5.27.2013

And still more adventures

Othello: The Remix at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater
As I mentioned here, we so loved this CST production when we saw it in early April that we decided to return. It may not have been the finest bit of planning to choose a Saturday evening performance on the holiday weekend (since the theater is located on Navy Pier, a huge tourist attraction), but the show was even better than the first time and certainly well worth braving the crowds. (Reviews here and here.)

The Misanthrope at the Court Theatre
Earlier that afternoon, we attended a terrific performance of The Misanthrope. As I mentioned, we read Molière's play in anticipation of seeing The School for Lies (a retelling of The Misanthrope) at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. While we greatly enjoyed that, we appreciated seeing "the original" -- particularly this cleverly staged production. (Review here.)

■ We also had time for two 9.3-mile bike rides* and a three-mile walk at the Volo Bog State Natural Area this weekend.


* Which puts us at only 78.3 miles so far this biking season. We've been walking a lot more, though, so, as they say, it all works out.

5.24.2013

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5.20.2013

Reading life review

Number of books read in 2013: 43
Complete list of books read in 2013 can be found here.
Number of books read since last "reading life review" post: 7
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The 5th Wave (Rick Yancey; 2013. 480 pages. Fiction.) The comparisons to The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins) and The Road (Cormac McCarthy) caused me to hope for much more than this novel could deliver.

Very Good, Jeeves (P.G. Wodehouse; ed. 2006. 304 pages. Fiction.) Precisely the palette-cleanser that was needed.

Animal Man, Vol. 1 (Jeff Lemire; 2012. 144 pages. Graphic fiction.) Not sure I quite grasp the significance of "The New 52" (being still rather new to graphic works), but Lemire (the genius behind Sweet Tooth) brought me to this.

Saga, Vol. 2 (Brian Vaughn; 2013. 144 pages. Graphic fiction.) Since it collects Issues 7 through 12, I'm giving myself credit for this one. The local comic shop persuaded me I couldn't / shouldn't wait for Vol. 2. Heh, heh, heh.

 ■ Life Itself (Roger Ebert; 2011. 448 pages. Memoir.) I had meant to read it sooner... personal, folksy, insightful, rambling, poetic, and poignant.

 ■ So Much for That (Lionel Shriver; 2011. 480 pages. Fiction.) All but the glittering rich are a health crisis away from financial ruin. This excellent novel -- about marriage, friendship, illness, death, and "The Afterlife" (no, not that one) -- ably explores this fundamental truth. Highly recommended.

Richard III (William Shakespeare ((1592); Folger ed. 2005. 352 pages. Drama.) With the Misses.

Act I, Scene iii
And thus I clothe my naked villany
With old odd ends stolen out of holy writ,
And seem a saint when most I play the devil.

5.18.2013

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5.17.2013

Further adventures

Henry VIII at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater
After seeing the rehearsal, we were certainly anticipating the play -- and were not disappointed. Ora Jones as Katherine of Aragon and Scott Jaeck as Cardinal Wolsey were the standouts. Reviews can be found here and here.

■ Oklahoma! at the Lyric
We actually purchased our tickets for this on the way home from La Bohème in late January. Spectacular! Not your typical Lyric Opera fare, this Rodgers and Hammerstein classic benefitted from the full orchestra, grand voices, and larger-than-life treatment. We loved it. Reviews here and here.

Yo-Yo Ma and Chicago Symphony Orchestra Musicians
This was our third time seeing Ma, but all of us agreed that the real star of the evening was the CSO's Yuan-Qing Yu, who played in both Dvořák's American String Quartet and Beethoven's Septet.

The Great Gatsby
Fitzgerald's novel figured prominently in our studies last term; in fact, Miss M-mv(i) is still knee-deep in the author's collected letters, and Mellow's biography of the Fitzgeralds is on my nightstand. Because we love the book and because we thoroughly enjoyed Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, we were beyond excited about his new film, so Mr. M-mv took us to the first show in our area when it was released. As we exited the theater, Miss M-mv(ii) dubbed it "Gatsby for Dummies," and for the most part, our assessment goes downhill from there: The color palette was distracting; the computer-generated effects (e.g., Nick's garden path) were obvious and often silly, as was the text on the screen; for that matter, the narrative framing device did not work (i.e., Nick is changed, matured, resigned by his experiences -- not broken). And so on. None of us expected the movie to be the book, but we expected... better. Two bright spots: the anachronistic soundtrack worked for us, and Leonardo DiCaprio was, as always, magnetic.

Upcoming adventures:

■ We so loved Othello: The Remix at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater that we're going to see it again later this month.

■ And we'll also head to the Court Theatre for The Misanthrope. Earlier this academic year, we read Molière's play in anticipation of seeing The School for Lies (a retelling of The Misanthrope) at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. We thoroughly enjoyed The School for Lies, but we're looking forward to seeing "the original."

5.12.2013

Spring recital

Earlier this month, we attended Miss M-mv(i)'s second violin recital. (She has been studying violin for a year now.) In the image above, she and her accompanist, Miss M-mv(ii), are tuning and warming up. If the image looks familiar, the program was held in the same venue (and the same dresses) in November.

5.06.2013

Reading life review


Number of books read in 2013: 36
Complete list of books read in 2013 can be found here.
Number of books read since last "reading life review" post: 6
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Two or Three Things I Forgot to Tell You (Joyce Carol Oates; 2013. 288 pages. Fiction.) Suicide. Emotional abuse. Cutting. Divorce. This is twenty-first-century "problem novel" if ever there were one! More about JCO here.

Dare Me (Megan Abott; 2012. 304 pages. Fiction.) Looking for "television in print," I stumbled on this psychological study of cheerleaders and their new coach. Got what I came for.

The Gaslight Effect: How to Spot and Survive the Hidden Manipulation Others Use to Control Your Life (Robin Stern; 2007. 288 pages. Non-fiction.) Background information for a fiction piece.

Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked (James Lansdun; 2013. 224 pages. Non-fiction.) From Amazon's description:
... Give Me Everything You Have chronicles the author’s strange and harrowing ordeal at the hands of a former student, a self-styled “verbal terrorist,” who began trying, in her words, to “ruin him.” Hate mail, online postings, and public accusations of plagiarism and sexual misconduct were her weapons of choice and, as with more conventional terrorist weapons, proved remarkably difficult to combat. James Lasdun’s account, while terrifying, is told with compassion and humor, and brilliantly succeeds in turning a highly personal story into a profound meditation on subjects as varied as madness, race, Middle East politics, and the meaning of honor and reputation in the Internet age.
Harvest (A.J. Lieberman; 2013. 128 pages. Graphic fiction.) A grisly journey into the underground world of organ transplants.

The Guilty One (Lisa Ballantyne; 2013. 480 pages. Fiction.) The conclusion is apparent in the first fifty pages, but the secondary story was a taut psychological study.

5.03.2013

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