RSS

Tag Archives: Love bread

Rise to lose labor of love and Shakespeare’s plays are in public

Although it’s one of Shakespeare’s comedies, many of Love’s Labor’s Lost’s baroque jokes ain’t exactly funny—or not to modern ears, anyway. As much about the perils of rote classical learning as the pangs of unrequited love, the play must feature more obsolete wordplay about Latin declensions per minute than anything else in the canon. Classicists, delight! Shakespeare lovers hoping for a sweet-sad-jocund Twelfth Night kinda evening? Brace your ears.

Faced with the archaic tangle of much of the play’s poetry, you can understand why director Karin Coonrod, in her new production at the Public, decides to trim it back and lay on the slapstick. Her leanish two-hour version slims down the subplots, concentrating on the main action’s parable about real-world love defeating scholarly good intentions. But she also tries to cut away the play’s ambiguities, turning it into the unfussy Shakespearean romp it never really was.

Richard Termine

Ladies vs. bookshearts

Details

Love’s Labor’s Lost

By William Shakespeare

The Public Theater

425 Lafayette Street

212-967-7555, publictheater.org

One fine day, the King of Navarre and a brace of aristocratic buds take an ill-considered vow: to scorn the pleasures of the flesh—women above all, but also delicious snacks and a good night’s sleep—and hit the books hard, drilling philosophy till they know everything there is to know about the universe (in Shakespeare’s time this was not an impossible goal). But their cramming can’t outlast the arrival of the alluring Princess of France and her klatch of aristocratic honeys—soon, the would-be schoolboys are devoting their academic energy to arguing themselves out of the classroom and into love. Meanwhile, Don Armado, a boisterous Spanish stereotype, and Holofernes, a schoolmaster high on the fumes emanating from classical tomes, show us a range of strategies for mangling the English language.

Many of the loudest laughs in Coonrod’s production come from physical gags or arch little interjections. (At times, it’s as if we’re watching a different play, some knockabout farce, that has been dubbed into Shakespearean.) This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does point to a question that hulks elephant-like in the room throughout the evening. Why this play? By simplifying Love’s down to a slaphappy rom-com about hijinks among four matched pairs of generic lovers (with some wacky hangers-on), Coonrod is apparently aiming to create A Midsummer Night’s Dream 2.0.

Seemingly baffled by the text, some company members elect to ignore it. This Holofernes (Steven Skybell) is a Jerry Lewis–like boob, screeching his classical quibbles like a fictional Oriental language, and getting his chuckles elsewhere. (There’s a problem when the headiest character in the play—so heady he probably forgets he has a body—mimes pooping to indicate thinking.) Other performers simply miss the point: I’ve never seen a less funny rendition of Armado’s “I do affect the very ground” soliloquy—usually catnip for a classical comedian, but given a weirdly perfunctory recitation here by Reg E. Cathey. A few actors fare better—Nick Westrate’s witty Berowne and Robert Stanton’s hillbilly Dull are highlights—but most of the ensemble seems an iamb or two behind the verse much of the time.

The larger problem here is that Love’s Labor’s Lost isn’t really the sunny comedy Coonrod clearly wants it to be: Shakespeare’s lovers are too deliberately similar, the romantic gamesmanship too highly wrought, the verbal quibbling too intense, the strange masques that round out the play too meta. Something else is going on besides firing hormones. The bubbly play is actually making serious arguments about the fractious on-again/off-again love affair between language and meaning, and the difficult relationship between abstract ideas and experiential knowledge. Not easy stuff to stage, but not just boys-meet-girls, either. (As each lover gets googoo-eyed, Coonrod brings on a cherub with a bow—literal much?)

Love’s eerie conclusion—mingling layered pageants-within-the-play with a chilling gust of grief—condemns the dudes to what they said they wanted at the beginning: a period of lonely contemplation on an isolated mountaintop. That outcome should seem almost tragic, deferring the mass marriages that ought to conclude the comedy, keeping conciliatory happiness in suspense. Instead, Coonrod’s version tries to file away the ending’s rough edges by prolonging a rousing song—but the uneasiness, the potential for loss amidst love that Shakespeare’s title alludes to, remains.

