Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Fairytale: Theatre in Solvang, CA


I've previously written about Solvang and the musical, My Fairytale. The play finally had its USA premiere last week in Solvang and the reviews have been positive. There are some successful names behind the production, so that is encouraging. I only wish I still lived in LA so I could drive up and see the play.

About the musical from its press release:

PCPA Theaterfest is proud to present the American Premiere of My Fairytale, a musical about Hans Christian Andersen directed by Scott Schwartz. My Fairytale previews in Santa Maria August 12 - 20, then opens in Solvang’s Festival Theater running from August 26 through September 25, 2011.

The musical is an enchanted journey into the imagination of one of the worlds’ greatest storytellers - it’s a place of wonder, mystery and danger, and where Andersen is confronted by the characters from his fairytales. His quest is to find the Nightingale for the ailing Emperor, but he is continually kept him from his goal, being sidetracked by the fairytale characters, a boy, and a shadow.

My Fairytale was originally produced in Denmark in 2005 in honor of the bi-centennial of Hans Christian Andersen’s birth. Director Scott Schwartz pointed out that this first American production, besides being presented in English for the first time, includes the introduction of puppets, some script rewrites, and additional music by Stephen Schwartz, which will make My Fairytale feel more like a world premiere production. And, it will only be seen at PCPA.

This breathtaking production is filled with a powerful score created by Stephen Schwartz, the award-winning composer of Wicked. The book is by Philip LaZebnik (Pocahontas), and it was originally created by Flemming Enevold, the famous Danish actor and singer.

From My Fairytale at Solvang Festival Theater: U.S. Premiere of Musical Set in the Imagination of Hans Christian Andersen Plays Through September 25 by Charles Donelan:

With the terrific new musical My Fairytale, Solvang enters its second century through the cosmic portal of Hans Christian Andersen’s imagination. PCPA and producer Michael Jackowitz have assembled a brilliant team to design, direct, and perform the vision supplied by Stephen Schwartz (composer) and Philip LaZebnik (author). Beginning with the lifelong conflict that Andersen experienced between his ambition to produce serious works of theater and his propensity to spin out fairy tales with seemingly childish subjects, the show demonstrates that these aims are not merely compatible but complementary.

Andersen, who is wonderfully played and sung by Kevin Cahoon, crashes a reception for the singer Jenny Lind in the opening scene, only to be rebuffed when he indicates that he would like to write a show for Lind and that he intends to audition for the job by putting on a puppet show. Left alone overnight in the Royal Danish National Theater by the snobby board of directors, Andersen anticipates his scheduled morning meeting with the sympathetic Lind by literally diving into his imagination. After a rousing number called “Andersen’s Shadow,” two figures, Andersen and his Shadow (Erik Stein), tumble into the puppet case, only to emerge moments later in a fantasy world that’s entirely constructed out of the figments of Andersen’s overflowing imagination.

Information about tickets, location and dates can be found here.

The Frog Prince (A Romantic Comedy) by Elle Lothlorien

The Frog Prince (A Romantic Comedy)

The Frog Prince (A Romantic Comedy) by Elle Lothlorien just dropped in price on Amazon from $4.99 to $2.99. It's only available as an ebook and is self-published for those who are wary of that. However, there are plenty of positive reviews--and, no, they don't appear to be all by family and friends of the author.

As for me, I loved the cover and just wanted to put it here. I've added it to my Elliptical queue--books to read on my Kindle while I am exercising. I devour books when I am exercising and exercise longer and harder than if I am listening to music since books are my happiness. And when I am exercising the reading material can't be too heavy or serious so this sounds like a fun experiment...

Book description from the publisher:

It was his pheromones that did it. With one sniff, sex researcher Leigh Fromm recognizes that any offspring she might have with the mysterious stranger would have a better-than-average chance of surviving any number of impending pandemics.

But when Leigh finds out that the handsome “someone” at her great aunt’s wake is Prince Roman Habsburg von Lorraine of Austria, she suddenly doubts her instincts—not that she was intending to sleep with the guy. The royal house of Habsburg was once completely inbred, insanity and impotency among the highlights of their genetic pedigree. (The extreme “bulldog underbite” that plagued them wasn’t called the Habsburg Jaw for nothing.)

