August 16th, 2017
skygiants: the princes from Into the Woods, singing (agony)
posted by [personal profile] skygiants at 05:42pm on 16/08/2017 under ,
It's hard for me not to unfavorably compare every Isabelle Hollington Gothic to Trelawny, the one with the identical non-identical constantly-swapping twins, but The Marchington Inheritance runs a reasonable second for batshit plot resolutions.

Our Heroine is a children's book illustrator named Avril, which would be fine if she were not ALSO notable for her family reputation as a Strung-Out Sulky Counter-Culture Fight-The-Power Teen Rebel with constant Rage Against the Preppy machine, which meant that I had "Complicated" and "Sk8er Boi" stuck on rotate in my head for the entire duration of this novel. THANKS, ISABELLE HOLLAND.

spoilers are full of hilariously plausibly annoying children )
August 14th, 2017
gramarye1971: Jim Hacker about to receive some illegal alcohol in "The Moral Dimension" (YM: Diplomacy)
posted by [personal profile] gramarye1971 at 07:39pm on 14/08/2017 under , ,
As a small bright spot in an otherwise dismal weekend, I received a AO3 message requesting permission to translate Resource Allocation, the extremely silly Harry Potter/Yes, Minister crossover drabble I wrote ages ago, into Chinese. So with thanks to [archiveofourown.org profile] liangdeyu, 【翻译】Resource Allocation资源分配, is now available. I'm very pleased to see it.

(This does remind me that at some point I need to pick up a copy of Yes, Prime Manipulator, a book about the Chinese translation of YPM -- Hǎo de, shǒuxiàng -- written by the translator.)
August 13th, 2017
newredshoes: Woman in religious ecstasy, surrounded by art implements (<3 | patron saint)
[personal profile] theladyscribe and I saw Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 tonight, for Oak "HERCULES MULLIGAN!!!!!/James Madison" Onaodowan's final performance. It... was so fucking magical????? JAVIER MUÑOZ, MY HAMILTON, WAS SITTING RIGHT THERE ON THE MAIN STAGE???? (Look for him on his phone in that Instagram photo, at the bottom of the middle stair, to the right.) And Oak shoulder-clapped him as he was leaving after the final bow?!!!! And Denée Benton has the most gorgeous, crystalline, pure, beautiful voice and sHE'S TWENTY-FOUR?!!!!!! And this incredible shitheel character Anatole was the most magnificently tenor/falsetto Gaston-y diva?!!! And the audience interaction was SO GOOD!! The energy was absolutely electric; having heard it felt long, I was truly shocked when it ended. There were so many Cabaret feelings (SO MANY), and Hadestown feelings (since Rachel Chavkin also directed this, and cast her Billie Holiday–Persophone in much the same role), and the ensemble was having SO MUCH FUN and also they did this Rite of Spring opera-thing that was stunning and just as weird and riot-inducing as the original must have been, and.

And oh my god, you guys, I will, no holds barred, see Oak in literally anything he does from here on out. "Fucking magnificent" doesn't begin to cover what I saw him do tonight. Gorgeous-beyond-belief singing, both in humor and drama; gorgeous acting, physically, vocally, presence-wise, comedy and tragedy. He is. So big. We were sitting in amazing mezzanine seats (amazing how your eyes don't strain right out of your head anywhere that's not the nosebleed seats!) -- anyway, the cast spent a lot of time moving through the audience, and he was like. Right there. He did the walking-right-by-us thing. Oh my gosh, dude. Oh my fucking gosh.

This isn't even getting into the staging, which was just staggeringly well-orchestrated. They did this beautiful effect for snowfall, where they lowered single orange bulbs on long wires (or tubes?) from above, and I'm not doing it justice, but it just stopped me breathing. Anyway -- I'm so sorry to hear that it'll be closing in three weeks. It's a huge shame its sales weren't better, and I can totally see why they'd offer Mandy Patinkin the Pierre role, but I don't know that I'd want to see anyone else pull it off.
tempestsarekind: (all the world's a stage)
posted by [personal profile] tempestsarekind at 12:31am on 13/08/2017 under ,
Film investors’ fear of the Bard is burying my Richard II, says James Ivory
https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/aug/12/james-ivory-shakespeare-film-fails-to-find-funding

I remember hearing rumors about this a couple of years ago…This is the first time I've read that he had another Richard II film in mind, back in the '90s:

This is not the first time Ivory has tried to get Richard II off the ground. It appears that Kenneth Branagh put the kibosh on a previous production in 1992, around the time Merchant and Ivory were making The Remains of the Day.

