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Happy New Year!

As always, I welcome the New Year with open arms and lots of plans and projects.

Barring any 2012 doomsday scenarios coming to fruition, here’s what you can expect to see at Sly Wit this year.

Clearly you all have opinions on these and I will be posting what I think of your favorites throughout the year as part of the 2012 Readers’ Choice Challenge. Encouragement as I tackle some of the longer ones is always appreciated!

I will also be trying to keep the book salon alive as many members move on to bigger and better things following the near dissolution of my former office by The Man. Appropriately enough, this month’s theme is “Go West, Young Man!” for which I chose to read The Grapes of Wrath.

Performing Arts:
Ballet 101 posts will probably dominate the spring as I enjoy a subscription to the San Francisco Ballet for the first time. Sadly, I don’t foresee the ballet of the Opéra de Paris in my future this year, but you never know what the fates may bring.

Opera won’t be completely absent, as I have tickets to The Lamplighters’ upcoming productions of The Gondoliers and The Pirates of Penzance singalong as well as Nixon in China at the San Francisco Opera in June. I’m also hoping to see Ensemble Parallèle’s The Great Gatsby in February.

Of course, assuming La Maratonista is willing, I’m planning to renew my subscription for the San Francisco Opera’s 2012-2013 season. To combat my opera withdrawal symptoms, I’ve been listening to a number of classic recordings and, before our next subscription starts, I’m hoping to write up some more systematic Opera 101 posts that go through the history of this art form, starting with the Baroque era and continuing to the present day.

Television and Film:
I’m still debating giving up cable, but I have to wait until at least the end of January since there is no way I am missing Season Two of Downtown Abbey on PBS. And, of course, The Voice will be starting up again soon. But there’s not much else I’m excited about going forward besides Season Two of Sherlock, which can’t come soon enough.

Aside from the Oscars, I don’t often talk about film here. (That in and of itself might not seem odd, unless you know that my training is as a historian of French culture with a specialization in the film industry and my doctoral dissertation was on the reception of American films in postwar France.) I’m hoping to rectify that with a new Film 101 series looking at various genres I want to explore again without having to view them through an academic lens. Right now, I’m thinking of three of my favorites: film noir, screwball comedies, and westerns; however, inspired by David Smay’s series at HiLobrow, I may also take on horror, a genre I don’t know at all.

But before I begin that project, I will spend the month of January rewatching my favorite director of all time, a man who incorporated all those genres into his work (okay, maybe not westerns), Alfred Hitchcock. A colleague recently asked for recommendations of his films and, having lately read John Buchan’s The 39 Steps and Josephine Tey’s A Shilling for Candles (which became Young and Innocent), I decided he was due for a serious review.

I hope you join me for these and other random musings!