Monday, January 31, 2011

Unexpected Visit

Sorry for the unannounced absense.

Fate took some turns, which brought Laughter back to stay with us from last Wednesday night on through Sunday again.  How wonderful to be able to spend a lot more time with him.  Also, he'd then been able to attend one of our 'Thursday Nights' whereupon we always have friends (Banky, Clara, Buttercup and Josiecat & sometimes others) over.  It brings me such joy to have Banky and Laughter interact.  Forgive my child-like saying so, but they're both just so cool on their own, but bring them together and look out - fun!  Josiecat had the pleasure of meeting Laughter for the first time.  And Buttercup got to spend time with him outside of a parking lot at a concert (where they met before.)


Just wanted to point out that this post went up at 11:11.  What a neat "coincidence" considering that the number 11 actually came up many times durning Laughter's visit.  (And yes, partly in reference to Nigel Tufnel.)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Can You Quote Him on That??

There’s a quote that’s plastered all over the internet...

Never say good-bye because saying good-bye means going away and going away means forgetting.

This quote is attributed to one of three sources:
Peter Pan, the character.
Peter Pan, the story.
Sir J.M. Barrie, the author.

As far as I can tell, the quote does not belong to nor come from any of them.

It’s rather peculiar. “Everyone” thinks it to be Barrie (or his work.) And yet... as said, it is just not.

I had thought it came from Spielberg’s movie sequel (as a line of Tink’s) and that everyone has been erroneously mixing it up with the original. So, with a sigh, I let it go.

Well, the other day my #1 Fan Anon came across it and asked me about it. I gave my idea on it. But Anon felt sure that it is not in Spielberg’s film. Anon also didn’t think it came from Barrie’s book or play. I did some poking around (thank goodness for the “find” feature in text documents!) and that’s correct. It’s not in the book. Truthfully, I didn’t check the play since I do not have an ‘electronic copy’ of it. But I also felt pretty sure it’s not in it, as did Anon. Plus, I hadn’t been at home so I did not have it readily available.

Someone I once knew who has seen the Disney version too many times assured me it's not to be found there either.

So I posed the query to Andrea Jones, another Barriephile and author of the Hook & Jill Saga.  She hadn’t actually run across the quote yet. She didn’t have any knowledge of it being a la Barrie. She commented that it's like someone trying to sound like Barrie and that it smacked of something Julia Roberts would be made to say. She suggested some possible sources, such as the ‘other’ Pan books in existence, but no real stock had been put in them as an answer. (So it remains possible that it’s from one of them, but then, that would obviously not be Barrie himself, so it doesn’t stand to reason that people would attribute it to him. To Peter Pan, however...maybe.)

Left with no other option short of reading all those other books, I decided I would have to consult the world premier Barriephile - none other than the great Andrew Birkin. Once again, Mr. Birkin had been kind enough to respond. Yet he, too, is stumped by this quote!  He doesn’t have any idea where it would have come he also knows it’s not in the book nor the play. He went on to say that as far as he knows it is not a quotation from ANY of Barrie’s works. He gave an interesting thought on it, though: Who would be saying that line to whom?

So what’s the deal? How did this quote arise? If four (including Anon) “Barrie fiends” cannot muster up the place of origin, then how on earth (or in the Neverland) did it ever get so erroneously and wildly popular?

Actually, there is one lead. From Anon, who presented this as a semblance of this quotation. It’s a series of lines from the Spielberg film. of the Lost Boys (I think it was Thud Butt) said in that movie: "Don't leave us, Peter, and don't say goodbye." Then Too Small says "What's goodbye?" And Ace says "It's going away, that's what it is. Forgetting about us all over again."

It’s definitely related to it, that’s for sure. And it’s likely where it does come from... but it only adds another layer to the mystery. Why, when and how has this amalgamation of lines from Spielberg’s movie been wrapped up into a single “wrongful” quote?

And so... I am here to tell you that this “Never Say Goodbye” quote is NOT from J.M. Barrie. Unless someone out there can prove me, Andrea, Andrew and Anon incorrect!

