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i like your moxie, sassafras!

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so much stuff (TV, books, movies, theater)
lusty, mf you mf, good enough to eat, stays on task
Hi, everybody!

Okay, if I don't post this tonight, I'm just going to keep putting it off until the post swells to completely ludicrous proportions. So, under the cuts, you'll find blather about TV, books, movies, and theater. And a little bit of real life as well.

So, TV! TV has been very good in isolated bursts this season, I think. I'm still adoring Community and The Good Wife, and I'm not worried about how insular they're both becoming - while it may make it difficult for a new viewer to understand what's going on without watching all the earlier eps, I feel like the storylines from both are rewarding those of us who have been there from the beginning. (By the way, I was walking behind a woman wearing a raincoat and carrying a Burberry umbrella. A sharp gust of wind blew her hood back and I saw that her hood was lined with the Burberry plaid as well, and I so wanted to say, "Your umbrella's trying to escape into your hood," but I didn't think she'd appreciate it.)

I'm still watching Supernatural, and I'm sort of vaguely enjoying this season, but I can't help wishing that the show had ended with a bang (the boys' deaths) in the last ep of season 5. There's one story in particular I wish I'd written when I was still wrapped up in the Winchesters and their world ("Generation), but I'm glad that I don't hate the show or resent all the time I spent in the fandom (how could I, when I got to know so many of you because of it?). And things like this

can still make me smile. Oh, Dean.

The only new show I've stuck with is Up All Night. It's not groundbreaking TV, but Will Arnett and Christina Applegate are really appealing and totally convincing as a couple that's been together for ten years and is still very much in love with each other. They're pretty hilarious and I like the ways in which they're trying to negotiate having a baby with their understanding of who they are as a couple. And the fact that the husband is the one who stays home with the (super-adorable) baby and the wife goes to work isn't played for laughs or "irony" - it's just how they decided to make things work, and now they have to actually live it. Reagan has to deal with being at work (where she's pretty much a mommy to her co-worker/best friend) when she really wants to be mommy at home to her actual baby, and Chris is struggling to find masculine companionship and role models. It's fun.

And I found NY-Lon, a show from about ten years ago (I think) starring Rashida Jones and New York City on the one hand and Steven Moyer and London on the other. I've only seen the first ep, but it's interesting and unpredictable in a few ways. I think the rest of the series (six more eps, I believe) will be fun.

Snap judgment time! I watched the first eps of Downton Abbey and Whitechapel and hated them both. I know I have flisties who rave about each of these series, so if you're one of them, you're welcome to try to pitch either series in terms that will appeal to me. Otherwise, I'm going to give them both a miss.

I found both of these because of the Yuletide pimping post, and I'm so glad I did. Robertson Davies's trilogy is a fascinating page-turner. I found the first book easily the most compelling (and I'm still not sure what purpose having one character narrate the third book by quoting another character's narration for the entire thing was), but the whole shebang was full of interesting characters I couldn't remember meeting before. A lot of professional fiction these days seems to blend together, but these three novels were sharp and distinct.

I could not stop laughing as I read Connie Willis's To Say Nothing of the Dog. I don't think I've read a book that was that purely fun since Adam Rex's The True Meaning of Smekday. TSNotD gave me that delicious feeling of reading something that would appeal to a very small subset of people that I'm squarely in - people who love murder mysteries, Victoriana, stories about storytelling, humor, general geekery, jokes about academia, and sharply drawn characters. It feels like that should be a very small subset, but books like that seem like proof that it's not (there are dozens of us! dozens!). Highly recommended.

My latest Netflixed movies have been the BBC Sense and Sensibility mini-series and Murder by Decree, starring Christopher Plummer as Sherlock Holmes. S&S featured some great performances - particularly the actors playing Elinor, Mrs. Dashwood the widow, and Colonel Brandon. (Plus super-ginger Mark Gatiss as John Dashwood!) Seriously, they were all believable and age-appropriate (sorry, Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman) and didn't come across like they were aware of acting in a Jane Austen film. Unfortunately, the actor playing Marianne chose to make Marianne bratty and only intermittently interesting, and the actor playing Willoughby, who has looked quite nice in other roles, was frankly hideous here, which did not help him sell the role of a confident ladykiller. They both needed to grow up a little, I think, even though they were age-appropriate.

I'd heard very good things about MbD, but didn't realize that I'd already seen a more recent version, namely From Hell, starring Johnny Depp and directed by the Hughes brothers who did such interesting work with Touching Evil (US). Every plot point was the same, and the earlier film lacked the visual flair of the later one, so I wasn't all that engrossed in it. Though one scene had me absolutely rolling. Holmes is trying to think through a crime and is distracted by Watson plinking his fork against his plate, trying to spear the last pea. Holmes finally comes over and smashes the pea so that it oozes up between the tines of Watson's fork, and Watson gets all wearily indignant, grumbling about not fiddling with "a fellow's pea" and proper behavior. It was adorable. But if you're looking for a Holmes-vs-Jack the Ripper, go with From Hell and just pretend Heather Graham can pull off a believable accent.

