hedda62: (tea whisk)
Things that have happened lately:

1) Saw Vienna Teng perform on Saturday night! Just so lovely and perfect. I got the tickets way back in December, ended up asking a MG friend to come along because I thought she'd like the music, and indeed she loved it, so that's good; the venue (the Hamilton in DC) was very nice (table seating, with food), even if a slightly late arrival meant that we basically couldn't see Vienna's face for most of the show. But she sang one after another of my favorites, everything from the generally appealing "City Hall," "Landsailor," "Whatever You Want," "Grandmother Song" (to close, which was great), to the personal WoT soundtrack items like "Eric's Song" and "Augustine," and so much more. I'd expected more emphasis on "Aims," but I guess she did that tour already, and it was wonderful to hear her reaching far back into her catalog.

It was a solo show (she had a NZ duo, the Bollands, opening for her on the tour, and they were pretty entertaining, but none of her usual backup group), so pretty much just Vienna, a piano, and technology. The last of which was a fascinating addition - probably old hat for those who go to a lot of live shows, but for me it's all happening mysteriously in the background usually, so it was fun to see her setting up tracks and letting them play in parallel. I'd seen the magical voice-splitting thing for "Hymn of Acxiom" on video before, but it's cool in person.

The between-song patter was interesting, too, with some details about where the songs came from and what she's doing (real corporate job now, which apparently she was working from the passenger seat of the van on tour, conference calls and spreadsheets and the like). She didn't have a set list, and was taking requests; the funniest moment was when some deep-voiced guys at the bar called out "Lullabye for a Stormy Night!" and she turned and said, "Are you from Boston?" (because apparently either they or someone just like them had come to both her Massachusetts shows and shouted the same thing).

Anyway - wonderful wonderful, made my week. More details on request.

2) And then we got up early the next morning (I got almost no sleep, due to mistimed insomnia, if it's ever timed right) and drove up to Allentown. Awards ceremony (P. got a prize for history) and then "Romeo and Juliet" that evening, which was done as a tribute to Ferguson et al. with the Capulets being rich (for inner city) black and the Montagues poor white, and lots of police barriers (marked VPD) and Catholic schools and dirty streets and Mercutio in full punk mode. It was very well done, even if the story doesn't quite map right to the theme (family rivalry doesn't tidily broaden to state oppression and societal prejudice, if you stick with the text instead of going all "West Side Story"), but I give them full credit for trying. For saying something. (And P.'s girlfriend E. did a lovely job in the small roles of Lady Montague and the Apothecary (as legless Vietnam vet drug pusher).)

Interestingly, Chesapeake Shakespeare in Baltimore is also doing R&J right now, with apparently the same casting decisions (just going by the website photos), and has had to cancel several shows due to the unrest.

3) I keep meaning to do a catchup post for book and TV consumption (I have read all the way through Lev Grossman's "Magicians" trilogy, finally, for one thing), but for now I'll just say, wow, "Person of Interest," good job ramping the tension up at the end of the season. I am wondering about the timing of this "Correction" on May 6, which is the day after the finale airs next week, but not at all congruent with the snow they were (literally) digging through in last night's episode. Are we going to skip through time, or are they just going to prevent (or perhaps not prevent!) something that's scheduled for months in the future? Anyway, very curious to see how they're going to pull all the plot threads together, if they do; I think the season's theme of separation is still pretty relevant, and the two teams (of villains and heroes and ambiguous figures) that have been making distinct circles all season still seem to be doing so. Though there are some points where they touch, so maybe that'll be important. The Machine is playing some very big game (and talking!).

I need to take care of plants now. Have a good day!
hedda62: cover of Time for Tea (time for tea)
Well, hurray! I can now announce that fic for the Waters of Time series exists. [livejournal.com profile] headrush100 has written Times Change (link is to her fic journal where there is also a link to AO3), PG-13 gen, summary: An inexperienced jumper gets more than she bargained for when she lands on a ship of the line during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. I haven't read it, but I'm sure it's good as Headrush is an excellent writer with a nice ear for voices and Research Skillz.

