sensuality, sexuality: the theater of Tennessee Williams deciphered

Readers of Alice Munro do not expect the reference to Tennessee Williams, an American playwright, steeped in all the mythology of the South of the United States, to be relevant in describing Canadian mores. However, the works of these two writers, although anchored in geographically distant circles, are quite close to each other.

Comparison of their works reveals that the people of Ontario can, on occasion, be as sensual and sassy as those of fascinating Louisiana. In addition, the biography of Alice Munro recalls certain aspects of the existence of Tennessee Williams.

We know that the latter’s work was greatly influenced by an unhappy youth. Her mother was one of those “southern beauties” who dreamed of becoming an actress. She married a man from Tennessee who gradually turned out to be quick-tempered, drinker, and die-hard poker player. He terrified his children. His son suffered greatly from his authoritarianism, and a long psychoanalytic treatment was necessary in order for him to exorcise this threatening father figure.

As for the schizophrenia of the playwright’s sister, Rose, she haunts his work, notably A Streetcar Named Desire (A tram named Désir, 1947). In the play, the very concealing Blanche du Bois, arrives one day in New Orleans, with her sister and her worker husband, to disrupt the pair of fusional lovers with her crazy demands.

This play obviously echoes some family memories of Alice Munro. She evokes it in “Family Furnishings” one of the short stories published in the collection entitled Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (2001). Metaphorically, the title evokes the traumas caused in a family by cumbersome secrets.

Alfrida is the eccentric cousin of the narrator’s father, as is often the case, very close to the author. In a modest family, most of whose members are poorly educated, this character stands out for his profession as a newspaper columnist.

Based in a small provincial town, Alfrida is responsible, under the name Flora Simpson, for a section intended for mothers of families: The Flora Simpson Housewives’ Page. Full of practical or medical advice, and written in the tone of connivance, his articles are acclaimed by naive readers.

The irony of the narrator does not spare Alfrida, the character of a single woman, emancipated enough to live on her pen, but not voluntary enough to declutter her small apartment from the heavy furniture inherited from her mother.

The narrator remembers that, in her childhood, her parents received Alfrida at least once a year: her mother would then set an exceptionally refined table and her father, however unwilling to accept emancipated women, patiently listened to her speeches. pretentious and vain without ever contradicting her.

These anomalies must have an explanation. What mysteries is Alfrida hiding, whose mere presence seems to radically change the character and habits of those close to her?

As always with Munro, analyzing a character’s relationship to books is enlightening. Now, Alfrida hates books. The modest library of the narrator’s parents is the object of all her sarcasm: George Eliot, Jack London or Walter Scott find no favor in her eyes. This is a bad sign.

The day when, become a student, the narrator is invited to Alfrida’s, giving up public transport, she crosses the whole city on foot to go to a district far from her home. She discovers there that Alfrida is having a passionate affair with a certain Bill, a rough man, but handsome and sensual.

During the meal, the narrator incidentally recounts one of her recent evenings. She took the train with friends to the Toronto theater where Tennessee Williams’ play, A Streetcar Named Desire was represented. Alfrida is shocked. Face contorted in a smirk of disgust, she exclaims, “That filth!”: “That filth!”

Alfrida’s contempt for any cultural manifestation is not enough to explain the violence of his reaction. And besides, at the time, neither the narrator nor the reader understood her reply. Of course, it is easy to see that the situation echoes distantly A Streetcar Named Desire. The short story would, in fact, be a loose form of rewrite of the play, and the narrator a figure of Blanche du Bois.

The end of the story reveals not one, but two closely related secrets. The narrator despised Alfrida. Yet it was thanks to this talentless columnist that she became a short story writer. Indeed, his first published text was inspired by the personal memories Alfrida had recklessly recounted to him. The story being very derogatory, it resulted in a quarrel between Alfrida and the father of the narrator.

This dispute was regrettable because in their early youth, Alfrida and her cousin had loved each other. They had never said a word to anyone but in the euphoria of the end of the Great War, they had conceived a child together. Too young then to get married, the young lovers had abandoned the baby for adoption.

At her father’s funeral, when she has not heard from Alfrida for years, the narrator meets a stranger: her hidden half-sister. The revelation of this family bond, abruptly revealed, wavers its benchmarks.

In her own way, she played, with her father, the role of the disruptive element comparable to that endorsed by Blanche du Bois with her sister. Because of his egoism as a writer, he was deprived of the satisfaction of recognizing his illegitimate daughter. The profession of writer is therefore a form of obstacle to family harmony.

