Thursday, October 20, 2016

Crazy Ex-Bloopers!

The second season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend begins tomorrow!  Yayyyyy!   Let's get in the mood by watching some bloopers from the first season...(NSFW, btw)

...and also one of Rachel Bloom's many pre-CExG music videos.  They're all pretty funny but "Die When I'm Young" is a masterpiece.  It is also very NSFW, which makes me wonder if Bloom's original vision of the show as a half-hour, R-rated cable program would've made it better or worse.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Timon Of Athens (Shakespeare Re-Read #19)

It’s a little unusual that Timon Of Athens is one of the lesser-known and least-performed of Shakespeare’s plays, since of his entire oeuvre, this is the one that might be most relatable to modern audiences.  As you might expect, quite a few concepts that seemed normal to Elizabethan audiences are alien to 2016 readers, yet TOA could essentially have been written yesterday in terms of its overarching themes. 

Some critics have argued that the play’s story is more simplistic than simple, so combined with the admittedly weird story structure, TOA is usually ranked near the bottom of the Shakespeare rankings…but not my rankings!  It’s a flawed work, to be sure, though I actually quite enjoyed a straight-ahead morality tale.  There aren’t many shades of grey here — Timon is the well-meaning but foolish protagonist, his usurers are all absolute slimeballs, Flavius is incredibly loyal and Alcibiades’ somewhat shaky moral ground is excused because he has such a badass name.

If I was reading this in a university English class, there would undoubtedly be at least one person (probably a business student) who made the argument that “well, the three lords weren’t in the wrong to not lend Timon some money.  After all, they knew he’d just spend it anyway!”  This guy would be an enormous jerk, and while he would technically be right on two counts, consider that Lucius had one of his own guys among the many representatives at Timon’s place wielding bills.  I don’t think it was ever exactly stated in the play, but I got the impression that Lucius’ “bill” was generated when he gave Timon a gift and Timon insisted on paying for it rather than receive generosity himself.  So Lucius is just a world-class weasel to actually charge Timon for it.

Though really, Timon, what the hell, man?  Demanding to pay full price for gifts you yourself receive?  That takes spendthrift-iness to a new level.  That’s the only real instance where you have to scratch your head at Timon’s spending, since otherwise, the poor guy is simply (literally) generous to a fault.  Consider how often a Shakespeare reader finds himself getting angry with the “tragic hero” when they do something really dumb to bring ruin upon themselves.  With Timon, it’s just like…oh, honey.

Though really, this is one of those tragedies that tends to veer a bit closer to Problem Play territory given that, even though Timon isn’t there to enjoy it, he gets his revenge.  He gets his riches more or less restored by the gold he finds in the woods, and then he basically unleashes the four horsemen upon Athens — War and Conquest (Alcibiades), Plague (the venereal diseases he encourages the whores to spread around town) and Death (the ultimate fate of Lucius, Sempronius, Lucullus and the other senators and non-lenders within the ten percent of the population that Alcibiades wipes out).  The actual tragic protagonist of the title might be Athens itself, given how the lack of generosity of its most notable citizens sort of leads to its conquest, though it isn’t totally clear whether or not Alcibiades’ army was entirely funded by the gold.  He might’ve been able to conquer Athens without Timon being involved whatsoever, which would have the effect of making Timon into the Inglourious Basterds and Alcibiades into Shosanna Dreyfus.  Regardless, I guess if Timon hadn’t been so angry, he might’ve been able to save the city as its de facto leader given the mutual respect between he and Alcibiades.

One kind of has to read into the story like this given how the play is often considered to be unfinished given the relative lack of depth.  Since critics often try to excuse Shakespeare’s lesser plays by assuming the so-called non-Shakespearean elements were the work of a collaborator, Thomas “Thrown Under The Bus By History” Middleton is often considered to be the co-writer on this one.  Poor Middleton.  At least he got the last laugh by having his future ancestors marry into the British throne (citation needed).  As always, I note that Shakespeare wasn’t infallible — maybe the guy was experimenting with something out of his usual comfort zone and it didn’t quite work.  For all we know, maybe Middleton salvaged a workable play out of a rougher draft that would’ve really put a black mark on Shakespeare’s record.

