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Krulwich Wonders: Double Thanks

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 11:27 AM


I'm giving thanks in two ways today, first for things that have lasted, persisted (and here's hoping they keep on going), and second -- for change; for our ability to create beauty in new ways. So I'm saying thank you for what's old and what's new.

Thanksgiving, I think, can go both ways.

To celebrate the old, here's a video by James Griffiths -- the narration comes from Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness -- that will take you to a place that feels untouched; the Earth as it might have looked a million years ago. There are still, here and there, these eternal places.

As for the new? Well, this is a small moment; it happened more than a year ago. Someone in California was having a benefit to raise money for I'm not sure what, and Yo-Yo Ma was invited, and he arrived with a young guy originally from Tennessee, a dancer/choreographer, Charles "Lil Buck" Riley.

The two of them reset an old chamber piece, "The Swan" (Le cygne) by Camille Saint-Saens. The music is more than 100 years old. But the dance -- Ma's cello beats passing through Lil Buck's body, arms, back, torso, like ripples in a stream -- feels, at least to me, crazily new.

Spike Jonze, the filmmaker, happened to be watching, and using his phone camera, he shot the scene. So the video here is raw, not at all polished. Still, I loved it, especially the end, when the swan tucks itself in -- and goes (I think) to sleep.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and thanks for visiting this blog, where we say quiet thank-yous to animals, vegetables, minerals and minds all year long.


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Comments [1]

Dick Platt from Illinois

It has been a while since I last listened to a RadioLab segment. It would be on my to-do list, but... I just listened to the seventeen minute audio on the domestication of foxes. Though I had not forgotten the humor, along with the scientific curiosity, that imbues each production, I suspect today I got hooked on RadioLab. Thank you both.

Nov. 28 2012 05:27 PM

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