People Eating Together: AMC’s The Terror (Season 1)

Great Caesar’s Ghost! 

People Eating Together entries discuss that age-old tradition of people coming together to tear each other apart — Cannibalism! So settle in, maybe grab some coffee or a snack(!), and let’s explore this last social taboo together – because you can’t practice cannibalism alone. 

Sometime in about the year 2007, while bored at my job at a children’s textbook publisher, I fell down a Wikihole about cannibalism.  In between reading about Sawney Beane and Jeffrey Dahmer, I ran across the Franklin Expedition, which is to Canadian history what the Donner Party is to American. The article was fascinating enough, so imagine my excitement bordering on hysteria when I reread the article in 2017 to find that AMC was making a TV show about it. I loved the show, and immediately listened to the novel on which it’s based. There are significant differences which I’ll go into in the spoilers section of the review, but for now let’s focus on reviewing the show.

“Say ‘cheese’ everyone! Ha Ha, just kidding, we haven’t eaten cheese since 1846 and have forgotten what it tastes like.”

(Note: The Terror is planned as a historical horror anthology. Season 1 deals with the lost Franklin expedition (with supernatural elements) and is based on Dan Simmons book of the same name, but season 2 will be about life in a Japanese interment camp in the US during the Korean war, and stars George Takei at the head of a predominantly Japanese-American cast. After the high bar set with season 1, I’m eagerly looking forward to season 2.)

Continue reading “People Eating Together: AMC’s The Terror (Season 1)”

Bailamos! and a new season for Orlando Ballet

Friday night, as the theater emptied, a great many audience members cut moves to the eponymous Enrique Iglesias song, playing over the loudspeakers. Couples young and old swayed and swung their hips. It was very apropos, considering the song’s lyric refrain is ‘Let the rhythm take you over, Bailamos!’ [‘We dance,’ in Spanish] a commandment all but impossible to refuse given the energy and warmth of the performance.

Orlando Ballet’s Bailamos! is in the dead center of the current season, but last Friday night they also threw a gathering for board members and interested community (like us blogging ladies) about their next season. The 2019-2020 season debuts on Halloween night with a reVAMPed Vampire’s Ball, “Complete with projections!” Mr. Robert Hill announced.

Also coming down the line are the ballets Nutcracker (at Christmas, per usual), Cinderella (the Prokofiev version), Made in the USA (dances from a range of American choreographers), and Mowgli (a Lion King-esque treatment of the Rudyard Kipling story). There will be kid-attention-span-friendly versions of Nutcracker, Cinderella, and Mowgli, too, in which each performance is only about an hour.

Mr. Hill looked bashful when he mentioned that he’ll be dancing in one of the pieces from Made in the USA. The dance in question was choreographed by his friend Jessica Lang (this one, not that one), who had always wanted him to perform the lead role. “It’s just me doing a bunch of port de bras, waving my arms around,” Mr. Hill said. “Anything else and I wouldn’t have done it.” Don’t be fooled by his self-effacing nature, Mr. Hill still looks very much up for the part.


But back to Bailamos! The purpose of the show was to pay homage to Orlando’s Latin community, and the theme involved dances from across time with a Spanish/Latin theme. To show support for Puerto Rican citizens displaced by Hurricane Maria, Orlando Ballet donated 1000 tickets for the weekend performance to the  Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Did it work? As with any ballet, each dance’s ability to tell a coherent story drove the emotion of the audience, and while some of the pieces weren’t as able to connect, perhaps due to being removed from their greater context (like the technically stunning but emotionally muted dances from Don Quixote and Carmen), some pieces worked very well.

My favorite numbers from the smorgasbord presented in Bailamos! were the ones that stood alone and presented a complete emotional story.  I adored the tale of a man mourning his lost love in Cucurrucucu Paloma, and the beautifully delineated tale of existential angst danced by three dancers in Ojala-Chavela Vargas Excerpts. The other extremely strong, and obviously well-rehearsed, piece was in the second act, Mr. Hill’s choreography of Bolero.

Why were these pieces so good? In Cucurrucucu Paloma, dancers Blair Bagley and Daniel Benavides conveyed the music’s lament beautifully, infusing Mr. Hill’s choreography with meaning and emotion in every longing-infused writhe on the stage floor. Ojala I enjoyed because it’s wonderful to see dance built around themes of human emotion that are more complicated than just love. Staring out the windows and trying the door of a small room, three dancers are more in their own heads than with each other, and I appreciated the angsty navel-gazing of dancers Nick Patterson, Hitomi Nakamura, and Boris Ceballos.

Another strong piece, Ay Milonga, featured Boris Ceballos and Anna Ciriano in what resembled a tempestuous romance. Both wore black figure-hugging pants as they tussled, flirted, and twirled. Ciriano was especially commanding as she tossed the much taller Ceballos around the stage.

Bolero just blew everyone’s socks off. It had the precision that spoke of long, all-ensemble rehearsal, and the choreography and music ramped up together to a fire-filled finale.

We’ll be back, undoubtedly, to tell you how the rest of the season goes!

Jen and Achariya co-wrote this piece.


Jen In England 2018 – Part 2: Driving and Dining in a Babysnatching Kind of Place

First, I found Oxford University. I found it 4 times in fact, because I kept missing the damn turn on the roundabout.

Recently, Jen took her first ever trip outside the United States. Please enjoy Part Two of this multi-part series chronicling her tale abroad, along with the requisite musings. Part One can be found here. 

Note: The internet is full of posts by smart, photogenic people taking meticulously staged selfies at famous landmarks, so this travelogue is restricted to actual personal thoughts, including things I found fascinating and/or hilarious. This entry contains baby snatching, naked arthouse mannequins, and a brief moment of uncontrollable public sobbing. Off we go!

Oxford Bound

Thursday I bid adieu to London and my Airbnb, and headed to Marylebone train station. After walking probably 30 miles the previous few days, I was looking forward to a train ride.

Pictured: Thursday Morning Bustling

Along the way, I people watched.

Continue reading “Jen In England 2018 – Part 2: Driving and Dining in a Babysnatching Kind of Place”

Jen in England 2018 – Part 1: London

Recently, Jen took her first ever trip outside the United States. She went to England, stayed in some Airbnbs, had some adventures, ate some amazing food, met some lovely people, and of course, came back with some stories. Please enjoy Part One of this multi-part series chronicling her tale abroad, along with the requisite musings. 

Incidentally, this trip was also the reason Jen slacked off on her Horror Movie Month posts. Bad form, Jen. Bad form. 

Plenty of smart, photogenic people have taken loads of selfies at England’s most famous landmarks, so I will restrict this travelogue to actual personal thoughts, including things I found fascinating and/or hilarious. Off we go!  

Shout out to these signs that kept me alive.

Continue reading “Jen in England 2018 – Part 1: London”

Orlando Ballet’s Bevalie Pritchard reveals the secret to the Nutcracker’s success: it takes a village

The Nutcracker Ballet is such an intrinsic part of Christmas that it would be difficult to imagine a world without the music, and without the well-known story performed through dance. The reason why the ballet is so magical is the cast of children who convey all of the new wonder of the season.

Continue reading “Orlando Ballet’s Bevalie Pritchard reveals the secret to the Nutcracker’s success: it takes a village”