public forum
home forum magazine gallery links about faq courtesy
It is currently Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:10 pm

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]




Forum locked This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 95 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: Light Summer Reading
PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2003 9:00 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 457
Location: Jamaica, Queens, New York
Hello, CD friends, it’s summer again and do we dare re-visit that delicious topic of … light summer reading?

Let me start with a collection of short stories by Roald Dahl. Dahl, a Brit, is primarily known for his children’s stories such as “James and the Giant Peach,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (better known by its filmic version, “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”), “Charlie and the Glass Elevator,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” etc. For the comp/lit class I just finished, they assigned “Switch Bitch,” a mini collection of a few short stories.

Dahl, we learned in class, was quite an interesting character—highly educated, a professional adventurer and legendary woman’s man, WWII fighter pilot, a celebrity. Due to dark and traumatic episodes in his life as a child and adult (including being shot down in the Battle of Britain), Dahl took to writing almost as a means of psychological self-preservation. His books depict a bizarre and ultimately evil adult world redeemed only by the innocence of its children.

3 of the 4 stories of “Switch Bitch” concern the adventures of a Dahl-like character, Oswald Henryk Cornelius, whose memoirs fall into the hands of a nephew. Cornelius is a bizarre yet strangely magnetic character—immensely egotistical and sexual (for example, Cornelius relates that compared to himself, Don Juan was a monk) and not a little disturbed (he has an intense phobia of germs and some of his interior monologues about pathogenic spirochetes and bacilli seem a little too realistic).

Each story from the first takes you into a more and more bizarre, darkly comic, and cruel world. In the final story, “Switch Bitch,” Cornelius bankrolls a scientist who succeeds in formulating the perfect aphrodisiac perfume, which they decide they will market under the name, “Bitch.” The mere scent of “Bitch” is enough to drive men wild, rending asunder their own clothes and assaulting the nearest female. In Dahl’s world, the women enjoy being thus treated and the scientist dies of heart failure when his lab assistant douses herself with the entire supply of “Bitch” and sneaks up on him.

Cornelius has the only dose left with which he decides that since he doesn’t like the president of the United States he would like to use it to make the President attack the Chairwoman of the D.A.R. on national television. I won’t tell you how that plan goes but the outcome is hilarious. I’m sorry I can’t tell you the publisher and year because I already sold it back to the campus bookstore.

<small>[ 06 June 2003, 11:58 PM: Message edited by: Jeff ]</small>


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Light Summer Reading
PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2003 9:35 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 717
Location: California
Wow Jeff, some light reading there! It might interest you to know a good friend who is a musician/composer is wanting to write two one act operas of two Dahl short stories. Apparently the Dahl estate is tough in terms of rights, but the material is perfect in operatic terms. I'll find out which stories and let you know.

Now for some truly light summer reading..I just finished renowned chef and cookbook author Jacque Pepin's autobiography. It's fast and fun and very interesting. Imagine leaving home at 13/14 to start working in your chosen profession!!

Best,
D


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Light Summer Reading
PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2003 11:43 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Mar 20, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 3000
Location: San Francisco
Out of curiosity, I bought a Tom Clancy novel. (It wasn’t written by Tom Clancy. I think all "Tom Clancy" novels these days just use his name but are written by someone else.) It was awful, IMO. Never again. The next time I find myself with nothing to read on the subway and have to get a bestseller at Walgreen's, I'll pick a detective story or a romance. At least those don't usually have graphic descriptions of torture in them.

I've barely started reading Spirits of the Ordinary - A Tale of Casas Grandes, by Kathleen Alcalà. One critic likened her style to those of Isabel Allende and Laura Esquivel. This book is about a Jewish family practicing its faith in secret, in northern Mexico, at the turn of the last century.

