Mischievous Muse

My Photo
Location: Austin, TX, United States

Scholar, Writer, Mother, Dreamer. Editor of Luminarium, an online library for English Literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Pleasant Pornography

Internet PornWell, that just made a good title, but that is how Rochester is sometimes classified, and I did indeed spend a pleasant day in the company of John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester, typing till my fingers cramped and curled. Starting on the biography tomorrow.

Let's see, any other news? Mmmm, nope, not really. Oh, made a kickass meatloaf and mashed potatoes tonight. I tell ya, I'd never make it as a vegetarian. Meat and potatoes for me :)

Back to porn. Just wanted to share with you a clip from the Broadway show "Avenue Q" — Trekkie Monster singing "The Internet is for Porn." Reminds me of the summer we did all that Shakespeare with CSC and Madeline, Grammy, and I were singing along to the soundtrack at the bottom of our lungs :P


Thursday, June 29, 2006

Happy Happy Productive Day

Laptop BeachSaved by the sun. Finished many projects today, revitalized by the end of Noah's Second Flood.

The Milton bio is finished, and for the past 5 days I've been working on a site for the Restoration playwright, Aphra Behn, including a biography, quotes, poems, prose, plays, and web resources and essays for the same — the whole nine yards.  It's been quite invigorating, actually.

Laptop BeachI had only read "Oroonoko" previously, and building the site I naturally got a full course on Mrs. Behn. While she may be remembered for her prose and dramas, I really got a kick out of her poetry. Methinks she has been way overlooked as a poet. For example, her "Disappointment" works in great comparison with Rochester's "Imperfect Enjoyment", and her poem on the death of Rochester moved me greatly and is indeed a fabulous poem.

I tend to agree with Virginia Woolf that modern woman writers owe a great debt to Behn for her paving the path and plowing on despite vicious criticism and ridicule. This woman owned her own sexuality, her freedom of speech, and her right to practise her craft and earn a living when such things weren't deemed womanly — 300 years before women were publicly burning their bras.

Next in line for me is to post the scan of the beautiful Milton engraving Mark has in his collection on the Milton site, and to tackle the site for the aforementioned John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester. I read Graham Greene's biography "Lord Rochester's Monkey" over 6 months ago, but haven't set to it. I think it's been trepidation. I am so fond of Rochester, and don't want to do him a disservice. But perhaps it is more of a disservice to keep him waiting...

I wonder if I'm boring y'all with my blabbing about Early Modern literature. I s'pose most people don't get a kick out of RenLit the way I do, heheh. Well folks, feel free to skim and skip any rants on RenLit if teacupit isn't your cup of tea — I'm mostly just blabbing to keep myself warm.

Although... It hit 85 today, and I had my laptop outside, and grilled my bacon in the sunlight. If this stupid vampire flick ever gets made, they are soooooo going to have to use copious amount of body makeup to make me appropriately ghoulish.

Borg QueenI'm thinking hair extensions down to my waist, raven hair. I'm also toying with the idea of a no-eyebrow look (achieved with makeup, not permanent), for appropriate non-human creepiness. The shaved high forehead thing they did in the Middle Ages would also be excellent, but what if it won't grow back! Sort of a look à la Alice Krige as the Borg Queen, 'cept with hair, attitude like "evil Galadriel".  Any thoughts?


Tags: Literature | Vampires

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Sun, sun, SUN! Thank you witches, wizards, warlocks, or persons who have pull with the weather gods! Much obliged! Yours truly was losing her last marble. Ahh, Sun!

Rainy Day Rowling Rumors from Reuters

(Yes, I am going nuts with the rain, and cannot help but rhyme and alliterate compulsively)wizard

Ahh, Katja just sent me an email about Rowling's plans for Book 7 of the Harry Potter saga. I'll quote it from Reuters:

 Rowling says 2 characters die in final Potter book
Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:19pm ET

LONDON (Reuters) - Children's author J.K. Rowling has revealed that at least two characters will die in the seventh and final installment of her bestselling Harry Potter series, but was careful not to say who.

Children and adults are expected to rush and buy the final Harry Potter novel in their tens of millions when it is complete, and if the publication of the sixth book is anything to go by, secrecy surrounding the plot will be tight.

Rowling has already said that the final chapter of the seventh book was written long ago.

"The final chapter is hidden away, although it's now changed very slightly," she said in an interview broadcast on Monday on Britain's Channel 4. "One character got a reprieve, but I have to say two die that I didn't intend to die."

When asked to be more specific, she added: "No, I'm not going to commit myself, because I don't want the hate mail or anything else."

She did explain that she understood an author's desire to kill off the main character of a successful series.

"I've never been tempted to kill him (Harry) off before the end of book seven, because I always planned seven books and that's where I want to go.

"I can completely understand, however, the mentality of an author who thinks 'Well, I'm going to kill them off because that means there can be no non-author-written sequels ... so it will end with me, and after I'm dead and gone they won't be able to bring back the character'."

