Currently Listening: The British History Podcast and The Folklore Podcast

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about media and entertainment, but I’ve started listening to more podcasts while I commute again. Since I’ve exhausted most of my backlog of old episodes of Myths and Legends, I had to find some new podcasts with large archives to work through. So I thought I’d share two that I’ve been enjoying recently.

As longtime readers of my blog know, I’m a bit of an anglophile, and since getting back from our trip to Scotland, I’ve had even more of an interest in the history of Britain. So I downloaded The British History Podcast on a whim, and I have to say, I was blown away by how entertaining it is. The host, Jamie, has a similar style to Myths and Legends’ Jason, infusing the stories from history with humor and balancing modern commentary with taking into account historical context. I do think that my favorite thing about the BHP is that Jamie does make a sincere effort to focus not just on the “great men” model of history that is so common, but does shows on other aspects of the history of Britain, including a really fascinating series on Anglo-Saxon period medicine, food, and clothing. He also got a fantastic series of interviews with researchers who were studying the Staffordshire hoard.

As someone with an interest in folklore, mythology, and legend, I particularly enjoy how the history of the island has helped frame my understanding of the stories I know from Britain. I also found the Romano-British period surprisingly fascinating. Despite starting my college life as a classics major, I focused more on Greek classicism than Roman, and never really delved into the intrigue that is Roman history. I might actually check out a Roman history podcast to fill in the non-Britannia-related gaps in the stories I heard on the BHP.

Another podcast I’ve been enjoying is the Folklore Podcast. Hosted by Mark Norman of the Folklore Society, this is a different style of podcast from the BHP. It’s a bit drier in tone and style, and more educational, though it is obviously entertaining enough to hold my interest for several episodes. Norman focuses on the connections and context of various aspects of folklore, revolving around a common theme within each episode. Rather than telling a single story or a set of stories, the way Myths and Legends does, Norman spends most of his time discussing the folklore and tales. He also brings in some great guests for the show so that people can offer a scholarly perspective in their own specialties of study, rather than focusing exclusively on the host’s knowledge and special focus. It’s particularly interesting to hear the same stories told by the Folklore Podcast and Myths and Legends, just as it was interesting to hear the BHP cover King Arthur.

One caveat: The production quality of the Folklore Podcast is not as refined as other podcasts I listen to, and I find myself having to adjust the volume up and down during a single episode, especially when there is a guest speaker who’s volume is much higher or lower than the host’s. But it is a minor annoyance at worst and doesn’t detract from my enjoyment of the content.

So those are two podcasts I’ve really been enjoying. They’re similar in content, though very different in style, and they’ve served me well on my commutes and some long plane rides lately.

Currently Listening: Myths and Legends Podcast

So I’ve spoken in the past about how I love the resurgence of podcasts and audio-based shows. I love them so much, I actually had a voice role in a podcast last year! But lately, I’ve found myself more and more enthralled with this storytelling podcast: Myths and Legends.

I found this podcast when I was looking for something interesting, yet innocuous, to listen to on one of my many flights this summer during my most intense travel season. What I found was an amazingly intricate treatment of Morgan Le Fay, drawn from multiple sources, and offering insight into this often-one-dimensional character from Arthurian legend. And then, a retelling of a story about a kelpie that was nearly laugh-out-loud hilarious (which would have been awkward on a crowded flight.

Jason, the host of the podcast, blends in-depth knowledge of folk tales, fairy tales, myths, and legends with a tongue-in-cheek narration style that makes these stories come to life in a way I probably haven’t encountered since my preschool story time. While some of the versions he tells differ in varying degrees from the versions I grew up enjoying, the podcast brings back my early and lifelong love of lore and stories.

You see, when I was a small child, I started reading early in life, but I pretended to read less well than I could so that my parents would continue to read me stories. I love hearing stories as much as I love reading them. Eventually, they caught on when I started correcting them while they were reading, and I had to read the stories to myself. When I was in middle school, we did a section in English class where we had to learn a folktale and tell it orally to the class. While researching for the project, I found out that our longtime neighbor had written a collection of West African folk tales, including the title story, “The Cow-Tail Switch.” Intrigued by both the fact that it was a non-European story and the local connection, I learned that story.

And now, as an adult, while I read as widely as I can, both modern books and old tales, there hasn’t really been anyone to tell me stories. Well, now through this podcast, I feel as though I’ve gone back, not only to the love of my childhood, but back to an oral tradition of stories. Anyone with an interest in stories should definitely check the podcast out.

