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What we wear, or used to wear, can be more than colors, patterns, and fabrics. They can be a time capsule, a scrapbook, to our most intimate memories. A dance. A birth. A funeral. All the coming-of-age insanity that defines us. From the mind that created When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, and based on the book by Ilene Beckerman, five women relive such moments through a series of monologues and ensemble pieces. They laugh and cry as they talk about childhood, high heels, motherhood, wedding dresses, cancer, surviving rape, and why we wear black.​

Bare Bones: Staged Readings at Theatre@First presents

Love, Loss and What I Wore
adapted by Nora & Delia Ephron
from the book by Ilene Beckerman
and directed by Santiago Rivas

ONE NIGHT ONLY!
Thursday, September 28th at 8pm

UNITY SOMERVILLE
6 William Street at College Ave

FREE with suggested donation of $5

No reservations required.
Our performance space is not wheelchair accessible.

For more information, visit theatreatfirst.org.

old movies

Sep. 25th, 2017 08:08 am
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[personal profile] calimac
I came across a list I once made of movies that had been nominated for major Oscars (picture, acting, directing, writing), which seemed to be the best way to manipulate Oscar statistics to most closely approximate a list of notable movies.

I'd also noted which ones I'd seen, and have been filling in gaps of time by watching (from YouTube, which has a lot) some famous early 50s movies I'd never seen before. 3 1/2 of them, and they are:

Sunset Boulevard. The real winner of the bunch. The gothic atmosphere, and outstandingly vivid performances by leads Gloria Swanson (Norma) and William Holden (Joe) - Swanson is playing a grotesque caricature of herself, and why did she agree to do it? - made for an engrossing movie. This despite holes in the plot. When did the swimming pool, which plays such an important part in the story, get cleaned and filled up? It was empty and had rats living in it when Joe arrived at Norma's mansion. This relates to a general inconsistency as to whether Norma is keeping glamorous and up to date - her clothes are - or is a crazy cat lady recluse. Also, Joe is one of those characters so common in old movies who keep abruptly and inexplicably changing their minds. He dumps the (rather insipid) Betty by declaring his satisfaction with being kept by Norma, and then immediately turns around and leaves Norma, saying he's going back to Ohio, the one option he'd ruled out earlier as it would be an admission of failure in Hollywood. WTF does he want? Is he self-destructive? If so, he gets what he wanted.

All About Eve. Another movie about actors, and also so negative I'm astonished they could get any actors to perform it. Bette Davis (Margo) and Gary Merrill (Bill) got married in real life as their characters do in the movie, and a few years later had the same messy divorce that you can see Margo and Bill headed for. The movie seems pretty well performed, but perhaps it's flat writing that made it less interesting than Sunset Blvd. At a party, Margo is being pissy, and her friends say they've seen her like this before; is she getting over it or getting into it? She walks away and then turns around and delivers one of the most famous lines in film history: "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night." But it isn't, not really. And if I started discussing Eve, I'd be here all day, so let's drop it. I should just add that there's a minor, and apparently unnecessary, ingenue character played by a then-unknown washed-out blonde named Marilyn Monroe. I wouldn't have predicted much of a career for her.

High Noon. I recognize that this an Important Political Message flick, but it's not really a very good movie. The Big Bad is coming to town on the noon train, and marshal Gary Cooper spends a tedious hour wandering around town trying to find deputies to help him fight the guy, but everybody chickens out and he has to face him down by himself. That's it; that's the whole movie. There's a huge lack of context: who is this Quaker woman Coop has just married, and why did they hitch up? If he's so sure the Big Bad is going to be trouble, why can't he do anything about the 3 henchmen hanging around the train station? (And talk about scenes that ought to be suspenseful but aren't: wow.) And even if Big Bad is sure to shoot Coop if he sees him, if Coop skips town - which everyone is expecting him to do - what will Big Bad do then? As far as I can tell from what the townsfolk say, his evil plan is to liven up the saloon and bring more customers to the hotel.

Father of the Bride. I think maybe I should just avoid old comedies. This one was too painfully bad and unfunny to watch.

Stigmatization of dialects

Sep. 25th, 2017 03:03 pm
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Victor Mair

[This is a guest post by Krista Ryu]

I was reading the book, Language Change in East Asia, and one of the articles, "Dialects versus the Standard Language in Japan," talked about the standardization of Japanese and its consequence on the many "hougen” (方言) of Japan. I thought it was very interesting and related to what we talked about in class regarding the various Chinese languages (topolects).