So, naturally Katja and I feel that Harry is one of the ones to go... I mean, c'mon, she loves the idea of the epic, and the epic hero always dies heroically at the end, right? Following the Campbellian formula, you need the apotheosis of the hero to really kick some epic butt.  But who is the other? wizardI'm going to vote on Hagrid... that way she'll have everyone weeping for weeks. I have to admit here and now that when Dumbledore died, I cried intermittently for about two weeks. Every once in a while, out of nowhere. Similarly, I do so miss Richard Harris in the movie role — Michael Gambon is a pale mockery of Dumbledore compared to the great wisdom and heart of Richard Harris.

That said, for those of you wanting to read previous news items and speculation on the contents of Book 7, visit this Wikipedia page.

*Sigh* Betcha there's a spell for making this rain STOP! Witches, wizards, warlocks, if you know one, do send an owl.




rainRivulets running, roses ruined, rotting;
   Animals anxious, as
      I,— Interminable

Monday, June 26, 2006

It Rained and it Rained and it Rained.

Noah's ArkThe fourth day straight — rain.  Not delightful drip-drip-summer-rain, but full-on cold, blasting, gloomy, I-shall-pour-my-vengeance-on-the-world kind of rain.  I'm gonna have to start looking for an Ark soon.

I tell you, rain depresses me.  I don't know if it's the Leo in me or what, but I'm really susceptible to no-sunlight days.  So trying to hold off the grumps and the woe-is-me's which are lurking in the corners waiting to pounce. *sigh*

And I just thought of the perfect thing to cheer the day.

A. A. Milne.

Winnie the Pooh, Chapter 9


IT rained and it rained and it rained. Piglet told himself that never in all his life, and he was goodness knows how old—three, was it, or four?—never had he seen so much rain. Days and days and days.
Piglet and rain

"If only," he thought, as he looked out of the window, "I had been in Pooh's house, or Christopher Robin's house, or Rabbit's house when it began to rain, then I should have had Company all this time, instead of being here all alone, with nothing to do except wonder when it will stop." And he imagined himself with Pooh, saying, "Did you ever see such rain, Pooh?" and Pooh saying, "Isn't it awful, Piglet?" and Piglet saying, "I wonder how it is over Christopher Robin's way," and Pooh saying, "I should think poor old Rabbit is about flooded out by this time." It would have been jolly to talk like this, and really, it wasn't much good having anything exciting like floods, if you couldn't share them with somebody.

For it was rather exciting. The little dry ditches in which Piglet had nosed about so often had become streams, the little streams across which he had splashed were rivers, and the river, between whose steep banks they had played so happily, had sprawled out of its own bed and was taking up so much room everywhere, that Piglet was beginning to wonder whether it would be coming into his bed soon.

"It's a little Anxious," he said to himself, "to be a Very Small Animal Entirely Surrounded by Water. Christopher Robin and Pooh could escape by Climbing Trees, and Kanga could escape by Jumping, and Rabbit could escape by Burrowing, and Owl could escape by Flying, and Eeyore could escape by—by Making a Loud Noise Until Rescued, and here am I, surrounded by water and I can't do anything."

It went on raining, and every day the water got a little higher, until now it was nearly up to Piglet's window . . . and still he hadn't done anything.

"There's Pooh," he thought to himself. "Pooh hasn't much Brain, but he never comes to any harm. He does silly things and they turn out right. There's Owl. Owl hasn't exactly got Brain, but he Knows Things. He would know the Right Thing to Do when Surrounded by Water. There's Rabbit. He hasn't Learnt in Books, but he can always Think of a Clever Plan. There's Kanga. She isn't Clever, Kanga isn't, but she would be so anxious about Roo that she would do a Good Thing to Do without thinking about it. And then there's Eeyore And Eeyore is so miserable anyhow that he wouldn't mind about this. But I wonder what Christopher Robin would do?"

Then suddenly he remembered a story which Christopher Robin had told him about a man on a desert island who had written something in a bottle and thrown it in the sea; and Piglet thought that if he wrote something in a bottle and threw it in the water, perhaps somebody would come and rescue him!

He left the window and began to search his house, all of it that wasn't under water, and at last he found a pencil and a small piece of dry paper, and a bottle with a cork to it. And he wrote on one side of the paper:Piglet and bottle


and on the other side:


Then he put the paper in the bottle, and he corked the bottle up as tightly as he could, and he leant out of his window as far as he could lean without falling in, and he threw the bottle as far as he could throw—splash!—and in a little while it bobbed up again on the water; and he watched it floating slowly away in the distance, until his eyes ached with looking, and sometimes he thought it was the bottle, and sometimes he thought it was just a ripple on the water which he was following, and then suddenly he knew that he would never see it again and that he had done all that he could do to save himself.

"So now," he thought, "somebody else will have to do something, and I hope they will do it soon, because if they don't I shall have to swim, which I can't, so I hope they do it soon." And then he gave a very long sigh and said, "I wish Pooh were here. It's so much more friendly with two."

