If Wishes Were Horses (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 1, Episode 16) Hallucinations become real as a Plot Contrivance Field threatens the station.

Rewatching ST:DS9 Quark tries to interest Odo in a holosuite fantasy, but Odo prefers realism. Jake passes through the casino, on his way to play his father’s baseball program. Dax is amused but unmoved by Bashir’s romantic overtures, and kindly suggests a “high-pitched sonic shower.” She’s on her way to Ops to look at a plot contrivance particle field Kira and Sisko are puzzling over. O’Brien, who a few episodes…

Progress (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 1, Episode 15) Kira befriends a stubborn squatter

Rewatching ST:DS9 Dax and Kira are chatting in a runabout (Dax says Morn is “kind of cute”) when they discover humanoid life on a moon that’s scheduled to be technobabbled into uninhabitability in the name of progress. On the moon, Kira meets Mullibok (the great character actor Brien Keith), who escaped to this moon decades ago, during the Cardassian occupation of Bajor. With folksy stories and a cantankerous attitude (he…

Emissary (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 1, Episodes 1 & 2) Cmdr. Sisko establishes a Federation presence on a former Cardassian station orbiting recently liberated Bajor

Rewatching ST:DS9 The episode begins with a slide of text about Picard being assimilated by the Borg and forced to lead a devastating assault on Federation forces at Wolf 359. During that battle, Benjamin Sisko, first officer on the USS Saratoga, gives the order to abandon ship. He rescues his young son Jake, but is too late to save his wife. A few years later, Sisko brings Jake along to…

As a plucky grad student, I walked in the door ready to negotiate with a department that needed my labor.

I think enough time has passed that I can tell this story. When I was a PhD student at the University of Toronto in the mid 1990s, the department asked me to sit through a week of undergrad presentations and proctor a final exam for my advisor, who needed to take a brief medical leave. I made a cup of tea for an afternoon of marking, tallied up and posted…

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All Good Things… (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 25) Picard faces a timey-wimey puzzle in three different timelines

Rewatching ST:TNG When we all first met the crew of the Enterprise-D, I was an undergraduate living in a dorm at the University of Virginia. Seven years later, I was a Ph.D. student in a dorm at the University of Toronto. I saw the series finale on a channel that was hosting a huge live watch party at what was then known as Toronto’s SkyDome. When a certain iconic spaceship…

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Firstborn (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 21) Worf prepares his reluctant son for a rite of passage

Rewatching ST:TNG Worf awkwardly rehearses a speech to prepare Alexander for a rite of passage. Doused by a water balloon intended for Alexander, Worf bungles the speech. He’s even more rattled when Alexander admits he doesn’t want to become a warrior. Picard suggests Worf visit a nearby Klingon outpost for an upcoming festival. Wide-eyed Alexander is enchanted by a participatory street theater bat’leth opera, and runs off to see the…

How Not to Hate Shakespeare

The problem isn’t Shakespeare—it’s how he’s been taught. […] Since Shakespeare’s work is “not of an age but for all time,” as Ben Jonson famously put it, I suggest that you get over your Bardophobia and embrace your inner Bardolator. Trust me, it’s worth it. First, you need to relax. You’re not stupid. You’re not a philistine. Shakespeare didn’t write in “olde English” (a common misconception), but his “early modern…

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (workshop premiere of a new musical by Greg Kerestan)

I really enjoyed seeing the first workshop performance of SHU alum Greg Kerestan’s original horror-comedy musical, “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” based on the classic 1920 German expressionist silent film. The music is powerful, and the cast is hilarious and creepy, in all the right proportions.   The daughter plays a ballet mistress socialite (and is also the choreography & assistant director).   You have one more chance to see…

Jerry Lewis’s Costars Speak Out: “He Grabbed Me. He Began to Fondle Me. I Was Dumbstruck”

As a kid I watched Jerry Lewis movies when they turned up on the local independent TV channels, and typically when I was home from school on  Labor Day, I would watch at least part of his muscular dystrophy telethons. I’m saddened to read allegations about yet another established male professional using his position of power to manipulate a younger female artist by demanding sexual favors. Demanding? Requesting? Suggesting? Semantics.…

Why Marlon Brando’s Streetcar Co-Stars Couldn’t Stand Him

Williams’ last play, The Glass Menagerie, had been a hit, but Streetcar was still a risk. A name star would make the show a surer thing. Besides, wasn’t this kid too young for the part? Kazan persisted. Selznick agreed to cast Brando, but only if they could get him to audition for Williams at the playwright’s house in Provincetown. Brando told Kazan he had no money to make the trip. Kazan gave the…

Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof, Now a Rich Man, Receives a Letter from His HOA

Dear Tevye, This letter is to inform you that you are in gross violation of the rules of this Homeowners’ Association (HOA). Please note the following infractions: Your contract allows for a modest structure in the prevailing style of the neighborhood. It does not allow for a big tall house with rooms by the dozen. Your building permit was for the lot at 161 Maple Street. Instead, you built a…

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Frame of Mind (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 21) Riker is an asylum inmate who hallucinates he’s a Starfleet officer rehearsing a play about an asylum inmate

Rewatching ST:TNG Riker overprepares for a role in “Beverly’s play,” which distracts him during his briefing for an undercover mission, so that Worf accidentally cuts him while demonstrating a ceremonial knife. The night of the performance, the crowd applauds enthusiastically, but Riker is disturbed when he notices in the crowd a humanoid alien he had bumped in the corridor before. Suddenly the setting shifts, and Riker finds himself in a…

Smalltalk through masks is hard; I really was glad to see so many familiar upper halves of faces at last night’s six-theatre Sondheim tribute

If you said hello to me recently and I didn’t seem interested in smalltalk, but just raised my eyebrows, made friendly sounds, and drifted on, I hope I didn’t seem indifferent. I really was glad to see so many familiar upper halves of faces at the Lamp Theatre last night, but it was also kind of overwhelming. I wouldn’t say I’m particularly bad at recognizing faces (see this Post-Gazette article…