Sunday Lowdown #5

This Week at the Theatre Job

I spent a big chunk of my week organizing auditions and callbacks for On Golden Pond, so I was rolling home around 9:00PM all week.

However, everything was centered on preparing for our two-day event celebrating International Women’s Day. There were SO MANY moving parts to what was titled “Athena Unbound.” Friday night we had a concert featuring female bands. Saturday was packed with events: we had workshops about the arts led by women, an exhibit of women artists opened, and a panel discussion (of women) about problematic songs in musicals (that were sung by women).

Click play to see some of the amazing art curated by Rita Koehler at the South Bend Civic Theatre.

This Week in TV & Film

While I didn’t watch much TV or any movies due to a full week of auditions for On Golden Pond, I was saddened by the news that Alex Trebek has stage four pancreatic cancer and that Luke Perry, dreamboat in my beloved Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the movie), died.


This Week in Reading: Finished Books

This Much Space by K.K. Hendin: a new adult novel about a fat girl and baseball player who hook up in college and face bigger challenges than most. Highly recommended.

Magic’s Promise by Mercedes Lackey: twelve years have passed since we last encountered Vanyel, and he’s tasked with solving a mystery before war breaks out. Highly recommended. Review will be posted on Monday.

This Week in Reading: Books in Progress

The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar: I’m back and working more diligently at finishing this collection. Check out the wonderful alliteration in “A Lazy Day” — read it out loud:

The day is one to drowse and dream
And list the thrush's throttling note.
When music from his bosom bleeds
Among the river's rustling reeds.

Roots by Alex Haley: Shell @ Books by the Cup shared our conversation post about chapters 81-100. The book is supposed to reach Haley’s own generation, yet we’re still on Kunta Kinte’s grandson. Next week is our last!

The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories by Alisa Surkis and Monica Nolan: So far, I’m not getting into these short stories. One is set in Greenwich Village and the other during WWII England. Neither has anything of note happen in a horse stable, which readers were promised in the synopsis! I hope the stories improve. I’ve only read two.

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood: Famous murderess Grace Marks tells her life story to a doctor who focuses on the brain and nerves. She’s come to the point when she begins work at the household in which the two people who will be murdered live. Unlike the Netflix show, which I loved, there are extra letters and notes in the novel. I’m enjoying both mediums of storytelling.

Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith: Once we finished our Trekkie book, I chose Highsmith to read aloud to my husband. Her thriller-noir style is magnificent, and she twists your emotions easily. Focusing on a pimple — or is it a boil?? — so much that you hate a character, for example. Currently, she’s turned our dagger eyes on the promiscuous, manipulative Miriam, who surely must die.

Next Week in Reading:

I plan to completely finish Roots and the Lesbian Horse Stories. I’ll start Magic’s Promise, the final book in THE LAST HERALD MAGE trilogy. Alias Grace will go on for a couple more weeks, and Highsmith’s thriller will certainly take some time to get through, given I read a chapter per night aloud to my sweet, sweet man person. I had to put off Fahrenheit 451 because I was giving myself too much to read per day. It’s still on the schedule for March, just moved to the end of the month!

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27 comments

  1. Dunbar’s poems really benefit from being read aloud, don’t they? The language’s just so musical. Glad to see your theatre had a string of interesting events in celebration of IWD 🙂

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  2. Loved being able to see the artwork! You’d laugh because I tried to click the first picture thinking I’d get a sample of some of the music for Women’s Day.

    I had no idea about Alex from Jeopardy but did hear the sad news about Perry. 90210 doesn’t seem that long ago to me…wow.

    I can’t believe we are about to finish Roots. I’m looking forward to our final discussion. I wrote my review last week but won’t publish it until after our discussion in case we talk about something that strikes a cord and I might have to revise. It’s been a great experience for me so thank you! Now I better go share my weekly wrap up 🙂

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    • I wouldn’t have laughed if you hadn’t made it funny! There are some videos of the bands doing sound checks, but those videos were filmed by individuals instead of my theatre, so i wasn’t sure if I should share them.