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sonnetsday 16


Sonnet XXIX

HEN in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
      For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
      That then I scorn to change my state with kings.


Tags: Sonnets | Shakespeare

Labels: ,

Friday, June 23, 2006

TGIF - Thank God It's Firefly Day 6

Serenity Now Equality NowSERENITY NOW/EQUALITY NOW is happening this weekend around the world.  Charity screenings of "Serenity" on Joss Whedon's birthday weekend, benefiting Equality Now, an organization with a goal of empowering women and girls around the world.  Not only is it a good cause, but it's also a chance to fly your browncoat flag watching the Big Damn Movie one more time on the Big Damn Screen.

I want to share with you another song by the Bedlam Bards:
Big Damn Trilogy  .MP3
tune and lyrics by James Hazlerig

Trilogy, O trilogy, I want my trilogy,
Don't stop at one, Don't stop at two,
Gorramit, gimme three!

Trilogy, O trilogy, that's what I want to see,
Someday I'll own a boxed set
Of that Big Damn Trilogy!

They said we couldn't do it,
They said our show should die,
They took our love, they took our land,
They cancelled our Firefly.
But one thing they didn't reckon,
in our fan psychology:
Browncoats carry Greenbacks,
And we want our trilogy!




They say the best things in this 'verse,
Always come in threes,
Musketeers and stooges,
When a show's got ships and shepherds,
The Alliance and Blue Sun,
And Gina and Jewel and Morena and Summer,
It's too pretty to stop at one!



The song is on the CD "On the Drift" by the Bedlam Bards.

Tags: Firefly | Serenity | Movies

Labels: , , , ,

Midsummer Spells - Happy Midsummer All!

MidsummerPagan rites are still alive and well in Finland.  Tonight will be Midsummer's Eve, a night on which young women traditionally perform Midsummer spells.  The object of spells performed on this night is to find a sweetheart or a husband, or to make the heart's desired return one's feelings.  Other spells are reserved for other festivals, such as spells for financial prosperity or finding out about the future, which are performed on New Year's Eve night. These spells all have their variations, depending on the geographical area of Finland — for example, the number of flowers and herbs may be different, or how many times a particular step is performed, but the objective is the same — mating, mating, mating.
Midsummer Spells:

Collect seven different wildflowers while naked and place them under your pillow. In dreams you will see the one you will marry.

At midnight, walk counter-clockwise, naked, around a well three times.  When you peek into the well, you will see your future lover.

Turn a sock inside out and put it on your left foot.  You will see your future husband in your dreams.

For good marriage luck, roll around naked on a field where dew has fallen.

Make a belt from straw, and wearing only that, sit on a stone in the middle of a stream. You will see your future husband in the water.

Wearing only your nightshirt, sweep the floor of your bedroom and carry the dirt in the hem of your shirt to a pond. On your way home, you will meet the one who will become your beloved.

Go outside and sweep the steps naked. Your future love will appear.

At the crossroads of three roads, sweep the ground naked, and your love will appear.

Collect dew from a field in Midsummer night, because it has healing properties.

In the forest, lay in a bed of ferns. Seeing a fern bloom will bring good luck. If you collect the bloom, you can even become invisible.

Follow the will-o-the-wisps. If you see a blue one, dig there, for there is treasure buried. The treasure-keeper will ask you riddles, which if you answer correctly, you may have the treasure.

Naked in a FieldAs you see, most all of these spells involve the young maidens rolling, sweeping, or running around naked. Aren't ye sorry you're not in Finland tonight, boys?

Oh, and while this is common in Finland, I wonder how the authorities here will feel... so if you get a call from me in jail, wontcha bail me out?


Labels: , , , ,

To Bed or Not to Bed, That is the Question

HamletNo, no, no, ye of the dirty minds!  I didn't mean in that sense :P Though that too is an interesting question.  I just got back home from a lovely night of amateur theatrics in the truest sense of the word.

This evening, I went to Arden, Delaware, to see the Arden Shakespeare Gild's production of "Hamlet."  The citizens of Arden, each year for the past century almost, have put on a Shakespeare play in the verdant woods, on an outdoor stage — and everyone involved is there for the love of the Bard.  I had had the pleasure last year to play Olivia there in "Twelfth Night", and my Macbeth was playing Hamlet, so it was a foregone conclusion I should go see it.

And it was delightful! Very well done. After the show, we all went out to the local tavern, and ate, drank, and were merry. On the way back home, I decided it would be a brilliant idea to take a detour to New Jersey (I don't know how I read the sign wrong) so getting home took quite a while... still, a great night.

Tomorrow is Midsummer's Eve in Finland, which means it is the night young women do Midsummer spells. So my question really was... 'to bed, to bed, to bed' (Macbeth, V,i.)... or whether 'tis nobler in the mind to write a post on Midsummer spells.... Hmmm...

Tags: Shakespeare | Theatre | Finland


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Tuesday Jottings; or, Milton's Porridge

Back home meant back to work on upgrading and adding to my literature site, Luminarium.  I decided to take a break from the sheer monotony of finding and fixing broken-down links, and to finally write a biographical monograph for Milton; something I'd been putting off successfully these past ten years.

