May. 4th, 2017 12:28 pm
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
So most excellent Hamilfan [personal profile] rmc28 drew our attention to a local production, by a theatre school, of a Lin-Manuel Miranda musical, Bring it on. review )

Then last weekend I ran a Saturday morning service. Several of our regulars were ill, so we had just nine people, meaning we had to leave out big chunks of the service, including the formal public Torah reading. But it went really well anyway; I read the Torah portion from the Chumash, the printed book, and a really great, involved, thoughtful discussion just spontaneously happened. Which is all the more impressive considering the parshe in question was Tazria-Metzorah, the long section from Leviticus about purification from various forms of contamination / contagion. And when I said we didn't need a sermon since we'd already had such a great spontaneous shiur, people insisted I preach anyway, which is certainly flattering! I talked a bit about what happens when you have to do something which is awful for an individual for the greater good, whether it's a public health thing as implied in Leviticus or something like a child protection issue. The safeguards and transparency that need to be in place to prevent corruption, and the way that Leviticus sets out a moral system through what may seem like endless ritual detail.

Because it was a bank holiday, I managed to get home as well, and had a really lovely relaxing weekend playing the second half of our D&D game. I'm really enjoying playing Bela, a character I based off Bel from a proposed but not yet actually implemented Vorkosigan game. They (I decided I couldn't be dealing with it pronouns as in Bujold's original) are ridiculously charming (statted on charisma and strength, and really playing that up), flirt with everybody in sight, and also seem to have picked up the role of curtailing some of the endless discussions that can arise with an inexperienced D&D group. Plus the ship's cat, Sabre, turned out to be a PC played by 8yo Judith, and having a PC familiar is just glorious.

And then on Monday I had a little time with [personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait, which consisted of a not entirely successful shopping trip when our attempts to find out where was open on BH Monday fell flat, but we acquired shiny purple wool for my next knitting project, and had exciting burgers in Ed's Diner, and got a chance to talk.

I came back from the Bank Holiday weekend and straight into the last three weeks of term, when I'm in charge of the first year teaching. So work is intense, but good. And I'm still struggling to keep up with DW whenever I'm busy, which I'm really enjoying, and I hope the fast flowing conversation keeps up.
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
Apart from Arrival, I managed to find a bit more time over Christmas than usual to watch shows.

brief reviews, including very broad general spoilers for _Rogue One_ )

Also, Ghoti suggested that if she'd dragged me into watching Christmas movies, she should reciprocate by watching a chanukah movie with me. Which is a really sweet thought, but I'm not sure if there's such a thing as a chanukah movie! Does anyone have any suggestions? I mean, that whole New York Jewish custom of eating Chinese food and watching a movie on Christmas Day, is there any particular film that's traditional? Or failing that, perhaps a Jewish themed film (I thought of Yentl or maybe the film of Potok's The Chosen, which I haven't seen), or one that's about identity and resistance to assimilation and rebelling against an oppressive régime. Preferably not Holocaust-related, that really doesn't seem a suitable topic for a date movie. It did occur to me that Rogue One could be considered a pretty suitable thing to watch during chanukah, since it's about a miraculous victory for a no-hope strike against an oppressive empire...
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
[personal profile] rmc28's review inspired [personal profile] jack to ask me if I wanted to see In The Heights, the "other" Lin Manuel Miranda piece that's playing in the King's Cross Theatre currently. I said, in principle, sure, but when are we ever going to find time to go to the theatre? And then I remembered that we actually had a free evening this Saturday, so we were able to be much more spontaneous than we usually ever are, and booked tickets and turned up.

show )

We had a pretty quiet day most of yesterday, until OSOs joined us for tea and then a lovely group of our friends came over for a Halloween party. Andreas had lots of fun putting up Halloween decorations but ducked out of the actual socializing with lots of not very familiar adults part. And Judith persuaded several of us into a long game of Zendo, which she is getting very good at. It wasn't a huge party but it was a great mix of poly friends and geek friends, very congenial and with some really great Halloween costumes. I dressed up as Candela, the Pokémon Go Team Valor leader, to match the children's Pikachu and Dawn-from-the-animé costumes. And Jack was Aang from Avatar: the last Airbender, and Ghoti was, aaargh, Nanowrimo is about to start! Really good to be able to have a fairly low-key party on a Sunday evening.
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
So my brother was in town at the weekend and Dad suggested we could go to the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival performance of The Tempest. fun weekend )
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
[ profile] ghoti found a production of a stage play of Tipping the velvet, so of course we had to go to that. I was somewhat expecting a play-of-the-book (which I haven't read), but in fact what really impressed me about the production was that it was very much its own thing, it was musical theatre, full of elements specific to that medium. The story is partly set in the the theatre, and the show made references to period popular theatre including the music hall tradition, but didn't try to slavishly recreate historical stuff, it was very much a modern production.

detailed review )

So yes, basically that was awesome, many thanks to [ profile] ghoti for suggesting the show and for being excellent company for watching it!
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
So [ profile] gwyddno wanted to get [personal profile] angelofthenorth tickets to a show for her birthday, but hates musicals, so he had the brainwave of inviting me to go with her instead (cos it's hardly fun going to a show on your own). And we ended up seeing the musical of Legally blonde at Swansea Grand Theatre, which was an excellent night out all round.

I was aware of the film version though I hadn't seen it. But generally I liked the concept of women's empowerment that actively rejects femme-phobia, and it seemed the kind of ridiculous plot that would be well suited to a musical. In fact it was a thoroughly excellent production, I believe it was put on by a theatre school but seemed really professional.

detailed review )

[personal profile] angelofthenorth found a dear little French restaurant right by the theatre, Bouchon de Rossi. They have a completely non-functional booking system involving leaving messages on an answering machine, but we managed to get a table anyway as we showed up very early on a weekday evening. Service was very good, food was pleasant but a little over-priced for what it was, and didn't really seem very French to me. Very, very nice Loire white, though, and excellently indulgent desserts.

Basically we had a completely glorious evening and left with that happy excited feeling you get from a really well done, light-hearted and dramatic show.
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
[personal profile] angelofthenorth asked me about Art – what do you respond to?

talking about personal history seems to work well in these posts )

[December Days masterpost]
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
One of the reasons Cambridge is such a desirable place to live is that there's always masses going on culturally, theatre, music, talks, random cool cultural and informative events. Lately nearly all our spare time has been taken up with attempting to move to Cambridge, so we haven't really been able to take advantage of most of it. Still, this week I was WFH Monday and Tuesday, so we had Monday evening free to take in a bit of Cambridge culture, and the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival is on at the moment.

We decided for no very strong reason to go for Richard II at Downing. So after I finished work I made a picnic and headed into town, and we sat on Parker's Piece in the sunshine and talked about cultural stuff and not about house-move logistics, and it was really nice. And drank bubble tea, Cambridge is getting way multicultural these days and has a proper bubble tea place.

play review )

Also, thank you to Kerry for some excellent commentary on the characters of Richard and Henry, that really helped me get more out of the play.

RSC Shrew

Mar. 25th, 2014 08:29 pm
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
So [personal profile] jack came up this weekend, partly to help me get the flat sorted out and partly because the RSC were visiting to put on a child-friendly performance of The Taming of the Shrew.

review-ish )

So anyway, that was fun. We also managed to finish most of the last bit of sorting out the flat, including acquiring and building a proper wardrobe after my temporary clothes rail collapsed at what was either a really fortunate or really unfortunate moment. My friend GS from shul had come by on Saturday and helped me to put in curtain rails, which was another major step towards making the place liveable. And today I provisionally accepted an offer on my old house. Obviously there's a whole lot that could go wrong between now and actually exchanging, but I am feeling somewhat hopeful that I'm going to be able to move on to the next stage of the plan, the scary stage that involves trying to buy a home in Cambridge...
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
So my dad's best friend from university, who has known me all my life and is pretty much an aunt to me, has a real passion for amateur theatre. This season she's directing Sophocles' Antigone, in a translation by another member of that set who is now a classics professor. I really wanted to see this production, but I have no free weekends and getting to London for a weekday evening is a bit impractical. But then it turned out that I needed to be at a one-day conference in London today, and there's no sensible way to get to London without travelling up the night before, so all of a sudden I was going to be in London during the run.

A bit at the last minute, I invited [personal profile] khalinche to join me, and as I'd hoped she was actually free for a spontaneous theatre visit. And it was a really cool production, I'm very glad I went. Amazingly [personal profile] khalinche didn't know the play or the underlying myth at all, just imagine coming to Sophocles completely fresh! I haven't studied Antigone specifically, but I do know a bit about Greek theatre in general and my head is full of every kind of interpretation from Freudian analysis to Anouilh's version. I suspect my case is more typical of the kind of people who go to see Antigone in small amateur theatres.

I found the interpretation extremely successful; the play was done pretty straight, but reasonably naturalistic, without a pedantic emphasis on Authenticity. The costumes were sort of vaguely twentieth century with a Greek flavour, rather than being set in a particular period. The translation was poetic but not forsoothly, all the lines sounded completely natural, though in a formal register which I think works better for the play than a very colloquial translation. I particularly liked what my not-aunt did with the chorus; she had just four actors, speaking most of the lines in unison but with naturalistic acting, and occasionally breaking out to give a particular line or section solo. You really got the sense that the chorus was the voice of the narrative and a human group of Theban elders at the same time. Antigone tended slightly hysterical, though to be fair most of her lines are basically about how wretched she is and everything is terrible. Adam Sutcliffe's Creon was seriously impressive, you could absolutely believe him as a tyrant. He managed just the right combination of imposing with ultimately weak, really superlative acting. I've seen considerably weaker pro productions, and I'm not just saying that because of the family connection!

It was a wonderful evening in general. I felt a bit guilty about dragging [personal profile] khalinche all the way out to Ealing, but it was such a glorious spring evening that walking through the suburb with a friend was pure pleasure. And my not-aunt, in spite of the usual ration of directorial panic, was able to come and sit with us and invite us for a drink in the theatre bar after the show, along with some other friends from university and some of their children as well as me. I really hope my crowd will be like that in 30 years' time, still hanging out together and talking about anything and everything. Even travelling alllll the way across London to get back to [personal profile] khalinche's place was a treat, because it gave us such a good opportunity for conversation.

The conference was not as good a networking opportunity as I'd hoped, partly because all the sessions overran so we didn't actually have any mingling time, and partly because I had to leave ludicrously early because the last off-peak train is before 3 pm. Also because I was a bit silly and spent the only free ten minutes I had getting into conversation with people who work for British American Tobacco (I have a family connection with them too, you see), and they are utterly useless for networking because all cancer funders forbid their scientists to have anything to do with tobacco companies. But still interesting and fun; there was a very cute talk about using a slime mould based model for predicting which compounds are going to be too disgusting-tasting to be usable. Possibly only [personal profile] pseudomonas and [personal profile] coalescent will get why I find Dictyostelium endearing, but you know.


Jun. 6th, 2010 05:21 pm
liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
So my local community don't quite have the confidence or the skills to run Saturday morning services. I planned a trial Saturday morning service for this weekend, and got some students involved. And it went really well; the first time they've had a normal Shabbat service in over a decade, maybe several decades (I got somewhat mixed reports). But anyway, we had a good turnout and everything went smoothly, and I managed to give people chances to be called up to the Torah and otherwise take active parts in the service, when it was a pretty big deal for them for various reasons.

There seemed to be general enthusiasm for trying to make this a regular event; I'm thinking once a term or possibly once a month if I'm feeling ambitious. And nobody was offended by my doing part of the service in English, or reading the Torah Ezra-style with a running translation (ably assisted by AF). So yes, generally successful.

Just for contrast, I spent this afternoon at a performance of The Merchant of Venice. review of the performance, and thoughts )

I don't think I'm going to make a habit of seeking out performances of The Merchant of Venice, but I'm glad I saw this one, which was of a very good quality for a student production. It's only a shame that the cast nearly outnumbered the audience; I hope they had a better turnout for other performances in the run.
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
I feel amazingly lucky that I could just turn up here and slot into [personal profile] jack's social life. Thank you, Cambridge geeks, for being so welcoming to an outsider.

fun week )

The only downside to being back in Cambridge and in reach of lots of fun conversations and culture is that I can't actually breathe here. But hey, I'm actually doing better than normal so it's well worth it.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
Reposting this on LJ to make sure people see it:

I'm planning to catch the end of the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival season. Anyone want to join me?

The plan is for the charity matinée of Measure for Measure tomorrow (Saturday), which is at 2:30 pm at Robinson College. My parents and [ profile] cartesiandaemon are probably coming along. You can't book tickets for the charity performances, so it's just a matter of showing up tomorrow afternoon. Obviously if you tell me you're planning to come I'll look out for you at Robinson, but it's not so important. The cost is £14 and the charities are a couple of children's hospices.
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
I would like to catch the tail end of the Cambridge Shakespeare festival this week. Anyone want to join me? There is Measure for Measure in Robinson, or The Tempest in Trinity, both 7:30 pm on Saturday night. MfM also has a charity matinée, 2:30 on Saturday afternoon. Tickets cost £14, which is a little steep but the Shakespeare festival have been pretty good in the past. Plus, outdoor Shakespeare in college gardens in period costume is always fun.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
This relationship has brought a whole bunch of new experiences. One of them has been watching a TV show for more or less the first time since I left home in 1997. Lovely [ profile] cartesiandaemon sat me down and showed me episodes of Firefly, and I am completely bowled over by it. Now I finally understand why people want to form communities around squeeing and analysing and creating fanworks and being outraged when the show is cancelled prematurely.