Outing: Madame Butterfly at the Washington National Opera

As I’ve mentioned before, I love opera. I trained vocally using opera songs and just love the experience of immersing myself in beautiful music and singing. But opera tends to be an annual treat, when Mr. Tweed’s family friend invites us out to the Met Opera. So when I kept seeing advertisements on Facebook for the Washington National Opera’s production of Madame Butterfly, I was intrigued. I opened up the website to find that there were tickets available the Tuesday before my wedding for a very reasonable price. So I jumped at it and invited a friend with me to the opera.

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Madame Butterfly has a special place in my heart as my first introduction to opera. When I was in middle school, we would go on field trips to the Kennedy Center opera house to see opera teasers, and Butterfly was the first of these trips that I remember. I vividly remember the company performing the final scene, and the drama of it. Perhaps that was the moment that planted the seed of opera love in me, though I wouldn’t know it until years later. But I do remember mimicking the singing with my friends later on.

Butterfly is an interesting piece because it was written at the very beginning of the 20th century, at a time when the exoticization of Asian cultures had peaked in the West. But rather than fully buy into this, Puccini obviously uses it as a sort of inside joke. From the very beginning, the household servants are introduced by Americanized, highly poetic names, giving a sense of wonder, but when Cio-Cio-san (Butterfly) describes the tragedy of her early life and how she came to work as a geisha, her American husband can only marvel at her physical appearance. Indeed, the American Pinkerton comes off as oafish and insensitive, even without considering his plan to marry and abandon her.

But it is in the music where Puccini really shows the strength of his modern composing, weaving the American national anthem into the operatic score, and using the famous “Humming Chorus” to give a sense of melancholy and impending doom as Cio-Cio-san awaits her husband’s return. And, without giving too much away (as much as one can avoid spoilers for an over-100-year-old opera), the ending creates a moment that honestly made the breath catch in my throat. In fact, the ending deviates slightly from the original in the WNO staging, perhaps adding to its power.

The staging itself was designed by Japanese ceramics artist Jun Kaneko and shows his signature style of bold, graphic shapes. The spiral floor of the stage gives a sense that the actors are slightly off-balance the whole time, and transforms into an island adrift on an uncertain sea in the second act, when Cio-Cio-san and her companion, Suzuki debate the futility of waiting for Pinkerton’s return. While the staging has some missteps, particularly the use of moving projections, which occasionally become distracting, the use of light and color add to the dramatic effect, and gives appropriate weight to an ending that cannot explicitly show the bloodiness of Cio-Cio-san’s tragic end.

Outings: A Trip to the Metropolitan Opera and Eugene Onegin

This weekend, I had a bit of a treat: it was my yearly trip to the Metropolitan Opera with Fiancé’s family friend. It’s always something I look forward to, since we started doing it a couple years back, because it’s both a fun thing for someone with theater and voice training to experience, as well as a glimpse into a kind of old-fashioned lifestyle that I wouldn’t otherwise get to see.

Our weekend always starts with a drive up to Fiancé’s parents’ house the night before. They live at approximately the halfway point between our house and New York City, so it makes sense to drive up that evening, sleep there, and drive to New York City in the morning, where the closer proximity makes it an easier day trip. The next morning, we leave bright and early, stopping for Starbucks at our usual stop, and then arriving in the city just before noon.

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This time, we ate at the Opera house restaurant, which is an exercise in luxury and service. The gentleman who served us seemed like an old pro, like those old steak houses where the waiters seem like they’ve been serving ladies and gentlemen steaks as a career for the last 40 years. It was early in the day, so we had a choice of lunch or brunch. Fiancé’s friend and her friend chose lunch; we chose brunch. Fiancé chose one of the most decadent French toasts I’ve ever had. And of course, prosecco to accompany.

From there, we went to the box, where we watched the first act of Eugene Onegin, an opera that is unmistakably Tchaikovsky from its opening notes. It’s an interesting opera because the first of the three acts feels interminably long. It takes over an hour for our young heroine Tatiana to fall in love at first sight with her neighbor’s handsome friend, Onegin, for her to confess her love in a cringeworthy teenage love letter, and be (gently) rebuffed by him. Even the opera veterans with us complained a bit that they were ready for a break.

