This week in Shakespearean foolery and miscellany sees people getting intimate with Shakespeare as he makes someone’s blood tingle, LA flashing Shakespeare-style, and even a Shakey Skywalker. First stop is the masterful BuzzFeed, who this week posted a collection of literary tattoos, featuring anything from Pynchon’s V to Virginia Woolf’s Waves. Nope, I don’t get it either. This is a literal case of ‘if the skin were parchment’. But just because Shakespeare said it doesn’t mean that’s endorsement to draw his lines on yourself. Now, preference for tattoos aside, I don’t think King Lear would be most people’s first port of call for some Shakespeare inking. Romeo and Juliet perhaps, a sonnet line or two maybe, but not so for this lady. She went for Lear’s lines, mere moments before Cordelia falls of her perch. Happy stuff folks! Something tells me she hasn’t read the play and just wanted a butterfly quote, but perhaps I’m mistaken and it’s butterflies and the hope they symbolise instead of fleeting life that this tattoo is embracing. Still it shows that films and books aren’t the only avenues to get Shakespeare on the red-carpet. The best part is, this is none other than Megan Fox (remember that girl from Transformers?). Either she’s embracing the terrible beauty encapsulated in these lines, she’s highlighting the deceptive disguise that acting requires, or maybe, just maybe she just liked the lines. Whatever the answer it’s good news for Shakespeare paparazzi. “Chaotic and unpredictable..” Just your regular day in LA, or is it? Last Thursday LA Starbucks frequenters were in for a treat when Horatio rocked up to order a caramel macchiato and a spinach breakfast sandwich. Yes, that’s right, this is the work of the wonderful Salty Shakespeare who unleash bite-size chunks of Shakespeare on the unsuspecting public periodically – flash-mob style. They launched just 3 years ago in the heat of the NYC flash-mob culture and their debut performance was on Venice beach. They’ve now become well-known and you can even hire them out, if you’re that way inclined. The brains (who you might recognise from Seinfeld) behind Salty Shakes is all about short and er, salty snippets of Shakespeare’s plays. Aiming to get people hooked on his words in small doses (she finds Shakespeare too dragged out. I bet she’d relish the chance to shake him by the scruff of the neck and tell him to for goodness sake get to the point). It’s like living in a world where Twitter defines speech, limited character count, and synthesising the crux of the matter. This is multicultural stuff too, featuring the odd rap and Spanish instance – well, it is Los Angeles after all. With little regard for rules, Shakespeare occasionally lands this team in jail for short periods but, seemingly unfazed by this, the project seeks to reach everyone from the super-rich to the homeless as they season everyone’s life with a spot of Shakespeare. And from the ridiculous to the sublime, it’s Star Wars and Shakespeare. “This series has brought many fans of Shakespeare to Star Wars and vice-versa,” so says Zehr of the Shakespeare and Star Wars Trilogy written by Ian Doescher – a series which has hit geek audiences by storm. His latest blog post looks at the unlikely links between your favourite Sci-Fi franchise and Shakespeare as he pulls apart a range of motifs found in these star cross’d works. Zehr considers tragedy traditions, ghostly appearances, and young love doomed to tragedy as the interlinking elements of these works (besides the iambic pentameter and epic nature of both, obviously). As he puts it, “Shakespeare’s works utilize motifs that permeate Star Wars, and help enhance our enjoyment of the beloved saga.” This blog sees comparisons of Romeo and Anakin, Hamlet and Luke and, of course, Claudius and Obi-Wan Kenobi. And finally, in an instance of true Shakespearean foolery, yesterday a blog I follow flagged up Shakespeare in the Simpsons. Yes, and from the mouth of Homer no less! With that shakey connection I leave you until next time. Keep revelling in the foolery!
Lisa: I have no friends.
Homer: Aw, sweetie. Hey why don’t you make friends with my new computer?
Lisa : Okay.
Homer: Lemme just finish downloading the Complete Works of Shakespeare [Computer screen shows a Mac download bar. Downloading finished and a skspr.pdf icon appears. Homer immediately drags the icon to the trash.] Homer: Heh heh heh heh! Now who’s the greatest writer of all time?