Thursday, June 24, 2010

Critique

The 80s movie, the A-Team, has now been out for two weeks and has grossed a total as of Jun. 23, 2010: $55,461,321 (Domestic).  I was excited to see the movie and hoped that Hollywood would not destroy my childhood dreams of the A-Team.   I joined a group of friends (new and old) for the first show of opening day.  Check out the review from the group. 


Don't forget to Subscribe To the Movie Review's Round Table page, for opening day reviews.   I don't want to give away anything if you haven't seen the film yet.  But if you have no idea what the 80's version of the A-Team was like, you'll be fine, this movie brings you back to the creation of the Team.  If you were a fan, ein... you'll have to see it on the big screen to enjoy the constant flash and bang of the film.  I was not impressed with Liam Neeson portrayal of Hannibal, played by George Peppard.

So grab a bag of popcorn and settle in. 
p.s.  Stay through the credits!

Sunny language

Language: a body of words and the systems for their use common to a people who are of the same community or nation, the same geographical area, or the same cultural tradition.

I always enjoy when I'm out in public and hear, what can only be explained as a gobledygook, of words and phrases in some other language than english, I sit there and try to imagine what they are saying. Or when I hear the quick melody of people speaking French my ears perk up as I want to join in the conversation. But for some, language is lost and can only be found in dated recordings and text books, or there are only a few speakers of the language left. Although I do speak another language, I always wish I could say more than Hello or call someone a pig in Ojibway.

Being in San Diego for a week and working on a project filled with history and words only spoken by a handful of people reminded me of my own loss of language and an opportunity to work with Native Voices is always an adventure. For this year's playwrights retreat, I was asked to be Assistant Director for Tombs of the Vanishing Indian, by Marie Clements. As I had worked on the project years before, I jumped at the chance to be a part of the process again.
The purpose of the retreat is for the writers to hear their words read by professional actors, along with a director and a dramaturg, and in our case a Gabrielino/Tongva consultant.

On our first day there, I had the opportunity to sit with Marie and the consultant, Virginia. As I went through the script to find the pages and lines that had to be spoken by the Lone Woman, it began to look like a daunting task for both the consultant and the actress that would eventually have to read and learn the language. We sat poolside as Virginia explained how she and a few others were trying to bring back this dying language and how she had only begun her journey to learning the language three years ago. Cut to the next morning where Virginia handed us two pages of translated work. As we read through the beginning of the script, the actress sat near Virgina repeating after her this mysterious language. I sat with my recorder catching every nuance.

I later went to check on Virginia, who had moved into the conference room. A small stack of notes and books were strewn across the table as she worked through the meaning and translation, helping bring this vanished language to life. I watched as she debated which words to use as some modern words like room were not used then. I marveled as she flipped through her notebook, which resembled a make-shift dictionary. As our day of rehearsal ended, I helped type in the translation so it could be added to the script, taking care of my keystrokes as my fingers were not used to this particular alignment of letters that formed lost words.
The final reading has come and gone. The labored language work cut to accomodate both time
and meaning and understanding for the audience. I cannot wait to see the production of it next year.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Canada Day preparations

Canada day is quickly approaching, and this year I will be prepared. This year, as well as finding fellow Canadians to celebrate with, I will also be preparing comfort food that only mom (not my mom of course, but someone's) can make. I'll of course start with the obligatory Poutine (See the article from my food blog to learn more), then move onto dessert, first Buttercups then maybe some Nanaimo bars. What is this strange food you ask?  Buttertarts are a flaky buttery cup full of sugary goodness, while Nanaimo Bars are a layered no-bake blend of chocolate, fluffy cream filling and a graham cracker crust.


Butter Tarts:

Go to the JoyofBaking.com for the recipe. 
Here's the filling:
1/3 cup (70 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (215 grams) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup (60 ml) light cream (half-and-half) (10% butterfat)
1/2 cup raisins or 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts (toasted and chopped) (optional)

Doesn't that sound yummy.  When I was little I didn't like the flaky pastry cup, so I would just eat the sweet creamy filling.  I've grown out of that phase, now I just make sure I have a cup of Tim Horton's coffee with me when I have a few.


Here's a recipe for Nanaimo Bars:
Bottom Layer
½ cup unsalted butter (European style cultured)
¼ cup sugar
5 tbsp. cocoa
1 egg beaten
1 ¼ cups graham wafer crumbs
½ c. finely chopped almonds
1 cup coconut

Melt first 3 ingredients in top of double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Press firmly into an ungreased 8" x 8" pan.
Second Layer
½ cup unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. and 2 Tsp. cream
2 Tbsp. vanilla custard powder
2 cups icing sugar
Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer.

Third Layer
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (1 oz. each)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Melt chocolate and butter overlow heat. Cool. Once cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator.

Nanaimo bars, originated when a housewife, Mabel Jenkins, entered the no-bake recipe in the annual Ladysmith and Cowichan Women's Institute Cookbook that was sold in the early 1950s.  The bars even have their own Facebook Fan Page.  Visit the City of Nanaimo's page for more history.

I'd love to know if you tried making these, I'm not sure that I will, but if I do, I'll post pics.

Stay hungry my friend.