Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January 15th, 2012 - House of Leaves

I know, I know. It's been 16 whole days since this book club and I still haven't posted. But let's factor in a couple of things. Only one person showed up for this on the 15th (and that was more to return The Magicians to me.) And when I held another meeting a week later, only one person showed up again. A different one person.

That's ONLY TWO people, guys.

Look, here's a picture of snow, so you can see one of the reasons I was stood up.


House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski is one of the most awesomely screwed up books I've read, and I liked it much more than I expected to. But awesomely screwed up means that some people aren't going to like it, and since it's ginormous and makes you work a tiny bit to read it, most people won't stay committed.

Stay committed!

Basically, this old guy had been writing an analysis of a documentary made about a house that had random rooms appear that were larger on the inside than they were on the outside.

I would've immediately moved from such a house. BUT NO the documentarian had to be all "we have to figure out why this house is so weird!" and lots of awfulness ensues.

Anyway, the old guy's writings were found by a bar hopping/wannabe tattoo artist/crazy genius Johnny Trip who pieced it together, went a little crazy, and reconstructed it for publication inserting his own story through extensive footnotes. And that's what we, the reader, have.

So given that this is a documentary, told through an essay, told through a biography, you never really know what's true or not, but you should know that it gets kind of horror-moviesque sometimes.

I had problems reading it at night when I was alone in the house.

But I pushed through because my favorite class ever in college involved breaking apart Ovid's Metamorphoses and then seeing how it has been reflected in later literature and media. This definitely would've been assigned reading.

If you do read it, go read the appendices when they come up. There are lots of clues in there, one of them being a series of letters written while Johnny's mother was in a mental institution. They're quite heartbreaking.

 I will be posting quite a lot this month so enjoy that.

Did you notice that every time I wrote house I did it in blue?

Friday, January 13, 2012

January 11th, 2012 - West Side Story - Guest Post by Shauna!

Hi everyone!  This is Shauna from life.love. here to give you my review of Seattle's leg of the West Side Story tour!  Alex is guest posting over on my blog today, so stop on by to hear her tell some Harry Potter tales! 

West Side Story, the iconic tale of two star crossed lovers who keep getting pulled apart by their feuding families..oh wait I'm talking about Romeo and Juliet there, aren't I? 

West Side Story was actually inspired from Romeo and Juliet, and you can see that the two have striking similarities.  Two star crossed lovers, who fall in love instantly, are from different neighborhood gang.  Tony is a member of the white Jets, and Maria is the sister of Bernardo, leader of the Puerto Rican gang the Sharks.  The two hit a bump in the road when Tony accidentally kills Bernardo, but the two kids make it work, because what are lovers for, if not to kill your brother?

Mix those story lines together with some wicked sweet songs like "Tonight" "One Hand, One Heart" and the ever so classic "I Feel Pretty" and it sounds like the making of a wonderful musical to me! 

The performance was good, I won't deny that.  But there was something lacking that made me not fall in love.  And I like to be wooed.  It's hard for me to pinpoint why exactly I wasn't that into it, it could have been the two giant people sitting in front of me, or the two whispering girls behind me, but what it really seemed to lack was intimacy.

Let me elaborate.  A lot of this musical centered on hushed, concentrated emotion that was tough to succumb to in the middle of a giant packed theater.  The play didn't quite have enough action to keep me engaged and that kept my mind wandering instead of actively engaged in the show.  Another big pain for me was that when they revived the play in 2009, the director Arthur Laurents decided to add a bunch of Spanish dialogue and lyrics into the show.  The accents were so thick I could barely understand what they were saying in English, and when they were speaking Spanish, I just had to rely on being able to follow the implied action.  Sure, it added some flavor to the show and it was nice, but there were large chunks of dialogue lost on me.  Lastly, I also wasn't wild about the performer who played Maria- Evy Ortiz.

But don't let me only talk criticism about this wonderful show.  There's a reason West Side Story has been around as long as it has.  Let me talk about what I liked:
  • The dancing- there was a lot of coordinated ballet moves that I just loved.  Even the salsa dancing seemed to be made up of ballet.  Heaven!
  • Hearing some wonderful songs performed live is always exciting.  My favorite ended up being "Somewhere" even though I didn't enjoy that song when they did it on Glee.
  • The old school rumbling of teenage boys was hilarious.  Watching kids try to stab each other and saying things such as "save it for the rumble!" "just skins!" and "don't call me a hoodlum!"  made a nice comedic relief- even though the comedy was just laughing at how kids talked back in the day.
  • The Puerto Rican dresses!  I want one! 
  • Tim wants me to add that he really liked the "cop song" which is actually called "Gee, Officer Krupke"
  • The coordinated fights were well laid out, and of course led by some ballet moves.  I loved seeing people "jump" on one another artistically.