I’d been reading Noam Chomsky’s Rogue States before I took a trip to Seattle, but when I was there, I didn’t feel like reading anything upsetting, so I stopped reading that book. A friend of mine there gave me Spirits of the Ordinary because she didn’t like it (this doesn’t bode well). Well, if I don’t like it either, I’ll get back to Rogue States all the sooner.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Light Summer Reading
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2003 5:35 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Dec 12, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 3663
Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
Quote:
The next time I find myself with nothing to read on the subway and have to get a bestseller at Walgreen's, I'll pick a detective story
I recommend Susan Conant's "Dog Lovers' Mysteries".

Quote:
At least those don't usually have graphic descriptions of torture in them.
You might want to avoid Lawrence Block's "Matt Scudder" novels, then, although for witty, lighthearted fare, I commend to you the same author's "The Burglar Who...." series.

_________________
Jeffrey E. Salzberg,
Dance Lighting Design
http://www.jeffsalzberg.com


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Light Summer Reading
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2003 9:06 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 457
Location: Jamaica, Queens, New York
Quote:
It was awful, IMO. Never again.
In the winter version of this thread, didn’t we already go through a “world’s worst reading” phase? ;) Well, djb, since we’re “un-recommending” books, here’s a book I just finsihed you might want to avoid: Michel Foucault’s “Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison.”

“Discipline” is one of those staples for anybody interested in contemporary theory. It’s nominally about the evolution of the penal system which went from one where the body of the prisoner was the site of a spectacular punitive theater to one of almost scientific if not industrial incarceration.

Foucault starts by recounting the judicial torture and execution of Damiens, a regicide of 18th century France. The executioners pulled strips of flesh from his body with specially crafted metal pincers and poured molten wax, silver, gold, etc into the wounds. The hand grasping the knife he used to kill the king was coated in sulphur and burned. Damiens body was attached to horses to be quartered but so resistant was his flesh that it came apart only with 6 horses and starting slashes along the joints. They say his torso was still alive when it was thrown on the executioner’s cart to be taken to be burnt and the ashes scattered.

Foucault traces the evolution of what he calls the technologies of discipline from the world of wheels, gibbets, scaffolds, and pillories to the world of “correctional facilities” and the ‘carceral city.’ The modern state no longer stages contests of power played out on the torn bodies of men, but encodes power in its very architecture symbolized by the Benthamite Panopticon—a circular prison where every cell is visible to an all-seeing-but-never-itself-seen central watch station. Never knowing when they were being observed, prisoners would be forced to behave correctly at all times—basically a précis of the modern condition. Aren’t we all to some extent subject everywhere and at all times to anonymous and ubiquitous forces tending towards conformity … a network of forces—some physical but many institutional?

Foucault:
Quote:
I would like to write the history of this prison, with all the political investments of the body that it gathers in its closed architecture. Why? Simply because I am interested in the past? No, if one means by that writing a history of the past in terms of the present. Yes, if one means writing the history of the present.
Yes, the world I suggested earlier, Dahl’s world, is disturbing, but at least it’s supposed to be fiction. But Foucault’s world? Like they say in the new Matrix movie, it’s all about control.

Despite my rather schematic summary, “Discipline” isn’t a tough read. Its prose (in translation) is elegant and only occasionally obscure. I’m sure I don’t understand all the implications of “Discipline and Punish” but I believe it extends beyond the penal system. In the Victorian lit class I just finished, the professor brought “Discipline” up several times in discussions related to the ideology of the realist novel.

There actually is a dance book I was going to say something about but I have to get my mail out of vacation hold before the post office closes…

<small>[ 07 June 2003, 11:15 AM: Message edited by: Jeff ]</small>


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Light Summer Reading
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2003 10:59 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1780
Location: Dallas, TX USA
on my summer reading list so far is:

Sex and Power by Susan Estrich
Slaughterhouse 5
The Witches of Eastwick
The first 4 books of Stephen King's Dark Tower Series (The Gunslinger, Drawing of the Three, The Wastelands, and Wizard and Glass) because the 5th book is coming out in November... excitement!

There are also a few pop-linguistics books id like to sink my teeth into , and perhaps a few more of the Jean Auel books, if i can fit those all into the summer!

