Thursday, March 31, 2011

Playing With Fire


With all the talk of the gallery recently I realize I’ve been a bit negligent in any Pottery Barn related tales so, with full remembrance of the police presence earlier in the year, I now present to you a FIRE TRUCK (oooooh aaaaah!)

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I noticed a couple of customers staring out into the parking lot from the front windows of our store the other day and I couldn’t help but take a gander myself.  Apparently a mother had locked her child in the car (don’t worry, everything turned out okay).  However, in true PB fashion, one of our patrons couldn’t be bothered with this inconvenience and decided to ask the officers if they wouldn’t mind moving their fire truck, as it was blocking her in.  I imagine the conversation went a little something like this:

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Artist: Brandon Flowers/ Album: Flamingo

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Where the Music Comes From


Upon waking up this morning I was saddened to hear that composer Lee Hoiby passed away yesterday.  I have only sung one of his pieces (an aria from his operatic adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ Summer and Smoke) but have always enjoyed his writing.  After a bit of YouTube trolling, I came across some highlights from his operatic “monologue” Bon Appetit! based on, and including text by, Julia Child.


OMG I just had the best idea!  Someone should totally make a movie version of this opera!! If only I could think of someone who could pull of playing this role.  Hmmm… … …


In all seriousness, though, his contribution to the realm of music is undeniable and luckily for us his music will continue to live on for years and years to come.

“Singers, you can’t fool them,” he said. “When they hear a song, they can tell right away if it’s going to make them sound good. And mine do.”  Lee Hoiby [via The New York Times]


Artist: Peter Stewart/ Album: Continual Conversations with a Silent Man, Songs of Lee Hoiby

A Night Like This


This past Saturday at the John Cleary Gallery I worked my first opening night reception, celebrating the Houston premiere of Keliy Anderson-Staley’s Imagined Family Heirlooms.

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Installation shots of Keliy’s Baking Pan Series and Americans: Contemporary Tintype Portraits


Response was enthusiastic to Keliy’s work, which includes a wide range of photographic techniques as well as the incorporation of found objects into the exhibit.

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Keliy (left) discussing her work with an interested attendee


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Imagined Family Heirlooms, 2011


Patrons were also treated to milk (white Russians) and cookies, inspired by the artists Baking Pan Series and served by the gallery’s in-house bartender/baker/husband of the director, Arnaud Couturier.

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Remember… milk makes your bones GROOOOWWW!!!


Keliy, Catherine and I would like to offer a warm thanks to all who attended and made this exhibit opening a great success!

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Keliy, Catherine and I.  (Stop hogging the spotlight, “Kristin”!!!!!)


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Installation as seen through reflection of Found Child's Dress # 1, 2011


Artist: The Cure/ Album: The Head on the Door

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Cookie Factory


In preparation for Keliy Anderson-Staley’s Imagined Family Heirlooms, Catherine and I decided to have a “theme” to go along with the drinks and snacks for the opening.  Inspired by Keliy’s Baking Pan Series we instantly thought of milk and cookies!


Installation shot of the Baking Pan Series


So instead of spending a Friday night out on the town, I attempted to make three different batches of cookies: chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and snickerdoodle. Monica also made a surprise guest appearance to help me out with some of the baking.  Some of you may remember her from my first outing to the John Cleary Gallery oh so many months ago! Let’s see how that turned out, shall we?

So much for homemade… besides, I’ve realized I’m more of an Ansel Adams wannabe than a Martha Stewart anyway!

Looking forward to seeing you all at the opening tomorrow, Saturday March 26 between 6 and 8pm! Come for the chocolate chips and stay for the fabulous photography.  (Well, and the white Russians certainly can’t hurt either)


Artist: Danny Elfman/ Album: Edward Scissorhands

Blame it on the Girls

[via Gawker TV]

This. is. AMAZING!!!

