Movie Review “tick, tick…BOOM!”

Today is November 19th, 2021. All over the world, friends of mine are watching Amazon’s “The Wheel of Time,” by our beloved Creator, Robert Jordan. They’re sharing wonderful stories and pictures of themselves in costumes and shawls, which is awesome. I know you can find many lovely blogs, podcasts, and YouTubers talking about it.

This review, however, is not about WOT, as I am here to talk about the new Netflix film “tick, tick… BOOM!” that was also released today. This film is a semi autobiographical telling of a portion of the composer Jonathan Larson’s life. It is Lin-Manuel Maranda’s directorial debut, starring Andrew Garfield.

Many people know Jonathan Larson because of his musical “RENT.” But before he was “RENT” famous, Jonathan Larson wrote a little show called “tick, tick… BOOM!,” a three person musical, which in some ways I like better than RENT. Most people have never heard of it, though its been a personal favorite for decades, long before I’d ever heard of WOT. It gets to the heart of what it means to be an artist and performer; and that fire that is all consuming to leave your mark no matter what other struggles you’re dealing with. Then the heartbreak of starting all over again.

People have frequently compared Lin-Manuel Miranda to Larson, and said “Hamilton” was to “In the Heights” as “RENT” would have been to whatever Larson got to write next. Sadly, Larson passed away suddenly at the age of 35, right before “RENT’s” first public showing. Sometimes I wonder if this is why LMM (may he live forever!) works as hard as he does on so many different things- its all about the legacy and getting as much done with the time we’re given as possible. This drive to make, create, and write their way into our lives gave me good hope about LMM as the director, because I figured he’d “get it” more than your average Hollywood director would. I am happy to say, I was not disappointed. He made some excellent choices, and brought the story to life with tenderness and respect.

Going into my viewing I was excited, and nervous, especially regarding casting. Spiderman singing? Hmm, okay… And I knew Vanessa Hudgens was in it. She’s got a pretty face, but generally, her acting isn’t swell. (Though, not gonna lie, I’ll probably still watch the Princess Switch 3 anyway.) I was pleasantly surprised. Garfield was likable, and relatable, and had a voice that fit well for the part. Hudgens did far more singing than speaking, which was fine with me. I now look forward to seeing more of Robin de Jesus, an unknown to me before this, who plays Larson’s best friend, Michael. And, I have to admit, this Broadway Baby burst into tears more than once. The story and the struggle of being a creative person trying to find and birth their “thing” is so relatable to me.

“tick, tick… BOOM” is set during the end of Larson’s “Superbia” era, which he produced in 1989. But despite spending almost a decade writing it, it’s never really seen the light of day. Garfield’s Jonathan is touchingly portrayed as a kind of 1990’s Orpheus. Not a bad guy by any means; but one who is consumed and driven by his mission and music so much that it causes him to sometimes be neglectful towards those he loves. (Speaking of Broadway and Orpheus, if you haven’t checked out the musical Hadestown, please do so! Its one of the best things to come out in musical theatre in years, and does a wonderful job of making an old tales modern and relevant.) I really appreciated the diversity of the rest of the cast, all ages and body types were represented.

There are theatre and film related cameos all through the movie. The biggest numbers show up in the writing workshop, and a song called “Sunday.” My goodness, if you know your Broadway history and actors, wow, that was cool to see everyone. Small spoiler- Bernadette Peters was one of the cameos. I met her when she came to do a show at the theatre I worked at. She was lovely to work with, and is a surprisingly tiny person for as big of a voice as she has! André De Shields is another, whom I did not meet, but did get to see perform live when I was in the audience for the recording of PBS’s Great Performances for “Play On!”  This article from Slate has a good breakdown of everyone to show up. Most are uncredited, so you won’t find them on IMDB, but there are award winning actors, writers, composers, family, and friends, etc. It is a testament to both Jonathan Larson and to LMM that all of these folks were willing to show up and be a part of this project.

They took out one of my favorite lines of the musical (shared below), but they did a great job of portraying that statement, so I am very satisfied. I highly recommend you watching it, once you’re done binging WOT. Make sure you watch through the credits too, as it shows several videos of the real Jonathan. If you listen to the old recording of the show, you can hear Jonathan’s voice at the end of that as well. This line gives me goosebumps every time I hear it.

I want to write music
I want to sit down 
Right now at the piano
And write a song that
People will listen to and remember 
And do the same thing every morning
For the rest of my life

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TarValon.Net’s October 2021 Recap

Greetings friends! October has come to an end, wow, was it ever busy! If you want to save some time, jump directly to Site Announcements to read all the things for yourselves. Most of the first page happened this month. 

– Online Anni is coming up on Nov. 6th!! Come join us in Discord for the shenanigans! Our annual Membership awards will be announced at that time. 

