Tag Archives: Romeo and Juliet

What’s in a Name?

While Juliet from Romeo and Juliet felt that names weren’t as important as character, when it comes a story, names give away a lot about the characters. While Juliet asks the following question:

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet

The playwright, Shakespeare, has fair Verona divided between two feuding households—making name loyalty and the power behind influential names a theme within the play itself. Indeed, it is the young lover’s last names that keep them apart and their struggle to overcome their names to be together which leads to the character’s deaths. So, Juliet, a name is a very important thing.

J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, named her characters carefully so that the character names reflected the personalities of the characters themselves. This may be more obvious with her characters that have Latin and Greek-based names, like Severus, Latin for stern or Sirius—a Greek name associated with the Sirius dog star Alpha Canis Major. Even the more simple names in the series, like Harry, have carefully selected meanings. Harry is an English name that means army ruler and is a diminutive form of Harold or Henry, former kings of England.

The power of names can stretch across series and authors as well. A good example of this is the name Sam. In J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series, George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series, as well as Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse novels, characters named Sam share many characteristics.

Summer is the time of Free Shakespeare Plays in Los Angeles

I’m lucky to live close to L.A. because, in the summer, Los Angeles is filled with things to do. For one, we have The Last Bookstore, which is just plain awesome and filled with catacombs of used dollar books.

There are also tons of lectures, literary events, book signings, and poetry readings to attend as well.

But my most favorite thing to do in the summer is to attend the free Shakespeare plays put on by the Independent Shakespeare Company as well as Shakespeare by the Sea.

This summer both companies are putting on two Shakespeare plays – one tragedy, and one comedy, each.

Photo by Mike Ditz from the Independent Shakespeare Company website.

The Independent Shakespeare Company is putting on Romeo & Juliet June 25th through July 26th in Griffith Park. This is the classic tale of two adolescents whose forbidden love spins out of control and ends with a double suicide. The Independent Shakespeare Company makes this production their own by adding a little Sid and Nancy twist – this tale is set in the modern world of punk rock. So if you’re a fan of Shakespeare, and/or a fan of punk, this show should blow your socks off.

Literary Paraphernalia: Wearable Shakespeare

It’s no secret – I’m a fan of Shakespeare. And April is a special month for Shakespeare fans. April 23rd, 1616 is the day Shakespeare passed away. His final resting place is Stratford-Upon-Avon in the United Kingdom. Instead of mourning for someone we lost almost 400 years ago, I instead want to celebrate the work of his life. For the month of April, all of the Literary Paraphernalia posts will be Shakespeare themed in order to honor his memory and his work. Today’s post is all about wearable Shakespeare gear from Etsy.Com.

Hamlet Scarf

To be or not to be…cold. You don’t have to be with this.

Shakespeare Zombie Tank

What better way to celebrate Shakespeare’s death than to imagine what he’d be like if he were a zombie?

Ophelia Skirt

This skirt is the painting Ophelia by Sir John Everett Millais, inspired by Ophelia’s death in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet.

Hamlet “No” Quote T-Shirt

Well, that’s oddly specific. It’s also a pretty cool t-shirt.

Literary Paraphernalia: Offbeat Valentine’s Day Gifts for Booklovers

I’m a fairly nontraditional person, so when it comes to romance, I go for nontraditional things too. Generally, I’m not one to celebrate Valentine’s day with a night out at an expensive restaurant, but I do still like to give gifts.

There are the traditional gifts, like roses and chocolate and teddy bears, but what fun are those? No, it’s way more fun to be offbeat for Valentine’s day than it is to be traditional.

That being said, guys and gals, here’s some cool offbeat Etsy.Com gear for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day.

Time Machine Tie

This is billed as a “steam punk” tie, but it’s really just an awesome tie for anyone to wear, steam punk or not.

Cheshire Cat Brass Cuff

It’s way more fun to be mad than to be sane, anyway.

Lord of the Rings Shot Glasses

You can include this with a bottle of your sweetheart’s favorite liquor.

Handmade Crow Quill

The bead is customizable as are the tips!

(Don’t forget the ink)

The Truth About Star-Crossed Lovers

According to Urban Dictionary, star-crossed lovers are two people who care immensely for each other, but due to their circumstances cannot be together.

Ah, to be young and in love, right? Wrong.
(Credit: RomanceEneternal.org)

For whatever reason, “star-crossed lovers” is a term that people seem to think means a very romantic, happily-ever-after, Disney-like kind of love. I’m going to go ahead and ruin it for all those who still think that: this kind of love is depressing and dark, often characterized by betrayal, rape, suicide, or death (my definition). Not so fun, huh? Still, these types of stories will probably help you feel a lot better about your own love life.

I should warn you that there will be some book spoilers, but I think they’re pretty obvious by now.


Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

If you didn’t already know, they both die in the end. It’s a story of two teenagers who rushed into a relationship, and they couldn’t tell their families because of a rivalry between them. They made a plan to fake Juliet’s death and run away together, but it went awry; Romeo killed himself because he thought Juliet really had died. When she woke up, she killed herself too. Sure, there are a lot of lovey-dovey quotes that teenagers love to use, but if they were to actually read the play in its entirety, they would see the err of their ways. It’s not a happy story, kids.


Eternal love? Nope, sorry. Let’s just go die in WWII instead.
(Credit: KatieMovieBlog.wordpress.com)

Atonement by Ian McEwan

When Robby and Cecilia finally realize they are in love with each other, everything in their lives falls to pieces. The very night of their acknowledging one another’s love, Cecilia’s sister accuses Robby of raping Cecilia’s cousin. Instead of avoiding the problem by running away with Cecilia, Robby goes to prison. After prison, he goes to the front lines of World War II, where he dies of septicemia. Fun.


Literary Paraphernalia: Literary Tights

I’m not a girly-girl, but I am a book girl, and when I stumbled upon these literary tights, I got really excited. Tights are great to wear under dresses during cool weather, and what could make tights better than poetry and book quotes and pictures from our favorite stories? Nothing, that’s what. These tights are absolutely fabulous and perfect.

Alice in Wonderland Tights

One must be well dressed for a beheading.

Jane Austen Quotes Tights

“Those are awesome tights.” – Mr. Darcy. He might not have actually said that in the book.

Emily Dickinson Poem Tights – I Gave Myself to Him

This poem will have to be rewritten as “he gave himself to me” after he sees these tights.

Where the Wild Things Are Tights

For the bad girl in you that gets sent to bed with no dinner.

Romeo and Juliet Tights

That which we call a nylon by any other name would be as sweet.

I Loved You by Alexander Pushkin

It’s not everyday you see famous Russian poetry on tights.

Winnie The Pooh Tights

No one will mistake you for a little black rain cloud with these bright and vibrant tights.

Harry Potter Dobby Tights

It’s not a sock, but it’s close.

The Naming of Cats by T.S. Eliot Tights

The Naming of Cats is an awesome T.S. Eliot poem that doesn’t get enough attention.

Emily Dickinson – Hope is a Thing with Feathers Tights

Another of my favorite poems. Sorest is the storm that would keep one away from these tights!

And, if you like what you see but want a different quote or poem, ColineDesign does custom orders!

Teaching Shakespeare? Check Out These Three Common Core Lesson Plans.

Last year I started an undergraduate research project titled Integrating Technology into the California Common Core Performance Classroom. From inception to completion the project took me a year, but I am very happy with the results. Here’s the abstract to get a taste of what my research was on:

In 2010, President Barack Obama set forth a plan called “Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology” which mandated that technology needed to be integrated into American classrooms to enhance student learning (Ash). The need for technology in the classroom is not only government endorsed but helps improve students’ familiarity with the use of technology in a future job market that is becoming globalized and technology-driven (Ehrlich). In 2013, the Los Angeles Unified School District spent one billion dollars to distribute Apple iPads to over 47 schools in an effort to comply with the directives set forth through President Obama’s plan and ended up recalling the iPads in under a week due to the operating system being hacked (“L.A. Unified”). The purpose of this project is to find ways of meeting the 2010 mandated use of technology within a performance-based classroom teaching Shakespeare by creating learning opportunities in which technology can be incorporated into the classroom through the use of student-generated content. Through examination of other successful classroom models incorporating technology, looking ahead at some proposed, yet still controversial, technology-driven classroom models, utilizing performance approaches to teaching Shakespeare, and studying the new Common Core standards being implemented in K-12 schools throughout the nation, a hybrid of technology and the study of 16th century Shakespearean plays can be successfully implemented in a Common Core classroom.