One more notch in the long list of generally accepted errors regarding the story of Peter Pan.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What Would Wendy Say?

Last night I decided to treat myself like a child.

Let me explain.

After having had such a wonderful weekend, I could finally return to the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series. BUT - I wouldn’t let myself. Nope... not until I took care of some stuff first. You see, a few things around my place were really bothering me...or to be more accurate, the fact that I still had not done certain things around my place such as putting away the clean laundry (in which case it cluttered up part of the living area) really bothered me.

So I decided I would not be allowed to read Scott Pilgrim until I took care of it. And I really wanted to read Scott Pilgrim! Hence, I treated myself like a child. It worked. After accomplishing putting away the clothes and even a few other small tasks that I’d been negligent on, I enjoyed Volume 2 of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s world.

I’ll have to try this more often... if I can pretend that Wendy won’t let me have the adventure I want until some chore is done, I might actually wind up not hating myself for being lazy when it comes to them.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Peter... is it you?

I just came across this statue and thought I'd share it.
It's in the United Kingdom, at the Sheffield Botanical Gardens (in Sheffield), to be exact.

The bronze statue, cast by Cashmore & Company of London, was deeded to Sheffield in 1934 by Sir Charles Clifford, former owner of The Sheffield Telegraph newspaper and founder of the Sir Charles Clifford Dental Hospital in Sheffield. After the war years, Pan was placed in the Botanical Gardens, gracing the formal, Italianate-style Rose Garden developed in 1953 by the new managers, Sheffield City Council.*

Its official title is
Pan, Spirit of the Woods.
There's some debate, however, as to which Pan it depicts.
Is it Barrie's eternal boy?  Or simply the Greek god?
Many refer to it as Peter, but there's nothing specific to confirm that idea.
If you ask me, though, it is the boy who never grew up, since the character does not have the legs of a goat nor horns.

Nice statue indeed. 

 And I cannot help but wonder... is this Solomon Caw?  :)

* Quoted from this page.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Crocodile Rock---er RING!

I know I said I'd be away, but the truth is I'm scheduling this in advance.  I didn't want to forget to re-post this one!  A friend of mine put this up on Facebook.  And there's NO way I couldn't post it, too.

Here's ONE way to bring Peter Pan into the 21st Century!   (Goodness, even I haven't done that!)

It seems a crocodile swallowed a cell phone and it can be heard rining inside of it!

Here's the article.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Laughter Weekend

Please pardon me from posting this weekend.
My best friend Laughter is coming in and staying with us.

On the agenda:

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
I’m ecstatic to be the one to show it to him. He hasn’t seen it yet and I, as well as Banky and Clara, believe that it’s impossible for Laughter to not love this movie and know that he does/will in the very opening moments.

Jim Henson's Fantastic World
It’s the last weekend for this exhibit at The Museum of Science & Industry here in Chicago. Among the things that have stirred from creative juices which make Laughter happy, The Muppets just might top the list. Who doesn’t love Henson’s work and legacy?

Banana’s Foster
Yep. Laughter’s hooked on this cozy corner eatery as well.  We plan to cap off the fun with a scrumptious Sunday brunch before he leaves.

Carousing as usual.
‘Nuff said.

If time (and carousing) permits [as Bart and I have an opera at Lyric to go to on Saturday night, which already had to be rescheduled and this is only time Laughter can make it up to Chicago] I’m also hoping we can squeeze in another one of my favorite flicks of all time - Paprika.

It also means I'll not be able to get to Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, the second volume of the comic novel series for a little longer than the planned week.  Which is just as well, since I'll be seeing the movie yet again (and it can only serve to refresh my memory as to the parallels) and it will create an even longer "anticipation simulation." [An attempt to recreate the "waiting" endured by fans unable to have the whole series at one time.]

One thing I know for certain - when Laughter’s around, there’s plenty of just that.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pan vs. Pippi!

Yesterday's post mentions Pippi Longstocking.

