Monday, February 19, 2018

Alex and Alice in Wonderland

Sunday, February 11th, Frank and I took Alex to see a puppet stage show called DLUX Puppets' Alice in Wonderland. It was a true delight, less than an hour long, and Alex seemed to like it. There were only two actors, Alice and the puppeteer. The puppeteer Derek Lux designed, operated, and voiced all the creatively elaborate puppets: the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, the Caterpillar, and the Queen of Hearts. The presentation was very innovative using a digitally projected live virtual set that allowed Alice to fall down the rabbit hole, shrink and grow, and walk through the gardens of Wonderland.

Alex grinned and smiled and nodded his head as he sat in his seat before the show began.

The accompanying program was simple, a graphic of the Mad Hatter on the front and bios of the two performers within, husband and wife team Derek and Laura Lux. I was impressed with the range of singing and voices of the highly-talented puppeteer Derek Lux. His acting credits include playing the role of Donald Trump in San Francisco's famed Beach Blanket Babylon, the longest running musical revue in live theater history.

As Alex sat patiently awaiting the start of the show we reminded him of the Alice videos he watched over and over again! He has long been a fan of the TV series Adventures In Wonderland that ran from 1992 until 1994. We have watched these videos so many times I was surprised to learn that there were only three seasons' worth.

Appropriately Alex is wearing his shirt with the image of the White Rabbit on it. It was a Christmas present from us this year that arrived after Christmas. Whoops.

I think he caught on what the show was about as soon as the first puppet made its appearance. It was the White Rabbit, of course!

The parodies of popular music that accompanied the show were a real hoot:
  • Alice down the rabbit hole sings to I Get Around (by the Beach Boys)
    down, down, falling down, she's falling down
  • Tweedle Dum / Tweedle Dee sang Happy Together (by the Turtles)
    I think about you all the time, so we can rhyme
  • Alice sang to What's New Pussy Cat (by Tom Jones)
    what's up Cheshire Cat? Whoa-o-oh-o-oh-oh
  • The Queen of Hearts sang Dancing Queen (by Abba)
    I am the dancing queen, only slightly mean, pushing 70 

According to my internet research "Alice In Wonderland is said to be the most quoted book in print, second only to the Bible". If a fact is on the web, it must be true, right? Be that as it may, be sure to check out the YouTube video to DLUX Puppets' Alice in Wonderland. The show is home based in the Los Angeles area but it came north to the San Francisco Bay area and we were fortunate to get tickets. Watch for it. It is worth seeing. We had a blast!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Ponder Post: Right Where We Belong

Right Where We Belong is the fourth novel in the Silver Springs series by Brenda Novak. I have read and posted reviews about the first three (not necessarily having read them in series order) and enjoyed them all. There is enough cross referencing of characters in the other books that reading them has the comfort of family, but no required information is missed if the books are read out of order.

                  ©2017    Until You Loved Me (3rd)   (reviewed in 11/02/17 post)   
                  ©2017    No One But You (2nd)        (reviewed in 11/10/17 post)       
                  ©2017    Finding Our Forever (1st)   (reviewed in 12/04/17 post)

In Brenda Novak's book the set up is usually a bit contrived but still believable. In this instance the heroine, Savanna Gray, has left her husband, who much to her absolute surprise and unawareness, has attacked and raped three women. The violence and hostility of the husband's action are not the focus of the book, only the circumstances from which to examine the impact on a family when one of its members is accused of a heinous crime. Savanna is shunned and despised in her town and her two children are taunted and bullied at school, so she sets out for a new start in a different state. She plans to live in an old, abandoned, very rundown, fixer upper farmhouse left to her by her grandparents.

Her next door neighbor, Gavin Turner, is striving for a career in music, but also works as a handyman at the New Horizons Boys Ranch. He himself was a graduate of that school for troubled teens, having been abandoned by his biological parents and growing up within the foster child system. They meet the day Savanna drives up in a rented moving truck. He recognizes that she is at a low point in her life and he offers to help her with what she needs.

Angst accrued from personal life experiences, such as trust on Savanna's part and abandonment on Gavin's, hinder them from getting together. But, throw in a bit of sensual chemistry and the story line becomes somewhat predictable. Every good book needs conflict and a struggle on the journey, right? The obstacles are unique to these characters; their struggles to do the right thing reveals the innate goodness in the soul of each.

Why do I like this author's books, other than a common setting and loosely related characters? The hero in each comes from a troubled background and overcomes it to become an empathetic,  responsible, desirable, dependable, kind man. I dislike romance novels were the guy is an a**hole but the girl falls for him because he is a "bad boy" or a macho man with a great physique. Also in each of the books in this series the woman has a child or children to consider and the man is supportive of kids. Also, the kids and the hero mutually like each other. Brenda Novak's stories plausibly illustrate that romance prevails and can coexist with kids, even in the real world beyond fiction!