Hit or Miss

tap. tap… is this thing on?

I’ve been majorly neglecting my poor weblog recently. After a busy start to a new semester, I’ve finally had time to start reading Gore Vidal’s latest, The Golden Age, which was thoughtfully sent to me via my Amazon.com wishlist by regular reader Chris — and I am completely engrossed.

I was never a fan of history classes all through school and college because I found the subject dry and uninvolving — with the single exception of a “Modern Europe” class I took at DePauw in which we spent the semester reading 10 literary novels (including Candide and Frankenstein) and extracting the history from them. Gore Vidal goes one step further and places his fictional characters smack dab in the middle of important historical events. Sure, some literary license is taken with historical fact, but I’m learning more about the historical period than I did before (most of what I know about history (the Declaration of Independance, for example) comes from the musicals (1776). I never would have read all the way through Candide without falling asleep if I weren’t so intimately familiar with the opera).

Vidal’s novel reminds me somewhat of the recent Cradle Will Rock, which artfully fused the genesis of Marc Blitstein’s musical with the surrounding political times — Vidal alludes to the genesis of the Latouche/Moss musical The Golden Apple (the original reason I wanted to read this book, though I haven’t reached that section yet).

Speaking of The Golden Apple, Amazon has finally shipped my copy of the John Latouche tribute, Taking a Chance of Love, which I ordered back in November. A witty lyricist I’m only familiar with through his work on The Golden Apple and Candide, this recording of a recent Off-Broadway revue has been getting high praise and I’m looking foward to finally being able to hear it.