ellenkushner: (DREYDL)
A wonderful mixed basket this month, doing events for kids & adults, ranging from The Golden Dreydl for Chanukah to a sneak preview of a new Riverside story! Details below & below:

NYC:  Sunday, December 5th, 3:30 pm - "Klezmer Nutcracker" Chanukah Party
I'll be reading, signing, and acting out the Good Bits from my kids' book, THE GOLDEN DREYDL, with Dan Gordon (who originated the part of the Fool in the Vital Theatre production of A KLEZMER NUTCRACKER onstage), at The Shul of New York's Family Chanukah party-- which will have lots of fun stuff for kids & their parents to do.

And I'm delighted to announce that THE GOLDEN DREYDL is now out in paperback suitable for stuffing in knapsacks & spilling juice on - though we'll also be selling the gorgeous hardcover, in case anyone wants a book that looks like a bonbon!

Philadelphia:  Friday, December 10th, 9 pm - Philadelphia SF Society Talk
I'll be speaking at the PSFS December meeting for about an hour on "any topic [I] like" emphasizing my "ideas and opinions relating to the genre and [my] work." Books will be available for sale & signing (feel free to bring books of your own, too). After the meeting, we all go to a diner & hang out together.

NYC:  Tuesday, December 14th, 7 pm - NYRSF Reading
It seems to have become an Annual Holiday tradition for The New York Review of Science Fiction Readings to present Delia Sherman & me for their December "Family Reading"! Last year, we gave a sneak preview of my story "The Man with the Knives" . . . This year, I'm going to offer a glimpse of "The Duke of Riverside," a new story that takes place shortly after Swordspoint, and will be published this summer in NAKED CITY: TALES OF URBAN FANTASY. What Delia's reading, I have no idea. Come and see!

You can also keep an eye on future Upcoming Appearances on my website. And if you're in the NYC or Boston area, sign up for my mailing lists here under Public Appearances.
ellenkushner: (DREYDL)
KesselsKramer's New Tapestry is an updated version of the Bayeux Tapestry, a huge medieval work of art showing the current affairs of its time. Where the Bayeux Tapestry told the news stories of 1066, New Tapestry tells the news events of 2009. It's 30 meters long and illustrated by 44 international artists.

"My" artist, Ilene Winn-Lederer, who did the glorious cover & illustrations for my book The Golden Dreydl (see Userpic), is Weeks 14 & 15: "The Blessing of the Sun" and "Galileo Galilei." (And, yeah, I do wish they had run a pop-up of the actual names of the artists who were good enough to contribute art, don't you?)

While we're on the subject, Winn-Lederer's newest book is Between Heaven and Earth: An Illuminated Torah Commentary (Pomengranate Press). Pure glory. Take a look at this Slide Show, and you'll see why it's the perfect wedding/ba(r/t) mitzvah gift forever.

Or maybe you'd prefer her self-published The Alchymical Zoodiac: A Celestial Bestiary ?

I also want to thank her for generously contributing some really nice spot art to the all-new, all-revised IAF website.
ellenkushner: (DREYDL)
My relative silence is because I've been away - did I forget to tell you about it? March 14 we went to Boston for the wedding of a young woman I've known since she was a teen; we "met" when she sent a letter to my public radio show, with a photo of the quilt she was making while she listened every week in Richmond, VA. We've been corresponding ever since, and have visited a few times, including the riotous Land of Green Ginger reading here 2 yrs ago. We also saw many old friends, and Coriolanus, which is apparently getting very good reviews. It's the first time since we moved (in June '06) that we've really been back to spend time and see people. I guess we just weren't ready before. (I love NYC, but I still miss my house in Porter Square, with the porch & garden...) I finally got to visit the bright, sunny offices of Charlesbridge Publishing in Watertown, and meet some of the folks who helped produce The Golden Dreydl there, including the gifted art director, who said she couldn't believe they let her make such a pretty book! I agree. I also got to visit with the book's editor, Judy O'Malley, who was in a coma when the book came out. No, really. It was horrible; she'd had a stroke of some kind, and it was months before she was back on her feet. She's still a bit shaky, but very much her old self, full of wit and insight; such a pleasure!

