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Friday, May 12

May 12, 2017

Poetry Workshop: Today: Cianfarano, Erb-White, Duffy and Hamilton. An honest day’s work.

I gave out the Round 9 packets. For Monday: the first three (Koscinski, Bocek, Cianfarano). We’ll begin by closing out Round 8 (Ohlund/Hill).

Just to sketch out the schedule the rest of the year:

May 15, 17, 19, 22, 24: we go through Round 9.

Friday, May 26: Your Round 10 poem is due. Guidelines to follow, so please wait: this one will be prompt-based.

Wednesday, May 31: We will workshop all the Round 10 poems. (Details TBD.) Your revision round poem will be due.

Friday, June 2: We will workshop the seniors’ revisions — it will be their last day of class.

Monday, June 5: We will workshop the remaining revisions.

Fiction Workshop: Today we workshopped Faith, Hannah, Becca and Bailey.

All of your due dates – the date when you are to post to the blog – remain the same. The following dates are when pieces are being workshopped:

  • Friday, May 19
    • Joanie (Round 4)
    • Hannah (Round 5)
    • Ian (Round 4)
    • Greer (Round 5)
  • Monday, May 22
    • Bailey (Round 4)
    • Cecil (Round 5)
    • Ash (Round 4)
    • Cassidy (Round 5)

If you are one of the people listed above and you already know that you’re not going to be in class the day noted above, please tell me ASAP!

If all goes as planned, the normal schedule will resume on May 24 with Henry (Round 4) and Faith (Round 5). That’s a pretty big “if,” though. Check future blog posts for possible updates to the schedule.

Family Values: Today we spoke briefly about the “chilling effect” the “Family Hour” — remember, it made 8 to 9 p.m., the beginning of “prime time,” family-friendly — had on sitcoms during the second half of the Seventies. The pioneering family sitcoms of the first half of the decade largely went by the wayside (AITF, MTM and M*A*S*H were notable exceptions) and/or jumped the shark. They were replaced with a series of spinoffs and gimmicky shows (Mork and MindyDiff’rent Strokes! Eight is Enough!) that were a throwback to the Sixties. (The only one we probably should have watched is Three’s Company, because it was a precursor of the “friend family,” but mea culpa there. Maybe we’ll pick it up before we watch Friends.)

I had your notebooks, so you didn’t do responses, but we then watched two of the most popular shows of the Eighties: The Cosby Show (S1, Ep 15: “Independence Day,” Jan. 9, 1985) and Family Ties (Season 1, Ep 8: “No Nukes is Good Nukes,” Nov. 24, 1982). One was built around a guy who was, at the time, one of the most beloved entertainers in America:

Image result for bill cosby jello pudding

and the other was a nuclear family comedy built around a single gimmick — but it was a good one, one that made it a perfect fit for its time.

Image result for alex keaton nixon

We’ll talk about that, and more, on Monday.

BatCat: In case you’re wondering where we are at, I just wanted to give you a solid idea of what we’ve done, and what we are looking at for next week:

  • DONE:
    • All S.F. texts are sewn; most have end pages applied.
    • All S.F. covers have been made.
    • ————————————————
    • 60 copies of P. have been printed so far; as of this writing, 25 of those have been sewn.
    • All cover papers for P. have been printed
    • All covers for P. are constructed with linen (no cover paper yet)
  • TO-DO NEXT WEEK (in moderately-excruciating detail):
    • Finish gluing S.F. endpages.
    • Glue text blocks  into covers.
    • Add “Pull Here” sticker.
    • Number rights page.
      • This will complete S.F.
    • ————————————————-
    • Finish printing P. (55 more copies needed, plus end pages). Printer needs to be babysat.
    • Fold & awl signatures; fold endpages.
    • Finish sewing P. text blocks.
    • Attach end pages.
    • Glue spines/add super/press text blocks.
    • Trim text blocks.
    • Add ribbon (?).
    • Attach cover papers to covers.
    • Glue text blocks into covers. Press.
    • Number rights page.
      • This will complete P.

There is a great deal more to do for P. than for S.F., obviously – if there is any time during the day that you can come up to work, please do (ask if you need a pass). I have cleared my schedule for next week after school, so any day that anyone is able to stay after (including Monday and Friday [if necessary]), I will be here. I need to be in my car by 6:30, so plan to be picked up accordingly.

Also, not that any of you will find this feasible or appealing, but anyway: I am at LP by 7 am, so if you want to come in early, let me know and I will let you in if the doors are locked.

This week was amazingly productive! I am very thankful for your dedication. If next week is as focused as this one was, we will probably finish the books by Friday. And that would be unprecedented!

Comedy: Finished The Blues Brothers. Our observation was that, as written, this was a Saturday Night Live skit stretched very, very thin, and held together by the two things we first saw in Mad, Mad, Mad World:

  1. Spectacle. (The car chases/crashes, which of course were much more spectacular. The shopping mall scene, which was the biggest ever filmed in Chicago at that time, cost $3.5 million. And 103 cars were destroyed in this scene, which was a record at the time. You can read more about how they destroyed the mall here.)
  2. The guest stars. In this case, the musical guest stars, who were some of the biggest names in R&B and blues, and who helped carry the film through their performances.

One other point. As I mentioned, this was clearly a drug-fueled movie (SNL was a hotbed of drug use and abuse during this time), one that is ultimately longer and slower than it needs to be. You won’t be surprised to learn that it went well over time and budget. Regarding some of those problems, I’ll just quote from the Trusted Reference Source, Wikipedia:

As a result of his late nights and drug and alcohol use, (John) Belushi would often miss unit calls (the beginning of a production day) or go to his trailer after them and sleep, wasting hours of production time. One night, (Dan) Aykroyd found him crashing on the sofa of a nearby house, where Belushi had already helped himself to food in the refrigerator.

Cocaine was already so prevalent on the set (like many other film productions of that era) that Aykroyd, who used far less than his partner, claims a section of the budget was actually set aside for purchases of the drug during night shooting. The stars had a private bar, the Blues Club, built on the set, for themselves, crew, and friends. Carrie Fisher, Aykroyd’s girlfriend at the time, says most of the bar’s staff doubled as dealers, procuring any drug patrons desired.

On the set, Belushi’s drug use worsened. Fisher, who herself later struggled with cocaine addiction, says (director John) Landis told her to keep Belushi away from the drug. Wendell was hired to clear any from the places Belushi visited off-camera. Nevertheless, at one point, Landis found Belushi with what he described as a “mountain” of cocaine on a table in his trailer, which led to a tearful confrontation in which Belushi admitted his addiction and feared it could eventually kill him.

Which, unfortunately, it eventually did.

Survey: Screenwriting: Today was a work day, and Monday will be too. Beat sheets were due – if you didn’t hand one in for whatever reason, make sure I get it on Monday. 🙂

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