Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Two recommended articles in the October 2016 Asymptote Journal

There's always plenty to enjoy in the Asymptote journal, but I wanted to recommend two articles in the October 2016 issue. The first is a scene from György Spiró's Prah. I'm a huge fan of what I've read so far by Spiró. I've posted on his play The Imposter and really need to post on his novel Captivity, which I loved. This scene, translated by Szilvia Naray-Davey, gives a nice flavor of his style. Given the limited amount I've read, I'm hoping more of his work will be translated to English.

The other article covers the two recent translations of Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s Cré na Cille. Stephanie Boland reviews Graveyard Clay, translated by Liam Mac Con Iomaire and Tim Robinson, and The Dirty Dust, translated by Alan Titley. The variations with the titles hints at the differences in translation styles. Boland goes into why the original work is so difficult to translate and what each translation provides. I do want to say both are enjoyable, yielding a wonderful revelation of the original. There is something to be said for the suggestion that you need both to fully appreciate Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s creation. There is so much more I want to cover on each of these, along with Joan Trodden Keefe's 1984 translation (which was her doctoral dissertation...yeah, I can become obsessive when it comes to completeness) and the remarkable movie adaptation directed by Robert Quinn.

It looks like I'm setting myself up for some fun posts this fall.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Heal Your Child from the Inside Out by Robin Ray Green

Heal Your Child From the Inside Out: The Five-Element Way to Nurturing Healthy, Happy Kids by Robin Ray Green
Hay House: 2016

A little bit of shameless self-promotion. Or rather promoting my wife's book, which is being released tomorrow...

I can't improve on the work she's done, so please check out her page on the book. And if you're interested in the book, be sure to visit her Facebook author page for more info.

This has been a labor of love for her, and I hope it helps many parents and children!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Follow up

Once again, I apologize for the silence. I'm dealing with an intense amount of pain that just doesn't seem to lessen...it just changes forms.

Speaking of which, are there novels that deal with intense physical pain more than just in passing for a character? Not that I want to read it, now or ever. Mental/emotional/psychological problems get dealt with in novels so much easier than physical ailments. There's only so many ways you can say "It friggin' hurt a lot" for characters.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Upcoming Landmark Histories

I think it's clear I'm a huge fan of the Landmark Ancient Histories edited by Robert B. Stassler. For anyone else wondering what is forthcoming in the series and the timing, I stumbled across this note posted by Mr. Stassler to a query on an Amazon.com board:
I am avery much alive, and up to my ears in the effort to publish four more Landmark Series volumes. Anticipated Publication dates are: 2017, Landmark edition of Julius Caesar, 2018, Landmark edition of Xenophon's Anabasis, 2019, a Landmark edition of the works of Polybius, and 2020, a Landmark edition of Ammianus Marcellins. These volumes require a lot of care and much time. I have no publication plans after that, thank you.

While the last comment saddens me, I'm excited to see what is planned in this superb series. I will pass on additional information as I find out more.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

I was going to do what?

Well, August has been anything but fun...two trips to the hospital and some surgery, for starters. Hopefully the pain levels will recede and I'll feel like reading and posting again soon. I apologize for the break but I'll get going again soon.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Joy Division & Marketa Lazarová

It will be a little bit before I write on Marketa Lazarová by Vladislav Vančura, but I wanted to share something I stumbled across yesterday. Someone (I'm assuming Stefano Leone, who posted it) paired Joy Division's "Shadowplay" with scenes from Marketa Lazarová, a stunning combination. The scenes are as haunting as the song.

Speaking of the movie, I watched it again after reading the novel and was surprised the changes it made from Vančura's story. More on that later, hopefully.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Shakespeare: movies currently available online

There are some movies currently streaming online that I wanted to pass along to readers.

