Aerial Views: Kumana National Park, Sri Lanka

May 2, 2023: Located in the southeast corner of Sri Lanka, the 18,149 hectares  Kumana National Park is a well-known eco-tourism attraction and bird sanctuary where a multitude of birds breed and roost. Kumana National Park is the eastern sector of Yala National Park.

One of the most significant features of the Kumana National Park is the ‘Kumana Villu’ – a 200 hectare natural swamp lake, fed by the ‘Kumbukkan Oya’ through a half mile long narrow channel. It is at this mangrove swamp that many water birds’ nest in May and June. Regular sightings include such species of bird as pelicans, painted storks, spoonbills, white ibis, herons, egrets and little cormorants.

Filmed and edited by: Mesmerizing Time


Classical Music Concerts: The Entos Guitar Quartet Play ‘Parvane’ By Ravel

SiccasGuitars Films (May 2, 2023) – Entos Guitar Quartet play Pavane pour une infante défunte by Maurice Ravel as part of our Siccas Media program.

Guitarists: Dante Bignoli, Tarcisia Bonacina, Davide Crenna, Gianluigi Ubezio

To compose this piece in 1899, Maurice Ravel was inspired by the Princess of Polignac. The title refers to Ravel’s idea of describing “a pavana that a little princess may have danced in the old times at the Spanish court”. But It is also said that Ravel chose the title because he was fascinated by the sound of its pronunciation.

The piece is original for piano but the composer made an orchestral version too. We present our own transcription for guitar quartet, performed at the “Salone dell’Arengo” (Novara), a magical hall dating back to the 12th century. We hope you like It.

Fine Art: The Burlington Magazine – May 2023 Issue


The Burlington Magazine – May 2023: Anxiety about the future of the two great photographic libraries housed in the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, can be traced back at least thirty years. In October 1992 we published an Editorial, ‘The Witt and Conway libraries under threat’, which was prompted by a demand from the University of London that the Courtauld – not yet a self-governing and self-financing entity – produce a business plan that would show how the libraries could develop commercial opportunities to offset a threatened reduction in university funding. 

Mey Rahola (1897–1959): The new photographer

Mey Rahola: Desire for Horizons

Although Mey Rahola (1897–1959) was one of the first women to become renowned for art photography in Spain, she remains a little-known figure today. Two linked exhibitions with a single catalogue dedicated to the Catalan photographer set out to rectify this and liberate an overlooked artist from the shadow of anonymity. Working with Rahola’s family, the curators, Lluís Bertran Xirau and Roser Martínez Garcia, have assembled 550 items from her collection, including 250 negatives and a number of photograph albums. That this material had been handed down and divided between the artist’s friends and family is testimony to her interest in her posterity. The fact that, nonetheless, Rahola has remained largely unknown, one is reminded in the exhibition catalogue, is a result partly of her status as a female photographer operating in the early twentieth century and partly of the events of the Spanish Civil War, which ruptured her burgeoning career.

Glass-plate negative of a detail from the Bayeux Tapestry

The Bayeux Tapestry photographed

Design Tour: Forest House In Truckee, California

The Local Project – (May 2, 2023) – Tucked into an alpine environment, Forest House by Faulkner Architects is a cabin in the woods surrounded by thick pine trees, Fir trees and basalt rock.

Video timeline: 00:00 – Introduction to the Cabin in the Woods 00:22 – The Site and Surrounding Landscape 00:38 – Saving the Landscape Around the Home 00:55 – The Clients and the Initial Brief 01:44 – A Concealed Entry 02:00 – A Walkthrough of the Home 02:38 – An Experience Space 02:58 – Working with the Sun 03:25 – A Focus on Sustainability 03:49 – The Materials Used 04:09 – A Reflection of the Surrounding Landscape 04:35 – The Most Exciting Space and its Successes

Desiring to save and protect the landscape, the architects saved 95 per cent of the trees on the property by leaving the front land largely untouched. As the clients delivered a simple brief with an open mindset, the architects were able to create a cabin in the woods that respected its surrounds and did not fall to the arbitrary aesthetics of larger homes in the area. Due to its nature-rich location, the home remains neutral and respective by allowing the landscape to breathe and embrace its structure.

As the house tour moves inside, the front of the home opens into the living, dining and kitchen areas. Tucked behind the kitchen is a small family room, while an addition of a hidden office allows for further separation of spaces where the clients can find a place to work, study and rest. Additionally, the master suite has been left on the main level, while the three ensuite guest rooms are positioned upstairs for increased separation of private and public spaces. Described as a cabin in the woods that is an atmospheric exercise in form and light, the architects began the process of designing Forest House by looking to the sun.