I have been seeing a lot of theater recently. I saw Find My Way Home, a retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice (my favorite Greek myth) in dance, with accompanying live vocal music. It was a little too elaborate to be truly effective, I think; that's a story that can take all the stripping-down an interpreter wishes to indulge in, but it loses focus when the death and loss and reunion are made to bear too much symbolic weight.

Anything Goes with Sutton Foster (Joel Grey was out due to injury) was a pure delight, almost entirely because of Foster (and the book, which was originally co-created by P. G. Wodehouse). I'm trying to think of something she didn't knock out of the park. She starts off singing a slow, smoky, jazzy rendition of "I Get a Kick Out of You" that makes the song much more poignant than the usual upbeat arrangements. And she can dance (her legs looked a mile long) and be funny and tender and just a dream to watch. Plus she looks like she could be Christine Baranski's little sister - some casting agent needs to get on that and introduce her on The Good Wife so that Diane Lockhart and her baby sis can rule them all with iron fists in velvet gloves. If you get a chance, go see this show.

I subscribed to a theater in Brooklyn for the first time this year, and went to the season opener, Little Shop of Horrors. Knowing that this (one of my favorite shows EVER EVER EVER!) was on the schedule helped me decide to subscribe, and when I did, they were still casting. They specifically said they wanted to cast an Audrey who wasn't doing an Ellen Greene impression. And what did they get? An Ellen Greene impression. A very good one, but still nothing I hadn't seen before. The guy playing Seymour was doing something new, and he and one of the girls in the Greek chorus were very good. The rest of the cast was mostly okay, though the show suffered not only from a distractingly low budget but also a couple of real hams in the cast. They gave Audrey II a woman's voice, which I hadn't expected. I'm interested to see how the company does with the next show.

I took a friend and her husband to see How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. I went in as a John Larroquette fan (Dan Fielding was . . . a mammal.) and left as a Daniel Radcliffe convert. My goodness, can that boy dance. And dance with exuberance. The show is built around his character kind of scheming and dumb-lucking his way to the top, so it made sense for him to have a smile on his face the whole time, but it was really obvious from being there live, in the same space, that he was all lit up inside at being on a Broadway stage, acting and singing and dancing his little heart out. If you get a chance to see him dance, GO.

I got a cheap ticket to see Silence! The Musical, a musical parody of the Silence of the Lambs movie. It was HILARIOUS. The couple sitting next to me said it compared favorably with The Book of Mormon, which is insanely expensive and overbooked and I kind of don't care about anyway. Anyway, the cast was clearly having a great time, and invited the audience in on all the jokes and we all left giggling about serial killers. Good times.

And last night I entered the lottery for Godspell tickets and got in, thanks to the kindness of a couple of strangers I'd been standing behind in line. Lottery-ticket holders sit in pits dug about the stage (it's totally in the round) on pillows and a few of them (thank goodness not me) get pulled on stage. It's an odd production of an odd show - the cast (there were two standouts, neither of whom, unfortunately, was Jesus or Judas) seemed to want to make it a kicky, "let's put on a show!" drama-camp kind of thing, but that's not all that charming when audience members have spent roughly $80-$100 for a ticket. Plus there were far too many references to celebrities/news stories, which gets old really fast. And the Jesus role was taken by some kid who's apparently in Weeds but who looked so much like (the pictures I've seen, not having seen the series) the actor who plays Arthur on Merlin - same blond hair, same obtrusive teeth - that it actually got distracting. Anyway, the Jesus role is difficult (as I was watching, I couldn't think how it could be done effectively) but this Jesus only got interesting in the last fifteen minutes of the show. The rest of the time, he was beaming beatifically at his disciples - I'm sure he meant to come across as sincere, but it looked more like "you adorable, dim puppies" to me, which was not especially endearing. And Judas was kind of a loss all around. Eh, I don't know - I still like the version my college put on fifteen years ago better.

Now that my guest bathroom sink, boiler, and washer & dryer are all fixed, life is pretty sweet at Casa Kunju. I think when the weather's nice enough to keep windows open that I'll paint at least a few rooms. My bedroom, especially, needs not to be cream/white anymore. I'm thinking a soft orangey sunrise color.

There's a rare-book store that I pass on my way to the subway home, and they are selling a letter (with accompanying photograph) written by Basil Rathbone. It catches my eye every single day.

I haven't been following all of the Hobbit news, because I'm in it for the actors and not the story (Martin Freeman! Lee Pace! Richard Armitage! together at last!), but I did watch the video blog entry that deals with how they're making the Hobbit films in 3D, and there are a few glimpses of the awesome MF in his Bilbo togs, and I have to say that I COVET his bathrobe.

