Also in the news: Another posthumous Tolkien release, and the birth of Chicago’s Wakanda Con. It’s your Daily Blunt!
There are few Broadway musicals that enjoy the notorious cult status of the one adapted from Stephen King’s Carrie, which played for just sixteen previews and five actual performances before closing, earning the title of “most expensive quick flop in Broadway history” from the New York Times. In the intervening decades it’s been revived a number of times, to the delight of camp enthusiasts. Now, thanks to “Riverdale,” a new generation of bad theater aficionados will get to revel in its splendor: the Kevin Keller character is directing a high school production of Carrie: The Musical in an upcoming episode, and you can see snippets of the fun in this video interview with actor Casey Cott. Could this uptick in interest result in a fresh theatrical revival somewhere? We’ll be saying our “Evening Prayers.”
“Black Panther” fan-love will reach a fever pitch this summer with the debut of Wakanda Con, a convention hosted in Chicago (and not, as the article points out, in Wauconda, Illinois) where visitors can revel in all things “Afro-futurism, tech, and entertainment.” Hailed as the first of its kind, the con is likely to be a hot ticket, though this announcement means vendors and attendees will have just five months to make arrangements. That may sound like a plenty of time to the layperson, but to those whose calendars are ruled by cons, it will go by in a flash.
While The Hobbit may have been most readers’ introduction to the world of Middle Earth, it was J.R.R. Tolkien’s story “The Fall of Gondolin,” begun in 1917, which truly set the stage for everything that was to come. Now that tale will enjoy its first standalone release, with the editing and participation of Tolkien’s son, Christopher. In response to this news, the chair of the Tolkien Society is quoted describing this story as “the Holy Grail of Tolkien texts as one of Tolkien’s three Great Tales alongside The Children of Hurin and Beren and Luthien.” The latter was published for the first time ever just last year.
The next time someone tries to cut you down to size over an iffy grammatical usage, remind them that the English language isn’t logical, and that the only solid rule is that “if there are two ways to spell a word or construct a sentence, then people will conclude that one way must be the better way.” That’s author Lynne Murphy’s take, and in this excerpt from her book The Prodigal Tongue: The Love-Hate Relationship Between American and British English, she explains how a tiff over the correct version of “hungover” prompted a deep dive into the eccentricities of our lingua franca. What’s more, those blaming these ills on Americanization can shove right off: “It was not Americans who shortened cardigan, spaghetti bolognese, café, and the BBC into cardie, spag bol, caff, and the Beeb.”