#amreading: Sally Potter’s Screenplay for YES

Last year, self saw Sally Potter’s Yes at the London Review Bookshop and the filmmaker herself was present to do Q & A afterwards. Self asked Potter if the screenplay had been published, and when Potter said yes, it was available in the U.S., self almost broke out into a Happy Happy Joy Joy dance.

Can she just tell dear blog readers how she adores this screenplay, the fact that it is written in iambic pentameter from first to last is glorious.

Scene: An Irish woman (played by a luminous Joan Allen) who’s moved to New York returns to Belfast to visit her dying aunt in a hospital. The following passage is the aunt’s interior monologue:


No one explained to me when I was young
Why time only goes forward. Hold your tongue
Was what they said when I asked them about
The universe and such and why we can’t
Do all that much about it when we make
A mess of things. If only a mistake
Could be corrected. Wind life back and start
Again. The second time we’d know the art
Of living. But we only get one go;
No dress rehearsals, this one is the show,
And we don’t know it. I don’t see the rhyme
Or reason in this so-called grand design . . .

(A priest enters the ward quietly and rapidly gives the last rites, making the sign of the cross and softly muttering a prayer)

But then I don’t believe. There is no sign
Of him up there as far as I’m concerned.
See . . . if there’s one thing that I’ve truly learned
It’s this: it’s down to me.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

WIND: Sylvain Landry – Week 46

Saw “The Taming of the Shrew” at the Globe this evening, accompanied by Joan McGavin.

What. A. Fantastic. Production. Self can’t even.

The setting was modernized to Ireland, 1916, and the Irish music was so lively and helped keep up the tempo of the production.

The actress who usually plays the lead was “indisposed,” so the role of Catherine/Kat was played by the understudy. Who was terrific.

At the intermission, self went outside to look at the view.

There was a stiff wind.

Good thing she remembered the Sylvain Landry Photo prompt this week: WIND.


View From Behind the Globe Theatre: 1 June 2016. Self and Joan McGavin watched “The Taming of the Shrew.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Ghosts, Spectres and What Not

From a WIP:

Our village was visited regularly by ghosts. Of these, the most horrifying were the small ones, the children. They simply sat on smooth boulders by the sea and stared, arms open wide as if imploring for comfort.

Self has a yen for the supernatural.

She can say that boldly now because even though she is alone in her apartment, for the past week, the theatre downstairs, directly beneath self’s unit, has been alive with voices belonging to the cast of the play Quills, which opens on Thursday.

So comforting.

In contrast, last year, in the same unit, self heard the most awful racket, late at night, a woman screaming on and on and on and on. And at first she debated whether she should call 911. But the woman might be DEAD by the time 911 sent troops. Instead, she flung open the door to her unit, and ventured to the (brightly lit, thank God) ceramics studio, and burst in the door, surprising (she thinks) three people, and told them: “For God’s sake, don’t you hear the screaming? Can’t somebody help her?” No one moved a muscle. Finally, one of the three artists there said, skeptically, “Are you sure you’re not hearing the play?”

Oh. My. God.

“But,” self flailed on, “I thought the play was Gaslight. I don’t recall a woman screaming that much (in the movie version).”

“Well,” said one of the artists, “they might be interpreting it different.”

Oh. My. God.

Could a black hole please open up and swallow self whole?

She also doesn’t know if she was influenced by watching too much of The Grudge and The Ring. Or by a conversation at Hawthornden, in which the English poet Jenny Lewis (who once dated Michael Palin) told self: “Ghost children are the worst.”

Or maybe it was the tour of Underground Edinburgh, in which there is a small room piled to the rafters with children’s toys, dolls and such, because people (tourists) keep bringing them specifically for the child ghosts who live there.

Whatever the reason, self does remember cowering in her room in Hawthornden because in one corner was a nook shut off from the rest of the room by curtains, and in self’s imagination, there was a wraith sitting there. Emerging from there. With spectral eyes.

And she has only belatedly realized that Sarah Waters’ novel, The Little Stranger, is next on her reading list, and it’s supposed to be about a haunted house. If so, then the “little stranger” of the title can only be referring to one thing: a child ghost.


Heavens NO!!!!!

Sorry, Sarah Waters. May skip you (even though self has read: Tipping the Velvet, Fingersmith, and The Night Watch, and has loved them all). There’s too many ghost children wandering around already in movies. She can’t take it, simply can’t take reading a big, fat novel that’s just going to end up scaring the bejesus out of her.

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

To be conscious is not
to be in time

But only in time
can the moment in the

The moment in the arbour
where the rain beat,

The moment in the
draughty church at

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.

Nighttimes/Happy Times: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge Post # 4

Self's birthday last year: she celebrated with Niece G in San Francisco restaurant SPQR.

Self’s birthday last year: she celebrated with Niece G in San Francisco restaurant SPQR.

The view behind the Globe Theatre in London: She stumbled across it only during the intermission for TITUS ANDRONICUS, late April.

The view behind the Globe Theatre in London: Self stumbled across it during the intermission for TITUS ANDRONICUS, late April of this year, when she stopped off in London en route to the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland.

Lining up for Improv in LA's Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, a few months ago

Lining up for a show at LA’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, a few months ago. The improv surprised self by being so much about politics: When the comedians asked the audience for the name of a city in Libya/Iraq/Iran that had been in the news, audience members came right back with several choices. The only name self had been able to dredge up was ‘Fallujah.’


