Saturday, May 29, 2021

Sunday Post #amwriting #amjoy

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Today's post will link up to The Sunday SalonThe Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelve, Reader Book Buzz  for weekly updates.

           LOOKING FORWARD TO MAY



This weekend I went to Wisconsin Dells.  I got in early Saturday so I wrote this post in advance.  I'm hoping to take my son to the Trampoline Park and to the Bumper Cars.  I may go ziplining and horseback riding.  Our hotel was a lot nicer than I expected, equipped with an electric chimney and two beds for the price of one.  There's a lot more things to see at the Dells, including 23-foot transformers.


I talked to writers about 'Infinite Jest' by David Foster Wallace and whether we should read complex texts that we don’t understand, if we should read more enjoyable ones.

  I also got this idea to practice my Spanish with improv exercises on ZOOM. This idea to me because I learned that there's a theater in Amsterdam whose citizens are learning English for the first time. 




Photos from my week


Friday Delight Theater




Upcoming shows


Man of God by Anna Moench, directed by Katie Bradley, at Theater Mu (Virtual)
During a mission trip to Bangkok, the four members of a Korean Christian girls’ youth group discover that their revered pastor has hidden a camera in their hotel bathroom. Their communal rage and disillusionment fuel increasingly violent revenge fantasies amidst the no-holds-barred neon bubblegum sex-tourism mecca of Bangkok.

On our Channel

Thabiso Rowan sings 







  • “Be for something and against nothing.” Michael Bernard Beckwith

CURRENTLY 

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Sunday Post #amwriting #amjoy

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Today's post will link up to The Sunday SalonThe Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelve, Reader Book Buzz  for weekly updates.

           LOOKING FORWARD TO MAY

T
This week I talked to people about audio books and their growing popularity; how they're becoming more creative.  For instance, Now Elisabeth Moss reads The Handmaid’s Tale,  and Meryl Streep narrated Charlotte’s Web and even Michelle Obama read 19 hours of her own memoir. Many audiobooks have an ensemble cast along with a reader.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Sunday Post #amwriting #amjoy

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Today's post will link up to The Sunday SalonThe Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelve, Reader Book Buzz  for weekly updates.

           LOOKING FORWARD TO MAY

Happy Sunday Everyone! Today I have with me, Lizzie Chantree who is an international bestselling author and award-winning inventor.


Friday, May 14, 2021

Flashback review Virtue and Vice in 'Becky Shaw' at the Gremlin Theatre


Becky Shaw is written by Gina Gionfriddo and directed by Ellen Fenster, showing at the Gremlin Theatre in St. Paul through January 26th,2020.

Unfettered relationships seem consistent in Gionfriddo's script, even though the main character, Susan, has a romantic view of what relationships should look like.  Detangling the web of lies begins with Becky, (Chelsie Newhard) who is set up on a date with Max (Logan Verdoorn), his adopted sister, Susan (Jodi Kellogg), and her husband, Andrew (Kevin Fanshaw).

Max interprets the set up as a mistake. “She’s a thirty-five-year-old office temp with no money, no friends, no relationships, no family...How the fuck could you set me up with that?”  Things gets worse from there, with all four characters involved in a spiral of self-destruction.

Max’s character is sarcastic, forward, and crude evidenced by lines like, “Love is a happy by-product of use,” or “I know you’re in a sad Buddhist phase.” Throughout the play, I found myself thinking Oh my God, did he just say that?! A patron I interviewed had this to say about Max's character: “He’s the quintessential guy that men in this audience can relate to.” Whether this was true or not, I found myself deeply immersed in the performance.

Andrew, Susan’s nerdy husband comes off as a goofy, innocent pushover. And Suzanna claims he enjoys his role as a man who saves women and then abandons them. “You left your anorexic girlfriend after she gained ten pounds.”

It’s well written using moments of silence to create tension and then a well placed line to provide relief as the audience roared in laughter. At times, lights cast down on two characters sitting at a park bench or a table discussing personal matters, and I was so close it felt like a bird looking down into her nest. Musical interludes between scenes enabled actors to move in a rhythmic purposeful pace, so that even set changes were impressive to watch.