While there was no real designated common language in Japan, the "variety based on the dialect of the upper-middle class inhabitants of Tokyo" was functioning as the de facto common language from approximately the 17th century (pg 7). Increased mobility of people with the lift of travel ban and abolition of shogunate domains, as well as the establishment of universal education in the late 1800s, allowed the spread of this common language across the country (pg 8). However, only after formal approval from the Japanese Ministry of Education in the early 1900s, an official standard form of Japanese, or "hyojungo” (標準語), was established.

What is interesting is how the creation of this "standard" form of language gives it a certain "halo," while it stigmatizes other local dialects. The author states:

Dialects were characterised as slovenly (kitanai, 汚い), bad , incorrect, and inferior. In extreme cases, sensitivity on the part of non-standard dialect speakers was manifested in severe linguistic insecurity, for which Shibata Takeshi coined the term hōgen konpurekkusu (dialect complex). People from the provinces who moved to Tokyo were mocked about the way they spoke, resulting in depression and even suicide. (pg 8)

This reminded me of how pyojuneo (표준어, 標準語) in Korean is also considered the "correct way" of speaking on many occasions, forcing speakers of other Korean dialects to change their way of speaking and be ashamed of having an accent. Many times, on TV shows like soap operas, characters that are supposed to be "crude" or "uncultured" will be using some sort of "bangeon" (방언, 方言).

However, the article also does say that recent trends show that people in Japan started seeing dialects as "warm," "authentic," and as part of a unique local culture that needs to be preserved. This is also the case in Korea in recent years. Young generations have started being more proud of using their local dialects. Such phenomena seem closely related to the one seen in China where popular culture using local language has gained favor among young people (e.g., rap music in nonstandard topolects).

 

Lying rat bastards DPD

Sep. 25th, 2017 04:36 pm
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[personal profile] miramon
I've ordered a new phone. It was supposed to be being delivered today by DPD between 14:00 and 15:00 and there's been someone in the house the whole time. Instead, I've received a message saying that the driver couldn't deliver it and they left a card. They also sent a photo supposedly showing the location of the card, only it looks like a picture of the inside of a delivery van to me. I'd insert it here but I can't persuade Dreamwidth to display it.

Do I have any options at all?
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[personal profile] oracne
Wow, that festival took a lot out of me. Taking the day off Friday was a terrific plan; I slept until roughly lunchtime, then spent the rest of the day being entertained by the Small Monkeys, Now Much Less Small Than When They Were Born. This resting helped me not keel over and die on my NYC daytrip until it was almost time to go home; I shall report on that later. First, the final two operas I saw.

"Elizabeth Cree" was a world premiere, based on a novel by Peter Ackroyd which I have not read (and do not plan to read). The small cast wore Victorian costuming to match the setting and moved amidst a mixture of physical furniture, a movable open metal staircase, and projected silhouettes and text.

I enjoyed this quite a lot, more than I'd expected; I did not quite figure out the mystery until it was about to be revealed, and all of the singers were incredible, particularly Daniela Mack as Elizabeth Cree and Joseph Gaines as Dan Leno. Before I went to see it, I called it a "murder opera," and I stand by that - several brutal murders are discoursed upon and shown in filmed silhouette, and the policeman is more concerned about his own future should he fail to solve the murders than he is about the victims.

Thematically, Murder as Spectacle was reiterated in several different ways, and critiqued by Karl Marx and George Gissing. Women's constrained roles, and the results of those constraints, also popped up, both through what the characters did and through what we the audience thought of what they did. In short, I thought this was great, and I would see it again. I'd put it my second favorite of the festival premieres, after "We Shall Not Be Moved."

Opera News review. Schompera review.

I saw "The Wake World" last night; notably, it was staged at the Barnes Foundation, one of Philadelphia's major museums. Most of the action took place on a long catwalk, with the audience seated or standing around it. The audience was free to move around, and sometimes the singers (mostly chorus, sometimes soloists) moved amid the audience as well.

I liked the idea of that, but in practice I found the constant audience movement distracting from the music, and sometimes I had difficulty seeing over people because I am not tall. The music itself was dreamlike and stuffed with overblown purple prose, most of which I quickly began to ignore in favor of just enjoying the splendid singing. The protagonists, Lola (soprano Maeve Höglund) and The Fairy Prince (cross-dressing mezzo Rihab Chaieb), were excellent in singing, acting, and embodying sex appeal, which was a good thing, since the plot (?) was just a weird, color-based advancement through a dream palace to achieve the ideal lover. Or something like that. The Fairy Prince managed to be really sexy in his three-piece suit and pipe while also mansplaining the palace and its rooms to Lola, which made me kind of hate him. I know characterization and plot was not the point, though, and the whole thing was successful as a spectacle that pushed against boundaries of opera staging, plus the chorus had a lot to do, yay - I used to sit next to the chorus' conductor, Liz Braden, back when my choir was conducted by Donald Nally.