Usually, writing a biography takes a day or two, from the gathering of facts to the polishing touches.  Not so with Milton.  First off, Milton lived to be 66 years of age, which is a respectable age in the Renaissance.  Secondly, the man was a force of nature — he crammed so much into those years, between his studies, his travels on the Continent, his three marriages, his work for the Protectorate government, and not least, his unbelievably voluminous literary output.  To do Milton's life justice, one should really write a book, instead of attempting to encapsulate it in a matter of a few pages; and yet, that is exactly what I have to do.

I finally have a first draft, which in itself is something of which to be proud, but oh, it reads dryly, sure to put off any but the most ardent seekers of knowledge.  Now my task is to make it flow, and make it more human, without lapsing into conjecture about the daily activities of the man, à la "What porridge hath John Keats?"
Such forays make for compelling reading, take for instance Stephen Greenblatt's Shakesbiography Will in the World — a marvellous book, to be sure, but full of "maybes" and "perhapses."
Now I know better than ever why I have put this off for so long.  "Grant me the serenity", is all I can say.

Yours Beleaguered,

Tags: Literature

Monday, June 19, 2006

Stress to Impress

ACK!  Mark A. of HyperLiterature is out of town and has directed his readers to visit my blog in his absence.  An honor, to be sure, but now I feel stressed out that all his visitors will snooze away at my little ramblings.... so I'm gonna try really hard to do what Mark does — interesting links:
MacGuyver — Priceless! - Mastercard Commercial

Why drinking 17 Beers is Good for You

Titanic 2 - Trailer for Fake Sequel

Get Married at Age 12 in Colorado!

Ask a Ninja: "Net Neutrality"

Okay, that's it — try to hang on until Mark's return!

Return from London

London BusAhh, London.  The simple pleasures like riding a bright red double-decker bus.  One of those things you take for granted when you live in London and have to endure an un-airconditioned bus daily, but which you appreciate with childlike glee when you're just visiting.  If you're not in a hurry, it's a great way to see the sights, and you don't have to pay the astronomical fares of the tour buses.

Saturday the plan had been to go see Coriolanus at the Globe, but my aching, infirm body put a firm stop to that.  So instead, a little stroll in Hyde Park, a nice bus ride to Trafalgar Square where poor Lord Nelson was covered up in a blue contraption for restoration and some G'awful band was holding teenagers in thrall, and a short walk up to Theatre Royal Haymarket.  As I had feared, Dame Judy Dench in Noel Coward's Hayfever was all sold out except for obstructed view seats in the nosebleed section, and even those would have required my signing away the rights to my firstborn in blood, so it was a no-go.

Up to Leicester Square and the TKTS booth, amidst throngs of folks enjoying "West End Live" the annual festival of scenes from the big West End musicals, magicians, performance artists, etc.  Managed to get tickets to "Donkey's Years", a farce by Michael Frayn, the writer of "Noises Off."  It starred David Haig, an actor well known in England, Donkey's Years Castthough perhaps some remember him as Hugh Grant's stuffy brother in "Two Weeks Notice" — I was excited to see him on stage again, because he had been superlative as the professor in "Hitchcock Blonde."  Other better-known cast members included Mark Addy of "The Full Monty" -fame, and Samantha Bond, who played Miss Moneypenny in "Die Another Day" and Lady M opposite Sean Bean in Macbeth at the West End.  The premise was that of a 25-year reunion at an unnamed university, and the plot was that these Oxbridge folks, who now hold respectable positions (Haig plays the Minister of Education), are just as immature and silly as they were in their college days.  Not much for plot, but the excellent cast pull off a raucous show with impeccable timing.  Most enjoyable.

After show we ate at Garfunkel's, which is basically a chain of diners — I do LOVE having breakfast at all hours of the day, especially for dinner :P  The window seat afforded a first class view of one of the prerequisite fist fights which inevitably break out among drunk teen hooligans "every hour, on the hour."  The police are now monitoring the choice fight spots with video cameras, and a full van load of bobbies was on the scene in under a minute.  What with the football season in full swing and the majority of London population and tourists under 25 (and over) perpetually drunk, it must needs be a necessity.

The flight back from London yesterday, Sunday, was uneventful — I possess an infallible gift for sleep in planes, trains, and automobiles.  The trip was a great success, and my favorite part had to be seeing Nader for the longest time, and talking theatre, books, and life over Indian food at the Masala Zone.  Ahh, London, bright Lady of the Thames.  If you weren't so mind-bogglingly expensive, you would have a new resident in no time.

Tags:  Theatre | Travel | London

Labels: ,

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus - Globe 2006

Before embarking on a review of the above, let me say my feet and calves ACHE — walking around London for a full day, after which attending a show at the Globe, standing for 3 hrs as a 'groundling', is murder for the uninitiated.  To think, just 3 years ago I could have done it for days on end, but soft living in the suburbs has divested me of both muscle and flexibility, and today I am walking around like great-aunt Esther, every step accompanied by a sadly-whimpered, muffled "Ow."