Apropos of nothing, I’ve been to Athens!  Spent roughly 24 hours there as part of a trip to attend a wedding.  I don’t want to say that staying at the Athens Holiday Inn was quite like one of Timon’s lavish parties, but it wasn’t not not like that either.  One weird design flaw; I walk into my room and the lights go on automatically, but then they also go off automatically a couple of minutes later.  I flick the light switches on the wall and on the lamps, but nothing.  I call down to the front desk, and they tell me that to activate the lights, I have to put my room card into a little slot next to the front door.  Supposedly the logic here is that this will save on energy if guests keep leaving lights on when they’re out of the room?  Clearly, Athenians are so spooked by Timon’s downfall that years later, they’re still trying to be frugal.



19. Pericles
18. The Taming Of The Shrew
17. Antony & Cleopatra
16. Troilus & Cressida
15. Love’s Labour’s Lost
14. As You Like It
13. Titus Andronicus
12. Much Ado About Nothing
11. Timon Of Athens
10. Coriolanus
9. The Two Gentlemen Of Verona
8. The Comedy Of Errors
7. The Winter's Tale
6. A Midsummer Night's Dream
5. Julius Caesar
4. Macbeth
3. Cymbeline
2. Twelfth Night
1. Othello

My New Year's resolution for 2012 was to re-read (and in some cases, read for the first time) all 38 of William Shakespeare's plays.  2012 has long since ended, but still, onward and upward.  And, since in these modern times it's impossible to undertake a personal project without blogging about it, here are a series of reviews/personal observances I'll make about the plays.  Well, 'reviews' is a bit of a stretch.  It's William freakin’ Shakespeare.  What am I going to tell you, "Don't bother reading this one, folks!  What a stinker!  Ol' Mark doesn't like it, so you should definitely believe ME over 400 years of dramatic criticism!"

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Galifianakis vs. Clinton

Hmm, I thought I posted this a month ago when it originally aired.  Oh well, it's not like anything big has happened in the election since then.

It's bizarre that Hillary Clinton sitting down for a 'Between Two Ferns' doesn't even crack the top 100 weirdest things to happen during this election.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

NHL/NBA Predictions

Last year, an iconic Canadian franchise (the Maple Leafs) traded an oustanding player (Phil Kessel) for nebulous chemistry reasons (i.e. management didn't like the player).  The player was dealt to an American team (the Penguins) that has enjoyed much more recent success than the iconic Canadian team, perhaps because the American team isn't run by incompetents.  Anyway, the player fit right in with his new team because it actually appreciated him, and went on to win a Stanley Cup, shoving it directly in the face of his old team and the team's water-carriers in the media.

This year, an iconic Canadian franchise (the Canadiens) traded an oustanding player (P.K. Subban) for nebulous chemistry reasons (i.e. management didn't like the player).  The player was dealt to an American team (the Predators) that has enjoyed much more recent success than the iconic Canadian team, perhaps because the American team isn't run by incompetents.

So, my prediction for the coming season is that Nashville will win the Stanley Cup, Marc Bergevin and Michel Therrien will both be unemployed by April at the latest, and the Oilers will continue to be terrible.  That last one is a gimme, admittedly.  Should I predict an Eastern Conference finalist?  I guess so, eh?  Tampa Bay!  That's right, Tampa Bay vs. Nashville in the Stanley Cup finals, in a sure ratings-grabber.


I'll throw in my NBA season prediction as well, since Golden State vs. Cleveland is as obvious a final as we've ever seen in sports history.  Minus an injury to LeBron, nothing is stopping Warriors/Cavaliers for the third straight year.  This time I'll take the Warriors to win since with Durant in the fold, that team is now officially absurd.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Amateur Dream Analysis

DREAM: I'm at an Eminem concert with my mother (!) at the Palace of Auburn Hills.  It's a theatre-in-the-round type of stage, with Em in the middle of the arena and the first several rows around the stage are, in fact, long dinner tables like it's a banquet.  The people seated at said tables are formally dressed and are being served proper meals by a wait staff.  Behind these tables is regular arena seating, where Mom and I are sitting.

After the opening song, the in-arena camera picks me (and a couple of others) out of the crowd and we're chosen for the "Mic Down" later in the concert.  As the guy in front of me explains, this is a bit during Eminem's concerts when he brings a few random people on stage and then tears them apart via a clever rap, essentially like a roast.  I shrug and say sure.  My mother couldn't be more amused by this scenario.  Sadly, I woke up before the whole thing played out.

: Yeah, this was a weird one.  Let's just get it out of the way right now, I'm not an Eminem fan.  Enjoy a few of his big hits but that's it --- this is probably why, in the dream, I didn't recognize any of his songs.  It was all just a garbled blur of hip-hop whenever he was actually performing. 

