Tags: shakespeare in film


"Hey kids, rock and roll. Nobody tells you where to go, baby."

Cloudy today. Currently, it's 59˚F.

Yesterday I wrote a little over one thousand words on "The Green Abyss." It's a dream piece, which is to say it isn't a story in the commonly accepted sense. But it seems to be coming along well. I hope to finish it this afternoon.

I was beginning to think maybe I was reading too much into Sons of Anarchy, that maybe I was only imagining all those elements of Macbeth and Hamlet. Then we reached the end of Season Four, which has a two-part finale titled "To Be, Act 1" and "To Be, Act 2." Turns out, it seems to be public knowledge that the show's creator, Kurt Sutter, was inspired by Shakespeare, especially Hamlet.

But to my mind, — though I am native here
And to the manner born, — it is a custom
More honour'd in the breach than the observance.

For those of you who have been able make neither heads nor tails of the Benjanun Sriduangkaew/ RequiresHate/ Winterfox/ Etc. kerfuffle, here's a handy FAQ. Then again, if you have no idea what I'm talking about, you're a fortunate soul indeed and shouldn't follow that link.

Well, hello Sunshine. I wasn't expecting you today.

You're Not Alone; You're On You're Own,
Aunt Beast

"How high your highest of heights? How low are your lows?"

Here in Providence it's a sunny summer day, mid eighties Fahrenheit, the heat index in the mid nineties. There are just enough clouds the sky is kindly, and we'd be heading south to the shore were it not for my being so far behind on work and were it not for the tourists.

We never much celebrated Independence Day when I was a kid. Mostly it was something talked about at school. Leastwise, that's how it seems now. What I remember is that July 4th was my Grandfather Ramey's birthday. He'd barbecue (always pork). That's how I think of July 4th. My grandfather was born in Shelby County, Alabama in 1911, and today is the 102nd anniversary of his birth. He died in January 1977. This photo was taken about 1958.



June is gone, and here we are four days into July, and, frankly, I've accomplished nothing much this summer but busy work, mostly editing, contracts, crap like that. The trip to New Orleans was a significant source of the distribution, but, also, there just been a mounting exhaustion. I've just finished two, sadly, exasperating years with Dark Horse. I chose to write Red Delicious this spring, to replace Fay Grimmer. I have lots of good reasons for getting behind, but none of them are anything my deadlines give a shit about.

All that matters is that I get back to work.

Kathryn and I had a good eleventh anniversary yesterday. We had brunch out, took in a late afternoon screening of Joss Whedon's take on Much Ado About Nothing, and had dinner out. I know that a lot of Shakespeare purists are horrified at the Whedon-verse Much Ado About Nothing, but...whatever. It's a bizarre little film, and it isn't good Shakespeare – not by a long shot – but it is fun. And as with every production of this play – probably for forever – Dogberry steals the show. In fact, Nathan Fillion is the best Dogberry I've seen since Michael Keaton in Kenneth Branagh's 1993 production. The most interesting thing about watching Amy Acker as Beatrice was realizing how she could possibly pull off an old-school screwball comedy, something along the lines of Bringing Up Baby. As for Alexis Denisof's Benedick, well...that was just sort of painful to watch. Yeah, sure, I suppose there was that whole "Fred and Wesley forever!" fan thing, but...no. Painful to watch. But still not half so much as watching Keanu Reeves play Don John (back to 1993).

We watched the most recent episode of Definace last night. The series gets better with every episode, and I can't believe there's only one episode left in this season. It was a relief to hear that the series has been renewed for a second season (thirteen episodes).

I've been reading more Ambrose Bierce, such as "Charles Ashmore's Trail," "Perry Chumly's Eclipse," and "The Other Lodgers." Also, the usual lot of paleontological papers, including "The earliest known fisher (Mustelidae), a new species from the Rattlesnake Formation of Oregon" (JVP 33:2), "New data on the diversity and abundance of small-bodied ornithopods (Dinosauria, Ornithischia) from the Belly River Group (Campanian) of Alberta" (JVP 33:3), and "A new Cretaceous pliosaurid (Reptilia, Plesiosauria) from the Carlile Shale (Middle Turonian) of Russell County, Kansas" (also JVP 33:3).