In the good news, had a superb breakfast at Camden Market, proudly named "The Full Monty", consisting of slices of English bacon, sausage, egg, and baked beans, with a nice chunk of buttered baguette and a can of Fanta to chase it down.  Yes, Madeline, I know I shouldn't be drinking it since I'm allergic to it, but really, how can I resist, it's FANTA?!

The corset lady, over whose wares Madeline and I used to drool, vowing we'd be back when we were mega-rich, is no longer in the same spot.  She now has a store named ARC at the end of the street, where the Camden Lock Market buildings are.  We'll still go back, should we ever strike rich enough.  There was a pink satin one with black lace and piping I thought we could have fought over, and a purple chinese silk satin one that could have given Scarlett O'Hara's waist a run for its money. *DROOL*

After this, a quick stop by Goodge Street - there's now a Starbucks to the left of the tube entrance Madeline!  We would not have been safe!  I didn't go in but admired RADA from the outside, and then headed down to Westminster Abbey, wich, miracle of miracles, was open.  The story here, is that I have stood outside said cathedral countless times, and the bugger has always been closed for a private function, or cat-christening, or just on principle to not let yours truly in.  Thus it happened, that I finally got to see Queen Elizabeth's tomb and "Poets' Corner" with its tombs, monuments, and memorials.  I think I scared the other American-sounding tourists when I fell a-weeping in front of Michael Drayton and "O, rare Ben Jonson" — and Mark, I did not have your strength, I did indeed break into a quiet recitation of "Whan that Aprille with his showres soote" in front of Geoffrey Chaucer.  I had a hard time getting un-verklempt and decided to quit the Abbey altogether. I could only think how much it felt like a pilgrimage (and please read that in the Middle English pronunciation, 'pilgri-Mah-juh').

The Globe is a sanctuary and holy place of another order for me.  Got there ridiculously early to get tickets, and then was among the first behind the rope they make you stand behind, before they let you to the Globe yard to wait for the gates of the holy house itself to open.  There is a reason for this — the best spots for groundlings are right against the stage, where you can lean against the high planks and be almost right within the action.  Success!

I had waited with trepidation for this night, because I knew it would be weird to be at the Globe without Mark Rylance.  And it was.

The second play of new Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole's season "Edges of Rome", Titus Andronicus, opened with smoke from censers, and much yelling and clanking, as two metal-railed "towers" moved about the yard bearing the two contenders for Rome's emperorship.  Throughout the show, these towers were pushed around the yard, the groundlings being herded out of the way, so never once could anyone just blithely stand back and not pay attention.  Interesting concept, but there was too much of it, and it became distracting after the novelty wore off.

I'm not going to be one of those reviewers who write an essay on the plot; I hate that. I'll jump right in.

Costumes.  The costumes were no better than one might see in any regional theatre around the world — a grave disappointment to us 'costume-whores' who would go to the globe to sigh over the hand-stitched garments with their outrageously expensive fabrics, everything done to perfection, the shoes fully period, enough to make a shoemaker cry tears of joy.  These Roman soldiers and nobility alike were in black Converse hightop knockoffs, the toes of which had been cut out and the rubber soles and heels of which still read "Pump" for those of us close to the stage to get distracted by.  Underneath their machine-stitched "togas" everyone wore black SPANDEX® bicycle shorts which gleamed in the evening lights, should a character die and have his toga hiked up.  For the Roman half-glove, the emperor was forced to wear a black motorcycle glove with the fingers chopped off, strangely reminiscent of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" days.   Some things were done well, such as the blue tattoos on the Goths, the empress' wig, and Aaron the Moor's kaftan.  All in all, though, a sad day for Globe costuming.

Acting.  Patrick Moy was perfection as Emperor Saturnine.  He captured every nuance of the character, looked aquiline, his physical presence was commanding, possessed a beautiful, full "RADA voice", and he brought fantastic depth and surprising emotional range to the final scene.  Conversely, Geraldine Alexander as Tamora was disappointing.  Her voice was strained, often hoarse, and her character had no emotional arc due to the poorly delivered first speeches of Tamora, pleading for her son's life, and emotionally wan reaction to the murder of her firstborn — she was never once "in the moment", never portrayed a real emotion, but a very presentational 'aping' of real emotion which did not serve Tamora well.  One never felt sympathy for her for a moment, since she seemed a cold and calculating bitch from the start.  It was a performance that left the audience cold.  Douglas Hodge as Titus was an actor of strength, quirkiness, and rawness, as well as many surprises — very interesting to watch.  And please forgive me for saying this, he was good, but he wasn't brilliant in the way Mark Rylance would have been in the same role.  Laura Rees was superb as Lavinia and so real in her emotions that the gruesome events in the play were magnified twentyfold —she was petite and fragilely beautiful, so you can only imagine when they bring her in, broken and mutilated, covered head to toe in blood — gory.  Shaun Parkes as Aaron gives a solid, muscular, dangerous performance as Aaron, until his final scene when the director (Lucy Bailey) clearly did not understand that her Aaron needed levels, needed motivation, needed better understanding of himself, or did not know how to get her otherwise excellent actor there.  The supporting cast were good, but not great, solid, but not electric in any way — a big change from the Globe of yesteryear when supporting actors could also have played kings.

