29 April 2011

Now I wish Wills and Kate the very best of luck in their life together...

...and I have no reason to doubt all that I've heard about their loving each other. 

But, let's say, for a moment, that things don't work out for the couple. 

If the marriage doesn't work, I fear that they both will be trapped in a way that even Wills' mom and pop weren't -- since this is the way it's supposed to be done. 

For, if THIS doesn't work, who's gonna break it to a) the royal family, b) the British people, c) the world?

Not Kate and Wills, I bet.    

The Tap Dance Forecast in CT: RIDICULOUSLY SUNNY (both in the short- and long-term)!

Okay, Tap Fans, before Sunday evening, you gotta get to Playhouse on Park in West Hartford where the stop/time dance theatre is performing their latest show "Swing Set," a fast-paced joyous celebration of swing dancing and the music that inspired it.  Conceived, directed, and choreographed by Darlene Zoller (also one of the artistic directors of Playhouse on Park), the show uses every inch of space in the Playhouse...and

there's something especially invigorating in feeling the tapping in your seats as the dancers go up the aisles (Think "Sensurround" but without the silly disaster movie!) The performers, as always with Zoller-choreographed shows, dance hard and often, with the necessary breaks filled with singing. 

My favorite numbers were "Tuxedo Junction", "Sing Sing Sing,"  and "Sing You Sinners," although there wasn't a dance number that I didn't like.  The entire company earns their just applause with their committed and enthusiastic energy and remarkable skill.  A particular shout out to Ms. Zoller, who indeed practices what she teaches, i.e., tapping is all about the sound, and, when she was out on the floor, I could hear her tapping as clear as a bell -- no matter how many others were on the floor!  Never showing off, just showing how it's done.  

If I had two nits to pick, they'd be 1) bag the microphones for the singers since the space seems intimate enough for voices unplugged and a quieter pause may even be more refreshing, and 2) don't change the chorus of "I Got Rhythm" by replacing "my girl/guy" with "rhythm."  Maybe it was just "old fogey" me (which wouldn't be surprising), but I got distracted for a couple verses in trying to figure out why the song wasn't sounding right.

The show only runs through the matinee on Sunday, 1 May, so "It Won't Mean a Thing" if you don't "Pick up the Phone."   When you do, then, and only then, are you "Beginning to See the Light!"

As far as the longer-range Tap forecast here in Connecticut, it's just as bright because you have until June 25th to catch My One and Only at the Goodspeed Opera House.  Billed a "Tap Dance Extravaganza," the show doesn't disappoint.  The clever script and the kind of inventive staging for which the Goodspeed is known, not to mention a s'wonderful Gershwin score, make this a great springtime show!

And since the tap stars were out on opening night of Swing Set, I'd be remiss not to mention Josh Hilberman's upcoming show,  “Lois’ Tap Lane” All-Star Tap and Jazz Salute, on Friday, May 13, at 8pm at the Regent Theatre in Arlington, MA.

22 April 2011

A Holy Week Poem (Still Under Construction)


There’s something sobering about demanding
Barabbas’s release each Passion Sunday
(rehearsed again Good Friday) because, truth told,
I’m not a strong man and, had I been there that
day, I’d surely have cast my lot with the mob.

There’s something freeing in shouting “Crucify
him!” each Holy Week because, face facts, I’m
Simon: talking tough at supper, running scared
by midnight, praying that forty-plus days hence
Paraclete’s refreshing flames petrify me.

[1] The designation in the Roman Catholic missalette for the lines to be recited by "Groups of Speakers," i.e., the congregation, during Holy Week readings of the Passion.

A blessed Good Friday, all!

15 April 2011

My contribution to National Library Week at CCSU!

That's a copy of Pete Hamill's great book Why Sinatra Matters I'm holding
(a book I wish I'd written)

That should get the kids to read, right?

14 April 2011

A Taxing Walk through New Britain

Ever do one of those illogical things and assume that there MUST be some meaning to it?

Today I finally did our taxes (federal and state).  The CT taxes must be filed on-line now -- alas, I miss the phone filing we used to be able to do -- while the federal ones can be done on-line or not.  When I clicked the button to begin the on-line process for the IRS, it said that we would be leaving the IRS website to go to one run by a private company that "may use the information differently than the IRS" (or something equally ominous sounding).  Well, THAT wasn't going to happen, so, instead, I completed the various forms in hard copy.

Now comes the illogical act.  I decided that, since I needed to mail them (to Missouri, really?), I'd walk to the post office, which, from the house, is well beyond Walnut Hill Park, the usual opposite endpoint to my walks.  In short, having rejected the easiest solution (on-line filing), now I was also rejecting putting the envelope in the mailbox right outside my front door, a mailbox down the street near Lincoln Elementary School, or even waiting until I went out with the car later on (or even tomorrow), since taxes aren't due until Monday, the 18th.

