Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Note: Notes to Note!

Another great reader/fan sent along something to my attention.
My Heart in Company: The Work of J.M. Barrie & the Birth of Peter Pan
by Timothy G. Young

I ordered it just about right away.  How does a compilation of Barrie's notes sound?  Top drawer?  Yeah, for me too.  I wonder how many and which ones I'll remember... as in what and which will coincide with the notes I'd had at my disposal back in college when I composed Peter Pan's NeverWorld from his very musings.  I'll surely let you know once the book comes my way.  Here's a link.

As a bonus, this reader/fan (who generally goes by Z or ZZ) has a site up.  A rather nice one, in fact.  Yes, you guessed it.  It deals with the infamous eternal boy.  Please do have a gander.  I especially like what she's written about Peter Pan on the home page.  I just had more of a chance to poke around a little more... there are some essays that are intriguing.  Must get to them - if only I didn't have to go out in a little while.  Knowing me, I'll have a lot of 2 cents to throw in... Anyway, there's a good list (with pics) of Peter Pan books, both story and Barrie-biography related, like the book she sent my way.  I also really love the depiction of Pan on it, too.  Heavily influenced by Fox's Pan, but then, she's got a whole section about that terrific cartoon series.   And if you can bet I'm a fan of a little cape for him!

So please, click on over. Oh - and thanks, ZZ, for the site, the book and having links to me!

P.S. - Buttercup hasn't shown up quite yet, so I had a chance to look through the essays.  Good thoughts all around.  I do have some differences of opinion, but that's all they are, for as ZZ points out, much of the world of Pan is speculative.  I do have some answers to the queries posed - addressed in the seemingly-ever-upcoming (but will be worth it!) interquel of mine Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between.  Not that I have the definitive truths, but rest assured they're tinkered into the 'world' with utmost care.  But enough about me... go visit Fandomzz and get ZZ's thoughts too!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

New Napoleon Is Dynamite!


After seeing it, I thought the movie Napoleon Dynamite would work as a TV series. I, for one, wanted more of these characters. But a sequel seemed beyond the limits of what could be done. What on earth would constitute a good enough plotline to sustain a film? But a series? That’s an open invitation to explore many avenues of comedy without striving or requiring it to be so big. The mundane and quirky lives of these strange people can be showcased in perfectly sized vignettes. After all, the movie had been not much more than that to begin with, right?

Someone else thought so, too, and I am glad of it. For it DOES work. Very well. And they had the excellent idea of doing it in animation.

Buttercup had been skeptical at first, but given that it’s Napoleon Dynamite and has all the original cast voicing their characters, she’d been willing to give it a try. (She’d also laughed at the ads.) She wound up cracking up just as much as me. She now whole-heartedly agrees - it’s a marvelous TV show.

I’m not sure what it is about this wacky world. Much of it doesn’t seem as if it should be funny at all. It just IS. And I’m happy to say that whatever worked in the movie is still carrying the mojo for the cartoon. Plus, there's the added bonus of having the freedom to be THAT much wackier to [moon]boot. Instead of needing Jon Heder to pilot a jet ski and daringly make a sweet jump, Napoleon and friends can now just do it. Tina the Llama can be helping Napoleon with his exercises. Aaron Ruell doesn’t have to master the Fushigi Magic Gravity Ball... but his cartoon Kip self certainly can with no trouble. To great hilarity. And I must say that it’s a sheer delight to have Grandma be around. She’s just as I pictured her in daily life. (She’d been gone most of the movie.)

Water skiing, too!

Also, the opening sequence is just right.  It's funny AND shows us all the main characters in a way that's not forced.  And I adore the way Napoleon runs.  How did they get that calm-psycho quality of Heder into a drawing?   Not sure, but I'm sure it's there.

Hooray for everyone involved. I applaud. I wipe tears of laughter from my eyes and look forward to more episodes of this SWEET show.

Viva Cartoon Dynamite!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Again, folks.
Again with Jeopardy! and Barrie/Pan.
This is from a WHILE back now.  As I've mentioned, I have catching up to do on this game show... and then I pulled a Pan and forgot I'd snapped photos of it to post.  Silly me.

When this category appeared,
I said to Buttercup (who often watches/plays along with me)
Oh, look.  Another chance for Barrie to come up.

I then lifted my arms in triumph when this 'answer' appeared.

The question/response, of course, is:  Who is J.M. Barrie?


I have a nitpick, though.  Actually, Finding Neverland is not a biopic.  At least not by my definition.  If it were a true biopic, it wouldn't contain egregious liberties with real life events.  Though it's a marvelous and beautiful movie and much of it is true, Finding Neverland is not accurate.  It's more like a "fantasia on" the occurrences that created Peter Pan (and certainly not all of them, a la David and the skating accident for one.)  Since Jeopardy! folks are sticklers for absolute correctness, you'd think they would have caught their own mistake here... or else I'm just uber-fussy when it comes to the term "biopic."

As for Barrie showing up again, I am glad of it.

Friday, January 13, 2012

No, Not 'Ralph Waldo'

Reader (and fan, I believe) Lewelyn, whom I follow on Twitter, tweeted out liking this song called “Peter Pan” by Jacqueline Emerson. I decided to check it out.  I’m not in love with it, but it’s nice and sweet nevertheless.  It’s a good song.

Just a few comments -

First lyrics are:
Everyone's on a rocket ship
Leaving the earth ooh-oh-oh

Wow. Are they going to NeverWorld??

Another lyric is:

I am not like Peter Pan
I can't live forever in a Neverland

Why NOT?  Just the other day, Buttercup said to me (in a conversation about my life & such) and in such as way as that it seemed to 'dawn' on her:  You ARE Peter Pan.
I can do it, why not anyone?  Or maybe there is only one, eh?  ;)

Emerson (or the songwriter) seems to go on the belief that no one ages in the Neverland. As I’ve mentioned before, that is not true. It’s not NOT true, either. For more on how I think it works, it’s probably best to read about it in my upcoming interquel Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between. One of the aspects of the novel is this very dilemma.

Oh - the title of the post?  Well, I had to make that joke considering Michael Pan's penchant for Thoreau, no?


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

MORE Upon a Time

Don’t you love it when a story gets better and better as it goes along? Yeah, me too.

That’s the case with Once Upon a Time.  It's gotten stronger.  I've since discovered that Lemonie is also a big fan.  She's just invested as me.  It's often shocking and always crafty.

I have to applaud this past episode. Not only did it deal with my favorite character in the show, it taught me a thing or two without me realizing it.

Before I go on, let me ask... how much do YOU know about this fairy tale entity? Probably, like me, just the basics: Little guy who spins straw into gold who gets paid dearly for his efforts, a la a first born child and only guessing his name will negate such a grisly contract.

But is that it? Surely there’s more to this character. What’s HIS story? (The familiar one with him in it is really about the girl who’s forced to produce gold from straw.) How is he even able to create a precious metal from dried grass? Where did he come from? WHO IS Rumpelstiltskin?

That’s precisely what the recent episode of the fairy tale based TV show is about: his past. Obviously not knowing much about Rumpelstiltskin, I let them present whatever they wished to about him. After all, a fairy tale is not set in stone by anyone one single author, so there’s plenty of room for creativity. And since what they provided not only gripped me like his hand on his walking stick but it fits more than properly into the world of “Fairy Tale.” It makes use of essential elements of the genre but doesn’t come across as cliché.

It’s pretty darn great when one winds up sitting and digesting for a moment or nine after the episode is over. So charmed had I been with their interpretation and backstory, I went right to the computer to look him up [after I’d “digested.”]  I’d been very pleased to discover actual lore about the character had been incorporated. Once Upon a Time has built upon a basic fact of him - why he is called Rumpelstiltskin (which is the same as what his name means.) From Wikipedia:

The name Rumpelstilzchen in German means literally "little rattle stilt". (A stilt is a post or pole which provides support for a structure.) A rumpelstilt or rumpelstilz was the name of a type of goblin, also called a pophart or poppart that makes noises by rattling posts and rapping on planks. The meaning is similar to rumpelgeist ("rattle ghost") or poltergeist, a mischievous spirit that clatters and moves household objects. The ending -chen is a German diminutive and designates something as 'little' or 'dear,' depending on context.

AH, so that’s why Once Upon a Time had the character use a walking stick in this episode... and why his counterpart in “our world” of Storybrook, Mr. Gold, has a cane.