It doesn’t matter that his family hasn’t sat on a throne (other than the ones in their Toilette) since 1918, or that Austria is now a parliamentary democracy. Their lives couldn’t be more different: Roman is routinely mobbed by paparazzi in Europe. Leigh is regularly mocked for having the social skills of a potted plant. Even if she suddenly developed grace, charm and a pedigree that would withstand the scrutiny of the press and his family, what exactly is she supposed to do with this would-have-been king of Austria who is in self-imposed exile in Denver, Colorado?

Read more about the author and other books that are on the way at

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Snow Queen and Other DVD Deals (Including Charlie and Lola)

The Snow Queen

Amazon has many popular BBC DVD titles on sale right now--I think it is ending soon since I am a little late on this--but one of the titles is The Snow Queen which was released in 2007. There are also many Jane Austen and Bronte sisters film adaptations on the list.

Here are some descriptions for the film:

This staggeringly gorgeous interpretation of Hans Christian Andersen's classic fairy tale The Snow Queen began as a concert of the pretty music by Paul K. Joyce. The story is told in broad strokes: A mother (Juliet Stevenson, Truly Madly Deeply) and her daughter Gerda (teen soprano Sydney White, who's been tearing up the musical stages in England) take in a homeless boy named Kay. When Kay disappears, kidnapped by the vampiric Snow Queen (ancestress to the White Witch of Narnia, no doubt), Gerda sets off in pursuit and comes across helpful ravens, talking flowers, moving statues, and benevolent reindeer in the course of her hero-journey. The wholly digital world created for this film is astonishing; much of it looks like hand-painted Victorian photographs, each image suitable for framing. Ironically, as the story grows more magical, the imagery turns more conventionally "fantastic" (the Snow Queen's arctic lair is a bit like Superman's Fortress of Solitude). But the overall texture of the movie is engagingly stylized, with movement that seems staggered yet graceful, like a silent film. The Snow Queen demonstrates that digital technology can make a more ethereal aesthetic as vivid and startling as a slimy alien or a bigger explosion. --Bret Fetzer

Product Description

Hans Christian Andersen's classic fairy tale comes to life in an enchanting mix of music and song, live drama and stunning animation. When Gerda and her mother take in the penniless beggar boy, Kay, powerful forces come into play that will take both children on a magical journey and test their friendship to the extreme. One cold winter night a splinter of ice pierces Kay's eye, turning his heart cold and making him angry and unhappy. He is enchanted by the Snow Queen and taken to her palace in the frozen North. Gerda decides that she must do whatever she can to find her friend. Faith, love and courage lead Gerda on a perilous quest through many strange lands. Will the little girl in the red velvet cloak be able to match the power of the Snow Queen?

While I have your attention, however, I have to admit what interested me most was the collection of Charlie and Lola DVDs which I adore. They are several dollars less than usual and I am considering adding to my own collection. These are some of the children's videos that just make me smile and that I have enjoyed watching over and over with my niece and others. It is most economical to buy Charlie and Lola, Vol. 1-8 for the first 8 dvds unless you already own them piecemeal as I do. But individually they make great gifts, too.

Charlie and Lola, Vol. 1-8 Charlie and Lola, Vol. 1 Charlie and Lola, Vol. 2 Charlie and Lola, Vol. 3: My Little Town

Charlie and Lola, Vol. 4 - It Is Absolutely Completely Not Messy Charlie and Lola, Vol. 5 - But I Am an Alligator Charlie and Lola, Vol. 6 - How Many More Minutes Until Christmas Charlie & Lola, Vol 7 - This Is Actually My Party

Charlie and Lola, Vol. 8: I Am Collecting a Collection Charlie and Lola, Vol. 9: What Can I Wear for Halloween? Charlie & Lola, Vol. 10: I Can't Stop Hiccuping Charlie & Lola 11: I Really Need Actual Ice Skates

I love Charlie and Lola (the characters). I am an oldest so my sympathies are with Charlie but my heart wants to be Lola when I grow down.... Doesn't hurt that they were created by Lauren Child who has given us her share of fairy tale books, too. I know they are becoming over exposed in places but I still find fewer kids who know them here in the U.S.