I couldn't help but think of another "pairing."

What if we pitted Peter Pan against spit-fire tomboy Pippi?

Just for fun, mind you... I'm not suggesting it's plausible, feasible nor that it should even be attempted.  Just for the sake of argument and the sheer joy of imagining how these two stubborn leaders of children would interact.  Could Pan handle her take-charge attitude?  Would Pippi like to fly - and would Peter teach her?  Can Longstocking tame Pan?

I don't have answers... I'm just playing around.  Just because.

Other 'pairings'
The New Novel (note the date of the post)
Pan vs. Poppins?
The Candy Pan

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Are you ready for more
Pippi Longstocking?

Ready or not, here it comes.... a Pippi re-do. I wouldn’t call this one a “remake.”  For it’s not like it hasn’t had a few go’s at it before. Sure, it’s being “remade” but it’s more of a new adaptation.  It seems to me that if a story has had more than one incarnation on screen it no longer qualifies as a flat-out "remake."  Assuming we may split (red) hairs.

At first a new production of this received an eye roll, but then I thought further and read the rationale behind it.

It seems director Debra Granik wants to bring a good “coming of age” heroine story to the screen. In a sea of great flicks involving boys as the ones who get all the good adventures... why not make one for little ladies while at the same time honoring this wonderfully wacky character of Astrid Lindgren? Disenchanted with the sorts of scenarios and depictions of female role models, Granik thinks putting Pippi back in the limelight is just what’s needed.  I'm inclined to agree.

Another good reason for it is that today’s F/X can help bring the story to life. Not only will it be ‘easier’ to create and believably show her unbelievable “super strength” but it will help with smaller details, too. Such as when Pippi gets angry (a rare occurrence - perturbed, annoyed, sure... but angry?) she turns white around the nose. Easily accomplished via CGI, I’d imagine... and one extra detail of the book(s) faithfully captured.

I know Pippi had been one of Bart and his sister Lage's favorites as kid.  It's a little outlandish or ridiculous at times for me (as if flying boys and a magical island were not!) but I can and do appreciate Ms. Lindgren's creation.  It will be interesting to see if it makes as much a stir as much as the character's hair.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Toast to the Comics

In case anyone is wondering...
I've gotten through The Complete Peanuts box set for this year.  1978 turned out to be an extra hilarious year, at least for this guy's funny bone.

And yes, I've also gotten through Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life, the first book Scott Pilgrim series this past Friday night.  So... how did it hold up?  Which is really a 'reversal' [story reference there!] since I technically should have come to the work of Bryan Lee O'Malley first.  How do I relate to the source having loved the translation over the moon?   The answer is I like it very much.  I so enjoyed the parts of the film that utilize O'Malley's deceptively simple art.  It's great to experience it first hand.

I'd been surprised to find out that the movie begins at the same place as the books.  I had expected a tiny bit of backstory... having known from the film extras that there had been a bus scene of Scott meeting Knives and such.  Well, that's surely there, but it's one of those "cut to" moments.  Hence, any scene from before shows up as a flashback, a la remembrance of the character.  Which is just fine.  I'm happier this way, that the two are so close.  That's not to say they are exact, but on the whole, it's the same thing... just with some added or shifted scenes.  (Film: Knives comes to the door when Scott had already been at rehearsal.  Book:  Knives approaches the rehearsal with Scott as he talks with her.)  Such differences are to be expected and it's nice to see "new" material.  In both senses.  New to me, as we all keeping the film fresh without drastically altering what scenes exist.

So as to help me savor it... I took a break about halfway through.  But I couldn't not finish that same night.  What a treat to see the real images and unfolding (literally of turning pages) layout of my favorite of the Evil Ex's, Matthew Patel.

What I wonder the most... and will unfortunately never know... is how I would have heard the voices of but more importantly perceived the characters if I'd not had the movie versions in the back of my mind.  Yes, it's true.  I can't not think of Michael Cera's performance.  What would 'my' Scott have been like?  Would I have put in the same levels of emotion (or lack there of) or inflectary* patterns?  Oh well, I'll take solace in the fact that O'Malley didn't object to what Cera presented and go on with that as a basis.

