Another week has come to an end, and before you know it the first month of 2020 will be over. New Year not so new anymore? I understand. But here’s what I’ve come across this week.
Reading: Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I’m about half-way through, so it should get wrapped up, maybe this weekend. There’s a familiarity I feel when reading this. I’ve only done one solo hike – the Wicklow Way just south of Dublin – and that was mostly accidental. Much like how Strayed went from concept to hike in, I believe, six months. Becoming found by getting lost is a concept I think many, perhaps all of us are familiar with.
Listening: Let the Games Begin by Aloe Blacc. I heard this at work one day, and it ear-wormed itself into my head so I had to track it down. It’s uplifting while at the same time being catchy. I hadn’t really listened to Aloe Blacc since 2010 and his Good Things album.
Spending time: Watching a lot of Jeopardy. I’ve taken the test twice – once in 2016, and again last year. Neither time I was satisfied with my performance, and, since I’ve not been called by the show’s producers, I’m guessing they weren’t either. But I’ll try again next week, and testing is January 28-30.
Hello again, campers! Ready for your campfire tales? No? Not really?
I finished listening to the Camp Red Moon short anthology, and it took me a while to recognize the voice in the second story. Kevin T. Collins, who’s performed the audiobooks to the Sam Capra series by Jeff Abbot. Speaking of, it’s about time for another installment in that series.
Anyway, here’s what’s on my plate this week.
Reading: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. Just getting started, and I haven’t seen the movie either, but I recognize the desire to travel, isolate, and found yourself. A lot of my library seems geared towards those sentiments, even if they all haven’t been read yet. A 26-year-old, reeling from tragedy, decides to make the 1100-mile solo hike.
Listening: You Learn from the Alanis Morrissette jukebox musical Jagged Little Pill. I had this in the nineties (it’s probably still floating around my cd collection somewhere). This ensemble number is really touching, and I enjoy it a lot.
Doing: Goal setting. I’ve been using a couple of resources – Designing Your Life, Tony Robbins, Seth Godin, & Tim Ferris. Before I start making cuts to some of my projects and interests, I want to make sure I’m doing it for the right reason. So having those goals set are important.
Work, work, work. Every day this week was one job or another. But I had some good creative time too.
What I’m reading: Horizon by Barry Lopez. Spoiler: at over five-hundred pages of the main text, I’ll likely not finish this within a week. I hope I do finish it though. My thoughts on this: the cover shows plain-white text of title, author, and one achievement – “National Book Award-winning author of Arctic Dreams.” The cover photo wraps to the spine, and shows blue sea along the lower half, blue sky above. The horizon, a solid white line through the middle – it’s in this line where anything is possible. If, I suppose, you can judge a book by its cover. Lopez is a travel writer, humanitarian, and environmentalist. And everything about the layout of this book makes me want to read it.
What I’m listening to: Hadestown Original Broadway Cast Recording. Hit a deep dive of Andre DeShields for the radio show this week, and revisited this soundtrack. Really a wonderful compilation of music from Anaiis Mitchell.
What I’m watching: The Mandolorian. I was a few weeks late to the game, but I caught up. Good script, solid acting, great effects. A space-Western, reminiscent of Firefly. The internet went wild for Baby Yoda (who should have a non-Yoda name that, hopefully, will be revealed soon), and I’ll admit it’s a cute critter. Looks like Gizmo from Gremlins though. Behind the mask, Pedro Pascal is doing awesome work. I think I first saw him GoT, but have tried to follow his career since.
Other things I’ve sent to friends this week:
- Rolling Stone’s profile of Adam Driver. Gearing up for Star Wars Episode IX next week, the interview hints at the character arc for Kylo Ren and gives a revealing look at the actor behind the mask.
- Another one from Rolling Stone, this one an interview with Rian Johnson regarding Knives Out. Again, loved that movie.
- From NatGeo, a look at what happens to fresh water when mountain ice doesn’t reform on these water towers.
- SNOWBALL FIGHT! The John Wick director shot this video with the iPhone 11.
Some of the things that caught my interest this week:
- Brain Pickings – My Heart. The openness and closedness of a heart is one of those things I’ve pondered for several years. Long before the emotional breakdown in 2016. This children’s poem beautifully covers the spectrum of heart acrobatics in a sparse way.
- A throwback to The OC. In this interview with Olivia Wilde she chats about the perceptions of including a queer character on the early 2000s pop culture juggernaut. (I still own the series on DVD).
- Pollution is a problem in our National Parks. I’ve only recently begun exploring the outdoors – last three or so years. So the National Parks have grown in my purview, and I even entertained becoming a park ranger for a time. Caring for our natural resources, and the places we’ve set aside to visit the wilds, is of crucial importance.
- Booming Broadway. The NYTimes reports, spoiler alert, another record year for performances on the Great White Way.
Some of the things that caught my interest this week.
- Beetlejuice the Musical. Well, I seem to be heading to New York in September. It’s odd how things happen so quickly. But, I’ll be attending this musical while up there, and hopefully seeing a few more.
- The Magic Flute by W.A. Mozart, with book by Emanuel Schikaneder & Carl Ludwig Giesecke. I was tuning in to the radio station I do my show for, and heard this piece from Die , where the baritone was singing “papagena, papagena, papagena.” I thought that I could sing the whole piece, so I borrowed the music from my friend and accompanist and began working on my German… which is atrocious.
- Online shopping vs. in-person, with relation to adverse weather conditions. Did you know rainy days can increase online sales?
- Newly-created interest in video games, as it pertains to my weekly recording sessions, has led me to some previously-unvisited corners of the internet. If you’re looking for free games to play, try this piece from Games Radar.
With Disney’s acquisition of Fox, the Mouse has become the entertainment leader (if it wasn’t already) across multiple channels – theatrics, film, television, broadcast, merchandise, and (of course) theme parks.
Blue Sky, 20th Century Fox, FX, National Geographic, and Fox Searchlight are just some of the assets being brought into the Disney brand. What this will mean for the future of cinema is nothing but conjecture.
However, I’m reminded of the argument that arose with the massive popularity of Disney Theatrics (Disney’s Lion King musical I believe was the first incident) – the Disneyfication of Broadway, where spectacle was more important than theatre.
I’d say that Broadway has always been about spectacle, and it’s not mutually exclusive of theatre. But, we’ll see what happens over the next couple of years.