Ummm yeah… I’ll have the Supa Dupa Fly Ho (with cheese of course)


So, a few things.:

A.) I totally would have eaten at Fat Ho Burger when I went to Baylor.  The place actually kind of reminds me of a restaurant one of my theory teachers, Jana, introduced me to.  If I remember correctly it was called something along the lines of “D’s Fried Chicken and Mediterranean Delight,” and the title basically describes it perfectly: half fried chicken joint and half Lebanese food.  They did have the best tsasiki in town, though, so I’m not complaining.

B.) “Meet me at the Fat Ho” should become the next breakout viral YouTube sensation.  Someone get on auto-tuning this thing NOW!!!!

C.) All kidding aside I have to agree with Catherine that Lakita earns a huge brava for workin’ her ass off and opening a restaurant at 23.  She’s like the Mozart of meat patties!  Also, her comment about trying to bring some levity to such a serious world makes me think about a phrase that my host in Sucy-en-Brie this summer, Stéphane, used whenever something unfortunate would happen. In those moments he would say: “Joseph, it’s not murder!”  Using large scale natural disasters or homicide might be a bit hyperbolic, but it’s certainly an interesting way of putting things into perspective! 

D.) Kudos are in order for the correspondent working in “ho-ly” to the report.  You’re so clevar!


Artist: Mika/ Album: The Boy Who Knew Too Much

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I’m Getting Ready


Installation processes are in full swing here at the John Cleary Gallery for Keliy Anderson-Staley’s Imagined Family Heirlooms, opening this Saturday, March 26 with a reception from 6-8pm.

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Keliy and husband, Matt, hanging pieces from her Baking Pan Series.  I want cookies NOW!!!


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Selections waiting for placement. PICK ME, PICK ME!!


Imagined Family Heirlooms harkens back to the rootless nature of the American identity, with many individuals unable to place family histories back more than one or two generations. This series of installations, comprised of both found and newly-made objects alike, suggests those photographs and sentimental objects one might have collected over the years. Domesticity in a wide range of connotations plays a central part in her works, as is evident in the use of rusted baking pans as a unifying visual motif.

As is the nature of the beast, we are sad to see Renate Aller’s One View, Ten Years exhibit coming to a close but simultaneously thrilled to welcome Keliy to her first solo show here at the gallery!

Please join us for the opening this weekend or stop by anytime during the next month to see the exhibit or peruse our other selections.

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Catherine hard at work on the website!


Artist: Ann Nesby/ Album: The Fighting Temptations

Daddy Sang Bass


I was checking out U of M’s School of Music, Theater and Dance website last night to check up on their new production of Mark Adamo’s Little Women (going up tonight through Sunday!!!) and I noticed on the websites homepage that I FINALLY made an appearance.

Early blog readers may remember a post I did about our production of Gluck’s Armide almost a year ago exactly.  In the photo is Jennifer Nash, who played my daughter niece in the show.


Umm… that would be me on the left, still giving my best Jewish mother impersonation (“WHY AREN’T YOU MARRIED YET!!??!!??!!)

Artist: Johnny Cash/ Album: At San Quentin

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Diamonds are Forever


I’m sure many of you heard today that Elizabeth Taylor passed away, and even Jan commented to me something along the lines of “I figure you have a blog post in the works!”  To be honest, I think I’ve only ever seen one movie she’s been in, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, but it’s one of my favorites and I usually end up watching it at least once a year.  So… looks like tonight will cover me for 2011.


“Why don’t you love me Brick?!  Oh BRIIIIIIIIIIIICK!!!!!!”


I believe the first time I saw the film was during high school (we had read Tennessee Williams’ original play in English class).  Yes… studio executives would only greenlight the project if blatant character cuts were made. And yes… it does kind of change the whole underlying meaning for the protagonists’ marital problems.  BUT, the performances of Miss Taylor, Paul Newman, Burle Ives, et al are quite fantastic and well worth seeing.


