Friday, 29 May 2009


I have such a cool sister!!

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Brief Review: The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism & Socialism with a key to the Scriptures

I'm not sure what to say about the Guthrie Theaters' newest offering, a three and a half hour production of Tony Kushner's new play The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism & Socialism with a key to the Scriptures. As the title suggests this is a play that tackles all kinds of major controversial issues. The problem is that it leaves almost nothing out and thus suffers from an over-abundance of chaos. There is so much I love about the play, for example, the willingness to take on the topic of old labor organizers (a topic hinted at in Caroline or Change) and really bring to life the issues and humanity of an almost forgotten group of people from American history. The human concern and conviction of Gus Marcantonio the main character is moving and a fine center to the play. Another fine issue is gay son Pill's ambivalence about his marriage and his enjoyment in paying for illicit sex.

(MIchael Esper, who plays a Hustler Pill spends time and money with).

Then there is the lesbian woman who is ambivalent about the impending birth of her first child, played sensitively by Linda Emond

...and furthermore the issues of an ex-carmelite nun who has lost her faith in Catholicism and turned to Mary Baker Eddy and on and on and all equally fascinating issues and problems. The big problem is that there is just too much here and the complexity and chaos make the play frustrating and unsatisfying. The first two parts are brilliant, full of humor and poignant veracity, but by the time we get to the third section we are ready for some sense of resolution. And yes, I know that that is part of life - it's open-endedness and chaos, but even though the third "act" revolves around many of the same issues broached in the opening two, the way they are presented makes it seem like new stuff being thrown at us instead of greater insight into the important issues. The final scenes are powerful and yet, they don't feel like a conclusion. The audience is left wanting more (or more likely just a little bit less but with better organization.)

The actors (as always) do a marvelous job. It is nice to see Guthrie regulars like Charity Jones and Mark Beninghofen holding their own next to gifted actors like Michael Cristofer (Gus) and Kathleen Chalfant (Benedicta Immacolata).

Charity Jones (

Mark Benninghofen. (

Another fantastic aspect is Mark Wendland's set (which I understand misbehaved a bit for the first performance, but) which transformed smoothly and almost magically from urban street scene to New York Brownstone. Kushner's words are stimulating intellectually, often amusing and often poignantly insightful. There are numerous in-jokes from comments to Minneapolis weather to the reference to Shaw's Major Barbara in the opening scene. This sets a tone that is contrasted nicely to the somewhat pedantic philosophizing of various characters. This rampant intellectualizing may be off-putting to some audience members. It is definitely a cerebral play, but one that also strikes hard at the dysfunctionality of a society cut adrift from traditions that help keep things orderly and meaningful. That the issues are raw and personal can be attested to by the fact that a seat mate had to leave midway because of the power of some of the interpersonal situations. Still with all its messiness, and bravado, it is very hard for a reviewer to describe what the play is all about. Broadway summarizes the essence of the play as follows:

"The play looks at the life of a 20th-century thinker, retired longshoreman Gus Marcantonio, who's feeling confused and defeated by the 21st century. In summer 2007, he invites his sister and his three children (who in turn bring along spouses, ex-spouses, lovers and more) to a most unusual family reunion in their Brooklyn brownstone. With humor and passion, the play examines the importance of connectedness and belonging - to a family, a community, a group, an ideology, a marriage - and what happens when those connections are lost." (

Stephen Spinella who plays Pill.

..and the description above is an excellent representation, unfortunately in the play itself, there is just a little too much life and too little creative editing. Go see it, fasten your seatbelt for the fun ride and be prepared for a pothole or two along the way.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Under Consideration

We've been thinking about getting a puppy. Here is one we met that we kind of like.

Also the orioles are traveling through right now. Here are a few shots of them feeding in the plum tree.

Here is another visitor:

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

New Knitting Project

I don't have enough started projects and unfinished knitting projects, so just out of sheer whim, I decided to see if I could do free-form knitting. Free form crochet is so cool with all it's flurry of wild round discs and twirls and although I love knitted lace much more than crocheted things (except for Irish Crochet lace), it seems to me that in this one respect perhaps crochet has it over knitting. Here is an example of Irish crochet lace.
I wonder how long it took the maker to finish that wedding gown! Each of those forms is crocheted separately and then afterwards they are crocheted together. This was all done in order to imitate the beautiful Venetian lace that was popular hundreds of years ago.

Here is a close up of another piece of Irish lace also done in the Venetian style:

The knitted version seems to be more about color and texture. Of course my knitting isn't nearly as exciting as what other people are doing - like Velma's work:

Okay, anyway without further ado, here is what I ended up with. Of course it isn't lace, but it is really boring.

I think I need to add some buttons and maybe some embroidery on top. I did put Christmas tree tinselin the grey past, but somehow the piece lacks sparkle.


Sunday, 3 May 2009

Secret Shawl Knitalong

Somehow I got involved in a little Knit-a-long for a lace shawl. Of course I am way behind, but here is up to the second clue.
(Everyone else is on clue 6).

Here is my progress on the Afghan: