Magpie Monthly — June 2015

Here I am again, trying out something different–a monthly magpie post. Above is a video of an Australian magpie (Sqwark) and a pup (Whiskey) playing in the yard. Irredeemably cute. Many thanks to Laura, who recently re-linked to this video on Facebook and reminded me of it.

I had no idea people confused Bryce Dallas Howard and Jessica Chastain so much (I see some similarities, but not so many as to confuse them). Musical writers Jon and Al Kaplan, to “put an end to the confusion,” wrote Jessica Chastain: The Musical (Bryce Dallas Howard), which is both hilarious and frightfully catchy (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself singing “I am not Jessica Chastain / I am Bryce Dallas Fucking Howard / Hear me roar!”). Check out this article on The Mary Sue for more information, plus a funny tweet from Jessica Chastain about the musical.

21FUNHOMEjp2-articleLarge-1Speaking of musicals, the adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s sublime graphic novel Fun Home took home five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Book of a Musical, Best Direction of a Musical, and Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical (the show received twelve nominations in total). (via The Beat) Honestly, I never seem to want to live in New York City more than when I read about the Fun Home musical. Check out this incredible performance by nominee Sydney Lucas at the Tony Awards (I also find myself singing this song):


theonionThe Onion is indeed America’s finest news source, and here are some recent articles that tickled me:

From, five helpful answers to society’s most uncomfortable questions—funny and insightful!

Old news now, but David Lynch is directing the new Twin Peaks after all, which makes me happy. I recently re-watched the entire run of the original Twin Peaks, and I was pleased with how much still felt fresh twenty-five years later. I also realized how much I’d forgotten that I would have preferred to have kept forgotten (the most obvious for me is James’ solo storyline).

Tom Gauld 2015-05-23Very relevant to my interests as I’m working on a murder-mystery short story myself, so this advice is both incredibly timely as well as useful—do I really need five butlers after all?

Some other recent writing articles I found interesting:

Naomi Shihab Nye reads her poem “How Do I Know When a Poem Is Finished”:

If you know a teacher (which is all of you), please read this wonderful poem by my friend Marnie Bullock Dresser, “Every Time You Thank a Teacher.”

Here’s another poetry video recently recorded: Ashley Mardell reading “We Get It, You’re Gay”:

Book Riot introduced me to the Belmont Public Library for the Birds, which is just about the best thing ever. I’ve included a picture below, but do click through to read the whole article about Rebecca Flowers and Kevin Cwalina’s project, as well as see more pictures and a video.

The Belmont Public Library for the Birds

The Belmont Public Library for the Birds

Tom Downey writes about how the Tokyo bookstore Tsutaya made him fall back in love with print at The Medium. Wonderful photographs by James Whitlow Delano, too. (via)

Mark Manson educates us in the subtle art of not giving a fuck, something at which I need to improve.

One of the sexiest things I’ve seen lately (ymmv), and I’ve seen some sexy things: Daniel and Desirée at BNF Dubai Latin Festival 2015 dancing the Bachata to Beyoncé’s slowed-down version of “Crazy In Love”:

Ukranian artist Alexey Kondakov coverges classical art and contemporary photography for images that are fun and provocative in his series Art History in Contemporary Life. Below is one of my favorites, but you can see many others at the gallery on Supersonic.  (via)

Alexey Kondakov

Alexey Kondakov

Midori Snyder writes about the Women’s Regatta in 18th-century Venice, inspired by the painting below:

The Women's Regatta in Venice by Gabriele Bella, 1730-1799

The Women’s Regatta in Venice by Gabriele Bella, 1730-1799

Artist Nicolas Knepper creates miniature movie scenes with food in his series Hollyfood, reinterpreting Breaking Bad, Kill Bill, Friday the 13th, Lord of the Rings, and others. Below is the Hulk smashing a pistachio macaron. Ah, such a waste of one of my favorite types of macarons! (via)

Les macarons, ça m'énerve by Nicolas Knepper

Les macarons, ça m’énerve by Nicolas Knepper

I’m a huge fan of the Lucifer comic series written by Mike Carey, and while the upcoming TV adaptation has received a fair amount of skepticism (particularly the police investigation angle), I’d still like to see it. You really cannot deny how charming Tom Ellis is as Lucifer. (via)

Relatedly, finally an update on The Sandman movie! Check out this MTV News interview with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, where he reveals, among other things, why we won’t see punching in The Sandman.

No, I haven’t read Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, but I have to say I’m definitely interested in the TV adaptation coming from Syfy. I am a sucker for magic schools. Plus, how can you not love this exchange: Quentin: “Are you guys trying to take over the world or….”  Dean Fogg: “We don’t teach that, but give it a go.”  Check out a short trailer below. (via)

I’m ready to be scared, Mr. Hiddleston. (via)


If you’re done, Frazey Ford’s “Done” will be your new anthem (thanks to Marnie for posting the link on Facebook). I thought Ford sounded familiar, and then I found out she was part of The Be Good Tanyas!

The Black Hours, according to The Morgan Library & Museum, “is one of a small handful of manuscripts written and illuminated on vellum that is stained or painted black. The result is quite arresting. The text is written in silver and gold, with gilt initials and line endings composed of chartreuse panels enlivened with yellow filigree. Gold foliage on a monochromatic blue background makes up the borders. The miniatures are executed in a restricted palette of blue, old rose, and light flesh tones, with dashes of green, gray, and white. The solid black background is utilized to great advantage, especially by means of gold highlighting.” You can see the entire virtual facsimile at The Modern Library & Museum, and it’s well worth the time. I don’t remember ever hearing about The Black Hours before, but it is breathtaking. (via My Ear-Trumpet via Eden Workshops via Erzebet on Facebook)

The Black Hours

The Black Hours

Something really sweet to end on, from AARP!

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