Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

24 May 2001, 4:10 a.m.

The Most Recent Picture Show

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2001 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

I saw part of a movie, I read some stuff, I looked at some art, I gotta clean.

I went on Tuesday night to see Satyajit Ray's movie Charulata at the Fine Arts Theater at Haste and Shattuck in Berkeley. Ray is probably the most famous filmmaker ever to emerge from India. (He is Bengali; Anirvan gloats about that, playfully.) But I was so tired that I fell asleep in the middle of the film, so I only saw the beginning and the end. Good stuff, that which I saw. I should probably see it for real sometime.

So now I haven't seen any of the Important Indian films. I really want to see the more recent films by Deepa Mehta -- you know, the ones that were so controversial in India that theaters that were showing it got bombed by fundamentalists. Fire and such. Fire tackled lesbianism, empty marriages, etc. Funny: just as some Christians say that "God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve," some Hindus say that "God created Rama and Sita, not Radha and Sita."

I've read more of The Orwell Reader, begun P.G. Wodehouse's Bertie Wooster Sees it Through, and read through the most recent San Francisco Bay Guardian. In the SFBG, Annalee Newitz writes a thoughtful article on the problems in deliberately trying to connect or separate sex and love. Annalee certainly seems reasonable, in her own way.

I really like potato salad.

I went and saw some art yesterday. Whenever I set out to Look At Art, I feel uncomfortable because I always feel uncomfortable pronouncing judgment, or commenting in any way, really. I feel underqualified. And then I wonder whether it's okay to feel that way. I'm not even sure what I like, and why. As you can tell from a few of my recent diaries, I've been trying to figure out how I feel about art. I mean, thousands of smart people, more, even, have devoted their lives to this idea. It must have some sort of merit. And I get some sort of pleasure from various aspects of experiences and objects, aspects which I might call "elegance" or "beauty."

I'll just stick to creating comedy and nonfiction text, perhaps, in which I have some grasp of the criteria that I share with peers. I'm not sure about music, or visual media, or movies or TV -- maybe I can just try to take one piece at a time.

I helped out some French-speaking tourists on BART today. I believe I was marginally worse at understanding them than I was at understanding Dimitrii, the Russian guy I met on BART five days back. Four high-school years of French, followed by three college semesters of Russian, plus a lifelong exposure to Kannada -- you can understand how I got pretty mixed up in trying to listen to the French speakers.

I need to clean. Perhaps what I need is to invite people over to my place, so that I will then feel ashamed of the mess and clean it up.

Art is...

  • Other People
  • A Process, Not a Product
  • A Lady in the Drawing Room, a Whore in the Bedroom
  • Free as in Speech, Not Free as in Beer

Originally posted by Sumana Harihareswara at;sid=2001/5/24/161037/165