Responses to MARRYING MARI

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With the paperback edition coming out from Samhain Publishing on September 3, I thought I’d post some of the comments I loved from the e-book reviews.

“I absolutely loved the way the three are introduced to each other…. The added twist of The Colony was a unique way to explain why [the two heroes] needed a third, and how it was acceptable. The imagination of the author on this point was awesome…. Once I started reading this book I couldn’t stop, and I’ve since re-read it twice, just to make sure I hadn’t missed anything! Brava to Ms. Snow for a fabulous page turning read, that I’ll be sure to re-read again, and again. I can’t wait til I pick up another book by her.” — Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

“MARRYING MARI is an interesting and fun read with unique characters and at times humorous situations… Ethan and Gabriel are very much their own men and being dictated to doesn’t sit well with either of them so I love that they get together with Mari who isn’t what their society deems `appropriate’….. Mari is one super cool chick who isn’t going to let anyone walk all over her…. MARRYING MARI is a book that brings about a riot of emotions along with sheer pleasure in how Ethan, Gabriel and Mari stand united in the face of so much opposition.” — Romance Junkies

“…the story really had some remarkable ups and downs which created a propelling plot line. This is a story I could see having a sequel, especially featuring some of the secondary characters and I would happily read it.” — Long and Short Reviews

You can pre-order from Samhain (with a discount) here, or Amazon here.

Photographer Tina Modotti

Tina Modotti was a working photographer who has become mostly forgotten by everyone except photography buffs.

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However, she had a brilliant modern eye for her medium. Her choice of subjects is quite significant, too, and sets Modotti apart from many of her period’s peers.

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Modotti was an actress and an acvitist as well as a photographer; her turn toward socialism and Communism, specifically the rise of socialist causes in Mexico, defined her career. In 1921, she met photographer Edward Weston, which was the relationship that defined her personal and political lives; she was first his favorite model, then his lover, then his colleague. By 1923 Modotti had moved to Mexico with Weston and one of his children. Four years later she was a member of the Mexican Communist Party, friends (or lovers) with key party officials and artists, including Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. In 1930 she was deported and exiled by the Mexican government.

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This was also the end of her photography career, but the blossoming of her career as a spy for the Soviets. In 1936 at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War she traveled to there with her lover Vittorio Vidali; they stayed and worked for the revolution for the next three years.

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Modotti returned to Mexico, her adopted home, in 1939 under a false name. She remained there until her death at age 46 in 1942, perhaps under suspect circumstances. She is buried in Mexico City.

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Modotti’s photographs of Mexican peasant life and of modern images are, finally, much more interesting to me than her portraits of leftist leaders and marches.

Most romantic film #67: Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

This is a very traditional romantic comedy in the British mode with an untraditional message. It is a fun, funny and poignant film with great style that introduced American audiences to Hugh Grant, Simon Callow, Rowan Atkinson, Kristin Scott Thomas and John Hannah… at least in memorable roles in a popular movie.

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There are several plot threads in the story. The main plot involves Charles (Grant) and his on-again/off-again affair with Carrie (Andie MacDowell), an American that he meets at wedding #1.

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Other plots involve the hitching of Tom (James Fleet) and his cousin Deirdre, two aristos who are both socially awkward; the hitching of my favorite character Scarlett (Charlotte Coleman) and Chester, another American; the love affair of Gareth (Callow) and Matthew (Hannah), which ends in the single funeral, which is one of the most moving scenes in the picture, due to Hannah’s performance.

Mostly this is “winsome,” as one critic stated. Or, to employ sort-of synonyms, charming, delightful, clever and ticklish. It plays with the stereotypes of British aristocracy: awkward, reserved, clannish, inarticulate and gives them a smart;y sharp twist to reveal a group of friends who are going through one of the last of the growing-up rituals: marriage and death.

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After all, you see, it is about growing up. About a group of friends–Charles, Scarlett, Tom, Gareth and Fiona–who are meeting their future mates and bringing them into the inner circle, while watching other friends (not quite inside the circle) get hitched and move away, into the adult pre-occupations of marriage, homemaking, pregnancy and raising children. Even death. In the end, each “friend” has to deal with moving into this adult world, finding his or her own way.

And (spoiler!) the “conventional” characters are boring.

Charles (Grant) and Carrie are the last. Carrie marries the Wrong Man first, someone too old, too settled and stable, too conventional. Charles is confronted by former girlfriends who indict him as a serial commitment-phobe, a Dater who breaks up when things get serious. Charles finally “commits” to marrying the Wrong Woman, and must, to right this bad choice, find his own way to commitment, a way that suits both him and Carrie.

Underneath, this film suggests there are a variety of ways to Happy Coupledom. Even perhaps that “marriage” is a flexible term between two people. (Suggesting gay marriage this early? Yes.)

It is a loving look at the scary reality of adult relationships, ones that require commitment of the long-term kind (including parenthood).

Orange Red Orange by Mark Rothko (1961-2)

Probably many of you are familiar with Rothko’s work. This is one of my favorites, among many.

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It sold at Sotheby’s NY in 2009 for just under $3.4 million.

Rothko was born in Russia in 1903 and died in the US in 1970, committing suicide. During his lifetime he rejected labels for his style and his art, but the bold and glorious color canvases that he created celebrate abstract art, laying down a path for young artists of the 1960s and 1970s.

During his own youth, in the 1920s and 1930s, Rothko live din Portland and then New York, working and studying with emerging artists. His teacher was Milton Avery. He also worked for the WPA, then TRAP — government-supported bureaus that employed artists to work in public buildings across the nation.

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Rothko was an intelligent and intellectual man, but he came to believe that his paintings should simply be organic and speak to the viewer-spectator in a straightforward manner, rather than require detailed knowledge or an understanding of color or art theory.

I love these paintings because I think they do, indeed, speak to the viewer in a resonant and organic manner. They are large, surprisingly large when one sees them like this, without reference.

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But the colors connect, vibrate, react with one another and the soft-edged rectangles and lines work unerringly to create a sense of light, energy, relationships, space, depth and dimension similar to what one finds in more traditional pictures. But because of the simple shapes and colors, in a sense Rothko is right: one simply must “look” at the picture and allow it to have an affect. There is no sense of “figuring out” the subtext or meaning, the story or event depicted, no hidden messages or reliance on anything but the most basic blocks of meaning.

I love these. Of course, I understand why people don’t, as well.