Syria Views: A Tour Of The Old Markets In Damascus

Safartas Videos (May 2, 2023) – A walking tour in the old markets of Damascus, Syria, starting from Bab Al-Jabieh Gate ( باب الجابية ) all the way to Umayyad mosque.

Video timeline: 00:00 Bab Al-Jabieh (باب الجابيه) 00:15 Al-Niswan Market (سوق النسوان) 02:00 Al-Deraa Market (سوق الدراع) 03:50 Madhat Basha Market (مدحت باشا) 08:44 Khayateen Market (سوق الخياطين) 11:35 Nur Al-Din Madrasa (المدرسة النورية) 14:16 Buzureih Market (سوق البزورية) 18:50 Umayyad mosque (الجامع الأموي)

Damascus is the capital of Syria, the oldest capital in the world and, according to some, the fourth holiest city in Islam. Known colloquially in Syria as aš-Šām and dubbed, poetically, the “City of Jasmine”, Damascus is a major cultural center of the Levant and the Arab world.

Literary Arts: Zyzzyva Magazine – Spring 2023

ZYZZYVA Magazine Spring 2023:


  • The Mysteries of the Universe by Anna Badkhen:
    “I see now what this is about. I’m a professor and author in America, she’s in a war zone: to her, I’m rich and happy. How is she supposed to know about the cancer, the medical debt, Ksyusha’s student loans? So, I try to deflect.”
  • Encyclopedia of Botany by Jane Marchant:
    A daughter’s closely observed catalog of the flora around her Bay Area home, and of her family’s complex history of identity.
  • Glint of Sport by Angie Sijun Lou:
    “I don’t know if this story is true. You can’t divide truth from kitsch in this place…”
  • Eulogy by William Hawkins:
    In the wake of a funeral, a dead father’s legacy hangs over his surviving adult sons as they trudge into the lukewarm waters of the lake by the family pier.
  • The Eye by Elodie Saint-Louis:
    “When Theo spoke, she thought, you could see all of these places on his body. Vyros, Hymettus, Loutro, Parnitha. The land was in him. It was the river running out of his mouth. The words that bumped into each other gently but never spilled over, petering out into a gentle sway.”
  • Plus more fiction by Perry Janes, David Hayden (there be strange happenings in a dilapidated insurance building in Chicago), and Wendy Elizabeth Wallace.


  • Jane Marchant on the flora around her Bay Area home—and her family’s complex history of identity.


  • Jason Allen-Paisant, Dan Alter, Allison Benis White, Ricardo Cázares, E.G. Cunningham, Peter LaBerge, Joyce Mansour, Maria Zoccola


  • Sofia Bonati

Travel: A Walk In Siem Reap To Angkor Wat, Cambodia

The Walk Street Videos (May 1, 2023) – Siem Reap, a resort town in northwestern Cambodia, is the gateway to the ruins of Angkor, the seat of the Khmer kingdom from the 9th–15th centuries. Angkor’s vast complex of intricate stone buildings includes preserved Angkor Wat, the main temple, which is pictured on Cambodia’s flag. Giant, mysterious faces are carved into the Bayon Temple at Angkor Thom. 

News: Humanitarian Crisis In Sudan, War Strategies In Ukraine, May Day Rallies

The Globalist, May 2, 2023: Monocle Radio’s Georgina Godwin brings us today’s edition of ‘The Globalist’, with Agnes Poirier on newspapers and the latest technology news with Josh Cowls.

Front Page: The New York Times – Tuesday, May 2, 2023


Late-Night Negotiating Frenzy Left First Republic in JPMorgan’s Control

A First Republic Bank in downtown San Francisco where the troubled institution is headquartered.

The resolution of First Republic Bank came after a frantic night of deal making by government officials and executives at the country’s biggest bank.

In an Unsteady Banking Industry, First Republic’s Problems Stood Out

Many banking industry experts say First Republic’s issues were unique to the once high-flying lender.

The bank’s rivals appear on firmer footing this time, in contrast with the widespread panic after the failures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank in March.

Ukraine Wants to Push Forward. Not So Fast, Says Its Black Soupy Mud.

The unusually wet ground is one obstacle that the Ukrainian military, for all of its ingenuity, is finding difficult to overcome as it prepares for a counteroffensive against Russian forces.

Short on Staff, Prisons Enlist Teachers and Case Managers as Guards

The patchwork system that has evolved to address the situation has drained morale among staff members and placed additional strains on prisoners.