Home

Life is theater and music on A Good Reed Review


A Good Reed Review gratefully accepts direct donations via PayPal to help defray the costs of maintaining this site without creating paywalls.
Donate with PayPal

Personal Essay: Hello 2022!

As I took my car out for some exercise to keep it running on the first day of 2022, I was filled with hope. We had recently received some significant rain that we desperately needed to help lessen the severity of the two-year-old drought. The sky was blue. There was snow on the higher area mountain peaks. There was a chill in the air under the bright winter sun. As was my habit I donned my masks, which this time of year also helped keep my face warm, and I noticed as I passed others walking or riding their bikes that most were also masked. I was filled with hope that others in my area were still taking the COVID-19 threat seriously as the Omicron variant of the disease was causing case counts to spike to new highs. [Continue reading]


Personal Essay: Thinking about holidays

There is so much going on these days. We’re just about ready to start a third year dealing with a worldwide pandemic as we face yet another new variant in the midst of a holiday period. While that’s weighing heavily on my mind, in my solitude I think about what constitutes a national holiday. Some are obvious like the 4th of July, the day marking our nation’s independence. That one makes sense. It’s a celebration commemorating the birth of our new nation, founded on the principles of democracy where we the people voice our opinions through free and fair elections determining who serves in our representative government. This one is a truly patriotic, American holiday. Memorial Day and Veterans Day are also American holidays in honor of those who have served our country to help keep it free. Presidents Day and MLK Day honor some of our national heroes which also makes sense as far as patriotic American holidays go. [Continue reading]


Profile: Val is making the world a better place through the arts

Every so often we are fortunate to cross paths with somebody with that intangible spark that makes them stand out in a really good way. They bring enthusiasm to all they do, and they inspire others to reach far beyond what seems possible. I ran into such a person some years ago, and I’ve been amazed by what this young fellow has done and continues to do.

I first worked with Val Zvinyatskovsky when he was but 10-years-old. He played the role of Jojo, one of the leads, in a youth production of Seussical that I was music directing. This particular group used live orchestras drawn from the greater musician community to give their young actors the privilege and thrill of performing in musicals in a way that would prepare them for potential careers in professional theater. Through the rehearsal process, this young actor stood out as one of the most skilled, prepared, and polished young thespians I’d seen. He not only had all of his lines and blocking down pat long before the cast needed to be off book, but his musical timing was impeccable. He never missed. Even so, it wasn’t until we got into the run of the show that I realized just how accomplished and curious this young man was. [Continue reading]


Personal Essay: Fog to clear – a new window to the world

Almost a quarter century ago, I made the decision to upgrade our townhouse. I ditched the old, mid-1970s windows and upgraded to double panes that were supposed to be a vast improvement. … Over the years, two of the windows in the warmest room in the house eventually … fogged up. Out of all of the windows in the house only two failed, but I hadn’t realized the difference that foggy view made on my overall outlook. [Continue reading]


Fiction: A World Without Lies

As happened most nights, Alex and Rowan Jeffries were having an impassioned discussion over dinner. The twins had been sharing a house for most of their lives, Alex a professor of biochemistry and Rowan a professor of music and religious studies at the same university. Having grown up together and only living separately as university students because they attended different schools in different states, it was both comforting and financially practical to have come together again once their student days were over. Neither had ever been married, and they considered one another perfect roommates. They relied on each other and were the best of friends even though they had a few notable philosophical differences. In fact, those differences often helped them, though they really only differed dramatically in a few areas. In other areas of their lives, they were often in agreement even when their approaches sometimes diverged. This evening, they were engrossed in a discussion in which they agreed for the most part, but differed in application. The subject this evening was honesty, or more directly, the value of truth and dangers of lies. [Continue reading]


Personal Essay: Photo journey: Geometry

I have always been intrigued by geometry and interesting shapes and perspectives in pictures. In fact, going through school, geometry was my favorite math class and not just because of the beautiful logic proofs, but I digress. In photography, sometimes a rather mundane scene can be fascinating when approached from a unique angle. Other times, the shading can even make common shapes pop. As mentioned in previous essays, I have spent a lot of time wandering through the exhibits packing the various Smithsonian museums over the years. While the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) in Washington, D.C. is my favorite Smithsonian location by far, I also appreciate several of the others in its vicinity. The Museum of Natural History has much to offer, and although the easiest way to get a good picture there is to buy one of their brochures which are filled with many elegant professional photographs, where is the fun in that? It’s far more satisfying to discover a unique perspective and capture it directly if possible. [Continue reading]

Previous essays in the series:

Photo journey: My quest for the perfect capitol shot

Photo journey: Reflection obsession

Photo journey: South Meadow Fence Road


Book Review: Peril, by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa

The nation is in ‘Peril’

