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Sunday, April 26, 2015

My Life in April: RENT, Mockingbirds, and a Trip Hiatus

This end-of-the-month recap post is a bit early this month, but I have a reason for that (read below).

April was a much quieter month for me than March. After a tiring and stressful month on the picket lines, it was surprising how things went completely back to normal right away after the strike ended. It was like it had never happened! I spent most of April relaxing (due to the previous month's stress and also from sickness) and catching up on work. I did make time for one out-and-about activity this month though and it was to see a small-time production at the Lower Ossington Theatre of my all-time favourite musical, RENT:


Admittedly, when I sat down in my seat and opened up my program to check out the cast, I was disappointed. I have seen a few Broadway productions of RENT in my time and they had all featured a very diverse cast. So when I opened my program and saw that this cast was entirely white, I was a peeved and a little sceptical... Thankfully, I found myself swallowing my words when the entire cast turned out to be really fantastically talented - acting- and singing-wise - and really embodied their characters' ESSENCE, even if they did not necessarily LOOK like them. RENT is largely about poor bohemians living with AIDS in the 1980s - the actors can really make it or break it when it comes to capturing the acute poignancy of the show's message. I am happy(?) to report that the actors had me in tears in the final moments of the show! So well done!!


Blog Posts in April:

Muggle Monday: Harry Potter Fully Illustrated Edition Cover Reveal
Ratings by Publisher
Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas - 5 Stars
Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - 4 Stars
My Life in March: STRIKE!!!! ... and Disney's Frozen on Ice


Best Book Read in April:


I know I wasn't the only one that was shocked when it was announced that a sequel of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee that was assumed lost, was found and would be released this summer 2015, 55 years after Lee's first and only book was released. I first read To Kill a Mockingbird in high school a decade ago and it was one of the few mandatory school reads that I actually truly appreciated. I knew it was time for a reread if I was going to prepare myself for the sequel, To Set a Watchman. It was just as meaningful and stirring as I remembered it! I know a lot of people are sceptical or else are downright dreading this sequel, as if it might take away from the much lauded classic, but I don't share that opinion. I am still very excited to read the sequel and I can't imagine that it will taint my view of To Kill a Mockingbird even if it ends up being not as good (which, let's face it, is very likely as the original is pretty much untouchable at this point). I'm curious about what has happened to our beloved characters in the years since To Kill a Mockingbird has taken place!


And finally, I must announce a two-week hiatus I will be taking from blogging: tomorrow I'm getting on a plane and heading to Europe! It was my quick trip to Berlin last November (as well as the reading of Just One Day by Gayle Forman) that really spurred on a bout of travel lust in me. I haven't gone away on a vacation for years because of a lack of time and money, but finally I just knew I was going to need to PRIORITIZE it if I wanted to make it happen. So I made the time and I budgeted out the money for a 2 week trip to the UK and France with my boyfriend. I want to see ALL of Europe (and indeed, many parts of the world), but I thought I would start there as I don't want to be too rushed with only 14 days (including travel time) with all the things I want to see. I'M EXCITED. And I'll be pretty absent from the blog and the internet for these next two weeks. I will have to talk to you all and share when I get back!

38 comments :

  1. Have the best time Aylee. So very jealous! BTW...if you want mobile phone access, you can get a SIM card pretty cheap from any mobile phone shop in London. We actually got ours at a grocery store. You'll have to get another one for France, unfortunately - but it's so handy to have phone and internet access. I don't know how I managed to do all my previous Europe trips without it.

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    1. Thanks, Alison! I bought a travel plan from my cell phone company that should allow me to text for free and use 3G if I get lost. Thanks for all your great advice!

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  2. Yay, have fun, Aylee! That's super exciting. You should share lots of pictures.
    Maybe someday I'll get to have a European vacation myself. For now I shall have to live vicariously through you!
    I love RENT as well. I am surprised that an all-white cast was allowed, since the play is so racially diverse and like mentions race and all. But that's awesome they were able to pull it off anyway.
    Glad you had a relatively quiet month - that's my hope for two weeks from now, when spring classes are finally over.

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    1. Heh, yes I will have to share pics when I get back :)
      Well, I don't think it's a matter of it being allowed, but presumably that's the cast that they had to work with... they had to change a few things in the script though. I was relieved that it wasn't the disaster I thought it was going to be!
      Thanks, Amanda! Good luck with your work!

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  3. Oh, wow! I am yet to read To Kill a Mockingbird. It's one of those books that's been on my TBR since forever. We didn't even read it in school, so I am looking forward to it. I am super glad you read the book again and loved it and that the musical was great too. Nice post!

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

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    1. Ooh, then you must experience it and it will be a treat because you'll be reading it for the first time! There's a reason it's a classic, so I hope you enjoy and appreciate it :)

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  4. I've never read To Kill a Mockingbird, Aylee, but I'll give it a try in the future. It's been a long time since I've read a classic.

    I'm super jealous that you're going on a vacation. I haven't done that in years! Am I correct in assuming you're done your thesis and this was a reward?

    I hope you have a great trip!

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    1. Ha! I WISH I was done my thesis. But no, the rest of my summer will be spent struggling through that. I haven't had a vacation in years either and I just knew this was going to be my one and only chance to make this trip happen because I may be unemployed in a few months. So it had to happen now. Seize the day and all that!

