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I tripped over this on YouTube last week and I've been enjoying it ever since.

The above is both hilarious (Happy ending for all them white girls.) and a good analysis. Some of the others are as good if not better. Enjoy!
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I saw Kenneth Branagh as Judd in Another Country about a month into its original run. I've seen many of his productions whether he's been director, actor, or both. One of the things which strikes me is his casting. Sometimes he takes risks that don't work out; I'd count Keanu Reeves as Don John in Much Ado About Nothing as one of those, but bless them both for trying it.

The May-June production at the Garrick Theatre will be Romeo and Juliet. I did not get to see the production Branagh directed and starred in with Samantha Bond as his Juliet. The Mercutio was, from what I've been able to tell, a RADA classmate of his, so Romeo and Mercutio were of an age.

Most of the productions I've seen, Mercutio's usually a little bit older than Romeo, say five years-ish.

Derek Jacobi will be playing Mercutio in the new production. (Richard Madden who plays Prince Kit in the live-action Cinderella is playing Romeo and in Cinderella Jacobi plays his father the King.) Since Jacobi has played Branagh's father at least once, and Branagh joked about being old enough to be the father to his actors in Cinderella, this is a very interesting casting choice.

Part of me can feel the hair on my neck rising just thinking about the Mercutio/Tybalt fight, especially if Tybalt is kept about Juliet's age.

Damn, I wish I had enough money to see this live.
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According to The Guardian book blog, there's a new pub about to open in Nottingham called The Lady Chatterley. The question then became what literary pub names would we like to see. My list is below.

From Dickens: The Hard Times or The Pickwick
Parade's End works as a pub name as does "The Great Tree" or "The Groby Tree."
The Seven Pillars of Wisdom would work for a microbrew pub.
The 39 Steps -- if you can negotiate them, you're not drunk.
The Broken Drum (or The Mended Drum) which needs to be big enough for fights.
The Looking Glass (or Symbolic Logic) for Lewis Carroll.
The Two Nations, maybe somewhere around Wapping?
The Moon over Soho from Ben Aaronovitch or even just The Rivers of London
The City & The City
Johnson's Ghost
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[livejournal.com profile] undauntra asked what my point was in creating the last book list and pointed out that it was heavily weighted toward English language/western European culture (English language was intentional; western European was not.) and weighted against non-fiction.

Which got me thinking, what non-fiction works should we be covering? And I think there should be a separate list for works of world literature not written originally in English.

Originally, it was just a whim based on the Mark Twain list. I wanted to show a bit about how the language we speak grew and introduce a few ideas, including references to popular culture which have stuck in the language (e.g., Sherlock Holmes). So, we'll now have at least two open slots on the original list. I was thinking of adding one of the Geste's of Robin Hood to emphasize the language evolution. I tend to like them better than Chaucer. Suggestions are welcome for the other slot.

This means that "Any Slave narrative" off my original list, starts the non-fiction list. [livejournal.com profile] undauntra suggested Godel, Escher, Bach by the other Hofstadter (Douglas rather than Richard who wrote Anti-Intellectualism in American Life), too. I love Arthur Koestler's The Act of Creation, but I think The Sleepwalkers might be better for a list aimed at teenagers. I am also tempted to include his pamphlet against the death penalty. It is credited with winning the referendum opposing the death penalty in Britain. I welcome any and all suggestions on the topics of science, mathematics, history, or philosophy in the comments.

The other new list will start with Verne's Around the World in 80 Days which was the clear winner in the poll, much to my surprise. I'm also incorporating another [livejournal.com profile] undauntra suggestion: a good translation of Journey to the West. This should be culturally broad and possibly historically broad as well. If you have specific suggestions for translations, please include that.

[Poll #1960697]
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Slate online magazine has a fascinating segment called "The Vault" where it pulls documents or artifacts from the past. Sometimes, they have a direct bearing on today's politics or ideas. Sometimes, they're just interesting pieces of a vanished world.

Today's article has a list of book recommendations for young people by Samuel Clemens. He was asked to divide them between boys and girls, but the only one he changed was Robinson Crusoe. Apparently, it was okay for boys, but girls ended up reading the poetry of Tennyson. He was cagey about favorite authors.
Read more... )
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I saw the mini-series Parade's End this weekend and consider it the best $20 I've spent on entertainment in a long while. I enjoyed it so much that I'm reading the tetralogy on which it's based. Toward the beginning of book two, written in the mid-1920s, the leading character, who's currently on invalid leave from World War I, talks about the next war, predicting it will start sometime around 1934. Much of it reads presciently, but the one thing that struck me over the head like a shovel, was that he, and presumably the author, assumed it would be the British and Germans against their "natural enemy," France.


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