Music and dance were unimpressive during the show, and the usual final jig was replaced by a peasant roundel running around the audience, grabbing audience members in the chain at will.  Wan, wan, wan.

For the tourists there, the majority seemed exhilarated by what they had seen.  One philistine critic has gone so far as to say it is the best Shakespeare he has seen these past ten years at the Globe....  Ummm, yeah. NO.

The sad truth is that now the quality of the Globe is no different, no better from the present days of RSC.  That to me is heartbreaking.  Used to be, you wanted good Shakespeare, you'd go to good ol' RSC — you wanted brilliant, earth-shattering Shakespeare, you went to the Globe.

Without the artistic direction and flawless standards of Mark Rylance at the helm, the quality of actor (save Patrick Moy and Laura Rees), the quality of direction, the costumes, the music, the experience has brought the Globe down to the middling mortal mire.

Divine Mark Rylance absent from every aspect of the Globe is the greatest loss that the world of Shakespeare has felt in my lifetime.

Tags:  Mark Rylance | Shakespeare | The Globe | Theatre | Travel | London

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, June 16, 2006

Katja Gets a Blog!!!

My BFF (Best Friend Forever), Katja, finally has a BLOG!
I'm so excited! And to start things off with a bang, Katja posted the most high-larious link to an IFilm-clip of George Dubya doing U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday":

Bush Rocking it Up

And be sure to visit Katja's Blog. Welcome to the Blogosphere officially, Kittykat!


Thursday, June 15, 2006

TGIF - Thank God It's Firefly Day 5

I may be in England but, a Browncoat to the core, my Firefly DVDs came with — shoulda seen the mystified looks of the French at the café in Montpellier airport when, during the long wait for the flight, yours truly was enjoying the "Jaynestown" episode. I need to state that "Out of Gas" is actually my fave episode and "Jaynestown" comes in at a close second.

Here are the shiny things for this TGIF:

Serenity Now/Equality Now - Can't Stop the Serenity
Serenity movie screenings to support Joss Whedon's favorite charity, Equality Now, happening June 22-24 in 44 locations worldwide.  Even if you've never seen the movie or show, if it is showing somewhere near you, go see it.  Me, I'm going to the midnight show in King of Prussia, PA on June 23, 2006.  They can't stop the signal!

Done the Impossible - The Fans' Tale of Firefly and Serenity.
After a long wait, the production team is getting ready to ship the DVD before July 20. Pre-orders are being accepted now. Watch the two shiny trailers on the site!

Firefly Bloopers - via YouTube.
This is that video the cast put together, which is on the Firefly Series DVD Boxset.

Best Jayne Moments - via YouTube.
I've noticed my own self appreciating Jayne and Adam Baldwin best in a series full of favorite chars. Shiny!

River Misunderstood - via YouTube.
River clips set to Matchbox 20's "Unwell" - superb video.

Adam Baldwin singing "Hero of Canton" - via YouTube.

Did I mention, I love Adam Baldwin — rocking actor!

Well, that's it from this side of the pond. More next week.

Keep on flyin'

Tags: Firefly | Serenity | Movies

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

We Interrupt this Transmission...

to bring you an enormously entertaining clip found on MarkA's HyperLiterature:

Star Trek vs. Star Wars - via YouTube

Tehee! Go Mr. Data, Go Captain Picard! The only way this clip could have been better, is if Darth Vader had turned around and said "Jean-Luc, I'm your father!"



Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Montpellier, 2nd Day

Isn't it amazing, something which always strikes me when I visit France, is how a person who has studied the language for 8 years in school with teachers rigorous to the point of cultural fascism, is entirely unable and clueless when faced with the dreaded Restaurant Menu. All one's hours of trying to comprehend the sheer lunacy of the subjonctif, or the subjunctive tense, come to naught, and one is reduced to utter imbecility when one has to admit one has no idea what one has ordered — not even whether what one has ordered is fish or meat, let alone the subsect of said fish or meat item.  I used to despair, when not even my trusty pocket dictionary would reveal the secrets locked within le menu but in my old age (ha!) I have adopted a more philosophical tack, and accepted that eating in France will always be a culinary adventure and a mystery on par with the holiest of holies.