There is no question for the narrator to stop writing. But from now on, she will have to avoid the facilities and expose herself more. Her own weaknesses, and not those of those close to her, must nourish her works if she wants to remain faithful to her vocation as an artist.

Thus the main themes of A Streetcar Named Desire are they ironically repeated in “Family Furnishing”: sensuality, sexuality, family secrets, saving writing. Without ever being demonstrative, by insisting on the contrary, just like Tennessee Williams, on the mysteries of existence, once again, Munro lays bare the savagery of family relations and the cruelty of writing.

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The facets of Anne Sylvestre in a few songs

From cabarets to cathedrals

For Anne Sylvestre, the song is learned at the cabaret school: La Colombe in 1957, then the Cheval d’Or, the Contrescarpe or the Port du Salut. Then at the Trois Baudets where she sang until 1962. Her first album was released in 1959. It notably contained Cathedrals and these famous lines – “without the song of the troubadours, we would not have a cathedral …”.

“Les Cathédrales” in the program “Discorama”, in 1961

“The invention” of Fabulettes

In October 1962 released a 45 rpm with his first songs for children, Fabulettes which mix, like his songs for adults, humor and seriousness, imagination and awareness of social issues. She never sang them on stage. Only once, in 1977, she offers a television program intended for children, recorded to prepare for Christmas with those of the François-Coppée school in Paris. She sings in particular “The little tree” or “To make a gift”, makes masks or tells stories. The experiment was not repeated.

“Sapin Sapin”, Anne Sylvestre’s only television program for children, in 1977

Memorable duo with his “prince charming”

In 1968, she left Philips for a young production house, Gérard Meys, where she remained until 1971 and for which she recorded a hilarious duet with Boby Lapointe: Since the time that I wait for my prince charming.

Anne Sylvestre and Boby Lapointe in a production by François Chatel in 1970

Songs about women and men …

In 1973, she set up her own label, Sylvestre, and get out The Stones in my Garden. Five albums of adult songs followed until 1985. In these songs from these flourishing years, his songs about women alternate tenderness ofA witch like the others (1975), the humor of The fault of Eve (1978) or the hardness in Rose (1981).

“A witch like the others”, extract from the CD + DVD album “Selected pieces” (EPM)

She also sings about men to make fun of their boastfulness in Little man (1977) or to rent them, in You are beautiful (1986).

“Petit Bonhomme”, recorded in April 1977 for “Numéro Un” by Maritie and Gilbert Carpentier

Or dealing with social issues

His songs do not shy away from painful or questioning subjects: abortion (No you don’t have a name, 1973), rape (Sweet Home, 1978) or misery (Not hard, 1986). It also addresses the theme of homosexuality, whether through the prejudices it conveys, in Xavier, or in a form which will subsequently become very topical: Gay let’s get married (2007).

“No, you don’t have a name”, extract from the CD + DVD album “Selected Songs” (EPM)

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Shale Gas Extraction: Fracking Makes North Dakota Millionaires – Stocks

Dhe American state of North Dakota was previously not known as the home of many millionaires. On the list of the states with the most millionaires per inhabitant, North Dakota was only 43rd in 2012 – behind Alabama. The boom in oil and gas production with the unconventional fracking method, which has been going on for several years, is now beginning to change that.

Last year, North Dakota moved up to 29th place and even overtook Florida, according to information service Phoenix Marketing International. The state is part of the Bakken shale region, where fracking is used. Water mixed with sand and chemicals is pressed into the drilling site under high pressure in order to break up the shale, in which gas and oil are trapped.

The upswing seems to be stalling

The triumphant advance of fracking in recent years can be seen in the share prices of companies that specialize in this extraction method or provide the industry with the necessary equipment. The share price of the energy company Pioneer Natural Resources, which is heavily involved in the Texas shale regions, has increased more than tenfold in the past five years. Cabot Oil & Gas stocks are worth six times what they were five years ago. The share prices of companies like US Silica or Hi-Crush Partners, which produce the quartz sand required for mining, have also risen dramatically.

But the upswing seems to be stalling. In the past few months, the share prices of some fracking specialists have fallen slightly again. Demand for new issues from the industry also appears to be declining. The Texan company EP Energy had to cut its issue price significantly to $ 20 when it went public on Friday and also reduced the number of shares issued. In the run-up to the initial offering, the company had announced a rate between $ 23 and $ 27. EP Energy was only acquired by private equity firm Apollo in 2012 for $ 7.2 billion.