As such, I have no idea what an Eminem concert is like, which is why I'm pretty sure the 'Mic Down' doesn't actually exist.  It seems like something that could exist, however, and frankly, I'm sure countless fans would love to be good-naturedly ripped by Eminem in front of thousands of people.  I'm one of those odd people who thinks it would be a lot of fun to be subjected to a roast.  It couldn't possibly go any worse than the Chevy Chase roast, right?  Right?  And really, what's the worst that Eminem could say about me?  I'd just grin and make some snide remark about Lipton's Brisk Iced Tea commercials.  Of course, the obvious psychological point is that in my dream, I'm being set up to be humiliated, and as much as I say I would've been cool with it, I woke up before the humiliation actually occurred.  This definitely raises some questions about my self-confidence that should be addressed in HEY LOOK OVER THERE IT'S A NEW PARAGRAPH 

I've also never been to the Palace, but I've certainly seen enough Pistons games on TV to know that the place isn't all classed up long tables and a chandelier.  It's just your regular arena.  Maybe this was a manifestation of my subconscious desire to see more gimmick-themed sports stadiums.  For instance, if you're going to call it "the Palace," why NOT go the whole nine yards and give the entire building a regal gimmick?  The Sacramento Kings are in the process (sorta, kinda) of building a new arena so they're a perfect candidate to design that would essentially be an ongoing production of Medieval Times, except with basketball games in lieu of jousting.  This would be amazing.  The fans would all be encouraged to wear their Sunday best to games, female fans could be given fake pearls to shake in outrage at opposing players, everyone gets monocles to drop in outrage, etc.  The Kings players would literally be led onto the court on horseback like the Knights of the round table returning to Camelot --- tell me your average NBA player wouldn't love having his ego pampered like this.    

And now, finally, we ask the big question, why in the world am I there with my mom?  If I'm an unlikely candidate to be at an Eminem concert, my mother is quite possibly THE unlikeliest candidate to be at said show.  She's easily in the bottom five worldwide, right there with my dad, the Pope, Oswaldo Perez of Lima, Peru (he knows why) and, of course, Stan, who would've been there were it not for the fact that he's shuffled off this mortal coil.  Ergo, the two of us there together seems like some kind of weird practical joke…and frankly, it could've been.  My brother is a huge Eminem fan and, since we do nothing but bicker with each other, I could definitely see a scenario where I win Eminem tickets in some contest and then, spitefully, not only go to the show myself but invite our own mother rather than just take my brother or give him the tickets outright.  If this sounds immature, well, it is.  "Mark, aren't you and your brother both in your mid-30's?"  Yes, yes we are. 

Why my mother would go along with this idea is still beyond me, so I'm at a loss to explain her presence in the dream.  I did take her to an Elton John show for her birthday a few years ago, and there's certainly a much-publicized connection between Eminem and Sir Elton.  Also, my name is Mark and her name is Margaret, so between us, we're literally an M & M.  Hmm, could it be that I'm dreaming of Eminem's criticism of me as a projection of what "M& M" thinks, namely my mother's criticisms and my own self-doubts?  Man, this is another fascinating subject that could really reveal a lot of HEY LOOK, IT'S THE END OF THE POST.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Love Potion #9

God only knows what was in the first eight, but we can all agree that #9 still sucks. It generates such a frenzy of Pepe Le Pew-esque lust that the guy can't even tell if it's day or night, and he falls in love with everyone he sees. Pretty ass-backwards formula for a love portion. He starts kissin' everything in sight, including the police officer assigned to the downtown Los Angeles beat who is naturally trying to stop him from these blatant acts of sexual assault. 

The guy is in such a blind tornado of lust and he actually tries to kiss the cop as well, which naturally leads to a scuffle, during which the cop breaks the bottle. This destroys any alibi or explanation this schmuck might've had, and guaranteeing that he'll be branded as a sex offender for life and rightly thrown in jail.    

It's his own fault. The whole idea of a love potion is criminal sexual coercion anyway. If this guy is buying a so-called magic chemical to make it easier for to score, that just sounds to me like he's buying roofies. No wonder this creep is such a self-confessed flop with chicks. He's probably such a flop because he refers to them as "chicks" and not women. Cut out the insulting slang, jerk. That kind of lingo might've flown in 1956 when you last got laid, but it's 2016 now. You know what another insulting term is? "Gypsy." So in short, this guy is a sexual predator AND a bigot.

