Tag Archives: halloween

tbt: Theatre Obsessions

I remember this one time, in my sophomore year of college, there was this production of Falsettos. I wasn’t working on the show but I had seen it a couple times – I don’t think we ever ran a show longer than two weekends, but I had to go to a tech rehearsal for a class. I had become obsessed with the show…an obsession that’s lasted for the next decade.

It was a Sunday night, closing night of Falsettos. I wanted to go see it one more time. But there was another show closing that weekend – a one-man show by another student. I’ll call him Ivan. The show was called Ivan on Ivan: In Reverb! Good gravy.

I had promised the stage manager of the show, a friend of mine and someone I looked up to, that I would come see his show that night. But by late afternoon I was just lying on the floor of our apartment, tormented because I wanted to take my very last opportunity to see Falsettos. I was completely torn. I was a little over-dramatic.

The moral twin of my Gemini sensibility must have been on duty that night, because I went to Ivan on Ivan: In Reverb! But I regretted it almost immediately. I mean, it was just ridiculous. At intermission, I left and went down the street to Falsettos, where I snuck into the back. Man, that’s a good show.

The thing about theatre is that if you love something, there really isn’t a way to just save it and rewatch it. Even a bootleg version of something isn’t the same as being there. And I know there’s bad theatre. I have seen bad theatre. I have peeked at my phone to see how much longer this act could possibly be. I have left things at intermission (not often, but I’ve done it). I’ve seen things out of an obligation and not necessarily out of joy.

But then there are the things that you can’t get enough of. When I saw Wicked for the first time (cheesy example, I know), it was the first time in years and years of shows that the curtain call ended, the lights came up, and I was like, “Okay, reset everything, I will watch this all again from the beginning RIGHT NOW.”

I went years without having that feeling about a show. But I am having it again. Right now. (This is not a marketing ploy.)

My work is currently presenting Sweeney Todd. I love Sweeney Todd. It’s one of my favorite musicals. This particular production has something extra. It’s addictive. I can’t stop watching it. It has been running for the last three weeks, and closes this Sunday. I have seen it five times so far, which is already two times more than I have seen any other work show. I saw it yesterday and again today. I am sitting here debating whether I should go back for the closing performance on Sunday night. The only reason I’m not sprawled out on the carpet, conflicted over my decision, is that I have a couple days to work it out. If I don’t go, I will never see this particular production, with this particular cast and set and direction again. But maybe the five times I’ve gone should be enough.

This time, instead of missing out on a student-written one-man show, I would be missing out on precious weekend time with my family. I would be driving all the way down the peninsula a whole extra time. But I would be helping out by filling a seat, and I would be getting one more chance to bask in the pure joy that I experience while watching a show about an insane guy who kills people, and his girlfriend who bakes them into pies. “God That’s Good.”

I think I might have my answer.

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Halloween Reads: 2014

How many times does it take to make a tradition? Three? Well in that case, welcome to my annual “What To Read for Halloween” post. (See 2013 and 2012 here.) Don’t be scared, but there may be some spoOoOoOoky rereads…

(That doesn’t really make sense.)

Happy October! This is the only time of year I get excited about reading a certain genre to match the time of year. (Well, I also like chick lit during the summer.)

Here’s what I’m reading for Halloween this year!

a kiss before dyingA Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin. I have raved about him before. He’s amazing. This book is great for rereads. So much fun. Ira Levin. ❤ ❤ ❤

 

 

somethingwickedSomething Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. I haven’t read this one in a couple years but it’s PERFECT for Halloween, so I’m going for it.

 

 

haunting-hill-house-shirley-jacksonThe Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. I was going to read this last year but spent the entire month getting through two epic Stephen King* books. I tried to make this year’s list a lot more manageable and I will put this one near the top of the list. Concise, creepy, and way better than the movie it spawned, The Haunting of Hill House has been known to keep me up at night in the past.

