Picture Brides at an Exhibition

Arrival, Chino Otsuka's exhibition at the Nikkei National Museum, transformed the room into a darkened, temple-like space, featuring four large projected diptychs, with the Pacific Ocean on one side and a black and white archival image of a young Issei picture bride on the other, like my own grandmothers. The artist spoke in her British accent about moving to England from Japan for school when she was ten and how this project, based on her NNM residency work, extended her previous photographic explorations into personal history, memory, and identity. I love hearing visual artists talk about their artistic process.

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The Letter Opener

Once upon a time, while I was at U of T, I saw Kyo Maclear on some panel discussion. I don't remember any of the details of what she said or did, I just had the sense that she was one seriously smart person. That was a long time ago and now that I have read her novel, The Letter Opener, I felt, wow, indeed, an awesome mind produced this. So unexpected and thoughtful in every moment. Not a lot happens and I was astonished by how compelling I found the experience of reading it. So compassionate. So intimate. 

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The Intern

I enjoyed the contemporary themes in The Intern and the way it brushed on many aspects of our society — ageism, sexism, tech entrepreneurs, and relationships. Maybe I had the most problem with the pathetic stay-at-home dad but I enjoyed the Pollyanna optimism of The Intern in the way deNiro portrayed a retired widower as the senior intern looking for something to do, who becomes a valued mentor to Hathaway's harried young entrepreneur of a web-based clothing company. I thought it was fun to contrast these roles with deNiro as a gangster or Hathaway as an ingenue.