The final book in Bob Woodward’s trilogy chronicling the Trump presidency and its aftermath is aptly named Peril. Woodward co-authored this third book with Robert Costa and released it in September 2021. While the first two books, Fear and Rage, together cover the Trump presidency prior to the historic 2020 election and its aftermath, Peril overlaps a bit with Rage and focuses on the extraordinary actions within the Trump administration, the Pentagon, and Congress in the lead up to the election, the administration’s attempts to thwart the legitimate outcome of losing reelection, and the first several months of the Biden administration. While the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol and the Department of Justice are hard at work investigating what happened from a legal perspective, Peril tells the story drawn from personal interviews of more than 200 people at the center of the events resulting in more than 6,000 pages of transcripts, much of the information never before seen in the news or in publicly released documents. In a historical context, this is an important book. It chronicles what happened from the perspective of those involved rather than strictly what was made public or reported in the news. [Continue reading]


Book Review: The Rose Code, by Kate Quinn

‘The Rose Code’ puzzles reach beyond the walls of Bletchley Park

Kate Quinn’s The Rose Code is a masterwork of historical fiction. It’s a long book at 656 pages that reads quickly as the tension builds. Published by William Morrow in March 2021, this gripping story brings Bletchley Park, the famed hub of the British effort to break the German Enigma code during WWII, and the unique personalities who worked there to life. Quinn’s fascination with history and her deft storytelling add new twists to events past as she mixes historical figures together with her vibrant fictional characters, although her fictional characters are themselves composites of real people. Her history is not names and dates but is instead about how historical events changed and complicated people’s lives. [Continue reading]


Personal Essay: The good side of Facebook

Growing up, we wrote letters. We also talked on the telephone, but if people lived more than just a few miles away those phone calls could quickly get expensive, much more so than the cost of a stamp. … Fast forward a couple of decades and chat rooms became ubiquitous among the computer savvy. These allowed people of various interests to join together remotely sharing ideas and prose among like-minded aficionados. Chat rooms were essentially social media infants. It would be another decade or so before our present day social media started popping up in various corners. The advent and ubiquity of social media today has given far more people than ever before the opportunity to write, some for a much wider audience than they may have previously imagined possible. [Continue reading]


Personal Essay: My magical musical journey: Part 8 – Nostalgia

Earlier in this series, I talked about how my parents inspired me and encouraged my love of music. They are both long gone now, Dad for over 50 years and Mom for a decade, but every time I play anything, I think of them. In the last installment discussing whether I was still a musician or not, I came to the conclusion that even without performing for others, I am and always will be a musician. The pandemic has pushed me to enjoy my music more privately, and in doing so, return to my roots and my first instrument, the piano. Playing the piano reminds me of my mother, especially when I play some of the repertoire that she played frequently. One of her favorites was Chopin’s Raindrop Prelude. Mom used to play this one with deep expression and early on told me the story her piano teacher told her about the piece. Her favorite teacher used to tell her stories about every piece she was assigned, and in doing so made the music come alive as much more than mere notes on the page. [Continue reading]

Previous essays in the series:

My magical musical journey: Part 1 – the beginning

My magical musical journey: Part 2 – high school acceleration

My first pit experience

My magical musical journey: Part 3 – the college years

My magical musical journey: Part 4 – my return to organized music

My magical musical journey: Part 5 – practice, performance, and repeat

My magical musical journey: Part 6 – outside challenges

My magical musical journey: Part 7 – Am I still a musician?


Commentary: Fandom is theater or My friend Mark: The making of a 49er fanatic

The holiday season is upon us, and there are myriad music and theatrical events to celebrate the season. It is also the heart of the football season where a different kind of theater plays out all over the country. For some, the drama is in the game itself. … there is another kind of spectacle playing out in stadiums across the country, but this one engages fans from all walks of life. … Finally, there are the extreme fans. These are the ones who take fandom and raise it to a performance art form bringing a type of theater to light … My friend Mark is one such fan. … Today, many 49er aficionados know him as 49erMark. [Continue reading]


Book: REMEMBERING MOM AND DAD

Remembering_Mom_and__Cover_for_KindleIn REMEMBERING MOM AND DAD, I make the jump from analyzing the stories to telling them.  The book is a collection of nonfiction essays and short stories written over time remembering Bayla and Jerry Jacobson. The stories include personal recollections from my experience along with the retelling of numerous events related to me in conversations over the years. Some of the stories included are: “Music in the House”, “The Parenthood Plunge”, “The Jacobson Pet Parade”, “Disney Days of Summer”, and many more.  Interested?

Purchase the print edition:

Purchase a digital copy in Kindle or Nook formats.
Read the full Introduction.


Read more…

Reviews: Theatrical / Book

Promotions

Commentary

Fiction (short stories)


agoodreedreview-logo-bell-smaller


3 thoughts on “Home

  1. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate to this excellent blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
    I look forward to fresh updates and will talk about this website with my Facebook group.

    Chat soon!

    Like

    • Alexander, in a sense there is a donate button now that A Good Reed Review has joined the affiliate program with Amazon. The products and references that are listed in conjunction with those help to emphasize the subjects we discuss on A Good Reed Review, and they also help us out a little to keep this site free.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.