– Our Keeper has retired, and we’re looking for a new one. Following that announcement we learned that two of our Board Members are also retiring, and we’re looking for new ones

– Changes were made for Senior Members who wish to leave their user groups. Instead of demoting and losing their earned rank they are now allowed to be “Of None Ajah/Company” while they explore their options and pick a different group. Some restrictions apply. The process of Bonding dissolutions has also changed. 

– Merit awards were announced, and a new merit for virtual events has been added to the list.


We’ve just wrapped up one of our fun free weeks. Special thanks to Siera al’Cere and the Activities team for their hard work in putting the event together. We Trollocs had, dare I say, a bloody good time playing. 😀


Speaking of playing, we’ve got a new revolving Game of Clue started in Frivolous Fun. Come join us! 


We had three Aspirations this month – Jasin to SDS; and the Blue Ajah welcomed Jocasta and Syera!

See above for Keeper and Board applications. Applications due by Nov. 8th. And Nov. 1st respectively. Additionally, we are in need of a new Brown HoA. Applications due Nov. 7th. 

Aratouial has joined the Tower. 

Dar’Jen is the newest Gaidin of VC, and Morrighan, the newest Gaidin of MDD. 
Congratulations to Alyria and Calen on their Bond. 
Melisande is our new Chairperson of the Board. 

Yenie is the new Red HoA. 

Polegnyn, Seryse, and Jaryd have all joined the Servant of All team

Our Fall Hall has taken their seats.

Thank you to all of you for your service to the community! 

That is all for now. Be safe if you’re doing Halloween stuff tonight, and happy November!

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Member Spotlight – Headteachers Fee and Calen

Greetings friends!
I have the pleasure of introducing you to our current Head Teachers (or more formally titled, Headmaster and Headmistress)! Calen Velervron and Fee Nicoin were kind enough to respond to my interview request, I hope you enjoy learning more about who they are and why they do what they do. Additionally, if you are interested in learning more about a whole variety of topics, and/or want to teach something for the Tower, you can visit The Classroom forum, and they can be reached at I am sure they’d love to hear from you!
Adina: Tell our readers a bit about yourselves, where you live, and what you do out there in the world.

Fee: I live in Southern Scotland. I have no pets but would love a dog, sadly living in an apartment and working all day is not conducive to having a dog. I am a secondary school teacher (for those not in the UK I teach young people between the ages of 11 to 18.) I teach History and Modern Studies – it is a uniquely Scottish subject – it consists of politics, some sociology type stuffs, and focuses on current and recent events.

Calen: I am from Hot Springs, Arkansas. I am a social worker for the State of Arkansas in the Foster Care system. I started off in investigations, but now I work in the administrative part of the system. I often troubleshoot harder to work cases. I help run a unit that also investigates child trafficking. There is a large amount on I-30 in the US. I have a boyfriend who is fantastic, his name is Joey. I adopted his cat, Jaspers. I have two nephews and a niece that I adore. I am MDD all day long.
Adina: How have you been keeping busy during Covid Times?

Calen: I try and read two books a week. I am a huge fan of Jim Butcher and the Dresden Files. I love a good Dresden quote and can use them in almost any situation.

Fee: I taught myself to crochet during the first lockdown here. I am not very good but I do enjoy it. Apart from that and reading I have no other hobbies. I shaved my hair off during the lock down, I had always wanted to do it so took the chance when I was not physically in school.
Adina: How did you find TarValon.Net?

Fee: I was looking for info on the WoT books release dates. I got the first books from a brother of mine – turns out the series has been a family affair and all three of my brothers have read them. The search led to TarValon.Net — according to the join date I have that was in 2006.

Calen: I think I found the site looking at the Wikipedia whilst reading the books. I stayed because of the service part of the site and the friends I found here. I am happy to say, I have made some of the best friends a guy can have.
Adina: Calen, how did you know MDD was “home?”

Calen: The Company is made up of people that I want to be like. They are smart, witty and loyal. If you need someone to have your back, it’s hard to get someone better than an MDD member. There is also a lot of laughter involved. (Interviewer note- as a long time Bonded guest in MDD, I can attest to the truth of this statement!)
Adina: Fee, how is your Guesting journey going?

Fee: I am not the most active of people and I find it difficult to just jump in to threads, so I am currently an Accepted, and have been since the Callander Europarty in 2017 when Cassie Sedai raised me.
Adina: What made you interested in applying for this position?

Fee: I applied for the role of Headteacher as I wanted to become more active on the site. The idea of the Headteacher role appealed to me as I feel the classroom offers great opportunities to delve deeper into the books, to learn about new things such as rune-casting or even China. The raising support threads are a great place of support if you want to go down the SM path.

