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June 2013

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REVIEW: Shakespeare’s Nigga


3.8/5 stars

Shakespeare’s Nigga is a modern, contemporary drama of Shakespeare by Joseph Jomo Pierre. The play features Othello, Aaron from Titus Andronicus, Tyrus who is an older slave, The Bard, and Shakespeare’s daughter, Judith on a Southern Plantain. The creator meets the iconic figures that he wrote and it is The Bard revamped. The play begins with the reader riveted into a dream.
I enjoyed the literary and script references that were used by the playwright. He effectively utilized the canon, plots, and Shakespeare’s famous sonnets in a unique way. He was successful in integrating some of Shakespeare’s stylistic features with ease while creating his own point of view. Similar to Shakespeare, there are monologues, sorcery, marriage and tragedy. He creates an ongoing tension throughout the play between Othello and Aaron. Othello is haunted by his former lover Desdemona.

The play had less detail than many plays I’ve read before with minimal setting and props. I understand that from Jomo Pierre’s perspective, it allows more creativity for the director to envision the play. Plays are ideally meant to be seen on a stage, rather than read for the full dramatic effect.

Although I understood the play and the context, I do believe that readers who have never read Othello or Titus Andronicus, may have some difficulty following the book. Readers will have a greater appreciation if they have read Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets prior to reading the contemporary version. They may not understand Aaron’s aggression or the reference to ‘The Dark Lady’. If they do understand, they may not grasp the references.

I really liked the new non-Shakespearian character, Tyrus, but I felt he was underutilized in the play. He has the most depth and provided advice to the other slaves. I wish he appeared in more scenes, especially in the beginning.

Of course, Jomo Pierre’s attempt is no comparison to The Bard himself, but he make a unique play with Shakespeare’s legacy. He was able to take compelling characters and place them in a new environment. If you are a Shakespeare fan, this play is worth a read. Shakespeare’s Niggaappeared at Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace in Toronto this year.

WATCH: Bedroom turned into princess paradise while roommate is away

When Tom, aka Redditor Twoverend, was overseas for two months his housemates set to work changing his normal, drab bachelor bedroom into something a little more pink.

All his buddies set to work transforming every aspect of his bedroom from what a regular guys might enjoy to something more fit for a 7-year-old princess loving girl might enjoy. Their rationale being that since he is English he loves the monarchy, and their duty was to get to work setting up a new fairy princess kingdom for him to arrive home to.

Complete with imitation crown moulding, collages of photoshopped princess photos of Tom, paintings of fairies, and pink lace as far as the eye can see it is safe to say their mission was a success.

Watch the video for Tom’s reaction upon returning from his trip at 1:30 in the morning.

Below are some photos of the transformation.

Check out Tom’s full photo album here.

 

Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

Win tickets to see Bon Jovi!

Are you living on a prayer that you’ll get to see Bon Jovi live in concert? Well, after criss-crossing the globe on his Because We Can tour he’s coming back to Toronto and Women’s Post has a pair of tickets to give way to a lucky reader. Put on your copy of What About Now, book off November 1st,  then enter our contest today.

Contest Rules & Regulations:
Contestants must reside in Canada (excluding Quebec) to be eligible to win
Contestants must be 18 or older
Contestants are eligible to enter 1x daily (further entries will not be counted)
Contest closes on Friday, June 28th, at 2 p.m.

CONTEST CLOSED

WATCH: New video spoofs controversy over mixed race Cheerios family

A few weeks back there was a controversy over the new Cheerios ad featuring a biracial family. The controversy? Um, apparently some people think that biracial families either simply don’t exist or shouldn’t be allowed to be shown on TV.

Just a second while I check my calendar. Yep, still 2013. I was worried I’d slipped back to the 1600s there for a minute.

While to most of us it might not seem like a big deal to see a family with various skin tones of eye shapes enjoying breakfast, to some racist trolls it was enough to force Cheerios to shut off commenting on the YouTube video because of all the hateful remarks.

As someone who has a beautiful family where skin colour doesn’t matter (and nieces, nephews, sisters, brothers, parents, and brother-in-laws are all loved for who they are, not what they look like) I am proud of Cheerios for taking a stand by admitting the obvious: that mixed race families exist and they also eat.

Check out this hilarious spoof video that takes the “haters” to task and takes things up a notch with a twist ending we’re still waiting too see in a breakfast cereal commercial.

 

Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

RECIPE: Chickpea tacos!

There’s a good chance your first thought when you hear of chickpea tacos is “Ew, who’d want to eat that?” But trust me on this. They are amazing.

What you need:

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 package of taco spice
  • 1 clove of garlic (minced)
  • Dash of lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • Vegetable oil or extra virgin olive oil (how much is up to you)
  • Hard taco shells (blue corn if possible)
  • taco fixings (lettuce, onion, tomato, salsa, cheese, sour cream, guacamole)

Take a can of chickpeas, rinse them, then put them in a bowl.  Evenly coat the chickpeas with the taco spice, garlic, lime juice, water and oil. Bake them for 20 minutes. Cook the taco shells for 10 minutes.

