Here’s how this week’s arts and culture column begins: Madame Ganna Walska (1887-1984) was the type of Southern Californian eccentric over whom  people from back East love to roll their eyes, muttering “land of the fruits and the nuts.” Born Hanna Puacz in Brest-Litovsk, Poland, she was an opera singer who was married six times. […]


“Something had blazed in me, and from the blaze I discovered a new element in myself, a combustible something that would always blaze again in defense of the mystery and sacredness in things, and against the queer, blind, blaspheming streak in human nature which instead of adoring, must vulgarize and exploit and insult life.”