Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Shakespeare Fanatics Quiz

Ok, here's what I'm talking about.'s got another quiz up, this time loaded with advanced questions for us fanatics (although I think we could argue about whether knowing the Shakespearean source for Kurosawa's "RAN" is all that advanced).

Be warned, though - you apparently don't get your score at the end (I didn't). So as you're going through, keep track of your own. If I counted right there are 14 questions, and I got 8 right. Not my best work, but I prefer to get a little less than average score so I know I learned something :).

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Shakespeare Sonnets Podcast : Some Guy from New York

The other day I stumbled across Some Guy From New York, a podcast of Shakespeare's sonnets, but didn't want to post until I'd had a chance to listen. The setup is a little unusual, it looks like he's in some sort of sensitivity program (ordered to be?) and doing his time by brain dumping his thoughts on Shakespeare. Having listened to a few of them at this point, I have to say I like it. He goes through one sonnet at a time, line by line, and explains what's going on. Now, since the first 17 are all about the same thing - "Hey, young guy, here's a good reason to settle down and have a kid" -- it's going to get a little repetitive, but it'll be good practice to try new things. I already see by Sonnet 9 that he's experimenting with the structure of the program. I'm curious if we'll hear more about his whole story and why exactly he's reading sonnets like this, too. I like a podcast with some character.

I've said before, I don't listen to people do Shakespeare on MP3, it's kind of like experiencing a movie on television when you're in the other room and can see but can't hear it. But I do like to hear people talk about Shakespeare, and will eat that stuff up. One of these days I may even do my own. I swear. So, anyway, he's in my list.

If there's one thing I'd like to hear, it's for him to do a reading of the sonnet at the beginning, and then discuss it, and then read it again at the end. If you've never heard or read the given sonnet and he's breaking it down line by line, it's hard to get the whole picture. Sometimes you can't always tell when Shakespeare's line ended and when Some Guy's commentary begins. By reading it first you'd have the whole thing fresh in your brain and then as he breaks it down you won't lose the structure when he digs in.

He's also over annunciating quite a bit, which I assume he's doing on purpose, but maybe he'll settle into a rhythm over time.

Also, I figure that dear Shakespeare wouldn't be caught dead wearing the baseball cap of a team who is responsible for the worst playoff loss in the history of baseball, courtesy of my beloved, World Series-winning Boston Red Sox. Ha! :-P

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Friday, May 19, 2006

10 Things I Hate About....Commandments?

This is only borderline Shakespeare, given the source of the original film, but somebody has mashed up 10 Things I Hate About You and Ten Commandments. It's actually quite impressive. Watch for the special cameo by Samuel L. Jackson.

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Prospero's Altered Books

Ooooooo, pretty. Here's the kind of site that defines why I run this sort of Shakespeare blog. In the movie Prospero's Books (based of course on The Tempest), the director gave titles and content to the imaginary books. In the linked project, a bunch of artists got together to create the actual books. How cool is that?

Some of the cooler books include a compendium of board games (nice to think of that, if you're going to be stranded on a dessert island) and a book of 36 plays. Anybody get the joke there? Everybody? Shakespeare is supposed to have written 37 plays, and The Tempest is supposed to be the last (although that is debatable by some, when you count how many more plays he collaborated on). So that book of 36 is supposed to represent Shakespeare's work to that point. And, sure enough, there's a W.S. on the cover.

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Richard III has a blog?

I'm not really sure what to make of this, but it looks like it has potential and it's certainly Shakespeare related. The characters of Richard III seem to be blogging.

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The Beatles Do Shakespeare

Ok, I'd never seen this before. The Beatles performing Pyramus and Thisbe from Midsummer's, complete in costume. Great stuff!

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Amazon has a Shakespeare Store? Who knew?

I didn't realize that they even had such sub-categories like this, but apparently Amazon has a whole Shakespeare Store. I just wish they had more fun merchandise like Shakespeares Den does - action figures, greeting cards, all that sort of stuff. How often do you want to buy books and movies?

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

When Daddy is a Shakespeare geek

Putting my 3yr old to bed last night:

Me: "And remember to be good for Mommy tomorrow, right?"

Her: "And tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow."

Me: "Creeps in this petty pace."

Her: "What?"

Me: "Never mind."

I can't help myself :).

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Help a geek out : Shakespeare term paper

I just tripped over Confessions of an Undercover Geek, where he's just finished a paper for his Politics Through Fiction class entitled "Shakespeare and the Pursuit of Hope and Purpose Within a Society." He asks folks to read it and tell him what they think.