Take them out of the oven, add your fixings.

I actually found these because I said chickpea to someone in an e-mail. Gmail picked up the word (as it scans your e-mails for keywords and directs ads at you based on these) and promoted a recipe link to me. For the record, this recipe is the only reason I am okay with Gmail reading my mail.

 

Stand by me

Last week was incredibly stressful, I had a lot going on and I felt all kinds of overwhelmed — but when I needed him most there was Boyfriend with a smile, a hug, and a plan.

On Friday night he rented a car, picked me up after work and we went off on an impromptu road trip to Niagara Falls; it rained almost all night but we were undeterred we went for dinner at a Brazilian steak house, went to all the tourist traps and visited the falls in the rain. While we stood beside the falls hiding under the $12 umbrella that we purchased at a gift shop Boyfriend insisted on having a make-out session in the rain because he saw it in a movie once and thought it would be funny.  It was. It was also only slightly, just a little bit, romantic. I fell asleep in the car on the way home and the evening came to a perfect end.

The next day we took off again, this time to Port Dover, for mini-golf, lunch by the beach and walks in the sand. It was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday especially because we finished the day by racing around in go-karts in the rain, he won three times, I won once – but I won last which basically makes me the winner supreme.

Knowing that I have Boyfriend by my side makes me feel like I can tackle anything the world throws at me because I know that no matter what happens he’ll always be there with a ridiculous joke, a terrible pun, a picture of his cats doing something insane or just a hug and he gives the best hugs. Boyfriend believes in me, really believes that I can do anything I put my mind to and that kind of support is something rare and worth holding on to.

When I was little I used to get angry at my mum because she would always try and make me laugh when I was crying and sometimes all you want to do is cry and stamp your feet and be mad at the world but my mum would never let me do that; Boyfriend is like that, no matter how upset or stressed out I am, he does his very best to make me laugh when all I want to do is be grumpy and stamp my feet. Sometimes the solution is cake sometimes it’s letting me listen to the country music that he hates while we drive 2 hours from home for dinner and a visit to the wax museum.

Boyfriend is my person and when I get good news he’s the first person I want to call and when I get bad news he’s the first person I need to talk to and no matter how stressed out or crazy the world gets I know he’ll be by my side, probably attempting to make me smile when all I want to do is be angry; it’s just hard to be angry when you’re head over heels for your boyfriend.

I Picked You

Last weekend Boyfriend and I got into a bit of a tiff. I had jokingly said, “Let’s talk about our relationship and the future and be all romantic and stuff.” To which he responded, “We don’t need to talk about the future. We’ll just keep having fun and petting kittens and being together.” Aside from noticing that we tend to speak like children of the internet on a regular basis, I was a little put off by the idea that he just saw the future as same old, same old and never moving forward because that is definitely not what I want our relationship to be.

Having grown up in a household where yelling was how most discussions happened I am always a little nervous to have a real discussion because I don’t like yelling and I don’t like fighting. Because of this, I avoided having a conversation about why I was upset and I just let it sit for a day. The next day Boyfriend came over and insisted that we talk because I had been acting “weird.” And he needed to know why. So after a lot of avoiding I finally told him why I was upset and his response made it all better.

When I told Boyfriend that I was upset because I was afraid he was just passing the time with me and it wouldn’t matter if I was me or any other girl he responded by saying, “Shan, I picked you. I could have been with someone else but I wanted you, I picked you.” So we’re not perfect and it isn’t easy but we picked each other and even if the future is uncertain I think it’s worth figuring it out together.

I wish I wasn’t so afraid of confrontation. I can do it at work, in interviews and on twitter but when it comes to someone I care about it’s really hard for me to say what I think when I’m upset. I’m afraid that with one wrong turn he’ll leave me because everyone who came before did. But that’s kind of how it works isn’t it? All the ones that came before were wrong because you have to wade through all the bad relationships to find the good ones.

Whatever happens in the future with Boyfriend I know that he chose to be with me and doesn’t want to be with anyone else and for now I’m happy with the plan for the future which is simply to keep being happy and having fun. Eventually we’re going to have this conversation for real and without all the interweb speak, except that there totally will be interweb speak because we’re nerds of epic proportions. At that point we’ll have to see if we’re ready to go in the same direction because a year from now I’m going to want to live together and in two years I’ll want to think about other options for our future.

For now the future is a little bit uncertain but at least I know I have someone who gets the joke when I ask husky owners if their dog’s name is moon-moon.

Follow Shannon on Twitter at @Shananigans.

Book review: The Happy Baker

4.6/5 stars

My first impression of The Happy Baker: A Dater’s Guide to Emotional Baking was that it was a very approachable book for a non-baker. Erin Bolger begins with a memorable disclaimer quote that states, “If any of my recipes are low-fat I’m sorry, it was unintentional.”

