Monthly Archives: November 2016

Fantastic Beasts: J.K. Rowling Channels Dr. Who

Set some 70 years before the events in the Harry Potter series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them centers on Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), author of what will become the official textbook for magical creatures at Hogwarts, as he fumbles about New York City with a suitcase full of magical creatures. Predictably, some of them escape, Newt must recapture them, and something less than hilarity ensues.

Fantastic Beasts is J.K. Rowling’s first attempt at writing a screenplay, and, apparently, what she really wanted to write was an episode of Dr. Who. If you put the fourth, fifth, and sixth doctors into a blender and hit puree, Newt Scamander is what you would get in terms of both look and mannerisms. Instead of a sonic screwdriver, he has several magical creatures small enough to carry on his person, and they serve the same function of facilitating lazy writing by simply doing whatever the plot requires at any given moment. Newt doesn’t have a TARDIS, but he’s got a suitcase that contains an extra-dimensional space large enough to accommodate an entire zoo of magical beasts. Continue reading

The Opera Experience: Movie Theater vs Live Hall

Since 2006, the Metropolitan Opera, based in New York City, has been transmitting selected performances live in HD to movie theaters worldwide, and I recently attended several of these performances at a theater near my home. I have also attended live opera many times across the country and even overseas. The obvious question – How does seeing an opera in a movie theater compare to seeing it on stage in an opera hall? It’s not as straightforward as you might think.

There is a lot to recommend the movie theater option. Accessibility is a huge consideration. I live near Seattle, and to attend an opera there, I must fight through horrendous traffic and pay quite a lot just to park. Getting to the movie theater was an easy drive, and parking was free. While nowhere near as grand as an opera house, the theater had comfy leather chairs that reclined almost all the way back. And there were cup holders. Those chairs were certainly more comfortable than the seats at any opera house I have ever been to. Continue reading