Monday, March 25, 2013

The "Promise of Spring"

Spring has come to New York State--although we're obviously cheating a little with this photo, given that many of us still have snow on the ground! (This glorious vine was photographed last Memorial Day weekend at the Cloisters in New York City.)

Nevertheless, the "promise of spring" is before us in many ways. First, this phrase is the title of a new English Country Dance CD by Charlene Thomson (who, with the late Suzanna Spiese, performed so beautifully for us at our first RiverRead Books meeting in Binghamton). Charlene's original compositions in the ECD tradition make delightful listening--and one of them, "Lisa's Maggot," is dedicated to our own Co-Coordinator Lisa Brown! (Lisa reminds us that a "maggot" in this context is a fanciful or whimsical dance.) The "Promise of Spring" CD can be ordered at this link.

Furthermore, we have a busy schedule of Austen-related events to look forward to in Upstate this spring and early summer. The "Events" column at right gives a complete listing, but here are some of the highlights:
  • The Rochester Jane Austen Ball--always a wonderful occasion for dancers and gallery spectators alike--will be held as usual at a country club in the Rochester area on Sunday, May 5, at 2 pm. (The club's regulations forbid disclosing the name of the venue except to registered attendees, but think leaves and acorns.) A raffle/silent auction and a tea will also be among the activities. There is an admission charge for dancers, and a half-price admission for spectators. Go here for a downloadable registration form. 
  • The JASNA Syracuse May Day meeting will be Saturday, May 11, at 2 pm, at RiverRead Books in Binghamton.  Our topic will be "Pride and Prejudice: Free for All." It's our last meeting on P&P in its 200th-anniversary year, so what angles would you like to explore? Bring your ideas to share!
  • The traditional end-of-season "Box Hill" event in the Syracuse Region this year will be a presentation at the Colgate Bookstore (co-sponsored by the Bookstore, the JABC-CNY, and JASNA Syracuse) on Saturday, June 8, by Dr. Jack Wang. With his brother Holman, Jack is the co-author of the new Cozy Classics series of board books for toddlers--and your Regional Coordinator guarantees that to see these books is to be utterly charmed by them. Jack will discuss how he and Holman have adapted Pride and Prejudice and other classics for very young readers, and (appropriately for a "Box Hill" event) will give us a sneak preview of the forthcoming Cozy Classics Emma
  • Finally, JASNA Rochester will be assisting the Genesee Country Village in Mumford with the "Jane Austen" portion of its "War of 1812 and Jane Austen Weekend" on Saturday and Sunday, June 22-23. With Redcoats on parade and a "Netherfield Ball" in store, Lydia Bennet would go distracted--and there will be a mini-marathon reading of Pride and Prejudice and other JA-related presentations as well. Details about the Ball, and preliminary details about the rest of the weekend, are available here.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

JASNA Syracuse Lady Day Meeting in Ithaca, Sat., March 23, 2 pm

JASNA Syracuse will hold its Lady Day meeting in Ithaca--our first-ever meeting there--on Saturday, March 23, at 2:00 pm. Our host venue on this occasion is Buffalo Street Books, 215 N. Cayuga St., Ithaca.

Buffalo Street Books is located in the DeWitt Mall, on Cayuga between Buffalo and Seneca Sts., a block or so north of the Ithaca Commons; the bookstore can be entered either from the mall or from Buffalo Street. Go here for a downloadable map of downtown Ithaca. The area is well provided with parking garages, and according to the Downtown Ithaca website, parking at these is free on weekends.

Our topic for this meeting will be "The Legacy of Pride and Prejudice." As we were all reminded this January during the 200th anniversary of its publication in 1813, P&P has generated an enormous "industry" all its own: film and TV adaptations; sequels, prequels, retellings from alternative points of view, and other recastings in book form--including even a "Cozy Classics" board book for tots (co-authored by Professor Jack Wang of Ithaca College); a YouTube series called The Lizzie Bennet Diaries that has raised tremendous interest; and mugs, T-shirts, and other artifacts galore (just go to the Etsy website, search Pride and Prejudice, and stand back!). But what are we to make of all this "love" for a single novel? Is it all or mostly good? Or is Jane Austen herself getting lost in the shuffle? Opinions vary widely--and, as you can see, your Regional Coordinator herself is not immune to the lure of sequels and artifacts. (Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, the Official Spokescat of JASNA Syracuse, reserves judgment.)

So come and "have [your] share of the conversation" at Buffalo Street Books on the 23rd. We particularly look forward to meeting many JASNA members and other friends from the Ithaca area and the Eastern Finger Lakes!

1960s Musical Adaptation of Emma in Albany

"The Single Girls Guide," a musical adaptation of Emma set in the 1960s, will have its world premiere on Tuesday, March 5, at the Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany. With music by Alabama-based composer Tommy Newman and a book by New York-based director Gordon Greenberg, it will play at the Capital Rep until March 30. According to an interview with Greenberg in the Troy Record, he has envisioned Emma Woodhouse as "sort of a Helen Gurley Brown figure"--an intriguing concept, to say the least! So Syracuse Region members (particularly those living toward the east) may well be inclined to join our Capital Region friends in taking a look at it. For more information about the show, go to the Capital Repertory Theatre's website.