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La Boheme

For my birthday this year, Crystal and I went to the opera. We dressed with casual elegance as would befit such an evening (well afternoon, we saw a matinee). 

However, this was not a traditional production Ė this was Baz Luhrmannís La Boheme. Set in the 50ís, the opera got a new look with neon signs, James Dean clothes, and loosely translated supertitles. One memorable line of beautiful Italian was translated as ďIím freezing my ass off.Ē 

Later in the opera when the four friends are mock fighting in their garret, the supertitles looked like an old episode of Batman: ďPOW!Ē, ďBAM!Ē, ďOUCH!Ē The cast was very talented and, as Crystal said, it was nice to finally see the story of young, starving artists played by young, thin actors not huge, aging, Wagerian divas. I really enjoyed the energy and spirit of the show as well as the beautiful music. 

Another interesting aspect of the production was that all of the stage business (moving scenery, changing lights, adding ďsnowĒ, etc.) was done in front of the audience Ė the curtain never closed because there was no curtain. All of the stagehands were dressed in costume (or reasonable facsimiles) and in a strange way it pulled you further into the show, like we were a part of making it, not just watching it. If you arenít a purist, I highly recommend this production if you have a chance to go see it. The opera was never more fun!

Night and Day

Iím a fan of Tom Stoppard, so when a friend offered to get us comp tickets to Night and Day at the ACT in San Francisco, I immediately said yes. 

I was a bit worried that it would be heavy and dark since it dealt with Serious Issues and the Current State of the World. I shouldnít have worried. This is Tom Stoppard Ė witty dialogue and fast-paced conversation are his hallmarks no matter what the subject. 

The play is set in a random African country in the throws of civil war in the 1970ís. The three main characters are reporters Ė a veteran writer, a veteran photographer, and a cub writer Ė all trying to get the scoop on the story. The cub takes the first lead with a lucky break Ė heís kidnapped by the opposition forces and the leader takes a liking to him, because heís just that kind of open, happy, and earnest young man. Tensions are high when the three reporters meet at the home of a British businessman who is living in the county with his wife and son while managing a mine. Sparks fly and the true role of journalism in world affairs is discussing in cutting detail Ė shining a light in the dark places of the world because atrocities are worse when committed in the dark, but of course being first and making the money is part of it too because new is a business. 

For all the extremely cogent and valid points made, I laughed a lot at the byplay between the characters. Especially brilliant was the actress playing the businessmanís bored wife. Her asides to the audience were wonderful and showed her inner turmoil in sharp contrast to her outward superficiality. The end was a shock but you can easily guess who the Redshirt in the piece will be. All in all it was the perfect Stoppard play Ė witty, enjoyable, and thought-provoking.

Renaissance Fair

It was the best of all Renaissance Fairs, we scored comp tickets and the parking was free.

Okay, so the drive was a bit pro-longed, but I hope that the Ren fair stays at the Fruit Tree for a good long time.

Like the much mourned Black Pointe Site, the new location in the hills East of Gilroy are pleasantly shaded with California Oaks. The weather was pleasant, at the lower end of warm. Not yet cool, but definitely fall. 

Karen and I met up with Gina, Ken and eventually Dorothy as we wandered the Fair. We ate, we shopped. A good time was had by all.

We kind a sorta garbed. Bodice, skirt. You know the typical, I donít actually want to garb, but I have some spirit.

Afterwards, we jetted out via Hwy 5, avoiding the mess that is Morgan Hill traffic, and singing Nightmare Before Christmas all the way.

Halloween Gaskells
All around a success. The dancing, evening, the costumes.

The music was good, although the choice to play the first Congress of Vienna in a minor key was odd. Not bad, but just a little off.

There was a wide variety of costumes this year, which was nice. In some previous years, there has been mostly straight Victorian with a smattering of Halloween costumes. One of the most clever sets was a group of people who all wore outfits in pink stripped fabric. There were 17th, 18th, 19th century gowns, kilts, coats, bows, cumberbunds Ė all manner of styles. I never saw them all together, however having them smattered throughout the crowd was a very nice touch.

Our costumes were also a nice success. Iím glad that Gina suggested that we do a trial run at World Con. Karen was able to work out some of the kinks with Erisí hair (less clumpy, more blended). And, well, we only wore the high heels for the First March. After that, the goddesses lost some height and gained some traction by changing into dancing slippers.