200px-DeathtrapPlayDeathtrap by Ira Levin. Speaking of manageable books, this one is actually a play. Nominated in 1978 for the Tony Award for Best Play, this play within a play has been done all over – and is actually being done this month at Center REPertory Company in Walnut Creek. Check it out!

 

GraveyardBook_01-1024X768The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. It comes highly recommended, and I’ve loved the Gaiman stuff I’ve read before. With a name like “The Graveyard Book,” it should be ideal for Halloweentime. Plus, it was only like $6 for the paperback on Amazon. Sold.

You may have noticed…I don’t have any Stephen King on this list! Shocking, I know, but it’s okay. There’s always next year! (Or November.)

Happy Halloween!

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Happy Halloween 2013!

So much to catch up on! So many blog posts behind!

First things first: I’ve been doing all the Halloween things possible. This includes reading Stephen King’s new book, Doctor Sleep, which I am loving so far; seeing Carrie the Musical at Ray of Light Theatre in SF, which was fun and campy and had some great effects; and carving a pumpkin for our office Halloween party pumpkin carving contest. (I threw together a very last-minute mime costume for the party.)

Also, I made B a dragon costume.

Halloween collageI realized about last weekend that he didn’t really have anywhere to wear it, so I decided I should take him to work. I picked him up from his grandparents for the party, and then he hung out with me at my desk for the rest of the afternoon. He did a really great job actually. I put up boxes in front of my cubicle, put down a blanket and a bunch of toys and books, and let him crawl around for awhile.

Also: I’m pretty sure today (at work) was the first time I saw him drink from a bottle while sitting up, and just tipping the bottle up (we usually have to recline him a little bit. Also, he’s been chomping at the bit to really break out and start walking, and today he went crazy at work, running all over the place by himself. So I think it’s official: we’ve got a toddler.

It’s so freaking cute. I wonder if he’s been kind of testy lately because he’s been on the verge of breaking into a glorious new skill? Let’s hope so.

My other project has been a costume for myself – not for Halloween but for a work event I have on Saturday, that happens to be a costume party. I think I’m going to do a dia de los muertos thing (although now I’m seeing stuff all over Facebook about how that’s just appropriation of an actual holiday, and it’s offensive, so oops). I still have a couple other things to put together for the costume but I’m sure it’ll be done by Saturday. And I’ll be happy to have it all behind me.

My other, non-Halloween-related, project is the Bench Project 3, which is a night of short plays taking place in San Jose, and mine is one of them. We are teching on Sunday morning (after my sure-to-be late Saturday night) and then going up on Monday night. I am excited, but this is also another weekend that makes me tired just anticipating it.

Happy Halloween!

 

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Starting my Halloween reading

Last year I wrote an post on great Halloween reads. Tonight I gleefully started my first Halloween book for 2013.

Drew recently gave me Stephen King’s latest, Doctor Sleep, which is a sequel to The Shining. My grand plan is to reread The Shining in preparation for reading Doctor Sleep, and then, if I have any time left after that before November 1st, I’ll reread Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House which is one of the freakiest stories ever.

halloween

I don’t know what it is that I freaking love about Halloween. I don’t know if it’s nostalgia: I have all these memories of singing Halloween songs, writing stories about ghosts, stamping pumpkins all over a piece of paper…and that’s just elementary school. I don’t really care about dressing up in a costume myself, but I want to browse every Spirit superstore and look at costume pieces. I love Halloween episodes of TV sitcoms.

I love haunted houses, and scary movies. I love fake spiderwebs and other domestic decorations. I love creepy statues that jump into life when you walk by them. I love crunchy leaves on the sidewalk and brisk winds (not necessarily Halloween-specific).

As a bonus, the bookmark I found in The Shining when I opened it up is a ticket to Nightmare Haunted House! The memories, they are flooding in.