Of course, now I have to wait a week before I can move on to the next book.  I'm not even picking it up.  It shall remain in the box set until time to read it.  I must simulate the 'torture' of having to await the next chapter of O'Malley's fun and strange little world.

But in other news, I saw an ad recently and I won't have to wait much longer for new episodes of Johnny Test.  He's been off for quite a while now and I don't know how I've survived.  That's only partial jest.

Hmm.  Scott Pilgrim vs. Johnny Test?  Who would win?
Tough call, if you ask me.
* Coined word, see here.
*Also in case anyone is wondering, the title is a View Askew reference.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Just Heard from the Neverland...

While listening to something reciting words from Peter and Wendy, you might say I'd been visited by a fairy.  By which I mean I'd been sprinkled with inspiration.  Oh, nothing major.  No, that's not sarcasm.  But a fun enough idea that I had to smile.  Using that particular passage, I'm going to add a bit to my interquel, Peter Pan: Bextwixt-and-Between.  It will be a wonderful enhancement toward the end of the book.  I plan to allude to Barrie's line without copying it, so as to preserve Barrie's novel being the first time it is heard.  Besides, reading through Barrie's text again I would not be able to have it be exactly the same event anyway.  So it won't even so much be a foreshadowing, as perhaps, to use a familial analogy, a 'cousin' to what Barrie wrote.  I also noticed a consistency with this same part in the storyline of Betwixt-and-Between but I cannot be sure if I may take credit for crafting it (as it might have come to me in a sprinkle like this inspiration.)

What is this mysterious passage?  I'll only tell you it's roughly in the middle of the story.  And that is the nearest you'll ever get to it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Of a Jolly Thickness

Sometimes I think of this line/event... and laugh:

...and Hook fell over it in the dark.

Here’s the rest of the passage:

Or we could tell of that cake the pirates cooked so that the boys might eat it and perish; and how they placed it in one cunning spot after another; but always Wendy snatched it from the hands of her children, so that in time it lost its succulence, and became as hard as a stone, and was used as a missile, and Hook fell over it in the dark.

All of it is funny, in fact. It’s a shame that the cake (not counting the musical) is often left out of adaptations or retellings. And even in the case of the musical, the full impact of Barrie’s wit in this passage isn’t given justice. If I’m ever involved with a filmed Peter and Wendy, you can be sure the cake will be a running gag and we shall see the launch and Hook stumbling with a shout of “Odds, bobs, hammer and tongs!”

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Olden Days Fan Art

Ever get lost in the mysterious masterwork of da Vinci? Beguiled by the smile of Mona Lisa? Pondered the fact that there’s slightly non-contiguous barren-like landscapes on either side of her?

It seems you need not ponder any longer. Besides the previous realization some years back that da Vinci likely used himself as a model for creating the alluring woman, another aspect of the strange (and wonderful) painting has come to light - the rationale of the landscapes paired with a beautiful lady.

One might call the Mona Lisa a bit of Fan Art, actually! Dr. Ross Kilpatrick (Queen's University Classics professor emeritus) has figured out that this painting is a kind of homage to the poems of both Roman poet Horace and Florentine poet Petrarch. da Vinci is believed to have read each... and both deal with a lovely smiling lady and a devotion to follow her across the world - including the barren places.

Thus, it’s a kind of “interpretation” or transference of medium of the poetry.

Pretty neat!

You can read the full article here.

This came to my attention via a friend I’ve made via the connections of Facebook. So, thank you, Gloria Beanblossom! Gloria is the author of The Tamarisk Tree, Byron's Corner and the upcoming The Wishing Stone. Give her site a visit to find out more about her or her works.  Thanks again, Gloria!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Von Brown vs. the Box Sets

In a previous post I gushed about the movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.  Recap:  I love it.  Instantly in my top five favorite films of all time.

