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Entertaining News ...

April 1, 2011 - Phyllis Sigal
It doesn't take much sometimes to make me happy.

For example, just waking up and knowing it was Friday was plenty to keep me smiling today.

But then the good news came by way of an e-mail.

It was from my buddy, Barnes & Noble.

B&N was kind enough to alert me to the fact that my favorite poet, Billy Collins, has a new book coming out, available April 5!

So, I ordered it of course. With a Groupon, which meant it only cost me $4 instead of $14. Which made me smile even more.

Also today, I came across a few more tidbits of news in the world of theater, music, art and literature while reading Associated Press stories this morning. So I thought I'd share.

• Three panels of impressionist master Claude Monet's "Water Lilies" go on display at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City — the first time the triptych will be together in 30 years. The exhibit includes three 14-foot panels — one each from the Nelson-Atkins, the St. Louis Art Museum and the Cleveland Museum of Art. The exhibit premiers at the Nelson-Atkins on April 9, before going to St. Louis in the fall, and then later to Cleveland.

• Billy Joe has canceled his planned memoir, just a couple of months before it was to be published. It was to detail his failed marriages and battles with substance abuse. He told the Associated Press, "It took working on writing a book to make me realize that I'm not all that interested in talking about the past, and that the best expression of my life and its ups and downs has been and remains my music," he said.

• Brooke Shields is replacing Bebe Neuwirth as Morticia in "The Addams Family" on Broadway on June 28. No stranger to B'way, Sheilds has played Ruth in "Wonderful Town," Roxie Hart in "Chicago" and Sally Bowles in "Cabaret."

• If you have no plans for May 20, you can participate in a scavenger hunt at the main branch of the New York Public Library. I think it sounds like fun! The building is exquisite, so to spend an overnight (8 p.m.-6 a.m.) wandering around the marble-floored building would be a great way to get to see it, and learn something in the process.

• I also discovered today that Robin Williams is starring in a new play on Broadway, "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo," written by Rajiv Joseph.

According to the AP: "Joseph's play, which opened Thursday (March 31) at the Richard Rogers Theatre, starts with dramatization of a real-life incident in which a U.S. soldier shot and killed a tiger in Baghdad in 2003 after it bit another soldier who had reached through the bars of its cage to feed it. The play then takes a metaphysical turn, with the dead tiger's spirit wandering the battle-scarred streets of the city, trapped in a sort of limbo, as the play opens up to explore life and death, the reverberations of violence, cultural miscommunication, post-traumatic stress, nationalism and invasion. It is a play that seems both big and small at the same time. A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for drama, it is a dark and yet funny play that keeps going in unexpected places. Though parts of it may reach too far, or seem contrived or leave too much unexplained, Joseph has written a brave, bold, ambitious work from which you cannot turn away — and stays with you long after the big cat has disappeared."

Williams plays the staking, restless tiger's ghost in human clothing.

• Here's a bit of TV news: " The unstoppable Betty White is taking on reality TV with a hidden-camera show that turns senior citizens into merry pranksters. NBC has ordered 12 episodes of "Betty White's Off Their Rockers," the working title for a series series based on a hit Belgian program that has been produced in other European countries and South Korea.

She says, "People have been telling me that I'm 'off my rocker' for years — now I can prove it." The reality show follows seven seniors who band together to play pranks on younger people, with White helping conspire to put one over on "the unsuspecting youth of America," said NBC and Universal Media Studios executive Paul Telegdy.

• And if you've been watching "American Idol," you already who went home last night. Thia and Naima.

This is who is left: Lauren Alaina, 16, of Rossville, Ga.; James Durbin, 22, of Santa Cruz, Calif.; Stefano Langone, 21, of Kent, Wash.; Jacob Lusk, 23, of Compton, Calif.; Scotty McCreery, 17, of Garner, N.C.; Haley Reinhart, 20, of Wheeling, Ill.; and Pia Toscano, 22, of Howard Beach, N.Y.

I'm hoping Paul is the next to go. And, I'm really betting on Pia to be the next American Idol!

That would really make me smile.

And, back to the original reason I'm smiling today:

Billy Collins' poem: It's called "Memento Mori." .... I hope it makes you smile, too.

It doesn’t take much to remind me

what a mayfly I am,

what a soap bubble floating over the children’s party.  

Standing under the bones of a dinosaur

in a museum does the trick every time

or confronting in a vitrine a rock from the moon.  

Even the Church of St. Anne will do,

a structure I just noticed in a magazine--

built in 1722 of sandstone and limestone in the city of Cork.  

And the realization that no one

who ever breasted the waters of time

has figured out a way to avoid dying  

always pulls me up by the reins and settles me down

by a roadside, grateful for the sweet weeds

and the mouthfuls of colorful wild flowers.  

So many reminders of my mortality

here, there, and elsewhere, visible at every hour,

pretty much everything I can think of except you,  

sign over the door of this bar in Cocoa Beach

proclaiming that it was established--

though established does not sound right — in 1996.  


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