Around town

A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems.

Paul Erdos

Schoolchildren have the last Friday of every month as a free day and today (Monday) is a national holiday (Constitution Day, the celebration of the 1917 constitution), so the neighborhood has been extremely quiet although el centro is abuzz with folks and activities. Tomorrow is February 2 (el Día de la Candelaria) the Feast of the Presentation (and with it the flower, herb and gardening vendors in the Parque Juarez), the Writers’ Conference begins soon, Ash Wednesday is next week, there’s an upcoming festival of food-related films (Babette’s Feast, Woman on Top, Tampopo, Big Night and others – it appears to be a fun series), fund raisers are everywhere, restaurants are opening, and —

This coming Saturday one of the theaters in town is showing a 1999 German film that’s set in Budapest during World War II. It tells the story of a Hungarian Jewish restaurant owner, a German businessman, and a piano player who fall in love with a waitress, which leads to the piano player composing the song Gloomy Sunday, which is also the film’s English title (the German title is Ein Lied von Liebe und Tod).  When I referenced Krisztina Fenyo’s article “Gloomy Sunday” last week in the post sounds: tangle and waltz and tango, I was unaware the movie was coming to San Miguel.  The melody of the song, actually written in 1933, was thought to have triggered a number of suicides then (and over the years) and was recorded by Billie Holiday, Paul Robeson, the Kronos Quartet, Björk and many others.

I’ve written elsewhere that homeowners in the historic district are only supposed to use colors approved by the municipality when painting the exterior walls of their homes.  The palette is limited to four traditional historical colors.  When one leaves the historic district there’s suddenly a great variety of color.  Here are just a few of the colors encountered: the pebbly effect is to discourage graffiti.

Gloomy Sunday (Szomorú Vasárnap), from the movie Ein Lied von Liebe und Tod


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