Archive for December, 2011

80s Culture Roundup + Holiday Goodbye

Monday, December 12th, 2011

We bought a house. And we are renovating that house. And moving in on Thursday. And getting on a plane for New Hampshire on Sunday.

Short version: Crayfish.

Longer version: No time to blog, or to do much of anything that isn’t work- or house-related.

However, I’m finally taking a moment to say hello and goodbye.

HELLO

I’ve been reading Wendy Wasserstein. First the early plays (Uncommon Women and Others, Isn’t It Romantic?, and The Heidi Chronicles), then a later play (The Sisters Rosensweig), and now Shiska Goddess, a collection of essays.

It’s been interesting to see her work develop. Uncommon Women isn’t really a play so much as a collection of not-terribly-well-written scenes, and Isn’t It Romantic? also feels young and awkward and somewhat slight. But by the time she gets to The Heidi Chronicles, Wasserstein has learned a lot about dialogue and structure.

And yet . . . I don’t know. I don’t love her work. I suppose I have the complaint I have about most things in life, which is that it isn’t deep enough for me. The Sisters Rosensweig does dig a little, and there are real moments of pathos in that play, which thus far is my favorite. But the sitcom feeling just doesn’t leave me.

One thing I am very struck by is the gigantic chasm between Wasserstein’s generation, in which the university experience included what amounted to hostessing classes and women were still fighting for the legitimacy of having a non-mothering career, and mine, in which there was absolutely never a question.

HELLO AGAIN

I’ve also been watching the first season of thirtysomething, which I devoured at 15, when it first aired. I’m amused to see how relevant it both is and isn’t, and how so much of what it helped introduce to television—whitey angst, banter, the “group of friends” thing—is still there.

I’m also pretty shocked to see how every episode is about the exact same thing, which is how hard it is to work and/or parent. I don’t begrudge them their struggles, and I even share some of them. But my, how they pratter on.

I’m glad to see that by episodes 5 and 6, we’re moving away from Michael and Hope and into Melissa and Ellen, whose struggles are at least a little different. At the same time, the writing is getting stronger, not so mannered and awkward.

GOODBYE

And, this’ll be all until, I imagine, somewhere in mid-January, when we’re back and I’m unpacked enough to dedicate time to whispering into the void. Also known as blogging.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

The Wild Bride

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

The Berkeley Rep’s new show—not technically a Berkeley Rep show but a Kneehigh Theater production—is some serious myth-making magnificence.

Dark, creepy, gorgeous, violent, sad, and weird, it’s a tangle of fairy tale, Robert Johnson, Eastern European folk song, and expressionist dance.

Highly recommend, but not if you’re feeling fragile. The content can be hard to take.