Anyway, that concludes this review!  Another show that doesn't measure up to Phantom of the Opera, but not on my sh!t list either :)!

All images from Broadway.com

Monday, January 9, 2012

The 11 Game

Shauna tagged me in her Life.Love post because she's evil. :) I won't inflict this pressure  on 11 people now.  But I'll have my own questions and you can answer in the comments or post your own blog and tag me :)!

[the rules]
1. You must post the rules.
2. Post 11 fun facts about yourself on the blog post.
3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and then create 11 new questions to ask the people you've tagged.
4. Tag 11 people and link them on your post
5. Let them know you've tagged them!

[11 facts about Alex]

1. I've moved 7 times in the last 6 years - I also like to think of myself as a pretty settled and stable person.
2. I'm on my 3rd book so far in 2012 (I may or may not have started some of these in 2011)
3. I don't know what I want to do with my life. I'm serious. 
4. Studio 60 is my favorite television series ever. I love that it's only 1 season. They tied everything up. Sorkin is amazing.
5. I would be awful on a reality show. I care too much about how I appear to others and would basically spend the whole time trying to be the sane one and failing.
6. I was named after the main character in FlashDance...yes, say it together, now. I was named after an exotic dancer.
7. My favorite musical in 2011 was Aladdin.
8. I just cut my upper gum with a cracker. It hurts.
9. I like to snuggle. I seem standoffish but that's because I don't like to impose on other people. 
10. I hate getting my hair cut with a passion. When I do, I tend to do something drastic like cut it all off.
11. My favorite sound ever is this little prrr/meow/trill sound my first cat, Lily, makes whenever you first start petting her. 

[questions from Shauna
[1] Do you like crunchy or creamy peanut butter more?
 Creamy, I'll eat crunchy but I prefer nontexture to my peanut butter :)
[2] Dogs or cats?
Both! For right now, I'm a cat person but only because dogs are needy and I want to make sure they either have a huge yard so I can have two, or someone else to love them as much as I do. Cats can live with just my love.
[3] You have one day, one chance, to do something awesome and not fail.  What is it?
Be able to flip the plastic top hat I'm wearing onto my head without looking like a dork ;) 
[4] What is your worst habit?
I have a thing where I have to finish foods I like, even if it turns gluttonous. (example: I impulse buy a big bag of hot cheetos, I only need 5 to satisfy my craving but the bag will be gone within two days because I can't stop myself.)
[5] What is your favorite dessert?
[6] Who is your role model, or someone you look up to?
My gramma, she's so cheerful and practical and knows that bad things happen to everyone and you just have to power through. And while that's going on, you can still gather everyone to help out with a soup kitchen. 
[7] Which year was your best birthday?
 My 16th. We were on a family trip in Italy, so we celebrated in a Tuscan villa and  enjoyed a very large homemade Tiramisu cake =) 
[8] What is your favorite thing about your significant other, or, which trait is a deal breaker for you? Inconsiderate behavior. I'm overly considerate of other people, I need a relationship where I'm not feeling taken advantage of. Also, We need to have pets.
[9] What is your favorite color?
Dark Purple (this changes pretty much every year)
[10] Show me where your dream vacation would be.
 I'd like to spend more than 12 hours in London :)

[11] Which animal would you want to be and why? A Fox! because I doodled one in 9th grade and made it my spirit animal. :)

[questions from Alex for people to answer]
[1] What is your favorite book?
[2] What is your favorite musical (stage or movie version) and what's so amazeballs about it?
[3] Are you an animal person? 
[4] Pick your heroine: Buffy, Bella, Hermoine, Elizabeth Bennet, or pick your own!
[5] Pick your hero: Spike, Jacob, Harry, Mr. Darcy or pick your own!
[6] What's your favorite comfort food?
[7] What's your favorite cocktail? Or are you a beer/wine person?
[8] What's your dream job?/Dream area of study? 
[9] What's the answer to life, the universe, and everything!?
[10] What are you reading right now?
[11] Which Rugrats baby would you be?