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.

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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.

SPARE: Daily Post Photo Challenge, 27 May 2016

Spare landscapes are often quite beautiful in their minimalism (if you choose to look)

— Krista, The Daily Post

Below are a few pictures that struck me as evocative of this week’s theme, SPARE:

Self took a walking tour of Oxford, day before yesterday. The quadrangles in front of the main buildings are surprisingly spare: free of fountains and monuments. Pristine.

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The building used to house Oxford University Press.

The India House was of course a very important building, especially during the days of the British Empire. With true British understatement, there are no signs indicating the building’s historice function: only the elephant on the weathervane:

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Weathervane on top of India House, Oxford, UK

Finally, the Weston Library is a moden structure directly across the street from the Bodleian Library, one of the oldest libraries in Oxford. The facade is spare, with one banner announcing the current exhibit (in honor of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death): Shakespeare’s Dead:

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A banner announces the Weston Library’s current exhibit.

Hope these are suitable examples of SPARE.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sometimes You Just Gotta Have That Chocolate Milkshake

Have dear blog readers ever tasted a lukewarm chocolate milkshake?

(Self knows, right?)

It is a hot day in Oxford, UK. Everyone strolling around, including three tourists who are attracting attention for a (fake) loud quarrel — self is pretty clued-in now to what’s fake and what’s real. All you have to do, really, is look at the person’s face. The woman who is allegedly being wronged by her two male companions has a huge, shit-eating grin on her face. She has cropped, dyed-platinum-blonde hair. She has deep brown, leathery skin. She’s wearing blue jeans and a white tank top. This makes her stand out because most of the women self sees around Oxford are of two, maybe three types: young Asian women who are extremely thin, very stylish, and very low-key; young white women who wear sneakers, cigarette jeans, and muted sweaters; older white women who dress a bit eccentrically, in floppy hats, or voluminous, bright sweaters. The strange woman keeps screaming, at the top of her voice, ruining a pleasant afternoon: LEAVE ME ALONE! ASSHOLE!

Really, self hates the drama. This is on a tiny street, where everyone’s so quiet, they all jerk their heads up and look alarmed. If self were to be truly cynical about it, which she isn’t, she might hug her purse closer to her body, just in case there is a point to this loud altercation.

Demonstrative fake quarrel aside, today self got to:

  • see a couple of Shakespeare folios
  • see the Harry Potter dining room
  • see an annotated map of Tolkien’s Middle Earth
  • check out Blackwell’s Crime & Thriller section, where she jotted down the titles of a couple of mysteries she wants to add to her reading list.
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An Amazing, Almost-Summer Day in Oxford, UK

Really, if a lukewarm chocolate milkshake is the worst part of self’s day, she’s had a pretty good day.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s Death (3 May 1616)

It is also the 400th Anniversary of Miguel de Cervantes’s death, what a coincidence!

Seriously mind-blowing.

Self is in Oxford. She went racing to Victoria Bus Station two days ago, lugging the Mother of All Suitcases, only to find that the bus she had tickets for had left at 1:30 a.m. She got in line at the ticket booth (30 minutes wait) and then explained to the lady that she was from America, she made a terrible mistake, she was aiming for 1:30 p.m., not 1:30 a.m. The woman was so kind, and put self on the 1 p.m. bus. She also booked self’s return trip: 15:30. “That’s 3:30 p.m.,” she said. “All right?”

Yes! Yes! Yes! Sorry to be such a stupid American!

The last time self was in Oxford was to attend the Saboteur Awards, which were held in a tavern. That was a fun time. She was a finalist in the novella category.

That was two years ago. How quickly time flies! Of course, she did not win, but it was such an honor just to be a finalist.

Yesterday, self went to a fabulous open-air market on Gloucester Green, and then she caught the last showing of Captain America: Civil War at the Odeon. What a great movie. Sorry, but Marvel cornered all the sass: Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Don Cheadle,. The women are great actresses: Scarjo, Ellen Van Kamp, Elizabeth Olsen. (Not that J-Law isn’t. Self loves J-Law. And also Sophie Turner).

After seeing Captain America: Civil War, though, she thinks that Fox should really do their utmost to hang on to Evan Peters(Quicksilver), as he is the only element in their whole Brit-actors-chewing-scenery cinematic universe who is capable of delivering sass on the level of, say, Robert Downey, Jr. And Lord knows, the X-Men could do with a bit more sass.