The Broad Street Review's critique.

Dates are already set for next year's O18, so I am going to assume this year's festival was a success for the Opera Company of Philadelphia. Go them!

Quilty things

Sep. 25th, 2017 02:47 pm
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[personal profile] flick
I finished a new quilt last week. It was quite fiddly to make:


I'm still not sure about the innermost bit of the central star, but ah well.

At weekend, I went on a workshop organized by Quilt Club, on making wholecloth quilts (the ones that are just a single piece of fabric, with all the design in the quilting), although we aimed smaller and went for cushion covers. I'd never done any hand quilting before, and most of the day was taken up with learning about the design elements, thinking of a design, drawing it out on paper, and transferring it to the fabric.

That's my excuse, anyway:


I'm still undecided about whether I'm actually going to finish it or if I'd rather just take out the bit I've done and do it on the machine!

Sorry to keep beating this dead horse

Sep. 25th, 2017 08:45 am
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[personal profile] giandujakiss
Except the horse isn't dead and I truly believe the nation's entire healthcare system is at risk. Graham-Cassidy 2.0 is out, with increases tailored to win the votes of specific holdout Republican Senators, while punishing Blue states, basically, by withdrawing their funding. Please call your senators. And while you're at it, your governor.

And while you have the senators' office on the phone maybe mention that over 3 million Americans are drowning in Puerto Rico and our president is more worried about football.

No, really?

Sep. 25th, 2017 01:56 pm
oursin: The stylised map of the London Underground, overwritten with Tired of London? Tired of Life! (Tired of London? Tired of Life!)
[personal profile] oursin

Dept of, did you do any research?

That Uber vs TfL thing, with TfL refusing to renew their license - okay, I do not use Uber (I am probably not their target market) and everything I hear about it makes me deeply suspicious - but when I read various articles claiming that London black cab drivers are the trad white working class, I wonder how often, if ever, any of these people have ridden in a black cab. Because in my limited and anecdotal experience, finding a Trad London Cabbie who will give you his Salty Cockney Opinions whether you want him to or not, is not the default at all.

This article about Some Artist's exhibition on what he calls 'pseudo-Georgian architecture' in the UK and dates to the 1970s.

Marvel at a London Waitrose – “the pearl of Holloway Road”, according to Bronstein’s caption – with a cupola-crowned tower floating above its entrance. That oddly proportioned line of columns, running above the shopfront windows, suggest the architect once glimpsed a photograph of Vicenza, but not for long enough.
I know that Waitrose and shop there regularly and I am old enough to remember when it was Jones Brothers, by that time part of the John Lewis Partnership, but dating from an era when suburban department stores were built as retail palaces - as far as I can see, dates back to the 1890s.

***

Dept of, is that really the solution? PETA co-founder says we should stop wearing wool. I cannot help feeling that if there is no longer any economic reason for rearing, even if 'sheep are so gentle, they’re so dear!' they are likely to vanish from the face of the earth except in zoos (to which I imagine PETA are also opposed). Might not doing something about introducing legislation for more humane shearing practices be a better use of their time and energies?

Palazzo Publico

Sep. 25th, 2017 12:37 pm
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[personal profile] cmcmck
We paid our customary visit to the Palazzo Publico which fronts onto Siena's main square (the one where the Palio horse race is run).

The buildings are simply full of wonders!

View across the square from the palace:

We went first to the wall paintings of good and bad government. These are world famous and I see something new every time I look at them. The pig in this image (it's 15th century) is a Cinta Senese- a recognised breed which is still very much around as you'll see in a later post:



There's pics! )

Internetsmanship

Sep. 25th, 2017 06:53 am
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[personal profile] supergee
Alex Acks on how to win an online argument (fsvo win)

Thanx to File 770
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[personal profile] andrewducker
Germany just got a 13% vote for the populist anti-foreigner party. In 2015 Britain also got a 13% vote for their populist anti-foreigner party.

In Germany that will result in them getting some MPs in a separate party, and their centre-right party will do a deal with someone more central (their centre-left party last time, probably the Greens and the liberals this time around). Total influence of the far-right: almost zero.

