I had a terrific time talking Washington Irving on The Diane Rehm Show this morning. “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” was (appropriately) chosen as the book for their monthly “Readers Review,” and I sat on a panel with two incredibly sharp experts on literature, film and media, professors Caetlin Benson-Allot of Georgetown and Sian Silyn Roberts of Queens College.
Me, I was there mostly to provide the background on Irving, though I did get to chip in and comment on the story every once in a while. I was also fascinated by the interest in how Irving may have come up with the name Ichabod Crane — it was the topic of both an e-mail that was read on the air as well as a phone call. It was fascinating to hear that the name has a Hebraic origin, but when it comes to Irving . . . well, I’ll let you listen to the show and you can hear what I had to say. If you missed it, not to worry: you can listen to the entire show right here.
And if you’re listening, and wanna know exactly which version of “Sleepy Hollow” we’re reading from and want to read along, it’s this one.
I had a great time with the Maryland Ensemble Theatre doing their Last Hurrah podcast this past weekend — and host Kevin Cole informs me that you can now download it for total free on iTunes, right here. I’m on Show 12 — but I had so much fun doing this one that I think you’ll probably enjoy any of the shows you might download. I joined Kevin and his pals Hannah Gutman and Andrew Michaels for more than an hour as we discussed Jim Henson, of course, but also whether biographers know everyone else’s projects, what it’s like to major in unemployment, and the whole Paul Is Dead thing.
The rest of my week is seat time, working my way through chapter two. Just for fun, go watch this:
Two announcements that need a slight hurrah — or, at least, a Kermit arm flail.
First: for those of you in the Maryland/DC/Virginia area, I’ll be appearing live on stage with the Maryland Ensemble Theatre to take part in their LAST HURRAH comedy show. The fun starts this Sunday at 7:00 p.m. at the Maryland Ensemble Theatre, in the historic Francis Scott Key Hotel in downtown Frederick. I have no idea what I’m in for with this one — it’s a live show and podcast populated by stand up comedians and other masters of improv — but I’m looking forward to it. And believe me, I’m not even going to try to joke and make mit thuh funny, Lebowski — I’ll leave that to the seasoned professionals. But if you’re in the area on Sunday night and looking for some fun, come on in. And bring everybody you know. And even some people you don’t.
Here’s their press release with all the information you’ll need.
Second: tomorrow, as promised, I’ll Officially Announce My Next Project. I think you’re gonna like it–at least, I hope you do. I know I’m pretty excited about it.
I had a fantastic time at the University of Maryland last night: an enthusiastic crowd who laughed (and cried) in all the right places, great questions, and one of the best setups I’ve seen for a smaller setting, with the podium set up between two huge hi-def TV screens so there wasn’t a bad seat in the house. Well done. UMD, and well done all who came. You were a lot of fun.
Incidentally, I had two people raise their hands at the same time to ask, “When will they be releasing The Muppet Show seasons 4 and 5 on DVD?” Good question, and one I’d love for Disney to answer. The rumor I’ve heard (and keep in mind I don’t actually know anything) is that the biggest obstacle to their release is the tracking down and clearing of all the rights to the music used in the last two seasons. I’d think this would be a drop in the bucket for the Disney conglomerate– but, again, what the heck do I know? Discuss amongst yuhselves.
And much, I’m certain, to my father’s disappointment (he reads this blog, then texts me Statler and Waldorf-like comments), I did not get a picture of me with the statue of Jim and Kermit. I arrived with only enough time to run through the A/V check before things started . . . and then afterwards it was dark.
Ya wanna see something else, though? All over the university, you’ll find statues of their mascot, the turtle Testudo, which get painted and repainted to look like this . . .
or this . . .
Just inside the Stamp Student Union Building, however, there’s a turtle who’s been painted — and slightly modified — to look like this:
Have a good weekend!