Love Potion #7, however, just makes you really like the Cleveland Cavaliers. Cheering for an NBA champ is way better than being turned into a pervert.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Turn On The Red Light

I was planning a post about my favourite sports nicknames when suddenly, I realized I only had one choice for the top spot.  The clear winner was former Montreal Canadiens goalie Andre "Red Light" Racicot.

If you don't remember the Red Light, that's probably not a surprise.  He was only a backup for five years with the Habs (1989-1994) and ended up appearing in just 68 NHL games.  Oh but what games they were!  Racicot retired with a sterling 3.50 goals against average and a .880 save percentage, numbers that would make him fit right in with your average Maple Leafs goalie from the last few seasons.  Oh who am I kidding, several seasons.

There was a lot to love about the Red Light, starting with that beautiful nickname.  Doesn't it just roll off your tongue?  "Red Light Racicot."  I daresay its double-R alliterative brilliance is even greater than that of another certain double-R Habs superstar…actually wait, I just had an image of Maurice Richard's ghost coming to me in the night and glaring at me with his famous crazy-man stare, oh god, Rocket, I'm sorry, I didn't mean it, please don't kill me.  (This is also the plot of Paranormal Activity 9, by the way.)

Aside from the nickname's melodious tone, it also was simply beyond fitting.  If you were writing a hockey comedy and had to think up a name for a crappy backup goalie, "Red Light Racicot" would be your best possible choice.  The name conjures up the thought of a good-natured but awful French-Canadian goalkeeper, who keeps his teammates loose in the dressing room even while they all live in fear that he'll actually be one day called upon to actually play for the team in a clutch situation.  And sure enough, the plot would dictate that the star goalie would get injured, and thus Red Light would be called upon to save the day.  He'd overcome the odds with help from his loving girlfriend and his mentor, a Finnish ghost who haunted the rink after being murdered there 70 years prior due to a gambling debt.  Okay fine, the script is a work in progress.

And the best part is, Canadiens fans actually had to hope against hope that this scenario didn't come to pass in real life.  You see, what made Racicot's ineptitude even more glaring was the fact that he was backing up Patrick Roy, arguably the best goaltender of all time.  It's very rare in sports that you have such a first-to-worst gap on one team at one position.  Perhaps the only comparable situation that comes to mind in recent memory was that Colts season when Peyton Manning was injured for the whole year, leading to The Man They Call Curtis Painter actually being used in a professional football game for anything besides manning the Gatorade cooler.  As long as the Canadiens had Roy they were contenders, but if anything ever happened to him, they would've been beyond screwed.  Racicot would have allowed seven goals in his first game and also somehow ordered a plate of nachos to be delivered to him on the ice during the second period.

The best part about the nickname, however, is that it could potentially go two ways.  While I described in detail the saga of 'Red Light' being a perfect nickname for a crappy goalie, it also fits equally well as the nickname for a hotshot winger from southern Quebec.  Just as Racicot the goalie would lead to the red light being turned on after allowing yet another goal, the fictional shooter version of Red Light Racicot would be lighting the lamp himself after yet another goal for the Habs.  By the way, if any Canadiens fans are reading this, they are now openly drooling.  You've seen how up in arms the Habs get about having a French-speaking head coach….can you imagine what they would give for a Francophone superstar to lead the team?  I think Marc Bergevin would literally give up one of his children to make this happen and you could probably talk him into a second if necessary.

Since I have no other way of finishing this post, here's a YouTube video of U2's song "Red Light," often considered one of the band's weaker tracks (I think it's okay, though).  The song was released in 1983, so it sadly wasn't inspired by Racicot's play.  U2 can only be connected to one Montreal sports team at a time, you know.

For all the Police fans who surfed onto this page and expected at least a link to "Roxanne"….uh, look over there!

/throws smoke grenade
/dives out window
/lands on car
/curses stupid getaway plan while in the afterlife

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Titus Andronicus (Shakespeare Re-Read #18)

That’s right, I haven’t forgotten about the Shakespeare re-read project!  Somewhat unbelievably, this is my first play review of 2016.  My months-long hiatus did lead to one setback, as I’d somehow gone my entire life without knowing about the “feed your enemy’s kids to them” twist in Titus Andronicus.  It would’ve been quite the shocking scene for me…if I hadn’t seen this very plot point from the play cited during a recap of the Game Of Thrones season finale (no spoilers).  So, if I’d actually gotten around to reading TA when originally intended months ago, I wouldn’t have spent the entire play just waiting to get to the proverbial fireworks factory of that one big scene.

