— Noted.


Winner of the 2015 Academy for best foreign language film, Ida should be in your netflix queue if for no other reason than the beautiful cinematography. I am truly amazed when a film can frame a beautiful composition, reversing my perception of moving action to that of a photograph coming to life.








Video by Jason Lee and Devon Knight, for nytimes.com


I find this recipe interesting, because it skips using bread, something I always thought was integral to the creamy Andalusian gazpacho I know. Julia Moskin’s story behind it is fascinating. Excited to give it a try. Also, the video above – love that there is no need for words or explanation. The future of cooking videos?


I’ve been on a documentary kick lately, and there are many good ones on Netflix. Here’s a list of some that I’d recommend.




Chef’s Table
This is a six part documentary, with each 45-minute segment focusing on a chef. I have to admit, I’m a tad over watching food shows. I wasn’t hopeful when I started it, but the first episode blew me away. Created by David Gelb, the director who did Jiro Dreams of Sushi (also on Netflix), the first episode on Massimo Bottura was less about the beautiful food shots and so much more about the story of the chef’s life and his relationship with his wife. Episode two on Dan Barber also offered an honest portrayal that not only shows his untiring drive to make the world a better place, but also a father and manager vulnerable to not being and doing enough.





Twenty Feet From Stardom
I just watched this Academy winner, a dive into the world of back-up singers, singers who arguably have more talent than the lead vocalists on the pop charts. Also, you may not have realized that your lament for what is happening to the music industry was not at a maximum.





The story of Buck Brannaman, a horse whisperer. Trust me on this one.





Man on Wire
If you haven’t yet watched this documentary on Philippe Petit, I have to ask, what have you been doing? Do not, I say again, do not confuse this documentary with the Robert Zemeckis adaptation that is slated to release in September.



Bill Cunningham New York
A story about the passionate and humble man behind the On-the-Street column for The New York Times. Also, this, and this.





Central Park Five
A Ken Burns documentary that tells the story of five black and Latino teenagers who were wrongly convicted of raping a white woman in Central Park in 1989. As relevant as ever.




Ai Weiwei Never Sorry 1

Ai Weiwei Never Sorry
The power of artist as activist is so interesting, if not purely for the idea of art communicating with clarity. Ai Weiwei’s work is powerful, and realizing the depth of his lack of freedom in China is terrifying.





Happy People: A Year in the Taiga
A Werner Herzog film on the people who live in the heart of the Siberian Taiga. The narrative focuses on the story of a few hunters. It’s a fascinating slice of life from a distant part of the world.




On MJ’s Netflix queue:
How to Make a Book with Steidl
The Thin Blue Line
The Unbelievers
Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay
Paris is Burning
10 Questions for the Dalai Lama
Design is One: Leila and Massimo Vignelli
180° South
Inequality for All
Cave of Forgotten Dreams


Happy Monday!


By David Guttenfelder, for the New York Times.

These images of North Korea by David Guttenfelder are striking a chord. I think because there are so many cultural references and personal moments recognizable to the Korean in me, but they always come with the cost of knowing it’s an isolated world, far away.

His images of everyday objects from North Korea are also worth a look. The full story here.


A short film by Laura Poitras, documenting an art collaboration between Ai Weiwei and Jacob Appelbaum. From the text that accompanies on nytimes.com:

Ai Weiwei and Jacob Appelbaum are artists, journalists, dissidents, polymaths — and targets. Their respective governments, China and the United States, monitor their every move. They have been detained and interrogated. Ai cannot leave China, and Appelbaum is advised not to return to the United States. They are separated from their families. Ai has been imprisoned and beaten by the police. Yet each continues his work and speaks out against government wrongdoing…

During the encounter, Ai and Appelbaum continually filmed and photographed each other. Between their cameras and mine, we created a zone of hyper-surveillance. Almost everything was documented. Just outside Ai’s studio hung surveillance cameras installed by the Chinese government.

The art project the pair made, “Panda to Panda,” was not about surveillance. It was about secrets. They stuffed cuddly toy panda bears with public, shredded N.S.A. documents that were originally given to me and Glenn Greenwald two years ago in Hong Kong by the whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Inside each panda, Ai and Appelbaum placed a micro SD memory card containing a digital backup of the previously published documents.



This is incredible. I stumbled on the video because I just happened to hear the song and wanted to share it. NPR posted a process video:


A big fan of NPR’s tiny desk series, such an intimate and impromptu setting. A few worth checking out include Mucca Pazza (and its 23 band members, The National (possibly my favorite live band?), Sturgill Simpson (not ordinarily a fan of the country twang, but this caught my attention), and Daughter (if this is not the prettiest thing you ever heard, then I don’t know what.)


“An investigative and exploratory hands-on gloves-off study into the practice of putting things ‘off”. Sometimes the only way to get something done is to do two dozen other things first.”

By Johnny Kelly


I was nosing around to find a link to share one of my favorite books of all time, when I found this lovely little talk that was done at the AIGA conference in 2013. Also, this.

And this: