Read This

Required Reading. As an avid fan of live theatre and dance and music, and as someone who used to perform in front of people relatively regularly, I have a more than a few thoughts on the various end of show rituals. Clapping is weird when you really start to think about it. Standing ovations should be reserved for really spectacular performances. And bows should be kept to a minimum. They are important for both audiences and performers. Like a mutual exchange of thanks. The audience thanks the performers for their work and the performers thank the audiences for the chance to share their performance. However, curtain calls that last forever and ever make me antsy regardless of which side of the equation I am on. How to actually execute the bow is a whole other question, so this article from The New York Times is particularly interesting to me: in essence, there are as many bows as there are performers. And bowing can be awkward no matter how experienced you are. Check out “The Curtain Call: Dip, Kiss or Curtsy?

Gabriel Byrne was 8 years old the first time he saw a play. He was awe-struck by what happened at the end — “when the people I believed had been real showed themselves to not be real,” he recalled.

“What they were doing was shrugging off unreality and becoming real by way of their bows,” he continued. “And the difference between their faces during the performance and their faces during the bows fascinated me. Since then I’ve always watched the way people bow.”

For loyal theater audiences — as well as Tony Award nominees like Mr. Byrne, starring in “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” — there’s a lot to watch, from the solo bow taken by leading performers to the group bow emphasizing the ensemble nature of the enterprise. (Among this year’s Tony-nominated shows, see: “Hamilton,” “Shuffle Along,” “The Crucible.”)

Solo variations include the head bow — the kind favored by Mr. Byrne who, frankly, would prefer to skip the whole thing; and the bend from the waist so that the body forms a right angle (think human tabletop). For both, hands are laced, pressed together prayerfully, pressed to the heart or perhaps extended to the audience. And then there is the deep curtsy, as if greeting royalty rather than a subscription audience.

There’s the aerobic bow, wherein an actor dashes out from the wings and bends, head almost touching the stage; the weary bow (Message: You folks are lucky I’m still standing); and the artfully startled, carefully unstudied bow, the one that seems to say: “Oh my God, is this applause for me? I’ve been so transfixed by my performance I didn’t realize there was anyone else here.”

The bow to beat, according to many Broadway veterans? Yul Brynner’s at the end of “The King and I.” His Majesty would thrust his arms to the heavens like an excited referee signaling the winning touchdown, pause, look around and take in the applause. Then, and only then, would he begin to bend, the downward swoop stopped only by the floor.

[…KEEP READING…]

Quoted

And then the dreams break into a million tiny pieces. The dream dies. Which leaves you with a choice: you can settle for reality, or you can go off, like a fool, and dream another dream.

— Nora Ephron

Reading Watching Listening

Reading…

We Are What We Mourn by Pricilla Uppal. It’s easily the most interesting research-related book I’ve read for a while. Her writing is compelling, and her ability to synthesize historical arcs is enviable.

 

Watching…

What I Like About You. This show is so peak-2000s that Jesse McCartney guest starred in an episode I just watched and performed “Beautiful Soul”. Also, were we all engaged in some weird game of chicken trying to determine how short a rise we could have in pants before they just fell down? The show though, is pretty delightful.

 

Listening…

“Cake by the Ocean” by DNCE. This song, and the whole EP, is really excellent cleaning music. Just FYI.

Read This

Required Reading. I am an avid reader of the blog A Beautiful Mess. It’s fun. It’s colourful. It inspires me to try new things. It inspires me to pick up habits I have let lapse. In general I love it. But this post, this post has a special place in my heart. Emma’s story really resonates with me. Not because I am where she is at, but because I often feel like I am in the middle of it.

I particularly love this bit:

“Out of money and ideas, I finally gave in to her requests and moved home. Elsie was moving her business into a much larger building and expanding into selling vintage. I went from living on my own in Los Angeles and pursuing a career in acting, to living with my parents and helping my sister open her new shop location. Can you even imagine a more cliche situation? I won’t lie—I threw myself some pretty big pity parties those first few months. I cried a lot. I felt really defeated. I felt like I would forever be labeled a failure.

After some time of feeling sorry for myself I finally picked myself up and started to put together the pieces of my life again.”

So, if you are sometimes feeling a little lost, I recommend you take a moment to read “On Changing Dreams.”

 

Safe Harbour

Safe Harbour compressed

I think a lot about the concept of safety. Not “look both ways before you cross the street” safety. Not “learn your WHIMIS symbols” safety. Not “double check you turned off your straightener” safety. But some sort of existential, opposite of precarity, sense of safety.

Okay, I think about the straightener one all of the time too.

For some reason fog has always made me feel safe.

All that to say, this image is now up in the print shop. Maybe you feel the same way about fog and want some of it in your home at all times. Maybe you have a friend who desperately misses the East Coast. Maybe you just think it’s pretty. Whatever your reason, I encourage you to consider getting a copy for yourself or a loved one.

Reading Watching Listening

Reading…

Grief is the Thing With Feathers by Max Porter. I actually read this a few weeks ago on the plane back from London. It’s moving and beautiful and I am still trying to work through everything it offers.

 

Watching…

Downton Abbey, season 6. Finally finished this one and am now going through some major withdrawal. I’m pretty happy with how everything shook out in the end though.

 

Listening…

Hubert Parry’s Songs of Farewell performed by Tenebrae. My fabulous hosts in England introduced me to this album and I’ve been recommending it to all of my friends ever since.

 

Peggy’s Cove

IMG_5926 copy

I just added this gem to the shop. I love that this isn’t the traditional image of Peggy’s Cove. It’s a beautiful place, but so many of the photos people take end up looking like the kinds of postcard, tourist images you would expect. Blue sky, blue ocean, grey rocks, bright red lighthouse roof…these kinds of pictures are beautiful, but I always want to look at tourist spots slightly differently, find novelty in things people have seen countless times. I actually used to love visiting Peggy’s Cove in the off season. I would drive out, wander the rocks until I was so cold I couldn’t stand it, and then have a lobster roll at the restaurant. This particular image comes from a Boxing Day trip I took with my parents and brother the year they came to spend Christmas with me in Halifax. It was cold, but so worth it.