At intermission, we returned to the Opera House restaurant to find a pot of coffee waiting for us at our table for Fiancé. Upon our arrival, fresh chocolate soufflés were brought out, along with a little pitcher of crème Anglaise. They were delicious, though lighter in chocolate flavor than my absolute favorite chocolate soufflé. But a delightful interlude. The intermission lasted longer than it took to have soufflé and coffee, so Fiancé and I walked around and looked at the costumes on display on the Parterre level.

Act II picked up the pace considerably. A grand country house’s ball opened the scene, and I recognized a fair amount of music from barre exercises in my old ballet classes, which was fun. There was even a little section sung in French, which was a welcome contrast to Russian. And then, to end the act, a duel and what is probably the absolute swiftest operatic death scene I’ve ever seen.

The second scene of the second act is where the story starts taking a darker turn, with two friends dueling over a woman with whom the title character only flirts with out of his own misplaced sense of annoyance. And the scenery reflected that so beautifully. They used mirrors to give a sense that the barren wasteland of the set went on forever. It reminded me of something out of a Dali painting.

Act III was similarly paced, again opening with a ball scene. This act reinforced something that I had noticed from the beginning: the use of offstage singing to give a sense that the onstage character was somehow set apart from the rest of the world. In the first act, the women open the show onstage while villagers sing offstage, giving a quaint feeling of a stolen glance at private life. In the third act, Onegin sits in the periphery of a dazzling party. But they used the same wasteland set, with only the addition of columns to suggest the architecture of St. Petersburg. As Onegin sits miserably on the sidelines, he sees a vision of his past: Tatiana, the girl he spurned. Only now, she has blossomed into a self-confident woman, and of course he falls madly in love with her.

And she is not unaffected by him. But the highlight of the first scene is the beautiful basso aria sung by her husband, the Prince Gremin, about how much he loves her. I got a sense of a woman, spurned by her first love, meeting a man who showers her with all the affection she had hoped for from the other. But upon seeing Onegin again, she remembers what it is to feel that love herself.

In the final scene, the two of them meet and Onegin declares his love, begging her to run away with him. This is where the opera dazzled. Instead of spurning him right away, or falling desperately into his arms and a happy ending, Tatiana first rounds on him and asks him why now. Why is she good enough for his love now? It’s a brilliant sight, watching this grown woman throw a petulant and immature man’s declaration in his face. He himself had admitted only a scene earlier that he hasn’t made anything of himself, and yet she has gone from a clueless country girl to a princess.

Then, she turns to him and tells him that she loves him, too. He looks up, and you can see the hope and joy in him that his love loves him. He is going to get what he wants.

But, no. This is opera, after all, and a Russian one at that. Tatiana continues to say that although she still loves him, she is not going to forswear her marital oaths. She then tells him farewell forever (echoed from the second act when her sister’s ill-fated lover leaves her to duel his friend). And in a beautiful parallel, made all the more poignant by the complete silence of the orchestra, she walks to him, pulls him into a passionate kiss, as he had done in the first act when he spurned her. And then she turns and walks away, her heels echoing through the entire opera house.

And that’s it. Onegin falls to the ground, realizing what he’s lost and the curtain crashes down. It’s beautiful in its severity.

It almost took a moment to bring myself out of this lovely experience, but of course we had to drive back halfway home. But that is an opera I will keep with me for a while. Anyone who has the opportunity to see it should jump at it.

Becoming Eliza

This evening, I am looking forward to the opening of a truly special theater project to me. For the past three months, I’ve been working on the role of Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion, a role made all the more special by the fact that I will likely be taking a break from stage acting for a while after closing, and the fact that the director is a dear friend of mine and one of the first directors I ever worked with when I started acting again in this area.

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Eliza is also just a fantastic role in a classic play. She’s an early feminist figure, but from a time when feminism often just meant you didn’t beat your wife. Shaw uses the play to not only make some pretty strong feminist statements, but also to dissect the conflict among the classes in early 20th-century London. Eliza’s father, Alfred Doolittle, is actually my favorite character because he has these extended and eloquent speeches about the plight of the working man, not only because of his poverty, but how he must live up to middle-class ideals in order to get any help from his “betters.” The interplay between the poor characters and the wealthier characters, as well as between the lower- and upper- class characters paint a complex picture of social struggle at all levels. In fact, the play is rather skillful at illustrating the concept of privilege and how it can prevent a person from seeing the real harm they might be doing to another.

