It was with some trepidation, that I picked up The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Suzanne Collins’ prequel to The Hunger Games.
Every year, as I sat down to write, I could feel Santa’s presence come close.
(Spoiler Warning: I discuss the film Scaramouche in the this post and give away key plot points, including the ending. Read at you own risk.) Sometimes you discover interesting things when doing your homework. I recently took a stage combat class in small sword, the dueling sword of the 18th century. One week, our homework … Continue reading Sometimes You Just Need a Do-Over
The penstemons are blooming in my garden. These plants are three to four feet tall, topped with spikes of lavender flowers, each shaped like a long, thin snapdragon blossom. They were in full bloom today, and perhaps because it was a still and humid day, the flowers attracted a wide array of insects. … Continue reading The Fable of the Bees and the Mantis
The risk of reading historical novels is that sometimes, instead of meeting people from the past we run into modern characters dressed in funny clothes play-acting medieval (or Renaissance, or Roman, or whenever.) That’s the problem I recently had with Crossed, the tale of the Fourth Crusade written by Nicole Galland. While I enjoyed the … Continue reading Crossing the Medieval and Modern
It has been ten years, and I still fume about the ending of the TV series Lost. To this day, when I see the name of Damon Lindelof, the show-runner of Lost, attached to some new project, I take it as a red-flag of caution, not a badge of quality. Lost was the hit TV … Continue reading Lost in Real Life
In 2006, I participated in an off-beat storytelling project. A group of Pittsburgh storytellers gathered to go through The Decameron, a collection of short stories written by Giovanni Boccaccio. Our director, the Canadian storyteller Dan Yashinky, guided us through the book, suggesting tales for each of us to look at based upon the types of … Continue reading Stories in the Time of Pandemic
Perhaps because I am a performer, I notice how clothing shapes my movements. When I get my Elizabethan doublet fully buttoned up, the tight fit and stiff cloth force me into a straighter, more erect posture. When I tell ghost stories on a cold October night, a jacket allows me much more freedom of … Continue reading It’s the Little Things: The Clothes Make the Motion
We live in the world of the everyday. Sure, the big sweep of history and politics and ideologies matter. They shape our world. But mostly we live in the world of little things: the foods we put on our plates, the music we listen to, the trinkets on our desk, the clothes we wear. These … Continue reading It’s the Little Things: The Problem with Pockets
I am a big fan of Joss Whedon’s work. From Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Firefly to his version of Much Ado About Nothing, I find his work constantly engaging and entertaining. And so, when I ran across the DVD collection of his TV series Dollhouse in my local library, I was quite excited. I … Continue reading Joss Whedon’s “Dollhouse” and the Limits of Innovation