“I had another cast. Daniel Day-Lewis as Richard II and Kenneth Branagh as Bolingbroke, or Henry IV as he becomes, and Emma Thompson as the queen,” said Ivory. “And then, unfortunately, Branagh said ‘I couldn’t play Bolingbroke, I’d have to play Richard’.

“We were about to make another movie anyway, so I let it go and we didn’t proceed with it.” (my emphasis)


That would have been something to see… (the Emma Thompson part, I mean; Branagh doesn't really strike me as the Richard II type, though I could perhaps imagine him as Bolingbroke)

(There's a conspicuous absence of any mention of The Hollow Crown in here, unless I just read the article too fast. I wonder why that is?)

There's also another iteration of "if Shakespeare were alive today, he'd be writing screenplays!" at the very end - which always irritates me slightly, as the implication is that there's nothing to draw a writer to the stage these days, even though I think the idea behind the comparison is that movies are analogous to Elizabethan plays. I'm just not totally convinced - in part because cinema is so focused on realism, in a way that I think can actually make it harder to adapt Shakespeare's plays for film (voiceover soliloquies, bane of my existence, I'm looking at you).
August 12th, 2017
skygiants: Clopin from Notre-Dame de Paris; text 'sans misere, sans frontiere' (comment faire un monde)
posted by [personal profile] skygiants at 05:51pm on 12/08/2017 under ,
I just finished Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad, which is definite proof that a book-length allegory CAN ALSO be a coherent and compelling novel. (Is this a Kazuo Ishiguro callout post? MAYBE.)

The easiest and most facile way to describe The Underground Railroad is basically like Underground the TV show meets Snowpiercer. I mean, significantly less silly than Snowpiercer, which is a deeply silly movie -- but insofar as it's a train-based road trip for your life in which every stop is an Allegory On the Evils of Class and Capitalism, like that, except in this case it's an allegory on America's original sins.

The book's heroine is Cora, a woman who escapes from a deep-South plantation on an enormous hidden network of rails and tunnels, gaining and losing allies along the way. Each time she gets off she thinks that maybe she's found a place where she can stop and live a human life, and each place she visits reflects a different knife-angle of the generally horrific history of race in America -- alternate histories, but real ones.

Allegory aside, Cora is very much a real and complex and compelling character, and the places she visits have heft to them. Cora's identity is bound up in the legend and mystery of her mother Mabel, the one slave in the plantation's history (before Cora) who was able to escape and vanish completely; she's a real person, too, and so are all the other perspectives that we glimpse briefly in interstitial interludes along Cora's journey. It's a really good book. It's a very page-turning book, and although it's (obviously) extremely grim at times, it's not actually a hopeless book.
August 10th, 2017
skygiants: Yong Ha from Sungkyunkwan Scandal (trollface)
posted by [personal profile] skygiants at 08:49pm on 10/08/2017
To be honest, I didn't really expect to love the kdrama Descendants of the Sun, a romantic melodrama about a special forces soldier and an ER surgeon. I'm skeptical about romanticizing the military! Contemporary melodrama is not my thing! Probably there were going to be too many dudes all over the place everywhere anyway!

OH, HOW WRONG I WAS. Descendants of the Sun is a GEM.

Screencaps cannot capture the majesty )
August 9th, 2017
skygiants: Kyoko from Skip Beat! making a mad flaily dive (oh flaily flaily)
posted by [personal profile] skygiants at 09:57pm on 09/08/2017 under ,
I enjoyed Martha Wells' Wheel of the Infinite but I am also pretty sure that my reading experience was devised in exactly the wrong way to allow me to appreciate the plot as a coherent narrative.

I read the first half of the book on the plane between San Francisco and Chicago, which meant I got all the fantastic initial setup: a long-suffering middle-aged heroine, exiled from her home city for accidentally getting three husbands killed while following the wrong prophetic vision, accidentally rescues a cute swordsman in a brief break from protecting a plucky theater troupe from a cursed stage puppet!

