Thursday, January 19, 2017

10th Canadian Challenge - 16th Review - Cafe Babanussa

This recent novel by Karen Hill is a bit challenging to review.  It's quite incredible that it was written at all, given the struggles of the author with severe mental illness.  It is also incredibly sad that she was not alive to see its publication.  She had been working on it on and off for years, and it was largely in its current state when she died (perhaps the family found some comfort in that it was a freak accident and not death by suicide...), and then her brother, the author Lawrence Hill, did some minor editing and brought it through the publication process.  So it is a sad first and last work by Karen Hill.  I'm probably giving judging it slightly differently than other novels due to the author's struggles, though there were still more than a few things about the novel that troubled me.

This piece gives a brief overview of how Lawrence Hill approached the task of editing the novel, as does this Toronto Star story, with the added benefit of family photos.  The foreward to the novel goes into a bit more detail about his interactions with Karen.  The novel is supplemented with Karen's non-fictional essay "On Being Crazy," which shows that the bouts of mental illness apparently intensified over her life (and seemed even more incapacitating than those that were represented in the novel).  There is no question that this is quite useful (if sad) documentary piece written by someone who had experienced mental illness, as well as experienced different health care approaches to mental illness.  While I can think of a few novels and novellas that try to get inside the head of a person suffering from mental illness (Lessing's Briefing for a Descent into Hell, Gogol's Diary of a Madman, arguably some of Tolstoy's and Dostoevsky's and even Joseph Conrad's characters, Joseph Mitchell's Joe Gould's Secret, though that is a bit of a stretch, etc.), this may well be the only one actually written by someone suffering from such debilitating mental illness (rather than just visiting on the fringes of madness as many authors do).  So Café Babanussa is quite valuable from that perspective.

That doesn't really answer how well it works as a work of art.  I think that will depend on how compelling readers find Hill's life story (at least through her travel to Berlin and back to Toronto).  Again, there are very few novels out there that show mixed-race individuals living in West Berlin in the 1980s, particularly those following a bohemian lifestyle.  The novel is paced reasonably well.  I found the dialog serviceable, though somewhat clunky in the opening and closing sections.  I think it would have benefited from a more demanding editor, which is generally the case for most novels published posthumously.

SPOILERS ahead (though anyone that researches the life of Karen Hill will know what ground the novel covers)

Ultimately, I just didn't like the character of "Karen," who made, in my view, one bad decision after another.  I've never been comfortable with novels which celebrate open relationships or "free love," regardless of whether the main character is male or female (though the latter is certainly rarer).  At one point, Karen takes a break from Berlin and does some agricultural work in France and basically hops in the sack with any cute French man she comes across.  I just can't support such choices, but the real deal-breaker for me was when she persists in hooking up with a German drug addict, even after she knows he is a user.  I really lose interest in characters that make such terrible life choices.  I'm sure I see too much of myself in Werner (Karen's estranged German husband), though hopefully I am somewhat less uptight/controlling and certainly less racist.  Probably the final straw for me was when she meets an African artist (estranged from his German wife) at the Café Babanussa.  She starts up a relationship with him and, at some point, decides that to really feel Black (rather than mixed-race) she wants to have a Black child, so I guess she stops using birth control or is more careless than usual.  This was really a selfish decision on many levels, particularly as she knew she would be heading back to Canada relatively soon and that her unborn daughter might never even meet her father.  Basically, how positively the reader feels about "free spirits" will shape how much they like this novel.  Given some of her flitting around Europe and the precariousness of her Berlin days, I actually saw a few parallels to Dos Passos's USA Trilogy (itself a now neglected work of art, which I would encourage people to read once in their lives).

Anyway, the most troubling aspect of the novel is the ending (and here follow some severe SPOILERS).