      I never watched 90210; my dad was the master of the remote, and Luke Perry wasn’t on his list of dudes to watch. I half wonder if it’s worth it to rent all the seasons and watch them.

      Yes! Roots! Can’t wait! I’m thinking about switching some of my reading around to do Cane together, but no pressure if it doesn’t work out.

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  3. I have been thinking about picking up Strangers on a Train for a while now, though for some reason I thought it was a much older novel. It’s exciting that your theatre had an opportunity to put together such a good IWD programme – the panel discussion of musical songs sounds especially interesting.

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    • This is my third reading of Strangers on A Train. It has a creepiness to it that is just lovely.

      I’m glad the panel discussed problematic songs too. We just put on My Fair Lady last summer, which has loads of moments that are terrible to women.

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  4. hoo boy you’ve been busy! I love that your theatre celebrated international women’s day like that-how fabulous! I can’t wait to see what you think of Patricia Highsmith, that seems to be another book blogger fav…

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  5. I still can’t believe it about Luke Perry! What a shock. I’m sorry the Lesbian Horse Stories book hasn’t been great. Hopefully the stories will get better as you go on. You can hope…

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    • Some of them have gotten better! I think I realized what I don’t like: the fun of the Lesbian Career Girl series I read is in the long mystery and the way the relationships between characters are challenged. Each time I start a new story, it’s like I’m not getting to that rich part full of conflict. But, they have been getting better.

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      • That’s part of what is difficult for me with short stories. It’s hard to get a full feel for the characters, story, etc—and then when/if I do, it’s over! I’m usually slow to warm up to the story and then I want it to last a while. But I’m glad these stories have been getting better. They sounded so promising. Good for you for persevering. 🤗

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        • Thank you, Lorilin! I think a short story done right shouldn’t leave you wanting more. To me, that’s more like an author who could have written a novel but did not. The whole world has to exist in those few pages.

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  6. I’m sad about Luke Perry as well… I was quite the 90210 fan back in the day! I’d say it probably hasn’t aged well though. Might be fun for some giggles.

    Great job on your reading goals. That’s fun you’re reading Strangers on a Train to hubby. I read that last year and really liked it. It’s the only Highsmith I’ve read so far.

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  7. I used to watch 90210, blame my kids. Andrea was my favourite, probably because she clearly wasn’t a teenager. Looking forward to the review of Lesbian Horse Stories, what do horses get up to when they’re alone in the stables?

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    • I used to never read multiple books unless they were in different categories: paperback, audio, and the book I would read aloud to my husband. However, I decided to give this a try, and I’ve found so far that I tend to remember all the books I’m reading better! I didn’t know that would be an effect, but it is, so I’m happy.

      Strangers on a Train by Hitchcock is based on Highsmith’s book, but Hitch was known for taking liberties. I felt the move really paled compared to the book (I’ve read it twice before). I saw some interviews that revealed that the only reason Rebecca follows the plot so closely is the producer kept popping by to make sure Hitch wasn’t making any huge changes (like he wanted to).

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  8. I didn’t know Luke Perry had died! He was so young. And poor Alex Trebek… 😦

    On the bright side, it sounds like your theater put on an awesome IWD event!

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  9. I was so upset about Luke Perry! I was obsessed with Beverly Hills 90210 growing up, and Dylan was my favorite. Such sad news about Luke Perry – he truly seemed like a nice guy.
    You’ll be happy to hear that I bought a bunch of the Mercedes Lackey books! There was a library book sale in my city, and there were a bunch of her books that I was able to find there. I was able to get the first 3 books that you reviewed (the books about Talia), and some others as well – mostly mish-mash of different series, so I’ll probably start with the Talia books at some point when I feel like picking up a new fantasy series. It was fun to spot them at the sale and it will be fun to hunt for the other books at other library sales / garage sales, etc.

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