The Princess and the Pea Goldilocks and the Three Bears Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book?
Beware of the Storybook Wolves

American Folklore Society's Annual Meeting 2011

Tomorrow, August 31, is the last day to preregister for the American Folklore Society's Annual Meeting on October 12-15 in Bloomington Indiana. I am planning to attend it myself and hope to see some of you there.

Here are some of the panels that may be of most interest to SurLaLune readers from the current schedule:

Thursday, October 13, 8:00--10:00 AM
Fairy Tale Films and Realities: Four Views
Sponsored by the Folk Narrative Section
Pauline Greenhill, chair
Tracie Lukasiewicz (University of Miami), Neo-Magical Realism: A Study of
Reality and Fantasy in Pan's Labyrinth and Inception
Cristina Bacchilega (University of Hawai`i, Mānoa), Double Exposures:
Storytelling and Fairy-Tale Traumas
Pauline Greenhill (University of Winnipeg), "This is the North, Where We Do
What We Want”: Popular Green Criminology and the Red Riding Trilogy
Brian Ray (University of North Carolina, Greensboro), "I Can Recite, Therefore I
Am": Reinscriptions of Gender in Alice in Wonderland

War and Peace
Marilyn F. Motz, chair
Marilyn F. Motz (Bowling Green State University), Legends of Civil War
Insurgency in Western Missouri
Cherry P. Levin (Louisiana State University), “I Don't Care if the Yankees are
Coming! We Have a Wedding Dress to Make!”: Southern Women's Folklore and the
Changing Nature of Wedding Ritual during the American Civil War
Brittany Warman (George Mason University), Fairy Tales at War: Retelling Fairy
Tales as War Narratives in Young Adult Literature
Gary Hicks (Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library), Antonio Gramsci's Concept of
"Common Sense" as Applied to Issues of War and Peace

Phillip McArthur, chair
Theresa A. Vaughan (University of Central Oklahoma), Folklore and Medieval
Women's Sexuality: An Analysis of The Distaff Gospels
Julie Koehler (Wayne State University), If the Shoe Fits: A Search for Cinderella's
Oral Tradition
Phillip McArthur (Brigham Young University, Hawai`i), Narrative Battles in the
Post-Independent Marshall Islands State
John D. Galuska (Indiana University), Creative Process Narratives and
Individualized Workscapes in the Jamaican Dub Poetry Context

Thursday, October 13, 10:15 AM—12:15 PM
Fantasies of War: Cross-Dressing and Identity in the Fairy Tale
Sponsored by the Folk Narrative Section
Donald Haase (Wayne State University), chair
Christine A. Jones (University of Utah), G.I. Jeanne: Hero(in)ism and War in the
French Fairy Tale
Anne E. Duggan (Wayne State University), The Revolutionary Undoing of the
Maiden Warrior in Riyoko Ikeda's The Rose of Versailles and Jacques Demy's Lady
Jennifer Schacker (University of Guelph), Slaying Blunderboer: Cross-Dressed
Heroes, National Identities and Wartime Pantomime

Friday, October 14, 1:30--3:30 PM
Fairy Animals, Demonic Beasts, and Fantastic Creatures in International
Tradition I
Adam Grydehøj, chair
Jeremy Harte (Folklore Society, UK), Animals with Human Faces
Fumihiko Kobayashi (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), A Study of Japanese
Animal-Spouse Lore: Gender Favoritism in Japanese Narrative Traditions
Benjamin Radford (Center for Inquiry), The Chupacabra and Folklore
Mark Bender (The Ohio State University), Dragon Blood: Eco-Genealogy, Para-
Humans, and Animal Allies in a Nuosu Epic

Friday, October 14, 3:45—5:45 PM
Diamond Session: Digital and Computational Approaches to Folklore II
Timothy R. Tangherlini (University of California, Los Angeles), chair
Jeana Jorgensen (Indiana University), A Quantitative Folkloristic Approach to
European Fairy Tales
Carrie Roy (University of Wisconsin), Narrative Knot: Threads in Stories and
Circles of Thought
Bandari Roja (University of California, Los Angeles), If a Protester Tweets in
Egypt and No One Retweets Her, Has She Tweeted?
Robert Glenn Howard (University of Wisconsin), VAX CON: A Computational
Approach to Online Rumor about Vaccines
Peter Leonard (University of California, Los Angeles), Modeling Folklore in the
Google Books Corpus