America's fracking stocks are soaring


America’s fracking stocks are soaring
:


Image: FAZ

With the unusually fast sale of the shares, Apollo apparently wants to profit from the higher share prices and avoid the risk of a setback. Typically, private equity firms hold companies between three and seven years before reselling them or listing them on the stock exchange. EP Energy wasn’t the only fracking company looking for investors this week. The smaller producer RSP Permian also had to be content with an issue price at the lower end of the range announced.

The slack is a consequence of the significant fall in natural gas prices, which in turn was a consequence of increased production. Although prices recovered significantly in the past year, they are still below the average of the past five years. For this reason, energy companies reduced the purchase of new drilling fields last year. It is also difficult for American producers to export the gas to regions where more is paid for gas.

Natural gas is significantly more expensive in Asia and Europe. “The shale gas revolution is slowing because it’s hard to move the raw material,” said Ethan Harris, head of economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “Companies should wait to invest until the infrastructure is in place.” In North America there are projects to build liquefaction plants that would allow transport in tankers and would increase the demand for American gas. However, it will take several years for the projects to be completed.

Nevertheless, analysts expect further price potential for companies specializing in fracking. Merrill Lynch’s recommendation list includes Cabot Oil & Gas and Pioneer Natural Resources, despite the high increases in value in recent years. The analysts also acknowledge that the competitor EOG Resources has further price potential. If the augurs are right, North Dakota is likely to make another leap forward on the millionaires list.

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Shale Gas Extraction: Fracking Makes North Dakota Millionaires – Stocks

Dhe American state of North Dakota was previously not known as the home of many millionaires. On the list of the states with the most millionaires per inhabitant, North Dakota was only 43rd in 2012 – behind Alabama. The boom in oil and gas production with the unconventional fracking method that has been going on for several years is now beginning to change that.

Last year, North Dakota moved up to 29th place and even overtook Florida, according to information service Phoenix Marketing International. The state is part of the Bakken shale region, where fracking is used. Water mixed with sand and chemicals is pressed into the drilling site under high pressure in order to break up the shale, in which gas and oil are trapped.

The upswing seems to be stalling

The triumphant advance of fracking in recent years can be seen in the share prices of companies that specialize in this extraction method or provide the industry with the necessary equipment. The share price of the energy company Pioneer Natural Resources, which is heavily involved in the Texas shale regions, has increased more than tenfold in the past five years. Cabot Oil & Gas stocks are worth six times what they were five years ago. The share prices of companies like US Silica or Hi-Crush Partners, which produce the quartz sand needed for mining, have also risen dramatically.

But the upswing seems to be stalling. In the past few months, the share prices of some fracking specialists have fallen slightly again. Demand for new issues from the industry also appears to be declining. The Texan company EP Energy had to cut its issue price significantly to $ 20 when it went public on Friday and also reduced the number of shares issued. In the run-up to the initial offering, the company had announced a rate between $ 23 and $ 27. EP Energy was only acquired by private equity firm Apollo in 2012 for $ 7.2 billion.

America's fracking stocks are soaring


America’s fracking stocks are soaring
:


Image: FAZ

With the unusually fast sale of the shares, Apollo apparently wants to profit from the higher share prices and avoid the risk of a setback. Typically, private equity firms hold companies between three and seven years before reselling them or listing them on the stock exchange. EP Energy wasn’t the only fracking company looking for investors this week. The smaller producer RSP Permian also had to be satisfied with an issue price at the lower end of the range announced.

The slack is a consequence of the significant fall in natural gas prices, which in turn was a consequence of increased production. Although prices recovered significantly last year, they are still below the average for the past five years. For this reason, energy companies reduced the purchase of new drilling fields in the past year. It is also difficult for American producers to export the gas to regions where more is paid for gas.

Natural gas is significantly more expensive in Asia and Europe. “The shale gas revolution is slacking because the raw material is difficult to move,” said Ethan Harris, head of economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “Companies should wait to invest until the infrastructure is in place.” In North America, there are projects to build liquefaction plants that would allow transport in tankers and would increase the demand for American gas. However, it will take several years for the projects to be completed.