Artist: Shirley Bassey/ Album: Twenty of the Best

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Spring and the Fall


Spring officially sprung this last weekend, I can’t think of a better way to welcome lady lilac than with this ridiculous video from youtube artist freddiew:


Artist: Jeff Blumenkrantz

Long Time Ago


One of my responsibilities at the gallery is to maintain the John Cleary blog and make announcements for upcoming shows.  So, in a little bit of cross-bloggery promotion I thought I would extend an invitation to our next opening!

Please join us Saturday, March 26, from 6 – 8 p.m. for the opening of Keliy Anderson-Staley: Imagined Family Heirlooms. The exhibition will run through Saturday, April 23. The artist will be in attendance for the opening reception.


“Young Boy” circa 1870; found and treated wet-plate collodion tintype

Born in 1977 in the woods of northern Maine, Keliy Anderson-Staley received her Bachelor of Arts from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA and a Master of Fine Arts from Hunter College in New York, NY.

Imagined Family Heirlooms harkens back to the rootless nature of the American identity, with many individuals unable to place family histories back more than one or two generations. This series of installations, comprised of both found and newly-made objects alike, suggests those photographs and sentimental objects one might have collected over the years. Domesticity in a wide range of connotations plays a central part in her works, as is evident in the use of rusted baking pans as a unifying visual motif.


Installation shot of The Baking Pan Series: An Incomplete Family History


She has spent the last decade championing historical and alternative photographic practices, passing along her knowledge of extended technique through classes at The Center for Alternative Photography in New York and the Bakery Photography Collective in Westbrook, ME, among others.


“Relatives” 2011; 5x7” Antique Albumen Print


Keliy Anderson-Staley’s work has been featured in such publications as New York Magazine, Esquire Russia and F-Stop Magazine, with numerous solo and group exhibitions held in collections from around the world.

Collage 1

“Collage 1” 2011; 9x12 Made of found quilt fragments and found antique tintype


Artist: Thomas Hampson/ Album: Copland: American Songs

Monday, March 21, 2011

Toccata and Fugue in D Minor

In the spirit of the Bohemian Rhapsody post I did awhile ago I thought we should celebrate J.S. Bach’s 326th birthday with a multifaceted look at one of his greatest hits!!  You know… because Johann is a huge Freddy Mercury fan I’m sure


For all of you Guitar Hero fans out there, just plug this into your Organ Hero and you’ll be all set!

Artist: J.S. Bach

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters


Now, if you frequent the blog with any sense of regularity you probably know that I am a pretty big TV/Film fan, so when I saw Netflix was offering one free month (as opposed to the week that I was used to seeing) I immediately pounced on the offer.  I had perused their archives before when at Matt and Joanie’s and was overwhelmed with the number of documentaries they offered, with one in particular catching my eye.

RAPEUROPAm 2ndposter

Were I to see this in Toledo, OH they probably would have just called it Europa.  My friend Jamison played for Toledo Opera when they did a production of Benjamin Britten’s The Rape of Lucrecia and fearing low ticket sales due to, you know, the word “rape” in the title they decided to change it to simply Lucrecia.  I’m pretty sure I also remember hearing that the Britten society got (rightfully so) really upset about it. 


I vaguely remember seeing a preview for The Rape of Europa before it came out years ago and then kinda forgot about it, but with instant view I was able to watch it immediately! I’d love to blather on about how fascinating it is, but just watch the trailer instead:


The film begins with a discussion of Hitler’s original desire to become a painter and how his rejection from art school was utterly devastating to him.  Interestingly enough, I have actually seen a Hitler painting; while living in Waco I went to see one of his still life’s on display at the Red Men Museum.  Looks like Jack Donaghy was wrong in this week’s episode of 30 Rock!


Artist: Elton John/ Album: Honky Chateau

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tower Song


Last night I had the privilege of being taken out to dinner by my uncle Sid and cousin, Phoebe.  They were in the big citay because Phoebe is lucky enough to be on spring break and they took a day trip from Lufkin to get some shopping done.

