#ShakespearesPlaylist: The Taming of the Shrew

So I LOVE finding songs to fit the mood of #Shakespeare plays. Basically every time I hear a song I love on the radio, I think about how I could fit it into a production. I can’t help it. My brain just does that, which is funny, because I’ve only directed one production (my own one-act) and questioned myself and my abilities the entire time, so I don’t necessarily see myself directing anything else any time soon, but I just like to dream about the music anyway.

The Globe Theater cast of The Taming of the Shrew from 2013 - photo from  https://thehoneycombers.com/singapore/the-taming-of-the-shrew/

The Globe Theater cast of The Taming of the Shrew from 2013 - photo from https://thehoneycombers.com/singapore/the-taming-of-the-shrew/

I’ve decided to play with this habit of mine more and make full-fledged Spotify and Youtube playlists for each play by Shakespeare, under the umbrella name and hashtag #ShakespearesPlaylist .

Quick Wikipedia summary: The Taming of the Shrew depicts the courtship of Petruchio and Katherina, the headstrong, obdurate “shrew” in the title. Initially, Katherina is an unwilling participant in the relationship; however, Petruchio "tames" her with various psychological torments, such as keeping her from eating and drinking, until she becomes a desirable, compliant, and obedient bride. The subplot features a competition between the suitors of Katherina's younger sister, Bianca. who is seen as the "ideal" woman. The question of whether the play is misogynistic or not has become the subject of considerable controversy, particularly among modern scholars, audiences, and readers.

I chose Florence + The Machine’s Kiss with a Fist to represent the domestic abuse prevalent in Taming of the Shrew. This is the part of the play that makes everyone uncomfortable, but it’s such an integral part to the plot that you really can’t remove it or gloss over it without changing the story completely. This is one of those problem plays that I think needs to be done carefully and respectfully, with a lot of conversation and care. Sure, perform it, but make sure to discuss the problematic aspects of it in your program or in a post-show discussion.

Husband John and I saw a version of it at The Globe in London in 2013 that featured an all-female cast; that choice retained the original story while portraying it in an explicitly feminist way that helped me see it in a really different way. It was very affecting. Because of those problematic aspects though, I personally have never been involved in a production of it nor have I seen many productions of it. One study (reported on Priceonomics) found that it was the fifth most popular Shakespeare play (in terms of professional performances by major theater companies between 2011-2015; this kind of surprises me? It is quite possible though that I’ve just happened to live in areas where it’s just not commonly performed. Plus, I mostly work with and am around community theater productions, and they seem to be slightly less willing to put on controversial plays (just my observation, not sure why).

I should note- Kiss with a Fist is not actually about domestic violence. Florence Welch explained the meaning of the song on her blog: “It is about two people pushing each other to psychological extremes because they are fighting but they still love each other. The song is not about one person being attacked, or any actual physical violence, there are no victims in this song. Sometimes the love two people have for each other is a destructive force. But they can't have it any other way, because it's what holds them together, they enjoy the drama and pushing each other's buttons. The only way to express these extreme emotions is with extreme imagery, all of which is fantasism and nothing in the song is based on reality. Leona Lewis's ‘Bleeding Love’ isn't actually about her bleeding and this song isn't actually about punching someone in the mouth." (I grabbed this explanation off Wikipedia)

Joan Jett’s Bad Reputation is a bit of an obvious choice for representing a woman who refuses to conform to society’s expectations of her, but I love this song and had to include it anyway.

Yeah, that’s a really short explanation of that, but I really can’t think of anything else to say. Joan Jett is awesome.

Etta James’ It’s a Man’s Man’s World addresses the gender dynamics of the play, as ultimately Katherina has little choice when it comes to her husband. Although Katherina does ultimately “agree” to marry Petruchio when he shows himself willing to counter her sharp wit, she has no ability to stop the ceremony when Petruchio hits the priest and drinks the communion wine and is completely helpless when Petruchio abuses her by withholding food and gaslighting her until she does his bidding. He shows off her “tame” self at the end to the other men. The setting of this play truly is “a man’s world” and Katherina is trapped in it.