Fairy Animals, Demonic Beasts, and Fantastic Creatures in International
Tradition II
Fumihiko Kobayashi (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem), chair
Adam Grydehøj (Island Dynamics), Protective Spirits or Fluffy Agents of Doom?:
The Role Transition of Phantom Sheep, Undead Dogs, and Church Pigs in Danish
Noriko Reider (Miami University, Ohio), Earth Spider: "Tsuchigumo Sôshi" and a
Killer Female Spider
Amber Slaven (Western Kentucky University), Seal-Folk: Exploring Gender and
Family Constructions in Traditional Narratives and Popular Media
Thomas A. DuBois (University of Wisconsin, Madison), discussant

"Strange Things Happening in the Land”: Current Trends in Lomax Studies
Todd D. Harvey, chair
Todd D. Harvey (American Folklife Center), Accessing the Alan Lomax Collection Nathan Salsburg (Association for Cultural Equity), “We of the Jets, the Wireless,and the Atom Blast": Cultural Equity in the Digital Age
Judith R. Cohen (York University), "Facebooking” the Village: A Decade of
Fieldwork Following Alan Lomax's Spanish Fieldwork
Miriam Phillips (University of Maryland), Resurrecting Beauty and the Beast:Choreometrics in the 21st Century

Saturday, October 15, 10:15 AM—12:15 PM
Beyond Provenance: Rethinking Literature in Folklore
Distinguished Alumni
Adam D. Zolkover, chair
Adam D. Zolkover (Indiana University), The Literary Lens: Books as Community
K. Elizabeth Spillman (University of Pennsylvania), The Genre Gap: Bridging
Fiction and Folktale
Linda J. Lee (University of Pennsylvania), Whose Cinderella? Tale Types as Emic
Markers in Popular Romance
David Elton Gay (Independent), Medieval Romance and Folklore Theory

More Medical Disorders With Fairy Tale/Folklore Names

SurLaLune reader Meghan sent me an email yesterday in follow-up to my post about the Sleeping Beauty sleeping disorder.

Here is what she sent, slightly edited. Thanks Meghan for answering my call for a list like this!

I recently read your blog post about Sleeping Beauty syndrome, and I actually have a short list of medical conditions with fairy tale names.

1. Rapunzel syndrome--a rare condition where sufferers consume their own hair (Trichophagia). Because the human body cannot digest hair, it collects in the stomach/bowels/colon as a ball, known as a trichobezoar. The syndrome sometimes occurs alongside trichotillomania (the compulsion to pull out one's hair).

2. Cinderella complex--Ascribed to women who have a fear of independence, and a desire to be taken care of by others. This is not wildly accepted as a complex, but is used as an explanation as to why some women stay in dysfunctional relationships. To be honest, I'm not sure why it's called Cinderella syndrome.

3. Alice in Wonderland Syndrome, also called Todd's syndrome "is a disorienting neurological condition that affects human perception. Sufferers may experience micropsia, macropsia, or size distortion of other sensory modalities." Read more on Wikipedia.

4. Ondine's Syndrome, or Ondine's Curse--People stop breathing when they sleep, it's a rare and very dangerous form of sleep apnea. Read more on Wikipedia.

I can add one more--Sirenomelia, commonly known as Mermaid syndrome, "a very rare congenital deformity in which the legs are fused together, giving them the appearance of a mermaid's tail." More on Wikipedia.

Anyone have any more?

Just Desserts Fairy Tales: Pictures of the Showpieces

I finally remembered to go check the Just Desserts site to see if still photos had been added of last week's fairy tale desserts challenge. They were! The challenge included both a showpiece and accompanying desserts and only the showpieces are pictured because they are the most visually interesting. So which one was the winner for you? I was myself was partial to the Jack and the Beanstalk one.