Lens Artists Challenge # 65: PICK A PLACE

  • “Each of us at some point has visited a place that holds special memories.” — Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 65

This was an easy post for self to write. She just got back from attending Cal Shakes’ Macbeth. The Grove Talk by Philippa Kelly, Cal Shakes Resident Dramaturg is a Don’t-Miss.

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Philippa Kelly Giving Her Grove Talk, Before MACBETH

Have been watching plays here every summer since 2001 (Romeo and Juliet: Adam Scott played Romeo).

Tonight’s Macbeth and Lady Macbeth were played by a couple who suddenly put everything into a new light. All hail, Rey Lucas and Liz Sklar, for bringing the sexy back to a play first performed in 1606. These two are the youngest actors self has ever seen play Mr. and Mrs. Spot-on, the casting! For the first time, self understood the heat between the two;  she could see the similarities to film noir. In addition, because self and her party were seated third row from the stage, she could see every change of expression on the actors’ faces; it felt so intimate.

Also, for the first time ever, self heard Macbeth call someone a “whey-face.” lol lol lol

Her one complaint might be that The Weird Sisters were not witchy. Or not witchy enough. Of course self got very excited at hearing the immortal lines: Double double, toil and trouble. She just wishes there were an actual cauldron.

She wonders if there was ever a production where The Weird Sisters were replaced by giant hand puppets. During intermission, she eavesdropped on the people behind her who were describing a performance of Macbeth at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. “There was a big pool of blood right in the center of the stage. And whenever a character did something bloody, they would supply themselves from the pool.”

That, in self’s humble opinion, sounds gimmicky to the extreme.

Philippa Kelly’s pre-show Grove Talk was fascinating — self wished she took notes. It revolved around the unmasking of identity, and how paradoxical it is that when people remark that “someone has changed” it usually means that the person’s true identity is finally being unmasked and undone.

Gregory also made self aware of the fact that the first actor to play Lady Macbeth was a boy, because back then women were banned from taking roles in the theater.  Women’s parts were played by boys whose voices hadn’t yet broken. Has there even been a modern staging of Macbeth where they use a boy for Lady Macbeth? She thinks not, but it would certainly give the play a whole new spin.

P.S. The Bruns Amphitheater was FREEZING and self needed to rent blankets. Her lips got totally chapped and her hands were frozen. For some reason, all self had on was a denim jacket and a scarf.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

How To Stoke the Fire: More from Rosario Ferré

This summer self made a stab at re-reading the late Rosario Ferré’s story collection The Youngest Doll. She remembers being stunned by the title story, the first time she read it. The intervening years have not changed her response to the story, not one bit. She urges everyone interested in feminist literature/island literature/Puerto Rican literature or just plain literature to read it.

In addition, self has been slowly re-reading Ferré’s essay on her writing process, The Writer’s Kitchen. The essay was published decades ago, in the Journal of Feminist Studies, but every time self re-reads it, the words are as fresh as the first time.

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HOW TO STOKE A FIRE

I would now like to speak a bit about that mysterious combustible element that feeds all literature — imagination. This topic interests me because I often discover, among the general public, a curious skepticism toward the existence of the imagination and because I find that both laypeople and professionals in the literary community tend to overemphasize the biographical details of authors’ lives. One of the questions most often asked of me, by strangers as well as friends, is how I was able to write about Isabel la Negra, a famous whore of Ponce, my hometown, without ever having met her. The question always surprises me because it bespeaks a fairly generalized difficulty in establishing boundaries between imagined reality and lived reality, or perhaps the difficulty lies only in understanding the intrinsic nature of literature. It would never have occurred to me to ask Mary Shelley, for example,  if on her walks along the bucolic paths surrounding Lake Geneva, she had ever run into a living-dead monster about ten feet tall.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Featured in Jellyfish Review: Flash by Seventeen Syllables

Grace Loh Prasad curated, Roy Kamada’s Grey Matter has just posted.

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

More goodness — from Caroline Kim Brown and Grace herself — to follow.

Grace’s introductory essay, here.

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Tuesday Photo Challenge — STONE

Week 179 of the Tuesday Photo Challenge is STONE (“Turn to something a bit more permanent.”)

Self went searching among her recent photos for examples of stone.

