Monday, November 2, 2009

Monologue Writing

This post was originally published on my handmade jewelry blog, Design by Cassandra, on November 2, 2009.

William Shakespeare's 'The Tragedy of Julius Ceasar', Aquila Theatre Company, New York

I had sent this email just this evening to a friend of mine on Twitter who was having some trouble with a university project, which required her to either write a monologue or a two-part dialogue.  (She considered the dialogue to be a 'cop-out', so we know what her decision is!)  I had sent her this email, hoping to inspire her, and to approach it at a different angle.  Here's what I wrote to my friend:

Okay, so you want to write a monologue.  It's not as daunting as you think, when you apply yourself to it. 

I'd been doing theatre all my life, and I love the acting craft.  I have so much appreciation for everything having to do with breathing life into words on paper, flushing them out into moving pictures and beyond talking heads.  I think one of the big misunderstandings about the words in the script is that the playwright must been a keen observer of the human spirit, psyche and nature to compose such natural dialogue.  Boy, I wonder how people speak themselves, if it isn't in natural dialogue?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Moral Obscenity 101: Kanye West

This post was originally published on my handmade jewelry blog, Design by Cassandra, on September 28, 2009.

This is an editorial by the author.  Any comments made are of the author, and the author alone, unless otherwise stated.  I welcome your thoughts on this post.  (Resources:, Youtube)

For those who have been avoiding all things pop culture and relative news these past few weeks, you would have learned that at the 2009 MTV Video Awards, upon earning her win for Best Female Video for 'You Belong With Me', Taylor Swift was interrupted by professional jackass rapper/hip-hop artist Kanye West, who stormed the stage, stole the microphone out of Taylor's frozen hands, and stood shocked as he declared that Beyonce's video 'Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)' was the "best video of all time", to the shock, amazement and disapproval of the packed theatre.  Since, he has sparked the international catchphrase "and I'mma let ya finish ..."

For me, this was the straw the broke my Kanye camel's back.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Patrick Swayze 1952-2009

This post was originally published on my handmade jewelry blog, Design by Cassandra, on September 20, 2009.

"I dream that the word 'cure' will no longer be followed by the words 'it's impossible'. Together, we can make a world where cancer no longer means living with fear, without hope, or worse"
Speaking at the multi-network simulcast of Stand Up For Cancer in September 2008, appealing to the general public to make donations for the cause.

Patrick Swayze was a big part of my adolescence.  Not a day went by between the ages of 12 and 16 where my sister and I wouldn't put Dirty Dancing in the VCR and sing along to every song he and Jennifer Grey danced to.  To us, it was the epitome of the 'converted bad boy' that we dreamed to meet one day.  Dirty Dancing still remains to be one of my favourite movies.

So to hear that Patrick had passed away after suffering from pancreatic cancer since January 2008, I was happy to hear he wasn't suffering anymore, but still confused and sad that someone I consider so young to be taken away from us so soon.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Adam Goldstein, aka DJ AM 1973-2009

This post was originally published on my handmade jewelry blog, Design by Cassandra, on August 30, 2009.

"New york, new york. Big city of dreams, but everything in new york aint always what it seems." [sic]
- Adam's last post on his Twitter page, three days before his body was found in his New York City apartment on August 28, 2009

I'm a Twitterbug, yes.  I'm chatting with a good friend I've made on the site from Boston, as she tells me she's packing for her trip to New York City tomorrow.  As I yearn to return to 'The Big Apple' and tell her my jealousy, joke about sneaking me into a bus carry-on, and Photoshop me into her pictures, the next tweet I read from Perez Hilton stopped the banter quite suddenly as I read that Adam Goldstein, better known to his fans as DJ AM, has died.

My God, is this truly a summer of death?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Led Zeppelin

This post was originally published on my handmade jewelry blog, Design by Cassandra, on August 18, 2009.