I have to say, I wish Lawrence Hill had provided some insight into whether this was artistic license or real.  (Karen had made some major edits to her personal history when she merged her two brothers into a fictional sister, for example.)  At any rate, her nightmares get more vivid between her first and second hospitalization and she starts dreaming she was raped.  These become more and more real, and at some point she wonders whether she is actually regaining buried memories that she was molested as a young girl.  Then she decides that these are real memories, and that it was a specific family friend.  At least part of her return to Canada is prompted by the need to confront him (again, just a terrible decision for someone as mentally fragile as she is by this point).  I don't know what the medical literature says about whether childhood trauma can trigger or worsen mental illness in someone who was already genetically disposed to it.  (This study suggests it is a key factor, though it doesn't appear to unravel the relative causation of genes and trauma.)  Anyway, what I am getting at is that Karen Hill may have invented a fictional abuser in order to shift "blame" away from her mother (who also had bipolar disorder).  To my mind, the confrontation scene is completely unbelievable, particularly when the abuser (now at death's door) admits he did abuse her -- and says that the main reason he abused Karen was to take her successful father "down a notch"!  On top of everything else, this is a far too pat (if sad) resolution to her story, written from a women's studies perspective.  It would seem that she can now go into therapy and successfully fight off these demons now that she knows the truth, when in fact Karen's mental illness returned many times in Canada (and actually seemed more severe than when she was in Germany).  I personally won't try to dig any more into her actual biography, but it definitely leaves a big question mark over the novel.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

DC tourism, part 2

I went quite quickly through the National Gallery, Main Building.  I felt kind of bad about it, though I had done a fairly thorough tour on my last visit.  I basically stopped to look at the Rembrandt's and a few Italian paintings.  I slowed down to take in the Impressionists (though several galleries were closed for reinstallation) and the American painters Whistler and Sargent (though I believe all of the Ashcan School paintings have been relocated to the East Building).

John Singer Sargent, Street in Venice, 1882

I was quite surprised that the Stuart Davis exhibit was in the Main Building, since thematically it belongs in the East Building.  However, after the reinstallation of paintings in the East Building, it might just be too difficult to put on large exhibits, and they may all go in the Main Building from here on out.

While I was actually fairly hungry by this point, I decided I would push on and see the Davis exhibit, and then eat in the underground cafeteria that connects the two buildings.  (While this isn't a great deal, it is probably the most reasonable cafeteria on the mall itself.)  The Stuart Davis exhibit is very well done, though it is a bit smaller than the version at the Whitney.  I will refer interested parties to the second half of this post where I talk about the show.  In particular, a number of the Paris-inspired scenes were missing.  Nonetheless, it is a very enjoyable and lively show.  It runs until early March.

I went reasonably quickly through the East Building.  It is generally interesting to find there seems to be some new critical attention given to the Chicago artist Roger Brown, and they had some newly acquired works by him, including this painting.

Roger Brown, Waterfall, 1974

While there were many familiar paintings, particularly the Picasso's and the Matisse's and Cezanne's, there were some with which I wasn't as familiar.
Pablo Picasso, The Tragedy, 1903

I'm fairly sure I hadn't see this Klee painting before, though I probably had seen the Max Weber.

Paul Klee, New House in the Suburbs, 1924

Max Weber, Rush Hour, New York, 1915

I'm reasonably sure that I had not seen this Beckmann painting before, though I wasn't enthralled by it.

Max Beckmann, Bathing Scene (The Green Cloak), 1934

I was actually fairly bummed out that The Argonauts was not on view (or at least not in the proper room with the other Expressionists) when I turned the corner and saw it in a prominent location.  So that was great.

Max Beckmann, The Argonauts, 1949-50

Yet again, Falling Man was not on view.*

While it was a good visit to the National Gallery, I was starting to stress about the time.  Given that the Metro was kind of unreliable, I just walked over to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, despite the cold.  My timing was quite good, as it was free to visit the museum on Sunday, and one exhibit (No Man's Land) was closing that afternoon and the highlights of collection had just reopened.

My favorite piece from No Man's Land was this neon sculpture called Street Ophelia.

Mira Dancy, Street Ophelia (neon blue), 2014

I have to admit, I don't go to this museum often (partly because you usually have to pay to visit...), and I believe I haven't visited in at least 20 years (and it was probably in a completely different location).  I remember buying some coasters based on this painting for my mother, and I reclaimed a couple after she passed away.  (I didn't see anything like that for sale in the gift shop on this visit.)

Alma Woodsey Thomas, Iris, Tulips, Jonquils and Crocuses, 1969

Other highlights from the permanent collection were this self-portrait by Frida Kahlo and an urban streetscape.

Frida Kahlo, Self-portrait Dedicated to Leon Trotsky, 1937

Georgia Mills Jessup, Rainy Night, Downtown, 1967

I was finally feeling back on track after this visit wrapped up.  I walked over to the Convention Center and got my badge and all my materials for the conference.  I swung by the Smithsonian American Art Museum (since it is reasonably close by) for another hour or so, then went back to the hotel.

Most of the rest of the trip was taken up with the conference, though I did sneak out Tuesday evening to visit the Phillips Collection.