Then the cute young swordsman immediately decides to be her joint boyfriend and bodyguard because he has nothing else to do with his life, and she's like "he followed me home, can I keep him? ...wait I'm an exiled superpowered divine avatar, I literally don't have to ask anyone else, I CAN JUST KEEP HIM :D" and then he and she and the theater troupe all go back to her home city to sort out a potentially apocalyptic problem in the annual setting-the-world-in-order religious ritual and also, very importantly, get the theater puppet un-cursed, and at about this point I got to Chicago and although I was enjoying myself immensely I didn't really have time to read another word until I was on a flight back to Boston.

So at this point I opened my Kobo again and spoilers! )
August 8th, 2017
tempestsarekind: (austen snark is the best snark)
*eyeroll*

http://www.radiotimes.com/amp/news/2017-08-07/poldark-producers-to-adapt-pride-and-prejudice-for-itv

(via Austenblog)

Didn't ITV do that wretched Mansfield Park with Billie Piper - the one that went, "oh, who cares if our heroine is nothing like the Fanny Price in the novel, no one today could identify with her anyway"? That does not exactly fill me with confidence. (Also, I had to stop watching Poldark because there wasn't nearly enough narrative tissue between its various happenings - which seems to be this generation's period-drama affliction, not actually devoting enough time to showing why things between characters happen - so that's strike two.)

Mostly, though, I just cannot get worked up over the idea of yet another P&P adaptation. Am bored already.
gramarye1971: Punie Tanaka from Dai Mahou Touge, looking satisfied in front of a burning Tokyo Tower (Dai Mahou Touge: Tora Tora Tora)
I'm feeling a bit too disorganised to post much at the moment, but one fun thing I've been doing lately has been testing out an online Cyberpunk 2020 tabletop game through roll20.net, a site that lets you use webcams and chatrooms to run tabletop campaigns in real time. The GM's a friend who's run a number of our campaigns before, but we're playing with several other different people in different time zones, so there's a new element to it as well.

Our game is set in a cyberpunk retrofuture 2020 Baltimore, with the following premises:
- Basically, there are cell phones but no real Internet, Taylor Swift is the current U.S. president, the Cold War turned hot in space about two decades ago, and the Inner Harbor and Johns Hopkins University are two of a handful of arcologies in a sea of shantytowns and otherwise crumbling infrastructure.
- Our characters are an A-Team-like group of hired guns and techies who operate out of a food truck that sells kimchi tacos.
- I'm essentially playing a character from the Gunslinger Girl anime: a cybernetically modified Ukrainian sniper/former child soldier who looks about 14 or 15 but is actually in her early 20s. She was "rescued" (more like kidnapped) by a U.S. charity that's involved in money laundering under the guise of helping war orphans, and she's young and blonde enough to be a public face for their child solider rehabilitation program. Unfortunately, she actually rather enjoyed wetwork operations, so she's working with the kimchi taco folks to save up money to go back to her home country and jump right back into the action.

Apart from some technical glitches, we managed our first mission well enough -- no one in our party died or caught on fire, and we got a busted-out sedan as a secondary vehicle to supplement the food truck. It's been a while since I've played such a morally bankrupt character type, but dumping all of my good stats into the weapons skills means that I don't feel too bad about treating her like a point-and-shoot glass cannon. Will see if the mechanics continue to work out.
August 7th, 2017
skygiants: Nellie Bly walking a tightrope among the stars (bravely trotted)
posted by [personal profile] skygiants at 10:55pm on 07/08/2017 under ,
Despite its incredibly bland title, Into the Darkness turned out to be one of the most interesting Barbara Michaels gothics I've yet read.

This is one of the ones where Barbara Michaels decides to break the "girl meets house" mold and go instead with "girl meets career." Our Heroine Meg Venturi, called back to her hometown for her grandfather's funeral, finds that he's left her half of the family jewelry business; the other half has (of course) been left to his dark and brooding protege, whom half the town is convinced murdered Meg's grandfather and the other half the town thinks was probably just blackmailing him.

Obviously, this is Bachelor A. Bachelor B is Meg's annoying fake cousin (there's always a cousin in there somewhere), Bachelor C is the boring lawyer who keeps trying to mansplain Meg's inheritance to her, and Bachelor D is the married businessman that Meg has been having an affair with but who rapidly becomes irrelevant to the plot.

