Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Friday, August 15, 2014

Whipping Boy and Shakespeare

Both my parents liked words. My father was a lawyer and he early on discovered the delight little kids take in repeating words that sound like nonsense words. I knew how to pronounce posse comitatus before I could spell "cat." And I wasn't that much older when I learned what it meant, which put me way ahead in civics class. My mother favored archaic English phrases like "dogsbody" and "whipping boy" and "dog in the manger." These were phrases my siblings and I learned as kids and I freely used them in conversation until I moved to L.A. and found that people were giving me blank looks, so I stopped. But I still love those words and I chose "Whipping Boy" as the title of my mystery novella because the plot revolves around a murder of a scapegoat. Shakespeare, of course, used all those phrases (and more). Or so I thought until I started searching for the phrase and none of my usual go-to sources could find it. (Plenty of places where one person or another was whipped, and also a reference to "Whipping Boy" in Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper, but no joy on Shakesperae. Sigh At any rate, I'm offering my novella free for the next five days in case you'd like to read it. There are 10 reviews now (almost all of them by people I don't actually know) and eight of them are five stars! You can snag a copy here.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Sulu & Shakespeare

Before he was the awesome force of nature and social media guru he is today, George Takei was known for his role on Star Trek
. In 1969 he gave this interview mentioning his desire to act in three of Shakespeare's greatest plays, taking on the roles of Hamlet, Brutus and Richard III. I don't know if he ever played any of those roles, but I would love to see him take on some of Shakespeare's great mature roles, like Prospero, or Lear.

Monday, Monday

thanks to the bodacious quotatious geeks at Search Quotes, I discovered a whole slew of Monday quotes, some of them by Shakespeare. the Internet, always boggling my mind.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

If Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie had a daughter...

She would be the gorgeous Salony Luthra, who is one of the stars in the Indian film noir Sarabham, which got a snarky review from the Hindu Times, but sounds interesting nonetheless. Hre in L.A. it's possible to see a lot of films made outside the US, but it's good to know that Netflix and Hulu and other outfits are constantly casting their nets for content.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Shakespeare and sharks

When I saw the ads for Sharknado 2, I found myself wondering if Shakespeare ever used the word "shark." (After all, he knew about tigers, and there are no tigers in England while there are most definitely sharks in the waters around the island.) Turns out he used it twice, once as a noun and once as a verb. In Macbeth, shark parts are listed as ingredients of the witches' potion: Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf, Witches’ mummy, maw and gulf, Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark. In Hamlet, Horatio uses the verb in reference to Fortinbras: Now, sir, young Fortinbras, Of unimproved mettle hot and full, Hath in the skirts of Norway here and there Shark’d up a list of lawless resolutes and of course, in the Broadway musical West Side Story, inspired by Romeo & Juliet
, one of the street gangs is called "the Sharks."

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Plague on Both Your Houses

In Romeo & Juliet, the doomed Mercutio curses the Montagues and the Capulets as he dies, victim of the long-running feud that will soon claim two more victims. The idea of "plague" was not a theoretical concept in Shakespeare's time. Most scholars believe R&J was written between 1591 and 1495. By the 14th century, Black Plague had reduced the population of western Europe by as much as 100 million. Less than a decade after the debut of Romeo & Juliet, in 1603, London was hit with a plague that killed 38,000. The Great Longon Plague of 1665-1666 was the last major outbreak of Plague in England, which is a good thing because it killed 100,000 people, or bout 15% of London's population. Wishing a plague on a family is a terrible, terrible curse.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

More casting Shakespeare and a Separated at Birth

Two of the actors I'd most like to see in a Shakespeare play are Frank Langella and Benedict Cumberbatch. I saw Langella in the stage version of Dracula years ago and I saw the film of the Danny Boyle Frankenstein he did alternating the title role with Jonny Lee Miller. (Who rocked, by the way.)and I realized that Langella and Cumberbatch share a certain flair. What do you think?