And Spooky's back from the market.

Aunt Beast

Now We Are Eleven

Today is mine and Kathryn's eleventh anniversary.

Eleven is steel.

What should I have pierced, that isn't already pierced?

We a very late breakfast at the Classic Cafe, we're going to the Avon to see Whedon's take on Much Ado About Nothing (I'm going mostly for Amy Acker), and then Thai food for dinner. Or Indian. Or Vietnamese. Or Ethiopian...

Later taters,
Aunt Beast

"Hell is empty, and all the devils are here"

Just saw what is very near to the final cut for the full-length trailer (something like draft 13) for The Drowning Girl. I'm sort of dumbstruck that we actually did this thing, all of us who were there acting and filming and photographing and directing and running errands, and all of those who kindly donated to the Kickstarter project and made it possible. Wow. I hope it will debut on my website (and elsewhere) on March 6th.

Spooky and I watched Julie Taymor's The Tempest. A pox on the critics who panned this film! It's truly one of the most beautiful film versions I have ever scene of a Shakespearian play. Helen Mirren is a miracle to behold as Prospera, truly, truly, truly. And I have never seen a better Ariel than Ben Whishaw's. Never. Then again, never have I seen cosmicism in Shakespeare! But here it is. The music, the songs, are handled with great care and skill, and Beth Gibbons' closing vocals over the end credits were...I feel I'm doing the film a disservice by heaping all this hyperbole upon it. Okay. How's this. Djimon Hounsou's Caliban is, in fact, excellently played, but...I have the same reservations I have with almost all Calibans: he simply was not monstrous enough. All my life, I've wanted to play Prospero or Caliban. Now, I'm imagining Sycorax's daughter. There could be a whole new play in a forgotten daughter, could there not? Or a novel? sovay? nineweaving?

And now, back to Bag End, as Gandalf tells Frodo the truth about the Ring...

"And still in toil, it takes heart to love the rose."

Okay. Stuff. I hope people are still reading this journal:

1. The eBay auctions are slowly picking up pace. Today a copy of The Ammonite Violin & Others limited was added. Please have a look, and bid if you can. All proceeds go to offset the very large and unexpected expense of yesterday's new iMac purchase.

2. Dark Horse has announced that a four-page Alabaster story, "Shelter," will appear as part of Free Comic Book Day! The story will be divided over the day's two FREE issues, alongside stories from Star Wars and Serenity, Buffy and The Guild. For those who do not know, Free Comic Book Day is May 5th. As with Alabaster: Wolves, "Shelter" is drawn by Steve Lieber and colored by Rachelle Rosenberg.

3. Today I wrote 1,768 words and finished "Here Is No Why," the new short story which will appear in Sirenia Digest #75. I hope to have the issue out by Saturday at the latest, as soon as Vince finishes the drawing for the new story.

4. briansiano, Spooky, and I are in the final stages of editing the full-length trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. If you thought the teaser was amazing, just wait. It's looking as if the final cut is going to clock in around two minutes.

5. jenjen4280 asks:

A question about pre-orders vs. buying it the day it's published: does it matter? Is there one you prefer over the other? I'd heard that pre-ordering can screw up how a publisher figures out whether or not a book becomes a "best seller" or some such.

Either way is fine. Publishers love preorders. I've never heard otherwise. In fact, publishers tend to rely on preorders to determine how well a book will sell. jenjen4280 also writes:

One last thing - I just read that the Alabaster story from Dark Horse Presents #9 will be featured as a back-up in a couple comics for Free Comicbook Day.

As I said above, the FCBD story is a different story from the 8-page preview of "Wolves" that appeared in Dark Horse Presents. Entirely different thing.