Finally, since these songs have mostly been pretty dark, I’m ending on a lighter note with Letters to Cleo’s I Want You to Want Me. This cover was prominently featured on the 10 Things I Hate About You soundtrack. 10 Things is a loose adaptation of Taming of the Shrew and also coincidentally is one of my favorite romantic comedies of all time, probably because it came out in 1999 when I was 11 and thus was one of the first modern romantic comedies I ever actually watched.

The Best Long-Lasting Lipsticks: If You Love the Look but Hate Reapplying

So some friends asked me for long lasting lipstick recommendations and I'm happy to oblige! These lipsticks work well for anyone who loves makeup but hates spending more than a few minutes applying it.

So currently, I telework full time from home and don’t even put on makeup most days. I just use my basic skin routine of cleanser, toner, acne products, moisturizer, and Vaseline petroleum jelly at night (on my forehead and lips) - I really keep it super simple. And my skin generally looks great as a result! So when I /do/ leave the house, I generally just put on some lipstick and peach blush, perhaps a little concealer if I’ve been stressed out lately. If I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll put on some eye shadow and mascara, maybe eye liner. But I definitely have more lipstick than any other product and wear it most often!

I /only/ wear long-wear lipstick because I despise smudgy lipstick and leaving lipstains on glasses. I’ve honestly tried using fancier lipsticks before; I’ve prepped my lips with a sugar scrub and used a lip primer and lip liner and blotted three times and used a setting powder. It never works for me! And it’s way more work than it’s worth for the final result. So now I just stick to the long-lasting lipstick I know and love.

Two tips on long-lasting lipstick:

1. Use Vaseline petroleum on your lips at night to keep them moist and happy. These products can often be drying. Vaseline can also help remove the lipstick!

2. The secret trick to keeping lipstick off your teeth- After you apply, just put your thumb in your mouth, close your lips around it, and then pull it out. You have to wipe your lipstick off your thumb then, which is annoying, but I’ve literally never found anything else which works better.

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So my most commonly worn lipstick brand these days is Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink (pictured). The colors shown here are: Pioneer, Heroine, Artist, Romantic, Explorer, Philosopher, and Protector.

I love this brand! It runs under $10 and comes in a lot of different colors - from classic or bold, to neutral or more out there shades. I should have even more than are pictured here, I just can’t find one or two of them right now, as I usually always have one in my purse when I’m out and about.

I have gone to dentist appointments wearing these shades before and they don’t budge; my dental hygienist has actually asked me what brand it was. They’re great! And you can also mix them together for an in-between shade if you’re careful - I apply the shades directly over each other on my lips and then rub it together to mix it and cover all the lines. I of course use a cloth to sharpen all my edges.

In addition, this brand has a great applicator that has a sharper edge than most do; i find it easier for making a sharp line. It also smells AMAZING. I think they put vanilla in the formula or something.

I also recently tried out the Maybelle Super Stay Ink Crayon Lipstick but honestly, I wasn’t impressed. It didn’t last nearly as long as the regular formula.

This pic shows my favorite lipsticks and most commonly worn AFTER my Maybelline:

First: my Rimmel Provocalips (upper left corner). These colors from left to right are Play with Fire, Heart Breaker, Kiss Fatal, Little Mink, and Dare to Pink.

Next going counter clockwise: the shorter purple lipstick is Maybelline 14 hr in Wine and Forever (my darkest lipstick!); then two Maybelline Superstay 24 Colors - All Day Cherry and Timeless Toffee.

Upper right: CoverGirl Outlast All Day Two Step Lipcolor in Eternal Flame.

Bottom Right: Lipsense by Senegence long lasting liquid lip color in B. Ruby with Glossy gloss.

Next to that on the left is Revlon Colorstay Ultimate in Buffest Beige (my go to nude lip color). I use this one if I’m wearing stage makeup and playing a dude.

Next to that: Revlon Colorstay in Unlimited Mulberry and Forever Scarlet.

Finally, bottom left is Kat Von D everlasting liquid lipstick in Backstage Bambi.

