Bartleby Productions

Filled with the profound conviction that the easiest way of life is the best.

Month: April, 2013

Look ahead and celebrate Ocho de Mayo with us…in person!!

by joegio

Can't you just see yourself here?

Can’t you just see yourself here?

HELLO AND WELCOME TO THIS INFORMATION!

Thanks for taking the time to look at this. Bartleby Productions’ OCHO DE MAYO CELEBRATION (7:30pm at Black Rock Pub and Kitchen, 3614 N. Damen Ave) is intended to kick off a new series of events celebrating holidays notable and obscure, unusual and expected. To that end, this event will consist of work (new, old, untested, and recently devised) inspired by the actual holiday Cinco de Mayo as well as some other holidays on May 8th, which you can read about here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_8

We’re personally looking forward to Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives during the Second World War and Truman Day.

Basically, anything connected with the day is fine: notable births, deaths, or events are also up for grabs.

WHAT DO WE WANT FROM YOU?

Great question!  Come to our event.  Better yet, perform at our event!

We’re looking for basically any type of act, running between 5 and 10 minutes, performable with nothing more than a PA system or a projector. Literally anything. Our last show of this kind had sketch comedy, stand up, magic, some monologues, and a movie. Read something, do a dance, whatever. We’d love to see it. New work is especially encouraged. Last time, much of our material was written the day of which gives the whole thing a fun, loose, anything-can-happen vibe.

WHAT IS THE TIME COMMITMENT LIKE?

The show will be May 8, 2013 at 7:30 PM. Ideally, we’d like all acts to be there by 6:30 the night of and stay for the duration. But when is life ever ideal, you know? Do what you gotta do. That’s it. And your first beer is on us.

Please let us know if you’re interested by May 5th. Shoot us an email at enjoy.bartleby@gmail.com

Love,

Bartleby Productions

Celebrate International Dance Day!

by joegio

According to UNESCO partner the International Theatre Institute’s International Dance Committee, today is INTERNATIONAL DANCE DAY!  You might think this is one of those days where you’re supposed to do a wacky dance in a very public place to celebrate  “interconnectedness” or some crap like that and load it on youtube.  Thankfully, it is not that.  But you can do that, too.

No, today is primarily about dance as kind of an abstract thing.  Your basic International Dance Day seems to consist of a well-known dance personage distributing a message.  This year it’s Lin Hwai-min, the artistic director of Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan, and you can watch or read his message here: http://www.international-dance-day.org/en/index.html

And that’s kind of it.  There was a show in Chicago yesterday, which makes sense because today is a Monday.  Incidentally, the date April 29 was chosen because it’s the birthday Jean-Georges Noverre, the inventor of modern ballet.  So sometimes it falls on a Monday and you don’t know you missed the only celebration in Chicago until the next day.  Isn’t that always the way?

Anyway, here’s your major take away for the day: in most schools and governments around the world, apparently dance isn’t a budget line item.  It’s usually lumped in generally with performing arts and doesn’t get the same attention that say, music programs or visual arts programs get.  A lot of today is about reminding people that hey, dance is a thing.  Don’t forget about dance.  Maybe it’s to the performing arts what poetry is to fiction (more obtuse, fewer people like it), but it’s still totally awesome.

I just spent a week running lights for a dance show and it’s true: dance is totally awesome.  Actually, Lin Hwai-min probably says it better:

Come, turn off your television, switch off your computer, and come to dance. 
Express yourself through that divine and dignified instrument, which is our body.
Come to dance and join people in the waves of pulses. 
Seize that precious and fleeting moment.
Come to celebrate life with dance.

Seriously.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Shall we dance?