But apart from social commentary, Eliza is a character who both has to grow as a person, changing her speech and demeanor, as well as maintain a spark of defiance that led her to Higgins and his lessons in the first place. The first part is work. The second part is difficult.

The first part starts with the fact that, apart from Higgins, Eliza has the most lines in the play. And when presenting a playwright with Shaw’s stature, one must do one’s best to be letter-perfect. After all, I did not write this play, and I ought to recite the lines that are there. I’ve been spending time in private study with my script nearly every day since beginning the show, and hope to go into opening night with that strong foundation.

Then, there is the vocal level. Eliza presents a particular challenge to me because neither of her dialects are ones to which I have any natural claim. As an American, I hope I’ve been able to develop a decent Received Pronunciation (RP) British dialect, but even that is only half the battle. The new challenge in this was learning the cockney dialect, particularly a cockney dialect that is not much used anymore. To learn RP, I can watch the BBC at length, but there are no modern examples of the cockney dialect, as Eliza would have spoken it. The closest examples come from modern historical dramas, like Call the Midwife. And then, because I am presenting this on stage to an American audience, I have to learn my cockney well enough to know where I can and ought to tone it down to avoid Eliza becoming completely unintelligible.

Finally, Eliza must physically transform. Oh, I am not talking about the costumes and the makeup, although those whose job it is to see to those have performed admirably. I mean the transformation of her demeanor and bearing. Despite her underlying steely resolve, Eliza begins the play as a woman who both knows the brutality of a life of poverty and also lacks any training on how to carry herself like a lady. She must be fearful, despite her natural personal fortitude, and she must carry herself like someone who’s never been taught to stand up straight. The dancer in me bemoans the sloppy posture necessary to play Eliza in the first part of the play, but I persevered and was rewarded with a visible transformation and a sore lower back. After her transformation, I was able to revert to my natural state of upright, dancer’s posture with relish.

And so I go on the stage tonight with the weight of three months of rehearsal and a century of history weighing on my back, only to shake it off and finish the play standing upright: “a tower of strength, a consort battleship.”

In My Queue: The Crown

NB: There is one small spoiler at the end of this review, though it should come as no surprise, given the subject of this series.

There is nothing more we Americans like than a dramatized peek into the lives of royals. Never having had a royal family of our own or even a real aristocracy, there is something romantic about the idea of a hereditary class that persisted even into the 20th (and 21st) century, particularly when there are British accents involved. To this end, the new Netflix original series The Crown does not disappoint. The first season is a look into the ascension and early reign of Queen Elizabeth II, with a good mix of political plotting and salacious personal detail.

First of all, the series is written by Peter Morgan, who also wrote the screen play for the film The Queen, in which Helen Mirren played Elizabeth dealing with the public fallout from the death of Princess Diana. And this makes sense, as the series has a very similar feeling. In particular, the sense of pathos he is able to evoke is unparalleled, particularly surrounding older characters. In The Queen, his portrayal of the Queen Mother prompted me to call my grandmother; in The Crown, his portrayal of Winston Churchill prompted me to reevaluate my own feelings towards my (now-deceased) father and (dementia-stricken) grandfather. Morgan is particularly gifted at writing scenes that show the little indignities of age.

But the focal point of the show is the new queen herself, and her relationships, both political and personal. Of note is the relationship between her and her husband, Prince Phillip. This series really helped cement how much I dislike the characters I’ve seen Matt Smith play, which doesn’t sound like a recommendation, except that Phillip is just so deliciously sullen. Despite his wish to be the dominant head of a marriage to the actual Queen of England, he comes of as a spoiled brat, rather than an angry man. And I think this distinction makes it easier to accept him as a troubled consort, rather than a threat. In contrast, Claire Foy has a perfect mix of quiet poise and demure strength when going up against a government system that should be no stranger to a ruling queen, and yet seems to continually fall victim to the sexist zeitgeist while dealing with her. She is able to, for the most part, gently overcome her opposition, showing her fire only when necessary, and otherwise remaining the perfect lady of the times.

Two last notes: I was absolutely floored by John Lithgow’s performance as Churchill. Apart from the impressive physical transformation, I thought he brought gravitas and honesty to Morgan’s aforementioned deftly written scenes of a man coming to terms with the end of his own reign of sorts. And Jared Harris played King George VI with such sympathy that it was almost a shame the show did not start a season earlier. I found his George more believable than Colin Firth’s in The King’s Speech, because there is always something too self-possessed about Firth’s portrayal of awkward characters. Harris played the perfect tragic king, and seemed like he brought a vulnerability to the character of the unlikely monarch that I would have liked to see from his beginnings. It truly is a shame that he tends to die so early in his small-screen roles.

