Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Stand and Deliver: Julius Caesar and Others

Covenant Christian Middle School is run by a friend of mine. They tend to do a spring program that features recitals and a play.

Here is the school reciting large amounts of scripture by memory.

This went on for a number of minutes without a break. I certainly was not educated that way.

Of course, it’s not all rote memorization. Here are some students backstage, waiting to perform.

I’m not sure their teacher would appreciate that picture as much.

Here they are onstage. They take turns reciting important moments of history and acting out brief scenes.

The main play is an abridged version of Julius Caesar. This featured twenty-four speaking roles, and a lot of action onstage. Below is Julius Caesar.

These handmade costumes show the effort that went into the production.

Below, Brutus (on the right) plots assassination.

This is just part of the stage. The players interact over the entire stage.

After the assassination of Caesar, Mark Antony delivers the speech that supposedly buries Caesar, but actually buries Brutus.

The quasi-busts behind her (one draped with a sash) looked quite solid. They were made from foam core painted gray, then splattered with black and ivory paint. 

As usual, a fantastic evening presented by the students of CCMS. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Harriet Tubman Edges out Jackson

Success! In a previous blog post, I wanted Andrew Jackson replaced on the $20 bill. At the time, I suggested Frederick Douglass or Chief Joseph.

Instead, the U.S. Treasury made a keen choice in selecting Harriet Tubman. Born into slavery, she went back into slave areas thirteen times to lead other slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad—a series of routes leading to churches, barns, outdoor hiding places, and eventually to freedom. She was nicknamed “Moses of her people.”

public domain 

Don’t know why she was nicknamed “Moses”? Read the Book of Exodus in the Bible.

If you want to discuss the politics of it, please do so off this blog. Here is one site.  

Meanwhile, enjoy this art by Charles T. Webber. 

The Underground Railroad
public domain

Monday, April 18, 2016

My Nominees for the Hugo Awards

For a description of the annual Hugo Awards, look at their official site. My nominees for certain categories are as follows:

Best Novel: Virtues of War by Bennett R. Coles.

I reviewed Virtues of War at this previous post.

Best Novella: “The Coward’s Option” by Adam-Troy Castro in Analog magazine.

I usually don’t review shorter works, but I did here.

Best Short Story: “The Narrative of More” by Tom Greene and “The Museum of Modern Warfare” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

I thought the best short story I read last year was “The Narrative of More.” It is the fascinating account of what seems to be an anthropologist studying a degenerate human colony on a planet. They live by foraging and cannot build a civilization, not because they lack intelligence, but because they are all habitual thieves and liars.

Since the Hugo Awards allow us more than one nominee in a category, I also included “The Museum of Modern Warfare,” where a veteran has to encounter old memories.

Best Professional Artist: Julie Dillon.


As I indicated in a previous post, Julie Dillon did a slideshow of her work at Norwescon.  

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Norwescon 2016 Part II

So now here are some more pictures from Norwescon, that big science fiction convention in Seattle I attended. Here’s the Dalek that Torrey Stenmark saved me from.

That plant is in the background; it’s not a headdress. That’s also a lesson for writing: do not let the background overwhelm what you’re trying to get across in a scene.

One of the sessions was on how Roman legions fought. As you can see, it was hands-on with authentic shields.

The fellow on the left was the instructor—very knowledgeable. Below is the pagan army.

They’re pretty much just there to get slaughtered.

Here are some Medieval villagers.

NPC means non-player character. In other words, a character in a game that is not controlled by a player—a character that is controlled by a computer or employees of the game company. So they are drolly suggesting that this is a video game, and the woman on the right is not an avatar of a real person.

Medieval themes were very common.

The armor was not normally made of metal, but some of the weapons were.

Here are Perseus and Medusa. These costumes were fantastic.

They were asked to do a fighting pose, though we know they were allies. And if you’re really boned up on your mythology, you’ll know whose head is on Athena’s shield.

Superheroes were popular.

The less traditional comic book figures can have guns.

And here are Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn.

And who is the little figure that Poison Ivy is holding? 

[Permission granted to use any photo on this post, so long as it is labeled “Photo by Mark Murata”]

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Norwescon 2016 Part I

I went to Norweson again this year. It’s the biggest science fiction/fantasy convention in the Northwest with a large emphasis on writing. I saw a couple of familiar faces. The artist Julie Dillon was there.

She showed us slides of her fantasy art. I nominated her for best artist in the upcoming Hugo Awards.

I was getting ready to take a picture of a Dalek when Torrey Stenmark walked by.

This reinforced my previous theory that if you stay in one place long enough, the whole world passes by. She reprised her floor costume of Ms. Marvel from last year.

A new face was Adam Rakunas. He is the author of Windswept, a nominee for the Philip K. Dick Award.

Although his paperback novel didn’t win, I rather enjoyed his live reading of an excerpt. I thought I detected an element of Max Headroom in his style, and when I asked him about it afterwards, he said that might have been swirling around in part of his brain. 

[Permission granted to use any photo on this post, so long as it is labeled “Photo by Mark Murata”]


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