Narnia for Grownups

Long before C.S. Lewis introduced us to Aslan, he created Screwtape, a veteran demon in the service of “Our Father Below.” Hoping to instruct his demon-in-training nephew, Wormwood, on the finer points of leading Christians astray, he writes The Screwtape Letters. Lewis satirizes human nature deftly but humanely, the religions humans build to express their beliefs, and the plight of those that would undermine both.

The Play Ground

"Willow, titwillow, titwillow" You may be hearing this outside your window as Spring is most definitely here. You can also hear it on April 6-9 at the Michigan League when The University of Michigan Gilbert & Sullivan Society presents one of Gilbert & Sullivan's most beloved operas "The Mikado." With an outstanding cast of old favorites and some new faces, one of UMGASS's most elaborate sets ever, and the most gorgeous silk costumes imaginable, it is sure to be an event you won't want to miss.

Happy Birthday, Eric Clapton

clapton

Hard to believe but Eric Clapton turns 61 on March 30. Known for his time with Cream and his virtuoso guitar playing, Clapton's latest cd is titled Back Home. Featuring five original songs co-written with Simon Climie, the cd also includes songs by George Harrison, The Spinners and Vince Gill. Special guests appearing on Back Home are Steve Winwood on synthesizer and John Mayer on guitar. [http:/

Buck Owens: 1929-2006

Buck Owens

What country star had a hit record that was later done by the Beatles? Buck Owens. What country star had more than 20 number one hits in the 1960s and 70s? Buck Owens. What rebellious country star played a mean red, white and blue guitar and helped popularize the famous rock 'n roll-tinged, anti-Nashville Bakersfield sound?

You got it.

And you thought he was just that goofy-looking guy who co-hosted "Hee Haw" for twenty years. Check out The Buck Owens Collection or the Buck Owens article on wikipedia.

Shakespeare To Go

The 2006 Stratford Festival of Canada season is fast approaching. This year’s Festival selections from the Bard include Coriolanus, King Henry IV Part One, Much Ado About Nothing, and Twelfth Night.

Need a little brush-up on the Bard? Shakespeare—the Word and the Action, a lecture series from the Teaching Company, will let you expound with the best of them during intermissions in the garden. Dazzle them at the pre-play lectures after listening to The Age of Shakespeare and Will in the World.

The Play Ground

Several years ago The Play Ground was privileged to see Ewa Podles when she stepped in for Cecilia Bartoli who was ill. She was marvelous and since then, her reputation has soared. The University Musical Society is lucky to have her back, this time performing in Rossini's Tancredi with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, March 25 at Hill Auditorium. This opera, based on a play by Voltaire, tells the story of a banished 11th C knight who secretly returns to his homeland only to discover that his king is now allied with his archenemy.

Coincidence?

March is National Caffeine Awareness Month and National Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Month. So put away the coffee pot, put on the headphones and learn to create and channel healthy energy. Judy Orloff offers a program to transform stress into strength in Positive Energy. Daniel Amen’s Making a Good Brain Great teaches you how to “exercise” your brain for better mental health.

Want to meditate on your options first? Try Reginald Ray’s Meditating With the Body or Spontaneous Awakening by Adyashanti. Listen to them all and you’ll be ready to celebrate National Fly a Kite month in April.

Bada Bing

Tony’s back but this season of The Sopranos is definitely the curtain call for Jersey’s most-watched mob family. Time to branch out and get a few other takes on the world of organized crime. Start close to home with Donald Westlake’s Watch Your Back. Burglar Dortmunder and his hapless crew of ex-cons take on the mob to save their beloved O.J. Bar & Grill in Manhattan.

Take a step back in time with two other books on cd and see how Tony got that way --and why he’s in therapy. Mark Winegardner picks up the story of the Corleone family in The Godfather Returns as the 1955 ceasefire between mob families nears the breaking point. The mob’s influence in Cuba provides backdrop and trouble for Earl Swagger in Havana by Stephen Hunter.

What do a slapstick comedian and the father of vocalese jazz have in common?

Jerry Lewis has just been awarded the French Legion of Honor. The 80-year-old wore slippers to the ceremony and, when he spoke, apologized for not speaking French, but said that "'even if the French people cannot hear my language, they have always heard my heart..'"

Lewis joins many other distinguished recipients of the Legion of Honor, including jazz great Jon Hendricks, who once told me that "a woman's first child is her husband."

Everybody's a comedian! ;-)

The Play Ground

The Play Ground

Get those big, round sunglasses out. The UM School of Music Opera Theatre is presenting Jackie O from March 22 to 26 at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre. Society’s fascination with celebrity and pop culture is the theme of Jackie O, a playful pop opera of facts and fancies about one of America’s most enduring icons, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Jackie attends a 1968 avant-garde New York “happening” with Andy Warhol, meets the seductive Aristotle Onassis for the first time, has a dream duet with Maria Callas, and embraces her fate as a symbol of JFK’s idealism. Jackie O captures the mystery, the tragedy, and the glamour that epitomized this pop icon. Oh Darling, don't miss it.

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