baby fan )

Anyway, I've only watched as far as Jaynestown (watching in story order, not broadcast order), so please don't spoil me for any episodes after that.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
I really want to write about the most wonderful summer holiday ever, before I forget the details. But for now, this week has been a lovely transition between holiday and mundane life. I'm back at home, but [ profile] hatam_soferet is here, which makes it far more fun. And I'm back at work, but I'm getting started gently.

The rest of Stockholm seems to be in a similar state; enough people are back that the city is actually running more or less normally, but the weather is still good and people are still in a holiday mood, and there are summer-type activities going on. This led to the most wonderful shabbat ever yesterday:

heavenly )

In other news: my new cousin was successfully born, and as far as they can tell with a newborn is a healthy girl, but I don't know any more than that.

And we have sorted out the connectivity issue here; it turns out that the reason I hadn't made a note of my wireless password is that it's written on the bottom of the router. D'oh! Thanks to everybody who made helpful suggestions. Now [ profile] hatam_soferet is typing away industriously just across the room as I am posting this.

Oh, and in between eating glorious fresh fruit straight from the trees in my garden, we have been out to a really excellent dinner at Fenix with [ profile] fivemack, and we are planning to go to Hermans this evening with SA. Yay.

Having fun

Aug. 11th, 2007 12:21 pm
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
I've really, really enjoyed MF's visit. She's someone I have liked a great deal for about a decade, but never actually spent any extended time with. So I'm particularly pleased that she actually agreed to my spontaneous invitation to come to Stockholm. We've had a lovely time, talking about everything, filling eachother in on our lives and what sort of people we are, as well as discussing books (I lent her The Armaggeddon Rag and Triton, both of which went down very well) and ideas. I am somewhat unsociable and having someone in my space for a whole week is a bit much for me (there are a very small number of exceptions to this) but the enjoyment massively outweighed the slight irritation. MF's company and wisdom are really good for me. We had fun feeding eachother too; she made me soda bread, which I'd read about loads of times but never actually eaten.

Her visit also gave me the excuse to be a bit more actively touristy than I would on my own. culture vulture )

Anyway, as you've probably noticed I've been pretty much offline, cos all the time I wasn't talking to MF I was working. I've done some of the planning and sorting for my trip next week, but not all of it. But I will get back to everybody soon. Further apologies if I've missed some vital news of yours.
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
Midsummer eve was yesterday, and my colleague RS invited me to join in with the full traditional Swedish thing. So in the morning I went to a park with RS and her kids, and watched the whole process of decorating and then setting up the big, er, fertility symbol thing and then dancing around it. I didn't dance, because that midsommarstång is some weird hybrid of a cross and an asherah. There's a (somewhat huge, I'm afraid) image below the cut showing what I mean. If you click on it it links to a selection of the photos I took; the set involving children being adorable is friends-locked because I don't want to get in trouble for posting pictures of other people's children online.

erection of the pole )

Then on to the more adult part of the occasion, a barbecue at the home of another colleague. We ate and ate and ate. Traditional midsummer things like smoked salmon (which the hostess sculpted into a model midsommarstång!) and pickled herring and potatoes and strawberries and cream, and lots of other food just because it was nice to eat. Lots of tasty salads, and the whole gamut of breads and crackers and the like, and a plethora of cake and icecream, and homemade elderflower cordial and wine and beer. I enjoyed the barbecue vicariously because it smelled delicious!

There was a lot of good conversation, and another impromptu book swapping session. This means I am no longer short of reading material, and we've provisionally agreed to get together over the summer and do this on a larger scale. It was an interesting experience going through my books today and deciding which ones I could stand to put into the general pool for the anglophone community; doing this is a good antidote to my hoarding tendencies.

One sour note: it seems that now it's my second summer here, I've become sensitized to the local allergens. I have the most rotten hayfever I've ever suffered from, but to be honest, feeling as if I'm permanently about to start a cold (the bit before you actually feel sick though) is far less horrible than not being able to breathe.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
Here's the thing: I need more books. read more and more )


Dec. 12th, 2006 10:41 pm
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
Tomorrow Sweden celebrates Lucia, which is technically the feast of St Lucy, but has no recognizable Christian content. So we had a nice party at work for the eve of the festival.

cultural experience )


Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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