I celebrated my birthday last year doing a gig for a Led Zeppelin tribute night with a good friend of mine, Brent Lindsay.  Check out below a couple of my favourites from the night. We've received some really positive feedback and have asked to come out and jam with some other musicians and play a few places. We haven't really taken up any offers yet. I did cheat a bit: you'll see a music stand in front of us. Those are lyrics. Brent had brought six guitars ... uh, well, instruments in total: mandolin ('Battle of Evermore'), dobro ('That's The Way'), 12-string guitar ('Tangerine', 'Gallow's Pole'), acoustic guitar ('Stairway To Heaven', 'Black Mountain Side'). He knew all the songs by heart. Someone in the audience shouted "Jimmy Brent!' during our between-song banter, which still sticks to him today. The guy deserves it - he has the most impressive guitar collection I've ever seen, even the original Jimmy Page Signature Les Paul! He didn't bring that one to the gig, as it was an acoustic set, although every instrument was a Gibson.

Now that I think of it, this is my way of honouring the passing of Les Paul, the man who helped Jimmy Page find his own voice in a sea of millions.

Rock n' roll!  Enjoy the videos!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Les Paul, the 'Inventor' of Modern Music 1915-2009

This post was originally published on my handmade jewelry blog, Design by Cassandra, on August 16, 2009.

"Honestly, I never strove to be an Edison. The only reason I invented these things was because I didn’t have them and neither did anyone else. I had no choice, really.” - Les Paul

Les Paul, a man whom all musicians today owe deep gratitude for many things taken for granted, died on August 13 from complications due to pneumonia. He was 94 years old.

Les Paul, born Lester William Polfuss in Winsconsin, started his interest in music at the age of eight when he started playing harmonica, and after an attempt at learning banjo, he opted for guitar. It's said that at this time, he invented the neck-worn harmonica holder, so that he could play the harmonica hands-free while playing the guitar.

His inventions were always out of necessity. Dissatisfied with acoustic guitars that were sold in the 1930s, Les Paul experimented at home with some ideas of an electric guitar of his own design. He created "The Log", the famous prototype simply made from a common 4" x 4" piece of lumber with a bridge, guitar neck and pickup attached, and for aesthetics, he attached the body of an Epiphone hollow-body guitar, sawed lengthwise with "The Log" in the middle. Two problems were solved: the acoustic body didn't resonate with the amplified sound, so it cut out feedback; and sustain, because the energy of the strings didn't fade out because it was resonating through a thicker guitar body. Hence, the 'electric guitar' was born.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Michael Jackson 1958-2009

This post was originally published on my handmade jewelry blog, Design by Cassandra, on July 14, 2009.

Death registers in different ways for different people. For me, I wear my heart on my sleeve. I found myself grieving with the rest of the world, but I also had a much different, personal reaction.

At the time of Michael's death, we were also surrounded by a number of other celebrity deaths that shocked and rattled the media. Farrah Fawcett, most famously known for her television work in 'Charlie's Angels', becoming a seventies sex symbol, finally succumbing to her battle with cancer. Steve McNair, nicknamed 'Air McNair' for his prowess on the football field, was killed by his alleged mistress after she turned the gun on herself. Martin Streek, a Torontonian radio deejay credited for bringing the alternative music scene to the forefront of Canada's music appreciation, committed suicide, leaving his suicide note on his Facebook status update. Even reports of attempted suicides in extraordinary circumstances can be a bit much for anyone. (A young woman in Arizona attempted to hang herself with a scarf from a ceiling fan after an argument via webcam with her boyfriend turned hostile. The boyfriend witnessed her attempt, and called her father who was in the same house to stop her. They saved her life.)

Author's note: At the time of revision, a new death had surfaced in the media: world champion boxer Arturo Gatti was found dead in his Brazilian vacation residence a few days ago. His wife has since been arrested for his murder.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Short Story: 'The Sea Gypsy'

This post was originally published on my handmade jewelry blog, Design by Cassandra, on July 4, 2009.

Making these earrings so long ago, I was struck by an interesting story that seemed to find the romance in the bohemian style, sensing characters and an unrequited love that would have come with it.  I just caught it and ran away with it.  Here's the story:

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