Sid had heard about how great the Backstreet Café was and since it was so close to the gallery it was convenient enough for me to be able to head to choir rehearsal right afterwards.  The weather was even nice enough to dine al fresco!

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I wasn’t exactly on top of my “blogging” game during the meal and forgot to take a picture of my dinner, the meatloaf tower.  With a little help from photoshop, though, I can provide a fairly accurate representation of what it looked like:

Picture 128


I had my act together by the time dessert arrived, so don’t you worry.  Can’t remember the name of it… something along the lines of “deliciousness deep fried in tasty covered in love with a side of orange mandarin liquid crack."  Or something like that…

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WHERE’S MY COFFEE!!??!!??!!??!!


Even though it was such a short visit I had a fantastic time catching up with the fam, and for those of you with excellent blog memories, I mentioned in a previous post that a picture in Flora & Muse reminded me of Phoebe… now go back and compare and tell me if I’m crazy!

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It’s azalia time!!


Artist: Martha Wainwright/ Album: I Know You’re Married But I’ve Got Feelings Too

Er-Humph! Er-Humph! I’m No Great Shakes


In honor of my new blog series started earlier today I thought I would post a classic Julia Louis-Dreyfus/Seinfeld clip.  After all…






Artist: Benjamin Britten/ Album: Albert Herring

Anniversary Song


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“Portrait of a blogger” by Megan Pierce.  Gotta love the paisley tie shout-out!


Well readers, one year ago today I started this here blog (to be known years from now as Exhibit A in the “Joseph Roberts Mental Deterioration” hearings) and over these 200 some odd posts I have covered quite a myriad of topics.  I’ll spare you the re-cap post, as I did one recently for my 10,000th page view.  In the spirit of my very first post I thought I would start a new “series;”  I have been watching The New Adventures of Old Christine from the beginning as of late and the show is rife with blog ideas.  It’s a shame it didn’t last longer than it did—don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a perfect sit-com—but Julia Louis-Dreyfus is more than consistently hilarious and for God’s sake it’s better than some of the other drivel on T.V. *cough* Two and a Half Men *cough*. 

Here is the first scene from the first episode with an explanation of its relevancy to follow.  Also, sorry for the mediocre video quality (it’s the best I could come by!)


So… how exactly does this correspond to my meager little dog and pony show here?  I don’t call myself and leave messages on an answering machine (most likely because I am of that generation that doesn’t even have house phones any more), but my computer and phone desktops are littered with post ideas… as if a digitized yellow post-it note is going to be the ginkgo biloba of blogging.  Hell, I have several posts already written up for future use just waiting for the day to be put up—summer solstice anyone?

Plus, working in the retail world I kinda commiserate with the gal… there are days when every single w.a.s.p.y. customer seems to have her la perla panties in a twist.


Artist: Eva Cassidy/ Album: Time After Time

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Where the Picnic Was


Impromptu picnic in the gallery with Betsy!


That would be: Chicken salad sandwich, spring rolls, sushi, buffalo chicken, Blue Energy, root beer, sticky toffee pudding and molten lava chocolate sweetcakes (which is also Betsy’s new nickname)

Artist: Gerald Finzi/ Album: By Footpath and by Stile

Deeper Underground


Before the first performance of his work And Then I Remember with OperaVista this last weekend, Lembit and I got a quick dinner at one of his old haunts during his Rice days.  I had only vaguely heard of The Hobbit Café and quite enjoyed the vibe!

This one goes out to my friends Lizzie and Lizzy… remember this ol’ gem of a blog post?

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… because Bilbo Baggins just looooooves him some fish tacos!