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Pumpkin Patch

Last weekend Drew and B and I went to Half Moon Bay for breakfast and pumpkin patch-ing, with Erin and Scotty’s family. We met up at Blue Sky Farms, which is a nursery/cafe run by the family of a friend. Then we headed south to one of the many pumpkin patches found on either side of the highway.

Drew and I forgot to take the Ergo carrier for B, and we didn’t want to try to push a stroller around a pumpkin field, so we ended up carrying him the whole time. Which is fine, since he’s still relatively light, and since he’s so cute other people want to hold him too, so you can usually pass him off to someone for a short period of time. (Just kidding. Sort of.) B slept through the entire thing.

We’ve been doing all kinds of things with him, but he sleeps through them all – we keep saying that our “holiday/first few months” photo book is just going to be him sleeping in different fun situations and activities. (Not that I’m complaining that he’s a good sleeper.)

Scotty is over a year and a half old, and he’s very smiley and talkative, and likes to run around and is learning colors. I’m looking forward to when B is older and can have more fun when we take him places. In the meantime though, he sure takes some cute (sleeping) pictures.

On Halloween, I took B to work for my office Halloween party, where he behaved very well and got passed around some more. After the party, my friend Katie and I took her two kids and my one kid over to her husband’s office, which is much larger and not a nonprofit, so they were hosting this huge trick-or-treating and Halloween party for all the employees’ families. So B got to show off his costume (he was dressed as a little cow), show off his manners, and go trick or treating for his first Halloween.

That night, Drew and I carved our pumpkins, and took him to Drew’s parents’ house to trick or treat there as well. (Guess who slept through it?)

So although some of it was kind of last minute, we did get it together and do all the traditional Halloween activities. (Next year, though, I’d love to go to a corn maze.) (I say that every year.) And now we are really onto the downhill slope into the holidays!

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5 reads for Halloween time

If you’re looking for a good chilling read for Halloween, then look no further. (Everyone likes to read – or reread – scary stuff this time of year, right?) I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite scary books, all of which I would heartily recommend. (Also all of which I would heartily recommend you read when you’re not home alone.)

1. The Shining by Stephen King

This is actually not my favorite Stephen King book – possibly not even in my top 5 Stephen King books. But this time of year it’s perfect. It’s got all the old familiar horror aspects to it, plus it’s written during my favorite part of King’s career. The Shining is so well-crafted that multiple parts of it have become well known in pop culture, for which I’m sure we should be thanking Stanley Kubrick and the 1980 film adaptation of the book. (The movie, by the way, is also great although definitely took some liberties with the source material.)

2. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

I read this book for the first time in 6th grade, and I still remember how much it freaked me out. There’s one particular scene, with some seaweed…I won’t say anymore, but man. I had some paranoid nights when I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

You know how much I admire and respect and adore Agatha Christie, and she was incredibly prolific, but I think that when it comes to spooky and creepy, this book stands out from her other work. I’m not even sure what I can say about it without spoiling it. So I’ll just say…we passed this thing around in 6th grade. Even boys read it. And we all found it deliciously thrilling. And if a classroom full of 6th graders approve, you know it must be great.

3. Dracula by Bram Stoker

This is more fun than scary. I read this for Halloween a couple years ago, and I was surprised by how much I loved it. I expected it to be harder, with more flowery language – more like Frankenstein. But it was actually a pretty quick read, I had no trouble following any part of it, and I enjoyed the entire thing. I never got nightmares or anything from it, but it was a fun little October activity. I do like all aspects of Halloween – from the scary stuff to the silly stuff to the sentimental stuff (Hocus Pocus on TV every night, anyone?)

4. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Step aside, The Lottery. No, just kidding. While I find Shirley Jackson’s short stories to be some of the best (and most inspiring) writing I’ve ever read, The Haunting of Hill House has seriously stuck with me. This was one of those random library grabs, and then I ended up taking it up to my parents’ house one weekend when I was house sitting for them. Now, I’m skittish spending the night alone at my parents’ house anyway. I have done it maybe 3 times ever, and it just terrifies me. Something about how dark it is outside, how close the trees come to the house on all sides, providing plenty of cover for murderers, and how so many of the windows don’t have blinds you can tightly close to that the aforementioned murderers don’t know exactly where you are.