So tonight, at a lovely restaurant called Les Bains de Montpellier built not only on the site, but literally within the confines of a Roman baths, right behind L'Opéra on Rue Richelieu, I bravely ordered things of the set 30E menu without having any idea what the first or second courses were.  Turns out, the first course, Brochettes de caille were not either bruschette (guess #1) nor seafood on toast (guess #2), but little lumps of steak on a stick, drenched in an apricot sauce — quite divine.  The main course turned out to be veal medallions, and the dessert (about the only thing on the menu which I felt confident over) was 3 different créme brulées: vanilla, red-currant and liqeur, and a chocolate mousse one that almost took my tongue with it on its way down.  Who knew there were such wonders in the world of créme brulées!  I would love to take some classes that were only on restaurant vocab, perhaps combined with a cooking course at the same time. Mmmmm.

Gosh, do forgive me for thinking with my palate and tummy alone, but I do do do LOVE a good meal.  I figured I might as well enjoy myself while I could, because tomorrow is London for 4 days... and as much as I do adore London, a culinary hotspot it is not.  My apologies to the Britons — heck of a language, rocking literature, cool history, and hey, you folks can lay claim both to Shakespeare and Mark Rylance (idols to yours truly), but cooking... cooking y'all could improve on.

That said, it is beddy-bye time once again. More reportage once I reach the other side of the Channel :)

Guys, thanks for all your awesome comments and messages — you delight me and warm me, and I'm thinking of you all.

Avec amour

Tags:  Travel


Monday, June 12, 2006

Monday in Montpellier

Arrived safely in Barcelona, of which I got to see nothing but the airport this trip, and then drove north to the French border, and up to Montpellier. Jet lag had me pretty unconscious, and I didn't get up until after noon today.

Weather in Montpellier right now is lovely, about 80F or so, and the city is bathed in bright golden sunlight. I visited Montpellier a few years ago, but this time what has struck me is how different it is from Paris and other towns in Northern France. 1) People are much friendlier 2) Cultural diversity rivals that of NYC 3) Few people speak, or admit to speaking, English. Whereas in Paris, say, one can tell what kind of clothing or shoes are in fashion, here it is well nigh impossible to gauge - people of every shape, size, color, and dressed in everything from kaftans to flip-flops to miniskirts and business suits flit by like so many energetic butterflies. This makes it very nice for the visitor — one doesn't stick out of the crowd as a foreigner any more than the next person.

I took my book and my map and went to the Place de l'Opéra, where amidst the swirl of students, tourists, and locals I found a nice little table at a sidewalk café and sipped a café au lait while doing some daydreaming and people watching. I also managed to devour a goodly chunk of my book (Umberto Eco's newest, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana), after which I strolled down to the Galleries Lafayette, where I browsed the colorful purses and sunhats, drooling over the sumptuous fabrics and balking over the prices.  I ended up buying a nile blue (turquoise for you straight guys :P) pashmina shawl to wear in the evenings when it gets a bit nippy still. Dinner was at 'l'Ancienne Corriere', a 5-course menu which was very mysterious to me, and half the things I still don't know what it was exactly that I ate, but it was all delicious. The dessert was chocolate mousse with bananas and this thinnest of thin wafer cake. Yummmm.

Tomorrow I'm planning on visiting a few museums and the Ursuline convent, and perhaps finding a cute pair or two of espadrilles, then heading to the storybook castle and fortified town of Carcassonne for dinner and an evening stroll. And the crack of dawn on Wednesday will find me en route to good ol' Londinium. More bloggery from there.

*mwah* A

Tags:  Travel

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Wee Small Hours

Going to bed in a moment, I promise. Just finished giving the doggies their baths — can't have them turning up at the aunt's all scraggly and filthy after all.  What between Ariel loving to roll in the grass like a spring pony on a pasture, and Boo trying to break Houdini's records by wiggling out from under the fence, and all of this compounded by the rains we've had... it was dirty dog dungeon.  All better now, whew!

Like the new background, btw?  I took a piece of the so called "Hand D" — the only manuscript writing thought to be Shakespeare's own hand, and then I tinkered with it in Photoshop to make it.  If anyone is interested, I can post a full how-to, but doubt most are, so will pass for now.

Alrighty, going to put one more load in the washer, then bed.  Dunno how much chance I'll have of blogging this week, so if there is silence, worry not.  Stay well, everyone!


Friday, June 09, 2006

Mischievous Muse in Europe

Wheeeeeeeeeeee!  Apologies for the squeeing, but yes, it is true.  I am going!  Flying to Barcelona tomorrow night, then driving to Montpellier in the south of France for a few days, then flying to London for another few, back on Sunday 18th.

Can anyone say wine?  cheese? Shakespeare?  Definitely going to see both Titus Andronicus and Coriolanus at the Globe, although it will be a bittersweet experience sans my Divine Mark Rylance — also hoping to catch Hayfever with Dame Judi Dench, and perchance Derek Jacobi in A Voyage Round my Father.


Called my friend Nader, who's a friend from the RADA days, and will get together with him and his g/f as well. Must stop, dying from the happies! Wheeeeeeee!