I would recommend all these brands with different levels of caution; all of them will last longer than your standard cream lipstick. Almost all of these can be bought at a drugstore or Target and honestly those tend to work best for me (I think my lips just adhere better to cheaper brands?). The Kat Von D is the most expensive by far; this shade lasts maybe half a day for me, but I've been told that this particular color is the hardest to work with from that line so I'm hoping to try another shade in the future to get a better idea of its quality.

The Lipsense is very different from the rest; it dries very quickly and requires lots of thin layers and a gloss to work. It's a bit tricky but I've found with regular lip scrubs that it withstands most of the day. It can only be bought from independent sellers and not from retail stores; if you're interested in it I can give you my contact. :)

As always, let me know if you have any questions! I'm happy to help!

Easy No Heat Hair Styling For Fine-Haired Girls

Half dry hair in low buns at top, lower left shows the hair immediately after several hours drying in the low buns. lower right shows the final look after it’s all dried post-makeup.

Half dry hair in low buns at top, lower left shows the hair immediately after several hours drying in the low buns. lower right shows the final look after it’s all dried post-makeup.

Since I bleach my hair before i dye it all the colors of the wind, I try to really baby it at other times.

I rarely use heat styling on my hair- maybe once a month I’ll use a curling iron and a blowdryer maybe once every two months. But my hair tends to lie rather flat if I don’t do /anything/ with it, so I use a lot of no heat styling tricks. Usually, I just style it by waiting until it’s half dry after a shower, and then putting it into one of a few hair styles so it can gain some shape and texture as it dries the rest of the way. This doesn’t work on everyone, but if you have naturally straight hair with a similar medium-fine hair diameter like I do, it works great! (If you’re not certain what type of hair you have, this article on Headcurve can be really helpful! I have a 1b hair type, meaning it’s fine and generally straight, but not so fine that you would see a lot of scalp showing through.)

My current favorite no heat style is two low buns in the back. I specifically also twist the hair as I’m putting it into the bun. I then either sleep on it or chill for a few hours while I’m working.

Once I take it out- voila! Fun curls and texture. As you can see in the picture, it’s still just a little damp when I take it out, so I finger comb it and zhush it a little. By the time I’m done with my makeup, it’s all dry and looks great! It’s really simple and I quite like it. :)

I personally don’t tend to use a lot of product on my hair unless it’s absolutely necessary. I don’t even usually use frizz free serum on my hair, as it can look greasy really quickly. I’ll often just put a little lotion on my hands at the end of my prep, rub it in, and any small amount that’s left, i’l just lightly finger comb through my hair - ends first, than just a very light hand on my roots.

#ShakespearesPlaylist: Comedy of Errors

So I LOVE finding songs to fit the mood of #Shakespeare plays. Basically every time I hear a song I love on the radio, I think about how I could fit it into a production. I can’t help it. My brain just does that, which is funny, because I’ve only directed one production (my own one-act) and questioned myself and my abilities the entire time, so I don’t necessarily see myself directing anything else any time soon, but I just like to dream about the music anyway.

I’ve decided to play with this habit of mine more and make full-fledged Spotify and Youtube playlists for each play by Shakespeare, under the umbrella name and hashtag #ShakespearesPlaylist .

Quick Summary of the Play from Wikipedia: “Set in the Greek city of Ephesus, The Comedy of Errors tells the story of two sets of identical twins who were accidentally separated at birth. Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant, Dromio of Syracuse, arrive in Ephesus, which turns out to be the home of their twin brothers, Antipholus of Ephesus and his servant, Dromio of Ephesus. When the Syracusans encounter the friends and families of their twins, a series of wild mishaps based on mistaken identities lead to wrongful beatings, a near-seduction, the arrest of Antipholus of Ephesus, and false accusations of infidelity, theft, madness, and demonic possession.”