Simple sets, designed by Carl Schoenborn helped create hotel and living room scenes. Even though a large scale bed was left in many scenes, the electronic scenic projections helped create the scene's backdrop with images of bookshelves and photographs like a picture of Audrey Hepburn. The use of technology helped me understand the future of theatre, and the solution to a problem many organizations face when mounting live productions.


If you like entertainment that is riveting and thought-provoking, come and see this exciting production. The Gremlin Theatre is staging this play in its new space at St. Paul's Vandalia Tower. Free parking is available in the huge lot on Wabash Avenue near the water tower. There is also a lot across the street on the north side of Wabash Avenue. Enter the Annex building via the double doors next to Lake Monster brewery.

"I Love to Eat" at Commonweal Theatre




Commonweal Theatre in Lanesboro, Minnesota is in its 33rd season. Since 1989, this theater has produced soulful stories with honesty and creativity, and from April to June, you can virtually watch their newest production I Love to Eat, written by James Still and directed by Hal Cropp. This is a one man show based on James Beard, a televised cook whose show aired on NBC from August 1946 to May 1947.

 I never knew about James Beard before this production and if you exhibit signs of attention deficit like I do, you may find yourself pausing this Youtube Virtual show to look up facts about Beard.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Sunday Post



 Today's post will link up to The Sunday SalonThe Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelve, Reader Book Buzz  for weekly updates.

           LOOKING FORWARD TO MAY

Happy Mother's Day!! (My four year old says)

I drove for Rideshare and took a few people to get their vaccines and had the best conversations. One of my clients was from China and we talked about traveling, including Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Korea. Get this, you can be fined for chewing gum in Singapore and an officer will show up to your door with a ticket. The country prides itself in the fact that women and children can safely walk the streets after 10pm.

Another client was a couple who said they met as neighbors many years ago. hey were on their way to pick up their car from a place called the 280 station. I also house sat for my sister who went to Michigan to see my Nephew's baseball game.
This week I talked to some writers about 'What the Health' a documentary on Netflix. Its a documentary on Netflix that discussed the link between diet and disease.
Lastly, I did some sketch comedy with a group and it was real fun coming up with sketches and expanding on them at the Writer's table.

Photos from my week

Me (lower left)





Upcoming Virtual Shows



The Revolutionists By Lauren Gunderson

Directed by Hannah Weinberg-Goerge

Video-on-demand available April 24–May 2, 2021

tickets at www.lyricarts.org




Mark & I talk with Michael Matthew Ferrell, Executive Director and Founder, & Jason Hanson, Musical Director for Alive & Kickin'. It's a great organization that involves seniors over 60 singing dancing and performing rock music.







That's my week.  Tell me about yours in the comments below.

CURRENTLY 

 Reading

, Rachel Howzell Hall's brilliant stand-alone novel brings seven sinners to a private island for a reckoning








Sunday, May 2, 2021

"The Last Match" at Writers Theatre

                              "The Last Match" (courtesy of Writers Theatre)


Writers Theatre continues to captivate Chicagoland audiences with inventive interpretations of classic works under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma. Their newest show “The Last Match,” is a play about fictional tennis characters, their stories, and the result of the U.S. Open semifinal.

What happens when a young Russian tennis phenom, Sergei, and an American superstar, Tim, meet at center court? They bring with them a rich history that draws you inside the minds of all the characters as they face challenges in sport, life, and love.

This virtual experience is entertaining to watch with its fast paced monologues delivered by Ryan Hallahan (Tim) who refers to the birth of his son, “It's the most beautiful moment, you don’t feel the pressure, failure,or death.  The ambition, and the coming up short.”

Christopher Sheard (Sergei) says, “I had to be hard on myself...I had extraordinary skills of hand-eye coordination at a young age and trained in Italy France, and America.”

Choreographer Steph Paul inserts the right amount of stops and starts so the plot is interwoven throughout.  You'll shout along with the players as they excel in glory, whether it be pivoting and serving a ball to victory or when a character is on his back crying out in agony.