As I began my walk to the post office, with tax form under my arm, on this sunny, warm, mid-April day, I attempted to find some larger meaning to it.  After all, that's a pretty good picture right there, right?  But I wasn't walking in protest (against big or little government); I wasn't being ludditical (against e-filing); I was just walking.

But as I walked out of my neighborhood, through the park, past the hospital, down Arch Street, past some restaurants and matrkets, past the Friendship and Pathways/Senderos Centers, and some empty store fronts, past the Hole-in-the-Wall Theatre and Trinity-on-Main, and, on my return, past the courthouse, several small mom-and-pop businesses, and through the neighborhood that extends the full length of Monroe Street, I realized that all this is at least some of what our taxes go to support......well, that, and a huge military-industrial complex.

I'm pretty sure this won't become an annual walk to accompany the annual tax ritual (especially if it's not a pretty day), but, in the end, I'm quite glad that I took that walk.

13 April 2011

"Charlotte, Meet Catullus"

An original poem I shared with my Greek and Roman Lit and Latin classes (based on the sparrow poem of Catullus, specifically; the Catullan oeurve, generally; and the Sex and the City episode starring that device). 

I'm not a fan of the show (finding it a more lascivious and less funny knockoff of Seinfeld), but it works nicely here, I think.


Sex in the Eternal City
(a.k.a., “Charlotte, Meet Catullus”)
joy of woman’s desiring
with whom in her lap she plays and replays
to whom selflessly she offers herself




surely you satisfy my Sweet
soothing her hollowed sighs.

Would that I could
enjoy her as you do
lifting her spirits so.

On this date in baseball history (or "how to finish a triple")...

From Today in Baseball History 1963 Reds' second baseman Pete Rose triples off Pirates' pitcher Bob Friend to collect his first major league hit. The future all-time hit leader had gone hitless in his first 11 major league at bats. The REAL question, of course, is whether he slid head-first into 3rd base!And nota bene: in all his head-first slides (and other base running collisions), he never broke his arm like that dope Josh Hamilton did last night.

10 April 2011

A hit, no errors! (Playhouse on Park's "The Comedy of...")

Playhouse on Park has brought Stages on the Sound's production of The Comedy of Errors to West Hartford, and it works very very well.  The play, of course, concerns the confusion wrought by two sets of separated twins in the heart of Ephesus and is made even more manic here by all the parts being played by an ensemble of four (!?!) talented and high-energy actors, Brad DePlanche, Vanessa Morosco, Jesse Graham, and Brendan Norton.  The audience was especially endeared to Mr. DePlanche (as the two Dromios and, especially, as the Abbess Amelia), but all four displayed the kind of total commitment that a small theatre space demands and rewards -- especially with audience members seated adjacent to the stage to assist with those scenes when four bodies just were not enough.
Directed by Will Ditterline, the production is a slam-bang 100 minutes without intermission.  The action moves briskly and often hilariously...with every aspect of the performances (accents, costumes, set, and even the sound effects which are all generated by the actors themselves) aimed at making the audience laugh. 

And laugh we did.

Catch it before it closes on 17 April, and, in the meantime, if someone mistakes you for someone else, well...have fun with it (you just may have a long-lost twin)!

06 April 2011

Dad Loves His Work (April 5th edition)

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

7:30 AM      Arrive at WFCS and begin pre-"Frank, Gil, and Friends" broadcasting
8:00 AM      "Frank, Gil, and Friends"
10:15 AM    In office, write test for Friday's Eng 210 test and other class prep
12:00 PM    Advising
2:00 PM      Run various errands on campus (library, Student Center, DiLoreto Hall)
3:00 PM      DEC meeting for non-English Department
5:00 PM      SA/LD Recognition Dinner
7:30 PM      Kentucky Cycle, Part II and post-performance panel
10:30 PM    Head home


02 April 2011

Requiescant in pace (not war): Vandalism in Waltnut Hill Park

While on a glorious sunny and breezy walk through Walnut Hill Park today (soundtrack by Elvis Costello variously solo, with the Attractions, and with the Brodsky Quartet), I was met with the disheartening sight of vandalism at the WW I memorial in the rose garden atop the park.  Scrawled on the obelisk and its base, in blue spray paint, are the words "peace not war" and a peace symbol.

Clearly the idiot person who sprayed this doesn't understand that a war memorial doesn't celebrate war but rather soberly commemorates the human cost of such conflicts.  That the aforesaid idiot person thinks (and I use that term very loosely) that a fairly cliched baby-blue spray painted slogan is, in any way, a bold political or philosophical statement shows how little (s)he knows.

While I heartily agree with the basic sentiment, its execution, placement, and the hardly-unexpected reaction to it suggests a thoughtless act of desecration rather than a profound cry for peace.

Whoever you are, grow up.  And protest the wars productively.

01 April 2011

Talkin' Childhood Play and Baby Boomers...

...for the Free Play Project of National Wildlife Federation.

What did you play when you were growin' up?

Click the link above and listen to Mary Collins talk to me and others about our childhood play.