And also yay, I don't feel weird about this. I mean, you all know I'm fic-positive (it would be really hypocritical of me not to be) but there's still that moment of knowing someone's taken your characters and universe and done things with them, and it passed without a qualm and with a good deal of joy.

In other news, I am skipping Jazzercise today, which is a rare occasion these days since I've been participating in their 30-classes-in-35-days challenge - which has stretched to several days more because of snow closures, so I have to take 7 more classes in 10 days, which is quite doable at this rate. Today I'm just a bit sore, excessively earwormed with Taylor Swift et al., still tired from Friday's drive to Allentown and back (directly followed by an evening at the concert hall, the Folger Consort and friends doing music related to The Merchant of Venice with several actors including Derek Jacobi and Samantha Bond doing readings from the play; it was lovely but I was a little too zonked to appreciate it fully), and it's snowing so class might have been canceled anyway, I haven't checked yet. I have been for a walk, and now I'm going to stretch and read more of Death or Liberty: African Americans and Revolutionary America and have hurray-P-is-briefly-home brunch.

I have been sniffly, fatigued, and a bit depressed lately, so it's good to have a day with nice things in it. Hopefully I can get back into posting (here and elsewhere) as March slams into spring gear.
hedda62: Harold Finch on ecstasy, dancing (drugged finch)
Just to catch up, things I have been doing recently (including at Thanksgiving):

Performances attended:

Messiah with the Handel and Haydn Society, which I'm embarrassed to say I knew nothing about before (I've never lived in Boston, but I have visited there a lot). It's their 200th anniversary this year!

It's a Wonderful Life with the visiting Immediate Theatre Project. This was great fun! The concept is that the employees of a financially-stressed radio station have to improvise to put on a live performance of IAWL while the regular actors are kept away by a snowstorm. Four actors doing all the parts and sound effects. Check it out if it comes to your town (which, er, would be a few places in Ohio and Wisconsin at this point, but I'm sure they'll do it again next year).

Museums visited:

The Harvard Art Museums, all nicely joined together now by a new atrium. Lots of well-known works here.

National Museum of Women in the Arts, for the Picturing Mary exhibit. I liked the division by concepts, and they've acquired lots of beautiful paintings and other artworks, though I agree with the critics who say they should have extended the time frame to include modern works and perhaps those with critical commentary. I went upstairs as well to see the 20th-century exhibits, and discovered Remedios Varo, who I'd never even heard of before but is now a favorite, at least as far as Surrealists go. This museum is great for that - so many women creating art over so many centuries, and being ignored even though the work is as good as that of their male contemporaries.

TV:

Greatly enjoying Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries as a fun and escapist treat. Missing most of the other shows that are on hiatus. Looking forward to tomorrow's POI episode, even if they are then going to stretch out the midseason three-parter into January, and waiting for Hannibal to return.

Cooking:

No, there is no reason I put this right after mentioning Hannibal, why do you ask? (I did just check out the NBC page to see if there were airing dates yet, and saw a section labeled "Episodes and Recaps," and thought it said "Episodes and Recipes." WTF. Though it seems there will be an official cookbook out at some point.)

But yes, me. Squash, mostly. And trying to get to some of the WPost's cookie recipes; I made Spicy Smoked Tea Pecan Crisps, although the dough was sooo sticky even before I spilled the egg whites onto it, and disaster pretty much ensued, although the result was perfectly edible and yummy, just not at all tidy. I'd add more flour next time, making sure that the dough could be properly rolled out. And I will be making my usual chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds for the party we're going to next weekend.

Reading:

For reasons of Italy, I've been dipping back into Michael Dibdin's Zen series, but after I finish the one I'm on I am finally going to read Code Name Verity, and then maybe one of the Christmas books.

Writing:

Not at all, dammit. But maybe soon?

We have the Christmas tree up and no cat has yet climbed it, but the ornaments aren't hung yet, so temptation is not at its highest. We'll see…
hedda62: James Hathaway on the phone while reading Titus Andronicus (titus andronicus)
We went to see this last night - and really, why not a commedia dell'arte production of Titus Andronicus? Quote from the program notes:

The play is not meant to be a joke, but it is too absurd to stomach as straight drama. It is the sixteenth-century's version of Saw or Hostel.

