30.7.11

Who Came Before...

I've been cleaning up my house and came across a set of photos that show the Original Three cats: Howard, Pravda and Marlowe.  Howard you've read about, Pravda and Marlowe were litter-ally siblings that Thing One brought with him when we moved in together.  These are my favorite photos - hope you enjoy them.


This is Howard in his role as Business Cat (note the Filofax!)


Pravda (aka "Poo") was a very feminine cat, flirting with any male in sight.  She was particularly distressed when Howard proved immune to her wiles!  Isn't she just sooooo cute?


One of these things is not like the others...


Poo and Marlowe were often found curled up together.  I don't think I have any photos of him alone, but Marlowe was a talkative kitty who seemed to think that all humans were related to Thing and never understood why our hands didn't follow him around when he wanted to be scratched.


And finally, all three together on the couch.  Yes, Howard is larger than both of them together.  Blame the steroids he took to control his asthma.

For those following the Herd's progress:

Howard (1987 - 1998)
Pravda aka "Poo" (1987 - 2000)
Marlowe (1987 - 2000)
Bogart aka "Bogie" or "Monster" (1995 - )
Mallory aka "Squeaky" (1999 - )
Lulu aka "Lump" (2000 - 2008)
Greta (2008 - )
Francis (2008 - )
Cyd aka "Squid" or "Squidlette" (2010 - )

Yes.  Many of them have nicknames.  Sue us.

22.7.11

Culture Vulturing

So, how does Lazygal spend her time January through June, besides reading? Well, this Lazygal watched a ton of tv... rented 31 movies and 8 tv series from Netflix... and then there were the shows and concerts. Herewith the reviews:

January brought John Gabriel Borkman at BAM. Don't know the play? Then you clearly weren't reading my blog back then, when I reviewed the play.

February was That Championship Season, with Keifer Sutherland, Chris Noth, Jason Patric and others. The language was dated - but the themes were timeless. If you don't know the play (or movie) it's the reunion of a championship basketball team at their coaches. Things Get Said... Incidents Revealed. Of course there's tension and the Big Resolution scene. The surprise for me was Jason Patric, whom I really didn't know as an actor. Noth was, well, solid and Keifer had a few Jack Bauer-like moments, but it really was Patric that struck me. Someone to watch for!

In March I spent a wonderful night listening to the Sima Trio play at an unusual location - DROM. The combination of ethnic and classical music in a more rock setting was interesting, as was the crowd. It was a short concert, only five numbers, but it felt like more would have been too much. They're playing similar, small venues and I recommend seeing them.

April was not the cruelest month - it was the busiest. First came Company, the all-star concert version that has been playing in movie theatres and will probably become a whine week staple on PBS. Much of it was enjoyable, but nothing grabbed me and made me think "wow!". Maybe it was the all-star casting, some not known for their musical abilities (Stephen Colbert) or the fact that they didn't have much time to rehearse as an ensemble. Most numbers were sketchy in terms of choreography, which was understandable. The two disappointments for me were Patti LuPone's "Ladies Who Lunch" and Neil Patrick Harris' "Being Alive". While Patti's voice didn't do that annoying warble it occasionally lapses into, I didn't feel the song the way I have done (as when Elaine Stritch or even Barbara Walsh sing it); NPH was perfectly fine up to the end, but, sadly, his voice just didn't carry "Being Alive". All-in-all, this was an all-star version of a high school production.

Then came King Lear, starring the incredible Derek Jacobi. The set was very minimalist, so your imagination had to take you to the locale: the rainstorm was one of those amazing stunts that will stick in my mind. Of course the acting was up to Jacobi's standard, with Gina McKee's Goneril reminding me a little of her Irene Forsythe. The other sisters were credible, but the real drama was the Edmund/Edgar conflict, with Edmund chewing what scenery there was and Edgar quietly going about his business.

Finally, there was kd lang previewing her new album at La Poisson Rouge. Despite a long wait to get into the venue, and the overheated space, it was so worth it. She's in good voice, and the intimate setting highlighted that. Having seen her at much larger spaces (Radio City, for example), I can say that the smaller space is better. So if you have the option, grab it. And kd? She could sing the phone booth and sound incredible. It's still one of the great puzzles that she's not a bigger star than she is.