I couldn’t believe I was so dumb as to take no other reading material but The Haunting of Hill House, and I just sucked it up and curled up under the oldest, most familiar comforter I could find, with both cats on top of me, and waited out the night. (I think I got like 3 hours of sleep.) So good.

5. Rosemary’s Baby (or really anything) by Ira Levin

I picked Rosemary’s Baby because it’s been on my mind, but honestly, you can’t go wrong with Ira Levin. Here’s a list of his novels (we’ll start there and leave the plays for later) so you can figure out which one to start with: A Kiss Before Dying, Rosemary’s Baby, This Perfect Day, The Stepford Wives, The Boys from Brazil, Sliver, Son of Rosemary. Yes, Son of Rosemary is a sequel to Rosemary’s Baby. The cover of it makes it look like a cheap paperback, but as it was actually written by Ira Levin, it’s still great writing and a fantastic story with a crazy unexpected twist. Do it. (But you’ll want to start with Rosemary’s Baby.)

Rosemary’s Baby has also become iconic in our culture. You probably know that the story involves devil worshipers, the antichrist, and that Mia Farrow cut her hair really short for the movie. (The movie, I will mention, was also really good according to me, and it followed the book really closely, but it’s still not the same.) If devil worshipers and the antichrist aren’t enough to pique your interest, then it also takes place in New York City, which is fun to read about. Also, stop complaining and just read it already because it is awesome.

Any of these great works of literature would be well-worth your Halloween time. It occurs to me now that for each of these books, there is at least one movie adaptation. That’s all well and good and I like scary movies, but please don’t judge any of these books based off of just the movie. They all have so much to offer and they’re waiting for you to read them…alone, in the dark…maybe on a particularly rainy night…

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“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face” – John Donne

I woke up this morning with my socked foot sticking out from under the covers. I felt very warm under the covers, and outside (while still the inside of my apartment) felt very brisk. This is the point at which I gave up and welcomed in fall.

It’s been feeling more and more autumny for days now – I can’t put my finger on what it is exactly. A smell? A certain snap to the air? Maybe the trees are changing colors and I just haven’t really been paying attention? Suddenly all I want to do is shop for new boots and sweaters. Not to mention school supplies…oh, the school supplies…

I can’t stop reminiscing, as of late. Mostly I’ve been thinking about being in high school. Which isn’t to say that I want to go back to high school. I mean, even the memories I’m getting trapped in are of being in bed when the alarm goes off, and it’s so early and dark out. It’s not particularly welcoming.

I will try to steer my thoughts toward fall in college – with its classes that start later. (Remember when we were all in high school and we would get up at like 6:00 to go to zero period? And it’s just what you did? That ish is crazy.) College is good fall memories. I’ll have to buy some strawberry conditioner (works every time) and a pumpkin pie spice candle.

Or I can think about being in New York – working at the haunted house in October (October is even the coolest word!), and everything gets windy, but not cold yet, and leaves are everywhere, and you’re just so freaking happy that it’s not summer anymore. The landlord turns your heat on for the first time in 6 months… Everything is burgundy and burnt orange and brown. I mean the clothes, of course.

I’m really looking forward to the fact that this show and the next show we’re doing are in Mountain View. Downtown Mountain View in the fall is pretty darn perfect. Again with the leaves and the wind. And soon it’ll be Halloween. I don’t like dressing up for Halloween, but I love every other single thing about it.

I will bemoan one more time the fact that, living where we do, we don’t really get seasons. This just means I’ll have to be sure to go to Lake County this fall to enjoy it. And take advantage of every second I’m down at work.

I love spring and I love summer and I even love winter, but above all else, man I love the fall.

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