nikosdiaman.com

Culinary Roots

Ikaria: Lessons On Food, Life, And Longevity by Diane Kochilas published 2014 by Rodale spotlights the Aegean island heritage of the author. While there are a substantial number of health tips scattered throughout because of the locale’s Blue Zone status, the heart of this book and its most valuable asset lies in its recipes.

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One surprise for me was the inclusion of tarot root among native ingredients and I look forward to trying the instructions for skordalia (page 9), a dish I’ve only had using potato or bread as the base for this garlic dip.

Other tantalizing dishes are: whipped feta kaponisti (page 7); old style Ikarian tourlou (page 135) casserole combining potatoes and zucchini; noodles with yogurt and herbs (page 190); smoked herring rice (page 201); and baby goat with avgolemono (page 243).

When searching for a recipe in the index, look first for a key ingredient and then zero in on the name of the dish!

I frequently cook savory pies from an earlier Kochilas book, The Glorious Foods Of Greece but my attempt to make my own phyllo dough was unsuccessful. However I’m going to give it another try with one of the recipes in the section on savory pies and breads.

Ikaria by Diane Kochilas, with photos by her husband Vassilis Stenos, is available in both a hardbound and e-book edition from Rodale Books.

copyright © 2014 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Arab USA

May In The Summer directed by Cherien Dabis (Jordan/USA/Qatar) 2013 is about an American woman who goes to Amman, Jordan for her wedding. Delays, complications, and family drama threaten to undermine what initially seemed a sensible decision.

It was the opening-night film of the 18th Annual Arab Film Festival in San Francisco and will screen again 22 November 2014 at the Museum Of Photographic Art in San Diego.

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The Citizen directed by Sam Kadi (USA) 2013 focuses on the experiences of a Lebanese man who arrives in New York hopeful of beginning a new life there. Unfortunately he lands at JFK the day before 9/11 and is repeatedly challenged despite his good deeds.

Both films deal sensitively with cross-cultural issues. The first from an independent perspective, the second one more mainstream. I recommend these two films.

The Arab Film Festival continues this week in San Francisco venues and then moves to Berkeley, Oakland, Los Angeles, and San Diego. For program information and tickets contact the AFF web site.

copyright © 2014 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

http://www.nikosdiaman.com

Working Class

Two Days, One Night directed by Jean-Pierre Dardonne (Belgium/France/Italy) 2014 takes a look at work from an unusual perspective. It focuses on a tense, harrowing weekend challenge for an employee of a small factory fighting for her job.

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She must convince colleagues to vote in favor of her return to work rather than choosing a large bonus for themselves. It’s a hard sell for individuals economically stressed and reveals the numerous difficulties faced by workers.

The film screens Saturday night 11 October 2014 at the Sequoia 1 and Sunday afternoon 12 October 2014 at the Rafael 1 during Mill Valley Film Festival 37.

Contact California Film Institute for more information.

copyright © 2014 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

http://www.nikosdiaman.com

Spanish Beatle

Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed directed by David Trueba (Spain) 2013 looks back to 60’s Spain during the repressive Franco regime. The principal character is a grammar school teacher in a small town who uses the lyrics of Beatles song to teach his class of young boys English.

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He sets out on a road trip hoping to meet John Lennon during the filming of a feature film in southern Spain. Joined on his journey by a teenage boy rebelling from his autocratic father and a young woman escaping from the home where she is confined because of her pregnancy.

The film screens Thursday night 9 October 2014 at the Sequoia 1 and Friday afternoon 10 October 2014 at the Rafael 1 during Mill Valley Film Festival 37.

Contact California Film Institute for more information.

copyright © 2014 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

http://www.nikosdiaman.com

Arab Film Fest 18

Arab Film Festival 18 opens at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco 10 October 2014 with May In The Summer directed by Cherien Dabis (USA) 2013. This year’s festival will screen over 50 films from 20 countries between 10 – 23 October at eight Bay Area venues.

arabfilmfest18

An abridged program follows 7 – 9 November 2014 in Los Angeles and 20 – 22 November 2014 in San Diego.

For more information and tickets contact Arab Film Festival.

copyright © 2014 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

http://www.nikosdiaman.com

Marin Film Fest

The 37th Annual Mill Valley Film Festival runs 2 – 12 October 2014 with screenings at five Marin County venues.

marinfilmfest

Features include: 10,000 KM (Spain) 2014; Clouds Of Sils Maria (US/France/Switzerland/Germany) 2014; Diplomacy (France) 2014; Gett: The Trial Of Viviane Amsalem (Israel/France/Germany) 2014; The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (Italy) 1966;

How I Came To Hate Math (France) 2013; I Can Quit Whenever I Want (Italy) 2014; The Lamb (Turkey) 2014; Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed (Spain) 2013; Marie’s Story (France) 2014; Minuscule: Valley Of Lost Ants (France/Belgium) 2014; On The Way To School (France) 2013;

Soleils (France/Burkina Faso) 2014; Stockholm (Spain) 2013; Summer ’82: When Zappa Came To Sicily (Italy) 2013; Timbuktu (France/Mauritania) 2014; Two Days, One Night (Belgium/France/Italy) 2014; and A Woman As A Friend (Italy) 2014.

See California Film Institute for more information.

copyright © 2014 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

http://www.nikosdiaman.com