Nevertheless, analysts expect further price potential for companies specializing in fracking. Merrill Lynch’s recommendation list includes Cabot Oil & Gas and Pioneer Natural Resources, despite the high increases in value in recent years. The analysts also acknowledge that the competitor EOG Resources has further price potential. If the augurs are right, North Dakota is likely to make another leap forward on the list of millionaires.

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New Orleans, French Touch

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Chris Granger / New Orleans CVB

Louisiana occupies a unique place in the hearts of the French. At the time, the area of ​​our colony was much larger than the current state: it extended to the borders of Canada. Only Louisiana has retained its French roots, which have earned it to be… eccentric.

Between Francophilia, Creole culture, love of jazz and voodoo beliefs, the relaxation of New Orleans contrasts with the rest of the United States. Aren’t we used to saying ” if you only know New Orleans from the United States, then you don’t know United States “?

Anyway, “Big Easy”, the nonchalant, will charm you. The right mix, under the Lousiane sun!

Text: Carine keyvan

On-line :

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New Orleans, French Touch

Chris Granger / New Orleans CVB

Louisiana occupies a unique place in the hearts of the French. At the time, the area of ​​our colony was much larger than the present state: it extended to the borders of Canada. Only Louisiana has retained its French roots, which have earned it to be… eccentric.

Between Francophilia, Creole culture, love of jazz and voodoo beliefs, the relaxation of New Orleans contrasts with the rest of the United States. Aren’t we used to saying ” if you only know New Orleans from the United States, then you don’t know United States “?

Anyway, “Big Easy”, the nonchalant, will charm you. The right mix, under the Lousiane sun!

Text: Carine keyvan

On-line :

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it’s going to be colder in Atlanta than in Alaska

VIDEO – The start of the week in the Northeastern United States and Canada promises to be even colder than this weekend.

Already hit by a winter storm that has killed at least 11 people since the start of the year, the northern United States is shivering, with temperatures felt that can drop to -50 ° C. In the central and northern states of the country, temperatures have dropped to -38 ° C in Wisconsin. And the start of the week promises to be even colder! Monday, it will be colder in Atlanta, yet located 1,200 km south of Chicago, than Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska, according to CNN.

“Chicagoans have a heart, but when temperatures drop as low as expected, it’s best to plan ahead,” said a spokesperson for local social and family affairs, quoted in the Chicago Tribune. They called on all who could to stay safe in a warm place for the next few days. The city could beat Monday its record for the lowest temperature recorded during the day, that is -24 ° C, a level reached on January 18, 1994 and December 24, 1983, recalls The Weather Channel.

A building stuck in ice in Plattsmouth, Nebraska. Nati Harnik / AP

In Minnesota (North), the governor, Mark Dayton, has already announced that public schools would be closed Monday: “I made this decision to protect all our children from the dangerously cold temperatures which are planned for Monday. I urge all the inhabitants of Minnesota (…) to exercise the greatest caution in the face of these extreme weather conditions, ”he explains in a statement.

Polar cold for an NFL game

“Exposure to extremely cold temperatures can cause hypothermia or frostbite,” an injury that can lead to necrosis of skin tissue, remind the governor’s services. “The skin can freeze in just five minutes with perceived temperatures of -45 ° C,” recall the weather services of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, the “Twin Cities” of Minnesota. In neighboring Wisconsin, the American football game between the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday – as part of the NFL play-offs – is expected to be one of the coldest games in league history American.

The Philadelphia Football Stadium on Saturday hosted a game between the home side and the New Orleans team. Michael Bryant/AP

In Lambeau Field – which is not covered like some other stadiums – the temperatures felt could drop to -28 ° C, point out the weather services, which have devoted on their site a long historical article on the most icy conditions of professional American football. A record is not yet acquired, since the temperatures felt had fallen to -38 ° C in 1967, during a match between the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers, already in Lambeau Field. But the forecasts are still subject to change, point the weather services.

In New York, appalling weather conditions led to the closure for two hours on Sunday morning of the John F. Kennedy Airport, after a plane overrun that had skidded due to freezing rain and snow. . The other airports in the region have also experienced disruptions. But it was at Chicago’s O’Hare airport – where 20 to 25 cm of snow should fall by Sunday evening – that the situation was worst, with late morning delays of more than 5 hours on average. .

Neighboring Canada is also facing freezing temperatures – down to -17 ° C in Toronto on Tuesday – and snowfall of up to 25 cm was announced for Sunday near the 4th largest city in North America.

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