Know your trees for Arbor Day!

by joegio

The mighty oak

 

The graceful maple

 

The coy birch

 

The weirdly named gingko

 

The nondescript white ash

 

The unexpectedly colorful black tupelo

 

Really sorry if trees are not your bag.  Today is also National Pretzel Day and a day of remembrance for the incident at Chernobyl.  So you’ve got options.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Don’t ask questions, just climb a tree.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Feast of St. Mark or Liberation Day!

by joegio

Rawr

Today’s blog post was written by Bartleby company member and foreign correspondent (for a couple weeks, at least) Kathy Palm.

Either way, the Italian’s do quite like April 25th.

St. Mark is Venice’s Patron Saint. If you are ever blessed enough to get there (or glance at a map) you’ll notice you have a Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square), Basilica Di San Marco (St Mark’s Basilica), Tesoro di San Marco, Venezia San Marco, Garage San Marco spa… etc. There is plenty of San Marco to go around all year round!

On April 25th, the rest of Italy celebrates too!  (Although they might just be celebrating Liberation Day, a national holiday honoring the liberation of Italy from the Nazi-Fascists in WWII, 25 April 1945). In the region of Sardinia, in the small village of Tresnuraghes, they are said to celebrate St. Mark by having a feast with lots of grilled sheep as they are a large pastoral community.

Happy feasting!

However! Italy is not the only country in on these April 25th festivities or the only country with lots of recognition for St. Mark!

Other places which are inspired by St. Marks, but don’t feel the need to flaunt it today include:

  • The city of St. Marks, FL home to the St. Marks Light, the second oldest lighthouse in Florida.

  • St. Mark’s School in South Borough MA. Perhaps their One Acts Festival tonight will have some St. Mark recognition!

  • Church of St. Mark in Venice California. Today gives you sound logic to justify a pilgrimage to California, and their weather.

And lastly, some fun facts about St. Mark! (From the encyclopedia of Religion)

1) He wrote a book of the bible, but isn’t one of the 12 disciples.

2) His name is most likely John Mark.

3) The Egyptian Church claims Mark as their founder and patron saint.

4) Under the symbol of the winged Lion, refugees from Aquileia established him as the patron saint and defend of the future in Venice.

5) Needless to say, he’s a tad mysterious!

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Why is St. Mark always pictured with a lion?  Seriously, we don’t know.

 

Happy National Pigs-in-a-Blanket Day, America!

by joegio

awwwwwww

Wait, no.

That’s better.

There we go.  OK, so today is National Pigs-in-a-Blanket Day.  Which at first might seem like the kind of thing that doesn’t need a day, but now stop and think: how often do you have pigs-in-a-blanket?  Don’t you wish it were more often?  Doesn’t this seem like maybe, just maybe, it’s an awareness problem and not a problem of people not liking pigs-in-a-blanket?  Because everyone likes pigs-in-a-blanket?  We just forget about them because we are busy people with problematic lives.  Hence: Pigs-in-a-Blanket Day.

The day was (is?) declared by the American Farm Bureau Foundation of Agriculture, who apparently has assigned all kinds of holidays throughout the year for different kinds of foods that can be grown on U.S. soil.  One of these foods is pigs.  The other one may or may not be Pilsbury crescent roll dough.

In any case, basically you make these by taking some little smokies, then wrapping them in Pilsbury crescent roll dough.  Bake them for a little while.  Then eat them.  Some people like to get all fancy and use something other than Pilsbury crescent roll dough, but those people clearly have something to prove and we probably wouldn’t want to talk to them at this party we’re going to where we’re apparently all bring pigs-in-blankets as an appetizer.  Cuz it’s a holiday.

Anyway, that’s about all there is to it.  Some holidays are just simple, you know?

OH, if you are not an American, sorry for the cultural specificity of today’s post.  Americans really love foodstuffs that are made out of pig, so you can just expect there will be a few more like this throughout the year.  Incidentally, wikipedia says that in the UK pigs-in-blankets are often a feature of Christmas dinner, where they are served alongside the turkey (instead of stuffing?) and something else called “Devils on horseback” which are probably dates stuffed with peppers or something.  Either way, I hope there is a British Devils-on-Horseback Day soon.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Are you going to have pigs-in-a-blanket today?  Why not?

