Sick Week

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It’s been a rough week. I feel like there should not be any bits of lung left for me to cough up and YET I keep coughing.

I’ve been asking for this cold since late September. I’ve been nonstop since then: conventions, conferences, travel, parties. NONSTOP LIKE HAMILTON NONSTOP. As it turns out, one’s body does not appreciate that kind of abuse.

Literally me.
Literally me.

I’d like to give a shout out to sugar and dye free Robitussin and these menthol cough drops. Also Vicks VapoRub, Sudafed, and tissues. So many tissues. I sound a lot worse than I think I actually am. I’ve holed up in my house. I tried to go into the office on Wednesday but I passed out on the train, so that was unfortunate. Working from home has proven less tragic.

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I don’t think it’s so bad. I *hope* I am on the mend. Lying in bed, not doing strenuous things, drinking a lot of water: it actually helps. Amazement! I drank like four liters of water today. Is that enough fluids? More fluids? I will just keep absorbing fluids. Neil has been really nice about everything. I literally just want to stop coughing. Like how do I still have this much mucus inside me? I know it’s gross. But it IS GROSS. I really just want to be able to celebrate Halloween. I’ve only missed one Halloween in my whole life and I was like six and dressed in a bomb ass Cruella Deville costume my mom made me and I couldn’t even trick or treat! It was really lame. I am hoping that will not be the case this year.

I meant to write a review but my brain isn’t having it, hence whatever the hell this is. Expect your regularly scheduled programming soon. I’m just going to keep listening to the new Adele single on repeat until then. HELLO.

Until next time!
xx

Hamilton.

I’ve never been a huge fan of American history. I had a hard time getting invested in it; it always seemed so dry compared to happenings across the pond. Of course, there were bits I liked, the revolution being one of them, but I always felt like everything just tapered off into cowboys eventually, and I found that supremely uninteresting.

Enter Alexander Hamilton. I have been listening to the cast recording of Hamilton: An American Musical pretty much nonstop for nearly a week. It is SO GOOD. That does not encapsulate how I feel about this play. I haven’t felt this way about a play in a long time. I haven’t felt this way about anything in a long time. I am consumed. Obsessed. It’s kind of nice actually.

If you are unaware, Hamilton is the story of Alexander Hamilton’s life, “the ten dollar founding father without a father,” as it were, inspired by the biography by Ron Chernow. It was written and composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who stars as Hamilton. The music is unreal: a beautiful fusion of hip hop, rap, and musical theater. It is everything I did not even know I wanted.

I have not seen this play, but the music is so visceral and alive I almost feel like I have. As the people of the present, I feel it is our duty to re-imagine the past. My mistake when it comes to American history, it seems, is that I wasn’t hearing the right stories. Dry facts are just that, dry. But a story: stories are interesting. Stories are compelling. Miranda takes Hamilton’s story and makes it absolutely fascinating. It is no small wonder that  he received a MacArthur Genius Grant. The writing and arrangement of Hamilton is nothing short of brilliant. The use of leitmotif is on point both lyrically and musically. It’s so artfully done. I want to rave about how perfect it is.

The cast of characters is a host of revolutionaries and founding fathers: Alexander Hamilton, of course, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, the infamous Aaron Burr. But also Hamilton’s wife Eliza Schuyler and her sister Angelica Schuyler, Marquis de Lafayette, John Laurens, and Hercules Mulligan, among others. There is this whole cast of characters I never knew much about, that they never really touched on in history class. I love it so much.

I also love how it turns history on its head. It allows you to look at it from a different point of view, with a more modern interpretation. Burr is a huge part of this play. In our history books, he’s seen as a villain, the man who shot Hamilton. But in the play, we get to imagine a bit of his side and see his potential regrets.

I have maybe listened to the full 46 tracks five or six times. It’s not enough. Even so, it’s on a loop in my head all day long. Also without fail the second act slays me. It’s no secret how the story ends: it’s history. Burr shoots Hamilton in a duel; Hamilton falls. But Miranda takes this snapshot of history and breaks your heart. I can’t hear It’s Quiet Uptown or Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story without crying. I am not just talking about a little sniffle: this is ugly sobbing, like clutching Neil’s shirt and wailing about how sad and beautiful this play is. It all just swells into this emotional moment; the music and lyrics call back to everything that comes before. It makes you think about the future and the past and your legacy and his legacy and the fruitlessness of everything and the importance of trying. It’s a lot. It really is a lot.

I would pretty much give up a limb at this point to see this play in real life. I can see the staging in my mind’s eye but I want to know what it really looks like, what choices the director and choreographers made. I want to see it really happening. I want to try to get tickets but man they are so expensive! Every single day I listen to this album I think it might be worth it to dip into my savings. I swear, if I lived in New York I would be in line every day trying to get in that lottery!

I find everything about this musical inspiring. The way it takes a topic I couldn’t imagine being adapted in this way and makes it so extraordinary. It must have taken an enormous amount of hard work. I am in awe of what Miranda and his cast and crew have accomplished. The play works so well it is uncanny. I know I am gushing. I don’t even know if this review is coherent. I just have a lot of feelings right now.

If you haven’t heard this soundtrack, do yourself a favor and LISTEN TO IT. It’s available on iTunes and Spotify. 10 out of 10, I would absolutely recommend. Also see the Hamilton website for more information or to stare longingly at ticket information, as I’ve been. It’s a pastime.