First up is Coriolanus available for free to Amazon Prime members. Directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes while John Logan adapted the play for the screen. I was impressed by the whole production, which was as troubling on the screen as it is on the page. Set in modern times, the action can be graphic and troubling for younger viewers, so discretion is advised. Fiennes brings a simmering intensity to the Roman general who defends Rome until he is banished, a political victim. It's one of the strongest performances I've seen from him lately. It helps that the supporting cast is strong, too. James Cox's Menenius was especially good, while Vanessa Redgrave's Volumnia provided a believable stern mother to Coriolanus. I even enjoyed Gerard Butler's portrayal of Aufidius. I highly recommend catching this while it is available.

I've not seen the 1984 TV adaptation of Antony and Cleopatra, starring Timothy Dalton and Lynn Redgrave. I'm not sure I'm brave enough to try it, although I did want to mention that it is also available for free on Amazon Prime.

The 2013 Broadway production of Romeo and Juliet starring Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad was released the following year as a movie and is currently available on Hulu. There was a lot of press about the play when it debuted so I won't go into much detail here. There were some nice touches, but the truncation of the burial vault scene (at least in the screen version) dealt a strong blow against it for me. The performances that stood out to me were Brent Carver as a nervous Friar Laurence and Christian Camargo’s Mercutio. Most of the other roles were played by the book. I'd put this production in the middle of the pack of versions I've seen, still enjoyable in places despite the unevenness.

Chime in if you have seen any of the these films!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Still ending, and beginning still

After swearing I'd never work for another startup company, I've agreed to work half-time for another startup. I think we all know what half-time will actually mean, though. Plus I'll continue homeschooling the boys. How all of this is going to work I have no idea. I guess I was worried that I was becoming too complacent or something.

So if the posts are even more sporadic and erratic than they currently are and the focus is lacking (more than normal), you'll understand why.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Romeo and Juliet by the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company

Last night I went to see the movie version of Romeo and Juliet presented by the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company. It was a little eerie being one of only four people in a sizable movie theater watching this marvelous production, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Richard Madden was solid as Romeo, showing progress from self-absorbed youth to a lover and husband, but Lily James as Juliet stole the show for me, one of the most impressive performances in that role I've seen. Interestingly enough, she doesn't seem that ... ahem ... inexperienced at the start of the play, displaying a pronounced amorous side from the beginning. Casting Derek Jacobi as Mercutio might have seemed a little odd, but having an older, more experienced friend works extremely well since his advice and entreaties to Romeo seem more credible. This is a Mercutio that has been around the block, the city, and the state. The rest of the cast was solid. I'll only point out Meera Syal as the Nurse, who adds a frisky quality to the role, seeming to look forward to Juliet's amorous meetings as much or more than her charge.

The setting was moved to mid-20th century Italy. Given that the print was in high-contrast black and white, the play at times had the feel of a Fellini film. I loved the set design of towering columns, with fluid changes between scenes. My only complaint was that the sound was tinny at times, but since this has been a consistent complaint I've had with similar screenings, I guess I wasn't too disappointed.

I wanted to post on this production since Fathom Events sometimes provides encore screenings. If you get the chance to see it, I highly recommend it.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Richard Brautigan, The Lowest Pair, and Thou

If anyone else in the San Francisco Bar area is interested in seeing The Lowest Pair at Doc's Lab on September 8th, drop me a note here or via email (see my Profile). I'd love to meet up with some of you and enjoy the evening together.

I know...bluegrass/roots music isn't for everyone, but this is the group I can't stop playing lately. Summer tends to pull me back to my redneck roots. Plus Kendl Winter was nice enough to answer some questions I had about lyrics and references to Richard Brautigan. Short answer: Yes, the references are there. Nice to know I haven't hit complete dotage yet. Although I'm pretty sure it won't be long...

Update: Looks like I'll be going to their Santa Cruz show on September 11 instead. They keep adding dates, so be sure to check their website for changes and additions.

Update: An interview with the group at The Grateful Web, which includes a writers they enjoy.