There were several old favorites and a few paintings that I didn't recall seeing.  By far the oddest display was this room they had completely covered in beeswax, which gave off a pleasant smell.

Vincent Van Gogh, Entrance to the Public Gardens in Arles, 1888

Juan Gris, Abstraction, 1915

Judith Rothschild, Interior, 1970

So that wraps up my highlights of the trip.  I think I managed to squeeze in quite a bit of art, on top of several days' worth of conference-going.  I'll decide closer to the summer whether I think I want to make the trip again in 2018 (and thus have to get a paper ready) or just focus on travel closer to home.

* I learned later that it is on view in the Beckmann in New York exhibit at the Met, along with Hotel Lobby from the Albright-Knox -- both paintings that I have been disappointed in not seeing in their home museums in a long time (or, in the case of Hotel Lobby, never).  I have agreed to be reasonable and not try to fly or bus it to New York just to catch this show -- aside from these two paintings and two major triptychs, there are really only 4 additional paintings that I really would like to see, and two of those I saw back in the 2003 Queens MoMA show.  I just can't justify the time and expense for that.  I may not even pick up the catalog unless it turns up at BMV on some extreme deal later in the year.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Touring DC (in last days of Obama administration)

I'm not quite sure how many times I've been to D.C.  We went maybe twice during my childhood (and I believe we toured the White House during the Carter administration).  When I was living in New Jersey, I went a few times, including once to see the AIDS quilt (my mother was also in town for that) and then for a Save Our Cities rally (where I saw Mario Cuomo and Jesse Jackson and perhaps even David Dinkins).  Then I started going for TRB, and I've probably been 7 or 8 times for that.  I think my wife came and visited with me when my brother lived in the area.  My kids have not been to D.C. yet.

In general, each time I visit, D.C. seems a bit shabbier and the Metro system seems worse (with longer headways and fewer employees to talk to when something goes wrong).  Maybe it doesn't help that the majority of times I've visited have been in the winter, which is certainly not the best time to visit.  D.C. is definitely not a well run city, particularly if it does snow, but the museums are pretty incredible.  I haven't honestly decided if I will go back to DC (even for TRB) while Trump is there, but perhaps I will.  Nonetheless, I am relatively unlikely to take the kids there while he is in the White House.

After I dropped my stuff off in the hotel and took care of TRB business and meetings, I still had a few hours of daylight.  It turned out that I was staying quite near the White House and the Renwick Gallery.

I don't go into the Renwick that frequently (it's generally full of interior design objects that are artistic and not all that practical), but it was right there, so I stopped in.  The most interesting artist was making these objects from unfired clay and then painting them.  She generally left them unfinished and looking like ruined objects, as with this piano.

Kristen Morgin, Piano Forte, 2004

The Corcoran is just down the street, but it was completely closed for renovations.  It may open later in 2017.  The lions seemed appropriately sleepy.  (Yes, there was still some snow on the ground, though less than I had expected.)

I started wandering down to the Lincoln Memorial.  I actually don't get over that way that often (only every fifth trip or so), even though I generally consider Abraham Lincoln the best President.

I ran across a small museum called the Art Museum of the Americas, sponsored by OAS (Organization of American States).  I'm sure I've never been in there before.  I took a quick look around.  I thought the exhibit The Great Swindle: Works by Santiago Montoya was not bad.  Most of the pieces of art were made out of currency, manipulated to emphasize different colors.

It took me a while to find it, but I finally tracked down the Einstein statute near the National Academy of Sciences.


For a moment, I thought that they had completely closed off the Lincoln Memorial, but it was open.  It was pretty slippery though, given the snow and ice on all that marble.  I didn't see anyone fall down, however.

I didn't get really close to it, but on the way over to the Washington Monument, I saw that the Korean War Veterans Memorial is sort of a paired concept to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, with the main difference that there are sculpted soldiers nearby.  I thought it was somewhat derivative, but I wasn't particularly troubled by it.

However, I am appalled by the National World War II Memorial.  It looks exactly like something Hitler would have built to glorify the Third Reich (had they won).  I'm far from the only one that thinks this, and this is a particularly good post saying why the Memorial is terrible.  About the only good thing that can be said is that from most angles from the Lincoln Memorial steps you can't actually see it.

I got a few good shots of the Washington Monument.  I didn't realize that due to elevator malfunctions, the entire Monument is closed down.  Seems like a pretty good analogy for D.C. and the entire national political establishment since roughly the mid 1990s.