I actually acted in a minor role in Comedy of Errors earlier this year! It’s an extremely silly play, and probably one of my least favorites, but the director and assistant director had a really fun vision for it that included lots of slapstick and physical comedy, plus a prominently featured rubber chicken. I got to wear a lovely costume and a ridiculous mustache and got to do some really fun comedic acting just reacting to the shenanigans aroudn me! Here’s a publicity pic of me for it (pre-mustache):

Plus I just got to work with the best people. Here are a couple of us in a ridiculous cuddle pile on the floor backstage, lol.

ANYWAY, when I think of this play, I tend to think of exceptionally ridiculous songs or songs about “double vision” or confusion. So I’m putting in Yakety Sax, the classic slapstick song, Double Vision by Foreigner to refer to the Twins/mistaken identity plot, and One Week by BareNaked Ladies to evoke the shenanigans feel of the whole play. I’m also throwing in Crazy by Gnarls Barkley (a cool slowed down version!) in here to refer to every character’s mutual feeling of “What is going on here? Am I going mad?” by the end of the show".

What songs would you add to this list? You can suggest them here or on Twitter at #ShakespearesPlaylist :D

#ShakespearesPlaylist: King Lear

So I LOVE finding songs to fit the mood of #Shakespeare plays. Basically every time I hear a song I love on the radio, I think about how I could fit it into a production. I can’t help it. My brain just does that, which is funny, because I’ve only directed one production (my own one-act) and questioned myself and my abilities the entire time, so I don’t necessarily see myself directing anything else any time soon, but I just like to dream about the music anyway.

I’ve decided to play with this habit of mine more and make full-fledged Spotify and Youtube playlists for each play by Shakespeare, under the umbrella name and hashtag #ShakespearesPlaylist .

The incomparable Larry Yando as Lear in Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production in 2014. Photo from  https://www.chicagoshakes.com/plays_and_events/lear

The incomparable Larry Yando as Lear in Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production in 2014. Photo from https://www.chicagoshakes.com/plays_and_events/lear

Quick Summary from Wikipedia: King Lear is the tale of a king who bequeaths his power and land to two of his three daughters, after they declare their love for him in an extremely fawning and obsequious manner. His third daughter gets nothing, because she will not flatter him as her sisters had done. When he feels disrespected by the two daughters who now have his wealth and power, he becomes furious to the point of madness. He eventually becomes tenderly reconciled to his third daughter, just before tragedy strikes her and then the king.

I’m starting with King Lear because I just watched Kurosawa’s “Ran” with my husband, which is basically King Lear set in feudal Japan, so it’s on my brain anyway.

Here are a couple songs on my King Lear playlist. What would you add to this list? :D

Both Viva La Vida by Coldplay and Pompeii by Bastille fit King Lear’s “former leader watching his world crumble” theme, IMO.

Okay these two are a little more specific and require some explanation.

Frank Sinatra’s Where Do You Go? - I went to law school in Chicago and lived there for a few years after, so then-boyfriend/now-husband John and I went to a lot of shows at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. They have a great under-35 program that allows younger adults to get discount tickets and it was AWESOME.

In 2014, they did a friggin’ astounding version of King Lear that portrayed Lear as someone who really loved Frank Sinatra and used Sinatra’s music throughout the play to illustrate his growing madness. This specific obscure Sinatra song was used to illustrate how lost and alone Lear was and was mixed and looped to show his growing distortion. Right before the intermission, this one house set that had been standing up the whole time came toppling down over the actor playing Lear, who stood in just the one hole for the window so he wasn’t actually crushed, with rain and thunder and this haunting song in the background.

So clearly it made an impression. I definitely think of Sinatra whenever I think of Lear now.

Ravel’s Bolero is my pet choice and something I would include if I ever had the opportunity to direct Lear in the future. There was an amazing Radiolab episode a while back which discussed how the repetition in Bolero and in one woman’s paintings were a strong symptom of their own mental illnesses. It fascinated me and ever since, I have wanted to use Bolero as a metaphor for Lear’s madness.

What obvious songs am I overlooking? Do you have any choices that might seem odd without further explanation? I want to hear them all! Use the hashtag #ShakespearesPlaylist to get them to me. :)

Elizabethan Ruffs for Shakespeare Cats - Out of Coffee Filters!