The following weekend found us in Norfolk, Virginia, for my brother David's wedding to Lucy Rebecca Diener. Of which more later. Delia's done a lovely writeup/meditation on them both - but I'll give you the down and dirty (and maybe some pics!).

While in Boston, I also got to see Laurie Marks & the rest of the "Genrettes," Delia's writing group, at a lovely lunch hosted by Didi Stewart. Then, when they met on Rosemary Kirstein's ms., I made myself scarce by running over to the rehab center to see Laurie's partner, Deb Mensinger, who broke both feet last month, and is slowly getting back on them again. Here she is, enjoying the cards that you've been sending her!

She's got them up on her locker across from her bed iwhere she can see them! She's finally got a foot boot and crutches so she's a bit more mobile, but does spend a lot of time n bed, still, enjoying what she can see from there.

No word on when she'll be outta there, so if you want the full details, please see my fuller post over at the Wiscon Community, and keep those cards & phone calls coming!
ellenkushner: (DREYDL)
Today Dax taught the called-back actors some dance numbers. Here's photos! (More to come - I'm thinking of doing a whole "Klezmer Nutcracker: The Process" spread on my blog....)

Actors warming up in the Lobbypic 1 )
Everyone's a Demon!pic 2 )
Dax teaches Peacock movespic 3 )

We heard a few more readings, and are currently agonizing choices - well, Linda is. I'm staying out of it; I know my place. And I've had a chance to give my input.

Biking home through Riverside Park, I heard someone calling, "Hey, Ellen, how'd it go? Did you cast your show?"

I turned and saw our neighbors, a hugely nice Orthodox family with a little boy that live in our building. Apparently Delia had been talking with them on her way to meet me at the theater. I got off my bike, and walked with them the rest of the way back to our building, talking of this & that; then Delia (who'd stopped at Zabar's for a gift for the folks we're staying at in Amsterdam) caught up with us, and we got the mail.
ellenkushner: (DREYDL)
What a week this has been! What a rare mood I'm in! Why, it's almost like being . . . .

OK. Yeah. I'm officially in love with the Theatah. With my director and with Vital and with the whole process of Putting on a Show.

On Weds. (yeah, just a few hours before Kol Nidre), a bunch of talented young drama students from Pace U. came to Vital and did a read-through of the entire show for us, to hear how my latest set of revisions sounded live. Pretty good. There's still some stuff to clarify and tighten, but we're all pretty pleased. Here is one of the photos I took of the read-through. Choreographer Dax Valdes tries to find the right music on his laptop while Sara & the Peacock discuss being admired . . . and Director Linda considers all things.
Readthrough Photo )

Today we began casting. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., we watched and listened as people read parts and improvised being demons snatching children (on "8 counts", whatever that is - our new line is: "Snatch me, baby, 8 to the bar!") I'm too tired now to give you all the details - but all I can say is, there is so much amazing talent on the streets of New York! We're not even an Equity show - though getting cast with us will, I guess, help these amazing folks to get their Equity cards, and richly deserved! Below is a photo I took from the back row, and, as bonus, the Rundown that the actors saw ahead of time. When I had the temerity to complain to the director that not every character was accurately described as written, she kindly explained to me that they were designed to elicit a variety of acting styles. Like I say: learning, learning, and loving it! Tomorrow, we have dance-and-movement callbacks with Dax, and a few more auditions. I will, I think, be going to sleep now. Did I mention that my brother & sister-in-law arrived from Cleveland for the weekend around 6?
Audition Photo )
Audition Breakdown )

If all this has you dying of curiosity to know the full story before the show opens on December 6, I make so bold as to remind you that I recorded an album, and also wrote a book.

More Vital

Oct. 3rd, 2008 03:06 pm
ellenkushner: (DREYDL)
Wow, everyone - so glad you enjoyed my live blogging of the debate! I'm loving all the comments/discussion.