I was running pretty late at this point, but I decided to try to get up to the Smithsonian American Art Museum, which is always open until 7 pm while the rest of the Smithsonian closes at 5 or 5:30.  Thus, it usually is the last thing I see most days I am doing touristy things in D.C.

I generally spend far less time in the National Portrait Gallery, which shares the building.  They had a lot of Presidential portraits, which they haul out each inauguration.  I did think the sculpture of Geroge H.W. Bush by political cartoonist Pat Oliphant was good, and you can see Chuck Close's take on Clinton right behind.

The biggest draw for me was an exhibit of Bill Viola's work, centered mostly around subjects in water one way or another.  The most compelling was The Raft where a whole bunch of people get sprayed with fire hoses.  I really wonder what he paid the actors for that, since it must have been really unpleasant.

I enjoyed the feature on American painting from the 1930s through 50s, but, due to spending so much time in the Viola exhibit, I had to go very quickly through the modern and contemporary area on the 3rd floor.
Agnes Tait, Skating in Central Park, 1934
Skating in Central Park (detail)

Edward Hopper, Cape Cod Morning, 1950

I decided if I had time I would try to get back to the Smithsonian American Art Museum later in the visit.  Then I made my way back to the hotel.  I read a bit longer than I should have (The Sisters Brothers)* and then got up roughly an hour behind schedule on Sunday.

While the subway was still messed up on Sunday, it would take me to the Smithsonian at least, so I took that.  I had already to skip the Sackler, since the Freer Museum was closed.  I did duck into the National Museum of African Art.  I really liked the sound installation called Market Symphony.  Apparently it has been in place for most of a year, and it is coming down in two weeks.  It's worth checking out if you are nearby.

I went over to the Hirshhorn next.  The video art in the basement was fairly interesting, though I find it really challenging to carve out enough time to watch, particularly for pieces in the 15-20 minute range.  If they are longer than that (some of the pieces in the Ragnar Kjartansson exhibit upstairs were well over an hour), then I just keep moving.

I'm sure I've seen this Barbara Kruger piece of agitprop art before, but it did sink in a bit more this time (and no, I didn't buy anything in the gift shop).

The Ragnar Kjartansson exhibit was interesting, though I'm not entirely certain he deserved the entire floor.  One (short) video piece was amusing.  He was dressed up like an old-fashioned version of Death and tried to scare school children in a cemetery, and they just made fun of him.  One of the kids said, "You're just an elf with a stick."  Hilarious.  Apparently, the exhibit just closed.

In terms of the rest of the museum, I felt that the curators were really focusing on ugly art (Jean Dubuffet, Lucien Freud) that was seeped in alienation (Giacometti, Hopper) and sometimes misogyny (de Kooning).  While I do understand the impulse, not all artists were quite so gloomy, even during the Depression and the various stresses of the Cold War (basically the only exceptions here were a Miro painting and a couple of Calder sculptures, though I knew I would be seeing Stuart Davis at the National Gallery, and he is a much more optimistic and energetic artists).  One of the few pieces that I enjoyed looking at in the Hirshhorn was this Hooper painting, despite its anomie.

Edward Hopper, 11 A.M., 1926

One thing that the Hirshhorn has going for it is the sculptures and the sculpture garden, which I do think is considerably better than the National Gallery's sculpture garden.**

Roy Lichtenstein, Brushstroke, 1996

And then I traipsed over to the National Gallery, but this post is quite long enough as it is, so I'll follow up with a second post to take care of the rest of my touristic activities.

* I got through a large chunk of Vanity Fair, though I didn't finish it.  I probably would have had I not read The Sisters Brothers, but I wanted to have at least one book to purge from my collection, and I rightly guessed that this wouldn't be a keeper.  I'll make one big push this weekend, and I should be able to wrap it up.  It's fairly enjoyable for such a long novel.

** Though apparently in 2009, the National Gallery sculpture garden picked up a massive Chagall mosaic called Orphée.  I was certainly unaware of this.  I'm sorry to have missed that, so I will make an effort to catch it on my next visit, whenever that happens to be.

Friday, January 13, 2017

TRB 2017

I'm still recovering a bit from the trip to DC for the Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board.  It is always overwhelming (there are close to 13,000 visitors and perhaps 5000 posters and other presentations).  I didn't even attempt to go to any of the committee meetings.  I also was still fighting off the tail end of a cold, and my left ear kept closing up (which it is still doing, though I think it is getting close to being back to normal).  It didn't help that it was bitterly cold Sat-Mon.  It still hadn't warmed up much by Tuesday, though it wasn't quite as bad.  Finally, it started warming up on Wed., but I was heading out that day.

