Hogwart’s Vacation Bible School: I am not making this up. An Episcopal church in Vienna, Virginia is offering one week morning and afternoon summer camp sessions for children ages 5 through 11, based on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I am sure this will be very successful, but I can imagine what some other denominations would be saying.
Household Blitz: I was hosting our monthly story swap on Saturday night, so I pushed on getting my living room halfway presentable. In the end, there was a bunch of stuff that got thrown into tote bags and put into the Black Hole of Vienna (aka my den). I did find a couple of things I had been looking for, of which the most significant was my check folio. I don’t write a lot of checks but I do need to put a new packet into my checkbook every once in a while.
I didn’t get as far along on vacuuming as I’d intended, as my back can handle only so much at a time. Also, why did I ever think a bagless vacuum was a good idea? The bin doesn’t hold nearly as much as a vacuum bag does, and emptying it is a pain. Admittedly, if I vacuumed more than every six months, there wouldn’t be so much dust.
The biggest household crisis was that the bulbs in the dining room track lighting blew when I turned the lights on about an hour and a half before the swap. And, of course, I never manage to have the bulbs I need to replace them on hand. I lit a couple of candles on the dining room table. When I did have a chance (on Sunday) to get bulbs, I found LED indoor floodlights. Those should be less susceptible to vibration from whatever it is that my upstairs neighbor does. And they are advertised to have a 13 year lifetime.
Story Swap: We had a small group, but a lively evening anyway. One of my non-storytelling friends came and seemed to have a reasonably good time. We had an interesting mix of stories, mostly traditional with a handful of literary and personal. Plus, lots of general conversation, which ended up with a lot of stories about cats and dogs. Overall, it was a nice evening and worth unshoveling the living room for.
Gun & Powder: I saw the world premiere of a new musical, Gun & Powder at Signature Theatre on Sunday. The story is based on family legends that Angelica Cheri, who wrote the book and lyrics, had heard about her great-great-aunts. (Her friend, Ross Baum, wrote the music.) The twins, Mary and Martha Clarke, set out to earn money to pay the rent for their sharecropper aunt. They decide they’ll get better jobs by passing for white. (Their mother is black; their father, who had abandoned her before the twins were even born, was white. So they are what used to be called "high yellow.") They end up as outlaws, until their attempt to rob a tavern owner in a town called Sweet Christine near Houston. Both sisters end up having to make decisions with the potential to separate them forever.
I’m not going to say more about the plot line because I think it is best experienced as a surprise. Ihe music was a variety of styles, from spirituals to romantic ballads. The performances were outstanding, especially by Solea Pfeiffer as Mary, Emmy Raver-Lampman as Martha, Marva Hicks as Tallulah, and Donald Webber, Jr. as Elijah. I would be remiss were I not to also mention the comic relief provided by Yvette Monique Clark as Sissy and Awa Sal Secka as Flo.
The bottom line is that this is an excellent new musical and I expect to see more work from Cheri and Baum in the future. It is precisely shows like this that keep me subscribing to Signature year after year.
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