“The Last Match is ostensibly about tennis, but it is also about the process of aging, the navigation of a relationship amidst an all-consuming passion, the toll of obsessive commitment to work and family and the things we do in order to feel young, current and important.” says Director Michael Halberstam.

In the second half of the film, I noticed the character dynamic shift. Sergei pauses mid court and there’s a flashback scene where the truths of his interpersonal relationships are revealed including the death of his parents and the impact it had on his career.

In another scene, Tim and his wife, Mallory (Kayla Carter) are dealt with the news of a subsequent miscarriage. I'm thinking of my birth, as her hands are abdomen. It's an unforgettable emotional scene. Mallory delivers heartfelt monologues so visceral, you want to shout “You go, girl” and “Tell him!” Images of the 2000 film “Love and Basketball” came to mind.

”The Last Match” will continue streaming! Available on-demand through May 30 at overture.plus/patron/Writers-Theatre

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Sunday Post with Heather Burnside

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Happy Asian Pacific American Heritage Month


 Today's post will link up to The Sunday SalonThe Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelve, Reader Book Buzz  for weekly updates.

           LOOKING FORWARD TO APRIL

Writer Heather Burnside is with me today. Heather has had ten books published to date: two trilogies plus the first four books in a series of five. The fifth and final book in the series is due to be published in January 2022.


Heather, can you talk about your books?

All my novels are in the gritty crime genre and are based in Manchester, UK. The first trilogy features the Manchester gang wars of the 1990s, the second features the Manchester door wars of the 90s when gangs took over the doors of nightclubs and pubs in Manchester, and my current series revolves around the lives of sex workers in the city.


What drew you to write in this genre? 

I spent my teen years on one of the toughest estates in Manchester. During the 1990s gangs moved into the estate and it was constantly in the press because of problems with drugs, shootings etc. Although I had left the estate by this stage, it piqued my interest. Also, when I am developing my characters I draw characteristics from some of the people who lived on the estate.


What is your favorite motivational phrase?

I don’t really have one to be honest, but I spur myself on by telling myself, ‘I can and I will’.

Which writers inspire you? And what are you reading now?

I draw my inspiration from actual events, characters, news articles and TV documentaries rather than from other writers. However, I do have some favourite authors in the genres of sagas and thrillers including Catherine Cookson and Jeffery Deaver. Many of the books I read have a triumph over adversity theme which is evident in my writing, so this has perhaps influenced my writing to an extent. Currently I am reading The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths.


Heather Burnside grew up in Gorton, a working-class area of Manchester famed as the original location for the TV series, Shameless. She moved from Gorton to Longsight and spent her teenage years on one of the toughest estates in Manchester. Heather draws heavily on this background as the setting for many of her novels.

To date she has published ten novels and is currently working on her eleventh. You can find out more about Heather's books by signing up to her mailing list at: http://eepurl.com/CP6YP to receive regular updates, or by viewing her website:www.heatherburnside.com





That's my week.  Tell me about yours in the comments below.

CURRENTLY 

From the author of this blog...This week I found myself driving ride share again. I picked up an ice cream truck driver and a computer programmer who got into a recent car accident but wasn't mangled. He talked to me about how he envisioned himself as a writer when he was a kid. As I say to anyone 'Its never too late to start writing.'

I also went to the allergy clinic to get tested for peanut allergy. My results were negative, thank God! I don't know what gives, I think it may be my GI tract is incredibly off because I have the worse acid reflux one could have. I know too that my birth mother had a hard time with both her liver and gallblader. I'm crossing my fingers.

Either way, I also talked to writers about their craft and what enables a writer to keep motivated to write. I learned about the pomodoro technique, which states to write for 25 minutes, take a break and repeat. It helps! I love talking to writers every morning about their craft and you get some ideas that are helpful.









Someone recommended me this book because its supposed to have magical realism, which I love. I usually get my magical realism from writers like Alice Hoffman and Haruki Murakami






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