It did snow Sat., which made for an interesting landing at Reagan National, but we weren't seriously delayed.

The view from inside Reagan National

What was far more annoying is that there were major shut-downs of the subway system, and I had to walk quite a ways to my hotel.  In the end, it only snowed 1/2 inch (rather than the 3-5 inches they had predicted), so I didn't really need my boots aside from the first day.

I mostly did touristy things Sat. and Sun., and I'll write more about that over the weekend.  Sun. I stopped by the Conference Center to get my badge and spent a bit of time talking to the exhibitors, and in the evening I headed back over since the Northwestern reception was at the Marriott right next to the Convention Center.  I didn't see a couple of colleagues I was looking for, but I'm definitely glad that I went, since in the end, Dr. Koppelman showed up.  He hasn't been back to TRB in roughly 10 years, so it was a rare sighting indeed.  It was a good time overall, but staying up made it all but impossible for me to get up early enough to get to the 8 am sessions on Monday!  I settled for the poster sessions starting at 10:15 then had lunch with a former co-worker and we chatted about various things, including the jazz scene in Toronto (fairly weak, all things considered).

Monday evening was the UIC reception, and I talked to quite a few people.  The main person I went to find finally showed up just as I was leaving, but I did have a couple of minutes to buttonhole him and ask him about a couple of things related to committee work.  (This is the kind of thing that does make it worth going in person to these events...)

Tuesday morning was our poster session.  We had to get there at 7:45 to put our poster up.  Brutal.  I think we did the smart thing and just emailed our poster to Kinkos to have them print it up.  Definitely worth it.  I think it came out pretty well in the end.  We got 15 or even 20 people dropping by and asking questions.

I saw a few more sessions and posters throughout the day, then left at 2:45, heading up to Dupont Circle and to check out the Phillips Collection.  It's always worth seeing, though I was tired and probably should have just sat in the galleries longer.  The issue was that I was meeting people at a used bookstore nearby, but not until 6 pm, so I ended up with a lot of time to kill, and I didn't really want to browse the bookstore for an entire hour!

Anyway, my former colleagues and I did meet up, and then walked up to Adams Morgan for dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant.  It was quite good.

Wed. I went through all the posters at the mega-poster session, then headed to the airport.  I will say that it is super convenient to go from the Convention Center to Reagan National.  While I have a lot of nostalgia for the way it used to be (the three hotels clustered up the hill from Dupont Circle), the Convention Center wasn't too bad.  It was easier to get from session to session, and I thought the poster session area was laid out well.  I saw nearly everyone I wanted to see, and I can say that this TRB was a success.  Just exhausting as ever.

Edit (1/16): I totally forgot to talk about the conference swag.  I only scored a few pens at the exhibitor booths, but I got a few squeeze toys (for the kids, really) and this nifty scarf.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

10th Canadian Challenge - 15th Review - The Sisters Brothers

The actual Canadian content of Patrick deWitt's The Sisters Brothers is essentially zero.  The author was born in Canada but had moved to the US before he wrote his first novel.  The Sisters Brothers was a follow-up novel that caught fire, as they say.  After this, he briefly moved with his family to France, which inspired him to write his third novel, Undermajordomo Minor.

The setting of The Sisters Brothers is the American West, starting in the Oregon Territory and then travelling with the Sisters Brothers to San Francisco, which is in the grips of gold fever.  (We don't even get the hint that the same kind of gold rush will hit the Yukon at some point.)  There's nothing wrong with this of course, but it is an extremely nebulous link to Can Lit.

I have to say I don't really understand all the fuss about this novel.  It is basically someone steeped in high-brow fiction slumming it in the Western genre.  It might be one thing for the narrator, Eli Sisters, to think and talk in such high-falutin language, but pretty much everyone does throughout the novel with only one or two exceptions.  It kind of grated on me and gradually I lost interest in this novel.  I think the one part that was droll was when Eli was trying to lose weight and was cutting back on his meal portions until his brother, Charlie, convinced him that the woman he was slimming down for was not worth the effort.  After this, Eli stuffs himself with biscuits and pork.  I know there are a lot of fans of this novel, but I just didn't feel very invested in the characters or the plot.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Winding down 2016

I am definitely not going to miss 2016.  It will go down as one of the worst years ever -- basically when average people lost their minds and decided that sticking it to the man was the best thing since deep-fried Snickers.  Of course, 2017 may end up considerably worse, but I am trying very hard not to pay any attention to what happens in the U.S.  (I know my daughter would be thrilled if we visit Europe rather than the States again.)