 

 

Today is World Book Day!

by joegio

Technically, it is UNESCO’s “World Book and Copyright Day,” but we’ll get to that.  Technically, the holiday is a little older than that and is totally in the public domain.

Book Day (more or less) has been celebrated in Spain since the 1920’s, where the day was recognized to mark the death of Miguel Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote and more or less the first novelist.  Never mind that Cervantes actually probably died on the 22nd and was buried on the 23rd.  Spanish booksellers, in a pique of smart self-promotion, observed the day by distributing roses to book buyers.  Romantic, simple, sweet.

Fast forward to 1995, when UNESCO noticed that not only did Cervantes die on the 23rd (22nd, whatev), but so did Shakespeare (who was also born on the 23rd ooooh creepy) and Nabokov was born on the 23rd, and a bunch of other writers too.  So they declared the 23rd “World Book and Copyright Day” in order to celebrate “reading, publishing, and protecting intellectual property through copyright.”  Not quite as romantic, simple, or sweet.  But hey, let’s make sure the kids are reading.  And protecting their intellectual property.  Those are important things.

Here are some ideas for celebrating today.

1) Read Don Quixote.  Or, like I did in high school, start Don Quixote and then never finish it, but call lots of things quixotic for a little while.

2) Illegally download all current episodes of Game of Thrones and watch them.  Mentally apologize to George R.R. Martin and HBO, but then justify yourself to yourself because if they really wanted to protect their intellectual property, they should have made it less cool.  Also because what the heck is going on with Daenerys?!

3) OK, I just googled and apparently in 2012, World Book Day was on April 23rd, but this year it might have fallen on March 7.  It’s really hard to say.  So….shut it down.  Just shut it down.

And celebrate Saint George’s Day instead, which is also (sometimes) April 23rd!!!!

Maybe there is a good book about this.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: How are you going to celebrate St. George’s Day???

 

Three three three holidays in one!

by joegio

Boy, is today ever a big day!  We got psychotropics, we got the Dutch, we got Benjamin Disraeli and his favorite flower.  It is literally all here.  Those actually aren’t even all the holidays for today, but these three are all so good we can not choose.  So we won’t.

1) Happy Primrose Day!

Let us celebrate the dainty tastes of Benjamin Disraeli!

Benjamin Disraeli was a Prime Minister.  He was an architect of Britain’s contemporary Conservative Party.  He also suuuuuuper loved primroses.  I MEAN LOOK AT THEM.  They are like half flower/half fireworks made out of flowers!  They are tasteful and delicate and appropriate for basically any occasion, whether it is a state dinner for the new Empress of India (Queen Victoria) or like, just for your bathroom or whatever.  Disraeli loved primroses so much (as do we all, Benjamin!) that when the U.K. celebrates his life and work (technically his death), they celebrate primroses.  It is Primrose Day, not Benjamin Disraeli Day, not Prime Minister Day.  Primrose Day.  Queen Victoria sent a wreath of primroses to his funeral, and to this day his statue in Parliament Square will get decorated with them today, as will his grave at Hughenden, Buckinghamshire.  So happy Primrose Day!

2) Merry Bicycle Day!

Stay with me: today is not about bicycles.  Today is about LSD.

Whooooaa

LSD was first synthesized in Switzerland in November 1938 by chemist Albert Hoffman.  He was trying to come up with a stimulant for respiratory symptoms or something like that.  SO I guess that went pretty well.  On April 16, 1943, Hoffman accidentally absorbed some of the substance through his fingertips and he noticed an extreme restlessness and a pretty active imagination.  Interested, Hoffman decided to ingest the substance on April 19, 1943.

After the drug began to take its effect, Hoffman, to put it kindly, freaked.  He became paranoid, specifically that his neighbor was a witch, and demanded that one of his lab assistants take him home.  Since there were motor vehicle restricti0ns (there was a war, remember?), Hoffman and his assistant were forced to ride bicycles home.