All in all, The Crown serves as another wonderful dramatization of British royalty, and is a welcome respite from the Tudor era, truth be told.

In My Queue: Penny Dreadful

It’s Halloween, so I thought this would be a good time to write a bit about a show that I recently finished on Netflix. In honor of all things spooky and scary, these are my thoughts on the acclaimed show Penny Dreadful.

Image Source: http://gothiccharmschool.tumblr.com/post/93755419985/yes-im-finally-watching-penny-dreadful-and

Penny Dreadful opens with a mysterious woman meeting with a Western show performer to hire him for some “night work.” They go on to meet with her equally mysterious, though more aristocratic, employer and take their new compatriot down into a den of horrors. They slay a monster and take him to a mysterious doctor.

The woman is Vanessa Ives, played by Eva Green, clairvoyant and frequent victim of various possessions. The Western performer is the American Ethan Chandler, played by Josh Hartnett, and he definitely has a secret. But then, who doesn’t in this show? The aristocratic leader is Sir Malcolm Murray, played by Timothy Dalton, a former explorer who just wants to find his daughter, who has been abducted by monsters.

Now, if the name Murray rings a bell, congratulations, you’ve kept up to date on your vampire lore. Yes, Sir Malcolm’s daughter is Mina Murray of Dracula infamy. The show brings in various “penny dreadful” tales, from Dr. Frankenstein to werewolves to some that stretch the meaning of “penny dreadful.” I certainly wouldn’t consider Oscar Wilde such a thing. But that is rather besides the point.

The show is dark and fun at first, though it suffers a bit from trying to smush all the plots together at once, rather than treating the premise as a sort of monster-of-the-week. Instead, there is one major monster in each of the three seasons, and then side plots that allow various peripheral characters to shine. As the show progresses, however, it becomes clear that the main plot will always revolve around Miss Ives and her dark secrets.

Despite Eva Green’s brilliant performance as the troubled and tortured Miss Ives, I think this is the major weakness of the show. Without giving anything away terribly, the show ends at the end of the third season when the story of Miss Ives comes to a satisfactory conclusion. I liked that they concluded the story the way that they did, as it fit such a dark show. But I disagree with the showrunners that the story is entirely about Vanessa.

We come to care about almost every character that is in the show for more than one episode. Most notable to me is the character of “The Creature,” or Frankensteins (first) monster, played by Rory Kinnear. The Creature gains revenge on Dr. Frankenstein in a way, but learns that revenge is rather hollow and that he must now make a life of this half-life he has been granted by the good doctor. He adopts the name of John Clare, an homage to his love of great literature and the feeling he has that books are the only things that will not shun him. Except Vanessa Ives, though that is merely a wistful subplot that was never destined for fruition.

Clare goes from shadow to shadow, trying to find his place in the world, even finding that he can access old memories from before his death and resurrection. He struck me as a beautifully tragic character, neither too good nor too bad, and always tugging at my conscience and emotion. I would have loved to have continued to see what he made of the existence he’s been thrown. While the other characters are similarly nuanced and compelling, that is the biggest reason I found it disappointing that the show ended when Vanessa’s story ended.

But I wholeheartedly recommend Penny Dreadful for anyone with a love of old monster stories. It’s not terribly scary, though there is a fair amount of blood, and as much horror as you’d expect in a story about all social classes in Victorian England. It’s not a large time commitment, and it can be both quite fun at times and emotionally wrenching (and later cathartic) at others.

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Radio Drama Love: Welcome to Night Vale

I’ve spoken before about my love of radio shows and podcasts (the radio show of the modern era). Well, podcasting has managed to blend my love of this vintage-appropriate art form with my love of science fiction and fantasy writing. Similar to The War of the Worlds, my new favorite podcast blends realism with surrealism and presents a weird, fantastical, unlikely world in the mundane format of a community news show.

Welcome to Night Vale brings us Cecil Baldwin, the voice of community radio for the desert community of Night Vale. But very early on in the biweekly podcast’s first episode, it becomes clear that all is not what it seems it should be in Night Vale. From the menacing advance of the glow cloud to the pecularities of local government, things go from weird to really weird quite quickly, and yet each episode brings a new weirdness to pile onto the weird layer cake of this little show.

