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CD Notes: Monty Python’s Total Rubbish

I remember back in 1974, when the first episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus was broadcast on the local PBS station WNET in New York. I seem to recall that there had been a bit of publicity before the series aired, and I made sure to not miss it. I was immediately hooked. Shortly afterwards, […]

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TV Notes: The Booth at the End

I stumbled on this series by accident, browsing Amazon Prime Video. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) I’d never heard of it, but I remembered Xander Berkley from 24, so I thought I’d give it a try. This is one of the oddest series I’ve seen in a long time. A man who sits (all day?) in a […]

App Review: Shakespeare Pro

If you’re a Shakespeare buff like I am, you probably like having all of the Bard of Stratford’s works on your iPad or iPhone. It’s great to be able to dip into a play or poem when you have some down time, or when you’re waiting for an appointment. You can download free or paid […]

Review: The Complete Arkangel Shakespeare on CD

Buy from Amazon.com | Amazon UK | Amazon FR

“We might be better off with public readings of Shakespeare,” says Harold Bloom in Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human. “Ideally, of course, Shakespeare should be acted, but since he is now almost invariably poorly directed and inadequately played, it might be better to hear him well than see him badly.” Not being able to judge the quality of current Shakespearean performances as the erudite Bloom, I suffer more from a dearth of Shakespeare here in the French countryside.

While we cannot always find such public readings, we can listen to recorded, dramatized versions of the plays, as with this set of Shakespeare’s 38 plays. With a cast of hundreds, most actors from the Royal Shakespeare Company, these works come alive through a skillful combination of reading, sound effects and music. As radio used to do when dramatizing works, the Arkangel set gives you the acting and the atmosphere. While one may be a bit irked by the “original” music, a sort of Coltrane-inspired Elizabethan music–why didn’t they use actual music of the period, including that composed for Shakespeare’s plays?–the overall production quality is about as good as it gets.

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Essential Movies: Almost Famous

Growing up in the 1970s, music was an important part of my life. My friends and I went to concerts dozens of times each year. Sometimes these were big concerts in Madison Square Garden, one of the best arenas for rock music. Others were in smaller venues in New York City, such as The Palladium, […]

Book Review: The Science of Shakespeare, by Dan Falk

There’s always room for books aimed at the general public examining some obscure element of Shakespeare’s life or thought. Since we don’t know much about his life, or his thought – other than through the plays – there’s plenty of speculation in books like this. Some succeed in being interesting and thought-provoking; and some don’t. […]

Three of the Best Rock Concert Movies of All Time

I like using iTunes’ shuffle mode, and every now and then, it pops up something I hadn’t heard in a while, giving me an Aha! moment, reminding me to spin a (virtual) disc that hasn’t been heard recently. Today, the one that set me off was Born Under the Punches, by Talking Heads. Listening to […]

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