Ye Olde Stuff



So last week was the 56th Annual International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI, except it wasn't really. It wasn't actually held in Kalamazoo because the entire 7 day conference was for the first time held on-line via Zoom (pretty cool). And because of that. I, for the first time, was able to attend the conference (way cool), and I loved it!

There were just over 450 sessions spread out over 6 days, along with meetings and gatherings spread out over 7 days which taken together added up to almost non-stop medievally happenings. Presentation topics ran the gamut of… Read More...

Beowulf: The Epic in Performance

"Hwæt! Listen!" Imagine if you can the distant past, a time some twelve centuries ago. A cold and dark mid-winter's night. Outside the wind blows sharp and biting. Inside the bonfires are built high, smoke spiraling upwards, flames reaching into the air, fighting to keep the cold winter at bay and aid the sun's feeble dawning to come. The mead flows freely, and inside these walls the warmth of many bodies holds each of us close together like family, like tribe.

Music and Mayhem in The Big Apple: Grendel Lives!

Opera Review
From a huge cast, one stands out
New operas don't often come in packages the size of Aida, but Grendel did on Tuesday at its Lincoln Center Festival opening. Huge numbers of choristers and dancers, plus a monumental revolving set and some of the best opera singers alive, told the Beowulf legend in images and music - from the viewpoint of the enemy, Grendel. Read More...

Grendel The Opera

My good friends all know that one of my favorite authors is John Gardner. His two collections of short stories The King's Indian and The Art of Living are books that I go back to again and again and again, and his little known collections of fractured fairy tales (Gudgekin The Thistle Girl, Dragon, Dragon, and The King Of The Hummingbirds) are both charming and somewhat disturbing! But of course he is best known for Grendel, a retelling of the Old English epic Beowulf from the perspective of the monster destined to be killed. I'm also a medievalist at heart and a former singer and theater veteran. So when I ran across this posting I had a moment of heightened cosmic awareness, rarely have so many of my divergent interests converged in one event. Happy I think this would be really interesting to see on stage! Read More...

Beowulf - Coming Soon To A Theater Near You

The Burial Draw The Story The Final Battle

Lo, there do I see my Father,
Lo, there do I see my Mother and my Sisters,
and my Brothers,
Lo, there do I see the line of my People back,
to the beginning.
Lo, they do call to me.
They bid me take my place among them,
in the halls of Valhalla,
Where the Brave may live forever.

The 13th Warrior was a fun movie, but it was only loosely based on the Old English epic. Soon, however, there will be two new Beowulf movies coming out,
Beowulf And Grendel, and Beowulf.

Medievalists the world over will be holding their collective breaths and hoping for the best!


More of Winter's Revels

Cambridge, Massachusetts is the head quarters for Revels, a unique group dedicated to preserving a wide variety of folk rituals, dance and music. They put on several performances a year at various times of the year, but the corner stone of the season is always the Christmas Revels, a celebration of community and mystery surrounding the winter solstice and the changing of the seasons. Read More...