Oh Chicago

Self is just back from Chicago. Weather was positively balmy, and self saw four plays:  “Apat” at Circa Pintig, “Animal Farm” at Steppenwolf, “Strandline” at A Red Orchid Theatre, and “Smokefall” at the Goodman.  BLISS.

Here she is with poet Angela Narciso Torres (Angela’s first book, Blood Orange, won the Willow Book Prize.  Angela is an editor of Rhino Magazine). We’re on the train headed downtown from Angela’s place in the suburbs.

BFFs with, by sheeir coincidence, almost the same shade of red lipstick!

BFFs with, by sheeir coincidence, almost the same shade of red lipstick!

Seeing Angela again in a few.  She’s giving a reading at Beyond Baroque in Venice Beach, this Sunday, Nov. 2. Can hardly wait.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

Cover Art: Welcome to Self’s Universe (Actual Cover Art)

For this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, COVER ART, self is posting two actual covers — one of a recent issue of Prism International, the Vancouver-based literary magazine; another for Elmore Leonard’s Raylan, adapted for TV on F/X as “Justified” — and one projected:

FCover Art, Prism International 50.4 (Spring 2012 Issue):  "Soup" by Mandy Barker

Cover Art, Prism International 50.4 (Spring 2012 Issue): “Soup” by Mandy Barker

And here's a picture of the Nora Aunor of her time:  Dearest Mum.  Have you read the story "Lizard"?  You should read "Lizard" (in self's first collection, GINSENG AND OTHER TALES FROM MANILA)

The Superstar of her time: Dearest Mum. She played in Carnegie Hall at 14.

For the past couple of years, self has been working on a novella about Dearest Mum’s concert career.  She’s chosen to call it “Ambition.”  If she ever succeeds in getting it published, this photo of Dearest Mum as a young woman would be the cover.  She doesn’t know who took the picture.

At Books, Inc. today, self's eyes were forcibly drawn to a shelf which happened to display:  xxxxx !!!

At Books, Inc. today, self’s eyes were forcibly drawn to a shelf which happened to display: xxxxx !!!  Self loves “Justified” and is sad about Elmore Leonard’s passing. And the show’s entering its final season. And oh, will Timothy Olyphant ever get an Emmy?  He is THE iconic Raylan.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Serendipitous: Philip Larkin, THE COMPLETE POEMS

It’s always the bookshelves self ends up perusing first, when she is staying with friends.

This is self’s first visit to Angela’s home, so of course the books are so enticing, an undiscovered country.

In the study, self’s eyes landed on a hardbound copy of The Complete Poems of Philip Larkin, whose poetry she only began to read very recently. While she was in Ireland, earlier this year.

She spends the morning perusing his Complete Poems. Here’s one:

Posterity

Jake Balokowsky, my biographer,
Has this page microfilmed. Sitting inside
His air-conditioned cell at Kennedy
In jeans and sneakers, he’s no call to hide
Some slight impatience with his destiny:
‘I’m stuck with this old fart at least a year;

I wanted to teach school in Tel Aviv,
But Myra’s folks’ — he makes the money sign –
‘Insisted I got tenure. When there’s kids — ‘
He shrugs. ‘It’s stinking dead, the research line;
Just let me put this bastard on the skids,
I’ll get a couple of semesters leave

To work on Protest Theatrer.’ They both rise,
Make for the Coke dispenser. ‘What’s he like?
Christ, I just told you. Oh, you know the thing,
That crummy textbook stuff from Freshman Psych,
Not out of kicks or something happening -
One of those old-type natural fouled-up guys.’

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

1st Day in Chicago: “Smokefall”

Self embarked on this trip to see plays.

She’s always felt that Chicago is a much more exciting theater city than New York.

Every time she comes (this is only her 3rd time), she sees plays. Didn’t Second City originate here? Second City once did a play on Rod Blagojevich’s hair. It was called “Rod Blagojevich: Superstar.”  Second City is sort of like LA’s Upright Citizens Brigade.

