Monday, January 19, 2009

Poe at 200

Today marks the 200th anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday, and if not for more crafty bloggers out there (I’m thinking of Karswell of this essential blog in particular), I would have done the unthinkable and missed it altogether. Harry Clarke helps us commemorate the event with another insanely beautiful (and just plain insane) image from “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Here, he captures Madeline Usher’s vampiric qualities, an aspect of the story that has not gone unnoticed by critics like William J. Heim, who writes: “It may be a quite literal account of a brush with the supernatural, a vampire tale perhaps, for certainly Madeline's escape from the vault described by the narrator could be accomplished by nothing human.”

Speaking of Poe, anyone living in the Sarasota, Florida area should experience “Poe at the Crosley,” a series of performances that will run until the end of the week. During the performance, spectators make their own choices about what Poe tale they’d like to experience, and based on that choice, they move to a different room in the mansion during selected intervals. There, an actor performs the text as a monologue. This past weekend, I enjoyed “The Black Cat,” “How to Write a Blackwood Article/A Predicament,” “The Bells,” “The Masque of the Red Death,” and of course, “The Raven.” The only downside is that I had to miss out on one of my favorites, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue." To find out more about “Poe at the Crosley, go here.