Friday, November 23, 2012

Thespis Does Dionysus - One Night Only!, Milton says up your Areopagitica, and Louis T. Glass - the Jukebox Hero

On this day in 534 BC, Thespis of Greece became the first recorded actor to portray a character onstage. While I am sure that late at night, bored caveman would perform in front of the fire, acting out how they killed that saber toothed tiger with their bare hands (to impress the cave women no doubt), but this was different.

While there was theater in Greece at that time, it was staged primarily as way to honor the gods.  It was a live documentary, a historical retelling of the great deeds done by the gods on stage with a musical background or chorus.  The performers simply acted out the scenes with no dialog. 

Thespis changed all that. Perhaps, the first method actor, Thespis would put on a Dionysus (the Greek god of wine and fertility) mask (they really had cool gods back then) and he would act as Dionysus himself, and speak lines that Dionysus himself might have said to the crowd. True acting had been invented and the word thespian (still used today for one who acts) was born.  It has a bit of a negative connotation now, reminding us of those we knew as Drama Majors at school.  I think the word Drama has a negative bent now as well, I always think it will be immediately followed by the word "Queen" but I digress.


On this date in 1644, at the very height of the English Civil War, John Milton - the author of Paradise Lost - would self publish Areopagitica, protesting censorship in England, specifically the need to get government approval prior to publishing any work.  In an obvious oversight, Milton failed to get approval first.

Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties. J. Milton

On this day in 1889, Louis T. Glass's invention, the jukebox, played it's first song at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco. A very, very, very, distant relative of Spotify, it played songs off wax cylinders...and the cylinder was only changed one a day.
There is an interesting article if you want to check it out:

I mentioned Drinkify once before on the blog and will mention it again (since I don't feel like searching out a drink for today).  It's simple, fun and free.  Type in what music you are listening to and it gives you a drink suggestion. 

The Historical Inebriant:

and for all my Scotch drinking Indian friends....

As always, have a great and safe weekend, and remember -
the next big holiday is December 5th!

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