Perhaps my favorite part of the podcast is the jovial and unfazed manner with which Cecil reports even the most bizarre occurances. His silky voice maintains an air of casual reporting, indicating that even the very bizarre is simply business as usual in Night Vale. Which makes for all the more impact when he reports on something that is odd, even by Night Vale standards.

The show also has an interesting and subtle commentary on real-world community politics. Despite being set in a place where time has no meaning and sometimes it rains small-to-largeish animals, there is still that guy who is the local agitator, and the subway system still has delays and track work. In fact, listening to the episode about the public transit system while commuting to work on the train nearly sent me into fits of conspicuous mirth while my fellow passengers zoned out on their devices. In such a strange world as Night Vale, the aspects of life that ring true only serve to point out the absurdity of real life.

I highly recommend you check out the podcast. It’s difficult to explain without lessening the experience of hearing the episodes for the first time, so I won’t try to explain further. Suffice to say, it’s weird and delightful.

[The Night Vale logo was created by Rob Wilson and was found on the Welcome to Night Vale website, http://www.welcometonightvale.com/%5D

On Celebrating Love

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I was just tickled by that little Doodle yesterday for St. Valentines Day. Traditionally, I’ve not be a great celebrator of Valentine’s Day, and this year was no exception. Boyfriend and I had had plans to go out Saturday evening for dinner and a movie, but I was tired after going to aerials and a friend’s matinee, so we stayed in an ordered Chinese food.

Yesterday, we did go for our standing Sunday morning coffee date at a local coffee shop. The shop had recently renovated and it was fun to see the change. Plus they added this cute little table with two padded chairs that were still free for the taking. It felt a bit more special as we ate our kolaches and had our coffees. Despite not doing anything particularly out of the ordinary for the day, I prefer our standing coffee date.

Getting out of the house and out of our weekday routines has be a great way for us to reconnect with each other over a meal. Boyfriend doesn’t often eat breakfast, but will always have a cup of coffee, and I don’t often drink coffee, but will make an exception for the occasional, well-made cappuccino. And the ambiance of the shop is both quiet and not too quiet, if that makes sense. They play music that is enjoyable and unobtrusive enough that the rest of the patrons, many of whom are working, can focus.

We like watching the people and discussing the coffee, too. Boyfriend is surprisingly vehement about his coffee, despite being relatively unfussy elsewhere. And I appreciate that, should I desire a cup of tea instead, they do serve one of my favorite brands.

And so we wake on Sunday mornings, dress, drive to the shop, and find a place to park. The short walk and the lingering breakfast is the perfect amount of time to focus on just us, without the distraction of work or electronics or television, before we both head out back our lives.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Vintage-Inspired Amusements: The Lady Magazine

I’ve discovered something new online! The internet is lovely for lovers of the vintage because you can find all sorts of original documents and vintage-inspired webpages so much more easily than when you had to go to the library and make a date with the microfiche viewer to see them.

The Lady magazine is apparently where Wodehouse got his inspiration for Aunt Dahlia’s Milady’s Boudoir periodical. And it’s not hard to see the resemblance. They even maintain a classified section for those seeking housekeepers, nannies, and other service personnel. Apart from those, they run articles about timeless style and a series of columns. They have a good old-fashioned agony aunt column, as well as an advice column for excellent manners that rivals the Grande Dame Judith Martin herself.

They also tend to provide styling, fashion, and interviews perhaps geared toward a more traditional audience. Rather than following trends, they focus on timeless advice for elegance. And they interviewed the current star of my new favorite show recently.

The magazine has been around since the 19th century and has the distinction of being Britain’s longest-running lady’s magazine. And issues appear weekly online. I love to read the features occasionally as they highlight a more timeless and elegant style than many American publications, particularly when it comes to home and fashion.

Reading such a publication gives me a profound sense of being connected to the history of publishing for ladies. Rather than being a magazine that pigeonholes us into assumptions about our interests in beauty or fashion or lace curtains, The Lady allows that ladies may have diverse interests and as such publishes diverse features, sometimes discussing food, or travel. The columns even target a range of ages, leaving few gaps in the possibilities that one will find something interesting to them. And the style is vintage and understated, rather than loud and trendy. All in all, it is a magazine that suits my style perfectly.