Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sidney Supper 2008, The Movie

If you missed the 4-hour event in Santa Fe, New Mexico, here's the seven-minute movie version.

Click on the text link above, or click on the photo below.


Monday, October 27, 2008

What Things We Have Seen Done At The Mermaid!

The Mermaid Tavern on Sweet Swan Lane was the site of this year's Sidney Supper event, an annual birthday celebration organized by the Mary Sidney Society for Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke. The event marked her 447th birthday. Just in case you don't know who Mary Sidney is, she's an Elizabethan woman who has fascinating, impressive, and documented connections (revealed by Robin in her book, Sweet Swan of Avon: Did A Woman Write Shakespeare) to the works attributed to the man named William Shakespeare.

As Ben Jonson (a contemporary of both Mary Sidney and Shakespeare, and the self-proclaimed poet laureate of England) said, "What things we have seen done at the Mermaid!" Of course, he was referring to the Mermaid Tavern on the corner of Friday and Bread Streets in London 400-something years ago, but it's a sentiment that is being taken seriously by a growing number of Mary Sidney devotees today. And then there's always the fact that when word gets out there's a party at Robin's house (The Mermaid Tavern), lots of people show up because they know it's not going to be your usual get-together.

Somewhere between 30 and 40 cars parked along the road, along the driveway, and in the parking area next to the house. At least 60 people attended, perhaps more. I ran a shuttle service with the SwanMobile (shown below) for people that didn't want to walk the 192.5 yards (yep, I measured it in Google Earth).

There was mirth and merriment aplenty. I will posteth a short video on the morrow.

Marcia & JohnT.jpg
As valet, I greet guests when they arrive at Sweet Swan Lane.

The SwanMobile.

guests at Mermaid Tavern.jpg
Some of the guests listen to Robin. Others are outside on the patio (the door on the right). And still others are behind the camera.

Ceryn seated in chair.jpg
Ceryn, youngest member and Student Liaison of The Mary Sidney Society, greets guests in the Mermaid Tavern's Great Hall (ha).

Sidney Supper singing.jpg
Laura and Anna lead the guests in a sing-along of Brush Up Your Shakespeare.

singing guests.jpg
Some of the previously mentioned mirth and merriment.

Robin, Main Mistress of Mirth and Merriment
(as most of you already know).

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Testing one two three

I'm in the process of knocking the dust off various blogging tools that have been in the woodshed for a while. Robin and I leave for the Shakespeare At Sea Cruise November 6, so I'm testing some features that I might want to use while at sea. Such as publishing a nice photo album quickly (Internet access is expensive in the middle of the Caribbean).

Testing one two three (images from Kauai)...

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted by email from jtChatter (posterous)

Applying a Conceptual Gaussian Blur to Painting and Graphic Art

Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777—1885) was a German mathematician genius who contributed to many fields, including optics. Gaussian functions are still used in many fields, including state of the art computer image processing.

Photoshop users are familiar with a feature called Gaussian Blur with which you create and control a smooth blur of an image. I'm currently working on a series of images in which the traditional line between painting and graphics are blurred. One example is shown below.

Is it a painting or is it graphic design?
Both. It's also a wild beach rooster from Kauai, Hawaii.

In poster form, the image looks like this (above). Or, when printed on canvas, the dark border, containing Shakespeare quotes, wraps around the side of the stretcher bars, creating a finished, unframed effect.

Quote on the left side of the image (above):
"I have heard the cock, that's the trumpet to the morn."
Horatio tells Hamlet that the day has started with a "fearful summons."

Quote on the right side:
"What, all my pretty chickens, and their dam, at one fell swoop?"
In the play Macbeth, Macduff grieves that Macbeth has had all his children, and his wife, their mother (their dam) killed.

Below: close-up details of the image.



Thursday, October 23, 2008

Preparing for The Shakespeare At Sea Cruise

While Robin works on the presentations that she's preparing for the Shakespeare At Cruise, I'm practicing Life Boat drills with some volunteers. When I sound an alert, everyone meets at the back door for emergency instructions.

Certain volunteers are responsible for gathering essential survival items, such as rubber balls and towels. Others are just instructed to pay attention.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Philadelphia Thrills and Adventure

One of our trips this past October took us to Philadelphia, where Robin had been invited to give a Mac design presentation. We met some extremely nice and inspirational people (Maria and David to mention just two), and very much enjoyed seeing some of this historic and interesting city.

Our next scheduled stop on this same trip was to be in Wilton, Connecticut. Online, while still in Santa Fe, we bought Amtrak tickets from Philly to Bridgeport, CT, where we could grab a regional train to Norwalk, a town very close to Wilton. The 30th Street Amtrak station in Philadelphia is surprisingly nice. Fabulous, actually. A large food court offers lots of different food choices, and there's a nice variety of shops in the terminal.

Just being in the Philly Amtrak station gave me the feeling that our trip was going to be full of thrills and action.




Monday, October 20, 2008

The Undead Blog. Bwahahahaha.

New blogs coming up soon: Robin and I leave November 6 on the Shakespeare At Sea Cruise 2 (with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival participating again). And, once again, Robin is one of the principal speakers. OK, why be shy? She's the main speaker, the heart and soul of the Shakespeare Cruise, and the most important person in the world (to quote an intellectual, who, on a totally unrelated side note, is a close personal friend).

So, if the Wi-Fi on the cruise ship is decent, I'll be blogging during the 10 day event. You might recall that last year I discovered after the cruise started that it was actually a zombie ship full of very old undead people who stumbled around the ship day and night, but mostly at meal time. Well, this year I have more white hair and I've perfected my stiff-legged, stumble-forward walk (with a vacant look in my eyes, mouth slightly agape) so I can roam freely about the ship. I've also perfected the illusion of looking like I'm asleep while I'm blogging.

Since I haven't blogged in a while, I'll be posting some blogs between now and when we leave for the cruise (Ft. Lauderdale to the Eastern Caribbean).

The latest news from Santa Fe:
The Mermaid Tavern bar (in the kitchen) is finished, except for the etched glass that goes in the doors. The photo below is a mockup of the etched glass design.


The border is made up of Shakespeare quotes about drinking. Under each quote is the character that said it, and the play it comes from (below).


The Mermaid Tavern was a real London tavern on the corner of Friday and Bread Streets in Shakespeare's time, where the elite artists, writers, poets, and intellectuals met on the first Friday of the month (The First Friday Club, the gathering was called).

It should be noted that the man named William Shakespeare was never documented as having been there. But surely he musta, coulda, shoulda, woulda. Maybe he disguised himself because he so loved being an invisible genius who didn't want any credit for the humble scribbles he jotted down in his free time (when he wasn't hanging out in Noblemens' libraries studying English history, or brushing up on his French, Italian, and Greek).

It should also be noted that Robin's house is known as The Mermaid Tavern, and her Shakespeare Reading Group is also called the First Friday Club (and meets on the first Friday of the month). Hmmm. Strange.

There's still a tavern on the corner of Bread and Friday Streets in London. The owners had no clue as to it's history until Robin and pal Amy told them about it. Interestingly, the current name of the tavern is The Seahorse, not that far different from Mermaid Tavern in concept. Hmmm. I say again, strange.