I kind of figured the scene wouldn’t come until the climax, and sure enough, I was right.  That being said, so many horrific things happen during this play that “feed your enemy’s kids to them” actually doesn’t stand out as the obvious bottom of the barrel.  Holy moly, the play’s reputation as the most crazy-violent and bloody of Shakespeare’s canon is well-deserved.

Perhaps because of that reason, it is also often held up as the worst of Shakespeare’s plays.  Some critics even argue that it couldn’t have been written by Shakespeare at all due to the low quality, which I’d say is a wee bit of historic whitewashing.  Even Wayne Gretzky missed a few nets, you know.  As you’ll see from my rankings, I don’t consider Titus Andronicus to be his worst play, though it may be his least-structured.  Scenes range from crazily-overlong to very short, with characters not actually leaving the stage between scenes in many cases — if there was ever a play that could’ve abandoned the traditional five-act format of the time, this was probably it.  Titus Andronicus is widely considered to have been written early in Shakespeare’s career and it was his first tragedy, which probably explains the sloppiness and relatively low quality.

It’s interesting that most modern productions very liberally trim the fat from the original text, cutting out several unnecessary scenes or plot points that confuse or muddle the story or characterization.  There also seem to be two central ways to stage Titus Andronicus nowadays — either the violence is performed in a very stylized fashion (i.e. representing the blood with red scarves) so the horror is slightly less visceral, or to so over the top and almost make the play a dark comedy, a la Evil Dead or a Tarantino movie.  It isn’t hard to imagine a very broad Titus Andronicus production where the first three rows are required to wear plastic sheets to product them from the exaggerated blood splatter from the stage.

You almost need one of those methods to properly stage this play since doing it in a straight-forward dramatic manner seems almost too much to bear.  The rape and mutilation of Lavinia has to be the single most terrifying sequence of Shakespeare’s career.  I don’t know how an audience could get through Act II, scene iv without breaking down.  The scene’s very inclusion represents Shakespeare’s inexperience as a playwright, since obviously this is the point where the reader/viewer is all-systems-go on seeing the villains horribly punished, except it’s a little uneasy since Titus himself has been portrayed as such a tyrant earlier in the play.  Throughout the first act and a half, I wasn’t sure if this play was the story of Titus and company as the protagonists, or the story of the Goths and the Andronici children teaming up to avenge their brother’s death at the hands of their mad father and the foolish emperor Saturninus.

Needless to say, Lavinia’s attack puts one clearly on her side along with Lucius and Marcus, though those two guys have their issues themselves.  But the problem with Titus is a bit harder to swallow, given that, you know, he KILLED ONE OF HIS SONS in the play’s very first scene.  In fairness, Titus mentions that he has lost 20 sons in war, so perhaps this guy is simply so fertile that he can toss off a kid as quickly as you or I might throw out an old pair of socks.  (Hell, even the remaining sons get over poor Mutius’ death pretty quickly and get back on board with their old man.)  But still, with 20 sons down, you’d think Titus would be more protective of the five children he still has left.*  In summation, “child murder = bad” continues to be the official stance of this blog.

* = also, Titus had 25 children but apparently only one of them was a girl?  This guy was the bizarro Henry VIII.

Titus also doesn’t exactly do much to regain the audience’s sympathy by play’s end, when he rather casually murders Lavinia.  Even weirder, he does it basically on the recommendation of Saturninus, a guy Titus is preparing to also murder.  Poor Lavinia, who has been through sufferings nobody should endure, gets revenge on her attackers…and then is killed by her father?  What?  I don’t care how early in Shakespeare’s career this was, or what the cultural feeling of the day towards honour killings was, it makes no narrative sense.

This was my first time reading Titus Andronicus, so I couldn’t help but see the play as something of a poor man’s version of King Lear.  The difference, of course, is that by the time Shakespeare got around to writing Lear later in his career, he had the knowhow to not eradicate Lear’s sympathy right off the bat.  Banishing Cordelia is an error that Lear can theoretically still correct; if he’d killed her, that’s a bridge too far.  There are quite a few notable Lear/Titus parallels…the lead characters, Aaron and Edmund, Marcus/Lucius as a proto-version of Kent and Edgar, Tamora and Saturninus as Regan and Cornwall, Lavinia as both Cordelia or perhaps Gloucester (in terms of the maiming), and there’s even that random clown as a very poor man’s version of the Fool.  It’s like ol’ Will kept the basic idea in his head for years, perhaps unsatisfied with his early stab (no pun intended) at it, and then revisited it years later and tied it to the actual coherent story of the Leir legend.