Calen: I wanted to apply because one of the first things I did when I joined was started to teach. I think it is a great and unique way to give back. Plus, who doesn’t like to learn?!
Adina: What goals do you have for this position?

Calen: My goal for the tenure is to make sure we keep two rotating classes going, and to develop a system that runs on autopilot for instruction of new citizens.

Fee: In terms of goals [we want] more people sharing their passion and knowledge for skills or topics and teaching classes. So if you have that desire [to teach] email us:
Adina: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Fee: Feel free to say hi!

Calen: I am also a mediator and take that job super seriously. I think our site is capable of great things and I have a lot of hopes for what we can accomplish.
Thank you both so much for taking the time to answer my questions, and letting our members get to know you better! Readers, head over at take a class or two, or, teach one. Or both, both is good.

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TarValon.Net’s August 2021 Recap

Who has two Blue thumbs and is in denial that it is already time to wrap up August? This Aes Sedai, that’s for sure! I am betting I am not alone. Even though we’re still pretty well masked everywhere, and dealing with smoke and Covid closures here in California, schools have opened — and the kids at least are getting a bit back to normal, whatever that even means any more.
Here is some news of note for the month:

2021 Site Fundraiser: Donations to the Tower support the Robert Jordan Memorial Scholarship, and cover our costs to keep the site up and running ad free. Join as we have some fun “Hunting the Black Ajah.” Erin and team have worked hard to make this happen, and the event runs until September 17th. All donations welcome and appreciated.
WoT on Prime News: We got some full costume looks of Amazon Prime’s Wheel of Time core cast this month, and they look awesome! Our Social Media team posted the TV Guide coverage last week. And here’s a fun little article from Entertainment Weekly, suggested by our very own Editor. I particularly love that Logain shot!, it gives me shivers of antici…)
[Editor’s note, if you see this issue on a newsstand, be sure to check out the “What’s the word count?” graphic, it’s a great visual on how the Wheel of Time stacks up to some other popular book series, literally page for page.]
Looking for Players: The Tower’s Games Forum is one of my favorite places to hang out, and Lok is looking for several more willing bodies for a game of Assassins which will have a Totto Land Teaparty theme. You do not have to know the theme (I sure don’t!) or the mechanics, you just need to show up for fun, and you’ll learn on the fly.
Wheel of Time Re-Read: Have you joined in the reading yet? Reading as a “group” can be really nice, especially given the daunting task it is to get through our beloved series. We’re currently reading chapters 7-13 of The Dragon Reborn. Join us!

Special congratulations to Stephen Lightheart and Elanda Tonil, and Murasaki al’Aevon and Adolla Ceryia on their bonds. I am still so chuffed we have Same Path Bonds!

The Tower welcomes Delara Morellin  and Merena Orithana as the newest Novices. Enjoy the new places to explore!



  • Our Co-Directors of Technology are looking for two new Master/Mistresses of the Watch- one for Moderation, and the other Interface. If you have the tech skills (or even some of them!) I know they’d love to hear from you. The application deadline for both positions is September 13th.
  • Graphics development and Social Media are always looking for willing volunteers.



  • The Blue Ajah and Dai M’Hael Company have new leaders. Congratulations to Nymala Ingasy and Vendri al’Varrak!
  • HOAs and CCs are also looking for new Hall recruits, interested parties should apply to their Membership Admin for the October term.


And that is it for August! Keep being safe out there friends! See you around the boards!

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Member Spotlight – Leala ni al’Dareis t’al’Caleum

Greetings all!

This member spotlight is for our most recent Assistant TVT Editor! Because real life is a bit hectic, Leala and I conducted this interview via PM. So, thanks to her for doing a bunch of the typing herself. 🙂

Adina: Tell us a little about yourself in real life- where do you live, what you do for a living, and what’s your home life like, etc?

Leala: I am from from Shreveport, LA. In early April I moved to Rockford, IL, to be with my then fiancé, Ignis al’Caleum. I work in the purchasing department of a small pharmaceutical company. Ignis and I married on July 10, which was a date we set after we got engaged on December 22, 2019. We have two cats, Trify and Ruby. Trify is 11, and I named him Triforce, because when he was a tiny jellybean, I saw that he had a Triforce on his cheek. Ruby is seven, and we’re not sure of her birthday. She wandered up [to us], so we celebrate their birthdays on the same day.


Adina: How do you like living in Illinois so far?

Leala: This is my first summer in Illinois, and it’s so nice not to have 100+ degree days. My asthma really appreciates it.

Adina: Do you have other hobbies/interests outside of Wheel of Time (WoT)?

