Archive for February, 2010

Tickled to the ends of the world and back: Darren Nichols on Musical Theater

February 17, 2010

Today, I interrupt our regularly scheduled programing outlining my genealogy and break from the tea time tete-a-tetes that shall hence forth compromise this cirque virt-u-al and bring you instead know some lightness, some laughter and some utter loveliness.

What do I bring–nothing other than a gem of a clip from that T.V. show to keep all other T.V. shows from talkin’ smack; that show that makes the Office (which I totally adore) feel like a 7th grade history video shown when the teacher is out; ; that artful, brilliant triumph that makes you mourn the fact that trilogies consist of only 3!

Slings and Arrows!!!!!!

Ahhh….perfectly punctuated wit, refined poignancy, seering insight and all encompassing, 360 degree awesomeness.

Those of you who know my sordid past might recall that, in my far off youth, I was a lady of the musical theater. Before Mozart and Donizetti wooed me away from Sondheim, Rodgers and Hammerstein et. all LEGIT, talented musical theater composers were the leading men in my musical life.

Than I went to Stagedoor manor–and the shallowness and superficiality practically strangled and suffocated me…but I escaped to see the light.*

Alright, so it wasn’t just Stagedoor that made me jettison microphones and choose dead Europeans over amplification and my vernacular, the classical world was always calling my name–I mean, let’s be (quasi) real for a split second, and say the less-than-brainy, washed out world of the modern musical theater doesn’t really jive with my whole 7 year old grandma get up.  It’s like asking Nathaniel Hawthorne to read at Beatnik cafe: both have the potential to be great, but they don’t so much interrelate.

Regardless of your feelings about musical theater–past, present and future–I do believe fans, haters and closet fans/haters, can ALL appreciate Mr. Darren Nichols’ expert, thorough and truly enlightening definition of just WHAT the heck MT is.

And if you’ve enjoyed the DEFINITIVE explanation of musical freakin theater—check out his take on excuses in a postmodern world.

Stay tuned, friends and phantoms, for further updates on Operation TinCanDaDA as well as the launch of tea time talks with our yet to be revealed premiere guest.  All I’ll say, is he or she is a member of my “family”.

Stay imaginary,

The Lady, the Lover, Le Fay

*  I still enjoy quality musical theater; but the chosen adjectives refer to both the state of the CURRENT musical theater as evidenced by the commercial crap littering Broadway as well as to the general qualities ascribed to the CLICHE musical theater performer.  But I don’t hate; I still do musicals; I think Jason Robert Brown is a freakin’ genius….perhaps the Bernstein of our times…


Calling all Krumpets!

February 13, 2010

As to the project of the century, the operation to outdo Normandy, as to the details concerning tincans and DaDa—you, cher publique, shall have to wait (with baited breath I’m sure) for another week, another post, as the spirit (or should I say author function?) compels me not (to reveal the goods).

He/She/IT DOES move me to write—just what–I’m not quite sure.  As I said, the operation is stayin’ under wraps until all the allies are back in town and ready for ACTION, however, I would like to reveal something about this here (part of the) circus.

I could cut right to serving you what I got, if infact, I knew what I were serving.  As it stands, friends, I’m not sure if I’m baking crème brule, coconut dream cake or spaghetti squash surprise.

As I’m not one to wax on and on about my own tawdry tales (because they ain’t anywhere NEAR tawdry), the all too easy blogging route, pour moi, would be to ramble onwards, upwards, outwards and… onwards about my inner musings, miffs and mysteries.

But like most Fosse musicals, I needs me some structure.  Yea I  said it: I need structure.  I can’t sit still in class, I abhor wearing a bra and I’m prone to roll around on the floor before conforming to ANY form of inhibition, nevertheless, cookie cutters, decorative filing folders and other tools for organizational ba-liss are totally condoned, approved and encouraged.  They make la vie une plus facil…or something there like.

Besides, I’m not talkin’ strict high school style 5-paragraph expository essay, I mean structure looses all efficacy if it’s just to homogenize, limit, and facilitate this beauracratic hoop-lala known as just about everything.

But let’s be real, everybody who’s got a blog,  has got a gimmick.  Now I’m no game-a-playin’ lady, but I wouldn’t mind saying SOMETHING that signifies (oh just maybe) SOMETHING….even if it is told by an idiot (me).  Thus, we return, ironically, to structure…

…but not before taking a(nother) detour.  Me thinks the title shall have to evolve: for while life IS a circus and I a mere aspiring trapeze artist, I can’t help but ABHOR that

A) I include my NAME in the title (uggg how eGOcentric) and

B) I make waaaay too many post-structurialist puns and academic (dis)allusions to NOT have them be, somehow, a part of the title.  I mean I SHUN academia and all its lauded tenets of knowledge, truth, “unpacking”,  insert random esoteric BULL.  BUT I can’t, sadly, deny it’s come to sculpt me in less than subtle (but hopefully not too obvious) ways.  We are, I suppose, both what we eat and what we rebel against.

I also think the uncharacteristic, excessive amount of deconstructionist allusions etc. (even if only apparent to me) results from  my feeling incredibly awkward about blogging and blabbering on and on about yours truly.  Ewww.  Perhaps all the referencing that movement which celebrates and overtly basks in over-referencing makes me feel slightly better about all this shenaniganism as it’s the best a self-depreciating, playful sprite can do to atone for/acknowledge the fact that this is, well, ridiculous.

But who/what today, my dearest chums, ISN’T utterly, totally, wholly, completely RiDiCuLoUs?

So regarding STRUCTURE–in the simplest of terms—here’s the deal.  In addition to existential musings, the daily round UP on TinCANdada, this here epicenter of linguistic loveliness shall also contain a weekly chronicle of my current etude.

What’s with the etude you say?  No it’s not an apple-era word for some kind of virtual, electronic attitude. It’s an exercise, challenge of sorts, in which I strive to make people feel uncomfortable, make myself feel uncomfortable and dare to do what only those with an exurbanite amount of derring-do…dare do.

Much like my mini-crusades and weekly-etudes back in the *abyss, I shall continue to smile at strangers, leave packages and poems for persons of interest, perform interpretive dances whilst waiting in line at Whole Foods…

Beyond stretching myself, these sojourns shall surely  provide ample and varied reactions of  horrification and bemusement from my fellow human beings who shall act as witness, and sometimes subject, to my antics.  If nothing else, this blog shall be a means of keeping me honest, good and accountable: makin’ sure I’m spreading the awkward love that binds us all.

For life’s a grail quest and whether self-given, universally bestowed or somehow inherited, etudes, obstacles, paying-the-freakin’-bills: these are the grail challenges of the ipad, I think I’m so rad, age.  Smiling at stranger’s subs in for jousting; wooing fetching baristas with sonnets equals the new javelin.

For like most children of a certain age, I’m just an artist still settling on an art (I HAVE ruled out fire breathing and mosaics).  I’m in dialogue with voices from the past trying to say something OLD in NEW words—the same game that Emerson, Eliot, Calvino et. ALL have long played, long aced and long inspired.

Perhaps the name of this game, more than awkward etudes, shall be finishing, or rather STARTING my education, by openly, publicly engaging with all the figures, movements and ideas that academia DIDN’T get a chance to ruin for me.   I mean, everybody knows a liberal arts education teaches you NOTHING of practical value—which, frankly, I’m pretty OK with (most days), as I’m not so into the practical.

I am into being a human–into feeling and loving, into knowing not why but saying Yes, that’s ok, YES please anyway.

So raise a glass to sending me off to get myself some culture, some class, some CLUE of what it is to be alive in an age of perpetual “unmounring” (here here for undergrads who conquered Adorno!).  But considering I couldn’t even sit through Katrin Pahl’s deconstructionist manifestos, no thank you to any further seminar tables (even if you get to bang on them at the end) and surveys of this unimportant thing and that obsolete idea.

I like tea, I wanna do tea, bring on the tea!

Yes, yes I think that’s it.  Teatime at the circus: me, you, everybody else we know + some figure, thing, idea or FORCE.  Ahhh, la forza.  La forza del destino.  The etudes, naturally, shall relate to the current guest; it shall be teatime with whomever or whatever currently occupies, taxes, tickles or fascinates me.

From here on out, I’m initiating my OWN discourse Michel Foucault…I’m a freakin’ initiator of discourse: woot woot!

So I beg, you few (if any!) readers, where, with whom or what to commence?

*  Abyss = college = my college experience at The Johns Hopkins University.  It can also be used in general terms to refer to the collective, universal wasteland that is the practice of the humanities and most other non-scientific disciplines in modern academia.

On Deconstructing Deconstruction or Restoring (sooome) Structure to Post-Structuralism

February 2, 2010

So as this attempt at blogging is an overly modern ambition for a girl belonging to a bygone era, I commence the first chapter of this quest by announcing the weekly mission shall be trifold.  But before such lofty, tri-part formats are outlined and enhanced, let it be known that this here circus, in addiiton to being a general cabaret Voltaire intended to celebrate art, life, liberty and the pursuit of so-called happiness, shall hitherto ALSO serve as a launching pad for


What IS this operation concerning tin-cans and that tempromental past time of Tzara and Breton?  ‘Tis a rhyme for your eyes and a spectacle for your ears; it’s how Mahler mixed with Joni Mitchell tastes; it is the art of communicaiton in a post-modern, post-mechanical age of DIGITAL reproduction….

all of which, likely, didn’t divulge too much–I mean, who do you think I am Focoult?  I’m all for structure, but I sometimes pretend otherwise being fanciful, frilly and prone to battle deathgods at midnight while frocked in lilacs and lillies.

I gotta play it cool, man,  (ala that master snide shark, chief charlatan and captain of the cop-out brigade Jacques Derrida himself) and say I can’t tell you WHAT it is…but I can elaborate on what it is not.

TinCANdada is NOT:

* A hip, gotta grove like the grapevine, IT new dance.  We DO endorse el tango.  Que sexissimo yo yo!

*  A Russian expletive lamenting the price of vodka here in the supposedly united states of Ameri(de)ca(y).

*  A lost Pynchon novella.

And while we could play 20 questions until academic philosophy once again becomes relevant (which is to say NEVER), we shall keep it at 3 revelations a day—at least for now–it’s ever so good to want.

But one thing I shall share:  tinCANdAdA is ecrire, parlar, chanter, peinture, celebrer, vivir et etre.  It is not concerned with real, practical or common sense.  It prefers tea to coffee, O’neil over Bernard Shaw, N*Sycn over the Backstreet Boys.

It doesn’t believe in sole it believes in SOULS.

And what do souls need to do?  Well, Plato tells us souls have wings; we buy that; we support that motion (raises placard enthusiastically).

So while souls flit and float, they also need to chit and chat and we at tinCANdada believe IN and SPECIALIZE* in communication.  Ze art of communication; ze sacred art of soul speaking to soul awash, adrift in the post-modern wasteland.

And as to me and my curls, I (along with my allies in absurdism) wish to live as we shouldn’t be allowed.  This includes, but is not limited to:

  • speaking the truth
  • saying I LOVE YOU
  • exclaiming I ADORE (insert object to which one feels particularly attached or enchanted by)
  • smiling at strangers
  • wearing tutu’s and or three-pieced suits
  • waltzing rather than walking
  • stealthly crunching soy-crisps in sub-terreanean libraries
  • CELEBRATING EVERY AND ALL DAYS—despite the sorrow.  Joy LIVES in sorrow, which is to say, it IS sorrow.
  • Celebrating ze SeLf (whatever that is…)!
  • Questing ON towards ze grail
  • Playing lacrosse with Madame Sostris
  • Returning to the beginning, to know the place for the first time
  • etc.  etc. etc.            yada yada yada                 and all that jaaaaaaaaaaaaz

Details shall be gradually divulged–all in due time mes amis; and while the world says keep it real, I say STAY IMAGINARY kit-kats.

I surely shall (at least try to); picking treasures from tree hollows; spreading fairydust in a world that’s more concerned with the swineflu; living out LOUD in technicolor surroundsound! Dulce de leche!

So stay imaginary friends and start counting the minutes, until we quest further into the land of fantastical lairs and labrynths; where princesses masquerade as dragons; where we scam the world with improvised tomfoolery; where we say freakin’  YES, damn-straighter than straight, YES to life.

From somewhere over the rainbow, I am,

Holly J Caracappa the First: the mason, the mermaid the metaphor.

*  Dissertation available upon request