Well, the truth is I'd come to the character with his martial arts and guitaring prowess via the film.  It's based on a series of graphic novels by Bryan Lee O'Malley.

So I am pleased as punch to have received Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Box Set which is, but of course, all six books conveniently crammed into a little box.  And it comes with a poster, too.  (Sweet!)  At last, I will be able to experience the original manifestation of the endearing and wacky world of O'Malley.

I know from watching the supplementary material on the Blu-Ray DVD that O'Malley appoves of the movie.  And his charming drawings appear ratherly cleverly in the film.  So it's not like I'm going to be disappointed.  The goal had apparently not been to one-for-one adapt the series, but to make a new version of it without losing sight of the source.  The film could threw in whole sets of balls of waxes - from video game sound effects to music (a big part of the story) to ways of moving the camera not feasible in print.  Thus, they knew it would be a different animal.  But of the same species.

I can't wait to flip through the pages.  But I shall!  You see, I have decided to first get through what Santa brought me.  Every year since their first release, Santa delivers a different box set:  The Complete Peanuts.  They've compiled the entire oeuvre of Schulz by year, a la each and every day (it ran for 50 years, people!) in published order.  Some of the strips have not been seen in decades.  Being a major fan of Peanuts it's a rare gem.  Each box has the two books published throughout the year, each book spanning two years.  I've got half of the second book to get through... and then...on to Scott Pilgrim!  [I can't not hear Matthew Patel [a character in it] saying that.]

I've also decided something else.  As with any series, devoted fans of Pilgrim had to wait a year or so for each next book to come out.  And the final chapter didn't arrive until one month before the movie!  It's sort of a pet peeve of mine.  Okay, no, it's not a pet peeve.  But it just makes me a touch sad that when a work is complete the overbearing anticipation is no longer a factor.  Sometimes that build up of suspense is a good thing.  It can also drive one nuts.  But I've decided not to plow through the graphic novels.  I'm going to wait a week before I will allow myself to get to the next one.  Granted a week doesn't compare to the wait endured by the fans who knew the joy of Scott before me... but it will at least nod to it.

Now, if you'll pardon me, I'm going to pick up 1977-1978 of Peanuts and laugh myself silly.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Thumbs Up for Going Down the "Rabbit Hole"

Last night Bart and I went and saw the movie Rabbit Hole. We had been waiting for some time for its release. It's a film version of a play we saw at Goodman Theatre. Needless to say, we really enjoyed the play.

It's a tale of a couple coping with the loss of their only child (a 4 year old son) and their interactions with family - as well as the young man who accidentally killed him by car. Yes, it's very sorrowful. But well told and very powerful.

Part of the reason we'd been interested in the movie is that it has been championed by and stars Nicole Kidman. If you don't already know, she is my favoritre actress. She astounds me in every performance to the point of not really believing it is her. And I love her normal, off-camera wackiness. But enough about Kidman. :)

Another reason to see the movie is that the author David Lindsay-Abaire adapted his own stage show for the screen. Usually that's a bonus. And in this case it certainly is. Lindsay-Abaire managed to pull off the proverbial "open it up" for the big screen extremely well. Goodman's production played in 2007, so it has been a while since we saw it. But the impact has not diminished. The truth is that the movie is very different from the play. It has additional characters, added scenes and other locations... all par for the course for the "open it up" of course. But other than that, it is a new version. But a very excellent new version - for all the key scenes are still intact. They're just altered slightly. For instance, at one point in the play a video tape is erased. In the film, it becomes a smart phone video. And it works. All of the changes do.
Also quite gratifying is that some of the "new" scenes come from the play in some way. For example, in the play Becca (the mother/wife) comes in and has a monologue about an encounter with a woman at the supermarket. The play, as is often the case with theatre, has a static set of their home. No part of the stage is used to represent other locales with quick fly on pieces or the like. And so... in the film version Lindsay-Abaire is able to take us TO the supermarket and bring the scene to life other than words.

