Arts

Paintings at the Met

Without being pretentious but in an effort to look at familiar art more closely, I herewith embark on a project to evaluate the Met’s collection gallery by gallery, selecting the best and the worst – or, rather, my favorite work and least favorite, for I do not confuse my opinion with quality.

801. Delacroix and Ingres
Best: Jean Dominique Auguste Ingres, Portrait of Jacques-Louis Leblanc (1824). This is perhaps not a great or notable Ingres, but there is little of note to choose from in this gallery, and typical Ingres is still pretty good.

Music

My Girl

Whereas it took Beethoven four notes to write the most famous introduction in classical music – ba-ba-ba, bum – it took the Temptations only three notes to produce the sweetest, most tantalizing, most recognizable introduction in rock: ba, bum-bum. Then the song absolutely soars with a perfect opening line: “I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day. When it’s cold outside I’ve got the month of May.” How can you not be happy when you hear this song? The great Smokey Robinson wrote lyrics of unalloyed happiness: “I’ve got all the riches one man can claim.”

Movies

The King

The King tells a story of America over the last 60 years using the life of Elvis Presley as its metaphor. From an era of innocence and authenticity and world-shaking change, we progress, or regress, to bloated stagnation with money the only goal, from Tupelo to Las Vegas. But director Eugene Jarecki doesn’t preach; he lays out a visual and musical buffet from which the viewer can pick and choose and to which, I suspect, one could return for seconds. I have been a diehard Elvis fan since 1955, so the shots of him performing “Don’t Be Cruel” and talking with his eyes twinkling would have almost been enough

Sports

Serena’s Meltdown

Even after the NFL’s opening weekend and Novak Djokovic’s dominating performance in the men’s final, the sports world wants to talk about Serena Williams, perhaps because the sports world is equally divided on the subject. I won’t repeat the particulars, so well known by now, but I will emphasize my view that the assessed penalties in no way contributed to her loss to Naomi Osaka. The point penalty was given at the start of Osaka’s service game – hardly a pivotal moment – which Osaka handily then won at love. The more important game penalty was also given on Osaka’s service game,