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 2, 2011 in Love bread

 

Tags: ,

The Vampire Diaries love

I wasn’t exactly thrilled by Mason’s return to Mystic Falls in ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ — especially because I knew he was back to seek revenge on Damon — but OMG I love Lexi. Seriously, she’s probably one of my favorite characters in ‘TVD’ history, even though she’s only really been in a handful of episodes. And after seeing the way she smashed Stefan’s head into the window of a car, how could you not love her?!

All of the girls in Mystic Falls have some serious problems. Their boyfriends are either dead, undead, in love with dead girls or are crazy rippers. So it’s nice to have a strong, badass female character in the mix — because the status of Katherine’s life is still TBD at the moment.tvd-ep.-7

But Lexi, Mason and Anna aren’t the only ghosts to return from the other side. Grams is back too! Unfortunately, she brings some bad news. It turns out that when Bonnie saved Jeremy and brought him back to life, she opened a small portal to the other side, and then after sending Vicki back to the ghost world, that witches on the other side kicked that supernatural portal wide open. Now, ghosts who have some unfinished business can cross over into the real world, including the tomb vamps, who start to go after the founding families.

It looks like the only way to send the ghosts back to the other side is to destroy Elena’s necklace. That means bye-bye Anna, Damon and my girl Lexi, but before Bonnie can send the ghosts back, Elena needs Lexi’s help to help her get through to Stefan. After all, if anyone can knock some sense — and humanity — into Stefan, it’s his best friend Lexi.

And she certainly put in a gallant effort. Lexi did everything she could to help Stefan find some of his humanity again. She tried starving him of blood, staking him (several times) and even reminded him how special the necklace he gave to Elena was to him. You know, the one Bonnie needs to destroy. But nothing she did could bring the old Stefan back. Although, I can’t lie, I love ripper Stefan. He’s about 100 times more interesting than the old Stefan, and it’s pretty obvious that Paul Wesley is having fun with him too.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 31, 2011 in Love bread

 

Tags: , ,

We both love

Most movie romances dwell on the chase, fading to black shortly after both parties first acknowledge that, yeah, maybe they do love each other. In the first few minutes of Like Crazy, Anna (Felicity Jones), a young Englishwoman studying in Los Angeles, leaves a four-page handwritten profession of love under the windshield wiper of a car that belongs to her American teaching assistant Jacob (Anton Yelchin). This girl cuts to the chase, with endearing self-awareness. At the bottom of the letter is a PS: “Please don’t think I’m a nutcase.”

This line makes Jacob smile. “It was a good disclaimer,” he says later, when they’re on their first date, at a café. Jacob is intrigued, unafraid and respectful. There’s something about Anna that he innately trusts and so does the audience; Jones (The Tempest) is a daintier version of Julie Delpy’s character from Before Sunrise—possessing of a romantic soul, yet intellectually engaged and full of promise. She’s irresistible. But Jacob approaches with a modicum of restraint, as if he knows that this relationship could be something monumental. It is. Their attraction is so vivid and heartfelt that it shimmers off the screen in waves and reminds you of what love felt like at 22—both the marvel and the misery.like-crazy

(MORE: Romance, Movie Style, 10 of Our Favorite Films D’Amour)

Director Drake Doremus (Douchebag) and co-writer Ben York Jones clear out all the customary claptrap that hinder today’s movie romances: class differences, cute misunderstandings, commitment issues. The obstacle they throw in Anna and Jacob’s way is a bureaucratic one; in a haze of love, she overstays her visa. Anna is a child of some privilege, whose parents treat her as an equal, and her assumption is it can all be worked out. But immigration officials are unmoved by the cause of love and she is exiled. Jacob resists moving to London on the grounds that his fledgling furniture-making business is in Los Angeles. Their love is in the hands of lawyers.