Artist: Jamiroquai/ Album: Synkronized

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Last Picturehouse


I’m sure all of you remember my previous post about the Hirschorn gallery from my trip to Washington D.C., right?  Specifically about how one of the works was reminiscent of a certain row of houses outside of Crockett near Grapeland.  To catch you up:

This next piece reminds me of a row of dilapidated buildings on the outskirts of Crockett.  I wish I had a picture of them to show a comparison but, unlike other random photo holdings I have, it’s not hiding in the bowels of my computer’s processor.  I even told Mary Anne something like: “The sad thing is that a part of me wants to call someone in Crockett, have them go to Grapeland and take a picture of them and email it so I can use it for the blog.”  Yes, folks, that’s what my life has come to these days.  Those of you in my Houston County entourage will hopefully know what I’m talking about!

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Siah Armajani’s “Fibonacci House Bridge” (1986)


WELL, readers… today I got an e-mail from my sister-in-law, Joanie with the following:

Joseph! When we were driving home from Crockett this weekend we stopped in Grapeland to take these pictures for you, so now you have them in your stock to use in your blog.

A.) How awesome!!!  B.) What a great memory she had to even think about taking the picture.  C.) Here it is!


You can see it, right?

Artist: Sandi Thom/ Album: The Pink and the Lily

Ballad of a Well Known Gun


Last week I was thrilled to get a pleasant surprise of a text message from friend-of-the-blog, Jan:

Jan: What are you doing to night.

Me: (thinking maybe she knew someone in Houston who had an extra ticket to a show or something) Oh nothing!

Jan: I am in town and if I can swing it I’d love to see you if I can.  If you get an offer to go out take it, but I’ll do my best to see you!

What a treat!!! I have been accustomed to getting to see her during the holiday season, but it was certainly delightful to meet up so unexpectedly.  I also love that she assumed I’d rather see people who live in the same city as I as opposed to seeing her—buh-crazy!

The reason for their visit to Houston was that it served as the port of origin for their family cruise and it was decided it would be easier for me  to come to her father-in-law’s house for our visit.  I had been there once before when she and Jason were first married (I sang in the wedding).  Needless to say from the photos below, it’s not a house I quickly forgot.

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There’s your giraffe, Jennifer!!!


Jason’s father (as well as Jason and the boys) are avid hunters and has a fantastic trophy room to prove it.  Kyle helped provide some dramatic re-enactments… at least I’m pretty sure it was Kyle and not Reed, his twin.  

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Who’s laughing NOW, Mr. Hyena in the background?!?


And you know it wouldn’t be an animal post without a photo of our favorite animal, the cougar!:

PA160056 NOT AGAIN!!!!

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Plus some good ol’ Jan action and a silly shot to boot!

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There I am, “lookin’ all Kanye

Artist: Elton John/ Album: Tumbleweed Connection

(Check out her post to see another picture of us!)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Voyage à Paris


Now, I realize that a lot of you read my blog and feel at times I may be a bit hyperbolic about certain aspects of my life.  It’s not that you’d be wrong, it’s just hard to pin-point exactly where those places are.  Oddly enough, I try and tone down some of the wilder entries and embiggen those that are more mundane.

I off-handedly mentioned in my post regarding Dead Man Walking a while back that Fredica von Stade’s performance in a YouTube clip was reminiscent of a certain customer who frequents Pottery Barn, Chantal.   Let’s just re-visit that video, shall we?


Aaaaaaaaaaaand this is Chantal (with the General peaking out in the background):

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Artist: Frederica von Stade, Martin Katz, Francis Poulenc/ Album: Voyage à Paris

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Have a Drink on Me


This week my dear dear friend and former roommate from Michigan, Lembit, is in the citay for the premier of his opera And Then I Remember with Houston’s very own OperaVista (read more about it and BUY TICKETS here).

We were able to go out for drinks last night before the festival reception and not really knowing a large number of places to go I decided to take him to the Anvil Bar.  Remember?

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Right outta Hog’s Head


“Is that butter beer!?!?!” you might be asking yourself.  Well… close.  Take a moment to browse the menu and tell me which drink I most likely ordered.