First, the fire pit at Manggapuri Villas, Purok Pagdanon, Don Salvador Benedicto, in the Philippine province of Negros Occidental (Dear Departed Dad’s home province). Just beyond, shrouded in mist, the still-active Canlaon Volcano. Don Salvador Benedicto is about an hour-and-a-half drive from Bacolod City:

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Manggapuri Villas: September 2019

Next, a photo of Courthouse Square, just prior to the Annual Redwood City Salsa Festival:

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Courthouse Square Before the Annual Redwood City Salsa Festival, Saturday, 21 September

Finally, a statue of General Douglas MacArthur on the Philippine island of Corregidor (That’s self standing with son and his cousin Georgina, 20 years ago. She found the photo when she was cleaning out the closets recently):

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Georgina, Andrew and Self on the Island of Corregidor, at the Mouth of Manila Bay

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

A Photo-A-Week Challenge: STACKED

Fun Challenge this week from Nadia Merrill’s Photo-a-Week:

  • STACKED.

A stack of one of self’s short story collections: The Lost Language

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Published by Anvil Press of the Philippines, TEN YEARS AGO!!!!

A stack of books at the London Review Bookshop, May 2019

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London Review Bookshop: May 2019

On one side of London’s Russell Square is the newly renovated Kimpton-Fitzroy. Love the stacks of ornate, ironwork balconies:

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The Kimpton-Fitzroy off Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#currentlyreading: Screenplay, MASTER AND COMMANDER

Captain Jack Aubrey’s lines in italics:


On deck there! Sail ho!

Looks like a frigate!

How did it get there?

We must turn and fight.

But he has the weather gauge again.

He must have been watching us

from some inlet.

My God. What can we do?

He has us by the hip.

Run like smoke and oakum.

We’ll have to bend every sail.

We’ll put up our handkerchiefs, if we have to!

We must survive this day.

Let’s get about it, Mr. Allen, gentlemen.

All hands, make sail!

This is the second time he’s done this to me.

There will not be a third.

Photo-a-Week Challenge: SOMETHING NEW

Thanks to a Photo a Week Challenge prompt: SOMETHING NEW.

And self did do something new: She went home.

Not only did she go home, she went one better and returned to her Dear Departed Dad’s home island of Negros Occidental.

She stayed with cousins.

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7th Floor, Belles Artes Condominiums, Galo cor. GV & Sons Street

She saw, for the first time in six years, the house where her Dear Departed Dad grew up, the Daku Balay:

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Daku Balay, 50 Burgos Street, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, The Philippines

In Bacolod, she had the most delicious pizza! Here, smoked bangus pizza and basil pizza:

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Café Oscar, Galo Street (Ground Floor, Belles Artes Building), Bacolod City

Great trip.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

The Great Gilda Cordero-Fernando

(Read all the way to the end; this post has many digressions)

Re-reading a fantastic short story, “Hothouse,” by Gilda Cordero-Fernando, a mimeographed copy of which self just pulled from a closet overflowing with old files.

Thank you, Jennie and Marie Kondo for inspiring self to organize! She had to drop everything and leave for Manila for two weeks, supposedly Dearest Mum Read the rest of this entry »

Tuesday Photo Challenge: FUZZY

Week 178 of the Tuesday Photo Challenge is FUZZY.

So glad there is a Photo Challenge that lets self post pictures she would never otherwise have posted!

Her Dear Departed Dad comes from the province of Negros Occidental in the Philippines. She recently had the chance to return. These pictures are from that trip.

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Reading in the Gamboa House in Silay, Negros Occidental, The Philippines

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Lissa Ylanan Moran, Best Friend Since College Days at the Ateneo, flew to Bacolod and Self took her to a resort in the town of Don Salvador Benedicto.

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View of Canlaon Volcano from Manggapuri Villas, Don Salvador Benedicto

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Breaking Down Self’s 2019 Reading List

Most of Self’s favorite reads so far 2019 were novels (six out of 10).

Three of her favorite reads of 2019 were memoirs written by doctors.

One of her favorite reads of 2019 was a book about the environment.

Five of her six favorite novels were written by women.

This year she attended the Fowey Festival of the Arts (in honor of Daphne du Maurier) and during the festival, she bought a copy of Jane Austen‘s Northanger Abbey from Bookends of Fowey. She loved loved loved it.

None of the books she read in January and April ended up making much of an impression.

One of her six favorite novels has been optioned for the movies by Lawrence Kasdan.

One of her six favorite novels won a prize.

One of her six favorite novels is a finalist for a Kirkus Prize.

Her 2019 Goodreads Reading Challenge was to read 34 books.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

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