The most treasured love stories tend to be the ones about separation – Love Story, The Way We Were, Casablanca, even The Notebook – so Like Crazy bucks no genre conventions in that regard. But by making the procurement of a visa in the post-9/11 world a problem that stretches out over seven years, the filmmakers create an unusual dynamic. On the one hand, it’s all about silly rules on a page, rules that ought to be bent – Anna is an aspiring writer, hardly a terrorist. But having the youthful belief that love makes everything right, she never considers the consequences of ignoring those rules. The movie is about the slow process of understanding that love doesn’t conquer all. That’s a hard lesson, but Doremus and his actors keep it from being a downer; they’ve created characters you feel so tenderly about you want to see them grow up, even when it hurts

With her big, soft eyes and transformative smile, Jones gives the more obviously alluring performance, but Yelchin, who most audiences might know from his role as Chekov in the Star Trek reboot, is also captivating in his own way. His raspy speaking voice is his secret weapon, sandpaper rough but somehow also soft in its invitation; you’d lean in to hear what he’s saying. And though he’s more puckish than dashing, Yelchin ranks with Joseph Gordon-Levitt in terms of young Hollywood talent.

(MORE: Top 10 Unconventional Leading Men)

He plays Jacob as an old fashioned gentleman trapped inside a modernist’s body (his furniture designs are the movie’s funny little disappointment, blocky and unremarkable). So it’s a surprise that Jacob doesn’t offer to marry Anna (as her father observes, contemplating his legal bills, “If you two got married, it would save me a lot of money.”) Both resist this fix, suggesting the doubts that exist within the bubble of this idealized love. Or less charitably, that Doremus and Jones needed an excuse to prolong the narrative long enough to add the complication of new romances for them both, she with a handsome and adoring bore (Charlie Bewley), he with his assistant Sam (Jennifer Lawrence).

If that’s a slipup, the filmmakers make up for it everywhere else. There’s not an extraneous scene, and even the smallest moments — such as when Jacob goes to a London pub with Anna and stands around awkwardly — are ripe with meaning. Watching her with her friends, he sees how outside her life he is. The love they had together, a very brief interlude, exists primarily in a cloud of memory and emotion. Down with him on solid ground is Sam, sympathetic, helpful and devoted. “Do you want your jeans ironed?” she calls out cheerily. Despite how that sounds, Sam isn’t a doormat, nor is she clearly wrong for Jacob. She’d never drive him crazy with love, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Which way should he go? Like Crazy ends on a note that leaves both the characters and the audience hanging. Yet there’s a thrill in that ambivalence because it rings so true. Like Crazy is a cinematic love potion and you leave it feeling bewitched.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 28, 2011 in Love

 

Tags: , ,

Love bread

r-LIZZIE-MARIE-CUISINE-large570The first time Lizzie Marie Likness heard herself compared to a celebrity chef, she was a 7-year-old wearing a costume for Halloween. “This lady was like, ‘You look just like Rachael Ray. You’re going to be the next Rachael Ray,'” Likness recalls. Those words stuck with her. But today, she isn’t just playing dress-up.

At age 11, Likness has turned a love of healthy cooking into Lizzie Marie Cuisine, a successful website featuring videos, recipes and blogs to help kids eat healthier, and corporate projects, such as “Healthy Cooking with Chef Lizzie,” an online TV show for WebMD. Next on her branding agenda? A cookbook and dreams of a cookware line. At this rate, she’s on track to oversee a cooking empire by the time she hits her teens.

For this young entrepreneur, pursuing her passion has always helped lead the way for her business. A little advice from Rachael Ray herself certainly doesn’t hurt either.

At what age did you first fall in love with cooking?