We were of course, stunning and goddess like and we got the compliments to prove it. Validation isnít just for parking.

Now then, the review over, Iím going to digress a little. I got some very interesting reactions to my Persephone costume. I think Iíll back up slightly. 

I have some very definite ideas about where Iím going with Persephone. Sheís the goddess of the Spring and yet she is also the Queen of the Underworld. I imagine her by turns cold and kind. From every birth comes a death and Persephone personifies this. Kore the maiden. Persephone the sometimes Queen.

Also, Iím something of a romantic (i.e., I read romance novels). Iíve always been fascinated by the story of the abduction of Persephone. The various versions. Her father is complicitous Zeus. Her father is irrelevant. Zeus knows all. Zeus knows nothing. The parallels between Demeter searching for her missing daughter and Egyptian Isis searching for her missing husband. And then there is the romance at the heart of the story. Dark brooding figure, shunned by all the other gods, sees a beautiful maiden (Kore means maiden) and kidnaps her. Carries her off to his kingdom below the earth. Itís all very un-pc of me and yet, I think that she chooses to eat the pomegranate seeds, because come on, they certainly donít alleviate her hunger. She spends six months apart from her husband and yet in all the legends of the amorous Greeks, she doesnít fool around. Hades never fools around. Theyíre one of the few faithful couples one finds in the Greek gods. Also, in several legends when people need a favor from Hades, lovers back from the dead, etc., Persephone is the one who intercedes with Hades. Hades, sans, Persephone is this unbending rule abiding wintery creature. Persephone lends an air of mercy and compassion to the underworld. Hades is just, but Persephone is fair.

My costume plays with all this a bit. Itís the dark Peresphone. All black and silver. Cold embroidered flowers, beaded to color. Silver jewelry and rings. Pale face and red lips. Youthful hair style that riots with curls. No cleavage, but side slits up to the thigh, which is something I donít normally do because, I donít really like my thighs. However, I kind of wanted to play up the healthy muscles. 

So, the funny bit is the sheer number of men, who flirted with me as Persephone because Iím not with my husband. I only see him six months out of the year. He need never know. There was no way to stay in character and make them cut it out. 

It also, completely threw me, because itís completely antithetical to my view of Persephone.  Itís not really a seductive outfit and thatís not an aspect of my personality that Iím playing with when Iím Persephone. To an extent I'm playing with a younger, less forceful aspect of myself. It was interesting to revisit her and see how people respond to her. 

Also, itís a very different reaction than I got when wandering around with my fellow goddesses at Worldcon. Much more awe, less pursuing the vulnerable doe. 

All in all, very useful.

Cemetary Picnic

Once upon a time the Victorians were really morbid. They built huge cemetaries that they might comune with their dead relatives. They built beautiful mausauleums, rolling parks. Statues.

Good stuff.

Once a year we go and picnic in their dead honor. We try to look good doing it.

Nightmare Before Christmas

Nightmare Before Christmas is one of my favorite movies. So, when Gina emailed met that there was going to be a free showing at Things From Another World at the Metreon, I was certainly up for a bit of Nightmarish spontaneity. They were having a costume contest so we dressed up. Okay weíd have dressed up any way, I hadnít had a chance to wear my Sally costume yet.

So, we showed up a bit late for the contest. No matter, because no one else showed up in costume. Heh. We stood up at the front, they asked us questions to try to determine who should win. I opined that since we live together it didnít matter. So, I won 1st prize, a very cool two foot Sally doll. Karen won 2nd and 3rd prize, a Dr. Evil and a Santa Jack Skellington. Not sure what weíre going to do with Dr. Evil. Whatever. We won stuff. Yippee. That never happens to me.

Halloween at Work

Then again sometimes Iím on a roll. I jointly won scariest costume at work. Angel of Death. I also had a satisfied customer, dead Victorian gentleman.

I couldnít believe some of the decorations. A number of areas completely transformed offices into Martha Stewartís prison, the final scene from AI, Survivor Thailand, which was absolutely incredible. Fire pit, carved pumpkin, decorations from Thailand. Insane.

Not sure a lot of work was done that day, but whatever. It was the best Halloween at work ever.

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