Once they reached Hoffman’s home, a doctor was called who detected no physical symptoms of sickness except for some extremely dilated pupils.  Of course by this point, Hoffman’s anxiety had given way to feelings of intense well-being and what Hoffman later described as “the unprecedented colors and plays of shapes that persisted behind my closed eyes.”

Bicycle Day was first celebrated in the 80s (duh) in DeKalb, IL at Northern Illinois University.

3) Gelukkig Nederlandse American Vriendschap Dag!

That is Dutch for “Happy Dutch-American Friendship Day!”  Which is what today is!!

“Gelukkig Nederlandse American Vriendschap Dag!!”

On April 19, 1782, John Adams was recognized in the Hague as the Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of America!

WHAT IS THAT, IS IT SOME KIND OF WIZARD?  OR A CHURCH MINISTER? you may be asking yourself.  You are half right (not really).  Minister Plenipotentiary is apparently a diplomat of the “second class,” ranking between an Ambassador and a Minister Resident, and their title is “His/Her Excellency.”  Because one thing that is true about democracy is that it throws titles right out the window (j/k).

OK, so not only was John Adams recognized as Minister Plenipotentiary on April 19, he also closed the sale of a house at Fluwelen Burgwal 18 which became the first American Embassy EVER.  So that is pretty cool.

Yes, today is a big day for minor holidays.  There are a lot of ways you could celebrate.  You could read Disraeli’s seminal An Inquiry into the Plans, Progress, and Policy of the American Mining Companiesdrop some acid, and eat a stroopwafel.  You could make a list of the relative merits of primroses as compared to tulips while you synthesize a designer drug.  The sky is literally the limit today.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: If you had to pick just one, which April 19th holiday would YOU make a national holiday?

The Regulars are coming out! The Regulars are coming out!

by joegio

That is more than likely the thing that Paul Revere shouted lo these 238 years ago, as he rode Middlesex County.  It made sense at the time, given that the people he was warning considered themselves British.  As did he.  Also, he probably didn’t shout, being as he was on a secret mission.  Generally one tries to keep quiet during those.

Handsome devil.

Handsome devil.

Now, there are definitely some true things in Longfellow’s poem.  For one: Revere really did have a “muffled oar.”  He managed to row all the way across the Charles River right past an anchored British warship.

Some things just aren’t true though.  Like at one a.m.?  Longfellow has Revere gazing at the meeting house windows, “black and bare.”  In fact, at this point Revere was likely making the acquaintance of fellow patriot Dr. Samuel Prescott, who was returning from the home of his “lady friend.”  Longfellow and the historical account are both mute on this subject, though one can imagine some fist pounding and a “you the man” or something like that.

Also, incidentally, the point of all this was to save Samuel Adams and John Hancock.  Which means that the most important thing we can say about Paul Revere is that because of him, some of our beers and all of our signatures have fun names.  Thank you, Paul!

Incidentally, the fantasy of patriotic, midnight foot traffic is also probably responsible for things like this: http://www.iiicitadel.com/, but Paul could never have seen that coming.

 

Today is World Hemophilia Day!

by joegio

Today's the day!

Today’s the day!

Some days have a lot of holidays or observances that involve snacks and hanging out with your family.  Pretty much every day has at least six or seven Christian Feast Days.  But some days, you find yourself choosing between Flag Day in the American Samoa and World Hemophilia Day.  Today is such a day.

Now, I am not an expert in blood clotting disorders, but there are lots of those.  Today is a day where we should seek them out and learn just a little bit more about what “platelets” are and what happens when someone’s are messed up.  Right?  Right.

HEMOPHILIA FACTS!

1) The most common blood clotting disease is called von Willebrand disease and the symptoms are fairly mild.  Most people with VWD don’t even know they have it.  Some of these people may also be Doberman Pinschers, the other group most likely to develop VWD.  Are you one of these?

