“Shakespeare Without Tears”: Hamlet and the All-Seeing Surveillance State

Welcome to our inaugural Arts Express episode of our “Shakespeare Without Tears” series, making Shakespeare accessible and relevant for the 21st century. We start off with an episode based on an a post I wrote here some time ago.

Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the episode as broadcast today on the Arts Express program on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.

And for our New York City listeners, we’re happy to tell you that we are now on at a new time, Wednesdays at 9PM.

Eighth Annual Shalom Blog Magic Contest WINNERS!

Well, we got a whole slew of entries this time, and you all picked some excellent random numbers. But some numbers are more random than others, and were winners. Interestingly, there was one digit that was definitely less favored as an initial digit in the guesses.

Our ten winners are:

1. Steven Go

2. John Hostler

3. Ted McManus

4. Tony Miller

5. Geoffery Pfeiffer

6. Aubrey Torres

7. Gordon Meyer

8. MAG Productions

9. Jim Short

10. Michael Breggar

What did I learn from this new way of doing the giveaway? I think I prefer it, because it gives people who may not have writing ability a chance to win. Now don’t get the wrong idea; I greatly appreciated the entries and thoughts and ideas that people submitted in previous contests, but it became apparent to me in the last year or two that I had to pull teeth to get people to submit an entry. Not so this year, so there was lots less wear and tear all around.

Anyway, as soon as we hear from all the winners, packages will go out. (If you’re a winner and haven’t replied to my email yet, please do–or contact me at the same email address to which you sent the entry.) Thanks to everyone who entered and if you didn’t win this time, maybe next year.

The Home Shopping Weapons Network

Making shopping decisions can be tough, but this holiday we’ve come to the rescue! Take a listen to our latest Arts Express Playhouse sketch, written and produced by your correspondent, and featuring the brilliant talent and skill of Mary Murphy and Lucy McMichael.

Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the piece as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio show on WBAI-FM NY and Pacifica affiliates across the country

Homeward Bound

Monday morning, an old classic covered impeccably. The Belfast band, Dea Matrona, consisting of Mollie McGinn and Orlaith Forsythe, makes me realize just how good this song sounds with female voices.

More at Dea Matrona

The Eighth Annual Shalom Blog Magic Contest: Holiday Giveaway

Well, we’re kind of late this year, but we’re trying something completely different: A holiday giveaway.

Look, frankly, the contest each year is mainly an excuse for me to giveaway some magic books from my bed in order to make some room so that I can sleep. So I thought this time I’d just cut out the middleman, skip the contest, and just give them away.

Well there is one hitch. These are very good books, believe me. It’s just that at this point something has to give. So here’s what I’ll do. I have generated a list of random whole numbers between 1 and 10,000. Email me a whole number between 1 and 10,000 at jshalom@worldshare.net Put the word “Contest” in the subject line. Make sure to include your shipping address. Do this before a week from now. Deadline is Saturday, December 3, 11:59 PM Pacific Time. That’s it. (Sorry, but due to shipping costs, this is only open to folks who live in the Continental US, but everyone else is welcome.) Please follow all the bolded directions, or I cannot accept your entry. Whoever is closest to the first number on my random list gets first prize; whoever is closest to the second number gets second prize, and so on. There will be 10 prizes given out.

First prize is first choice from the terrific grab bag of magic books I’ve put together; second prize is second choice from the grab bag; and third prize, in a parallel, numerically pleasing manner, is third choice from the grab bag, and so on, down to 10th prize gets 10th choice. The items in the grab bag are all commercial books at least one of which, I guarantee, you will be very happy to have.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Waiting Eight Years To Get Her Due

Here’s a terrific performance of Dionne Warwick singing “Make It Easy On Yourself”–happening eight years later than it should have.

Here’s the story, with thanks to Wikipedia: Back in 1962, when Warwick was still a back-up singer, the songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David asked her to make a demo version of the song. The demo was so good that the record label picked up the song–but they gave it to veteran soul singer Jerry Butler to record–and it was a hit. Three years later, The Walker Brothers, a white pop trio, had a hit with the song as well. It wasn’t until 1970 that a live performance by Dionne Warwick was released and the song became a hit once again.

Click on the video and see if you don’t agree that eight years was too long to wait, and that she owns the song.

The postscript to the story is that Warwick was so angry at Bacharach and David for letting the song go to Jerry Butler, that she told them in anger, “Don’t make me over!” And Bacharach and David wrote a song for her with that title–which she recorded!–and that too became a hit.

Thanks to YouTuber Dionne Warwick Archive

Daodejing

Any course can be taken
as the right course to take,
but no course like that
can be the course taken always.

Any name can be named
to determine what is or should be,
but no name like that
can be what determines them always

Those are the opening lines of one of the oldest pieces of literature known, the Tao Te Ching. Aside from the Bible, it is also probably the most translated piece of literature known, written in about 400BC. Now, in a new translation by Brook Ziporyn transliterated as the Daodejing, English readers can get some new insight into this provocative and ambiguous classic, which I’ll be reading from.

If you’ve never encountered the Daodejing, you may be startled by its startling modern dialectical approach to life. This new translation with be published this January by Liveright Publishing; you can find more info here.

Click on the triangle or the mp3 link above to hear the reading as heard today on the Arts Express radio show broadcast today on WBAI FM NY and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.

And for our NY friends–we’re on at a new time on WBAI FM: Wednesdays, 9pm.

Ball In The Center Pocket

Here’s a magic routine we love. It didn’t fool Penn & Teller, but magician Jason Fields (known as Jafo) pulls it off so well that Penn & Teller have to acknowledge his skill and artistry. And by the way, if P&T were to examine the board with the hole, they’d find nothing out of the ordinary.

More at Magic of Jafo

X: The Life And Times of Malcolm X

About 58 years ago, Malcolm X was murdered, but his legacy has only grown in the ensuing years. In 1986, Anthony Davis, composer, and Thulani Davis, the playwright and poet, wrote an opera about Malcolm X called X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X. Although it did have a premiere at New York City Opera, it was never recorded commercially in full. Since then, the opera has been revised with a tighter libretto. The Boston Modern Orchestra Project has just released the world premiere of a new recording of the opera, starring Davone Tines as Malcolm X. With permission, here are excerpts from that opera.

Click on the triangle or MP3 link above to hear the opera selections as broadcast on the Arts Express program this morning on WBAI FM NY and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.

Killing Me Softly

Roberta Flack’s publicist gave the sad news yesterday that she will not be able to sing again due to ALS. One of the great expressive singers of the 70s and afterwards, this song was named one of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine. Supposedly, co-writer Lori Lieberman wrote the song about singer Don McLean (“American Pie,” “Vincent”).

Thanks to YouTuber RHINO

November Notions

This month in the Arts Express Magazine:

** Actress Inger Tudor of Goliath speaks about Voodoo Macbeth and playing Rose McClendon, the legendary Depression-era African-American theater actress.

** A portfolio of photos from the actual historic 1936 Federal Theatre Project production of Macbeth

** 28 Children: Artist Mary McClusker’s moving tribute to children killed by guns

and more!

Get your free subscription to the Arts Express Magazine, the companion magazine to Arts Express Radio, by sending an email with the word “subscribe” in the subject line to: artsexpresslist@gmail.com