Seeing red for the good of all the monkeys on this planet | BRAND HUGHES COBB

Several years ago I wrote to Terry Pratchett’s representative, Colin Smythe – if there’s a more properly English name than that, I’d love to hear it – to inquire about theatrical performing rights from “Wyrd Sisters”.

This was a request for Improbable Fictions, the reading group staged as part of the University of Alabama’s Strode Renaissance Studies program, a spin-off of our summer company by Shakespeare’s The Rude Mechanicals, who, by the way, will be performing “The Tempest” from June 1-4 and “Much Ado About Nothing” from June 22-25.

After co-founder Nic Helms transitioned to a tenure-track job, it was renamed The Alabama Shakespeare Project, under the direction of Elizabeth Tavares. I was looking forward to working with this band last year on Thomas Dekker’s “The Shoemaker’s Holiday”, but pandammit. Here’s hoping the not-so-awful ASP can revive soon.

“Wyrd Sisters” is an inescapable suggestion for readers new to Pratchett, partly because he had really hit his stride as a novelist then, and partly because the stories mixed within might feel familiar from the shot, mixing elements of “Macbeth”, “Hamlet” and “KING Lear”, told through the eyes of a group of not-so-wicked witches who are in total control of their mountain kingdom.

Mr Smythe responded quickly and intelligently, with genuine respect for our humble little business, because of course he would, with the delightful news that instead of paying Sir Terry directly we should instead donate to save the orangs -utans. Readers of Pratchett will know the obvious homage: one of the wizards of the Invisible University was transformed, by magical accident, into an orangutan, known simply as the Librarian, because everyone seems to have forgotten who he was. was before. The Librarian resists all efforts to roll back, as he has found that the 7-foot arm span is handy for re-shelving, among other things.

I’ve never been so happy to make money, because I’ve always had a thing for redheads. It could date back to the day I first held my goddaughter, her peach-down noggin nestled in my palm, her fat little feet barely tapping my antecubital fossa. Her hair that day she was born had a deeper shade than her current glare, but it shone, as I leaned down to give her a gentle kiss on the forehead, and of course, being the godfather of the evil fairy, to whisper “Rebel”.

The verb, not the noun. As in the rage against… whatever. Maybe everything. Every great artist begins by imitating those who have gone before them, until a singular creative voice rises from within these occasions, reproduces paintings, cuts and copies movements and words and sculpted elements .

In the pre-mad days of Marlon Brando, from “The Wild One” (1953):

Mildred (Peggy Maley): “Hey Johnny, what are you rebelling against?”

Johnny (Brando): “What do you have?”

Producer Stanley Kramer (“On the Beach,” “Inherit the Wind,” “Judgment at Nuremberg,” dozens more) stole this and other gems from the motorcycle gangs they interviewed, along with repeated refrains of “Just gotta go”, as in “Where are you going?”

I do not know. I just gotta go, man.

I’m proud to say my… prediction? Tips? Curse? – held, as the child’s blood turns crimson, its ferocity fiery, its depth of feeling richer than the ripest Bordeaux.

The redhead love could also be traced back to Ann-Margret. Viva Las Vermilion. It’s a shame that Rita Hayworth and Maureen O’Hara ever had to work in black and white.

I’ve dated several redheads, but honestly, I can’t say how much of a coincidence that is, considering they only make up about 1-2% of the world’s haired population. It almost looks like I’m looking for them.

Setting aside the crowd of contemporary beauties for a moment, fierce, funny and fertile minds seemed to be installed as standard under these fiery locks: Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Madeline Kahn, Jimmy Cagney, Myrna Loy, Red Skelton, Mark Twain, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Vincent Van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci, Mark Twain, DH Lawrence, Vladimir Lenin, Margaret Sanger, Antonio Vivaldi, Andrew Jackson, Sylvia Plath, Ezra Pound, Eiríkr Thorvaldsson (aka Eric the Red), Oliver Cromwell, George Bernard Shaw, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander the Great, Queen Elizabeth I, Winston Churchill, Bram Stoker, Richard the Lionheart, Florence Nightingale, Boudicca, Galileo Galilei, George Washington, James Joyce, Bram Stoker, Redd Foxx, and Believe- the or not, Malcolm X, who likely inherited the recessive gene from his white grandfather.

Even if you overlook Lizzie Borden, L. Ron Hubbard, and that banshee Sheeran whose hideous moans haunt gyms, doctor’s offices, and elevators, they’re an exceptional group.

If, by some bizarre circumstance, a comet, zombie, or world-erasing blight were to destroy all but the redheads, I can’t help but think things would turn out, after a Sheeran purge, to be an inspiring place, eccentric and intriguing. Go zombie comets!

And that’s coming from me, as boring brunette as can be. Maybe I could rename the headdress, say, chocolate? Chestnut? Chamois? Cocoa? Shadow? Amber? Sienna? No. It’s just browning the haystack.

Just last week, several thousand people turned up at the Amp for a dude formerly known as the “Red-Haired Stranger.” Willie Nelson’s head has been white for a long time, but there’s no doubt that he fits well into this pantheon of brass notables.

Legendary country musician Willie Nelson performs at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater on Friday, April 22, 2022 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  Gary Cosby Jr./Tuscaloosa News

I could also trace my respect for respect to another smooth ginger, writer Tom Robbins. Not the enthusiastic guy with oil-spilled hair and killer whale helicopters, but the quirky Pacific Northwest outlaw, coincidentally aligning himself with another of Willie’s descriptors. In “Still Life with Woodpecker”, Robbins wrote: “Mankind has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober and responsible and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious and immature. .”

Robbins raves about his follicle tribe: “His hair was red then, red being the color of urgency and roses; the red being the top of the prelate and the bottom of the baboon; red being the color of blood, the color of jelly; red maddening the bull; red being the color of Valentine’s Day, left-handedness and a little princess’ new guilty hobby. His hair was red, his cowboy boots muddy, his heart a hive of musical bees.

He also wrote “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood” and “A better world has to start somewhere.” Why not with you and me?

After our small donation, the Orangutan Foundation responded by thanking you, highlighting where the donations go, what they can benefit:

• Protection of critical orangutan habitats, including Tanjung Puting National Park, Lamandau River Wildlife Sanctuary and the Belantikan Hulu area (hosting the largest remaining orangutan populations in an unprotected area).

• Education and awareness in Indonesia and the UK.

• Capacity building and development of local partners.

• Sustainable livelihood projects carried out with local communities.

• Orangutan release program and veterinary care program.

• Scientific Research.

Occasionally, traveling to Magic City to visit some redhead or another, I’ll sit for a while with Oliver, Lipz and their daughter Nairi, who was born at Birmingham Zoo on December 11, 2011. Oliver turns 42 this summer; Lipz recently turned 40. I can’t say I wouldn’t rather see them in a rainforest, but zoos are also working to preserve this critically endangered species.

Sumatran orangutans live, on average, about 35 to 40 years in the wild. The habitats of these gentle and shy giants are threatened with deforestation for the production of palm oil, which is transformed into food and cosmetics. Easy help? Buy only from those who use sustainable palm oil production. The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (in Colorado) has a great app that can help discern these products; see www.cmzoo.org/conservation/orangutans-palm-oil/sustainable-palm-oil-shopping-app.

Do something to make this world turn better today. Help a big beautiful redhead.

Contact Tusk editor Mark Hughes Cobb at [email protected], or call 205-722-0201.

About Bernice D. Brewer

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