The scenes and changes that are fresh to the script are just that - fresh. The minor restructuring is welcome and sensible. I am tempted to say I liked them better.  But that's a hard call.  Both ways are just as compelling.

Yet as I said, the movie does indeed have all the key elements and scenes from the play.

In regard to the film itself, it's excellent.  All the performances are top notch.  Besides Kidman's usual nailing it (in my opinion) there's fabulously poignant acting from Aaron Eckhart, Miles Teller, Dianne Wiest, Sandra Oh and Tammy Blancard.  That is not to belittle the performances of the rest of the cast, I'm just mentioning the major players.  And a special nod to Sandra Oh, since she brought us a new and wonderful character.  It's also well filmed and Bart noticed effective artistic choices such as the color palate.  One noteable difference is that the play had been much darker.  Not that the film didn't deliver the tear-jerking moments, but it did have a peppering of light humor to break the otherwise looming sadness and tension.  And, like all the other reworking, it came off beautifully.

So... BRAVO to David Lindsay-Abaire for his ability to revisit his work and create such a magnificent new take on it.  That's quite an achievement and I give him a ton of credit.  I'd probably fall to pieces when faced with that challenge.  But that might have something to do with the fact that I (personally) believe I am terrible at writing plays in the first place.

If emotionally charged tales are your thing, you don't want to miss going into this Rabbit Hole.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

“Shall we still be respectful subjects of the King?” John inquired.

Over the holiday Bart, my parents and I went to see a movie. It seemed as if it would be a challenge to find a film that all four of us would agree upon. Fortunately for us just such a movie fit the bill:
The King's Speech.
We all loved it.

The King's Speech is based on the true life account of King George VI, who had a stammer his whole life... and the one man (amid a myriad of others who tried) who had been able to help him correct it when the throne is suddenly and unexpectedly his. It has top-notch performances from Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter.

It's what I would call an "old school" movie. By which I mean (in the very good sense) nothing really happens other than excellent dialogue and 'character' driven development - all set in a visual feast. No fast paced invasions. No races. No wacky special effects. Just plain old specifically-focused storytelling. Quality stuff. I highly recommend it.

There’s just one thing I don’t understand. Especially since it’s a true story. I don’t want to spoil it for you, so suffice to say - why don’t they (the prince/King and the speech therapist) employ the method used first in the film? Hmmm. I wonder why not. Oh well.

One other note about it. My #1 fan Anon brought it to my attention and I’m glad for it. For otherwise I would not have remembered! There is a Peter Pan reference in the movie. Once my memory had been jogged I do recall smiling internally and externally when it came on... but oddly it went out of my head by the end of film. Maybe not so oddly, since it proves to be a testament to how engaging the film happens to be.

The Peter Pan bit:
The future king's wife reads from Peter and Wendy to their daughters. As an extra bonus bit of trivia-reminding (provided by Anon) Princess Margaret knew Barrie.  How very fun to nod to that part of history.

Thanks again for bringing it (back) to my attention, Anon.

And really - do see The King’s Speech. It deserves the praise it has received.

* Post title, of course, is a line from Peter and Wendy.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Special New Friend

The Peter Pan Statue in Kirriemuir
What a great way to start off the new year...

I received a Friend Request on Facebook from someone I don’t know (nor do any of my established friends on the site.)  I inquired about the request, explaining that I appreciate the interest but I am not in the habit of accepting unknown people at this time.  Had she been a fan... or...?

Turns out it’s a wonderful answer. She found me via her love for Barrie - which comes naturally to her since she is from (and still lives in) Kirriemuir, Scotland, the birthplace of James Matthew himself!

How could I not accept? Anyone from his hometown who wants to read my book is definitely someone whom I’d like to count among my friends. So I’m sending her an autographed copy of Peter Pan’s NeverWorld.

I do hope to be able to make the trip one day and enter his childhood home as well... you might recall I had been graced with being allowed inside his home near Kensington Gardens.

And “Ms. Kirriemuir,” - if you’re reading this... thanks so much for finding me!