James’ Brand New Blog

Where was I on April 14-15? A cryptic diary offers clues*

- April 15th, 2012

LBJ_MacBird2

The cover of MacBird!, courtesy of art-for-a-change.com

“MacBird” at Alphacentre

– April 14, 1967

Rained

Oondatjes Egg Hunt.

Tried to fly (word indecipherable) Kite

– April 14, 1968

Finished Sarnia report for paper. 25 for Juris.

School lunch for 52 cents

– April 14, 1970

The Might.

– April 15, 1967

Leroi Jones report.

– April 15, 1970

OK, JBNBlog admits it . . . this is partly a two-day entry to name drop (egg drop?) Ondaatje even if there were spelling woes. During the late 1960s, Kim & Michael Ondaatje lived at 354 Piccadilly, next-door to where we would live c. 1986-1993. Not sure if it was on Piccadilly or another address where the Easter eggs were hunted. Some of Kim Ondaatje’s paintings depict the Piccadilly house.

Many years later we were delighted to stay with Kim & her army of Dalmatians near Kingston.

JBNBlog is no longer sure why 52 cents was noteworthy as a luncheon price . . . but the same day, the 25 is likely the number of names needed for a run at the Central secondary school council presidency & the campaign for Goat band drummer & free spirit friend Juris Jurjans was therefore on  . . .  plus the Sarnia report celebrated Golden Ghost thesps at the regional high school drama festival. A game-changing piece of writing for me (writing about an arts event & reflecting on what could be enjoyed about it, etc.). Where is that story now?

As for MacBird!, it was Western English prof & MacPap historian Victor Hoar who staged the satire by Barbara Garson which has its LBJ figure assassinating JFK in a wild & crazy Shakespeare spoof.

My memory is mostly gone but here’s a little of what Barbara Garson had to say in 2006 to the Washington Post about LBJ as Mr. Scottish play’s namesake.

“It wasn’t an anti-Johnson play,” Garson says, though she did intend it as a broad critique of both Kennedy’s (JFK) and Johnson’s approach to politics. “It was the Johnson that Bill Moyers described . . . self-dramatizing, self-pitying, but also a true liberal, and unable to understand why these Kennedys, who did so little, really, were thought of as so beautiful.”

Johnson, she says, “was as bad as the other guys in this play . . . but he wasn’t worse.”

Here’s some cast news from the Post re: MacBird! c. 1966 Off-Broadway and its most famous line:

Actors who were then newcomers, but soon made names for themselves — Stacy Keach, William Devane, Rue McClanahan and Cleavon Little — played leads in the original production . . . The lines in MacBird! are borrowed, and in some cases rejiggered, from many of Shakespeare’s plays — whatever worked. Most famously, there was “Bubble and bubble, toil and trouble, Burn baby burn, and cauldron bubble.”

Along the same lines, JBNBlog can remember hearing “Negro troops  bring up the rear” as the final showdown loomed.

Anyone remember who was in the production here?

*An occasional series based on a v. cryptic diary kept as a pen&ink forerunner to JBNBlog during the late 1960s, when our family lived in London, Stratford (parts of summers of 1966 & 1967), Victoria, B.C. (July 4, 1968-July 4, 1969) and then London again until June, 1970 when I was in Grade 13.

Categories: Entertainment

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