She has cute names for her baking recipes and beautiful photographs. Some recipe names include ‘Who Needs a Man on Valentine’s Day Biscotti’ and ‘You Can Kiss My Triple Decker Carrot Cake Goodbye’. The names certainly aren’t boring. Erin has separated her book into four distinct chapters. Throughout The Happy Baker, she has chick lit stories followed by a recipe that relates to the story. There are illustrations of her and her past dates or boyfriends relating to the story. The stories cover speed dating, breakups over text or e-mail, the first kiss, and many more. Erin’s personality shines through.

In order to fairly evaluate The Happy Baker, I had to get into the kitchen and bake. Her recipes are easy and most of the ingredients are found in your home (you may have to buy one or two ingredients). I decided to make ‘Erin’s Go-To Cookie’, ‘Goodbye Men, Hello Dolly Squares’ and ‘My Eggs Are Not Getting Any Younger Crème Brûlée’. Each of the recipes that I made provided me with a large quantity so the time and the effort are well worth it.

The crème brûlée was rich and creamy. The cookies and dolly squares were buttery and greasy, but delicious. They were so popular that when I opened the covered plate laying on the counter, they were all gone. I ended up eating some of the cookies and dolly squares from the freezer and they were just as good cold. Don’t hesitate to put some of Erin’s recipes in the freezer, you may be in for a pleasant surprise.

I found that the recipes were simple, easy, decadent and, of course, delicious. The Happy Baker is killer comfort food. Erin was honest and upfront when she said these recipes were unhealthy. As a non-baker myself, I was able to bake recipes that I probably wouldn’t have ever made.

This is not your average cookbook since it is filled with unique stories and recipes. She has even provided a few non-bake recipes.

If you’re ever in Bayfield, Ontario be sure to check out Erin’s new business, The Pink Flamingo Bakery and Boutique.

Women of the week: Sandra Dawes

One look at the Twitter feed of Sandra Dawes says it all. The stream of inspirational mantras reflect the bubbly, inspirational personality of this motivated and focused professional life coach just as much as the glimmer of hope and inspiration that comes through in her smile. Sandra Dawes is a woman who has a brain for business and a compassionate heart for her clients.

Sandra, born in Toronto and currently calling Mississauga home, has been at the helm of Embrace Your Destiny life coaching since November 2009 and hasn’t stopped looking onward and upward since then, even finding inspiration in the tragic passing of her father.

“After my dad died I thought that life would never be the same – and it hasn’t been, but not in the negative way I had originally thought. I’ve become more self-aware and confident about the person that I am and what I can accomplish,” she explains on the topic of how far she has come to be the woman she is today.

“I never thought I would enjoy speaking to large groups of people, yet now I enjoy doing talks where I can share my experiences and the tools that I use to overcome many of life’s obstacles,” says Sandra, showing us that she certainly has learned the secrets to self-improvement and betterment within herself and is anxious to share her story with others.

By opening herself up to the power of possibility she has taken her life’s adventure across the globe and back. “Life has definitely taken me to some interesting places,” says Sandra. “Both in my journey of self-discovery and literally, I have been able to visit places such as Europe, Central America, and the Caribbean.”

For Sandra Dawes balancing her life is important, and with family, friends, and one furry critter at her side it all seems to fall into place. “My partner is also an entrepreneur, which is great because he is the one who encouraged me to start my own business, and he understand the ups and downs that come with being self-employed,” she explains. “I also have a 7-year-old dog who is a great teacher on how to enjoy the simple things in life.”

As a woman in the business world she certainly has seen both sides of the coin. “I believe that women connect on a level that goes beyond the bottom line,” she says in regards to the unique position women hold as entrepreneurs. “We are more heart-centred about the relationships we build, even on a business level. I think this type of relationship allows for more focus on cooperation rather than competition as we look to encourage one another.”

She’s even seen a changing landscape for women like herself she entered the entrepreneurial world. “I believe that more women are stepping outside the comfort of a nine-to-five job and follow their dreams.”

“I do believe that it is possible for women to have it all when they aspire for greatness,” she says in regards to her own achievements so far and the fabric of support in her life that has helped her dreams become reality. “The key is to recognise that we can’t do it alone and it is okay to ask for help, whether it is from friends, family, or industry colleagues.”

As for her own business, Embrace Your Destiny, she’s confident that she has the perfect edge to help you unlock all of your potential. “I believe that I am able to use the experiences and what I’ve gained from my own journey to help others achieve their goals and realise their dreams,” she tells us.

“I go beyond just being an accountability partner and challenge my clients to really step out of their comfort zones and shift their mindset. We can be our own worst enemy or our own biggest cheerleader. I help my clients to question the beliefs they have that tell them what they want isn’t possible and help them reframe those beliefs so that they can that they realise that they really can live the life they’ve always wanted and that they deserve it!”

Sandra has one bit of advice to give to every woman. “Listen to your intuition and don’t overthink or over-analyse things too much,” she says. “If you’re looking for an excuse not to follow your dreams, you will find one.”

 

Follow Sandra Dawes on Twitter at @SandraDawes, and visit Embrace Your Destiny online at www.embraceurdestiny.com.