Don't be fooled by the grim-faced picture. It was the only unblinking one. For me, words are worth a thousand pictures. I'm looking forward to saying hi to all of you.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What will children remember about their books in ebook age?

On p. 4 of Carlos Ruiz’s beautiful novel, The Shadow and The Wind, (Penguin, 2005), he writes, “I was raised among books, making invisible friends in pages that seemed cast from dust and whose smell I carry on my hands to this day.”

What will our sensory memories be of books in the digital era? As I sniff my Kindle, I only get a sense of something blocking air, a plastic odor, like a straw that you've been biting on. Despite the dust-free, mold-free benefits of ebooks, will there be a loss for us?

My mother wasn't a reader, but she was a buyer of books. She bought me a set of Childcraft. Remember their deep read leatherette covers? My volume one (Nursery Rhymes) and my volume two (Fairy Tales) had loose bindings and the edges of the cover were no longer perfect rectangles because I read them over and over. Also, I read Golden Books like Nurse Nancy and Doctor Dan. Yes, I know, I know they are politically incorrect, but there were real bandaids between the covers. Ebooks can't give you bandaids.

My mother bought old books, small leather volumes like Tanglewood Tales and The Last Days of Pompeii and kept them in boxes in the basement. Whenever we had floods, she'd lovingly take the books out, put paper towels between their damp pages, go over them with hair dryers, anything to save them. (If only she'd read them.) But never mind, it shows the love and respect for books, the physicality of them, the weight in your hands.

In the arts section of the NYT, I read that during the holidays people flocked to the bookstore, never mind ebooks. Maybe all our sensual memories of books will be mixed with the scent of pine needles or latkes. A gift from the holidays.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

LYSISTRATA JONES at the Walter Kerr Proves that Aristophanes Still Rocks!

In Aristophanes’ comic play, Lysistrata is a daring woman who tries to persuade the women of Greece to withhold sex from their husbands and lovers in order to force them to stop the Peloponnesian War. Fast forward from 411 BC to 2011 AD and meet Lyssie J. (played by Patti Murin) and her cheerleader posse who refuse to “give it up” to their basketball team boyfriends until they get over their “whatever” attitude and win a game. Moral: abstinence makes the hard grow fonder and fonder.
What goes on onstage doesn’t stay there. Expect to wave away smoke with your playbill. Expect to have actors in the aisles. I sat so close to Patti Murin when she sang that I got a dental view of her pearly veneers. Expect to be so carried away by the talent—oh, what these actors can do with their bodies, their voices. Expect that you will be so carried away that your gloves will fall out of your pockets, your hat will end up between the seats, and of all things, my theater friend ended up with the shoe of a woman in the row behind us.
Each character is so distinct and each yet represents a type—the left-winger, the closet gay, the sexpot, the dopey and uncommitted that despite themselves end up coming to a higher place.
And the play is larger than a joke. You’ll be treated to bits of Whitman’s Body Electric, to Emily Dickenson’s, I’m Nobody Poem, and Frost’s Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening. Watch out for the hilarious poetry slammer. Listen to the hip hop dialogue that is full of poetic riffs. Poetry and true love rule. And really, is there any difference?
$79 Orchestra Seats (regularly $127)
$59 Mezz Seats (regularly $.97)

VISIT BroadwayOffers.com (http://www.broadwayoffers.com/go.aspx?MD=2001&MC=LJNXT79) CALL 212.947.8844 or 
GO TO the Walter Kerr Theatre box office, 219 W 48th St. 
btw Broadway and 8th Ave. and USE CODE LJNXT79