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IT’S GENERAL SHERMAN!!!!! (And no… I didn’t order the Witchy Woman)


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“Um, that’s a cinnamon stick, Joseph, not a straw…”

The aforementioned reception for the festival took place at the Laura Rathe Gallery, which is about 100 feet away from the John Cleary Gallery where I work!  In fact, it’s the same gallery where I ended up on the roof during the last round of exhibit openings.  Oh world, you are so small!  This time I remembered to snap at least one picture, too.

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You bettah sang, girl


Artist: AC/DC / Album: Back in Black

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sullen Girl





I mentioned in a previous post about a certain mix CD my friend Jamie made for me in high school and it also serves as the inspiration for today’s choice!  It was actually the first time I had ever heard Fiona Apple (I was a bit behind the curve, but as they had never made a musical out of her oeuvre then I was really unlikely to have heard of her at the time). 

“He said ‘It’s all in your head’ and I said ‘So’s everything’ but he didn’t get it” <----that’s basically me in every social situation

Artist: Fiona Apple/ Album: Tidal

Thursday, March 10, 2011

It’s a Maze


When I arrived at church last night for our Lent service I was surprised to find this:



Now… we Southern Baptists don’t exactly celebrate Mardi Gras or Lent but I of course have some general knowledge about the two (party then penitence, right?), but is this generally part of the festivities? If I make it to the end do I get beads!!!

The last time I saw a labyrinth—besides Pan’s, of course—was when my mother and I went on vacation to Mackinac (pronounced Mackinaw… those crazy Michiganders) Island and stayed a weekend at the Grand Hotel.  I’ll have to do a completely separate retroactive post about that trip another time, but until then, here is said labyrinth!


Artist: Marsha Norman, Lucy Simon/ Album: The Secret Garden

White Car


I was driving home from work the other night and I came upon this at a stop light

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It’s the Google Street View car!!!!!!!!


Artist: Yes/ Album: Drama

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Book Report


This afternoon Catherine and I were chatting about common interests and, of course, the subject of books came up.  Now, I know I have previously stated I’m not exactly the biggest reader these days, but I was actually quite the voracious bibliophile in my youth.

That being said, my favorite book EVAR is Currer Bell Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, so when I came across a book entitled The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde several years ago I was intrigued.  I bought it on a whim and have read them in their entirety every summer, always waiting for the next installment!

The Eyre Affair Lost in a Good Book The Well of Lost Plots Something Rotten First Among Sequels

It’s a bit of a challenge to sum up the series in a couple of sentences, but I’ll do my best.  Set in an alternate England in the 1980’s, Thursday Next works for a literary policing agency (black market Shakespeare and Byron are hot commodities) and discovers that she has the ability to travel into the book world.  In The Eyre Affair, the villainous Acheron Hades has also figured out a way to do just the same and has absconded into Bronte’s Jane Eyre, holding the characters from the original manuscript ransom—for if you change something in the original, all subsequent editions of the book are changed.  In this alternate reality, Bronte’s work ended with Jane leaving the Rochester estate and never coming back (boring!!!), but, through her dealings with Acheron in the book it becomes the ending we know today. She goes on to join the policing agency within the book world under the tutelage of Miss Havisham of Great Expectations fame and in the course of the series are introduced to the “real” versions of the literary characters of lore.  All that to say… I’m not promoting it to be high literary art but it’s super clever and gives me some semblance being well versed in the classics without ever, you know, actually having to read them (Oh that Heathcliff, he’s such an ass!)

These works, along with Doctor Who and Catherine Tate, are often my go-to conversation starters whenever I meet someone from across the pond.  Case and point, I knew that Hester and I were going to get along famously when she too was a fan of the Ffordse’s!

At any rate, the newest addition to the series, One of Our Thursdays is Missing, came out yesterday and though I haven’t had a chance to get to a bookstore yet… it’ll happen sooner rather than later.

One of Our Thursdays Is Missing

Come to think of it, this sounds awwwwwfully similar to my favorite game, “Um… Hey guys, where’s Hester?”  Why do you Brits keep on disappearing!!!!

Artist: Clark Gesner/ Album: You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown