Archive for the Celebrations Category

Happy Birthday, Will!

Posted in Celebrations on 2014/04/23 by mattermind

With all the fuss they make over obscure commemorations, Google might have dialed up the glasses and done a doodle (you’d think) today to honor the greatest playwright who ever set qwill to parchment. Guess they’re too busy uploading maps and cat videos to the cloud to be bothered.

But here at the blog, we’re more than aware that today is not just any ol’ hump day, but an occasion to put on party hats and make a little noise for a guy who’s turning 450 this year.

He’s aging quite gracefully, our William. Doesn’t look a day over 305 if you ask me. Maybe the time has come for some pushback against the post-modern tendency to drag the heroes of literature down with text-fixated obscurantism.

But that’s for another day.

This one belongs to you, Mr. Shakespeare. A toast to you, who lives on through all of us who love you, and the generations to follow who will discover and love you too.


House of Shakespeare

Posted in Celebrations, Shakespeareana on 2014/04/22 by mattermind

Tomorrow is Shakespeare’s birthday and to honor it I will be posting throughout the day.

While wrapping up Henry IV, Part II, I encountered a bit of wicked treachery that reminded me of an article I had recently seen drawing comparisons between Shakespeare and the TV hit, House of Cards.

I don’t watch the show because I’m not, as a rule, attracted to treachery nor art depicting it. For similar reasons, I was unable to stick with Mad Men, another wildly popular and highly touted offering.

The dark side of humanity is not a place I desire to dwell unless to extract a necessary moral lesson. I can bear it in limited quantity, but I prefer to spend my time and what’s left of my senses exploring the virtue, goodness and possibilities rather than to surrender to the negative any more than need be.

I imagine that’s a rather odd confession in an age of anxiety. This is a time for the celebration of anti-heroes and ironic wit, detached critiques and dumbed-down avuncular stooges. It gets harder and harder to wear one’s heart nakedly on one’s sleeve.

But I do protest too much.

Henry IV will wrap tomorrow and I will share news of birthday celebrations from around the world as I find them.

This world was made a better place by Shakespeare’s birth. The day has finally arrived for everyone, everywhere to make hay of the occasion, and to let their appreciation for the Bard be known.

In Celebration

Posted in Celebrations on 2014/04/18 by mattermind

…of the sacred holiday of Easter, this blog will take a break from Good Friday through Monday morning. I wish everyone a blessed time of joy and happiness among all your loved ones.


Made Plans for Shakespeare Week?

Posted in Celebrations on 2014/03/15 by mattermind

Spring break has come a little early this year. And no, not because of global warming climate change.

It might not be the beaches of Ft. Lauderdale or Waikiki, but all England has decided the heck with waiting until April 23 to par-tay. It’s time to grab your hats and launch the Bard’s birthday celebration!

For official Shakespeare Week info, click HERE.

Makes sense, really. Western culture has pretty much abdicated Christmas to October, Valentine’s Day to January and Easter to February. Why not kick off Shakespeare’s bash over a month early? It’s not often a guy turns 450. (At least a guy we still hold in high esteem.)

So if you’re looking for a reason to take the week off or spiff up your dancing shoes, tell the boss/wife/significant other that you’re ringing in the official start of Shakespeare Week and all should be good.

Is it too early for bikinis and Bellinis in Stratford? I’ve gotta book me a flight, ASAP.

For more on the happenings, click HERE.

Incredibly Rare First Folio to Go on Display

Posted in Celebrations, Events on 2014/03/11 by mattermind

Shakespeare’s 450th birthday is right around the corner – April 23rd to be more or less exact (at least for the celebration).

Now we get word that a first folio – one of the world’s most important documents – will be put on display to commemorate the occasion.

You can read more about it HERE.

ENGLAND A Pilgrimage for Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday

Posted in Celebrations, Shakespeareana on 2014/03/10 by mattermind

As we get closer to Shakespeare’s 450th birthday, I expect a flurry of articles like THIS from the Miami Herald.

As a passionate traveller, I can’t help but envy those fortunate enough to make the journey for this momentous occasion.

Please let me know if you would like to share personal stories or have links to articles that may interest readers here.

Shakespeare, like all great artists, ultimately transcends a particular time or place. Yet we remain fascinated by origin tales – disputed and otherwise. It inspires us to visit a birthplace, school or gravesite, even in this era of virtual reality.

April 23rd. Mark it on your calendar. Nobody knows with absolute certainty that this is the correct date (or even the right guy). But it’s the best we’ve got. And the party’s going down anyway.

So be there. Well, in spirit at least.

450 Years of Shakespeare

Posted in Celebrations, Shakespeareana with tags , , , , on 2014/01/07 by mattermind

Restored Globe

Reconstructed Globe Theater – Image from the Herald Sun (Link below)

2014 is an auspicious year for any Shakespeare blog, this being the 450th anniversary of the Bard’s birth in 1564.  Celebrations will commence all over the world around April.  Check your local listings for events in your area.

William Shakespeare may have been born and died in England, but his works are a global phenomenon encompassing the breadth and depth of the human spirit – and with it the entire world.  People everywhere will want to join in on the festivities.

NOTE: I will continually update the blog as I become aware of new events.  For now, here are a few links to get you started:







These, naturally, are but a few examples.

Keep in mind that both 2014 and 2016 will each mark anniversaries in the life of Shakespeare, with 2014 being the 450th year after his birth and 2016 the 400th since his death.

In a way, the whole three-year span will be filled with news, notes and celebrations of some kind; that is, a step beyond the usual.  I wlll be alerting you and posting links as I come across them.

Some readers may assume that I planned this oh-so-well.  But, alas, I deserve no feather in my cap since you can clearly see that I first attempted this blog in 2010, subsequently aborting it for various personal reasons.

My stated goal here is to begin anew the project I had started, this time bringing it to a rightful and fitting conclusion.  Once the cycle is finished, a future reader may climb aboard at any time that personally suits them and design a year-long program of their own.  In theory, you shall have myself and any comments to accompany you.

For that to happen, of course, the job at hand must be accomplished. There is much work to be done!

My reward/incentive will be a literary tour of the UK in 2016 (knock on wood), spanning from mid April in Stratford through mid June in Dublin so I can be on hand for Bloomsday.  Heady times, indeed.

In the meantime, I have only finished Othello, but have added an extra week in order to reread it and watch as many of the movie adaptations as I can.  At the top of my list are the versions with Orson Welles, Lawrence Olivier — and the opera starring Placido Domingo.

For those of you keeping score at home, I am reading the No Fear Shakespeare translation of Othello this time round, a text with both the original on one side and a modern language “update” on the other, mostly to disentangle certain thorny passages that confounded me upon first try.

Footnotes, unfortunately, have been of little or no help.  Since I am a bear of little brain (from the Tao of Pooh), I am going to employ the handy dandy text that you can see for yourself HERE.

As for the “translations” themselves, more on that as I break down the relevant passages over the next few days.