"Money was maliciously introduced in ancient times as a tool of enslavement" -
Michael Tellinger

"The present belongs to the future and future generations, and all old laws, religious and other, should be abrogated immediately. Free us!" - Vinay Gupta on Twitter

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." - R. Buckminster Fuller

"You find the strangest ways to be positive!" - Diane Duane, Wizards Abroad

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Happy Mabon/Ostara

Equinox is balance. Image borrowed from this site  - thanks!

Depending on where on the globe you find yourself, happy Equinox, fall or spring! Here's it's Mabon and summer is still bravely hanging on though a few colder days have crept in. Now I'm sadly disconnected from the harvest, but I might rejoin the community garden someday if I ever really need to grow food. Or maybe this time it will be hydroponics. For now, there is enough and for that I'm thankful! 



This poem on YouTube captures my feelings of loss for the summer, since that's my favorite season and even with the milder Southern Oregon winter, I still don't like to see summer go. (Use is restricted so you have to go to YouTube to view/hear it. Below, part of the author's statement.) 
Uploaded by  on Sep 19, 2008I wanted to make a video to honour the Autumn Equinox, also known to some as "Mabon". However, the history of Mabon is somewhat hazy, it seems that while the Autumn Equinox celebrations go back before the written records, Mabon itself is a relatively new name for the old festival.
So rather than cause controversy on the facts, I decided to write something myself instead to honour the change of the Season.
... Lisa
Wheel of the Year from Natural Rhythms
 Here's another nice song, on YouTube by Lisa Thiel

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

OSF 2011: Love's Labor's Lost (play review)

http://www.osfashland.org/









Love's Labor's Lost on the Elizabethan Stage is tremendous fun. I'll admit it took me a while to warm to this staging, as director Shana Cooper takes the most gloriously verse-rich text of any of Shakespeare's plays and emphasizes screwball comedy. It sometimes feels like one of those old film comedies where the action is speeded-up to increase comedic effect. I never entirely reconciled myself to a rapid-fire delivery of lines that strayed (to my ear) too often from the rhythms the text seemed to call for; or maybe I was just "off" that night. After a time I did get used to it and let the director tell her zany version of the story in her own way. And it was wonderfully entertaining. Full stars for this one.

The nonstop language-play for which this one is famous begins with the title, which boasts two apostrophes [correctly placed: modern editors take note!] - one a possessive, the other a contraction - and in meaning, elegantly foreshadows the play's ending. That's followed by some of Shakespeare's most clever rhymes and competitive word games, meanwhile satirizing lesser mortals who over-manipulate vocabulary and language for empty effect; and this kind of verbal action, point and counterpoint is carried, with finely honed irony, throughout the entire play without letup.

dressed for a poetry jam in the woods













Whoever Shakespeare was, he was at the top of his game when he wrote this. This might be his most elegantly structured play, too; it occurred to me that, considering all the modifications his plays probably went through by the time they reached the print versions we know now, maybe this one is very close to the original version. Or maybe it's just that it's the one written closest to the time he was writing his sonnets. It just seems so perfectly balanced: characters are neatly divided into social classes of equal weight, and they all interact in an unusually egalitarian way here, too. Then there are the themes: youthful excess and learned responsibility; sex and death (that's foreshadowed in the play's first lines); austerity versus generosity; intellect versus emotion; subterfuge vs. openness. It's all laid out in neat equations somehow. This production deserves full credit for bringing out this quality in such a clear and highly enjoyable way.

With so much food for thought, it's still a comedy -- an essentially silly story of foolish young men, foolish young women, foolish servants and academics and clerics, and it's full of good humor and tolerance for human weakness. So a production that goes flat-out for comedy is perfectly all right, of course. It probably isn't the silliest staging of the play that I've seen  (though most of the others are lost in the fogs of memory by now; I only remember the most recent very well, and that was a delightfully pared-down amateur production). In any case they didn't lose Shakespeare's language entirely here, they just stretched it to the limits of recognition, in service to the director's choice of comedy style.

The costumes are sort of midcentury, and I liked that in keeping with the mood of the production, the destined pairs of lovers are color-coordinated. The set design is wonderful, and after complaining about Christopher Acebo's use of AstroTurf last year in Twelfth Night I have to praise him now for using it again this year: his green meadow dotted with bright purple flowers couldn't have been a more perfect setting for this action, and the other effects (the tent, the scholars' lair) were just right, too. (His set in this year's Imaginary Invalid is genius, too.)
The Princess of France (Kate Hurster) and the King of Navarre (Mark Bedard) are clearly meant for each other--
they share a fashion sense!  Click here for another review I liked.

Best of all, for me, were the moments when the cast broke into musical numbers. Those were total crowd-pleasers. They ranged from the hilarious (the boys with their poetry in the woods; the Muscovite masquerade) to the magical and poignant (the last scene). Kudos here to OSF composer Paul James Prendergast. 
(He had a busy year in 2011: he's also responsible for the fabulous music in Imaginary Invalid, and scored some good incidental music for Henry IV 2 as well.)

The acting company made it all come to joyous life. By the time the cast had taken their bows and the king and queen departed the stage, doing their royal waves to the last, I was entirely won over. I loved it.

Sadly this production isn't selling out regularly, but that's good news for anyone who doesn't have tickets yet. It really is well worth seeing. And the outdoor experience is glorious this time of year.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Reprise for Labor Day: Two Ballads of Joe Hill

Image from http://recollectionbooks.com/bleed/0119.htm
I promised on Memorial Day that I'd repost this one on Labor day, but really a link makes more sense since I'm not making any changes. It's at
http://mypersonalblogccm.blogspot.com/2011/05/for-memorial-day-two-ballads-of-joe.html

We seem to be in the midst of a renaissance of awareness about unions, since once again too  many people have been pushed too far. Wishing the labor movement great heart, courage, and continued success in these new world circumstances.

Power to the people or, as Joe Hill said in his last words, "good luck to all of you"!