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"Theatre makes strange bedfellows,
and not just after the opening night party."

George Hunka makes a persuasive case for connecting the dots between Wagner and Beckett, with particular reference to the Met's recent production of Tristan und Isolde.

Here, the unexpected bond between Waiting for Godot and the endless Act II love duet in Tristan

As in either act of Godot, there is little more than talk for nearly an hour, but in Wagner this talk is filled with sublimely beautiful music, and in Beckett, devastatingly lyrical speech.  Over a century of Tristan performances and half-a-century of Godot performances have demonstrated the profound power of such a theatrical essentialism.

The entire piece is worth reading if you fancy either Tristan or Godot or, as in my case, both.


For further reading:  No Beckett content included, but the related topic of how Time operates in Wagner came up just yesterday on Sounds & Fury.

A slightly shorter version of George Hunka's post also appeared on April 1 in the Guardian.  No joke.

Women Beset by Fools

Many thanks to all those who linked to or visited Tuesday's April Fool's Blawg Review Appendix.  That post provided the largest boost this site's traffic has seen since the last time someone put the "goddess of folly" in to a crossword clue.  Most gratifying, I assure you.

The seeds for the AFBRA's Punchinello theme were unexpectedly sown last week during a visit to The Getty with our eldest son.  The official reason for the trip was to take in the big California Video show, but one of the reliable strengths of the Getty lies in its revolving menu of small, specialized one-room exhibitions.  Just now, the Getty is celebrating ten years on its hill above the Sepulveda Pass with small showings of items added during the decade to three of its specialized collections: photographs, manuscripts, and drawings.

The selection of drawings is surprisingly fool-centric.  Among them is G B Tiepolo's 1731 "Punchinellos approaching a woman" ("on an especially lascivious and even sinister outing" say the curators) which I featured in the AFBRA. 

On the opposite wall from those nosy Venetians you will find this anonymous Design for a Quatrefoil with a Castle, a Maiden Tempted by a Fool, a Couple Seated by a Trough, and a Knight and His Lover Mounted on a Horse (ca. 1475-1490), after the Master of the Housebook:


This is a preparatory drawing for a stained glass window.  There is no indication whether the window itself was ever completed, or whether it still exists somewhere in Germany.  I would suppose not. 

Let's move in closer to the critical panel, shall we?


I like this one very much, and a key reason for my fondness becomes plain when you consider the Getty's description of the panel:

[A] maiden, accompanied by an eager fool, promenades through a forest.

We eager fools in forests must needs be watched.  (That maiden could learn a good deal from my wife about dealing with such suitors, especially if she chooses to keep him.)  This fool may be somewhat lascivious, and in danger of stepping upon or tripping over his lady love's gown, but he does not seem particularly sinister.  I am, however, rather concerned for his safety, as there appears to be an unknown assailant lurking behind him among the trees. 

This fool and his fellows from the Getty drawing collections are on display until May 4.


As part of its 10-year observance, the Getty hosts a weblog -- "A Different Lens" -- centered on professional and public reaction to the Center, its site and activities.   A recent post there features a nifty selection of photos from Flickr that show off the range of visual and textural stimuli to be found on the Getty grounds.   They make a nice addition to Rick's shots from last October; unlike Rick, none of these photographers captured the legendary semi-transparent child.

April Fool's Blawg Review Appendix 2008


The Welcome

Welcome! to the 2008 April Fool's Blawg Review Appendix. 

This is the quasi-official adjunct to Blawg Review #153, now appearing on my legal weblog, Declarations and Exclusions.  For the past two years, the post here has been termed the April Fool's "Prequel," but April 1st falls after Blawg Review Monday this year so I have renamed this the "Appendix."  Clear enough?  Splendid!  Let's move on.

The Pictorial Theme

Last year, our theme derived from the medieval Ship of Fools.  This year our Fool of choice is Punchinello, as embodied in two generations of 18th Century Venetian artistic foolery from father and son artists Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (father) and Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo (son). 

Punchinellos_approaching_a_woman_17 Tiepolo patris was internationally successful, particularly as a painter of elaborate religious, mythological and allegorical frescoes.  Tiepolo filii grew up assisting his father, but his own career took him in a smaller scale and often more secular direction.  Both men at one time or another devoted time to the depiction of Punchinello (or Pulcinello), the tall-hatted, long-nosed stock character from the commedia dell'arte.  Domenico grew so partial to Punchinello that he produced well over one hundred drawings and paintings depicting the character's birth, life, death and beyond.  A smattering of both artists' pulcinellalia is spread about the grounds of this post for your perusal, pleasure, and bewilderment.

The Selection-of-Posts Theme

The posts selected for inclusion in this Appendix divide, like Gaul, into three parts: 

First, we look to recent posts from lawyers or law professors who write about Something Other Than the Law.  That "Other Than" has been the focus of this weblog for almost five years now, and it was the subject of an expostulation of mine last week in a post at Decs&Excs:

The practice of law does not take place in a vacuum, but in a vast and multifarious Real World full of fellow human beings and of social, economic, political, natural, and cultural tidal forces, and the practice can only gain from the attorney's engagement with that larger context.  Also, writing about All That Other Stuff is frequently just more fun than writing about the law.  So, while there is undoubtedly ample room for additional well-written law blogs, there is even more room in this world for well-written, lively non-law blogs from well-rounded, lively lawyers.  Heed the call!