I also have to squeeze in the GRE and GMAT test prep books in there somewhere. :(


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Light Summer Reading
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2003 11:21 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Mar 20, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 3000
Location: San Francisco
Thanks for the recommendation and warnings, Salzberg. Oh...and thanks a LOT, Jeff!

<small>[ 07 June 2003, 01:22 PM: Message edited by: djb ]</small>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Light Summer Reading
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2003 1:46 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 294
Location: Italy and UK
Recently I have read the story of the Iranian Revolution told in the form of a graphic novel from the viewpoint of a 10 year old girl who lived it in first person.
The girl is now a woman and has made this book to cope with her past and to make it visible to other people.

The fact that she did it via the use of drawings and the perspective of a child makes the story a nice read in spite of the tragic subject.

Here is a link to an article about her and her work who has recently been published in English as well. It was firstly published in French and I read it in Italian.

http://books.guardian.co.uk/departments/biography/story/0,6000,956479,00.html

_________________
Rosella Simonari


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Light Summer Reading
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2003 10:06 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Mar 20, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 3000
Location: San Francisco
Rosella, Persepolis sounds interesting. I think I'll order it.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Light Summer Reading
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2003 11:19 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 457
Location: Jamaica, Queens, New York
Ooohhh … right! Returning to dance… on a recent flight, I read Susan Leigh Foster’s 1996 “Choreography and Narrative: Ballet’s Staging of Story and Desire,” which traces the development of the “action-ballet” (as opposed to the “opera-ballet”) from Marie Salle’s “Pygmalion” of 1734 to the “Giselle” of 1841. That was a period of enormous changes—the professionalization of dance, the struggle for dominance of narrative over pure dance, dance’s gendering, and the ascendancy of the female dancer. Foster takes on a number of fascinating dance topics – too many, perhaps to be really effective. I think I would have preferred a book length treatment on each of several topics each of which would probably make somebody a good dissertation.

For instance, the book comes close but doesn’t quite make a connection between the codification of the ballet body and the disciplinary technologies of the modern state (the book references Foucault but I think refuses what might have been its Foulcauldian insights). Foster is very good at describing the transition from the pre-Romantic ballet with its stories from antiquity to the Romantic ballet with its many basically feminine spirits, sylphs, wilis, peris, etc.

I thought that her close “readings” of ballets from “Les Royalistes de la Vendee, ou les Epoux Republicains” (1794), “La Dansomanie” (1800), “Les Pages du Duc de Vendome” (1820) all the way to the more familiar “La Sylphide” and “Giselle” to be unsurpassed and as intelligent, articulate, and subtly insightful as any I have read in my lit classes. Her tracing of the Pygmalion myth from Salle to Milon to “Coppelia” is quite astute.

Personally, if it hasn’t already been done to death, I think it would be interesting to develop Foster’s discussion about the exchanges between the state, its officially chartered theaters (the Comedie Francaise and the Comedie Italienne) and the “boulevard theaters” which offered an alternative theatrical tradition—one whose contravention, farce, parody, and emphasis on pure entertainment both competed with and enriched the art of the officially sanctioned theaters. IMHO Stephen Greenblatt and the “New Historicists” immeasurably enriched our understanding of Shakespeare and his contemporaries through scholarship about the relationship between the Elizabethan state, its censors, the artists, the public, and the theaters they patronized.

Consider this observation: Is it the mere coincidence of history that the civilization that mandated Damiens’ Paris 1757 magnificent annihilation as a state civic ritual was also the civilization that brought us Marie Camargo, Marie Salle, and Diderot. Is it possible that these illustrious artists witnessed Damiens’ amende honorable (were they all not in Paris in the late 1750s)? Coincidence or conjunction?

