#1 I learned to program… » given the name Ruth by Tannahill » 2020-08-29 00:44:24

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Botticelli in the Fire won the Governor General’s Award for Drama in 2019

Its author.

Toronto playwright Jordan Tannahill

is remarkably clever and to an extent knows his subject.
On the surface, the story is potentially compelling.
The play is set in Florence just before and during the period when the friar Savonorola imposed a fanatical religious reign of terror on the city.
The key line in the play: “There’s always a plague, there’s always a fire, and there’s always a friar who wants to throw someone in it…” is immediately relatable in today’s tense world.

Tannahill encourages contemporary comparisons with his characters having smart phones

chill playlists, while speaking today’s presumably hip lingo.

One of the greatest of Florence’s artists

with his assistant, Leonardo da Vinci, are caught in the political drama.
Being gay, they see that the general terror will likely extend to them.
How they escape actually and metaphorically is the supposed essence of the play.

To divert suspicion from himself and Leonardo

adds a painting to the infamous Bonfires of the Vanities whipped up by Savonorola.

Tannahill wants to admire the courage and cunning necessary to save oneself

which is fine, but once admiring that what are we left with.
For one thing history shows us that Botticelli had a religious period and was for a time a follower of Savonorola.
His destruction of his painting perhaps reveals a deeper conflict than what Tannahill ascribes to the painter.
Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong with Tannahill’s reason that the artist destroyed his painting to preserve his life.
Numerous artists throughout history unfortunately have done that, or worse, to survive the fanatics in power, but exploring a mix of motives, which means a mix of emotions, would expand the play in many directions.
Going with what we have, no one would doubt the playwright’s cleverness, energy, and theatrical finesse.
However, if that complexity surrounding Botticelli were followed the character would have been more compelling if perhaps a little repugnant to our contemporary eyes.
In any case, apparently the story of persecution looming over Botticelli and Leonardo isn’t enough to keep our interest.
Tannahill throws in a cliché love triangle with Botticelli having an affair with his patron Lorenzo DiMedici’s wife, Clarice, .

While she is posing as Venus for his great painting the Birth of Venus
This stirs the pot but the real interest of the audience might be on Leonardo

Like it or not, he dominates the piece simply because he dominates our imagination in a way no other artist except Shakespeare does.
His huge cultural presence hangs over the play and can’t be dispelled.

He is somewhat more articulate than Botticelli for sure

though unfortunately everyone sounds the same in speaking the play’s chic contemporary patter, which is fine, as noted in the quote above, for a few minutes but incapable of conveying deeper ideas.
The Renaissance was as a period exactly what the great critic Walter Benjamin wrote of any historical period: that every book of civilization contains a book of barbarism.
One doesn’t know in the end what Tannahill wants us to consider aside from admiration for the artists who always survive as best they can while creating under pressure.
Fair enough, but the deeper story is left untold.
The play isn’t sentimental but it isn’t as hard headed as it could be either.
Sunday in Sodom, the companion piece in the same volume.

Is an earlier play told primarily by Lot’s Wife

given the name Ruth by Tannahill, relating her story leading up to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Falling into the tradition of much of middle-class art, the play presents Lot as an idiot with his wife, Edith, the patient world-weary wiser partner.
In some ways the play seems an old fashioned feminist retelling, a relic of the seventies.
Its main strength is a hint of Yiddish comic tradition—it could use more.
God’s messengers, angels in the Bible, in the play appear to be American soldiers.
The modern input of the destruction of Sodom—that it was all about the Iraq war—doesn’t hold up but Tannahill isn’t interested in the original story in any case.
He offers his revisionist take with a hip anti-war twist as seen in the dialogue of the angel-soldiers.
Ruth turns back in Tannahill’s scripture because she lacked faith that her child would be safe when they fled Sodom.
Her long monologue leading up to that moment is strongly written and affecting.
That it comes late in this short play is unfortunate.
Up to that point.

There is no indication that Ruth is little more than exasperated in a comic

albeit seriously intended, turn.
The key action set down by the playwright is that throughout Ruth doesn’t move while the other characters do until the moment when she turns back.
But the text suggests otherwise.
Surely it is Ruth who should be moving all the time until the moment when she is frozen upon turning back while the other characters should be immovable until that moment.
Symbolically they are stuck anyway in the old attitudes which bring about destruction At its best, the play is genuinely funny.
But again, as with Botticelli, the playwright shies away from something truly dramatic he doesn’t quite realize in his writing.

Botticelli In The Fire & Sunday in Sodom by Jordan Tannahill Playwrights Press Canada

2018, p.p., 212, $18.95 ISBN: 978-1770919174  Rory Runnells is a Winnipeg writer.
He was Executive Director of the Manitoba Association of Playwrights for 34 years.
He reviews for the  Winnipeg Free Press.
The post Botticelli In The Fire & Sunday in Sodom by Jordan Tannahill appeared first on Prairie Fire.

#2 New York’s Cornell University Library » The DASB Senate budget mostly comes from the flea market » 2020-08-18 04:20:35

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A new committee will be implemented next year by the DASB Senate to deal with student grievances and to inform students of the resources available to them remotely as they adjust to the new needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We formed a new committee that will specifically communicate with students, this feeds into our larger vision of ensuring that students are engaged,” said Katelyn Pan, incoming student body president.
Pan will face new challenges as the incoming De Anza Student Body president since the campus closure has required students and faculty to adjust the ways they work.
Pan said some of the challenges they are facing are not having the face-to-face aspect of their meetings and communicating with students.

“Student engagement was one of our biggest goals on our platform when running,” said Pan

To achieve this goal, the DASB Senate will use social media platforms more actively in order to encourage student involvement, Pan said.
The marketing committee is currently working on updating the DASB website so students who have questions or comments for DASB members can easily reach out to them.
DASB adviser Hyon Chu Yi-Baker said they will also be creating a Canvas page for DASB that each senator will be able to personalize and will include their contact information.
The DASB Senate will continue to hold Zoom meetings and events for the upcoming fall quarter and will continue to accept internship applications and give out scholarships to students.
“We can’t do any kind of physical contact right now therefore we plan on making the most out of the technology that is available to us”, said Yi-Baker.
She said they are looking at the best ways to connect to students, and fight student apathy about student government.

Yi-Baker has advised the incoming DASB senators to think outside of the box

Since the beginning of the spring quarter.

Yi-Baker has been conducting workshops with the incoming senators

including an equity workshop about the Black Lives Matter movement.
“As a campus that really celebrates diversity we want to affirm our support for our African American and the Black community on campus,” said Pan.
The budget of $1.1 million for the school year 2020-2021 was approved last winter and was not affected by the closure of the flea market, a main source of funding.
But Grace Lim, chair of finance, is hoping to make up for the loss of revenues from the flea market closure by proposing new projects ideas when her term begins.
The DASB Senate budget mostly comes from the flea market, DASB membership fees, and the percentage of students enrolled.
It does not come from federal money, so budget cuts are not expected to affect them.
Pan said she plans to uphold the platform that she ran on by seeking alternative sources of revenue that will go toward increasing financial aid and benefit the student body.
No bylaws are expected to change for the school year 2020-2021.

#3 158 Writing versus Running an RPG Adventure » The post Wondering What Living in Toronto Is Like » 2020-08-17 06:02:14

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The post Wondering What Living in Toronto Is Like.

Here Are the Things to Know appeared first on I Love Moving



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