In Britain this resulted in the Conservatives basically implementing the manifesto commitments of UKIP in order to stop their party fragmenting. Total influence of the far-right: Brexit.

This is _entirely_ down to the voting system. Germany has basically had the equivalent of a Lab+Con coalition for most of the last ten years, and the parties are constantly moderated by having to work with each other. Even France's two-tier presidential elections allowed people to vote for a relative outsider.

In Britain you end up with two main parties which spend all of their time scrambling to keep both wings together. It's a political system which, frankly, encourages extremism by making the more central politicians reliant on the further-out wings of their parties.

Kit Reed 1932-2017

Sep. 25th, 2017 06:22 am
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[personal profile] supergee
Kit Reed has been publishing excellent novels and short stories (sf, mimetic, and, as she would say, transgenre) for almost 60 years. We enjoyed her company at many ICFAs and Readercons. RIP.

The Blood is the Life for 25-09-2017

Sep. 25th, 2017 11:00 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b

QotD

Sep. 25th, 2017 05:24 am
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[personal profile] dglenn

"For both men and women the first step in getting power is to become visible to others, and then to put on an impressive show ... As women achieve power, the barriers will fall. As society sees what women can do, as WOMEN see what women can do, there will be more women out there doing things, and we'll all be better off for it." -- Sandra Day O'Connor (b. 1930-03-26; US Supreme Court Justice 1981-09-25 to 2006-01-31)

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[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

Maurice took a detour on his way to Mamzelle Bridgette’s in order to visit the curio shop that dealt in jade bracelets, so that he might commission one suitable to MacDonald’s purpose. He therefore arrived a little after his usual hour to discover that he had an unexpected visitor.

Why, Uncle Hector! I hope there is no trouble in the family?

No, all well, Euphemia sent you a few almond cakes – and she says these are just for you, sent a further parcel for the workroom.

'Tis very good of her. Tea?

Thank you, I will.

While the tea was coming, Maurice waved Hector into the more comfortable chair and sat down himself, mentioning that he had Lady Trembourne coming shortly.

Very early in the day for that lady!

Maurice gave a small grim smile. Does she desire to be dressed by me, at such short notice, she must take what time I may spare. Hector returned his smile. But was there some particular matter you desired to open to me?

Why, Sophy was thinking that though Sam wishes keep Thomasina at school a little longer, since they are in no necessity to send her into service or put her to an apprenticeship –

Maurice, whose investments included a share in Sam Jupp’s exceedingly profitable livery stables and carriage-hire business, nodded.

- when there was that notion that 'twould provide an excuse for visiting here that she desired find her a place, put the idea into her head that though she would not wish Thomasina to earn her living by her needle –

'Tis indeed a hard life –

- you might bring her on into the business more generally. Is a good clever girl, excellent fine reports from the schoolmistresses, an eye for fashion, already goes quiz her aunt Tibby on matters of style.

Maurice pondered a little. Indeed he had wondered about matters of succession. Why, I daresay I shall see somewhat of her during the family yuletide gatherings, and mayhap Sophy might bring her along some day.

Hector nodded and said he would convey this invitation to Sophy. Also, Her Ladyship becomes most concerned over the plight of needlewomen –

I have heard somewhat of that from Lady Pockinford –

- and I confide she would be well-advized to convoke with you upon the practicalities of any philanthropic enterprize she purposes.

Well, now she may come visit me for fittings again I daresay we shall have opportunity to speak upon the business.

Hector cleared his throat, sat back in his chair, crossed one leg over the other. She also, he said at length, takes some concern over Mr MacDonald.

Maurice raised his eyebrows.

She thinks it entire beneficial that he has become a member of this club of yours, where he may be with fellows of like kind. But she comes to some apprehension that has already been beguiled by some fellow, and hopes that 'tis some fellow that will not do him hurt, and wonders had you observed anything that might illuminate the question.

(Well, that answered the question in his mind of whether MacDonald went home and quite immediate recounted what he had been about to Lady Bexbury.)

Why, said Maurice with a little considering frown, indeed he becomes quite the favourite and there are fellows make up to him, but I cannot think of any one in particular that he shows favour to himself –

Only, Hector went on, she takes the thought that those years of mutual devotion that he had with the late Viscount, can have been little preparation for any matters of fickleness and deceit -

(Really, Maurice thought, it was entire unreasonable to feel quite sick with jealousy over a dead man.)

Well, he said, I will look out for any signs, and hoist storm warnings if necessary.

