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By TheophileEscargot (Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 01:32:11 PM EST) Theatre, Watching, MLP (all tags)
Theatre: "Carmen", "Born in the Gardens". Watching: "Project Nim", "Made in Dagenham", "Avengers". Links.

Saw Carmen at the Kings Head Theatre. It's another "Opera Up Close" miniature production: just a few singers, a guitarist and a pianist in a little pub theatre, with a lowlife production vibe and a colloquial English libretto.

Had a good gimmick at the start: the stars congregate in the pub amongst the crowd, stage an argument, then start singing, and lead the way into the theatre itself. It's a nicely surreal experience to be sitting in a shabby North London pub and have an opera suddenly break out around you.

I liked it a lot: brisk, seemed well-sung to me as far as I can tell, a good fun experience. Girl B thought it was a bit too cut-down though: apparently a lot was missing.

Theatre 2
Saw Born in the Gardens at the Rosemary Branch Theatre (another North London pub theatre). Timely revival of a 1979 Peter Nichols play. An elderly mother and her grown son, a book dealer and jazz fan, live in a large dilapidated Bristol house. A funeral brings the other children, a backbench MP and a brittle migrant to the US, home where they try to persuade them to move out.

I wasn't sure till I looked it up afterwards if it was a modern play or a period piece. There's some moderately heavy symbolism, with the characters torn between the crumbling economy of old Britain and soulless US-style capitalism, but it's equally appropriate to the 1979 and 2012 recessions.

Some good performances, especially the brittle MP, though the mother looked a bit too young and healthy. Good script with some funny dialogue. Worth a look.


Went to see the Dale Chihuly glassblowing exhibition as part of a Metafilter meetup. Very impressive, some beautiful works there. Some pics (not mine, forgot my camera and the phone pics were a bit crap).

Saw Project Nim on DVD. Excellent if depressing documentary about a Seventies experiment to teach a male chimpanzee sign language and bring him up with a human family. It was a significant experiment: Nim learned individual signs but never managed any kind of grammar.

However, an adult male chimpanzee is too dangerous to live with humans. After far too many attacks on his careers, he was send back first to a chimpanzee sanctuary. However, financial problems led the sanctuary to sell the chimps for medical research.

A good documentary which seems pretty even handed. However, you really want someone to grab the guy in charge and give him a hard shake for not thinking things through.

Watching 2
Saw Made in Dagenham on DVD. Decent enough movie about a Sixties strike by female workers at a Ford plant that eventually led to equal pay legislation. Very predictable but pretty well done.

Watching 3
Saw Avengers at the cinema. Excellent superhero movie bringing various various Marvel characters together. Not exactly deep but a lot of fun. Joss Whedon handles the obligatory team disagreements and eventual uniting very well.

Only downside is that the baddie seems a bit underpowered to take on everyone together. Presumably the inevitable sequels will have more powerful baddies.

Well worth seeing.

Coming soon, bit behind on diarizing.

Socioeconomics. How Estonia became an Internet titan. The Sex Myth.

Pics. Justin Gerard, Perry Dixon Maple concept art. Pub cats, dogs on trains. Balham Boys 1952. Abandoned Soviet particle accelerator. "Married With Children" spinoffs worldwide.

Video. YouTube closes down for the night (UK-intelligible only). Super slow motion highlights from Danish TV show "Dumt & Farligt". State Home for Manic Pixie Dream Girls (MPDG explanation). Space station timelapse. Painting with light and strobe bullet time. Collapsing cooling towers.

Random. 11 Modern Antiques, via. British Problems subreddit. Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. "I like to imagine what the brides in wedding magazine adverts are thinking". Rambo: Last Blood. Fake name generator. Dangerous waterslide. The New York Times is On It.

News. UK bats avoid epidemic so far. Charles Taylor conviction. Pirate Bay to be censored in UK.

Articles. history of the American Bachelor part 1, 2, 3. The classical virtues of Wisdom, Justice, Courage, Temperance. Will Self likes obscure words, dislikes "fast culture". The sexual counter-revolution.

< Heat and Things | thinking about food security >
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penny red: by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #1 Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 04:18:14 PM EST
I don't know wtf is going on with that site, but I can't even scroll down the page w/o loading the next page. Fucking evil code.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

Obsucre old words by Alan Crowe (4.00 / 2) #2 Tue May 01, 2012 at 01:42:34 PM EST
The love of obscure old words is only cloakatively about appearing erudite. It shields a benign form of laziness. The writer seeks to lighten the burden of his search for le mot juste by widening the scope of his search.

The benefit is indirect. The direct costs of a wider search are larger, but are compensated by the possibility of a direct hit. Once the exact word has been found, the sentence may be completed quickly. The long agony of rewriting, to cast a modern near miss in its most favourable light, is avoided.

Guess which lost word I am trying to revive :-)

WIPO: Cromulent (nt) by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #3 Tue May 01, 2012 at 09:45:44 PM EST

[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
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