Here's more about Vital Theatre. They are really great folks, and they are having a benefit for the adult theater this weekend (Oct. 3, 4 & 5) of the one-woman show MY LEFT BREAST, for which student discount tix are also available. I think Delia & I are going on Sunday night.

Vital Details: )
ellenkushner: (DREYDL)
OK, WELL, IT'S BROADWAY & W. 76th STREET (not Times Square), BUT STILL . . . .

The Klezmer Nutcracker
The Golden Dreydl
the Project that Would not Die . . . .
will be produced in December by Vital Theater Company as The Klezmer Nutcracker.

It is, indeed, an adaptation of my live performance > radio show > album > chapter book. I'm having a blast working with director Linda Ames Key, and choreogapher Dax Valdes, to create a fully-staged extravaganza with 8 adult actors and Shirim's brilliant wacky klezmer version of Tchaikovsky's famous tunes! (The music is pre-recorded - this is children's theater, everyone keeps explaining to me: no budget, but lots of fun, and so far I totally agree.) Like the book itself, and the show I do with the band, this is suitable for older kids: 7-12 is my ideal audience, though I've seen very small kids have a great time, too. Depends on the kid. But most of Vital's other shows are slanted a bit younger, so I hope we can get the word out that now that you're 10 (or even 13) you're not too grown up for The Klezmer Nutcracker!

Performances run December 6-January 3, Saturdays and Sundays at 11am and 1pm, with Additional Shows December 29, 30, 31, January 1, 2 at 1pm and Evening Shows Dec. 18, 19, 26 & 29th. Feel free to make your reservations now! I can't promise to be at every single show, but I'll be at many: I am in love with the process - read-throughs, casting, rehearsals . . . it's a dream come true, and I'll want to see as many performances as possible - not to mention the fact that the book will be for sale in the lobby, and it always helps to have the author there signing copies. It's a great little 108-seat theater, not a bad seat in the house - though not wheelchair accessible: there is one flight of stairs.

I'm so glad it's finally official, and I can talk about it! We had our first read-through in August, and it was a blast. Next one's coming up, so I'd better get back to my rewrites now. Tante Miriam gets a lot more lines in this version. And I think we're double-casting her with the Demon King, as they're never onstage at the same time. What a great part! (UPDATE: Auditions are Oct. 10th, and are posted through breakdown express and can be accessed via actorsaccess.com, or write to "kids" at "VitalTheatre" with that dot org thing at the end.)
ellenkushner: (Default)
World Fantasy was fantastic - seems like a million years ago! I was pretty low-energy because of my cold, so I missed all the parties, but at least I got to have quiet quality time with lots of old friends from all over who came together at WFC, including Sharon Shinn (St Louis), Guy Kay (Toronto), Caroline Stevermer (Mpls), Lisa Tuttle (Scotland), and a host of other notables I hope I didn't infect with anything other than banter. It's amazing to me that these are now names to conjure with; we were all puppies together not so long ago. I must say I do like the folks who are puppies now. Good people all around; a fine family to belong to.

I was blown away by a panel featuring Betty Ballantine, founder - with late husband Ian - of Bantam Books and then of Ballantine, the original publishers of LOTR and the Ballantine Adult Fantasy line. When the moderator was taking questions, I stood up and thanked her for creating my entire generation of fantasists. There's no question but that we would not exist without the inspiration those books provided, both aesthetically and practically. I mean, there we were, young and impressionable - first they give us Tolkien & James Branch Cabell & E.R. Eddison et al . . . and then Peter S. Beagle & Joy Chant, so we know this stuff isn't just written by Dead Guys . . . . Tom Doherty, who had been her sales manager, was also very impressive about the biz. It was an amazing slice of history; I hope someone else has written the panel up somewhere more thoroughly than I ever will.

I hated to leave on Saturday afternoon, but needs must. Lots more after this )
See ya in Kalamazoo.

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