As for the rest of their version, well, they took some liberties.  Then again, it is in fact true that there's not much to go on about this mysterious little guy.  And what did they weave?  Well, they spun gold.  I’m not going to delineate (and hence spoil) the marvelous backstory as provided by the series, but suffice to say it has some excellent twists. It gives a “very fairy tale” explanation of how/why he has his supernatural powers, and again, in a not cliché manner. I also like that it left at a cliff hanger of sorts. We now know that he’s going to lose his child somehow (which helps explain why he desires another’s first born) but as of yet it hasn’t happened. But we know it will... and the tension left at the ending scene is still creeping me out.

Meanwhile, the “parallel story” in Storybrook proved just as compelling and just as delightfully inter-connected as has become par for the show. 

I didn’t think it possible to make me love the uber-icky and twistedly awesome Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold more than I already did. But the writers here certainly know how to manipulate my emotions - just like the character himself.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Pan "Returns" - of sorts

A while back I reported on Disney’s latest venture in their version of Barrie’s magical island, Jake and the Neverland Pirates. It’s still the same [standard children's fare, a la Dora the Explorer set just off the famous island though], but here’s something new on it. Peter Pan will be making his first appearance. Up until now he’s only ever spoken of, but apparently they’ve seen fit to have him visit the lil’ adventurers.

Not surprisingly, Pan lost his shadow again and they need to help him look for it. Really? Couldn’t they have come up with something - anything - else? No, we’ve got to perpetuate the living shadow idea... sigh. Well, at least they’re consistent within themselves, eh? I hope the return of Pan is as exciting as it should be for those who enjoy the program.

Jake and the Neverland Pirates: Peter Pan Returns
airs on February 20th.

For those of you wondering about whether or not I decided to keep my character named Jake in Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between despite the usage of this preschooler show -- Anyone who might actually read my novel will figure out that the Disney Jake is not affiliated with my Jake whatsoever given the events of the story. Jake is my favorite name and I really wanted the character to have a “J” name. No other seemed to suit him. (Why “J”? It happens to be my favorite letter as well, but the real reason comes from examination of the rest of his moniker.) Besides, it will only serve to further establish the two [Barrie/Disney] as separate when they realize the two cannot be related.

Thanks to Josiecat for bringing this one to my attention!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Timeliness is Next to...?

Peter came next spring cleaning; and the strange thing was that he never knew he had missed a year.

My my my... It appears that in addition to all the other ways I am akin to Peter Pan, I can chalk up the above quote to the list. Time just slips away from me! Sure, this has always been true... but it seems ever so much more prevalent than before!

I’ve been away for the Holidays, playing a truly immersive video game with my friend Gil, working on revisions to my interquel novel Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between, catching up on Jeopardy!, hanging with friends, checking up on the Annotated Peter and Wendy, seeing theatre as well as helping construct the set for Vitalist Theatre’s newest production The Ghost Is Here... all of which cause me to look up and say: WHAT?? It’s the 6th of January ALREADY? [Happy Topsy-Turvy Day everyone!]

It’s not just a cliché, people. Time DOES go faster as one gets (ahem!) older. Morgan Freeman says so! By that I mean on the great & often mind-blowing series Through the Wormhole. ‘Science’ has ‘proven’ that Time does speed up according to age and is even affected by gravity! What the --??

So AGAIN, folks, I apologize for letting so much time go by between posts! WHERE is it going? *Sigh* - it’s bittersweet that my life now incorporates the ‘messy’ Time of the Neverland/World on regular basis.

Thus, I’ll just accept the fact that my near-daily posts of days past are no longer a reality, and I hope you can as well. Besides, do you really need me ranting (positively or negatively) at you so much anyway? Perhaps selective or truly inspired posting will result in more poignancy.

That said...

for those of you waiting on the interquel - other folks have perused it. Still needs tweaking - and no, not in the sense of story. That much is set down. It’s the darned missing words, etc. that get too often glossed over, especially when one knows what it’s supposed to say... And I certainly wouldn’t want to deliver a book with such errors in it. Haven’t been many, no. But one or four are too much. And I reiterate that such glitches can easily be glossed over.  Hence, more will have to lay their eyes on it.  It WILL come, and it will be (boasting like Pan here) wonderful when it does.

So... whatEVER will be the next post? The ever-slipping annals of Time will tell.

Let me ask (in the interest of a new angle)... is there anything anyone WISHES me to post about?