2) Hemophilia is condition wherein people lack enough of clotting factor VIII or IX in their blood.  Together, these form the tenase complex.  That is followed by clotting factor X, the Stuart-Prower factor.  It’s all part of the coagulation cascade.  I don’t know what any of that means, I’m sorry.

3) For a long time, it was believed that only men could develop hemophilia symptoms and that women acted as symptomless “carriers” of the disease.  But it’s not true!  Women can totally have symptoms…they also might not, and they could carry the disease and pass it on to their (male) children without ever knowing they have it.  So good luck, ladies!

4) Some very rare blood disorders affect other clotting factors (like, say, XIII or V) but these are so rare that little is known about most of them.  We do know that some of them have to be treated with “fresh frozen plasma” which sounds a little to me like when McDonald’s calls their chicken “fresh.”

5) This year marks the World Federation of Hemophilia’s 50th anniversary!  Check out their website for more info on clotting disorders: http://www.wfh.org/en/

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Do you want to ride the Coagulation Cascade at Six Flags with me?

 

Sechseläuten: Spring Break Foreverrrr

by joegio


böögg

Sure, it’s Tax Day and Patriot’s Day.  I understand that it is also Titanic Remembrance Day, Rubber Eraser Day, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Birthday, and the date that Ray Kroc opened the first (franchised) McDonald’s restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois.  But there is one holiday which sums up the fear of tax day, the national pride of Patriot’s Day, the destruction of Titanic Remembrance Day, the cutesy insignificance of Rubber Eraser Day, the ingenuity of Leonardo Da Vinci, and the cholestorol build-up of McDonald’s…day.  It is also kind of like Groundhog Day if Groundhog Day were AMAZING.  That holiday is Sechseläuten.

Sechseläuten gets its name from the 14th century ringing of the Grossmünster bell, which marked the end of the working day and, on the third Monday in April, the symbolic beginning of spring.   I am not sure how this gives the day its name, but the internet told me so it is true. In order to commemorate this day in a way that the working dudes of Switzerland could get behind, there is a fancy parade for the 26 guilds (formerly labor guilds, now kind of like private clubs.  For men only.) and then they rig a giant snowman effigy (named Böögg, pronounced like “Bogey” or, if you want to be a jerk to your Swiss friends, “Beeroororogorggg”) with EXPLOSIVES, and BLOW!  IT!  UP!

Kind of like how the summer DESTROYS the winter with spring.  Or something.

Tradition holds that if Böögg’s head explodes very quickly after the pyre is lit, then we will have a warm and sunny summer.  If his head just takes too long to explode (bro!) then we’ll have a cool and rainy summer.  Which sounds weird, but then imagine yourself with a beer in your hand watching a giant snowman burn without coming up with rules about head explosion.  It would probably be impossible.

Incidentally, the record is around 5 minutes.

Sechseläuten also includes a children’s event on the Sunday night before, where the children and the Böögg parade through the streets.  And where the cool Swiss parents more than likely call out to their children something like “We’re trying to decide which one of you to burn up tomorrow!  How fast do you think Sven’s head will explode?” and then “Oh no, sweetie, Daddy’s just kidding.  We’re only going to explode the snowman ragdoll, don’t worry!”

Now Sechseläuten is not all fun and games for everyone.  For one, women basically can’t participate in any of the parades (since they aren’t children or men) except for on an “honorary” basis.  Maybe this made sense when the guilds were actually labor guilds and the only laborers were men, but now that the weavers guild is run by a pharmacist, it seems especially arbitrary.   Let’s all hope that someday the women can join the parade for real, and not have to have one an hour before just to get in on the fun.

But if you ask me, this Vin Diesel movie of holidays (explosions, men only) sounds pretty fun.  If nothing else, you can bet that it never starts late.

I think it’s gonna be a warm summer.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: What are you going to explode today to portend the coming summer?