Thu, 21 December 2006
The wanderer has returned, to continue wandering with the rest of us. Zephyr just got back from his 10-day jaunt to North Carolina, where he recorded a mini-album with his punk rock band in Winston-Salem. He brought along a rough cut of the disc, and we play a brief excerpt from it on the podcast. He rejoins his parents in the San Francisco Bay Area, our old stomping grounds, where we've been stomping longer in recent days than in years - and indeed more time than we've spent just about anywhere in years. But after a performance at the Mitchell Park Library in Palo Alto, we're ready to hit the highway again.
The Gift of the Magi
This week's story is "The Gift of the Magi", which is appropriate for two reasons. First, it is of course a classic Christmas Story; and after a 3-month buildup, Santa is just about ready for his yearly cruise. Additionally, the author of the story, William Sydney Porter (better known by his pen name of O. Henry) was a native of the same area Zephyr has been visiting. He was born in Greensboro, N.C. (where the band's drummer lives) in 1862 and died in 1910. During the last few years of his life, he wrote fiction at a whirlwind pace, and became famous for his trademark surprise twist endings, such as the one in "Gift of the Magi". (He also, incidentally, coined the term "banana republic".) It's likely that the character of Della in this story was modeled after his first wife, who died of tuberculosis, from which he also suffered.
Dennis shares his favorite Christmas story, an incident he read about in the news two or three years ago, and recalls as best he can, despite being unable to find the details anywhere. If anybody has any info on this story, please pass it along to us.
And as we make it clear in our podcast, we extend happy holiday wishes to everyone, regardless of their religion, customs, or brand of holiday cheer - or lack thereof. See you in 2007!
Dennis (the narrator), Kimberly "Della" and Zephyr "Jim" Goza
Thu, 14 December 2006
High above the East Bay town of Castro Valley, California - just a few miles across the bay from San Francisco - is Lake Chabot Campground, part of the California State Parks. It's one of the few campgrounds available in the S.F. Bay Area, and just about the only reasonably priced one. So we've stayed there often during the years, and have many colorful memories of the place, some of which we'll share on this week's podcast. Dennis and Kimberly are spending a few days at this campground (while Zephyr is in North Carolina recording with his band A Simple Disaster) to focus on getting the new productions together.
The Swan Maiden
Since we are encamped overlooking a lake, we thought it would be appropriate to bring you the Swedish folktale of The Swan Maiden, about a hunter who sees three beautiful swans alight at a lake, and then before his eyes they remove their feathery cloaks and become beautiful young maidens who swim in the lake. Later, they put their feathers back on and fly away. He falls in love with the youngest of the swan maidens and can't get her out of his mind. So on the advice of his mother, he goes back to the lake and awaits their return, whereupon he steals the youngest swan's feathers, so she cannot turn back into a swan. She agrees to marry him (what other answer could you possibly give to a guy who steals your feathers?) and for a time it seems they are living happily ever after. But ultimately, the hunter pays a heavy price for "clipping the wings" of a free creature.
This story has parallels to many other tales, including Swan Lake (the basis for the Tchaikovsky ballet) and Lohengrin (the inspiration for the Wagner opera - what is it with composers and swans, anyway?) as well as several other variants-some involving other types of fowl-from China, Japan and India. There's even a similar story in The Arabian Nights.
Dennis "the Hunter" and Kimberly "the Swan Maiden" Goza
Tue, 12 December 2006
This week's challenge really had our brains doing overtime. "And now a word from our sponsor..." that's what they threw at us. So we pondered, brainstormed and batted it about for a few days before we finally came up with a piece we call "In Wolves Clothing".
Have a listen and then vote for your favorite by logging in on the Pickle Site, logging in to the forums (Yes, they make you log in twice) there you should see the place to vote and make comments. If not, click on Forums > Podcast Discussions > Pickle Tales Round 2 (it is pinned on the top).
Voting for this round begins December 13th (not the 11th or 12th as originally scheduled) and ends at noon (ET) a couple of days later - that's 9 am on the west coast. Please check the Pickle site for details as we will be off sewing costumes for a new show up in the woods and Zephyr is off recording with his band in North Carolina.
Thanks for listening,
Dennis (Red's Wolf), Kimberly (Red and the Director) and Zephyr the announcer
Category:general -- posted at: 5:01 AM
Thu, 7 December 2006
Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay was a notorious federal prison from 1934 to 1963, and a military prison and military base for many years before that. On a return trip to our old hometown of San Francisco, we finally took a tour of The Rock, beginning with a ferry ride from Pier 33. Once on the island, we participated in ranger-led tours (the island is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area) and an audio tour that told us about the prison's colorful history - including a riot in 1946 that left 3 guards and 2 inmates dead. On hand was Darwin Coon, who was an inmate here from 1959 to 1963, to promote his book "Alcatraz; the True End of the Line".
This week we present the Grimm Brothers story "Rapunzel", one of the best known fairy tales in the world, and one of the central plots in the Stephen Sondheim musical "Into the Woods". The story involves a woman who craved greens from a neighbor's garden so strongly that she was willing to give up her firstborn child for them; and the neighbor, unfortunately, was quite willing to take the child. This epitome of a nightmarish neighbor also happened to be an evil sorceress who imprisoned the girl (whom she named Rapunzel) in a tower, climbing up to see her by way of Rapunzel's long, long hair. But even a tower can't keep her away from handsome princes foreverâ�¦
Upcoming Public Performances
They are live and they are free (thanks to your public libraries and community centers)
Dennis the Prince (also husband and narrator), Kimberly "Rapunzel" (and wife), and Zephyr the "crone"