Until next time!
xx

EDIT: UPDATE! I BOUGHT TICKETS. I’M GOING IN APRIL. NO REGRETSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

Review: The Name of the Wind

I went into The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss completely blind. I had no idea what it was about. I didn’t even read the back of the book. I did know it was fantasy and that it had been well received. There’s truly nothing better than having your expectations exceeded. The Name of the Wind pretty much blew me away. What a refreshing exploration of the hero’s journey and the fantasy genre.

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The Name of the Wind is written in two periods: the present and flashback. Our hero Kvothe, great, mighty, wondrous, and terrible, reveals his past to us, telling his story. It’s a tale of joy, intense grief, sadness, magic, music, art, and personal growth. This first book is basically the prologue. It covers Kvothe’s childhood and early adolescence. Though he is an unusual child, very mature and observant even at a young age, circumstance makes him grow up even faster. The book covers his education and early relationships, bringing us to the edge of his hero’s journey. That’s not to say the book isn’t chalk full of adventure. It is. All great characters have to start somewhere.

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Let’s Get Political

I shudder. I hate talking about politics. I feel like whenever I do I make a complete ass out of myself. I always feel like I’m saying the wrong thing or I might offend somebody or I have no idea what I’m talking about. But plenty of people who have worse intentions than mine and in some cases a heck of a lot more power do a lot of talking despite having no idea what they are talking about, so I may as well give it a try.

The 2016 election is still a year off, but everything feels very charged as the primaries approach. Who is going to get the nomination? Questions, questions. I have been unhappy with my government. I have a very long laundry list of complaints, most of them starting and ending with the deeply troubling agenda of the GOP and their circus of incompetent candidates.

I am upset that corporations have more rights in the eyes of the GOP than I as a woman do. I am upset that they want to tell me what to do with my body and stifle all inklings of female sexual liberation. I am very upset that they are attacking Planned Parenthood. I want the government to stay far, far away from my right to health care as a women. I want to see real momentum in implementing ways to battle the racial bias inherent in our police force. I want the continuation of LGBT rights, especially for those transgender people being persecuted. In the wake of the shootings in Oregon, foremost in my mind are gun regulations and our country’s lack of them. I want people to be able to earn a living wage. I want students to be able to go to college without miring themselves in decades of debt. I want the conservatives to admit that climate change is a PROBLEM, stop denying the work of all theses climate scientists, and get some useful legislation passed.

How to we achieve these things? In a political system stuck in the mentality of left versus right and flooded with lobbyists and other peoples’ money, how are we expected to ever achieve a form of democracy that is in any way fair?

This, of course, brings me to Bernie Sanders. Some people love him. Some people hate him. Some people don’t think he has a chance in hell of getting the democratic nomination. But I like what he stands for. For once, I see a politician who I actually feel like I can believe in and put my trust in. He seems so earnest, so fired up and prepared to make actual change. I am prepared to vote for him, should the time come. This is the first election where I am coming in fully informed and able to vote. When Obama ran the first time, I was 17 and mad as a cat I couldn’t vote. I could go on for pages on why I think Bernie’s a great candidate, but I won’t. His message is readily available. Go to his website. Listen to him speak. His energy and drive is extraordinary.

But no matter who you are voting for this November, just get out there and VOTE! No matter how broken our system is, our representatives are still out there to serve US, the people. If the people don’t turn out to elect their representatives, how can they represent us, how can they serve our needs? We need to get more leaders like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders elected. We need people who actually care and are willing to fight for our rights.

I don’t pretend to know the first thing about politics. I do not know everything. I am privileged. I understand this. I try to stay informed, but it’s a big world out there and there a lot more points of view than my own. Again, I understand this. But I do want improvement on all fronts. It is possible. We just have to make it happen, shed the madness and make it happen. I want us to be a healthy country, worthy of being great. And I know that voting is our civic duty, and it is one of the ways we can go about implementing change. Please vote. Please, please, please, I am begging you vote. Go to http://rockthevote.com/ and find out more. Register right now if you aren’t already. Just vote!

TopatoCon + The Green Bean

The past week or so has been totally bananas with no signs of slowing down. October is shaping up to be a nonstop party. I got the festivities started early last weekend by tabling at TopatoCon for the Boston Comics Roundtable, which was a blast! So many cool people there. I was very fortunate to talk with not only a ton of awesome convention attendees but many of my fellow exhibitors. The indie comics community is such a groovy place.

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That being said, I am way tired and also ill, I think? I’ve got a weird cough/sinus thing going on. I appear to have tuckered myself out, hence why my post is so late this week. So to make things easy, I am going to review the best thing that happened (besides the comics, of course) last weekend: The Green Bean.

It is no secret that I have a large and unwieldy list of dietary restriction that often make it difficult for me to dine out. Therefore, whenever I find an establishment that is able to serve me and do so in a kind and understanding manner, I am immediately smitten. The Green Bean in Northampton, MA is one of those locations. Not only is their restaurant quaint, adorable, and locally sourced, but it is DELICIOUS! Imagine a room lined with tables and chairs, tightly packed but not uncomfortable. Instead it’s totally cozy. And everyone is super friendly and nice!

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Our lovely waitress let me ask questions to my heart’s content and did not start at any of my restrictions, not even the request for no garlic or onion. I ended up getting scrambled eggs, gluten free toast, bacon, hash browns, and organic earl grey tea. It was DELIGHTFUL. They also had self-serve coffee and an adorable mug tree filled with an eclectic collection. Precious. Absolutely precious. I wish they were closer otherwise I would go all the time! If you are ever in the Amherst/Northampton area stop by for breakfast or lunch. They are an excellent business.