<3 A

Tags:  Mark Rylance | Shakespeare | The Globe | Theatre | Travel


TGIF - Thank God It's Firefly Day 4

Remember The Ballad of Jayne?  If you're a Browncoat, then of course you do!  The Bedlam Bards loved Firefly so much, that they created an homage, "The Ballad of Joss", and an entire album of Firefly/Serenity -inspired music,

On the Drift: Music Inspired by Firefly and Serenity

The Ballad of Joss  .MP3
by Bedlam Bards

Joss, the man they call Joss . . .

He wrote about spaceships
       and shepherds and whores,
Stood up to the networks
       and gave ‘em what for.
Fox cancelled his program,
       but that was their loss--
The creator of Firefly,
       the man they call Joss!

Our Joss saw the viewers’ hearts breakin’,
He heard the Browncoats’ lament,
He saw the Fox network takin’,
His show in a way that made no sense.
(He said) “You can’t do that to my program,
Can’t grind it under your heel.”
So he took all the cast,
And now at last,
They’ve landed a Big Damn Movie deal!

He wrote about spaceships and shepherds and whores,
Stood up to the networks and gave ‘em what for.
Fox cancelled his program, but that was their loss--
The creator of Firefly, the man they call Joss!

Now here is what separates Whedon,
From writers who slave in the core,
The man they call Joss,
Well, he said to Fox,
“I’m going where no show has gone before.”
He told us about reavers,
He told us about sin,
He took us to the black,
And we ain’t comin’ back,
‘till all those crazy Browncoats rise again!

He wrote about spaceships and shepherds and whores,
Stood up to the networks and gave ‘em what for.
Fox cancelled his program, but that was their loss--
The creator of Firefly, the man they call Joss!

Now, here is what separates Firefly
From other shows you’re likely to see—
It’s meaningful and witty,
And the setting’s really gritty,
And the theme song is about Serenity.
It’s a little like a western,
And a little like X-Files,
It’s better than Trek,
And funnier than Shrek,
And it beats out Andromeda by miles!

He wrote about spaceships and shepherds and whores,
Stood up to the networks and gave ‘em what for.
Fox cancelled his program, but that was their loss--
The creator of Firefly, the man they call Joss!

(Anyone else think the line "better than Trek" should read "better than crack", tehee!)

Tags: Firefly | Serenity | Movies

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Insomniac Surfs the Blogosphere

Blogger is finally back up after a full day's worth of "technical difficulties" — secretly, I'm convinced it was my excessive blogging and blogsurfing activity which did it, but shhh! don't tell Blogger.

So in my sweep through the many sites on which I regularly lurk, I found many things strange and marvelous, but this one takes the cake: on "Such Shakespeare Stuff," Duane has a YouTube clip of, wait for it....


The Beatles doing 'Pyramus and Thisbe' from Midsummer Night's Dream.

The most hilarious Shakespeare
moment I've seen in YEARS.

On Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog, GC decided he'd "wolde teste out sum newe materiale" which he thinks "has legges":THE MOOST

I was howling, I tell ya! I also like Chaucer's blog t-shirts... I'm adding the "Ich am a gentil harlot and a kynde" on my 'I want'-list, te-hee!

On About Texts, there is a retrospective on Calvin and Hobbes which makes for a nice read — so miss seeing the strip in the paper.  But, of course I own all the books, sooo.

More later. Might try that sleeping thing. I hear it's good for you.

Tags: Shakespeare | Books

Labels: ,

Meme of 7's

Okay, I'm caught — I'm suffering from insomnia again, and haven't yet slept in a gazillion hours... so please bear with my rampant (and rambling) blogging. Been surfing the blogosphere for education and entertainment.

I ran into a cool meme on Susie's Space, so I'm playing!

Seven things to do before I die:

1. Have children
2. Act on the Globe stage
3. Publish a book
4. Write a script that gets made into a movie
5. Go to Fiji
6. Live in New Zealand
7. Own my own theatre

Seven things I cannot do:

1. Jump out of airplanes
2. Touch a spider
3. Make Bearnaise sauce
4. A cartwheel (never was able)
5. Keep a hydrangea alive
6. Play any sport involving a ball
7. Tile a floor (but want to change that)

Seven books (or series of books) I love:

1. The Harry Potter -series by J. K. Rowling
2. The Wheel of Time -series by Robert Jordan
3. The Riverside Shakespeare
4. Otherland -series by Tad Williams
5. Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones
6. The Dark is Rising -sequence by Susan Cooper
7. The Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy) by Robin Hobb

Seven Movies I’d Watch Over and Over Again:

1. LOTR (all)
2. Star Wars IV (the original)
3. The Fisher King
4. It's a Wonderful Life
5. A Fish Called Wanda
6. Muriel's Wedding
7. Bridget Jones' Diary

Seven people I’d like to tag:

1. MarkA. @ HyperLiterature
2. Dr. Virago @ Quod She
3. Raven @ Lion Sleeps Tonight
4. Mophia @ Crash-riding
5. Bart @ Daze of our Lives
6. Madeline @ Steep'd in Golden Languors
7. My best friend Katja (get a blog already!) :P

And anyone else who would like to play. Let me know in the comments if you play!

Tags: Books | Movies | Memes

Labels: ,