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Aug. 21st, 2012

That's why I would go

Last December, I went to a Christmas party in Hampstead. The host was a woman I'd never met before, a benefactor of the foundation where I volunteered; each year, she opens up her gorgeous home for the group's party. I knew nothing about her, other than that she was American. But at the party, we were both sitting over to the side, both kind of outsiders, and I asked her about her little dog, a Jack Russell terrier, that was shivering by the fire. I told her my brother's JRT looked just the same (and had the same afflictions), and from there the conversation rolled on to other similarities in our lives: our love of the UW campus in Madison, our studies of Irish lit and history, our mutual alma mater University College Dublin, the translation projects we'd both been involved in, the Spanish art she had in her house (I was headed to Granada for Christmas)... it even turned out that she hailed from a place not 200 miles from where I grew up. The similarities were uncanny, and I left calling her the Future Me.

At one point in the evening, she asked me if I'd seen Another Earth. She was so cute as she asked it, saying something like "it's science fiction, which I know isn't everybody's thing..." After I reassured her that no, no, it was very much my thing, she told me about this wonderful little indie film that she had just seen.

Aug. 17th, 2012

Buck up you melancholy Dane

With a long, long, very long hiatus ahead of us until the next season of Teen Wolf, I thought I’d take this opportunity to pimp another series. It’s one of my favourite Canadian shows that – like most of the television I love – has never gotten near the attention it deserves.

Slings & Arrows is the story of the New Burbage Theatre (loosely based on Ontario’s Stratford Shakespeare Festival) and its quest to bring classic theatre to the masses despite financial hurdles, larger-than-life egos, a deceased artistic director who might or might not still be haunting the theatre, and an artistic director who may or may not be completely nutters. It’s one of the funniest shows you’ll ever see (in a wonderfully cynical, snarky way), but alongside the comedy is a genuine emotional intensity that you find rarely enough, and even more rarely of this calibre.

Jul. 23rd, 2012

True Love. And not how you might think.

Has anybody else seen the BBC's recent miniseries, True Love?

If you're a fan of David Tennant, Joanne Froggatt, Lacey Turner, Billy Piper, Kaya Scodelario, or good acting in general, you must watch it. (And fortunately, they seem to be available on Youtube in their entirety - I've linked to a few of them.) The series is a set of five 25-minute vignettes around the subject of the title. But this is no "destined to be together" nonsense. No, this is about the complications of destiny, real moments in what feel like real lives when love is not so simple, and yet at the same time it's a celebration of love.

I've just finished the first three episodes and felt the need to flail now, rather than waiting until the end. It might be a bit spoilery if you care about that sort of thing, but the stories are really not anything new and surprising. That's what I find so remarkable about them - we're not talking crazy plot twists or sudden solutions dropped into the characters' laps. It's ... just what happens.

Jul. 21st, 2012

My obsession, let me show you it

For the past while, I’ve been wallowing in a new obsession: Elisabeth, Empress of Austria, Apostolic Queen Consort of Hungary, Queen consort of Bohemia and Croatia, etc. etc. It’s led me to read several histories of the late Habsburg era, as well as to watch the truly atrocious period drama Crown Prince. (And we shall not even mention how many times I’ve watched Elisabeth in the past month. In German and several other languages I can’t understand, but mostly Japanese. Because reasons.)

May. 6th, 2012

My last week Down Under

It's with not a little bit of shame that I have to introduce the Show That Ate My Life. If I tell you it's an Australian soap that isn't Neighbours will you think less of me? (But but but… there are kangaroos! And they say "mate" a lot! A lot!) What if I tell you it's a teen drama? (Less in the Saved By the Bell more in the My So-Called Life vein, but still "teen drama".) And what if I admit it's about students at an elite dance school practicing ballet all day long?

INORITE? How could such a thing be watchable?