Leala: I love to draw! I started drawing when I was 8 and discovered the anime Sailor Moon. My little sister and I grew up watching it together, so it’s a big part of our sibling bond. We still love anime [although] now I lean more toward manga than anime. I’m much more picky about how my manga is arranged than the rest of my books.

Adina: What brought you to TarValon.Net? What made you want to stay and get more involved?

Leala: I had heard of TarValon.Net from other WoT communities. When I signed up, I was in kind of an anxiety fog because of a major change in my life. The community offered the social engagement that I needed, but if there was one thing I could pinpoint that made me decide to stay, it was two members: Jarl Lewin and Alora Sionn.

Adina: What “makes” you White Ajah?

Leala: I liked the idea of the White Ajah from the books, and feel I’d probably fit in there. When I guested with the White Ajah, I enjoyed the sympathetic and logical atmosphere there while we sought for the truth. So I stayed because I’m also a sympathetic and logical person. I seek logic during the hard times of life naturally, and I’m accepting to those around me.

Adina: What interests you most about the Tar Valon Times?

Leala: The Tar Valon Times has a special place in my heart. It was the first staff position I held here, way back when. I wanted to get back into the game, so to speak. Also, I knew I’d get along with the Editor. I live in her Pocket, you see. I’ve been enjoying reading all the new material that’s come out, and wrapping my head around the publishing process.

Adina: I’ve always wanted to know the Pocket story too.

Leala: When I was a Novice, Senior Members were putting Junior Members in their pockets, and she pocketed me.

Adina: Do you have any specific goals for the TVT?

Leala: My goal for my tenure is to archive all backlogged TVT articles, and organize our archive in the Library to be easier to read. It’s…going to take some time, but I’ve already learned so much about wiki editing.

Adina: What is your favorite Non-Ajah forum to hang out in?

Leala: Frivolous Fun! I’ve made many close friends there, including two of my first-sisters. It’s a relaxing place to hang out and SPAM!

Adina: What is your favorite non-WoT book or series?

Leala: I have many and can’t narrow it down to one, so I’ll recommend one of my favorites. Welcome to Night Vale, the Novel. It’s based around my favorite fictional podcast, and written so that you don’t have to have listened to it to be able to read the book. The podcast and novel are set in a little desert town called Night Vale where weird and usually dangerous things happen, but there’s an air of normalcy to it. The citizens are all used to the hooded figures, shadowy government entities hanging around. My favorite character is a five-headed dragon, and each head has five distinct personalities.

Adina: What is your favorite thing to eat?

Leala: Spaghetti.

Adina: What is a movie that makes you cry?

Leala: Not many movies hold this distinction. But, Kubo and the Two Strings made me cry at the very end.

Adina: Give us a fun fact about Leala!

Leala: After I finished going through all my DVDs for the move, what was left was mostly anime and Shakespeare movie adaptations.

Adina: You’re now a member of the “Really Long Tower Names Club” of member who’ve married members, and I hear your have a fun proposal story. Would you please share it with our readers to wrap up this interview?

Leala: So, [this is] the story of how Ignis proposed to me, and I then returned the favor. When you start talking to me about the Wheel of Time, the first thing I’ll start fangirling over will probably be the Aiel. They are genuinely my favorite part of the series, and Aviendha is my favorite character. So of course, Ignis knew this.

At the time, we were long distance, and I was visiting him for Christmas, in 2019. After the first night (I was tired from traveling all day, then going to a play of his), he woke me up all excited and told me he had a present for me. He told me to put my glasses on and brought me to the living room. He put a present in front of me, and I opened a large wooden plaque with the Aiel battle chant on it, along with the ancient symbol of the Aes Sedai.

I looked up, and he was on one knee, holding the ring box, and said, “Will you fight the Dark One with me until the Last Day?”

When I came back home and gushed about it to my Ajah, I got the idea to drop a bridal wreath (another Aiel tradition) at his feet during the next Anni Party. COVID then happened, but I still made the wreath. I consulted Alora, who suggested I use the language of flowers to pick the flowers, like Aiel women do in the books. I went with white chrysanthemums for truth (because I’ll always be honest with him) and sweet williams for gallantry, because I have a strong independent streak. I also wove a red and orange ribbon around it. Those are our wedding colors, because red is my favorite colors, and orange is his. It’s hanging in our home.

Because of the COVID situation delaying Anni, I set up a thread in the White Ajah Sitting Room where all my Ajah siblings, and my first-sister who’s a Warder of ours, could post “Remember Honor,” what the Aiel say when they approve of a suitor. I printed it out, wrote him a letter, and mailed him the whole thing without letting the secret out.

Adina: That is such a great story, thanks for letting me interview you Leala, and thanks for reading friends! I hope you’ve all enjoyed getting to know our Assistant Editor a little bit better now.

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