Stupid Tuesday questions, Ann Crumb edition

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Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.

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37 Responses

  1. Avatar NewDealer
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    says:

    I saw Cate Blanchett perform Hedd Gabbler at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) with Hugo Weaving in the cast as well. Ibsen is quite important in the development of modern drama and Ghosts is a great play. Why don’t you like it?

    I guess theatre is an answer. I auditioned for the 8th grade musical because I thought the girls in the play were really cute. Then I discovered hey theatre is really fun and I want to continue doing this.Report

    • Avatar Russell Saunders in reply to NewDealer
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      says:

      I’m not saying I didn’t like them, though perhaps “like” isn’t quite the right word.

      I’m saying that they are among the bleakest bits of drama I’ve ever seen.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Russell Saunders
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        says:

        That is a good point. One does not like Ibsen in the same way that one likes well Andrew Lloyd Weber. Though I have a strong dislike of Andrew Llyod WeberReport

      • Many years ago, I saw the Sam Mendes revival of “Cabaret.” (I saw it with Michael C Hall as the MC. He was fabulous and soooooooo sexy. And it’s cool to know I got to see him perform before he got super famous.)

        At the very end, which was brilliantly staged to devastating effect, everyone stood up and applauded. The friend I went to see it with and I sat there at our table (it was when the show was at the old Studio 54 and set up like a real cabaret) and wondered how people could applaud so readily. We both felt the need to suppress the urge to barf before we could clap.

        It was very well done.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Russell Saunders
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        says:

        And it’s cool to know I got to see him perform before he got super famous.

        And before Dexter ruined his rep in Hollywood. 😉Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Russell Saunders
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        says:

        I’ve seen Cabaret three times now. Every time I do, I’m always put in mind of Christopher Isherwood and WH Auden’s long friendship.

        Auden’s my poet. But Isherwood is something special: he gives us the original backdrop for Cabaret, the Berlin Stories. Christopher Hitchens brought him into focus in the context of Edward Upward , the core of that entire coterie of writers.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    This is the first time I’ve read Sandman since high-speed internet has come out… so while I could go on *ALL DAY* about the stuff that he talks about, I’d just say that his references to various songs have given me the most prolonged joy. I found out that Michael Jackson and Marillion both covered Lavender’s Blue, for example.Report

  3. Avatar BlaiseP
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    says:

    I always liked musicals. Did the sets, backdrops, lighting, sound and such for school plays and much the same in college, and later. Never acted. Always felt more useful behind the scenes.

    Two dynamics of the stage, the two masks. It’s not Smilie Guy and Frownie Guy. They’re female. The muses Thalia the Flourishing and Melpomene the Singer. Comedy isn’t just about happiness, it’s about the struggles of life, most of which are hilarious if they’re properly presented. Youth versus age, wisdom versus silliness, men versus women, all that. And Tragedy means more than disaster or sadness. Tragedy is pulling the audience in, catharsis, making us emote. We talk about compelling performances, compelling actors.

    If we come out of an Ibsen play, feeling as if we’ve been put through the mangle, I’ve felt the same way coming out of King Lear or Othello. Also felt the same way about music and art. The really good stuff produces better versions of our emotions, even the very simplest stuff can be amazingly sophisticated. Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, comedic geniuses. But taken straight, it resolves to conflict. Tragedy, conversely, gives us characters whose pains and joys we feel, we sympathise with them.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to BlaiseP
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      says:

      Such a romantic view!

      I wonder what you’d think of Dwarf Fortress?Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Kim
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        says:

        We may always rely upon you for the inanest of responses, Kim.

        ….for any thing so o’erdone is from the purpose of playing,Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Kim
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        says:

        Blaise,
        as we can rely upon you for condescension.

        I bother to mention something MOMA has in its collection,
        setting it up as a point that you might contend with.

        Your brusqueness does your argument no favors.

        Aye, theater is mostly about the primal, the emotive.