Finally, we come to May and War Horse. Sniff! The story is obvious, with the big emotional moments telegraphed from miles away. Since this is based on a children's book, there's little subtlety. And yet... somehow, it works. Yes, those are puppets (amazing puppets, but puppets all the same) on stage. And yes, the message hits you over the head. But if you don't respond to the show, well, there's something wrong with you. My favorite puppet was actually the goose, which was really one of those push toys the children have, but within a few moments the goose had become real. I went with Thing One and another friend; the friend and I were in tears, as was most of the audience, while Thing One was dry-eyed. Says a lot about Thing One, doesn't it? And I honestly believe that the Speilberg movie version will lack that emotional punch, so come to NYC and see the play instead.

This fall is currently a little sparse, with Blondie at the Highline my only current plans.  However, one never knows... and Thing One did want to see a lot of ballet last year.  Maybe this year, we will.

7.7.11

Don't know much about history...

The past few days I've been thinking a lot about history, and America. In part it was due to the July 4th weekend, and in part it was because of a book I just read.

During the weekend I watched TCM's showing of 1776 (not as often as Cam watched it). To my mind, the show-stopping number is the incomparable John Cullum singing "Molassas to Rum to Slaves":

(for contrasting views on the film, check out the A/V Club and ALOTTMA)


Anyway, here we are, 235 years from that moment (no, I don't think Edward Rutledge actually sang about the issue, but he did raise it) and we're still a conflicted nation about racism and slavery. Yet Portugal was the "creator", if you will, of the American slave trade, supplying slaves to the Spanish and British colonies in North America.  That's not excusing the continuation of the trade, mind you, just a historical reference.  What I'm wondering is, is Portugal as conflicted as we are? What guilt do they feel - or do they not feel any?

As I'm mulling this, I read Conquistadora, set in Puerto Rico and featuring - you guessed it - slaves.  It's clear that they were brought to the islands by Portugese slave traders, and through the course of novel we learn something about the different places they were from and where the ended up.  This is set during the time in which PR was a Spanish colony and again, I ask: how does Spain handle its slave legacy?  The same holds for the islands, and the fact that some slaves bought their freedom and then bought slaves (same thing happened here).

Is America the only country still this conflicted, or are we just not hearing about it elsewhere?

4.7.11

Happy Birthday!!!

Yes, it's the 235th birthday of the United States, but it's far more than that in the Lazyhouse - it's the weekend we celebrate the birthdays of four of the herd!


Bogie is now 15, Mallory is 12, Greta is 4 and Cyd turns 1**. We're having freshly grilled hamburger as a special dinner.


** in case you're wondering, Francis' birthday is celebrated at Thanksgiving.

1.7.11

Hard to Say Goodbye, My Love...

I've counted myself lucky that the vast majority of break-ups I've had, be they with friends or companies, have been good ones.  You know the kind: you still care about the other and wish them well.  You have friends in common and keep track of their successes and failures, albeit from afar. You don't make derogatory comments about the other, letting people know that its ok to have feelings for both parties. And nowadays you remain "friends" on Facebook or continue to follow them on Twitter (or whatever social networking you engage in).  Perhaps it takes a certain maturity, but it's been true of most break-ups in my lfe.

Sadly, over the past few months that hasn't always been the case.  People choosing sides, rather than remaining neutral (which I don't understand: is it really necessary to decide that you prefer one over the other?  you can't be maintain good relationships with both? ).  Or people deciding that the only way they can handle things is to make fun of the other person or treat their ideas/opinions as though they aren't of value.  Worst is when they decide that the appropriate course of action is to be disrespectful of the other person's contributions to your life or the life of the company.  Building yourself up at the other's expense just feels wrong and petty to me - and then there's the guilt I feel about being part of it, of adding to the negative emotions.

It can be very hard to say goodbye.  It's nearly impossible when there's "bad stuff" going on, because then goodbye gets intertwined with continuing emotional entanglement.  So on this Independence Day Weekend, I'm going to take the higher road and say goodbye to all that bad "stuff."

Notes from Mt. Bookpile

Not as stellar a quarter as last quarter - "only" 48 books read. And, of course, going to ALA added a great number of books to Mt. Bookpile so I'd better get reading! Of course, all reviews are over on Killin' Time Reading...



Biography

Children's/Young Adult
Fiction/Literature
Mystery
Non-Fiction
Science Fiction/Fantasy