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Heed Cthulhu’s Call at The Lex Theatre
Posted on October 6, 2014 by Ed Simon

The Ventura County Gilbert Sullivan Repertoire Company is presenting Gilbert Sullivan’s most popular and most frequently globally produced operetta, The Mikado. Written in 1865 and set in an imaginary Japanese village, it provides a beautiful setting for Sir William S. Gilbert to once more lampoon the British aristocracy, political system and Victorian social mores set to the lush score of Sir Arthur Sullivan. The story of its creation may not be entirely true, but the claim is that one day an old Japanese sword that, for years, had been hanging on the wall of W.S. Gilbert’s study, fell down from its place. This incident directed his attention to Japan and provided the inspiration for the musical.

The town of Titipu hasn’t had an execution for a while and the Lord High Executioner (KoKo) is informed his head may soon be on the chopping block if the situation isn’t remedied. A dilemma ensues, because how can an Executioner execute himself? Along comes a wandering minstrel (Nanki Poo) who happens to be in love with KoKo’s ward (YumYum), who also happens to be engaged to KoKo. In the meantime, Nanki Poo is engaged to someone else (Katisha) and he’s the incognito son of the Mikado? Heads may roll, or just may spend some time in boiling oil.

The Mikado has been one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular operettas. Monty Python even did a parody of it the famous song, “I’ve Got A Little List”, with Eric Idle writing additional lyrics to it. Many of the songs from the Mikado are classics of the genre and audiences still roll with laughter at Gilbert and Sullivan’s penchant for poking fun at British morals, sensibilities and institutions of the day through the “Japanese” characters.

The show is directed by Rebecca Pillsbury. Musical direction is by Music Direction by Zachary Spencer, with Choreography by Julie Bermel. The Ventura County Gilbert and Sullivan Repertoire Company has been giving fresh new interpretations to these classic operettas since 2006. The Mikado opened to rave reviews on Friday, October 3rd, and runs Friday and Saturday evenings, and Sunday afternoons, through October 26th. For tickets please call the box office at 805-381-1246 or buy on-line . For more information please call 804-491-6103.

Theatre on the HillHillcrest Center for the Arts 403 W. Hillcrest Dr., Thousand Oaks

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About Ed Simon

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Locating/measuring earthquakes

Epicenter, hypocenter, aftershock, foreshock, fault, fault plane, seismograph, P-waves, magnitude, intensity, peak acceleration, amplification...

We hear them. After big earthquakes, we say them. But what do these terms mean? What do they mean for what we felt and what we will feel the next time? Do we really understand what seismologists are saying?

This section describes how earthquakes happen and how they are measured. It also explains why the same earthquake can shake one area differently than another area. It finishes with information we expect to learn after future earthquakes.

What is an earthquake?

An earthquake is caused by a sudden slip on a fault, much like what happens when you snap your fingers. Before the snap, you push your fingers together and sideways. Because you are pushing them together, friction keeps them from moving to the side. When you push sideways hard enough to overcome this friction, your fingers move suddenly, releasing energy in the form of sound waves that set the air vibrating and travel from your hand to your ear, where you hear the snap.

The same process goes on in an earthquake. Stresses in the earth's outer layer push the sides of the fault together. The friction across the surface of the fault holds the rocks together so they do not slip immediately when pushed sideways. Eventually enough stress builds up and the rocks slip suddenly, releasing energy in waves that travel through the rock to cause the shaking that we feel during an earthquake.

Just as you snap your fingers with the whole area of your fingertip and thumb, earthquakes happen over an area of the fault, called the rupture surface. However, unlike your fingers, the whole fault plane does not slip at once. The rupture begins at a point on the fault plane called the hypocenter, a point usually deep down on the fault. The epicenter is the point on the surface directly above the hypocenter. The rupture keeps spreading until something stops it (exactly how this happens is a hot research topic in seismology).

Part of living with earthquakes is living with aftershocks. Earthquakes come in clusters. In any earthquake cluster, the largest one is called the mainshock; anything before it is a foreshock, and anything after it is an aftershock.

Aftershocks are earthquakes that usually occur near the mainshock. The stress on the mainshock's fault changes during the mainshock and most of the aftershocks occur on the same fault. Sometimes the change in stress is great enough to trigger aftershocks on nearby faults as well.

An earthquake large enough to cause damage will probably produce several felt aftershocks within the first hour. The rate of aftershocks dies off quickly. The day after the mainshock has about half the aftershocks of the first day. Ten days after the mainshock there are only a tenth the number of aftershocks. An earthquake will be called an aftershock as long as the rate of earthquakes is higher than it was before the mainshock. For big earthquakes this might go on for decades.

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