The Anonymous Editor of Blawg Review suggested I follow up on that thought here, and I am nothing if not biddable in this regard.

Second, we turn to posts that while law-related are nonetheless . . . odd, or foolish, or otherwise appropriate to the First of April.

Third, and to conclude on the lowest note possible, we ask the sensitive and tasteful to avert their eyes and their mice as we link several posts found or submitted this past week that qualify as Naughty or Rude or Potentially (or Actually) Offensive.

Part the First: Lawyers Getting Away From the Law


New Orleans' Ernest Svenson, better known as pioneering blawger Ernie The Attorney, has spent the past several years writing much more about Life than Law, but the life of the Legal Blogger remains a major concern.  This week, he noted the important lessons go-go-go bloggers might draw if they would but recall how the tortoise beat the hare.  Quoth Ernie:

The mainstream media has been serving us 'stupid pie' for years. . . . [A]las, it appears that popular bloggers with continuous partial attention disorder are doing the same thing.

13 David Giacalone of f/k/a ["formerly known as" ethicalesq and/or shlep] is a long-time denizen of the non-law weblog world (and a longtime friend of this weblog, it must be allowed) with an almost punditry-free emphasis these days on the art of haiku.  Every so often, however, he cannot resist weighing in on a legal story, as when he takes us all to task for ignoring the case of the "toilet paper check."  {For what it may be worth, David, it sounds like a proper negotiable instrument to me.]

David has also held forth recently on subjects as varied as spatulas and the Ides of March.

I started reading Doug Simpson's Unintended Consequences several years ago when it was still a more-or-less conventional insurance/risk management weblog.  More recently, it has converted wholesale into a thoughtful site devoted to climate change issues.  This week, by way of example, Doug reported: "Study documents hotter, drier American West due to climate change.

Also on the environmental front, Leon Getter's SOX First blog -- which is not about baseball standings, but about the Sarbanes-Oxley law -- points to a Winston & Strawn paper on the Carbon Principles being proposed by a number of large lenders, calling for the imposition of "enhanced diligence" in the disclosure of the potential climatic impacts of borrowers' projects as a condition to obtaining funding.

Donn Zaretsky's Art Law Blog manages to have it both ways: It's about Art and it's about Law!  Sort of my idea of heaven, but that's just me.  This week, the intriguing case of Robert Schoenberg's trash, in which Donn points to the Where's Travis McGee blog to ponder "Who owns it?"

Mad Kane is a self-described "recovering lawyer," posting satirical verse and political comment.  This week: a versificated sneer at the great State of Colorado, which decrees that even fictional characters who smoke can't smoke indoors.

Part the Second: Legal Oddities and Eccentricities


I am sure that Brett Trout of BlawgIT would like you to read his sound and sober proposals for Your Corporate Blogging Policy, but you know and I know that what you really want to see today is Brett's take on the Top Ten Wackiest Patents in the World.   

[For unfathomable reasons, Brett's list is missing the highly practical Walking through Walls Training System.]

At the California Punitive Damages weblog: A New York Court Holds no Punitive Damages for Bed Bugs. I still get hits on a regular basis from this four-year old bedbug post.

At Prof. Shaun Martin's California Appellate Report, an insurance coverage case involving the surviving members of The Doors and this practical observation:

Even if you're a stud, sometimes you've simply got a case that's wrong on the merits.

Evan Schaeffer does not post as often as he once did at The Legal Underground (emphasizing instead his solid, if less eclectic Illinois Trial Practice Weblog) but this week he compiled links to his classic series: TYPES OF LAWYERS Nos. 1 through 17, inclusive.

On the sleekly redesigned Overlawyered, Walter Olson reports on efforts to enjoin the apocalypse.

Lawyer Advertising redux: "Have you ever done anything stupid?  GET MONEY NOW!"

Lawyer Advertising redux redux: The sequel.

Part the Third: Lawyers and Naughty Bits


NSFW -- Professor Shaun Martin of California Appellate Report noted an unfortunate milestone: the California Supreme Court's first reported use of a certain well known but particularly nasty 12-letter Oedipal pejorative [but the Justices were just quoting the defendant, so that makes it all all right, right?]

Double-plus NSFW -- Another Donn Zaretsky Art Law Blog pointer, this time to Rita Tushnet's 43(B) Blog and a post on artist Adam Connelly who "paints pictures of pornographic images, pixellated so that it's our minds, not the paint, providing the salacious details."  There's an example, but it won't harm you as long as you stay very close to the computer screen.  Contrariwise . . . .

Legal tabloid Above the Law (which has driven a slew of traffic to our Blarrgh Review, thank you very much) posts an extremely rude story involving deviant wombats and vowel shifts.

New horizons in employee management (at Ohio Employer's Law Blog): Plaintiff's history of homemade porn is not fair game in harassment suit.

New horizons in employee management, too?  I have no response to this: "Whips and chains: not even in your spare time, please."

Of related interest: Amber at Prettier Than Napoleon demonstrates convincingly that lawyers really need a better class of sexual fantasy.


Gbt_venetian_lawyer_at_his_desk_176Enough!  I have done, for this year, with this April Fool's extravaganza.  Thank you all for joining in.  Do drop by again sometime soon, eh?

Blawg Review has information about next week's host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.


Illustrations via:

Patricia's Palette Mural Blog: Tiepolo's Pulcinella.

Commedia by Fava

National Gallery of Art

Getty Museum