Given how early TA came in Shakespeare’s career, it could be said that Aaron is his first great villain.  (Well, his first great intentional villain, given how the horrible behaviour of the dudes in Two Gentlemen Of Verona or Taming Of The Shrew is either excused or played for laughs.)  In Aaron, you definitely see a combination of both Iago as a behind-the-scenes mastermind, as well as Shylock, a caricature of a “villain” who becomes more sympathetic when seen through modern eyes.  In Shakespeare’s time, Aaron is a near-inhuman moor who literally goes to his grave wishing he had perpetrated even more evil.  In today’s time, Aaron could very easily be portrayed as something of an anti-hero, going on a “the hell with them all” vengeance rampage in the face of the constant racial intolerance he faces throughout the play.  The scene of Titus and Marcus killing the fly, for instance, is so cringeworthy that it’s one of those scenes that is often cut from modern productions due to the overt racism.

If this was Shakespeare’s first tragedy, one can infer that he was trying to underline the ‘drama’ of the piece by making it as lacking in wit as possible.  Most of Shakespeare’s tragedies have some element of comic relief, whether it’s something as simple as two witty characters exchanging dialogue on an unrelated matter to fill a scene.  Not in Titus Andronicus — the closest we get is Demetrius and Chiron quarrelling over Lavinia, and that scene goes to hell when it culminates in Aaron coming up with a plan for them to capture and rape her.  (And, as I noted, at this point in play you’re still not sure who the ‘good guys’ are since we’re just an act away from Titus murdering his son in cold blood!  Shakespeare’s early comedies were so rapey that I was like, “well, uh, maybe Demetrius and Chiron will have a change of heart?”)

While not his worst play, TA certainly isn’t one of Shakespeare’s better plays, given its rough dialogue, wild plot twists and rather haphazard construction.  I guess I’d mark the extreme violence as a negative as well, though in a weird way, it’s the only interesting element of the entire play.  If it was your usual set of poison-and-stabbings, Titus Andronicus would barely be remembered; the absolute excess of the violence makes it stand out.  This is Shakespeare by way of a Saw movie.

It is so in-your-face that I don’t really have any desire to see this text actually portrayed, be it on stage or on the screen.  Julie Taymor directed a film version years ago, but if I wanted to see a Julie Taymor production filled with broken bodies everywhere, I would’ve seen her Spider-Man musical.  Unbelievably, TA was recently performed in Toronto’s High Park for its annual ‘Shakespeare in the Park’ performances, which seems like a hilariously poor choice given that they usually opt for more family-friendly material (Tempest, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Comedy Of Errors, etc.)  Some poor parent dragging their kids to the park for some culture will be in for as much of a rude awakening as the parent who took their kids to ‘Sausage Party.’



18. Pericles
17. The Taming Of The Shrew
16. Antony & Cleopatra
15. Troilus & Cressida
14. Love’s Labour’s Lost
13. As You Like It
12. Titus Andronicus
11. Much Ado About Nothing
10. Coriolanus
9. The Two Gentlemen Of Verona
8. The Comedy Of Errors
7. The Winter's Tale
6. A Midsummer Night's Dream
5. Julius Caesar
4. Macbeth
3. Cymbeline
2. Twelfth Night
1. Othello

My New Year's resolution for 2012 was to re-read (and in some cases, read for the first time) all 38 of William Shakespeare's plays.  2012 has long since ended, but still, onward and upward.  And, since in these modern times it's impossible to undertake a personal project without blogging about it, here are a series of reviews/personal observances I'll make about the plays.  Well, 'reviews' is a bit of a stretch.  It's William freakin’ Shakespeare.  What am I going to tell you, "Don't bother reading this one, folks!  What a stinker!  Ol' Mark doesn't like it, so you should definitely believe ME over 400 years of dramatic criticism!"

Sunday, September 25, 2016

"Drummer Seeks Musicians To Form Band"

Forty years ago today, six kids showed up at Larry Mullen's house in response to Larry Junior's handwritten note on his middle school's bulletin board.  Two were friends of the would-be guitarist who ended up as the singer, and one was the older brother of the actual guitarist.  The other three and Larry Junior ended up becoming one of the biggest bands of all time and they're still performing together all these years later with no additions or subtractions to the band's lineup.  Of all the unlikely factors that went into U2's rise to fame, the fact that it's still the four core guys after four decades is perhaps the most mind-blowing.

U2, thanks for being the soundtrack to my life and I wish you all the best on your anniversary.  Now, since I'm nothing if not ungrateful, release that damned new album!