Now, where was she?

Oh, right, Shakespeare’s 400th Anniversary! So, she has determined that she must see at least one thing today that is connected to Shakespeare. As it would be pretty lame of to leave Oxford having only seen Captain America: Civil War.

She does a little internet search and finds that there are quite a number of Shakespeare exhibits in Oxford, operating concurrently. Mama Mia! What an absolute plethora of riches!

She’s going to spend the entire day rushing from one exhalted library to another.

Starting with the Weston. Because the Weston has, in addition to an exhibit on Shakespeare, a map of Middle Earth, annotated by Tolkien himself.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Treat: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is Halloween-themed!

Here are self’s ideas of TREATS:

Hot Chocolate and Peanut Butter & Jelly Square, Joaquin Torres, Broadway & 72nd

Hot Chocolate and Peanut Butter & Jelly Square, Jacques Torres Chocolates, Broadway & 72nd

Being surrounded by books: such a treat! Extraordinary. The best form of indulgence:

Borderlands, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Bookstore, Valencia Street, San Francisco

Borderlands, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Bookstore, Valencia Street, San Francisco

Finally, watching plays is such a treat. On the same level of pleasure as reading a good book.

Here’s one of her favorite venues: the Bruns Amphitheatre in Orinda, where Cal Shakes presents Shakespeare through the warm months of summer and early fall. The last play she saw here was “King Lear,” with Anthony Heald. Superb!

Bruns Amphitheatre, Orinda, California

Bruns Amphitheatre, Orinda, California

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

An Excellent Happy Place: Bruns Amphitheatre, Orinda

Because of Cal Shakes.

Memories:

Right behind the stage are the Orinda hills:

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Self loves the meadows of feathery, dried brown grass:

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The path to the Bruns Amphitheatre is lined with posters from previous years’ productions, including the one for a memorable Romeo and Juliet with Dan Clegg playing Romeo (2013). Self was completely smitten.

That production (2013) had Juliet in floaty dress, heavy boots, and cropped leather jacket. She looked so fine.

The first Cal Shakes’ play self ever saw was another Romeo and Juliet. Romeo was played by Adam Scott.

Cal Shakes’ season starts in June and ends in October. Self associates it with all the things she loves about summer: outdoor theatre, heat, picnics.

Two years ago, when she saw Lady Windermere’s Fan, her friend brought along two bottles of wine and kept pouring until both bottles were empty. Ha! What other theatre will let you do that!

She loves listening to such chestnuts as: “The game’s afoot” (Henry V) or “Ripeness is all.” (King Lear) or “Once more unto the breach, my friends, once more.” (Henry V)

She has seen the following Shakespeare plays: The aforementioned Romeo and Juliet (2 versions); Richard II; Henry V; A Midsummer Night’s Dream; King Lear:

Poster from 2013's Romeo and Juliet

Poster from 2013’s Romeo and Juliet

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Boundaries: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is BOUNDARIES.

According to The Daily Post, BOUNDARIES are about “limits . . . whether they’re social constructs or real, physical objects.”

Self’s first example of BOUNDARIES is a map. Maps exist as delineations of boundaries. The boundaries provide essential context (This exists in relation to that, and so forth).

Below is a map of St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin’s most iconic park. The wildlife, the people, the sense of place bring her back over and over again.

A Map of St. Stephens Green, Dublin

A Map of St. Stephens Green, Dublin

Her second example of BOUNDARIES is the balcony railings around the upper tiers of the new Globe Theatre, in London’s South Bank. The balconies are pitched very steeply. In fact, without the railings, a playgoer might experience severe vertigo:

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Watching “King John” at the Globe, June or July 2015

Her final example of BOUNDARIES is the bridge over Holborn Aqueduct. Self wandered down there one day last summer, looking for the Church of St. Bride’s, which she eventually found with the assistance of a London cabbie. (Self to Cabbie: “Do you know where St. Bride’s is?” Cabbie: “Yes. Hop in.” Self: “Do. You. Know. Where. It. Is.” Cabbie: “Course I know where it is! I’m a LONDON CABBIE.”)