In our darkly comic adaptation, something wicked becomes something wickedly delightful. We see the senselessness of violence--whether in warfare, sibling rivalries, or revenge--and we see the egocentric callousness with which people ignore survivors because they are too consumed with their own grief. There is nothing funny about murder or rape, but there is something absurd about the culture of violence and patriarchy that produces these atrocities. If we laugh at perpetrators of violence, it is only because we know that they don't deserve to be taken seriously. Or maybe it is because, as Titus says, we "have no more tears to shed."


I mean, there were moments when I thought "oh God, no more" but then the next I was cackling with amusement. And any production where someone is credited for "blood effects" is worth seeing for that reason alone. (He usually does fight direction, and my son's taken classes with him - P. knows a bunch of people involved with this company, which is only part of why we usually catch their productions. Romeo and Juliet is my favorite so far; I believe I have mentioned it here several times.) The set was pristine white and geometrical at the start, and the actors were in all white costumes, and by the end… well, red dominated, and only Young Lucius was still unstained, until… well, I won't spoil it, just in case anyone reading this is around DC and manages to catch the last two shows in the run. They didn't spare the stage blood, is all I can say (and the laundry and the stage-scrubbing, oh my!), nor the sick jokes. But it's all done with a sort of weird sympathy and… gentleness? Honesty, at least. If not taste.

The company's based at Gallaudet University, and frequently use deaf actors; in this case both Demetrius and Lavinia were deaf, the latter poignantly so. I'd never seen Titus produced before (and am now spoiled for any other production ever), but I'm assuming the severing of Lavinia's hands is usually an afterthought to the cutting out of her tongue; in this case, obviously not, and it's Demetrius who gestures that it needs to be done. And there are several lovely moments later, when the Andronicuses (a family comfortably accommodating a deaf member) sign to Lavinia in desperate appeal, and she can't sign back. Though she does eventually manage to write her abusers' names in blood with a big stick.

And there's a lot of slapstick comedy, including juggling and dropping severed heads, and falling into pits, and oh dear, the pies. Did anyone ever take this play seriously? I doubt Shakespeare did, and I think he might well have approved of this production. While laughing his head off. Not literally. Give them a hand! Ugh.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
Things I have been up to:

1) Still working on various powerpoints. Two delivered last week, including the root vegetables one on Saturday where I passed around a couple dozen different produce items acquired at just two local supermarkets (things like lotus root and galangal alongside the relatively more prosaic carrots and turnips). Which means that I now have to cook them; it's going to be a week of, I'm sorry, getting back to our roots.

2) Thursday evening we drove into DC (unfortunately at the same time the Dalai Lama was there; it would have been a good day to take the Metro) to see one of the National Theatre broadcasts of Donmar Warehouse's "Coriolanus" with Tom Hiddleston, Mark Gatiss, and a bunch of other great people. It was at the Shakespeare Theatre (the newer location), so a bit weird to sit in a theatre watching a video of another very different theatre, with filmic closeups. But thoroughly enjoyable. Also listened to last fall's Nerdist interview with Hiddles on Saturday's drive, so I am kind of vibrating still. In a totally non-cradle-snatchy way, of course. *hummmmmm*

3) This goes nicely with my slow reread of the Lymond Chronicles, because oh yes, please do make the mini-series before he's too old. [personal profile] yunitsa will write the script.

4) Went nearly straight from the root vegetables thing (well, the whole five-hour event) to Allentown so we could watch the kid in a movement ensemble performance and the kid's delightful girlfriend in an all-female version of "The Learned Ladies," and then drive home again the next evening. Weekend, what weekend.

5) I've also had some migraine-induced downtime, which I've mostly spent watching more "Angel." Well into season 3 now, filling one of those long-needed viewing gaps (after, you know, betaing [livejournal.com profile] penwiper26's fic that uses the source material. I'm spoiled for it, but that's not the same as knowing the canon).