        But that is not all that art is. There is room, in art,
        for that which teases, and tempts, and fascinates…
        and even awes. And all with neutral affect.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Kim
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        says:

        In the immortal words of Popeye, “I yam what I yam.”

        Get this. I don’t care. I don’t care what MOMA puts in its collections. I don’t care about being an Übergeek or the latest fad coming out of the mangasphere. The very idea, worrying about what you think about me — what anyone thinks about me out here — I will spread my leathery old pterodactyl wings and screech an it pleaseth me and if it annoys you, I consider your complaints a validation of having the skill to make the right enemies.Report

  4. Avatar Kim
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    says:

    Paprika, due to Inception.Report

  5. Avatar bluefoot
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    says:

    I could go on for *days* about interests that have lead to other interests. One of the more recent and convoluted ones is that I was rereading the Sherlock Holmes stories a couple of years ago, which led me to do some reading about the battle of Maiwand and the Second Afghan War. Which led to getting interested in the intersection of technology and military strategy and tactics in the 19th and early 20th century – for instance the development of the Minie ball and its impact on battlefield tactics…all of which is leading me into an interest in gunsmithing (that I’m trying hard to resist – I don’t have time, dammit) which intersects nicely with my already-developed hobby of metal sculpture and knifemaking.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to bluefoot
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      says:

      When I was a kid, every time we tilled our back yard in the spring to begin planting the garden, we found minié balls from this. I still have a few of them (I believe my father and brother have the rest).Report

  6. Avatar North
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    says:

    God(ess?) Doc! We share some things in common for sure, musicals in general but the Webber ones especially. Evita and Phantom are perennial favorites. I was exposed to Phantom at an early age and the concept of explicit story telling through music is a very Maritime one so I memorized the entire Phantom score early on. I could sing (badly) the whole damned thing.

    What is your favorite Evita song? Phantom? Mine for Evita fluctuates so much depending on mood. When I was younger I always thought the Managers song, Notes, was hysterical though as I’ve gotten older Wishing you were somehow here again has eclipsed it.

    My better half scorns the lot of it, but if he ever starts ranting about it I mutter “Wicked” under my breath and he snaps that I’m being unfair and Wicked is nothing like those other old things. *eyeroll*Report

  7. Avatar Dan Miller
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    says:

    I loved Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone, by Harvey Danger, and the first track, “Carlotta Valdez”, inspired me to see Vertigo. I didn’t love it, frankly, although it was interesting, but it was the first movie I went to see at the Red Vic theater in San Francisco. It was one of my favorite theaters of all time; the seats were beat to hell and they only had one (relatively small) screen but the selection of movies was beyond fantastic and the popcorn with yeast was actually pretty good (again, San Francisco). It was at the Red Vic that I decided on a whim to see Harold and Maude…when I walked out 90 minutes later my mind was absolutely blown, and it’s become one of my favorite movies ever. Unfortunately, the Red Vic closed down a few years ago. Thanks to Harvey Danger, though, for inspiring me to visit–it was great while it lasted.Report

  8. Avatar Burt Likko
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    says:

    I’ve got nothing, yet, but I may just go out and buy myself that copy of Woolunda: Ten Solos for Didgeridoo because, you know, you can get damn near anything on Amazon these days.Report

  9. Avatar Mike Dwyer
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    says:

    “I defy you to write a funnier line about “Star Wars” than “Luke, I know Darth Vader’s really got you annoyed, but remember if you kill him then you’ll be unemployed.”

    I agree. My brother and I listened to a LOT of Weird Al in our shared bedroom as kids.

    To answer your question, I’m struggling to find a more interesting example, but I will say that my love of pro wrestling in the 80s and 90s (yes, I knew it was fake – didn’t care) eventually led me to discover mixed martial arts and I am a huge fan of the sport now.Report

  10. Avatar zic
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    says:

    Hmmm. Well, reading science fiction created a yearning to learn how to write, which, in turn, led led to dismay with the quality of most science fiction writing.Report

  11. Avatar Maribou
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    says:

    This is a hard one for me because a) I basically live my life by following from one interest to the next, but b) I end up thinking I would’ve read those eventually anyway.