Bridge Over Holborn Aqueduct, Near Fleet Street, London

Bridge Over Holborn Aqueduct, Near Fleet Street, London

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#fridayreads: Because It Is Impossible to Try and Quote Shakespeare in 140 Characters

Henry IV, Part One, Act One Scene Two (Self is so inspired after watching the Globe production of “King John” two days ago, with poet Joan McGavin!):

Prince Henry:  Good morrow, Ned.

Poins:  Good morrow, Sweet Hal. What says Monsieur Remorse? What says Sir John Sack-and-Sugar? Jack, how agrees the devil and thee about thy soul that thou soldest him on Good Friday last, for a cup of Madeira and a good capon’s leg?

Prince Henry:  Sir John stands to his word, the devil shall have his bargain, for he was never yet a breaker of proverbs; he will give the devil his due.

Poins:  Then art thou damned for keeping thy word with the devil.

Prince Henry:  Else he has been damned for cozening the devil.

Poins:  But my lads, my lads, tomorrow morning, by four o’clock early at Gadshill. There are pilgrims going to Canterbury with rich offerings, and traders riding to London with fat purses.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Off-Season 5: South Bank, London

OFF-SEASON is still the theme for these photographs.

OFF-SEASON is partly nostalgic. A looking back.

It’s also a phase.

Her last fulll day in London, Joan McGavin took self walking all over the South Bank. Where Shakespeare’s Globe used to be is now a modern apartment building. Signs mark the location of the old Globe, however. It’s a parking lot, around the corner from the new Globe:

The Old Globe is a Parking Lot Adjacent to a Modern Apartment Building in London's South End.

The Old Globe is a Parking Lot Adjacent to a Modern Apartment Building in London’s South End.

Signs show the layout of the old theatre complex. Self likes to muse on the contrast with the current surroundings: cars, vans, box-like buildings.

Signs show the layout and orientation of the old Globe. Self didn't know about bear-baiting.

Signs show the layout and orientation of the old Globe. Self didn’t know about bear-baiting.

Part of our perambulations involved a visit to the Tate Modern Gallery of Art. The building is huge. It dwarfs everything alongside. The building used to house the Bankside Power Station.

The main entrance is cavernous. The lower level was practically empty, except for this greatly ambiguous piece. It felt unfinished but perhaps that was the point?

An Art Installation on the Lower Level of the Tate Modern on London's South Bank. Self doesn't know what it means.

An Art Installation on the Lower Level of the Tate Modern on London’s South Bank. Self doesn’t know what it means.

It’s “Off-Season” because it is so isolated and random, occurring in the middle of what evokes a warehouse setting.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Second (Or Third) Re-Read of CLOCKWORK PRINCESS

Self had quite a busy Sunday.

She went to the Victoria and Albert Museum. Then she walked around, taking lots of pictures.

She finally, finally did a little work on her WIP, A Myriad Wildernesses.

She spoke to Joan McGavin.

She heard from Zack.

She began re-reading Clockwork Princess.

(Dear blog readers sigh)

She loves, loves, loves the angst.

Clockwork Princess opens with Tessa Gray in a gold wedding dress.

And Cicely Herondale trying to goad her brother, Will, into writing a letter to their parents, who he hasn’t seen or spoken to in five years.

Cecily:  Would you consider a wager, Will?

Cecily was both pleased and a little disappointed to see Will’s eyes spark, just the way her father’s always did when a gentleman’s bet was suggested. Men were so easy to predict.

Self likes Cecily! Got a lot of spunk, that girl does. Sort of reminds her of Arya Stark.

Let’s see, what else did self do today? She got herself a ticket to see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which is showing at the Gielgud. She hopes it’s as good as the Broadway production, which just won a bunch of Tonys, including one for Alex Sharp, who plays the male lead. Well, it should be just as good, since the play originated here, in London.

On Wednesday, self is seeing King John at the Globe (Hurrah!) Self loves the Globe. And this time, she won’t be alone: Joan will be watching it with her.

Self’s first time to experience the wonder of the Globe was last year; she caught a production of Titus Andronicus (which was properly billed as “theatre without mercy”). It was brutal, it was shades of Quentin Tarantino, it had people walking out before half-time. Self nearly barfed at the chopping-off of hands scene.

While walking around today, self saw a huge sign plastering a building: Fifty Shades of Grey, now out on video. Oh my oh my oh my oh my. London is like some futuristic, anachronistic, fantastical Victorian Steampunk city.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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