Meanwhile, Meg's grandmother keeps cheerfully sharing conversations that she had overnight with the ghost of Meg's dead grandfather, the housekeeper will not stop pretending to be Mrs. Danvers, someone keeps mailing threatening antique jewelry to the house, there's another pile of probably-stolen and certainly-priceless antique jewelry hidden in the back of Meg's closet, and every so often there will be a murder attempt. Throughout it all, Meg comes to two realizations: a.) she really, genuinely loves the jewelry business and b.) she is really, genuinely sick of Various Bachelors treating her like a Gothic ingenue.

Spoilers under the cut )
newredshoes: Cap flying Hydra plane (cap | this is my choice)
Frank John Hughes, the actor who portrayed (lived, basically!) Bill Guarnere in Band of Brothers, posted this absolutely gorgeous photo on his Instagram (he's a very talented photographer, in addition to every other cool thing he does!). It's him from behind, just a silhouette, looking out at a blue-hour sky full of C-47s, and the caption is "Dreaming of the drop zone..." It's really touching me, for whatever reason. I just think it's so lovely and intriguing.

Some other links while I warm up to my July check-in:
  • "Want to become a better writer? Follow these 7 steps, and look for new tools every day," from Poynter
  • See also, "Mistakes Freelancers Make When Pricing Their Work"
  • I just really love this Art Deco ceiling in Miami.
  • [personal profile] roga introduced me to The Hazelnuts, an Israeli Andrews Sisters-style jazz trio, and lo, they are A++. Other folks I do not want to forget: these French ladies who do incredible things with just a table for a stage
  • How to pitch Bitch, BuzzFeed Reader
  • What 1930 thought 1980 would look like

    I guess I really feel like July was kind of a wash. I spent a lot of it feeling really wound up and overwhelmed, and did not ~accomplish much of anything that I set out to, career-wise and personally. That said, I had a GREAT time many times over with many different great people. But I think July 2017 has been the month I've updated the least that didn't involve a three-week trip away from the internet. The med fuckery has not helped, and ultimately I have to chalk a lot of it up to that, frustrating as it is. I ended the month with a glorious brief escape, and I began this one with an absolutely stimulating and encouraging writing workshop. "You have to give yourself what you need" should be the theme of August, every which way. Note. To. Self.
  • Music:: gotta give love — gotta give love —
    varadia: (Default)
    posted by [personal profile] varadia at 10:16pm on 07/08/2017
    I get the feeling that this new season is mostly a meandering meditation on change, and age, and small town life, and holding onto the past and being trapped in old patterns . . . . with a soupcon of crazycakes and the Cooper plotline to kind of hang the meander on.

    Hmm.
    August 6th, 2017
    skygiants: pearl from SU, looking suspiciously down the length of a sword (terrifying renegade pearl)
    posted by [personal profile] skygiants at 11:40pm on 06/08/2017 under ,
    Over the past two weeks I have gone straight from a professional conference to a wedding to VividCon, lugged my roommate's oversized suitcase across four cities, hung out with innumerable incredibly delightful people, seen an equally large number of really stellar vids, visited at least six used bookstores and bought at least ten Gothic novels.

    Now I am home and exhausted, so I'm just going to leave my rushed but heartfelt VividCon premiere here and go to bed:

    Title: Clean Light (music by The Mowgli's)



    Download

    (with thanks to [personal profile] aquamirage for valuable early feedback!)
    August 5th, 2017
    tempestsarekind: (not supposed to be a heroine)

    hmm

    posted by [personal profile] tempestsarekind at 06:34pm on 05/08/2017 under , ,
    the Masterpiece adaptation of Little Women is apparently filming in Ireland; this seems wrong
    August 3rd, 2017
    tempestsarekind: (Default)
    I haven't the faintest idea why, but this old article on the Cheek By Jowl As You Like It brought me very near to tears:

    All you need is love: Adrian Lester and the miraculous all-male As You Like It by Declan Donnellan
    https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2014/nov/12/all-male-as-you-like-it-cheek-by-jowl-declan-donnellan-adrian-lester

    (…why doesn't Adrian Lester have a tag?)

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