I started cooking when I was about 2 years old. My mom and grandmother taught me how to cook. My mom would take me into the kitchen and put me on the counter, and I’d be her taste tester. If she was making soup or apple sauce, I’d stir the pot, add spices.

Then, at 6 years old, I got interested in horseback riding. I asked my parents if I could take lessons if I paid for them myself. When they asked how I would do that, I suggested selling homemade baked goods at a local farmers market. I did that for about a year and half, and that’s when I realized I liked cooking and showing people that healthy foods can be really fun and delicious.

When did you start realizing this might go beyond just funding your horseback-riding lessons and that it could be an actual business?

I never thought I would ever actually build a business out of just selling my apple dapple bread and chocolate chip cookies at the local farmers market. It was just something I was doing so I could pursue another passion I had in life. But once I started realizing how much people enjoyed my cooking and how much I enjoyed getting up early in the morning and baking and seeing people’s faces once they tried my food, that’s when I wanted to take it to the next level. I asked my dad to make me a website. And we did the first video and posted it on YouTube. I was nervous. A lot of people were supportive and helpful, while some people didn’t think a young person should be in the kitchen cooking. That’s their opinion. I love what I’m doing and it’s allowed me to do so many incredible things. I’m just kind of going with the flow and enjoying it and seeing where it takes me.

What were some of the initial reactions from customers?

A lot of people were surprised at how young I was, because they didn’t think a 6-year-old could be in the kitchen, baking breads and cookies. Once they got over that, they were pleasantly surprised and said the food was good and healthy. A lot of people are also skeptical at first because my recipes are creative and use interesting ingredients, but once they taste them, they realize healthy foods don’t have to be boring — they can be yummy and exciting.

Was your business also inspired by your parents’ combined 100-pound weight loss?

When my parents lost their weight, I was probably like 2 or 3, so I didn’t really take notice. My dad had a healthy-living business, and when I was older and started to learn more about why he had the business, I realized it was a pretty big deal to have a combined weight loss of 100 pounds. It was inspirational. It helped spark my interest. I thought if my parents could do it, anybody could do it.

My dad particularly helped me a lot with the business aspect. Mom and I would brainstorm over how we could take regular recipes that every kid knows and make them healthier and more exciting.

My parents have always been really supportive of me. When I was interested in tennis, they’d make sure I worked hard on it so I could be the best I was. No matter how old you are, it’s going to be hard to start your own business. You definitely need advice, and parents are some of the only people who can tell you this stuff. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask them for help, take whatever advice they give you, tell them what you really like to do and show them how much it means to you. They’ll see this is something you want to pursue and be open to the idea of helping you start your own business and seeing where it takes you.

How did the WebMD opportunity come up?

WebMD came to me. They were creating a Web show geared toward kids, teaching them how healthy eating could be really fun and how they could get involved in doing that. It was really cool because the first chef they thought of was Jamie Oliver, but he wasn’t available because he was doing Food Revolution. And the next person they thought of was me, which I was very flattered by. It was a fun experience — they flew me to New York last December and I was there for about week filming. It was hard work but really fun, and I would love to do something like that again.

Is that when you realized you really could be the next Rachael Ray?

It’s cool how she has her own talk show, and I think she is a really great chef and she has so much energy and loves what she’s doing so much. I would definitely love to have the same opportunities she does and have my own talk show or cooking show one day. She’s definitely a person I look up to, and I really respect her.

What was it like meeting her on her show as a contestant for the Kindness Challenge?

I was not nervous before at all. I was nervous when I actually got out there and realized I was on Rachael Ray. But it was so fun and a really great experience. It was fun shaking her hand. It was cool, I was the youngest person out of the group. When Rachael was announcing our videos and she said my name, I was like, “Oh my gosh, Rachael Ray knows my name. That’s so cool.” I was a little starstruck but was able to keep it together until after we got out. My mom and I went to lunch, and I said, “Oh my goodness, I just shook Rachael Ray’s hand.”

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 26, 2011 in Love bread

 

Tags: , ,