Moby Monday — Ric Burns’s whaling doc on PBS

First-time readers of Moby-Dick, beware: Into the Deep: America, Whaling & the World, a documentary that premieres tonight at 9 p.m. on PBS, just cold gives away the book’s ending without so much as a spoiler alert.

But if you already know the ending—or have an urgent need to know it—this film by director Ric Burns is well worth your time. Using archival footage and recreated scenes as well as shots of crew lists, scrimshaw, and other artifacts, Burns interweaves a short course in the history of the U.S. whale fishery with the story of Herman Melville’s Pequod and that of the real-life Essex, the whaleship upon whose 1820 journey Moby-Dick is partly based.

An impressive array of historians and Melvillians appears in the film, including Nathaniel Philbrick, whose book In the Heart of the Sea is the definitive history of the Essex; Melville biographer Andrew Delbanco; and Eric Jay Dolan, author of Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America.

Making a brief appearance as Melville (or possibly Ishmael) is Robert Sean Leonard (House’s Dr. James Wilson). He was great and all, but when I think young-Melville, I think Zach Galifianakis. You?

Margaret Guroff is editor and publisher of Power Moby-Dick.

Grab an oar and make a difference. Vote for the Boat!

Okay if you visit this blog you must like boats. So join me in helping one of America’s most historic and beautiful vessels win a $100,000. grant from American Express.

How many times do you find yourself wanting to support a worthy sail training cause but can’t afford it? Well, here’s your opportunity to make a real difference and not have it cost you a dime! It’s pretty simple too, just watch this:

No excuses!

Go here everyday between now and May 12th and vote for Schooner Adventuress and the odds are she’ll win. She’s currently got a thin lead, let’s make sure she keeps it.

Here’s everything you need to know to make this happen.


Moby Monday — The Ocean in a City Street

The latest work of Seattle plein air painter Christopher Martin Hoff was inspired by Moby-Dick, the artist tells blogger Joey Veltkamp.

While reading the favorite novel of an absent friend, “I quickly recognized the influences of the book on my daily ‘urban meditations,'” says Hoff, whose paintings contain no human figures. “The ruined skeletons of structures caught in limbo by the financial crisis became characters from the book: graffiti and street signs became ‘Belshazzar’s writing on the wall’ (literally); telephone poles became mastheads; and wires, whale lines.”

We love the artwork from the show (above is Hoff’s The Lee Shore), but we’ve got to wonder: where’s the painting of Starbucks? Doesn’t Seattle have any of those?

Hoff’s Moby-Dick paintings are part of a show at the Linda Hodges Gallery that opens May 6.

Margaret Guroff is editor and publisher of Power Moby-Dick.

Toy boat, toy boat, toy boat!

Bet you couldn’t say that fast three times.  No worries because even though many, many more than 3 just went on view at the always amazing National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England, the special exhibition, which has been has been developed in collaboration with the Musée National de la Marine, Paris, is simply titled Toy Boats!

From the website:

Between 1850 and 1950 the development of ships underwent a massive change as steel and steam replaced wood and sail. This ignited the imaginations of children and toy makers and was met by an equivalent ‘Golden Age’ in the development of toy boats.

Borrowing extensively from the collection of the Musée national de la Marine in Paris and some of Britain’s foremost collectors, ‘Toy Boats’ showcases over 100 colourful and imaginative toys which recall the grand liners, submarines and battleships that defined and defended the nation.

By the way, here’s why you can’t say “toy boat” three time fast.