The foul toad woos the regal lady
Sir Ian McKellen and Kristin Scott Thomas
William Shakespeare died on April 23rd. We do not really know when he was born. But his christening date implies it happened sometime during the same week, fifty-two years earlier. So, we celebrate it on the 23rd, which seems poetically suited to poet.
Kristin Scott Thomas is currently featured in the PBS series “My Grandparent’s War,” where she learns about her amazing grandfather’s heroic service during WWII.
Check out here! https://www.pbs.org/show/my-grandparents-war/
Amazon, you had so much and now so much is gone
What are you gonna do with your life?
St. Patrick’s Day Tradition Means Music Around Here
The Highland Shatners sorta live…
From their shore leave in the Omicron Delta system, to a viewing screen near you…
The Highland Shatners had to cancel last year’s annual appearance at Freddy’s Back Room, in Brooklyn, due to the COVID-19 Emergency. And this year we gathered as best we could for a mini set. Not too shabby for a parcel of lads who haven’t played these songs for a year, let alone met up in person.
The Highland Shatners coalesced from a larger collection of musicians who performed for an annual event at La Mama ETC of Scottish music and poetry, to raise money for the Burns Night Supper of a now extinct Scottish society in New York City.
The band’s set lists typically contain traditional and modern Celtic music, together with Paisley Pop tunes from the ’60s and ’70s and, appropriately enough, songs from the original Star Trek series.
Although it has been some years since they performed with any frequency, the Highland Shatners continue to play each St. Patrick’s Day at Freddy’s Back Room in Brooklyn, NY. Come by for a good time, March 17, 2022, and a spectacular corned beef sandwich too!
Theodor Geisel aka Dr. Seuss would have been 117 today
A great American original if there ever was one
Here’s to hoping the new Dune film is at least this good
The original version was the first major motion picture to suffer from over-hype
In 1984, Macy’s flagship store on 34th Street in New York City filled half a floor with sand dunes and set up sort of a Santa’s Wonderland display of Dune merchandise, before the film had even been released. Print ads and TV ads were everywhere. The buzz was engineered to be easy shoved down everyone’s throat, like sand through a sand worm. And then the film opened.
Despite Frank Herbert being involved and giving full approval, it was just okay as sci-fi movie. Most viewers found it confusing and without enough character development to actually care about anyone in it.
The truth is, it came out about 10 years too late. After the Star Wars films and others, seeing Kyle McLaughlin riding a giant worm in front of an obvious green screen was anything but epic or thrilling.
On the whole, I liked it. But the hype had been so over-the-top there was no way it would survive the critical orca pod that was happy to rip it to pieces in the press. TV shows now have spectacular cinematic special effects to the point they are taken very much for granted. So, the new film may suffer a similar fate if its producers expect a giant worm to sell many tickets after the first week.
But then, following that 1984 flop, it became the main business model of the film industry to over-hype movies so they have that tremendous opening weekend, allowing them to crow about the box office receipts before word gets out about what a stinker a film is. So, this version of Dune may sell more toys and video games, which seems to what matters most these days.
Given the arcane nature of the Dune novels, even just the first one required a mini-series length to explain on a screen just who all the people were and provide the immersive atmosphere with a fraction of the exotic detail of cultures and “the spice,” which earned the books legions of fans. Another two-hour movie version will likely skip along the surface like the original and then sink into oblivion in much the same way.
The new Dune may abide all that, since there will be all the future streaming revenue, and it is hoped some increased book sales as well.
Time to Change the World for the Better
One day at a time
On this 21st day of December, I hereby again proclaim and advocate for the entire world to adopt the following calendar.
Each month has 30 days. At the Winter Solstice there is a two-day Yule which does not belong to any month. What is currently December 21 would be Yule 1, the last day of the old year. What is now December 22 is Yule 2, or New Year’s Day.
At the Summer Solstice there is a three-day period, which also does not belong to any month.
In either case, these days are celebrated as a time of shared good will, thanksgiving, and festivals, both solemn and celebratory.
Current holidays like Ramadan, Chanukah, and the Twelve Days of Christmas are based in astronomical calculations and could continue as usual even if name of the specific day, in the case of Christmas and Epiphany , would be altered.
On leap years, the extra day is added to the SUMMER holiday, where it would be most welcome, or the “Lithe” as those days were called by Professor J.R.R. Tolkien, who invented this calendar for his hobbits of the Shire.
This has always appealed to me greatly since I first learned of this most sensible way of reckoning the days of the year.
Shakespeare from the Stafford Festival on Line
Free during the long social distancing season
Did William Shakespeare really write the masterpiece King Lear while under quarantine during the plague year 1606? Yes, along with other great plays like Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra. Starting the previous year people were expected to remain in their London homes except when genuine need forced them to seek food for medicine. Sound familiar? Just like now, it helped save countless lives.
The Shakespeare Festival of Stratford, Ontario is offering free viewings of twelve films beginning with King Lear. It started on April 23, but I only know learned of this. So here is the schedule
“Each will debut with a 7:00 p.m. viewing party and will be available free-of-charge for three weeks afterwards on the Stratford Festival website.”
Coriolanus debuts today! Lear remains available through May 14.
The films have received four Canadian Screen Awards and 16 nominations, including Best Performing Arts Program for King Lear.
The schedule is as follows:
King Lear: April 23 to May 14
Coriolanus: April 30 to May 21
Macbeth: May 7 to 28
The Tempest: May 14 to June 4
Timon of Athens: May 21 to June 11
Love’s Labour’s Lost: May 28 to June 18
Hamlet: June 4 to 25
King John: June 11 to July 2
Pericles: June 18 to July 9
Antony and Cleopatra: June 25 to July 16
Romeo and Juliet: July 2 to 23
The Taming of the Shrew: July 9 to 30