Sunday, May 2, 2010

Top Ten Shakespeare spin-offs

Who doesn't love a good ol' Shakespeare spin off?

#s 9 and 1o. Ten Things I Hate About You and She's the Man-- Two sterling tween movie adaptations of classic Shakespeare comedies, namely The Taming of the Shrew and Twelfth Night. Set in modern (or what was modern in 1999 and 2006) highschools, these movies are charming, some-what-ridiculous, spin offs on Shakespeare.

#s 7 and 8. West Side Story and Kiss me Kate-- Although both are Broadway Musicals, these two adaptations could not be more different. West Side Story (by James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim) is a tragic retelling of Romeo and Juliet through the lives of West Side gang members. Cole Porter's Kiss me Kate, on the other hand, is a comic story of the lives of two sets of actor couples as they all four star in a new musical based on The Taming of the Shrew. With posters like the ones above, how could they go wrong?

#6. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead-- This play by Tom Stoppard is a retelling of Hamlet from the point of view of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Alternately comic, baffeling, and poignant, there is no denying that this play really rocks.

#5. Millais' "Ophelia"-- this painting speaks for itself.
#4. "They All Want To Play Hamlet"-- This poem by Carl Sandburg gives me the shivers.

#3. Rufus Wainright's "Sonnet Twenty Nine"--breathtakingly beautiful.
#2. Sassy gay friend-- These hillarious Youtube videos by the second city theater company show what would have happened had various tragic heroines had a sassy gay friend to cheer them up.

The ones for Desdemona and Ophelia are also well worth watching.

#1. Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet-- If you haven't seen this... I don't even know what to say to you.

-Hamletmachine, by Muller
-Shakespeare in Love

Friday, March 26, 2010


Copyright: 1885
Full title: The Wonders of the Universe: A record of Things Wonderful and Marvelous in Nature, Science and Art
This glorious junk store find is a compilation of, as the title states, "wonders of the universe" or at least what they were at the time.
The introduction to this tome of wonders begins by instructing the reader on how to become a "cultured person", namely by reading this book.
After the introduction comes another introduction which informs the reader that "We are passing from the age of steam into that of electricity" and therefore many of the entries in this encyclopedia will concern this new technology.
Indeed, electricity does seem to be a recurring theme amidst a sea of other entries wildly varying between such topics as giant cuttlefish, tattooing, deep sea divers, the suez canal, robots, red wood trees, flagellation, and "curiosities of patent law".
Other entries seem as similar to ones you might find in The Guinness Book of World Records or Ripley's Believe it or Not. "Crimes Discovered Through Dreams", "Some Strange Wills", "Curious Press Blunders", and "At Sea In A Coffin" being a few.
The best part of this wondrous book however, would have to be its illustrations. View below.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Top Ten Best Last Sentences--Spoiler Alert

The requirements for this were that I had read the book and that the last sentence wasn't too-too much of a spoiler. Here's my list:

"Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do. You start missing everybody" ~The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

9. "I love you, I love you, I love you." ~I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith

8. "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." ~The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

7. "That's the story of the gardener and the gentry and now you can think about it." ~"The Gardener and the Gentry" Hans Christian Anderson

6. "If I were a younger man I would write a history of human stupidity; and I would climb to the top of Mount MaCabe and lie down on my back with my history for a pillow; and I would make a statue of my self, lying on my back, grinning horribly, and thumbing my nose at You Know Who." ~Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut (surprisingly, he is not talking about Lord Voldemort...)

5. "Come, Children, let us shut the box of puppets, for our play is played out." ~Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery

4. "But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the forest a boy and his Bear will always be playing."~Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne

3. "I am haunted by humans."~ The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

2. "A glooming peace this morning with it brings/the sun for sorrow will not show its head/go forth to have more talk of these sad things/some shall be pardoned and some punished/for never was a story of more woe/ than this of Juliet and her Romeo." ~ Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

1. "The End"

Do you have any additions to make to this list? Comment it up!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Falling in Love with Fictional Characters and the People who Write Them

Mr. Darcy, Sirius Black, Romeo Montague, Holden Caulfield, Will (of His Dark Materials), Newland Archer, Simon Cotton, Edmond Dantes, Jay Gatsby, I love you all. Will you be my valentines?

I think we've all experienced it, falling head over heals for someone who doesn't exist. And sometimes it isn't just the one. The number of characters from the Harry Potter Series that could be included in that list is mind boggling.

Sometimes it's not just a character but a whole book that you fall in love with. And I don't mean "I love this book. it's one of my favorites." I mean in love.

And sometimes its the books author. As the character Mandella from Ten Things I Hate About You says about William Shakespeare "More than a fan. We're involved." Hilarious, yes. But who doesn't engage in this sort of wishful thinking? Especially if Shakespeare looks anything like the actor who plays him in Shakespeare in Love:
Here's a great Moxy Fruvous song about just this. Really catchy and quite funny as well.