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So on Saturday, I found out that @barkbox did a #Shakespeare in the dog park toy/treat collection! I of course, had to look for photos of this, and spent probably half an hour just looking at photos of dogs wearing Elizabethan ruffs and playing with Shakespeare themed toys!

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Then I ended up making Elizabethan ruffs for my #cats out of coffee filters. 🤷🏼‍♀️ I literally just cut a hole in the middle of the coffee filter and a cut down the side, put it around their necks, and taped it closed. They didn’t actually seem to mind them too much, although Martok tried to eat his for a little bit.

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They stayed on their necks for a surprisingly long time considering how flimsy a single coffee filter is. It was super simple and fun and I may do this again for Halloween. :)

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Of course I had to match photos of the kitties with Shakespeare quotes. Did you expect anything less?

"Getting Married": George Bernard Shaw on Marriage

"MARRIAGE AS A MAGIC SPELL

The truth which people seem to overlook in this matter is that the marriage ceremony is quite useless as a magic spell for changing in an instant the nature of the relations of two human beings to one another. If a man marries a woman after three weeks acquaintance, and the day after meets a woman he has known for twenty years, he finds, sometimes to his own irrational surprise and his wife's equally irrational indignation, that his wife is a stranger to him, and the other woman an old friend.

Also, there is no hocus pocus that can possibly be devized with rings and veils and vows and benedictions that can fix either a man's or woman's affection for twenty minutes, much less twenty years. Even the most affectionate couples must have moments during which they are far more conscious of one another's faults than of one another's attractions. There are couples who dislike one another furiously for several hours at a time; there are couples who dislike one another permanently; and there are couples who never dislike one another; but these last are people who are incapable of disliking anybody. If they do not quarrel, it is not because they are married, but because they are not quarrelsome. The people who are quarrelsome quarrel with their husbands and wives just as easily as with their servants and relatives and acquaintances: marriage makes no difference.

Those who talk and write and legislate as if all this could be prevented by making solemn vows that it shall not happen, are either insincere, insane, or hopelessly stupid. There is some sense in a contract to perform or abstain from actions that are reasonably within voluntary control; but such contracts are only needed to provide against the possibility of either party being no longer desirous of the specified performance or abstention. A person proposing or accepting a contract not only to do something but to like doing it would be certified as mad. Yet popular superstition credits the wedding rite with the power of fixing our fancies or affections for life even under the most unnatural conditions."

The entire play and its amazing preface is available for free online here: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/5604/5604-h/5604-h.htm

#WeddingHashtagsAreAwesome (But I Can't Have One Because #JohnWillDivorceMe)

I really, truly love puns to the bottom of my being. They're one of my favorite things. Because of this, I love the heck out of wedding hashtags and would love to have one (in fact the idea of getting to come up with a wedding hashtag about taking his last name is so entertaining to me that that is actually a point in that option's favor), but.....John? Not so much. The following conversation has actually happened:

Me: "If anyone ever calls me 'Mr. John LastName' I will divorce you on the spot."  (this is a whole 'nother issue that will be discussed in a future post)

John: "If anyone uses a hashtag for our wedding, I will divorce you on the spot." 

We were both kidding, but also were pretty serious about our strong objections to both things. So. There you go. I suppose we're not having a wedding hashtag. However, they are pretty interesting, so I'm going to talk about them anyway.

"Ace of Hashtags" by Roberta Cortese (satyrika on Flickr), used under a Creative Commons License. https://www.flickr.com/photos/satyrika/8093127848

"Ace of Hashtags" by Roberta Cortese (satyrika on Flickr), used under a Creative Commons License. https://www.flickr.com/photos/satyrika/8093127848

The Origins of Hashtags

The symbol itself - formally known as the Octothorpe but also called a number sign or pound sign, dates back to ancient Roman times. A New Yorker article called "The Ancient Roots of Punctuation" states:

"The story of the hashtag begins sometime around the fourteenth century, with the introduction of the Latin abbreviation “lb,” for the Roman term libra pondo, or 'pound weight.' Like many standard abbreviations of that period, “lb” was written with the addition of a horizontal bar, known as a tittle, or tilde... And though printers commonly cast this barred abbreviation as a single character, it was the rushed pens of scribes that eventually produced the symbol’s modern form: hurriedly dashed off again and again, the barred “lb” mutated into the abstract #... Though it is now referred to by a number of different names—“hash mark,” 'number sign,' and even 'octothorpe,' a jokey appellation coined by engineers working on the Touch-Tone telephone keypad—the phrase “pound sign” can be traced to the symbol’s ancient origins. For just as 'lb' came from libra, so the word 'pound' is descended from pondo, making the # a descendent of the Roman term libra pondo in both name and appearance."

The specific use of the symbol in a recognizable "hashtag" way is a lot older than you might think! A Lifewire article on the topic noted: "The metadata tags have been actually been around for quite some time, first being used in 1988 on a platform known as Internet Relay Chat or IRC. They were used much then as they are today, for grouping messages, images, content, and video into categories. The purpose of course, is so users can simply search hashtags and get all the relevant content associated with them." According to Lifewire, a resident of San Diego started using the hashtag #sandiegofire on Twitter (which launched July 15, 2006) to inform people about the ongoing wildfires in August 2007; other articles indicate that the first suggestion of # as a tracking tool to Twitter came from Chris Messina. This blog post by Stowe Boyd is believed to be the first one to actually coin the term "hashtag."

You can now use hashtags to track or group posts on a common theme on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. I'll admit that I mostly use them sarcastically (as in the above headline or in my commonly used #blessed), but I do actually use them on my personal Instagram to track my ongoing photo chronicling of all my nail polish shades via #naileditproject (however, you'd have to be friends with me to see those, so it's really for my own personal use rather than to commune with others).

"Hashtag Coffee #coffeelover" by DoSchu on Flickr, used under a Creative Commons License. - https://www.flickr.com/photos/doschu/28908948920/


"Hashtag Coffee #coffeelover" by DoSchu on Flickr, used under a Creative Commons License. - https://www.flickr.com/photos/doschu/28908948920/

Here Comes the Hashtag

Buzzfeed attempted to track down the first people to use a wedding hashtag, and concluded from researching old twitter posts from June 2008 that it was a man named Jon Bohlinger. A few more mentions were made of the trend in 2008, then it started taking off more in 2009. A Pinterest spokesperson told them that there was a more than 800% increase in pins featuring "wedding hashtag" on their site between July 2015 and July 2015.   

I used this blog as an excuse to reach out to Ariel Meadow Stallings, the publisher of one of my favorite websites, OffbeatBride.com. She said she first started really seeing wedding hashtags back in 2013, first with Twitter (pointing me to http://offbeatbride.com/seattle-boathouse-wedding/  as an example) and then with Instagram (http://offbeatbride.com/wedding-instagram-hashtag/).

If you can't come up with your own brilliant hashtag, there are a million wedding hashtag generators out there now (according to weddinghashtagwall I could use - #RachaelLovesJohn #AdventuresofRJ or my fave #DicksonandLorenzenMerger, or ooo since we're both lawyers we could be #DicksonLorenzenLLP BUT I WON'T BECAUSE JOHN IS A GRUMP*). Someone even started a business creating custom wedding hashtags for people. Offbeat Bride has a fantastic article talking about ways to come up with more unique hashtags that incorporate those awesome puns I was talking about earlier.

They really are a pretty powerful tool at this point - Several websites exist now to track hashtags and provide you with various analytics on them. I just used keyhole.co to search #weddinghashtag and got the following results for the past two weeks - 69 posts with 55 users using it, reaching 160 unique users. If you're keen on conglomerating your posts leading up to your wedding and all your guests' posts and pictures in one place, using a hashtag and a service like this would help you pull from all the various websites your guests might post on. 

Also, just for your entertainment, this article "Best Wedding Hashtags Ever" from Brides.com is pretty hilarious. <3

 

*Actual photo of my fiancé.  

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I do not own this photo. Please don't sue me.