Need to sort some seeds now.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
I'm just going to finish up the posting meme today, since it's almost the end of the month. It's been a lot of fun, made me write something here almost every day and think about it, and I've got a source for stuff to develop later into essays on writing if I feel like it, so thank you!

[personal profile] wendylove wanted to know whether my kids know about fanfiction, and… I guess? I mean, they're adults now, so for all I know they are writing it themselves and it wouldn't be my business. I think they both know I write it, or that I have written it, but it's not really something we share, though the fannish culture is part of the household in a broad sense - we discuss things we've read and seen, and propose alternate endings, and stuff like that - and I wouldn't cringe if they read my fic. But fandom and fanfic as I approach them are my space that I can retreat to, and I like it that way.

[personal profile] philomytha asks about my favo(u)rite Shakespeare play, and oh, that word again, however you spell it. I will give you several, while acknowledging that this is hardly an exclusive list of plays that could be my favorite on any given day. But one thing I like about Shakespeare is his ability to get away with odd structures and mishmashes of comedy and tragedy, so:

The Winter's Tale, because it has this perfect Greek tragedy of a first half (I could say "first act" because that's how it's performed these days, but I am a nitpicker, so no) followed by a rollicking comedy and a fairy tale romance of a finish, and it's all absurd and still somehow works.

Romeo and Juliet, which starts out with a tidy comedy structure that ends in marriage very early, as if the playwright had forgotten he needed to fill several hours, or, more relevantly, the characters didn't understand conflict and narrative and just plowed ahead with their adolescent desires, and then the whole thing tips and falls headlong into disaster. And the fault is shared among just about everybody in the cast: so many little points of decision. I saw a brilliant commedia dell'arte version where in the last scene, as Friar Laurence is telling the story again for everyone's benefit, he said "meantime I writ to Romeo" and pulled the letter out of his pocket to demonstrate, and then gave it the most delightful and awful double-take of horror, oh shit I forgot to mail it - and that's the play. (Even if the actual plot was different.)

Love's Labour's Lost has a similarly weird structure; I'm not sure it's on my favorites list because it's not Shakespeare's best writing (though it's a nice study as an early play, because you can see him trying things out that he reuses in later works), but the ending is fascinating. Comedy comedy comedy we're all getting married now except not. Because the princess has to go back to work, basically.

And of course Twelfth Night - you all expected me to say this - because the characters are so great and the language so beautiful, and because of Malvolio. I love that in the midst of all the happiness and romance at the end there's this justified threat of revenge from the sorry guy going off in a huff. And that all the romances are a bit creepy and sudden, as if the lovers are being manipulated by someone with a pen and a piece of paper who got tired of them.

In other news, I have a cold again. Bleh. That'll teach me to attend public events.

Miscellany

Sep. 29th, 2013 09:50 am
hedda62: Harold Finch on ecstasy, dancing (drugged finch)
If there are any more guesses on the music meme, throw them at me; I'll post answers in a couple of hours. [ETA: here.]

New Good Wife tonight! And on Thursday I'm afraid I extended my record and fell asleep during "Elementary" yet again. Clearly one ten p.m. show a week is all I can take. I also fell asleep, sort of, during a performance of Moliere's "Don Juan" last night by DC's one and only commedia dell'arte troupe, who are usually wonderful but a bit slow-paced for this one, and besides I was tired and had a headache. We also went to a craft festival and had Korean tacos at Union Market, and the show was at Gallaudet (which is an eerily silent college campus, though I'm sure the signing is raucous), so a nicely-contained city excursion.

Have finished season two of "Breaking Bad." I hate everybody and I don't want to stop watching.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
But I just have to say, best storm nickname ever. We're hoping for a foot, but it might be five inches.

I must, naturally, do a lot of baking and such today (it's like bells and salivation, people), but maybe I can get a few more words down on the story (I had John Reese naked in a bathtub turning into a snake; really I can't leave him there). Speaking of naked men in water, "Metamorphoses" was awesome last night, including a chat with the actors afterwards (mostly answering questions about how the heck you do a play with a big wading pool in the middle of it); it wasn't even raining when we left, so no water metaphors there, but the U.S. Naval Academy was in attendance, which I thought was just perfect.