Now Rahm Emmanuel’s in charge.

Last night, self and poet Angela Narciso Torres went to see “Smokefall.”

As in her last play at the Goodman, “Desire Under the Elms,” the set was a mix of realistic and symbolic elements. In “Desire,” there was a huge carcass of a butchered pig hanging above the stage (To give credit where credit is due, it was Angela who remembered about the pig carcass. Self is embarrassed to admit that the one memory that burns most brightly in her mind about “Desire Under the Elms” is Pablo Schreiber, Liev’s half-brother, appearing in the buff).  In last night’s “Smokefall” there was a 1950s kind of kitchen, yellow table and chairs, and a deep red sofa. At the very back of the stage was a slanted gray platform, which characters used to run up and down or to declaim inner monologues and so forth. Clever!

After the play, there was Q & A. Self must say, the first time she ever experienced this kind of after-performance discussion was at the Goodman. Now Cal Shakes has started doing this (at least, they did it last year, after the production of Wilde’s “Lady Windermere’s Fan”) It is wonderful to have discussion, right after, because everyone’s head is still popping with ideas.  There was a young man in the audience, sitting in the row directly in front of self and her friend, who looked like the Second Coming of Chris Blackett, even down to the voice (Chris is self’s nephew; he lives in New York City).

Someone asked why the play was called “Smokefall,” which was a very good question.  And the Goodman’s artistic director (who had said he would be joined by some of the actors, but wasn’t) said the word “Smokefall” was taken from a T. S. Eliot poem called “Burnt Norton.” Here’s an excerpt (which was printed on a bookmark inserted into the play’s programme):

Time past and time future
Allow but a little
consciousness.

To be conscious is not
to be in time

But only in time
can the moment in the
rose-garden

The moment in the arbour
where the rain beat,

The moment in the
draughty church at
smokefall

Be remembered; involved
with past and future.

Only through time
time is conquered.

– T. S. Eliot, “Burnt Norton” (1935)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

More Cover Art, More Stories Yet to Be Written

For a story yet to be written, this:

DSCN3009

Self’s working title for the story: “Offerings”

For yet another story to be written, with working title “Insomnia Diaries”:

DSCN2518

Finally:  How does “The Red Room” sound for the title of a story yet to be written?  Self thinks this picture would do nicely as an accompanying illustration:

The Red Room in Café Paradiso, city of Cork

The Red Room in Café Paradiso, city of Cork

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Cover Art: Halloween-Themed

“Remember you are back by nightfall. The sky looks bright but there is a shiver in the north wind that says there might be a sudden storm.  But I am sure you will not be late.” Here he smiled and added, “for you know what night it is.”

– from the Prologue to Dracula, by Bram Stoker

Do dear blog readers know that Bram Stoker was born in Dublin?

Self only found out when she was in Ireland, earlier this year.

Self is still in Angela’s home in Chicago.

One of the books she found here is Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Self found it in the room she has been staying in, the room belonging to Angela’s eldest, currenly an undergrad at USC)

Because this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge theme is COVER ART, here’s a picture of the book cover:

Cover Art:  DRACULA by Bram Stoker, Illustrated by Edward Gorey

Cover Art: DRACULA by Bram Stoker, Illustrated by Edward Gorey

And here’s a bit from the book’s Introduction, written by Marvin Kaye:

Dracula is a late flowering of gothic literature, with its formidable array of proud and iniquitous Counts, its ruined castles, its secrets; natural, supernatural, and unnatural.  Certainly, though its expression is more restrained, Stoker’s profane vision wells up from the same dark regions that spawned M. G. Lewis’s fallen Capuchin clergyman in The Monk. Analogies also can be drawn between Stoker’s three-century-old vampire and Charles Maturin’s soul-vampire, Melmoth the Wanderer. But Dracula is more than just a Gothic retread. It is the quintessential reworking and culmination of devices and techniques common to the subgenre of vampire fiction.