I’m not so much interested in the workings of a past theatrical tradition as in the workings of what we see nowadays. How and why do some dance pieces evolve over time? Is there a class, economic, or imperialist mechanism in addition to (or masquerading as) artistic reasons for change? How and why do social dance forms get incorporated into theatrical performance? Or vice versa.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Light Summer Reading
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2003 6:25 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 294
Location: Italy and UK
Jeff,
I think it depends on each work and author. For example the controversial and prolific work of Italian playwright, actor and pantomime actor Dario Fo takes profound inspiration from the Commedia dell'arte italiana (Italian Comedy) taking into great account the body language and the role of improvisation which was so typical of actors at that time (the Middle Age, the Renaissance and the Baroque period each period with transformation and changes of course).

Fo had always a hard time in Italy as his work is often considered blasphemous by the Catholic Church. He is highly political and arrived at disagreements even with the Communist party he once supported.

In 1997 he received the Nobel Prize for Literature, a news which created a lot of polemical debate in Italy. I think he studied the Italian Comedy to recover a root of the Italian theatre and he reused (with incredible power and competence) to stage his satirical characters.

For those of you who might be interested there is a very good book about the Italian Comedy, filled with incredible illustrations. It is by Pierre Louis Duchartre, The Italian Comedy, Dover Publications, New York.

I give you this link for Dario Fo:

http://kirjasto.sci.fi/dariofo.htm

_________________
Rosella Simonari


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Light Summer Reading
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2003 10:53 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 457
Location: Jamaica, Queens, New York
How interesting, Rosella …

From the link you posted:

Quote:
The Vatican described his performance as "the most blasphemous show in the history of televison" when it was presented on Italian television in 1977.
Is that a must-see or what!
Quote:

In his book Manuale Minimo dell'Attore (1987) Fo has explored the history's jesters, minstrels, and political clowns, whom he believes have changed the course of history. The book was not written at a desk but it was recorded from talks, workshops, lectures and conference pieces and then edited by Franca Rame. "In my view, what we have around us is a dead theatre for dead people. Supply alternates with demand, and every culture has the theatre it deserves. In Italy, no one is more dead than the authors, incapable of producing anything other than literary texts, with grand speeches full of elaborately patterned phrases chasing and devouring each other." (from The Tricks of the Trade by Dario Fo, 1987)
Must have been in a bad mood that day… FYI there is an English translation titled “Tricks of the Trade” available at Amazon.

Despite what the title makes it sound like Susan Estrich's "Sex and Power" is not a paperback fiction novel. Susan Estrich is apparently a law professor here in southern California. Here is a review from the San Bernadino Public Libraries:

Review of "Sex and Power"

<small>[ 08 June 2003, 12:58 PM: Message edited by: Jeff ]</small>


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Light Summer Reading
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2003 5:49 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2002 11:01 pm
Posts: 602
Location: Seattle, WA,USA
Interesting review on the book " Sex and Power" - it seems like another book that assumes that power only lays in the political and economic sphere, and wants to make its mark by beating the heck out of men. Probably a good idea from a sales standpoint, but not a really serious discussion on gender issues. ;)


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Light Summer Reading
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2003 10:45 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 457
Location: Jamaica, Queens, New York
O BTW, I wanted to come clean …

My Amazon package just got in and I’ve been browsing through “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Watcher’s Guide, Vol II.” If it’s humanly possible, imagine my ballet notes enriched with insights from this just finished action-TV show…

Matthew, as a veteran of 2 Women’s Studies classes and existing as I must in the primarily feminine world of upper division and graduate English classes, I’ve had plenty of stuffing beaten out of me … I’m not going anywhere near your appraisal of feminism.

Gaeadea, I’m interested in "pop-linguistics."
What books are you considering?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Light Summer Reading
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2003 11:02 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Mar 20, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 3000
Location: San Francisco
Please indulge a brief digression...today I watched Buffy for the first time ever (a bit late, what?) and I must say, the 5 or so minutes I watched were very entertaining. Don't read anything into the fact that I only watched for 5 minutes; I was in a hurry to leave the house, that's all.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Forum locked This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 95 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
The messages in this forum are posted by members of the general public and do not reflect the opinions or beliefs of CriticalDance or its staff.
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group