Personal Library 4

Self is now finished with cataloguing the contents of one bookcase, the one by the front door.  YAY!

She moves on to an open-shelf display case next to the upright piano.  The lowest shelf of this display case has four piles of books.  Let’s start with the shortest pile (as self still has so much googling to do).  This one has five books.

140 + 5 = 145 books counted thus far

The top book in this pile of five is Cavafy’s Alexandria:  Study of a Myth in Progress, by Edmund Keeley.  Right beneath that is Crossing Three Wildernesses:  A Memoir, by U Sam Oeur with Ken McCullough.  And the last of the books self has time to list right now is something she bought for The Man when she was in Scotland:  singin i’m no a Billy he’s a Tim, a play about two fans of rival football teams, stuck spending a night together in the same jail cell.  The author is Des Dillon.  Self is pretty sure The Man never cracked it open.  Here’s a sample (Lots of cussing in this passage.  In fact, in almost all the passages.  The Scots are so saltily colorful in their speech):

Harry:  Now what’s going on?

Billy:  He booted me up the arse.

Harry turns to Tim.

Harry:  Did you boot him up the arse?

Tim:  Aye!  (To Billy)  What ye goin to do?  Sue me?

Billy:  Aye —  for half yer fuckin Giro!

Tim:  I’ll haf my fuckin giro ye!

Harry:  What did you boot him up the arse for?

Tim:  Comes in dressed like the Union Jack — calls me a Fenian bastard and I’m supposed to take it?

Billy:  I’m no sharin a cell wi him.

Tim:  Fuckin ditto Bluto.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Reading for the Day: John Logan’s “Red”

The Rothko in the excerpt is the painter Mark Rothko, and Ken is his assistant, played by Eddie Redmayne, who garnered a Tony for his performance.

It was a very interesting performance. Self thinks Redmayne pulled it off primarily with his voice, which exhibited an endearing tendency to crack at moments of high tension (which, in this play, occurs every 10 minutes or so. It is a very intense play, dear blog readers!) And Alfred Molina as Rothko was absolutely GREAT.

Penny, self is forever grateful to you for getting the tickets and for taking her to see this play last month!  Self was one of the last two people admitted to the theater before the play started:  she had to catch the subway from Soho and practically flew, flew through Times Square!  Read the rest of this entry »

Stars Who Contributed (Loads) to Self’s Enjoyment in 2009

Looking back on 2009, self realizes in some amazement that —  Holy Cow!  She did get to see quite a lot of movies, plays, and new TV shows!  Early in the year, she saw “Desire Under the Elms” at the Goodman Theater and “The Tempest” at Steppenwolf, in Chicago.  In the summer, she and son and hubby made the trek to Orinda to see Cal Shakes’ wonderful production of “A Midsummer Nights Dream.”  Self is sure she is forgetting someone/something, but anyhoo, here’s the list of the actors and actresses who rocked her world (Can she include a non-actress?  Then self would like to name Sarah Gambito, who self read with at the Bayanihan Community Center.  OMG, she is amazing):

  • Matthew Amendt (the Guthrie’s production of “Henry V”)
  • Moon Bloodgood (“Terminator:  Salvation”)
  • Eliza Dushku (“Dollhouse“)
  • Brian Geraghty (“The Hurt Locker”)
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“500 Days of Summer”)
  • Carla Gugino (“Desire Under the Elms” —  Self saw it at the Goodman in Chicago)
  • Woody Harrelson (“Zombieland”)
  • Rhys Ifans (“Pirate Radio”)
  • Alice Krige (“Skin”)
  • Diane Kruger (“Inglourious Basterds”)
  • David Letterman (being himself)
  • Bill Nighy (“Pirate Radio”)
  • Leonard Nimoy (“Star Trek”)
  • Ed Norton (very bit part in “The Invention of Lying” —  but still)
  • Sophie Okonedo (“Skin”)
  • Zach Quinto (“Star Trek”)
  • Jeremy Renner (“The Hurt Locker”)
  • Sam Rockwell (“Moon”)
  • Winona Ryder (“Star Trek”)
  • Pablo Schreiber (“Desire Under the Elms”)
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman (“Pirate Radio”)
  • Christoph Waltz (“Inglourious Basterds”)
  • Tom Wisdom (“Pirate Radio”)
  • Sam Worthington (“Terminator:  Salvation”)

and, last but not least:

the entire cast of Cal Shakes’ “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” !!!

Ohm Sweet Ohm

Adventures in life from the Sunshine State to the Golden Gate

nancy merrill photography

capturing memories one moment at a time

Asian Cultural Experience

Preserving the history and legacy of Salinas Chinatown

Rantings Of A Third Kind

The Blog about everything and nothing and it's all done in the best possible taste!

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Fashion Not Fear

Fueling fearlessness through style and inspiration.

Wanderlust and Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery


Decades of her words.

John Oliver Mason

Observations about my life and the world around me.

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog


Any old world uncovered by new writing

unbolt me

the literary asylum

the contemporary small press

A site for small presses, writers, poets & readers

The 100 Greatest Books Challenge

A journey from one end of the bookshelf to the other

Random Storyteller

A crazy quilt of poems, stories, and humor