And now that I've finished writing my last promised fic for the Fall Fandom Free-for-All (To the Ends of the Earth, Charles (Jamie Sives) pining for Edmund (Benedict Cumberbatch) for oxoniensis), I'm up for writing some more. Should it be the long Arthur-centric Cabin Pressure fic, a sequel to "Tear Up Your List" featuring Sherlock and John and Mycroft, or something else entirely?

And how are you all doing?

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I love To Say Nothing of the Dog! It's one of her best!

Martin Freeman! Lee Pace! Richard Armitage! together at last!
And I think I love you, for saying this. I have to watch that video; I'd seen that it was up but forgotten.

Tell me what other stuff of hers I should be reading, please! I had such a blast with To Say Nothing of the Dog! And you should absolutely read Smekday, if you haven't already.

The actors alone are making me certain I'm going to be squirming with delight watching The Hobbit. Tim Canterbury/John Watson, Ned/Calpernia, and John Thornton are all in the same movie!!!

lol--I think I am one of your flisties who raved about Downton Abbey and Whitechapel, and well, I guess I'd say this: the first season of Downton Abbey is excellent--if you like that kind of thing. It's like a good Victorian novel (or Sense and Sensibility)--the trauma and chaos wrought by the strict entail. Dame Maggie is particularly wonderful.

The second season made smoke come out of my ears I found it so annoying (and borderline offensive).

Whitechapel I love, but I grant you the filming is a little overwrought and the plotting a little ham-fisted. But the characters get better and better as you go along, and the last episodes of the second series, if you get that, far are ridiculously plotted, but emotionally wrenching and poignant in all the best ways.

I am literally drooling from your description of Anything Goes! That sounds fabulous!

Come up to NYC and I'll see Anything Goes with you!

I love Victorian novels, and adored Gosford Park, but I think I found the DA characters too transparent and/or unlikeable. I wanted to smack so many of them. I can buy that Dame Maggie continued to be wonderful throughout the series, but she isn't enough to overcome my antipathy for several of the other characters.

Whitechapel was kind of strangely unengaging, I thought - and no one seemed to care very much about the victims, just scoring off each other. That the victims were women and the detectives were men just exacerbated my dislike, I think.

Which is not to say that I won't try both again later - I have faith in your judgment, and maybe I was just particularly cranky when I tried them both out.

I'll be in NYC between Christmas and New Year's sometime--maybe it'll be our chance for a rl meet up!

I think you're being remarkably perceptive about the DA characters--it took me until the middle of S2 to realize they needed to all get in a smack line.

And Whitechapel is probably a YMMV kind of thing--life is too short to watch things you don't enjoy :)

Wow, this is really belated - sorry! I'm going to be away between Christmas and New Year's, actually, but if you're also around before and/or after, maybe then? I leave 12/22 and come back 12/31 (or 1/1, can't remember). Are you going to be here before or after that?

Ha! We should make the "smack line" a reality.

Both Murder by Decree and From Hell are loosely based on the same Jack the Ripper theory, but From Hell was a huge disappointment for me because it's adapted from the magnificent and terrifying graphic novel of the same name, which took that theory and actually went places with it. Then the movie peeled away most of the complexity of the graphic novel and was weirdly flat (though I did love the cinematography and the colours). So it's good to hear that without the graphic novel, it does stand alone!

I can't blame Emma Thompson for being too old for Sense and Sensibility - she was told that if she didn't act in the film they wouldn't make it (the director Ang Lee being fairly unknown at the time), and she didn't want to be in it!

Ah, I didn't know that about Emma Thompson's participation! I think she did a very good job in the role, but it was hard for me to see her as Elinor simply because of her age.

And I watched From Hell because of Depp and the Hughes brothers - I had no idea there was a graphic novel! Must look into getting my hands on a copy.

I watched NY-LON a while back and really enjoyed it. No spoilers, but I did have issues with the way it ended.

Also, I was unaware that Gatiss is in that particular adaptation of S&S. BRB, downloading immediately.

Did you see ginger!Gatiss yet?

Thanks for the heads-up on NY-Lon - I haven't found the time to watch the rest, but hope to soon!

I have! The wig is hilarious. He looks marvellous in a cravat and should always dress in frock coats.

They do suit him very well, don't they? All long and lean.

Hey you! It sounds as though you've been terribly cultural lately, what with all of your books and theatre trips, and I'm glad that you're enjoying (most of) it. If you're looking for writing suggestions then I'd go for the Arthur-centric CP fic - I think he'd be quite unreasonably adorable when confronted with someone he has a crush on.

I'd love to finally write the Arthur fic! I'm kicking around a few ideas for how to jump-start it - I might email you, if you've got the time?

Hold your horses, missy! Let me see if I can actually get it going first!

(But thanks!)

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