Vampire stories share common elements. Almost by definition, they must have an innocent victim or victims menaced by a predatory villain, though sometimes, as in J. Sheridan LeFanu’s novella Carmilla, the vampire is initially winsomely appealing.  The victims are typically numerous, though there is usually only one vampire. Dracula bends this latter convention, but not by much. The Count dominates the three “sister” vampires, just as he does the action.

Fascinating.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

More Cover Art: Possibilities for Works of Fiction (Yet To Be Written)

Self wrote a story set in Angkor Wat and Siem Reap. If she were ever to illustrate it, she would choose this:

Detail of wall carving, Angkor Wat: Self was there in 2004.

Detail of wall carving, Angkor Wat: Self was there in 2004.

For a noir-ish novel about Bacolod in the 1950s, probably this collage of photographs:

DSCN1715

And for a noir-ish mystery set in Venice, this:

Fishing near the Arsenale in Venice, April 2013

Fishing near the Arsenale in Venice, April 2013

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Cover Art: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge is COVER ART.  Say what? When self first saw the prompt, she had no idea what kinds of things to post.

The prompt reads, in part:

Post “examples of cover art that uses photography to convey a mood and to suggest what we might find in the work itself.  They have a quality that echoes a particular character . . . “

All right, then.  For the past few years, self has been writing a novel whose working title is The Vanquished.

It’s about the Philippines during World War II, and is set on Dear Departed Dad’s home island of Negros.

Since it’s still in progress, self is jumping way ahead of herself here, but she’ll just go ahead and scan photos that might serve as possible cover art.  Below are two.

The third photo reflects a theme of a short story she wrote called “The Freeze.”

The porch of the Gaston House, just before Manapla, Negros Occidental

The porch of the Gaston House, just before Manapla, Negros Occidental

Self found herself paying more attention to the interior of the Church of San Isidro Labrador (Lassi)

Interior of the Church of San Isidro Labrador, in the town of Lassi, on the Island of Siquijor

Self’s short story about the coming of a new Ice Age is called the Freeze.  It begins:

Redwood, Oak, Laurel, Manzanita, Pine.

Redwood, Oak, Laurel, Manzanita, Pine.

Redwood, Oak, Laurel, Manzanita, Pine.

The Grounds of Hawthornden, southern Scotland

A Wood in Southern Scotland

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

The Lives of Cities: Night, Chicago

Self is still somewhat stuck in last week’s Photo Challenge, REFRACTION.

Blimey, she can’t for the life of her think of anything for this week’s challenge, which is something to do with book covers.

So she’ll just go ahead and post these pictures of a Chicago office building, after hours.

DSCN7503

DSCN7504

DSCN7505

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

The Dynamics (Of Being Filipino in America) — Post # 1

You appear as the merest glimpse in a story written by others.

The writer James Hamilton-Paterson used to live in the Philippines. He wrote about the experience in his book Playing With Water. A writer for the Boston Review said that “he eked out a living on a remote Southeast Asian island” and “still has a bamboo hut” there.

Best-selling author continues to live in a bamboo hut.  LOL.

In recent years, however, self has been reading about Hamilton-Paterson (she almost hates him for having such a long name, hyphenated)  in Italy.  So perhaps he’s moved on.

The question is, once you’ve lived for a number of years in a bamboo hut on a remote Southeast Asian island, can you ever really move on? Maybe you can, physically. But, in your heart?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Clothesonfilm on “Sons of Anarchy”

Before self hotfoots it to the Red Orchid Theatre to see “Strandline,” her play of the day, she has been mad-googling Chicago area libraries and archives.

And catching up on a few blogs she hasn’t checked for a while. One of these being Clothesonfilm.

Clothesonfilm was the blog that opened her eyes to the importance of Read the rest of this entry »

« Older entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 687 other followers