Her Ladyship would be most displeased did he come to any harm. And I hope you demonstrate proper gratitude for the services he has done you.

Quite entirely: but I am sensible that there is little that I can offer such a fellow as any kind of recompense. Sure I have made contributions to Lady Bexbury’s philanthropies –

Hector nodded. But you have ladies coming, I must be away.

Maurice found himself left in some confusion. Was this a very indirect warning? But he had no time to linger brooding upon the matter, for, although he did not expect the Countess of Trembourne to arrive precise to the minute, nonetheless he confided that she would arrive before an entire hour had elapsed. He tidied up the fitting-room, laid out some fashion plates and some samples of stuffs, and minded to put the almond cakes out of sight. There were clients he would have been happy to share this treat with, but she was not among them.

In due course Lady Trembourne, followed by Lady Sarah Channery, was ushered in to the fitting-room. They were very much of that same high-bred English lady look: that fine straight fair hair that must have been an immense trial to any that had to dress it; the pale aristocratic features; the tall and slender, even skinny, figure. Lady Trembourne’s face was marked with its habitual expression of discontent. Lady Sarah, however, looked less than usual like a nervous mouse keeping company with a cat: perchance having a lover had conveyed her some confidence in herself.

They sat down and tea was brought and Lady Trembourne produced some fashion-plates that had given her a notion of how she should like her gowns made. Maurice was most greatly tempted to accede to her demands, for he could see that the styles chosen would not set her off to any advantage, but he had the reputation of Mamzelle Bridgette to maintain and that would do it no favours, so he began the delicate task of persuading her into somewhat that would do credit to all parties.

By this time this had been decided, and measurements taken, and Lady Sarah’s requirements also taken into consideration, several hours had passed. But at last Lady Trembourne declared that she had another engagement and swept out. Lady Sarah lingered, looked nervously towards the door, and asked in low and tremulous tones whether the establishment had some discreet chamber?

Maurice conceded that it did, and the terms upon which a lady might avail herself of it.

Lady Sarah was, of course, considerably younger than Sir Stockwell, and indeed than Lady Trembourne: but she was still of an age that was not suited by an air as of a naughty schoolgirl that has slyly deceived the mistress.

After she had gone – looking remarkable complacent for one that had but lately had remuneration demanded of her in return for silence – Maurice sighed, smoothed back his hair, and decided that he would go lunch at the club.

(Of course he had not the slightest expectation that he might encounter MacDonald there.)

At such a time of day there were few enough present, but Sir Stockwell had managed to escape his duties, whatever they were, at the Admiralty. Allard! he lowered his voice. Any news?

Maurice lowered his own voice. Has asked me about the discreet chamber, but indeed I do not know if that might be for a particular purpose, or whether 'tis just to be informed in anticipation. (He did not somehow feel inclined to reveal that yes, Lady Sarah had a lover. Since it was some friend of MacDonald, let him be the one to disclose it.)

Well, let me know do you discover more.

He moved away.

As Maurice deliberated between the cold beef and the ham, up came Tom Tressillian, looking extreme self-conscious. Maurice! Pray, assure me that I have not offended you –

Offended me?

Why, I know that you and Linsleigh have been friends this long time, and he was paying me some attention t’other e’en at the viewing of his painting, and you left most precipitate –

La, my dear Tom, you are entire welcome to enjoy Basil’s favours, sure we have not sworn some oath such as he was telling us at such great length did the members of the Theban Band: and I daresay 'twill come to some exceeding pretty picture - perchance all in black, gazing upon a skull?

O, providing you do not mind - !

Not in the least. But, my dear, figure to yourself my astonishment to see young Orlando Richardson in the company – does he follow in his great-uncle’s footsteps?

Tressillian sighed. Alas, I confide not, except that shows already a pretty talent for comedy.

Alas. For though 'tis by no means a pretty fellow, there is a certain, as they say, piquancy, to his looks, that I daresay his uncle had before he took to drink.

New Book on Robert A. Heinlein

Sep. 25th, 2017 08:34 am
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[personal profile] fjm
I think most people who used to follow me on LJ are now on facebook but I am cross posting just in case.

After my book on Heinlein went beyond a length that most academic publishers could manage (it may be around 500 pages) I decided to go with a Crowdfunding publisher called Unbound. They can keep the price down to affordable levels.

Of course I would love it if you bought the book:

ebook £12
ebook and hb £35

But what I really need is signal boosting. Please copy and paste.


https://unbound.com/books/robert-heinlein
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