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  5. I'm so glad Rent ended up surprising you so pleasantly! I would have been worried too in your place, but it turned out great, which makes me happy.
    As for Mockingbird, I honestly don't know how I feel about that sequel. It's all a bit awkward and suspicios and strange. I hope it's as good as it should be.
    And have fun on my side of the world! Have a safe trip and take lots of pictures!

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    1. Yes, I was so pleasantly surprised! What a relief.
      It IS definitely strange... but I'm just keeping in mind that it was completed before To Kill a Mockingbird and everything... I don't know, I'm going to try to keep an open mind!
      Thanks, Maja! I will!

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  6. The sequel announcement for To Kill A Mockingbird was insane!! I never thought that would happen. When does to Set A Watchman come out? I like your attitude of not letting it change this untouchable classic. I was one of those that wasn’t happy about this announcement. I was worried about the story and if it would be just as good but I was mostly worried about it being published against Harper’s wishes. Hope you have the best time in Europe!!! So glad you made it a priority. I went to Europe as a young married student with our 18 month old and I would do it again in a heartbeat. No matter how inconvenient it seems, it’ll always be worth it :)

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    1. I believe it's coming out this summer. It's pretty crazy! I guess I don't know some of the background information surrounding the situation - like, that it is being published against Harper's wishes? I hope that's not true. I will just try to keep an open mind!
      Ooh Europe with an 18 month old!! Good for you! That's exactly my mindset - I just needed to make it happen somehow!

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  7. I feel the same way about Set A Watchman - excited but kind of scared!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

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  8. Have a blast, Aylee! There is so much to see and do in Europe. I hope the weather is nice. Safe travels.

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  9. Yeaaaaaaay, enjoy your time in Europe :D

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  10. I hope you have a super great time in Europe!!!! :D *hugs*

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  11. Oh Aylee I hope your dream trip to Europe will be EVERYTHING. Take lots of pictures please , Europe is a dream destination of mine but atm I'll have to settle for living vicariously through you :D Safe travels and have fun ♥ I swear I'm only like 20% jealous and like 80% happy for you LOL!

    OMG I had NO idea that they announced the release of a long lost sequel for To Kill a Mockingbird?! I feel like I'm living under a rock :O I also read the original in high-school but honestly I don't remember a thing about it, which is odd considering my memory is usually pretty great. I'll have to reread it as well!! And I'm happy that after going in skeptical, Rent managed to blow you away (again) Because there's no shows like that in my neck of Canada, I've only seen ONE musical but I'd love to see more.

    We'll chat when you get back!! xxxx

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    1. THANK YOU!! IT WAS! :):) I'll share pics and details soon.

      Only one musical EVER? Oh no, Miche, you must rectify that - maybe while you are in NYC. Wicked is a must for sure!

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  12. Rent is still my favorite broadway musical, and still get goosebumps when I think about the scenes! And so jealous and also excited for you for your trip!! Enjoy!

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    1. Yes, absolutely! And thank you!

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  13. Rent is my favorite musical too. We really need to be BFF's at this point. haha That's good the cast did so well even if they did not physically seem diverse enough. I would have been a bit worried about that too.

    And luck you, going on a trip to Europe! I really want to visit England and France. My sister has been before and loved it, so the two of us are planning on going for a bit probably next year some time? I hope. Need to plan things out and keep saving. haha

    -Lauren

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    1. Hah, for sure!! And that's so excellent that you'll be getting to go soon-ish! I loved it so I know you will too.

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  14. Looking forward to hearing all about your trip. Happy travels! :D

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  15. Hope you're having a lovely vacation! I'm looking forward to hearing about all the cool stuff you did. :)

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  16. AYLEE! I've been on a two-month hiatus but I missed this blog! I am v happy to be reading it again.

    I've never heard of RENT, but I do love musicals. As for To Kill A Mockingbird ... one of my favourites. I'm pretty excited for Go Set a Watchman (not least because of its brilliant title) though the issues surrounding Harper Lee's consent, what with her sudden decision to publish after her sister's death, concern me a bit. I will, of course, read it anyway!

    Enjoy your trip! I hope we'll see lots of pictures and tales of your time when you return :)

    Emily x

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    1. Aww, I wondered where you were! Glad to see you back :) Never heard of RENT though?! You'll just have to take my word for it that it's one of the best musicals out there! I will share some pics soon!

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  17. Well it’s fantastic that RENT surprised you and ended up being really fantastic. When actors can transcend their character, or become their character, I suppose, even if they don’t look the same as the character was first imagined or presented, it’s so incredible. There’s something really amazing, when that happens.
    I hope you have a lovely time in Europe! I’m really hoping you’ll put a good lot of trip-recaps up, because I’d love to see some of the memorable places you visited! Xx

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    1. Yes, it was pretty incredible! I had a fantastic time and I will share soon!

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  18. Enjoy your trip to Europe!! That sounds like it would be so much fun! :)

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  19. I am completely and totally envious of your trip! I also think it's completely fantastic that you're doing something for you! I hope you are enjoying yourself! I first saw Rent when I was 14- after being completely obsessed with the soundtrack for ages. I don't know how I would feel about an all white cast. That just seems wrong. But I am glad you enjoyed it in the end.

    I am looking forward to hearing about your trip!

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    1. It did seem wrong at first... eventually the cast won me over, so that was a relief! I will post about my trip more soon!

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