Okay, I need to go upload some photos of lotus root and Chinese yam, and fill up containers with water in case the power goes out (it's heavy, gloppy March snow). Later!

ETA: basically nothing stuck. Another major disappointment, snow gods.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
To keep the writing part of my brain happy in the middle of doing other stuff, I seem to be coming up with another "Person of Interest" fic, though (like "Improbability") it's more of a style exercise than anything attempting to have a plot. I should probably knock on wood as I type that, but I think plot-acquisition is unlikely; it's about dreams. Title is "Children of an Idle Brain" because apparently PoI fics need titles from "Romeo and Juliet" (or at least they have twice).

Not unrelated to this, P. and I ventured through the maze of highways to Shirlington last night to see "Shakespeare's R&J," which is a version of the play set in a repressive boys' school, with four actors who start out reading from the banned text late at night and end up acting it out/living it in some fashion (reality is a little flexible, deliciously so). It was very well done and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It helped to know the play well, especially at moments like the scene in Friar Lawrence's cell with the Nurse, when the line "O Lord, I could have stayed here all the night to hear good counsel; O, what learning is!", usually played with adulation, is given a whole different twist that reflects the attitudes and relationship of the actors. And Paris (who never appears) was God, I think. Anyway, it was fun in an intense way, with boys kissing. (We saw a commedia dell'arte version of R&J recently, too. I think I am pretty saturated. Although this doesn't stop me poaching titles, nor growing a pepper called Romeo and a tomato called Juliet for this summer's garden.)

New PoI episode this week! "Proteus," hm. Because if it's not birds it's transformation myth; this show knows my obsessions way too well. Speaking of which, we're off to the theatre again Tuesday, to see an adaptation of Ovid's "Metamorphoses" with a big splashy pool of water in the middle of the stage. That should have an interesting effect on my dream-imagery.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
We have been to the panto! Which is not something you get to say often in this country, and in fact I had never been to one before, but it turns out that there is a company of British Players (one of J's co-workers belongs to it, not British himself though many of them are, he played the villain, boo, hiss) who do one every year, and it was great fun.

Lewis Secret Santa posting has been delayed a few days while people get their assignments in (I can sit here and feel virtuous for having mine done early). Stories will probably start going up Wednesday or Thursday; I will try to post a link but am going to be traveling so that may be delayed. It's anonymous until the reveal, so no too-public guessing, but I suspect it's going to be painfully obvious which one is mine.

I will keep working on the songfics. Here is [livejournal.com profile] yunitsa's, under a cut because she hasn't seen the latest episode yet and I don't want to spoil the Moment of Finchly Delight.

She wanted Finch/Reese, #7, which was Paul McCartney, Driving Rain. (Set unrealistically soon after the episode ends, in an alternate universe and weather pattern.)

learning curve )
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
Well, I did sleep pretty well last night! Six hours plus on the road, to and from Allentown, with a necessary hour in the middle sitting in Panera eating lunch, pressing a cup of ice to my knee, and rereading Dialogues of the Dead. I also made liberal use of Icy Hot, mentholating the car to P's disgust (and reminiscence; apparently certain young ladies acting in Love's Labour's Lost anointed their lips with it for a joke). On return trip went straight to the Kennedy Center (picking up J on the way and making him drive) to see "War Horse," which, OMG. Amazing stagecraft and heart-tugging story (the former more subtle than the latter, but hey, it's WWI).

The whole time I wasn't sitting I limped and worried about someone bumping into me (I really do need to visit a doctor this week). Very Finch-like, and speaking of which:

Oh, Mr. Finch.

Minor jossing of "Then Move Not" (to be followed by major shortly, I'm sure) but I couldn't be more pleased. Especially since the Machine/Admin plot appears to be paralleling "the heart is hard to translate" to a delightful degree. THE MACHINE LOVES HAROLD AND WANTS HIM TO BE HAPPY. MACHINE, MEET CHIP.

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