I'm having an Old Dog kind of week. It's the filling-trench time of the fall semester, and I seem to have developed some kind of figurative brain fungus that's preventing me from accomplishing some basic activities of daily living (are we really supposed to wash those dishes?) while allowing an endless slog of grading (the happy professor's price of admission).
So it's with inordinate delight I report that into my Old Dog week some New Tricks have loped, unbidden but most welcome.
One is the Cirque Alphonse. The New York Times recently described this as an artisanal Quebecois circus troupe. They do things like juggle each other while also throwing axes at rough-hewn tree parts. The performers are pretty rough-hewn as well, come to that. Their show Barbu ("bearded") looks like it contains some marvelous gender and sexual edges. Have any of you all seen it? Definitely on my list of things to save up to see (when they get back from their European tour, that is).
My other favorite new thing is Richard K. Morgan. This brilliant, twisted British science fiction author has written a maybe-it's-fantasy trilogy that's about, among other things, what happens when the war is over, impossible legacies, and being fucked with by destiny. A Land Fit for Heroes has three protagonists, two of them gay. What I love (besides everything else about the books) is that the characters' sexualities are integral to character and plot in exactly the ways they are in our own lives, sort of momentous and mundane all at once. The writing is enviable in the extreme, and the humor is dark, dark, dark, arid, and made me laugh aloud. Marvelously, unexpectedly elevating books.
Finally, an old favorite: Ursula K. LeGuin is a hero of mine from (my) pre-pubescence. She recently rocked the National Book Awards ceremony with a balls-out speech in which she accepted a lifetime achievement award, slammed a certain online retailer's craven manipulation of publishers and authors, and championed the power of art and artists to resist the status quo and craft change. Happy tears.
What are your new delights and surprises?
Until next month,
Lee B. xo