Friday Experiments, Ramblings and Updates

pexels-photo-891677.jpegHere it is, a sunny Friday in March and we’re not sure if winter is yet behind us.  In terms of production work here at Historic Occasions, I thought it would be good to give you an update on where things are, or aren’t.

I’m directing Doublewide, Texas at CAT Theatre in June.  The cast is complete and we have our first read-thru on Sunday evening.  I’m excited and looking forward to getting to work with some amazing people.

My script, Clean Dry Socks: Diary of a Doughboy, is complete and has, at this point, been submitted to one contest and there will be two more submissions in April.  While I can’t share the details, there’s also a very strong possibility that the show will be produced here locally within the next year.

Speaking of the next year, I’ve got a pending contract to direct a show in Spring 2019.  I can’t yet share the details, but the announcement will be made in early April.

On more exciting news, about which I must be even more vague, a random Facebook conversation this past week may lead to a dream opportunity to direct, produce, or act in…maybe all three, one of my favorite shows.  The first meeting is Tuesday and there’s lots talk and dream about.

So, why all this rambling on a Friday on this blog and not my regular blog, The Write Side of My Brain?  In part, because I’m sitting in Panera and figuring out how I can, indeed, blog from the iPad.  Work with me, I’ll be sixty in a few months.  So, this is somewhat revolutionary.

Plus, while I post here randomly, I’m taking a two-week break from the other blog.  Just some time to regroup and figure out the balance between the writing and the production.

It’s also a bit of a shift for this blog.  For years, Historic Occasions has been the framework for meeting and event planning, but that’s shifting to theatrical productions and historical events.

Don’t get us wrong, we can still produce a kickass meeting for you, whether it’s a conference, or a wedding reception, or just for grins.

But, this blog, as well as this  company, is a work in progress.  Stick with me here and you’ll be able to follow that progress.

Have a good weekend.

 

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Copy of Declaration Found Behind Wallpaper

The document, which belonged to James Madison, is one of 200 facsimiles commissioned in the 19th century

From the Smithsonian Magagine.

Within 40 years of its signing in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was starting to show signs of aging and wear. So in 1820, John Quincy Adams commissioned printer William Stone to make 200 facsimiles of the precious document. As Michael E. Ruane reports for the Washington Post, one of these meticulous copies, long believed to have been lost, recently resurfaced in Texas.

Read more.

Who was St. Valentine?

 

We all know the contemporary and cultural references for Valentine’s Day. But do we know the origins?

St. Valentine is a 3rd-century Roman saint. He is commemorated on February 14 as that was the date of his execution in 269 A.D.

Different church traditions recognize or do not recognize Valentine. But who was he?

As the story is told in at least one version, Valintinus was arrested and imprisoned for marrying Christian couples in a time in the Roman Empire when helping Christians was considered a crime. Other stories say that he defied the order of the emperor and secretly married couples so that husbands wouldn’t have to go to war.

The celebration of St. Valentine’s Day also has many possible origins. In 14th Century England, Geoffrey Chaucer was among those whose writings associated February 14 with romantic love. During the Middle Ages, it was believed that birds paired in mid-February. This became associated with Valentine’s romance.

Just as St. Nicholas has morphed into the modern day versions of Santa Claus, St. Valentine probably never expected that he would be remembered with chocolates and flowers.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

 

Why Roses?

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.”

– Alphonse Karr, A Tour Round My Garden

The National Retail Federation projects that American consumers will spend an average of $143.56 on Valentine’s Day. Total spending is expected to reach some $19.6 billion.

Nineteen. Point. Six. Billion.

Let that sink in for a moment.

But how did red roses come to be the flower associated with red roses.

In Victorian England sharing emotions and affections was at best a difficult thing. It just was not considered acceptable to flirt openly and even some forms of conversation were frowned upon. The Victorians used bouquets of flowers to express feelings to their loved ones in a system that became known as “floriography.” There were even special dictionaries to guide one in the understanding of the meaning of certain types of flowers.

During this time, roses became to be seen as a symbol of romantic affection.

Tomorrow, on Valentine’s Day, it’s Rose’s turn.

 Cover Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

The Election of Jefferson Davis

The Jefferson Davis Memorial, Richmond, Virginia

 

If the Confederacy fails, there should be written on its tombstone: Died of a Theory.

Jefferson Davis

On this day in 1861 the Provisional Congress of the Confederate States of America elected Jefferson Davis as its president.

Davis represented Mississippi in the United States Senate and House of Representatives prior to becoming president of the Confederacy. He also served as United States Secretary of War under U.S. President Franklin Pierce from 1853 to 1857.

Davis was born in Kentucky, but grew up on his brother’s large cotton plantations in Mississippi and Louisiana. Prior to the Civil War, he operated a large cotton plantation in Mississippi where he owned over seventy slaves.

Davis opposed secession, he believed in the states’ right to leave the Union. He was not considered an effective leader and some consider that to be the reason for the weakness of the Confederacy.

Davis was captured in 1865 after fleeing the fall of Richmond. Accused of treason, he was imprisoned for two years at Fort Monroe. By the late 1880s, Davis encouraged reconciliation and called for Southerners to be loyal to the Union.

Davis died on December 5, 1889. Although initially laid to rest in New Orleans in the Army of Northern Virginia mausoleum at Metairie Cemetery, in 1893 Davis was re-interred in Richmond, Virginia at Hollywood Cemetery, per his widow’s request.

 

William and Mary

On this day in 1693 the College of William and Mary was founded under a royal charter “make, found and establish a certain Place of Universal Study, a perpetual College of Divinity, Philosophy, Languages, and other good arts and sciences…to be supported and maintained, in all time coming.”

It was named for reigning monarchs King William III and Queen Mary II and is the second oldest college in the United States (after Harvard University, 1636) and the oldest in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

According to Wikipedia: William & Mary educated American Presidents Thomas Jefferson (third), James Monroe (fifth), and John Tyler (tenth) as well as other key figures important to the development of the nation, including the fourth U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall of Virginia, Speaker of the House of Representatives Henry Clay of Kentucky, sixteen members of the Continental Congress, and four signers of the Declaration of Independence, earning it the nickname “the Alma Mater of the Nation.”

In other news, American composer, conductor, and pianist, John Williams, was born on this day in 1932. Williams is known and recognized for film scores that include the Star Wars series, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman: The Movie, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the Indiana Jones series, the first two Home Alone films, the first two Jurassic Park films, Schindler’s List, and the first three Harry Potter films.

The Soviet Union Dissolves

On this day in 1990, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union agreed to give up its monopoly of power based on the recommendation of General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev.

In the aftermath, fifteen of the constituent republics of the USSR held their first competitive elections. the CPSU lost six of those republics.

According to Wikipedia:

The constituent republics began to declare their national sovereignty and began a “war of laws” with the Moscow central government; they rejected union-wide legislation that conflicted with local laws, asserted control over their local economy and refused to pay taxes. President Landsbergis of Lithuania also exempted Lithuanian men from mandatory service in the Soviet Armed Forces. This conflict caused economic dislocation as supply lines were disrupted, and caused the Soviet economy to decline further.