I Don’t Know if I like 1996’s Romeo and Juliet

You know, the one with this guy:

You may know him from a few movies. I think he was in…Deception? Inception? Something like that. There was also the thing with the boat. Let’s just say, this guy likes swimming with the fishes.

And this chick from that one really cool 90’s T.V. show:

She also played a Star in Stardust. She’s known for wearing white gowns and falling form the heavens.

And the ever-immortal Paul Rudd playing Juliet’s other love interest (bonus: he’s in a spacesuit):

He seriously hasn’t aged a day.

The movie also had, what I considered as a 13 year old girl at the time, the coolest song by Garbage ever:

As an adult, I’ve found the 1996 Baz Luhrmann directed version of Romeo and Juliet available for streaming on Amazon.Com and I decided to revisit it, 18 years later, and see if I still enjoyed the movie as much as I did as a teen.

Hobbit Week Repost: What’s in a Name?

While Juliet from Romeo and Juliet felt that names weren’t as important as character, when it comes a story, names give away a lot about the characters. While Juliet asks the following question:

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet

The playwright, Shakespeare, has fair Verona divided between two feuding households—making name loyalty and the power behind influential names a theme within the play itself. Indeed, it is the young lover’s last names that keep them apart and their struggle to overcome their names to be together which leads to the character’s deaths. So, Juliet, a name is a very important thing.

J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, named her characters carefully so that the character names reflected the personalities of the characters themselves. This may be more obvious with her characters that have Latin and Greek-based names, like Severus, Latin for stern or Sirius—a Greek name associated with the Sirius dog star Alpha Canis Major. Even the more simple names in the series, like Harry, have carefully selected meanings. Harry is an English name that means army ruler and is a diminutive form of Harold or Henry, former kings of England.

The power of names can stretch across series and authors as well. A good example of this is the name Sam. In J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series, George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series, as well as Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse novels, characters named Sam share many characteristics.

In Which Amanda Riggle and Lauren Sumabat Geek-Out over Richard III

Benedict Cumberbatch and Judi Dench have been cast in an upcoming production of Shakespeare’s Richard III. Co-blogger Lauren Sumabat and I could hardly contain our excitement about the upcoming production and we’ve decided to share our conversation about why we are so excited with the readers of this blog. Enjoy!


Lauren: Aren’t you a little saddened that Benedict Cumberbatch is going to be all deformed? It’s like, ugh, what a waste.

Amanda: I think it’s his voice I’m most excited about. It’s good for a bad guy.

I’ve noted that Benedict Cumberbatch starts in a lot of book-related things.

Atonement was where I first saw him, then Sherlock, The Hobbit, and now he’s getting into some Shakespeare.

Lauren: He was also in August: Osage County, in some real fucked up family situations. That movie was ridiculous, really.

Amanda: I never saw that. I saw a clip from it, where he was singing. He has a lovely singing voice.

The first thing I saw him in was Atonement. I loved the book and I loved the movie. He was such a good bad guy in that.

Lauren: I’ve actually never read the book. I’ve seen the movie though.

Amanda: He did a great job playing the blue blooded pedophilic predator. I hated him in that movie, but he was supposed to be hated.

Lauren: Yeah. That’s how you know they’re a good actor, if they make you hate them enough.

Amanda: I think that skill will be invaluable in Richard III. Shakespeare’s Richard III is a bloody play with a bloody king. We get to see Benedict Cumberbatch be bloodthirsty in this one.

Lauren: And he’s the guy for it!