For me personally, 2017 will likely be a decent year. I've made some decent progress on writing various plays.  I've gotten two actors interested in putting on some shorts, and that may be enough for me to commit to making this happen.  I'll also look more seriously into getting my anthology of transportation poetry published, though I don't want to spend a lot of time on that.

Anyway, I tried growing a bit of a goatee.  While it was supposed to be a quasi-tribute to George Michael (his last look anyway), it just looked bad.  Mostly it was coming in completely white and made me look even older than I actually am.  I looked like a scuzzy version of Peter Gabriel, so I ditched the whiskers.

Due to catching a cold, I put on hold making the curtains and these stuffed fish toys.  I'm sure the germs wouldn't have lasted, but I just wasn't feeling that well anyway.  (It probably is even more sensible not to try to make any sugar cookies right now...)

I'll do it when I get back.  I've just finished packing for my trip to DC.  I've also just learned that it is going to snow tomorrow (in DC, not Toronto) and that always makes for an unpleasant visit (since DC is never prepared for snow of any kind).  It means I'll have to wear boots, and I'll probably have to wear them on the plane, since they won't fit in my duffle bag.

Normally, we put away the Christmas tree and take down the lights a full week after New Year's, but I'll be gone next weekend.  So we took advantage of the fact that I had Monday off, and got everything packed away by Jan. 2!  That has to be a record for us.

This year my daughter wanted a gingerbread house.  I debated getting a kit, but then just bought one that was pre-assembled, and we added the frosting and decorations.

Even though we've now eaten almost all of it, she is quite upset that some is going to end up in the compost.  But it is starting to get stale, much like 2016 did there at the end.

With that, I need to bid you adieu and get some rest before flying out early in the morning.  Best wishes for 2017!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

New Year, new events

I'm very slowly filling up my calendar between now and May.  I actually have a few things already scheduled for July and that's before booking anything at Stratford or Shaw Festivals!

Obviously losing the Storefront Theatre is a blow, particularly since I planned to see Stupid F*cking Bird in March, but there is quite a bit else to keep me occupied.

January, I'll be back at Tarragon for Sequence, and Wolf Manor will be doing Danny and the Deep Blue Sea as well (need to get tickets for that soon).  Shakespeare Bash'd should be doing Twelfth Night at the end of Jan. or first week of Feb.  I'm sure there will be other things of interest that spring up.

I think I'll skip Coal Mine doing Superior Donuts (in Feb.).  I'm sure they will do a great job, but I just don't want to see it until I am done with all the rewrites to Dharma Donuts.

I have decided to check out My Night With Reg in Feb.  I generally catch one Mirvish show per season, and it looks like this is the one.  While it is really tempting to go see The Book of Mormon again, I'll try to restrain myself.

I do have to squeeze in George Brown's production of As You Like It in Feb.

In March, I will probably check out Wolf Manor's Three Sisters and Panych's 7 Stories at Hart House, and I am likely going to head over to Buffalo to catch A View from the Bridge.

I haven't seen anything that truly grips me coming through Crow's Theatre, but I might go see The Orange Dot in the second half of March, mostly so I can check out the space.  It's supposedly a 90 minute piece about existential dread.  I'm sure that will help distract me from whatever idiotic things Trump is up to south of the border.  Or not.

It looks like there is a one week run of Our Town at Buddies, and this seems like a fairly experimental version.  I'm leaning towards going.

I am probably going to see Dennis Kelly's Orphans at Coal Mine in April, though I'm pretty sure it will also be quite depressing.

I also will be catching two George Brown productions: The Penelopiad and A Flea in Her Ear and squeezing them in in April.

I just learned that there will be a production of Proof at Red Sandcastle in May, and I'm fairly likely to see that.  Details still forthcoming.

I'm debating seeing It's All Tru at Buddies in May.  Mostly because I have seen almost no queer theatre at Buddies since I've moved back, and that sort of seems weird to me.

Another production that was just announced is Ntozake Shange's for colored girls, which will be at Soulpepper through most of May.  It is again, super depressing, and I have seen it once already in Evanston, but I might go again.  Unfortunately, it remains just as relevant today as when it was written in the mid 1970s...

So I think I'll find a way to keep myself busy...