    So for example, I am currently reading a kid’s fantasy novel published only in New Zealand (surprise! yeah right… I suppose I am rather obsessed at the moment) that I found out about in the notes of another book set in NZ that I read about in a travel guide to NZ. And, you know, it seems fairly straightforward to say “I wouldn’t have read this author if I hadn’t gotten so interested in reading things set in New Zealand.”

    Except, you know, I LOVE FANTASY NOVELS. SOO… maybe I would’ve. And on a related note, maybe if I wasn’t so passionate about Lord of the Rings, and then very recently – about a year ago – read a couple of fantasy novels set in an alternate NZ that I had no idea about where they would take place until I read them, maybe I wouldn’t have up and decided to go there right now anyway. In which case I wouldn’t have been reading the travel guide that eventually led me to the book I’m reading right now.

    BUT THEN. Maybe if my grandmother hadn’t given me a toy lamb from New Zealand when I was a baby… I wouldn’t have been obsessed with fantastic-sounding, imaginary places from the time I could first read (around 4 or so). And maybe I wouldn’t have been so into fantasy novels in the first place.

    Not a great example because these two interests are so longstanding, but really? My whole life is like that. If something is new to me, it’s usually just a matter of time before it gets all webbed up with everything else and I discover 800 connections I’d been unaware of before. Six degree’s of Maribou’s interests. 😀Report

    • Avatar Maribou in reply to Maribou
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      says:

      er, that first sentence should say something like “I would’ve found those interests eventually anyway.”

      Also, surely there is SOMETHING that does not fit into the tidy picture I have painted?

      Mayyyyyyyyyybe my love of dancehall which is pretty much entirely the fault of my next-door dorm neighbor back in 1995-1996. He and I discovered early on that we liked to talk about theology and girls (actually one particular girl that neither of us ever admitted we were swooning over until years later) and growing up on an Island (me: PEI, him: Trinidad. commonalities surprising). And well, if you are hanging out talking until 3 in the morning, you eventually run out of bands to listen to that you both already love, and we always hung out in his room because mine was a mess. Eventually we would go to concerts I would never have otherwise heard of together, even. That was pretty random and unexpected. But then again, I probably would’ve come across ska eventually given my love for big band (including giant rock bands, or the modern electronica version of the concept, or even similarly sized classical ensembles – basically any time there are 15-20 people playing music on a stage I’m going to enjoy it, no matter what the idiom). And punk! So from ska it’s a short hop to dancehall, really…

      See what I mean? I accumulate delights, rather than discriminating between them. It’s all a tangled mess of uncertain provenance.Report

  12. Avatar Brandon Berg
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    says:

    I really like Aspects. I think that and Sunset Boulevard are Lloyd Webber’s best scores. How they got overshadowed by Cats, I’ll never know.

    I’ve never been able to figure out: Does the theme first used in Rose’s and Hugo’s fight over Ibsen have a name? It’s one of my favorites, but it never seems to show up as a proper song.Report

  13. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    says:

    (I defy you to write a funnier line about “Star Wars” than “Luke, I know Darth Vader’s really got you annoyed, but remember if you kill him then you’ll be unemployed.”)

    The Jedi I admired most
    Met up with Darth Maul. Now he’s toast.Report

  14. Avatar KatherineMW
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    says:

    I’m the same case with regard to Weird Al’s songs. The Saga Begins is one of my favourite songs, and it’s the one that automatically runs through my head when I hear the music to American Pie.Report

  15. Avatar Darwy
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    says:

    My love of roleplaying (I’ve been playing D&D since 3rd grade), which brought me back in touch with some old friends (who had gone one to LARP) – who introduced me to Leonard Cohen’s music during one of the many, many GenCon’s we went to.

    I’m sure I’d have eventually ‘discovered’ him – but the years I would have wasted until it occurred would have been a tragedy.Report

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