Thursday, November 15, 2018

Three Interesting Things

1. The Capitals dressed a women's hockey coach as their emergency goalie.  (Warning link autoplays a video, even though the story is in text.) I enjoy the various folks these teams apparently have on a list in case of emergency. 
2.  I am thrilled for Elizabeth Acevedo's Poet X winning the National Book Award.  This review of the night also includes emcee Nick Offerman's great and a smidge bawdy words about the power of books. 
3. This story of a toy monkey that escaped World War II with its owner only to help reunite some family members is part of a two parter. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Jasmine Guillory at Politics and Prose

On Thursday, Petra Mayer of NPR and other such things chatted with Jasmine Guillory at Politics and Prose's Wharf location. They chatted about the dude who proposed mid-New York marathon, with Jasmine mentioning that now everyone sends her every public proposal ever. She talked about how with The Wedding Date she found fake dating was fun because it let you skip past some of the pretense you engaged in and get to know the real person underneath faster. 
They talked about covers, and the fun of reading romance because it promised you a clear ending. They talked about how fun Royal watching and reading jewelery blogs are, even if monarchies are an outdated system. 
It was a great event, and I look forward to reading the book. 

Friday, November 09, 2018

Three Interesting Things

1.  We all know teenager does awesome things is my jam, so here is an 18 year-old mayor.  
2. Katherine Locke gave a wonderful speech about how much of kidlit, and lit in general is about refinding or reconstituting home
3. Deb Perelman had some thoughts about bake sales

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Live Update by Teju Cole

I think of those who died today.
They held views on the matter,
one way or the other,
of our awful American problem.
I think of those who died today.
(Continues here: https://thenewinquiry.com/)

Monday, November 05, 2018

"Billy Elliot" at Signature Theater

I confess these pop culture gaps, like I had somehow never seen the movie "Billy Elliot" even though it sounds basically like my jam, not to brag, but to explain that there are probably shifts and changes that fans of the movie will have specific thoughts about, that I will not.  I did know it was the story of a young boy in the 1980's in Northern England who lives in a coal mining town and while his family is primarily distracted with the miner's strike, he discovers a love for ballet.  
The Signature Theater production is staged, not quite in the round, but with the audience around three full sides which makes good use of a long space for the ensemble to work with.  To my ear, the accents the cast used sounded pretty similar throughout, with no differences between the police and miners, but some subtle differences for the sections in London.  
The cast includes two Billy's, and other rotating children.  It's understandable given how much Billy is on stage.  The few moments where he sits on the stage to listen to an adult seem almost like necessary breaks, but I never spotted a drop of sweat on Owen Tabaka.  There were actors that I had seen in "Carousel" and "The Pajama Game" both of which deal with economic struggle and union rights.  
The show moves at a quick pace, and to keep the constant tension of ballet vs. miners, they are often on stage dancing together even though we are supposed to recognize that the miner's cannot see the ballet dancers.  The show takes a quick look at masculine stereotypes, how Billy doesn't want to be known as a dancer even after had has agreed to audition for the Royal Ballet.  And there is some look at how straight and gay characters may enjoy cross-dressing, and how that doesn't need to align with their sexuality.  
There are some wonderful moments, including a trick where Billy picks up the keys using just his feet, but catches them in his boxing gloved hands that drew gasps from the audience.  Billy has a dream sequence with his older self where goes up on wires that was fun to watch.  And, I confess I am always keen to watch what happens when something goes wrong.  In one sequence a group of adult and kid dancers come out through the closet (oh yeah, there are some closet references here) and they brought with them a dress that fell off a hanger.  They tapped around it, and at one moment, one of the dancers leaned down and tossed it artfully to the side.  As the number ended another dancer detoured over to scoop it up before going backstage.  
Overall it was a good show, and now I have filled in a pop culture gap.  
Toxic masculinity. 
Scene with extra dress
Tricks with keys and hula hoops
Bobby hats