Okay. I think that's all for now. Things are going well with Mithrien. I spent today not only writing but also learning to use Pages. I've been using MS Word since 1986, but I was not about to shell out an extra two hundred bucks because Microsoft now bundles Word with lots of shit I'll never, ever need. It's going well. Pages is fairly intuitive, and not so different from Word. Most importantly, it cost only $20.

Tonight we're going to finally watch Julie Taymor's adaptation of The Tempest (2010), and then continue reading Fellowship of the Rings aloud (sometimes, only Tolkien will do). Oh, and thank you to Steven Lubold, for the remaining three Stars CDs!

And be you blithe and bonny...

Let it never be said that I am utterly incapable of thwarting those pleasant distractions that would woo me away from the keyboard, that would drive me towards relaxation and entertainment, when there are words to be written and deadlines to be met. Byron just called to see if we wanted to take in a matinee of the new Jet Li movie with him. That's how I would have preferred to spend this day; instead, I will be writing my next bit of the collaboration with Sonya (sovay) for Sirenia Digest. Argh.

Quite a good writing day yesterday. I did 1,129 words on "Daughter of Man, Mother of Wyrm" and finished the vignette about five p.m. The final three quarters of the piece came to me in an appropriately fiery torrent. I've decided I'm keeping the title. Now, I have a week to write the remaining 5,921 words of Tales from the Woeful Platypus, if I'm to meet my new deadline of October 1st. I'm thinking that "The Black Alphabet" will be the accompanying chapbook for this volume, which will give me the opportunity to present both halves together.

I slept seven and a half hours last night, which feels like all the sleep in the world, the way things have been this past week. And the worst of the dreams were not so bad. So, my head's clearer today than it's been in some time.

I got the fifth section of our collaboration from Sonya yesterday (we still need a title). Today, I'll write section six. Also, I got the pencils for "Untitled 24" from Vince. A beautiful illustration this will be. Late in the day, I spoke with Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press concerning my next subpress project, The Dinosaurs of Mars, to be published after the fashion of The Dry Salvages, as a stand-alone hardback novella. I shall likely be writing it in October. Details TBA. Oh, also I should mention that Sirenia Digest 11 (October) will include an interview with Vince Locke, which should be very drad.

Late, we had a good and unremarkable walk. TCM's showing a bunch of old Dick Cavett Show episodes, and last night was the interview with Robert Mitchum, which I had to see. I think it originally aired in 1971, as there was some mention of Ryan's Daughter having just been filmed. In 1971 I was only six years old, or seven, depending whether we're talking pre- or post-May 26th. Then we got back to Shakespeare with Kenneth Branagh's 1993 adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing, which I find thoroughly delightful. I've always thought it one of Shakespeare's weaker works, but Branagh gets the most from it. Even Keanu Reeves' inexplicable presence doesn't manage to muck things up, and Michael Keaton's Beetlejuice-esque take on Dogberry is priceless. I'd not seen it since the theatrical release. I'm very frustrated, by the way, that (as far as I can tell) Brannagh's superb adaptations of Hamlet and Henry V are both currently unavailable on DVD. Anyway, after Benedick and Beatrice and Messina, not yet ready for bed, I went back to TCM for more Robert Mitchum, the original 1962 version of John D. MacDonald's Cape Fear, directed by J. Lee Thompson. And then, about 2:15 or so, I crawled away to bed. I drifted off to sleep listening to Zoe Keating and thinking about The Dinosaurs of Mars.

That was yesterday. Except I left out the part about having to go to frelling Target, because we need a lot of candles for Mabon and Samhain and couldn't pay a lot for them. Target's not quite as nasty as Wal-Mart, but it's within spitting distance. If Wal-Mart's ebola, then Target is surely at least bubonic plague. And the nastiness of the Target down on Moreland is compounded by the fact that it has a Pizza Hut and Starbuck's inside. But at least we got a lot of candles.

Okay. I must go write. I'm missing Byron and Jet Li for this, after all. Don't forget: you can still get both Alabaster and Daughter of Hounds from Amazon.com for a mere $27.70. Just do it. Please. Now.