I figure a little boost of traffic from some dedicated Shakespeare fans wouldn't hurt, so do the man a favor if you get a moment and hook him up with some comments.

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Monday, May 15, 2006

Shakespeare by Email : Have some Hamlet with your Viagra

Here's an interesting idea, I suppose - you can sign up to have a Shakespearean play emailed to you in pieces. I guess maybe it's easier to mentally set yourself for reading the whole thing if you only have to tackle pieces at a time? Apparently the company has quite the boatload of books as part of this service, too. Not just our friendly neighborhood Bard.

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Shakespeare Games : Romeo and Juliet

I've noticed that one of the more popular Shakespeare queries that I see is for Shakespeare games. In particular, Romeo and Juliet games. This morning I found one. Shakespeare4Kidz has a games section that combines a flash "shoot out" with a standard quiz about the play -- answer a question right to get the chance to kick a ball past the goalie. For some bizarre reason you can customize the goalie, and choices include Ghandhi, Nelson Mandela, Bill Gates, Queen Victoria, and Karl Marx.

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Stage Beauty

Anybody seen "Stage Beauty"? I don't think I'd ever even really heard of it, although it is a very recent (2004) Shakespeare-eque movie. Today I saw Victoria Lane's blog where she calls it " of the most breathtaking films centered around Shakespeare I've ever seen." Looks like another one to add to my list!

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Scotland, PA

I knew about the movie Scotland, PA, which is a retelling of Macbeth at a hamburger joint. JoeUltimate has a quick writeup where I learn that Christopher Walken is in it. I can't really see myself going to hunt it down just to see, but if it makes the rounds on one of the assorted movie channels (it apparently did Sundance) then I'll have to make sure to Tivo it.

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Orson Welles, a Quick Bio

Ron Schuler's Parlour Tricks: 'I Started at the Top and Worked Down':

I'm digging this Ron Schuler's site -- there seems to be lots of Shakespeare related stuff without specifically being a Shakespeare blog. Here he provides a bio of Orson Welles, which contains a number of choice Shakespearey bits. I did not know, for instance, that he had authored a Shakespeare text ("Everybody's Shakespeare") or that he did a movie called "Falstaff" which blends together a number of pieces of all the Henry plays.

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Romeo and Juliet : Queen Mab

Mercutio's Queen Mab speech is an interesting discussion point for Romeo and Juliet. Technically, as last as far as the plot goes, you can skip it altogether. It goes more toward character development. When I was in school we had lengthy discussions about what the speech tells us about Mercutio. I know one high school teacher of Romeo and Juliet who simply skips it.

I noticed this blog entry about Queen Mab, which includes link to an audio of the spoken word, the speech transcript itself, and some commentary. It's short, but it's nice to see a whole post about just Queen Mab.

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Philocrites: Bush and Colbert, Lear and the Fool.

Philocrites: Bush and Colbert, Lear and the Fool.:

Did everyone Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondent's dinner by now? The man was brilliant, but the performance was so cringeworthy that I almost felt bad for him. The humor was vicious. And Bush was sitting about 4 feet from him.

I'm happy to see Philocrites' comparison of this situation to Lear and his Fool. Many people don't understand the Fool as comic relief, wondering where the goofy, fall on the floor hysterics are. The Fool's lines are usually much darker, and more along the lines of "When the king makes a mistake, I will show it to him." I like this line : " Their exchanges aren't funny haha, they're funny oh-no." Yes, that sounds about right for Colbert's routine.

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Monday, May 01, 2006

Garrison Keillor demands sonnets for Mother's Day - The Quad-City Times Newspaper Features:

When I saw "Write mom a sonnet for Mother's Day" show up in my Google alerts I got an evil grin on my face, rubbed my hands together fiendishly and prepared to blast whatever article I found for surely thinking that a sonnet was little more than 12 lines of iambic pentameter and a rhyming couplet. I get there and see that the article is written by Garrison Keillor, who has a little bit more experience as a writer than I do. :) There is no dissection of what a sonnet is all about. The article is essentially a smack in the side of the head to tell people "Your mother deserves something for Mother's Day that shows how much you appreciate her, and there's no excuse in the book good enough because with just pencil and paper you can make like Shakespeare."

(His sample first line doesn't really scan, but I think he was in it more for the punchy ending ;))